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G.R. No.

L-6287 December 1, 1911 lands or buildings, original jurisdiction of which is by this Act
THE MANILA RAILROAD COMPANY, plaintiff-appellee, conferred upon courts of justice of the peace.
vs. It is apparent from the wording of these sections that it was the intention of
THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL, representing the Insular Government, et the Philippine Commission to give to the Courts of First Instance the most
al., defendants-appellants. perfect and complete jurisdiction possible over the subject matters mentioned
W. A. Kincaid and Thomas L. Hartigan, for appellant. in connection therewith. Such jurisdiction is not made to depend upon
Antonio Constantino, for appellee. locality. There is no suggestion of limitation. The jurisdiction is universal. Nor
do the provisions of sections 48, 49, 50, 51, and 52 at all militate against the
MORELAND, J.: universality of that jurisdiction. Those provisions simply arrange for the
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the convenient and effective transaction of business in the courts and do not
Province of Tarlac dismissing the action before it on motion of the plaintiff relate to their power, authority, or jurisdiction over the subject matter of the
upon the ground that the court had no jurisdiction of the subject matter of the action. While it is provided in these sections that a particular court shall hold
controversy. its sessions in any other province (except under certain specified conditions),
the assertions is nevertheless true that the jurisdiction of a particular court is
in no wise and in no sense limited; and it is nowhere suggested, much less
The question for our consideration and decision is the power and authority of
provided, that a Court of First Instance of one province, regularly sitting in
a Court of First Instance of one province to take cognizance of an action by a
said province, may not under certain conditions take cognizance of an action
railroad company for the condemnation of real estate located in another
arising in another province or of an action relating to real estate located
province.
outside of the boundaries of the province to which it may at the time be
assigned.
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
Certain statutes confer jurisdiction, power, or authority. Other provide for the
estate, stated by the plaintiff in his complaint to be located in the Province of
procedure by which that power or authority is projected into judgment. The
Tarlac. It is alleged in the complaint that the plaintiff is authorized by law to
one class deals with the powers of the Court in the real and substantive
construct a railroad line "from Paniqui to Tayug in the Province of Tarlac,"
sense; the other with the procedure by which such powers are put into
and it is for the purpose of condemning lands for the construction of such line
action. The one is the thing itself; the other is the vehicle by which the thing is
that this action is brought. The land sought to be condemned is 69,910
transferred from the court to the parties. The whole purpose and object of
square meters in area. The complaint states that before beginning the action
procedure is to make the powers of the court fully and completely available
the plaintiff had caused to be made a thorough search in the office of the
for justice. The most perfect procedure that can be devised is that which
registry of property and of the tax where the lands sought to be condemned
gives opportunity for the most complete and perfect exercise of the powers of
were located and to whom they belonged. As a result of such investigations
the court within the limitations set by natural justice. It is that one which, in
the plaintiff alleged that the lands in question were located in the Province of
other words, gives the most perfect opportunity for the powers of the courts
Tarlac. The defendants in one action all of the different owners of or persons
to transmute themselves into concrete acts of justice between the parties
otherwise interested in the 69,910 square meters of land to be condemned.
before it. The purpose of such a procedure is not to restrict the jurisdiction of
After filing and duly serving the complaint the plaintiff, pursuant to law and
the court over the subject matter, but to give it effective facility in righteous
pending final determination of the action, took possession of and occupied
action. It may be said in passing that the most salient objection which can be
the lands described in the complaint, building its line and putting the same in
urged against procedure to-day is that it so restricts the exercise of the
operation. During the progress of the action a commission to appraise the
court's powers by technicalities that the part of its authority effective for
value of the lands was duly appointed, which, after taking oral testimony,
justice between the parties is many times an inconsiderable portion of the
amounting to 140 typewritten pages when transcribed, and after much labor
whole. The purpose of procedure is not to thwart justice. Its proper aim is to
and prolonged consideration, made a report consisting of about 55
facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of contending parties. It
typewritten pages, resolving the question submitted to it. On the coming in of
was created not to hinder and delay but to facilitate and promote the
this report the court, by order entered the 27th of September, 1909, set the
administration of justice. It does not constitute the thing itself which courts
11th day of October following for the hearing thereon.
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
On the 4th day of October the plaintiff gave notice to the defendants that on means by which the powers of the court are made effective in just judgments.
the 9th day of October a motion would be made to the court to dismiss the When it loses the character of the one and takes on that of the other the
action upon the ground that the court had no jurisdiction of the subject administration of justice becomes incomplete and unsatisfactory and lays
matter, it having just been ascertained by the plaintiff that the land sought to itself open to grave criticism.
be condemned was situated in the Province of Nueva Ecija, instead of the
Province of Tarlac, as alleged in the complaint. This motion was heard and,
The proper result of a system of procedure is to insure a fair and convenient
after due consideration, the trial court dismissed the action upon the ground
hearing to the parties with complete justice between them as a result. While
presented by the plaintiff. This appeal is taken from said judgment of
a fair hearing is as essential as the substantive power of the court to
dismissal.
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
The decision of the learned trial court was based entirely upon the or authority of the court over the subject matter existed and was fixed before
proposition, already referred to, that in condemnation proceedings, and in all procedure in a given cause began. Procedure does not alter or change that
other proceedings affecting title to land, the Court of First Instance of a given power or authority; it simply directs the manner in which it shall be fully and
province has no jurisdiction, power or authority where the land is located in justly exercised. To be sure, in certain cases, if that power is not exercised in
another province, and that no such power, authority, or jurisdiction can be conformity with the provisions of the procedural law, purely, the court
conferred by the parties. attempting to exercise it loses the power to exercise it legally. This does not
mean that it loses jurisdiction of the subject matter. It means simply that he
may thereby lose jurisdiction of the person or that the judgment may thereby
Sections 55 and 56 of Act No. 136 of the Philippine Commission confer
be rendered defective for lack of something essential to sustain it. There is,
jurisdiction upon the Courts of First Instance of these Islands with respect to of course, an important distinction between person and subject matter are
real estate in the following words:1awphi1.net both conferred by law. As to the subject matter, nothing can change the
jurisdiction of the court over diminish it or dictate when it shall attach or when
SEC. 55. Jurisdiction of Courts of First Instance. — The jurisdiction it shall be removed. That is a matter of legislative enactment which none but
of Courts of First Instance shall be of two kinds: the legislature may change. On the other hand, the jurisdiction of the court
1. Original; and over the person is, in some instances, made to defend on the consent or
2. Appellate. objection, on the acts or omissions of the parties or any of them. Jurisdiction
SEC. 56. Its original jurisdiction. — Courts of First Instance shall over the person, however, may be conferred by consent, expressly or
have original jurisdiction: . impliedly given, or it may, by an objection, be prevented from attaching or
xxx xxx xxx removed after it has attached.
2. In all civil actions which involve the title to or possession of real
property, or any interest therein, or the legality of any tax, impost,
In the light of these observations, we proceed to a consideration of those
or assessment, except actions of forcible entry into, and detainer of provisions of the law which the plaintiff claims are decisive of his contention
that a Court of First Instance of one province has no jurisdiction of the

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subject matter of an action by a railroad company to condemn lands located actions referred to in the first sixteen lines of this section relating to
in another province. The plaintiff relies for the success of its cause upon real estate, and actions against executors, administrators, and
section 377 of the Code of Civil Procedure and upon the special laws relating guardians, and for the distribution of estates and payment of
to the condemnation of lands railroad corporations. We take up first the legacies.
section of the Code of Civil Procedure referred to.
Leaving out of discussion for the moment actions and proceedings affecting
The fact that such a provision appears in the procedural law at once raises a estates of deceased persons, they resting upon a different footing being
strong presumption that it has nothing to do with the jurisdiction of the court governed by special laws, it is to be observed that the section contains no
over the subject matter. It becomes merely a matter of method, of express inhibition against the court. It provides simply that certain actions
convenience to the parties litigant. If their interests are best subserved by affecting real estate "shall be brought in the province where the land, or
bringing in the Court Instance of the city of Manila an action affecting lands in some part thereof, is situated." The prohibition here is clearly directed
the Province of Ilocos Norte, there is no controlling reason why such a against the one who begins the action and lays the venue. The court, before
course should not be followed. The matter is, under the law, entirely within the action is commenced, has nothing to do with either. The plaintiff does
the control of either party. The plaintiff's interests select the venue. If such both. Only when that is done does the section begin to operate effectively so
selection is not in accordance with section 377, the defendant may make far as the court is concerned. The prohibition is nor a limitation on the power
timely objection and, as a result, the venue is changed to meet the of the court but on the rights of the plaintiff. It is not to take something from
requirements of the law. It is true that this court has more than once held the court but to grant something to the defendant. Its wording clearly
than an agreement to submit a controversy to a court which, under the deprives the court of nothing which it had, but gives the defendant, as
procedural law, has not been selected as the appropriate court, generally against the plaintiff, certain rights which he did not have. It establishes a
speaking, to hear such controversy, can not be enforced. This means simply relation not between the court and the subject ,after, but between the plaintiff
that either party to such a contract may ignore it at pleasure. The law will not and the defendant. It relates not to jurisdiction but to trial. It touches
compel the fulfillment of an agreement which deprives one of the parties to it convenience, not substance. It simply gives to defendant the unqualified
of the right to present his cause to that court which the law designates as the right, if he desires it, to have the trial take place where his land lies and
most appropriate. But the principle asserted in the cases which hold thus is where, probably, all of his witnesses live. Its object is to secure to him a
no authority for the proposition that two persons having a controversy which convenient trial. If it had been the intention of the law-makers by section 377
they desire to have decided by a competent tribunal may not, by appropriate to put a limitation to the jurisdiction of the court, how easy it would have been
procedure, submit it t any court having jurisdiction in the premises. In the one to say so squarely. "No Court of First Instance shall have or take jurisdiction
case the relation is contractual to be enforced over the objection of one of the of an action touching title to or interest in real property lying wholly in a
contracting parties. In the other relation is not contractual because not province other than that in which such court is authorized to hold sessions,"
between the parties; but, rather, between the parties and the court. In the or a similar provision, would have been sufficient. This would have been
one case it is a contract to be enforced; in the other, a condition to be met. clearly a limitation on the court rather than the party. There would have been
no room for doubt. The legislature, however, did not do so. It, rather, chose
to use language which imposes a limitation on the rights of the plaintiff.
This being so, we say again, even though it be repetition, that after
jurisdiction over real property in the Islands has been conferred so generally
and fully by Act No. 136, it is not to be presumed or construed that the In saying this we do not desire to force construction.1awphil.net Courts
legislature intended to modify or restrict that jurisdiction when it came to should give to language its plain meaning, leaving the legislature to take care
frame a Code of Civil Procedure the object of which is to make that of the consequences. The Philippine Commission having, in fullest phrase,
jurisdiction effective. Such modification or restriction should be held only by given the Courts of First Instance unrestricted jurisdiction over real estate in
virtue of the clearest and most express provisions. the Islands by Act No. 136, we are of the opinion that the jurisdiction ought
not to be held to be withdrawn except by virtue of an Act equally express, or
so clearly inconsistent as to amount to the same thing. The fact that section
The wording of that section should be carefully examined. It reads as follows:
377 is not such Act, that it is found in code of Procedure rather than in the
substantive law, that it deals with the relative procedural rights of parties
SEC. 377. Venue of actions. — Actions to confirm title to real rather than the power of the court, that it relates to the place rather than to
estate, or to secure a partition of real estate, or to cancel clouds, or the thing, that it composes the whole of a chapter headed simply "Venue,"
remove doubts from the title to real estate, or to obtain possession lead us to hold that the Court of First Instance of Tarlac had full jurisdiction of
of real estate, or to recover damages for injuries to real estate, or the subject matter of this action at the time when it was dismissed.
to establish any interest, right, or title in or to real estate, or actions
for the condemnation of real estate for public use, shall be brought
That it had jurisdiction of the persons of all the parties is indisputable. That
in the province were the lands, or some part thereof, is situated;
jurisdiction was obtained not only by the usual course of practice — that is,
actions against executors, administrators, and guardians touching
by the process of the court — but also by consent expressly given, is
the performance of their official duties, and actions for account and
apparent. The plaintiff submitted itself to the jurisdiction by beginning the
settlement by them, and actions for the distribution of the estates
action. (Ayers vs. Watson, 113 U.S., 594; Fisher vs.Shropshire, 147 U.S.,
of deceased persons among the heirs and distributes, and actions
133.) The defendants are now in this court asking that the action be not
for the payment of legacies, shall be brought in the province in
dismissed but continued. They are not only nor objecting to the jurisdiction of
which the will was admitted to probate, or letters of administration
the court but, rather, are here on this appeal for the purpose of maintaining
were granted, or the guardian was appointed. And all actions not
that very jurisdiction over them.
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 Nor is the plaintiff in any position to asked for favors. It is clearly guilty of
were other special provision is made in this Code. In case neither gross negligence in the allegations of its complaint, if the land does not lie in
the plaintiff nor the defendant resides within the Philippine Islands Tarlac as it now asserts. It alleged in its complaint:
and the action is brought to seize or obtain title to property of the
defendant within the Philippine Islands and the action is brought to
4. That, according to the information secured after a minute
seize or obtain title to property of the defendant within the
investigation in the offices of the land registry and of the land-tax
Philippine Islands, the action shall be brought in the province
record of the municipalities within whose jurisdiction lie all the
where the property which the plaintiff seeks to seize or to obtain
parcels composing the tract of land in question, the owners and
title to is situated or is found: Provided, that in an action for the
occupants of the same, with their names as they appear on the
foreclosure of a mortgage upon real estate, when the service upon
plan, are as follows.
the defendant is not personal, but is by publication, in accordance
with law, the action must be brought in the province where the land
lies. And in all cases process may issue from the court in which an At the time it commenced the action it was possessed of every fact which a
action or special proceeding is pending, to be enforced in any complete knowledge of the location of the lands sought to be condemned
province to bring in defendants and to enforce all orders and required. It had the map of its entire line from Paniqui to Tayug, showing
decrees of the court. The failure of a defendant to object t the theprovinces and the various municipalities through which it runs. Not only
venue of the action at the time of entering his appearance in the that: Before beginning its action it had to know the name of every necessary
action shall be deemed a waiver on his part of all objection to the defendant, the land he owned, and the extent of that portion to be
place or tribunal in which the action is brought, except in the condemned. The investigation required to ascertain these facts would of

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necessity force into plaintiff's mind the knowledge required to bring the action Ind., 371; Strosser vs. City of Fort Wayne, 100 Ind., 443). Section 333 of the
in the proper court. That the plaintiff at the time it commenced this action did Code of Civil Procedure reads:
not know in what province its proposed stations and terminals were is difficult
to believe. That it did not know in what province the land lay which it was
Conclusive presumptions. — The following presumptions or
about to make the subject of so important a proceeding is still more difficult to
deductions, which the law expressly directs to be made from
believe. In spite of all this, however, it deliberately laid the venue in a
particular facts, are deemed conclusive:
province where no part of the land lay, took possession of the land in
controversy, constructed its line, switches, and stations, and after nearly two
years of litigation, accompanied with great trouble to the court and trouble 1. Whenever a party has, by his own declaration, act, or omission,
and expense to the parties, calmly asks the dismissal of the case for the intentionally and deliberately led another to believe a particular
reason that it did not know where its own railroad was located. Under such thing true, and to act upon such belief, he can not, in any litigation
circumstances a dismissal of the action over the objection of the defendants arising out of such declaration, act, or omission, be permitted to
ought not to be permitted expect upon absolute necessity and then only on falsity it.
payment of the costs and expenses of the defendants and of the actin.
(Ayers vs. Watson and Fisher vs.Shropshire, supra.)
(Rodriguez vs. Martinez, 5 Phil. Rep., 67; 69; Municipality of Oas vs. Roa, 7
Phil. Rep., 20, 22; Trinidad vs. Ricafort et al., 7 Phil. Rep., 449, 453; Macke
There is no equitable ground, then, upon which the plaintiff may claim that it et al vs. Camps, 7 Phil. Rep., 553, 555.)
has not yielded itself to the jurisdiction of the court. Nor, as we have seen, is
there a legal ground. As we have already said, the plaintiff, having brought
The fact is, there are very few rights which may not be renounced, expressly
the action, of necessity submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the court. It took
advantage of the situation it itself created to take possession of the lands or impliedly. (Christenson vs.Charleton, 34 Atl., 226, 227, 69 Vt., 91;
described in the complaint, construct its lines, switches, stations, yards and Donahue vs. Windsor County Ins. Co., 56 Vt., 91; Donahaue vs. Windsor Ins.
co., 33 Atl., 902, 904, 66 Conn., 21, 40; Fitzpatrick vs. Hartford Life & Annuity
terminals, and to carry the cause through two years of expensive litigation. It
now attempts to make all this go for naught alleging its own negligence as a Ins. Co., 56 Conn., 116, 134, 17 Atl., 411, 7 Am. St. Rep., 288;
reason for such attempt. (Ayers vs. Watson and Lewis vs. Phoenix Mut. Life Ins. Co., 44 Conn., 72, 91; State vs. Hartley, 52
Atl., 615, 617, 75 Conn., 104; First Nat. Bank vs. Hartford L. & A. Ins. Co., 45
Fisher vs. Shropshire, supra.)
Conn., 22, 44; Johnson vs. Schar, 70 N.W., 838, 839, 9 S. D., 536;
Corey vs. Bolton, 63 N.Y., Supp., 915, 917, 31 Misc. Rep., 138; Mason's
While the latter part of section 377 provides that "the failure of a defendant to Supply Co. vs. Jones, 68 N. Y. Supp., 806, 809, 58 App. Div., 231; Monroe
object to the venue of the action at the time of entering his appearance in the Waterworks Co. vs. City of Monroe, 85 N.W., 685, 688, 100 Wis., 11;
action shall be deemed a waiver on his part of all objection to the place or Fraser vs. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 90 N.W., 476, 481, 114 Wis., 510; Cedar
tribunal in which the action is brought," except, a month other things, in Rapids Water Co. vs. Cedat Rapids, 90 N.W., 746, 749, 117 Iowa, 250;
actions affecting real estate, we apprehend that it was not intended that a Kennedy vs. Roberts, 75 N.W., 363, 366, 105 Iowa, 521; Shaw vs. Spencer,
defendant can not waive such objection in such excepted cases. Nor we do 100 Mass., 382, 395, 97 Am. Dec., 107, 1 Am. Rep., 115; West vs. Platt, 127
believe that such provision is controlling in this case. In the first place, the Mass., 367, 367, 372; Fulkerson vs. Lynn, 64 Mo. App., 649, 653; Michigan
application is restricted to "the time of entering his appearance in the action." Savings & Loan Ass'n. vs. Missouri, K & T. Trust Co., 73 Mo. App., 161, 165;
It might well have been in the mind of the lawmakers that, at the time of Perin vs. Parker, 18 N. E., 747, 748, 126 Ill., 201, 2 L.R.A., 336, 9 Am. St.
entering his appearance in the action, the defendant would not ordinarily be Rep., 571; Keller vs. Robinson & Co., 38 N. E., 1072, 1075, 152 Ull. 458;
fully informed of all the facts of the case, at least not sufficiently to warrant Star Brewery Co. vs. Primas, 45 N.E., 145, 148, 163 Ill., 652; United
his being held to a waiver of important rights; whereas, later in the cause, as Firemen's Ins. Co. vs. Thomas (U.S.), 82 Fed., 406, 408, 27 C.C. A., 42, 47
when he files his answer or goes to trial, being fully informed, he might justly L.R.A., 450; Rice vs. Fidelity & Deposit Co. (U.S.), 103 Fed., 427, 43 C.C.A.,
be held to have waived his right to make such objection. for this reason it 270; Sidway vs. Missouri Land & Live Stock Co. (U.S.), 116 Fed., 381, 395;
might well be that the Legislature purposely refrained from extending the time able vs. United States Life Ins. Co. (U.S.), 111 Fed., 19, 31, 49 C.C.A., 216L
for his protection beyond the "time of entering his appearance in the action." Peninsular Land Transp., etc., Co. vs. Franklin Ins. Co., 35 W. Va., 666, 676,
Moreover, there is, in said clause, no prohibition against an express waiver of 14 S.E., 237; Dey vs. Martin, 78 Va., 1, 7; Liverpool & L.& G. Ins.
his rights by the defendant. The general rule of law is that a person may Co. vs. T.M. Richardson Lumber Co., 69 Pac., 938, 951, 11 Okl., 585;
renounce any right which the law gives unless such renunciation is expressly Livesey vs. Omaha Hotel, 5 Neb., 50, 69; Cutler vs. Roberts, 7 Nebr., 4, 14,
prohibited or the right conferred is of such a nature that its renunciation 29 Am. Rep., 371; Warren vs. Crane, 50 Mich., 300, 301, 15 N.W., 465;
would be against public policy. This right of renunciation is so thoroughly Portland & R.R. Co. vs. Spillman, 23 Oreg., 587, 592, 32 Pac., 688, 689;
established, and was at the time of the enactment of the Code of Civil First Nat. Bank vs. Maxwell, 55 Pac., 980, 982, 123 Cal., 360, 69 Am. St.
Procedure, that its exercise by a defendant in relation to the venue of the Rep., 64; Robinson vs. Pennsylvania Fire Ins. Co., 38 Atl., 320, 322, 90 Me.,
action will not be held to have been abridged by section 377 without very 385; Reed vs. Union Cent. Life Ins. Co., 61 Pac., 21, 21 Utah, 295;
clear provision therein to that effect. There is no part of that section clear Dale vs. Continental Ins. Co., 31 S.W., 266, 269, 95 Tenn., 38; Supreme
enough to warrant such a holding. Even though the terms of said section Lodge K.P. vs.Quinn, 29 South., 826, 829, 95 Tenn., 38; Supreme Lodge
were much clearer than they are in this respect, we should still hold, if they K.P. vs. Quinn, 29 South., 826, 827, 78 Miss., 525; Bucklen vs. Johnson, 49
were much short of express, that the right of renunciation is not abridged, N.E., 612, 617, 19 Ind. App., 406.)
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
We have delayed until this moment the citation of authorities relative to the
Civil Procedure which provides that:
proposition that venue is not jurisdictional as to subject matter and that
defendant's rights in respect thereto are such that they may be waived,
When a statute or instrument is equally susceptible of two expressly or by implication, for the reason that we desired that the principles
interpretations, one in favor of natural right and the other against it, which rule the case should first be discussed and presented in the abstract
the former is to be adopted.itc-alf form. In the case of First National Bank of Charlotte vs. Morgan (132 U.S.,
141), it was held that the exemption of national banks from suits in State
courts in counties other than the county or city in which the association was
Moreover, it should be noted that this prohibition, if it be such, against waiver
located was a personal privilege which could be waived was located was a
refers exclusively to the defendant. The plaintiff is given no rights respecting
personal privilege which could be waived by appearing in such brought in
it. Yet it is the plaintiff who is here calling for the application of the provision
another county, but in a court of the same dignity, and making a defense
even against the declared will of the person who is expressly named as the
without claiming the immunity granted by Congress. the court said:
sole beneficiary. We will not by interpretation extend this provision so as to
contravene 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 This exemption of national banking associations from suits in State
were entitled to invoke the aid of the provision he is estopped from so doing. courts, established elsewhere than in the county or city in which
(Wanzer vs. Howland, 10 Wis., 7; Babcock vs. Farewell, 146 Ill. App., 307; such associations were located, was, we do not doubt, prescribed
White vs. Conn. Mutual Life Ins. Co., 4 Dill (U.S.), 183; for the convenience of those institutions, and prevent interruption
Shuttle vs. Thompson, 15 Wall., 159; Beecher vs. Mill Co., 45 Mich., 103; in their business that might result from their books being sent to
Tomb vs. Rochester R. R. Co., 18 Barb., 585; Ferguson vs. Landram, 5 Bush distant counties in obedience to process from State courts. (First
(Ky.), 230; State vs.Mitchell, 31 Ohio State, 592; Counterman vs. Dublin, 38 Nat. Bank of Bethel vs. National Pahquioque Bank, 14 Wall., 383,
Ohio State, 515; McCarthy vs. Lavasche, 89 Ill., 270; Ricketts vs. Spraker, 77 394; Croker vs. Marine Nat. Bank, 101 Mass., 240.) But, without

3
indulging in conjecture as to the object of the exemption in jurisdiction over the parties and the matter in dispute; the objection
question, it is sufficient that it was granted by Congress, and, if it was that the party defendant, not being an inhabitant of
had been claimed by the defendant when appearing in the superior Pennsylvania, nor found therein, personal privilege or exemption,
court of Cleveland County, must have been recognized. The which it was competent for the party to waive. The cases of Pollard
defendant did not, however, choose to claim immunity from suit in vs. Dwight (4 Cranch., 421) and Barry vs. Foyles (1 Pt., 311) are
that court. It made defense upon the merits, and, having been decisive to show that, after appearance and plea, the case stands
unsuccessful, prosecuted a writ of error to the supreme court of the as if the suit were brought that exemption from liability to process
State, and in the latter tribunal, for the first time, claimed the and that in case of foreign attachment, too, is a personal privilege,
immunity granted to it by Congress. This was too late. Considering which may be waived, and that appearing and pleading will
the object as well as the words of the statute authorizing suit produce that waiver." In (14 Wal., 282), the jurisdiction of the circuit
against a national banking association to be brought in the proper court over a controversy between citizens of different States was
State court of the county where it is located, we are of opinion that sustained in a case removed from the State court, although it was
its exemption from suits in other courts of the same State was a conceded that the suit could not have been commenced in the first
personal privilege that it would waive, and, which, in this case, the instance in the circuit court. See also Claflin vs. Commonwealth
defendant did waive, and, which, in this case, the defendant did Ins. Co. (110 U.S., 81 [28:76].) Without multiplying authorities on
waive, by appearing and making defense without claiming the this question, it is obvious that the party who in the first instance
immunity granted by Congress. No reason can be suggested why appears and pleads to the merits waives any right to challenge
one court of a State, rather than another, both being of the same thereafter the jurisdiction of the court on the ground that the suit
dignity, should take cognizance of a suit against a national bank, has been brought in the wrong district. (Charlotte Nat.
except the convenience of the bank. And this consideration Bank vs. Morgan, 132 U.S., 141; Fitzgerald E. M. Const.
supports the view that the exemption of a national bank from suit in Co. vs. Fitzergerald, 137 U.S., 98.)
any State court except one of the county or city in which it is
located is a personal privilege, which it could claim or not, as it
In the case of the Interior Construction and Improvement Co. vs. Gibney (160
deemed necessary.
U.S., 217), the court held as follows:

In the case of Ex parte Schollenberger (96 U.S., 369), the court said:
The circuit courts of the United States are thus vested with general
jurisdiction of civil actions, involving the requisite pecuniary value,
The Act of Congress prescribing the place where a person may be between citizens of different States. Diversity of citizenship is a
sued is not one affecting the general jurisdiction of the courts. It is condition of jurisdiction, and, when that does not appear upon the
rather in the nature of a personal exemption in favor of a record, the court, of its own motion, will order the action to be
defendant, and it is one which he may waive. If the citizenship of dismissed. But The provision as to the particular district in which
the parties is sufficient, a defendant may consent to be sued the action shall be brought does not touch the general jurisdiction
anywhere he pleases, and certainly jurisdiction will not be ousted of the court over such a cause between such parties; but affects
because he has consented. Here, the defendant companies have only the proceedings taken to bring the defendant within such
provided that they can be found in a district other than that in which jurisdiction, and is matter of personal privilege, which the
they reside, if a particular mode of proceeding is adopted, and they defendant may insist upon, or may waive, at his election; and the
have been so found. In our opinion, therefore, the circuit court has defendant's right to object that an action within the general
jurisdiction of the causes, and should proceed to hear and decide jurisdiction of the court is brought in the wrong district, is waived by
them. entering a general appearance, without taking the objection.
(Gracie vs. Palmer, 8 Wheat, 699; Toland vs. Sprague, 12 Pet.,
300, 330; Ex parte Schollenberger, 96 U.S., 369, 378; St. Louis &
In the case of St. Louis and San Francisco Railway Co. vs. McBride (141
S. F. R. Co. vs. McBride, 141 U.S., 127; Southern Pacific
U.S., 127), the court used the following language:
Co. vs. Dento, 146 U.S., 202, 206; Texas & Pacific Railway
Co. vs. Saunders, 151 U.S., 105; Central Trust Co. vs. McGeorge,
The first part of section 1 of the Act of 1887, as amended in 1888, 151 U.S., 129; Southern Express Co. vs. Todd, 12 U.S. app., 351.)
gives, generally, to the circuit courts of the United States
jurisdiction of controversies between citizens of different States
In the case of Central Trust Co. vs. McGeorge (151 U.S., 129), the court
where the matter in dispute exceeds the sum of two thousand
disposed of the case as follows:
dollars exclusive of interest and costs. Such a controversy was
presented in this complaint. It was therefore a controversy of which
the circuit courts of the United States have jurisdiction. Assume The court below, in holding that it did not have jurisdiction of the
that it is true as defendant alleges, that this is not a case in which cause, and in dismissing the bill of complaint for the reason, acted
jurisdiction is founded only on the fact that the controversy is in view of that clause of the Act of March 3, 1887, as amended in
between citizens of different States, but that it comes within the August, 1888, which provides that "no suit shall be brought in the
scope of that other clause, which provides that "no civil sit shall be circuit courts of the United States against any person, by any
brought before either of said courts, against any person, by any original process or proceeding, in any other district than that
original process or proceeding, in any other district than that whereof he is an inhabitant;" and, undoubtedly, if the defendant
whereof he is inhabitant," still the right to insist upon suit only in the company, which was sued in another district than that in which it
one district is a personal privilege which he may waive, and he had its domicile, had, by a proper plea or motion, sought to avail
does waive it by pleading to the merits. In Ex parte Schollenberger itself of the statutory exemption, the action of the court would have
(96 U.S., 369, 378), Chief Justice Waite said: "The Act of been right.
Congress prescribing the place where a person may be sued is not
one affecting the general jurisdiction of the courts. It is rather in the
But the defendant company did not choose to plead that provision
nature of a personal exemption in favor of a defendant, and it is
of the statute, but entered a general appearance, and joined with
one which he may waive." The Judiciary Act of 1789 (sec. 11,
the complainant in its prayer for the appointment of a receiver, and
Stat., 79), besides giving general jurisdiction to circuit courts over
thus was brought within the ruling of this court, so frequently made,
suits between citizens of different States, further provided,
that the exemption from being such out of the district of its domicile
generally, that no civil suit should be brought before either of said
is a personal privilege which may be waive and which is waived by
courts, against an inhabitant of the United States, by any original
pleading to the merits.
process, in any other district than that of which he was an
inhabitant, or in which he should be found. In the case of Toland
vs. Sprague (12 Pet., 300, 330), it appeared that the defendant (Improvement Co. vs. Gibney, 16 Sup. Ct., 272, 160 U.S., 217; 40 L. ed.,
was not an inhabitant of the State in which the suit was brought, 401; Walker vs. Windsor Nat. Bank, 5 C. C. A., 421, 56 Fed., 76, 5 U.S. App.,
nor found therein. In that case the court observed: "It appears that 423; Von Auw. vs. Chicago Toy & Fancy Goods Co., 69 Fed., 448
the party appeared and pleaded to issue. Now, if the case were McBride vs.Grand de Tour Plow Co., 40 Fed., 162; Black vs. Thorne, Fed.
one of the want of jurisdiction in the court, it would not, according Cas. No. 1, 495 (10 Blatchf., 66, 5 Fish. Pat. Cas., 550); Norris vs. Atlas
to well-established principles, be competent for the parties by any Steamship Co., 37 Fed., 279; Hoover & Allen Co. vs. Columbia Straw Paper
acts of theirs to give it. But that is not the case. The court had

4
Co., 68 Fed., 945; Blackburn vs. Railroad Co., Fed., Fed., Cas. No. 1, 467 (2 constitution and statutes of the State. In the first, it is emphatically
Flip., 525); Vermont Farm Mach. Co. vs. Gibson, 50 Fed., 423.) declared in the bill of rights as a fundamental principle of
government, "All courts shall be open, and every person for an
injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall
In the case of Security Loan and Trust Co. vs. Kauffman (108 Cal., 214), the
have remedy by due course of law." Now a party may not have an
court said:
action in rem for or concerning land in foreign jurisdiction, because
redress can not be given or had by such proceeding in due course
The constitution, Article VI, section 5, declares that, "All actions for of law; but personal damages may be given for such injury and
the enforcement of liens" shall be commenced in the county in enforced by due process of law within the State. "And it would
which the real estate or some portion thereof is situated; and at the seem if the State failed to give to one of its citizens a remedy
time this action was "commenced" the property was situate within against others for injuries of this kind, it would fail in the pledge
the boundaries of San Diego. The constitution does not, however, made in the constitution as plainly as if the injury had been in a
require property is situated, and the statutory provision in section foreign jurisdiction to one's goods or person."
392 of the Code of Civil Procedure, that actions 'for the foreclosure
of liens and mortgages on real property' must be tried in the county
There is, as Judge Marshall himself says, no difference in principle
in which the subject of the action, or some part thereof, is situated,
in giving redress for injuries to land in the jurisdiction where the
"subject to the power of the court to change the place of trial,"
defendant is found, which may not be equally applicable in other
shows that "the place of trial" is not an element going to the
cases. He says, speaking of the fiction upon which transitory
jurisdiction of the court, but is a matter of legislative regulation. The
actions are sustained, where the cause of action occurred out of
provision for the transfer of certain actions to the superior court of
the jurisdiction where they are brought: "They have" (i. e., the
the county of Riverside, which is contained in section 12 of the act
courts), "without legislative aid, applied this fiction to all personal
providing for the organization of that county, shows the extent of
torts, wherever the wrong may have been committed, and to all
this regulation which the legislature deemed necessary, and
contracts wherever executed. To this general rule contracts
implies that only the actions there designated were to be
respecting lands from no exception. It is admitted that on a
transferred for trial.
contract respecting lands, an action is sustainable wherever the
defendant may be found. Yet in such case every difficulty may
In the case of Chouteau vs. Allen (70 Mo., 290), the court held as follows: occur that present itself in an action of trespass. An investigation of
title may become necessary, a question of boundary may arise,
and a survey may be essential to the full merits of the case. Yet
The statutory provision in respect to personal actions is more these difficulties have not prevailed against the jurisdiction of the
emphatic, requiring that "suits instituted by summons, shall, except court. They are countervailed by the opposing consideration, that if
as otherwise provided by law, be brought: First, when the the action be disallowed, the injured party may have a clear right
defendant is a resident of the State, either in the county within without a remedy in a case where a person who has done the
which the defendant resides, or in the county within which the
wrong, and who ought to make the compensation, is within the
plaintiff resides, and the defendant may be found," and yet it was power of the court. That this consideration loses its influence
held in reference to this statute in the case of Hembree vs. where the action pursues anything not in the reach of the court is
Campbell (8 Mo., 572), that though the suit was brought in the
inevitably necessary, but for the loss of its influence, where the
county in which the plaintiff resided, and service had upon the remedy is against the person, and is within the power of the court, I
defendant in the county of his residence, unless a plea in have not yet discovered a reason, other than a technical one,
abatement to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the
which can satisfy my judgment.'
defendant, was interposed in the first instance, the objection on the
score of lack of jurisdiction could not subsequently be successfully
raised. And this, upon the generally recognized ground that the In the case of De La Vega vs. Keague (64 Texas, 205), the court said:
court had jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit, and that
the defendant's plea to the merits acknowledged jurisdiction over
Our statutes in force at the time the reconvention was filed
his person, and precluded objection on account of absence of
provided that suits for the recovery of land should be brought in the
regularity in the instituting of the action. So also, in Ulrici vs.
county where the land or a part thereof is situated. This is one of
Papin (11 Mo.., 42), where the then existing statute required "suits
the exceptions to the general rule requiring suits to be brought in
in equity concerning real estate, or whereby the same may be
the county of the defendant's residence. This requirement is not a
affected, shall be brought in the county within which such real
matter that affects the jurisdiction of the district courts over the
estate or greater part thereof is situate," and by demurrer to the bill
subject matter of controversies about the title or possession of
it was objected that the suit was not brought in the proper county in
lands. Every district court in the State has cognizance of such
conformity with the statutory provision, Judge Scott remarked:
suits; the requirement as to the county in which the suit may be
"That it does not clearly appear where the greater part of the lands
brought is a mere personal privilege granted to the parties, which
lie. This objection, if tenable, should have been raised by a plea to
may be waived like any other privilege of this character.
the jurisdiction." And the same learned judge remarks, in Hembree
(Ryan vs. Jackson, 11 Tex., 391; Morris vs. Runnells, 12 Tex.,
vs. Campbell, supra, "No principle is better established than that a
176.) A judgment rendered by the district court of Galveston
plea in bar is a waiver of all dilatory matter of defense. That the
County, when the parties had submitted to the jurisdiction, would
matter of abatement was apparent upon the writ can make no
settle the title to land in McLennan County as effectually as if
difference. Such matters are and should be pleaded." And pleas to
rendered in its own district curt. Jurisdiction of causes may be
the jurisdiction are as necessary in local as in transitory actions. (1
obtained by defendants in counties other than those in which the
Tidd. Prac., 630.)
statute requires them to be brought, in other ways than by express
consent or by failure to claim the personal privilege accorded by
It is not meant to convey the idea that the mere failure to plead to law. A suit upon a monied demand, brought in the county of a
the jurisdiction of the court would have the effect to confer defendant's residence by a resident of another county, may be met
jurisdiction where none existed before; for it is well settled that with a counter demand against the plaintiff, and a recovery may be
even consent of parties can not confer jurisdiction. had upon the counter demand, though if suit had been originally
(Stone vs. Corbett, 20 Mo., 350.) But all circuit courts have a commenced upon it, the county of the plaintiff's residence would
general jurisdiction over the foreclosure of mortgages. have had exclusive jurisdiction. And so with other cases that might
be supposed. A plaintiff calling a defendant into court for the
purpose of obtaining relief against him invites him to set up all
In the case of Armendiaz vs. Stillman (54 Texas, 623), the court disposed of defenses which may defeat the cause of action sued on, or any
the question involved in the following words: other appropriate and germane to the subject matter of the suit,
which should be settled between the parties before a proper
In our opinion, however, these common law rules respecting local adjudication of the merits of the cause can be obtained. He grants
and transitory actions have no more to do in determining with us him the privilege of setting up all such counterclaims and cross
where a suit can be brought and maintained, than the like rules in actions as he holds against the plaintiff which may legally be
respect to the form and names of actions; but this is solely pleaded in such a suit.
regulated by and dependent upon the proper construction of the
5
This is particularly the case in our State, where a multiplicity of suit in the first of said courts dismissed but asked the court of first
is abhorred, and a leading object is to settle all disputes between instance of Castilla de la Nueva to accept, and the court accepted,
the parties pertinent to the cause of action in the same suit. The her express submission to its jurisdiction:
question of the original right to bring the cross action in the county
where the suit is pending can not be raised; otherwise this design
Considering that far from objecting, as she might have objected, to
would, in a large number of cases, be defeated, and the various
the jurisdiction of the court, the countess acknowledged such
matters which could well be settled in the cause might have to
jurisdiction as did the other coheirs when thru asked the court to
seek a number of different counties, and be asserted in a number
proceed with the testamentary proceedings, thus creating a
of different suits, before the controversy between the parties could
jurisdictional situation perfectly in harmony with the respective
be settled. The plaintiff must be considered as waiving any
claims of the parties and so binding upon them that they are now
privilege to plead to the jurisdiction in such cross actions, and as
absolutely estopped from denying its importance or legal force.
consenting that the defendant may assert in the suit any demands
(Judgment of May 30, 1860, 5 Civ. Jur., 465.)
which he could plead were it commenced in the county where such
demands were properly usable. The question then is, La Vega
have set up the matters pleaded in his answer in reconvention had He who by his own acts submits himself to the jurisdiction of a
the land sought to be partitioned been situated in Galveston court shall not thereafter be permitted to question such jurisdiction.
County? This question must be determined by the solution of (Judgment of December 30, 1893, 29 Civ. Jur., 64.)
another, viz, can a defendant to a partition suit who claims through
the title under which the partition is sought set up a superior title to
According to article 305 (of the Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil) the
the whole land? "It is doubtless true that, in a partition suit, a court
of equity will not entertain any controversy as to the legal title, plaintiff shall be presumed to have tacitly submitted himself to the
whether it arises between the part owners as to their respective jurisdiction of the court by the mere act of filing his complaint
therein, and in the case of the defendant where the latter after
interests, or by reason of a claim set up by one or more of them to
the entire land by title superior to the one under which the partition appearing in the action takes any step therein other than to object
is asked to be decreed. In our State, where there is no distinction to such jurisdiction. (Judgment of September 21, 1878, 40 Civ.
Jur., 232.)
between law and equity in the determination of causes, an action
to settle disputed titles, whether legal or equitable, may be
combined with one to partition the land between the plaintiff and Plaintiff and defendant are presumed to have submitted
defendant. Hence there can be no objection to determining any themselves to the jurisdiction of the court, the former by the mere
questions as to title between the coowners in a partition suit in our act of filing his complaint therein and the latter by his answering
State, and the strict rules of chancery do not prevail. the same and taking any step other than demurring to such
jurisdiction as provided in articles 56 to 58 of the Ley de
In the case of Kipp vs. Cook (46 Minn., 535), the court made use of the Enjuiciamiento Civil. (Judgment of July 27, 1883, 52 Civ. Jur.,
511.)
following language:

1. The appellant contends that the district court for the county of In order that a tacit submission based upon the mere act filing the
complaint may be valid the court must be one of ordinary
Sibley, and of the eighth judicial district, was without jurisdiction,
and could not properly determine the rights or interests of either jurisdiction as provided in article 4 of the Ley de Ebjuiciamiento
litigant to lands located in Sherburne County, which is in the Civil. (Judgment of August 27, 1864, 10 Civ. Jur., 14.)
seventh judicial district; but this question was passed upon many
years since, in the case of Gill vs. Bradley (21 Minn., 15), wherein The following language is taken from The Earl of Halsbury's Laws of England
it was held that, although the proper place for the trial of an action (vol. 1, p. 50):
to recover real property, or for the determination, in any form, of a
right or interest therein, was, by virtue of an existing statute — now
found as Gen. St. 1878, c. 66, par. 47 — in the county wherein the The old distinction between 'local' and 'transitory' actions, though
lands were situated, the district court of the county designated in of far less importance than it was before the passing of the
the complaint had jurisdiction over the subject matter, and had judicature acts, must still be borne in mind in connection with
power to before the time for answering expired, in accordance with actions relating to land situate outside the local jurisdiction of our
the express provisions of another section — now section 51 — of courts. 'Transitory' actions were those in which the facts in issue
the same chapter, and the place of trial had actually been changed between the parties had no necessary connection with a particular
by order of the court or by consent of parties. locality, e.g., contract, etc.; whilst "local" actions were those in
which there was such a connection, e.g., disputes as to the title to,
or trespasses to, land.
In the case of the west Point Iron Co. vs. Reymert (45 N.Y., 703), the court
said:
One importance of this distinction lay in the fact that in the case of
local actions the plaintiff was bound to lay the venue truly, i.e., in
The action was tried in the county of Dutches, and by the court the county (originally in the actual hundred) in which the land in
without a jury, without objection on the part of the defendants. If question lay. In the case, however of a transitory action, he might
the trial should have been in Putnam, and by a jury, it was for the lay it wherever he pleased, subject to the power of the court to
defendants to assert their rights at the trial; and by not them alter it in a proper case. Local venues have now been abolished,
claiming them, they waived them, and must be regarded as having and, therefore, so far as actions relating to land in England are
assented to the place and mode of trial. concerned, the distinction may be disregarded.

We transcribe the following from decisions of the supreme court of Spain: It is, however, important from another point of view, viz, that of
jurisdiction as distinct from procedure. In the case of real actions
Considering, further, that Pedrosa, instead of immediately relating to land in the colonies or foreign countries the English
objecting to the jurisdiction of the court and asking for a change of relating courts had, even before the judicature acts, no jurisdiction;
and, therefore, the removal by those acts of a difficulty of
venue, sued for recovery of title, thereby submitting himself to the
jurisdiction of the court of first instance, which reserved its decision procedure — viz, the rule as to local venue — which might have
thereon until plaintiff had presented the petition in due form. stood in the way, if they had and wished to exercise jurisdiction,
did not in any way confer jurisdiction in such cases. The lack of
(Judgment of May 30, 1860, 5 Civ. Jur., 465.)
jurisdiction still exists, and our courts refuse to adjudicate upon
claims of title to foreign land in proceedings founded on an alleged
Considering that although other proceedings were had in the first invasion of the proprietary rights attached thereto, and to award
court (Salvador de Granada) and in the courts of first instance of damages founded on that adjudication; in other words, an action
Sagrario and Guerra of said city subsequent to the death of the for trespass to, or for recovery of, foreign land can not be
count, the truth of the matter is that his daughter, the countess, the maintained in England, at any rate if the defendant chooses to put
only party now claiming relief, not only had the proceedings taken in issue the ownership of such land.
6
There is no decision of the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands in conflict SEC. 3. Whenever a railroad corporation is authorized by its
with the principles laid down in this opinion. In the case of Serrano vs. charter, or by general law, to exercise the power of eminent
Chanco (5 Phil. Rep., 431), the matter before the court was the jurisdiction of domain in the city of Manila or in any province, and has not
the Court of First Instance over the actions and proceedings relating to the obtained by agreement with the owners thereof the lands
settlement of the estates of deceased persons. The determination of that necessary for its purposes as authorized by law, it may in its
question required the consideration of section 602 of the code of Civil complaint, which in each case shall be instituted in the Court of
Procedure rather than section 377 of that code. The argument of the court First Instance of the city of Manila if the land is situated in the city
touching the last-named section, is inapplicable to the case at bar and would of Manila, or in the Court of First Instance of the province where
not affect it if it were. The reference to the jurisdiction of the court made in the lands is situated, join as defendants all persons owing or
that argument based on section 377 was unnecessary to a decision of the claiming to own, or occupying, any of the lands sought to be
case. condemned, or any interest therein, within the city or province,
respectively, showing, so far as practicable, the interest of each
defendant and stating with certainty the right of condemnation, and
The case of Molina vs. De la Riva (6 Phil. Rep., 12), presented simply the
describing the property sought to be condemned. Process
question whether or not an agreement between parties to submit themselves
requiring the defendants to appear in answer to the complaint shall
to the jurisdiction of a particular court to the exclusion of the court provided
be served upon all occupants of the lands sought to be
by law as the appropriate court in the premises could be enforced. As we
condemned, and upon the owners and all persons claiming interest
have before intimated, it touched no question involved in the litigation at bar.
therein, so far as known. If the title to ant lands sought to be
condemned appears to be in the Insular Government, although the
In the case of Molina vs. De la Riva (7 Phil. Rep., 302), the action was one to lands are occupied by private individuals, or if it is uncertain
foreclose a mortgage upon a real and personal property. In discussing the whether the title is in the Insular Government or in private
matter before it the court said: 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 be made by the company in its
The demurrer was also based upon the ground that this was an complaint to that effect. Process shall be served upon resident and
action to foreclose a mortgage and by the provisions of sections
no residents in the same manner as provided therefor in Act
254 and 377 of the Code of Civil Procedure it should have been Numbered One hundred and ninety, and the rights of minors and
brought in the Province of Albay where the property was situated. persons of unsound mind shall be safeguarded in the manner in
The action is clearly an action to foreclose a mortgage, lien, or such cases provided in said Act. The court may order additional
incumbrance upon property, but it will be noticed that section 254 and special notice in any case where such additional or special
relates only to mortgages on real estate. This contract covered notice is, in its opinion, required.
both real and personal property, and while, perhaps, an action
could not be maintained in the Court of First Instance of Manila for
the foreclosure of the alleged mortgage upon the real estate SEC. 4. Commissioners appointed in pursuance of such complaint,
situated in Albay, yet so far as the personal property was in accordance with section two hundred and forty-three of Act
concerned, we know of no law which would deprive that court of Numbered One hundred ad ninety, shall have jurisdiction over all
jurisdiction. the lands included in the complaint, situated within the city of
Manila or within the province, as the case may be, and shall be
governed in the performance of their duties by the provisions of
As will readily be observed, the court in the remarks above quoted was not sections two hundred and forty-four and two hundred and forty-
discussing or deciding the question whether or not an action could be
five, and the action of the court upon the report of the
maintained in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila to foreclose a commissioners shall be governed by section two hundred and
mortgage on real estate located in Albay; but, rather, whether or not an forty-six of Act Numbered One hundred and ninety.
action could be maintained in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila
to foreclose a mortgate on personal property located in the Province of
Albay. The remark of the court that perhaps the former action could not be The provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure referred to in these sections
maintained was not intended to be decisive and was not thought at the time are, so far as material here, the following:
to be an indication of what the decision of the court might be if that precise
case were presented to it with full argument and citation of authorities.
SEC. 241. How the right of eminent domain may be exercised. —
The Government of the Philippine Islands, or of any province or
The case of Castano vs. Lobingier (9 Phil. Rep., 310), involved the department thereof, or of any municipality, and any person, or
jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance to issue a writ of prohibition against public or private corporation having by law the right to condemn
a justice of the peace holding his court outside the province in which the private property for public use, shall exercise that right in the
Court of First Instance was sitting at the time of issuing the writ. The manner hereinafter prescribed.
determination of the question presented different considerations and different
provisions of law from those which rule the decision of the case at bar.
SEC. 242. The complaint. — The complaint in condemnation
proceedings shall state with certainty the right of condemnation,
We, therefore, hold that the terms of section 377 providing that actions and describe the property sought to be condemned, showing the
affecting real property shall be brought in the province where the land interest of each defendant separately.
involved in the suit, or some part thereof, is located, do not affect the
jurisdiction of Courts of First Instance over the land itself but relate simply to
SEC. 243. Appointment of Commissioners. — If the defendant
the personal rights of parties as to the place of trial.
concede that the right of condemnation exists on the part of the
plaintiff, or if, upon trial, the court finds that such right exists, the
We come, now, to a consideration of the special laws relating to the court shall appoint three judicious and disinterested landowners of
condemnation of land by railroad companies upon which also plaintiff relies. the province in which the land to be condemned, or some portion
Of those laws only one is of importance in the decision of this case. That is of the same, is situated, to be commissioners to hear the parties
Act No. 1258. In it are found these provisions: and view the premises, and assess damages to be paid for the
condemnation, and to report their proceedings in full to the court,
and shall issue a commission under the seal of the court to the
SECTION 1. In addition to the method of procedure authorized for commissioners authorizing the performance of the duties herein
the exercise of the power of eminent domain by sections two prescribed.
hundred and forty-one to two hundred and fifty-three, inclusive, of
Act Numbered One hundred and ninety, entitled "An Act providing
a Code of Procedure in civil actions and special proceedings in the We are of the opinion that what we have said in the discussion of the effect
Philippine Islands," the procedure in this Act provided may be of section 377 relative to the jurisdiction of Courts of First Instance over lands
adopted whenever a railroad corporation seeks to appropriate land is applicable generally to the sections of law just quoted. The provisions
for the construction, extension, or operation of its railroad line. regarding the place and method of trial are procedural. They touched not the
xxx xxx xxx authority of the court over the land but, rather, the powers which it may
exercise over the parties. They relate not to the jurisdictional power of the

7
court over the subject matter but to the place where that jurisdiction is to be would work a very great hardship to many defendants in such an action. To
exercised. In other words, the jurisdiction is assured, whatever the place of hold that a railroad company desiring to build a line from Ilocos Norte to
its exercise. The jurisdiction is the thing; the place of exercise its incident. Batangas, through substantially the whole of the Island of Luzon, might lay
the venue in Batangas, it being a province in which a part of the land
described in the complaint was located, would be to require all the parties
These special laws contain nothing which in any way indicates an intention of
defendant in Ilocos Norte and intervening provinces, with their witnesses, to
the legislature to alter the nature or extent of the jurisdiction of Courts of First
go to Batangas, with all the inconvenience and expense which the journey
Instance granted by Act No. 136. As we said in discussing the provisions of
would entail, and submit the valuation of their lands into only to the Court of
section 277 of the Code of Civil Procedure, we can not hold that jurisdiction
First Instance of Batangas but to a commission appointed in that province.
to be limited unless by express provision or clear intendment.
The hardship to such defendants under such a holding is so manifest that we
are of the opinion that it was not intended that section 377 of the code of Civil
We have thus far drawn an analogy between section 377 of the code of Civil Procedure should apply to actions for condemnation. Under the provisions of
Procedure and section 3 of Act No. 1258, asserting that neither the one nor that section, the defendant has no right to ask for a change of venue if the
the other was intended to restrict, much less deprive, the Courts of First land involved in the litigation, or any part thereof, is located in the province
Instance of the jurisdiction over lands in the Philippine Islands conferred where the court sits before which the action has been commenced. When,
upon them by Act No. 136. We have extended that analogy to include the therefore, an action such as is detailed above is begun by a railroad
proposition that the question of venue as presented in the Acts mentioned company in Batangas against persons whose lands lie in Ilocos Norte, there
does not relate to jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter, it simply being also involved lands lying in Batangas, such defendants would have no
granting to the defendant certain rights and privileges as against the plaintiff right under section 377, if it were applicable, to demand that the trial as to
relative to the place of trial, which rights and privileges he might waive their lands take place in the Province of Ilocos Norte. We do not believe that
expressly or by implication. We do not, however, extend that analogy further. this was intended. We believe, rather, that under the provisions of the special
On reading and comparing section 377 of the Code of Civil Procedure with laws relating to the condemnation of real estate by railroad companies, the
section 3 of Act No. 1258. both of which are hearing set forth, a difference is defendants in the various provinces through which the line runs may compel,
at once apparent in the wording of the provisions relating to the place of trial. if they wish, a separate action to be commenced in each province in order
Section 277 stipulates that all actions affecting real estate "shall be brought that they may have a fair and convenient trial not only before the court but
in the province where the land, or some part thereof, is situated." Section 3 of also before commissioner of their province who are not only before
Act No. 1258 provides that in an action brought by a railroad corporation to commissioners of their province who are not only conveniently at hand, but
condemn land for its uses the plaintiff "may in its complaint, which in each who are best able to judge of the weight of testimony relative to the value of
case shall be instituted . . . in the Court of First Instance of the province land in that province.
where the land is situated, join as defendants all persons owning, etc . . .
land within the city or province . . ." Section 1 of that Act, as we have already
We, therefore, hold that section 377 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not
seen, says that: "In addition to the method of procedure authorized for the
applicable to actions by railroad corporations to condemn lands; and that,
exercise of the power of eminent domain by sections two hundred and forty-
while with the consent of defendants express or implied the venue may be
one to two hundred and fifty-three" of the Code of Civil Procedure, "the
laid and the action tried in any province selected by the plaintiff nevertheless
procedure in this Act may be adopted whenever a railroad corporation seeks
the defendants whose lands lie in one province, or any one of such
to appropriate land . . . ."
defendants, may, by timely application to the court, require the venue as to
their, or, if one defendant, his, lands to be changed to the province where
From these provisions we note, first, that the procedure expressly made their or his lands lie. In such case the action as to all of the defendants not
applicable to actions for the condemnation of land by railroad corporations is objecting would continue in the province where originally begun. It would be
not that contained in section 377 but that found in sections 241 to 253 of the severed as to the objecting defendants and ordered continued before the
Code of Civil Procedure. Section 377 is nowhere expressly mentioned in Act court of the appropriate province or provinces. While we are of that opinion
No. 1258 nor is it anywhere touched or referred to by implication. The and so hold it can not affect the decision in the case before us for the reason
procedure embodied in that Act to consummate the purposes of its creation that the defendants are not objecting to the venue and are not asking for a
is complete of itself, rendered so either by provisions contained in the Act change thereof. They have not only expressly submitted themselves to the
itself, rendered so either by provisions contained in the Act itself or by jurisdiction of the court but are here asking that that jurisdiction be
reference to specific sections of the Code of Civil Procedure which by such maintained against the efforts of the plaintiff to remove it.
reference are made a part thereof.
The principles which we have herein laid down we do not apply to criminal
In the second place, we observe that, so far as venue is concerned, Act No. cases. They seem to rest on a different footing. There the people of the state
1258 and section 377 are quite different in their wording. While the latter is a party. The interests of the public require that, to secure the best results
provides that the actions of which it treats shall be commenced in the and effects in the punishment of crime, it is necessary to prosecute and
province where the land, or some part thereof, lies, Act No. 1258, section 3, punish the criminal in the very place, as near as may be, where he
stipulates that the actions embraced in its terms shall be brought only in the committed his crime. As a result it has been the uniform legislation, both in
province where the land lies. This does not mean, of course, that if a single statutes and in constitutions, that the venue of a criminal action must be laid
parcel of land under the same ownership, lying party in one province and in the place where the crime was committed. While the laws here do not
partly in another, is the subject of condemnation proceedings begun by a specifically and in terms require it, we believe it is the established custom
railroad corporation, a separate action must be commenced in each and the uniform holding that criminal prosecutions must be brought and
province. Nor does it mean that the aid of section 377 is required to obviate conducted, except in cases especially provided by law, in the province where
such necessity. The situation would be met and solved by the general the crime is committed.
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
For these reasons the judgment below must be reversed and the cause
multiplicity of actions, the rules against division of actions into parts, and the
remanded to the trial court with direction to proceed with the action according
general principle that jurisdiction over a subject matter singly owned will not
to law. So ordered.
be divided among different courts, the one in which the action is first brought
having exclusive jurisdiction of the whole. The provisions of these two laws,
section 377 and Act No. 1258, differ in the manner indicated because they Torres, Johnson, Carson and Trent, JJ., concur.
refer to subjects requiring inherently different treatment, so different, in fact,
as to be in some respects quite opposite. While it is true that section 377
[G.R. No. 136368. January 16, 2002]
speaks of action for the condemnation of real estate, nevertheless it was
JAIME TAN, JR., as Judicial Administrator of the Intestate Estate of
intended to cover simply the ordinary action affecting title to or interest in real
Jaime C. Tan, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS (Ninth
estate, where the land involved is comparatively speaking, compact together.
Special Div.) and JOSE A. MAGDANGAL and ESTRELLA
Its provisions were not intended to meet a situation presented by an action to
MAGDANGAL, respondents.
condemn lands extending contiguously from one end of the country to the
DECISION
other. Act No. 1258 is a special law, enacted for a particular purpose, and to
PUNO, J.:
meet a particular exigency. The conditions found in an action for the
This is a petition for review of the Decision of the
condemnation of real estate by a railroad company might and generally
Court of Appeals dated July 15, 1998[1]and its Resolution dated November 9,
would be so different that the application of the provisions of section 377
1998[2]denying petitioners motion for reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP-41738.
permitting the venue to be laid in any province where any part of the land lies

8
The facts are as stated in the impugned Decision, viz: Decision has on October 21, 1995 become final and executory (Annex L,
Petition; Emphasis added).
Involved in this case is a parcel of land, designated as Lot No. 645-C, with an
area of 34,829 square meters, more or less, situated On March 21, 1996, the Magdangals filed in the lower court a MOTION FOR
in Bunawan, Davao City. The lot was once covered by TCT No. T-72067 of CONSOLIDATION AND WRIT OF POSSESSION, therein alleging that they
the Registry of Deeds of Davao City in the name of the late Jaime C. Tan did not appeal from the aforesaid decision of this Court, adding [T]hat the
(Tan, for short) married to Praxedes V. Tan. appealed judgment of the Court of Appeals has become final
and executory 15 days from October 5, 1995 or up to October 20, 1995,
which the 120 days redemption period commences. And noting that the
From the petition, the motion to dismiss petition, their respective annexes
redemption period has expired without Tan, Jr. exercising his option,
and other pleadings, we gather the following factual antecedents:
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
On January 22, 1981, Tan, for a consideration of P59,200.00, executed a (Magdangals) x x x and pending such issuance, a writ of possession be
deed of absolute sale over the property in question in favor of ordered issued (Annex C, Petition).
spouses Jose Magdangal and Estrella Magdangal. Simultaneous with the
execution of this deed, the same contracting parties entered into another
In opposition to this motion (Annex F, Petition), Tan, Jr. alleged, among other
agreement whereunder Tan was given one (1) year within which to redeem
things, that until an entry of judgment has been issued by the Court of
or repurchase the property.
Appeals and copy thereof furnished the parties, the appealed decision of the
court a quo in this case cannot be considered final and executory. Pressing
Albeit given several opportunities and/or extensions to exercise the the point, Tan, Jr., citing Cueto vs. Collantes, infra., would then assert that
option, Tan failed to redeem the property until his death on January 4, 1988. the period of redemption on his part commenced to run from receipt of entry
of judgment in CA-G.R. CV No. 33657.
On May 2, 1988, Tans heirs filed before the Regional Trial Court
at Davao City a suit against the Magdangals for reformation of Meanwhile, Tan, Jr. via a motion for execution dated March 27, 1996, which
instrument. Docketed as CIVIL CASE NO. 19049-88, the complaint alleged he filed directly with this court, prayed this court to direct the court a quo to
that, while Tan and the Magdangalsdenominated their agreement as deed of issue the corresponding writ of execution in Civil Case No. 19049-88. In a
absolute sale, their real intention was to conclude an equitable mortgage. 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 has deposited with
Barely hours after the complaint was stamped received, its clerk of court the repurchase price, plus interest, as required by its
the Magdangals were able to have Tans title over the lot in question original decision. By way of relief, Tan, Jr. prayed that the Magdangals be
canceled and to secure in their names TCT No. T-134470. This development ordered to claim the amount thus deposited and the Register of
prompted the heirs of Tan, who were to be later substituted by Jaime V. Tan, Deeds of Davao City, to reinstate the title of Jaime Tan and PraxedesTan.
Jr. (Tan, Jr.) as plaintiff, to file a supplemental complaint.

Jointly acting on the aforementioned MOTION FOR CONSOLIDATION AND


The intervening legal tussles are not essential to this narration. What is WRIT OF POSSESSION of the Magdangals (Annex C, Petition),
material is that on June 4, 1991, Branch 11 of the Regional Trial Court
MANIFESTATION AND MOTION of Tan, Jr. (Annex I, Petition), the court a
of Davao City rendered judgment finding for Tan, Jr., as plaintiff quo presided by the respondent judge, came out with the first challenged
therein. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:. order of June 10, 1996 (Annex N, Petition), dispositively reading, as follows:

WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered: WHEREFORE, x x x the Motion for Consolidation and a Writ of Possession is
hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
1. The Deed of Absolute Sale (Exhibits B, B-1) is, in accordance with the true
intention of the parties, hereby declared and reformed an equitable The deposit of the amount of P116,032.00 made by plaintiff with the Office of
mortgage; the Clerk of Court x x x on April 17, 1996 is hereby considered full payment
of the redemption price and the Clerk of Court is hereby ordered to deliver
2. The plaintiff is ordered to pay the defendants within 120 days after the said amount to herein defendants.
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;
The Register of Deeds of Davao City x x x is hereby directed to cancel TCT
No. T-134470 in the name of Jose Magdangal and Estrella Magdangal and,
3. In order to avoid multiplicity of suits and to fully give effect to the true thereafter, to reinstate TCT No. 72067 in the name of Jaime C. Tan
intention of the parties, upon the payment of the aforesaid amount, TCT No. and Praxedes Valles Tan and to submit her compliance thereto within
T-134470 in the name of defendants ten (10) days from receipt of this Order.
Jose Magdangal and Estrella Magdangal (Exh. 13) and shall be deemed
canceled and null and void and TCT No. T-72067 in the name of Jaime C.
SO ORDERED.
Tan and Praxedes Valles Tan (Exh. A) be reinstated.

Explaining her action, the respondent judge wrote in the same order:
No pronouncement as to costs.

Following the ruling of the Supreme Court in Cueto vs. Collantes, et al., 97
SO ORDERED. (Annex B, Petition; Emphasis added). Phil. 325, the 120 days period for plaintiff to pay the amount of P59,200.00
plus interest x x x should be reckoned from the date of Entry of Judgment
From the above, the Magdangals appealed to this Court in CA-G.R. CV No. x x x which was March 13, 1996. The plaintiff made a deposit on April 17,
33657. 1996 well within the 120-day period mandated by the decision of this Court.

In a decision promulgated on September 28, 1995, this Court, thru its then In due time, the Magdangals moved for a reconsideration. However, in her
Special Third Division, affirmed in toto the appealed decision of the lower next assailed order of July 24, 1996 (Annex R, Petition), the respondent
court. Copy of this affirmatory judgment was each received by judge denied the motion for being pro-forma and fatally defective.[3]
the Magdangals and Tan, Jr. on October 5, 1995.
Petitioner assails the aforequoted Decision as follows:
On March 13, 1996, the Clerk of this Court entered in the Book of Entries of
Judgment the Decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 33657 and issued the I. Petitioners right to due process was violated when the Court of
corresponding Entry of Judgment which, on its face, stated that the said Appeals rendered a judgment on the merits of private

9
respondents petition without granting to petitioner the In original actions in the Court of Appeals, its writ of execution shall be
opportunity to controvert the same. accompanied by a certified true copy of the entry of judgment or final
resolution and addressed to any appropriate officer for its enforcement.
II. Appeal not certiorari was the appropriate remedy of private
respondents as there was no grave abuse of discretion as In appealed cases, where the motion for execution pending appeal is
to amount to lack of or excess of jurisdiction on the part of filed in the Court of Appeals at a time that it is in possession of the original
the trial judge. Neither is delay in resolving the main case a record or the record on appeal, the resolution granting such motion shall be
ground for giving due course to the petition. transmitted to the lower court from which the case originated, together with a
certified true copy of the judgment or final order to be executed, with a
III. Cueto vs. Collantes, 97 Phil. 325, was disregarded by the directive for such court of origin to issue the proper writ for its enforcement.
Court of Appeals in resolving the petition of private
respondents. It is still good case law and was in effect made This rule has been interpreted by this Court in Cueto vs. Collantes as
a part of section 2 of Rule 68 of the 1997 Rules of Civil follows:[10]
Procedure on Foreclosure of Mortgage.

IV. The St. Dominic vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 138 SCRA The only error assigned by appellants refer to the finding of the lower court
242 case is not applicable to the case at bar; on the other that plaintiff can still exercise his right of redemption notwithstanding the
hand the ruling in Gutierrez Hermanos vs. de La Riva, 46 expiration of the 90-day period fixed in the original decision and, therefore,
Phil. 827, applies. defendants should execute the deed of reconveyance required in said
decision. Appellants contend that, the final judgment of the Court of Appeals
V. Equity considerations justify giving due course to this having been entered on July 8, 1953, the 90-day period for the exercise of
petition.[4](emphasis ours) the right of redemption has long expired,it appearing that plaintiff deposited
the redemption money with the clerk of court only on October 17, 1953, or,
We will immediately resolve the key issue of what rule should govern after the expiration of 101 days. Appellee brands this computation as
the finality of judgment favorably obtained in the trial court by the petitioner. erroneous, or one not in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the
rules of court.
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 pay to the Appellees contention should be sustained. The original decision provides
respondents Magdangal within 120 days after the finality of this that appellee may exercise his right of redemption within the period of 90
decision P59,200.00 plus interest at the rate of 12% per annum from May 2, days from the date the judgment has become final. It should be noted
1988, the date the complaint was filed, until paid.[5] that appellee had appealed from this decision. This decision was affirmed by
the court of appeals and final judgment was entered on July 8, 1953. Does
On September 28, 1995 in CA-G.R. CV No. 33657, the Special Third this mean that the judgment became final on that date?
Division of the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court in toto.
Both parties received the decision of the appellate court on October 5, 1995.
On March 13, 1996, the clerk of court of the appellate court entered Let us make a little digression for purposes of clarification. Once a decision is
in the Book of Entries of Judgement the decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 33657 rendered by the Court of Appeals a party may appeal therefrom by certiorari
and issued the corresponding Entry of Judgment which, on its face, stated by filing with the Supreme Court a petition within 10 days from the date of
that the said decision has on October 21, 1995 become final and executory.[6] 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 after notice
The respondents Magdangal filed in the trial court thereof to the parties (Section 8, Rule 53, as modified by a resolution of the
a Motion for Consolidation and Writ of Possession.[7]They alleged that the Supreme Court dated October 1, 1945). But, as Chief Justice Moran has
120-day period of redemption of the petitioner has expired. They reckoned said, such finality *** is subject to the aggrieved partys right of filing a petition
that the said period began 15 days after October 5, 1995, the date when the for certiorari under this section, which means that the Court of Appeals shall
finality of the judgment of the trial court as affirmed by the appellate court remand the case to the lower court for the execution of its judgment, only
commenced to run. after the expiration of ten (10) days from the date of such judgment, if no
petition for certiorari is filed within that period. (1 Moran, Comments on the
On the other hand, petitioner filed on March 27, 1996 a motion for Rules of Court, 1952 ed., p. 950) It would therefore appear that the date of
execution in the appellate court praying that it direct the court a quo to issue entry of judgment of the Court of Appeals is suspended when a petition for
the corresponding writ of execution in Civil Case No. 19049-88.[8]On April 17, review is filed to await the final entry of the resolution or decision of the
1996, petitioner deposited with the clerk of court the repurchase price of the Supreme Court.
lot plus interest as ordered by the decision.
Since in the present case appellee has filed a petition for review within
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 the reglementary period, which was dismissed by resolution of July 6, 1953,
reckoned from the date of Entry of Judgment in the appellate court or and for lack of a motion for reconsideration the entry of final judgment was
from March 13, 1996.[9]The redemption price was deposited on April 17, made on August 7, 1953, it follows that the 90-day period within
which appellee may exercise his right of redemption should be counted from
1996. As aforestated, the Court of Appeals set aside the ruling of the trial
court. said date, August 7, 1953. And appellee having exercised such right on
October 17, 1953 by depositing the redemption money with the clerk of court,
From 1991-1996, the years relevant to the case at bar, the rule that it is likewise clear that the motion be filed for the exercise of such right is well
governs finality of judgment is Rule 51 of the Revised Rules of Court. Its taken and is within the purview of the decision of the lower court.[11]
sections 10 and 11 provide:
On April 18, 1994, this Court issued Circular No. 24-94, viz:
SEC. 10. Entry of judgments and final resolutions. If no appeal or motion for
new trial or reconsideration is filed within the time provided in these Rules, TO: COURT OF APPEALS, SANDIGANBAYAN, COURT OF
the judgment or final resolution shall forthwith be entered by the clerk in the TAX APPEALS, REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS,
book of entries of judgments. The date when the judgment or final resolution METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL
becomes executory shall be deemed as the date of its entry. The record shall COURTS, MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS, AND ALL
contain the dispositive part of the judgment or final resolution and shall be MEMBERS OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE
signed by the clerk, with a certificate that such judgment or final resolution PHILIPPINES
has become final and executory. (2a, R36)
SUBJECT: RESOLUTION OF THE COURT EN
BANC APPROVING AND PROMULGATING THE REVISED
SEC. 11. Execution of judgment. Except where the judgment or final order or PROVISION ON EXECUTION OF JUDGMENTS,
resolution, or a portion thereof, is ordered to be immediately executory, the SPECIFICALLY IN APPEALED CASES, AND AMENDING
motion for its execution may only be filed in the proper court after its entry. SECTION 1, RULE 39 OF THE RULES OF COURT

It appears that in a number of instances, the execution of judgments in


appealed cases cannot be promptly enforced because of undue

10
administrative delay in the remand of the records to the court of origin, of executory alone would suffice. These observations also apply to the
aggravated at times by misplacement or misdelivery of said records. The several and separate judgments contemplated in Rule 36, or partial
Supreme Court Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court has drafted judgments which totally dispose of a particular claim or severable part of the
proposals including a provision which can remedy the procedural impasse case, subject to the power of the court to suspend or defer action on an
created by said contingencies. appeal from or further 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).
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 promulgate the following section thereof on The second paragraph of this section is an innovation in response to
execution of judgments, amending Section 1, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court: complaints over the delay caused by the former procedure in obtaining a writ
of execution of a judgment, which has already been affirmed on appeal, with
notice to the parties.As things then stood, after the entry of judgment in the
Section 1. Execution upon judgments or final orders. Execution shall issue as
appellate court, the prevailing party had to wait for the records of the case to
a matter of right, on motion, upon a judgment or order that disposes of the
be remanded to the court of origin when and where he could then move for
action or proceeding upon expiration of the period to appeal therefrom if no
the issuance of a writ of execution.The intervening time could sometimes be
appeal has been duly perfected.
substantial, 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.
If the appeal has been duly perfected and finally resolved, such execution
may forthwith be applied for in the lower court from which the action
On these considerations, the Supreme Court issued Circular No. 24-94,
originated, on motion of the judgment obligee, submitting therewith certified
dated April 18, 1994, approving and promulgating in advance this amended
true copies of the judgment or judgments or the final order or orders sought
Section 1 of Rule 39 and declaring the same effective as of June 1, 1994.
to be enforced and of the entry thereof, with notice to the adverse party.

Under the present procedure, the prevailing party can secure certified true
The appellate court may, on motion in the same case, when the interest of
copies of the judgment or final order of the appellate court and the entry
justice so requires, direct the court of origin to issue the writ of execution.
thereof, and submit the same to the court of origin with and to justify his
motion for a writ of execution, without waiting for its receipt of the records
This resolution shall be published in two (2) newspapers of general from the appellate court. That motion must be with notice to the adverse
circulation and shall take effect on June 1, 1994. 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
April 18, 1994. bearing on the execution sought to enforce the judgment.
(Sgd.) ANDRES R. NARVASA
Chief Justice
The Circular took effect on June 1, 1994. The third paragraph of this section, likewise a new provision, is due to the
The 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, however, amended the experience of the appellate courts wherein the trial court, for reasons of its
rule on finality of judgment by providing in section 1, Rule 39 as follows: own or other unjustifiable circumstances, unduly delays or unreasonably
refuses to act on the motion for execution or issue the writ therefor. On
motion in the same case while the records are still with the appellate court, or
Section 1. Execution upon judgments or final orders. Execution shall issue as even after the same have been remanded to the lower court, the appellate
a matter of right, on motion, upon a judgment or order that disposes of the court can direct the issuance of the writ of execution since such act is merely
action or proceeding upon the expiration of the period to appeal therefrom if
in the enforcement of its judgment and which it has the power to require.
no appeal has been duly perfected. (1a)

It is evident that if we apply the old rule on finality of judgment,


If the appeal has been duly perfected and finally resolved, the execution may
petitioner redeemed the subject property within the 120-day period of
forthwith be applied for in the court of origin, on motion of the redemption reckoned from the appellate courts entry of judgment. The
judgment obligee, submitting therewith certified true copies of the judgment appellate court, however, did not apply the old rule but the 1997 Revised
or judgments or final order or orders sought to be enforced and of the entry
Rules of Civil Procedure. In fine, it applied the new rule retroactively and we
thereof, with notice to the adverse party. hold that given the facts of the case at bar this is an error.

The appellate court may, on motion in the same case, when the interest of There is no dispute that rules of procedure can be given retroactive
justice so requires, direct the court of origin to issue the writ of execution. effect. This general rule, however, has well-delineated exceptions. We
quote author Agpalo:[13]

The rationale of the new rule is explained by retired Justice


F.D. Regalado as follows:[12] 9.17. Procedural laws.

1. The term final order is used in two senses depending on whether it is used Procedural laws are adjective laws which prescribe rules and forms of
on the issue of appealability or on the issue of binding effect. For purposes of procedure of enforcing rights or obtaining redress for their invasion; they
appeal, an order is final if it disposes of the action, as distinguished from an refer to rules of procedure by which courts applying laws of all kinds can
interlocutory order which leaves something to be done in the trial court with properly administer justice. They include rules of pleadings, practice and
respect to the merits of the case (De la Cruz, et al. vs. Paras, et al., L-41053, evidence. As applied to criminal law, they provide or regulate the steps by
Feb. 27, 1976). For purposes of binding effect or whether it can be subject of which one who commits a crime is to be punished.
execution, an order is final or executory after the lapse of
the reglementary period to appeal and no appeal has been perfected The general rule that statutes are prospective and not retroactive does not
(see Perez, et al. vs. Zulueta, L-10374, Sept. 30, 1959; cf. Denso [Phil.], Inc. ordinarily apply to procedural laws. It has been held that a retroactive law, in
vs. IAC, et al., G.R. No. 75000, Feb. 27, 1987; Montilla vs. CA, et al., L- a legal sense, is one which takes away or impairs vested rights acquired
47968, May 9, 1988). under laws, or creates a new obligation and imposes a new duty, or attaches
a new disability, in respect of transactions or considerations already
2. On the aspect of appealability, these revised Rules use the adjective final past. Hence, remedial statutes or statutes relating to remedies or modes of
with respect to orders and resolutions, since to terminate a case the trial procedure, which do not create new or take away vested rights, but only
courts issue orders while the appellate courts and most of the quasi-judicial operate in furtherance of the remedy or confirmation of rights already
agencies issue resolutions. Judgments are not so qualified since the use of existing, do not come within the legal conception of a retroactive law, or the
the so-called interlocutory judgments is not favored in this jurisdiction, while general rule against the retroactive operation of statutes. The general rule
the categorization of an order or a resolution for purposes of denoting that it against giving statutes retroactive operation whose effect is to impair the
is appealable is to distinguish them from interlocutory orders or obligations of contract or to disturb vested rights does not prevent the
resolutions. However, by force of extended usage the phrase final application of statutes to proceedings pending at the time of their enactment
and executory judgment is sometimes used and tolerated, although the use where they neither create new nor take away vested rights. A new statute

11
which deals with procedure only is presumptively applicable to all actions SO ORDERED.
those which have accrued or are pending.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Kapunan, Pardo and Ynares-
Santiago, JJ., concur.
Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as
applicable to actions pending and undetermined at the time of their
passage. Procedural laws are retroactive in that sense and to that
G.R. No. 201601 March 12, 2014
extent. The fact that procedural statutes may somehow affect the litigants
MARYLOU CABRERA, Petitioner,
rights may not preclude their retroactive application to pending actions. The
vs.
retroactive application of procedural laws is not violative of any right of a
FELIX NG, Respondent.
person who may feel that he is adversely affected. Nor is the retroactive
DECISION
application of procedural statutes constitutionally objectionable. The reason
REYES, J.:
is that as a general rule no vested right may attach to, nor arise from,
Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the
procedural laws. It has been held that a person has no vested right in any
Rules of Court seeking to annul and set aside the Decision2 dated October
particular remedy, and a litigant cannot insist on the application to the trial of
21, 2009 and the Resolution3 dated March 26, 2012 of the Court of Appeals
his case, whether civil or criminal, of any other than the existing rules of
(CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 03392. The CA denied the petition for certiorari filed
procedure.
by Marylou Cabrera (petitioner), which assailed the Order4 dated December
19, 2007 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaue City, Branch 56, in
Thus, the provision of Batas Bilang 129 in Section 39 thereof prescribing that Civil Case No. MAN-4773.
no record on appeal shall be required to take an appeal is procedural in
nature and should therefore be applied retroactively to pending
The Facts
actions. Hence, the question as to whether an appeal from an adverse
judgment should be dismissed for failure of appellant to file a record on
appeal within thirty days as required under the old rules, which question is On February 14, 2004, Felix Ng (respondent) filed a complaint for sum of
pending resolution at the time Batas Bilang 129 took effect, became money with the RTC against the petitioner and her husband Marionilo
academic upon the effectivity of said law because the law no longer requires Cabrera (spouses Cabrera), alleging that the latter issued to him the
the filing of a record on appeal and its retroactive application removed the following: (1) Metrobank Check No. 0244694 dated June 30, 2002 for the
legal obstacle to giving due course to the appeal. A statute which transfers amount of Thirty-One Thousand Pesos (₱31,000.00); (2) Metrobank Check
the jurisdiction to try certain cases from a court to a quasi-judicial tribunal is a No. 0244674 dated August 9, 2002 for the amount of Thirty-Eight Thousand
remedial statute that is applicable to claims that accrued before its enactment Seventy-Four Pesos and Seventy-Six Centavos (₱38,074.76); and (3)
but formulated and filed after it took effect, for it does not create new nor take Metrobank Check No. 0244745 dated August 15, 2005 for Two Million Five
away vested rights. The court that has jurisdiction over a claim at the time it Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱2,500,000.00). That when presented for
accrued cannot validly try the claim where at the time the claim is formulated payment, the said checks were all dishonored as the accounts from which
and filed the jurisdiction to try it has been transferred by law to a quasi- they had been drawn were already closed.
judicial tribunal, for even actions pending in one court may be validly taken
away and transferred to another and no litigant can acquire a vested right to
The spouses Cabrera admitted that they issued Metrobank Check No.
be heard by one particular court.
0244694 and Metrobank Check No. 0244674 to the respondent and that the
same were dishonored when presented for payment. However, they claimed
9.18. Exceptions to the rule. that they paid the respondent the amount represented by the said checks
through the latter’s son Richard Ng. Further, they deny having issued
Metrobank Check No. 0244745 to the respondent, alleging that the said
The rule that procedural laws are applicable to pending actions or
check was forcibly taken from them by Richard Ng.
proceedings admits certain exceptions. The rule does not apply where the
statute itself expressly or by necessary implication provides that pending
actions are excepted from its operation, or where to apply it to pending On August 7, 2007, the RTC rendered a Decision,5 which ordered the
proceedings would impair vested rights. Under appropriate circumstances, spouses Cabrera to pay the respondent the following: (1) Two Million Five
courts may deny the retroactive application of procedural laws in the event Hundred Sixty-Nine Thousand Seventy-Four Pesos (₱2,569,074.00) plus
that to do so would not be feasible or would work injustice. Nor may legal interest from inception of the obligation until fully paid; (2) moral
procedural laws be applied retroactively to pending actions if to do so would damages in the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (₱50,000.00); (3) attorney’s
involve intricate problems of due process or impair the independence of the fees of Twenty Thousand Pesos (₱20,000.00); and (4) litigation expenses in
courts. the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (₱10,000.00).

We hold that section 1, Rule 39 of the 1997 Revised Rules On August 8, 2007, the spouses Cabrera received a copy of the RTC
of Procedure should not be given retroactive effect in this case as it would Decision dated August 7, 2007. On August 14, 2007, the spouses Cabrera
result in great injustice to the petitioner. Undoubtedly, petitioner has the right filed with the RTC a motion for reconsideration,6 which they set for hearing
to redeem the subject lot and this right is a substantive right. Petitioner on August 17, 2007. On even date, the spouses Cabrera sent a copy of their
followed the procedural rule then existing as well as the decisions of this motion for reconsideration to the respondent thru registered mail; it was
Court governing the reckoning date of the period of redemption when he actually received by the respondent on August 21, 2007.
redeemed the subject lot. Unfortunately for petitioner, the rule was changed
by the 1997 Revised Rules of Procedure which if applied retroactively would
The said motion for reconsideration, however, was not heard on August 17,
result in his losing the right to redeem the subject lot. It is difficult to reconcile
2007 as the new acting presiding judge of the said court had just assumed
the retroactive application of this procedural rule with the rule of
office. On August 28, 2007, the RTC issued a notice,7 which set the said
fairness. Petitioner cannot be penalized with the loss of the subject lot when
motion for reconsideration for hearing on September 25, 2007.
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 meters
but as petitioner claims, it is the only property left behind by their On September 20, 2007, the respondent filed an opposition8 to the motion for
father, a private law practitioner who was felled by an assassins bullet. [14] reconsideration filed by the spouses Cabrera. The respondent alleged that
the said motion for reconsideration is a mere scrap of paper since it violated
Petitioner fought to recover this lot from 1988. To lose it because of a the three-day notice requirement. The respondent pointed out that the
change of procedure on the date of reckoning of the period of redemption spouses Cabrera sent to him a copy of their motion for reconsideration,
is inequitous. The manner of exercising the right cannot be changed and the which was set for hearing on August 17, 2007, via registered mail on August
change applied retroactively if to do so will defeat the right of redemption of 14, 2007; that he actually received a copy thereof only on August 21, 2007 –
the petitioner which is already vested. four days after the scheduled hearing thereon.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated July
15, 1998 and its Resolution dated November 9, 1998 in CA-G.R. SP-41738 It appears that the scheduled hearing of the spouses Cabrera’s motion for
are annulled and set aside. The Orders dated June 10, 1996 and July 24, reconsideration on September 25, 2007 did not push through. Consequently,
1996 of the RTC of Davao City, 11th Judicial Region, Branch 11, in Civil Case on September 26, 2007, the RTC issued another notice,9 which set the said
No. 19049-88 are reinstated. No costs. motion for reconsideration for hearing on October 26, 2007.

12
On October 26, 2007, the RTC issued an Order,10 which directed the parties Every written motion required to be heard and the notice of the hearing
to file their additional pleadings, after which the motion for reconsideration thereof shall be served in such a manner as to ensure its receipt by the other
filed by the spouses Cabrera would be deemed submitted for resolution. party at least three (3) days before the date of hearing, unless the court for
good cause sets the hearing on shorter notice.
On December 19, 2007, the RTC issued an Order11 which denied the motion
for reconsideration filed by the spouses Cabrera. The RTC pointed out that Sec. 5. Notice of hearing. – The notice of hearing shall be addressed to all
the spouses Cabrera violated Section 4, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court, which parties concerned, and shall specify the time and date of the hearing which
mandates that every motion required to be heard should be served by the must not be later than ten (10) days after the filing of the motion. (Emphasis
movant in such a manner as to ensure its receipt by the other party at least ours)
three days before the date of hearing. Thus:
The general rule is that the three-day notice requirement in motions under
After a meticulous scrutiny of the records of this case, the court opines that Sections 4 and 5 of the Rules of Court is mandatory. It is an integral
the motion was filed beyond the reglementary three (3)[-]day period. component of procedural due process.17 "The purpose of the three-day
notice requirement, which was established not for the benefit of the movant
but rather for the adverse party, is to avoid surprises upon the latter and to
As the records bear out, the instant motion was mailed to the plaintiff’s
grant it sufficient time to study the motion and to enable it to meet the
counsel on August 14[, 2007] and was set for hearing on August 17, 2007.
arguments interposed therein."18
However, the copy of said motion had reached plaintiff’s side and a copy of
which was received by plaintiff’s counsel only on August 17, 2007[,] four (4)
days late after it was supposed to be heard. Hence, a clear blatant violations "A motion that does not comply with the requirements of Sections 4 and 5 of
[sic] of the rule on notice and hearing.12 Rule 15 of the Rules of Court is a worthless piece of paper which the clerk of
court has no right to receive and which the court has no authority to act
upon."19 "Being a fatal defect, in cases of motions to reconsider a decision,
The RTC further opined that a motion, which fails to comply with the three-
the running of the period to appeal is not tolled by their filing or pendency."20
day notice requirement is 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 August Nevertheless, the three-day notice requirement is not a hard and fast rule.
7, 2007 had already become final for failure of the spouses Cabrera to When the adverse party had been afforded the opportunity to be heard, and
comply with the three-day notice requirement. has been indeed heard through the pleadings filed in opposition to the
motion, the purpose behind the three-day notice requirement is deemed
13 realized. In such case, the requirements of procedural due process are
The petitioner then filed a petition for certiorari with the CA, alleging that the
substantially complied with. Thus, in Preysler, Jr. v. Manila Southcoast
RTC gravely abused its discretion in denying her motion for reconsideration.
Development Corporation,21 the Court ruled that:
The petitioner pointed out that the RTC did not actually conduct a hearing on
her motion for reconsideration on August 17, 2007;
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
that her motion for reconsideration was actually heard on October 26, 2007,
of procedure has not prejudiced the adverse party and has not deprived the
after the respondent had already filed his opposition thereto. Thus, the
court of its authority. Indeed, Section 6, Rule 1 of the Rules of Court provides
petitioner claimed, the issue of her failure to comply with the three-day notice
that the Rules should be liberally construed in order to promote their
requirement had already been rendered moot. In any case, the petitioner
objective of securing a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every
asserted, the RTC should have resolved her motion for reconsideration on its
action and proceeding. Rules of procedure are tools designed to facilitate the
merits rather than simply denying it on mere technicality.
attainment of justice, and courts must avoid their strict and rigid application
which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote
On October 21, 2009, the CA, by way of the assailed Decision, 14 denied the substantial justice.
petition for certiorari filed by the petitioner. The CA opined that the RTC did
not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for reconsideration filed by the
In Somera Vda. De Navarro v. Navarro, the Court held that there was
spouses Cabrera since it merely applied the three-day notice requirement
substantial compliance of the rule on notice of motions even if the first notice
under Section 4, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court. Thus:
was irregular because no prejudice was caused the adverse party since the
motion was not considered and resolved until after several postponements of
It appears that petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration was set for hearing on which the parties were duly notified.
17 August 2007. A copy thereof was mailed to private respondent on 14
August 2007, and private respondent actually received his copy only on 21
Likewise, in Jehan Shipping Corporation v. National Food Authority, the
August 2007 or four (4) days after the set date of hearing; and thus, depriving
Court held that despite the lack of notice of hearing in a Motion for
him of the opportunity to oppose the motion. Respondent court, therefore,
Reconsideration, there was substantial compliance with the requirements of
correctly held that such motion violated the three (3)-day notice rule; the
due process where the adverse party actually had the opportunity to be
essence of due process. Respondent court had applied said rule to the given
heard and had filed pleadings in opposition to the motion. The Court held:
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) This Court has indeed held time and again, that under Sections 4 and 5 of
Rule 15 of the Rules of Court, mandatory is the requirement in a motion,
which is rendered defective by failure to comply with the requirement. As a
The petitioner sought a reconsideration of the Decision dated October 21,
16 rule, a motion without a notice of hearing is considered pro forma and does
2009 but it was denied by the CA in its Resolution dated March 26, 2012.
not affect the reglementary period for the appeal or the filing of the requisite
pleading.
Hence, the instant petition.
As an integral component of the procedural due process, the three-day
The Issue notice required by the Rules is not intended for the benefit of the movant.
The sole issue to be resolved by the Court is whether the CA erred in Rather, the requirement is for the purpose of avoiding surprises that may be
affirming the RTC Order dated December 19, 2007, which denied the motion sprung upon the adverse party, who must be given time to study and meet
for reconsideration filed by the spouses Cabrera. the arguments in the motion before a resolution of the
The Court’s Ruling court.1âwphi1 Principles of natural justice demand that the right of a party
The petition is meritorious. should not be affected without giving it an opportunity to be heard.
Sections 4 and 5, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court provide that:
Sec. 4. Hearing of motion. – Except for motions which the court may act
The test is the presence of opportunity to be heard, as well as to have time to
upon without prejudicing the rights of the adverse party, every written motion
study the motion and meaningfully oppose or controvert the grounds upon
shall be set for hearing by the applicant.
which it is based. x x x22

13
(Emphasis supplied and citations omitted) 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
It is undisputed that the hearing on the motion for reconsideration filed by the
his heirs; and (4) that the court must also dismiss the case against Lolita
spouses Cabrera was reset by the RTC twice with due notice to the parties; it
Toledo in accordance with Section 6, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court. 16
was only on October 26, 2007 that the motion 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 trial court, in an Order dated 8 November 2004, denied the motion to
The respondent was thus given sufficient time to study the motion and to dismiss for having been filed out of time, citing Section 1, Rule 16 of the 1997
enable him to meet the arguments interposed therein. Indeed, the Rules of Court which states that: "Within the time for but before filing the
respondent was able to file his opposition thereto on September 20, 2007. answer to the complaint or pleading asserting a claim, a motion to 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
Notwithstanding that the respondent received a copy of the said motion for
jurisdiction of this Court is now barred by estoppel by laches" since
reconsideration four days after the date set by the spouses Cabrera for the
respondent failed to raise the issue despite several chances to do so. 18
hearing thereof, his right to due process was not impinged as he was
afforded the chance to argue his position. Thus, the R TC erred in denying
the spouses Cabrera's motion for reconsideration based merely on their Aggrieved, respondent filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals
failure to comply with the three-day notice requirement. 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 case.19
WHEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing disquisitions, the instant
petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated October 21, 2009 and the
Resolution dated March 26, 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. The Court of Appeals granted the petition based on the following grounds:
03392, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The case is hereby
REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City, Branch 56, to
It is elementary that courts acquire jurisdiction over the person of the
resolve the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the spouses Cabrera on the
defendant x x x only when the latter voluntarily appeared or submitted to the
merits within five (5) days from the finality of this Decision.
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
SO ORDERED. 24, 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.
G.R. No. 173946 June 19, 2013
BOSTON EQUITY RESOURCES, INC., Petitioner,
vs. x x x the court a quo’s denial of respondent’s motion to dismiss was based
COURT OF APPEALS AND LOLITA G. TOLEDO, Respondents. on its finding that respondent’s attack on the jurisdiction of the court was
DECISION already barred by laches as respondent failed to raise the said ground in its
PEREZ, J.: [sic] amended answer and during the pre-trial, despite her active participation
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari seeking to reverse and in the proceedings.
set aside: (1) the 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.
However, x x x it is well-settled that issue on jurisdiction may be raised at any
88586. The challenged decision granted herein respondent's petition for
stage of the proceeding, even for the first time on appeal. By timely raising
certiorari upon a finding that the trial court committed grave abuse of
the issue on jurisdiction in her motion to dismiss x x x respondent is not
discretion in denying respondent's motion to dismiss the complaint against
3 estopped from raising the question on jurisdiction.
her. Based on this finding, the Court of Appeals reversed and set aside the
4 5
Orders, dated 8 November 2004 and 22 December 2004, respectively, of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 24. 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 motion for reconsideration;
The Facts

It should be stressed that when the complaint was filed, defendant Manuel S.
On 24 December 1997, petitioner filed a complaint for sum of money with a
Toledo was already dead. The complaint should have impleaded the estate
prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment against the
of Manuel S. Toledo as defendant, not only the wife, considering that the
spouses Manuel and Lolita Toledo.6 Herein respondent filed an Answer
estate of Manuel S. Toledo is an indispensable party, which stands to be
dated 19 March 1998 but on 7 May 1998, she filed a Motion for Leave to
benefited or be injured in the outcome of the case. x x x
Admit Amended Answer7 in which she alleged, among others, that her
husband and co-defendant, Manuel Toledo (Manuel), is already dead.8 The
death certificate9of Manuel states "13 July 1995" as the date of death. As a xxxx
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 1999 hearing of the case, respondent submitted Respondent’s motion to dismiss the complaint should have been granted by
the required names and addresses of the heirs.11Petitioner then filed a public respondent judge as the same was in order. Considering that the
obligation of Manuel S. Toledo is solidary with another debtor, x x x, the
Motion for Substitution,12 dated 18 January 2000, praying that Manuel be
substituted by his children as party-defendants. It appears that this motion claim x x x should be filed against the estate of Manuel S. Toledo, in
was granted by the trial court in an Order dated 9 October 2000. 13 conformity with the provision of Section 6, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court, x x
x.20

Pre-trial thereafter ensued and on 18 July 2001, the trial court issued its pre-
trial order containing, among others, the dates of hearing of the case.14 The Court of Appeals denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. Hence,
this petition.

The trial of the case then proceeded. Herein petitioner, as plaintiff, presented
its evidence and its exhibits were thereafter admitted. The Issues

On 26 May 2004, the reception of evidence for herein respondent was Petitioner claims that the Court of Appeals erred in not holding that:
cancelled upon agreement of the parties. On 24 September 2004, counsel
for herein respondent was given a period of fifteen days within which to file a 1. Respondent is already estopped from questioning the trial
demurrer to evidence.15 However, on 7 October 2004, respondent instead court’s jurisdiction;
filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, citing the following as grounds: (1)
that the complaint failed to implead an indispensable party or a real party in
interest; hence, the case must be dismissed for failure to state a cause of 2. Petitioner never failed to implead an indispensable party as the
estate of Manuel is not an indispensable party;
14
3. The inclusion of Manuel as party-defendant is a mere misjoinder On May 13, 2004, defendants sought again the issuance of a subpoena
of party not warranting the dismissal of the case before the lower duces tecum and ad testificandum to the said Gina Madulid. On May 26,
court; and 2004, reception of defendants [sic] evidence was cancelled upon the
agreement of the parties. On July 28, 2004, in the absence of defendants’
witness, hearing was reset to September 24 and October 8, 2004 x x x.
4. Since the estate of Manuel is not an indispensable party, it is not
necessary that petitioner file its claim against the estate of Manuel.
On September 24, 2004, counsel for defendants was given a period of fifteen
(15) days to file a demurrer to evidence. On October 7, 2004, defendants
In essence, what is at issue here is the correctness of the trial court’s orders
filed instead a Motion to Dismiss x x x.27
denying respondent’s motion to dismiss.

Respondent’s act of filing multiple motions, such as the first and earlier
The Ruling of the Court
motion to dismiss and then the motion to dismiss at issue here, as well as
several motions for postponement, lends credibility to the position taken by
We find merit in the petition. petitioner, which is shared by the trial court, that respondent is

Motion to dismiss filed out of time deliberately impeding the early disposition of this case. The filing of the
second motion to dismiss was, therefore, "not only improper but also
dilatory."28 Thus, the trial court, "far from deviating or straying off course from
To begin with, the Court of Appeals erred in granting the writ of certiorari in established jurisprudence on the matter, x x x had in fact faithfully observed
favor of respondent. Well settled is the rule that the special civil action for
the law and legal precedents in this case."29 The Court of Appeals, therefore,
certiorari is not the proper remedy to assail the denial by the trial court of a erred not only in entertaining respondent’s petition for certiorari, it likewise
motion to dismiss. The order of the trial court denying a motion to dismiss is erred in ruling that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion when it
merely interlocutory, as it neither terminates nor finally disposes of a case
denied respondent’s motion to dismiss.
and still leaves something to be done by the court before a case is finally
decided on the merits.21 Therefore, "the proper remedy in such a case is to
appeal after a decision has been rendered."22 On whether or not respondent is estopped from
questioning the jurisdiction of the trial court
As the Supreme Court held in Indiana Aerospace University v. Comm. on
Higher Education:23 At the outset, it must be here stated that, as the succeeding discussions will
demonstrate, jurisdiction over the person of Manuel should not be an issue in
this case. A protracted discourse on jurisdiction is, nevertheless, demanded
A writ of certiorari is not intended to correct every controversial interlocutory by the fact that jurisdiction has been raised as an issue from the lower court,
ruling; it is resorted only to correct a grave abuse of discretion or a whimsical to the Court of Appeals and, finally, before this Court. For the sake of clarity,
exercise of judgment equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. Its function is limited to and in order to finally settle the controversy and fully dispose of all the issues
keeping an inferior court within its jurisdiction and to relieve persons from in this case, it was deemed imperative to resolve the issue of jurisdiction.
arbitrary acts – acts which courts or judges have no power or authority in law
to perform. It is not designed to correct erroneous findings and conclusions
made by the courts. (Emphasis supplied) 1. Aspects of Jurisdiction

Even assuming that certiorari is the proper remedy, the trial court did not Petitioner calls attention to the fact that respondent’s motion to dismiss
commit grave abuse of discretion in denying respondent’s motion to dismiss. questioning the trial court’s jurisdiction was filed more than six years after her
It, in fact, acted correctly when it issued the questioned orders as amended answer was filed. According to petitioner, respondent had several
respondent’s motion to dismiss was filed SIX YEARS AND FIVE MONTHS opportunities, at various stages of the proceedings, to assail the trial court’s
AFTER SHE FILED HER AMENDED ANSWER. This circumstance alone jurisdiction but never did so for six straight years. Citing the doctrine laid
already warranted the outright dismissal of the motion for having been filed in down in the case of Tijam, et al. v. Sibonghanoy, et al.30 petitioner claimed
clear contravention of the express mandate of Section 1, Rule 16, of the that respondent’s failure to raise the question of jurisdiction at an earlier
Revised Rules of Court. Under this provision, a motion to dismiss shall be stage bars her from later questioning it, especially since she actively
filed within the time for but before the filing of an answer to the complaint or participated in the proceedings conducted by the trial court.
pleading asserting a claim.24
Petitioner’s argument is misplaced, in that, it failed to consider that the
More importantly, respondent’s motion to dismiss was filed after petitioner concept of jurisdiction has several aspects, namely: (1) jurisdiction over the
has completed the presentation of its evidence in the trial court, giving subject matter; (2) jurisdiction over the parties; (3) jurisdiction over the issues
credence to petitioner’s and the trial court’s conclusion that the filing of the of the case; and (4) in cases involving property, jurisdiction over the res or
motion to dismiss was a mere ploy on the part of respondent to delay the the thing which is the subject of the litigation.31
prompt resolution of the case against her.
The aspect of jurisdiction which may be barred from being assailed as a
Also worth mentioning is the fact that respondent’s motion to dismiss under result of estoppel by laches is jurisdiction over the subject matter. Thus, in
consideration herein is not the first motion to dismiss she filed in the trial Tijam, the case relied upon by petitioner, the issue involved was the authority
court. It appears that she had filed an earlier motion to dismiss 26 on the sole of the then Court of First Instance to hear a case for the collection of a sum
ground of the unenforceability of petitioner’s claim under the Statute of of money in the amount of ₱1,908.00 which amount was, at that time, within
Frauds, which motion was denied by the trial court. More telling is the the exclusive original jurisdiction of the municipal courts.
following narration of the trial court in its Order denying respondent’s motion
for reconsideration of the denial of her motion to dismiss:
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
As can be gleaned from the records, with the admission of plaintiff’s exhibits, case. Accordingly, in Spouses Gonzaga v. Court of Appeals,32 the issue for
reception of defendants’ evidence was set on March 31, and April 23, 2004 x consideration was the authority of the regional trial court to hear and decide
x x . On motion of the defendants, the hearing on March 31, 2004 was an action for reformation of contract and damages involving a subdivision lot,
cancelled. it being argued therein that jurisdiction is vested in the Housing and Land
Use Regulatory Board pursuant to PD 957 (The Subdivision and
Condominium Buyers Protective Decree). In Lee v. Presiding Judge, MTC,
On April 14, 2004, defendants sought the issuance of subpoena ad Legaspi City,33 petitioners argued that the respondent municipal trial court
testificandum and duces tecum to one Gina M. Madulid, to appear and testify
had no jurisdiction over the complaint for ejectment because the issue of
for the defendants on April 23, 2004. Reception of defendants’ evidence was ownership was raised in the pleadings. Finally, in People v.
again deferred to May 26, June 2 and June 30, 2004, x x x. 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 of first instance, and that the

15
judgment of the court of first instance, to which she had appealed the the action brought against him. Service of such writ is the means by which
municipal court's conviction, should be deemed null and void for want of the court acquires jurisdiction over his person."40
jurisdiction as her appeal should have been filed with the Court of Appeals or
the Supreme Court.
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
In all of these cases, the Supreme Court barred the attack on the jurisdiction because he was already dead even before the complaint against him and his
of the respective courts concerned over the subject matter of the case based wife was filed in the trial court. The issues presented in this case are similar
on estoppel by laches, declaring that parties cannot be allowed to belatedly to those in the case of Sarsaba v. Vda. de Te.41
adopt an inconsistent posture by attacking the jurisdiction of a court to which
they submitted their cause voluntarily.35
In Sarsaba, the NLRC rendered a decision declaring that Patricio Sereno
was illegally dismissed from employment and ordering the payment of his
Here, what respondent was questioning in her motion to dismiss before the monetary claims. To satisfy the claim, a truck in the possession of Sereno’s
trial court was that court’s jurisdiction over the person of defendant Manuel. employer was levied upon by a sheriff of the NLRC, accompanied by Sereno
Thus, the principle of estoppel by laches finds no application in this case. and his lawyer, Rogelio Sarsaba, the petitioner in that case. A complaint for
Instead, the principles relating to jurisdiction over the person of the parties recovery of motor vehicle and damages, with prayer for the delivery of the
are pertinent herein. truck pendente lite was eventually filed against Sarsaba, Sereno, the NLRC
sheriff and the NLRC by the registered owner of the truck. After his motion to
dismiss was denied by the trial court, petitioner Sarsaba filed his answer.
The Rules of Court provide:
Later on, however, he filed an omnibus motion to dismiss citing, as one of the
grounds, lack of jurisdiction over one of the principal defendants, in view of
RULE 9 the fact that Sereno was already dead when the complaint for recovery of
EFFECT OF FAILURE TO PLEAD possession was filed.

Section 1. Defenses and objections not pleaded. – Defenses and objections Although the factual milieu of the present case is not exactly similar to that of
not pleaded either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer are deemed Sarsaba, one of the issues submitted for resolution in both cases is similar:
waived. However, when it appears from the pleadings or the evidence on whether or not a case, where one of the named defendants was already
record that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter, that there is dead at the time of its filing, should be dismissed so that the claim may be
another action pending between the same parties for the same cause, or that pursued instead in the proceedings for the settlement of the estate of the
the action is barred by a prior judgment or by statute of limitations, the court deceased defendant. The petitioner in the Sarsaba Case claimed, as did
shall dismiss the claim. respondent herein, that since one of the defendants died before summons
was served on him, the trial court should have dismissed the complaint
against all the defendants and the claim should be filed against the estate of
RULE 15 the deceased defendant. The petitioner in Sarsaba, therefore, prayed that
MOTIONS the complaint be dismissed, not only against Sereno, but as to all the
defendants, considering that the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over the
Sec. 8. Omnibus motion. – Subject to the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 9, a person of Sereno.42 This is exactly the same prayer made by respondent
motion attacking a pleading, order, judgment, or proceeding shall include all herein in her motion to dismiss.
objections then available, and all objections not so included shall be deemed
waived. The Court, in the Sarsaba Case, resolved the issue in this wise:

Based on the foregoing provisions, the "objection on jurisdictional grounds x x x We cannot countenance petitioner’s argument that the complaint
which is not waived even if not alleged in a motion to dismiss or the answer against the other defendants should have been dismissed, considering that
is lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter. x x x Lack of jurisdiction over
the RTC never acquired jurisdiction over the person of Sereno. The court’s
the subject matter can always be raised anytime, even for the first time on failure to acquire jurisdiction over one’s person is a defense which is
appeal, since jurisdictional issues cannot be waived x x x subject, however, personal to the person claiming it. Obviously, it is now impossible for Sereno
to the principle of estoppel by laches."36
to invoke the same in view of his death. Neither can petitioner invoke such
ground, on behalf of Sereno, so as to reap the benefit of having the case
Since the defense of lack of jurisdiction over the person of a party to a case dismissed against all of the defendants. Failure to serve summons on
is not one of those defenses which are not deemed waived under Section 1 Sereno’s person will not be a cause for the dismissal of the complaint against
of Rule 9, such defense must be invoked when an answer or a motion to the other defendants, considering that they have been served with copies of
dismiss is filed in order to prevent a waiver of the defense. 37 If the objection the summons and complaints and have long submitted their respective
is not raised either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer, the objection to responsive pleadings. In fact, the other defendants in the complaint were
the jurisdiction over the person of the plaintiff or the defendant is deemed given the chance to raise all possible defenses and objections personal to
waived by virtue of the first sentence of the above-quoted Section 1 of Rule 9 them in their respective motions to dismiss and their subsequent
of the Rules of Court.38 answers.43 (Emphasis supplied.)

The Court of Appeals, therefore, erred when it made a sweeping Hence, the Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal by the trial court of the
pronouncement in its questioned decision, stating that "issue on jurisdiction complaint against Sereno only.
may be raised at any stage of the proceeding, even for the first time on
appeal" and that, therefore, respondent timely raised the issue in her motion Based on the foregoing pronouncements, there is no basis for dismissing the
to dismiss and is, consequently, not estopped from raising the question of
complaint against respondent herein. Thus, as already emphasized above,
jurisdiction. As the question of jurisdiction involved here is that over the the trial court correctly denied her motion to dismiss.
person of the defendant Manuel, the same is deemed waived if not raised in
the answer or a motion to dismiss. In any case, respondent cannot claim the
defense since "lack of jurisdiction over the person, being subject to waiver, is On whether or not the estate of Manuel
a personal defense which can only be asserted by the party who can thereby
waive it by silence."39
Toledo is an indispensable party

2. Jurisdiction over the person of a defendant is acquired through a valid


Rule 3, Section 7 of the 1997 Rules of Court states:
service of summons; trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of
Manuel Toledo
SEC. 7. Compulsory joinder of indispensable parties. – Parties-in-interest
without whom no final determination can be had of an action shall be joined
In the first place, jurisdiction over the person of Manuel was never acquired
either as plaintiffs or defendants.
by the trial court. A defendant is informed of a case against him when he
receives summons. "Summons is a writ by which the defendant is notified of

16
An indispensable party is one who has such an interest in the controversy or Supreme Court, in the case of Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. v. Villarama,
subject matter of a case that a final adjudication cannot be made in his or her et. al.,49 held:50
absence, without injuring or affecting that interest. He or she is a party who
has not only an interest in the subject matter of the controversy, but "an
Construing Section 698 of the Code of Civil Procedure from whence [Section
interest of such nature that a final decree cannot be made without affecting
6, Rule 87] was taken, this Court held that where two persons are bound in
that interest or leaving the controversy in such a condition that its final
solidum for the same debt and one of them dies, the whole indebtedness can
determination may be wholly inconsistent with equity and good conscience. It
be proved against the estate of the latter, the decedent’s liability being
has also been considered that an indispensable party is a person in whose
absolute and primary; x x x. It is evident from the foregoing that Section 6 of
absence there cannot be a determination between the parties already before
Rule 87 provides the procedure should the creditor desire to go against the
the court which is effective, complete or equitable." Further, an indispensable
deceased debtor, but there is certainly nothing in the said provision making
party is one who must be included in an action before it may properly
compliance with such procedure a condition precedent before an ordinary
proceed.44
action against the surviving solidary debtors, should the creditor choose to
demand payment from the latter, could be entertained to the extent that
On the other hand, a "person is not an indispensable party if his interest in failure to observe the same would deprive the court jurisdiction to take
the controversy or subject matter is separable from the interest of the other cognizance of the action against the surviving debtors. Upon the other hand,
parties, so that it will not necessarily be directly or injuriously affected by a the Civil Code expressly allows the creditor to proceed against any one of the
decree which does complete justice between them. Also, a person is not an solidary debtors or some or all of them simultaneously. There is, therefore,
indispensable party if his presence would merely permit complete relief nothing improper in the creditor’s filing of an action against the surviving
between him or her and those already parties to the action, or if he or she solidary debtors alone, instead of instituting a proceeding for the settlement
has no interest in the subject matter of the action." It is not a sufficient reason of the estate of the deceased debtor wherein his claim could be filed.
to declare a person to be an indispensable party simply because his or her
presence will avoid multiple litigations.45
The foregoing ruling was reiterated and expounded in the later case of
Philippine National Bank v. Asuncion51where the Supreme Court
Applying the foregoing pronouncements to the case at bar, it is clear that the pronounced:
estate of Manuel is not an indispensable party to the collection case, for the
simple reason that the obligation of Manuel and his wife, respondent herein,
A cursory perusal of Section 6, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court reveals
is solidary.
that nothing therein prevents a creditor from proceeding against the surviving
solidary debtors. Said provision merely sets up the procedure in enforcing
The contract between petitioner, on the one hand and respondent and collection in case a creditor chooses to pursue his claim against the estate of
respondent’s husband, on the other, states: 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
46 the estate of the solidary debtor. x x x
FOR VALUE RECEIVED, I/We jointly and severally (in solemn) promise to
pay BOSTON EQUITY RESOURCES, INC. x x x the sum of PESOS: [ONE
MILLION FOUR HUNDRED (₱1,400,000.00)] x x x.47 xxxx

The provisions and stipulations of the contract were then followed by the It is crystal clear that Article 1216 of the New Civil Code is the applicable
respective signatures of respondent as "MAKER" and her husband as "CO- provision in this matter. Said provision gives the creditor the right to "proceed
MAKER."48 Thus, pursuant to Article 1216 of the Civil Code, petitioner may against anyone of the solidary debtors or some or all of them
collect the entire amount of the obligation from respondent only. The simultaneously." The choice is undoubtedly left to the solidary creditor to
aforementioned provision states: "The creditor may proceed against any one determine against whom he will enforce collection. In case of the death of
of the solidary debtors or some or all of them simultaneously. The demand one of the solidary debtors, he (the creditor) may, if he so chooses, proceed
made against one of them shall not be an obstacle to those which may against the surviving solidary debtors without necessity of filing a claim in the
subsequently be directed against the others, so long as the debt has not estate of the deceased debtors. It is not mandatory for him to have the case
been fully collected." dismissed as against the surviving debtors and file its claim against the
estate of the deceased solidary debtor, x x x. For to require the creditor to
proceed against the estate, making it a condition precedent for any collection
In other words, the collection case can proceed and the demands of
action against the surviving debtors to prosper, would deprive him of his
petitioner can be satisfied by respondent only, even without impleading the
substantive rightsprovided by Article 1216 of the New Civil Code. (Emphasis
estate of Manuel. Consequently, the estate of Manuel is not an indispensable
supplied.)
party to petitioner’s complaint for sum of money.

As correctly argued by petitioner, if Section 6, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules


However, the Court of Appeals, agreeing with the contention of respondent,
of Court were applied literally, Article 1216 of the New Civil Code would, in
held that the claim of petitioner should have been filed against the estate of
effect, be repealed since under the Rules of Court, petitioner has no choice
Manuel in accordance with Sections 5 and 6 of Rule 86 of the Rules of Court.
but to proceed against the estate of [the deceased debtor] only. Obviously,
The aforementioned provisions provide:
this provision diminishes the [creditor’s] right under the New Civil Code to
proceed against any one, some or all of the solidary debtors. Such a
SEC. 5. Claims which must be filed under the notice. If not filed, barred; construction is not sanctioned by principle, which is too well settled to require
exceptions. All claims for money against the decedent, arising from contract, citation, that a substantive law cannot be amended by a procedural rule.
express or implied, whether the same be due, not due, or contingent, all Otherwise stated, Section 6, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court cannot
claims for funeral expenses and judgment for money against the decedent, be made to prevail over Article 1216 of the New Civil Code, the former being
must be filed within the time limited in the notice; otherwise, they are barred merely procedural, while the latter, substantive.
forever, except that they may be set forth as counterclaims in any action that
the executor or administrator may bring against the claimants. x x x.
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
SEC. 6. Solidary obligation of decedent. Where the obligation of the to collect from respondent and not from the estate of Manuel is evidenced by
decedent is solidary with another debtor, the claim shall be filed against the its opposition to respondent’s motion to dismiss asserting that the case, as
decedent as if he were the only debtor, without prejudice to the right of the against her, should be dismissed so that petitioner can proceed against the
estate to recover contribution from the other debtor. x x x. estate of Manuel.

The Court of Appeals erred in its interpretation of the above-quoted On whether or not the inclusion of Manuel as
provisions. party defendant is a misjoinder of party

In construing Section 6, Rule 87 of the old Rules of Court, the precursor of Section 11 of Rule 3 of the Rules of Court states that "neither misjoinder nor
Section 6, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court, which latter provision has non-joinder of parties is ground for dismissal of an action. Parties may be
been retained in the present Rules of Court without any revisions, the dropped or added by order of the court on motion of any party or on its own
17
initiative at any stage of the action and on such terms as are just. Any claim Court, because a complaint cannot possibly state a cause of action against
against a misjoined party may be severed and proceeded with separately." one who cannot be a party to a civil action.55

Based on the last sentence of the afore-quoted provision of law, a misjoined Since the proper course of action against the wrongful inclusion of Manuel as
party must have the capacity to sue or be sued in the event that the claim by party-defendant is the dismissal of the case as against him, thus did the trial
or against the misjoined party is pursued in a separate case. In this case, court err when it ordered the substitution of Manuel by his heirs. Substitution
therefore, the inclusion of Manuel in the complaint cannot be considered a is proper only where the party to be substituted died during the pendency of
misjoinder, as in fact, the action would have proceeded against him had he the case, as expressly provided for by Section 16, Rule 3 of the Rules of
been alive at the time the collection case was filed by petitioner. This being Court, which states:
the case, the remedy provided by Section 11 of Rule 3 does not obtain here.
The name of Manuel as party-defendant cannot simply be dropped from the
Death of party;duty of counsel. – Whenever a party to a pending action dies,
case. Instead, the procedure taken by the Court in Sarsaba v. Vda. de
and the claim is not thereby extinguished, it shall be the duty of his counsel
Te,52whose facts, as mentioned earlier, resemble those of this case, should
to inform the court within thirty (30) days after such death of the fact thereof,
be followed herein. There, the Supreme Court agreed with the trial court
and to give the name and address of his legal representative or
when it resolved the issue of jurisdiction over the person of the deceased
representatives. x x x
Sereno in this wise:

The heirs of the deceased may be allowed to be substituted for the


As correctly pointed by defendants, the Honorable Court has not acquired
deceased, without requiring the appointment of an executor or administrator
jurisdiction over the person of Patricio Sereno since there was indeed no
x x x.
valid service of summons insofar as Patricio Sereno is concerned. Patricio
Sereno died before the summons, together with a copy of the complaint and
its annexes, could be served upon him. The court shall forthwith order said legal representative or representatives to
appear and be substituted within a period of thirty (30) days from notice.
(Emphasis supplied.)
However, the failure to effect service of summons unto Patricio Sereno, one
of the defendants herein, does not render the action DISMISSIBLE,
considering that the three (3) other defendants, x x x, were validly served Here, since Manuel was already dead at the time of the filing of the
with summons and the case with respect to the answering defendants may complaint, the court never acquired jurisdiction over his person and, in effect,
still proceed independently. Be it recalled that the three (3) answering there was no party to be substituted.
defendants have previously filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint which
was denied by the Court.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated 28 February
2006 and the Resolution dated 1 August 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-
Hence, only the case against Patricio Sereno will be DISMISSED and the G.R. SP No. 88586 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Orders of the
same may be filed as a claim against the estate of Patricio Sereno, but the Regional Trial Court dated 8 November 2004 and 22 December 2004,
case with respect to the three (3) other accused [sic] will proceed. (Emphasis respectively, in Civil Case No. 97-86672, are REINSTATED. The Regional
supplied.)53 Trial Court, Branch 24, Manila is hereby DIRECTED to proceed with the trial
of Civil Case No. 97-86672 against respondent Lolita G. Toledo only, in
accordance with the above pronouncements of the Court, and to decide the
As a result, the case, as against Manuel, must be dismissed.
case with dispatch.

In addition, the dismissal of the case against Manuel is further warranted by


SO ORDERED.
Section 1 of Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, which states that: only natural or
juridical persons, or entities authorized by law may be parties in a civil
action." Applying this provision of law, the Court, in the case of Ventura v. JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
Militante,54 held: Associate Justice

Parties may be either plaintiffs or defendants. x x x. In order to maintain an G.R. No. L-21450 April 15, 1968
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
SERAFIN TIJAM, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees,
as either a natural or an artificial person, and no suit can be lawfully
vs.
prosecuted save in the name of such a person.
MAGDALENO SIBONGHANOY alias GAVINO SIBONGHANOY and
LUCIA BAGUIO, defendants,
The rule is no different as regards party defendants. It is incumbent upon a MANILA SURETY AND FIDELITY CO., INC. (CEBU BRANCH) bonding
plaintiff, when he institutes a judicial proceeding, to name the proper party company and defendant-appellant.
defendant to his cause of action. In a suit or proceeding in personam of an
adversary character, the court can acquire no jurisdiction for the purpose of
F. S. Urot and G. A. Uriate for plaintiffs-appellees.
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 Carlos J. Cuizon for defendants Gavino Sibonghanoy and Lucia Baguio.
the question of the legal personality of a party defendant is a question of Villaluz Law Office, Velasco Law Office, Pages and Soberano for defendant-
appellant Manila Surety and Fidelity Company, Inc.
substance going to the jurisdiction of the court and not one of procedure.

DIZON, J.:
The original complaint of petitioner named the "estate of Carlos Ngo as
represented by surviving spouse Ms. Sulpicia Ventura" as the
defendant.1âwphi1 Petitioner moved to dismiss the same on the ground that On July 19, 1948 — barely one month after the effectivity of Republic Act No.
the defendant as named in the complaint had no legal personality. We agree. 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
x x x. Considering that capacity to be sued is a correlative of the capacity to Instance of Cebu against the spouses Magdaleno Sibonghanoy and Lucia
sue, to the same extent, a decedent does not have the capacity to be sued Baguio to recover from them the sum of P1,908.00, with legal interest
thereon from the date of the filing of the complaint until the whole obligation
and may not be named a party defendant in a court action. (Emphases
supplied.) 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
dissolved upon the filing of a counter-bond by defendants and the Manila
Indeed, where the defendant is neither a natural nor a juridical person or an Surety and Fidelity Co., Inc. hereinafter referred to as the Surety, on the 31st
entity authorized by law, the complaint may be dismissed on the ground that of the same month.
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

18
After being duly served with summons the defendants filed their answer in It would indeed appear from the record that the action at bar, which
which, after making some admissions and denials of the material averments is a suit for collection of money in the sum of exactly P1,908.00
of the complaint, they interposed a counterclaim. This counterclaim was exclusive of interest, was originally instituted in the Court of First
answered by the plaintiffs. Instance of Cebu on July 19, 1948. But about a month prior to the
filing of the complaint, more specifically on June 17, 1948, the
Judiciary Act of 1948 took effect, depriving the Court of First
After trial upon the issues thus joined, the Court rendered judgment in favor
Instance of original jurisdiction over cases in which the demand,
of the plaintiffs and, after the same had become final and executory, upon
exclusive of interest, is not more than P2,000.00. (Secs. 44[c] and
motion of the latter, the Court issued a writ of execution against the
86[b], R.A. No. 296.)
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 which the Surety filed a written opposition (Id. pp. We believe, therefore, that the point raised in appellant's motion is
49) upon two grounds, namely, (1) Failure to prosecute and (2) Absence of a an important one which merits serious consideration. As stated,
demand upon the Surety for the payment of the amount due under the the complaint was filed on July 19, 1948. This case therefore has
judgment. Upon these grounds the Surety prayed the Court not only to deny been pending now for almost 15 years, and throughout the entire
the motion for execution against its counter-bond but also the proceeding appellant never raised the question of jurisdiction until
following affirmative relief : "to relieve the herein bonding company of its after receipt of this Court's adverse decision.
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
There are three cases decided by the Honorable Supreme Court
Surety for the satisfaction of the judgment. Thereafter the necessary demand
which may be worthy of consideration in connection with this case,
was made, and upon failure of the Surety to satisfy the judgment, the
namely: Tyson Tan, et al. vs. Filipinas Compañia de Seguros, et
plaintiffs filed a second motion for execution against the counterbond. On the
al., G.R. No. L-10096, March 23, 1956; Pindangan Agricultural Co.,
date set for the hearing thereon, the Court, upon motion of the Surety's
Inc. vs. Jose P. Dans, etc., et al., G.R. No. L-14591, September
counsel, granted the latter a period of five days within which to answer the
26, 1962; and Alfredo Montelibano, et al. vs. Bacolod-Murcia
motion. Upon its failure to file such answer, the Court granted the motion for
Milling Co., Inc., G.R. No. L-15092, September 29, 1962, wherein
execution and the corresponding writ was issued.
the Honorable Supreme Court frowned upon the 'undesirable
practice' of appellants submitting their case for decision and then
Subsequently, the Surety moved to quash the writ on the ground that the accepting the judgment, if favorable, but attacking it for lack of
same was issued without the required summary hearing provided for in jurisdiction when adverse.
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
Considering, however, that the Supreme Court has the "exclusive"
from the one denying its motion for reconsideration (Id. p. 97). Its record on
appellate jurisdiction over "all cases in which the jurisdiction of any
appeal was then printed as required by the Rules, and in due time it filed its
inferior court is in issue" (See. 1, Par. 3[3], Judiciary Act of 1948,
brief raising therein no other question but the ones covered by the following
as amended), we have no choice but to certify, as we hereby do
assignment of errors:
certify, this case to the Supreme Court.1äwphï1.ñët

I. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in issuing its order dated
ACCORDINGLY, pursuant to Section 31 of the Judiciary Act of
November 2, 1957, by holding the incident as submitted for
1948 as amended, let the record of this case be forwarded to the
resolution, without a summary hearing and compliance with the
Supreme Court.
other mandatory requirements provided for in Section 17, Rule 59
of the Rules of Court.
It is an undisputed fact that the action commenced by appellees in the Court
of First Instance of Cebu against the Sibonghanoy spouses was for the
II. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in ordering the issuance
recovery of the sum of P1,908.00 only — an amount within the original
of execution against the herein bonding company-appellant.
exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts in accordance with the provisions of
the Judiciary Act of 1948 which had taken effect about a month prior to the
III. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in denying the motion to date when the action was commenced. True also is the rule that jurisdiction
quash the writ of execution filed by the herein bonding company- over the subject matter is conferred upon the courts exclusively by law, and
appellant as well as its subsequent motion for reconsideration, as the lack of it affects the very authority of the court to take cognizance of
and/or in not quashing or setting aside the writ of execution. the case, the objection may be raised at any stage of the proceedings.
However, considering the facts and circumstances of the present case —
which shall forthwith be set forth — We are of the opinion that the Surety is
Not one of the assignment of errors — it is obvious — raises the question of
now barred by laches from invoking this plea at this late hour for the purpose
lack of jurisdiction, neither directly nor indirectly.
of annuling everything done heretofore in the case with its active
participation.
Although the appellees failed to file their brief, the Court of Appeals, on
December 11, 1962, decided the case affirming the orders appealed from.
As already stated, the action was commenced in the Court of First Instance
of Cebu on July 19, 1948, that is, almostfifteen years before the Surety filed
On January 8, 1963 — five days after the Surety received notice of the its motion to dismiss on January 12, 1963 raising the question of lack of
decision, it filed a motion asking for extension of time within which to file a jurisdiction for the first time.
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
It must be remembered that although the action, originally, was exclusively
pleading entitled MOTION TO DISMISS, alleging substantially that appellees
against the Sibonghanoy spouses the Surety became a quasi-party therein
action was filed in the Court of First Instance of Cebu on July 19, 1948 for the
since July 31, 1948 when it filed a counter-bond for the dissolution of the writ
recovery of the sum of P1,908.00 only; that a month before that date
of attachment issued by the court of origin (Record on Appeal, pp. 15-19).
Republic Act No. 296, otherwise known as the Judiciary Act of 1948, had
Since then, it acquired certain rights and assumed specific obligations in
already become effective, Section 88 of which placed within the original
connection with the pending case, in accordance with sections 12 and 17,
exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts all civil actions where the value of the
Rule 57, Rules of Court (Bautista vs. Joaquin, 46 Phil. 885; Kimpang & Co.
subject-matter or the amount of the demand does not exceed P2,000.00,
vs. Javier, 65 Phil. 170).
exclusive of interest and costs; that the Court of First Instance therefore had
no jurisdiction to try and decide the case. Upon these premises the Surety's
motion prayed the Court of Appeals to set aside its decision and to dismiss Upon the filing of the first motion for execution against the counter-bond the
the case. By resolution of January 16, 1963 the Court of Appeals required Surety not only filed a written opposition thereto praying for its denial but also
the appellees to answer the motion to dismiss, but they failed to do so. asked for an additional affirmative relief — that it be relieved of its liability
Whereupon, on May 20 of the same year, the Court resolved to set aside its under the counter-bond upon the grounds relied upon in support of its
decision and to certify the case to Us. The pertinent portions of its resolution opposition — lack of jurisdiction of the court a quo not being one of them.
read as follows:

19
Then, at the hearing on the second motion for execution against the counter- attachment was issued against defendants' properties. The
bond, the Surety appeared, through counsel, to ask for time within which to attachment, however, was subsequently discharged under Section
file an answer or opposition thereto. This motion was granted, but instead of 12 of Rule 59 upon the filing by defendants of a bond subscribed
such answer or opposition, the Surety filed the motion to dismiss mentioned by Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc.
heretofore.
After trial, judgment was rendered in favor of plaintiffs.
A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways
and for different reasons. Thus we speak of estoppel in pais, or estoppel by
The writ of execution against defendants having been returned
deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches.
totally unsatisfied, plaintiffs moved, under Section 17 of Rule 59,
for issuance of writ of execution against Manila Surety & Fidelity
Laches, in a general sense is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and Co., Inc. to enforce the obligation of the bond. But the motion was,
unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, upon the surety's opposition, denied on the ground that there was
could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or omission to assert "no showing that a demand had been made, by the plaintiffs to the
a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party bonding company for payment of the amount due under the
entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. judgment" (Record on Appeal, p. 60).

The doctrine of laches or of "stale demands" is based upon grounds of public Hence, plaintiffs made the necessary demand upon the surety for
policy which requires, for the peace of society, the discouragement of stale satisfaction of the judgment, and upon the latter's failure to pay the
claims and, unlike the statute of limitations, is not a mere question of time but amount due, plaintiffs again filed a motion dated October 31, 1957,
is principally a question of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or for issuance of writ of execution against the surety, with notice of
claim to be enforced or asserted. hearing on November 2, 1957. On October 31, 1957, the surety
received copy of said motion and notice of hearing.
It has been held that a party can not invoke the jurisdiction of a court to sure
affirmative relief against his opponent and, after obtaining or failing to obtain It appears that when the motion was called on November 2, 1957,
such relief, repudiate or question that same jurisdiction (Dean vs. Dean, 136 the surety's counsel asked that he be given time within which to
Or. 694, 86 A.L.R. 79). In the case just cited, by way of explaining the rule, it answer the motion, and so an order was issued in open court, as
was further said that the question whether the court had jurisdiction either of follows:1äwphï1.ñët
the subject-matter of the action or of the parties was not important in such
cases because the party is barred from such conduct not because the
As prayed for, Atty. Jose P. Soberano, Jr., counsel for
judgment or order of the court is valid and conclusive as an adjudication, but
the Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc., Cebu Branch,
for the reason that such a practice can not be tolerated — obviously for
is given until Wednesday, November 6, 1957, to file his
reasons of public policy.
answer to the motion for the issuance of a writ of
execution dated October 30, 1957 of the plaintiffs, after
Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause which this incident shall be deemed submitted for
and encountering an adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser resolution.
to question the jurisdiction or power of the court (Pease vs. Rathbun-Jones
etc., 243 U.S. 273, 61 L. Ed. 715, 37 S. Ct. 283; St. Louis etc. vs. McBride,
SO ORDERED.
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 matter to secure an affirmative relief, to Given in open court, this 2nd day of November, 1957, at
afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape a penalty. Cebu City, Philippines.

Upon this same principle is what We said in the three cases mentioned in the (Sgd.) JOSE M. MENDOZA
resolution of the Court of Appeals of May 20, 1963 (supra) — to the effect Judge
that we frown upon the "undesirable practice" of a party submitting his case
for decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking
it for lack of jurisdiction, when adverse — as well as in Pindañgan etc. vs. (Record on Appeal, pp.
Dans, et al., G.R. L-14591, September 26, 1962; Montelibano, et al., vs. 64-65, emphasis ours)
Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co., Inc., G.R. L-15092; Young Men Labor Union etc.
vs. The Court of Industrial Relation et al., G.R. L-20307, Feb. 26, 1965, Since the surety's counsel failed to file any answer or objection
and Mejia vs. Lucas, 100 Phil. p. 277. within the period given him, the court, on December 7, 1957,
issued an order granting plaintiffs' motion for execution against the
The facts of this case show that from the time the Surety became a quasi- surety; and on December 12, 1957, the corresponding writ of
party on July 31, 1948, it could have raised the question of the lack of execution was issued.
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 On December 24, 1957, the surety filed a motion to quash the writ
the law then in force, was within the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior of execution on the ground that the same was "issued without the
courts. It failed to do so. Instead, at several stages of the proceedings in the requirements of Section 17, Rule 59 of the Rules of Court having
court a quo as well as in the Court of Appeals, it invoked the jurisdiction of been complied with," more specifically, that the same was issued
said courts to obtain affirmative relief and submitted its case for a final without the required "summary hearing". This motion was denied
adjudication on the merits. It was only after an adverse decision was by order of February 10, 1958.
rendered by the Court of Appeals that it finally woke up to raise the question
of jurisdiction. Were we to sanction such conduct on its part, We would in
effect be declaring as useless all the proceedings had in the present case On February 25, 1958, the surety filed a motion for reconsideration
since it was commenced on July 19, 1948 and compel the judgment creditors of the above-stated order of denial; which motion was likewise
to go up their Calvary once more. The inequity and unfairness of this is not denied by order of March 26, 1958.
only patent but revolting.
From the above-stated orders of February 10, 1958 and March 26,
Coming now to the merits of the appeal: after going over the entire record, 1958 — denying the surety's motion to quash the writ of execution
We have become persuaded that We can do nothing better than to quote in and motion for reconsideration, respectively — the surety has
toto, with approval, the decision rendered by the Court of Appeals on interposed the appeal on hand.
December 11, 1962 as follows:
The surety insists that the lower court should have granted its
In Civil Case No. R-660 of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, motion to quash the writ of execution because the same was
which was a suit for collection of a sum of money, a writ of
20
issued without the summary hearing required by Section 17 of [G.R. No. 140746. March 16, 2005]
Rule 59, which reads; PANTRANCO NORTH EXPRESS, INC., and ALEXANDER
BUNCAN, petitioners, vs. STANDARD INSURANCE
COMPANY, INC., and MARTINA GICALE, respondents.
"Sec. 17. When execution returned unsatisfied, recovery
DECISION
had upon bond. — If the execution be returned
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
unsatisfied in whole or in part, the surety or sureties on
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the
any bond given pursuant to the provisions of this role to
Decision[1] dated July 23 1999 and Resolution[2] dated November 4, 1999 of
secure the payment of the judgment shall become finally
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 38453, entitled Standard Insurance
charged on such bond, and bound to pay to the plaintiff
Company, Inc., and Martina Gicale vs. PANTRANCO North Express, Inc.,
upon demand the amount due under the judgment,
and Alexander Buncan.
which amount may be recovered from such surety or
sureties after notice and summary hearing in the same In the afternoon of October 28, 1984, Crispin Gicale was driving the
action." (Emphasis ours) passenger jeepney owned by his mother Martina Gicale, respondent herein.
It was then raining. While driving north bound along the National Highway in
Summary hearing is "not intended to be carried on in the formal Talavera, Nueva Ecija, a passenger bus, owned by Pantranco North
manner in which ordinary actions are prosecuted" (83 C.J.S. 792). Express, Inc., petitioner, driven by Alexander Buncan, also a petitioner, was
It is, rather, a procedure by which a question is resolved "with trailing behind. When the two vehicles were negotiating a curve along the
dispatch, with the least possible delay, and in preference to highway, the passenger bus overtook the jeepney. In so doing, the
ordinary legal and regular judicial proceedings" (Ibid, p. 790). What passenger bus hit the left rear side of the jeepney and sped away.
is essential is that "the defendant is notified or summoned to
Crispin reported the incident to the Talavera Police Station and
appear and is given an opportunity to hear what is urged upon him,
respondent Standard Insurance Co., Inc. (Standard), insurer of the jeepney.
and to interpose a defense, after which follows an adjudication of
The total cost of the repair was P21,415.00, but respondent Standard paid
the rights of the parties" (Ibid., pp. 793-794); and as to the extent
only P8,000.00. Martina Gicale shouldered the balance of P13,415.00.
and latitude of the hearing, the same will naturally lie upon the
discretion of the court, depending upon the attending Thereafter, Standard and Martina, respondents, demanded
circumstances and the nature of the incident up for consideration. reimbursement from petitioners Pantranco and its driver Alexander Buncan,
but they refused. This prompted respondents to file with the Regional Trial
In the case at bar, the surety had been notified of the plaintiffs' Court (RTC), Branch 94, Manila, a complaint for sum of money.
motion for execution and of the date when the same would be
submitted for consideration. In fact, the surety's counsel was In their answer, both petitioners specifically denied the allegations in
the complaint and averred that it is the Metropolitan Trial Court, not the RTC,
present in court when the motion was called, and it was upon his
request that the court a quo gave him a period of four days within which has jurisdiction over the case.
which to file an answer. Yet he allowed that period to lapse without On June 5, 1992, the trial court rendered a Decision[3] in favor of
filing an answer or objection. The surety cannot now, therefore, respondents Standard and Martina, thus:
complain that it was deprived of its day in court.

WHEREFORE, and in view of the foregoing considerations, judgment is


It is argued that the surety's counsel did not file an answer to the hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, Standard Insurance Company and
motion "for the simple reason that all its defenses can be set up Martina Gicale, and against defendants Pantranco Bus Company and
during the hearing of the motion even if the same are not reduced Alexander Buncan, ordering the latter to pay as follows:
to writing" (Appellant's brief, p. 4). There is obviously no merit in
this pretense because, as stated above, the record will show that
when the motion was called, what the surety's counsel did was to (1) to pay plaintiff Standard Insurance the amount of P8,000.00 with interest
ask that he be allowed and given time to file an answer. Moreover, due thereon from November 27, 1984 until fully paid;
it was stated in the order given in open court upon request of the
surety's counsel that after the four-day period within which to file (2) to pay plaintiff Martina Gicale the amount of P13,415.00 with interest due
an answer, "the incident shall be deemed submitted for resolution"; thereon from October 22, 1984 until fully paid;
and counsel apparently agreed, as the order was issued upon his
instance and he interposed no objection thereto.
(3) to pay the sum of P10,000.00 for attorneys fees;
It is also urged that although according to Section 17 of Rule
59, supra, there is no need for a separate action, there must, (4) to pay the expenses of litigation and the cost of suit.
however, be a separate judgment against the surety in order to
hold it liable on the bond (Appellant's Brief, p. 15). Not so, in our
SO ORDERED.
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 On appeal, the Court of Appeals, in a Decision[4] dated July 23, 1999,
so released". Hence, after the judgment for the plaintiff has affirmed the trial courts ruling, holding that:
become executory and the execution is "returned unsatisfied"
(Sec. 17, Rule 59), as in this case, the liability of the bond
The appellants argue that appellee Gicales claim of P13,415.00 and appellee
automatically attaches and, in failure of the surety to satisfy the
insurance companys claim of P8,000.00 individually fell under the exclusive
judgment against the defendant despite demand therefor, writ of
original jurisdiction of the municipal trial court. This is not correct because
execution may issue against the surety to enforce the obligation of
under the Totality Rule provided for under Sec. 19, Batas Pambansa Bilang
the bond.
129, it is the sum of the two claims that determines the jurisdictional amount.

UPON ALL THE FOREGOING, the orders appealed from are hereby
xxx
affirmed, with costs against the appellant Manila Surety and Fidelity
Company, Inc.
In the case at bench, the total of the two claims is definitely more
than P20,000.00 which at the time of the incident in question was the
Reyes, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and
jurisdictional amount of the Regional Trial Court.
Fernando, JJ., concur.

Appellants contend that there was a misjoinder of parties. Assuming that


there was, under the Rules of Court (Sec. 11, Rule 7) as well as under the
Rules of Civil Procedure (ditto), the same does not affect the jurisdiction of
the court nor is it a ground to dismiss the complaint.

21
xxx 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; and (c) such joinder
It does not need perspicacity in logic to see that appellees Gicales and
is not otherwise proscribed by the provisions of the Rules on jurisdiction and
insurance companys individual claims against appellees (sic) arose from the
venue.[6]
same vehicular accident on October 28, 1984 involving appellant Pantrancos
bus and appellee Gicales jeepney. That being the case, there was a question In this case, there is a single transaction common to all, that is,
of fact common to all the parties: Whose fault or negligence caused the Pantrancos bus hitting the rear side of the jeepney. There is also a common
damage to the jeepney? question of fact, that is, whether petitioners are negligent. There being a
single transaction common to both respondents, consequently, they have the
Appellants submit that they were denied their day in court because the case same cause of action against petitioners.
was deemed submitted for decision without even declaring defendants in
To determine identity of cause of action, it must be ascertained
default or to have waived the presentation of evidence. This is incorrect. Of
whether the same evidence which is necessary to sustain the second cause
course, the court did not declare defendants in default because that is done
of action would have been sufficient to authorize a recovery in the
only when the defendant fails to tender an answer within the reglementary
first.[7]Here, had respondents filed separate suits against petitioners, the
period. When the lower court ordered that the case is deemed submitted for
same evidence would have been presented to sustain the same cause of
decision that meant that the defendants were deemed to have waived their
action. Thus, the filing by both respondents of the complaint with the court
right to present evidence. If they failed to adduce their evidence, they should
below is in order. Such joinder of parties avoids multiplicity of suit and
blame nobody but themselves. They failed to be present during the
ensures the convenient, speedy and orderly administration of justice.
scheduled hearing for the reception of their evidence despite notice and
without any motion or explanation. They did not even file any motion for Corollarily, Section 5(d), Rule 2 of the same Rules provides:
reconsideration of the order considering the case submitted for decision.

Sec. 5. Joinder of causes of action. A party may in one pleading assert, in


Finally, contrary to the assertion of the defendant-appellants, the evidence the alternative or otherwise, as many causes of action as he may have
preponderantly established their liability for quasi-delict under Article 2176 of against an opposing party, subject to the following conditions:
the Civil Code.

xxx
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied by the
Appellate Court in a Resolution dated November 4, 1999.
(d) Where the claims in all the causes of action are principally for recovery of
Hence, this petition for review on certiorari raising the following money the aggregate amount claimed shall be the test of jurisdiction.
assignments of error:

I The above provision presupposes that the different causes of action


which are joined accrue in favor of the same plaintiff/s and against the same
defendant/s and that no misjoinder of parties is involved. [8] The issue of
WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE whether respondents claims shall be lumped together is determined by
SUBJECT OF THE ACTION CONSIDERING THAT RESPONDENTS paragraph (d) of the above provision. This paragraph embodies the totality
RESPECTIVE CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST PETITIONERS DID NOT rule as exemplified by Section 33 (1) of B.P. Blg. 129[9] which states, among
ARISE OUT OF THE SAME TRANSACTION NOR ARE THERE others, that where there are several claims or causes of action between the
QUESTIONS OF LAW AND FACTS COMMON TO BOTH PETITIONERS same or different parties, embodied in the same complaint, the amount of the
AND RESPONDENTS. demand shall be the totality of the claims in all the causes of action,
irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same or
II different transactions.

As previously stated, respondents cause of action against petitioners


WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONERS ARE LIABLE TO RESPONDENTS arose out of the same transaction. Thus, the amount of the demand shall be
CONSIDERING THAT BASED ON THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED AND LAW the totality of the claims.
APPLICABLE IN THE CASE AT BAR, RESPONDENTS HAVE NOT
SHOWN ANY RIGHT TO THE RELIEF PRAYED FOR. Respondent Standards claim is P8,000.00, while that of respondent
Martina Gicale is P13,415.00, or a total of P21,415.00. Section 19 of B.P.
Blg. 129 provides that the RTC has exclusive original jurisdiction over all
III other cases, in which the demand, exclusive of interest and cost or the value
of the property in controversy, amounts to more than twenty thousand pesos
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONERS WERE DEPRIVED OF THEIR RIGHT (P20,000.00). Clearly, it is the RTC that has jurisdiction over the instant case.
TO DUE PROCESS. It bears emphasis that when the complaint was filed, R.A. 7691 expanding
the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan, Municipal and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts had not yet taken effect. It became effective on April 15, 1994.
For their part, respondents contend that their individual claims arose
out of the same vehicular accident and involve a common question of fact II
and law. Hence, the RTC has jurisdiction over the case.
The finding of the trial court, affirmed by the Appellate Court, that
I petitioners are negligent and thus liable to respondents, is a factual finding
which is binding upon us, a rule well-established in our jurisprudence. It has
Petitioners insist that the trial court has no jurisdiction over the case been repeatedly held that the trial court's factual findings, when affirmed by
since the cause of action of each respondent did not arise from the same the Appellate Court, are conclusive and binding upon this Court, if they are
transaction and that there are no common questions of law and fact common not tainted with arbitrariness or oversight of some fact or circumstance of
to both parties. Section 6, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court,[5] provides: significance and influence. Petitioners have not presented sufficient ground
to warrant a deviation from this rule.[10]
Sec. 6. Permissive joinder of parties. All persons in whom or against whom
III
any right to 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 There is no merit in petitioners contention that they were denied due
alternative, may, except as otherwise provided in these Rules, join as process. Records show that during the hearing, petitioner Pantrancos
plaintiffs or be joined as defendants in one complaint, where any question of counsel filed two motions for resetting of trial which were granted by the trial
law or fact common to all such plaintiffs or to all such defendants may arise court. Subsequently, said counsel filed a notice to withdraw. After
in the action; but the court may make such orders as may be just to prevent respondents had presented their evidence, the trial court, upon petitioners
any plaintiff or defendant from being embarrassed or put to expense in motion, reset the hearing to another date. On this date, Pantranco failed to
connection with any proceedings in which he may have no interest. appear. Thus, the trial court warned Pantranco that should it fail to appear
during the next hearing, the case will be submitted for resolution on the basis

22
of the evidence presented. Subsequently, Pantrancos new counsel Appeals? Conversely, does the active participation of the
manifested that his client is willing to settle the case amicably and moved for petitioner in the trial of his case, which is initiated and
another postponement. The trial court granted the motion. On the date of the filed not by him but by the public prosecutor, amount to
hearing, the new counsel manifested that Pantrancos employees are on estoppel?
strike and moved for another postponement. On the next hearing, said
counsel still failed to appear. Hence, the trial court considered the case b. Does the admission of the petitioner that it
submitted for decision. is difficult to immediately stop a bus while it is running
at 40 kilometers per hour for the purpose of avoiding a
We have consistently held that the essence of due process is simply person who unexpectedly crossed the road,
an opportunity to be heard, or an opportunity to explain ones side or an constitute enough incriminating evidence to warrant his
opportunity to seek for a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained conviction for the crime charged?
of.[11]
c. Is the Honorable Court of Appeals justified
Petitioner Pantranco filed an answer and participated during the trial
in considering the place of accident as falling within Item
and presentation of respondents evidence. It was apprised of the notices of 4 of Section 35 (b) of the Land Transportation and Traffic
hearing issued by the trial court. Indeed, it was afforded fair and reasonable Code, and subsequently ruling that the speed limit
opportunity to explain its side of the controversy. Clearly, it was not denied of
thereto is only 20 kilometers per hour, when no evidence
its right to due process. What is frowned upon is the absolute lack of notice whatsoever to that effect was ever presented by the
and hearing which is not present here. prosecution during the trial of this case?
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision dated
July 23 1999 and Resolution dated November 4, 1999 of the Court of d. Is the Honorable Court of Appeals justified
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 38453 are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against in convicting the petitioner for homicide through reckless
petitioners. imprudence (the legally correct designation is reckless
imprudence resulting to homicide) with violation of the
SO ORDERED. Land Transportation and Traffic Code when the
prosecution did not prove this during the trial and, more
importantly, the information filed against the petitioner
ENANCIO FIGUEROA y CERVANTES,[1] G.R. No. 147406 does not contain an allegation to that effect?
Petitioner,
e. Does the uncontroverted testimony of the
Present: defense witness Leonardo Hernal that the victim
- versus - unexpectedly crossed the road resulting in him getting
QUISUMBING, J.,* hit by the bus driven by the petitioner not enough
YNARES-SANTIAGO, evidence to acquit him of the crime charged?[9]
Chairperson,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
NACHURA, and Applied uniformly is the familiar rule that the jurisdiction of the court
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, REYES, JJ. to hear and decide a case is conferred by the law in force at the time of the
Respondent. institution of the action, unless such statute provides for a retroactive
application thereof.[10] In this case, at the time the criminal information for
Promulgated: reckless imprudence resulting in homicide with violation of the Automobile
Law (now Land Transportation and Traffic Code) was filed, Section 32(2)
July 14, 2008 of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 129[11] had already been amended by
Republic Act No. 7691.[12] The said provision thus reads:
DECISION
Sec. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial
NACHURA, J.: Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts in Criminal Cases.Except in cases falling within
When is a litigant estopped by laches from assailing the jurisdiction the exclusive original jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts
of a tribunal? This is the paramount issue raised in this petition for review of and the Sandiganbayan, the Metropolitan Trial Courts,
the February 28, 2001 Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
CR No. 22697. shall exercise:

Pertinent are the following antecedent facts and proceedings: xxxx

On July 8, 1994, an information[3] for reckless imprudence resulting in (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all
homicide was filed against the petitioner before the Regional Trial Court offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding
(RTC) of Bulacan, Branch 18.[4] The case was docketed as Criminal Case six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine, and
No. 2235-M-94.[5] Trial on the merits ensued and on August 19, 1998, the regardless of other imposable accessory or other
trial court convicted the petitioner as charged.[6] In his appeal before the CA, penalties, including the civil liability arising from such
the petitioner questioned, among others, for the first time, the trial courts offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of kind,
jurisdiction.[7] nature, value or amount thereof: Provided,
however, That in offenses involving damage to property
The appellate court, however, in the challenged decision, through criminal negligence, they shall have exclusive
considered the petitioner to have actively participated in the trial and to have original jurisdiction thereof.
belatedly attacked the jurisdiction of the RTC; thus, he was already estopped
by laches from asserting the trial courts lack of jurisdiction. Finding no other
ground to reverse the trial courts decision, the CA affirmed the petitioners As the imposable penalty for the crime charged herein is prision
conviction but modified the penalty imposed and the damages awarded.[8] correccional in its medium and maximum periods or imprisonment for 2
Dissatisfied, the petitioner filed the instant petition for review years, 4 months and 1 day to 6 years,[13] jurisdiction to hear and try the same
on certiorari raising the following issues for our resolution: is conferred on the Municipal Trial Courts (MTCs). Clearly, therefore, the
RTC of Bulacan does not have jurisdiction over Criminal Case No. 2235-M-
a. Does the fact that the petitioner failed to 94.
raise the issue of jurisdiction during the trial of this case,
which was initiated and filed by the public prosecutor While both the appellate court and the Solicitor General
before the wrong court, constitute laches in relation to acknowledge this fact, they nevertheless are of the position that the principle
the doctrine laid down in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy, of estoppel by laches has already precluded the petitioner from questioning
notwithstanding the fact that said issue was immediately the jurisdiction of the RTCthe trial went on for 4 years with the petitioner
raised in petitioners appeal to the Honorable Court of actively participating therein and without him ever raising the jurisdictional

23
infirmity. The petitioner, for his part, counters that the lack of jurisdiction of a was without jurisdiction, he is
court over the subject matter may be raised at any time even for the first time estopped subsequently to assert, in
on appeal. As undue delay is further absent herein, the principle of laches support of a defense of previous
will not be applicable. jeopardy, that such court had
jurisdiction. (22 C.J.S. p. 378.)[18]
To settle once and for all this problem of jurisdiction vis--vis estoppel by
laches, which continuously confounds the bench and the bar, we shall
analyze the various Court decisions on the matter. But in Pindagan Agricultural Co., Inc. v. Dans,[19] the Court, in not sustaining
the plea of lack of jurisdiction by the plaintiff-appellee therein, made the
As early as 1901, this Court has declared that unless jurisdiction has been following observations:
conferred by some legislative act, no court or tribunal can act on a matter
submitted to it.[14] We went on to state in U.S. v. De La Santa[15] that: It is surprising why it is only now, after the
decision has been rendered, that the plaintiff-appellee
It has been frequently held that a lack of jurisdiction presents the question of this Courts jurisdiction over the
over the subject-matter is fatal, and subject to objection case. Republic Act No. 2613 was enacted on August 1,
at any stage of the proceedings, either in the court 1959. This case was argued on January 29,
below or on appeal (Ency. of Pl. & Pr., vol. 12, p. 189, 1960. Notwithstanding this fact, the jurisdiction of this
and large array of cases there cited), and Court was never impugned until the adverse decision of
indeed, where the subject-matter is not within the this Court was handed down. The conduct of counsel
jurisdiction, the court may dismiss the leads us to believe that they must have always been of
proceeding ex mero motu. (4 Ill., 133; 190 Ind., 79; the belief that notwithstanding said enactment of
Chipman vs. Waterbury, 59 Conn., 496.) Republic Act 2613 this Court has jurisdiction of the
case, such conduct being born out of a conviction that
Jurisdiction over the subject-matter in a the actual real value of the properties in question
judicial proceeding is conferred by the sovereign actually exceeds the jurisdictional amount of this Court
authority which organizes the court; it is given only by (over P200,000). Our minute resolution in G.R. No. L-
law and in the manner prescribed by law and an 10096, Hyson Tan, et al. vs. Filipinas Compaa de
objection based on the lack of such jurisdiction can not Seguros, et al., of March 23, 1956, a parallel case, is
be waived by the parties. x x x[16] applicable to the conduct of plaintiff-appellee in this
case, thus:

Later, in People v. Casiano,[17] the Court explained: x x x that an appellant who files his
brief and submits his case to the
4. The operation of the principle of Court of Appeals for decision,
estoppel on the question of jurisdiction seemingly without questioning the latters
depends upon whether the lower court actually had jurisdiction until decision is rendered
jurisdiction or not. If it had no jurisdiction, but the therein, should be considered as
case was tried and decided upon the theory that having voluntarily waived so much
it had jurisdiction, the parties are not barred, on of his claim as would exceed the
appeal, from assailing such jurisdiction, for the jurisdiction of said Appellate Court;
same must exist as a matter of law, and may not be for the reason that a contrary rule
conferred by consent of the parties or by would encourage the undesirable
estoppel (5 C.J.S., 861-863). However, if the lower practice of appellants submitting
court had jurisdiction, and the case was heard and their cases for decision to the Court
decided upon a given theory, such, for instance, as that of Appeals in expectation of
the court had no jurisdiction, the party who induced it to favorable judgment, but with intent
adopt such theory will not be permitted, on appeal, to of attacking its jurisdiction should
assume an inconsistent positionthat the lower the decision be unfavorable: x x x[20]
court had jurisdiction. Here, the principle of estoppel
applies. The rule that jurisdiction is conferred by law,
and does not depend upon the will of the parties, Then came our ruling in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy[21] that a party may be barred
has no bearing thereon. Thus, Corpus Juris Secundum by laches from invoking lack of jurisdiction at a late hour for the purpose of
says: annulling everything done in the case with the active participation of said
party invoking the plea. We expounded, thus:
Where accused has
secured a decision that the A party may be estopped or barred from raising a
indictment is void, or has been question in different ways and for different
granted an instruction based on its reasons. Thus, we speak of estoppel in pais, of
defective character directing the jury estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel
to acquit, he is estopped, when by laches.
subsequently indicted, to assert that Laches, in a general sense, is failure or
the former indictment was valid. In neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of
such case, there may be a new time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence,
prosecution whether the indictment could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence
in the former prosecution was good or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time,
or bad. Similarly, where, after the warranting a presumption that the party entitled to
jury was impaneled and sworn, the assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it.
court on accused's motion quashed The doctrine of laches or of stale demands is
the information on the erroneous based upon grounds of public policy which requires, for
assumption that the court had no the peace of society, the discouragement of stale
jurisdiction, accused cannot claims and, unlike the statute of limitations, is not a
successfully plead former jeopardy mere question of time but is principally a question of the
to a new information. x x x (22 inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be
C.J.S., sec. 252, pp. 388-389; italics enforced or asserted.
ours.)
It has been held that a party cannot invoke the
Where accused procured jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief against
a prior conviction to be set aside on his opponent and, after obtaining or failing to obtain
the ground that the court such relief, repudiate or question that same jurisdiction

24
(Dean vs. Dean, 136 Or. 694, 86 A.L.R. 79). In the case altogether the time-honored principle that the issue of
just cited, by way of explaining the rule, it was further jurisdiction is not lost by waiver or by estoppel.
said that the question whether the court had jurisdiction
either of the subject matter of the action or of the parties In Sibonghanoy, the defense of lack of
was not important in such cases because the party is jurisdiction of the court that rendered the questioned
barred from such conduct not because the judgment or ruling was held to be barred by estoppel by laches. It
order of the court is valid and conclusive as an was ruled that the lack of jurisdiction having been raised
adjudication, but for the reason that such a practice for the first time in a motion to dismiss filed almost
cannot be toleratedobviously for reasons of public fifteen (15) years after the questioned ruling had been
policy. rendered, such a plea may no longer be raised for
being barred by laches. As defined in said case, laches
Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and
submitting a cause and encountering an adverse unexplained length of time, to do that which, by
decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to exercising due diligence, could or should have been
question the jurisdiction or power of the court (Pease done earlier; it is negligence or omission to assert a
vs. Rathbun-Jones etc., 243 U.S. 273, 61 L. Ed. 715, 37 right within a reasonable time, warranting a
S.Ct. 283; St. Louis etc. vs. McBride, 141 U.S. 127, 35 presumption that the party entitled to assert has
L. Ed. 659). And in Littleton vs. Burgess, 16 Wyo. 58, abandoned it or declined to assert it.[24]
the Court said that it is not right for a party who has
affirmed and invoked the jurisdiction of a court in a In Calimlim, despite the fact that the one who benefited from the plea of lack
particular matter to secure an affirmative relief, to of jurisdiction was the one who invoked the courts jurisdiction, and who later
afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape a obtained an adverse judgment therein, we refused to apply the ruling
penalty. in Sibonghanoy. The Court accorded supremacy to the time-honored
principle that the issue of jurisdiction is not lost by waiver or by
Upon this same principle is what We said in the three estoppel.
cases mentioned in the resolution of the Court of
Appeals of May 20, 1963 (supra)to the effect that we Yet, in subsequent cases decided after Calimlim, which by sheer volume are
frown upon the undesirable practice of a party too plentiful to mention, the Sibonghanoy doctrine, as foretold in Calimlim,
submitting his case for decision and then accepting the became the rule rather than the exception. As such, in Soliven v. Fastforms
judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of Philippines, Inc.,[25] the Court ruled:
jurisdiction, when adverseas well as in Pindagan etc.
vs. Dans et al., G.R. L-14591, September 26, 1962; While it is true that jurisdiction may be raised at any
Montelibano et al. vs. Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co., Inc., time, this rule presupposes that estoppel has not
G.R. L-15092; Young Men Labor Union etc. vs. The supervened. In the instant case, respondent actively
Court of Industrial Relations et al., G.R. L-20307, Feb. participated in all stages of the proceedings before the
26, 1965, and Mejia vs. Lucas, 100 Phil. p. 277. trial court and invoked its authority by asking for an
affirmative relief. Clearly, respondent is estopped from
The facts of this case show that from the time the Surety became a quasi- challenging the trial courts jurisdiction, especially when
party on July 31, 1948, it could have raised the question of the lack of an adverse judgment has been
jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Cebu to take cognizance of the rendered. In PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation
present action by reason of the sum of money involved which, according to vs. Court of Appeals, we held:
the law then in force, was within the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior
courts. It failed to do so. Instead, at several stages of the proceedings in the Moreover, we note that petitioner
court a quo, as well as in the Court of Appeals, it invoked the jurisdiction of did not question at all the jurisdiction
said courts to obtain affirmative relief and submitted its case for a final of the lower court x x x in its
adjudication on the merits. It was only after an adverse decision was answers to both the amended
rendered by the Court of Appeals that it finally woke up to raise the question complaint and the second amended
of jurisdiction. Were we to sanction such conduct on its part, We would in complaint. It did so only in its motion
effect be declaring as useless all the proceedings had in the present case for reconsideration of the decision of
since it was commenced on July 19, 1948 and compel the judgment creditors the lower court after it had received
to go up their Calvary once more. The inequity and unfairness of this is not an adverse decision. As this Court
only patent but revolting.[22] held in Pantranco North Express,
Inc. vs. Court of Appeals (G.R. No.
For quite a time since we made this pronouncement in Sibonghanoy, courts 105180, July 5, 1993, 224 SCRA
and tribunals, in resolving issues that involve the belated invocation of lack of 477, 491), participation in all stages
jurisdiction, have applied the principle of estoppel by laches. Thus, of the case before the trial court,
in Calimlim v. Ramirez,[23] we pointed out that Sibonghanoy was developing that included invoking its authority in
into a general rule rather than the exception: asking for affirmative relief,
effectively barred petitioner by
A rule that had been settled by unquestioned estoppel from challenging the courts
acceptance and upheld in decisions so numerous to jurisdiction. Notably, from the time it
cite is that the jurisdiction of a court over the subject- filed its answer to the second
matter of the action is a matter of law and may not be amended complaint on April 16,
conferred by consent or agreement of the parties. The 1985, petitioner did not question the
lack of jurisdiction of a court may be raised at any stage lower courts jurisdiction. It was only
of the proceedings, even on appeal. This doctrine has on December 29, 1989 when it filed
been qualified by recent pronouncements which its motion for reconsideration of the
stemmed principally from the ruling in the cited case lower courts decision that petitioner
of Sibonghanoy. It is to be regretted, however, that the raised the question of the lower
holding in said case had been applied to situations courts lack of jurisdiction. Petitioner
which were obviously not contemplated therein. The thus foreclosed its right to raise the
exceptional circumstance involved issue of jurisdiction by its own
in Sibonghanoy which justified the departure from the inaction. (italics ours)
accepted concept of non-waivability of objection to
jurisdiction has been ignored and, instead a blanket Similarly, in the subsequent case of Sta. Lucia Realty
doctrine had been repeatedly upheld that rendered the and Development, Inc. vs. Cabrigas, we ruled:
supposed ruling in Sibonghanoy not as the exception,
but rather the general rule, virtually overthrowing In the case at bar, it was
found by the trial court in its 30

25
September 1996 decision in LCR The above argument is anchored on estoppel
Case No. Q-60161(93) that private by laches, which has been used quite successfully in a
respondents (who filed the petition number of cases to thwart dismissals based on lack of
for reconstitution of titles) failed to jurisdiction. Tijam v. Sibonghanoy, in which this doctrine
comply with both sections 12 and 13 was espoused, held that a party may be barred from
of RA 26 and therefore, it had no questioning a courts jurisdiction after being invoked to
jurisdiction over the subject matter secure affirmative relief against its opponent. In fine,
of the case. However, private laches prevents the issue of lack of jurisdiction from
respondents never questioned the being raised for the first time on appeal by a litigant
trial courts jurisdiction over its whose purpose is to annul everything done in a trial in
petition for reconstitution throughout which it has actively participated.
the duration of LCR Case No. Q-
60161(93). On the contrary, private Laches is defined as the failure or neglect for an
respondents actively participated in unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that
the reconstitution proceedings by which, by exercising due diligence, could or should
filing pleadings and presenting its have been done earlier; it is negligence or omission to
evidence.They invoked the trial assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a
courts jurisdiction in order to obtain presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has
affirmative relief the reconstitution of abandoned it or declined to assert it.
their titles. Private respondents have
thus foreclosed their right to raise The ruling in Sibonghanoy on the matter of jurisdiction
the issue of jurisdiction by their own is, however, the exception rather than the rule. Estoppel
actions. by laches may be invoked to bar the issue of lack of
jurisdiction only in cases in which the factual milieu is
The Court has constantly analogous to that in the cited case. In such
upheld the doctrine that while controversies, laches should be clearly present; that is,
jurisdiction may be assailed at any lack of jurisdiction must have been raised so belatedly
stage, a litigants participation in all as to warrant the presumption that the party entitled to
stages of the case before the trial assert it had abandoned or declined to assert
court, including the invocation of its it. That Sibonghanoy applies only to exceptional
authority in asking for affirmative circumstances is clarified in Calimlim v. Ramirez, which
relief, bars such party from we quote:
challenging the courts
jurisdiction (PNOC Shipping and A rule that had been settled by
Transport Corporation vs. Court of unquestioned acceptance and
Appeals, 297 SCRA 402 [1998]). A upheld in decisions so numerous to
party cannot invoke the jurisdiction cite is that the jurisdiction of a court
of a court to secure affirmative relief over the subject-matter of the action
against his opponent and after is a matter of law and may not be
obtaining or failing to obtain such conferred by consent or agreement
relief, repudiate or question that of the parties. The lack of
same jurisdiction (Asset jurisdiction of a court may be raised
Privatization Trust vs. Court of at any stage of the proceedings,
Appeals, 300 SCRA 579 even on appeal. This doctrine has
[1998]; Province of Bulacan vs. been qualified by recent
Court of Appeals, 299 SCRA 442 pronouncements which stemmed
[1998]). The Court frowns upon the principally from the ruling in the
undesirable practice of a party cited case of Sibonghanoy. It is to
participating in the proceedings and be regretted, however, that the
submitting his case for decision and holding in said case had been
then accepting judgment, only if applied to situations which were
favorable, and attacking it for lack of obviously not contemplated therein.
jurisdiction, when The exceptional circumstance
adverse (Producers Bank of the involved in Sibonghanoy which
Philippines vs. NLRC, 298 SCRA justified the departure from the
517 [1998], citing Ilocos Sur Electric accepted concept of non-waivability
Cooperative, Inc. vs. NLRC, 241 of objection to jurisdiction has been
SCRA 36 [1995]). (italics ours)[26] ignored and, instead a blanket
doctrine had been repeatedly
upheld that rendered the supposed
ruling in Sibonghanoy not as the
Noteworthy, however, is that, in the 2005 case of Metromedia Times exception, but rather the general
Corporation v. Pastorin,[27] where the issue of lack of jurisdiction was raised rule, virtually overthrowing
only in the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) on appeal, we altogether the time-honored
stated, after examining the doctrines of jurisdiction vis--vis estoppel, that the principle that the issue of jurisdiction
ruling in Sibonghanoy stands as an exception, rather than the general is not lost by waiver or by estoppel.
rule. Metromedia, thus, was not estopped from assailing the jurisdiction of
the labor arbiter before the NLRC on appeal.[28] Indeed, the general rule remains: a courts lack of
jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the
Later, in Francel Realty Corporation v. Sycip,[29] the Court clarified proceedings, even on appeal. The reason is that
that: jurisdiction is conferred by law, and lack of it affects the
very authority of the court to take cognizance of and to
Petitioner argues that the CAs affirmation of the trial render judgment on the action. Moreover, jurisdiction is
courts dismissal of its case was erroneous, considering determined by the averments of the complaint, not by
that a full-blown trial had already been conducted. In the defenses contained in the answer.[30]
effect, it contends that lack of jurisdiction could no
longer be used as a ground for dismissal after trial had
ensued and ended.

26
Also, in Mangaliag v. Catubig-Pastoral,[31] even if the pleader of lack of appeal, and is not lost by waiver or by estoppel. Estoppel by laches, to bar a
jurisdiction actively took part in the trial proceedings by presenting a witness litigant from asserting the courts absence or lack of jurisdiction, only
to seek exoneration, the Court, reiterating the doctrine in Calimlim, said: supervenes in exceptional cases similar to the factual milieu of Tijam v.
Sibonghanoy. Indeed, the fact that a person attempts to invoke unauthorized
Private respondent argues that the defense of lack of jurisdiction of a court does not estop him from thereafter challenging its
jurisdiction may be waived by estoppel through active jurisdiction over the subject matter, since such jurisdiction must arise by law
participation in the trial. Such, however, is not the and not by mere consent of the parties. This is especially true where the
general rule but an exception, best characterized by the person seeking to invoke unauthorized jurisdiction of the court does not
peculiar circumstances in Tijam vs. Sibonghanoy. thereby secure any advantage or the adverse party does not suffer any
In Sibonghanoy, the party invoking lack of jurisdiction harm.[35]
did so only after fifteen years and at a stage when the
proceedings had already been elevated to the Applying the said doctrine to the instant case, the petitioner is in no way
CA. Sibonghanoy is an exceptional case because of estopped by laches in assailing the jurisdiction of the RTC, considering that
the presence of laches, which was defined therein as he raised the lack thereof in his appeal before the appellate court. At that
failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained time, no considerable period had yet elapsed for laches to attach. True, delay
length of time to do that which, by exercising due alone, though unreasonable, will not sustain the defense of estoppel by
diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is laches unless it further appears that the party, knowing his rights, has not
the negligence or omission to assert a right within a sought to enforce them until the condition of the party pleading laches has in
reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the good faith become so changed that he cannot be restored to his former state,
party entitled to assert has abandoned it or declined to if the rights be then enforced, due to loss of evidence, change of title,
assert it.[32] intervention of equities, and other causes.[36] In applying the principle of
estoppel by laches in the exceptional case of Sibonghanoy, the Court therein
And in the more recent Regalado v. Go,[33] the Court again considered the patent and revolting inequity and unfairness of having the
emphasized that laches should be clearly present for judgment creditors go up their Calvary once more after more or less 15
the Sibonghanoy doctrine to be applicable, thus: years.[37] The same, however, does not obtain in the instant case.

Laches is defined as the failure or neglect for We note at this point that estoppel, being in the nature of a forfeiture, is not
an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do favored by law. It is to be applied rarelyonly from necessity, and only in
that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should extraordinary circumstances. The doctrine must be applied with great care
have been done earlier, it is negligence or omission to and the equity must be strong in its favor.[38] When misapplied, the doctrine of
assert a right within a reasonable length of time, estoppel may be a most effective weapon for the accomplishment of
warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert injustice.[39] Moreover, a judgment rendered without jurisdiction over the
it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. subject matter is void.[40] Hence, the Revised Rules of Court provides for
The ruling in People v. Regalario that was remedies in attacking judgments rendered by courts or tribunals that have no
based on the landmark doctrine enunciated in Tijam jurisdiction over the concerned cases. No laches will even attach when the
v. Sibonghanoy on the matter of jurisdiction judgment is null and void for want of jurisdiction.[41] As we have stated
by estoppel is the exception rather than the in Heirs of Julian Dela Cruz and Leonora Talaro v. Heirs of Alberto Cruz,[42]
rule. Estoppel by laches may be invoked to bar the issue
of lack of jurisdiction only in cases in which the factual It is axiomatic that the jurisdiction of a tribunal,
milieu is analogous to that in the cited case. In such including a quasi-judicial officer or government agency,
controversies, laches should have been clearly present; over the nature and subject matter of a petition or
that is, lack of jurisdiction must have been raised so complaint is determined by the material allegations
belatedly as to warrant the presumption that the party therein and the character of the relief prayed for,
entitled to assert it had abandoned or declined to assert irrespective of whether the petitioner or complainant is
it. entitled to any or all such reliefs. Jurisdiction over the
nature and subject matter of an action is conferred by
In Sibonghanoy, the defense of lack of the Constitution and the law, and not by the consent or
jurisdiction was raised for the first time in a motion to waiver of the parties where the court otherwise would
dismiss filed by the Surety almost 15 years after the have no jurisdiction over the nature or subject matter of
questioned ruling had been rendered. At several stages the action. Nor can it be acquired through, or waived by,
of the proceedings, in the court a quo as well as in the any act or omission of the parties. Moreover, estoppel
Court of Appeals, the Surety invoked the jurisdiction of does not apply to confer jurisdiction to a tribunal that has
the said courts to obtain affirmative relief and submitted none over the cause of action. x x x
its case for final adjudication on the merits. It was only
when the adverse decision was rendered by the Court of Indeed, the jurisdiction of the court or tribunal
Appeals that it finally woke up to raise the question of is not affected by the defenses or theories set up by the
jurisdiction. defendant or respondent in his answer or motion to
dismiss. Jurisdiction should be determined by
Clearly, the factual settings attendant considering not only the status or the relationship of the
in Sibonghanoy are not present in the case at parties but also the nature of the issues or questions that
bar. Petitioner Atty. Regalado, after the receipt of the is the subject of the controversy. x x x
Court of Appeals resolution finding her guilty of x The proceedings before a court or tribunal without
contempt, promptly filed a Motion for Reconsideration jurisdiction, including its decision, are null and void,
assailing the said courts jurisdiction based on procedural hence, susceptible to direct and collateral attacks.[43]
infirmity in initiating the action. Her compliance with the
appellate courts directive to show cause why she should
not be cited for contempt and filing a single piece of With the above considerations, we find it unnecessary to resolve the other
pleading to that effect could not be considered as an issues raised in the petition.
active participation in the judicial proceedings so as to
take the case within the milieu of Sibonghanoy. Rather, it WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review
is the natural fear to disobey the mandate of the court on certiorari is GRANTED. Criminal Case No. 2235-M-94 is
that could lead to dire consequences that impelled her to hereby DISMISSED without prejudice.
comply.[34]
SO ORDERED.
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 may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even on

27
FIRST DIVISION registration court to order the cancellation, alteration or amendment of a
certificate of title but withdraws from the Court the power to pass upon any
[G.R. No. L-34362. November 19, 1982.] question concerning ownership of the registered property, or any incident
where the issues involved have become controversial."cralaw virtua1aw
MODESTA CALIMLIM AND LAMBERTO MAGALI IN HIS CAPACITY AS library
ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF DOMINGO MAGALI, Petitioner, v.
HON. PEDRO A. RAMIREZ IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. — It may hardly be questioned that the issues
THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF PANGASINAN, BRANCH I, and raised by the petitioners in their petition to cancel TCT No. 68568 refer to the
FRANCISCO RAMOS, Respondents. ownership or title over the property covered thereby. The said petition
presented before the respondent Court in the exercise of its limited
Eugenio Ramos, for Petitioners. jurisdiction as a cadastral court, the question of who should be considered
the true and lawful owner of the parcel of land embraced in said title. The
Rogelio P. Closa for Respondents. petitioners alleged therein that they are the true owners of the property, and
that TCT No. 68568 which they sought to cancel was issued as a result of
SYNOPSIS the errors which were not of their own making. In short, the petition raised a
highly controversial matter which is beyond the judicial competence of a
cadastral court to pass upon or to adjudicate.
Petitioners Modesta Calimlim, surviving spouse of Domingo Magali, and
Lamberto Magali, in his capacity as administrator of the estate of the 4. REMEDIAL LAW; COURTS; JURISDICTION; CONFERRED BY LAW AS
deceased, upon learning that Domingo’s title over a parcel of land had been A RULE AND MAY NOT BE WAIVED BY CONSENT OR AGREEMENT OF
cancelled, filed a petition with respondent Court of First Instance, sitting as a THE PARTIES; LACK OF JURISDICTION MAY BE RAISED AT ANY
cadastral court, praying for the cancellation of TCT No. 68568 issued in favor STAGE OF THE PROCEEDINGS, EVEN ON APPEAL. — A rule that had
of Independent Mercantile Corporation. Petitioners alleged therein that they been settled by unquestioned acceptance and upheld in decisions so
are the true owners of the property, and that TCT No. 68568 which they numerous to cite is that the jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter of
sought to cancel was issued as a result of errors which were not of their own the action is a matter of law and may not be conferred by consent or
making. The cadastral court, however, dismissed the petition for lack of merit agreement of the parties. The lack of jurisdiction of a court may be raised at
on the basis only of memoranda of the parties. Petitioners did not appeal. any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal.
Two-and-a-half years after said dismissal, petitioners filed Civil Case No.
SCC-180 praying for the cancellation of the conveyances and sales that had 5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; RULING IN TIJAM VS. SIBONGHANOY SHOULD BE
been made with respect to the subject parcel of land previously registered in REGARDED AS A MERE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE. — This doctrine has
the name of Domingo Magali and covered by TCT No. 9138. Private been qualified by recent pronouncements which stemmed principally from
respondent Francisco Ramos who claimed to have bought the property from the ruling in the cited case of Tijam v. Sibonghanoy, 23 SCRA 29. It is to be
Independent Mercantile Corporation was named a defendant in said civil suit. regretted, however, that the holding in said case had been applied to
Private respondent moved for dismissal which was granted by respondent situations which were obviously not contemplated therein. The exceptional
court on the ground of res judicata. circumstance involved in Sibonghanoy which justified the departure from the
accepted concept of non-waivability of objection to jurisdiction has been
On appeal by certiorari, the Supreme Court reversed and set aside the order ignored and, instead a blanket doctrine had been repeatedly upheld that
of dismissal and ordered respondent court to conduct further proceedings in rendered the supposed ruling in Sibonghanoy not as the exception, but
the case. The Court held that the defense of res judicata does not obtain to rather the general rule, virtually overthrowing altogether the time-honored
bar the second suit since the judgment rendered by the Court of First principle that the issue of jurisdiction is not lost by waiver or by estoppel. In
Instance in the first case was null and void because when sitting as a land Sibonghanoy, the defense of lack of jurisdiction of the court that rendered the
registration court, it had no jurisdiction to pass upon controversial issues questioned ruling was held to be barred by estoppel by laches. It was ruled
involving ownership or title to real property. that the lack of jurisdiction having been raised for the first time in a motion to
dismiss filed almost fifteen (15) years after the questioned ruling had been
Assailed order reversed and set aside. rendered, such plea may no longer be raised for being barred by laches.

6. ID.; CIVIL PROCEDURE; ESTOPPEL BY LACHES; PETITIONERS


SYLLABUS CANNOT BE FAULTED WITH LACHES AS THEY IMMEDIATELY FILED A
1. REMEDIAL LAW; JUDGMENTS; RES JUDICATA OR BAR BY PRIOR PETITION IN COURT AFTER LEARNING THAT THEIR TITLE HAD BEEN
JUDGMENT; THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENT THAT THE JUDGMENT IN THE CANCELLED. — The petitioners in the instant case may not be faulted with
PRIOR ACTION MUST HAVE BEEN RENDERED BY A COURT WITH THE laches. When they learned that the title to the property owned by them had
PROPER JURISDICTION TO TAKE COGNIZANCE OF THE PROCEEDING erroneously and illegally been cancelled and registered in the name of
IN WHICH THE PRIOR JUDGMENT OR ORDER WAS RENDERED DOES another entity or person who had no right to the same. they filed a petition to
NOT EXIST IN CASE AT BAR. — It is error to consider the dismissal of the cancel the latter’s title. It is unfortunate that in pursuing said remedy, their
petition filed by the herein petitioner in LRC Record No. 39492 for the counsel had to invoke the authority of the respondent Court as a cadastral
cancellation of TCT. No. 68568 as a bar by prior judgment against the filing court, instead of its capacity as a court of general jurisdiction. Their petition to
of Civil Case No. SCC-180. In order to avail of the defense of res judicata, it cancel the title in the name of Independent Mercantile Corporation was
must be shown, among others, that the judgment in the prior action must dismissed upon a finding by the respondent Court that the same was
have been rendered by a court with the proper jurisdiction to take cognizance "without merit." No explanation was given for such dismissal nor why the
of the proceeding in which the prior judgment or order was rendered. If there petition lacked merit. There was no hearing, and the petition was resolved
is lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit or of the parties, the solely on the basis of memoranda filed by the parties which do not appear of
judgment or order cannot operate as an adjudication of the controversy. (2 record. It is even a possibility that such dismissal was in view of the
Moran Comments on the Rules of Court, 1970 Edition, p. 364.) This essential realization of the respondent Court that, sitting as a cadastral court, it lacked
element of the defense of bar by prior judgment or res judicata does not exist the authority to entertain the petition involving as it does a highly
in the case presently considered. controversial issue. Upon such petition being dismissed, the petitioners
instituted Civil Case No. SCC-180 on January 1, 1971, or only two and one-
2. CIVIL LAW; LAND REGISTRATION; A COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE, half years after the dismissal of their petition in LRC Record No. 39492.
ACTING AS A LAND REGISTRATION COURT, CANNOT PASS UPON Hence, we see no unreasonable delay in the assertion by the petitioners of
QUESTIONS INVOLVING OWNERSHIP OR TITLE TO REAL PROPERTY, their right to claim the property which rightfully belongs to them. They can
OR ANY INCIDENT WHERE THE ISSUES INVOLVED HAVE BECOME hardly be presumed to have abandoned or waived such right by inaction
CONTROVERSIAL. — It has been settled by consistent rulings of this Court within an unreasonable length of time or inexcusable negligence. In short,
that a court of first instance, acting as a land registration court, is a court of their filing of Civil Case No. SCC-180 which in itself is an implied non-
limited and special jurisdiction. As such, its proceedings are not adequate for acceptance of the validity of the proceedings had in LRC Record No. 39492
the litigation of issues pertaining to an ordinary civil action, such as, may not be deemed barred by estoppel by laches.
questions involving ownership or title to real property. (Bareng v. Shintoist
Shrine and Japanese Charity Bureau, 83 SCRA 418; Manalo v. Mariano. 69 7. ID.; ID.; ESTOPPEL; WHEN IT MAY BE INVOKED. — It is neither fair nor
SCRA 80; In re: Nicanor T. Santos, 102 SCRA 474.) In Hu Chon Sunpongco legal to bind a party by the suit or proceeding which was taken cognizance of
v. Heirs of Nicolas Ronquillo, L-27040, December 19, 1970, 36 SCRA 395, in a court which lacks jurisdiction over the same irrespective of the attendant
we have held that: "Section 112 of Act 496 confers authority upon the land circumstances. The equitable defense of estoppel requires knowledge or

28
consciousness of the facts upon which it is based. The same thing is true
with estoppel by conduct which may be asserted only when it is shown, On November 21, 1967, petitioner Modesta Calimlim, surviving spouse of
among others, that the representation must have been made with knowledge Domingo Magali, upon learning that her husband’s title over the parcel of
of the facts and that the party to whom it was made is ignorant of the truth of land had been cancelled, filed a petition with the respondent Court, sitting as
the matter. (De Castro v. Gineta, 27 SCRA 623.) The filing of an action or a cadastral court, praying for the cancellation of TCT No. 68568. An
suit in a court that does not possess jurisdiction to entertain the same may opposition to the said petition was filed by Independent Mercantile
not be presumed to be deliberate and intended to secure a ruling which could Corporation. After the parties submitted their respective Memoranda, the
later be annulled if not favorable to the party who filed such suit or respondent Court issued an Order dated July 3, 1968 dismissing the petition.
proceeding. Instituting such an action is not a one-sided affair. It can just as (Rollo, pp. 31-38.)
well be prejudicial to the one who filed the action or suit in the event that he
obtains a favorable judgment therein which could also be attacked for having The herein petitioners did not appeal the dismissal of the petition they filed in
been rendered without jurisdiction. LRC Record No. 39492 for the cancellation of TCT No. 68568. Instead, on
January 11, 1971, they filed the complaint in Civil Case No. SCC-180 praying
8. ID.; COURTS; JURISDICTION; FILING OF PETITION FOR COMPLAINT for the cancellation of the conveyances and sales that had been made with
IN COURT DOES NOT RESULT IN WAIVER ON LACK OF COURT’S respect to the property covered by TCT No. 9138 previously registered in the
JURISDICTION. — The determination of the correct jurisdiction of a court is name of Domingo Magali, married to Modesta Calimlim. Named as
not a simple matter. It can raise highly debatable issues of such importance defendant in said civil case was herein private respondent Francisco Ramos
that the highest tribunal of the land is given the exclusive appellate who claimed to have bought the property from Independent Mercantile
jurisdiction to entertain the same. The point simply is that when a party Corporation on July 25, 1967. Private respondent Francisco Ramos,
commits error in filing his suit or proceeding in a court that lacks jurisdiction however, failed to obtain a title over the property in his name in view of the
to take cognizance of the same, such act may not at once be deemed existence of an adverse claim annotated on the title thereof at the instance of
sufficient basis of estoppel. It could have been the result of an honest the herein petitioners.
mistake, or of divergent interpretations of doubtful legal provisions. If any
fault is to be imputed to a party taking such course of action, part of the Private respondent Francisco Ramos filed a Motion To Dismiss Civil Case
blame should be placed on the court which shall entertain the suit, thereby No. SCC-180 on the ground that the same is barred by prior judgment or by
lulling the parties into believing that they pursued their remedies in the the statute of limitations (Rollo, pp. 42-45). Resolving the said Motion, the
correct forum. Under the rules, it is the duty of the court to dismiss an action respondent Court, in its Order dated April 21, 1971, dismissed Civil Case No.
"whenever it appears that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject- SCC-180 on the ground of estoppel by prior judgment. (Ibid, pp. 10-13.) A
matter." (Sec. 2, Rule 9, Rules of Court.) Should the court render a judgment Motion For Reconsideration filed by the petitioners was denied by the
without jurisdiction, such judgment may be impeached or annulled for lack of respondent Judge in his Order of September 2, 1971. (Ibid, pp. 13-15.) A
jurisdiction (Sec. 30, Rule 132, ibid), within ten (10) years from the finality of second Motion For Reconsideration was similarly denied in the Order dated
the same. (Art. 1144, par. 3, Civil Code.) September 29, 1971. (Rollo, pp. 16-17.) Hence, this
Petition.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

DECISION We find merit in this appeal.

It is error to consider the dismissal of the petition filed by the herein petitioner
VASQUEZ, J.: in LRC Record No. 39492 for the cancellation of TCT No. 68568 as a bar by
prior judgment against the filing of Civil Case No. SCC-180. In order to avail
of the defense of res judicata it must be shown, among others, that the
The dismissal of Civil Case No. SCC-180 filed by the herein petitioners in the judgment in the prior action must have been rendered by s court with the
respondent Court against the private respondent is sought to be annulled proper jurisdiction to take cognizance of the proceeding in which the prior
and set aside by this Petition For Review On Certiorari. 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
The antecedent material facts are not disputed. Sometime in 1961, a operate as an adjudication of the controversy. (2 Moran Comments on the
judgment for a sum of money was rendered in favor of Independent Rules of Court, 1970 Edition, p. 364.) This essential element of the defense
Mercantile Corporation against a certain Manuel Magali by the Municipal of bar by prior judgment or res judicata does not exist in the case presently
Court of Manila in Civil Case No. 85136. After said judgment became final, a considered.
writ of execution was issued on July 31, 1961. The Notice of Levy made on
September 21, 1961 on a parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of The petition filed by the herein petitioners in LRC Record No. 39492 was an
Title No. 9138 registered in the name of "Domingo Magali, married to apparent invocation of the authority of the respondent Court sitting as a land
Modesta Calimlim", specified that the said levy was only against "all rights, registration court. Although the said petition did not so state, that reliance
title, action, interest and participation of the defendant Manuel Magali over was apparently placed on Section 112 of the Land Registration Act. It has
the parcel of land described in this title." The Certificate of Sale executed by been settled by consistent rulings of this Court that a court of first instance,
the Provincial Sheriff of Pangasinan on October 17, 1961 in favor of acting as a land registration court, is a court of limited and special
Independent Mercantile Corporation also stated that the sale referred only to jurisdiction. As such, its proceedings are not adequate for the litigation of
the rights and interest of Manuel Magali over the land described in TCT No. issues pertaining to an ordinary civil action, such as, questions involving
9138. Manuel Magali is one of the several children of Domingo Magali who ownership or title to real property. (Bareng v. Shintoist Shrine and Japanese
had died in 1940 and herein petitioner Modesta Calimlim. Charity Bureau, 83 SCRA 418; Manalo v. Mariano, 69 SCRA 80; In re:
Nicanor T. Santos, 102 SCRA 747; Santos v. Aquino, 101 SCRA 377.) In Hu
However, when the Sheriff issued the final Deed of Sale on January 26, chon Sunpongco v. Heirs of Nicolas Ronquillo, L-27040, December 19, 1970,
1963, it was erroneously stated therein that the sale was with respect to "the 36 SCRA 395, we have held that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
parcel of land described in this title" (referring to TCT No. 9138) and not only
over the rights and interest of Manuel Magali in the same. The execution of "Section 112 of Act 496 confers authority upon the land registration court to
the said final Deed of Sale was annotated at the back of said title. order the cancellation, alteration or amendment of a certificate of title but
withdraws from the Court the power to pass upon any question concerning
On February 23, 1967, Independent Mercantile Corporation filed a petition in ownership of the registered property, or any incident where the issues
the respondent Court to compel Manuel Magali to surrender the owner’s involved have become controversial."cralaw virtua1aw library
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 It may hardly be questioned that the issues raised by the petitioners in their
owner and the title not being in his possession, Manuel Magali failed to petition to cancel TCT No. 68568 refer to the ownership or title over the
comply with the order of the Court directing him to surrender the said title. On property covered thereby. The said petition presented before the respondent
June 20, 1967, Independent Mercantile Corporation filed an ex-parte petition Court in the exercise of its limited jurisdiction as a cadastral court, the
to declare TCT No. 9138 as cancelled and to issue a new title in its name. question of who should be considered the true and lawful owner of the parcel
The said petition was granted by the respondent Court and in its Order dated of land embraced in said title. The petitioners alleged therein that they are
July 13, 1967, it directed the issuance of a new certificate of title in the name the true owners of the property, and that TCT No. 68568 which they sought
of the Independent Mercantile Corporation and the cancellation of TCT No. to cancel was issued as a result of the errors which were not of their own
9138. By virtue of said Order, the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan issued a making. In short, the petition raised a highly controversial matter which is
new title in the name of the corporation, identified as TCT No. 68568. beyond the judicial competence of a cadastral court to pass upon or to

29
adjudicate. came irrespective of the attendant circumstances. The equitable defense of
estoppel requires knowledge or consciousness of the facts upon which it is
It may neither be claimed that the parties have mutually agreed to submit the based. The same thing is true with estoppel by conduct which may be
aforesaid issues for the determination by the court, it being a fact that herein asserted only when it is shown, among others, that the representation must
private respondent was not a party in the petition in LRC Record No. 39492. have been made with knowledge of the facts and that the party to whom it
Incidentally, although the said petition was filed by the herein petitioners on was made is ignorant of the truth of the matter. (De Castro v. Gineta, 27
November 21, 1967, the Opposition filed by Independent Mercantile SCRA 623.) The filing of an action or suit in a court that does not possess
Corporation to the said petition made no mention of the alleged sale of the jurisdiction to entertain the same may not be presumed to be deliberate and
property in question in favor of private respondent Francisco Ramos on July intended to secure a ruling which could later be annulled if not favorable to
5, 1967. This circumstance places in grave doubt the sincerity of said sale the party who filed such suit or proceeding. Instituting such an action is not a
and the claim that the private respondent was an innocent purchaser for one-sided affair. It can just as well be prejudicial to the one who filed the
value of the property in question.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary action or suit in the event that he obtains a favorable judgment therein which
could also be attacked for having been rendered without jurisdiction. The
In the order of the respondent Judge dated September 29, 1971 denying the determination of the correct jurisdiction of a court is not a simple matter. It
second motion for reconsideration, he cited the case of Tijam v. can raise highly debatable issues of such importance that the highest tribunal
Sibonghanoy, 23 SCRA 29, to uphold the view that the petitioners are of the land is given the exclusive appellate jurisdiction to entertain the same.
deemed estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the respondent Court in The point simply is that when a party commits error in filing his suit or
having taken cognizance of the petition for cancellation of TCT No. 68568, proceeding in a court that lacks jurisdiction to take cognizance of the same,
they being the ones who invoked the jurisdiction of the said Court to grant the such act may not at once be deemed sufficient basis of estoppel. It could
affirmative relief prayed for therein. We are of the opinion that the ruling laid have been the result of an honest mistake, or of divergent interpretations of
down in Sibonghanoy may not be applied herein. Neither its factual backdrop doubtful legal provisions. If any fault is to be imputed to a party taking such
nor the philosophy of the doctrine therein expounded fits the case at bar. course of action, part of the blame should be placed on the court which shall
entertain the suit, thereby lulling the parties into believing that they pursued
A rule that had been settled by unquestioned acceptance and upheld in their remedies in the correct forum. Under the rules, it is the duty of the court
decisions so numerous to cite is that the jurisdiction of a court over the to dismiss an action "whenever it appears that the court has no jurisdiction
subject-matter of the action is a matter of law and may not be conferred by over the subject matter." (Sec. 2, Rule 9, Rules of Court.) Should the court
consent or agreement of the parties. The lack of jurisdiction of a court may render a judgment without jurisdiction, such judgment may be impeached or
be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal. This doctrine has annulled for lack of jurisdiction (Sec. 30, Rule 132, Ibid.), within ten (10)
been qualified by recent pronouncements which stemmed principally from years from the finality of the same. (Art. 1144, par. 3, Civil Code.)
the ruling in the cited case of Sibonghanoy. It is to be regretted, however,
that the holding in said case had been applied to situations which were The inequity of barring the petitioners from vindicating their right over their
obviously not contemplated therein. The exceptional circumstance involved property in Civil Case No. SCC-180 is rendered more acute in the face of the
in Sibonghanoy which justified the departure from the accepted concept of undisputed fact that the property in question admittedly belonged to the
non-waivability of objection to jurisdiction has been ignored and, instead a petitioners, and that the title in the name of the private respondent was the
blanket doctrine had been repeatedly upheld that rendered the supposed result of an error committed by the Provincial Sheriff in issuing the deed of
ruling in Sibonghanoy not as the exception, but rather the general rule, sale in the execution proceeding. The justness of the relief sought by herein
virtually overthrowing altogether the time-honored principle that the issue of petitioners may not be ignored or rendered futile by reason of a doctrine
jurisdiction is not lost by waiver or by estoppel. which is of highly doubtful applicability herein.chanrobles virtualawlibrary
chanrobles.com:chanrobles.com.ph
In Sibonghanoy, the defense of lack of jurisdiction of the court that rendered
the questioned ruling was held to be barred by estoppel by laches. It was WHEREFORE, the Orders appealed from are hereby REVERSED and SET
ruled that the lack of jurisdiction having been raised for the first time in a ASIDE. The Motion To Dismiss filed by the private respondent in Civil Case
motion to dismiss filed almost fifteen (15) years after the questioned ruling No. SCC-180 shall be deemed denied and the respondent Court is ordered
had been rendered, such a plea may no longer be raised for being barred by to conduct further proceedings in the case. With costs against the
laches. As defined in said case, laches is "failure or neglect, for an private Respondent.
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 SO ORDERED.
omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption
that the party entitled to assert has abandoned it or declined to assert Teehankee (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Relova and Gutierrez,
it."cralaw virtua1aw library Jr., JJ., concur.

The petitioners in the instant case may not be faulted with laches. When they
learned that the title to the property owned by them had erroneously and Norma Mangaliag and G.R. No. 143951
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 Narciso Solano,
latter’s title. It is unfortunate that in pursuing said remedy, their counsel had Petitioners, Present:
to invoke the authority of the respondent Court as a cadastral court, instead
of its capacity as a court of general jurisdiction. Their petition to cancel the
title in the name of Independent Mercantile Corporation was dismissed upon - versus - PUNO, Chairman,
a finding by the respondent Court that the same was "without merit." No AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
explanation was given for such dismissal nor why the petition lacked merit.
There was no hearing, and the petition was resolved solely on the basis of Hon. Edelwina Catubig- CALLEJO, SR.,
memoranda filed by the parties which do not appear of record. It is even a Pastoral,
possibility that such dismissal was in view of the realization of the respondent Judge of the Regional Trial TINGA, and
Court that, sitting as a cadastral court, it lacked the authority to entertain the Court,
petition involving as it does a highly controversial issue. Upon such petition
being dismissed, the petitioners instituted Civil Case No. SCC-180 on 1st Judicial Region, San Carlos CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ.
January 1, 1971, or only two and one-half years after the dismissal of their
City, (Pangasinan), Branch 56
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 and Apolinario Serquina, Jr., Promulgated:
rightfully belongs to them. They can hardly be presumed to have abandoned
Respondents.
or waived such right by inaction within an unreasonable length of time or
inexcusable negligence. In short, their filing of Civil Case No. SCC-180 which October 25, 2005
in itself is an implied non-acceptance of the validity of the proceedings had in x------------------------------------------------x
LRC Record No. 39492 may not be deemed barred by estoppel by
laches.chanrobles lawlibrary : rednad DECISION
It is neither fair nor legal to bind a party by the result of a suit or proceeding AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
which was taken cognizance of in a court which lacks jurisdiction over the

30
complaint provide the sole test for determining the courts jurisdiction, or is
Before us is a petition for certiorari, with a prayer for the issuance of a the total amount of all the damages claimed, regardless of kind and nature,
temporary restraining order, to set aside the Order dated April 17, 2000 of such as moral, exemplary, nominal damages, and attorneys fees, etc., to be
the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 56, San Carlos City in Civil Case No. computed collectively with the actual damages to determine what court
SCC-2240, which denied petitioners motion to dismiss; and the Order dated whether the MTC or the RTC has jurisdiction over the action?
June 13, 2000, which denied petitioners motion for reconsideration.
Petitioners maintain that the courts jurisdiction should be based
The factual background of the case is as follows: exclusively on the amount of actual damages, excluding therefrom the
amounts claimed as moral, exemplary, nominal damages and attorneys
On May 10, 1999, private respondent Apolinario Serquina, Jr. filed before the fee, etc. They submit that the specification in Administrative Circular No. 09-
RTC a complaint for damages against petitioners Norma Mangaliag and 94 that in cases where the claim for damages is the main cause of action. . .
Narciso Solano. The complaint alleges that: on January 21, 1999, from 9:00 the amount of such claim shall be considered in determining the jurisdiction
to 10:00 a.m., private respondent, together with Marco de Leon, Abner of the court signifies that the courts jurisdiction must be tested solely by the
Mandapat and Manuel de Guzman, was on board a tricycle driven by Jayson amount of that damage which is principally and primarily demanded, and not
Laforte; while in Pagal, San Carlos City, a dump truck owned by petitioner the totality of all the damages sought to be recovered.
Mangaliag and driven by her employee, petitioner Solano, coming from the
opposite direction, tried to overtake and bypass a tricycle in front of it and Petitioners insist that private respondents claim for actual damages
thereby encroached the left lane and sideswiped the tricycle ridden by private in the amount of P71,392.00 is the principal and primary demand, the same
respondent; due to the gross negligence, carelessness and imprudence of being the direct result of the alleged negligence of petitioners, while the
petitioner Solano in driving the truck, private respondent and his co- moral damages for P500,000.00 and attorneys fee, being the consequent
passengers sustained serious injuries and permanent deformities; petitioner effects thereof, may prosper only upon a prior finding by the court of the
Mangaliag failed to exercise due diligence required by law in the selection existence of petitioners negligence that caused the actual damages.
and supervision of her employee; private respondent was hospitalized and Considering that the amount of actual damages claimed by private
spent P71,392.00 as medical expenses; private respondent sustained a respondent in Civil Case No. SCC-2240 does not exceed P200,000.00,
permanent facial deformity due to a fractured nose and suffers from severe which was then the jurisdictional amount of the MTC, the jurisdiction over the
depression as a result thereof, for which he should be compensated in the case clearly pertains to the MTC, and not to the RTC. Therefore, the RTC
amount of P500,000.00 by way of moral damages; as a further result of his should have dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioners cite as
hospitalization, private respondent lost income of P25,000.00; private relevant the case of Movers-Baseco Integrated Port Services, Inc. vs. Cyborg
respondent engaged the services of counsel on a contingent basis equal to Leasing Corporation[12] wherein the Court, in disposing of the jurisdictional
25% of the total award.[1] issue, limited its consideration only to the actual or compensatory damages.

On July 21, 1999, petitioners filed their answer with counterclaim denying Furthermore, while admitting that the defense of lack of jurisdiction
that private respondent has a cause of action against them. They attributed was only raised during the trial, petitioners nevertheless contend that
fault or negligence in the vehicular accident on the tricycle driver, Jayson jurisdiction may be raised anytime, even after judgment, but before it is
Laforte, who was allegedly driving without license.[2] barred by laches or estoppel. They submit that they seasonably presented
the objection to the RTCs lack of jurisdiction, i.e., during the trial stage where
Following pre-trial conference, trial on the merits ensued. When private no decision had as yet been rendered, must less one unfavorable to them.
respondent rested his case, petitioner Solano testified in his defense.
Subsequently, on March 8, 2000, petitioners, assisted by a new At any rate, they argue that when the jurisdictional flaw is evident
counsel, filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over from the record of the case, the court may, even without the urgings of the
the subject matter of the claim, alleging that the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) parties, take judicial notice of such fact, and thereupon dismiss the
has jurisdiction over the case since the principal amount prayed for, in the case motu proprio. Thus, even if lack of jurisdiction was not initially raised in
amount of P71,392.00, falls within its jurisdiction.[3] Private respondent a motion to dismiss or in the answer, no waiver may be imputed to them.
opposed petitioners motion to dismiss.[4] On March 24, 2000, petitioners filed
a supplement in support of their motion to dismiss.[5] Private respondent, on the other hand, submits that in an action for
recovery of damages arising from a tortious act, the claim of moral damages
On April 17, 2000, the respondent RTC Judge, Edelwina Catubig-Pastoral, is not merely an incidental or consequential claim but must be considered in
issued the first assailed Order denying petitioners motion to dismiss,[6] relying the amount of demand which will determine the courts jurisdiction. He argues
upon the mandate of Administrative Circular No. 09-94, paragraph 2 of which that the position taken by petitioners is a misreading of paragraph 2 of
reads: Administrative Circular No. 09-94. The clear and explicit language of said
circular leaves no room for doubt; hence, needs no interpretation.
2. The exclusion of the term damages of whatever kind
in determining the jurisdictional amount under Section 19 He further submits that petitioners reliance on Movers-Baseco
(8) and Section 33 (1) of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by Integrated Port Services, Inc. is misplaced since that case is for recovery of
R.A. No. 7691, applied to cases where the damages are the value of vehicle and unpaid rentals on the lease of the same. He
merely incidental to or a consequence of the main cause contends that Section 18, paragraph 8 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as
of action. However, in cases where the claim for amended by Republic Act No. 7691, upon which petitioners anchor their
damages is the main cause of action, or one of the stand, refers to all the demands involving collection of sums of money based
causes of action, the amount of such claim shall be on obligations arising from contract, express or implied, where the claim for
considered in determining the jurisdiction of the court. damages is just incidental thereto and it does not apply to actions for
damages based on obligations arising from quasi-delict where the claim for
damages of whatever kind is the main action.
The respondent RTC Judge also cited the 1999 case of Ong vs. Court of
Appeals,[7] where an action for damages due to a vehicular accident, with Private respondent also contends that, being incapable of
prayer for actual damages of P10,000.00 and moral damages pecuniary computation, the amount of moral damages that he may be
of P1,000,000.00, was tried in a RTC. awarded depends on the sound discretion of the trial court, not restrained by
the limitation of the jurisdictional amount. Should the Court follow petitioners
On May 19, 2000, petitioners filed a motion for line of reasoning, private respondent argues that it will result in an absurd
reconsideration[8] but it was denied by the respondent RTC Judge in her situation where he can only be awarded moral damages of not more
second assailed Order, dated June 13, 2000.[9] than P200,000.00 although he deserves more than this amount, taking into
Hence, the present petition for certiorari, with prayer for the issuance of a consideration his physical suffering, as well as social and financial standing,
temporary restraining order.[10] simply because his claim for actual damages does not exceed P200,000.00
which amount falls under the jurisdiction of the MTC.
On August 9, 2000, the Court resolved to issue the temporary restraining
order prayed for by petitioners. Consequently, the respondent RTC Judge Lastly, he asserts that it is too late in the day for petitioners to
desisted from hearing further Civil Case No. SCC-2240.[11] question the jurisdiction of the RTC since they are estopped from invoking
this ground. He contends that after actively taking part in the trial
Petitioners propound this issue for consideration: In an action for proceedings and presenting a witness to seek exoneration, it would be unfair
recovery of damages, does the amount of actual damages prayed for in the and legally improper for petitioners to seek the dismissal of the case.

31
altogether the time honored principle that the issue of
At the outset, it is necessary to stress that generally a direct jurisdiction is not lost by waiver or by estoppel.
recourse to this Court is highly improper, for it violates the established policy
of strict observance of the judicial hierarchy of courts. Although this Court, ...
the RTCs and the Court of Appeals (CA) have concurrent jurisdiction to issue
writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and It is neither fair nor legal to bind a party by the
injunction, such concurrence does not give the petitioner unrestricted result of a suit or proceeding which was taken
freedom of choice of court forum. This Court is a court of last resort, and cognizance of in a court which lacks jurisdiction over the
must so remain if it is to satisfactorily perform the functions assigned to it by same irrespective of the attendant circumstances. The
the Constitution and immemorial tradition.[13] equitable defense of estoppel requires knowledge or
consciousness of the facts upon which it is based. The
Thus, this Court, as a rule, will not entertain direct resort to it same thing is true with estoppel by conduct which may
unless the redress desired cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts, and be asserted only when it is shown, among others, that
exceptional and compelling circumstances, such as cases of national interest the representation must have been made with
and of serious implications, justify the availment of the extraordinary remedy knowledge of the facts and that the party to whom it was
of writ of certiorari, calling for the exercise of its primary jurisdiction.[14] Such made is ignorant of the truth of the matter (De Castro vs.
exceptional and compelling circumstances were present in the following Gineta, 27 SCRA 623). The filing of an action or suit in a
cases: (a) Chavez vs. Romulo[15] on the citizens right to bear arms; court that does not possess jurisdiction to entertain the
(b) Government of the United States of America vs. Purganan[16] on bail in same may not be presumed to be deliberate and
extradition proceedings; (c) Commission on Elections vs. Quijano- intended to secure a ruling which could later be annulled
Padilla[17] on a government contract on the modernization and if not favorable to the party who filed such suit or
computerization of the voters registration list; (d) Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB proceeding. Instituting such an action is not a one-sided
vs. Zamora[18] on the status and existence of a public office; and (e) Fortich affair. It can just as well be prejudicial to the one who file
vs. Corona[19] on the so-called Win-Win Resolution of the Office of the the action or suit in the event that he obtains a favorable
President which modified the approval of the conversion to agro-industrial judgment therein which could also be attacked for having
area of a 144-hectare land. been rendered without jurisdiction. The determination of
the correct jurisdiction of a court is not a simple matter. It
Be that as it may, the judicial hierarchy of courts is not an iron-clad can raise highly debatable issues of such importance
rule. It generally applies to cases involving warring factual allegations. For that the highest tribunal of the land is given the exclusive
this reason, litigants are required to repair to the trial courts at the first appellate jurisdiction to entertain the same. The point
instance to determine the truth or falsity of these contending allegations on simply is that when a party commits error in filing his suit
the basis of the evidence of the parties. Cases which depend on disputed or proceeding in a court that lacks jurisdiction to take
facts for decision cannot be brought immediately before appellate courts as cognizance of the same, such act may not at once be
they are not triers of facts.[20] Therefore, a strict application of the rule deemed sufficient basis of estoppel. It could have been
of hierarchy of courts is not necessary when the cases brought before the the result of an honest mistake or of divergent
appellate courts do not involve factual but legal questions. interpretations of doubtful legal provisions. If any fault is
to be imputed to a party taking such course of action,
In the present case, petitioners submit a pure question of law part of the blame should be placed on the court which
involving the interpretation and application of paragraph 2 of Administrative shall entertain the suit, thereby lulling the parties into
Circular No. 09-94. This legal question and in order to avoid further delay are believing that they pursued their remedies in the correct
compelling enough reasons to allow petitioners invocation of this Courts forum. Under the rules, it is the duty of the court to
jurisdiction in the first instance. dismiss an action whenever it appears that court has no
jurisdiction over the subject matter. (Section 2, Rule 9,
Before resolving this issue, the Court shall deal first on the Rules of Court) Should the Court render a judgment
question of estoppel posed by private respondent. Private respondent argues without jurisdiction, such judgment may be impeached or
that the defense of lack of jurisdiction may be waived by estoppel through annulled for lack of jurisdiction (Sec. 30, Rule 132, Ibid),
active participation in the trial. Such, however, is not the general rule but an within ten (10) years from the finality of the same (Art.
exception, best characterized by the peculiar circumstances in Tijam vs. 1144, par. 3, Civil Code).[24]
Sibonghanoy.[21] In Sibonghanoy, the party invoking lack of jurisdiction did so
only after fifteen years and at a stage when the proceedings had already
been elevated to the CA. Sibonghanoy is an exceptional case because of In the present case, no judgment has yet been rendered by the
the presence of laches, which was defined therein as failure or neglect for an RTC.[25] As a matter of fact, as soon as the petitioners discovered the alleged
unreasonable and unexplained length of time to do that which, by exercising jurisdictional defect, they did not fail or neglect to file the appropriate motion
due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is the negligence or to dismiss. Hence, finding the pivotal element of laches to be absent,
omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption the Sibonghanoy doctrine does not control the present controversy. Instead,
that the party entitled to assert has abandoned it or declined to assert it. [22] the general rule that the question of jurisdiction of a court may be raised at
any stage of the proceedings must apply. Therefore, petitioners are not
As enunciated in Calimlim vs. Ramirez,[23] this Court held: estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the RTC.

A rule that had been settled by unquestioned In any event, the petition for certiorari is bereft of merit.
acceptance and upheld in decisions so numerous to cite
is that the jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter Section 1 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7691, which took effect on
of the action is a matter of law and may not be conferred April 15, 1994, provides inter alia that where the amount of the demand in
by consent or agreement of the parties. The lack of civil cases exceeds P100,000.00,[26] exclusive of interest, damages of
jurisdiction of a court may be raised at any stage of the whatever kind, attorneys fees, litigation expenses, and costs, the exclusive
proceedings, even on appeal. This doctrine has been jurisdiction thereof is lodged with in the RTC. Under Section 3 of the same
qualified by recent pronouncements which stemmed law, where the amount of the demand in the complaint does not
principally from the ruling in the cited case exceed P100,000.00, exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind,
of Sibonghanoy. It is to be regretted, however, that the attorneys fees, litigation expenses, and costs, the exclusive jurisdiction over
holding in said case had been applied to situations which the same is vested in the Metropolitan Trial Court, MTC and Municipal Circuit
were obviously not contemplated therein. The Trial Court. The jurisdictional amount was increased
exceptional circumstances involved to P200,000.00,[27] effective March 20, 1999, pursuant to Section 5[28] of R.A.
in Sibonghanoy which justified the departure from the No. 7691 and Administrative Circular No. 21-99.
accepted concept of non-waivability of objection to
jurisdiction has been ignored and, instead a blanket In Administrative Circular No. 09-94 dated March 14, 1994, the
doctrine had been repeatedly upheld that rendered the Court specified the guidelines in the implementation of R.A. No. 7691.
supposed ruling in Sibonghanoy not as the exception, Paragraph 2 of the Circular provides:
but rather the general rule, virtually overthrowing

32
2. The exclusion of the term damages of whatever kind APOLONIA BANAYAD FRIANELA, G.R. No. 169700
Petitioner,
in determining the jurisdictional amount under Section 19 Present:
(8) and Section 33 (1) of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
R.A. No. 7691, applied to cases where the damages are Chairperson,
- versus - CHICO-NAZARIO,
merely incidental to or a consequence of the main cause VELASCO, JR.,
of action. However, in cases where the claim for NACHURA, and
damages is the main cause of action, or one of the PERALTA, JJ.
SERVILLANO BANAYAD, JR.,
causes of action, the amount of such claim shall be Respondent. Promulgated:
considered in determining the jurisdiction of the
court. (Emphasis supplied) July 30, 2009
x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

The well-entrenched principle is that the jurisdiction of the court DECISION


over the subject matter of the action is determined by the material allegations NACHURA, J.:
of the complaint and the law, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is
entitled to recover all or some of the claims or reliefs sought therein. [29] In the Before the court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45
present case, the allegations in the complaint plainly show that private of the Rules of Court assailing the June 17, 2005 Decision[1] of the Court of
respondent seeks to recover not only his medical expenses, lost income but Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 53929, and the August 17, 2005
also damages for physical suffering and mental anguish due to permanent Resolution[2] denying the motion for partial reconsideration thereof.
facial deformity from injuries sustained in the vehicular accident. Viewed as
an action for quasi-delict, the present case falls squarely within the purview Narrated in brief are the antecedent facts and proceedings, to wit:
of Article 2219 (2),[30] which provides for the payment of moral damages in
cases of quasi-delict causing physical injuries. Following the death of her uncle, the testator Moises F. Banayad, petitioner,
who was named as devisee in the will, filed before the Regional Trial Court
Private respondents claim for moral damages of P500,000.00 (RTC) of Pasay City, on June 3, 1991, Sp. Proc. No. 3664-P[3] for the
cannot be considered as merely incidental to or a consequence of the claim allowance of the November 18, 1985 holographic will of the decedent.
for actual damages. It is a separate and distinct cause of action or an Petitioner alleged that Moises died without issue and left to her the following
independent actionable tort. It springs from the right of a person to the properties, namely: (1) a parcel of land situated in Pasay City and described
physical integrity of his or her body, and if that integrity is violated, damages in Transfer Certificate of Title No. 9741; (2) images of Oracion del
are due and assessable.[31] Hence, the demand for moral damages must be Huerto and Pieta including the crown; and (3) all personal belongings.[4]
considered as a separate cause of action, independent of the claim for actual
damages and must be included in determining the jurisdictional amount, in Respondent, a cousin of the petitioner, filed his opposition and counter-
clear consonance with paragraph 2 of Administrative Circular No. 09-94. petitioned for the allowance of two other holographic wills of the decedent,
one dated September 27, 1989 and another dated September 28, 1989. [5]
If the rule were otherwise, i.e., the courts jurisdiction in a case of
quasi-delict causing physical injuries would only be based on the claim for After trial on the merits, the RTC, on September 29, 1995,
[6]
actual damages and the complaint is filed in the MTC, it can only award rendered its Decision declaring the September 27, 1989 holographic will as
moral damages in an amount within its jurisdictional limitations, a situation having revoked the November 18, 1985 will, allowing the former, and
not intended by the framers of the law. appointing respondent as administrator of Moisess estate. [7]

It must be remembered that moral damages, though incapable of On appeal, the CA, in the assailed June 17, 2005
pecuniary estimation, are designed to compensate and alleviate in some way Decision,[8] modified the decision of the trial court and ruled that the
the physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched September 27, 1989 holographic will had only revoked the November 18,
reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar 1985 will insofar as the testamentary disposition of Moisess real property
injury unjustly caused a person.[32] Moral damages are awarded to enable the was concerned.[9]
injured party to obtain means, diversions or amusements that will serve to
alleviate the moral suffering he/she has undergone, by reason of the With the denial of her motion for reconsideration in the further
defendants culpable action. Its award is aimed at restoration, as much as assailed August 17, 2005 Resolution,[10] petitioner elevated the case before
possible, of the spiritual status quo ante; thus, it must be proportionate to the us via the instant petition.[11]
suffering inflicted. Since each case must be governed by its own peculiar
circumstances, there is no hard and fast rule in determining the proper The Court notes that the trial court focused all of its attention on
amount.[33] the merits of the case without first determining whether it could have validly
exercised jurisdiction to hear and decide Sp. Proc. No. 3664-P. On appeal,
The petitioners reliance in the case of Movers-Baseco Integrated the appellate court also overlooked the issue on the jurisdictional
Port Services, Inc. vs. Cyborg Leasing Corporation[34] is misplaced. The claim competence of the trial court over the said case. This Court, after a
for damages therein was based on a breach of a contract of lease, not a meticulous review of the records, finds that the RTC of Pasay City had no
quasi-delict causing physical injuries, as in this case. Besides, there was no jurisdiction over the subject matter in Sp. Proc. No. 3664-P.
claim therein for moral damages. Furthermore, moral damages are generally
not recoverable in damage actions predicated on a breach of contract in view The jurisdiction of the court to hear and decide a case is conferred
of the provisions of Article 2220[35] of the Civil Code. by the law in force at the time of the institution of the action unless such
statute provides for a retroactive application thereof.[12]Jurisdiction is
In view of the foregoing, the Court is convinced that the respondent moreover[13]
determined by the allegations or averments in the complaint or
RTC Judge committed no grave abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed petition.
Orders dated April 17, 2000 and June 13, 2000.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for In this case, at the time the petition for the allowance of Moisess
lack of merit. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on August holographic will was instituted, the then Sections 19 and 33 [14] of Batas
[15]
9, 2000 is LIFTED. Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 129 were in force, thus

The Regional Trial Court, Branch 56, San Carlos City is SECTION 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. Regional Trial
DIRECTED to continue with the trial proceedings in Civil Case No. SCC- Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction:
2240 and resolve the case with dispatch.
xxxx
Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED. (4) In all matters of
probate, both testate and intestate,
where the gross value of the estate
exceeds twenty thousand pesos
(P20,000.00);

xxxx
33
Petitioner prays for such other reliefs just and
SECTION 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal equitable in (sic) the premises.
Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in civil
cases. Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, x x x x[17]
and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
Nowhere in the petition is there a statement of the gross value of Moisess
(1) Exclusive original estate. Thus, from a reading of the original petition filed, it cannot be
jurisdiction over civil actions and determined which court has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the
probate proceedings, testate and proceedings.[18] The RTC therefore committed gross error when it had
intestate, including the grant of perfunctorily assumed jurisdiction despite the fact that the initiatory pleading
provisional remedies in proper filed before it did not call for the exercise of its jurisdiction. The RTC should
cases, where the demand does not have, at the outset, dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. Be it noted that
exceed twenty thousand pesos the dismissal on the said ground may be ordered motu proprio by the
exclusive of interest and costs but courts.[19] Further, the CA, on appeal, should have dismissed the case on the
inclusive of damages of whatever same ground. Settled is the doctrine that the issue of jurisdiction may be
kind, the amount of which must be raised by any of the parties or may be reckoned by the court, at any stage of
specifically alleged: Provided, That the proceedings, even on appeal, and is not lost by waiver or by estoppel. [20]
where there are several claims or
causes of action between the same Despite the pendency of this case for around 18 years, the
or different parties, embodied in the exception laid down in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy[21] and clarified recently
same complaint, the amount of the in Figueroa v. People[22] cannot be applied. First, because, as a general rule,
demand shall be the totality of the the principle of estoppel by laches cannot lie against the government. [23] No
claims in all the causes of action injustice to the parties or to any third person will be wrought by the ruling that
irrespective of whether the causes the trial court has no jurisdiction over the instituted probate proceedings.
of action arose out of the same or
different transactions; and Second and most important, because in Tijam, the delayed
invocation of lack of jurisdiction has been made during the execution
xxxx 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
The applicable law, therefore, confers jurisdiction on the RTC or similar to the factual milieu in Tijam. It is well to note the following factual
the MTCs over probate proceedings depending on the gross value of the setting of Tijam:
estate,[16] which value must be alleged in the complaint or petition to be filed.
Significantly, in this case, the original petition docketed before the trial court On July 19, 1948 barely one month after the
contains only the following averments: effectivity of Republic Act No. 296 known as the
Judiciary Act of 1948 the spouses Serafin Tijam and
xxxx Felicitas Tagalog commenced Civil Case No. R-660 in
the Court of First Instance of Cebu against the spouses
1. That Petitioner is of legal age, married, Magdaleno Sibonghanoy and Lucia Baguio to recover
Filipino and residing at 2237 P. Burgos St., Pasay City from them the sum of P1,908.00, with legal interest
who is named devisee in the Last Will and Testament of thereon from the date of the filing of the complaint until
MOISES BANAYAD, deceased who died in Pasay City the whole obligation is paid, plus costs. As prayed for in
General Hospital on March 27, 1991 xerox copy of his the complaint, a writ of attachment was issued by the
death certificate is herewith attached as Annex A to form court against defendants' properties, but the same was
integral part hereof; soon dissolved upon the filing of a counter-bond by
defendants and the Manila Surety and Fidelity Co., Inc.
2. That the said Last Will and Testament is hereinafter referred to as the Surety, on the 31st of the
herewith (sic) attached as Annex B and made an integral same month.
part of this Petition, the original thereof will be presented
to this Honorable Court at the time of probate; After being duly served with summons the
defendants filed their answer in which, after making
3. That the decedent is an inhabitant of some admissions and denials of the material averments
the Philippines and residing of the complaint, they interposed a counterclaim. This
at 2237 P. Burgos St., Pasay City at the time of his counterclaim was answered by the plaintiffs.
death;
After trial upon the issues thus joined, the
4. That the properties left by the decedent Court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and,
consist of real and personal properties particularly after the same had become final and executory, upon
described herein below, which decedent all bequeathed motion of the latter, the Court issued a writ of execution
to petitioner; against the defendants. The writ having been returned
unsatisfied, the plaintiffs moved for the issuance of a writ
A. A parcel of land of execution against the Surety's bond (Rec. on Appeal
described under TCT No. 9741 pp. 46-49), against which the Surety filed a written
xerox copy of which is herewith (sic) opposition (Id. pp. 49) upon two grounds, namely, (1)
attached as Annex C. Failure to prosecute and (2) Absence of a demand upon
B. Imahen ng Oracion del the Surety for the payment of the amount due under the
Huerto at Pieta, kasama and judgment. Upon these grounds the Surety prayed the
korona. Court not only to deny the motion for execution against
C. All personal its counter-bond but also the following affirmative relief:
belongings. "to relieve the herein bonding company of its liability, if
5. That the testator at the time of the execution any, under the bond in question" (Id. p. 54) The Court
of the said Will was of sound and disposing mind. denied this motion on the ground solely that no previous
demand had been made on the Surety for the
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed satisfaction of the judgment. Thereafter the necessary
of the Honorable Court that: demand was made, and upon failure of the Surety to
a. Upon proper notice and hearing, the above satisfy the judgment, the plaintiffs filed a second motion
mentioned Will be admitted to probate; for execution against the counter-bond. On the date set
b. That letters testamentary or administration for the hearing thereon, the Court, upon motion of the
be issued to herein petitioner without bond; Surety's counsel, granted the latter a period of five days
within which to answer the motion. Upon its failure to file

34
such answer, the Court granted the motion for execution assumption of unauthorized jurisdiction over the probate proceedings has
and the corresponding writ was issued. been discovered by the Court during the appeal stage of the main case, not
during the execution stage of a final and executory decision. Thus, the
Subsequently, the Surety moved to quash the exceptional rule laid down in Tijam cannot apply.
writ on the ground that the same was issued without the
required summary hearing provided for in Section 17 of Since the RTC has no jurisdiction over the action, all the
Rule 59 of the Rules of Court. As the Court denied the proceedings therein, including the decision rendered, are null and
motion, the Surety appealed to the Court of Appeals void.[25] With the above disquisition, the Court finds it unnecessary to discuss
from such order of denial and from the one denying its and resolve the other issues raised in the petition.
motion for reconsideration (Id. p. 97). Its record on
appeal was then printed as required by the Rules, and in IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, Sp. Proc. No. 3664-P
due time it filed its brief raising therein no other question before the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City is DISMISSED for lack of
but the ones covered by the following assignment of jurisdiction.
errors:
SO ORDERED.
I. That the Honorable FIRST DIVISION
Court a quo erred in issuing its order G.R. No. 204444, January 14, 2015
dated November 2, 1957, by holding VIRGILIO C. BRIONES, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS AND CASH
the incident as submitted for ASIA CREDIT CORPORATION, Respondents.
resolution, without a summary DECISION
hearing and compliance with the PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
other mandatory requirements Assailed in this petition for certiorari1 are the Decision2 dated March 5, 2012
provided for in Section 17, Rule 59 and the Resolution3 dated October 4, 2012 of the Court of Appeals(CA) in
of the Rules of Court. CA-G.R. SP No. 117474, which annulled the Orders dated September 20,
II. That the Honorable 20104 and October 22, 20105 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch
Court a quo erred in ordering the 173 (RTC) in Civil Case No. 10-124040, denying private respondent Cash
issuance of execution against the Asia Credit Corporation�s (Cash Asia) motion to dismiss on the ground of
herein bonding company-appellant. improper venue.cralawred
III. That the Honorable The Facts
Court a quo erred in denying the
motion to quash the writ of The instant case arose from a Complaint6 dated August 2, 2010 filed by
execution filed by the herein Virgilio C. Briones (Briones) for Nullity of Mortgage Contract, Promissory
bonding company- appellant as well Note, Loan Agreement, Foreclosure of Mortgage, Cancellation of Transfer
as its subsequent motion for Certificate of Title (TCT) No.290846, and Damages against Cash Asia before
reconsideration, and/or in not the RTC.7 In his complaint, Briones alleged that he is the owner of a property
quashing or setting aside the writ of covered by TCT No. 160689 (subject property),and that, on July 15, 2010,
execution. his sister informed him that his property had been foreclosed and a writ of
possession had already been issued in favor of Cash Asia. 8 Upon
Not one of the assignment of errors it is investigation, Briones discovered that: (a) on December 6, 2007, he
obvious raises the question of lack of jurisdiction, neither purportedly executed a promissory note,9 loan agreement,10 and deed of real
directly nor indirectly. estate mortgage11covering the subject property (subject contracts) in favor of
Cash Asia in order to obtain a loan in the amount of P3,500,000.00 from the
Although the appellees failed to file their brief, latter;12 and (b) since the said loan was left unpaid, Cash Asia proceeded to
the Court of Appeals, on December 11, 1962, decided foreclose his property.13 In this relation, Briones claimed that he never
the case affirming the orders appealed from. contracted any loans from Cash Asia as he has been living and working in
Vietnam since October 31, 2007. He further claimed that he only went back
On January 8, 1963 five days after the Surety to the Philippines on December 28, 2007 until January 3, 2008 to spend the
received notice of the decision, it filed a motion asking holidays with his family, and that during his brief stay in the Philippines,
for extension of time within which to file a motion for nobody informed him of any loan agreement entered into with Cash Asia.
reconsideration. The Court of Appeals granted the Essentially, Briones assailed the validity of the foregoing contracts claiming
motion in its resolution of January 10 of the same year. his signature to be forged.14chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Two days later the Surety filed a pleading entitled
MOTION TO DISMISS, alleging substantially that For its part, Cash Asia filed a Motion to Dismiss15 dated August 25, 2010,
appellees' action was filed in the Court of First Instance praying for the outright dismissal of Briones�s complaint on the ground of
of Cebu on July 19, 1948 for the recovery of the sum of improper venue.16 In this regard, Cash Asia pointed out the venue stipulation
P1,908.00 only; that a month before that date Republic in the subject contracts stating that �all legal actions arising out of this
Act No. 296, otherwise known as the Judiciary Act of notice in connection with the Real Estate Mortgage subject hereof shall only
1948, had already become effective, Section 88 of which be brought in or submitted to the jurisdiction of the proper court of Makati
placed within the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior City.�17 In view thereof, it contended that all actions arising out of the subject
courts all civil actions where the value of the subject- contracts may only be exclusively brought in the courts of Makati City, and as
matter or the amount of the demand does not exceed such, Briones�s complaint should be dismissed for having been filed in the
P2,000.00, exclusive of interest and costs; that the Court City of Manila.18chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
of First Instance therefore had no jurisdiction to try and
decide the case. Upon these premises the Surety's In response, Briones filed an opposition,19 asserting, inter alia, that he should
motion prayed the Court of Appeals to set aside its not be covered by the venue stipulation in the subject contracts as he was
decision and to dismiss the case. By resolution of never a party therein. He also reiterated that his signatures on the said
January 16, 1963 the Court of Appeals required the contracts were forgeries.20chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
appellees to answer the motion to dismiss, but they
failed to do so. Whereupon, on May 20 of the same year,
the Court resolved to set aside its decision and to certify The RTC Ruling
the case to Us.
In an Order21 dated September 20, 2010, the RTC denied Cash Asia�s
xxxx [24] motion to dismiss for lack of 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
22
Clearly, then, in Tijam, the issue of lack of jurisdiction has only complaint. chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
been raised during the execution stage, specifically when the matter of the
23
trial courts denial of the suretys motion to quash the writ of execution has Cash Asia moved for reconsideration which was, however, denied in an
24
been brought to the appellate court for review. Here, the trial courts Order dated October 22, 2010. Aggrieved, it filed a petition
for certiorari25 before the CA.cralawred
35
The CA Ruling which has jurisdiction over the area wherein the real property involved, or a
portion thereof, is situated; while the venue of personal actions is the court
26
In a Decision dated March 5, 2012, the CA annulled the RTC Orders, and which has jurisdiction where the plaintiff or the defendant resides, at the
accordingly, dismissed Briones�s complaint without prejudice to the filing of election of the plaintiff. As an exception, jurisprudence in Legaspi v. Rep. of
the same before the proper court in Makati City.27 It held that the RTC the Phils.33 instructs that the parties, thru a written instrument, may either
gravely abused its discretion in denying Cash Asia�s motion to dismiss, introduce another venue where actions arising from such instrument may be
considering that the subject contracts clearly provide that actions arising filed, or restrict the filing of said actions in a certain exclusive
therefrom should be exclusively filed before the courts of Makati City venue, viz.:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
only.28 As such, the CA concluded that Briones�s complaint should have
been dismissed outright on the ground of improper venue,29 this, The parties, however, are not precluded from agreeing in writing on an
notwithstanding Briones�s claim of forgery. exclusive venue, as qualified by Section 4 of the same rule. Written
stipulations as to venue may be restrictive in the sense that the suit
Dissatisfied, Briones moved for reconsideration,30 which was, however, may be filed only in the place agreed upon, or merely permissive in
denied in a Resolution31 dated October 4, 2012, hence, this petition. that� the parties may file their suit not only in the place agreed upon
but also in the places fixed by law. As in any other agreement, what is
The Issue Before the Court essential is the ascertainment of the intention of the parties respecting the
matter.
The primordial issue for the Court�s resolution is whether or not the CA
gravely abused its discretion in ordering the outright dismissal of Briones�s As regards restrictive stipulations on venue, jurisprudence instructs
complaint on the ground of improper venue. that it must be shown that such stipulation is exclusive. In the absence
of qualifying or restrictive words, such as �exclusively,� �waiving for
this purpose any other venue,� �shall only� preceding the designation of
The Court�s Ruling
venue, �to the exclusion of the other courts,� or words of similar
import, the stipulation should be deemed as merely an agreement on an
The petition is meritorious.
additional forum, not as limiting venue to the specified
place.34 (Emphases and underscoring supplied)
At the outset, the Court stresses that �[t]o justify the grant of the
extraordinary remedy of certiorari, [the petitioner] must satisfactorily show In this relation, case law likewise provides that in cases where the complaint
that the court or quasi-judicial authority gravely abused the discretion assails only the terms, conditions, and/or coverage of a written instrument
conferred upon it. Grave abuse of discretion connotes judgment exercised in and not its validity, the exclusive venue stipulation contained therein shall still
a capricious and whimsical manner that is tantamount to lack of jurisdiction. be binding on the parties, and thus, the complaint may be properly dismissed
To be considered �grave,� discretion must be exercised in a despotic on the ground of improper venue.35 Conversely, therefore, a complaint
manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and must be so patent and directly assailing the validity of the written instrument itself should not be
gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to bound by the exclusive venue stipulation contained therein and should be
perform the duty enjoined by or to act at all in contemplation of filed in accordance with the general rules on venue.To be sure, it would be
law.�32chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary inherently consistent for a complaint of this nature to recognize the exclusive
venue stipulation when it, in fact, precisely assails the validity of the
Guided by the foregoing considerations, the Court finds that the CA gravely instrument in which such stipulation is contained.
abused its discretion in ordering the outright dismissal of Briones�s
complaint against Cash Asia, without prejudice to its re-filing before the In this case, the venue stipulation found in the subject contracts is indeed
proper court in Makati City. restrictive in nature, considering that it effectively limits the venue of the
actions arising therefrom to the courts of Makati City. However, it must be
Rule 4 of the Rules of Court governs the rules on venue of civil actions, to emphasized that Briones�s complaint directly assails the validity of the
wit:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary subject contracts, claiming forgery in their execution. Given this
circumstance, Briones cannot be expected to comply with the aforesaid
Rule 4 venue stipulation, as his compliance therewith would mean an implicit
VENUE OF ACTIONS 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
SECTION 1. Venue of real actions. � Actions affecting title to or possession the subject property is located.
of real property, or interest therein, shall be commenced and tried in the
proper court which has jurisdiction over the area wherein the real property In conclusion, the CA patently erred and hence committed grave abuse of
involved, or a portion thereof, is situated. discretion in dismissing Briones�s complaint on the ground of improper
venue.chanrobleslaw
Forcible entry and detainer actions shall be commenced and tried in the
municipal trial court of the municipality or city wherein the real property WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, the Decision dated
involved, or a portion thereof, is situated. 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
SEC. 2. Venue of personal actions. � All other actions may be commenced ASIDE. The Orders dated September 20, 2010 and October 22, 2010 of the
and tried where the plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides, or where Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 173 in Civil Case No. 10-124040
the defendant or any of the principal defendants resides, or in the case of a are REINSTATED.
non-resident defendant where he may be found, at the election of the
plaintiff. SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary

SEC. 3. Venue of actions against nonresidents. � If any of the defendants Sereno, C.J., (Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Bersamin, and Perez, JJ.,
does not reside and is not found in the Philippines, and the action affects the concur.
personal status of the plaintiff, or any property of said defendant located in
the Philippines, the action may be commenced and tried in the court of the
place where the plaintiff resides, or where the property or any portion thereof
is situated or found.

SEC. 4. When Rule not applicable. � This Rule shall not apply �

(a) In those cases where a specific rule or law provides otherwise; or

(b) Where the parties have validly agreed in writing before the filing of the
action on the exclusive venue thereof.

Based therefrom, the general rule is that the venue of real actions is the court

36
PHILIPPINE JURISPRUDENCE - FULL TEXT
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation
B.M. No. 1922 June 3, 2008
RE. NUMBER AND DATE OF MCLE CERTIFICATE OF
COMPLETION/EXEMPTION REQUIRED IN ALL
PLEADINGS/MOTIONS

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

B.M. No. 1922 June 3, 2008

RE. NUMBER AND DATE OF MCLE CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION/EXEMPTION


REQUIRED IN ALL PLEADINGS/MOTIONS.

Sirs/Mesdames:

Quoted hereunder, for your information is a resolution of the Court En Banc dated June 3, 2008

"Bar Matter No. 1922. – Re: Recommendation of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE)
Board to Indicate in All Pleadings Filed with the Courts the Counsel’s MCLE Certificate of
Compliance or Certificate of Exemption. – The Court Resolved to NOTE the Letter, dated May 2,
2008, of Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, Chairperson, Committee on Legal Education
and Bar Matters, informing the Court of the diminishing interest of the members of the Bar in the
MCLE requirement program.

The Court further Resolved, upon the recommendation of the Committee on Legal Education and Bar
Matters, to REQUIRE practicing members of the bar to INDICATE in all pleadings filed before the
courts or quasi-judicial bodies, the number and date of issue of their MCLE Certificate of Compliance
or Certificate of Exemption, as may be applicable, for the immediately preceding compliance
period. Failure to disclose the required information would cause the dismissal of the case and the
expunction of the pleadings from the records.

The New Rule shall take effect sixty (60) days after its publication in a newspaper of general
circulation." Caprio-Morales Velasco, Jr., Nachura, JJ., on official leave. (adv216a)

Very truly yours,

MA. LUISA D. VILLARAMA(sgd)


Clerk of Court

The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

37
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