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#1. SPECIFIED CONTRACTORS AND DEV. INC. V.

POBOCAN (JANUARY 11, 2018)

GR NO. 212474 (JANUARY 11, 2018)

SPECIFIED CONTRACTORS AND DEVELOPMENT INC. AND SPOUSES OLONAN VS POBOCAN

FACTS: Jose Pobocan’s last position was president of Specified Contractors and subsidiary, Starland Properties, as well
as executive assistant in its other subsidiaries and affiliates. Architect Olonan allegedly agreed to give Pobocan one (1)
unit for every building Specified Contractors were able to construct as part of respondent's compensation package to
entice him to stay with the company. Two (2) of these projects that Specified Contractors and respondent were able to
build were the Xavierville Square Condominium in Quezon City and the Sunrise Holiday Mansion Bldg. I in Alfonso,
Cavite. Pursuant to the alleged oral agreement, Specified Contractors supposedly ceded, assigned and transferred Unit
708 of Xavierville Square Condominium and Unit 208 of Sunrise Holiday Mansion Bldg. I (subject units) in favor of
respondent.

In a March 14, 2011 letter addressed to petitioner Architect Enrique Olonan as chairman of Specified Contractors,
Pobocan requested the execution of Deeds of Assignment or Deeds of Sale over the subject units in his favor, along with
various other benefits, in view of his impending retirement on March 19, 2011. When respondent's demand was
unheeded, he filed a Complaint before the RTC of Quezon City praying that petitioners be ordered to execute and deliver
the appropriate deeds of conveyance and to pay moral and exemplary damages, as well as attorney's fees.

Petitioners interposed a Motion to Dismiss denying the existence of the alleged oral agreement. They argued that, even
assuming arguendo that there was such an oral agreement, the alleged contract is unenforceable for being in violation of
the statute of frauds, nor was there any written document, note or memorandum showing that the subject units have in
fact been ceded, assigned or transferred to resp` `1 ondent.

The RTC dismissed the respondent's complaint but disagreed with petitioners that the action had already prescribed under
Articles 1144 and 1145 of the New Civil Code, by reasoning that the complaint is in the nature of a real action which
prescribes after 30 years conformably with Article 1141, it nonetheless agreed that the alleged agreement should have
been put into writing, and that such written note, memorandum or agreement should have been attached as actionable
documents to respondent's complaint.

On appeal, the CA reversed the RTC's Order, reasoning that the dismissal of respondent's complaint, anchored on the
violation of the statute of frauds, is unwarranted since the rule applies only to executory and not to completed or partially
consummated contracts.

ISSUE: WON Whether or not the RTC had jurisdiction over the respondent's complaint considering that the allegations
therein invoked a right over the subject condominium units as part of his compensation package, thus a claim arising out
of an employer-employee relationship cognizable by the labor arbiter

HELD: YES

RATIO DECIDENDI:

It is axiomatic that jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is conferred by law and is determined by the allegations
in the complaint and the character of the relief sought, irrespective of whether the plaintiff is entitled to all or some of the
claims asserted therein. We therefore find that respondent correctly designated his complaint as one for specific
performance consistent with his allegations and prayer therein. Accordingly, respondent's suit is one that is incapable of
pecuniary estimation and indeed cognizable by the RTC of Quezon City where both parties reside.

Settled jurisprudence considers some civil actions as incapable of pecuniary estimation, viz:

Even if this Court were to entertain the petitioners' belated assertion that jurisdiction belongs to the labor arbiter as this
case involves a claim arising from an employer-employee relationship, reliance by petitioners on Domondon v. NLRC is
misplaced. In Domondon, the existence of the agreement on the transfer of car-ownership was not in issue but rather, the
entitlement of a former employee to his entire monetary claims against a former employer, considering that the said
employee had not paid the balance of the purchase price of a company car which the employee opted to retain. In the
present case, the existence of the alleged oral agreement, from which would flow the right to compel performance, is in
issue.

#2. TILAR V. TILAR (JULY 12, 2017)

GR NO. 214529 (JULY 12, 2017)

TILAR VS TILAR AND REPUBLIC

FACTS: On November 4, 2010, petitioner filed with the RTC a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage on the
ground of private respondent's (respondent) psychological incapacity based on Article 36 of the Family Code. He alleged
that he and respondent were married on June 29, 1996 in a Catholic Church in Poro, Poro Camotes, Cebu with Rev. Fr.
Vicente Igot as the solemnizing officer; that a son was born of their marriage; that their marriage went well in the first
few months but respondent later became an extremely jealous, violent person which resulted to frequent quarrels and
petitioner being threatened and physically harmed; that she is a happy-go-lucky and extravagant type of person and a
gambler; that they eventually separated in 2002; and, that respondent is now living with another man in Cebu City.
Petitioner consulted a clinical psychologist and respondent was said to be suffering from "aggressive personality disorder
as well as histrionic personality disorder" which made her psychologically incapacitated to comply with her essential
marital obligations.

Respondent failed to file her Answer despite being served with summons. The RTC then required the Public Prosecutor
to conduct an investigation whether collusion existed. In his Manifestation and Compliance, the Public Prosecutor
certified as to the absence of collusion between the parties.[4] Trial, thereafter, ensued with petitioner and his witness
testifying.

On June 3, 2014, the RTC issued its assailed Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, this case is ORDERED DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction over the
subject matter.[5]

In so ruling, the RTC ratiocinated in this wise:

x x x the lingering issue that confronts this Court, whether it can validly [pass] upon the validity of church marriage in
the light of the separation of the Church and the State as enunciated in Section 6 of Art. (sic) of the 1987 Constitution.
Withal, marriage is a sacrament according to the teaching of the Catholic Church. Being a sacrament, the same is purely
religious. Declaration of nullity, which is commonly called an annulment in the Catholic Church, is a judgment rendered
by an ecclesiastical tribunal determining that the sacrament of marriage was invalidly contracted. The procedure is
governed by the Church's Canon Law not by the civil law observed by the State in nullity cases involving civil marriages.
Ergo, the principle of separation of Church and State finds application in this case. x x x

xxxx

Clearly, the State cannot encroach into the domain of the Church, thus, resolving the validity of the church marriage is
outside the province of its authority. Although the Family Code did not categorize the marriage subject of the petition for
nullity or annulment, the Constitution as the fundamental law of the State laid down the principle of separation, ergo, it is
beyond cavil that nullity of a church marriage cannot be taken out of the church jurisdiction. The court being an entity of
the State is bereft of any jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case.

ISSUE: WON the RTC has jurisdiction over the said case

HELD: YES

RATIO DECIDENDI:

The contract of marriage is entered into by complying with the requirements and formalities prescribed by law. The
marriage of petitioner and respondent which was solemnized by a Catholic priest and was held in a church was in
accordance with the above-quoted provisions. Although, marriage is considered a sacrament in the Catholic church, it has
civil and legal consequences which are governed by the Family Code. As petitioner correctly pointed out, the instant
petition only seeks to nullify the marriage contract between the parties as postulated in the Family Code of the
Philippines; and the declaration of nullity of the parties' marriage in the religious and ecclesiastical aspect is another
matter.[17] Notably, the proceedings for church annulment which is in accordance with the norms of Canon Law is not
binding upon the State as the couple is still considered married to each other in the eyes of the civil law. Thus, the
principle of separation of the church and state finds no application in this case.

As marriage is a lifetime commitment which the parties cannot just dissolve at whim, the Family Code has provided for
the grounds for the termination of marriage. These grounds may be invoked and proved in a petition for annulment of
voidable marriage or in a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage, which can be decided upon only by the court
exercising jurisdiction over the matter. Section 19 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, otherwise known as the
Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 provides:

Section 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction:

xxxx

(15) In all actions involving the contract of marriage and marital relations;

Hence, a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage, which petitioner filed before the RTC of Baybay City, falls within
its exclusive jurisdiction; thus, the RTC erred in dismissing the petition for lack of jurisdiction.

#3. DELIMA V. GUERRERO (OCTOBER 10, 2017)

GR NO. 229781 (October 10, 2017)

DE LIMA VS JUDGE GUERRERO

FACTS: The facts are undisputed. The Senate and the House of Representatives conducted several inquiries on the
proliferation of dangerous drugs syndicated at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), inviting inmates who executed affidavits in
support of their testimonies. These legislative inquiries led to the filing of the following complaints with the Department
of Justice: NPS No. XVI INV-16J-00313, entitled "Volunteers against Crime and Corruption (VACC), represented by
Dante Jimenez vs. Senator Leila M De Lima, et al.;" NPS No. XVI-INV-16J-00315, entitled "Reynaldo Esmeralda and
Ruel Lasala vs. Senator Leila De Lima, et al.;" NPS No. XVI-INV-16K-00331, entitled "Jaybee Nino Sebastian,
represented by his wife Roxanne Sebastian, vs. Senator Leila M. De Lima, et al.;" and NPS No. XVI-INV-16K-00336,
entitled "National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) vs. Senator Leila M. De Lima, et al."
The DOJ Panel conducted a preliminary hearing on December 2, 2016. The petitioner argued that the Office of the
Ombudsman has the exclusive authority and jurisdiction to hear the four complaints against her. Further, alleging evident
partiality on the part of the DOJ Panel, the petitioner contended that the DOJ prosecutors should inhibit themselves and
refer the complaints to the Office of the Ombudsman.

During the hearing conducted The DOJ Panel accused Leila M. De Lima, being then the Secretary of the Department of
Justice, and accused Rafael Marcos Z. Ragos, being then the Officer-in-Charge of the Bureau of Corrections, by taking
advantage of their public office, conspiring and confederating with accused Ronnie P. Dayan, being then an employee of
the Department of Justice detailed to De Lima, all of them having moral ascendancy or influence over inmates in the
New Bilibid Prison, did then and there commit illegal drug trading, in the following manner: De Lima and Ragas, with
the use of their power, position, and authority, demand, solicit and extort money from the high profile inmates in the New
Bilibid Prison to support the senatorial bid of De Lima in the May 2016 election; by reason of which, the inmates, not
being lawfully authorized by law and through the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices, did then and there
willfully and unlawfully trade and traffic dangerous drugs, and thereafter give and deliver to De Lima, through Ragas and
Dayan, the proceeds of illegal drug trading amounting to Five Million (P5,000,000.00) Pesos on 24 November 2012, Five
Million (P5,000,000.00) Pesos on 15 December 2012, and One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos weekly "tara"
each from the high profile inmates in the New Bilibid Prison.

Petitioner filed a Motion to Quash, mainly raising the following: the RTC lacks jurisdiction over the offense charged
against petitioner; the DOJ Panel lacks authority to file the Information the Information charges more than one offense;
the allegations and the recitals of facts do not allege the corpus delicti of the charge; the Information is based on
testimonies of witnesses who are not qualified to be discharged as state witnesses; and the testimonies of these witnesses
are hearsay.

On February 23, 2017, respondent judge issued the presently assailed Order finding probable cause for the issuance of
warrants of arrest against De Lima and her co-accused. The Order stated, viz.:

After a careful evaluation of the herein Information and all the evidence presented during the preliminary investigation
conducted in this case by the Department of Justice, Manila, the Court finds sufficient probable cause for the issuance of
Warrants of Arrest against all the accused LEILA M. DE LIMA, RAFAEL MARCOS Z. RAGOS and RONNIE
PALISOC DAYAN.

WHEREFORE, let Warrants of Arrest be issued against the above mentioned accused.

SO ORDERED.

Accordingly, the questioned Warrant of Arrest dated February 23, 2017,which contained no recommendation for bail,
was issued against petitioner.

On February 24, 2017, the PNP Investigation and Detection Group served the Warrant of Arrest on petitioner and the
respondent judge issued the assailed February 24, 2017 Order, committing petitioner to the custody of the PNP Custodial
Center.

ISSUE: WON the Regional Trial Court or the Sandiganbayan has the jurisdiction over the violation of Republic Act No.
9165 averred in the assailed Information

HELD: YES

RATIO DECIDENDI:

The pertinent special law governing drug-related cases is RA 9165, which updated the rules provided in RA 6425,
otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972. A plain reading of RA 9165, as of RA 6425, will reveal that
jurisdiction over drug-related cases is exclusively vested with the Regional Trial Court and no other. The designation of
the RTC as the court with the exclusive jurisdiction over drug-related cases is apparent in the following provisions where
it was expressly mentioned and recognized as the only court with the authority to hear drug-related cases:
Section 20. Confiscation and Forfeiture of the Proceeds or Instruments of the Unlawful Act, Including the Properties or
Proceeds Derived from the Illegal Trafficking of Dangerous Drugs and/or Precursors and Essential Chemicals. –

After conviction in the Regional Trial Court in the appropriate criminal case filed, the Court shall immediately schedule a
hearing for the confiscation and forfeiture of all the proceeds of the offense and all the assets and properties of the
accused either owned or held by him or in the name of some other persons if the same shall be found to be manifestly out
of proportion to his/her lawful income:

During the pendency of the case in the Regional Trial Court, no property, or income derived therefrom, which may be
confiscated and forfeited, shall be disposed, alienated or transferred and the same shall be in custodia legis and no bond
shall be admitted for the release of the same.

Section 61. Compulsory Confinement of a Drug Dependent Who Refuses to Apply Under the Voluntary Submission
Program. – A petition for the confinement of a person alleged to be dependent on dangerous drugs to a Center may be
filed by any person authorized by the Board with the Regional Trial Court of the province or city where such person is
found.

Section 90. Jurisdiction. -The Supreme Court shall designate special courts from among the existing Regional Trial
Courts in each judicial region to exclusively try and hear cases involving violations of this Act. The number of courts
designated in each judicial region shall be based on the population and the number of cases pending in their respective
jurisdiction.

Applying by analogy the ruling in People v. Simon, People v. De Lara, People v. Santos, and Ordonez v. Vinarao, the
imposable penalty in this case which involves 0.4587 grams of shabu should not exceed prision correccional. We say by
analogy because these cases involved marijuana, not methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu). In Section 20 of RA. No.
6425, as amended by Section 17 of R.A. No. 7659, the maximum quantities of marijuana and methamphetamine
hydrochloride for purposes of imposing the maximum penalties are not the same. For the latter, if the quantity involved is
200 grams or more, the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million shall be
imposed. Accordingly, if the quantity involved is below 200 grams, the imposable penalties should be as follows:

Clearly, the penalty which may be imposed for the offense charged in Criminal Case No. 96-8443 would at most be only
prision correccional duration is from six (6) months and one (1) day to six (6) years. Does it follow then that, as the
petitioner insists, the RTC has no jurisdiction thereon in view of the amendment of Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129 by R.A.
No. 7691, which vested upon Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of
the amount of fine and regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties? This Section 32 as thus amended now
reads:

The exception in the opening sentence is of special significance which we cannot disregard. x x x The aforementioned
exception refers not only to Section 20 of B.P. Blg. 129 providing for the jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts in
criminal cases, but also to other laws which specifically lodge in Regional Trial Courts exclusive jurisdiction over
specific criminal cases, e. g., (a) Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A Nos. 1289 and 4363 on
written defamation or libel; (b) Decree on Intellectual Property (P. D. No. 49, as amended), which vests upon Courts of
First Instance exclusive jurisdiction over the cases therein mentioned regardless of the imposable penalty and (c) more
appropriately for the case at bar, Section 39 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended by P.D. No. 44, which vests on Courts of First
Instance, Circuit Criminal Courts, and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts concurrent exclusive original
jurisdiction over all cases involving violations of said Act.

That Congress indeed did not intend to repeal these special laws vesting exclusive jurisdiction in the Regional Trial
Courts over certain cases is clearly evident from the exception provided for in the opening sentence of Section 32 of B.P.
Blg. 129, as amended by R.A No. 7691. These special laws are not, therefore, covered by the repealing clause (Section 6)
of R.A. No. 7691.

#4. CASANAS V PEOPLE (DECEMBER 12, 2017)


GR NO. 223833 (December 11, 2017)

CASANAS VS PEOPLE

FACTS: That on or about August 12, 2012, in Valenzuela City and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, with intent to gain, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take and carry away
with him one (1) Racal motorcycle with plate number 7539IJ without the consent of its owner CHRISTOPHER
CALDERON y DORIGON, to the damage and prejudice of the said complainant.

For his part, while Casanas admitted that Calderon owned the subject motorcycle, he denied stealing the same. He
averred that he only borrowed the subject motorcycle on August 18, 2012, but he was unable to return it on that date as
he had a drinking session with his friends. The next day, he was on his way home onboard the subject motorcycle when
policemen blocked his way and forcibly took him to the police station. Thereat, a police officer purportedly took a knife
from his drawer, which led petitioner to believe that he was being investigated and detained because of the said knife.

The RTC-Valenzuela Ruling found Casanas guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged, and accordingly,
sentenced him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for the indeterminate period of fourteen (14) years and eight (8)
months, as minimum, to fifteen (15) years, as maximum.

The RTC-Valenzuela held that the prosecution had established all the elements of the crime charged, considering that: (a)
Calderon allowed petitioner to drive the subject motorcycle, which was then attached to a sidecar; (b) Casanas did not
return the subject motorcycle within the agreed period; and (c) Casanas continued to use the same for his personal use,
thereby exhibiting his intent to gain. In this regard, the RTC-Valenzuela ruled that while Casanas's possession of the
subject motorcycle was lawful in the beginning, such possession became unlawful when he failed to return the same to
Calderon in accordance with their agreement.

Aggrieved, Casanas appealed to the CA.

The CA Ruling affirmed the RTC Valenzuela ruling in toto. Aside from upholding the RTC-Valenzuela's findings, the
CA likewise pointed out that initially, Casanas borrowed a tricycle from Calderon; but when he was apprehended, only
the subject motorcycle without the sidecar was recovered from him.

Undaunted, Casanas moved for reconsideration but the same was denied in a Resolution dated January 11, 2016; hence,
this petition.

ISSUE: WON the RTC-Valenzuela had jurisdiction over the case

HELD: NO

RATIO DECIDENDI:

it is evident that the crime of Carnapping, including all the elements thereof - namely, that: (a) there is an actual taking of
the vehicle; (b) the vehicle belongs to a person other than the offender himself; (c) the taking is without the consent of the
owner thereof, or that the taking was committed by means of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using
force upon things; and (d) the offender intends to gain from the taking of the vehicle - did not occur in Valenzuela City,
but in Marilao, Bulacan. While the Court notes that Casanas was indeed arrested in Valenzuela City while in the
possession of the subject motorcycle, the same is of no moment, not only because such is not an element of the crime, but
more importantly, at that point in time, the crime had long been consummated. Case law provides that '"unlawful taking'
or apoderamiento is the taking of the motor vehicle without the consent of the owner, or by means of violence against or
intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things. It is deemed complete from the moment the offender gains
possession of the thing, even if he has no opportunity to dispose of the same.

The RTC-Valenzuela had no authority to take cognizance of the instant case as the crime was committed outside its
territorial jurisdiction. Consequently, the RTC-Valenzuela ruling convicting Casanas of the crime charged, as well as the
CA ruling upholding the same, is null and void for lack of jurisdiction. It is well-settled that "where there is want of
jurisdiction over a subject matter, the judgment is rendered null and void. A void judgment is in legal effect no judgment,
by which no rights are divested, from which no right can be obtained, which neither binds nor bars any one, and under
which all acts performed and all claims flowing out are void. It is not a decision in contemplation of law and, hence, it
can never become executory. It also follows that such a void judgment cannot constitute a bar to another case by reason
of res judicata,

#5. HEIRS OF YUSINGCO V. BUSILAK (JANUARY 24, 2018)

G.R. No. 210504 (January 24, 2018)

HEIRS OF ALFONSO YUSINGCO, REPRESENTED BY THEIR ATTORNEY-IN-FACT, TEODORO K.


YUSINGCO v. AMELITA BUSILAK, COSCA NAVARRO, FLAVIA CURAYAG AND LIXBERTO CASTRO

FACTS: On August 11, 2005, herein petitioners filed five separate (5) Complaints5 for accion publiciana and/or
recovery of possession against herein respondents and a certain Reynaldo Peralta. The suits, which were subsequently
consolidated, were filed with the MTCC of Surigao City, which were later raffled to Branch 1 thereof. Petitioners
uniformly alleged in the said Complaints that: they are owners of three (3) parcels of land, denominated as Lot Nos. 519,
520 and 1015, which are all located at Barangay Taft, Surigao City; they inherited the lots from their
predecessor-in-interest, Alfonso Yusingco; they were in possession of the said properties prior to and at the start of the
Second World War, but lost possession thereof during the war; after the war, petitioners discovered that the subject
properties were occupied by several persons, which prompted petitioners to file separate cases for accion reivindicatoria
and recovery of possession against these persons; during the pendency of these cases, herein respondents entered
different portions of the same properties and occupied them without the knowledge and consent of petitioners; petitioners
were forced to tolerate the illegal occupation of respondents as they did not have sufficient resources to protect their
property at that time and also because their ownership was still being disputed in the earlier cases filed; subsequently, the
cases which they earlier filed were decided in their favor and they were declared the owners of the subject properties;
thereafter, petitioners demanded that respondents vacate the said properties, but the latter refused.

In their Answer, respondents raised essentially similar defenses, contending, in essence, that: they have been in
possession of the subject properties for more than thirty (30) years; petitioners never actually possessed the said parcels
of land and that they never had title over the same; thus, petitioners' claim would be in conflict with and inferior to
respondents' claim of possession.

After the issues were joined, trial ensued.

MTCC, Branch 1, Surigao City issued an Omnibus Judgment in favor of herein petitioners.

WHEREFORE, premises considered judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, The MTCC held that: in an
earlier case for accion reivindicatoria (Civil Case No. 1645) decided by the Court of First Instance of Surigao Del Norte
on June 8, 1979 and affirmed by the CA in its Decision dated August 30, 1982 (CA-G.R. No. 66508-R), which became
final and executory on December 18, 1986, herein petitioners were declared the true and lawful co-owners of the subject
properties; on the other hand, evidence showed that respondents were mere intruders on the lots in question; thus, as
judicially-declared owners of the said lots, petitioners are entitled to possession thereof as against respondents whose
entries into the said properties are illegal.

Herein respondents filed an appeal with the RTC of Surigao City.


RTC, Branch 30, Surigao City, rendered a Joint Decision, which affirmed, with modification, the Omnibus Judgment of
the MTCC.

Herein respondents then filed with the CA a petition for review under Rule 42 of the Rules of Court assailing the
abovementioned Joint Decision of the RTC.

CA promulgated its Decision granting the petition of herein respondents. The CA ruled that the RTC and CA Decisions
used by the MTCC in holding that herein petitioners are owners of the subject properties and are, thus, entitled to legal
possession thereof, are based on a previous accion reivindicatoria, which is a suit in personam. The CA held that, being
an action in personam, the judgments in the said case binds only the parties properly impleaded therein. Since
respondents were not parties to the said action, the CA concluded that they could not be bound by the judgments
declaring petitioners as owners of the disputed properties. Hence, petitioners' present actions to recover possession of the
said properties from respondents, on the basis of the said judgments, must fail.

ISSUE: WON the final and executory decisions rendered in a previous accion reivindicatoria, finding petitioners to be
the lawful owners of the subject properties, are binding upon respondents.

HELD: YES

RATIO DECIDENDI:

This Court rules in the affirmative.

At the outset, the Court finds it proper to look into the nature of the actions filed by petitioners against respondents. A
perusal of the complaints filed by petitioners shows that the actions were captioned as "Accion Publiciana and/or
Recovery of Possession." However, the Court agrees with the ruling of the lower courts that the complaints filed were
actually accion reivindicatoria.

In a number of cases,10 this Court had occasion to discuss the three (3) kinds of actions available to recover possession
of real property, to wit:

x x x (a) accion interdictal; (b) accion publiciana; and (a) accion reivindicatoria

Accion interdictal comprises two distinct causes of action, namely, forcible entry (detentacion) and unlawful detainer
(desahuico) [sic]. In forcible entry, one is deprived of physical possession of real property by means of force,
intimidation, strategy, threats, or stealth whereas in unlawful detainer, one illegally withholds possession after the
expiration or termination of his right to hold possession under any contract, express or implied. The two are distinguished
from each other in that in forcible entry, the possession of the defendant is illegal from the beginning, and that the issue is
which party has prior de factopossession while in unlawful detainer, possession of the defendant is originally legal but
became illegal due to the expiration or termination of the right to possess.

Accion publiciana is the plenary action to recover the right of possession which should be brought in the proper regional
trial court when dispossession has lasted for more than one year. It is an ordinary civil proceeding to determine the better
right of possession of realty independently of title. In other words, if at the time of the filing of the complaint more than
one year had elapsed since defendant had turned plaintiff out of possession or defendant's possession had become illegal,
the action will be, not one of the forcible entry or illegal detainer, but an accion publiciana. On the other hand, accion
reivindicatoria is an action to recover ownership also brought in the proper regional trial court in an ordinary civil
proceeding.
Accion reivindicatoria or accion de reivindicacion is, thus, an action whereby the plaintiff alleges ownership over a
parcel of land and seeks recovery of its full possession.11 It is a suit to recover possession of a parcel of land as an
element of ownership.12 The judgment in such a case determines the ownership of the property and awards the
possession of the property to the lawful owner.13 It is different from accion interdictal or accion publiciana where
plaintiff merely alleges proof of a better right to possess without claim of title.14

On the basis of the above discussions, it is clear that the lower courts did not err in ruling that the suits filed by
petitioners are accion reivindicatoria, not accion publiciana, as petitioners seek to recover possession of the subject lots
on the basis of their ownership thereof.

It is settled that a judgment directing a party to deliver possession of a property to another is in personam.15 It is
conclusive, not against the whole world, but only "between the parties and their successors in interest by title subsequent
to the commencement of the action."16 An action to recover a parcel of land is a real action but it is an action in
personam, for it binds a particular individual only although it concerns the right to a tangible thing.17 Any judgment
therein is binding only upon the parties properly impleaded and duly heard or given an opportunity to be heard.18
However, this rule admits of the exception that even a non-party may be bound by the judgment in an ejectment suit19
where he is any of the following: (a) trespasser, squatter or agent of the defendant fraudulently occupying the property to
frustrate the judgment; (b) guest or occupant of the premises with the permission of the defendant; (c) transferee
pendente lite; (d) sublessee; (e) co-lessee; or (f) member of the family, relative or privy of the defendant.

#6. HEIRS OF AMISTOSO V. VALLECER (DECEMBER 6, 2017)

G.R. No. 227124, December 06, 2017

HEIRS OF VICTOR AMISTOSO, NAMELY: VENEZUELA A. DELA CRUZ, FLORA A. TULIO, WILFREDO
D. AMISTOSO, RUFINO D. AMISTOSO, VICENTE D. AMISTOSO, MAXIMO D. AMISTOSO, AND
ZENAIDA D. AMISTOSO v. ELMER T. VALLECER, REPRESENTED BY EDGAR VALLECER

FACTS: Sometime in March 1996, respondent Elmer T. Vallecer (respondent), through his brother Dr. Jose Benjy T.
Vallecer (Benjy), filed a Complaint for recovery of possession and damages against petitioners, docketed as Civil Case
No. S-606, involving a 2,265-square meter parcel of land, located in Labason, Zamboanga del Norte, described as Lot
C-7-A and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-44214(TCT T-44214) and Tax Declaration No. 93-7329 under
respondent's name. He claimed that he purchased the property sometime in June 1990 after confirming with the
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) that the property was not tenanted. When he started making preparations for the
construction of a commercial building on the property, petitioners, with the aid of their workers, agents, representatives,
and/or employees, stopped or barred him by force, threats, and intimidation. Despite repeated demands and explanations
made by the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) of the DAR during a pre litigation conference that no
landlord-tenancy relationship ever existed between them as regards the property, petitioners continued to refuse him from
entering and enjoying possession of his property. Thus, he prayed for the court to, among others, order petitioners, with
their representatives, agents, employees, and assigns, to vacate the property and pay damages.

In their defense, petitioners claimed that they have been in actual, peaceful, and continuous possession of the land as
evidenced by Certificate of Land Transfer No. 0-002623 (CLT) issued in November 1978 to their predecessor-in-interest
Victor Amistoso (Victor) by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 27.

RTC declared respondent as the absolute owner of the subject property under his name. On appeal, the CA rendered a
Decision reversing the RTC ruling. It found that Benjy failed to show proof of his capacity to sue on respondent's behalf
and that the CLT issued by the DAR acknowledges petitioners as "deemed owner" of the land after full payment of its
value. This CA Decision became final and executory on November 4, 2003, and consequently, a Writ of Execution was
issued on May 9, 2005.

The RTC Ruling denied petitioners' Motion to Hear and Resolve Affirmative Defenses for lack of merit, declaring that
the principle of res judicata would not apply in view of the lack of identity of causes of action. It held that in contrast to
Civil Case No. S-606, which involves recovery of possession, Civil Case No. L-298 is essentially one for declaration of
ownership. It also ruled that since the land is covered by a Torrens title, it can no longer be acquired by prescription or be
lost by laches.

Aggrieved, petitioners moved for reconsideration which the RTC denied in an Ordre dated December 3, 2014.
Undaunted, they elevated the case before the CA via a petition for certiorari, arguing that Civil Case No. L-298 for
quieting of title is barred by res judicata, and that respondent lacked cause of action.

The CA Ruling affirmed the RTC ruling. It held that the RTC did not gravely abuse its discretion in holding that Civil
Case No. L-298 is not barred by res judicata, considering that Civil Case No. S-606 filed by respondent is anchored on
his right to possess the real property as the registered owner; while Civil Case No. L-298 was filed in order to clear his
title over the land and remove all adverse claims against it.

Dissatisfied, petitioners moved for reconsideration, additionally arguing that the RTC lacked jurisdiction to cancel their
CLT. The CA denied petitioners' motion in a Resolution dated August 10, 2016; hence, this petition.

ISSUE: WON Civil Case No. L-298 is barred by res judicata.

HELD: NO

RATIO DECIDENDI:

The petition lacks merit.

Preliminarily, petitioners insist, albeit belatedly, that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the complaint in Civil Case No.
L-298, considering that what is sought to be cancelled is their CLT; hence, an agrarian dispute falling within the
jurisdiction of the DARAB.

The argument is specious.

In order to classify a matter as an agrarian dispute which falls under the jurisdiction of the DARAB, it must be first
shown that a tenancy relationship exists between the parties. For such relationship to be proven, it is essential to establish
all its indispensable elements, namely:

(a) that the parties are the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee;

(b) that the subject matter of the relationship is an agricultural land;

(c) that there is consent between the parties to the relationship;

(d) that the purpose of the relationship is to bring about agricultural production;

(e) that there is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee; and

(f) that the harvest is shared between the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee.

Moreover, it is well-settled that the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter of the action is determined by the
material allegations of the complaint and the law at the time the action was commenced, irrespective of whether or not
the plaintiff is entitled to recover all or some of the claims or reliefs sought therein and regardless of the defenses set up
in the court or upon a motion to dismiss by the defendant.

In this case, a reading of the material allegations of respondent's complaint in Civil Case No. L-298 and even petitioners'
admissions readily reveals that there is neither a tenancy relationship between petitioners and respondent, nor had
petitioners been the tenant of respondent's predecessors in-interest. In fact, respondent did not even question the validity
of petitioners' CLT nor sought for its cancellation. Rather, what respondent sought was for a declaration that the property
covered by his Torrens title is different from the property covered by petitioners' CLT in order to quiet his title and
remove all adverse claims against it. Clearly, this is not an agrarian dispute that falls within the DARAB's jurisdiction.

The Court disagrees."Res judicata literally means 'a matter adjudged; a thing judicially acted upon or decided; a thing or
matter settled by judgment."' It also refers to the "rule that an existing final judgment or decree rendered on the merits,
and without fraud or collusion, by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon any matter within its jurisdiction, is conclusive
of the rights of the parties or their privies, in all other actions or suits in the same or any other judicial tribunal of
concurrent jurisdiction on the points and matters in issue in the first suit." For res judicata to absolutely bar a subsequent
action, the following requisites must concur: (a) the former judgment or order must be final; (b) the judgment or order
must be on the merits; (c) it must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and parties;
and (d) there must be between the first and second actions, identity of parties, of subject matter, and of causes of action.

In this case, the Court finds that Civil Case No. S-606 did not bar the filing of Civil Case No. L-298 on the ground of res
judicata as the causes of action in the two cases are not the same.

#7. GAFFNEY V. BULTEN (NOVEMBER 8, 2017)

G.R. No. 219408

GAFFNEY vs. BUTLER

FACTS: On September 21, 2011, Donald Francis Gaffney ("private respondent") filed a Complaint against Gina V.
Butler ("petitioner") for sum of money. Private respondent alleged that sometime between the years 2006 to 2007,
petitioner and her husband Anthony Richard Butler approached and invited private respondent to invest in ActiveFun
Corporation ("ActiveFun"), an entity engaged in the construction, operation and management of children's play and party
facilities. Petitioner was the President of ActiveFun while her husband was its Treasurer and Chief Executive Officer.

Private respondent advanced the approximate amount of PhP12,500,000.00 representing his initial investment in
ActiveFun. However, petitioner's husband passed away sometime in December 2009. Consequently, the proposed
investment agreement did not materialize. Private respondent then demanded the return of his investments from
petitioner, who personally undertook to repay the total amount of his investments plus accrued interest. However, despite
the lapse of a considerable period of time, petitioner was only able to pay private respondent on October 15, 2010 an
initial amount of PhPl,000,000.00. Private respondent was thus constrained to institute a legal action for the enforcement
of his claim against petitioner.

In her Answer filed on April 23, 2012, petitioner averred, among others, that she had no knowledge of private
respondent's investment in ActiveFun. In the meantime, petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss Ad-Cautelam, allegedly not
as the defendant originally named in the complaint but as the purported representative of her late husband, arguing that
the death of her husband did not ipso facto make her the representative of his estate. More importantly, a claim against an
estate of a deceased person is governed by Rule 86 of the Rules of Court.

Hence, it cannot be consolidated with an ordinary civil action in which only natural or juridical persons may be parties
pursuant to Section 1, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court. Consequently, the service of summons intended for the estate of the
late Anthony Richard Butler was improperly served. The CA, in the questioned Decision dated February 6, 2015, granted
Gina's CA Petition, reversed and set aside the RTC Orders and dismissed the entire complaint.

ISSUE: Whether or not a deceased person does have the capacity to be sued

HELD: NO
RATIO DECIDENDI:

A deceased person does not have the capacity to be sued and may not be made a defendant in a case.25 Section 1, Rule 3
of the Revised Rules of Court unequivocally states that "[o]nly natural or juridical persons, or entities authorized by law
may be parties in a civil action."In sum, impleading the deceased Anthony or his estate in the present petition was
improper. The action against him must be dismissed and the same may just be filed as a claim against his estate in a
proper proceeding. The CA thus did not err in reversing the trial court.

#8. RACPAN V. BARROGA-HAIGH (JUNE 6, 2018)

G.R. No. 234499, June 06, 2018

RUDY L. RACPAN v. SHARON BARROGA-HAIGH

FACTS: Petitioner Rudy Racpan filed a Complaint "For Declaration For Nullity of Deed of Sale with Right to
Repurchase & Attorney's Fees" before the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 11 (RTC-Davao). In his
Complaint, which was docketed as Civil Case No. 34, 742-2012, petitioner alleged that after his wife's death on
November 12, 2011, he instructed their daughter to arrange his wife's important documents. In so doing, their daughter
discovered a Deed of Sale with Right to Purchase dated March 29, 2011. The Deed of Sale was purportedly signed by
him and his late wife and appeared to convey to respondent Sharon Barroga-Haigh a real property registered in his name
under TCT No. T-142-2011009374 and located in Bo. Tuganay, Municipality of Carmen, Province of Davao del
Norte.Petitioner maintained that the Deed of Sale was falsified and fictitious as he never signed any contract, not even
any special power of attorney, for the sale or conveyance of the property which is still in his possession. Thus, he prayed
for the declaration of the Deed of Sale's nullity.

In her Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim, respondent
contended, by way of affirmative defense, that the venue of the Complaint was improperly laid and that the filing of the
case lacks the mandatory requirement of Barangay Clearance. Subsequently, respondent filed a motion for preliminary
hearing on her affirmative defenses.

Acting on the motion, the RTC-Davao set the case for preliminary hearing and
thereafter issued an Order dated September 18, 2013 dismissing the petitioner's Complaint as follows:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the present case is hereby ORDERED DISMISSED for being improperly filed
before the Regional Trial Court of Davao City and for failure to comply with a condition precedent prior to its
filing.

SO ORDERED.

Petitioner moved for the RTC-Davao to reconsider its Order dismissing the complaint but the trial court remained
steadfast and denied his motion in its June 19, 2004 Orde.r Hence, the petitioner came to the CA on appeal.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

As stated at the outset hereof, the appellate court affirmed the dismissal of the petitioner's Complaint as follows:

WHEREFORE, the order dated September 18, 2013 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 11, Davao City in Civil Case No.
34,742-12 is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

The CA explained that petitioner's Complaint is a real action as it wants the court to abrogate and nullify. whatever right
or claim the respondent might have on the property subject of the Deed of Sale. Hence, for the appellate court, Section 1,
Rule 4 of the Rules of Court is applicable. Under this Rule, real actions shall be commenced and tried in the proper court
which has jurisdiction over the area wherein the real property involved is situated. As the property involved is located in
Bo. Tuganay, Municipality of Cannen, Province of Davao del Norte, the appellate court held that the Complaint should
have been lodged with the RTC of Davao del Norte and not the RTC-Davao.


ISSUE: Whether the CA erred in affirming the dismissal of the petitioner's Complaint.
HELD: YES

RATIO DECIDENDI:

The petition is impressed with merit.

The venue was properly laid as the complaint was a personal action.

By
weight of jurisprudence, the nature of an action is determined by the allegations in the complaint. In turn, the nature of
the action determines its proper venue. Rule 4 of the Rules of Court provides the rules on the situs for bringing real and
personal actions, viz:

Rule 4

VENUE OF ACTIONS


Section 1. Venue of real actions. - Actions affecting title to or possession 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 involved, or a
portion thereof, is situated.

Forcible entry and detainer actions shall be commenced and tried in the municipal trial
court of the municipality or city wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated.

Section 2. Venue
of personal actions. - All other actions may be commenced and tried where the plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs
resides, or where the defendant or any of the principal defendants resides, or in the case of a non-resident defendant
where he may be found, at the election of the plaintiff.

Expounding on the foregoing provisions, the Court delineated the basic distinction between a real and a personal action
and their respective venues in Bank of the Philippine Islands v. Hontanosas, Jr., stating that:

The determinants of whether an action is of a real or a personal nature have been fixed by the Rules of Court and relevant
jurisprudence. According to Section 1, Rule 4 of the Rules of Court, a real action is one that affects title to or possession
of real property, or an interest therein. Such action is to be commenced and tried in the proper court having jurisdiction
over the area wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated, which explains why the action is also
referred to as a local action. In contrast, the Rules of Court declares all other actions as personal actions. Such actions
may include those brought for the recovery of personal property, or for the enforcement of some contract or recovery of
damages for its breach, or for the recovery of damages for the commission of an injury to the person or property. The
venue of a personal action is the place where the plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides, or where the defendant
or any of the principal defendants resides, or in the case of a non-resident defendant where he may be found, at the
election of the plaintiff, for which reason the action is considered a transitory one.

While there is no dispute herein that the present case was never referred to the Barangay Lupon for conciliation before
petitioner instituted Civil Case No. 34, 742-2012, there is likewise no quibbling that his Complaint was coupled with a
prayer for the issuance of a preliminary injunction. Hence, it falls among the exceptions to the rule requiring the referral
to baranggay conciliation.

As good faith is always presumed, in the absence of proof of improper motive on the part
of the petitioner, the Court cannot countenance the appellate court's assumption that petitioner was solely intent on
evading the requirements of the LGC in applying for a preliminary injunction. This Court cannot sustain a dismissal of an
action on account of an unproven assertion of bad faith.

#9. LEY CONSTRUCTION & DEV’T CORP V. SEDANO (AUGUST 23, 2017)

G.R. No. 222711

LEY CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, represented by its President, JANET C. LEY

vs. MARVIN MEDEL SEDANO, doing business under the name and style "LOLA TABA LOLO PATO
PALENGKE AT PALUTO SA SEASIDE,"

FACTS: On March 13, 2012, petitioner filed a Complaint for Collection of Sum of Money and Damages against
respondent Marvin Medel Sedano (respondent), doing business under the name and style "Lola Taha Lalo Pata Palengke
at Paluto sa Seaside," before the Valenzuela-RTC, docketed as Civil Case No. 40-V-12. In its complaint, petitioner
alleged that on January 14, 2005, it leased a 50,000-square meter (sq.m.) parcel of land located at Financial Center Area,
Pasay City (now, Lot 5-A Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, Pasay City) from respondent third-party defendant, the
Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC). On September 11, 2006, petitioner subleased the 14,659.80-sq.m.
portion thereof to respondent for a term often (10) years beginning November 15, 2005, for a monthly rent of
₱1,174,7yy80.00, subject to a ten percent (10%) increase beginning on the third year and every year thereafter (lease
contract). Respondent allegedly failed to pay the rent due for the period August 2011 to December 2011, amounting to a
total of P8,828,025.46, and despite demands, refused to settle his obligations;hence, the complaint.

In his Answer with Third-Party Complaint, respondent countered that he religiously paid rent to petitioner until PNCC
demanded that the rent be paid directly to it, in view of the petitioner's eviction from the subject property by virtue of a
court order. Thus, during the period from August 2011 until December 2011, he remitted the rentals to PNCC. Should he
be found liable to petitioner, respondent maintained that the RTC should hold PNCC liable to reimburse to him the
amounts he paid as rentals; hence, the third-party complaint.

Respondent likewise pointed out that the venue was improperly laid since Section 21 of the lease contract provides that
"[a]ll actions or case[s] filed in connection with this case shall be filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City,
exclusive of all others." Hence, the complaint should be dismissed on the ground of improper venue.

In its Comment/Opposition to respondent's affirmative defense of improper venue, petitioner argued that Section 21 of
the lease contract is not a stipulation as to venue, but a stipulation on jurisdiction which is void. This is because such
stipulation deprives other courts, i.e., the Municipal Trial Courts, of jurisdiction over cases which, under the law, are
within its exclusive original jurisdiction, such as an action for unlawful detainer. Petitioner further posited that
respondent had already submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the Valenzuela-RTC and had waived any objections on
venue, since he sought affirmative reliefs from the said court when he asked several times for additional time to file his
responsive pleading, set-up counterclaims against petitioner, and impleaded PNCC as a third-party defendant.

Meanwhile, in its Answer to Third Party Complaint with Counterclaim, PNCC contended that respondent has no cause of
action against it, since he acknowledged PNCC’s right to receive rent, as evidenced by his direct payment thereof to
PNCC. Respondent also entered into a contract of lease with PNCC after learning that petitioner had been evicted from
the premises by virtue of a court ruling.

The Valenzuela-RTC Ruling

In an Order dated June 15, 2015, the Valenzuela-RTC granted respondent's motion and dismissed the complaint on the
ground of improper venue. It held that Section 21 of the lease contract between petitioner and respondent is void insofar
as it limits the filing of cases with the R TC of Pasay City, even when the subject matter jurisdiction over the case is with
the Metropolitan Trial Courts. However, with respect to the filing of cases cognizable by the RTCs, the stipulation
validly limits the venue to the RTC of Pasay City. Since petitioner's complaint is one for collection of sum of money in
an amount that is within the jurisdiction of the R TC, petitioner should have filed the case with the RTC of Pasay City.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Valenzuela-RTC erred in ruling that venue was improperly laid.

HELD: NO

RATIO DECIDENDI:

The petition has no merit.

Rule 4
VENUE OF ACTIONS

Section 1. Venue of real actions. - Actions affecting title to or possession 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 involved, or a portion thereof, is situated.


Forcible entry and detainer actions shall be commenced and tried in the municipal trial court of the municipality or city
wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated.

Section 2. Venue of personal actions. -All other actions may be commenced and tried where the plaintiff or any of the
principal plaintiffs resides, or where the defendant or any of the principal defendants resides, or in the case of a
non-resident defendant where he may be found, at the election of the plaintiff.

Section 3. Venue of actions against nonresidents. - If any of the defendants does not reside and is not found in the
Philippines, and the action affects the 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.

Section 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.
(Emphases supplied)

Based on these provisions, the venue for personal actions shall - as a general rule - lie with the court which has
jurisdiction where the plaintiff or the defendant resides, at the election of the plaintiff. As an exception, parties may,
through a written instrument, restrict the filing of said actions in a certain exclusive venue. In Briones v. Court of
Appeals, the Court explained:

Written stipulations as to venue may be restrictive in the sense that the suit may be filed only in the place agreed upon, or
merely permissive in 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 essential is the ascertainment of the intention of the parties respecting the matter.

As regards restrictive stipulations on venue, jurisprudence instructs 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 venue, "to the exclusion of the other courts," or words of similar import,
the stipulation should be deemed as merely an agreement on an additional forum, not as limiting venue to the specified
place.

#10. NORTH GREENHILLS ASSOC. INC. V. MORALES (AUGUST 9, 2017)

G.R. No. 222821, August 09, 2017

NORTH GREENHILLS ASSOCIATION, INC. v. ATTY. NARCISO MORALES,

FACTS: Atty. Morales is a resident of North Greenhills Subdivision in San Juan City. His house is located alongside
Club Filipino Avenue and adjacent to McKinley Park, an open space/playground area owned and operated by NGA. He
also has a personal access door, which he built through a wall separating his house from the park. This access door, when
unlocked, opens directly into the park.

On the other hand, NGA, an association composed of members of the subdivision, organized to promote and advance the
best interests, general welfare, prosperity, and safeguard the well-being of the owners, lessees and occupants of North
Greenhills, is the undisputed owner of the park. It has acquired ownership thereof through a donation made by the
original owner, Ortigas &. Co. Ltd.

In June 2003, NGA started constructing a pavilion or kiosk occupying the side of the park adjacent to the residence of
Atty. Morales. Part of the design was a public restroom intended to serve the needs of park guests and members of NGA.
Said restroom was constructed alongside the concrete wall separating the house of Atty. Morales from the park.
Objecting to the construction of the restroom, Atty. Morales filed on July 23, 2003 a complaint before the HLURB,
docketed as HLURB Case No. NCRHOA-072303-309. On August 13, 2013, he amended his complaint and additionally
sought the demolition of the pavilion which was then being built.

NGA, in its Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim, rejected the assertions of Atty. Morales. It contended that as the
absolute owner of the park, it had the absolute right to fence the property and impose reasonable conditions for the use
thereof by both its members and third parties; that the construction of the restroom was for the use and benefit of all
NGA members, including Atty. Morales; and that Atty. Morales' use of a side entrance to the park for 33 years could not
have ripened into any right because easement of right of way could not be acquired by prescription. NGA likewise sought
the payment of P878,778.40 corresponding to the annual membership dues which Atty. Morales had not been paying
since 1980.

On April 13, 2003, the HLURB Arbiter conducted an ocular inspection of the park and noted that the construction started
by NGA blocked Atty. Morales' side access to the park.

On February 16, 2005, the HLURB Arbiter rendered a Decision, rendered ordering respondents of the removal of the
pavilion and the relocation of the common toilet in a place where it will not be a nuisance to any resident. Respondents
are further directed to remove the obstruction to the side door of the complainant. All other claims and counterclaims are
hereby dismissed for lack of merit.

NGA appealed to the HLURB Board of Commissioners (HLURB Board). In its November 22, 2007 Decision,the
HLURB Board modified the ruling of the HLURB Arbiter, thus:

Further, the complaint against respondent Alviar should be dropped as no acts have been particularly attributed to him in
his personal capacity.

NGA appealed to the Office of the President (OP).

On February 17, 2010, the OP rendered its decision, affirming in toto the ruling of the HLURB Board.

NGA moved for reconsideration, but its motion was denied by the OP in its August 8, 2013 Resolution.

Aggrieved, NGA filed a petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court before the CA, arguing that the OP erred
in its findings.

Ruling of the CA

In its March 13, 2015 Decision, the CA affirmed the ruling of the OP. It found no error on the part of the OP in affirming
the characterization of the restrooms built as nuisance per accidens considering that the structure posed sanitary issues
which could adversely affect not only Atty. Morales, but also his entire household; that even if there existed a perimeter
wall between the park and Atty. Morales' home, the odor emanating from the restroom could easily find its way to the
dining area, and the foul and noxious smell would make it very difficult and annoying for the residents of the house to eat;
and that the proximity of the restroom to Atty. Morales' house placed the people residing therein at a greater risk of
contracting diseases both from improperly disposed waste and human excrements, as well as from flies, mosquitoes and
other insects, should NGA fail to maintain the cleanliness of the structures.

Hence, this petition.

ISSUES:

1. WHETHER THE CA CORRECTLY RULED THAT THE HLURB HAD JURISDICTION OVER THE
COMPLAINT FILED BY ATTY. MORALES;

2. WHETHER THE CA CORRECTLY RULED THAT THE COUNTERCLAIM OF NGA AGAINST ATTY.
MORALES FOR UNPAID ASSOCIATION DUES WAS A PERMISSIVE COUNTERCLAIM.

HELD AND RATIO DECIDENDI:

The Court partly grants the petition.


On Jurisdiction

Basic is the rule that jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is conferred by law and determined by the allegations
in the complaint which comprise a concise statement of the ultimate facts constituting the plaintiff's cause of action. The
nature of an action, as well as which court or body has jurisdiction over it, is determined from the allegations contained
in the complaint, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted
therein. Once vested by the allegations in the complaint, jurisdiction remains vested irrespective of whether or not the
plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein.

Relative thereto is the rule that lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter may be raised at any stage of the proceedings.
Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred only by the Constitution or the law.It cannot be acquired through a
waiver or enlarged by the omission of the parties or conferred by the acquiescence of the court. Consequently, questions
of jurisdiction may be cognizable even if raised for the first time on appeal.

In this case, it appears that Atty. Morales, by filing his complaint as a member whose rights have been allegedly violated,
has satisfied such requirement. His status as a member has not been questioned. It is worthy to note that NGA, in its
counterclaim, demanded the payment of association dues from Atty. Morales as he has been refusing to pay his dues for
more than three decades. In sum, there is no dispute that Atty. Morales is a member of NGA, albeit a delinquent member.
In Tumpag v. Tumpag, the Court said:

Counterclaim for unpaid dues was a 
permissive one and, therefore, the 
affirmation of its dismissal was proper

A compulsory counterclaim is any claim for money or any relief, which a defending party may have against an opposing
party, which at the time of suit arises out of, or is necessarily connected with, the same transaction or occurrence that is
the subject matter of the plaintiffs complaint. It is compulsory in the sense that it is within the jurisdiction of the court,
does not require for its adjudication the presence of third parties over whom the court cannot acquire jurisdiction, and
will be barred in the future if not set up in the answer to the complaint in the same case. Any other counterclaim is
permissive.

The Court has held that the compelling test of compulsoriness characterizes a counterclaim as compulsory if there should
exist a logical relationship between the main claim and the counterclaim. The Court further ruled that there exists such a
relationship when conducting separate trials of the respective claims of the parties would entail substantial duplication of
time and effort by the parties and the court; when the multiple claims involve the same factual and legal issues; or when
the claims are offshoots of the same basic controversy between the parties.

The criteria to determine whether the counterclaim is compulsory or permissive are as follows:

(a) Are issues of fact and law raised by the claim and by the counterclaim largely the same?

(b) Would res judicata bar a subsequent suit on defendants claim absent the compulsory rule?

(c) Will substantially the same evidence support or refute plaintiffs claim as well as defendant's counterclaim?

(d) Is there any logical relations between the claim and the counterclaim?

A positive answer to all four questions would indicate that the counterclaim is compulsory. Otherwise, the same is
permissive.

Here, the main issues in the complaint are limited only to the propriety of barring Atty. Morales from accessing the park
through the side door and whether the restroom constructed by NGA is a nuisance per se. On the other hand, the
counterclaim is simply concerned with collecting from Atty. Morales his unpaid association dues for the past thirty (30)
years. Suffice it to state that payment or non-payment of association dues are distinct matters that do not relate to whether
the main cause of Atty. Morales against NGA was proper. Whether there was payment or otherwise is irrelevant to the
main issues considering that the pleadings filed by the parties essentially reflected an admission of membership of Atty.
Morales in the association. The failure to raise the issue of unpaid association dues in this case or its dismissal if properly
raised will not be a bar to the filing of the appropriate separate action to collect it.
#11. PSBANK V. PAPA (JANUARY 18, 2018)

G.R. No. 200469

PHILIPPINE SAVINGS BANK vs. JOSEPHINE L. PAPA

FACTS: On 30 March 2006, petitioner Philippine Savings Bank (PSB) filed before the Me TC a complaint for collection
of sum of money against respondent Josephine L. Papa (Papa). In its complaint, PSB alleged that Papa obtained a
flexi-loan with a face amount of ₱207,600.00, payable in twenty-four (24) monthly installments of ₱8,650.00 with
interest at 38.40% per annum. For the said loan, Papa executed a promissory note dated 26 July 2005. PSB further
alleged that the promissory note provides additional charges in case of default, to wit: Three percent (3%) late payment
charge per month of the total amount until the amount is fully paid; Twenty-Five percent (25%) Attorney's Fees, but not
less than ₱5,000.00; Ten percent (10%) liquidated damages, but not less than ₱1,000.00; and costs of suit. When the
obligation fell due, Papa defaulted in her payment. PSB averred that as of 27 March 2006, Papa's total obligation
amounted to ₱173,000.00; and that despite repeated demands, Papa failed to meet her obligation.

On 26 October 2006, Papa filed her Answer. She alleged that PSB had no cause of action against her as her liability had
already been extinguished by the several staggered payments she made to PSB, which payments she undertook to prove.
She likewise claimed that there was no basis for the interest and damages as the principal obligation had already been
paid.

During the trial on the merits, PSB introduced in evidence a photocopy of the promissory note, which the MeTC
admitted despite the vehement objection by Papa. Meanwhile, Papa chose to forego with the presentation of her evidence
and manifested she would instead file a memorandum.

After the parties had submitted their respective memoranda, the case was submitted for decision.

The MeTC Ruling rendered a decision in favor of PSB and against Papa. The MeTC was convinced that PSB was able to
establish its cause of action against Papa by preponderance of evidence. It also emphasized the fact that other than her
bare allegation, Papa never adduced any evidence regarding the payments she had allegedly made. The MeTC, however,
deemed it equitable to award interest at the rate of twelve percent (12%) per annum only instead of the stipulated interest,
penalty, and charges. The dispositive portion of the MeTC Decision provides:

Papa moved for reconsideration, but the same was denied by the MeTC in its Order, dated 14 May 2009.

Aggrieved, Papa elevated an appeal before the RTC.

The RTC Ruling reversed and set aside the MeTC decision. The trial court ruled that PSB failed to prove its cause of
action due to its failure to prove the existence and due execution of the promissory note. It opined that Papa's apparent
admission in her Answer could not be taken against her as, in fact, she denied any liability to PSB, and she never
admitted the genuineness and due execution of the promissory note. It explained that the fact that Papa interposed
payment as a mode of extinguishing her obligation should not necessarily be taken to mean that an admission was made
regarding the contents and due execution of the promissory note; specifically the amount of the loan, interests, mode of
payment, penalty in case of default, as well as other terms and conditions embodied therein. The dispositive portion of
the RTC decision reads:

Aggrieved, PSB filed a petition for review under Rule 42 of the Revised Rules of Court before the CA.

In her comment, Papa reiterated her position that the 14 October 2009 RTC decision had already attained finality.

The CA Ruling affirmed the 14 October 2009 decision and the 14 January 2010 order of the RTC.

The appellate court ruled that the R TC decision had already attained finality due to PSB's failure to serve on Papa a copy
of its motion for reconsideration within the prescribed period. The appellate court noted that in its motion for
reconsideration, PSB did not offer any reasonable explanation why it availed of private courier service instead of
resorting to the modes recognized by the Rules of Court.
The appellate court further agreed with the RTC that PSB failed to prove its cause of action. It concurred with the RTC
that Papa made no admission relative to the contents and due execution of the promissory note; and that PSB failed to
prove that Papa violated the terms and conditions of the promissory note, if any.

The dispositive portion of the assailed decision reads: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Makati
Regional Trial Court, Branch 65 dated 14 October 2009 and its subsequent Order dated 14 January 2010 denying
petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration in Civil Case No. 09-545 are hereby AFFIRMED in toto. With costs against the
petitioner.

ISSUES: Whether or not the court of appeals committed a reversible error when it dismissed petitioner's appeal by
reason of pure technicality thereby prejudicing the substantial right of the petitioner to recover the unpaid loan of the
respondent.

HELD: NO

RATIO DECIDENDI:

Precisely, the Rules require every motion set for hearing to be accompanied by proof of service thereof to the other
parties concerned; otherwise, the court shall not be allowed to act on it, effectively making such motion as not filed.

The kind of proof of service required would depend on the mode of service used by the litigant. Rule 13, Section 13 of
the Rules of Court provides:

SECTION 13. Proof of Service. - Proof of personal service shall consist of a written admission of the party served, or the
official return of the server, or the affidavit of the party serving, containing a full statement of the date, place and manner
of service. If the service is by ordinary mail, proof thereof shall consist of an affidavit of the person mailing of facts
showing compliance with section 7 of this Rule. If service is made by registered mail, proof shall be made by such
affidavit and the registry receipt issued by the mailing office. The registry return card shall be filed immediately upon its
receipt by the sender, or in lieu thereof the unclaimed letter together with the certified or sworn copy of the notice given
by the postmaster to the addressee. [emphasis supplied]

In some decided cases, the Court considered filing by private courier as equivalent to filing by ordinary mail. The Court
opines that this pronouncement equally applies to service of pleadings and motions. Hence, to prove service by a private
courier or ordinary mail, a party must attach an affidavit of the person who mailed the motion or pleading. Further, such
affidavit must show compliance with Rule 13, Section 7 of the Rules of Court, which provides:

Section 7. Service by mail. - Service by registered mail shall be made by depositing the copy in the post office in a sealed
envelope, plainly addressed to the party or his counsel at his office, if known, otherwise at his residence, if known, with
postage fully prepaid, and with instructions to the postmaster to return the mail to the sender after ten (10) days if
undelivered. If no registry service is available in the locality of either the senders or the addressee, service may be done
by ordinary mail. [emphasis supplied]

This requirement is logical as service by ordinary mail is allowed only in instances where no registry service exists either
in the locality of the sender or the addressee. This is the only credible justification why resort to service by ordinary mail
or private courier may be allowed.

In this case, PSB admits that it served the copy of the motion for reconsideration to Papa's counsel via private courier.
However, said motion was not accompanied by an affidavit of the person who sent it through the said private
messengerial service. Moreover, PSB's explanation why it resorted to private courier failed to show its compliance with
Rule 13, Section 7. PSB's explanation merely states:

Greetings:

Kindly set the instant motion on 20 November 2009 at 8:30 o'clock in the morning or soon thereafter as matter and
counsel may be heard. Copy of this pleading was served upon defendant's counsel by private registered mail for lack of
material time and personnel to effect personal delivery.
Very clearly, PSB failed to comply with the requirements under Rule 13, Section 7 for an effective service by ordinary
mail. While PSB explained that personal service was not effected due to lack of time and personnel constraints, it did not
offer an acceptable reason why it resorted to "private registered mail" instead of by registered mail. In particular, PSB
failed to indicate that no registry service was available in San Mateo, Rizal, where the office of Papa's counsel is situated,
or in Makati City, where the office of PSB's counsel is located. Consequently, PSB failed to comply with the required
proof of service by ordinary mail. Thus, the RTC is correct when it denied PSB's motion for reconsideration, which, for
all intents and purposes, can be effectively considered as not filed.

It is well-settled that judgments or orders become final and executory by operation of law and not by judicial declaration.
The finality of a judgment becomes a fact upon the lapse of the reglementary period of appeal if no appeal is perfected or
no motion for reconsideration or new trial is filed. The court need not even pronounce the finality of the order as the
same becomes final by operation of law.

Time and again, the Court has reiterated that rules of procedure, especially those prescribing the time within which
certain acts must be done, are absolutely indispensable to the prevention of needless delays and to the orderly and speedy
discharge of business.While procedural rules may be relaxed in the interest of justice, it is well-settled that these are tools
designed to facilitate the adjudication of cases. The relaxation of procedural rules in the interest of justice was never
intended to be a license for erring litigants to violate the rules with impunity. Liberality in the interpretation and
application of the rules can be invoked only in proper cases and under justifiable causes and circumstances. While
litigation is not a game of technicalities, every case must be prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed procedure to
ensure an orderly and speedy administration of Justice.

#12. INTERLINK MOVIE HOUSES INC. V. CA (JANUARY 17, 2018)

G.R. No. 203298, January 17, 2018

INTERLINK MOVIE HOUSES, INC. v. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS

FACTS: On 22 July 2008, petitioner Interlink Movie Houses, Inc. (Interlink), represented by its president, petitioner
Edmer Y. Lim (Lim), filed before the R TC a complaint for sum of money and damages against respondents Expressions
Stationery Shop, Inc. (Expressions), a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of the
Philippines, and Joseph Lim Bon Huan (Bon Huan). Interlink sought from Expressions the recovery of the latter's unpaid
rentals and damages resulting from its alleged breach of their lease contract.

Sheriff Benedict R. Muriel certified that he served the summons issued in the subject case on the respondents at the
office of the defendant company's president through a certain Jonalyn Liwanan. Interlink filed a motion to declare herein
respondents in default for their failure to file their answer. Respondents on the other hand entered a special appearance
through Atty. Generosa Jacinto alleging that the service of the summons was defective and, as such, the RTC did not
acquire jurisdiction over them. They further prayed that Interlink's motion for declaration of default be denied.

RTC: Denied Interlink's motion to declare defendants in default. The trial court agreed that the summons was not served
in accordance with Section 11, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court rendering such service defective. Thus, it ordered the
issuance and service of summonses to the respondents.

(In another Sheriffs Return, Sheriff Muriel certified that he served the summons on Expressions at the office of its
president, Bon Huan, through a certain Amee Ochotorina (Ochotorina), a person of suitable age and discretion, who
introduced herself as one of the secretaries of Bon Huan. Interlink filed another motion to declare defendants in default,
respondent again alleged that the second service of the summons was still defective.)

RTC: Granted the motion to declare defendants in default and allowed Interlink to present evidence ex parte. RTC ruled
in favor of Interlink. It opined that Interlink was able to prove its claims against Expressions and Bon Huan.
CA: Annulled the RTC decision. The appellate court ruled that the second service of summons was still defective, and
the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the persons of the respondents, thus rendering the RTC decision void.

(Interlink moved for reconsideration, but the same was denied by the CA. Hence, this petition.)

ISSUE: WON THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT
ACQUIRE JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSONS OF THE RESPONDENTS.

HELD: The appeal has no merit. No valid service of summons

It is settled that jurisdiction over a defendant in a civil case is acquired either through service of summons or through
voluntary appearance in court and submission to its authority. In the absence of service or when the service of summons
upon the person of the defendant is defective, the court acquires no jurisdiction over his person, and a judgment rendered
against him is null and void.

In actions in personam, such as collection for a sum of money and damages, the court acquires jurisdiction over the
person of the defendant through personal or substituted service of summons. Personal service is effected by handling a
copy of the summons to the defendant in person, or, if he refuses to receive and sign for it, by tendering it to him. If the
defendant is a domestic private juridical entity, service may be made on its president, managing partner, general manager,
corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house counsel. It has been held that this enumeration is exclusive. Service on a
domestic private juridical entity must, therefore, be made only on the person expressly listed in Section 11, Rule 14 of
the Rules of Court. If the service of summons is made upon persons other than those officers enumerated in Section 11,
the same is invalid.

There is no dispute that respondent Expressions is a domestic corporation duly existing under the laws of the Republic of
the Philippines, and that respondent Bon Huan is its president. Thus, for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction, service of
summons to it must be made to its president, Bon Huan, or to its managing partner, general manager, corporate secretary,
treasurer, or in-house counsel. It is further undisputed that the questioned second service of summons was made upon
Ochotorina, who was merely one of the secretaries of Bon Huan, and clearly, not among those officers enumerated under
Section 11 of Rule 14. The service of summons upon Ochotorina is thus void and, therefore, does not vest upon the trial
court jurisdiction over Expressions.

It is settled that resort to substituted service is allowed only if, for justifiable causes, the defendant cannot be personally
served with summons within a reasonable time. In such cases, substituted service may be effected (a) by leaving copies
of the summons at the defendant's residence with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or (b)
by leaving the copies at defendant's office or regular place of business with a competent person in charge. Because
substituted service is in derogation of the usual method of service, and personal service of summons is preferred over
substituted service, parties do not have unbridled right to resort to substituted service of summons. In this case, the
impossibility of prompt personal service was not shown.

No voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the trial court. At first glance, the respondents may be seen to have
submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the RTC. Nevertheless, a reading of the said omnibus motion reveals that the
respondents expressly stated that the said omnibus motion was filed on special appearance. A party who makes a special
appearance in court challenging the jurisdiction of said court based on the ground of invalid service of summons is not
deemed to have submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the court.

From the foregoing, it is clear that the trial court failed to acquire jurisdiction over the respondents either by valid service
of summons or by their voluntary appearance. WHEREFORE, the present petition is DENIED for lack of merit.

#13. UY V. DEL CASTILLO (JULY 24, 2017)


G.R. No. 223610, July 24, 2017

CONCHITA S. UY, v. CRISPULO DEL CASTILLO

FACTS: The present case is an offshoot of an action for quieting of title, reconveyance, damages, and attorney's fees
involving a parcel of land, filed by Crispulo Del Castillo (Crispulo) against Jaime Uy (Jaime) and his wife, Conchita.
However, since Jaime had died six (6) years earlier in 1990, Crispulo amended his complaint and impleaded Jaime's
children, i.e., the Uy siblings, as defendants. Meanwhile, Crispulo died during the pendency of the action and hence, was
substituted by his heirs, respondents Paulita Manalad-Del Castillo, Cesar Del Castillo, Avito Del Castillo, Nila C. Duenas,
Nida C. Latosa, Loma C. Bernardo, Gil Del Castillo, Liza C. Gungob, Alma Del Castillo, and Gemma Del Castillo
(respondents).

RTC: Rendered a Decision in respondents' favor, declared them as the true and lawful owners of the Lot 791; and
ordered petitioners to pay respondents moral damages and litigation costs in the amount of P20,000.00 each, as well as
attorney's fees equivalent to twenty-five percent (25%) of the zonal value of the Lot. A hearing was conducted for the
determination of attorney's fees. Thereafter, the parties were ordered to submit their respective position papers to which
respondents complied with. On the other hand, instead of filing the required position paper, petitioners filed a
Consolidated Motion for Reconsideration. The RTC then: (a) pegged the attorney's fees at ₱3,387,970.00,45 using the
zonal value of Lot 791 in 1996, the year when the Quieting of Title Case was instituted, it being the computation least
onerous to petitioners; and (b) denied petitioners' Consolidated Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit.

(Dissatisfied, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the CA.)

CA: Affirmed the assailed Orders of the RTC. The CA found no merit in the claim that the Uy siblings were never served
with summons, pointing out that in a Manifestation, their counsel Atty. Trinidad stated that petitioners received the
summons with a copy of the amended complaint. Anent petitioners' argument that they cannot be held personally liable
with their separate property for Jaime's liability and that respondents should have filed a claim against Jaime's estate in
accordance with Section 20, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, the CA held that such provision only applies to contractual
money claims and not when the subject matter is some other relief and the collection of any amount is merely incidental
thereto, such as by way of damages, as in this case. Besides, petitioners had all the opportunity to raise such perceived
error when they elevated the case to the CA and to this Court, but they did not. Following the principle of finality of
judgment, the CA can no longer entertain such assignment of errors.

(Undaunted, petitioners moved for reconsideration, which was, however, denied by the CA in its Resolution; hence, the
present petition.)

ISSUE: WON the CA correctly upheld the Orders of the RTC.

HELD: The petition is partly meritorious.

Anent petitioners' claim that they were never served with summons, the CA correctly pointed out that in the
Manifestation, petitioners, through Atty. Trinidad, explicitly stated, that they "received the Summons with a copy of the
Second Amended Complaint" and that "the Answer earlier filed serves as the Answer to the Second Amended
Complaint." Having admitted the foregoing, petitioners cannot now assert otherwise. "It is settled that judicial admissions
made by the parties in the pleadings or in the course of the trial or other proceedings in the same case are conclusive and
do not require further evidence to prove them. They are legally binding on the party making it, except when it is shown
that they have been made through palpable mistake or that no such admission was actually made, neither of which was
shown to exist in this case."

Assuming arguendo that petitioners did not receive summons for the amended complaint, they were nonetheless deemed
to have voluntarily submitted to the RTC's jurisdiction by filing an Answer to the amended complaint and actively
participating in the case. It is settled that the active participation of the party against whom the action was brought, is
tantamount to an invocation of the court's jurisdiction and a willingness to abide by the resolution of the case, and such
will bar said party from later on impugning the court's jurisdiction.
As to petitioners' contention that respondents should have proceeded against Jaime's estate pursuant to Section 20, Rule 3
of the Rules of Court, it is well to point out that based on the records, the Uy siblings were not merely substituted in
Jaime's place as defendant; rather, they were impleaded in their personal capacities. In this regard, petitioners' argument
that they cannot be held solidarily liable for the satisfaction of any monetary judgment or award must necessarily fail.

At this point, the Court notes that if petitioners truly believed that Jaime's estate is the proper party to the Quieting of
Title Case, they could and should have raised the lack of cause of action against them at the earliest opportunity.
Obviously, they did not do so; instead, they actively participated in the case, adopted the answer earlier filed by Conchita,
and even litigated the case all the way to the Court. Petitioners cannot now question the final and executory judgment in
the Quieting of Title Case because it happened to be adverse to them.

Time and again, the Court has repeatedly held that "a decision that has acquired finality becomes immutable and
unalterable, and may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous
conclusions of fact and law, and whether it be made by the court that rendered it or by the Highest Court of the land. This
principle, known as the doctrine of immutability of judgment, has a two-fold purpose, namely: (a) to avoid delay in the
administration of justice and thus, procedurally, to make orderly the discharge of judicial business; and (b) to put an end
to judicial controversies, at the risk of occasional errors, which is precisely why courts exist. Verily, it fosters the
judicious perception that the rights and obligations of every litigant must not hang in suspense for an indefinite period of
time. As such, it is not regarded as a mere technicality to be easily brushed aside, but rather, a matter of public policy
which must be faithfully complied." However, this doctrine "is not a hard and fast rule as the Court has the power and
prerogative to relax the same in order to serve the demands of substantial justice considering: (a) matters of life, liberty,
honor, or property; (b) the existence of special or compelling circumstances; (c) the merits of the case; (d) a cause not
entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of the rules; (e) the lack of any
showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory; and (j) that the other party will not be unjustly
prejudiced thereby."

In sum, while the courts a quo correctly ruled that the Uy siblings may be held answerable to the monetary awards in the
Quieting of Title Case, such liability cannot exceed whatever value they inherited from their late father, Jaime.

WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTLY GRANTED.

#14. TI V. DINO (NOVEMBER 6, 2017)

November 6, 2017 - G.R. No. 219260

BERNICE JOAN TI vs. MANUEL S. DIÑO

FACTS:The Office of the City Prosecutor issued a Resolution recommending the filing of an information against
petitioner and a certain Julieta Fernandez for falsification of public documents. Petitioner and Fernandez filed a petition
for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction with the RTC of Quezon
City seeking to enjoin the MeTC from proceeding with the case claiming that the MeTC committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it granted respondent's motion for reconsideration.

RTC:ruled that the MeTC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in reviving
and reinstating the criminal case against petitioner and Fernandez on the basis of respondent's motion for reconsideration
filed by the private prosecutor without the concurrence or conformity of the public prosecutor. Respondent, thereafter,
filed a Motion for Reconsideration but the RTC denied respondent's Motion. It was ruled that the failure of the
respondent movant to comply with the 3-day notice rule on motions rendered the said motion for reconsideration
defective. Thereafter, respondent filed a Notice of Appeal which petitioner opposed. Respondent also filed a Motion for
the Transmittal of the Records of the Case to the Court of Appeals. RTC disapproved respondent's Notice of Appeal for
not having been perfected within the fifteen-day reglementary period, and thus, no order was made to transfer the records
of the case to the CA. Respondent, therefore, filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 with the CA assailing the Order
of the RTC.

CA:granted respondent's petition and reversed and set aside the RTC's Order and, thus, the notice of appeal of respondent
was given due course. The CA further directed the RTC to transmit the entire records of the case to the former.

ISSUE:WON the the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion when it ruled that respondent violated the three-day rule
as provided in Section 4, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court.

HELD: NO, the RTC did not commit any grave abuse of discretion when it ruled that respondent violated the three-day
rule as provided in Section 4, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court. The RTC was correct in ruling that the Decision rendered in
this case has become final after the lapse of fifteen (15) days or on May 5, 2010, pursuant to the ruling that a defective
motion does not toll the running period to appeal from the judgment or final order.

A close reading of the provisions of Section 4, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court clearly shows that the directive to ensure
that the receipt by the other party of the notice of hearing at least three (3) days before the date of the said hearing is for
the party who filed the motion. Nowhere in the said rule does it state that the court is obligated to determine whether a
copy of the motion had, indeed, been served on the opposing party. The court is not required by the rules to reset the
hearing in case the other party fails to attend the hearing on the motion. In fact, what the rules allow is for the court to set
the hearing on shorter notice for good cause and not to delay or reset the hearing. The fault, therefore, is with the
respondent and not with the RTC. It was the respondent who resorted to a mode of service other than personal service
and, thus, he should have been the one who ensured that such notice was received by the petitioner. Under the Rules,
whenever practicable, the service and filing of pleadings and other papers shall be done personally. Section 11, Rule 13
of the Rules of Court provides:

Section 11. Priorities in modes of service and filing. - Whenever practicable, the service and filing of pleadings and other
papers shall be done personally. Except with respect to papers emanating from the court, a resort to other modes must be
accompanied by a written explanation why the service or filing was not done personally. A violation of this Rule may be
the case to consider the paper as not filed. We thus take this opportunity to clarify that under Section 11, Rule 13 of the
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, personal service and filing is the general rule, and resort to other modes of service and
filing, the exception. Henceforth, whenever personal service or filing is practicable, in light of the circumstances of time,
place and person, personal service or filing is mandatory. Only when personal service or filing is not practicable may
resort to other modes be had, which must then be accompanied by a written explanation as to why personal service or
filing was not practicable to begin with. In adjudging the plausibility of an explanation, a court shall likewise consider
the importance of the subject matter of the case or the issues involved therein, and the prima facie merit of the pleading
sought to be expunged for violation of Section 11. This Court cannot rule otherwise, lest we allow circumvention of the
innovation introduced by the 1997 Rules in order to obviate delay in the administration of justice.

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court dated July 31, 2015 of
petitioner Bernice Joan Ti is GRANTED. Consequently, the Decision dated January 10, 2014 and Resolution dated June
30, 2015 of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the Order dated May 20, 2011 of the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City is AFFIRMED and REINSTATED.

#15. MANILA BANKING CORP V. BCDA (JANUARY 22, 2018)

JANUARY 22, 2018 - G.R. NO. 230144

THE MANILA BANKING CORPORATION vs. BASES CONVERSION AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
FACTS: Respondent Bases Conversion and Development Authority ("BCDA") was created as a government corporation
by virtue of Republic Act No. 7227, tasked mainly to manage the Clark and Subic military reservations/camps and their
extensions and to adopt and implement a comprehensive development plan for their conversion into productive uses.
Among the powers expressly granted to it is the power to exercise the right of eminent domain. On November 21, 2003,
BCDA filed a complaint against herein petitioner The Manila Banking Corporation ("TMBC") and Bangko Sentral ng
Pilipinas ("BSP"), seeking to expropriate a parcel of land registered in the name of TMBC situated in Barangay Dolores,
Municipality of Porac, Province of Pampanga, to pave the way for the implementation of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac
Expressway (SCTEX) Project of the national government. BCDA also alleged that the subject property was classified as
agricultural land and had the zonal value of P30 per square meter at the time of filing of the complaint.

BCDA prayed for the issuance of a writ of possession upon payment to the landowner of an amount equivalent to 100%
of the value of the subject property based on the current zonal valuation, but it appears that the property was the subject
of a Dacion En Pago Con Pacto de Retro agreement between TMBC and the Central Bank Board of Liquidators
("CB-BOL"). CB-BOL assigned all its rights and interests under the Dacion agreement in favor of the BSP. Thus, BSP
sought the release of 100% of the value of the property based on the current zonal valuation of the Bureau of Internal
Revenue. TMBC opposed the motion and the issue was submitted for resolution at the trial during the pre-trial
conference.

BCDA then deposited the amount of ₱5,590,650.00 before the Office of the Clerk of Court of Angeles, Pampanga,
equivalent to the value of the actual affected area of the subject property based on the then current zonal valuation
provided by the BIR.

RTC: Ordered respondent BCDA to pay petitioner TMBC the amount of ₱250 per square meter as just compensation for
the property taken, or a total of Php. 37,898,740.00 representing the principal balance on the just compensation due on
the taking of 173,059 sq. m in the name of Manila Banking Corporation; plus twelve 12% interest per annum, from 2003
until fully paid.

(Respondent BCDA filed a Motion for Reconsideration and the RTC granted such. Judgment was rendered fixing the just
compensation of the subject lot at ₱190.00 per square meter or a total of Php32,881,210.00. Considering that
Php5,366,010 had been deposited as a condition for the issuance of writ of possession, the plaintiff Bases Conversion
Development Authority is directed to pay the balance of twenty seven million five hundred fifteen thousand and two
hundred ten pesos (Php27,515,210.00) to defendant the Manila Banking Corporation which shall earn interest at the rate
of 12% per annum or the prevailing rate of interest whichever is lower from the time of actual taking on November 23,
2003)

(Respondent BCDA elevated the case to the CA, seeking to reverse the RTC's determination of just compensation and
imposition of 12% interest rate for the unpaid balance of the just compensation.)

CA: BSP was dropped as a party from the title of the case after submitting proof of the "Release and Cancellation"
executed by BSP in favor of TMBC concerning the subject property. The CA gave due course to the petition and ruled in
favor of respondent BCDA.

ISSUE: WON the CA erred in reversing and setting aside the RTC's Decision and Order on its determination of just
compensation and interest.

HELD: The Court of Appeals was correct in reversing the trial court and in fixing the just compensation at ₱75 per
square meter.

In reversing and setting aside the trial court's determination of just compensation, the CA noted that while the trial court
based its first valuation on the recommendations of the commissioners, it did not give any explanation on how it arrived
at the amount of ₱250 per square meter.
There is no question that at the time of taking of the subject property, it was classified as agricultural land, based on the
records of the Municipal Assessor's Office of Porac, Pampanga.

Time and again, this Court has ruled that the determination of just compensation must be based on reliable and actual
data. The CA, guided by the standards set in RA 8974, took into consideration the documentary evidence presented by
the parties to determine the appropriate value of the property at the time it was taken in November 2003. The Court of
Appeals committed no reversible error in modifying the interest rates to be imposed on the just compensation.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.

#16. TRILLANES V. MARIGOMEN (MARCH 14, 2018)

GR No. 223451, Mar 14, 2018

ANTONIO F. TRILLANES IV v. EVANGELINE C. CASTILLO-MARIGOMEN

FACTS: Petitioner, as a Senator of the Republic of the Philippines, filed a Proposed Resolution directing the Senate's
Committee on Accountability of Public Officials and Investigations to investigate, in aid of legislation, the alleged
P1.601 Billion overpricing of the new 11-storey Makati City Hall II Parking Building, and related anomalies purportedly
committed by former and local government officials.

Petitioner admitted that during media interviews at the Senate, particularly during gaps and breaks in the plenary hearings
as well as committee hearings, he expressed his opinion that based on his office's review of the documents, private
respondent appears to be a "front" or "nominee" or is acting as a "dummy" of the actual and beneficial owner of the estate,
VP Binay.

Thus on October 22, 2014, private respondent filed a Complaint for Damages against petitioner, for the latter's alleged
defamatory statements before the media from October 8 to 14, 2014, specifically his repeated accusations that private
respondent is a mere "dummy" of VP Binay.

ISSUE: WON direct filing with the Court is allowed when there is a clear threat to parliamentary immunity? WON RTC
had no jurisdiction over the case?

HELD: NO, the Hierarchy of courts should have been observed. In justifying his direct recourse to the Court, petitioner
alleges that there is a clear threat to his parliamentary immunity as well as his rights to freedom of speech and freedom of
expression, and he had no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law that could protect him
from such threat. The court is not persuaded.

Adherence to the doctrine on hierarchy of courts ensures that every level of the judiciary performs its designated role in
an effective and efficient manner. This practical judicial policy is established to obviate "inordinate demands upon the
Court's time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction," and to prevent the
congestion of the Court's docket. The Court must remain as a court of last resort if it were to satisfactorily perform its
duties under the Constitution.

Also, Petitioner's statements in media interviews are not covered by the parliamentary speech or debate" privilege. The
statements were clearly not part of any speech delivered in the Senate or any of its committees. They were also not
spoken in the course of any debate in said fora. It cannot likewise be successfully contended that they were made in the
official discharge or performance of petitioner's duties as a Senator, as the remarks were not part of or integral to the
legislative process. The Speech or Debate Clause in our Constitution did not turn our Senators and Congressmen into
"super-citizens" whose spoken words or actions are rendered absolutely impervious to prosecution or civil action. The
Constitution conferred the privilege on members of Congress "not for their private indulgence, but for the public good."
It was intended to protect them against government pressure and intimidation aimed at influencing their decision-making
prerogatives. Such grant of legislative privilege must perforce be viewed according to its purpose and plain language.
Indeed, the privilege of speech or debate, which may "(enable) reckless men to slander and even destroy others," is not a
cloak of unqualified impunity; its invocation must be "as a means of perpetuating inviolate the functioning process of the
legislative department."

Jurisdiction lies with the courts, not the Senate. It is well-settled that jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is
conferred by law. An action for damages on account of defamatory statements not constituting protected or privileged
"speech or debate" is a controversy well within the courts' authority to settle. The Constitution vests upon the courts the
power and duty "to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable." Batas
Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, conferred jurisdiction over actions for damages upon either the RTC or the Municipal
Trial Court, depending on the total amount claimed. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.

#17. BLAY V. BANA (MARCH 7, 2018)

BLAY VS BANA

G.R. NO. 232189

PERLAS-BERNABE, J.

FACTS: Alex Blay filed before the RTC a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological
incapacity. Cynthia Bana filed her answer with compulsory counterclaim.

Blay filed a motion to withdraw his petition having lost interest over the case. Bana filed a comment/opposition praying
that her counterclaims be declared as remaining for the court’s independent adjudication. Blay filed a reply averring that
the Blay’s counterclaims are barred for failure to file a manifestation within 15 days from the notice of the motion to
withdraw.

RTC: Granted Blay’s motion to withdraw. It also declared the counterclaim as remaining for independent adjudication.
Blay filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied. Blay elevated the matter to the CA via a petition for certiorari.

CA: Dismissed the petition for lack of merit. The CA found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC. Blay
moved for reconsideration which was denied.

Blay filed a petition for review on certiorari assailing the resolution made by the CA.

ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in upholding the RTC Orders declaring respondent's counterclaim for independent
adjudication before the same trial court.

HELD: YES. If a counterclaim has been pleaded by a defendant prior to the service upon him of the plaintiff's motion
for dismissal, the dismissal shall be limited to the complaint. The dismissal shall be without prejudice to the right of the
defendant to prosecute his counterclaim in a separate action unless within fifteen (15) days from notice of the motion he
manifests his preference to have his counterclaim resolved in the same action. Since Bana failed to manifest her
preference to have her counterclaim resolved in the same action within the 15-day period, she is left with no other option
but to prosecute her counterclaim in a separate action.
#18. SIBAYAN V. ALDA (JANUARY 17, 2018)

SIBAYAN VS ALDA

GR NO. 233395

VELASCO JR, J.

FACTS: Norlina Sibayan was the Assistant Manager and Marketing Officer of BDO, San Fernando, La Union branch.
Elizabeth Aida charged Norlina with unauthorized deduction of her BDO savings account as well as for failure to post
certain check deposits to the said account. The complaint alleged that although no withdrawals were made from Aida’s
BDO account, its balance of 1,071,561 Php was reduced to merely 334 Php.

Further, Elizabeth claimed that two crossed manager's checks, to wit:

1) United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) Check No. 0000005197 in the amount of Two Million Seven Hundred Forty
Three Thousand Three Hundred Forty Six Pesos (P2,743,346) issued to her by Ferdinand Oriente (Ferdinand), and;

2) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Check No. 0000002688 in the amount of Two Million Two Hundred Thirty
Seven Thousand Three Hundred Forty One and 891100 Pesos (P2,237,341.89) issued to her by Jovelyn Oriente (Jovelyn)
were not posted on her BDO savings account despite the fact that the said checks were deposited on October 27, 2008.

The Office of Special Investigation of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (OSI-BSP) issued a Resolution dated June 13,
2012 finding a prima facie case against Norlina for Conducting Business in an Unsafe or Unsound Manner under Section
56.2 of Republic Act No. 8791 ("The General Banking Law of 2000"), punishable under Section 37 of Republic Act No.
7653 ("The New Central Bank Act"). The OGCLS-BSP then directed Norlina to submit her sworn answer to the formal
charge filed by the OSI-BSP.

Norlina filed a Request to Answer Written Interrogatories addressed to Elizabeth, Jovelyn, and Ferdinand. Norlina also
filed a Motion for Production of Documents praying that UCPB and BPI be ordered to produce and allow the inspection
and copying or photographing of the Statements of Account pertaining to UCPB Account No. 2351047157 and BPI
Account No. 85890237923.

Elizabeth and Ferdinand filed their respective Objections to Norlina's request, while Jovelyn's counsel filed a
Manifestation stating that the former could not submit her answer since she is working overseas.

Office of the General Counsel and Legal Services of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

OGCLS-BSP: Denied Norlina’s motions for production of bank documents and request to answer written interrogatories.
Norlina's motion for reconsideration was likewise denied.

Norlina filed a petition for certiorari before the CA.


CA: Upheld the OGCLS-BSP's rulings. The CA found that the OGCLS-BSP did not commit grave abuse of discretion
when it denied Norlina's motion for the production of bank documents and requests to answer written interrogatories. It
highlighted the fact that the proceedings before the OGCLS-BSP is summary in nature and to grant Norlina's motions
would merely delay the resolution of the case. The CA ruled that Norlina's persistence to utilize modes of discovery will
be futile since the information she supposedly seeks to elicit are sufficiently contained in the pleadings and attachments
submitted by the parties to aid the OGCLS-BSP in resolving the case before it.

Norlina filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the decision and resolution
of the CA.

ISSUES:

I. Whether or not the denial of the request to answer written interrogatories was proper

II. Whether or not Norlina was denied due process of law

HELD:

I. YES. Technical rules of procedure and evidence are not strictly adhered to in administrative investigations.

Norlina persistently relies and quotes the provisions of the Rules of Court on modes of discovery and argues her right to
utilize the same. To her eyes, the denial of her requests to answer written interrogatories and motion for production of
bank documents deprived her of availing of the rightful remedies which shall bring to the fore material and relevant facts
for the OGCLS-BSP's consideration.

However, the proceeding involved in the present case is administrative in nature. Although trial courts are enjoined to
observe strict enforcement of the rules on evidence, the same does not hold true for administrative bodies. The Court has
consistently held that technical rules applicable to judicial proceedings are not exact replicas of those in administrative
investigations. Recourse to discovery procedures as sanctioned by the Rules of Court is then not mandatory for the
OGCLS¬-BSP. Hence, We cannot subscribe to Norlina's tenacious insistence for the OGCLS-BSP to strictly adhere to
the Rules of Court so as not to purportedly defeat her rights.

In this light, OGCLS-BSP did not gravely abuse its discretion in denying Norlina's request for written interrogatories as
the allowance of the same would not practically hasten, as it would in fact delay, the early disposition of the instant case.

II. NO. Norlina bemoans that by suppressing her right to avail of discovery measures, the OGCLS-BSP violated her
right to due process. She maintains that the administrative character of the proceedings involved is not sufficient to defeat
such right. However, Administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial sense. It is
enough that the party is given the chance to be heard before the case against him is decided.

As established by the facts, Norlina was afforded the opportunity to be heard and to explain her side before the
OGCLS-BSP. She was allowed to submit her answer and all documents in support of her defense. In fact, her defense of
fraud committed by Elizabeth and Ruby is sufficiently contained in the pleadings and attachments submitted by the
parties to aid the OGCLS-¬BSP in resolving the case before it.

Evidently, the information sought to be elicited from the written interrogatories, as well as the bank documents, are
already available in the records of the case. As correctly pointed out by the CA, the grant of Norlina's motions would
merely delay the resolution of the case. In fine, the OGCLS-BSP's issuance of the assailed orders did not violate
Norlina's right to due process and was in accord with the summary nature of administrative proceedings before the BSP.
The opportunity accorded to Norlina was enough to comply with the requirements of due process in an administrative
case. The formalities usually attendant in court hearings need not be present in an administrative investigation, as long as
the parties are heard and given the opportunity to adduce their respective sets of evidence.

All told, the denial of Norlina's motions to resort to modes of discovery did not, and will definitely not, equate to a denial
of her right to due process. It must be stressed that Norlina's fear of being deprived of such right and to put up a proper
defense is more imagined than real. Norlina was properly notified of the charges against her and she was given a
reasonable opportunity to answer the accusations against her. As correctly ruled by the lower tribunals, Norlina's attempt
to resort to modes of discovery is frivolous and would merely cause unnecessary delay in the speedy disposition of the
case.

#19. CRUZ V. TOLENTINO (APRIL 18, 2018)

CRUZ VS TOLENTINO

G.R. NO. 210446

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.

FACTS: The case involves two parcels of land located in Barrio Baranca, Mandaluyong, Rizal owned by Alfredo Cruz.
The said properties were involved in two transactions with Marylou Tolentino. The first transaction was contained in a
deed of absolute sale for 1.35M Php. The instrument was not notarized. The second transaction was contained in a deed
of absolute sale for 1.4M Php, ostensibly executed between Tolentino and Alfredo, as represented by Purificacion,
Alfredo’s wife. The latter instrument was notarized and it specifically mentioned the SPA in favor of Purificacion.

On October 16, 2000, herein petitioners Angelica G. Cruz, Auralita C. Matsuura, Anna Marie Kudo, Albert G. Cruz, and
Arturo G. Cruz (petitioners) filed a complaint for Annulment of Sale & Title, Damages & Injunction. Docketed as Civil
Case No. MC00-1300 in the RTC of Mandaluyong City, Branch 214 (RTC-Br. 214), the case was filed against Tolentino,
Purificacion, and the Register of Deeds of Mandaluyong City.

Petitioners alleged, among others, that they are the children of Alfredo and Purificacion. Upon their discovery of the
Deed of Absolute Sale dated December 1, 2002, they orally demanded the cancellation thereof and the reinstatement of
TCT No. 461194. The demands, however, went unheeded. Petitioner Angelica Cruz (Angelica) then caused the
annotation of an affidavit of adverse claim in Tolentino's title. Petitioners prayed that the Deed of Absolute Sale dated
December 1, 1992 be annulled as the SPA of Alfredo was rendered ineffectual by his death. They claimed that the sale
was also fraudulent as petitioners were denied of their rights to the subject property. They further sought the cancellation
of TCT No. 6724 and the payment of moral damages, attorney's fees, and costs of suit.

Tolentino then filed her Answer where she specifically denied the averments in the complaint relating to the SPA and the.
death of Alfredo. She claimed that the truth of the matter relative to the subject property is narrated in the complaint she
filed on August 26, 1999 for Registration of Deed of Sale Covered by TCT Nos. 461194 and 461195, Mandamus and
Damages. This case was docketed as Civil Case No. MC 99-843 in the RTC-Br. 209. Tolentino's causes of action were:
(a) to validate the Deed of Absolute Sale in so far as the 50% and one share of Purificacion over the property covered by
TCT Nos. 461194 and 461195; and (b) to charge and/or collect from Purificacion the amount representing the value of
the property also covered by TCT Nos. 461194 and 461195 belonging to the heirs of Alfredo including the 5% monthly
interest thereon until the amount is paid and/or collected. In the aforesaid case, Tolentino also caused the annotation of a
Notice of Lis Pendens in TCT Nos. 6724 and 461195.

Petitioners filed a motion for consolidation of Civil Case No. MC00-1300 with Civil Case No. MC 99-843 that was
pending before the RTC-Br. 209. Petitioners alleged that the two cases involved the same question of fact and of law, the
same subject matter - at least insofar as the property covered by TCT No. 461194 was concerned - and the parties were
more or less the same. However, it was denied.

RTC: Dismissed the Civil Case No. MC00-1300 since they referred to the same parties, same evidence, and same subject
matter. Civil Case No. MC 99-843 has already been decided finding that the Deed of Absolute Sale and the SPA
executed by Alfredo in favor of Purificacion were valid and effective. In view of the aforesaid decision, the trial court
ruled that Civil Case No. MC00-1300 was already dismissible on the ground of res judicata or, at best, litis pendentia.
CA: Denied the appeal on the basis of litis pendentia.

ISSUE: Whether or not it was proper for the RTC to dismiss the case due to Litis Pendentia

HELD: YES. Litis pendentia is a Latin term that literally means "a pending suit" and is variously referred to as lis
pendens and auter action pendant. As a ground for dismissing a civil action, it refers to the situation where two actions
are pending between the same parties for the same cause of action, so that one of them becomes unnecessary and
vexatious. It is based on the policy against multiplicity of suits.

The following requirements must concur before litis pendentia may be invoked:

(a) identity of parties or at least such as represent the same interest in both actions;

(b) identity of rights asserted and reliefs prayed for, the reliefs being founded on the same facts; and

(c) the identity in the two cases should be such that the judgment that may be rendered in one would, regardless of
which party is successful, amount to res judicata in the other.

In this case, it is indubitably clear that litis pendentia exists.

As it turns out, the issue of whether or not the Deed of Absolute Sale was valid and legal had already been decided with
finality in Civil Case No. MC 99-843. Thus, the principle of res judicata applies.

For res judicata to serve as a bar to a subsequent action, the following elements must be present:

(1) the judgment sought to bar the new action must be final;

(2) the decision must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties;

(3) the disposition of the case must be a judgment on the merits; and (4) there must be as between the first and
second action, identity of parties, subject matter, and causes of action.

Should identity of parties, subject matter, and causes of action be shown in the two cases, res judicata in its aspect as a
"bar by prior judgment" would apply. If as between the two cases, only identity of parties can be shown, but not identical
causes of action, then res judicata as "conclusiveness of judgment" applies.

In this case, the elements of res judicata, as a bar by prior judgment, are present.

#20. ALBOR V. CA (JANUARY 27, 2018)

ALBOR VS CA

G.R. NO. 196598

VELASCO, JR., J.

FACTS: Editha was the agricultural lessee of a 1.60 hectare riceland portion and a 1.5110 hectare sugarland portion of
Lot 2429 located at Barangay Dinginan, Roxas City. Lot 2429 was covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No.
RT-108 (522),4 registered in the name of Rosario Andrada (Rosario), married to Ramon Gardose. As agricultural lessee,
Editha had been paying rent to the agricultural lessors, the heirs of Rosario. The heirs of Rosario adjudicated unto
themselves Lot 2429 and thereupon sold the same to respondents for ₱600,000.00. Asserting that she had the right to
redeem Lot 2429 from respondents, Editha lodged a complaint for redemption of landholding and damages before the
Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD).
Editha did not exercise her preemptive right to buy the lot; consequently, the sale was consummated between the heirs of
Rosario and respondents on 6 June 1997.

PARAD: Found that Editha was not properly notified of the sale. It observed that the 16 March 1998 notice which
respondents presented failed to indicate the terms and particulars of the sale. As such, it ruled that Editha's right of
redemption did not prescribe for want of a valid written notice.

While the PARAD sustained Editha's right of redemption, it nevertheless resolved to dismiss her complaint after finding
that only ₱216,000.00 was consigned as redemption price. Citing jurisprudence on the matter, the P ARAD opined that
tender of payment must be for the full amount of the repurchase price; otherwise, the offer to redeem would be held
ineffectual. It noted that in the extrajudicial settlement and deed of sale which Editha herself procured, the purchase price
stated was ₱600,000.00, and that such price was never disputed. Hence, absent evidence to the contrary, there can be no
doubt that ₱600,000.00 was the actual amount that respondents paid for Lot 2429. Aggrieved, Editha filed an appeal
before the DARAB.

DARAB: Affirmed in toto the PARAD's ruling.

On 25 November 2008, Editha filed before the CA a motion for extension of time to file a Rule 43 petition for review.
She prayed for an additional fifteen (15) days, or from 25 November 2008 until 10 December 2008.

Shortly thereafter, on 3 December 2008, a motion to withdraw as counsel, dated 28 November 2008, was filed by Atty.
Talabucon. It was alleged that Editha decided to engage the services of another counsel and for said reason, Atty.
Talabucon was withdrawing his appearance. Editha signified her conformity to the motion to withdraw as counsel.

On 9 December 2008, Editha's new counsel, Atty. Ferdinand Y. Samillano (Atty. Samillano ), filed with the CA a notice
of appearance11 and at the same time moved for an extension of thirty (30) days, or from 10 December 2008 until 9
January 2009, within which to file the petition for review. The second motion for extension of time was grounded on
heavy workload and the need for more time to study the case.

Eventually, Editha's petition for review was filed on 5 January 2009.

CA: Dismissed Editha's petition for review for having been filed out of time. The appellate court ratiocinated that while it
may grant Editha's first motion for extension of fifteen (15) days within which to file the petition, it was devoid of
authority to grant her second motion for extension which asked for an additional time of thirty (30) days.

ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in dismissing Editha's petition for review for having been filed out of time.

HELD: NO.

The proper remedy of a party aggrieved by a decision of the CA is a petition for review under Rule 45; and such is not
similar to a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. As provided in Rule 45 of the Rules of Court,
decisions, final orders or resolutions of the CA in any case, i.e., regardless of the nature of the action or proceedings
involved, may be appealed to this Court by filing a petition for review, which in essence is a continuation of the appellate
process over the original case.

On the other hand, a special civil action under Rule 65 is a limited form of review and is a remedy of last recourse. It is
an independent action that lies only where there is no appeal nor plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary
course of law. Certiorari will issue only to correct errors of jurisdiction, not errors of procedure or mistakes in the
findings or conclusions of the lower court.

The 24 September 2009 and 15 February 2011 resolutions of the CA were final and appealable judgments. In particular,
the resolution dated 24 September 2009 dismissed Editha's Rule 43 petition for review, while the resolution dated 15
February 2011 denied her motion for reconsideration of the earlier resolution. The assailed resolutions disposed of
Editha's appeal in a manner that left nothing more to be done by the CA with respect to the said appeal.16 Hence, Editha
should have filed an appeal before this Court by way of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, not a petition
for certiorari under Rule 65.
Editha posits that there is a compelling reason to grant a second extension of time because on 3 December 2008, Atty.
Talabucon suddenly withdrew as her counsel. It was only on 9 December 2008 that she hired a new counsel, Atty.
Samillano. Having just entered the picture, Atty. Samillano needed more time to study the case, and he could not be
expected to finish drafting the petition for review in just one (1) day before the expiration of the 15-day extension granted
by the CA. In this accord, Editha contends that the filing of the second motion for extension of time was justified; and
that the CA's dismissal of her petition for review impinged on her substantive right to due process.

The arguments proffered are specious and deserve scant consideration.

It is doctrinally entrenched that the right to appeal is a statutory right and the one who seeks to avail of that right must
comply with the statute or rules. The requirements for perfecting an appeal within the reglementary period specified in
the law must be strictly followed as they are considered indispensable interdictions against needless delays. Moreover,
the perfection of appeal in the manner and within the period set by law is not only mandatory but jurisdictional as well.
The failure to perfect the appeal within the time prescribed by the Rules of Court unavoidably renders the judgment final
as to preclude the appellate court from acquiring the jurisdiction to review the judgment.

It bears stressing that the statutory nature of the right to appeal requires the appealing party to strictly comply with the
statutes or rules governing the perfection of an appeal, as such statutes or rules are instituted in order to promote an
orderly discharge of judicial business. In the absence of highly exceptional circumstances warranting their relaxation, the
statutes or rules should remain inviolable.

Finally, even on the merits, Editha's petition has no leg to stand on.

Both the PARAD and the DARAB found that Editha only consigned the amount of ₱216,000.00 as redemption price for
Lot 2429. As aptly observed in the PARAD's decision, it was Editha herself who secured a copy of the extrajudicial
settlement and deed of sale from the Clerk of Court of the RTC in Roxas City. The purchase price stated in the deed of
conveyance was ₱600,000.00, and the administrative tribunals correctly held that absent sufficient evidence to the
contrary, it must be accepted the reasonable price of the land as purchased by the respondents.

The redemption price Editha consigned falls short of the requirement of the law, leaving the Court with no choice but to
rule against her claim.

In fine, there is an abundance of reasons, both procedural and substantive, which has proved fatal to Editha's cause

#21. MERCURY DRUG CORP V. HUANG (AUGUST 30, 2017)

MERCURY DRUG VS HUANG

G.R. NO. 197654

LEONEN, J.

FACTS: On April 29, 1997, Stephen Huang (Stephen) and his parents, Spouses Richard Y. Huang and Carmen G.
Huang, filed a complaint for damages based on quasi-delict against Mercury Drug Corporation (Mercury Drug) and
Rolando J. Del Rosario (Del Rosario). Mercury Drug was the registered owner of a six (6)-wheeler truck driven by Del
Rosario, which figured in an accident with Stephen's car on the night of December 20, 1996. As a result of the tragic
incident, Stephen suffered serious spinal cord injuries. He is now a paraplegic.

RTC: Rendered a Decision dated September 29, 2004 finding Mercury Drug and Del Rosario jointly and severally liable
for actual damages, compensatory damages, moral damages, exemplary damages, and attorney's fees and litigation
expenses.

CA: Affirmed the Regional Trial Court Decision but reduced the award of moral damages from P4,000,000.00 to
P1,000,000.00. Mercury Drug and Del Rosario elevated the Court of Appeals Decision to this Court for review.
On June 22, 2007, this Court in Mercury Drug Corporation v. Spouses Huang affirmed the Decision of the Court of
Appeals. Mercury Drug and Del Rosario moved for reconsideration and/or new trial arguing that Stephen was not
entitled to the entire monetary award because he had partially recovered from his injuries. The Motion was denied with
finality in the Resolution dated August 8, 2007. Entry of judgment was made on October 3, 2007.

On February 1, 2008, Stephen and his parents moved for the execution of the judgment before the Regional Trial Court
of Makati to which Mercury Drug and Del Rosario filed an opposition.

RTC: Granted the Motion for Execution in the Order dated July 21, 2008.

On August 26, 2008, Mercury Drug and Del Rosario moved to quash the Writ of Execution as it allegedly contravened
the tenor of the judgment. They also moved for the inhibition of Presiding Judge Gina M. Bibat¬-Palamos. Pending the
resolution of these motions, the sheriff began to garnish Mercury Drug and Del Rosario's bank accounts. Mercury Drug
and Del Rosario filed an urgent motion to defer the implementation of the Writ of Execution. All three (3) motions were
denied by the Regional Trial Court. Mercury Drug and Del Rosario then moved for reconsideration but their motion was
denied.

As a result of the garnishment proceedings, Citibank N.A. issued in favor of Richard Y. Huang a Manager's Check in the
amount of P40,434,062.00. Afterwards, Stephen and his parents filed a Satisfaction of Judgment before the Regional
Trial Court.

On December 18, 2008, Mercury Drug and Del Rosario filed a Petition for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals. They
argued that the Regional Trial Court committed grave abuse of discretion in allowing the execution of the judgment
despite clerical errors in the computation of life care cost and loss of earning capacity.

In its January 20, 2011 Decision, the Court of Appeals denied the Petition for Certiorari holding that the Regional Trial
Court did not commit grave abuse of discretion. The Court of Appeals found that "the perceived error in the computation
of the award and [its] correction" entailed a substantial amendment of the judgment sought to be enforced. Under the
doctrine on immutability of judgments, courts are precluded from altering or modifying a final and executory judgment.

Mercury Drug and Del Rosario moved for reconsideration but their Motion was denied in the Resolution dated July 6,
2011.

On September 1, 2011, Mercury Drug and Del Rosario (petitioners) filed this Petition for Review on Certiorari before
this Court to which Stephen and his parents (respondents) filed a Comment. Petitioners then filed a Reply on September
25, 2013.

In the Resolution dated December 11, 2013, this Court gave due course to the Petition and required both parties to submit
their respective memoranda. The parties filed their respective Memoranda on March 14, 2014.

ISSUES:

I. Whether or not the case falls under any of the exceptions to the doctrine of immutability of judgments. Subsumed in
this issue is whether or not a clerical error exists that would warrant the modification of the dispositive portion of the
judgment;

II. Whether or not the Writ of Execution conforms to the judgment sought to be enforced; and

III. Whether or not the monetary awards in dispute should be paid in installments or in lump sum.

HELD:

I. A final and executory judgment produces certain effects. Winning litigants are entitled to the satisfaction of the
judgment through a writ of execution. On the other hand, courts are barred from modifying the rights and obligations of
the parties, which had been adjudicated upon. They have the ministerial duty to issue a writ of execution to enforce the
judgment.
It is a fundamental principle that a judgment that lapses into finality becomes immutable and unalterable. The primary
consequence of this principle is that the judgment may no longer be modified or amended by any court in any manner
even if the purpose of the modification or amendment is to correct perceived errors of law or fact. This principle known
as the doctrine of immutability of judgment is a matter of sound public policy, which rests upon the practical
consideration that every litigation must come to an end.

The rationale behind the rule was further explained in Social Security System v. Isip, thus:

The doctrine of immutability and inalterability of a final judgment has a two-fold purpose:

(1) to avoid delay in the administration of justice and thus, procedurally, to make orderly the discharge of judicial
business and

(2) to put an end to judicial controversies, at the risk of occasional errors, which is precisely why courts exist.
Controversies cannot drag on indefinitely. The rights and obligations of every litigant must not hang in suspense for an
indefinite period of time.

The doctrine of immutability of judgment, however, is not an iron¬clad rule. It is subject to several exceptions, namely:

(1) The correction of clerical errors;

(2) The so-called nunc pro tunc entries which cause no prejudice to any party;

(3) Void judgments; and

(4) Whenever circumstances transpire after the finality of the decision rendering its execution unjust and inequitable.

In the present case, petitioners assert that the case falls under the first exception: that clerical errors attended the
computation of the amounts awarded as life care cost and loss of earning capacity. The resolution of the present petition
would, therefore, require a comparison between the dispositive portion and the body of the judgment.

The trial court deemed it adequate and proper to award P23,461,062.00 as life care cost and P10,000,000.00 as loss of
earning capacity based on the evidence presented during trial. In awarding life care cost, the trial court did not limit itself
to respondent Stephen's actual expenses in 1997 and 1998 and his projected life expectancy. The trial court also
considered the testimonies of respondent Stephen's doctors regarding his future medical expenses. On the award of loss
of earning capacity, the trial court did not likewise limit itself to respondent Stephen's projected initial monthly salary
and life expectancy. It considered other equally important factors such as respondent Stephen's capacity prior to the
injury, physical conditions, disposition to labor, and his professional habits.

II. Another effect of a final and executory judgment is that winning litigants are entitled to the satisfaction of the
judgment through a writ of execution.

A writ of execution must substantially conform to the judgment sought to be enforced. A writ of execution that exceeds
the tenor of the judgment is patently void and should be struck down. Upon a finding of its invalidity, the case may be
remanded to the lower court for the issuance of the proper writ.

In this case, the Writ of Execution issued by the Regional Trial Court neither varied nor departed from the terms of the
judgment in any manner.

III. The case not falling within any of the exceptions to the doctrine of immutability of judgments, it becomes the court's
ministerial duty to issue a writ of execution, which must "conform to that ordained or decreed in the dispositive part of
the decision." The manner of execution of a judgment cannot depend upon the choice or discretion of a party.

In this case, the judgment did not indicate, in any manner, that the amounts of life care cost and loss of earning capacity
should be paid in installments or amortized. There is nothing in the decision that would substantiate petitioners' assertion
that life care cost and loss of earning capacity were awarded as judicial support.

#22. ANTIG V. ANTIQUESTA (JANUARY 17, 2018)


ANTIG VS ANTIPUESTO

GR NO. 192396

MARTIRES, J.

FACTS: Petitioners Lemosnero, Testado, Alladin, and Arangoso, were the registered owners of four agricultural lots in
the Province of Davao del Norte. AMS Farming Corp., a domestic corporation engaged in the business of cultivating and
exporting Cavendish bananas, had been leasing, developing, and operating portions of the lots as banana plantations
since the 1970s, the leased portions totaled 18,828 sq. m. As lessee, developer, and operator of these banana plantations,
AMS farming asserts ownership over the standing crops (banana trees) and other improvements found thereon.
Correspondingly, AMS Farming had been declaring such ownership for taxation purposes.

In 2002, during the effectivity of the lease contract, the landowners offered their respective lots for agrarian reform, and
availed of Voluntary Offer to Sell (VOS) scheme under the CARP. They proposed that as the just compensation for the
lots, the standing crops, and the improvements. Pursuant to mandate the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) arrived at its
valuation which was disagree by the petitioners as it alleged that it did not include the value of the standing crops and
improvements. Thus, they protested before the DARAB praying for the value of the standing crops and improvements be
included in the determination of just compensation.

Meanwhile, Certificated of Land Ownership Award over the lots were issued in favor of ARBs, including the herein
respondents and the cooperative. In a letter dated August 1, 2003, the PARO notified AMSFC of impending physical
takeover of lots by ARBs , scheduled on August 5, 2003. On the date of scheduled takeover, petitioners filed before the
RTC of Tagum, designated as SAC, a petition for Injunction with an Application of TRO. As petitioners had argued
before the SAC, the "installation/physical takeover" of the lots when no valuation and deposit had been made on the
standing crops and improvements, would violate their constitutional rights against being deprived of property without
due process of law and just compensation. Incidentally, they also alleged that herein individual respondent Anastacio
Antipuesto had declared that he, the cooperative he represented, and its members do not intend to make use of the
standing crops of AMS Farming because they planned to plant another crop on the lots. The SAC took cognizance of the
petition for injunction and granted its prayer for a TRO, in an 8 August 2003 Order.

The Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance, DAR Provincial Office, Tagum City, filed an answer praying that the petition
be denied on the ground that the SAC had no jurisdiction to enjoin the implementation of the CARP. The bureau moved
for the reconsideration of the order on the same ground. On its part, the cooperative also filed an answer, echoing the
defenses of lack of jurisdiction and lack of cause of action, and pleading a compulsory counterclaim for damages. The
CA ruled that the SAC had acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in taking
cognizance of the petition for injunction and denied petitioners' motion for reconsideration.

ISSUE: Whether the CA correctly ruled that the SAC had committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction when it took cognizance of petitioner's Petition for Injunction.

HELD: The SAC has no jurisdiction over the subject petition for injunction and, correspondingly, has no authority to
issue the subject injunction. The foregoing [Sections 50, 56, and 57 of R.A. No. 6657] clearly demonstrate that the
jurisdiction of the RTC as a Special Agrarian Court is in the nature of a limited and special jurisdiction, that is, the
RTC's authority to hear and determine a class of cases is confined to particular causes or can only be exercised under the
limitations and circumstances prescribed by statute, particularly the above-quoted Section 57.

Thus, the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the RTC acting as a Special Agrarian Court as delineated by law is to
cover only the following controversies:

1. All petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners, and

2. The prosecution of all criminal offenses under RA No. 6657.


A perusal of the petition for injunction filed by private respondents in DAR Case shows that it does not raise either of the
foregoing issues. The principal averments of the petition and the relief prayed for therein actually assert a cause of
action to enjoin the "installation/physical takeover" of the subject landholdings by the ARBs affiliated with the
Cooperative, and therefore not within the purview of the limited or special jurisdiction of the public respondent as a
Special Agrarian Court. Clearly, public respondent is bereft of any authority to hear the petition for injunction in DAR
Case as a Special Agrarian Court, and, thus, acted with grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction, in taking cognizance of the petition.

#23. RURAL BANK OF MABITAL LAGUNA V. CANICON ET AL (JUNE 27, 2018)

G.R. No. 196015, June 27, 2018

RURAL BANK OF MABITAC, LAGUNA, INC., REPRESENTED BY MRS. MARIA CECILIA S. TANAEL,
Petitioner, v. MELANIE M. CANICON AND MERLITA L. ESPELETA, Respondents.

JARDELEZA, J.

FACTS: Petitioner filed a criminal complaint for estafa under Article 315, paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, in relation to economic sabotage, against its employees Rica W. Aguilar (Aguilar), Melanie M. Canicon
(Canicon), and Merlita L. Espeleta (Espeleta).

An information for estafa in relation to Presidential Decree No. 1689 was filed against Aguilar, Canicon, and Espeleta
before the RTC Laguna. Subsequently, the RTC, through Judge Stella Cabuco-Andres (Judge Cabuco-Andres), issued a
warrant for the arrest of all three accused. Only Espeleta and Canicon were arrested, while Aguilar remains at large.

Espeleta filed an urgent motion for reinvestigation before the RTC. RTC arraigned both Espeleta and Canicon. Both
accused entered a plea of not guilty to the offense charged. Office of the Provincial Prosecutor filed a motion for leave to
amend the information with attached amended information. The amended information dropped Espeleta from the list of
those originally charged, and recommended bail for all the remaining accused.

RTC, this time through Judge Zenaida G. Laguilles (Judge Laguilles), which recalled and set aside the order issued by
Judge Cabuco-Andres.Espeleta and Canicon filed their respective motions for reconsideration, which petitioner opposed.
RTC, through Judge Rommel O. Baybay (Judge Baybay), granted private respondents' motion for reconsideration. A
motion for reconsideration was filed by petitioner, but the same was denied. Thus, it filed a petition for certiorari under
Rule 65 with the CA, attributing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC.

The CA denied certiorari.

ISSUE: Whether the present petition, which seeks the reinstatement of the original information, places Espeleta in
double jeopardy.

RULING: No.

Double jeopardy attaches when the following elements concur: (1) a valid information sufficient in form and substance to
sustain a conviction of the crime charged; (2) a court of competent jurisdiction; (3) the accused has been arraigned and
had pleaded; and (4) the accused was convicted or acquitted, or the case was dismissed without his express consent.48
The absence of any of the requisites hinders the attachment of the first jeopardy.
The first to third elements are non-issues in this petition. There is no dispute that the original information is valid and was
filed with the RTC of San Pedro, Laguna, a court of competent jurisdiction. Espeleta was arraigned under this original
information. The contentious element in this case is the fourth one, i.e., whether the dismissal was with express consent
of Espeleta.

As a rule, where the dismissal was granted upon motion of the accused, jeopardy will not attach. In this case, Espeleta's
filing of the urgent motion for reinvestigation did not amount to her express consent. However, we still find that Espeleta
gave her express consent when her counsel did not object to the amendment of the information. As we have held in
People v. Pilpa, the dismissal of the case without any objection on the part of the accused is equivalent to the accused's
express consent to its termination, which would bar a claim for violation of the right against double jeopardy.

The rule that the dismissal is not final if it is made upon accused's motion, of course, admits of exceptions such as: (1)
where the dismissal is based on a demurrer to evidence filed by the accused after the prosecution has rested, which has
the effect of a judgment on the merits and operates as an acquittal; and (2) where the dismissal is made, also on motion of
the accused, because of the denial of his right to a speedy trial which is in effect a failure to prosecute. However, the
foregoing are neither applicable nor raised in this case.

Considering that the first jeopardy did not attach when the case was previously dismissed as to Espeleta, this petition will
not expose Espeleta to double jeopardy.

#24. DEPT OF AGRARIAN REFORM V. GALLE (OCTOBER 2, 2017)

G.R. No. 171836 October 02, 2017

DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, represented by HON. NASSER C. PANGANDAMAN, in his


capacity as DAR-OIC Secretary, Petitioner, vs. SUSIE IRENE GALLE, Respondent.

DEL CASTILLO, J.

FACTS: On August 11, 2014, the Court issued a Decision in the instant case, decreeing as follows:

xxx

(4). Civil Case No. 4436-2K3 is REMANDED to the Court of Appeals, which is directed to receive evidence and
immediately determine the just compensation due to Susie Irene Galle's estate/heirs - including all applicable damages,
attorney's fees and costs, if any - in accordance with this Decision, taking into consideration Section 17 of Republic Act
No. 6657, the applicable Department of Agrarian Reform Administrative Orders, including Administrative Order No. 6,
Series of 1992, as amended by Administrative Order No. 11, Series of 1994, and prevailing jurisprudence. The Court of
Appeals is further directed to conclude the proceedings and submit to this Court a report on its findings and
recommendations within 90 days from notice of this Decision; and

(5). The petitioner Land Bank of the Philippines is ORDERED to PAY Susie Irene Galle's estate or heirs - herein
respondents - the amount of SEVEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY FOUR THOUSAND SIXTY THREE AND
91/100 PESOS (P7,534,063.91), in cash, immediately upon receipt of this Decision.

Petitioner Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) filed a Motion for Reconsideration arguing that it was improper for this
Court to declare null and void the Decision in DARAB Case, which fixed just compensation on the basis of outdated
1991 data instead of valuation criteria as of 1993, the time of taking of the subject property; that said October 15, 1996
DARAB Decision is already final and executory and thus beyond judicial review, even by this Court; and that even if it
were to be assumed that said DARAB Decision is null and void, it nonetheless cannot be the subject of a petition for
review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

Petitioner Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) likewise filed a Motion for Reconsideration insisting that the October
15, 1996 DARAB Decision is correct; that the 1991 valuation is accurate since the actual taking of Galle's property for
purposes of fixing just compensation may be said to have occurred at that time when the Notice of Coverage was served
upon Galle; that a property valuation discrepancy of three years is not significant in the determination of just
compensation due to the owner of expropriated property; and that the October 15, 1996 DARAB Decision, being correct
and having attained finality, shall prevail as regards the amount of just compensation to be paid for Galle's expropriated
property.

The Court of Appeals (CA) submitted its Report and Recommendation

In summary, this Court recommends that the just compensation due to Galle be set at Php397,680,657.315. Such
valuation, it is respectfully submitted, is fair, reasonable, and consistent with the letter and spirit of the law and
applicable DAR regulations on the fixing of just compensation, specifically AO 6, as amended.

ISSUE: Whether or not the court erred in determining the just compensation.

RULING: No.

Eminent domain is an indispensable attribute of sovereignty and inherent in government. However, such power is not
boundless; it is circumscribed by two constitutional requirements: "first, that there must be just compensation, and
second, that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law."

Republic Act No. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 (CARL) provides that -

Sec. 17. Determination of Just Compensation. - In determining just compensation, the cost of acquisition of the land, the
current value of like properties, its nature, actual use and income, the sworn valuation by the owner, the tax declarations,
and the assessment made by government assessors shall be considered. The social and economic benefits contributed by
the farmers and the farmworkers and by the Government to the property as well as the non-payment of taxes or loans
secured from any government financing institution on the said land shall be considered as additional factors to determine
its valuation.

In Land Bank of the Philippines v. Heirs of Salvador Encinas, this Court reiterated this long-established principle, thus:

The 'taking of private lands under the agrarian reform program partakes of the nature of an expropriation proceeding.' In
computing the just compensation for expropriation proceedings, the RTC should take into consideration the 'value of the
land at the time of the taking, not at the time of the rendition of judgment.' 'The time of taking is the time when the
landowner was deprived of the use and benefit of his property, such as when title is transferred to the Republic.'

In Alfonso, the Court reiterated the settled doctrine that the ultimate determination of just compensation in expropriation
proceedings remains a judicial prerogative,

The Court finds no merit in applying the rule laid out in DAR Administrative Order No. 5 (II)(C.2)(c), as it goes against
the fundamental principle in eminent domain that just compensation shall be determined as of the time of taking. The
reason behind DAR Administrative Order No. 5 (II)(C.2)(c) is evident: it sets a cap on the expropriation value of
properties placed under the agrarian reform program in order that these properties may be acquired as cheaply as possible
and at little cost to government; understandably, it is aimed at preventing the dissipation of the state's coffers. But this
goes against the mandate of the Constitution; the great cost to private landowners occasioned by an unwarranted
undervaluation of their properties cannot be ignored. If DAR Administrative Order No. 5 (II)(C.2)(c) were to be applied
in the present case, there would be an unjust taking, a clear violation of due process.

WHEREFORE, the Court adopts the September 15, 2015 Report and Recommendation of the Court of Appeals with
modification as to the amount of attorney's fees. Petitioner Land Bank of the Philippines is ORDERED to PAY Susie
Irene Galle's estate or heirs, herein respondents.

#25. BALEARES V. ESPANTO (JUNE 6, 2018)

G.R. No. 229645, June 06, 2018

NORMA M. BALEARES, DESIDERIO M. BALEARES, GERTRUDES B. CARIASA, RICHARD BALEARES,


JOSEPH BALEARES, SUSAN B. DELA CRUZ, MA. JULIA B. RECTRA, AND EDWIN BALEARES,
Petitioners, v. FELIPE B. ESPANTO, REP. BY MARCELA B. BALEARES, ATTORNEY-IN-FACT,
Respondent.

VELASCO JR., J.

FACTS: Respondent is the current registered owner of a parcel of land with improvements at Poblacion, Makati City
(subject property). Petitioners, on the other hand, were the heirs of Santos Baleares (Santos), one of the original
co-owners of the subject property, together with his siblings Tomasa, Juha, Matilde, Marcela, Gloria (now deceased), all
surnamed Baleares, and his nephew, Ernest B. Nonisa, Jr. (now deceased).

Way back on February 18, 1988, The Baleares siblings mortgaged the subject property to Arnold Maranan (Arnold). The
subject property was apparently foreclosed and sold at public auction, where Arnold appeared to be the highest bidder.
Petitioners, lodged a Complaint for the Cancellation of the Mortgage Inscription grounded on prescription before
RTC-Makati City. Respondent and his mother likewise filed a complaint against Arnold but for Nullification of
Mortgage and/or Foreclosure with TRO/Injunction based also on prescription of the latter's mortgaged right before
RTC-Makati City. The RTC rendered a Decision (cancellation of mortgage inscription) in favor of the petitioners.

In the same year, all this notwithstanding, Arnold was able to sell the subject property to none other than the respondent
himself but did not immediately take possession of the subject property. Instead, he allowed the petitioners, who were its
actual occupants, to remain therein as they are his blood relatives.

Respondent sent a demand letter to the petitioners for them to vacate the subject property but they refused. Even the
subsequent barangay settlement proved futile. Respondent instituted a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer before the
MeTC-Makati City against the petitioners (the origin of this Petition).

In their Verified Answer with Motion to Dismiss and Counterclaim, the petitioners averred that the MeTC has no
jurisdiction over the instant action, as it is one for recovery of possession and not for unlawful detainer. They also raise
the existence of litis pendentia, as there are allegedly two pending cases involving similar issues of ownership and
possession that are still pending before the RTC-Makati City

MeTC ruled for the respondent and granted the Complaint. It found the complaint to be sufficient for an unlawful
detainer case and upheld that the case should not be dismissed on the ground of litis pendentia, as the issues in the
alleged two pending cases before the RTC-Makati City do not abate ejectment suit. On appeal, the RTC affirmed in its
entirety the MeTC ruling. On further appeal, the CA affirmed both the Decision and the Order of the RTC. Hence, this
Petition.

ISSUE: Who between the petitioners and the respondent has a better right of possession over the subject property?

RULING: This Court rules for the petitioners.

An action for unlawful detainer is summary in nature and the only issue that needs to be resolved is who is entitled to
physical possession of the premises, possession referring to possession de facto, and not possession de jure. Nonetheless,
where the parties to an ejectment case raise the issue of ownership and such is inseparably linked to that of possession,
the courts may pass upon that issue to determine who between the parties has the better right to possess the property. The
adjudication of the ownership issue, however, is not final and binding. The same is only for the purpose of resolving the
issue of possession. Otherwise stated, the adjudication of the issue of ownership is only provisional, and not a bar to an
action between the same parties involving title to the property.

It is true that a title issued under the Torrens system is entitled to all the attributes of property ownership, which
necessarily includes possession. As such, ordinarily, the Torrens title holder over the subject properties is considered the
rightful owner who is entitled to possession thereof. But, in this case, it has not been disputed that the petitioners have
been in continuous possession of the subject property in the concept of ownership and not by mere tolerance of the
respondent.

It bears stressing that the herein ruling is limited only to the determination as to who between the parties has the better
right of possession. It will not in any way bar any of the parties from filing an action with the proper court to resolve
conclusively the issue of ownership.

#26. GATCHALIAN V. FLORES (JANUARY 19, 2018)

GATCHALIAN VS. FLORES

G.R. NO. 225176. JANUARY 19, 2018

TIJAM, J.

FACTS: Petitioner Gatchalian is one of the co-owners of a parcel of land registered under the name of his parents,
spouses Gatchalian. He filed a complaint for ejectment against respondents Cesar Flores, Jose Paolo Araneta, Corazon
Quing and Cynthia Flores with the MeTC.

The survey conducted established that the lot of Segundo Mendoza encroached a portion the subject which the
Gatchalian's had tolerated. But after several years, the lot of Segundo Mendoza was sold and 'subdivided among the new
owners including herein respondents. Verbal and written demands to vacate were then served upon them but remained
unheeded.

For their part, respondents denied that they usurped the property of petitioner. In fact, it was the Gatchalians who have
encroached the land when they put up a fence in their property. They argued that the road lot is now public property since
it is constituted as a right of way because of a city ordinance and as such, petitioner cannot evict respondents.
ISSUE: Who between the parties is entitled to the physical or material possession of the subject property.

RULING: Petitioner Gatchalian is entitled to the physical or material possession of the subject property. At the outset,
petitioner filed before the MeTC an action for ejectment against the respondents. It is settled that in ejectment
proceedings, the only issue for the court's resolution is, who between the parties is entitled to the physical or material
possession of the subject property. Issues as to ownership are not involved, except only for the purpose of determining
the issue of possession.

It is undisputed that the road lot is registered under the name of petitioner's parents. Even the respondents did not dispute
this fact. It is also undisputed that the municipal government has not undertaken any expropriation proceedings to acquire
the subject property neither did the petitioner donate or sell the same to the municipal government. Therefore, absent any
expropriation proceedings and without any evidence that the petitioner donated or sold the subject property to the
municipal government, the same is still private property.

The use of the subdivision roads by the general public does not strip it of its private character. The road is not converted
into public property by mere tolerance of the subdivision owner of the public's passage through it. To repeat, "the local
government should first acquire them by donation, purchase or expropriation, if they are to be utilized as a public road.”

As reiterated in the recent case of Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Department of Public Works and
Highways (DPWH) v. Sps. Llamas, it was held that:

As there is no such thing as an automatic cessation to the government of subdivision road lots, an actual transfer must
first be effected by the subdivision owner: "subdivision streets belonged to the owner until donated to the government or
until expropriated upon payment of just compensation."

Since the local government of Parañaque has not purchased nor undertaken any expropriation proceedings, neither did
the petitioner and his siblings donate the subject property, the latter is still a private property and the did not convert the
same to public property.

#27. IGLESIA DE JESUCRISTO JERUSALEM OF MLA V. DELA CRUZ (APRIL 23, 2018)

IGLESIA DE JESUCRISTO JERUSALEM NUEVA OF MANILA V DELA CRUZ

GR NO. 208284 APRIL 23, 2018

FACTS: Petitioner, represented by Francisco Galvez, filed before the MeTC of Malabon City a Complaint for unlawful
detainer with damages against respondent Loida Dela Cruz.

Galvez alleged that he is the nephew of Rosendo Gatchalian, founder and leader of petitioner; Since 1940, his mother and
her family used to occupy and possess and likewise built a house of their own in the concept of an owner on a certain
portion of the subject lot; Dela Cruz] used to be a member of the petitioner. However, Surprisingly, sometime in 1998,
without the knowledge and consent of all the members and officers of petitioner, Dela Cruz formed, organized, and
created the name of CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, "NEW JERUSALEM"; The organization formed by Dela Cruz was
used by her as an instrument in claiming that she is the representative of the said religious organization and had the right
over the subject lot.

The CA, affirming the decisions of the MeTc and the RTC, rejected petitioner's claim that it was the true owner of the
Disputed property. It found Dela Cruz's pieces of evidence more consistent, more credible, and more trustworthy.
Petitioner insisted that as the instant case is only for unlawful detainer, the only issue to be resolved pertains to who has a
better right to the possession of the disputed property, independent of any claim of ownership and that in view of the
existence of the validly issued title in its name, there is no need to determine the issue of ownership at all.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner's contention is correct

RULING: No. Where the parties to an ejectment case raise the issue of ownership, the courts may pass upon that issue to
determine who between the parties has the better right, to possess the property. However, where the issue of ownership is
inseparably linked to that of possession, adjudication of the ownership issue is not final and binding, but only for the
purpose of resolving the issue or possession.

Indeed, a title issued under the Torrens system, is entitled to all the attributes of property ownership, which necessarily
includes possession. Nevertheless, "an ejectment case will not necessarily be decided in favor of one who has presented
proof of ownership of the subject property. Key jurisdictional facts constitutive of the particular ejectment case filed must
be averred in the complaint and sufficiently proven."

#28. LERIOU V. LONGA (OCTOBER 8, 2018)

LERIOU VS LONGA

G.R. NO. 203923 OCTOBER 8, 2018

LEONARDO- DE CASTRO, CJ.:

FACTS: Respondent minors Yohanna and Victoria Longa, represented by their mother, Mary Jane B. Sta. Cruz,
instituted a special proceeding entitled “In the Matter of the Intestate Estate of Enrique T. Long Petition for Letters of
Administration,” with the RTC of Muntinlupa City. Respondents alleged that Enrique died intestate, survived by
petitioner Eleptherios and Stephen and respondents Yohanna and Victoria, his legitimate and illegitimate children,
respectively; and that Enrique left several properties with no creditors.

Acting Presiding Judge Villanueva issued an Order appointing Sta. Cruz as the administratix of Enrique’s estate. The
RTC issued the Letters of Administrator. Petitioners then filed an Omnibus Motion to remove Jane Sta. Ana as
Administratix and appoint Eleptherios L. Longa or His Nominee as Administrator. Petitioners alleged that they were
denied due process of law because they did not receive any notice about the respondents’ Petition for Letters of
Administration. Petitioners accuse respondent-administratix of: 1) neglect for failing to abide by the order of the RTC for
her to coordinate with the DFA for the proper service of Petition and Order dated July 4, 20117 to petitioners; and 2) two
acts of misrepresentation for not disclosing all the assets of the decedent and for pretending to be a pauper litigant.

Respondent-Administratix filed her Opposition to the Omnibus Motion alleging that she mailed the Petition for
Letters of Administration and the RTC Order to petitioners in the addresses that the latter gave her, and that she
coordinated with the DFA for the service of the said Petition to petitioners as evidenced by the RTC Order bearing the
stamp “RECEIVED” by the DFA Records Division. Respondent-administratix also exchanged correspondences with
petitioners and their counsels about her decision to let the court settle Enrique’s estate as shown by her letter addressed to
petitioner’s counsels, and her electronic mails (e-mails) with petitioner Eleptherios.

The RTC issued Order denying petitioners’ Omnibus Motion. Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which the
trial court denied in Order. The Appelate Court affirmed the RTC’s order and subsequently denied the Motion for
Reconsideration.

ISSUE:

1. Whether or not the Petition suffers a Technical Infirmity.

2. Whether personal notice to the petitioners is jurisdictional requirement.

RULING:

1. Yes. Rule 45, Section 4 of the Revised Rules of Court requires the petition to contain a sworn certification against
forum shopping. It should be emphasized that it should be the party-pleader who must sign the sworn certification against
forum shopping for the reason that he/she has personal knowledge of whether or not another action or proceeding was
commenced involving the same parties and causes of action. If the party-pleader is unable to personally sign the
certification, he/she must execute a special power of attorney (SPA) authorizing his/her counsel to sign to sign in his/her
behalf.

In the instant case, it was not petitioners but Atty. Baguiran who signed the certification against forum shopping despite
the absence of any showing that petitioners executed an SPA authorizing Atty. Baquiran to sign in their behalf. By Atty.
Baquiran’s own revelation, their law firm had lost communication and they could not locate any of the petitioners who
are apparently residing in the USA. The petition should be dismissed pursuant to our ruling in Anderson v. Ho where the
Court clarified that a certification signed by a counsel without an SPA is a valid cause for the dismissal of the Petition.

2. Contrary to petitioners’ argument that personal notice under Sec. 4 of Rule 76 is a jurisdictional requirement, the Court
in Alaban v. Court of Appeals, explained that it is just a matter of personal convenience. Moreover, it should be
emphasized that a testate or intestate settlement of a deceased’s estate is a proceeding in rem, such that the publication
under Section 3 of the same Rule, vests the court with jurisdiction over all persons who are interested therein.

In the instant case, the Order dated July 4, 2007 was published for the consecutive weeks in Balita, a newspaper of
general circulation, on the following dates: July 27, 20078, August 3, 2007, and August 10, 2007. By such publication
which constitutes notice to the whole world, petitioners are deemed notified about the intestate proceedings of their
father’s estate. As elucidated in Alaban v. Court of Appeals, Publication is notice to the whole world that the proceeding
has for its object to bar indefinitely all who might be minded to make an objection of any sort against the right sought to
be established. It is the publication of such notice that brings in the world as a party in the case and vests the court with
jurisdiction to hear and decide it.

#29 DATOR VS. MORALES (OCTOBER 08, 2018)

G.R. No. 237742; October 08, 2018

CELSO OLIVIER T. DATOR, Petitioner, v. HON. CONCHITA CARPIO-MORALES, IN HER CAPACITY AS


THE OMBUDSMAN, AND HON. GERARD A. MOSQUERA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE DEPUTY
OMBUDSMAN FOR LUZON, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT,
Respondents.

TIJAM, J.:
FACTS: On May 2, 2016, a complaint was filed against the incumbent Mayor of Lucban, Quezon, petitioner Celso
Olivier T. Dator (Dator), and Maria Lyncelle D. Macandile (Macandile), for grave misconduct, grave abuse of authority
and nepotism.

It was alleged that in his immediately preceding term, Dator hired his sister, Macandile, as Chief Administrative Officer
through a Job Order and designated her as Municipal Administrator through Special Order (S.O.) No. 2, Series of 2014,
dated March 1, 2014. There was no appointment paper that was submitted to the Sangguniang Bayan for the required
confirmation pursuant to Sec. 443(d) of the Local Government Code (LGC).

Meanwhile, on March 20, 2017 the Ombudsman (OMB) dismissed the charges against Macandile, but finding Dator
administratively liable for Simple Misconduct. The same was approved by Hon. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales
on October 11, 2017 with the footnote prescribing a shorter penalty

There was disparity between the length of period on the penalty of suspension in the decision of the OMB penned by the
Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Christine Carol A. Casela-Doctor (six months suspension) and the
footnoted portion of the decision below Hon. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales' name (one month and one day
suspension).

A Motion for Reconsideration was filed by Dator and later on, a Supplement to the Motion for Reconsideration was
likewise filed. Dator also filed a Motion for Clarification seeking clarification as to the correct penalty imposed –
whether it is six (6) months suspension or one (1) month and one (1) day suspension.

Thereafter, Dator filed before the CA a Petition for Injunction with Prayer for Issuance of Preliminary Injunction and/or
Temporary Restraining Order (petition for injunction), praying for respondents to desist and refrain from implementing
the OMB's March 20, 2017 Decision.

The Court of Appeals denied the petition outright on the following grounds: 1. an original action for injunction (under
Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure) is outside the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals (Allgemeine
Bau-Chemie Phils. Inc. vs. Metropolitan Bank, 482 SCRA 247)2. the correct mode to impugn the Decision of the
Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases is to appeal to the Court of Appeals under Rule 43 (Gupilan-Aguilar vs.
Office of the Ombudsman, 717 SCRA 503).

ISSUES:

I. Whether or not the CA erred in not giving due course to the Petition.

II. Whether or not Dator is entitled to an Injunctive Writ

RULING:

I. Yes. The CA erred in not giving due course to the petition. Indeed, appeals from decisions in
administrative disciplinary cases of the OMB should be taken to the CA via a Petition for Review under Rule 43 of the
Rules of Court. Rule 43 prescribes the manner of appeal from quasi-judicial agencies, such as the OMB, and was
formulated precisely to provide for a uniform rule of appellate procedure for quasi-judicial agencies.26

Although Dator filed a petition for injunction, a close scrutiny of the petition, its allegations and discussion would clearly
disclose that it questioned the decision in its entirety. The CA should not have been quick to dismiss the said petition on
procedural grounds alone. Given the peculiar circumstances of the case, where Dator is unsure of whether the suspension
that is immediately executory is one month and one day or six months, and the resolution of his motion for clarification is
still forthcoming, Dator understandably sought relief. Without further belaboring the point, We find it very clear that the
extreme urgency of the situation required an equally urgent resolution, and due to the public interest involved, the
petitioner is justified in straightforwardly seeking the intervention of this Court.

While the Rules of Procedure must be faithfully followed, the same Rules may be relaxed for persuasive and weighty
reasons to relieve a litigant of an injustice commensurate with his failure to comply with the prescribed procedure. Again,
as We repeatedly held in prior cases, the provisions of the Rules should be applied with reason and liberality to promote
their objective of securing a just, speedy, and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding.
The petition for injunction set out circumstances that merited the relaxation of the rules. It cannot be emphasized enough
that the suspension from office of an elective official, whether as a preventive measure or as a penalty, will undeservedly
deprive the electorate of the services of the person they have conscientiously chosen and voted into office.

Contrary to the OSG's submission, We find Dator's acts neither willful nor deliberate. As can be gleaned from the
sequence of events, Dator was constrained to file an action to question the immediately executory suspension because of
the seemingly conflicting penalties set out in the March 20, 201 7 Decision, and the Order resolving his motion for
clarification and motion for reconsideration, was only received by him on June 4, 2018. We cannot fault Dator for doing
the same considering the extreme urgency of the situation, and the public interest aspect of the case. We note that Dator
did not hide the fact that he had a pending petition for review on certiorari before this court when he filed the petition for
review under Rule 43 dated June 19, 2018 with the CA. Given the foregoing, We are hard-pressed to conclude that there
was willful and deliberate forum shopping on the part of Dator. Be that as it may, the subsequent petition for review
before the CA should be, and is hereby, dismissed.

II. No. Dator is not entitled to an injunctive writ. Essential to granting the injunctive relief is the existence of
an urgent necessity for the writ in order to prevent serious damage. A temporary restraining order (TRO) issues only if
the matter is of such extreme urgency that grave injustice and irreparable injury would arise unless it is issued
immediately. "Under Section 5, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court, a TRO may be issued only if it appears from the facts
shown by affidavits or by the verified application that great or irreparable injury would be inflicted on the applicant
before the writ of preliminary injunction could be heard."36

Thus, to be entitled to the injunctive writ, petitioner must show that: (1) there exists a clear and unmistakable right to be
protected; (2) this right is directly threatened by an act sought to be enjoined; (3) the invasion of the right is material and
substantial; and (4) there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious and irreparable damage.37

Dator insists that he has shown that: 1) he has a clear and unmistakable right to be informed of the correct penalty
imposed against him; 2) there is a decision by the honorable respondent Office of the Ombudsman that is now
immediately executory; 3) there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the issuance of the writ on the ground that the
implementation of the decision would not only violate or defeat his right to be informed of the correct penalty imposed,
but worse, he would be denied due process should the same be imposed now, thus, would cause him serious and
irreparable damage and grave injustice; and 4) petitioner is entitled to relief because as a public officer, he has a right to
be protected in his office pending the resolution of his case with the OMB.

The Court ruled that Dator was unable to satisfy the said requirements as regards the showing of a clear and unmistakable
right to be protected and that there is an urgent need to prevent a serious and irreparable damage.Contrary to Dator's
allegation, there is no clear and unmistakable right to be protected. There is no vested right to public office.

#30. KU V. RCBC SEC INC (OCTOBER 17, 2018)

STEPHEN Y. KU vs. RCBC SECURITIES, INC

G.R. No. 219491 October 17, 2018

FACTS: In June 2007, plaintiff [herein petitioner] opened a trade account with RSEC [herein respondent] for the
purpose of buying and selling securities as evidenced by the Customer Account Information Form and Agreement dated
05 June 2007.

Unknown to plaintiff, the name of M.G. Valbuena ("MGV") was deliberately inserted beside the name of Ivan L.
Zalameda as one of the agents after plaintiff completed and signed the Agreement.
As to when the fraudulent insertion was made, plaintiff has no idea. Plaintiff only discovered this anomaly when plaintiff
recently requested for a copy of his Account Information.

In the course of plaintiff's trading transactions with RSEC, MGV represented herself as a Sales Director of RSEC, duly
authorized to transact business on behalf of the latter.

With this representation, plaintiff continued to transact business with RSEC through MGV, on the honest belief that the
latter was acting for and in behalf of RSEC.

Every time plaintiff authorized a trade, plaintiff would be furnished with a Trade Confirmation by RSEC. Having
successfully and profitably managed plaintiff's account, or as so represented to plaintiff, MGV was able to gain the trust
and confidence of plaintiff.

In addition to acting as broker for plaintiff's trading account, investment in ARPO was also successfully solicited by
plaintiff. Thus, sometime in November 2007, plaintiff agreed to invest in ARPO funds, which continued to run for more
than two (2) years, the total of which amounted to Php38,300,205.00. x x x.

Sometime in January 2012, it came to the knowledge of plaintiff that his account with RSEC was subject of
mismanagement. MGV was blacklisted by RSEC due to numerous fraudulent and unauthorized transactions committed
by the former. Worse, MGV allegedly was able to divert investments made by "high networth" clients of RSEC into
some other accounts.

On 17 January 2012, plaintiff was furnished by RSEC of a copy of an undated audit report (sometimes referred to as
"ledger") principally showing that the total claim of plaintiff with RSEC amounts to Php77,561,602.75

On 18 January 2012, plaintiff wrote RSEC informing the latter that simultaneous to RSEC's audit, plaintiff likewise is in
the process of conducting an independent audit of his own account in order to validate the amount claimed by RSEC.

In the same letter, plaintiff made clear to RSEC that it has never authorized a discretionary account with MGV and
requested for all documents relative to plaintiff's audit.

After audit, plaintiff has conclusively determined that there were FOUR HUNDRED SIXTY-SEVEN (467) unauthorized
transactions in his account. A review of the said transactions would show that multiple buying and selling transactions on
the same day were repeatedly done over a period of four (4) years.

Being unauthorized, plaintiff also never received any document confirming any of the said transactions. Worse, plaintiff
was given and is in the possession of fabricated confirmation statements for trades he actually authorized, but were not,
in reality executed.

After evaluation and audit, and after exclusion of all the unauthorized trades, plaintiff should have remaining cash in his
trade account in the amount of Php992,970.78 and the following stock position under his

However, despite the detailed presentation of plaintiff's payments to RSEC, RSEC, in its letter-reply dated 29 May 2012,
only made categorical denials of its relationship with ARPO and failed to sufficiently explain what happened to plaintiff's
account or where did all of plaintiff's money intended for ARPO go.

After completing the audit report , plaintiff sent a demand letter dated 11 January 2013 to RSEC,

Without any valid and justifiable reason, however, RSEC refused and still continues to refuse to heed plaintiff's demand.

ISSUE:

A. Whether or not the RTC or the SEC has jurisdiction ?

B. Whether or not the nature of the petitioners complaint is an ordinary civil action or an intra corporate controversy?

C. Whether or not there was deliberate intent by the petitioner to defraud the court in the payment of docket fees?

HELD:
A.

Jurisdiction over intra-corporate controversies is transferred by law (RA 8799) from the SEC to the RTCs in general, but
the authority to exercise such jurisdiction is given by the Supreme Court, in the exercise of its rule-making power under
the Constitution, to RTCs which are specifically designated as Special Commercial Courts. On the other hand, the cases
enumerated under Section 19 of BP 129, as amended, are taken cognizance of by the RTCs in the exercise of their
general jurisdiction.

Thus, based on the allegations in petitioner's Complaint, in relation to the above provisions of law, there is no dispute that
the case falls under the jurisdiction of the RTC.

B.

The Court finds, and so holds, that the case is not an intra-corporate dispute and, instead, is an ordinary civil action.
There are no intra-corporate relations between the parties. Petitioner is neither a stockholder, partner, member or officer
of respondent corporation. The parties' relationship is limited to that of an investor and a securities broker. Moreover, the
questions involved neither pertain to the parties' rights and obligations under the Corporation Code, if any, nor to matters
directly relating to the regulation of the corporation.

On the basis of the foregoing, since the Complaint filed by petitioner partakes of the nature of an ordinary civil action, it
is clear that it was correctly raffled-off to Branch 63. Hence, considering that the RTC of Makati has jurisdiction over the
subject matter of petitioner's complaint, and that Branch 149 continued and continues to exercise jurisdiction over the
case during the pendency of the proceedings leading to this petition and, thus, has presumably conducted hearings
towards the resolution of petitioner's complaint, this Court, in the interest of expediency and, in promoting the parties'
respective rights to a speedy disposition of their case, finds it proper that Civil Case No. 13-171 should remain with
Branch 149, instead of being remanded to Branch 63 or re-raffled anew among all courts of the same RTC.

C.

In the present case, the Court does not agree with the CA when it ruled that "the intention of [petitioner] Ku to evade
payment of the correct filing fees[,] if not to mislead the docket clerk in the assessment of the filing fees[,] is manifest."
The fact alone that petitioner failed to indicate in the body of his Complaint as well as in his prayer, the value of the
shares of stocks he wishes to recover from respondent is not sufficient proof of a deliberate intent to defraud the court in
the payment of docket fees. On the contrary, there is no dispute that upon filing of his Complaint, petitioner paid docket
fees amounting to P1,465,971.41, which was based on the assessment made by the clerk of court. In a number of
cases,this Court has ruled that the plaintiff's payment of the docket fees based on the assessment made by the docket
clerk negates bad faith or intent to defraud the government. There is, likewise, no dispute that, subsequently, when
ordered by Branch 149 to pay additional docket fees corresponding to the value of the shares of stocks being recovered,
petitioner immediately paid an additional sum of P464,535.83. Moreover, unlike in Manchester where the complainant
specified in the body of the complaint the amount of damages sought to be recovered but omitted the same in its prayer,
petitioner in the instant case consistently indicated both in the body of his Complaint and in his prayer, the number of
shares sought to be recovered, albeit without their corresponding values. The foregoing, circumstances would show that
there was no deliberate intent to defraud the court in the payment of docket fees.

#31. PAGDANGANAN V. CA (SEPTEMBER 5, 2017)

G. R. No. 202678. September 5, 2018.] ERNESTINA A. PAGDANGANAN, RODERICK APACIBLE


PAGDANGANAN, MARIA ROSARIO LOTA, represented by her Attorney-in-Fact, ERNESTINA A.
PAGDANGANAN, ERNEST JEROME PAGDANGANAN, and SANDRA APACIBLE PAGDANGANAN, as the
heirs and substitutes of deceased ISAURO J. PAGDANGANAN, ALFONSO ORTIGAS OLONDRIZ, and
CITIBANK N.A. HONG KONG , petitioners, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and MA. SUSANA A.S.
MADRIGAL, MA. ANA A.S. MADRIGAL, MA. ROSA A.S. MADRIGAL, MATHILDA S. OLONDRIZ,
VICENTE A.S. MADRIGAL, ROSEMARIE OPIS-MALASIG, MARIA TERESA S. UBANO, EDUARDO E.
DELA CRUZ, and GUILLER B. ASIDO, respondents.

H.

FACTS: This is a Petition for Mandamus seeking to compel the Court of Appeals to resolve the Petition in CA-G.R. SP
No. 104291, 2 alleging that the Court of Appeals committed inordinate delay in violation of the right to speedy
disposition of cases. Solid Guaranty, Inc. (Solid Guaranty) is a domestic corporation engaged in the insurance business.
There was a complaint for interpleader that was filed because of the alleged conflicting claims of the Madrigals and the
Citbank. Subsequently, there was a Special Stockholders’ Meeting that was held and new members of the board of
directors were elected. Solid Guaranty and Pagdanganan amended their complaint to implead additional defendants the
newly elected directors and officers. Ubano called for the holding of a Special Stockholders' Meeting. Solid Guaranty
and Pagdanganan filed a motion with the Regional Trial Court to prevent the holding of the meeting. The Regional Trial
Court issued a Joint Order authorizing the holding of the meeting. On July 11, 2008, Solid Guaranty, Pagdanganan,
another minority stockholder, Alfonso, and Citibank filed a Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition, and Mandamus, with
Prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction with the Court of Appeals. They alleged that the Regional Trial Court
committed grave abuse of discretion in allowing the holding of the June 30, 2008 stockholders' meeting despite the
pendency of the interpleader suit. While the Motions were pending with the Court of Appeals, or on August 2, 2012, the
Heirs of Pagdanganan, Alfonso, and Citibank filed this Petition for Mandamus against the Court of Appeals, the
Madrigals, Mathilda, Vicente, Malasig, Ubano, Dela Cruz, and Asido before this Court. They allege that the Court of
Appeals committed inordinate delay in resolving their Petition filed on July 11, 2008. They claimed that the Court of
Appeals' "continued inaction on the case is clearly a neglect of its judicial duties." On February 8, 2013, the Court of
Appeals rendered a Decision dismissing the petition as the questioned orders of the Regional Trial Court were not
rendered in grave abuse of discretion. Thus, respondents the Madrigals, Vicente, Malasig, Ubano, and Asido filed a
Manifestation dated February 18, 2013, attaching a copy of the Court of Appeals February 8, 2013 Decision and praying
that this Court dismiss this case as the issues raised have already become moot and academic.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petition for mandamus filed by petitioners is proper

HELD: No. The petition was dismissed for being moot and academic. A petition for mandamus praying for this Court to
compel the Court of Appeals to resolve a case becomes moot if the Court of Appeals resolves the case with finality
during the pendency of the petition. A petition for mandamus may be filed against any tribunal, corporation, board,
officer, or person who is alleged to have unlawfully neglected the performance of a duty arising from that office, trust, or
station. In this case, petitioners pray for the issuance of a writ of mandamus to compel the Court of Appeals to resolve
their Petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 104291. However, the Court of Appeals has already rendered its Decision on February
8, 2013. It issued a Resolution dated March 10, 2014 on petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration. Despite the occurrence
of these subsequent events, petitioners, in their Memorandum, reiterated their prayer for this Court to compel the Court
of Appeals to resolve CA-G.R. SP No. 104291. Any issuance of a writ of mandamus in this case, however, becomes an
exercise in futility. The Court of Appeals cannot be compelled to resolve a case it has already fully resolved. This
Petition must be dismissed for being moot.

#32. EIZMENDI V. FERNANDEZ (SEPTEMBER 5, 2018)

G.R. No. 215280. September 5, 2018.

FRANCISCO C. EIZMENDI JR., JOSE S. TAYAG JR., JOAQUIN L. SAN AGUSTIN, EDUARDO D.
FRANCISCO, EDMIDIO V. RAMOS, JR., ALBERT G. BLANCAFLOR, REY NATHANIEL C. IFURUNG,
MANUEL H. ACOSTA JR., and VALLE VERDE COUNTRY CLUB, INC., petitioners, vs.TEODORICO P.
FERNANDEZ, respondent.
PONENTE: Justice Peralta

FACTS: On November 28, 2013, respondent Teodorico P. Fernandez filed a Complaint 3 for Invalidation of Corporate
Acts and Resolutions with Application for Writ of Preliminary Injunction against the individual petitioners, who
allegedly constituted themselves as new members of the Board of Directors (BOD) of Valle Verde Country Club, Inc.
(VVCCI), despite lack of quorum during the annual members' meeting on February 23, 2013.

Fernandez averred that he is a proprietary member in good standing of VVCCI, and that the individual petitioners held a
meeting on October 18, 2013 during which they supposedly acted for and in behalf of VVCCI, and found him guilty of
less serious violations of the by-laws and imposed on him the penalty of suspension of membership for six (6) months.
Fernandez asserted that since petitioners were not validly constituted as the new BOD in the place of the hold-over BOD
of VVCCI, they had no legal authority to act as such BOD, to find him guilty and to suspend him.

Petitioners contend that Fernandez is attempting to indirectly violate the rules on, and the period for, filing an election
contest as provided in the Interim Rules. They point out that the trial court has read Fernandez's complaint and readily
sensed that the case is partly an election contest; thus, it immediately prevented Fernandez from raising the issue on the
election of petitioners as members of the BOD, and limited the issue to whether Fernandez was validly suspended by
petitioners. They add that to allow Fernandez to prove the invalidity of petitioners' election is also tantamount to
reopening the first case between the hold-over BOD and the petitioners in G.R. No. 209120, entitled "Valle Verde
Country Club, Inc. v. Eizmendi, Jr.,"dated October 14, 2013 (Valle Verde), which stemmed from a complaint filed by
VVCCI, for misrepresentation of corporate office against the defendants [herein individual petitioners] with respect to
the February 23, 2013 annual meeting where the latter were elected as directors, despite the alleged lack of quorum.

Petitioners submit that the Court Resolution in G.R. No. 20912 — where the complaint for misrepresentation of
corporate office was dismissed with finality on two grounds: (1) lack of cause of action for having been filed by VVCCI
instead of the contenders, which include Fernandez, who are the real parties-in-interest; and (2) for being essentially an
election contest which was filed beyond the 15-day reglementary period under the Interim Rules — is conclusive upon
the status of petitioners as the duly-elected members of the BOD of VVCCI. Considering that Fernandez is a party in G.R.
No. 209120 as an appointee of the old BOD and being a candidate in the February 23, 2013 elections of the members of
the BOD, petitioners claim that he should have filed an election contest within 15 days therefrom or intervened in
Commercial Case No. 13-190, which is the RTC case referred to in G.R. No. 209120.

Petitioners posit that while Fernandez asserts that he is not claiming the office as member of the BOD, he is, in effect,
attempting to unseat them as members thereof, which is in the nature of an election contest. Besides, petitioners state that
their term as members of the BOD of VVCCI already expired on April 5, 2014, which makes the issue on the validity of
their election moot. Finally, they invoke that the Resolution in G.R. No. 209120 should also be considered as the "law of
the case" under the principle of stare decisis.

For his part, Fernandez counters that his cause of action is his wrongful suspension as member of the VVCCI, and that he
may question petitioners' authority as a board to order his suspension. He also insists that the case before the RTC is not
an election contest as defined by the Interim Rules, and that his complaint is not barred by res judicata, let alone bound
by the Resolution in G.R. No. 209120 under the doctrine of stare decisis.

ISSUE: Whether or not the final resolution in Valle Verde Country Club, Inc. v. Eizmendi, et al., G.R. No. 209120 dated
October 14, 2013 bars Fernandez's complaint under the principles of res judicata, law of the case and stare decisis, the
Court rules that only the stare decisis principle applies to this case.

RULING: For res judicata to serve as an absolute to a subsequent action, the following requisites must be present: (1)
the former judgment or order must be final; (2) the judgment or order must be on the merits; (3) it must have been
rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; and (4) there must be between the first and
second actions, identity of parties, of subject matter, and causes of action. Here, res judicata does not apply because there
is no identity of parties, causes of action and reliefs sought between the complaint subject of Valle Verde and the
complaint subject of this case.

First, while the defendants in the complaints subject of Valle Verde [Commercial Case No. 13-190) and of this case
[Commercial Case No. 13-202] are the very same individual petitioners, the plaintiff in the former case is VVCCI,
whereas the plaintiff in this case is Fernandez as plaintiff and proprietary member in good standing of VVCCI. The
absence of identity of parties is underscored in Valle Verde where the Court upheld the dismissal of the complaint Valle
Verde had no cause of action and was not the real party-in-interest. The Court explained that a corporation does not have
the right to vote and that the reliefs prayed for in the complaint are for the benefit of the respondents' contenders [like
herein respondent Fernandez].

Second, the causes of action of the complaint subject of Valle Verde is distinct from that subject of this case. In Valle
Verde, the cause of action is the individual petitioners' misrepresentation that they were elected as new members of the
BOD and the Officers of VVCCI for 2013 to 2014, due to the claim that there was no quorumduring the February 23,
2013 annual meeting. In this case, the cause of action is the invalidation of corporate acts of VVCCI on the ground of
lack of authority of the individual petitioners, as members of the BOD, to suspend the club membership of Fernandez,
and the lack of due process which attended his suspension.

Third, there is also a stark contrast between the reliefs sought in the complaint subject of Valle Verde and that subject of
this case. In Valle Verde, VVCCI sought to enjoin the individual petitioners from misrepresenting themselves to be
members of the BOD and Officers of the Club. In this case, Fernandez seeks to invalidate the claims off said individual
petitioners to the office of BOD of VVCCI and to nullify the annual members' meeting of February 23, 2013, as well as
the subsequent board meetings conducted by the individual petitioners, including all resolutions and measures approved
thereat relative to his suspension.

The doctrine of the "law of the case" is also inapplicable, because it only applies to the same case involving the same
parties. Valle Verde is separate and distinct from this case in terms of parties, cause of actions and reliefs sought, despite
the fact that both intra-corporate controversies arose from the February 23, 2013 election of the individual petitioners as
members of the BOD of VVCCI in an annual meeting which was supposedly adjourned due to lack of quorum.

While the doctrines of res judicata and "the law of the case" are not applicable, the principle of stare decisis et non quieta
movere [stand by the decision and disturb not what is settled] applies to this case, but only to the extent that Valle Verde
held that (1) if the allegations and prayers in the complaint raise the issues of validation of proxies, and the manner and
validity of elections, such as the nullification of election was unlawfully conducted due to lack of quorum, then such
complaint falls under the definition of election contest under the Interim Rules; and (2) the real parties-in-interest in an
election contest are the contenders, and not the corporation.

Considering that Fernandez's first cause of action seeks to nullify the claim of the individual petitioners to the office of
the BOD of VVCCI due to lack of quorum during the election on February 23, 2013, then the Court must adhere to its
ruling in Valle Verde, and hold that his complaint is partly an election contest. However, Valle Verde cannot be invoked
to sustain the position that an election contest filed beyond the 15-day reglementary period under the Interim Rules is
prescribed.

In sum, the CA gravely erred in allowing Fernandez in Commercial Case No. 13-190 to present evidence in connection
with the election of the individual petitioners as members of the BOD of VVCCI conducted on February 23, 2013 to
invalidate their claims to the office of director, because that is akin to entertaining an election contest filed beyond the
15-day period under the Interim Rules.

#33. SANCHEZ V. AGUILAR (SEPTEMBER 17, 2017)

GR NO: 228680, September 17, 2018 - FUENTES

SPOUSES FRANCISCO AND DELMA SANCHEZ represented by HILARIO LOMBOY, Petitioner vs. ESTHER
DIVINAGRACIA DE AGUILAR, TERESITA AGUILAR, ZENAIDA AGUILAR, JUANITO AGUILAR, JR.,
AMALIA AGUILAR, and SUSAN AGUILAR, THE MUNICIPALITY of LAKE SEBU, represented by its Mayor,
BASILIO SALIF, NOEMI DUTA D. DALIPE in her capacity as ZONING OFFICER II, ZALDY B. ARTACHO,
in his capacity as CHAIRMAN AD HOC COMMITTEE ON LAND CONFLICT, HON. RENATO TAMPAC, in
his capacity as PRESIDING JUDGE of the 6TH MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT OF SURALLA-LAKE
SEBU, 17

PERALTA, J.:

FACTS: Juanito Aguilar sold to petitioner spouses Aguilar a parcel of lot with a 600 sqm. Located in South Cotabato on
July 2000. 4 years after, the Heirs of Aguilar namely the respondents fenced the boundary line including such portion
owned by the spouses. As a result, petitioner spouses filed a complaint for forcible entry on the basis that they owned the
alleged alluvium deposit., On the other hand, the heirs asserted that the alluvium was beyond the 600 sqm. portion. When
the MCTC issued the writ of execution, it was discovered that when the surveyor measured that National Highway at 60
meters wide which the respondents disagreed that it was only 30 and not 60. It was also ruled that the boundary line of
the 600 sqm.. amounted to a public easement. Nevertheless, the spouses received a notice providing that the 150 sqm. of
the lots belongs to the heirs. As a result, spouses filed a complaint to annul the judgment which was granted by the RTC
but reverted by the Court of Appeals. Spouses Aguilar now presented this petition on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.

ISSUE: Whether or not the MCTC lacked jurisdiction over the case?

HELD: No. Jurisdiction is the power and authority of the tribunal to hear, try and decide a case and the lack thereof
refers to either lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defending party or over the subject matter of the action. Lack of
jurisdiction or absence of jurisdiction presupposes that the court should not have taken cognizance of the complaint
because the law or the Constitution does not vest it with jurisdiction over the subject matter. On the one hand, jurisdiction
over the person of the defendant or respondent is acquired by voluntary appearance or submission by the
defendant/respondent to the court, or by coercive process issued by the court to such party through service of summons.

In the case at bar, it is undisputed that the MCTC had duly acquired jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner spouses
as they were the ones who filed the complaint for forcible entry suit before the MCTC. On the other hand, it is clearly
provided by law that MCTC has exclusive original jurisdiction over ejectment cases which includes forcible entry and
unlawful detainer cases. Thus, the MCTC did not lack jurisdiction over the case.

#34. ALLIANCE OF HOMEOWNERS V. CITY GOV’T OF QC (SEPTEMBER 18, 2018)

ALLIANCE OF QUEZON CITY HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION VS. CITY GOVERNMENT OF QUEZON


CITY

GR NO 230651

SEPTEMBER 18,2018

PERLAS- BERNABE, J

FACTS: On April 7, 2017, petitioner Alliance of Quezon City Homeowners' Association, Inc. (Alliance), allegedly a
non-stock, non-profit corporation,filed the present petition, praying that: (a) a TRO be issued to restrain the
implementation of the 2016 Ordinance; ( b) the said Ordinance be declared unconstitutional for violating substantive due
process, and invalid for violating Section 130 of the LGC; and (c) the tax payments made by the QC residents or
individuals based on the 2016 Ordinance's revised schedule of FMV s be refunded. petition, Alliance argued that the
2016 Ordinance should be declared unconstitutional for violating substantive due process, considering that the increase in
FMVs, which resulted in an increase in the taxpayer's base, and ultimately, the taxes to be paid, was unjust, excessive,
oppressive, arbitrary, and confiscatory as proscribed under Section 130 of the LGC.

Comment, 22 respondents countered that the petition is procedurally infirm because Alliance: (a) failed to exhaust its
administrativeremedies under the LGC, which were to question the assessments on the taxpayers' properties by filing a
protest before the City Treasurer, as well as to assail the constitutionality of the 2016 Ordinance before the Secretary of
Justice; ( b) violated the hierarchy of courts when it directly filed its petition before this Court; 24 (c) has no legal
capacity to sue since its Certificate of Registration as a corporation was revoked by the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) in an Order dated February 10, 2004,and it has no separate juridical personality as a homeowners'
association due to its non-registration with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB); and (d) is not a real
party-in-interest because it does not own any real property in QC to be affected by the 2016 Ordinance

July 14, 2017, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) likewise filed its Comment, arguing that the petition should be
dismissed on the grounds of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies, non-observance of the hierarchy of courts, and
lack of locus standi. It further alleged that the 2016 Ordinance was valid because Alliance failed to: (a) overcome the
presumption of constitutionality; ( b) show that the substantial increase in the assessed values of real properties violates
the fundamental principles of taxation; ( c) prove that the public hearing required before passing an ordinance was not
complied with; and (d) submit evidence that the 2016 Ordinance was abruptly implemented. The OSG added that
Alliance failed to demonstrate its clear legal right to enjoin the implementation of the subject ordinance

ISSUE:

1. Whether or not the petition is infirm violation of violations of doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies
and hierarchy of court;

2. Whether or not petioner alliance lack legal capacity to sue.

HELD:

1. No. The exhaustion of administrative remedies doctrine requires that before a party may seek intervention from the
court, he or she should have already exhausted all the remedies in the administrative level.The LGC provides two (2)
remedies in relation to real property tax assessments or tax ordinances. These are: (1) Sections 226 and 252 thereof which
allow a taxpayer to question the reasonableness of the amount assessed before the city treasurer then appeal to the Local
Board of Assessment Appeals; and (2) Section 187 thereof which allows an aggrieved taxpayer to question the validity
or legality of a tax ordinance by duly filing an appeal before the Secretary of Justice before seeking judicial intervention.
In the present case, Alliance admitted that these administrative remedies were not complied with, and that the petition
was immediately filed before the Court.

However, the rule on administrative exhaustion admits of exceptions, one of which is when strong public interest is
involved. Although a petitioner's failure to exhaust the required administrative remedies has been held to bar a petition in
court,56 the Court has relaxed theapplication of this rule "in view of the more substantive matters,"as in this case. In
particular, a local government unit's authority to increase the FMVs of properties for purposes of local taxation is a
question that indisputably affects the public at large.

The hierarchy of courts doctrine prohibits parties from directly resorting to this Court when relief may be obtained before
the lower courts. Nevertheless, this doctrine is not an iron-clad rule; it also admits of exceptions, such as when the case
involves matters of transcendental importance. In this case, Alliance argues that the implementation of the 2016
Ordinance will directly and adversely affect the property interests of around "3,085,786 million" residents of QC.

2. No, capacity to sue. Rules of Court mandates that only natural or juridical persons, or entities authorized by law may
be parties in a civil action. Non-compliance with this requirement renders a case dismissible on the ground of lack of
legal capacity to sue, which refers to "a plaintiff's general disability to sue, such as on account of minority, insanity,
incompetence, lack of juridical personality or any other general disqualifications of a party."

Jurisprudence provides that an unregistered association, having no separate juridical personality, lacks the capacity to sue
in its own name. In this case, Alliance admitted that it has no juridical personality, considering the revocation of its SEC
Certificate of Registration and its failure to register with the HLURB as a homeowner's association. Nevertheless,
Alliance insists that the petition should not be dismissed because it was filed by the members of the Board of Trustees in
their own personal capacities. this case falls under the exceptions to the doctrines of exhaustion of administrative
remedies and hierarchy of courts, the Court is still constrained to dismiss the petition due to Alliance's lack of legal
capacity to sue.

#35. ZOSA V. CONSILIUM INC. (SEPT 19, 2018)

G.R. No. 196765, September 19, 2018

FRANCIS M. ZOSA, NORA M. ZOSA AND MANUEL M. ZOSA, JR., Petitioners, v. CONSILIUM, INC.,
Respondent.

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, C.J.

FACTS: On January 17, 2001, a complaint for "Declaration of Nullity of Deed of Sale and TCT No. T-113390, and
Quieting of Title" was filed before the RTC by herein petitioners Francis M. Zosa, Nora M. Zosa and Manuel M. Zosa, Jr.
(hereinafter collectively referred to as the "Zosas"), against Rosario Paypa, Rollyben R. Paypa and Rubi R. Paypa
(hereinafter collectively referred to as the "Paypas").

During the pendency of the aforementioned case, on January 29, 2003, respondent Consilium, Inc. (Consilium) was
allowed to intervene therein on the ground that on November 23, 2000, it had purchased the subject property in good
faith from the Paypas for P1,585,100.00.

In a Decision dated September 27, 2007, the RTC ruled in favor of the Zosas. On October 17, 2007, Consilium filed a
Notice of Appeal, alleging to have received the Decision of the RTC on October 10, 2007. Note, however, that the
corresponding appeal fee was paid only on October 31, 2007, or six days from October 25, 2007, the last day to perfect
an appeal.

The Zosas opposed the Notice of Appeal on the ground that the appeal was "filed out of time, while the Notice of Appeal
was filed on October 17, 2007, the docket/appeal fee was paid only on October 31, 2007 which was beyond the period to
file the Notice of Appeal. In Consilium's Comment to the Zosas' Opposition (to the Notice of Appeal), it explained that
such omission, however, was sheer inadvertence. RTC resolved to deny due course thereto in an Order. Consilium
moved for the reconsideration of the above-mentioned Order, and prayed for the relaxation of the rules of procedure. The
motion was set for hearing on February 22, 2008 per the Notice of Hearing stated in the said motion.
The Zosas, however, sought the outright denial of Consilium's motion for reconsideration on the ground that it was set
for hearing beyond the 10-day period prescribed in Section 5, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court, as amended. Thereafter,
Consilium elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, as
amended. The appellate court held that the "liberal application of the Rules is warranted since the rights of the parties
were not affected even if the hearing of said motion [for reconsideration] was originally set by petitioner beyond the
10-day period required by the Rules of Court, as amended

ISSUE: Whether or not the Court of Appeals Erred In Holding That The Regional Trial Court Committed Grave Abuse
of Discretion In Not Acting On Respondent's Motion For Reconsideration For Being Filed In Violation Of Section 5 Of
Rule 15;

RULING: The petition is meritorious.

Fundamental is the rule that the provisions of the law and the rules concerning the manner and period of appeal are
mandatory and jurisdictional requirements; hence, cannot simply be discounted under the guise of liberal construction.
But even if we were to apply liberality as prayed for, it is not a magic word that once invoked will automatically be
considered as a mitigating circumstance in favor of the party invoking it. There should be an effort on the part of the
party invoking liberality to advance a reasonable or meritorious explanation for his/her failure to comply with the rules.
The Zosas maintain that the Court of Appeals erred when it held that the lack of notice of hearing is cured when the trial
court "promptly resets a hearing with a notice to the parties." They argue that the defect is not about the lack of notice of
hearing but the fact that the motion was set for hearing beyond the 10-day period required under Section 5 of the Rules of
Court, as amended.

#36. DUQUE V. YU (FEBRUARY 19, 2018)

G.R. No. 226130, February 19, 2018

LILIA S. DUQUE AND HEIRS OF MATEO DUQUE, NAMELY: LILIA S. DUQUE, ALMA D. BALBONA,
PERPETUA D. HATA, MARIA NENITA D. DIENER, GINA D. YBAÑEZ, AND GERVACIO S.
DUQUE,Petitioners, v. SPOUSES BARTOLOME D. YU, JR. AND JULIET O. YU AND DELIA DUQUE
CAPACIO, Respondents.

VELASCO JR., J.

FACTS: Spouses Duque were the lawful owners of a 7,000sqm lot in Lambug, Badian, Cebu. The Spouses Duque
allegedly donated such parcel of land to their daughter Delia D. Capacio. Capacio then sold a portion of it(2,745sqm) to
Spouses Yu.

With that, Spouses Duque lodged a Verified Complaint for Declaration of Non-Existence and Nullity of a Deed of
Donation and Deed of Absolute Sale and Cancellation of TD (Complaint) against the respondents before the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Barili, Cebu, docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-BAR-469, claiming that the signature in the Deed of
Donation was forged. Spouses Duque then prayed (1) to declare the Deeds of Donation and of Absolute Sale null and
void; (2) to cancel TD No. 01-07-05886 in the name of respondent Juliet Yu (married to respondent Bartolome Yu); and
(3) to revive TD No. 05616 in the name Mateo Duque (married to petitioner Lilia Duque).
Respondent Capacio admitted that falsification of the Deed of Donation. Respondents Spouses Yu, for their part, refuted
Spouses Duque's personality to question the genuineness of the Deed of Absolute Sale for it was their daughter who
forged the Deed of Donation. They even averred that Spouses Duque's action was already barred by prescription.
Repondent filed a motion for admission of the documents, real estate mortgage, deed of donation, contract of lease, tax
declarations, deed of absolute sale. The petitioner were ordered to file a comment. This prompted for the court to
pronounced that they have admitted the same.

Spouses Yu filed a Demurrer to Evidence in view of the pronouncement which the Spouses Duque vehemently opposed.
The Demurrer to Evidence was granted and thereby dismissed the complaint by the Spouses Duque.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioners' failure to reply to the request for admission is tantamount to an implied admission of
the authenticity and genuineness of the documents subject thereof

HELD: 1. NO. The respondents served the request for admission on the petitioners to admit the genuineness and
authenticity of the Deed of Donation, among other documents. But as pointed out by petitioners, the matters and
documents being requested to be admitted have already been denied and controverted in the previous pleading, that is,
Verified Complaint for Declaration of Non-Existence and Nullity of a Deed of Donation and Deed of Absolute Sale and
Cancellation of TD. In fact, the forgery committed in the Deed of Donation was the very essence of that Complaint,
where it was alleged that being a forged document, the same is invalid and without force and legal effect. Petitioners,
therefore, need not reply to the request for admission. Consequently, they cannot be deemed to have admitted the Deed of
Donation's genuineness and authenticity for their failure to respond thereto

In support thereof, respondents Spouses Yu even utilized the questioned document report of the Philippine National
Police (PNP) Regional Crime Laboratory Office certifying that the signature in the Deed of Donation is a forgery. Thus,
it is then safe to conclude that their request for admission is a sham. Having said that there was no implied admission of
the genuineness and authenticity of the Deed of Donation, this Court, thus, holds that it was also an error for the trial
court to grant the demurrer to evidence.

With this Court's denial of the demurrer to evidence, it will now proceed to rule on the merits of the Complaint solely on
the basis of the petitioners' evidence on record. Such Deed of Donation being falsified, Capacio is not the owner of the
lot. As such, it cannot be the source of respondent Capacio's transferable right over a portion of the subject property.
Being a patent nullity, respondent Capacio could not validly transfer a portion of the subject property in favor of
respondents Spouses Yu under the principle of "Nemo dat quod non habet," which means "one cannot give what one
does not have."

#37. LAGON V. VELASCO (FEBRUARY 14, 2018)

GR NO. 208424, FEB 14, 2018

ARMANDO LAGON V. DENNIS A. VELASCO

REYES, JR. J

FACTS: Sometime in December 2000, Lagon obtained a cash loan from private respondent Gabriel Dizon (Dizon), in
the amount of Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php 300,000.00). In payment thereof, Lagon issued PCIBank Check No.
0064914, postdated January 12, 2001, in an equal amount. However, when Dizon presented the check for payment, it was
dishonored for being Drawn Against Insufficient Funds.

Consequently, Dizon sent a Letter dated May 6, 2011 to Lagon, demanding the payment Php 300,000.00. However,
Lagon refused to pay. On June 6, 2011, Dizon field a Complaint for Sum of Money, Damages and Attorney's Fees
against Lagon. On October 8, 2011, Lagon filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground of prescription. In response, Dizon
filed an Opposition with Motion to Amend Complaint. In his Amended Complaint, Dizon averred that he sent two
demand letters, one dated March 23, 2010 and another dated May 6, 2011. Both letters were sent through JRS Express.
On February 29, 2012, Lagon filed his Answer asserting that he has paid the loan. Meanwhile, during the preliminary
conference, the parties were directed to file their respective pre-trial briefs within five (5) days from receipt of the trial
court's order. Thereafter, on August 9, 2012, Judge Velasco issued a Pre-Trial Conference Order.

At the initial trial on June 6, 2013, neither of the parties submitted their judicial affidavits or those of their witnesses.
Hence, Judge Velasco issued the assailed Order[10] requiring the parties to submit their respective judicial affidavits five
(5) days before the trial.[11]The essential portion of the Order dated June 6, 2013, reads:

In the interest of justice and equity, the plaintiff is hereby allowed to submit his Judicial Affidavits. But for failure of the
plaintiff to submit Judicial Affidavits in due time, the Court imposed a fine of Three Thousand pesos (Php 3,000.00) and
to be reimbursed an amount of Five Thousand pesos (Php 5,000.00) to the defendant's expenses in coming to Court
within five (5) days from today.

The parties are hereby directed to submit Judicial Affidavits of their witnesses within five (5) days prior to the trial dates.
Otherwise, the Court will no longer admit the same. Lagon received a copy of the same Order on June 26, 2013. On
June 27, 2013, Lagon filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration. In his Motion, Lagon requested that he be allowed to
submit the judicial affidavit of his witnesses after the plaintiff shall have adduced his evidence. Lagon claimed that
Section 2 of the Judicial Affidavit Rule, which mandates the submission by both parties of their judicial affidavits before
the pre-trial conference is violative of his right to due process, hence unconstitutional. On July 10, 2013, Judge Velasco
issued the assailed Order denying Lagon's Motion for Partial Reconsideration. Judge Velasco opined that "the
requirement of the submission of judicial affidavits of witnesses, not later than 5 days before the pre-trial or preliminary
conference or the scheduled hearing, under Section 2 of the Judicial Affidavit Rule is not violative of Lagon's right to due
process. Dissatisfied with the ruling, Lagon sought direct recourse to this Court by filing the instant Petition for Certiorari
under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court.

ISSUE: Whether or not Section 2 of the Judicial Affidavit Rule, which requires a defendant to adduce his testimony and
that of his witnesses by judicial affidavits, and submit his documentary evidence before the pre-trial or preliminary
conference, offends his right to due process of law

HELD: The Petition for Certiorari was dismissed.

The parties are required to file the Judicial Affidavits of their witnesses, in lieu of their direct testimonies. Specifically,
Section 2 of the Judicial Affidavit Rule ordains that:

Section 2. Submission of Judicial Affidavits and Exhibits in lieu of direct testimonies. - (a) The parties shall file with the
court and serve on the adverse party, personally or by licensed courier service, not later than five days before pre-trial or
preliminary conference or the scheduled hearing with respect to motions and incidents, the following:

The judicial affidavits of their witnesses, which shall take the place of such witnesses' direct testimonies; and

The parties' documentary or object evidence, if any, which shall be attached to the judicial affidavits and marked as
Exhibits A, B, C, and so on in the case of the complainant or the plaintiff, and as Exhibits 1, 2, 3, and so on in the case of
the respondent or the defendant.

(b) Should a party or a witness desire to keep the original document or object evidence in his possession, he may, after
the same has been identified, marked as exhibit, and authenticated, warrant in his judicial affidavit that the copy or
reproduction attached to such affidavit is a faithful copy or reproduction of that original. In addition, the party or witness
shall bring the original document or object evidence for comparison during the preliminary conference with the attached
copy, reproduction, or pictures, failing which the latter shall not be admitted.

This is without prejudice to the introduction of secondary evidence in place of the original when allowed by existing
rules.

Incidentally, the failure to comply with Section 2 of the Judicial Affidavit Rule shall result to a waiver of the submission
of the required judicial affidavits and exhibits. However, the court may, upon valid cause shown, allow the late
submission of the judicial affidavit, subject to specific penalties, constituting a fine of not less than One Thousand Pesos
(Php 1,000.00), nor more than Five Thousand Pesos (Php 5,000.00), at the discretion of the court.

Despite the noble purpose of the Judicial Affidavit Rule, Lagon comes to this Court bewailing the same procedural
regulation as violative of his right to due process of law, in that it "forces" him to present evidence even before the
plaintiff has rested his case, apparently in violation of the rule on demurrer to evidence.

Juxtaposing the Judicial Affidavit Rule with that of the rule on demurrer to evidence, it becomes all too apparent that
there exists no conflict between them. Similar to the judicial affidavit, a demurrer to evidence likewise abbreviates
judicial proceedings, and serves as an instrument for the expeditious termination of an action. It is as "an objection or
exception by one of the parties in an action at law, to the effect that the evidence which his adversary produced is
insufficient in point of law (whether true or not) to make out his case or sustain the issue." All that it grants is an option
to a defendant, to seek the dismissal of the case, should he believe that the plaintiff failed to establish his right to relief.
The demurrer challenges the sufficiency of the plaintiffs evidence to sustain a verdict. Thus, in passing upon the
sufficiency of the evidence raised in a demurrer, the court is merely required to ascertain whether there is competent or
sufficient proof to sustain the plaintiff's complaint.

Clearly, both the Judicial Affidavit Rule and Demurrer to Evidence can co-exist harmoniously as tools for a more
efficient and speedy administration of trial procedures. On the one hand, the Judicial Affidavit Rule simply dispenses
with the direct testimony, thereby reducing the time at which a case stands for trial, in the same way that the Demurrer to
Evidence abbreviates proceedings by allowing the defendant to seek for an early resolution of the case should the
plaintiff be unable to sufficiently prove his complaint. These rules do not conflict, and when used hand in hand will lead
to an efficient administration of the trial.

Moreover, by no stretch of the imagination may it be concluded that Lagon was deprived of due process of law. There is
nothing in the provisions of the Judicial Affidavit Rule, which prohibits a defendant from fililng a demurrer to evidence,
if he truly believes that the evidence adduced by the plaintiff is insufficient. Besides, in the resolution of the demurrer to
evidence, only the evidence presented by the plaintiff shall be considered and weighed by the Court.

Furthermore, the fact that the defendant is mandated to submit his judicial affidavit prior to the trial and before the
plaintiff has rested his case is not a cumbersome requirement or a circumvention of due process. On the contrary, this is
necessary for the orderly administration of the proceeding before the courts. It must be remembered that in as early as the
pre-trial conference, the defendant is already required to submit a pre-trial brief, where he is then tasked to state the
number and names of his witnesses, as well as the substance of their testimonies; the issues to be tried and resolved; and
the documents or exhibits to be presented and the purpose thereof. Thus, the defendant is already required in this early
stage of the proceedings to formulate his defense and plan his strategy to counter the plaintiffs complaint. There is
nothing too tedious or burdensome in requiring the submission of the judicial affidavit. In fact, this would even help the
defendant in preparing his opposing arguments against the plaintiff.

All told, the Court has always emphasized that "procedural rules should be treated with utmost respect and due regard,
since they are designed to facilitate the adjudication of cases to remedy the worsening problem of delay in the resolution
of rival claims and in the administration of justice."

#38. REP V. TIPAY (FEBRUARY 14, 2018)

[G.R. No. 209527. February 14, 2018.]


THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. VIRGIE (VIRGEL) L. TIPAY, respondent.

FACTS: In a petition, Virgel sought the correction of several entries in his birth certificate. Attached to the petition are 2
copies of his birth certificate, respectively issued by the Municipal Civil Registrar of Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental
and the NSO. Both copies reflect his gender as “FEMALE” and his first name as “Virgie”. It further appears that the
month and day of birth in the local civil registrar’s copy was black, while the NSO-issued birth certificate indicates that
he was born on May 12, 1976. Virgel alleged that these entries are erroneous, and sought the correction of his birth
certificate as follows: (a) his gender, from “FEMALE” to “MALE”; (b) his first name, from “VIRGIE” TO “VIRGEL”;
and (c) his month and date of birth to “FEBRUARY 25, 1976.”

There was no opposition to the petition. Soon after, the RTC rendered its Decision granting Virgel’s petition.

From this decision, the Republic filed a Notice of Appeal, which was given due course by the trial court. The Republic,
through the OSG, argued that the change of Virgel’s name from Virgie should have been made through a proceeding
under Rule 103, and not Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. This argument was premised on the assumption that the
summary procedure under Rule 108 is confined to the correction of clerical or innocuous errors, which excludes one’s
name or date of birth. Since the petition lodged with the RTC was not filed pursuant to Rule 103 of the Rules of Court,
the republic asserted that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the case.

The CA thereafter denied the Republic’s appeal and upheld the trial court’s decision. In its assailed Decision, the CA
ruled in favor of Virgel, stating that while the correction of the entry on his gender is considered a substantial change, it
is nonetheless within the jurisdiction of the trial court under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.

ISSUE: Whether or not Rule 108 of the Rules of Court govern the procedure for the correction of substantial changes in
the civil registry.

HELD: Yes. It is true that initially, the changes that may be corrected under the summary procedure of Rule 108 of the
Rules of Court are clerical or harmless errors. Errors that affect the civil status, citizenship or nationality of a person, are
considered substantial errors that were beyond the purview of the rule.

Jurisprudence on this matter late developed, giving room for the correction of substantial errors. The Court ultimately
recognized that substantial or controversial alterations in the civil registry are allowed in an action filed under Rule 108
of the Rules of Court, as long as the issues are properly threshed out in an appropriate adversarial proceeding –
effectively limiting the application of the summary procedure to the correction of clerical or innocuous errors.

Evidently, the Republic incorrectly argued that the petition for correction under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is limited
to changes in entries containing harmless and innocuous errors. Most importantly, with the enactment of RA No. 9048 in
2001, the local civil registrars, or the Consul General as the case may be, are now authorized to correct clerical or
typographical errors in the civil registry, or make changes in the first name or nickname, without need of a judicial order.
This law provided an administrative recourse for the correction of clerical or typographical errors, essentially leaving the
substantial corrections in the civil registry to Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.

#39. FRIAS V. ALCAYDE (JULY 28, 2018)


BOBIE ROSE FRIAS vs. ROLANDO ALCAYDE

GR# 194262, Feb. 28, 2018

TIJAM, J.:

DOCTRINE: "Due process dictates that jurisdiction over the person of a defendant can only be acquired by the courts
after a strict compliance with the rules on the proper service of summons."

FACTS: On December 5, 2003, Bobie Frias (Petitioner), lessor and Rolando Alcayde (Respondent), lessee entered into a
contract of lease involving a residential house and lot in Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City for a period of 1 year
with a monthly rental of P30,000. Alcayde refused to perform his contractual obligations. This prompted Frias to file a
complaint for unlawful detainer with the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC). The process server tried to personally serve
the summons to Alcayde but to no avail. Through substituted service, summons was served upon Alcayde’s caretaker.

On July 26, 2006, the MeTC rendered a Decision in favor of Frias and ordered Alcayde to vacate the
premises and pay Frias the accrued rentals (P30,000) at 12% legal interest plus P10,000 in attorney’s fees.

On July 25, 2007, Alcayde filed a petition for Annulment of Judgment with a Prayer for Issuance of TRO
and/or Injuction, with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) averred that the decision of the MeTC does not bind him since the
court did not acquire jurisdiction over his person

A copy of the petition for annulment of judgment was allegedly served to Frias. Based on the Officer’s
Return, Sheriff cause the “service of a Notice of Raffle and Summons together with a copy of the complaints and its
annexes to Frias through Sally Gonzales, the Secretary of Frias’ legal counsel, Atty. Daniel Frias.

On September 25, 2007, Alcayde filed an Ex-Parte Motion, to declare Frias in default on the ground that
despite her receipt of the summons, no pleading was filed.

On October 3, 2007, Frias filed a Special Appearance/Submission (Jursdictional Infirmity Raised) alleging
among others that Alcayde’s Motion to Revive Relief re: Issuance of a TRO merits neither judicial cognizance nor
consideration.

On December 3, 2007, the RTC issued an Order granting Alcayde’s prayer for the issuance of a writ of
preliminary injunction to enjoin the MeTC’s decision. The RTC ruled that summons and copies of the petition and its
attachments were not duly served upon Frias, either personally or through substituted service in accordance with the
Rules. There is no proof that Ms. Gonzales or Atty. Frias was authorized by Frias to receive summons on her befalf.

ISSUE:

1. Whether or not the RTC acquired jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner.

2. Whether or not special appearance to question the court’s jurisdiction is considered voluntary appearance.

3. Whether or not petition for annulment of judgment was the proper remedy.

HELD:

1. No, there was neither a valid service of summons in person nor a valid substituted service of summons over
the person of the petitioner. The preferred mode of service of summons is personal service. To warrant substitute service
of summons and copy of the complaint, the serving officer must first attempt to effect the same upon the defendant in
person. Only after the attempt at personal service has become impossible within a reasonable time may the officer resort
to substituted service. The requisites of substituted service are as follows:
Impossibility of Prompt Personal Service – The party relying on substituted service or the Sheriff must show that
defendant cannot be served promptly or there is impossibility of prompt service. For substituted service of summons to
be available, there must be several attempts by the Sheriff to personally serve the summons within a reasonable period of
1 month which eventually resulted in failure to prove impossibility of prompt service. Several attempts means at least 3
tries, preferably on at least 2 different dates and Sheriff must state why such efforts were unsuccessful;

Specific Details in the Return;

A Person of Suitable Age and Discretion – This means a person who has attained the age of full legal capacity (18 years
old) and is considered to have enough discernment to understand the importance of a summons. Discretion is the ability
to make decisions which represent a responsible choice and for which an understanding of what is lawful, right or wise
may presupposed;

A Competent Persona in Charge.

The Officers Return revealed that no diligent efforts were exerted and no positive step was taken to locate and serve the
summons personally on the petitioner. Petitioner was not present at her given address. Sheriff immediately resorted to
substituted service of summons by proceeding to the office of Atty. Frias, petitioners counsel. Sheriff failed to show that
she made several attempts to effect personal service fir at least 3 time on at least 2 different dates.

Without specifying the detail if the circumstance of the efforts exerted to serve to the summons, a general statement that
such efforts were made will not suffice for purposes of complying with the rules of substituted service.

3. No. A party who makes a special appearance to challenge, among others, the court’s jurisdiction over his
person cannot be considered to have submitted to its authority. Records show that the petitioner never received any copy
of the the respondent's petition to annul the final and executory judgment of the MeTC in the unlawful detainer case.
Petitioner never faltered in declaring that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over her person, due to invalid and
improper service of summons. When the petitioner filed those pleadings and motions, it was only in a "special" character,
conveying the fact that her appearance before the trial court was with a qualification, i.e., to defy the RTC's lack of
jurisdiction over her person. While it is true that an appearance in whatever form, without explicitly objecting to the
jurisdiction of the court over the person, is a submission to the jurisdiction of the court over the person, the appearance
must constitute a positive act on the part of the litigant manifesting an intention to submit to the court's jurisdiction. For
purposes of acquiring jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, the Rules require the service of summons and not of
any other court processes. The jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner was never vested with the RTC despite the
mere filing of the petition for annulment of judgment. The manner of substituted service by the process server was
apparently invalid and ineffective

3. No, Petition for annulment of judgment is an improper remedy. In this case, it is evident that respondent
failed to interpose an appeal rendering the same final and executor. It is doctrinal that when a decision has acquired
finality, the same becomes immutable and unalterable. By this principle of immutability of judgments, the RTC is now
precluded from further examining the MeTC Decision and to further dwell on petitioner's perceived errors.

#40. HONGKONG BANK V. HSBC (FEBRUARY 28, 2018)

HONGKONG BANK INDEPENDENT LABOR UNION v. HONGKONG


[ GR No. 218390, Feb 28, 2018 ]

The Case

For consideration is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court questioning the Decision and
Resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA), dated October 23, 2014 and May 21, 2015, respectively, in CA-G.R. SP No.
130798. The challenged rulings sustained the validity of the external credit check as a condition before respondent could
grant the application for salary loans of petitioner's members. This is notwithstanding the non-mention of the said
condition in the parties' Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

FACTS: In 2001, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) issued the Manual of Regulations for Banks (MoRB).
Respondent Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC), on March 12, 2003, submitted its Financial
Assistance Plan to the BSP for approval. The Plan allegedly contained a credit-checking proviso stating, "repayment
defaults on existing loans and adverse information on outside loans will be considered in the evaluation of loan
applications." The BSP approved the Plan on May 5, 2003. Said Plan was later amended thrice, all of which amendments
were approved by the BSP.

Meanwhile, petitioner Hong Kong Bank Independent Labor Union (HBILU), the incumbent bargaining agent of HSBC's
rank-and-file employees, entered into a CBA with the bank covering the period from April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2012.
And when the CBA was about to expire, the parties started negotiations for a new one to cover the period from April 1,
2012 to March 31, 2017. During the said negotiations, HSBC proposed amendments to the Article XI of the CBA;
allegedly to align the wordings of the CBA with its BSP- approved Plan. Particularly, HSBC proposed the deletion of
Article XI, Section 4 (Credit Ratio) of the CBA, and the amendment of Sections 1 to 3 of the same Article. HBILU
vigorously objected to the proposed amendments, claiming that their insertions would curtail its members' availment of
salary loans. This, according to the Union, violates the existing exceptions set forth in BSP Circular 423, Series of 2004,
and Section X338.3 of the MoRB. In view of HBILU's objection, HSBC withdrew its proposed amendments and,
consequently, Article XI remained unchanged. Despite the withdrawal of the proposal, HSBC sent an e-mail to its
employees on April 20, 2012 concerning the enforcement of the Plan, including the Credit Checking provisions thereof.

Thereafter, in September 2012, HBILU member Vince Mananghaya applied for a loan under the provisions of Article XI
of the CBA. His first loan application in March 2012 was approved, but adverse findings from the external checks on his
credit background resulted in the denial of his September application. HBILU then raised the denial as a grievance issue
with the National Conciliation Mediation Board (NCMB). It argued that the imposition of an additional requirement—the
external credit checking prior to approval of any loan application under Article XI of the CBA—is not sanctioned under
the CBA. The Union emphasized that under the terms of Article XI, there is no such requirement and that it cannot,
therefore, be unilaterally imposed by HSBC.

Justifying its denial of the loan application, HSBC countered that the external credit check conducted in line with
Mananghaya's loan application was merely an implementation of the BSP-approved Plan. The adoption of the Plan,
HSBC stressed, is a condition sine qua non for any loan grant under Section X338 of the MoRB. Moreover, the Credit
Check policy has been in place since 2003, and is a sound practice in the banking industry to protect the interests of the
public and preserve confidence in banks.

NCMB-PVA Decision
On May 17, 2013, the Panel held that herein respondent, as an employer, has the right to issue and implement guidelines
for the availment of loan accommodations under the CBA as part of its management prerogative. The repeated use of the
term "qualified employees" in Article XI of the CBA was deemed indicative of room for the adoption of further
guidelines in the availment of the benefits thereunder. The Panel also agreed that HSBC's Plan is not a new policy as it
has already been approved by the BSP as early as 2003. Thus, the Panel ruled that the salary loan provisions under
Article XI of the CBA must be read in conjunction with the provisions of the Plan.

HSBC's adoption of the Plan was not done for any whimsical or arbitrary reason, but because the bank was constrained
to comply with Section X338 of the MoRB. As a banking institution, HSBC cannot divorce itself from the regulatory
powers of the BSP. Observance of Section X338 of the MoRB was then necessary before the bank could have been
allowed to extend loan accommodations to its officers and employees.

CA Decision

The CA sustained the findings and conclusions of the NCMB-PVA in TOTO on the ratiocination that HSBC was merely
complying with Section X338 of the MoRB when it submitted the Plan to BSP. When BSP, in turn, approved the said
Plan, HSBC became legally bound to enforce its provisions, including the conduct of external credit checks on its loan
applicants. The appellate court further ruled that the Plan should be deemed incorporated in the CBA because it is a
regulatory requirement of BSP without which the salary loan provisions of the CBA are rendered inoperative.

Petitioner's motion for reconsideration having been denied by the CA thru its May 21, 2015 Resolution, HBILU now
seeks recourse from this Court.

ISSUES: Whether or not the Hon. Panel of Voluntary Arbitrators and the Hon. Court of Appeals decisions and
resolutions are tainted with grave abuse of discretion and it showed patent errors in the appreciation of facts, which led to
wrong conclusions of law.

HELD: The petition is meritorious. Hon. Panel of Voluntary Arbitrators and the Hon. Court of Appeals err on their
decisions and the resolutions are tainted with grave abuse of discretion and it showed patent errors in the appreciation of
facts, which led to wrong conclusions of law. A collective bargaining agreement or CBA is the negotiated contract
between a legitimate labor organization and the employer concerning wages, hours of work and all other terms and
conditions of employment in a bargaining unit. As in all contracts, the parties in a CBA may establish such stipulations,
clauses, terms and conditions as they may deem convenient provided these are not contrary to law, morals, good customs,
public order or public policy. Thus, where the CBA is clear and unambiguous, it becomes the law between the parties
and compliance therewith is mandated by the express policy of the law.

In the present controversy, it is clear from the arguments and evidence submitted that the Plan was never made part of
the CBA. As a matter of fact, HBILU vehemently rejected the Plan's incorporation into the agreement. Due to this lack of
consensus, the bank withdrew its proposal and agreed to the retention of the original provisions of the CBA. The
subsequent implementation of the Plan's external credit check provisions in relation to employee loan applications under
Article XI of the CBA was then an imposition solely by HSBC. In this respect, this Court is of the view that tolerating
HSBC's conduct would be tantamount to allowing a blatant circumvention of Article 253 of the Labor Code. It would
contravene the express prohibition against the unilateral modification of a CBA during its subsistence and even thereafter
until a new agreement is reached. It would unduly license HSBC to add, modify, and ultimately further restrict the grant
of Salary Loans beyond the terms of the CBA by simply adding stringent requirements in its Plan, and having the said
Plan approved by BSP in the guise of compliance with the MoRB.
#41. INTRAMUROS ADM. V. OFFSHORE CONSTRUCTION DEV’T COMPANY (MARCH 7, 2018)

G.R. NO. 196795; MARCH 07, 2018

INTRAMUROS ADMINISTRATION V. OFFSHORE CONSTRUCTION DEVELOPMENT COMPANY

LEONEN, J.

DOCTRINE: When litis pendentia or res judicata does not exist, neither can forum shopping exist.

FACTS: Intramuros leased certain real properties of the national government, which it administered to Offshore
Construction. Three (3) properties were subjects of Contracts of Lease and were leased for five (5) years. All their lease
contracts also made reference to an August 20, 1998 memorandum of stipulations, which included a provision for lease
renewals every five (5) years upon the parties' mutual agreement. Offshore Construction occupied and introduced
improvements in the leased premises. However, Intramuros and the Department of Tourism halted the projects due to
Offshore Construction's non-conformity with Presidential Decree No. 1616, which required 16th to 19th centuries'
Philippine-Spanish architecture in the area. Consequently, Offshore Construction filed a complaint with prayer for
preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order against Intramuros and the Department of Tourism before the
Manila RTC.

Eventually, the parties executed a Compromise Agreement where they affirmed the validity of the two (2) lease contracts
but terminated the one (over Revellin de Recoletos). The Compromise Agreement retained the five (5)-year period of the
existing lease contracts and stated only certain areas that may be occupied by Offshore Construction. During the lease
period, Offshore Construction failed to pay its obligation despite several demand letters. Intramuros tolerated the
continuing occupation, hoping that Offshore Construction would pay its arrears. As of July 31, 2004, these arrears
allegedly totaled P6,762,153.70.

To settle its arrears, Offshore Construction proposed to pay the Department of Tourism's monthly operational expenses
for lights and sound equipment, electricity, and performers at the Baluarte Plano Luneta de Sta. Isabel. Intramuros and
the Department of Tourism accepted the offer, and the parties executed a Memorandum of Agreement covering the
period of August 15, 2004 to August 25, 2005. However, Offshore Construction continued to fail to pay its arrears.

Intramuros filed a Complaint for Ejectment. The MTC granted Offshore’s motion and dismissed the case on the ground
of forum shopping. First, it pointed out that there were two (2) pending cases at the time Intramuros filed its complaint:
one for specific performance filed by Offshore Construction against Intramuros, and another for interpleader against
Offshore Construction and Intramuros filed by 4H Intramuros, Inc. The Metropolitan Trial Court found that the
complaint was similar with those in the specific performance and interpleader cases. It also found that the specific
performance case was anchored on Offshore Construction's rights under the Compromise Agreement.

Intramuros appealed with the Regional Trial Court, which affirmed the Municipal Trial Court in toto. Thus, Intramuros
filed its Petition for Review on Certiorari, assailing the decision of the Regional Trial Court, arguing that the issue in the
specific performance case was whether or not Intramuros should offset the rentals in arrears from Offshore Construction's
expenses in continuing the WOW Philippines Project; meanwhile, the issue in the interpleader case was to determine
which between Intramuros and Offshore Construction was the rightful lessor of Puerta de Isabel II.
ISSUES:

1. Whether or not Intramuros Administration committed forum shopping when it filed its ejectment complaint despite the
pending cases for specific performance and interpleader.

2. Whether or not the Interpleader suit can be res judicata on the ejectment suit.

HELD:

1. No. In its October 19, 2010 Order, the Metropolitan Trial Court found that petitioner committed forum shopping when
it failed to disclose that there were two (2) pending cases in other trial courts concerning the same parties and similar
causes of action. These two (2) cases were Civil Case No. 08- 119138 for specific performance filed by respondent
against petitioner; and SP CA Case No. 10-123257 for interpleader filed by 4H Intramuros. Both cases were pending
with the Manila Regional Trial Court. The Metropolitan Trial Court found that if it decides petitioner's Complaint for
Ejectment, its ruling would conflict with any resolution in the specific performance and interpleader cases, since the
same contracts were involved in all three (3) cases. It found that the parties were the same and the reliefs prayed for were
the same.

Forum shopping is the practice of resorting to multiple fora for the same relief, to increase the chances of obtaining a
favorable judgment. In Spouses Reyes v. Spouses Chung:

It has been jurisprudentially established that forum shopping exists when a party avails himself of several judicial
remedies in different courts, simultaneously or successively, all substantially founded on the same transactions and the
same essential facts and circumstances, and all raising substantially the same issues either pending in or already resolved
adversely by some other courts.

The test to determine whether a party violated the rule against forum shopping is whether the elements of litis pendentia
are present, or whether a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in another. Simply put, when litis
pendentia or res judicata does not exist, neither can forum shopping exist.

The requisites of litis pendentia are: (a) the identity of parties, or at least such as representing the same interests in both
actions; (b) the identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and (c) the
identity of the two cases such that judgment in one, regardless of which party is successful, would amount to res judicata
in the other. On the other hand, the elements of res judicata, also known as bar by prior judgment, are: (a) the former
judgment must be final; (b) the court which rendered it had jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (c) it must
be a judgment on the merits; and (d) there must be, between the first and second actions, identity of parties, subject
matter, and causes of action.

As observed by the Metropolitan Trial Court, there is an identity of parties in the specific performance and interpleader
cases, and the Complaint for Ejectment. However, there is no identity of asserted rights or reliefs prayed for, and a
judgment in any of the three (3) cases will not amount to res judicata in the two others. A final judgment in the specific
performance case will not affect the outcome of the ejectment case. As pointed out by petitioner, respondent's right to
possess the leased premises is founded initially on the Contracts of Lease and, upon their expiration, on petitioner's
tolerance in hopes of payment of outstanding arrears. The July 27, 2004 Memorandum of Agreement subject of the
specific performance case cannot be the source of respondent's continuing right of possession, as it expressly stated there
that the offsetting was only for respondent's outstanding arrears as of July 31, 2004. Any favorable judgment compelling
petitioner to comply with its obligation under this agreement will not give new life to the expired Contracts of Lease,
such as would repel petitioner's unlawful detainer complaint.
2. No. A judgment in the Complaint for Interpleader will likewise not be res judicata against the ejectment complaint.
The plaintiff in the interpleader case, 4H Intramuros, allegedly representing the tenants occupying Puerta de Isabel II,
does not expressly disclose in its Complaint for Interpleader the source of its right to occupy those premises. However, it
can be determined from petitioner's Answer and from respondent's Memorandum that the members of 4H Intramuros are
respondent's sublessees. A sublessee cannot invoke a superior right over that of the sublessor. A judgment of eviction
against respondent will affect its sublessees since the latter's right of possession depends entirely on that of the former. A
complaint for interpleader by sublessees cannot bar the recovery by the rightful possessor of physical possession of the
leased premises. Since neither the specific performance case nor the interpleader case constituted forum shopping by
petitioner, the Metropolitan Trial Court erred in dismissing its Complaint for Ejectmemt.

#42. SPS DAVIS V. DAVIS (MARCH 7, 2018)

SPOUSES LARRY AND FLORA DAVIS vs. SPOUSES FLORENCIO AND LUCRESIA DAVIS, Respondents.

VELASCO JR., J.:

FACTS: On January 29, 1991, the petitioners, as vendees, and the herein respondents Spouses Florencio and Lucresia
Davis, as vendors, entered into a Contract to Sell over a 500-square meter lot in Banga, Meycauayan, Bulacan, covered
by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-226201 (M) (subject property) for a consideration of P500,000. As agreed
upon, the petitioners gave the respondents the sum of P200,000 as downpayment while the remaining balance of
P300,000 was made payable in 12 equal monthly installments. The respondents agreed to execute the corresponding
Deed of Absolute Sale upon full payment of the purchase price. After full payment thereof and despite repeated demands,
however, the respondents failed and refused to execute the Deed of Absolute Sale to the petitioners. This prompted the
latter to initiate a Complaint for Specific Performance and Damages (with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and
temporary restraining order) against the former before the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan. A notice of lis
pendens was then annotated at the back of TCT No. T-226201 (M). In their Answer, the respondents admitted receipt of
the P200,000 downpayment but denied receipt of the balance of P300,000. They also insisted that the petitioners have no
cause of action against them.

The RTC Malolos (Br. 78) ruled in favor of the petitioners. The dispositive portion reads:

this Court resolves the instant case in favor of plaintiffs Larry and Flora Davis and against defendants Florencio and
Lucresia Davis ordering the aforesaid defendants to:

1. Execute the Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of herein plaintiffs covering the 500-square meter land covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-226201, and cause the necessary registration thereof to the Register of Deeds of
Meycauayan;

2. Pay, jointly and severally, the plaintiffs the following amounts, to wit:

a. P50,000.00 as moral damages;

b. P30,000.00 as exemplary damages; and

c. P40,000.00 as attorney's fees and litigation expenses;

3. Pay, jointly and severally, the costs of suit.

On appeal, the CA affirmed in toto the aforesaid ruling in its Decision dated August 31, 2004, which became final and
executory on October 2, 2004.7

Accordingly, on May 11, 2005, the petitioners moved for the execution of the decision of the RTC Malolos (Br. 78),
which was granted. A writ of execution was subsequently issued. Unfortunately, this writ was not implemented primarily
because the respondents already sold the subject property to Carmina Erana, Spouses Hector and Maria Victoria Erana,
Efren Erana, and Spouses Ma. Lourdes and Romie Aquino, who were issued new TCT No. 421671 (M). But the notice of
lis pendens was still carried over to the new title. The petitioners moved for the cancellation of TCT No. 421671 (M) and
for the Register of Deeds of Bulacan to issue a new certificate of title in their favor but this was denied on the ground that
the new registered owners of the subject property were not privies to the case.

The petitioners were, thus, compelled to file an action for annulment of title and document against the new registered
owners of the subject property before Br. 15, RTC Malolos,. the RTC Malolos (Br. 15) ruled in favor of the petitioners
and declared TCT No. 421671 (M) as null and void and restored TCT No. T-226201 (M). This Decision became final
and executory on July 23, 2012; thus, the petitioners moved for its execution, which was granted. TCT No. 421671 (M)
in the names of Carmina Erana, Spouses Hector and Maria Victoria Erana, Efren Erana, and Spouses Ma. Lourdes and
Romie Aquino was cancelled and TCT No. T-226201 (M) in the names of the respondents was restored.

With this in view, the petitioners filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation and Motion on July 13, 2016 for the
implementation of the decision of the RTC Malolos (Br. 78) by issuing a writ of execution to direct the respondents to
execute a Deed of Absolute Sale in their favor, or in the absence of the former, to appoint the clerk of court to execute the
same pursuant to Section 10 (a), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. In their Comment, the respondents opposed arguing that
the said Decision cannot be enforced by a mere motion or by an action for revival of judgment since 10 years had already
lapsed from the time it became final. In their Reply, the petitioners insisted that the period within which to move for the
execution of the aforesaid Decision was deemed suspended with their filing of an action for annulment of title and
document involving the subject property before the RTC Malolos (Br. 15) to enable a complete and effective relief in
their favor.

The RTC Malolos (Br. 78) denied the petitioners' Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation and Motion explaining that the
consequent filing of annulment of title involving the subject property before Br. 15 does not toll the running of the period.
The writ of execution dated June 17, 2005 was not served on the respondents; thus, the February 13, 1998 Decision of Br.
78 remained unimplemented/unexecuted. This is the reason why there is a need for its revival unless barred by the statute
of limitations.17

On certiorari to the CA, the latter, in its first assailed Resolution dated May 22, 2017, dismissed the petition outright as it
suffered from serious infirmities, to wit: (1) petitioners failed to file a Motion for Reconsideration of the RTC Order
dated February 7, 2017 pursuant to Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court; and (2) except for RTC Order dated
February 7, 2017, only photocopies of the pertinent pleadings and documents accompanied the petition, as required by
the aforesaid rule. The CA held that a Motion for Reconsideration is a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy available to
the petitioners to assail the said Order and it is a condition sine qua non before a Petition for Certiorari may be given due
course. The subsequent motion for reconsideration thereof was denied for lack of merit in the second assailed Resolution
dated August 10, 2017.

Aggrieved by the aforesaid rulings of the CA, the petitioners filed the present Petition for Review on Certiorari with this
Court,

ISSUE: Whether or not the appellate court committed a grave and reversible error in dismissing their Petition for
Certiorari notwithstanding that the presiding judge of the RTC Malolos (Br. 78) was guilty of grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing its Order dated February 7, 2017?

HELD: There is merit in the instant petition.

Before delving into the merits of the case, it is imperative to first resolve a procedural issue.

While it is true that a motion for reconsideration is a condition sine qua non for the filing of a Petition for Certiorari, the
purpose of which is to grant an opportunity for the court to correct any actual or perceived error attributed to it by
re-examination of the legal and factual circumstances of the case, it is not, however, an ironclad rule as it admits
well-defined exceptions. One of these exceptions is where the questions raised in the certiorari proceeding have been
duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the same as those raised and passed upon in the lower court.20
This exception is applicable in the instant case.
To note, in the petitioners' Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation and Motion for the implementation of the February 13, 1998
Decision of the RTC Malolos (Br. 78), as well as in their Reply, they vehemently insisted that the period within which to
file a motion for execution of the said Decision was deemed suspended with their filing of an action for annulment of
title and document involving the subject property before Br. 15 to enable a complete and effective relief in their favor.
But Br. 78 denied the said Urgent Ex¬-Parte Manifestation and Motion reasoning that the petitioners' filing of another
case involving the subject property before Br. 15 does not toll the running of the period to file a motion for execution. It
is clear therefrom that any motion for reconsideration would then be superfluous, as Br. 78 had already passed upon and
resolved the very same issue raised in the Petition for Certiorari before the CA. It is, therefore, a reversible error on the
part of the CA to outrightly dismiss the petitioners' petition based on that procedural ground.

Turning now to the merits of the present petition, this Court rules for the petitioners.

Under Section 6, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, a "judgment may be executed within five (5) years from the date of its
entry or from the date it becomes final and executory. After the lapse of such time, and before it is barred by the statute
of limitations, a judgment may be enforced by action." Nonetheless, this Court held that there had been many instances
where it allowed execution by motion even after the lapse of five years, upon meritorious grounds. These exceptions
have one common denominator, and that is: the delay is caused or occasioned by actions of the judgment debtor and/or is
incurred for his benefit or advantage

Here, the decision sought to be enforced became final and executory on October 2, 2004. Upon the petitioners' motion, a
writ of execution was issued in 2005, which was well within the said five-year period. The writ, however, was repeatedly
returned unserved and unimplemented. The petitioners later discovered the reason therefor. The respondents had sold the
subject property to other parties. Worse, a new title has already been issued to the latter. As such, the petitioners were
compelled to file an action for annulment of title and document against these new registered owners. Fortunately, the
court ruled in petitioners' favor, which ruling became final and executory on July 23, 2012. Petitioners consequently
moved for its execution resulting in the cancellation of the title in the names of the new registered owners and the
restoration of the title in the names of the respondents. Chronologically speaking, the motion for execution filed on July
13, 2016 was almost 12 years after the decision became final and executory. Petitioners, however, maintain that the
period during which it was compelled to file another action involving the subject property just to enable a complete and
effective relief in their favor should not be taken into account in the computation of the five-year period.

This Court sustains the petitioners' position. Considering that the delay was not due to the fault of the petitioners but of
the respondents, who deliberately sold the subject property to another to avoid the outcome of the case filed against them,
and which delay incurred to their benefit/advantage, it is only logical, just, and equitable that the period during which an
action for annulment of title and document was being litigated upon shall be deemed to have interrupted or tolled the
running of the five-year period for enforcement of a judgment by mere motion. Otherwise, the respondents were
rewarded for escaping the fulfilment of their obligation. Therefore, in computing the time limited for suing out an
execution, the time during which execution is stayed should be excluded, and the time will be extended by any delay
occasioned by the debtor. It bears stressing that the purpose of the law in prescribing time limitations for enforcing
judgments or actions is to prevent obligors from sleeping on their rights. Moreover, the statute of limitations has not been
devised against those who wish to act but cannot do so for causes beyond their control. In the case under consideration,
there has been no indication that the petitioners had ever slept on their rights to have the judgment executed by mere
motions within the reglementary period.

With the foregoing, this Court holds that the CA, indeed, committed a reversible error in dismissing outright the
petitioners' petition despite its being meritorious.

#43. ENCARNACION V. JOHNSON (JULY 11, 2018)

MATEO ENCARNACION (DECEASED), SUBSTITUTED BY HIS HEIRS, NAMELY: ELSA


DEPLIAN-ENCARNACION, KRIZZA MARIE D. ENCARNACION, LORETA ENCARNACION,
CARMELITA E. STADERMAN, CORAZON S. ENCARNACION, RIZALINA ENCARNACION-PARONG,
VICTORIA ENCARNACION-DULA, MARIA HELEN ENCARNACION-DAY, TERESITA
ENCARNACION-MANALANG, GEORGE ENCARNACION, MARY MITCHIE E. EDWARDSON, ERNESTO
ENCARNACION, MATEO ENCARNACION, JR., AND GRACE WAGNER, Petitioners, v. THOMAS
JOHNSON, Respondent.

Ponente: JARDELEZA, J.:

FACTS: On October 6, 2000, respondent filed an action for breach of contract with prayer for damages and costs against
spouses Narvin Edwarson (Narvin) and Mary Mitchie Edwarson (also known as Mary Encarnacion; hereinafter shall be
referred to as Mary), Mateo's daughter, before the Vancouver Registry of the Supreme Court of British Columbia,
Canada. Respondent alleged that Narvin and Mary convinced him to invest his money and personal property in a vehicle
leasing company owned by the couple, which turned out to be a fraudulent business scheme. The couple neither
deposited the promised profits into his account nor gave an accounting or explanation as to where his funds went.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia gave due course to respondent's action and ordered summons to be served upon
Narvin and Mary. While service of summons was being attempted, respondent moved that the Supreme Court of British
Columbia grant him a Mareva injunction, with ex juris affect, to restrain Narvin and Mary from dealing with any of their
assets except as is necessary for payment of ordinary living expenses or to carry on their ordinary business. The Supreme
Court of British Columbia issued a Mareva injunction7 and authorized respondent, among others, to obtain orders in
foreign jurisdictions which would permit its enforcement in those jurisdictions.

the Supreme Court of British Columbia issued a Default Judgment finding Narvin and Mary liable to respondent in the
amount of C$380,431.00 with interest in the amount of C$18,385.56, C$1,198.04 as cost, and for damages to be
determined It ordered Narvin and Mary to each pay respondent the sum of C$25,000.00 as aggravated damages.

The respondent filed an action for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgment with prayer for the recognition of the
Mareva injunction with Branch 72 of the RTC of Olongapo City, docketed as Civil Case No. 110-0-2003. Respondent
also simultaneously petitioned to be allowed to litigate as a pauper litigant before RTC of Olongapo City. Respondent
also simultaneously petitioned to be allowed to litigate as a pauper litigant. The RTC granted his petition on the condition
that a lien representing the amount of the filing fees, would be imposed upon him in the event of a favorable judgment.

the RTC issued an Order13 restraining Narvin and Mary from disposing or encumbering their assets. Thereafter, the RTC
ordered the service of summonses by publication upon Narvin and Mary.15 Despite publication, Narvin and Mary still
failed to file their answer. the RTC declared them in default, and subsequently rendered a judgment in default in
accordance with the judgment of the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

the RTC issued a Writ of Execution authorizing the sheriff to attach sufficient properties belonging to Narvin and Mary
to satisfy the judgment award. On August 3, 2004, the RTC, acting on respondent's motion to modify the Writ of
Execution (to include in the writ the properties under the name of Mateo whose title and tax declarations were previously
annotated), modified the Writ of Execution.18 It issued an Amended Writ of Execution on September 9, 2004
authorizing the sheriff to include the properties registered in the name of Mateo as subject of the execution.

Subsequently, 13 levied properties not covered by certificates of title were sold in public auction wherein respondent
placed the highest bid of P10,000,000.00.

Subsequently, Mateo filed an Affidavit of Third Party Claim dated January 17, 2005 before the RTC, which was noted on
January 20, 2005,24 claiming that he is the owner of 14 parcels of land which were being levied. The records, however,
are not clear as to what action was taken by the RTC on Mateo's third party claim.

Mateo filed a petition for annulment of judgment before the CA (CA-G.R. SP No. 100483). He alleged that he is the
owner of 18 properties levied in Civil Case No. 110-0-2003; that he was not made a party to the case; and that the
inclusion of his properties in the levy and execution sale were made without notice to him.28 Mateo, nonetheless,
admitted before the CA that he has no standing to question the proceedings on the action for recognition and enforcement
of judgment. He asserts that he is only questioning the February 17, 2005 Order which deprived him of his properties.29

On August 12, 2009, the CA denied the petition. It upheld the jurisdiction of the RTC over the action of recognition of
foreign judgment. By filing an Affidavit of Third Party Claim, Mateo was deemed to have voluntarily submitted himself
to the jurisdiction of the RTC. It also ruled that the remedy of annulment of judgment is not proper because the February
17, 2005 The CA also said that even if procedural rules were relaxed, the petition would still fail because it has already
been barred by estoppel and laches due to Mateo's delay in filing the petition despite numerous opportunities to do so.
Lastly, the CA pointed out that Mateo is not the proper party to file the petition, as he had already transferred the
properties to Mary by virtue of a deed of quitclaim on February 27, 1995. the CA denied petitioners' motion for
reconsideration. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE: Whether an action for annulment of judgment is the proper remedy of a third-party claimant of properties levied
and sold under execution sale?

HELD: We deny the petition.

An action for annulment of judgment is a remedy in law independent of the case where the judgment sought to be
annulled is rendered.The ultimate objective of the remedy is "to undo or set aside the judgment or final order, and thereby
grant to the petitioner an opportunity to prosecute his cause or to ventilate his defense.” The remedy is provided by
Section 1 of Rule 47 of the Rules of Court:

Sec. 1. Coverage. - This Rule shall govern the annulment by the Court of Appeals of judgments or final orders and
resolutions in civil actions of Regional Trial Courts for which the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for
relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the petitioner.

A petition for annulment of judgment is a remedy in equity so exceptional in nature that it may be availed of only when
other remedies are wanting, and only if the judgment, final order or final resolution sought to be annulled was rendered
by a court lacking jurisdiction or through extrinsic fraud. The Court has thus instituted safeguards by limiting the grounds
for the annulment to lack of jurisdiction and extrinsic fraud, and by prescribing in Section 1 of Rule 47 of the Rules of
Court that the petitioner should show that the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other
appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the petitioner. A petition for annulment that ignores or
disregards any of the safeguards cannot prosper.

there are requirements that must be complied with before the remedy is granted. First, the remedy is only available when
the petitioner can no longer resort to the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief, or other appropriate
remedies through no fault of the petitioner. Second, the ground for the remedy is limited to either extrinsic fraud or lack
of jurisdiction Third, the time for availing the remedy is set by the rules: if based on extrinsic fraud, it must be filed
within four years from the discovery of extrinsic fraud; if based on lack of jurisdiction, it must be brought before it is
barred by laches or estoppel. Fourth, the petition should be verified and should allege with particularity the facts and law
relied upon, and those supporting the petitioner's good and substantial cause of action or defense. In the case at bar,
petitioners failed to show their standing to file the petition.

The proper party to file a petition for annulment of judgment or final order need not be a party to the judgment sought to
be annulled. Nevertheless, it is essential that he is able to prove by preponderance of evidence that he is adversely
affected by the judgment. A person not adversely affected by a decision in the civil action or proceeding cannot bring an
action for annulment of judgment under Rule 47 of the Rules of Court. The exception is if he is a successor in interest by
title subsequent to the commencement of the action, or if the action or proceeding is in rem, in which case the judgment
is binding against him.

Considering the foregoing, Mateo is not a party who could be adversely affected by the outcome of Civil Case No.
110-0-2003. To begin with, he was not an indispensable party to the action for recognition whose interest in the
controversy is such that a final decree will necessarily affect his rights, as he was not the judgment debtor in the action.
Neither is Mateo a real party in Interest58 in Civil Case No. 110-0-2003, as aptly noted by the CA, having already
transferred his interest in the properties to Mary. Lastly, he is not a successor in interest of Narvin and Mary.

Any alleged irregular implementation of a writ of execution (or resulting levy) cannot be corrected through the equitable
relief of annulment of judgment; the remedy lies elsewhere. There are, however, other appropriate remedies available to
him that he could have resorted to.

Section 16, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides for the remedies of a third-party claimant of an alleged wrongfully
levied property: Based on this section, a third-party claimant has the following cumulative remedies: (a) he may avail of
"terceria" by serving on the levying officer making the levy an affidavit of his title, and serving also a copy to the
judgment creditor; (b) he may file a case for damages against the bond issued by the judgment debtor within 120 days
from the date of the filing of the bond; and (c) he may file "any proper action" to vindicate his claim to the property.

#44. IGNACIO V. REYES (JULY 12, 2017)

CASE TITLE: TERESA R. IGNACIO vs. RAMON REYES, FLORENCIO REYES, JR., ROSARIO R. DU and
CARMELITA R. PASTOR

G.R. No. 213192 July 12, 2017

PONENTE: Peralta, J.

FACTS: On July 11, 1967, Angel Reyes and Oliva R. Arevalo filed before the then CFI (intestate court) a Petition for
Letters of Administration of the Estate of their father Florencio Reyes, Sr. The intestate court appointed Oliva as the
special administratrix of the estate of Florencio Sr., and then as the regular administratrix. Florencio, Jr. replaced Oliva in
1982. Thereafter, Teresa became the administratrix of the Florencio Sr. estate in 1994.

Teresa executed a lease contract over a parcel of land located at Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City (Magsaysay property).
The intestate court approved the lease contract upon Teresa's motion. Likewise, the intestate court allowed Teresa to
enter into a lease contract over the parcel of land located at Session Road, Baguio City (Session Road property) and the
properties located at Loakan Road, Baguio City (Loakan and Military Cut-off properties).

On September 25, 2001, herein respondents filed before the RTC of Baguio, three complaints for partition, annulment of
lease contract, accounting and damages with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against Teresa
and the lessees of the subject Baguio properties. The plaintiffs alleged in their Complaints that, with the exception of the
lessees, the parties and the Florencio Sr. estate own one-tenth (1/10) of each of the subject properties. They claimed that
Teresa misrepresented that the Florencio Sr. estate is the sole owner of the properties and leased the same to the other
parties without their conformity. They averred that, as co-owners, they have not received their share in the monthly
rentals of the properties aforementioned due to Teresa's failure to duly account for the same.

The Baguio RTC manifested that it shall await a Request Order from the intestate court regarding the possible
distribution of the subject properties. Subsequently, respondents and the others filed a motion before the intestate court
praying for the issuance of an order allowing the distribution of the heirs' aliquot shares in the co-owned properties' net
income, and the partition of the said properties by the Baguio RTC. However, the intestate court denied the motion.

Thereafter, the respondents filed before the CA a petition for certiorari which granted the petition and annulled and set
aside the assailed Orders of the intestate court. Upon denial of her motion for reconsideration, Teresa filed before this
Court the instant petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petition for certiorari before the CA is proper

RULING: YES. As a rule, a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is valid only when the question
involved is an error of jurisdiction, or when there is grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
on the part of the court or tribunals exercising quasi-judicial functions. In this case, the propriety of the special civil
action for certiorari as a remedy depended on whether the assailed orders of the RTC were final or interlocutory in nature.
The assailed Orders denying respondents' motion to allow the distribution of the estate's and co-owners' shares in the
subject properties were interlocutory. This is because such denial was not a final determination of their alleged
co-ownership. In fact, the intestate court merely asserted its jurisdiction over the properties which were allegedly
co-owned with the Florencio Sr. estate. Jurisprudence teaches that jurisdiction of the trial court as an intestate court is
special and limited as it relates only to matters having to do with the probate of the will and/or settlement of the estate of
deceased persons, but does not extend to the determination of questions of ownership that arise during the proceedings.

We note that respondents presented certificates of title of the properties registered under their names and the Florencio Sr.
estate, and their respective shares. As such, they are considered the owners of the properties until their title is nullified or
modified in an appropriate ordinary action. The co-ownership of the said properties by virtue of the certificates of title is
a common issue in the complaints for partition filed before the Baguio RTC. Thus, the intestate court committed grave
abuse of discretion when it asserted jurisdiction over the subject properties since its jurisdiction relates only to matters
having to do with the settlement of the estate of deceased persons. Any decision that the intestate court would render on
the title of the properties would at best be merely provisional in character, and would yield to a final determination in a
separate action.

#45. ABELLA V. CABANERO (AUGUST 9, 2017)

GR No. 206647, Aug 09, 2017

RICHELLE P. ABELLA v. POLICARPIO CABAÑERO

Doctrine: Filiation must be established for a child to claim support from a putative father. When "filiation is beyond
question, support follows as [a] matter of obligation."[1] To establish filiation, an action for compulsory recognition may
be filed against the putative father ahead of an action for support. In the alternative, an action for support may be directly
filed, where the matter of filiation shall be integrated and resolved.

FACTS: A Complaint for Support was filed, petitioner Richelle alleged that she was repeatedly sexually abused by
respondent Cabañero inside his rest house at Barangay Masayo, Tobias Fornier, Antique. As a result, she allegedly gave
birth to a child on August 21, 2002.

Richelle prayed for the child's monthly allowance in the amount of P3,000.00.

Cabañero denied sexually abusing Richelle, or otherwise having any sexual relations with her. Thus, he asserted that he
could not have been the father of Richelle’s child.

Regional Trial Court dismissed Richelle's Complaint without prejudice, on account of her failure to implead her minor
child, Jhorylle, as plaintiff.

Court of Appeals sustained the dismissal of the Complaint.

However, the Court of Appeals disagreed with the Regional Trial Court's basis for dismissing the Complaint. The Court
of Appeals still ruled that the dismissal of the Complaint was proper as the filiation and paternity of the child had not
been previously established.

ISSUE: Whether the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that filiation proceedings should have first been separately
instituted to ascertain the minor child's paternity and that without these proceedings having first been resolved in favor of
the child's paternity claim, petitioner Richelle P. Abella's action for support could not prosper.

RULING:

SC reversed the CA decision and remanded the case to RTC


While it is true that the grant of support was contingent on ascertaining paternal relations between respondent and
petitioner's daughter, Jhorylle, it was unnecessary for petitioner's action for support to have been dismissed and
terminated by the Court of Appeals in the manner that it did. Instead of dismissing the case, the Court of Appeals should
have remanded the case to the Regional Trial Court. There, petitioner and her daughter should have been enabled to
present evidence to establish their cause of action—inclusive of their underlying claim of paternal relations—against
respondent.

Indeed, an integrated determination of filiation is "entirely appropriate" to the action for support filed by petitioner
Richelle for her child. An action for support may very well resolve that ineluctable issue of paternity if it involves the
same parties, is brought before a court with the proper jurisdiction, prays to impel recognition of paternal relations, and
invokes judicial intervention to do so. This does not run afoul of any rule. To the contrary, and consistent with Briz v.
Briz, this is in keeping with the rules on proper joinder of causes of action. This also serves the interest of judicial
economy—avoiding multiplicity of suits and cushioning litigants from the vexation and costs of a protracted pleading of
their cause.

Thus, it was improper to rule here, as the Court of Appeals did, that it was impossible to entertain petitioner's child's plea
for support without her and petitioner first surmounting the encumbrance of an entirely different judicial proceeding.
Without meaning to lend credence to the minutiae of petitioner's claims, it is quite apparent that the rigors of judicial
proceedings have been taxing enough for a mother and her daughter whose claim for support amounts to a modest
P3,000.00 every month. When petitioner initiated her action, her daughter was a toddler; she is, by now, well into her
adolescence. The primordial interest of justice and the basic dictum that procedural rules are to be "liberally construed in
order to promote their objective of securing a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and
proceeding"impel us to grant the present Petition.

#46. DOLINA V. VALLECERA (DECEMBER 15, 2010)

CHERRYL B. DOLINA v. GLENN D. VALLECERA

G.R. No. 182367, 15 DECEMBER 2010

ABAD, J.

FACTS: In February 2008 petitioner Cherryl B. Dolina filed a petition with prayer for the issuance of a temporary
protection order against respondent Glenn D. Vallecera before the RTC of Tacloban City for alleged woman and child
abuse under RA 9262. In filling out the blanks in the pro-forma complaint, Dolina added a handwritten prayer for
financial support from Vallecera for their supposed child. She based her prayer on the latter’s Certificate of Live Birth
which listed Vallecera as the child’s father. The petition also asked the RTC to order Philippine Airlines, Vallecera’s
employer, to withhold from his pay such amount of support as the RTC may deem appropriate.

Vallecera opposed the petition. He claimed that Dolina’s petition was essentially one for financial support rather than for
protection against woman and child abuses; that he was not the child’s father; that the signature appearing on the child’s
Certificate of Live Birth is not his; that the petition is a harassment suit intended to force him to acknowledge the child as
his and give it financial support; and that Vallecera has never lived nor has been living with Dolina, rendering
unnecessary the issuance of a protection order against him.

On March 13, 2008 the RTC dismissed the petition after hearing since no prior judgment exists establishing the filiation
of Dolina’s son and granting him the right to support as basis for an order to compel the giving of such support. Dolina
filed a motion for reconsideration but the RTC denied it in its April 4, 2008 Order, with an admonition that she first file a
petition for compulsory recognition of her child as a prerequisite for support. Unsatisfied, Dolina filed the present
petition for review directly with this Court.
ISSUE: Whether or not the RTC correctly dismissed Dolina’s action for temporary protection and denied her application
for temporary support for her child.

HELD: YES

RATIO DECIDENDI:

Dolina evidently filed the wrong action to obtain support for her child. The object of R.A. 9262 under which she filed the
case is the protection and safety of women and children who are victims of abuse or violence. Although the issuance of a
protection order against the respondent in the case can include the grant of legal support for the wife and the child, this
assumes that both are entitled to a protection order and to legal support.

To be entitled to legal support, petitioner must, in proper action, first establish the filiation of the child, if the same is not
admitted or acknowledged. Since Dolina’s demand for support for her son is based on her claim that he is Vallecera’s
illegitimate child, the latter is not entitled to such support if he had not acknowledged him, until Dolina shall have proved
his relation to him. The child’s remedy is to file through her mother a judicial action against Vallecera for compulsory
recognition. If filiation is beyond question, support follows as matter of obligation. In short, illegitimate children are
entitled to support and successional rights but their filiation must be duly proved.

Dolina’s remedy is to file for the benefit of her child an action against Vallecera for compulsory recognition in order to
establish filiation and then demand support. Alternatively, she may directly file an action for support, where the issue of
compulsory recognition may be integrated and resolved.

It must be observed, however, that the RTC should not have dismissed the entire case based solely on the lack of any
judicial declaration of filiation between Vallecera and Dolina’s child since the main issue remains to be the alleged
violence committed by Vallecera against Dolina and her child and whether they are entitled to protection. But of course,
this matter is already water under the bridge since Dolina failed to raise this error on review. This omission lends
credence to the conclusion of the RTC that the real purpose of the petition is to obtain support from Vallecera.

While the Court is mindful of the best interests of the child in cases involving paternity and filiation, it is just as aware of
the disturbance that unfounded paternity suits cause to the privacy and peace of the putative father’s legitimate family.
Vallecera disowns Dolina’s child and denies having a hand in the preparation and signing of its certificate of birth. This
issue has to be resolved in an appropriate case.

#47. AGUSTIN V. CA (JUNE 15, 2005)

[G.R. No. 162571. June 15, 2005]

ARNEL L. AGUSTIN, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS AND MINOR MARTIN JOSE
PROLLAMANTE, REPRESENTED BY HIS MOTHER/GUARDIAN FE ANGELA PROLLAMANTE,
respondents.

CORONA, J.:

FACTS: Respondents Fe Angela and her son Martin Prollamante sued Martin’s alleged biological father, petitioner
Arnel Agustin, for support and support pendente lite before the Quezon City RTC.

In their complaint, respondents alleged that Arnel courted Fe, after which they entered into an intimate relationship.
Arnel supposedly impregnated Fe on her 34th birthday but despite Arnel’s insistence on abortion, Fe decided to give
birth to their child out of wedlock, Martin. The baby’s birth certificate was purportedly signed by Arnel as the father.
Arnel shouldered the pre-natal and hospital expenses but later refused Fe’s repeated requests for Martin’s support despite
his adequate financial capacity and even suggested to have the child committed for adoption. Arnel also denied having
fathered the child.

On January 2001, while Fe was carrying five-month old Martin at the Capitol Hills Golf and Country Club parking lot,
Arnel sped off in his van, with the open car door hitting Fe’s leg. This incident was reported to the police. Several
months later, Fe was diagnosed with leukemia and has, since then, been undergoing chemotherapy. Fe and Martin then
sued Arnel for support.

Fe and Martin moved for the issuance of an order directing all the parties to submit themselves to DNA paternity testing,
which Arnel opposed by invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination and moving to dismiss the complaint
for lack of cause of action.

The trial court denied the MTD and ordered the parties to submit themselves to DNA paternity testing at the expense of
the applicants. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, thus this petition.

ISSUE: W/N the respondent court erred in denying the petitioner’s MTD

W/N the court erred in directing parties to subject to DNA paternity testing and was a form of unreasonable search

HELD:

1. No. The trial court properly denied the petitioner’s motion to dismiss because the private respondents’ complaint on
its face showed that they had a cause of action against the petitioner. The elements of a cause of action are: (1) the
plaintiff’s primary right and the defendant’s corresponding primary duty, and (2) the delict or wrongful act or omission
of the defendant, by which the primary right and duty have been violated. The cause of action is determined not by the
prayer of the complaint but by the facts alleged.

2. No. In Ople v. Torres,the Supreme Court struck down the proposed national computerized identification system
embodied in Administrative Order No. 308, we said:

In no uncertain terms, we also underscore that the right to privacy does not bar all incursions into individual privacy. The
right is not intended to stifle scientific and technological advancements that enhance public service and the common
good... Intrusions into the right must be accompanied by proper safeguards that enhance public service and the common
good.

Historically, it has mostly been in the areas of legality of searches and seizures, and the infringement of privacy of
communication where the constitutional right to privacy has been critically at issue. Petitioner’s case involves neither and,
as already stated, his argument that his right against self-incrimination is in jeopardy holds no water.

#48. TAYAG V. TAYAG (MARCH 24, 2008)

TAYAG V. TAYAG-GALLOR

G.R. NO. 174680, [MARCH 24, 2008]

FACTS: Felicidad A. Tayag-Gallor (respondent) filed a petition for the issuance of letters of administration over the
estate of Ismael Tayag. Respondent alleged that she is one of the three (3) illegitimate children of the late Ismael Tayag
and Ester C. Angeles. The decedent was married to petitioner herein, Victoria C. Tayag, but the two allegedly did not
have any children of their own. Ismael Tayag died intestate, leaving behind two (2) real properties both of which are in
the possession of petitioner, and a motor vehicle which the latter sold preparatory to the settlement of the decedent's
estate. Petitioner allegedly promised to give respondent and her brothers P100,000.00 each as their share in the proceeds
of the sale.

Respondent further averred that petitioner has allegedly intends to dispose of the decedent’s properties to the respondent's
and her brothers' prejudice.

Petitioner opposed the petition, asserting that she purchased the properties subject of the petition using her own money.
She claimed that she and Ismael Tayag got married and that they have an adopted daughter, Carmela Tayag, who is
presently residing in the USA. It is allegedly not true that she is planning to sell the properties. Petitioner prayed for the
dismissal of the suit because respondent failed to state a cause of action.

In a Motion, petitioner reiterated her sole ownership of the properties and presented the transfer certificates of title
thereof in her name. She also averred that it is necessary to allege that respondent was acknowledged and recognized by
Ismael Tayag as his illegitimate child. There being no such allegation, the action becomes one to compel recognition
which cannot be brought after the death of the putative father. To prevent further encroachment upon the court's time,
petitioner moved for a hearing on her affirmative defenses.

The appellate court, upheld the denial of petitioner's motion. The Court of Appeals ruled, in essence, that the allegation
that respondent is an illegitimate child suffices for a cause of action, without need to state that she had been recognized
and acknowledged as such. However, respondent still has to prove her allegation and, correspondingly, petitioner has the
right to refute the allegation in the course of the settlement proceedings.

ISSUE: Whether respondent's petition for the issuance of letters of administration sufficiently states a cause of action
considering that respondent merely alleged therein that she is an illegitimate child of the decedent, without stating that
she had been acknowledged or recognized as such by the latter.

RULING: Yes. The mere allegation that respondent is an illegitimate child suffices. Rule 79 of the Rules of Court
provides that a petition for the issuance of letters of administration must be filed by an interested person. In Saguinsin v.
Lindayag, the Court defined an interested party as one who would be benefited by the estate, such as an heir, or one
who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor. This interest, furthermore, must be material and direct, not merely
indirect or contingent.

Hence, where the right of the person filing a petition for the issuance of letters of administration is dependent on a fact
which has not been established or worse, can no longer be established, such contingent interest does not make her an
interested party.

Essentially, the petition for the issuance of letters of administration is a suit for the settlement of the intestate estate of
Ismael Tayag. The right of respondent to maintain such a suit is dependent on whether she is entitled to successional
rights as an illegitimate child of the decedent which, in turn, may be established through voluntary or compulsory
recognition.

Voluntary recognition must be express such as that in a record of birth appearing in the civil register, a final judgment, a
public instrument or private handwritten instrument signed by the parent concerned. The voluntary recognition of an
illegitimate child by his or her parent needs no further court action and is, therefore, not subject to the limitation that the
action for recognition be brought during the lifetime of the putative parent. Judicial or compulsory recognition, on the
other hand, may be demanded by the illegitimate child of his parents and must be brought during the lifetime of the
presumed parents.

Petitioner's thesis is essentially based on her contention that by Ismael Tayag's death, respondent's illegitimate filiation
and necessarily, her interest in the decedent's estate which the Rules require to be material and direct, may no longer be
established. Petitioner, however, overlooks the fact that respondent's successional rights may be established not just by a
judicial action to compel recognition but also by proof that she had been voluntarily acknowledged and recognized as an
illegitimate child.
We find, therefore, that the allegation that respondent is an illegitimate child of the decedent suffices even without further
stating that she has been so recognized or acknowledged. A motion to dismiss on the ground of failure to state a cause of
action in the complaint hypothetically admits the truth of the facts alleged therein. Assuming the fact alleged to be true,
i.e., that respondent is the decedent's illegitimate child, her interest in the estate as such would definitely be material and
direct. The appellate court was, therefore, correct in allowing the proceedings to continue, ruling that, "respondent still
has the duty to prove the allegation (that she is an illegitimate child of the decedent), just as the petitioner has the right to
disprove it, in the course of the settlement proceedings."

#49. MARIANO V. CITY OF NAGA (MARCH 2018)

G.R. No. 197743, March 12, 2018

HEIRS OF JOSE MARIANO AND HELEN S. MARIANO, REPRESENTED BY DANILO DAVID S.


MARIANO, MARY THERESE IRENE S. MARIANO, MA. CATALINA SOPHIA S. MARIANO, JOSE MARIO
S. MARIANO, MA. LENOR S. MARIANO, MACARIO S. MARIANO AND HEIRS OF ERLINDA
MARIANO-VILLANUEVA, REPRESENTED IN THIS ACT BY IRENE LOURDES M. VILLANUEVA
THROUGH HER ATTORNEY-IN-FACT EDITHA S. SANTUYO AND BENJAMIN B. SANTUYO, Petitioners,
v. CITY OF NAGA, Respondent.

TIJAM, J.

FACTS: The officers of City Heights Subdivision wrote to the mayor of the City of Naga (City), offering to construct
the Naga City Hall within the premises of the Subdivision. Their letter indicated that the City Hall would be built on an
area of not less than two hectares within the Subdivision, which would be designated as the open space reserved for a
public purpose. Upon the City's request, the Subdivision amended its offer and agreed to donate five hectares to the City.
The area is a portion of the land registered in the names of Macario Mariano and Jose Gimenez under TCT No. 671
measuring a total of 22.9301 hectares.The amended offer was signed by Mariano and Gimenez to indicate their
"conforme," together their respective spouses. Thereafter, the Municipal Board adopted Resolution No. 89 accepting the
Subdivision's offer of donation and its proposed contract.

According to the City, the Mayor Imperial and the registered landowners, Mariano and Gimenez,executed a Deed of
Donation on August 16, 1954, whereby the latter donated five hectares of land (subject property), two hectares of which
to be used as the City Hall site, another two hectares for the public plaza, and the remaining hectare for the public market.
By virtue thereof, the City entered the property and began construction of the government center. It also declared the
five-hectare property in its name for tax purposes. Subsequently, other government agencies and instrumentalities entered
the same property and built their offices thereon.

However, the heirs of Mariano (petitioners) aver that the plan to donate five hectares to the City did not materialize as the
contract to build the City Hall was not awarded to the Subdivision but to a another contractor (Francisco Sabaria). This
caused Mariano and officers of the Subdivision to meet with Mayor Imperial to demand the return of the five-hectare lot
as the condition for the donation was not complied with. Mayor Imperial purportedly assured them that the City would
buy the property from them. On May 14, 1968, Mariano instructed the Subdivision's President to make a follow-up on
the City's payment for the subject lot. The purchase, however, did not materialize. In 1971, Mariano died without
receiving payment from the City.
In 1976, a certain Tirso Mariano filed an action for partition of Mariano's estate. The action was opposed by his widow,
Irene, and their adopted children, Jose and Erlinda. Irene died in 1988. Jose's heirs and Erlinda were declared as Irene's
heirs.

In 2003, Danilo Mariano, as administrator of Irene's estate, demanded upon then City Mayor of Naga, Jesse M. Robredo,
to vacate and return the subject property. When the City did not comply, petitioners, as heirs of Jose and Erlinda, filed a
Complaint for unlawful detainer against the City. The MTC dismissed the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.
It reasoned that the City’s defense, which involved a claim of ownership, removed the issue from the case of unlawful
detainer. The RTC reversed the dismissal and ruled in favor of petitioners by ordering the City of Naga and the other
government agencies occupying the subject property to vacate therefrom and pay back rentals to petitioners.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA), in an amended decision, overturned the RTC and upheld the dismissal of the
MTC. The CA thus concluded that the existence and due execution of the Deed of Donation had been duly established,
warranting the dismissal of the ejectment case. The CA also found that petitioners' claim was barred by laches, noting
that the City had been in open, public and adverse possession of the subject property for 49 years at the time the
ejectment case was filed.

ISSUE : Whether or not the Petitioners, as heirs of a registered owner of the subject property, have the preferred or better
right of possession

HELD: Yes! The Court has consistently upheld the registered owners' superior right to possess the property in unlawful
detainer cases. A fundamental principle in land registration is that the certificate of title serves as evidence of an
indefeasible and incontrovertible title to the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein. It is conclusive
evidence as regards ownership of the land therein described, and the titleholder is entitled to all the attributes of
ownership of the property, including possession Thus, the Court has time and again reiterated the age-old rule that the
person who has a Torrens title over a parcel of land is entitled to possession thereof.

The title to the subject property remains registered in the names of Macario and Gimenez. The alleged Deed of Donation
does not appear to have been registered and TCT No. 671 does not bear any inscription of said Deed. It has likewise been
constantly emphasized that when the property is registered under the Torrens system, the registered owner's title to the
property is presumed legal and cannot be collaterally attacked, especially in a mere action for unlawful detainer. It has
even been held that it does not even matter if the party's title to the property is questionable.

It has been held that a certificate of title has a superior probative value as against that of an unregistered deed of
conveyance in ejectment cases. As against the City's unregistered claim, the Torrens title in the name of Mariano and
Gimenez must prevail, conferring upon the registered owners the better right of possession. This superior or preferred
right of possession applies to petitioners as Mariano's hereditary successors who have stepped into said decedent's shoes
by operation of law.

-End-