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NOCUM V.

LUCIO TAN

ARMAND NOCUM and THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER, INC., Petitioners, vs. LUCIO
TAN, Respondent.
Date: Sept. 23, 2005
Ponente: Chico-Nazario, J
Doctrine: Jurisdiction is conferred by law based on the facts alleged in the complaint
since the latter comprises a concise statement of the ultimate facts constitutin the
plaintiff's cause of action. Objections to venue in civil actions arising from libel may
be waived since they do not involve a question of jurisdiction. The laying of venue is
procedural rather than substantive. Venue relates to trial and not jurisdiction. In
contrast, in criminal actions, it is fundamental that venue is jurisdictional it being an
essential element of jurisdiction.

FACTS:
•Lucio Tan filed a complaint for damages (moral and exemplary) for alleged malicious
and defamatory imputations against him in 2 articles of the Philippine Daily
Inquirer. Petitioners Inquirer and reporter Nocum , and ALPAP and Capt. Umali, in
their respective joint answers alleged that the complaint stated no cause of
action. ALPAP and Capt. Umali also alleged that the venue was improperly laid.
The complaint failed to state the resdience of complainant Lucio Tan at the time
of the alleged commission of the offense and the place where the libelous article
was printed and first published.
•RTC of Makati: Complaint was dismissed without prejudice on the ground of
improper venue
•Lucio Tan filed an omnibus motion seeking reconsideration and admission of the
amended complaint now alleging that "This article was printed and first published
in the City of Makati" and that " This caricature was printed and first published in
the City of Makati."
•RTC then set aside the previous order of dismissal stating that the defect in the
original complaint has already been cured in the Amended complaint which can
still be properly admitted purusuant to Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules of CivPro since
the Order of Dismissal was not yet final. Also, the amendment was merely formal.
•2 petitions for certiorari were then filed (one by Nocum and PDI, one by ALPAP and
Umali) but CA dismissed the petition. The motions for reconsideration were
likewise denied. Thus, the appeal at the SC. After the filing of comment by Tan
and the reply filed by PDI and Nocum, SC resolved to give due course to the
petition.
•Contention of PDI and Nocum: Art 360 of RPC vests jurisdiction over all civil and
criminal complaints for libel on the RTC of the place (1) where the libelous article
was printed and first published; or (2) where the complainant, if pirivate person,
resides; or (3) where the complaint, if a public official, holds office. Thus, since
the original lcomplaint stated only the business adress of Lucio Tan and not his
actual residence or the place of printing and first publication, the original
complaint failed to confer jurisdiction on the RTC.

iSSUE:/ HELD:
Whether the RTC had jurisdiction over the case on the basis of the original
complaint? YES.

RATIO:
Jurisdiction is conferred by law based on the facts alleged in the complaint since the
latter comprises a concise statement of the ultimate facts constituting the plaintiff's
causes of action. Here. RTC acquired jurisdiction over the case when the case was
filed before it. Tan's cause of action is for damages arising from libel, jurisdiction of
which is vested with the RTC. Art. 360 of RPC provides that is the CFI that is
specifically designated to try a libel case.

Jurisdiction is different from venue. (a) Jurisdiction is the authority to hear and
determine a case while venue is the place where the case is to be heard or tried; (b)
Jurisdiction is a matter of substantive law; venue is a matter of procedural law; (c)
Jurisdiction establishes a relation between the court and the subject matter, venue
establishes a relation between the plaintiff and the defendant, or the petitioner and
the respondent; and (d) Jurisdiction is fixed by law and cannot be conferred by the
parties while venue may be conferred by the act or agreement of the parties.

In this case, the additional allegations in the Amended Complainant as to place of


printing and first publication referred only to the question of venue and not
jurisidiction. They would neither confer jurisdiction on the RTC nor would failure to
include them divest RTC of its jurisdiction over the case. Tan's failure to allege these
allegations gave the court, the power upon motion by a party, to dismiss on the
ground that the venue was not properly laid.

The amendment was not intended to vest jurisdiction to the lower court,where
originally it had none. The amendment was merely to establish the proper venue for
the action. Venue has nothing to do with jurisdiction except in criminal actions.
Assuming that the venue was improperly laid, the issue would be procedural, not a
jurisdictional impediment. In civil cases, venue may be waived. By dismissing the
case on the ground of improper venue, RTC had jurisdiction over the case. PDI and
Nocum recognized RTC's jurisdiction by filing their answers to the complaint by
questioning the propriety of venue instead of a motion to dismiss.

Objections to venue in civil actions arising from libel may be waived since they do not
involve a question of jurisdiction. The laying of venue is procedural rather than
substantive. Venue relates to trial and not jurisdiction. In contrast, in criminal actions,
it is fundamental that venue is jurisdictional it being an essential element of
jurisdiction.