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Republic of the Philippines one denying its motion for reconsideration (Id. p. 97).

one denying its motion for reconsideration (Id. p. 97). Its record on appeal was then printed as
SUPREME COURT required by the Rules, and in due time it filed its brief raising therein no other question but the ones
Manila covered by the following assignment of errors:
EN BANC I. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in issuing its order dated November 2, 1957, by holding the
G.R. No. L-21450 April 15, 1968 incident as submitted for resolution, without a summary hearing and compliance with the other
SERAFIN TIJAM, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees, mandatory requirements provided for in Section 17, Rule 59 of the Rules of Court.
vs. II. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in ordering the issuance of execution against the herein
MAGDALENO SIBONGHANOY alias GAVINO SIBONGHANOY and LUCIA BAGUIO, defendants, bonding company-appellant.
MANILA SURETY AND FIDELITY CO., INC. (CEBU BRANCH) bonding company and defendant- III. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in denying the motion to quash the writ of execution filed by
appellant. the herein bonding company-appellant as well as its subsequent motion for reconsideration, and/or in
F. S. Urot and G. A. Uriate for plaintiffs-appellees. not quashing or setting aside the writ of execution.
Carlos J. Cuizon for defendants Gavino Sibonghanoy and Lucia Baguio. Not one of the assignment of errors — it is obvious — raises the question of lack of jurisdiction, neither
Villaluz Law Office, Velasco Law Office, Pages and Soberano for defendant-appellant Manila Surety and directly nor indirectly.
Fidelity Company, Inc. Although the appellees failed to file their brief, the Court of Appeals, on December 11, 1962, decided
DIZON, J.: the case affirming the orders appealed from.
On July 19, 1948 — barely one month after the effectivity of Republic Act No. 296 known as the On January 8, 1963 — five days after the Surety received notice of the decision, it filed a motion asking
Judiciary Act of 1948 — the spouses Serafin Tijam and Felicitas Tagalog commenced Civil Case No. R- for extension of time within which to file a motion for reconsideration. The Court of Appeals granted
660 in the Court of First Instance of Cebu against the spouses Magdaleno Sibonghanoy and Lucia the motion in its resolution of January 10 of the same year. Two days later the Surety filed a pleading
Baguio to recover from them the sum of P1,908.00, with legal interest thereon from the date of the entitled MOTION TO DISMISS, alleging substantially that appellees action was filed in the Court of First
filing of the complaint until the whole obligation is paid, plus costs. As prayed for in the complaint, a Instance of Cebu on July 19, 1948 for the recovery of the sum of P1,908.00 only; that a month before
writ of attachment was issued by the court against defendants' properties, but the same was soon that date Republic Act No. 296, otherwise known as the Judiciary Act of 1948, had already become
dissolved upon the filing of a counter-bond by defendants and the Manila Surety and Fidelity Co., Inc. effective, Section 88 of which placed within the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts all civil
hereinafter referred to as the Surety, on the 31st of the same month. actions where the value of the subject-matter or the amount of the demand does not exceed P2,000.00,
After being duly served with summons the defendants filed their answer in which, after making some exclusive of interest and costs; that the Court of First Instance therefore had no jurisdiction to try and
admissions and denials of the material averments of the complaint, they interposed a counterclaim. decide the case. Upon these premises the Surety's motion prayed the Court of Appeals to set aside its
This counterclaim was answered by the plaintiffs. decision and to dismiss the case. By resolution of January 16, 1963 the Court of Appeals required the
After trial upon the issues thus joined, the Court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and, after appellees to answer the motion to dismiss, but they failed to do so. Whereupon, on May 20 of the same
the same had become final and executory, upon motion of the latter, the Court issued a writ of year, the Court resolved to set aside its decision and to certify the case to Us. The pertinent portions of
execution against the defendants. The writ having been returned unsatisfied, the plaintiffs moved for its resolution read as follows:
the issuance of a writ of execution against the Surety's bond (Rec. on Appeal, pp. 46-49), against which It would indeed appear from the record that the action at bar, which is a suit for collection of money in
the Surety filed a written opposition (Id. pp. 49) upon two grounds, namely, (1) Failure to prosecute the sum of exactly P1,908.00 exclusive of interest, was originally instituted in the Court of First
and (2) Absence of a demand upon the Surety for the payment of the amount due under the judgment. Instance of Cebu on July 19, 1948. But about a month prior to the filing of the complaint, more
Upon these grounds the Surety prayed the Court not only to deny the motion for execution against its specifically on June 17, 1948, the Judiciary Act of 1948 took effect, depriving the Court of First Instance
counter-bond but also the following affirmative relief : "to relieve the herein bonding company of its of original jurisdiction over cases in which the demand, exclusive of interest, is not more than
liability, if any, under the bond in question" (Id. p. 54) The Court denied this motion on the ground P2,000.00. (Secs. 44[c] and 86[b], R.A. No. 296.)
solely that no previous demand had been made on the Surety for the satisfaction of the judgment. We believe, therefore, that the point raised in appellant's motion is an important one which merits
Thereafter the necessary demand was made, and upon failure of the Surety to satisfy the judgment, the serious consideration. As stated, the complaint was filed on July 19, 1948. This case therefore has been
plaintiffs filed a second motion for execution against the counterbond. On the date set for the hearing pending now for almost 15 years, and throughout the entire proceeding appellant never raised the
thereon, the Court, upon motion of the Surety's counsel, granted the latter a period of five days within question of jurisdiction until after receipt of this Court's adverse decision.
which to answer the motion. Upon its failure to file such answer, the Court granted the motion for There are three cases decided by the Honorable Supreme Court which may be worthy of consideration
execution and the corresponding writ was issued. in connection with this case, namely: Tyson Tan, et al. vs. Filipinas Compañia de Seguros, et al., G.R. No.
Subsequently, the Surety moved to quash the writ on the ground that the same was issued without the L-10096, March 23, 1956; Pindangan Agricultural Co., Inc. vs. Jose P. Dans, etc., et al., G.R. No. L-14591,
required summary hearing provided for in Section 17 of Rule 59 of the Rules of Court. As the Court September 26, 1962; and Alfredo Montelibano, et al. vs. Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co., Inc., G.R. No. L-
denied the motion, the Surety appealed to the Court of Appeals from such order of denial and from the 15092, September 29, 1962, wherein the Honorable Supreme Court frowned upon the 'undesirable
practice' of appellants submitting their case for decision and then accepting the judgment, if favorable, mere question of time but is principally a question of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or
but attacking it for lack of jurisdiction when adverse. claim to be enforced or asserted.
Considering, however, that the Supreme Court has the "exclusive" appellate jurisdiction over "all cases It has been held that a party can not invoke the jurisdiction of a court to sure affirmative relief against
in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is in issue" (See. 1, Par. 3[3], Judiciary Act of 1948, as his opponent and, after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that same
amended), we have no choice but to certify, as we hereby do certify, this case to the Supreme jurisdiction (Dean vs. Dean, 136 Or. 694, 86 A.L.R. 79). In the case just cited, by way of explaining the
Court.1äwphï1.ñët rule, it was further said that the question whether the court had jurisdiction either of the subject-
ACCORDINGLY, pursuant to Section 31 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 as amended, let the record of this matter of the action or of the parties was not important in such cases because the party is barred from
case be forwarded to the Supreme Court. such conduct not because the judgment or order of the court is valid and conclusive as an adjudication,
It is an undisputed fact that the action commenced by appellees in the Court of First Instance of Cebu but for the reason that such a practice can not be tolerated — obviously for reasons of public policy.
against the Sibonghanoy spouses was for the recovery of the sum of P1,908.00 only — an amount Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an
within the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts in accordance with the provisions of the adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the
Judiciary Act of 1948 which had taken effect about a month prior to the date when the action was court (Pease vs. Rathbun-Jones etc., 243 U.S. 273, 61 L. Ed. 715, 37 S. Ct. 283; St. Louis etc. vs. McBride,
commenced. True also is the rule that jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred upon the courts 141 U.S. 127, 35 L. Ed. 659). And in Littleton vs. Burgess, 16 Wyo. 58, the Court said that it is not right
exclusively by law, and as the lack of it affects the very authority of the court to take cognizance of the for a party who has affirmed and invoked the jurisdiction of a court in a particular matter to secure an
case, the objection may be raised at any stage of the proceedings. However, considering the facts and affirmative relief, to afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape a penalty.
circumstances of the present case — which shall forthwith be set forth — We are of the opinion that Upon this same principle is what We said in the three cases mentioned in the resolution of the Court of
the Surety is now barred by laches from invoking this plea at this late hour for the purpose of annuling Appeals of May 20, 1963 (supra) — to the effect that we frown upon the "undesirable practice" of a
everything done heretofore in the case with its active participation. party submitting his case for decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking
As already stated, the action was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Cebu on July 19, 1948, it for lack of jurisdiction, when adverse — as well as in Pindañgan etc. vs. Dans, et al., G.R. L-14591,
that is, almostfifteen years before the Surety filed its motion to dismiss on January 12, 1963 raising the September 26, 1962; Montelibano, et al., vs. Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co., Inc., G.R. L-15092; Young Men
question of lack of jurisdiction for the first time. Labor Union etc. vs. The Court of Industrial Relation et al., G.R. L-20307, Feb. 26, 1965, and Mejia vs.
It must be remembered that although the action, originally, was exclusively against the Sibonghanoy Lucas, 100 Phil. p. 277.
spouses the Surety became a quasi-party therein since July 31, 1948 when it filed a counter-bond for The facts of this case show that from the time the Surety became a quasi-party on July 31, 1948, it
the dissolution of the writ of attachment issued by the court of origin (Record on Appeal, pp. 15-19). could have raised the question of the lack of jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Cebu to take
Since then, it acquired certain rights and assumed specific obligations in connection with the pending cognizance of the present action by reason of the sum of money involved which, according to the law
case, in accordance with sections 12 and 17, Rule 57, Rules of Court (Bautista vs. Joaquin, 46 Phil. 885; then in force, was within the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts. It failed to do so. Instead,
Kimpang & Co. vs. Javier, 65 Phil. 170). at several stages of the proceedings in the court a quo as well as in the Court of Appeals, it invoked the
Upon the filing of the first motion for execution against the counter-bond the Surety not only filed a jurisdiction of said courts to obtain affirmative relief and submitted its case for a final adjudication on
written opposition thereto praying for its denial but also asked for an additional affirmative relief — the merits. It was only after an adverse decision was rendered by the Court of Appeals that it finally
that it be relieved of its liability under the counter-bond upon the grounds relied upon in support of its woke up to raise the question of jurisdiction. Were we to sanction such conduct on its part, We would
opposition — lack of jurisdiction of the court a quo not being one of them. in effect be declaring as useless all the proceedings had in the present case since it was commenced on
Then, at the hearing on the second motion for execution against the counter-bond, the Surety July 19, 1948 and compel the judgment creditors to go up their Calvary once more. The inequity and
appeared, through counsel, to ask for time within which to file an answer or opposition thereto. This unfairness of this is not only patent but revolting.
motion was granted, but instead of such answer or opposition, the Surety filed the motion to dismiss Coming now to the merits of the appeal: after going over the entire record, We have become persuaded
mentioned heretofore. that We can do nothing better than to quote in toto, with approval, the decision rendered by the Court
A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways and for different reasons. of Appeals on December 11, 1962 as follows:
Thus we speak of estoppel in pais, or estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches. In Civil Case No. R-660 of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, which was a suit for collection of a sum of
Laches, in a general sense is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to money, a writ of attachment was issued against defendants' properties. The attachment, however, was
do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or subsequently discharged under Section 12 of Rule 59 upon the filing by defendants of a bond
omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to subscribed by Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc.
assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. After trial, judgment was rendered in favor of plaintiffs.
The doctrine of laches or of "stale demands" is based upon grounds of public policy which requires, for The writ of execution against defendants having been returned totally unsatisfied, plaintiffs moved,
the peace of society, the discouragement of stale claims and, unlike the statute of limitations, is not a under Section 17 of Rule 59, for issuance of writ of execution against Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc.
to enforce the obligation of the bond. But the motion was, upon the surety's opposition, denied on the
ground that there was "no showing that a demand had been made, by the plaintiffs to the bonding an opportunity to hear what is urged upon him, and to interpose a defense, after which follows an
company for payment of the amount due under the judgment" (Record on Appeal, p. 60). adjudication of the rights of the parties" (Ibid., pp. 793-794); and as to the extent and latitude of the
Hence, plaintiffs made the necessary demand upon the surety for satisfaction of the judgment, and hearing, the same will naturally lie upon the discretion of the court, depending upon the attending
upon the latter's failure to pay the amount due, plaintiffs again filed a motion dated October 31, 1957, circumstances and the nature of the incident up for consideration.
for issuance of writ of execution against the surety, with notice of hearing on November 2, 1957. On In the case at bar, the surety had been notified of the plaintiffs' motion for execution and of the date
October 31, 1957, the surety received copy of said motion and notice of hearing. when the same would be submitted for consideration. In fact, the surety's counsel was present in court
It appears that when the motion was called on November 2, 1957, the surety's counsel asked that he be when the motion was called, and it was upon his request that the court a quo gave him a period of four
given time within which to answer the motion, and so an order was issued in open court, as days within which to file an answer. Yet he allowed that period to lapse without filing an answer or
follows:1äwphï1.ñët objection. The surety cannot now, therefore, complain that it was deprived of its day in court.
As prayed for, Atty. Jose P. Soberano, Jr., counsel for the Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc., Cebu Branch, It is argued that the surety's counsel did not file an answer to the motion "for the simple reason that all
is given until Wednesday, November 6, 1957, to file his answer to the motion for the issuance of a writ of its defenses can be set up during the hearing of the motion even if the same are not reduced to writing"
execution dated October 30, 1957 of the plaintiffs, after which this incident shall be deemed submitted (Appellant's brief, p. 4). There is obviously no merit in this pretense because, as stated above, the
for resolution. record will show that when the motion was called, what the surety's counsel did was to ask that he be
SO ORDERED. allowed and given time to file an answer. Moreover, it was stated in the order given in open court upon
Given in open court, this 2nd day of November, 1957, at Cebu City, Philippines. request of the surety's counsel that after the four-day period within which to file an answer, "the
(Sgd.) JOSE M. MENDOZA incident shall be deemed submitted for resolution"; and counsel apparently agreed, as the order was
Judge issued upon his instance and he interposed no objection thereto.
(Record on Appeal, pp. It is also urged that although according to Section 17 of Rule 59, supra, there is no need for a separate
64-65, emphasis ours) action, there must, however, be a separate judgment against the surety in order to hold it liable on the
Since the surety's counsel failed to file any answer or objection within the period given him, the court, bond (Appellant's Brief, p. 15). Not so, in our opinion. A bond filed for discharge of attachment is, per
on December 7, 1957, issued an order granting plaintiffs' motion for execution against the surety; and Section 12 of Rule 59, "to secure the payment to the plaintiff of any judgment he may recover in the
on December 12, 1957, the corresponding writ of execution was issued. action," and stands "in place of the property so released". Hence, after the judgment for the plaintiff has
On December 24, 1957, the surety filed a motion to quash the writ of execution on the ground that the become executory and the execution is "returned unsatisfied" (Sec. 17, Rule 59), as in this case, the
same was "issued without the requirements of Section 17, Rule 59 of the Rules of Court having been liability of the bond automatically attaches and, in failure of the surety to satisfy the judgment against
complied with," more specifically, that the same was issued without the required "summary hearing". the defendant despite demand therefor, writ of execution may issue against the surety to enforce the
This motion was denied by order of February 10, 1958. obligation of the bond.
On February 25, 1958, the surety filed a motion for reconsideration of the above-stated order of denial; UPON ALL THE FOREGOING, the orders appealed from are hereby affirmed, with costs against the
which motion was likewise denied by order of March 26, 1958. appellant Manila Surety and Fidelity Company, Inc.
From the above-stated orders of February 10, 1958 and March 26, 1958 — denying the surety's motion THIRD DIVISION
to quash the writ of execution and motion for reconsideration, respectively — the surety has
interposed the appeal on hand. AQUINO v. AURE
The surety insists that the lower court should have granted its motion to quash the writ of execution
because the same was issued without the summary hearing required by Section 17 of Rule 59, which DECISION
reads; CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
"Sec. 17. When execution returned unsatisfied, recovery had upon bond. — If the execution be returned
unsatisfied in whole or in part, the surety or sureties on any bond given pursuant to the provisions of
this role to secure the payment of the judgment shall become finally charged on such bond, and bound
to pay to the plaintiff upon demand the amount due under the judgment, which amount may be
recovered from such surety or sureties after notice and summary hearing in the same action."
(Emphasis ours) Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari[2] under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court
Summary hearing is "not intended to be carried on in the formal manner in which ordinary actions are filed by petitioner Librada M. Aquino (Aquino), seeking the reversal and the setting aside of the
prosecuted" (83 C.J.S. 792). It is, rather, a procedure by which a question is resolved "with dispatch, Decision[3] dated 17 October 2001 and the Resolution[4] dated 8 May 2002 of the Court of Appeals in
with the least possible delay, and in preference to ordinary legal and regular judicial proceedings" CA-G.R. SP No. 63733. The appellate court, in its assailed Decision and Resolution, reversed the
(Ibid, p. 790). What is essential is that "the defendant is notified or summoned to appear and is given Decision[5] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 88, affirming the Decision[6] of
the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Quezon City, Branch 32, which dismissed respondent Ernesto WHEREFORE, premises considered, let this case be, as it is, hereby ordered DISMISSED. [Aquinos]
Aures (Aure) complaint for ejectment on the ground, inter alia, of failure to comply with barangay counterclaim is likewise dismissed.[12]
conciliation proceedings.

The subject of the present controversy is a parcel of land situated in Roxas District, Quezon City, with
an area of 449 square meters and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 205447 registered On appeal, the RTC affirmed the dismissal of the Complaint on the same ground that the dispute was
with the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City (subject property).[7] not brought before the Barangay Council for conciliation before it was filed in court. In a Decision dated
14 December 2000, the RTC stressed that the barangay conciliation process is a conditio sine qua non
for the filing of an ejectment complaint involving residents of the same barangay, and failure to comply
therewith constitutes sufficient cause for the dismissal of the action. The RTC likewise validated the
Aure and E.S. Aure Lending Investors, Inc. (Aure Lending) filed a Complaint for ejectment against ruling of the MeTC that the main issue involved in Civil Case No. 17450 is incapable of pecuniary
Aquino before the MeTC docketed as Civil Case No. 17450. In their Complaint, Aure and Aure Lending estimation and cognizable by the RTC. Hence, the RTC ruled:
alleged that they acquired the subject property from Aquino and her husband Manuel (spouses WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the appealed judgment, it is hereby affirmed in its
Aquino) by virtue of a Deed of Sale[8] executed on 4 June 1996. Aure claimed that after the spouses entirety.[13]
Aquino received substantial consideration for the sale of the subject property, they refused to vacate Aures Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the RTC in an Order[14] dated 27 February 2001.
the same.[9] Undaunted, Aure appealed the adverse RTC Decision with the Court of Appeals arguing that the lower
court erred in dismissing his Complaint for lack of cause of action. Aure asserted that misjoinder of
parties was not a proper ground for dismissal of his Complaint and that the MeTC should have only
ordered the exclusion of Aure Lending as plaintiff without prejudice to the continuation of the
In her Answer,[10] Aquino countered that the Complaint in Civil Case No. 17450 lacks cause of action proceedings in Civil Case No. 17450 until the final determination thereof. Aure further asseverated that
for Aure and Aure Lending do not have any legal right over the subject property. Aquino admitted that mere allegation of ownership should not divest the MeTC of jurisdiction over the ejectment suit since
there was a sale but such was governed by the Memorandum of Agreement[11] (MOA) signed by Aure. jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law and should not depend on the defenses and
As stated in the MOA, Aure shall secure a loan from a bank or financial institution in his own name objections raised by the parties. Finally, Aure contended that the MeTC erred in dismissing his
using the subject property as collateral and turn over the proceeds thereof to the spouses Aquino. Complaint with prejudice on the ground of non-compliance with barangay conciliation process. He was
However, even after Aure successfully secured a loan, the spouses Aquino did not receive the proceeds not given the opportunity to rectify the procedural defect by going through the barangay mediation
thereon or benefited therefrom. proceedings and, thereafter, refile the Complaint.[15]

On 17 October 2001, the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision, reversing the MeTC and RTC Decisions
On 20 April 1999, the MeTC rendered a Decision in Civil Case No. 17450 in favor of Aquino and and remanding the case to the MeTC for further proceedings and final determination of the substantive
dismissed the Complaint for ejectment of Aure and Aure Lending for non-compliance with the rights of the parties. The appellate court declared that the failure of Aure to subject the matter to
barangay conciliation process, among other grounds. The MeTC observed that Aure and Aquino are barangay conciliation is not a jurisdictional flaw and it will not affect the sufficiency of Aures Complaint
residents of the same barangay but there is no showing that any attempt has been made to settle the since Aquino failed to seasonably raise such issue in her Answer. The Court of Appeals further ruled
case amicably at the barangay level. The MeTC further observed that Aure Lending was improperly that mere allegation of ownership does not deprive the MeTC of jurisdiction over the ejectment case
included as plaintiff in Civil Case No. 17450 for it did not stand to be injured or benefited by the suit. for jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law and is determined by the allegations
Finally, the MeTC ruled that since the question of ownership was put in issue, the action was converted advanced by the plaintiff in his complaint. Hence, mere assertion of ownership by the defendant in an
from a mere detainer suit to one incapable of pecuniary estimation which properly rests within the ejectment case will not oust the MeTC of its summary jurisdiction over the same. The decretal part of
original exclusive jurisdiction of the RTC. The dispositive portion of the MeTC Decision reads: the Court of Appeals Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby GRANTED - and the decisions of the trial
courts below REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Let the records be remanded back to the court a quo for
further proceedings for an eventual decision of the substantive rights of the disputants.[16]
In a Resolution dated 8 May 2002, the Court of Appeals denied the Motion for Reconsideration
interposed by Aquino for it was merely a rehash of the arguments set forth in her previous pleadings
which were already considered and passed upon by the appellate court in its assailed Decision.
SEC. 412. Conciliation.- (a) Pre-condition to filing of complaint in court. No complaint, petition, action,
Aquino is now before this Court via the Petition at bar raising the following issues: or proceeding involving any matter within the authority of the lupon shall be filed or instituted directly
I in court or any other government office for adjudication, unless there has been a confrontation
WHETHER OR NOT NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE BARANGAY CONCILIATION PROCEEDINGS IS A between the parties before the lupon chairman or the pangkat, and that no conciliation or settlement
JURISDICTIONAL DEFECT THAT WARRANTS THE DISMISSAL OF THE COMPLAINT. has been reached as certified by the lupon secretary or pangkat secretary as attested to by the lupon
chairman or pangkat chairman or unless the settlement has been repudiated by the parties thereto.
II.
WHETHER OR NOT ALLEGATION OF OWNERSHIP OUSTS THE MeTC OF ITS JURISDICTION OVER AN
EJECTMENT CASE. (b) Where parties may go directly to court. The parties may go directly to court in the following
instances:

(1) Where the accused is under detention;


The barangay justice system was established primarily as a means of easing up the congestion of cases
in the judicial courts. This could be accomplished through a proceeding before the barangay courts
which, according to the conceptor of the system, the late Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro, is essentially
arbitration in character, and to make it truly effective, it should also be compulsory. With this primary (2) Where a person has otherwise been deprived of personal liberty calling for habeas corpus
objective of the barangay justice system in mind, it would be wholly in keeping with the underlying proceedings;
philosophy of Presidential Decree No. 1508, otherwise known as the Katarungang Pambarangay Law,
and the policy behind it would be better served if an out-of-court settlement of the case is reached
voluntarily by the parties.[17]
(3) Where actions are coupled with provisional remedies such as preliminary injunction, attachment,
delivery of personal property, and support pendente lite; and

The primordial objective of Presidential Decree No. 1508 is to reduce the number of court litigations
and prevent the deterioration of the quality of justice which has been brought by the indiscriminate
filing of cases in the courts.[18] To ensure this objective, Section 6 of Presidential Decree No. 1508[19] (4) Where the action may otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations.
requires the parties to undergo a conciliation process before the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat ng
Tagapagkasundo as a precondition to filing a complaint in court subject to certain exceptions[20]
which are inapplicable to this case. The said section has been declared compulsory in nature.[21] (c) Conciliation among members of indigenous cultural communities. The customs and traditions of
indigenous cultural communities shall be applied in settling disputes between members of the cultural
communities.

Presidential Decree No. 1508 is now incorporated in Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as The
Local Government Code, which took effect on 1 January 1992. SEC. 408. Subject Matter for Amicable Settlement; Exception Therein. The lupon of each barangay shall
have authority to bring together the parties actually residing in the same city or municipality for
amicable settlement of all disputes except:

The pertinent provisions of the Local Government Code making conciliation a precondition to filing of
complaints in court, read:
(a) Where one party is the government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof; Aquino posits that failure to resort to barangay conciliation makes the action for ejectment premature
and, hence, dismissible. She likewise avers that this objection was timely raised during the pre-trial
and even subsequently in her Position Paper submitted to the MeTC.

(b) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute relates to the performance of his We do not agree.
official functions;
It is true that the precise technical effect of failure to comply with the requirement of Section 412 of the
Local Government Code on barangay conciliation (previously contained in Section 5 of Presidential
Decree No. 1508) is much the same effect produced by non-exhaustion of administrative remedies --
(c) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding one (1) year or a fine exceeding Five thousand the complaint becomes afflicted with the vice of pre-maturity; and the controversy there alleged is not
pesos (P5,000.00); ripe for judicial determination. The complaint becomes vulnerable to a motion to dismiss.[22]
Nevertheless, the conciliation process is not a jurisdictional requirement, so that non-compliance
therewith cannot affect the jurisdiction which the court has otherwise acquired over the subject matter
or over the person of the defendant.[23]
(d) Offenses where there is no private offended party;

As enunciated in the landmark case of Royales v. Intermediate Appellate Court[24]:


(e) Where the dispute involves real properties located in different cities or municipalities unless the
parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon;

(f) Disputes involving parties who actually reside in barangays of different cities or municipalities, Ordinarily, non-compliance with the condition precedent prescribed by P.D. 1508 could affect the
except where such barangay units adjoin each other and the parties thereto agree to submit their sufficiency of the plaintiff's cause of action and make his complaint vulnerable to dismissal on ground
differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon; of lack of cause of action or prematurity; but the same would not prevent a court of competent
jurisdiction from exercising its power of adjudication over the case before it, where the defendants, as
in this case, failed to object to such exercise of jurisdiction in their answer and even during the entire
proceedings a quo.
(g) Such other classes of disputes which the President may determine in the interest of justice or upon
the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice. While petitioners could have prevented the trial court from exercising jurisdiction over the case by
seasonably taking exception thereto, they instead invoked the very same jurisdiction by filing an
answer and seeking affirmative relief from it. What is more, they participated in the trial of the case by
cross-examining respondent Planas. Upon this premise, petitioners cannot now be allowed belatedly to
adopt an inconsistent posture by attacking the jurisdiction of the court to which they had submitted
themselves voluntarily. x x x (Emphasis supplied.)
There is no dispute herein that the present case was never referred to the Barangay Lupon for
conciliation before Aure and Aure Lending instituted Civil Case No. 17450. In fact, no allegation of such In the case at bar, we similarly find that Aquino cannot be allowed to attack the jurisdiction of the
barangay conciliation proceedings was made in Aure and Aure Lendings Complaint before the MeTC. MeTC over Civil Case No. 17450 after having submitted herself voluntarily thereto. We have
The only issue to be resolved is whether non-recourse to the barangay conciliation process is a scrupulously examined Aquinos Answer before the MeTC in Civil Case No. 17450 and there is utter lack
jurisdictional flaw that warrants the dismissal of the ejectment suit filed with the MeTC. of any objection on her part to any deficiency in the complaint which could oust the MeTC of its
jurisdcition.

We thus quote with approval the disquisition of the Court of Appeals:


Moreover, the Court takes note that the defendant [Aquino] herself did not raise in defense the not motu proprio dismiss a case on the ground of failure to comply with the requirement for barangay
aforesaid lack of conciliation proceedings in her answer, which raises the exclusive affirmative defense conciliation, this ground not being among those mentioned for the dismissal by the trial court of a case
of simulation. By this acquiescence, defendant [Aquino] is deemed to have waived such objection. As on its own initiative.
held in a case of similar circumstances, the failure of a defendant [Aquino] in an ejectment suit to Aquino further argues that the issue of possession in the instant case cannot be resolved by the MeTC
specifically allege the fact that there was no compliance with the barangay conciliation procedure without first adjudicating the question of ownership, since the Deed of Sale vesting Aure with the legal
constitutes a waiver of that defense. x x x.[25] right over the subject property is simulated.
Again, we do not agree. Jurisdiction in ejectment cases is determined by the allegations pleaded in the
complaint. As long as these allegations demonstrate a cause of action either for forcible entry or for
unlawful detainer, the court acquires jurisdiction over the subject matter. This principle holds, even if
the facts proved during the trial do not support the cause of action thus alleged, in which instance the
court -- after acquiring jurisdiction -- may resolve to dismiss the action for insufficiency of evidence.
By Aquinos failure to seasonably object to the deficiency in the Complaint, she is deemed to have The necessary allegations in a Complaint for ejectment are set forth in Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of
already acquiesced or waived any defect attendant thereto. Consequently, Aquino cannot thereafter Court, which reads:
move for the dismissal of the ejectment suit for Aure and Aure Lendings failure to resort to the SECTION 1. Who may institute proceedings, and when. Subject to the provisions of the next succeeding
barangay conciliation process, since she is already precluded from doing so. The fact that Aquino raised section, a person deprived of the possession of any land or building by force, intimidation, threat,
such objection during the pre-trial and in her Position Paper is of no moment, for the issue of non- strategy, or stealth, or a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person against whom the possession of any
recourse to barangay mediation proceedings should be impleaded in her Answer. land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to hold
As provided under Section 1, Rule 9 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure possession, by virtue of any contract, express or implied, or the legal representatives or assigns of any
Sec. 1. Defenses and objections not pleaded. Defenses and objections not pleaded either in a motion to such lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person may at any time within one (1) year after such unlawful
dismiss or in the answer are deemed waived. However, when it appears from the pleadings or the deprivation or withholding of possession, bring an action in the proper Municipal Trial Court against
evidence on record that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter, that there is another the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession, or any person or persons
action pending between the same parties for the same cause, or that the action is barred by a prior claiming under them, for the restitution of such possession, together with damages and costs.
judgment or by statute of limitations, the court shall dismiss the claim. (Emphasis supplied.) In the case at bar, the Complaint filed by Aure and Aure Lending on 2 April 1997, alleged as follows:
While the aforequoted provision applies to a pleading (specifically, an Answer) or a motion to dismiss, 2. [Aure and Aure Lending] became the owners of a house and lot located at No. 37 Salazar Street
a similar or identical rule is provided for all other motions in Section 8 of Rule 15 of the same Rule corner Encarnacion Street, B.F. Homes, Quezon City by virtue of a deed of absolute sale executed by
which states: [the spouses Aquino] in favor of [Aure and Aure Lending] although registered in the name of x x x
Sec. 8. Omnibus Motion. - Subject to the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 9, a motion attacking a pleading, Ernesto S. Aure; title to the said property had already been issued in the name of [Aure] as shown by a
order, judgment, or proceeding shall include all objections then available, and all objections not so transfer Certificate of Title , a copy of which is hereto attached and made an integral part hereof as
included shall be deemed waived. Annex A;
The spirit that surrounds the foregoing statutory norm is to require the party filing a pleading or 3. However, despite the sale thus transferring ownership of the subject premises to [Aure and Aure
motion to raise all available exceptions for relief during the single opportunity so that single or Lending] as above-stated and consequently terminating [Aquinos] right of possession over the subject
multiple objections may be avoided.[26] It is clear and categorical in Section 1, Rule 9 of the Revised property, [Aquino] together with her family, is continuously occupying the subject premises
Rules of Court that failure to raise defenses and objections in a motion to dismiss or in an answer is notwithstanding several demands made by [Aure and Aure Lending] against [Aquino] and all persons
deemed a waiver thereof; and basic is the rule in statutory construction that when the law is clear and claiming right under her to vacate the subject premises and surrender possession thereof to [Aure and
free from any doubt or ambiguity, there is no room for construction or interpretation.[27] As has been Aure Lending] causing damage and prejudice to [Aure and Aure Lending] and making [Aquinos]
our consistent ruling, where the law speaks in clear and categorical language, there is no occasion for occupancy together with those actually occupying the subject premises claiming right under her,
interpretation; there is only room for application.[28] Thus, although Aquinos defense of non- illegal.[29]
compliance with Presidential Decree No. 1508 is meritorious, procedurally, such defense is no longer It can be inferred from the foregoing that Aure, together with Aure Lending, sought the possession of
available for failure to plead the same in the Answer as required by the omnibus motion rule. the subject property which was never surrendered by Aquino after the perfection of the Deed of Sale,
Neither could the MeTC dismiss Civil Case No. 17450 motu proprio. The 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure which gives rise to a cause of action for an ejectment suit cognizable by the MeTC. Aures assertion of
provide only three instances when the court may motu proprio dismiss the claim, and that is when the possession over the subject property is based on his ownership thereof as evidenced by TCT No.
pleadings or evidence on the record show that (1) the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter; 156802 bearing his name. That Aquino impugned the validity of Aures title over the subject property
(2) there is another cause of action pending between the same parties for the same cause; or (3) where and claimed that the Deed of Sale was simulated should not divest the MeTC of jurisdiction over the
the action is barred by a prior judgment or by a statute of limitations. Thus, it is clear that a court may ejectment case.[30]
As extensively discussed by the eminent jurist Florenz D. Regalado in Refugia v. Court of Appeals[31]: TRINIDAD VALLEY REALTY & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, FRANNIE GREENMEADOWS
As the law on forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases now stands, even where the defendant raises PASTURES, INC., ISABEL GREENLAND AGRI-BASED RESOURCES, INC., ISABEL GREENMEADOWS
the question of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without QUALITY PRODUCTS, INC., ERNESTO BARICUATRO, CLAUDIO VILLO and EFREN NUEVO, Respondents.
deciding the issue of ownership, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal
Circuit Trial Courts nevertheless have the undoubted competence to resolve the issue of ownership x-----------------------x
albeit only to determine the issue of possession.
x x x. The law, as revised, now provides instead that when the question of possession cannot be G.R. No. 174162
resolved without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to
determine the issue of possession. On its face, the new Rule on Summary Procedure was extended to GRACE B. FUA, in her capacity as the PROVINCIAL AGRARIAN REFORM OFFICER OF NEGROS
include within the jurisdiction of the inferior courts ejectment cases which likewise involve the issue of ORIENTAL, JOSELIDO S. DAYOHA, JESUS S. DAYOHA and RODRIGO S. LICANDA, Petitioners,
ownership. This does not mean, however, that blanket authority to adjudicate the issue of ownership in vs.
ejectment suits has been thus conferred on the inferior courts. TRINIDAD VALLEY REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, FRANNIE GREENMEADOWS
At the outset, it must here be stressed that the resolution of this particular issue concerns and applies PASTURES, INC., ISABEL GREENLAND AGRI-BASED RESOURCES, INC., ISABEL EVERGREEN
only to forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases where the issue of possession is intimately PLANTATIONS INC., MICHELLE FARMS, INC. ISABEL GREENMEADOWS QUALITY PRODUCTS, INC.,
intertwined with the issue of ownership. It finds no proper application where it is otherwise, that is, ERNESTO BARICUATRO, CLAUDIO VILLO and EFREN NUEVO, Respondents.
where ownership is not in issue, or where the principal and main issue raised in the allegations of the
complaint as well as the relief prayed for make out not a case for ejectment but one for recovery of x-----------------------x
ownership
Apropos thereto, this Court ruled in Hilario v. Court of Appeals[32]: G.R. No.183191
Thus, an adjudication made therein regarding the issue of ownership should be regarded as merely
provisional and, therefore, would not bar or prejudice an action between the same parties involving TRINIDAD VALLEY REALTY & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, FRANNIE GREENMEADOWS
title to the land. The foregoing doctrine is a necessary consequence of the nature of forcible entry and PASTURES, INC., ISABEL GREENLAND AGRI-BASED RESOURCES, INC., ISABEL GREENMEADOWS
unlawful detainer cases where the only issue to be settled is the physical or material possession over QUALITY PRODUCTS, INC., ERNESTO BARICUATRO,CLAUDIO VILLO and EFREN NUEVO, Petitioners,
the real property, that is, possession de facto and not possession de jure. vs.
In other words, inferior courts are now conditionally vested with adjudicatory power over the issue of THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY, Respondents.
title or ownership raised by the parties in an ejectment suit. These courts shall resolve the question of
ownership raised as an incident in an ejectment case where a determination thereof is necessary for a DECISION
proper and complete adjudication of the issue of possession.[33]
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals Decision VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
dated 17 October 2001 and its Resolution dated 8 May 2002 in CA-G.R. SP No. 63733 are hereby
AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioner. The consolidated petitions before us raise intertwined issues of jurisdiction over cases involving the
SO ORDERED. implementation of Republic Act No. 6657, otherwise known as the "Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Law of 1988" (hereinafter, RA 6657). The petitions likewise question whether a regional trial court
epublic of the Philippines may exercise jurisdiction if the case also assails the constitutionality of administrative orders,
SUPREME COURT regulations and other related issuances implementing the said law.
Manila
The following facts are common to the three cases under consolidation:
EN BANC
Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, Frannie Greenmeadows Pastures, Inc., Isabel
G.R. No. 173386 February 11, 2014 Greenland Agri-based Resources, Inc., Isabel Evergreen Plantations, Inc., Michelle Farms, Inc., Isabel
Greenmeadows Quality Products, Inc., Ernesto Baricuatro, Claudio Villo, and Efren Nuevo (hereinafter,
DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, now represented by OIC-SEC. NASSER PANGANDAMAN, Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al.) are the registered owners of a parcel of
Petitioner, land in Vallehermoso,1 Negros Oriental. The landholding consists of a total area of 641. 7895 hectares -
vs. about 200 hectares thereof are devoted to the cultivation of sugar cane. The Department of Agrarian
Reform (DAR) placed 479.8905 hectares of the said landholding under the coverage of RA 6657 from a special civil action of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus to an ordinary action of annulment
between March 1995 and July 2000. Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) and Transfer of land titles. The DAR, et al. opposed the motion in its Opposition9 dated July 28, 2004.
Certificates of Title (TCTs) were subsequently issued in favor of the agrarian reform beneficiaries.2
On August 13, 2004, the RTC conducted a hearing on the propriety of admitting the amended petition.
On June 10, 2004, Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al. filed before the Regional On October 26, 2004, it issued the assailed Order10 admitting the amended petition and ruling that it
Trial Court (RTC), Branch 64, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, a Petition for Declaration of had jurisdiction over the case, viz.:
Unconstitutionality Through Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus with Prayer for Preliminary
Prohibitory Injunction and Restraining Order3 against the Land Registration Authority (LRA), the DAR, WHEREFORE, this Court rules and so holds that:
and the beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), docketed as Special
Civil Action No. 04-02-V. In their Petition, Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al. 1. This Court has jurisdiction over the instant case;
made the following main allegations:
2. The Amended Petition is admitted and defendants may file responsive pleadings or amendments to
1. That the DAR committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it their original answers within ten [10] days from receipt hereof; and
committed the following acts: it passed Administrative Order No. 12, Series of 1989 and other related
issuances which allowed the DAR to unilaterally choose beneficiaries other than those intended by the 3. The plaintiffs have not made out a case for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or the
Constitution as beneficiaries; it subjected Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al.' s writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction, and therefore the plaintiffs' prayer for its issuance is denied.
properties to compulsory acquisition, when it ordered the Land Bank to determine the valuation of
Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al.' s land without any judicial pronouncement SO ORDERED.11
on just compensation; and, it unilaterally ordered the cancellation of petitioner's title without court
intervention when it issued final CLOAs to beneficiaries who are not yet owners of the land and In an Urgent Omnibus Motion12 dated December 2, 2004, LRA, et al. moved for reconsideration on the
without any court proceeding. ground of lack of merit and jurisdiction. The DAR similarly filed a Motion for Reconsideration13 dated
December 8, 2004 on the same ground of lack of jurisdiction. Both motions were denied by the RTC in
2. The valuation by Land Bank is not just compensation. its Order14 dated January 7, 2005.

3. The Register of Deeds cannot cancel Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al.'s In a petition for certiorari15 filed with the CA, the Republic of the Philippines, represented by the
title without a court order. Solicitor General, and the LRA sought to annul the subject Order of the R TC on the following grounds:
(1) the RTC does not have jurisdiction over the petition and amended petition of Trinidad Valley Realty
4. The Land Bank, the LRA and the Register of Deeds also committed grave abuse of discretion when and Development Corporation, et al. in view of Section 54 of RA 6657; (2) the RTC committed grave
they cooperated to commit the aforementioned acts.4 abuse of discretion in admitting the amended petition; and (3) the R TC did not acquire jurisdiction
over the amended petition as the correct docket and other legal fees had not been paid.
The DAR5 filed its Answer6 asserting that (a) jurisdiction over all agrarian reform matters is
exclusively vested in the DAR; (b) the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) By Decision16 and Resolution17 dated June 28, 2007 and May 21, 2008, respectively, the CA reversed
Rules provides that the power to cancel or annul CLOAs is vested in the DARAB; and the jurisdiction of and set aside the Order of the RTC, viz.:
the R TC in agrarian reform matters is limited only to the determination of just compensation and
prosecution of all criminal offenses under RA 6657; (c) the RTC has no jurisdiction over petitions for WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the instant Petition is hereby GRANTED and the assailed
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus in agrarian reform cases, which is vested by Section 54 of RA Order of the court a quo is hereby ANNULLED AND SET ASIDE. The court a quo is hereby directed to
6657, in the Court of Appeals (CA); (d) the transfer of ownership and physical installation of the DISMISS Civil Action No. 04-02-V, entitled "Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al.
beneficiaries is authorized by RA 6657 as laid down in Association of Small Landowners in the Phils., vs. The Honorable Jose Mari B. Ponce, et al." for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter.
Inc. v. Hon. Secretary of Agrarian Reform;7 (e) the petition is defective in form and substance; and (f)
the CLOAs partake of the nature of a Torrens Title and their validity cannot be collaterally attacked. SO ORDERED.18

Subsequently, Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al. filed a Motion for Leave to The CA ratiocinated that the R TC did not have jurisdiction over both the petition and amended petition
Amend Petition and for Admission of the Amended Petition8 in order to change the nature of the action filed by Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al. in view of Section 54 of RA 6657
which clearly provides that it is the CA, and not the RTC, which has jurisdiction over the case.19 The CA
also reiterated the ruling of this Court in the landmark case of Association of Small Landowners in the Be that as it may, it must be emphasized that the subject matter of the instant petition is the
Phils., Inc. v. Hon. Secretary of Agrarian Reform20 declaring the "Comprehensive Agrarian Reform jurisdiction of the court a quo to try and hear [Special Civil Action] No. 04-02-V. Accordingly, this Court
Law" constitutional. Quoting the following portion of the landmark decision, the CA stressed that the ruled that the court a quo does not have jurisdiction to try the case.
ruling therein has, in effect, foreclosed any possible attack on the constitutionality of the law, viz.:
Granting arguendo that Civil Case No. 04-013-V and [Special Civil Action] No. 04-02-V are the same, the
By the decision we reach today, all major legal obstacles to the comprehensive agrarian reform June 28, 2007 Decision of this Court cannot be rendered moot and academic by the judgment of the
program are removed, to clear the way for the true freedom of the farmer. We may now glimpse the court a quo in Civil Case No. 04-013-V. As correctly pointed out by the Office of the Solicitor General, a
day he will be released not only from want but also from the exploitation and disdain of the past and decision rendered by a court or tribunal without jurisdiction is null and void; hence, it's as if no
from his own feelings of inadequacy and helplessness. At last his servitude will be ended forever. At decision was ever rendered by the court a quo.
last the farm on which he toils will be his farm. It will be his portion of the Mother Earth that will give
him not only the staff of life but also the joy of living. And where once it bred for him only deep despair, Accordingly, the instant Motion for Reconsideration is hereby DENIED.27
now can he see in it the fruition of his hopes for a more fulfilling future. Now at last can he banish from
his small plot of earth his insecurities and dark resentments and 'rebuild in it the music and the Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al. now appeals to this Court by way of
dream.'21 Petition for Review on Certiorari28 raising substantially the principal issue of whether the RTC has
jurisdiction over the original and amended petitions.
On the issue of whether the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion in admitting the amended
petition, the CA declared that while the Rules of Court allow amendments which substantially alter the We shall resolve this issue in consolidation with two other petitions filed before this Court - G.R. No.
nature of the cause of action in order to serve the higher interest of substantial justice, prevent delay 173386 (DAR, et al. v. Trinidad Valley Realty & Development Corporation, et al.) and G.R. No. 174162
and promote the objective of the Rules to secure a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every (Grace B. Fua, in her capacity as Provincial Reform Officer of Negros Oriental, et al. v. Trinidad Valley
action and proceeding, the admission by the RTC of the amended petition was not proper and should Realty & Development Corporation, et al.). Both petitions stemmed from the assailed Decision29 later
have been denied.22 Prescinding from its ruling that the RTC did not have jurisdiction over the original issued by the RTC dated October 17, 2005 - the same RTC Decision that Trinidad Valley Realty and
petition, the CA held that the RTC consequently did not have authority to order the admission of Development Corporation, et al. had brought to the attention of the CA in their motion for
Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al.' s amended complaint in order for it to reconsideration. The RTC Decision was reached after it issued its assailed Order in Special Civil Action
acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter.23 In view of these dispositions, the CA deemed it No. 04-02-V - ruling that it had jurisdiction over the original petition (special civil action of certiorari,
unnecessary to discuss the third issue. prohibition and mandamus) and therefore had the authority to admit the amended petition (ordinary
action of annulment of land titles). Pre-trial proceeded in the ordinary action which was re-docketed as
Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al. moved for reconsideration24 and Civil Case No. 04-013-V. There being no factual issue involved, the case was submitted for judgment
reiterated that judicial review was within the jurisdiction of the lower court and that the requirements based on the pleadings. The resulting assailed judgment on the pleadings declared as unconstitutional
for raising the constitutionality issues had been complied with. It also stressed that the amendment of and void the following administrative issuances of the DAR and the LRA, Executive Order No. 405, and
the complaint did not change the cause of the action of unconstitutionality and that the case was other related issuances, viz.:
already pending before this Court.
i. Administrative Order No. 10, Series of 1989 - Registration/Selection of Beneficiaries - DAR chooses
The CA denied the motion for reconsideration on the ground that no new arguments were raised to beneficiaries under A.O. No. 10, Series of 1989 using as its basis, Section 22 of RA 6657 allowing
warrant a reexamination of its ruling on the issue of the lack of jurisdiction of the RTC.25 As to the farmers, farmworkers, or any person who is landless to become a beneficiary of any private
averment of Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al. that the CA' s assailed June 28, agricultural land. Under this Administrative Order, not only farmworkers or farmers working on a
2007 Decision was already rendered moot and academic by a judgment of the RTC dated October 17, particular land are entitled to become beneficiaries, but any person who is landless, in short a non-
2005 in Civil Case No. 04-013-V, entitled "Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al. v. tiller of the land, as long as he is capable and willing to become such a beneficiary.
The Honorable Rene Villa, in his capacity as Secretary of DAR, et al.," the CA pointed out that what was
challenged in the petition filed before it was Special Civil Action No. 04-02-V, entitled "Trinidad Valley ii. Administrative Orders No. 12, Series of 1989, No. 9, Series of 1990 and No. 2, Series of 1996 allows
Realty and Development Corporation, et al. v. Jose Mari B. Ponce, in his capacity as Secretary of DAR, et DAR to place under compulsory coverage all private agricultural land by merely sending a notice of
al."26 The CA further stated in its assailed Resolution, viz.: coverage; these administrative orders covering the same subjects, supersede one another from its
earliest which is A.O. 12, Series of 1989, through Administrative Order No. 9, and polished into its last
reincarnation, Administrative Order No 2, Series of 1996. Under these Orders, DAR granted itself the
following powers which it has enforced: [1] to compulsorily acquire all private agricultural lands; [2] to
order Land Bank to determine just compensation; and [3] to cancel the landowner's title and transfer In the case at bar, the CA has correctly and succinctly synthesized that both the original petition for the
the land to the Republic of the Philippines [RP]; "Declaration of Unconstitutionality Through Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus with Prayer for
Preliminary Prohibitory Injunction and Restraining Order" and the amended petition for "Judicial
iii. Administrative Order No. 10, Series of 1990 authorizes DAR to cancel the RP title and issue final Review Through an Action to Annul Titles, and Mandatory and Prohibitory Injunctions with Prayer for
titles called Certificate of Land Ownership Award [CLO As] which in turn it uses as basis to distribute Preliminary Prohibitory Injunction and Restraining Order" contain the same allegations, viz.:
private agricultural lands covered to beneficiaries;
x x x that beneficiaries are not those intended by the Constitution as beneficiaries; that subject
iv. Joint DAR-LRA Memorandum Circular No. 20, Series of 1997 and all other previous DAR-LRA properties cannot be subjected to compulsory acquisition because its farm operations are under labor
Memorandum Circulars are a series of agreements whereby DAR and the LRA agreed that the Registers administration; that the valuation of the land was not judicially determined; that the cancellation of
of Deeds under LRA shall cancel landowners' titles upon the request or directive of DAR. and thereafter petitioners' title over the subject properties and the issuance of Certificates of Land Ownership A ward
register final titles to beneficiaries called Certificates of Land Ownership A ward; were effected without any court intervention; that a case for expropriation should have been filed in
court; and that certain DAR Administrative Orders are unconstitutional.38
v. Executive Order No. 405 promulgated by President Aquino which is interpreted by DAR as
authorizing Land Bank to determine just compensation; We also agree with the assessment of the appellate court that these allegations assail the acts of the
DAR in awarding the CLOAs to the beneficiaries and question the procedure in fixing the compensation
vi. All other Administrative Orders and related issuances that prescribe substantially the same - acts which pertain to the very "application, implementation, enforcement or interpretation"39 of RA
procedure as the above-foregoing Orders and Regulations existing or to be issued by the DAR with the 6657 or the agrarian reform law and other pertinent laws on agrarian reform.
same intent and effect in prescribing a non-judicial process of land acquisition.30
Section 54 of RA 6657 leaves no room for doubt that decisions, orders, awards or rulings of the DAR
The RTC also annulled the CLOAs issued by the DAR and issued a permanent prohibitory injunction31 may be brought to the CA by certiorari and not with the RTC through an ordinary action for
restraining private defendant beneficiaries, DAR defendants and other entities from exercising acts of cancellation of title, as in the instant case:
possession, dispossession or ownership over any portion of the subject property, and preventing the
DAR from subjecting the landholdings of Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al. SECTION 54. Certiorari. - Any decision, order, award or ruling of the DAR on any agrarian dispute or on
under the coverage of agrarian reform through the implementation of the administrative orders and any matter pertaining to the application, implementation, enforcement, or interpretation of this Act
issuances.32 and other pertinent laws on agrarian reform may be brought to the Court of Appeals by certiorari
except as otherwise provided in this Act within fifteen (15) days from the receipt of a copy thereof.
Hence, the Petitions for Review on Certiorari filed in G.R. Nos. 17338633 and 17416234 posing the
same intersecting jurisdictional question in these consolidated cases: Whether the RTC had jurisdiction The findings of fact of the DAR shall be final and conclusive if based on substantial evidence. (Emphasis
over the original and amended petitions filed by Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, and underscoring supplied.)
et al.
An examination of the records40 in the instant case would show that Trinidad Valley Realty and
It is a cardinal principle in remedial law that the jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter of an Development Corporation had actually brought the matter to the DAR prior to its filing of the original
action is determined by the law in force at the time of the filing of the complaint and the allegations of and amended petitions with the RTC. The following incidents on record reveal an acknowledgment by
the complaint.35 Jurisdiction is determined exclusively by the Constitution and the law and cannot be Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation that the case indeed involves issues relating to
conferred by the voluntary act or agreement of the parties. It cannot also be acquired through or the application, implementation, enforcement or interpretation of RA 6657, viz.:
waived, enlarged or diminished by their act or omission, nor conferred by the acquiescence of the
court. It is neither for the court nor the parties to violate or disregard the rule, this matter being 1. Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation had originally filed a case with the DARAB for
legislative in character.36 The nature of an action, as well as which court or body has jurisdiction over Cancellation of CLOA, Injunction and Damages with prayer for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining
it, is determined based on the allegations contained in the complaint of the plaintiff, irrespective of Order. The subject property covered the same landholding in the instant case covering the same area of
whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. The 641. 7895 hectares. The case was dismissed by the DAR Provincial Adjudicator in an Order dated
averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought are the ones to be consulted. Once March 31, 1997 on the ground that the matters raised by Trinidad Valley Realty and Development
vested by the allegations in the complaint, jurisdiction also remains vested irrespective of whether or Corporation involved the administrative implementation of RA 6657. The case was then treated as a
not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein.37 protest against CARP coverage. It was again dismissed in an Order dated November 19, 1997 for lack
ofmerit.41
Section 50, of said law substantially reiterates Section 17, of Executive Order No. 229, vesting in the
2. A Motion for Reconsideration dated December 15, 1997 was filed seeking for a reversal and Department of Agrarian Reform exclusive and original jurisdiction over all matters involving the
exemption of those areas with a slope of 18% and above from CARP coverage. An addendum to the implementation of agrarian reform, to wit:
Motion for Reconsideration dated February 2, 1998 was also filed wherein Trinidad Valley Realty and
Development Corporation manifested, among others, its voluntary offer to sell to the government a one "SECTION 50. Quasi-Judicial Powers of the DAR. The DAR is hereby vested with primary jurisdiction to
hundred-hectare portion of the subject land. For utter lack of merit, both motions were dismissed by determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over
the DAR Regional Director on August 7, 1998 and the order dated November 19, 1997 was affirmed.42 all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform, except those falling under the exclusive
jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Environment and Natural
3. On September 25, 1998, an appeal was filed before the Office of the Secretary. An Appeal Resources (DENR)."
Memorandum later filed on November 10, 1998 raised the following issue on whether the subject
landholding was properly subjected to CARP coverage. The Office of the Secretary denied the appeal In addition, Sections 56 and 57, thereof provide for the designation by the Supreme Court of at least
for lack of merit in an Order dated March 17, 2004. The Order stated that the subject lands have a slope one (1) branch of the Regional Trial Court within each province to act as a special agrarian court. The
of 18% and were already developed as of June 15, 1988. Furthermore, the Order also stated that at the said special court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction only over petitions for the
time of the resolution of the Appeal therein, the subject land was already being occupied by farmer- determination of just compensation to landowners and the prosecution of criminal offenses under said
beneficiaries with their respective CLOAs which cannot be attacked collaterally. The Order also held Act. Said provisions thus delimit the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts in agrarian cases only to
that Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation failed to prove, by substantial evidence, that these two instances. Thus:
the areas that it wanted to be exempted from CARP coverage due to the 18% slope limitation are non-
productive and less suitable for agricultural use.43 "SEC. 56. Special Agrarian Court. - The Supreme Court shall designate at least one (1) branch of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) within each province to act as a Special Agrarian Court.
This Order which was issued by the then DAR OIC-Secretary was not appealed by protestant Trinidad
Valley Realty and Development Corporation to the CA. This Order is exactly in the nature of any such "The Supreme Court may designate more branches to constitute such additional Special Agrarian
"decision, order, award or ruling" of the DAR on any agrarian dispute or on any matter pertaining to Courts as may be necessary to cope with the number of agrarian cases in each province. In the
the application, implementation, enforcement, or interpretation of this Act and other pertinent laws on designation, the Supreme Court shall give preference to the Regional Trial Courts which have been
agrarian reform which may be brought to the CA by certiorari, except as otherwise provided in RA assigned to handle agrarian cases or whose presiding judges were former judges of the defunct Court
6657, within fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof - and not to the RTC. It is also significant to note of Agrarian Relations.xx x."
that in the proceedings before the DAR involving the protest of Trinidad Valley Realty and
Development Corporation, the issue on the unconstitutionality of the subject administrative issuances "SEC. 57. Special Jurisdiction. - The Special Agrarian Courts shall have original and exclusive
promulgated to implement RA 6657 was never raised - an issue that must have been raised at the jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners, and the
earliest possible opportunity. prosecution of all criminal offenses under this Act. The Rules of Court shall apply to all proceedings
before the Special Agrarian Courts unless modified by this Act.1âwphi1
The jurisdictional shifts on the authority to hear and decide agrarian reform matters is instructive:
"The Special Agrarian Courts shall decide all appropriate cases under their special jurisdiction within
x x x in 1980, upon the passage of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as the Judiciary thirty (30) days from submission of the case for decision."44
Reorganization Act, the Courts of Agrarian Relations were integrated into the Regional Trial Courts and
the jurisdiction of the former was vested in the latter courts. The case at bar deals with acts of the DAR and the application, implementation, enforcement, or
interpretation of RA 6657 - issues which do not involve the "special jurisdiction" of the RTC acting as a
However, with the enactment of Executive Order No. 229, which took effect on August 29, 1987, the Special Agrarian Court. Hence, when the court a quo heard and decided the instant case, it did so
Regional Trial Courts were divested of their general jurisdiction to try agrarian reform matters. The without jurisdiction.
said jurisdiction is now vested in the Department of Agrarian Reform.
The Court likewise ruled in the similar case of DAR v. Cuenca45 that "[a]ll controversies on the
Republic Act No. 6657, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, which took effect on June 15, 1988, implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) fall under the jurisdiction of
contains provisions which evince and support the intention of the legislature to vest in the Department the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), even though they raise questions that are also legal or
of Agrarian Reform exclusive jurisdiction over all agrarian reform matters. constitutional in nature." In said case, it was noted that the main thrust of the allegations in the
Complaint was the propriety of the Notice of Coverage and "not x x x the 'pure question of law'
spawned by the alleged unconstitutionality of EO 405 - but x x x the annulment of the DAR' s Notice of WHEREFORE, the Petition in G.R. No. 183191 is DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed Decision and
Coverage."46 The Court thus held that: Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 88512 dated June 28, 2007 and May 21, 2008,
respectively, are hereby AFFIRMED. The Petitions in G.R. Nos. 173386 and 174162 are hereby
To be sure, the issuance of the Notice of Coverage constitutes the first necessary step towards the GRANTED. The challenged Order in Special Civil Action No. 04-02-V, entitled Trinidad Valley Realty
acquisition of private land under the CARP. Plainly then, the propriety of the Notice relates to the and Development Corporation, et al. v. Jose Mari B. Ponce, in his capacity as Secretary of DAR, et al.
implementation of the CARP, which is under the quasi-judicial jurisdiction of the DAR. Thus, the DAR dated October 26, 2004 and the Decision in Civil Case No. 04-013-V, entitled Trinidad Valley Realty and
could not be ousted from its authority by the simple expediency of appending an allegedly Development Corporation, et al. v. The Honorable Rene Villa, in his capacity as Secretary of DAR, et al.
constitutional or legal dimension to an issue that is clearly agrarian.47 (Emphasis supplied) dated October 1 7, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 64, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental are hereby
ANNULLED and SET ASIDE for lack of jurisdiction. The Regional Trial Court, Branch 64, Guihulngan,
The legal recourse undertaken by Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al. is on all- Negros Oriental is likewise ordered to DISMISS herein Special Civil Action No. 04-02-V and Civil Case
fours with the remedy adopted by the private respondents in Cuenca. In this case, Trinidad Valley No. 04-013-V for lack of jurisdiction. The Writ of Permanent Prohibitory Injunction dated April 18,
Realty and Development Corporation, et al. cloaked the issue as a constitutional question - assailing the 2006 issued by the said court by virtue of its Order on even date is hereby LIFTED and SET ASIDE.
constitutionality of administrative issuances promulgated to implement the agrarian reform law - in
order to annul the titles issued therein. In Cuenca, private respondents assailed the constitutionality of With costs against the petitioners in G .R. No. 183191.
EO 45 in order to annul the Notice of Coverage issued therein. The only difference is that in Cuenca,
private respondents directly filed with the R TC their complaint to obtain the aforesaid reliefs while in SO ORDERED.
this case, Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al. filed their original petition for
certiorari with the R TC after the protest of Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation Republic of the Philippines
against the coverage of its landholding under CARP was dismissed by the DAR Regional Director and SUPREME COURT
such dismissal was affirmed by DAR OIC Secretary Jose Mari B. Ponce. But in both cases, it is evident Baguio City
that the constitutional angle was an attempt to exclude the cases from the ambit of the jurisdictional
prescriptions under RA 6657. FIRST DIVISION

The Court further stated in Cuenca that "in case of doubt, the jurisprudential trend is for courts to G.R. No. 199595 April 2, 2014
refrain from resolving a controversy involving matters that demand the special competence of
administrative agencies, 'even if the question[s] involved [are] also judicial in character."'48 In the PHILIPPINE WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION, INC., Petitioner,
instant case, however, there is hardly any doubt that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the subject vs.
matter of the case. Consequently, it did not have authority to perform any of the following: order the TEODORO R. YANGCO 2ND AND 3RD GENERATION HEIRS FOUNDATION, INC., Respondent.
admission of the amended petition of Trinidad Valley Realty and Development Corporation, et al.,
decide the amended petition on the merits, or issue a permanent prohibitory injunction. In any case, DECISION
such injunction issued by the RTC is a nullity in view of the express prohibitory provisions of the CARP
and this Court's Administrative Circular Nos. 29-2002 and 38-2002 enjoining all trial judges to strictly REYES, J.:
observe Section 68 of RA 6657, viz.:
This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition1 under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking the
SECTION 68. Immunity of Government Agencies from Undue Interference. - No injunction, restraining issuance of an order commanding the Register of Deeds of Quezon City and the Court Sheriff of the
order, prohibition or mandamus shall be issued by the lower courts against the Department of Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 218, to cease and desist from implementing the
Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Environment and Court Resolutions dated July 21, 20102 and September 15, 20103 in G.R. No. 190193 denying with
Natural Resources (DENR), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in their implementation of the finality Philippine Woman's Christian Temperance Union, Inc.'s (PWCTUI) petition for review of the
program. Court of Appeals (CA) Decision4 dated November 6, 2009 in CA-G.R. CV No. 90763 which affirmed the
Decision5 dated January 24, 2008 of the RTC in LRC Case No. Q-18126(04) disposing as follows:
Given our ruling that the R TC lacked jurisdiction over the instant case, we find no necessity to address
the other issues raised in the three consolidated petitions. WHEREFORE, the Register of Deeds of Quezon City is hereby ordered to cancel TCT No. 20970 T-22702
and issue in lieu thereof a new title in the name of Teodoro R. Yangco 2nd and 3rd Generation Heirs
Foundation, Inc. free from all liens and encumbrances.
Section 12215 thereof, be read into the donation. Interestingly the latter provision mandates dissolved
SO ORDERED.6 corporation to wind up their affairs and dispose of their assets within three years from the expiration
of their term. Being comprised of the heirs of the donor, TRY Foundation claimed that it is entitled to
PWCTUI also prays, as ancillary remedy, for the re-opening of LRC Case No. Q-18126(04) and as petition for the issuance of a new title in their name pursuant to Section 108 of Presidential Decree
provisional remedy, for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or a writ of (P.D.) No. 1529.16 TRY Foundation prayed for the issuance of a new title in its name after the
preliminary injunction. cancellation of PWCTUI’s TCT No. 20970 T-22702.

The Antecedents PWCTUI opposed the petition arguing that: (1) TRY Foundation has no legal personality to bring the
action because the donation has never been revoked and any right to demand for its revocation already
On May 19, 2004, respondent Teodoro R. Yangco (2nd and 3rd Generation Heirs) Foundation, Inc. (TRY prescribed; (2) although PCWTUI’s corporate term was not extended upon its expiration in 1979, it
Foundation) filed before the RTC of Quezon City, acting as a Land Registration Court, a Petition for the nonetheless registered anew and continued the operations, affairs and social work of the corporation;
Issuance of New Title in Lieu of Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 20970 T-22702 of the Office of it also continued to possess the property and exercised rights of ownership over it; (3) only the
the Register of Deeds of Quezon City docketed as LRC Case No. Q-18126(04).7 appropriate government agency and not TRY Foundation or any other private individual can challenge
the corporate life and existence of PCWTUI; (4) TRY Foundation and its counsel are guilty of forum
TRY Foundation alleged that it is composed of the 2nd and 3rd generation heirs and successors-in- shopping because they have already questioned PWCTUI’s corporate personality in a different forum
interest to the first generation testamentary heirs of the late philanthropist Teodoro R. Yangco but failed to obtain a favorable relief; (5) TRY Foundation is guilty of fraud for failing to include
(Yangco) who donated on May 19, 1934 a 14,073-square meter parcel of land (subject property) PWCTUI as an indispensable party and to furnish it with a copy of the petition; and (6) the RTC has no
located at 21 Boni Serrano Avenue, Quezon City in the following manner,8 viz: jurisdiction over the petition because PWCTUI is unaware of its publication.17

a) the property shall be used as a site for an institution to be known as the Abierrtas House of In a Resolution dated April 4, 2005, the RTC denied the Opposition18 of PWCTUI. According to the trial
Friendship the purpose of which shall be to provide a Home for needy and unfortunate women and court, when the corporate life of PWCTUI expired in 1979, the property ceased to be used for the
girls, including children of both sexes and promote, foster all efforts, work and activities looking purpose for which it was intended, hence, it automatically reverted to Yangco. As such, TRY
toward their protection from the ravages of all forms of immoralities; Foundation, being composed of his heirs, is considered "other person in interest" under Section 108 of
P.D. No. 1529 with a right to file a petition for the issuance of title over the property.
b) Should the property herein be used for any other purpose or purposes not herein specified, the
present gift shall become ipso facto null and void and property given shall automatically revert to the Hearings were thereafter held for the reception of evidence of TRY Foundation. On January 24, 2008,
donor, his heirs and assigns, but any improvement or improvements placed, constructed and/or the RTC rendered its Decision19 sustaining TRY Foundation’s petition.
maintained on said premises by the Donee, shall remain the property of said Donee to be by it removed
there[f]rom (sic) at its expense after reasonable notice from the donor, his heirs and assigns.9 The RTC ruled that PWCTUI, with SEC Registration No. PW-959 in whose name the property was
registered is separate and distinct from oppositor PWCTUI with SEC Registration No. 122088. The legal
The property was registered in the name of PWCTUI by virtue of TCT No. 20970 at the back of which personality of PWCTUI (PW-959) ipso facto ended when its registration expired in September 1979.
the above-quoted conditions of the donation were annotated. PWCTUI is a non-stock, non-profit The new PWCTUI (122088) has its own personality separate and distinct from PWCTUI (PW-959)
corporation originally registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1929 under hence the latter is not the donee and thus has no claim to the property. As such, the reversion clause in
SEC Registration No. PW-959.10 the donation came about and the property must revert to the donor or his heirs, thus:

PWCTUI’s corporate term expired in September 1979.11 Five years thereafter, using the same It is clear that Don Teodoro R. Yangco is the primary reversion owner of the property. He is succeeded
corporate name, PWCTUI obtained SEC Registration No. 12208812 and forthwith applied for the as reversion owner by the first generation heirs or those testamentary heirs named in his Last Will and
issuance of a new owner’s duplicate copy of TCT No. 20970 over the subject property thru LRC Case Testament which will was admitted to probate by the Supreme Court in the abovecited case. The
No. 22702. The application was granted and PWCTUI was issued a new TCT No. 20970 T-2270213 second generation heirs are the nieces and nephews of Don Teodoro R. Yangco and the sons/daughters
which, however, bore only the first condition imposed on the donation. of the "strangers" named in the will. The second generation heirs succeeded the first
generation/testamentary heirs in their own right. x x x.20 (Citations omitted)
Recounting the foregoing episodes, TRY Foundation claimed that the expiration of PWCTUI’s corporate
term in 1979 effectively rescinded the donation pursuant to the "unwritten resolutory condition" The RTC granted TRY Foundation’s petition by ordering the cancellation of PWCTUI’s TCT No. 20970
deemed written by Article 1315 of the Civil Code14 prescribing that the Corporation Code, specifically T-22702 and the issuance of a new title in the name of TRY Foundation.21
b. the commercial leasing of portions of the donated land did not violate the condition in the donation
PWCTUI appealed to the CA, arguing, among others, that it must be determined whether the condition because the lease contract with Jelby Acres was pursued for the generation of funds in order for
imposed in the donation has already occurred or deemed fulfilled. The appeal was docketed as CA-G.R. PWCTUI to carry on the charitable purposes of the Abiertas House of Friendship;
CV No. 90763. In its Decision22 dated November 6, 2009, the CA affirmed the RTC’s findings. The CA
added that the subsequent re-registration of PWCTUI (122088) did not revive or continue the c. TRY Foundation has no legal standing or cause of action to claim the land because its members are
corporate existence of PWCTUI (PW-959). Hence, PWCTUI (122088) is not the real donee not the true heirs of Yangco who died single and without descendants. His only relatives are his half-
contemplated in the donation made by Yangco and as such any issue on revocation of donation is siblings who are the legitimate children of his mother, Doña Ramona Arguelles Corpus and her first
improper. The CA Decision disposed thus: husband Tomas Corpus, hence, no right of inheritance ab intestato can take place between them
pursuant to Article 992 of the Civil Code; and d. Even assuming that TRY Foundation has a cause of
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The assailed Decision is AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against action for the revocation of the donation, the same has already prescribed because more than 40 years
[PWCTUI]. has lapsed from the date the donation was made in May 19, 1934.

SO ORDERED.23 The Court’s Ruling

PWCTUI sought recourse with the Court thru a petition for review on certiorari docketed as G.R. No. On its face, it is immediately apparent that the petition merits outright dismissal in view of the doctrine
190193. In a Resolution24 dated July 21, 2010, we denied the petition for failure to sufficiently show of immutability attached to the Court’s final and executory Resolutions dated July 21, 2010 and
any reversible error in the assailed CA decision. PWCTUI moved for reconsideration but its motion was September 15, 2010 in G.R. No. 190193.
denied with finality in another Resolution25 dated September 15, 2010. An entry of judgment was
thereafter issued stating that the Court Resolution dated July 21, 2010 became final and executory on The doctrine postulates that a decision that has acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable,
October 20, 2010.26 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 is made by the court that rendered it or by the Highest
On December 23, 2011, PWCTUI filed the herein petition captioned as one for "Prohibition & Certiorari Court of the land. Any act which violates this principle must immediately be struck down.28
and to Re-Open the Case with Prayer for Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) &/or Writ of
Preliminary Injunction."27 PWCTUI prayed for the following reliefs: A long and intent study, however, of the arguments raised in the present recourse vis-à-vis the
proceedings taken in LRC Case No. Q-18126(04) disclose that it is necessary, obligatory even, for the
a.) a TRO and/or a writ of preliminary injunction be issued preventing and/or enjoining public Court to accord affirmative consideration to the supplications tendered by PWCTUI in the petition at
respondents, Register of Deeds of Quezon City and the Sheriff of the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 218 bar.
from executing the RTC Decision dated January 24, 2008;
While firmly ingrained as a basic procedural tenet in Philippine jurisprudence, immutability of final
b.) to make the injunction permanent by annulling and setting aside all orders, decisions, resolutions judgments was never meant to be an inflexible tool to excuse and overlook prejudicial circumstances.
and proceedings issued and taken in relation to LRC Case No. Q-18126(04) before the trial and The doctrine must yield to practicality, logic, fairness and substantial justice.
appellate courts for having been promulgated in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion; and Hence, it’s application admits the following exceptions: (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)
c.) LRC Case No. Q-18126(04) be re-opened, re-considered and re-studied in the interest of true and whenever circumstances transpire after the finality of the decision rendering its execution unjust and
fair justice. inequitable.29

In support of its pleas, PWCTUI submitted the following arguments: Here, the third exception is attendant. The nullity of the RTC judgment and all subsequent rulings
affirming the same, render inoperative the doctrine of immutability of judgment, and consequently
a. based on the deed of donation, the expiration of PWCTUI’s corporate term is not stated as a ground justify the propriety of giving due course to the present petition.
for the nullification of the donation and the operation of the reversion clause;
To expound, the RTC judgment in LRC Case No. Q-18126(04) and all proceedings taken in relation
thereto were void because the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over the fundamental subject matter of
TRY Foundation’s petition for the issuance of a title which was in reality, a complaint for revocation of As aptly observed by the trial court, the petitory portion of petitioner’s complaint in Civil Case No. 98-
donation, an ordinary civil action outside the ambit of Section 108 of P.D. No. 1529. 033 seeks for a judgment declaring him the absolute owner of the donated property, a plea which
necessarily includes the revocation of the deed of donation in question. Verily, a declaration of
The petition filed by TRY petitioner’s absolute ownership appears legally possible only when the deed of donation is
Foundation was a disguised contextually declared peremptorily revoked.
complaint for revocation of
donation. xxxx

It has been held that the jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter of a particular action is It cannot be overemphasized that respondent barangay traces its claim of ownership over the disputed
determined by the plaintiff’s allegations in the complaint and the principal relief he seeks in the light of property to a valid contract of donation which is yet to be effectively revoked. Such rightful claim does
the law that apportions the jurisdiction of courts.30 Jurisdiction should be determined by considering not constitute a cloud on the supposed title of petitioner over the same property removable by an
not only the status or the relationship of the parties but also the nature of the issues or questions that action to quiet title. Withal, the remedy afforded in Article 476 of the Civil Code is unavailing until the
is the subject of the controversy.31 donation shall have first been revoked in due course under Article 764 or Article 1144 of the Code.34

The petition is premised on allegations that the deed of donation from whence PWCTUI derived its title An action which seeks the recovery
was automatically revoked when the latter’s original corporate term expired in 1979. Consequently, of property is outside the ambit of
reversion took effect in favor of the donor and/or his heirs. As relief, TRY Foundation sought the Section 108 of P.D. No. 1529.
cancellation of TCT No. 20970 T-22702 and the issuance of a new title in its name, to wit:
Whether the donation merits revocation and consequently effect reversion of the donated property to
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, it is respectfully prayed of the Hon. Court that after due the donor and/or his heirs cannot be settled by filing a mere petition for cancellation of title under
hearing, the Hon. Court render judgment: Section 108 of P.D. No. 1529 which reads:

Ordering the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to cancel TCT No. 20970 T-22702 and issue in lieu Sec. 108. Amendment and alteration of certificates. – No erasure, alteration, or amendment shall be
thereof a new title in the name of TRY Heirs (2nd and 3rd Generation) Heirs Foundation, Inc. free from made upon the registration book after the entry of a certificate of title or of a memorandum thereon
all liens and encumbrances.32 and the attestation of the same by the Register of Deeds, except by order of the proper Court of First
Instance. A registered owner or other person having interest in the registered property, or, in proper
The above contentions and plea betray the caption of the petition. Observably, TRY Foundation is cases, the Register of Deeds with the approval of the Commissioner of Land Registration, may apply by
actually seeking to recover the possession and ownership of the subject property from PWCTUI and petition to the court upon the ground that the registered interest of any description, whether vested,
not merely the cancellation of PWCTUI’s TCT No. 20970 T-22702. The propriety of pronouncing TRY contingent, expectant or inchoate appearing on the certificate, have terminated and ceased; or that new
Foundation as the absolute owner of the subject property rests on the resolution of whether or not the interest not appearing upon the certificate have arisen or been created; or that an omission or an error
donation made to PWCTUI has been effectively revoked when its corporate term expired in 1979. was made in entering a certificate or any memorandum thereon, or on any duplicate certificate: or that
Stated otherwise, no judgment proclaiming TRY Foundation as the absolute owner of the property can the same or any person in the certificate has been changed or that the registered owner has married,
be arrived at without declaring the deed of donation revoked. or, if registered as married, that the marriage has been terminated and no right or interest of heirs or
creditors will thereby be affected; or that a corporation which owned registered land and has been
The Court made a similar observation in Dolar v. Barangay Lublub (now P.D. Monfort North), dissolved has not yet convened the same within three years after its dissolution; or upon any other
Municipality of Dumangas,33 the facts of which bear resemblance to the facts at hand. In Dolar, the reasonable ground; and the court may hear and determine the petition after notice to all parties in
petitioner filed a complaint for quieting of title and recovery of possession with damages involving a interest, and may order the entry or cancellation of a new certificate, the entry or cancellation of a
land he had earlier donated to the respondent. The petitioner claimed that the donation had ceased to memorandum upon a certificate, or grant any other relief upon such terms and conditions, requiring
be effective when the respondent failed to comply with the conditions of the donation. As relief, the security and bond if necessary, as it may consider proper; Provided, however, That this section shall
petitioner prayed that he be declared the absolute owner of the property. The complaint was dismissed not be construed to give the court authority to reopen the judgment or decree of registration, and that
by the trial court on the ground that the petitioner’s cause of action for revocation has already nothing shall be done or ordered by the court which shall impair the title or other interest of a
prescribed and as such, its claim for quieting of title is ineffective notwithstanding that the latter cause purchaser holding a certificate for value and in good faith, or his heirs and assigns without his or their
of action is imprescriptible. In sustaining such dismissal, the Court remarked: written consent. Where the owner’s duplicate certificate is not presented, a similar petition may be
filed as provided in the preceding section.
construed to give the court authority to reopen the judgment or decree of registration." The petition of
All petitions or motions filed under this section as well as any other provision of this decree after TRY Foundation also violated that portion in Section 108 stating that "all petitions or motions filed
original registration shall be filed and entitled in the original case in which the decree of registration under this section as well as any other provision of this decree after original registration shall be filed
was entered. and entitled in the original case in which the decree of registration was entered." The petition of TRY
Foundation in LRC Case No. Q-18126(04) was clearly not a mere continuation of LRC Case No. 20970.
A parallel issue was encountered by the Court in Paz v. Republic of the Philippines,35 which involved a
petition for the cancellation of title brought under the auspices of Section 108 of P.D. No. 1529. The Further, the petition filed by TRY Foundation is not within the province of Section 108 because the
petition sought the cancellation of Original Certificate of Title No. 684 issued thru LRC Case No. 00-059 relief thereunder can only be granted if there is unanimity among the parties, or that there is no
in favor of the Republic, Filinvest Development Corporation and Filinvest Alabang, Inc., and the adverse claim or serious objection on the part of any party in interest.37 Records show that in its
issuance of a new title in the name of the petitioner therein. The petition was dismissed by the RTC. opposition to the petition, PWCTUI maintained that it "remains and continues to be the true and sole
owner in fee simple of the property" and that TRY Foundation "has no iota of right" thereto.38

The dismissal was affirmed by the CA and eventually by this Court on the following reasons: More so, the enumerated instances for amendment or alteration of a certificate of title under Section
108 are non-controversial in nature. They are limited to issues so patently insubstantial as not to be
We agree with both the CA and the RTC that the petitioner was in reality seeking the reconveyance of genuine issues. The proceedings thereunder are summary in nature, contemplating insertions of
the property covered by OCT No. 684, not the cancellation of a certificate of title as contemplated by mistakes which are only clerical, but certainly not controversial issues.39 Undoubtedly, revocation of
Section 108 of P.D. No. 1529. Thus, his petition did not fall under any of the situations covered by donation entails litigious and controversial matters especially in this case where the condition
Section 108, and was for that reason rightly dismissed. supposedly violated by PWCTUI is not expressly stated in the deed of donation. Thus, it is imperative to
conduct an exhaustive examination of the factual and legal bases of the parties’ respective positions for
Moreover, the filing of the petition would have the effect of reopening the decree of registration, and a complete determination of the donor’s desires. Certainly, such objective cannot be accomplished by
could thereby impair the rights of innocent purchasers in good faith and for value. To reopen the the court through the abbreviated proceedings of Section 108.
decree of registration was no longer permissible, considering that the one-year period to do so had
long ago lapsed, and the properties covered by OCT No. 684 had already been subdivided into smaller In fact, even if it were specifically imposed as a ground for the revocation of the donation that will set
lots whose ownership had passed to third persons. x x x. off the automatic reversion of the donated property to the donor and/or his heirs, court intervention is
still indispensable.
xxxx
As ruled in Vda. de Delgado v. CA,40 "[a]lthough automatic reversion immediately happens upon a
Nor is it subject to dispute that the petition was not a mere continuation of a previous registration violation of the condition and therefore no judicial action is necessary for such purpose, still judicial
proceeding. Shorn of the thin disguise the petitioner gave to it, the petition was exposed as a distinct intervention must be sought by the aggrieved party if only for the purpose of determining the
and independent action to seek the reconveyance of realty and to recover damages. Accordingly, he propriety of the rescission made."41 In addition, where the donee denies the rescission of the donation
should perform jurisdictional acts, like paying the correct amount of docket fees for the filing of an or challenges the propriety thereof, only the final award of the court can conclusively settle whether
initiatory pleading, causing the service of summons on the adverse parties in order to vest personal the resolution is proper or not.42 Here, PWCTUI unmistakably refuted the allegation that the
jurisdiction over them in the trial court, and attaching a certification against forum shopping (as expiration of its corporate term in 1979 rescinded the donation.
required for all initiatory pleadings). He ought to know that his taking such required acts for granted
was immediately fatal to his petition, warranting the granting of the respondents’ motion to dismiss.36 Lastly, the issues embroiled in revocation of donation are litigable in an ordinary civil proceeding
which demands stricter jurisdictional requirements than that imposed in a land registration case.
By analogy, the above pronouncements may be applied to the controversy at bar considering that TRY
Foundation’s exposed action for revocation of the donation necessarily includes a claim for the Foremost of which is the requirement on the service of summons for the court to acquire jurisdiction
recovery of the subject property. over the persons of the defendants. Without a valid service of summons, the court cannot acquire
jurisdiction over the defendant, unless the defendant voluntarily submits to it. Service of summons is a
The circumstances upon which the ruling in Paz was premised are attendant in the present case. The guarantee of one’s right to due process in that he is properly apprised of a pending action against him
petition of TRY Foundation had the effect of reopening the decree of registration in the earlier LRC and assured of the opportunity to present his defenses to the suit.43
Case No. 20970 which granted PWCTUI’s application for the issuance of a new owner’s duplicate copy
of TCT No. 20970. As such, it breached the caveat in Section 108 that "this section shall not be
In contrast, jurisdiction in a land registration cases being a proceeding in rem, is acquired by even if affirmed on appeal by the highest court of the land. All acts pursuant to it and all claims
constructive seizure of the land through publication, mailing and posting of the notice of hearing.44 emanating from it have no legal effect.50
Persons named in the application are not summoned but merely notified of the date of initial hearing
on the petition.45 The Court Resolutions dated July
21, 2010 and September 15, 2010 do
The payment of docket fees is another jurisdictional requirement for an action for revocation which not bar the present ruling.
was absent in the suit filed by TRY Foundation. On the other hand, Section 111 of P.D. No. 1529 merely
requires the payment of filing fees and not docket fees. It is worth emphasizing that despite PWCTUI’s incessant averment of the RTC’s lack of jurisdiction over
TRY Foundation’s petition, the trial court shelved the issue, took cognizance of matters beyond those
Filing fees are intended to take care of court expenses in the handling of cases in terms of cost of enveloped under Section 108 and sorted out, in abridged proceedings, complex factual issues
supplies, use of equipment, salaries and fringe benefits of personnel, etc., computed as to man hours otherwise determinable in a full-blown trial appropriate for an ordinary civil action.
used in handling of each case. Docket fees, on the other hand, vest the trial court jurisdiction over the
subject matter or nature of action.46 PWCTUI no longer raised the jurisdiction issue before the CA and limited its appeal to the factual
findings and legal conclusions of the RTC on its corporate existence and capacity as the subject
The absence of the above jurisdictional requirements for ordinary civil actions thus prevented the RTC, property’s uninterrupted owner. The matter reached the Court thru a petition for review under Rule
acting as a land registration court, from acquiring the power to hear and decide the underlying issue of 45, but with the question of jurisdiction absent in the appellate pleadings, the Court was constrained to
revocation of donation in LRC Case No. Q-18126(04). Any determination made involving such issue review only mistakes of judgment.
had no force and effect; it cannot also bind PWCTUI over whom the RTC acquired no jurisdiction for
lack of service of summons. While PWCTUI could have still challenged the RTC’s jurisdiction even on appeal, its failure to do so
cannot work to its disadvantage. The issue of jurisdiction is not lost by waiver or by estoppel; no laches
"Jurisdiction is the power with which courts are invested for administering justice; that is, for hearing will even attach to a judgment rendered without jurisdiction.51
and deciding cases. In order for the court to have authority to dispose of the case on the merits, it must
acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties."47 Hence, since the Court Resolutions dated July 21, 2010 and September 15, 2010 in G.R. No. 190193
disposed the case only insofar as the factual and legal questions brought before the CA were concerned,
Conclusion they cannot operate as a procedural impediment to the present ruling which deals with mistake of
jurisdiction.1âwphi1
All told, the RTC, acting as a land registration court, had no jurisdiction over the actual subject matter
contained in TRY Foundation’s petition for issuance of a new title. TRY Foundation cannot use the This is not to say, however, that a certiorari before the Court is a remedy against its own final and
summary proceedings in Section 108 of P.D. No. 1529 to rescind a contract of donation as such action executory judgment. As made known in certain cases, the Court is invested with the power to suspend
should be threshed out in ordinary civil proceedings. In the same vein, the RTC had no jurisdiction to the application of the rules of procedure as a necessary complement of its power to promulgate the
declare the donation annulled and as a result thereof, order the register of deeds to cancel PWCTUI’s same.52 Barnes v. Hon. Quijano Padilla53 discussed the rationale for this tenet, viz:
TCT No. 20970 T-22702 and issue a new one in favor of TRY Foundation.
Let it be emphasized that the rules of procedure should be viewed as mere tools designed to facilitate
The RTC, acting as a land registration court, should have dismissed the land registration case or re- the attainment of justice. Their strict and rigid application, which would result in technicalities that
docketed the same as an ordinary civil action and thereafter ordered compliance with stricter tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice, must always be eschewed. Even the Rules of
jurisdictional requirements. Since the RTC had no jurisdiction over the action for revocation of Court reflect this principle. The power to suspend or even disregard rules can be so pervasive and
donation disguised as a land registration case, the judgment in LRC Case No. Q-18126(04) is null and compelling as to alter even that which this Court itself has already declared to be final, x x x.
void. Being void, it cannot be the source of any right or the creator of any obligation. It can never
become final and any writ of execution based on it is likewise void.48 It may even be considered as a The emerging trend in the rulings of this Court is to afford every party litigant the amplest opportunity
lawless thing which can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever and whenever for the proper and just determination of his cause, free from the constraints of technicalities. Time and
it exhibits its head.49 again, this Court has consistently held that rules must not be applied rigidly so as not to override
substantial justice.54 (Citation omitted and italics supplied)
Resultantly, the appellate proceedings relative to LRC Case No. Q-18126(04) and all issuances made in
connection with such review are likewise of no force and effect. A void judgment cannot perpetuate
Here, the grave error in jurisdiction permeating the proceedings taken in LRC Case No. Q-18126(04) The Factual Antecedents
deprived PWCTUI of its property without the very foundation of judicial proceedings – due process.
Certainly, the Court cannot let this mistake pass without de rigueur rectification by suspending the This petition originated from Uniwide Sales Warehouse Club, Inc.’s (Uniwide’s) complaint against
rules of procedure and permitting the present recourse to access auxiliary review. Golden Sea Overseas Sales Corp. (Golden Sea) and Trajano for a sum of money and damages with
prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction before
If the Court, as the head and guardian of the judicial branch, must continuously merit the force of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Parañaque.4
public trust and confidence — which ultimately is the real source of its sovereign power — and if it
must decisively discharge its sacred duty as the last sanctuary of the oppressed and the weak, it must, Uniwide alleged that it entered into a sales arrangement with Golden Sea and Trajano for the
in appropriate cases, pro-actively provide weary litigants with immediate legal and equitable relief, importation of goods from China in 2001. Under this arrangement, Uniwide ordered merchandise from
free from the delays and legalistic contortions that oftentimes result from applying purely formal and Golden Sea, which delivered the goods to Uniwide. Since Uniwide was under corporate rehabilitation at
procedural approaches to judicial dispensations.55 that time, Trajano allegedly "guarantee[d] the payment"5 of the goods to Golden Sea. In turn, Uniwide
delivered to Trajano and a certain Vicente Kua post-dated checks payable to "Golden Universal/Cash"
WHEREFORE, all things studiedly viewed in the correct perspective, the petition is hereby GRANTED. or "Golden Sea/Cash" whose face value represented the goods’ purchase price plus a monetary interest
All proceedings taken, decisions, resolutions, orders and other issuances made in LRC Case No. Q- rate of 36% per annum.6
18126(04), CA-G.R. CV No. 90763 and G.R. No. 190193 are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.
From January 2002 until the filing of the complaint, Golden Sea delivered ₱178,199,054.60 worth of
The Register of Deeds of Quezon City is hereby ORDERED to CANCEL any Transfer Certificate of Title unsaleable, defective and/or damaged goods as well as merchandise that Uniwide did not agree to
issued in the name of Teodoro R. Yangco 2nd and 3rd Generation Heirs Foundation, Inc. as a purchase. Thus, Golden Sea allegedly agreed to credit in Uniwide’s account the price of these goods,
consequence of the execution of the disposition in LRC Case No. Q-18126(04), and to REINSTATE upon which Uniwide requested for credit amounting to ₱163,199,054.60 in its favor. However, Golden
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 20970 T-22702 in the name of Philippine Woman’s Christian Sea did not heed Uniwide’s request; instead, Golden Sea and Trajano encashed all the post-dated
Temperance Union, Inc. checks Uniwide issued (except those maturing from July 2005 to September 2006), which totaled to
₱86,284.028.00.7 Aggrieved, Uniwide filed the complaint to get the refund of the total value of
SO ORDERED. misdelivered, unsaleable, defective and/or damaged goods, and to enjoin Golden Sea and Trajano from
encashing the remaining post-dated checks in their possession.8
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT The complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 05-0265, was raffled to RTC of Parañaque – Branch 274,
Manila which was presided by Judge Fortunito Madrona.9 On August 11, 2005, the RTC issued a writ of
preliminary injunction prohibiting Golden Sea and Trajano from encashing the postdated checks.10
SECOND DIVISION Trajano moved to reconsider the issuance of the writ for lack of factual basis.11 Subsequently, Trajano
filed a motion to post counterbond to lift the writ of preliminary injunction.12 Uniwide opposed this,13
G.R. No. 190253 June 11, 2014 and filed a motion for ocular inspection of the goods to support its opposition to the motion to post
counterbond.14
JUAN TRAJANO a.k.a. JOHNNY TRAJANO, Petitioner,
vs. On December 22, 2005, the RTC issued an order: (1) sustaining the issuance of the writ of preliminary
UNIWIDE SALES WAREHOUSE CLUB, Respondent. injunction; (2) granting Uniwide’s motion for ocular inspection; and (3) deferring the resolution of
Trajano’s motion to post counterbond pending the ocular inspection of the subject goods.15
DECISION
On January 11, 2006, Trajano sought a partial reconsideration of the December 22, 2005 order insofar
BRION, J.: as the RTC held that his motion to post counterbond would only be resolved after the ocular inspection.
Trajano claimed that Uniwide entered into a contract of sale with Golden Sea for the importation of
We resolve the petition for review on certiorari,1 filed by petitioner Juan Trajano, to challenge the July merchandise. On the other hand, Uniwide entered into a contract of loan with Trajano for the payment
29, 2009 decision2 and the October 28, 2009 resolution3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. of these imported goods. Consequently, the determination of whether Golden Sea should credit in
101815. Uniwide’s account the total value of misdelivered, unsaleable, defective and/or damaged goods was a
separate matter from Uniwide’s contractual obligation to pay Trajano the matured loan. The condition
of the purchased goods was irrelevant with respect to Uniwide’s obligation to pay him the overdue
loan. Trajano thus prayed that he be allowed to post a counter bond and to encash the post-dated The CA Ruling in CA-G.R. SP No. 101815
checks.16 On the same date, Golden Sea and Trajano also separately moved for the voluntary inhibition
of Judge Madrona for his alleged bias towards Uniwide.17 In a decision dated July 29, 2009,the CA upheld the RTC rulings deferring the resolution of Trajano’s
motions and suspending the proceedings in Civil Case No. 05-0265 during the pendency of CA-G.R. SP
On January 12, 2006, Trajano filed a supplemental motion to his motion for partial reconsideration No. 95885. Citing Eternal Gardens Memorial Park v. Court of Appeals34 , the CA ruled that judicial
dated January 11, 2006.In his supplemental motion, Trajano called the trial court’s attention to the courtesy prompted the RTC to await the final determination of CA-G.R. SP No. 95885 before taking
statement of Uniwide’s counsel during the August 5, 2005 hearing that the agreement for the credit of cognizance of Trajano’s motions and continuing with the proceedings in Civil Case No. 05-0265.35
misdelivered, unsaleable, defective and/or damaged goods only involved Uniwide and Golden Sea.18
Trajano filed the present petition36 after the CA denied37 its motion for reconsideration.38
On February 15, 2006, Judge Madrona recused himself from the case,19 but Uniwide moved to
reconsider his voluntary inhibition. Thereafter, the case was re-raffled to the RTC of Parañaque – The Petition
Branch 195, which was presided by Judge Aida Estrella Macapagal. Uniwide contested the re-raffling of
the case due to its pending motion for reconsideration of Judge Madrona’s voluntary inhibition. On In the present petition, Trajano insists that the RTC should decide on his pending motions since the
June 30, 2006, Judge Madrona denied Uniwide’s motion for reconsideration and the records of the case propriety of a judge’s inhibition does not determine the RTC’s jurisdiction over the subject matter of
were subsequently transferred to Branch 195.20 On March 17, 2006, Trajano filed a petition for the case. He points out that jurisdiction is vested in the court, not in its branch or in the judge presiding
certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary the case. Trajano also opines that whether Judge Madrona correctly recused himself from the case
injunction docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 93492before the CA. In his petition, Trajano sought to dissolve merely involves the exercise of jurisdiction, not of jurisdiction itself. Trajano further asserts that the CA
the writ enjoining him from encashing the post-dated checks.21 On January 22, 2008, the CA dissolved incorrectly applied the principle of judicial courtesy since the disposition of his motions before the RTC
the writ of preliminary injunction with respect to Trajano for lack of factual basis.22 The CA held that would not render the propriety of Judge Madrona’s voluntary inhibition moot.39
Uniwide failed to prove that it had a clear and unmistakable right to be protected that warrants the
issuance of the writ.23 This decision eventually became final and entry of judgment was made on The Respondent’s Position
February 27, 2008.24
In its Comment,40 Uniwide claims that Trajano’s petition is in fact an appeal from the June 19 and
Meanwhile, on March 29, 2006, Trajano filed before the RTC motions to resolve his motion to post October 15, 2007 orders of the RTC since he did not raise the issue of "whether the CA correctly found
counterbond and for partial reconsideration dated January 11, 2006.25 Trajano reiterated his motion that Judge Macapagal did not commit grave abuse of discretion" in deferring the resolution of Trajano’s
to resolve on May 22, 2007.26 pending motions. Thus, Trajano incorrectly availed of a Rule 45 petition in assailing the RTC’s
interlocutory orders. Uniwide also points out that Trajano failed to show that Judge Macapagal gravely
On August 28, 2006, Uniwide assailed Judge Madrona’s inhibition from the case27 in a petition for abused his discretion in issuing the June 19 and October 15, 2007 orders. Lastly, Uniwide prays for the
certiorari docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 95885 before the CA.28 Uniwide argued that Judge Madrona’s outright denial of the petition because it lacks competent evidence of Trajano’s identity in its
perceived bias in its favor was unfounded, and that the preservation of the parties’ trust and verification page.
confidence was an insufficient ground for Judge Madrona’s inhibition.29
Proceedings in CA-G.R. SP No. 95885 and G.R. No. 193972
The RTC Ruling
In a decision dated May 5, 2010, the CAruled that the events that had transpired before Branch 274 of
Due to the pendency of CA-G.R. SP No. 95885, the RTC issued an order dated June 19, 2007 deferring the Parañaque RTC provoked the parties’ suspicions that Judge Madrona prejudged the case, which
the resolution of Trajano’s motions to post counterbond and for partial reconsideration dated January warranted his inhibition.41 The CA also denied Uniwide’s motion for reconsideration,42 prompting
11, 2006.The RTC held that the issue of whether Judge Madrona should hear Civil Case No. 05-0265 Uniwide to elevate the case before the Supreme Court in Uniwide Sales Warehouse Club, Inc. v. Golden
presented a jurisdictional question that prevented Branch 195 from resolving Trajano’s pending Sea Overseas Sales Corp., docketed as G.R. No. 193972, before the Court’s First Division.43
motions.30
The Issues
After the RTC denied31 Trajano’s motion for reconsideration32 in an order dated October 15, 2007, he
filed a petition for certiorari assailing the June 19 and October 15, 2007 orders before the CA.33 The This case presents to us the following issues:
case was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 101815.
(1) Whether the petition should be denied outright for procedural infirmities; in particular: This CA decision should not be confused with the RTC’s interlocutory orders that had been disputed
before the CA, which was correctly contested by Trajano through a petition for certiorari. In J.L.
(a) Whether the petition lacks proper verification; and Bernardo Construction v. Court of Appeals,50 we stated that a petition for certiorari is an appropriate
remedy to assail an interlocutory order: (1) when the tribunal issued such order without or in excess
(b) Whether the petition availed of the proper remedy in appealing the CA decision dated January 3, of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion and (2) when the assailed interlocutory order is
2008 and resolution dated October 28, 2009; patently erroneous and the remedy of appeal would not afford adequate and expeditious relief.

(2) Whether the resolution of Trajano’s motion to post counterbond,44 motion for partial Thus, Trajano correctly filed a petition for certiorari before the CA in order to strike down the RTC’s
reconsideration,45 and supplemental motion to the motion for partial reconsideration46 is already interlocutory orders that he claims to have been issued with grave abuse of discretion. In the same
moot and academic; and vein, Trajano’s present petition for review on certiorari is also the proper remedy, as it questions the
CA’s final order regarding the RTC’s interlocutory orders.
(3) Whether the CA erred in not finding that the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion in
suspending the proceedings in Civil Case No. 05-0265. II. The issue of whether the CA erred in finding no jurisdictional error in the June 19 and October 15,
2007 orders of the RTC is already moot and academic
The Court’s Ruling
Amidst the myriad of procedures that the parties had taken before the lower courts and this Court, the
We find the petition partly meritorious. main focus of the controversy — i.e., whether the CA erred in not finding a jurisdictional error on the
June 19 and October 15, 2007 orders of the RTC — no longer presents a justiciable controversy. The CA
I. The petition is not procedurally infirm and the parties have overlooked the crucial fact that the CA, in CA-G.R. SP No. 93492, had already
dissolved the writ of preliminary injunction that enjoined Trajano from encashing the subject post-
A. The petition contains proper verification dated checks. Moreover, the dissolution of the writ had long become final and executory on February
27, 2008.
Contrary to Uniwide’s claim, the records of the case show that the petition’s verification page
containsTrajano’s competent evidence of identity, specifically, Passport No. XX041470.47 Trajano’s In its June 19 and October 15, 2007 orders, the RTC deferred the resolution of Trajano’s motions to
failure to furnish Uniwide a copy of the petition containing his competent evidence of identity is a post counterbond and for partial reconsideration dated January 11, 2006. These motions were filed to
minor error that this Court may and chooses to brush aside in the interest of substantial justice. This lift the writ of preliminary injunction. In addition, the motion for partial reconsideration questioned
Court has, in proper instances, relaxed the application of the Rules of Procedure when the party has the RTC’s suspension of its ruling on the motion to post counterbond pending its ocular inspection of
shown substantial compliance with it.48 In these cases, we have held that the rules of procedure the subject goods. In turn, the order commanding the examination of the goods stemmed from
should not be applied in a very technical sense when it defeats the purpose for which it had been Uniwide’s motion for ocular inspection in support of its opposition to Trajano’s motion to post
enacted, i.e., to ensure the orderly, just and speedy dispensation of cases.49 We maintain this ruling in counterbond.
this procedural aspect of this case.
In other words, the gist of the controversy in CA-G.R. SP No. 101815 that are now the subject of the
B. Trajano properly availed of a Rule 45 petition in assailing the January 3, 2008 decision and the present petition pertains to the posting of counterbond to dissolve the writ of preliminary injunction,
October 28, 2009 resolution of the Court of Appeals which had already been lifted with respect to Trajano in CA-G.R. SP No. 93492. Thus, Trajano is no
longer entitled to any substantial relief on his pending motions before the RTC as the writ of
We also see no merit in Uniwide’s claim that Trajano improperly availed of the present petition for preliminary injunction itself had already been dissolved with finality.
review on certiorari in assailing the RTC orders dated June 19 and October 15, 2007. The body of the
petition clearly and unequivocably challenges the CA decision dated January 3, 2008 and resolution We also note that Trajano himself admitted that the subject post-dated checks had already become
dated October 28, 2009. A petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court invokes stale.51 A stale check is one which has not been presented for payment within a reasonable time after
the Court’s appellate jurisdiction over questions of law that has been decided by the lower courts with its issue; it is valueless and, therefore, should not be paid.52 For these reasons, we hold that this issue
finality. The CA decision assailed by the present petition involves its final order regarding the alleged has been rendered moot and academic.
grave abuse of discretion involved in the RTC’s interlocutory orders.1âwphi1
III. The RTC should continue with the proceedings in Civil Case No. 05-0265 during the pendency of
G.R. No. 193972
a complaint is filed before one branch or judge, jurisdiction does not attach to this branch or judge
Trajano alleges in his petition that the RTC did not set the case for Trial53 due to the pendency of CA- alone, to the exclusion of the others. Trial may be had or proceedings may continue by and before
G.R. SP No. 95885 and subsequently, G.R. No. 193972. The mere pendency of a special civil action for another branch or judge. The different branches in the RTC of Parañaque do not possess jurisdictions
certiorari commenced in relation to a case pending before a lower court does not automatically independent of and incompatible with each other.63
interrupt the proceedings in the lower court. A petition for certiorari does not divest the lower courts
of jurisdiction validly acquired over the case pending before them. A petition for certiorari, unlike an WHEREFORE, premises considered, we PARTLY GRANT the petition. The resolution of petitioner Juan
appeal, is an original action; it is not a continuation of the proceedings in the lower court. It is designed Trajano's motion to post counterbond dated September 9, 2005, motion for partial reconsideration of
to correct only errors of jurisdiction, including grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of the order allowing ocular inspection dated January 11, 2006, and supplemental motion to the motion
jurisdiction.54 for partial reconsideration dated January 12, 2006 is hereby declared MOOT AND ACADEMIC. The
Regional Trial Court of Parañaque - Branch 195 is hereby ordered to CONTINUE with the proceedings
Under Section 7, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, the higher court should issue against the public in Civil Case No. 05-0265.
respondent a temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction in order to interrupt the
course of the principal case.55 The petitioner in a Rule 65 petition has the burden of proof to show that SO ORDERED.
there is a meritorious ground for the issuance of an injunctive writ or order to suspend the
proceedings before the public respondent. He should show the existence of an urgent necessity for the Republic of the Philippines
writ or order, so that serious damage may be prevented. Nonetheless, even if an injunctive writ or SUPREME COURT
order is issued, the lower court retains jurisdiction over the principal case.56 Baguio City

Indeed, we introduced in Eternal Gardens Memorial Park v. Court of Appeals57 the principle of judicial SECOND DIVISION
courtesy to justify the suspension of the proceedings before the lower court even without an injunctive
writ or order from the higher court. In that case, we pronounced that "[d]ue respect for the Supreme G.R. No. 182153 April 7, 2014
Court and practical and ethical considerations should have prompted the appellate court to wait for the
final determination of the petition [for certiorari] before taking cognizance of the case and trying to TUNG HO STEEL ENTERPRISES CORPORATION, Petitioner,
render moot exactly what was before this [C]ourt."58 We subsequently reiterated the concept of vs.
judicial courtesy in Joy Mart Consolidated Corp. v. Court of Appeals.59 TING GUAN TRADING CORPORATION, Respondent.

We, however, have qualified and limited the application of judicial courtesy in Go v. Abrogar60 and DECISION
Republic v. Sandiganbayan.61 In these cases, we expressly delimited the application of judicial
courtesy to maintain the efficacy of Section 7, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, and held that the principle BRION, J.:
of judicial courtesy applies only "if there is a strong probability that the issues before the higher court
would be rendered moot and moribund as a result of the continuation of the proceedings in the lower We resolve the petition for review on, certiorari1 filed by petitioner Tung Ho Steel Enterprises Corp.
court." Through these cases, we clarified that the principle of judicial courtesy remains to be the (Tung Ho) to challenge the July 5, 2006 decision2 and the March 12, 2008 resolution3 of the Court of
exception rather than the rule.62 Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 92828.

From these perspectives, the appellate court erroneously applied the principle of judicial courtesy in The Factual Antecedents
the current case. There is no strong probability that the issue of the propriety of Judge Madrona’s
voluntary inhibition in CA-G.R. SP No. 95885 would be rendered moot and academic by the Tung Ho is a foreign corporation organized under the laws of Taiwan, Republic of China.4 On the other
continuation of the proceedings in the trial court. hand, respondent Ting Guan Trading Corp. (Ting Guan) is a domestic corporation organized under the
laws of the Philippines.5
Furthermore, whether Judge Madrona properly inhibited himself from the case does not pose any
jurisdictional problem in resolving the issues in Civil Case No. 05-0265. We agree with Trajano that On January 9, 2002, Ting Guan obligated itself under a contract of sale to deliver heavy metal scrap iron
jurisdiction vests in the trial court, not in the judges. We also point out in this respect that the various and steel to Tung Ho. Subsequently, Tung Ho filed a request for arbitration before the ICC International
branches of the RTC of Parañaque are coordinate and co-equal courts whose totality constitutes only Court of Arbitration (ICC) in Singapore after Ting Guan failed to deliver the full quantity of the
one RTC. Each of the RTC's branches is not a court separate and distinct from the other branches. When promised heavy metal scrap iron and steel.6
grounds were raised before the filing of an answer. The CA likewise ruled that Tung Ho properly filed
The ICC ruled in favor of Tung Ho on June 18, 2004 and ordered Ting Guan to pay Tung Ho the the complaint before the RTC-Makati.12
following: (1) actual damages in the amount of US$ 659,646.15 with interest of 6% per annum from
December 4, 2002 until final payment; (2) cost of arbitration in the amount of US $ 47,000.00; and (3) Subsequently, both parties moved to partially reconsider the CA decision. Tung Ho reiterated that
legal costs and expenses in the amount of NT $ 761,448.00 and US $ 34,552.83.7 there was proper service of summons. On the other hand, Ting Guan sought to modify the CA decision
with respect to the proper venue of the case. The CA denied Ting Guan’s motion for partial
On October 24, 2004, Tung Ho filed an action against Ting Guan for the recognition and enforcement of reconsideration in an order dated December 5, 2006.13
the arbitral award before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati, Branch 145. Ting Guan moved to
dismiss the case based on Tung Ho’s lack of capacity to sue and for prematurity. Ting Guan Ting Guan immediately proceeded to file a petition for review on certiorari before this Court to
subsequently filed a supplemental motion to dismiss based on improper venue. Ting Guan argued that question the CA’s rulings as discussed below. In the interim (on February 11, 2008), Tung Ho (whose
the complaint should have been filed in Cebu where its principal place of business was located.8 motion for reconsideration of the CA decision was still pending with that court) filed a "Motion to
Supplement and Resolve Motion for Reconsideration" before the CA. In this motion, Tung Ho prayed
The Proceedings before the RTC for the issuance of an alias summons if the service of summons had indeed been defective, but its
motion proved unsuccessful.14
The RTC denied Ting Guan’s motion to dismiss in an order dated May 11, 2005. Ting Guan moved to
reconsider the order and raised the RTC’s alleged lack of jurisdiction over its person as additional It was not until March 12, 2008, after the developments described below, that the CA finally denied
ground for the dismissal of the complaint. Ting Guan insisted that Ms. Fe Tejero, on whom personal Tung Ho’s partial motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.
service was served, was not its corporate secretary and was not a person allowed under Section 11,
Rule 14 of the Rules of Court to receive a summons. It also asserted that Tung Ho cannot enforce the Ting Guan’s Petition before this Court
award in the Philippines without violating public policy as Taiwan is not a signatory to the New York
Convention.9 (G.R. No. 176110)

The RTC denied the motion in an order dated November 21, 2005 and ruled that Ting Guan had Ting Guan’s petition before this Court was docketed as G.R. No. 176110. Ting Guan argued that the
voluntarily submitted to the court’s jurisdiction when it raised other arguments apart from lack of dismissal of the case should be based on the following additional grounds: first, the complaint was
jurisdiction in its motion to dismiss. prematurely filed; second, the foreign arbitral award is null and void; third, the venue was improperly
laid in Makati; and lastly, the enforcement of the arbitral award was against public policy.15
The Proceedings before the CA
On April 24, 2007, Tung Ho filed its Comment dated April 24, 2007 in G.R. No. 176110, touching on the
Ting Guan responded to the denials by filing a petition for certiorari before the CA with an application issue of jurisdiction, albeit lightly. Tung Ho complained in its Comment that Ting Guan engaged in
for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction.10 dilatory tactics when Ting Guan belatedly raised the issue of jurisdiction in the motion for
reconsideration before the RTC. However, Tung Ho did not affirmatively seek the reversal of the July 5,
In its Memorandum, Tung Ho argued that a Rule 65 petition is not the proper remedy to assail the 2006 decision. Instead, it merely stated that Ting Guan’s petition "cannot be dismissed on the ground
denial of a motion to dismiss. It pointed out that the proper recourse for Ting Guan was to file an that the summons was wrongfully issued as the petitioner can always move for the issuance of an alias
answer and to subsequently appeal the case. It also posited that beyond the reglementary period for summons to be served". Furthermore, Tung Ho only prayed that Ting Guan’s petition be denied in G.R.
filing an answer, Ting Guan was barred from raising other grounds for the dismissal of the case. Tung No. 176110 and for other just and equitable reliefs. In other words, Tung Ho failed to effectively argue
Ho also claimed that the RTC acquired jurisdiction over the person of Ting Guan since the return of its case on the merits before the Court in G.R. No. 176110.
service of summons expressly stated that Tejero was a corporate secretary.11
On June 18, 2007, we issued our Resolution denying Ting Guan’s petition for lack of merit. On
In its decision dated July 5, 2006, the CA dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction over the November 12, 2007, we also denied Ting Guan’s motion for reconsideration. On January 8, 2008, the
person of Ting Guan. The CA held that Tung Ho failed to establish that Tejero was Ting Guan’s Court issued an entry of judgment in Ting Guan’s petition, G.R. No. 176110.
corporate secretary. The CA also ruled that a petition for certiorari is the proper remedy to assail the
denial of a motion to dismiss if the ground raised in the motion is lack of jurisdiction. Furthermore, any After the entry of judgment, we referred the matter back to the RTC for further proceedings. On
of the grounds for the dismissal of the case can be raised in a motion to dismiss provided that the January 16, 2008, the RTC declared the case closed and terminated. Its order stated:
Upon examination of the entire records of this case, an answer with caution was actually filed by the
respondent to which a reply was submitted by the petitioner. Since the answer was with the a) Whether Tejero was the proper person to receive the summons; and
qualification that respondent is not waiving its claim of lack of jurisdiction over its person on the
ground of improper service of summons upon it and that its petition to this effect filed before the Court b) Whether Ting Guan made a voluntary appearance before the trial court.
of Appeals was acted favorably and this case was dismissed on the aforementioned ground and it
appearing that the Decision as well as the Order denying the motion for reconsideration of the The Court’s Ruling
petitioner now final and executory, the Order of November 9, 2007 referring this petition to the Court
Annexed Mediation for possible amicable settlement is recalled it being moot and academic. This case We find the petition meritorious.
is now considered closed and terminated.
I. The Court is not precluded from ruling on the jurisdictional issue raised in the petition
On February 6, 2008, Tung Ho moved to reconsider the RTC order. Nothing in the records shows
whether the RTC granted or denied this motion for reconsideration. A. The petition is not barred by res judicata

Tung Ho’s Petition before this Court Res judicata refers to the rule that a final judgment or decree on the merits by a court of competent
jurisdiction is conclusive on the rights of the parties or their privies in all later suits on all points and
(G.R. No. 182153) matters determined in the former suit.19 For res judicata to apply, the final judgment must be on the
merits of the case which means that the court has unequivocally determined the parties’ rights and
On May 7, 2008, Tung Ho seasonably filed a petition for review on certiorari to seek the reversal of the obligations with respect to the causes of action and the subject matter of the case.20
July 5, 2006 decision and the March 12, 2008 resolution of the CA. This is the present G.R. No. 182153
now before us. Contrary to Ting Guan’s position, our ruling in G.R. No. 176110 does not operate as res judicata on
Tung Ho’s appeal; G.R. No. 176110 did not conclusively rule on all issues raised by the parties in this
Tung Ho reiterates that the RTC acquired jurisdiction over the person of Ting Guan. It also claims that case so that this Court would now be barred from taking cognizance of Tung Ho’s petition. Our
the return of service of summons is a prima facie evidence of the recited facts i.e., that Tejero is a disposition in G.R. No. 176110 only dwelt on technical or collateral aspects of the case, and not on its
corporate secretary as stated therein and that the sheriff is presumed to have regularly performed his merits. Specifically, we did not rule on whether Tung Ho may enforce the foreign arbitral award against
official duties in serving the summons. In the alternative, Tung Ho argues that Ting Guan’s successive Ting Guan in that case.
motions before the RTC are equivalent to voluntary appearance. Tung Ho also prays for the issuance of
alias summons to cure the alleged defective service of summons.16 B. The appellate court cannot be ousted of jurisdiction until it finally disposes of the case

Respondent Ting Guan’s Position The court’s jurisdiction, once attached, cannot be ousted until it finally disposes of the case. When a
court has already obtained and is exercising jurisdiction over a controversy, its jurisdiction to proceed
(G.R. No. 182153) to the final determination of the case is retained.21 A judge is competent to act on the case while its
incidents remain pending for his disposition.
In its Comment, Ting Guan submits that the appeal is already barred by res judicata. It also stresses
that the Court has already affirmed with finality the dismissal of the complaint.17 Ting Guan also The CA was not ousted of its jurisdiction with the promulgation of G.R. No. 176110. The July 5, 2006
argues that Tung Ho raises a factual issue that is beyond the scope of a petition for review on certiorari decision has not yet become final and executory for the reason that there remained a pending incident
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.18 before the CA – the resolution of Tung Ho’s motion for reconsideration – when this Court promulgated
G.R. No. 176110. In this latter case, on the other hand, we only resolved procedural issues that are
The Issues divorced from the present jurisdictional question before us. Thus, what became immutable in G.R. No.
176110 was the ruling that Tung Ho’s complaint is not dismissible on grounds of prematurity, nullity of
This case presents to us the following issues: the foreign arbitral award, improper venue, and the foreign arbitral award’s repugnance to local public
policy. This leads us to the conclusion that in the absence of any ruling on the merits on the issue of
1) Whether the present petition is barred by res judicata; and jurisdiction, res judicata on this point could not have set in.

2) Whether the trial court acquired jurisdiction over the person of Ting Guan, specifically:
C. Tung Ho’s timely filing of a motion for reconsideration and of a petition for review on certiorari Instead of filing an answer, the defendant may opt to file a motion for reconsideration. Only after the
prevented the July 5, 2006 decision from attaining finality trial court shall have denied the motion for reconsideration does the defendant become bound to file
his answer.27 If the defendant fails to file an answer within the reglementary period, the plaintiff may
Furthermore, under Section 2, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, Tung Ho may file a petition for review on file a motion to declare the defendant in default. This motion shall be with notice to the defendant and
certiorari before the Court within (15) days from the denial of its motion for reconsideration filed in shall be supported by proof of the failure.28
due time after notice of the judgment. Tung Ho’s timely filing of a motion for reconsideration before the
CA and of a Rule 45 petition before this Court prevented the July 5, 2006 CA decision from attaining The trial court’s denial of the motion to dismiss is not a license for the defendant to file a Rule 65
finality. For this Court to deny Tung Ho’s petition would result in an anomalous situation where a party petition before the CA. An order denying a motion to dismiss cannot be the subject of a petition for
litigant is penalized and deprived of his fair opportunity to appeal the case by faithfully complying with certiorari as the defendant still has an adequate remedy before the trial court – i.e., to file an answer
the Rules of Court. and to subsequently appeal the case if he loses the case.29 As exceptions, the defendant may avail of a
petition for certiorari if the ground raised in the motion to dismiss is lack of jurisdiction over the
II. The trial court acquired jurisdiction over the person of Ting Guan person of the defendant30 or over the subject matter.31

A. Tejero was not the proper person to receive the summons We cannot allow and simply passively look at Ting Guan’s blatant disregard of the rules of procedure in
the present case. The Rules of Court only allows the filing of a motion to dismiss once.32 Ting Guan’s
Nonetheless, we see no reason to disturb the lower courts’ finding that Tejero was not a corporate filing of successive motions to dismiss, under the guise of "supplemental motion to dismiss" or "motion
secretary and, therefore, was not the proper person to receive the summons under Section 11, Rule 14 for reconsideration", is not only improper but also dilatory.33 Ting Guan’s belated reliance on the
of the Rules of Court. This Court is not a trier of facts; we cannot re-examine, review or re-evaluate the improper service of summons was a mere afterthought, if not a bad faith ploy to avoid the foreign
evidence and the factual review made by the lower courts. In the absence of compelling reasons, we arbitral award’s enforcement which is still at its preliminary stage after the lapse of almost a decade
will not deviate from the rule that factual findings of the lower courts are final and binding on this since the filing of the complaint.
Court.22
Furthermore, Ting Guan’s failure to raise the alleged lack of jurisdiction over its person in the first
B. Ting Guan voluntarily appeared before the trial court motion to dismiss is fatal to its cause. Ting Guan voluntarily appeared before the RTC when it filed a
motion to dismiss and a "supplemental motion to dismiss" without raising the RTC’s lack of jurisdiction
However, we cannot agree with the legal conclusion that the appellate court reached, given the over its person. In Anunciacion v. Bocanegra,34 we categorically stated that the defendant should raise
established facts.23 To our mind, Ting Guan voluntarily appeared before the trial court in view of the the affirmative defense of lack of jurisdiction over his person in the very first motion to dismiss. Failure
procedural recourse that it took before that court. Its voluntary appearance is equivalent to service of to raise the issue of improper service of summons in the first motion to dismiss is a waiver of this
summons.24 defense and cannot be belatedly raised in succeeding motions and pleadings.

As a basic principle, courts look with disfavor on piecemeal arguments in motions filed by the parties. Even assuming that Ting Guan did not voluntarily appear before the RTC, the CA should have ordered
Under the omnibus motion rule, a motion attacking a pleading, order, judgment, or proceeding shall the RTC to issue an alias summons instead. In Lingner & Fisher GMBH vs. Intermediate Appellate
include all objections then available.25 The purpose of this rule is to obviate multiplicity of motions Court35, we enunciated the policy that the courts should not dismiss a case simply because there was
and to discourage dilatory motions and pleadings. Party litigants should not be allowed to reiterate an improper service of summons. The lower courts should be cautious in haphazardly dismissing
identical motions, speculating on the possible change of opinion of the courts or of the judges thereof. complaints on this ground alone considering that the trial court can cure this defect and order the
issuance of alias summons on the proper person in the interest of substantial justice and to expedite
In this respect, Section 1, Rule 16 of the Rules of Court requires the defendant to file a motion to the proceedings.
dismiss within the time for, but before filing the answer to the complaint or pleading asserting a claim.
Section 1, Rule 11 of the Rules of Court, on the other hand, commands the defendant to file his answer III. A Final Note
within fifteen (15) days after service of summons, unless a different period is fixed by the trial court.
Once the trial court denies the motion, the defendant should file his answer within the balance of As a final note, we are not unaware that the present case has been complicated by its unique
fifteen (15) days to which he was entitled at the time of serving his motion, but the remaining period development. The complication arose when the CA, instead of resolving the parties’ separate partial
cannot be less than five (5) days computed from his receipt of the notice of the denial.26 motions for reconsideration in one resolution, proceeded to first resolve and to deny Ting Guan’s
partial motion. Ting Guan, therefore, went to this Court via a petition for review on certiorari while
Tung Ho’s partial motion for reconsideration was still unresolved.
Expectedly, Ting Guan did not question the portions of the CA decision favorable to it when it filed its The March 6, 1985 resolution denying reconsideration of the January 30, 1985 resolution was, to
petition with this Court. Instead, Ting Guan reiterated that the CA should have included additional repeat, not served on the petitioners until March 20, 1985 - and therefore the Jan. 30, 1985 resolution
grounds to justify the dismissal of Tung Ho’s complaint with the RTC. The Court denied Ting Guan’s could not be deemed final and executory until one (1) full day (March 21) had elapsed, or on March 22,
petition, leading to the entry of judgment that improvidently followed. Later, the CA denied Tung Ho’s 1985 (assuming inaction on petitioners' part.) The entry of judgment relative to the January 30, 1985
partial motion for reconsideration, prompting Tung Ho’s own petition with this Court, which is the resolution, made on March 18, 1985, was therefore premature and inefficacious. An entry of judgment
present G.R. No. 182153. does not make the judgment so entered final and execution when it is not so in truth. An entry of
judgment merely records the fact that a judgment, order or resolution has become final and executory;
Under the Rules of Court, entry of judgment may only be made if no appeal or motion for but it is not the operative act that make the judgment, order or resolution final and executory. In the
reconsideration was timely filed.36 In the proceedings before the CA, if a motion for reconsideration case at bar, the entry of judgment on March 18, 1985 did not make the January 30, 1985 resolution
(including a partial motion for reconsideration37) is timely filed by the proper party, execution of the subject of the entry, final and executory, As of the date of entry, March 18, 1985, notice of the
CA’s judgment or final resolution shall be stayed.38 This rule is applicable even to proceedings before resolution denying reconsideration of the January 30, 1985 resolution had not yet been served on the
the Supreme Court, as provided in Section 4, Rule 56 of the Rules of Court.39 petitioners or any of the parties, since March 18, 1985 was also the date of the notice (and release) of
the March 6, 1985 resolution denying reconsideration.1âwphi1
In the present case, Tung Ho timely filed its motion for reconsideration with the CA and seasonably
appealed the CA’s rulings with the Court through the present petition (G.R. No. 182153). According to this ruling, the motu proprio recall or setting aside of the entry of final judgment was
proper and "entirely consistent with the inherent power of every court inter alia to amend and control
To now recognize the finality of the Resolution of Ting Guan petition (G.R. No. 176110) based on its its process and orders so as to make them conformable to law and justice [Sec. 5(g), Rule 135, Rules of
entry of judgment and to allow it to foreclose the present meritorious petition of Tung Ho, would of Court,]. That the recall has in fact served to achieve a verdict consistent with law and justice is clear
course cause unfair and unjustified injury to Tung Ho. First, as previously mentioned, the Ting Guan from the judgment subsequently rendered on the merits." This course of action is effectively what the
petition did not question or assail the full merits of the CA decision. It was Tung Ho, the party aggrieved Court undertook today, adapted of course to the circumstances of the present case.
by the CA decision, who substantially questioned the merits of the CA decision in its petition; this
petition showed that the CA indeed committed error and Tung Ho’s complaint before the RTC should In light of these premises, we hereby REVERSE and SET ASIDE the July 5, 2006 decision and the March
properly proceed. Second, the present case is for the enforcement of an arbitral award involving 12, 2008 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 92828. SP. Proc. No. 11.-5954 is hereby
millions of pesos. Tung Ho already won in the foreign arbitration and the present case is simply for the ordered reinstated. Let the records of this case be remanded to the court of origin for further
enforcement of this arbitral award in our jurisdiction. Third, and most importantly, Tung Ho properly proceedings. No costs.
and timely availed of the remedies available to it under the Rules of Court, which provide that filing
and pendency of a motion for reconsideration stays the execution of the CA judgment. Therefore, at the SO ORDERED.
time of the entry of judgment in G.R. No. 176110 in the Supreme Court on January 8, 2008, the CA
decision which the Court affirmed was effectively not yet be final.

Significantly, the rule that a timely motion for reconsideration stays the execution of the assailed
judgment is in accordance with Rule 51, Section 10 (Rules governing the CA proceedings) which
provides that "entry of judgments may only be had if there is no appeal or motion for reconsideration
timely filed. The date when the judgment or final resolution becomes executory shall be deemed as the
date of its entry." Incidentally, this procedure also governs before Supreme Court proceedings.40
Following these rules, therefore, the pendency of Tung Ho’s MR with the CA made the entry of the
judgment of the Court in the Ting Guan petition premature and inefficacious for not being final and
executory.

Based on the above considerations, the Court would not be in error if it applies its ruling in the case of
Realty Sales Enterprises, Inc. and Macondray Farms, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, et al.41
where the Court, in a per curiam resolution, ruled that an entry of judgment may be recalled or lifted
motu proprio when it is clear that the decision assailed of has not yet become final under the rules: