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Pre-Bar Notes in Civil Procedure - Dean Jara

Pre-Bar Notes in Civil Procedure - Dean Jara

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03/09/2014

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PRE-BAR LECTURES IN REMEDIAL LAW - Dean Virgilio B. JaraCIVIL PROCEDUREProcedure always begins with substantive law. It is impossible to talk about procedure without touching on substantive law.The important substantive laws in relation to procedure are the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (BP 129), the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1948,and their amendatory laws. These substantive laws provide for the jurisdictionof the courts. These are the laws that created the courts, which resolve actualcontroversies between litigants.We have an integrated judicial system, with the Supreme Court being theonly Constitutional Court. Take note that the Sandiganbayan is only a Constitutionally-mandated court.The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is given in the Constitution and not in BP 129. But the Judiciary Act of 1948 also speaks of the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The question arises: Didn
t BP 129 repeal the Judiciary Act of 1948? The answer is NO. The repealing clause of BP 129 only repealed the provisions of the Judiciary Act of 1948, which are inconsistent with the provisions of BP 129. There is no conflict between BP 129 and the Judiciary Act of 1948 becauseBP 129 speaks nothing about jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Besides, in Sec.9, BP 129, there is a qualifying phrase therein which provides that the Court ofAppeals possesses appellate jurisdiction over cases
except those falling withinthe appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the provisions of this Act, and of sub-paragraph (1) of the third paragraphand sub-paragraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948.
Notice that in the Constitution, in the Judiciary Act of 1948 and the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, jurisdiction is classified into original, appellate and
concurrent
. One of the purposes why BP 129 was enacted is, to do awaywith concurrent jurisdiction. But although this was the purpose, we cannot really do away with concurrence - and by implication, it still applies.An example is, under the Constitution, the Supreme Court exercises original jurisdiction over public ministers and consuls. However, BP 129 grants the same to the Regional Trial Courts. Since the Constitution does not use the word
exclusive
, hence, both courts exercise concurrent jurisdiction.Another example is the vesting of the Constitution unto the Supreme Court of original jurisdiction over certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warrantoand habeas corpus cases. BP 129 grants to the Court of Appeals original jurisdiction over the same cases
whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction
. Hence, reading the Constitution and BP 129, three courts have original jurisdictionover certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto and habeas corpus cases - the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Court. This simply means there is coordination and congruence in these courts when it comes to these cases. The conclusion, therefore, is the three courts exercise original and concurrent over the above-mentioned cases although BP 129 does not mention the term
concurrent
.The petitioner in any of these cases is given three choices - he may godirectly to the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or the Regional Trial Court.Should this be the interpretation in light of BP 129? Under Sec. 4, Rule 65, the petitioner is not given much choice because the Supreme Court has included this
Principle on the Hierarchy of Courts
 
meaning, the petitioner should first file the petition for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto and habeas corpus cases with the Regional Trial Court or the Court of Appeals before resorting to the Supreme Court although it has original jurisdiction over the same petition.Also, under BP 129, the Court of Appeals has original jurisdiction overcertiorari, prohibition, mandamus
whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction
. The qualifying phrase
whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction
isnot found in the Constitution. Similarly under BP 129, this phrase is not found
 
in the original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court over the same cases.So why is there such a qualifying phrase? Take note of the Judiciary Actof 1948, where the Court of Appeals was also given original jurisdiction to trycertiorari, prohibition, and mandamus but
only in aid of its appellate jurisdiction.
When BP 129 was enacted, it desired to give the Court of Appeals original jurisdiction whether or not it is in exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, hence, the change or amendment.Does the law still use the qualifying phrase
in aid of its appellate jurisdiction
in allocating the power to try certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus? The answer is YES, when it comes to the Sandiganbayan which tries petitions for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus cases,
but only in aid of its appellate jurisdiction.
When it comes to the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, thereseems to be an inconsistency between the constitutional provision on this matter, and that contained in the Judiciary Act of 1948. The constitution says, that
the Supreme Court shall have the power to review, revise, modify or affirm on appeal or on certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, cases involving

, then there is an enumeration of five sentences, such as the constitutionally or validity of a treaty, law, executive order, where the jurisdiction of an inferior court is in controversy and so on. In the Judiciary Act of 1948, it is expressly provided that the appellate jurisdiction over these cases is exclusive.In other words, while the Constitution gives to the Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction over these cases, the Constitution does not tell us whether theappellate jurisdiction is exclusive. Unlike in the Judiciary Act of 1948, it seems that the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over the cases mentioned in the Constitution - that is, the power to review, revise, reverse, modify oraffirm on appeal in cases mentioned in the Constitution - is no longer exclusive. It is plainly the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. It means to say, there is nothing wrong if the Court of Appeals, for instance, decides to takecases brought to it on appeal. After all, the decisions of the Court of Appealscan still be reviewed by the Supreme Court through a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45.In the enumeration of cases cognizable by the Court of Appeals, BP 129makes use of the descriptive words
original
and
exclusive
, when it comes to the authority of the Court of Appeals to annul judgments of the Regional Trial Court. SoBP 129 says, that the Court of Appeals exercise original and exclusive jurisdiction to annul judgments rendered by the Regional Trial Courts. When the law says 
original and exclusive
- well, the message is simple - it is only the Court of Appeals that can try and decide at the first instance a case involving the annulment of a decision rendered by the Regional Trial Court.In other words, a petition to annul a judgment rendered by a Regional Trial Court and filed before the Supreme Court will not be entertained by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain at first instance a petition to annul a judgment of the Regional Trial Court. It is only the Court of Appeals which is vested with authority to annul a judgment rendered by the RTC.Since the Court of Appeals can annul a judgment rendered by the RTC, then does it follow that the Court of Appeals can also annul the judgment renderedby the Metropolitan Trial Court? The answer is NO. The annotation of jurisdiction under BP 129 is that a petition to annul a judgment rendered by trial courts to the Court of Appeals is limited to judgments rendered by the Regional Trial Court. It does not extend to annulment of judgments rendered by an inferior court,by the Metropolitan Trial Court.Now for purposes of annulment of judgments, all you have to do is to turn your Rules of Court to Rule 47.Does it mean to say now that a decision of an inferior court, the Metropolitan Trial Court, is immune from annulment because BP 129 speaks only about the Court of Appeals annulling judgments of the Regional Trial Court? Well, if youread Rule 47, the answer is NO. In the last section of Rule 47, it is providedthat annulment of judgment rendered by an inferior court (MTC), is cognizable by
 
the Regional Trial Court.Where did the Supreme Court get the idea that a judgment rendered by aninferior court would also be the subject of petition to annul the judgment and confer it upon a Regional Trial Court? If you read BP 129, there is nothing mentioned in BP 129 about the annulment of judgment rendered by an inferior court. BP129 speaks only about annulment of a judgment rendered by the Regional Trial Court. So, it would be logical, and others will agree, that since BP 129 speaks only about annulment of a judgment of the Regional Trial Court, there is no such thing as annulment of judgment rendered by an inferior court.But again, here comes the last Section of Rule 47, which tells us that there could be a petition for the annulment of a judgment rendered by an inferiorcourt. What is the justification for including this section in Rule 47, considering that jurisdiction is substantive law and not a matter of procedure, over which the Supreme Court has authority? Then, the justification is that under BP 129, the Regional Trial Court is a court of general jurisdiction. As a court of general jurisdiction, the Regional Trial Court, can try and decide all kinds of cases and controversies, which are not allocated especially to other courts.What is now the justification in saying, that a Regional Trial Court isa court of general jurisdiction? Does BP 129 say so? The answer is NO. BP 129 does not tell us expressly that the Regional Trial Court is a court of general jurisdiction. While BP 129 does not tell us expressly that the Regional Trial Courtis a court of general jurisdiction; there is however, a mention that Regional Trial Courts have exclusive original jurisdiction over all types of cases and issues, which are not especially allocated to other courts. That is the justification for considering that the Regional Trial Court is a court of general jurisdiction.In this context, the Supreme Court cannot be considered as a court of ageneral jurisdiction. The Supreme Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. If were going to follow also BP 129, the Court of Appeals is a court of limited jurisdiction. Municipal Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts are also courts of limited jurisdiction. It is only the Regional Trial Court that is considered as acourt of general jurisdiction because of the vesting of allocation of authorityunto Regional Trial Courts, over all kinds of cases that have not been especially allocated to the other courts. We do not find a similar vesting upon the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or inferior courts.We must also consider, in relation to jurisdiction, that it is axiomaticin procedure that jurisdiction is a matter of substantive law. We have come across this axiom several times that
jurisdiction is a matter of substantive law.
That is not a very accurate statement of the principle of jurisdiction.It is jurisdiction over
the subject matter
or
the nature of the action
thatis a matter of substantive law. But when it comes to the jurisdiction
over the person of the parties
, the jurisdiction
over the person of the plaintiff
, jurisdiction
over the person of the defendant
, jurisdiction
over the res
, or jurisdiction
over the issues
, these aspects of jurisdiction are no longer substantive in character.They are purely procedural. So what is covered only by substantive law is jurisdiction over the subject matter or the nature of the case. The other aspects of jurisdiction, jurisdiction over the person of the litigants, jurisdiction over the issues, jurisdiction over the res or the thing involved, is a matter of procedure. That
s why we find in the Rules of Court provisions concerning service of summons, for service of summons affects jurisdiction of a court over the person ofthe defendant. That is no longer the turf of substantive law. BP 129 allocates jurisdiction unto the various courts - enumerated in the law, and this refers tojurisdiction over the subject matter of the litigation, or over that nature of the case.While the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court exercise appellate jurisdiction, the same is true with Regional Trial Courts. The Regional Trial Courtsalso exercise original and appellate jurisdiction. In our judicial system thereis only one court, which exercises plainly original jurisdiction - that is, theMunicipal Trial Court or Metropolitan Trial Court.It is not hard to understand why a Metropolitan Trial court cannot be co

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