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Case Digest By: JOSE A. BONIFACIO, BS Math, LL.B.
Actions, Forcible Entry
The rule is no different in actions for forcible entry where the following requisites are essential for the MeTC¶s acquisition of jurisdiction over the case, viz.: (a) the plaintiffs must allege their prior physical possession of the property; (b) they must assert that they were deprived of possession either by force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth; and, (c) the action must be filed within one (1) year from the time the owners or legal possessors learned of their deprivation of the physical possession of the property. As it is not essential that the complaint should expressly employ the language of the law, it is considered a sufficient compliance of the requirement where the facts are set up showing that dispossession took place under said conditions. The one-year period within which to bring an action for forcible entry is generally counted from the date of actual entry on the land, except that when the entry is through stealth, the one-year period is counted from the time the plaintiff learned thereof.(emphasis supplied)
Signature, importance in Verification and Certificate of Non-forum shopping
The Court has consistently held that the requirement regarding verification of a pleading is formal, not jurisdictional. Such requirement is simply a condition affecting the form of the pleading, non-compliance with which does not necessarily render the pleading fatally defective. Verification is simply intended to secure an assurance that the allegations in the pleading are true and correct, and not
the product of the imagination or a matter of speculation, and that the pleading is filed in good faith. The court may order the correction of the pleading if verification is lacking or act on the pleading although it is not verified, if the attending circumstances are such that strict compliance with the rules may be dispensed with in order that the ends of justice may thereby be served. On the other hand, the lack of certification against non-forum shopping is generally not curable by mere amendment of the complaint, but shall be a cause for the dismissal of the case without prejudice. The same rule applies to certifications against non-forum shopping signed by a person on behalf of a corporation which are unaccompanied by proof that said signatory is authorized to file the complaint on behalf of the corporation. In Philippine Airlines, Inc. v. Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP), we ruled that only individuals vested with authority by a valid board resolution may sign the certificate of non-forum shopping on behalf of a corporation. We also required that proof of such authority must be attached. Failure to provide a certificate of non-forum shopping is sufficient ground to dismiss the petition. Likewise, the petition is subject to dismissal if a certification was submitted unaccompanied by proof of signatory's authority. While there were instances where we have allowed the filing of a certificate against non-forum shopping by someone on behalf of a corporation without the accompanying proof of authority at the time of its filing, we did so on the basis of a special circumstance or compelling reason. Moreover, there was a subsequent compliance by the submission of the proof of authority attesting to the fact that the person who signed the certification was duly authorized.
In China Banking Corporation v. Mondragon International Philippines, Inc., the CA dismissed the petition filed by China Bank, since the latter failed to show that its bank manager who signed the certification against non-forum shopping was authorized to do so. We reversed the CA and said that the case be decided on the merits despite the failure to attach the required proof of authority, since the board resolution which was subsequently attached recognized the preexisting status of the bank manager as an authorized signatory. In Abaya Investments Corporation v. Merit Philippines, where the complaint before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila was instituted by petitioner's Chairman and President, Ofelia Abaya, who signed the verification and certification against non-forum shopping without proof of authority to sign for the corporation, we also relaxed the rule. We did so taking into consideration the merits of the case and to avoid a re-litigation of the issues and further delay the administration of justice, since the case had already been decided by the lower courts on the merits. Moreover, Abaya's authority to sign the certification was ratified by the Board. In the present case, the RTC, in denying petitioner's motion to dismiss the complaint when the latter raised respondent Neri's lack of authority to sign the certification, found that respondent Neri testified that she was the Managing Director of the Bataan Hilltop Hotel which was being leased by respondent Coalbrine, and that she was authorized by the Corporate Secretary to file the case. Notably, while the matter of lack of authority was raised by petitioner in its petition for certiorari filed with the CA, it chose not to tackle the issue after disposing of the other issues raised therein. We cannot agree with the RTC's reasoning and find the certification signed by respondent Neri to be defective. The authority of respondent Neri to file the
complaint in the RTC had not been proven. First, the certification against nonforum shopping did not even contain a statement that she was authorized by the corporate secretary to file the case on behalf of Coalbrine as she claimed. More importantly, while she testified that she was authorized by the corporate secretary, there was no showing that there was a valid board resolution authorizing the corporate secretary to file the action, and to authorize respondent Neri to file the action. In fact, such proof of authority had not been submitted even belatedly to show subsequent compliance. Thus, there was no reason for the relaxation of the rule.1
Signature, power of a Corporation
A corporation has no power, except those expressly conferred on it by the Corporation Code and those that are implied or incidental to its existence. In turn, a corporation exercises said powers through its board of directors and/or its duly authorized officers and agents. Thus, it has been observed that the power of a corporation to sue and be sued in any court is lodged with the board of directors that exercises its corporate powers. In turn, physical acts of the corporation, like the signing of documents, can be performed only by natural persons duly authorized for the purpose by corporate by-laws or by a specific act of the board of directors.2
Signature, forgery, not fraudulent
Therefore, it is unquestionable that when the heirs of Avelino and Pedro signed the Notice of Appeal, they did not intend, and could not have intended, to visit fraud upon the
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by DANTE QUINDOZA, in his capacity as Zone Administrator of the Bataan Economic ZonevsCOALBRINE INTERNATIONAL PHILIPPINES, INC. and SHEILA F. NERI GR No. 161838 April 7, 2010 2 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by DANTE QUINDOZA, in his capacity as Zone Administrator of the Bataan Economic ZonevsCOALBRINE INTERNATIONAL PHILIPPINES, INC. and SHEILA F. NERI GR No. 161838 April 7, 2010
proceedings. Indeed, any intention to mislead is simply negated by their ready admission and participation in the proceedings as heirs of Avelino and Pedro. Thus, there can be no deception or prejudice, as there were prior repeated disclosures that the named defendants were already dead. Respondents insist that allowing the appeal would condone an act which is criminal in nature. We do not agree. Article 3 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) provides that malice or criminal intent (dolo) is an essential requisite of all crimes and offenses defined therein. The circumstances narrated above do not indicate the presence of dolo. In this regard, it should be noted that the heirs who signed the Notice of Appeal are lay persons unfamiliar with the technical requirements of procedure and pleadings. This unfamiliarity, compounded by the absence of legal counsel, appears to have caused the imperfections in their signing of the Notice of Appeal. We do not see any criminal intent motivating them. Moreover, in cases of falsification of public documents, such as documents introduced in judicial proceedings, ³the change in the public document must be such as to affect the integrity of the same or change the effects which it would otherwise produce; for, unless that happens, there could not exist the essential element of the intent to commit the crime, which is required by Article 3 of the Penal Code´. In the instant case, given the heirs¶ admissions contained in several pleadings that Avelino and Pedro are already deceased and their submission to the jurisdiction of the Regional Adjudicator as the successors-in-interest of the decedents, the effect would be the same if the heirs did not sign the decedents¶ names but their own names on the appeal. As the recognized real parties in interest, the case actually proceeded against the heirs and the judgment rendered was executed against them. It was thus unnecessary for the heirs to sign the decedents¶
names when their own names, as the real parties in interest, would have served the same purpose just as effectively.3
Void Contract ³Void Sale´
A void contract is equivalent to nothing; it produces no civil effect. It does not create, modify, or extinguish a juridical relation. Parties to a void agreement cannot expect the aid of the law; the courts leave them as they are, because they are deemed in pari delicto or in equal fault. To this rule, however, there are exceptions that permit the return of that which may have been given under a void contract. One of the exceptions is found in Article 1412 of the Civil Code, which states:4
Art. 1412. If the act in which the unlawful or forbidden cause consists does not constitute a criminal offense, the following rules shall be observed: (1) When the fault is on the part of both contracting parties, neither may recover what he has given by virtue of the contract, or demand the performance of the other's undertaking; When only one of the contracting parties is at fault, he cannot recover what he has given by reason of the contract, or ask for the fulfillment of what has been promised him. The other, who is not at fault, may demand the return of what he has given without any obligation to comply with his promise.
Remedies: In Cavite Development Bank v. Spouses Lim5, and Castillo, et al. v. Abalayan6, we held that in case of a void sale, the seller has no right whatsoever to keep the money paid by virtue thereof, and should refund it, with interest at the legal rate, computed from the date of filing of the complaint until fully paid. Petitioners can, therefore, recover the amount of P20,000.00 from respondent with interest at 6% per annum from the
RARAD, San Fernando, Pampanga et.al vs CA, Veronica Gonzales et.al GR No. 165155 April13, 2010 HADJA FATIMA GAGUIL MAGOYAG, joined by her husband, HADJI HASAN MADLAWI MAGOYAG vs HADJI ABUBACAR MARUHOM G.R. No. 179743. August 2, 2010 5 381 Phil 355, 371 (2000) 6 141 Phil. 57, 63 (1969)
time of the filing of the complaint until the finality of this Decision, and 12% per annum thereafter until full payment.
A prejudicial question generally exists in a situation where a civil action and a criminal action are both pending, and there exists in the former an issue that must be preemptively resolved before the latter may proceed, because howsoever the issue raised in the civil action is resolved would be determinative juris et de jure of the guilt or innocence of the accused in the criminal case. The elements of a prejudicial question are provided under Section 7, Rule 111of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, as follows: (i) the previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the subsequent criminal action, and (ii) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed. A prejudicial question is understood in law as that which must precede the criminal action and which requires a decision before a final judgment can be rendered in the criminal action with which said question is closely connected. Not every defense raised in a civil action will raise a prejudicial question to justify suspension of the criminal action. The defense must involve an issue similar or intimately related to the same issue raised in the criminal case and its resolution should determine whether or not the latter action may proceed. If the resolution of the issue in the civil action will not determine the criminal responsibility of the accused in the criminal action based on the same facts, or if there is no necessity that the civil case be determined first before taking up the criminal case, the civil case does not involve a prejudicial question. Neither is there a prejudicial question
if the civil and the criminal action can, according to law, proceed independently of each other.7
Reconveyance, Action for
An action for reconveyance based on an implied trust prescribes in 10 years. The reference point of the 10-year prescriptive period is the date of registration of the deed or the issuance of the title. The prescriptive period applies only if there is an actual need to reconvey the property as when the plaintiff is not in possession of the property. However, if the plaintiff, as the real owner of the property also remains in possession of the property, the prescriptive period to recover title and possession of the property does not run against him. In such a case, an action for reconveyance, if nonetheless filed, would be in the nature of a suit for quieting of title, an action that is imprescriptible.8 An action for reconveyance is one that seeks to transfer property, wrongfully registered by another, to its rightful and legal owner. Indeed, reconveyance is an action distinct from an action for quieting of title, which is filed whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest therein, by reason of any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact, invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable, and may be prejudicial to said title for purposes of removing such cloud or to quiet title. However, we find nothing erroneous in the CA¶s ruling treating respondents¶ action for reconveyance as an action to quiet title.9
Statute, General and Special
Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Ramon P. Jacinto GR No. 154622, August 3, 2010 G.R. No. 175375. June 23, 2009, 590 SCRA 616, 631-632 9 Manuel P. Ney and Romulo P. Ney vs. Sps. Celso P. Quijano and Mina N. Quijano GR No. 178609 August 4, 2010
A general statute is one which embraces a class of subjects or places and does not omit any subject or place naturally belonging to such class. A special statute, as the term is generally understood, is one which relates to particular persons or things of a class or to a particular portion or section of the state only. In the present case, R.A. No. 7160 is to be construed as a general law, while City Ordinance No. SP-91, S-93 is a special law, having emanated only from R.A. No. 7160 and with limited territorial application in Quezon City only. A general law and a special law on the same subject should be accordingly read together and harmonized, if possible, with a view to giving effect to both. Where there are two acts, one of which is special and particular and the other general which, if standing alone, would include the same matter and thus conflict with the special act, the special must prevail, since it evinces the legislative intent more clearly than that of the general statute and must be taken as intended to constitute an exception to the rule.More so, when the validity of the law is not in question.10 In giving effect to these laws, it is also worthy to note that in cases involving redemption, the law protects the original owner. It is the policy of the law to aid rather than to defeat the owner¶s right. Therefore, redemption should be looked upon with favor and where no injury will follow, a liberal construction will be given to our redemption laws, specifically on the exercise of the right to redeem.
Prevailing party, judgement
It is almost trite to say that execution is the fruit and the end of the suit and is the life of the law(emphasis supplied). A judgment, if left unexecuted, would be nothing but an empty victory for the prevailing party. Litigation must end
City Mayor(Quezon City) et.al vs Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation GR No. 171033, August 3, 2010
sometime and somewhere. An effective and efficient administration of justice requires that, once a judgment has become final, the winning party be not deprived of the fruits of the verdict. Courts must, therefore, guard against any scheme calculated to bring about that result. Constituted as they are to put an end to controversies, courts should frown upon any attempt to prolong them. Petitioners have been deprived of the beneficial use and enjoyment of their property for a considerable length of time. Now that they prevailed before this Court, it would be highly unjust and inequitable under the particular circumstances that payment of just compensation be withheld from them.11
THE HEIRS OF MATEO PIDACAN AND ROMANA BIGO, NAMELY: PACITA PIDACAN VDA. DE ZUBIRI AND ADELA PIDACAN VDA. DE ROBLES vs AIR TRANSPORTATION OFFICE, represented by its Acting Director BIENVENIDO MANGA GR No. 186192 August 25, 2010