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RULE 38 Petition for Relief from Judgments, Orders, or Other Proceedings Actions; Relief from Judgment; A petition for

relief from judgment is not an available remedy in the Supreme Courtit is not included in the list of Rule 56 cases originally cognizable by the Supreme Court.The threshold issue before Us isCan petitioner avail of a petition for relief from judgment under Rule 38 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure from Our resolution denying his petition for review? We answer in the negative. A petition for relief from judgment is not an available remedy in the Supreme Court. First, although Section 1 of Rule 38 states that when a judgment or final order is entered through fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence, a party in any court may file a petition for relief from judgment, this rule must be interpreted in harmony with Rule 56, which enumerates the original cases cognizable by the Supreme Court, thus: Section 1. Original cases cognizable. Only petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus, disciplinary proceedings against members of the judiciary and attorneys, and cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls may be filed originally in the Supreme Court. A petition for relief from judgment is not included in the list of Rule 56 cases originally cognizable by this Court. Same; Same; Words and Phrases; While Rule 38 uses the phrase any court, it refers only to Municipal/Metropolitan and Regional Trial Courts.While Rule 38 uses the phrase any court, it refers only to Municipal/Metropolitan and Regional Trial Courts. As revised, Rule 38 radically departs from the previous rule as it now allows the Metropolitan

or Municipal Trial Court which decided the case or issued the order to hear the petition for relief. Under the old rule, a petition for relief from the judgment or final order of Municipal Trial Courts should be filed with the Regional Trial Court. Same; Same; There is no provision in the Rules of Court making the petition for relief applicable in the Court of Appeals (CA) or the Supreme Court (SC); If a petition for relief from judgment is not among the remedies available in the Court of Appeals (CA), with more reason that this remedy cannot be availed of in the Supreme Court.The procedure in the CA and the Supreme Court are governed by separate provisions of the Rules of Court. It may, from time to time, be supplemented by additional rules promulgated by the Supreme Court through resolutions or circulars. As it stands, neither the Rules of Court nor the Revised Internal Rules of the CA allows the remedy of petition for relief in the CA. There is no provision in the Rules of Court making the petition for relief applicable in the CA or this Court. The procedure in the CA from Rules 44 to 55, with the exception of Rule 45 which pertains to the Supreme Court, identifies the remedies available before said Court such as annulment of judgments or final orders or resolutions (Rule 47), motion for reconsideration (Rule 52), and new trial (Rule 53). Nowhere is a petition for relief under Rule 38 mentioned. If a petition for relief from judgment is not among the remedies available in the CA, with more reason that this remedy cannot be availed of in the Supreme Court. This Court entertains only questions of law. A petition for relief raises questions of facts on fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable

negligence, which are concerns of this Court.

beyond

the

Same; Same; The relief afforded by Rule 38 will not be granted to a party who seeks to be relieved from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy of law was due to his own negligence, or mistaken mode of procedure for that matter; otherwise the petition for relief will be tantamount to reviving the right of appeal which has already been lost, either because of inexcusable negligence or due to a mistake of procedure by counsel.Even if We delve into the merits of the petition, the same must still be dismissed. The late filing of the petition for review does not amount to excusable negligence. Petitioners lack of devotion in discharging his duty, without demonstrating fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, cannot be a basis for judicial relief. For a claim of counsels gross negligence to prosper, nothing short of clear abandonment of the clients cause must be shown. The relief afforded by Rule 38 will not be granted to a party who seeks to be relieved from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy of law was due to his own negligence, or mistaken mode of procedure for that matter; otherwise the petition for relief will be tantamount to reviving the right of appeal which has already been lost, either because of inexcusable negligence or due to a mistake of procedure by counsel. [Purcon, Jr. vs. MRM Philippines, Inc., 566 SCRA 645(2008)] Relief from Judgment; Pleadings and Practice; A petition for relief under Rule 38 of the Rules of Court is only available against a final and executory judgment.On the propriety of the granting by the RTC of respondents Petition for Relief from Judgment, the

Court finds and so declares that the RTC did indeed commit an error in doing so. First of all, a petition for relief under Rule 38 of the Rules of Court is only available against a final and executory judgment. Since respondent allegedly received a copy of the Decision dated 4 May 2004 on 14 May 2004, and she filed the Petition for Relief from Judgment on 28 May 2004, judgment had not attained finality. The 15-day period to file a motion for reconsideration or appeal had not yet lapsed. Hence, resort by respondent to a petition for relief from judgment under Rule 38 of the Rules of Court was premature and inappropriate. Same; Words and Phrases; As used in Section 1, Rule 38 of the Rules of Court, mistake refers to mistake of fact, not of lawthe word mistake, which grants relief from judgment, does not apply and was never intended to apply to a judicial error which the court might have committed in the trial; Fraud, on the other hand, must be extrinsic or collateral, that is, the kind which prevented the aggrieved party from having a trial or presenting his case to the court, or was used to procure the judgment without fair submission of the controversy.In her Petition for Relief from Judgment before the RTC, respondent contended that judgment was entered against her through mistake or fraud, because she was not duly served with summons as it was received by a Mrs. Alicia dela Torre who was not authorized to receive summons or other legal processes on her behalf. As used in Section 1, Rule 38 of the Rules of Court, mistake refers to mistake of fact, not of law, which relates to the case. The word mistake, which grants relief from judgment, does not apply and was never intended to apply to a judicial error which the court might

have committed in the trial. Such errors may be corrected by means of an appeal. This does not exist in the case at bar, because respondent has in no wise been prevented from interposing an appeal. Fraud, on the other hand, must be extrinsic or collateral, that is, the kind which prevented the aggrieved party from having a trial or presenting his case to the court, or was used to procure the judgment without fair submission of the controversy. This is not present in the case at hand as respondent was not prevented from securing a fair trial and was given the opportunity to present her case. Same; Attorneys; Under Section 1, Rule 38, the negligence must be excusable and generally imputable to the party because if it is imputable to the counsel, it is binding on the clientwhat the aggrieved litigant should do is seek administrative sanctions against the erring counsel and not ask for the reversal of the courts ruling. Negligence to be excusable must be one which ordinary diligence and prudence could not have guarded against. Under Section 1, the negligence must be excusable and generally imputable to the party because if it is imputable to the counsel, it is binding on the client. To follow a contrary rule and allow a party to disown his counsels conduct would render proceedings indefinite, tentative, and subject to reopening by the mere subterfuge of replacing counsel. What the aggrieved litigant should do is seek administrative sanctions against the erring counsel and not ask for the reversal of the courts ruling. [Gomez vs. Montalban, 548 SCRA 693(2008)] Same; Pleadings and Practice; The rule is that relief will not be granted to a party who seeks to be relieved from the effect of the judgment when the loss of

the remedy at law is due to his own negligence, or a mistaken mode of procedure; otherwise, the petition for relief will be tantamount to reviving the right of appeal which has already been lost either because of inexcusable negligence or due to a mistake in the mode of procedure taken by counsel. The present case will have to be decided in accordance with existing rules of procedure. We apply the settled principle that petition for relief under Rule 38 of the Rules of Court is of equitable character, allowed only in exceptional cases as when there is no other available or adequate remedy. Hence, a petition for relief may not be availed of where a party has another adequate remedy available to him, which is either a motion for new trial or appeal from the adverse decision of the lower court, and he is not prevented from filing such motion or taking the appeal. The rule is that relief will not be granted to a party who seeks to be relieved from the effect of the judgment when the loss of the remedy at law is due to his own negligence, or a mistaken mode of procedure; otherwise, the petition for relief will be tantamount to reviving the right of appeal which has already been lost either because of inexcusable negligence or due to a mistake in the mode of procedure taken by counsel. Same; Under Section 2 of Rule 38 of the Rules of Court, a party prevented from taking an appeal from a judgment or final order of a court by reason of fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, may file in the same court and in the same case a petition for relief praying that his appeal be given due course.Under Section 2 of Rule 38, supra, of the Rules of Court, a party prevented from taking an appeal from a judgment or final order of a court by

reason of fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, may file in the same court and in the same case a petition for relief praying that his appeal be given due course. This presupposes, of course, that no appeal was taken precisely because of any of the aforestated reasons which prevented him from appealing his case. Hence, a petition for relief under Rule 38 cannot be availed of in the CA, the latter being a court of appellate jurisdiction. For sure, under the present Rules, petitions for relief from a judgment, final order or other proceeding rendered or taken should be filed in and resolved by the court in the same case from which the petition arose. Thus, petition for relief from a judgment, final order or proceeding involved in a case tried by a municipal trial court shall be filed in and decided by the same court in the same case, just like the procedure followed in the present Regional Trial Court. Pleadings and Practice; It is settled that clients are bound by the mistakes, negligence and omission of their counsel.Petitioner presents himself as a mere farmer seeking the Courts leniency to the point of disregarding the rules on reglementary period for filing pleadings. But he fails to point out any circumstance which might lead the Court to conclude that his station in life had in any way placed his half-brother in a more advantageous position. As we see it, petitioner failed to show diligence in pursuing his cause. His condition as a farmer, by itself alone, does not excuse or exempt him from being vigilant on his right. He cannot lay the blame solely on his former lawyer. It is settled that clients are bound by the mistakes, negligence and omission of their counsel. While, exceptionally, a client may be excused from the failure of his

counsel, the circumstances obtaining in this case do not convince the Court to take exception. Same; Attorneys; For a claim of counsels gross negligence to prosper, nothing short of clear abandonment of the clients cause must be shown.For a claim of counsels gross negligence to prosper, nothing short of clear abandonment of the clients cause must be shown. Here, petitioners counsel failed to file the appellants brief. While this omission can plausibly qualify as simple negligence, it does not amount to gross negligence to justify the annulment of the proceedings below. Same; Same; In Legarda v. Court of Appeals (195 SCRA 418 [1991]), where the Court initially held that the counsels failure to file pleadings at the trial court and later on appeal amounted to gross negligence, the Court, on motion of the respondent therein, granted reconsideration and applied the general rule binding the litigant to her counsels negligence.In Legarda v. Court of Appeals, 195 SCRA 418 [1991]), where the Court initially held that the counsels failure to file pleadings at the trial court and later on appeal amounted to gross negligence, the Court, on motion of the respondent therein, granted reconsideration and applied the general rule binding the litigant to her counsels negligence. In said case, the Court noted that the proceedings which led to the filing of the petition were not attended by any irregularity. The same observation squarely applies here. Same; Remedial Law; The Rules allow a petition for relief only when there is no other available remedy, and not when litigants, like the petitioner, lose a remedy by negligence.To recapitulate, petitioner is not entitled to relief under

Rule 38, Section 2 of the Rules of Court. He was not prevented from filing his notice of appeal by fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, as in fact he filed one. The relief afforded by Rule 38 will not be granted to a party who seeks to be relieved from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy of law was due to his own negligence, or a mistaken mode of procedure for that matter; otherwise, the petition for relief will be tantamount to reviving the right of appeal which has already been lost, either because of inexcusable negligence or due to a mistake of procedure by counsel. The Rules allow a petition for relief only when there is no other available remedy, and not when litigants, like the petitioner, lose a remedy by negligence. [Redea vs. Court of Appeals, 514 SCRA 389(2007)] Actions; Relief from Judgment; Attorneys; There is extrinsic fraud when a party is prevented from fully presenting his case to the court as when the lawyer connives to defeat or corruptly sells out his clients interest extrinsic fraud can be committed by a counsel against his client when the latter is prevented from presenting his case to the court.Section 1 of Rule 38 of the Rules of Court provides that when a judgment or final order is entered, or any other proceeding is thereafter taken against a party in any court through fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence, he may file a petition in such court and in the same case praying that the judgment, order or proceeding be set aside. Where fraud is the ground, the fraud must be extrinsic or collateral. The extrinsic or collateral fraud that invalidates a final judgment must be such that it prevented the unsuccessful party from fully and fairly presenting his case or defense and the losing party

from having an adversarial trial of the issue. There is extrinsic fraud when a party is prevented from fully presenting his case to the court as when the lawyer connives to defeat or corruptly sells out his clients interest. Extrinsic fraud can be committed by a counsel against his client when the latter is prevented from presenting his case to the court. [Sy Bang vs. Sy, 586 SCRA 719(2009)] Relief from Judgment; When a party has another remedy available to him, which may either be a motion for new trial or appeal from an adverse decision of the lower court, and he was not prevented by fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence from filing such motion or taking the appeal, he cannot avail himself of the relief provided in Rule 38relief will not be granted to a party who seeks avoidance from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy at law was due to his own negligence or a mistaken mode of procedure.Relief from judgment under Rule 38 of the Rules of Court is a remedy provided by law to any person against whom a decision or order is entered into through fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence. The relief provided for is of equitable character, allowed only in exceptional cases as where there is no other available or adequate remedy. When a party has another remedy available to him, which may either be a motion for new trial or appeal from an adverse decision of the lower court, and he was not prevented by fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence from filing such motion or taking the appeal, he cannot avail himself of the relief provided in Rule 38. The rule is that relief will not be granted to a party who seeks avoidance from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy at law was due to his own negligence or

a mistaken mode of procedure, otherwise the petition for relief will be tantamount to reviving the right of appeal which has already been lost either because of inexcusable negligence or due to a mistake in the mode of procedure by counsel. Same; Words and Phrases; The word mistake which grants relief from judgment, does not apply and was never intended to apply to a judicial error which the court might have committed in the trial.In his Petition for Relief from Judgment filed before the RTC, petitioner alleged that the petition was filed on the ground that the RTC made serious and prejudicial mistakes in appreciating the evidence presented. He then proceeded to discuss the errors of judgment committed by the RTC in rendering its decision. The mistake contemplated by Rule 38 of the Rules of Court pertains generally to mistake of fact, not of law, which relates to the case. The word mistake which grants relief from judgment, does not apply and was never intended to apply to a judicial error which the court might have committed in the trial. Such error may be corrected by means of an appeal. [Samonte vs. S.F. Naguiat, Inc., 602 SCRA 231(2009)] Same; Same; Same; Same; A petition for relief from judgment, being an equitable remedy, is allowed only in exceptional cases, as when there is no other available or adequate remedy. Unfortunately for ROMAGO, a petition for relief from judgment, being an equitable remedy, is allowed only in exceptional cases, as when there is no other available or adequate remedy. Under Rule 38 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, it may be availed of only after a judgment, final order or other proceedings were taken against

petitioner in any court through fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence. Thus, a party is not entitled to relief under Rule 38, Section 2, of the Rules of Court if he was not prevented from filing his notice of appeal by fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence. Such relief will not be granted to a party who seeks to be relieved from the effects of the judgment, when the loss of the remedy at law was due to his own negligence or to a mistaken mode of procedure for that matter; otherwise, the petition for relief will be tantamount to reviving the right of appeal, which has already been lost either due to inexcusable negligence or due to a mistake of procedure by counsel. Attorneys; If the negligence of counsel is generally admitted as a justification for opening cases, there would never be an end to a suit so long as a new counsel can be employed who could allege and show that prior counsel had not been sufficiently diligent, experienced or learned.It is settled that clients are bound by the mistakes, negligence and omission of their counsel. While, exceptionally, the client may be excused from the failure of counsel, the circumstances obtaining in the present case do not persuade this Court to take exception. Public interest demands an end to every litigation and a belated effort to reopen a case that has already attained finality will serve no purpose other than to delay the administration of justice. To reverse the CA Decision denying petitioners petition for relief from judgment would put a premium on the negligence of petitioners former counsel and encourage endless litigation. If the negligence of counsel is generally admitted as a justification for opening cases, there would never be an end to a suit so long as a new counsel

can be employed who could allege and show that prior counsel had not been sufficiently diligent, experienced or learned. We, therefore, write finis to this litigation. [Romago, Inc. vs. Siemens Building Technologies, Inc., 602 SCRA 656(2009)] A petition for relief under Rule 38 is only available against a final and executory judgment.A petition for relief under Rule 38 is only available against a final and executory judgment. In this case, the trial courts judgment subject of the petition for relief has not yet attained finality because of the timely appeal by private respondents. Therefore, petitioner cannot require the judge to follow the procedure laid down in Rule 38. The judge did not err nor abuse his discretion when he deferred action on the petition. [Valencia vs. Court of Appeals, 352 SCRA 72(2001)] Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Remedies of petition for relief from judgment and motion for new trial and/or reconsideration are exclusive of each other; Filing of a timely motion for new trial precludes filing of a petition for relief after denial of motion.In other words, where, as in this case, another remedy is available, as, in fact, private respondent had filed a motion for new trial and/or reconsideration alleging practically the same main ground of the petition for relief under discussion, which was denied, what respondent should have done was to take to a higher court such denial. A party who has filed a timely motion for new trial cannot file a petition for relief after his motion has been denied. These two remedies are exclusive of each other. It is only in appropriate cases where a party aggrieved by a judgment has not been able to file a motion for new trial that a petition for relief can be

filed. [Francisco vs. Puno, 108 SCRA 427(1981)] Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Petition for relief; The sixty (60) day period to file petition for relief must be reckoned from service of copy of the assailed decision; Counting of the 6month period should commence from entry of judgment or order; A judgment is entered only after its finality.The 60day period must be reckoned from May 12, 1976 when the Bazars were served with a copy of the assailed decision. Therefore, the 60-day period expired on July 11, 1976. It was only after 379 days or more than 12 months after they learned of the judgment that the Bazars filed their petition for relief from said judgment. (See Domingo v. Dela Cruz, 23 SCRA 1121) The appellate court computed the 6-month period from the date the judgment was rendered. Rule 38 states that the counting should commence from the entry of the judgment or order. (See Dirige v. Biranya, 17 SCRA 840) A judgment is entered only after its finality and Civil Case No. 97479 became final on June 11, 1976. Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Where the records do not bear the exact date the questioned judgment was entered, the 6-month period is counted when the writ of execution of the final judgment was issued; Phrase "or other proceeding" in Sec. 3 of Rule 38 includes a writ of execution; A final and executory judgment can no longer be questioned as the 6-month period to file petition for relief had already expired Since the records do not bear the exact date the questioned judgment was entered, the 6-month period can be counted for purposes of our decision from July 12, 1976 when the writ of execution of the final judgment was

issued. The phrase "or other proceeding" in Section 3 of Rule 38 includes a writ of execution (Aquino v. Blanco, 79 Phil. 647). The 6-month period from July 12, 1976 lapsed on January 8, 1977. A period of ten (10) months had already lapsed when the Bazars filed their petition for relief from judgment on May 26, 1977. Obviously, the petitioners cannot now question the effects of the final and executory judgment in Civil Case No. 97479. In the words of Laroza v. Guia (supra) they cannot render the final judgment abortive and impossible of execution. The deed of sale executed by the Deputy Clerk of Court on behalf of the Bazar spouses pursuant to the court's judgment was valid and binding. [Heirs of Maria Marasigan vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 152 SCRA 253(1987)] Judgments; Judgment on a compromise; Judgment on a compromise final and executory.A judgment of the court approving a compromise agreement is final and immediately executory. In the words of the Supreme Court it is right there and then writes finish to the controversy. Same; Same; Same; Reason.The reason why a judgment based on a compromise agreement is final and immediately executory is that when the parties agree to settle their differences to end a litigation and request the court to render judgment on the basis of their agreement, there is an implied waiver of their right to appeal from the judgment. Same; Same; Decision based on compromise agreement a judgment; Reasons.In the case of Vda. de Corpus vs. Phodaca-Ambrosio the Court ruled that the Saminiada vs. Mata case is no longer authority for the contention that a decision based on a compromise

agreement is not a judgment. This is so because the view that a decision based upon a compromise agreement does not become immediately final and executory, was arrived at only by four members of the Supreme Court, which view is inconsistent with what was adhered to in subsequent cases and the explicit provision of Article 2037 of the Civil Code. Besides, even the four justices of the Supreme Court acknowledged, in the Saminiada case, that a decision based upon a compromise agreement is a judgment. Same; Same; Petition to set aside judgment on a compromise; Time for filing a petition.The motion to set aside the judgment must be filed within sixty (60) days after the petitioner learned of the judgment and not more than six (6) months after the occurrence of the proceeding wherein the judgment on a compromise was approved. [Samonte vs. Samonte, 64 SCRA 524(1975)] Labor Law; Labor Unions; Compromise Agreements; Even if a clear majority of the union members agreed to a settlement with the employer, the union has no authority to compromise the individual claims of members who did not consent to such settlement.Even if a clear majority of the union members agreed to a settlement with the employer, the union has no authority to compromise the individual claims of members who did not consent to such settlement. Rule 138, Section 23 of the 1964 Revised Rules of Court requires a special authority before an attorney may compromise his clients litigation. The authority to compromise cannot lightly be presumed and should be duly established by evidence.

Same; Same; Same; Money claims due to laborers cannot be the object of settlement or compromise effected by a union or counsel without the specific individual consent of each laborer concerned.Whether minority union members who did not consent to a compromise agreement are bound by the majority decision approving a compromise settlement has been resolved in the negative. In La Campana, we explicitly declared: Money claims due to laborers cannot be the object of settlement or compromise effected by a union or counsel without the specific individual consent of each laborer concerned. The beneficiaries are the individual complainants themselves. The union to which they belong can only assist them but cannot decide for them. Same; Same; Same; A compromise agreement is governed by the basic principle that the obligations arising therefrom have the force of law between the parties.We have consistently ruled that a compromise is governed by the basic principle that the obligations arising therefrom have the force of law between the parties. [Golden Donuts, Inc. vs. NLRC, 322 SCRA 294(2000)] Annulment of Judgments; The 60-day period for filing a petition for annulment of judgment is reckoned from the time the party acquired knowledge of the order, judgment or proceedings and not from the date he actually read the same.Section 3 of Rule 38 of the Rules of Court states: SEC. 3. Time for filing petition; contents and verification.A petition provided for in either of the preceding sections of this Rule must be verified, filed within sixty (60) days after the petitioner learns of the judgment, final order, or other proceeding to be set aside, and not more

than six (6) months after such judgment or final order was entered, or such proceeding was taken; and must be accompanied with affidavits showing the fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence relied upon, and the facts constituting the petitioners good and substantial cause of action or defense, as the case may be. There is no reason for the Baloloys to ignore the effects of the above-cited rule. The 60day period is reckoned from the time the party acquired knowledge of the order, judgment or proceedings and not from the date he actually read the same. [Escueta vs. Lim, 512 SCRA 411(2007)] Motions; A motion without a notice of hearing is pro forma, a mere scrap of paper that does not toll the period to appeal and upon the expiration of the 15-day period, the questioned order or decision becomes final and executory. Not only did the defect render the motion for reconsideration itself unworthy of consideration, it more crucially failed to toll the period to appeal. A motion without a notice of hearing is pro forma, a mere scrap of paper that does not toll the period to appeal, and upon the expiration of the 15-day period, the questioned order or decision becomes final and executory. The rationale behind this rule is plain: unless the movant sets the time and place of hearing, the court will be unable to determine whether the adverse party agrees or objects to the motion, and if he objects, to hear him on his objection, since the rules themselves do not fix any period within which he may file his reply or opposition. Same; Same; Same; The Rules mandate that an appeal by notice of appeal is deemed perfected upon the filing of the notice of appeal in due time, due time

being within fifteen (15) days after notice to the appellant of the judgment or final order appealed from.What the petitioner undertook instead was to pursue the notice of appeal, despite the unequivocal statement in the MTC Order of 23 February 1998 that the Judgment [sought to be reconsidered] has now become final and executory. The Rules mandate that an appeal by notice of appeal is deemed perfected upon the filing of the notice of appeal in due time, due time being within fifteen (15) days after notice to the appellant of the judgment or final order appealed from. While the period of appeal shall be interrupted by a timely motion for reconsideration, the MTC deemed, with legal basis, that the motion interposed by petitioner could not have been deemed filed and should instead be treated as a mere scrap of paper. Same; Same; Same; The 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides for a rationale and orderly method by which appeal can be pursued and even contingency remedial measures if appeal could no longer be timely pursued.If the consequences for pursuing the wrong remedial tack in this case seem harsh, it should be remembered that there is no innate right to appeal. Appeal is a statutory right which may be exercised within the prescribed limits. The 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides for a rational and orderly method by which appeal can be pursued, and even contingency remedial measures if appeal could no longer be timely pursued. The failure of petitioner to undertake a timely appeal, or to engage in the available modes of relief even if appeal was no longer possible, simply has to bear consequence. The lower court rulings germane to this case were, consistently cognizant of this fact, transformed to legal conclusion, and we

are hard-pressed to find any cause for annulment of any of those judgments. The dismissal of the petition by the Court of Appeals is ultimately correct. [Victory Liner, Inc. vs. Malinias, 523 SCRA 279(2007)] Same; Same; Same; Petition for Relief from Judgment; A few days in excess of the 60-day requirement is not fatal as long as it is filed within six (6) months from issuance of the order.The Court of Appeals ruled that the time of filing of the petition must satisfy both periods as indicated in the Rulewithin sixty (60) days after knowledge of order and not more than six (6) months after entry. However, a few days in excess of the 60day requirement is not fatal as long as it is filed within six (6) months from issuance of the order. In this case, the petition was filed nine (9) days after the 60-day period but it was still well within the 6-month period. [Mago vs. Court of Appeals, 303 SCRA 600(1999)] Petition for relief; A petition for relief though filed out of time may be acted upon favorably where petitioner, complainant below for damages due to reckless imprudence, had already presented the substance of his evidence when the judge ordered the case dismissed for failure of petitioner and his counsel to attend a scheduled hearing.Upon the other hand, it is not disputed that petitioner had already presented the substance of his evidence in support of his claim for damages against private respondent and was, in fact, about to present his last witness at the hearing on June 4, 1976 when the dismissal order was issued. In fact, due to the non-appearance by plaintiff and his counsel on said date, private respondent merely moved that trial be considered terminated and the case deemed submitted. However, since

there was, as yet, no offer of evidence by petitioner, the trial Court opted to dismiss the Complaint. Indeed, this case could have seen a speedier disposition on the merits if the trial Court had reconsidered its Order of dismissal, particularly, since petitioner twice sought to have the Order dismissing his Complaint reconsidered. While it is the duty of judges to terminate cases with promptness and dispatch, a reminder is not amiss that inconsiderate dismissals are not a solution to congestion of Court dockets. Same; Same.Due to the very peculiar circumstances obtaining in this case, therefore, the Petition for Relief may be considered as having substantially complied with the Rules and, therefore, seasonably filed. Petitioners minor daughter had suffered injuries. He was almost through with the presentation of his evidence except for one witness. As a matter of conscience, in keeping with the demands of equity and to attain substantial justice, we except this case from the strict operation of the Rules. It is always within the power of the Court to suspend its own rules, or to except a particular case from its operation, whenever the purposes of justice require it. Moreover, the Rules should receive a liberal interpretation in order to promote their object and to assist the parties in obtaining a just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action. Procedural technicality should not be made a bar to the vindication of a legitimate grievance. When such technicality deserts from being an aid to justice, the Courts are justified in excepting from its-operation a particular case. [Funtila vs. Court of Appeals, 93 SCRA 251(1979)] Relief from judgments; Petition filed outside reglementary period when

considered seasonably filed.A petition for relief from judgment presented outside the reglementary period of sixty days may nevertheless, due to very peculiar circumstances obtaining in the premises, be considered as having substantially complied with the rule and therefore seasonably filed. Same; Same; Circumstances justifying exception from procedural rule. Procedural technicality should not be made a bar to the vindication of a legitimate grievance. When such technicality deserts from being an aid to justice, the Courts are justified in excepting from its operation a particular case. Where there was something fishy and suspicious about the actuations of the former counsel of petitioners in the case at bar, in that he did not give any significance at all to the processes of the court, which has proven prejudicial to the rights of said clients, under a lame and flimsy explanation that the courts processes just escaped his attention, it is held that said lawyer deprived his clients of their day in court, thus entitling said clients to petition for relief from judgment despite the lapse of the reglementary period for filing said petition. Same; Same; Period to file may be computed from date of receipt of writ of execution.The petition of appellants maybe considered as one for relief from the order of execution, which was presented within 60 days from receipt of said writ. Section 2, Rule 38 of the Revised Rules of Court does not only refer to judgments, but also to orders or any other proceedings. [Peoples Homesite & Housing Corp. vs. Tiongco, 12 SCRA 471(1964)] Same; Same; Same; Affidavits of merit serve as the indispensable basis for a

court to be called upon to entertain a petition for reliefCom-pounding the matter, the petition for relief failed to be accompanied by affidavits of merit, showing the fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence relied upon, and the facts constituting petitioners good and substantial cause of action or defense. These affidavits of merit would serve as the indispensable basis for a court to be called upon to entertain a petition for relief. [DAP Mining Association vs. Court of Appeals, 358 SCRA 410(2001)] Same; Same; It is equally settled, however, that this Courts power to liberally construe and even to suspend the rules, presupposes the existence of substantial rights in favor of which, the strict application of technical rules must concede.It is equally settled, however, that this Courts power to liberally construe and even to suspend the rules, presupposes the existence of substantial rights in favor of which, the strict application of technical rules must concede. The facts are borne out by the records pertaining to petitioners purported undivided share in the property at M. Calim Street, Famy, Laguna, and the property in Poroza clearly showed that these two properties had been subject of an agreement (Exh. 1) whereby petitioner recognized respondents rights to said properties. This fact binds this Court, there being nothing on record with the trial court as to the herein alleged fraud against the petitioner. Upon thorough deliberation of the supposed substantial rights claimed by the petitioner with the court below, the Court finds no cogent basis to favorably rule on the merits of the appeal even if it may be given due course which is indispensable to justify this Court in considering this case as an

exception to the rules. [Redea vs. Court of Appeals, 514 SCRA 389(2007)] RULE 47 Annulment of Judgment Parties can avail of the action for annulment of judgment when a petition for relief is no longer available through no fault of the petitioner.Corollarily, the Court of Appeals did not err in failing to annul the portion of the trial courts judgment dismissing petitioners counterclaim for lack of due process. This can well be settled in the petition for relief before the trial court. Section 1, Rule 47 of the Rules of Court provides that parties can avail of the action for annulment of judgment when a petition for relief is no longer available through no fault of the petitioner. In the present case, the latter remedy was still available. [Valencia vs. Court of Appeals, 352 SCRA 72(2001)] The only grounds for annulment of judgment are extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction.Under Section 2, Rule 47 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the only grounds for annulment of judgment are extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. Lack of jurisdiction as a ground for annulment of judgment refers to either lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defending party or over the subject matter of the claim. It is absence of, or no, jurisdiction; that is, the court should not have taken cognizance of the petition because the law does not vest it with jurisdiction over the subject matter. Same; Same; Same; In a petition for annulment of judgment based on lack of jurisdiction, petitioner must show not merely an abuse of jurisdictional discretion, but an absolute lack of jurisdiction.It should be stressed that in a petition for annulment of judgment

based on lack of jurisdiction, petitioner must show not merely an abuse of jurisdictional discretion, but an absolute lack of jurisdiction. In the present case, the CA has put to rest the issue of whether the RTC had jurisdiction over respondents cause of action. [Republic vs. Technological Advocates for AgroForest Programs Association, Inc. (TAFPA, INC.), 612 SCRA 76(2010)] Due Process; Parties; Death and Substitution of Party; It is only when there is a denial of due process, as when the deceased is not represented by any legal representative or heir, that the court nullifies the trial proceedings and the resulting judgment therein.Nonsubstitution of the heirs of a deceased party is not jurisdictional. The rule on substitution by heirs is not a matter of jurisdiction, but a requirement of due process. It was designed to ensure that the deceased party would continue to be properly represented in the suit through his heirs or the duly appointed legal representative of his estate. It is only when there is a denial of due process, as when the deceased is not represented by any legal representative or heir, that the court nullifies the trial proceedings and the resulting judgment therein. [Nudo vs. Caguioa, 595 SCRA 208(2009)] The grounds for a petition for annulment are in themselves specific in the same way that the relief itself isthe Rules restrict the grounds only to lack of jurisdiction and extrinsic fraud to prevent the remedy from being used by a losing party in making a complete farce of a duly promulgated decision or a duly issued order or resolution that has long attained finality.The grounds for a petition for annulment are in themselves specific in the same way that the relief itself is. The Rules restrict the grounds only to lack of jurisdiction and

extrinsic fraud to prevent the remedy from being used by a losing party in making a complete farce of a duly promulgated decision or a duly issued order or resolution that has long attained finality. This certainly is based on sound public policy for litigations and, despite occasional risks of error, must be brought to a definite end and the issues that go with them must one way or other be laid to rest. In turn, lack of jurisdictionthe ground relied upon by petitioneris confined only to either lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defending party or over the subject matter of the claim. A valid invocation of this ground rests exclusively on absolute lack of jurisdiction as opposed to a mere abuse of jurisdictional discretion or mere errors in judgment committed in the exercise of jurisdiction inasmuch as jurisdiction is distinct from the exercise thereof. Hence, where the facts demonstrate that the court has validly acquired jurisdiction over the respondent and over the subject matter of the case, its decision or order cannot be validly voided via a petition for annulment on the ground of absence or lack of jurisdiction. [Mandy Commodities Co., Inc. vs. The International Commercial Bank of China, 591 SCRA 579(2009)] Annulment of Judgments; Pleadings and Practice; A party may now petition the Court of Appeals to annul and set aside judgments of Regional Trial Courts.Under authority of Sec. 9, par. (2), of B.P. Blg. 129, a party may now petition the Court of Appeals to annul and set aside judgments of Regional Trial Courts. "Thus, the Intermediate Appellant Court (now Court of Appeals) shall exercise wi wi wi wi (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over action for annulment of judgments of the Regional Trial Courts wi wi wi x"

However, certain requisites must first be established before a final and executory judgment can be the subject of an action for annulment. It must either be void for want of jurisdiction or for lack of due process of law, or it has been obtained by fraud. Conformably with law and the above-cited authorities, the petition to annul the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No, D-7750 before the Court of Appeals was proper. Emanating as it did from a void compromise agreement, the trial court had no jurisdiction to render a judgment based thereon. [Cosmic Lumber Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 265 SCRA 168(1996)] Civil Law; Fraud; To annul a judgment upon the ground of fraud, the fraud must be extrinsic or collateral and committed by the adverse party. While there can be no question as to the right of any person adversely affected by a judgment to maintain an action and to have the decision declared a nullity, such an action to annul a judgment upon the ground of fraud, will not lie unless the fraud be extrinsic or collateral and committed by the adverse party, not by one's own counsel. Said ruling was reiterated in a subsequent case where it was stressed that the fraud mentioned in Rule 38 is the fraud committed by the adverse party. [Sanchez vs. Tupas, 158 SCRA 459(1988)] In order for fraud to serve as basis for annulment of a judgment it must be extrinsic or collateral in character; Meaning of extrinsic fraud; The fraud must be committed by the adverse party and not by ones own counsel.It is well-settled that (i)n order for fraud to serve as basis for annulment of a judgment, it must be extrinsic or collateral in character, otherwise there would be no end to litigations. Extrinsic

fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the prevailing party which is committed outside the trial of the case, whereby the defeated party has been prevented from exhibiting fully his side of the case, by fraud or deception practised on him by his opponent. Thus, it refers to some act or conduct of the prevailing party which has prevented the aggrieved party from having a trial or presenting his case to the court, or was used to procure judgment without a fair submission of the controversy. (emphasis supplied) This Court has not just once ruled that the fraud must be committed by the adverse party and not by ones own counsel. Same; Same; The doctrinal rule is that the negligence of counsel binds the client, exceptions.On the other hand, the doctrinal rule is that the negligence of counsel binds the client because otherwise, there would never be an end to a suit so long as new counsel could be employed who could allege and show that prior counsel had not been sufficiently diligent, or experienced, or learned. We have, however, carved out exceptions to this rule as where the reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives the client of due process of law, or where the application of the rule will result in outright deprivation of the clients liberty or property or where the interests of justice so require and relief ought to be accorded to the client who suffered by reason of the lawyers gross or palpable mistake or negligence. [Gacutana-Fraile vs. Domingo, 348 SCRA 414(2000)] It is well-settled that the use of forged instruments or perjured testimonies during trial is not an extrinsic fraud, because such evidence does not preclude the participation of any party

in the proceedings.In contrast, the fraud alleged in this case cannot justify the annulment of a final judgment. It is wellsettled that the use of forged instruments or perjured testimonies during trial is not an extrinsic fraud, because such evidence does not preclude the participation of any party in the proceedings. While a perjured testimony may prevent a fair and just determination of a case, it does not bar the adverse party from rebutting or opposing the use of such evidence. Furthermore, it should be stressed that extrinsic fraud pertains to an act committed outside of the trial. The alleged fraud in this case was perpetrated during the trial. [Strait Times, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 294 SCRA 714(1998)] The use of forged instruments or perjured testimonies during trial is not an extrinsic fraud, because such evidence does not preclude the participation of any party in the proceedings.Then, too, the decision of the trial court cannot be annulled on the basis of petitioners allegation that the purported deed of sale of the property under scrutiny in favor of private respondents predecessor-in-interest was dubious and forged, as this kind of fraud, if there is any, is intrinsic, and not an extrinsic fraud which is a ground to annul a judgment or order. In Strait Times, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, we emphasized that the use of forged instruments or perjured testimonies during trial is not an extrinsic fraud, because such evidence does not preclude the participation of any party in the proceedings. While a perjured testimony or a forged instrument may prevent a fair and just determination of a case, it does not bar the adverse party from rebutting or opposing the use of such evidence. Extrinsic fraud, to

reiterate, pertains to an act committed outside of the trial. [Bobis vs. Court of Appeals, 348 SCRA 23(2000)] Land Titles; Reconstitution; If an owners duplicate copy of a certificate of title has not been lost but is in fact in possession of another person, the reconstituted title is void and the court rendering the decision has not acquired jurisdiction.The present case is on all fours with the Strait Times case, in that the trial court could not have validly acquired jurisdiction to reconstitute the alleged lost owners duplicate copy of TCT No. T-16156 since the same was not lost but was in the possession of petitioners who had purchased the property from its late owner. Such being the case, the Order of the trial court dated March 27, 2001 directing the reconstitution could not have become final and executory, it being void for lack of jurisdiction. [Villanueva vs. Viloria, 548 SCRA 401(2008)] Judgments; Annulment; Grounds; Extrinsic Fraud; The overriding consideration when extrinsic fraud is alleged is that the fraudulent scheme of the prevailing litigant prevented a party from having his day in court.Under the Rule, an action for annulment of judgments may only be availed of on the following grounds: (1) extrinsic fraud and (2) lack of jurisdiction. Extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the prevailing party in the litigation which is committed outside of the trial of the case, whereby the unsuccessful party has been prevented from exhibiting fully his case, by fraud or deception practiced on him by his opponent. Fraud is regarded as extrinsic where it prevents a party from having a trial or from presenting his entire case to the court, or where it operates upon matters pertaining not to the judgment

itself but to the manner in which it is procured. The overriding consideration when extrinsic fraud is alleged is that the fraudulent scheme of the prevailing litigant prevented a party from having his day in court. Same; Same; Same; Same; Negligence; Counsel; A client is bound by the mistakes of his counsel except when the negligence of his counsel is so gross, reckless and inexcusable that the client is deprived of his day in court.x x x Litigants represented by counsel should not expect that all they need to do is sit back, relax and await the outcome of their case. To agree with petitioners stance would enable every party to render inutile any adverse order or decision through the simple expedient of alleging negligence on the part of his counsel. The Court will not countenance such ill-founded argument which contradicts long-settled doctrines of trial and procedure. We reiterate the rule that a client is bound by the mistakes of his counsel except when the negligence of his counsel is so gross, reckless and inexcusable that the client is deprived of his day in court. Only when the application of the general rule would result in serious injustice should the exception apply. [Tolentino vs. Leviste, 443 SCRA 274(2004)] Extrinsic or collateral fraud, nature of; When a party was prevented from having presented all of his case to the court because his lawyer connives at his defeat or the lawyer corruptly sells out his clients interest there is extrinsic fraud; Case at bar.The extrinsic or collateral fraud which invalidates a final judgment, must be such as prevented the unsuccessful party from fully and fairly presenting his case or defense; it must be such as prevented the losing party from having an adversary trial of

the issue. Thus, the act of the successful party in inducing the lawyer of the losing party to commit professional delinquency or infidelity constitutes extrinsic or collateral fraud. In other words, there is extrinsic fraud when a party was prevented from having presented all of his case to the court as when the lawyer connives at his defeat or corruptly sells out his clients interest. [Laxamana vs. Court of Appeals, 87 SCRA 48(1978)] Actions; Annulment of Judgment; Fraud; The fraud that will justify annulment of a judgment is extrinsic fraud.It is doctrinal that the fraud that will justify annulment of a judgment is extrinsic fraud. Extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the prevailing party in litigation committed outside of the trial of the case, whereby the defeated party is prevented from fully exhibiting his side of the case by fraud or deception practiced on him by his opponent, such as by keeping him away from court, by giving him a false promise of a compromise, or where the defendant never had the knowledge of the suit, being kept in ignorance by the acts of the plaintiff, or where an attorney fraudulently or without authority connives at his defeat. These instances show that there was never a real contest in the trial or hearing of the case so that the judgment should be annulled and the case set for a new and fair hearing. Same; Same; Same; The nature of extrinsic fraud necessarily requires that its cause be traceable to some fraudulent act of the prevailing party committed outside the trial of the case; There is extrinsic fraud when a party was prevented from having presented all of his case to the court as when the lawyer connives at his defeat or corruptly sells

out his clients interest.In the instant case, none of the foregoing instances exists to justify the annulment of the decision of the RTC. Petitioners contention that the failure to present its side on account of its former counsels gross negligence constitutes extrinsic fraud is untenable. The nature of extrinsic fraud necessarily requires that its cause be traceable to some fraudulent act of the prevailing party committed outside the trial of the case. There is extrinsic fraud when a party was prevented from having presented all of his case to the court as when the lawyer connives at his defeat or corruptly sells out his clients interest. [Amihan Bus Lines, Inc. vs. Romars International Gases Corporation, 623 SCRA 406(2010)] Civil Procedure; Judgments; Two justifiable grounds for an action for annulment of judgment.An action for annulment of judgment is grounded only on two justifications: (1) extrinsic fraud; and (2) lack of jurisdiction or denial of due process. All that herein private respondents had to prove was that the trial court had no jurisdiction; that they were prevented from having a trial or presenting their case to the trial court by some act or conduct of petitioners; or that they had been denied due process of law. Same; Same; The very purpose of the action for annulment of judgment was to have the final and executory judgment set aside so that there will be a renewal of litigation.The action for annulment of judgment cannot and was not a substitute for the lost remedy of appeal. The very purpose of the action for annulment of judgment was to have the final and executory judgment set aside so that there will be a renewal of litigation. Whether or not the assailed

Partial Decision based solely on facts and evidence presented by the petitioners is meritorious is irrelevant and immaterial. Thus, the Court of Appeals did not err, nor did it violate the petitioners right to due process of law, when it refused to consider all the factual issues raised by petitioners. Same; Summons; The modes of service of summons should be strictly followed in order that the court may acquire jurisdiction over the respondents, and failure to strictly comply with the requirements of the rules regarding the order of its publication is a fatal defect in the service of summons.While the service of summons by publication may have been done with the approval of the trial court, it does not cure the fatal defect that the Metropolitan Newsweek is not a newspaper of general circulation in Quezon City. The Rules strictly require that publication must be in a newspaper of general circulation and in such places and for such time as the court may order. The court orders relied upon by petitioners did not specify the place and the length of time that the summons was to be published. In the absence of such specification, publication in just any periodical does not satisfy the strict requirements of the rules. The incomplete directive of the court a quo coupled with the defective publication of the summons rendered the service by publication ineffective. The modes of service of summons should be strictly followed in order that the court may acquire jurisdiction over the respondents, and failure to strictly comply with the requirements of the rules regarding the order of its publication is a fatal defect in the service of summons. It cannot be overemphasized that the statutory requirements of service of summons,

whether personally, by substituted service, or by publication, must be followed strictly, faithfully and fully, and any mode of service other than that prescribed by the statute is considered ineffective. [Pinlac vs. Court of Appeals, 349 SCRA 635(2001)] Same; Same; Same; The Rules mandate that an appeal by notice of appeal is deemed perfected upon the filing of the notice of appeal in due time, due time being within fifteen (15) days after notice to the appellant of the judgment or final order appealed from.What the petitioner undertook instead was to pursue the notice of appeal, despite the unequivocal statement in the MTC Order of 23 February 1998 that the Judgment [sought to be reconsidered] has now become final and executory. The Rules mandate that an appeal by notice of appeal is deemed perfected upon the filing of the notice of appeal in due time, due time being within fifteen (15) days after notice to the appellant of the judgment or final order appealed from. While the period of appeal shall be interrupted by a timely motion for reconsideration, the MTC deemed, with legal basis, that the motion interposed by petitioner could not have been deemed filed and should instead be treated as a mere scrap of paper. [Victory Liner, Inc. vs. Malinias, 523 SCRA 279(2007)] Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Laches; Laches means the failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which by exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier.Laches in a general sense, means the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier.

It is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting the presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned or declined to assert it. Same; Same; Same; The law serves those who are vigilant and diligent and not those who sleep when the law requires them to act.There is no doubt, therefore, that the petitioners long inaction in asserting their right to the contested lots bars them from recovering the same (Galloy vs. Court of Appeals, 173 SCRA 26). The law serves those who are vigilant and diligent and not those who sleep when the law requires them to act. Same; Same; Same; Unlike the statute of limitations, laches is not a mere question of time but is principally a question of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a state right or claim to be enforced or asserted.Although the parcels of land in question are registered under the Torrens System, it is nevertheless settled in this jurisdiction that the ownership of registered land may be lost through laches (Tambot vs. Court of Appeals, 181 SCRA 202). The doctrine of laches or of stale demands is based on grounds of public policy which requires, for the peace of society, the discouragement of stale claims. Unlike the statute of limitations, laches is not a mere question of time but is principally a question of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a stale right or claim to be enforced or asserted. [Marcelino vs. Court of Appeals, 210 SCRA 444(1992)] Laches, Defined.Laches is the failure of or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time to do that which by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier, or to assert a right within reasonable

time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled thereto has either abandoned it or declined to assert it. [Hebron vs. Loyola, 623 SCRA 231(2010)] Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Relief from judgment, nature of the remedy; When remedy allowable.lt is a wellknown rule that the relief provided for by Rule 38 of the Revised Rules of Court is of equitable character and is allowed only in exceptional cases where there is no other available or adequate remedy. It is not regarded with favor and the judgment would not be voided where the party complaining has or, by exercising proper diligence, would have had an adequate remedy at law or by proceedings in the original action, by motion, petition or the like to open, vacate, modify, or otherwise obtain relief against the judgment. Same; Same; Same; Lack of notice of petition for relief from judgment makes the order of the court defective. Besides, it appears that the herein petitioner had not been furnished with a copy of the petition for relief from judgment despite its manifestation contained in its Supplemental Motion for Resolution filed on August 13, 1975, and the order of the respondent Court, dated July 23, 1975, directing that the petitioner should be furnished with a copy of the petition for relief, such that the petitioner had been deprived of the opportunity to controvert the petition. For lack of notice, the order in question is defective. Same; Same; Defenses; Reopening of case not allowed if defendant has no real defense to the action. Furthermore, reading the allegations of the herein private respondents as to their good and convincing evidence to

support their defense, quoted in the disputed order of the respondent Court, dated September 5, 1975. it would appear that the said respondents have no real defense. The said respondents have admitted their liability and there is little, if any, prospect that their evidence if presented and considered, can alter or reverse the conclusion already reached by the respondent Court in its decision rendered on April 7, 1975. As previously ruled, if the defendant has no real defense to the action or intends only a technical plea, there would be no justice in permitting the case to be reopened and subject plaintiff to further delay and expense for the mere purpose of rendering judgment in regular manner. [Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation vs. Lood, 110 SCRA 205(1981)] Civil Procedure; Judgments; Annulment of Judgment; Courts; Jurisdiction; Annulment of judgment is a remedy in law independent of the case where the judgment sought to be annulled was rendered. The Court of Appeals has exclusive jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments.Annulment of judgment is a remedy in law independent of the case where the judgment sought to be annulled was rendered. The judgment may be annulled on the ground of extrinsic or collateral fraud [Canlas v. Hon. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 77691, August 8, 1988]. Jurisdiction over actions for annulment of Regional Trial Court judgment has been clarified by Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 (otherwise known as The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980). Prior to the enactment of this law, different views had been entertained regarding the issue of whether or not a branch of a Regional Trial Court may annul a judgment of another branch of the same court. However, Batas

Pambansa Blg. 129 introduced a new provision conferring on the Court of Appeals exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of Regional Trial Courts. Sec. 9(2) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 expressly provides that: Sec. 9. Jurisdiction.The Court of Appeals shall exercise: x x x (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of Regional Trial Courts; x x x Thus, it is beyond dispute that it is only the Court of Appeals that can take cognizance of the annulment of judgment in Civil Case No. Q-43746 rendered by the Regional Trial Court. Same; Same; Same; A person who is not a party to the judgment may sue for its annulment provided that he can prove that the judgment was obtained through fraud and collusion, and that he would be adversely affected thereby.In Militante v. Edrosolano [G.R. No. L27940, June 10, 1971, 39 SCRA 473], an action for annulment of judgment in Civil Case No. 6216 between Edrosolano and Belosillo was filed by Militante. x x x The trial court however dismissed Militantes action for annulment on finding that it did not state a cause of action. Thereafter, Militante filed an appeal to this Tribunal and in setting aside the trial courts order of dismissal, the Court, speaking through then Mr. Associate Justice Enrique Fernando, stated that: x x x 2. More specifically, the view entertained by the lower court in its order of dismissal that an action for annulment of judgment can be availed of only by those principally or secondarily bound is contrary to what had been so clearly declared by this Court in the leading case of Anuran v. Aquino [38 Phil. 29], decided in 1918. It was emphatically announced therein:

There can be no question as to the right of any person adversely affected by a judgment to maintain an action to enjoin its enforcement and to have it declared a nullity on the ground of fraud and collusion practiced in the very matter of obtaining the judgment when such fraud is extrinsic or collateral to the matters involved in the issues raised at the trial which resulted in such judgment. x x x It is therefore clear from the foregoing that a person need not be a party to the judgment sought to be annulled. What is essential is that he can prove his allegation that the judgment was obtained by the use of fraud and collusion and he would be adversely affected thereby. In this present case it is true that the heirs of Araneta are not parties to the foreclosure case. Neither are they principally nor secondarily bound by the judgment rendered therein. However, in their petition filed with the Court of Appeals they alleged fraud and connivance perpetuated by and between the Da Silvas and the Council as would adversely affect them. This allegation, if fully substantiated by preponderance of evidence, could be the basis for the annulment of Civil Case No. Q-43476. Same; Same; Same; An action for annulment of judgment may be availed of even if the judgment sought to be annulled had been fully executed and implemented.Finally, the Council asserts that the remedy of annulment of judgment applies only to final and executory judgment and not to that which had already been fully executed or implemented. It is the Councils contention that as the judgment in the foreclosure case had already been executed evidenced by the fact that title to the property in question had been transferred in its name the judgment can no longer be annulled. The Councils

contention is devoid of merit. In Garchitorena v. Sotelo, supra, the Court affirmed the trial courts annulment of the judgment on foreclosure notwithstanding the fact that ownership of the house and lot subject of the mortgage had passed from the mortgagee who foreclosed the mortgage and purchased the property at public auction to a person who bought the same and finally to another individual in whose name the Torrens certificate of title stood by the time the case reached this Tribunal. [Islamic Da'Wah Council of the Phils. vs. Court of Appeals, 178 SCRA 178(1989)] Actions; Judgments; Annulment of Judgment; Three ways by which a final judgment may be attacked.We hold that the Court of Appeals erred in limiting the ground(s) for annulment of judgment to only one, namely, extrinsic fraud. While it is true that in the cited cases of Canlas vs. CA and Islamic Da Wah Council of the Philippines vs. Court of Appeals, this Court said that a judgment may be annulled on the ground of extrinsic or collateral fraud, we should hasten to add that in Macabingkil vs. Peoples Homesite and Housing Corporation, where the above ruling on annulment of judgment was based, we held that there are really three ways by which a final judgment may be attacked: Under existing rules, there are three (3) ways by which a final and executory judgment may be set aside. The first is by petition for relief from judgment under Rule 38 of the Revised Rules of Court, when judgment has been taken against the party through fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, in which case the petition must be filed within sixty (60) days after the petitioner learns of the judgment, but not more than six (6) months after such judgment was entered. The second

is by direct action to annul and enjoin the enforcement of the judgment. This remedy presupposes that the challenged judgment is not void upon its face, but is entirely regular in form, and the alleged defect is one which is not apparent upon its face or from the recitals contained in the judgment. [fn: Abbain v. Chua, 22 SCRA 798; Cadano v. Cadano, 49 SCRA 33; Anuran v. Aquino, 38 Phil. 329] As explained in Banco Espaol-Filipino v. Palanca, [fn: 37 Phil. 291, 949] under accepted principles of law and practice, long recognized in American courts, the proper remedy in such case, after the time for appeal or review has passed, is for the aggrieved party to bring an action enjoining the judgment, if not already carried into effect; or if the property has already been disposed of, he may institute suit to recover it. The third is either a direct action, as certiorari, or by a collateral attack against the challenged judgment (which is) is void upon its face, or that the nullity of the judgment is apparent by virtue of its own recitals. As aptly explained by Justice Malcolm in his dissent in Banco Espaol-Filipino v. Palanca, supra, A judgment which is void upon its face, and which requires only an inspection of the judgment roll to demonstrate its want of vitality is a dead limb upon the judicial tree, which should be lopped off, if the power so to do exists. Same; Same; Jurisdiction; Parties; A court must first acquire jurisdiction over the persons of indispensable parties before it can validly pronounce judgments personal to said defendants.True, the above dispositions refer to jurisdiction over the subject matter. Basic considerations of due process, however, impel a similar holding in cases involving jurisdiction

over the persons of indispensable parties which a court must acquire before it can validly pronounce judgments personal to said defendants. Courts acquire jurisdiction over a party plaintiff upon the filing of the complaint. On the other hand, jurisdiction over the person of a party defendant is assured upon the service of summons in the manner required by law or otherwise by his voluntary appearance. As a rule, if a defendant has not been summoned, the court acquires no jurisdiction over his person, and a personal judgment rendered against such defendant is null and void. A decision that is null and void for want of jurisdiction on the part of the trial court is not a decision in the contemplation of law and, hence, it can never become final and executory. Same; Jurisdiction; Parties; Words and Phrases; Indispensable Parties, Defined; The absence of an indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the court null and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties but even as to those present.Rule 3, Section 7 of the Rules of Court, defines indispensable parties as parties-ininterest without whom there can be no final determination of an action. As such, they must be joined either as plaintiffs or as defendants. The general rule with reference to the making of parties in a civil action requires, of course, the joinder of all necessary parties where possible, and the joinder of all indispensable parties under any and all conditions, their presence being a sine qua non for the exercise of judicial power. It is precisely when an indispensable party is not before the court (that) the action should be dismissed. The absence of an indispensable party renders all

subsequent actions of the court null and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties but even as to those present. Same; Same; Same; Co-Ownership; A co-owner could not maintain an action in ejectment without joining all the other co-owners.Formerly, Article 487 of the old Civil Code provided that any one of the co-owners may bring an action in ejectment. It was subsequently held that a co-owner could not maintain an action in ejectment without joining all the other co-owners. Former Chief Justice Moran, an eminent authority on remedial law, explains: x x x. As held by the Supreme Court, were the courts to permit an action in ejectment to be maintained by a person having merely an undivided interest in any given tract of land, a judgment in favor of the defendants would not be conclusive as against the other co-owners not parties to the suit, and thus the defendant in possession of the property might be harassed by as many succeeding actions of ejectment, as there might be coowners of the title asserted against him. The purpose of this provision was to prevent multiplicity of suits by requiring the person asserting a right against the defendant to include with him, either as co-plaintiffs or as codefendants, all persons standing in the same position, so that the whole matter in dispute may be determined once and for all in one litigation. Same; Same; Same; Same; A tenant who fails to implead all the co-owners cannot establish with finality his tenancy over the entire coowned landco-owners in an action for the security of tenure of a tenant are encompassed within the definition of indispensable parties. Contrariwise, it is logical that a tenant, in an action to establish his status as

such, must implead all the pro-indiviso co-owners; in failing to do so, there can be no final determination of the action. In other words, a tenant who fails to implead all the co-owners cannot establish with finality his tenancy over the entire co-owned land. Co-owners in an action for the security of tenure of a tenant are encompassed within the definition of indispensable parties; thus, all of them must be impleaded. Same; Same; Same; Judgments; The nullity of a judgment grounded on lack of jurisdiction may be shown not only by what patently appears on the face of the decision but also by documentary and testimonial evidence found in the records of the case and upon which the judgment is based.Admittedly, in this case, the want of jurisdiction of the trial court in rendering its decision in Civil Case No. D-7240 is not patent on the face of said judgment. However, there were glaring documentary and testimonial pieces of evidence referred to by the trial court in its decision which should have prompted it to inquire further whether there were other indispensable parties who were not impleaded. These facts and circumstances should have forewarned the trial court that it had not acquired jurisdiction over a number of indispensable parties. In American jurisprudence, the nullity of a decision arising from lack of jurisdiction may be determined from the record of the case, not necessarily from the face of the judgment only. We believe that this rule should be applied to this case, considering that in the assailed trial courts decision, referrals were made to crucial evidence which if scrutinized would readily reveal that there were indispensable parties omitted. In sum, we hold that the nullity of a judgment grounded on lack of jurisdiction may be

shown not only by what patently appears on the face of such decision but also by documentary and testimonial evidence found in the records of the case and upon which such judgment is based. Same; Same; Judgments; Annulment of Judgment; A judgment of the Regional Trial Court, even if previously affirmed by the Intermediate Appellate Court and the Supreme Court, may be nullified on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the trial court over the persons of indispensable parties where said issue of lack of jurisdiction was not raised in the earlier appellate proceedings.Before ending our discussion on the first issue, we must stress that the then Intermediate Appellate Court and this Court, in affirming the RTC decision in Civil Case No. D-7240 which we here nullify, had not been given the occasion to rule on the issue of the trial courts jurisdiction over the persons of indispensable parties; verily, this question had not been raised before the two appellate courts. The review of civil cases by appellate courts is confined only to the issues raised by the parties. Hence, appellate courts do not have the privilege or the opportunity afforded the trial courts to consider matters beyond the specifically contested issues, e.g., jurisdiction over indispensable parties, as in this case. Such lack of jurisdiction could not have been known by the appellate courts, including this Court, as it was not patent from the documents or submissions filed before them. The issue raised before the then Intermediate Appellate Court and this Court was formulated in this wise: (t)he validity of private respondents claim that he is a tenant of the petitioners fishpond, with security of tenure as such assured under the law, is

the basic question presented in this appeal. We underscore the fact that the issue of whether all the indispensable parties had been validly impleaded, if at all, had not been raised at that time. In any event, whether the indispensable parties were actually impleaded and jurisdiction over them was acquired was a factual question for the trial court to determine. Consistent with the basic doctrine that factual findings of lower courts are binding on appellate courts unless covered by the recognized exceptions, appellate courts must be able to rely on the implied affirmation of the trial court that jurisdiction had been acquired over indispensable parties, especially when this was not raised as an issue on appeal. The responsibility for impleading indispensable parties for the exhaustive trial of a case cannot rest on this forum or on the then Intermediate Appellate Court. Indeed, the Decision of this Court affirming the said trial courts decision is captioned only as Pacita A. Olanday, Maria A. Arellano and Natividad A. Cruz, petitioners, vs. Intermediate Appellate Court and Moises Farnacio, respondents, clearly indicating that petitioners herein had been omitted as indispensable parties in the proceedings before the trial court and before the appellate tribunals. Substantial justice requires that this error be now rectified. Same; Same; Same; Same; In an action to declare a judgment void because of lack of jurisdiction over the parties or subject matter, only evidence found in the records of the case can justify the annulment of the said judgment.As correctly put by petitioners, we hold that Respondent Court of Appeals, in deciding the petition to declare the judgment void, cannot consider

extraneous matters to vary what the records bear. In other words, the Court of Appeals cannot annul or declare null the assailed decision with such extraneous matters. The validity or nullity of the said decision must stand or fall on its own face and the evidence on record. In an action to declare a judgment void because of lack of jurisdiction over the parties or subject matter, only evidence found in the records of the case can justify the annulment of the said judgment. Contrariwise, the nullity of the judgment due to lack of jurisdiction may be proved at most by the evidence on record but never by extraneous evidence. [Arcelona vs. Court of Appeals, 280 SCRA 20(1997)] Actions; Judgments; Pleadings and Practice; While the petitioner is required to attach to the original copy of his petition for annulment of judgment a certified true copy of the assailed decision, final order or resolution, he is not required to attach the certified true copies of the affidavits of witnesses or documents supporting the cause of action or defensehe may just submit plain copies thereof; Unless a petitioner appends to his petition the appropriate documents, the appellate court might dismiss the petition outright or deny due course to the petition.We agree with petitioners contention that, under Section 4, Rule 47 of the Rules of Court, they were required to attach to the original copy of their petition a certified true copy of the assailed decision, final order or resolution. Although petitioners are also required to attach the affidavits of witnesses or documents supporting the cause of action or defense, they are not required to submit certified copies of such documents. Petitioners may just submit plain copies thereof. It must be stressed, however,

that petitioners are required to allege with particularity in their petition the facts and the law relied upon for annulment as well as those supporting their cause of action or defense, as the case may be. Such requirement, as well as the requirement for petitioners to attach to the original copy of their petition the affidavits of their witnesses and documents supporting their cause of action or defense, are designed to convince the appellate court of the substantive merit of their petition to avoid its outright dismissal; or for the CA to make a finding of a prima facie merit in their petition and give due course thereto and order the service of the petition and summons on the respondents. Unless petitioners append to their petition the appropriate documents, the appellate court might dismiss the petition outright or deny due course to the petition. Same; Same; Same; An action to annul a final judgment is an extraordinary remedyit is not a relief to be granted indiscriminately by the Court; If only plain copies of documents are appended to the original copy of the petition, the Court of Appeals may not give probative weight to such documents and opt to dismiss the petition outright for lack of substantive or prima facie merit.An action to annul a final judgment is an extraordinary remedy. Annulment of judgment is not a relief to be granted indiscriminately by the Court. It is a recourse equitable in character allowed only in exceptional cases. The reason for the restriction is to prevent this extraordinary action from being used by a losing party to make a complete farce of a duly promulgated decision that has long become final and executory. There would be no end to litigations if the parties who have unsuccessfully availed of any of the

appropriate remedies or lost them through their fault could still bring an action for annulment of judgment. Moreover, if only plain copies of documents are appended to the original copy of the petition, the CA may not give probative weight to such documents and opt to dismiss the petition outright for lack of substantive or prima facie merit. Same; Same; Same; A judgment or final order or resolution in civil actions of the Regional Trial Court may be annulled only on grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction.Section 2, Rule 47 of the Rules of Court provides that a judgment or final order or resolution in civil actions of the RTC may be annuled only on grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is the power and authority of the tribunal to hear, try and decide a case. Jurisdiction does not depend upon the regularity of the exercise by the Court of that power or on the correctness of its decision. Lack of jurisdiction refers to either lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defending party or over the subject matter of the action. Lack of jurisdiction or absence of jurisdiction presupposes that the court should not have taken cognizance of the complaint because the law or the Constitution does not vest it with jurisdiction over the subject matter. Same; Same; Same; Where the petition is grounded on lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant/respondent or over the nature of subject matter of the action, the petitioner need not allege in the petition that the ordinary remedy of new trial or reconsideration of the decision or the final order or resolution is no longer available through no fault of his own; If a judgment is not void on its face, or from the recitals contained in the decision, is regular in form, the

aggrieved party may file a direct action to annul the judgment and enjoin its enforcement.Where the petition is grounded on lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant/respondent or over the nature or subject matter of the action, petitioners need not allege in the petition that the ordinary remedy of new trial or reconsideration of the decision or final order or resolution is no longer available through no fault of his own. This is so because a judgment rendered or a final order or resolution issued by the RTC without jurisdiction is null and void and may be assailed at any time either collaterally or in a direct action or by resisting such judgment or final order or proceeding whenever it is invoked unless barred by laches. A judgment rendered without jurisdiction over the subject matter is void. If a judgment is not void on its face, or from the recitals contained in the decision, is regular in form, the aggrieved party may file a direct action to annul the judgment and enjoin its enforcement. If the property subject of the judgment has already been disposed of, he may institute a suit to recover the property and collaterally attack the judgment. Whether the challenged decision is void on its face or if the nullity of the judgment is apparent by virtue of its own recital, the judgment may still be attacked by direct action such as certiorari or by a collateral attack. A judgment which is void on its face and which requires only an inspection of the judgment roll to demonstrate its want of vitality is a dead limb upon the judicial tree which should be lopped off. Same; Same; Same; The overriding consideration when extrinsic fraud is alleged is that the fraudulent scheme of the prevailing litigant prevented a party from having his day in court.Extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the

prevailing party in the litigation which is committed outside of the trial of the case whereby the unsuccessful party has been prevented from exhibiting fully his case by fraud or deception practiced on him by his opponent. The overriding consideration when extrinsic fraud is alleged is that the fraudulent scheme of the prevailing litigant prevented a party from having his day in court. [Veneracion vs. Mancilla, 495 SCRA 712(2006)] Civil Procedure; Judgments; Jurisdiction; The remedy of petition for annulment of judgment, final order or resolution under Rule 47 of the Rules of Court is an extraordinary one inasmuch as it is available only where the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other remedies can no longer be availed of through no fault of the petitioner.We agree with the Court of Appeals that the remedy of annulment was not the proper remedy to set aside the orders of the trial court. To start with, the remedy of petition for annulment of judgment, final order or resolution under Rule 47 of the Rules of Court is an extraordinary one inasmuch as it is available only where the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other remedies can no longer be availed of through no fault of the petitioner. The relief it affords is equitable in character as it strikes at the core of finality of such judgments and orders. Same; Same; Same; The grounds for a petition for annulment are in themselves specific in the same way that the relief itself isthe Rules restrict the grounds only to lack of jurisdiction and extrinsic fraud to prevent the remedy from being used by a losing party in making a complete farce of a duly promulgated decision or a duly issued order or

resolution that has long attained finality.The grounds for a petition for annulment are in themselves specific in the same way that the relief itself is. The Rules restrict the grounds only to lack of jurisdiction and extrinsic fraud to prevent the remedy from being used by a losing party in making a complete farce of a duly promulgated decision or a duly issued order or resolution that has long attained finality. This certainly is based on sound public policy for litigations and, despite occasional risks of error, must be brought to a definite end and the issues that go with them must one way or other be laid to rest. In turn, lack of jurisdictionthe ground relied upon by petitioneris confined only to either lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defending party or over the subject matter of the claim. A valid invocation of this ground rests exclusively on absolute lack of jurisdiction as opposed to a mere abuse of jurisdictional discretion or mere errors in judgment committed in the exercise of jurisdiction inasmuch as jurisdiction is distinct from the exercise thereof. Hence, where the facts demonstrate that the court has validly acquired jurisdiction over the respondent and over the subject matter of the case, its decision or order cannot be validly voided via a petition for annulment on the ground of absence or lack of jurisdiction. Same; Same; Same; A party aggrieved by the decision of the Court of Appeals in a petition filed with it for annulment of judgment, final order or resolution is not a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, but rather an ordinary appeal under Rule 45 where only questions of law may be raised.In Alba v. Court of Appeals, 465 SCRA 495 (2005), and Linzag v. Court of Appeals, 291 SCRA 304 (1998), it was held that a party

aggrieved by the decision of the Court of Appeals in a petition filed with it for annulment of judgment, final order or resolution is not a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, but rather an ordinary appeal under Rule 45 where only questions of law may be raised. A petition for certiorari is, like a petition for annulment, a remedy of last resort and must be availed of only when an appeal or any other adequate, plain or speedy remedy may no longer be pursued in the ordinary course of law. A remedy is said to be plain, speedy and adequate when it will promptly relieve the petitioner from the injurious effects of the judgment and the acts of the lower court or agency. [Mandy Commodities Co., Inc. vs. The International Commercial Bank of China, 591 SCRA 579(2009)]