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: In issue in the present petition for review is one of jurisdiction. By Resolutions of May 28, 2007 and September 27, 2007, the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. CR No. 29514, " People of the Philippines v. Cenita Cariaga, " dismissed the appeal of Cenita Cariaga (petitioner) for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter. Petitioner, as the municipal treasurer of Cabatuan, Isabela with a Salary Grade of 24, was charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cauayan City in Isabela with three counts of malversation of public funds, defined under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code. The Information in the first case, Criminal Case No. 1293, reads:
chan robles vi rtua l law li bra ry
That on or about the year 1993 or sometime prior or subsequent thereto in the Municipality of Cabatuan, Province of Isabela, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, [C]ENITA M. CARIAGA, a public officer, being the Municipal Treasurerof Cabatuan, Isabela, and as such is accountable for taxes, fees and monies collected and/or received by her by reason of her position, acting in relation to her office and taking advantage of the same, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, misappropriate and convert to her personal use the amount of TWO THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED EIGHTY FIVE PESOS (P2,785.00) representing the remittance of the Municipality of Cabatuan to the Provincial Government of Isabela as the latter's share in the real property taxes collected, which amount was not received by the Provincial Government of Isabela, to the damage and prejudice of the government in the amount aforestated. CONTRARY TO LAW.1 (underscoring supplied)
The two other Informations in the second and third criminal cases, Nos. 1294 and 1295, contain the same allegations except the malversed amounts which are P25,627.38 and P20,735.13, respectively.2 Branch 20 of the Cauayan RTC, by Joint Decision of June 22, 2004,3 convicted petitioner in the three cases, disposing as follows:
cralaw chan ro bles vi rt ual law li bra ry
WHEREFORE, finding the accused CENITA M. CARIAGA, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MALVERSATION for which she is charged in the three (3) separate informations and in the absence of any mitigating circumstance, hereby sentences her to suffer: 1. In Crim. Case No. Br.20-1293, an indeterminate penalty of from FOUR (4) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of PRISION CORRECCIONAL as minimum to SEVEN (7) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of PRISION MAYOR as maximum and its accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification and a fine of Two Thousand Seven Hundred Eighty Five (P2,785.00) Pesos, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. Cost against the accused. 2. In Crim. Case No. Br. 20-1294, an indeterminate penalty of from TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of PRISION MAYOR as minimum to EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS, EIGHT (8) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of RECLUSION TEMPORAL as maximum and to suffer the accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification and to pay a fine of Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Twenty Seven (P25,627.00) Pesos. She is ordered to indemnify the Provincial Government of Isabela Twenty Five Thousand Six
IN CONSIDERATION OF SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE IN A CRIMINAL CASE. Br. An appeal erroneously taken to the Court of Appeals shall not be transferred to the appropriate court but shall be dismissed outright. the present petition for review.00) Pesos..730. 8249]. Evidently. SO ORDERED. 1606.6 c ralaw Petitioner. (emphasis and underscoring supplied) That appellate jurisdiction in this case pertains to the Sandiganbayan is clear. Costs against the accused. the appeal to this Court of the conviction for malversation of public funds was improperly and improvidently made. 2007.4 the Court of Appeals dismissed petitioner's appeal for lack of jurisdiction. and to suffer the accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification and a fine of Twenty Thousand Seven Hundred Thirty (P20. which enjoys appellate jurisdiction over the offense . to the exclusion of all others. holding that it is the Sandiganbayan which has exclusive appellate jurisdiction thereon. petitioner defining the issues as follows: cralaw chan robles v irt ual law l ibra ry I. THE APPEAL OF. In Crim. WHETHER.BE ADMITTED. The bailbonds are cancelled. II. x x x. 2007. an indeterminate penalty of from TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of PRISION MAYOR as minimum to FOURTEEN (14) YEARS. Dismissal of improper appeal to the Court of Appeals. stating that he intended to appeal the trial court's decision to the Court of Appeals. 4. . implores the Court to relax the Rules to afford her an opportunity to fully ventilate her appeal on the merits and requests the Court to endorse and transmit the records of the cases to the Sandiganbayan in the interest of substantial justice. Cost against the accused. Jurisdiction.00) Pesos. through counsel. jurisdiction over the offense is vested with the Regional Trial Court considering that the position of Municipal Treasurer corresponds to a salary grade below 27. in time filed a Notice of Appeal.627. WHETHER. 20-1295.Hundred Twenty Seven (P25. NEW TRIAL BE GRANTED TO THE PETITIONER TO BE UNDERTAKEN IN THE SANDIGANBAYAN (ALTERNATIVELY IN THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT) SO THAT CRUCIAL EVIDENCE OF PETITIONER. Held the appellate court: cralaw chan roble s virtual law libra ry Concomitantly.OR BE ENDORSED AND TRANSMITTED TO THE SANDIGANBAYAN WHERE THE APPEAL SHALL THEN PROCEED IN DUE COURSE. it is the Sandiganbayan. [PETITIONER] WRONGFULLY DIRECTED TO THE COURT OF APPEALS BE DISMISSED OUTRIGHT. (emphasis and underscoring supplied) Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration was denied by Resolution of September 27. EIGHT (8) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of RECLUSION TEMPORAL as maximum. so directs:8 cralaw cralaw Sec. Pursuant to Section 4 of [Presidential Decree No. By Resolution of May 28.The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving: chan rob les vi rtua l law lib rary . CONSIDERING THE CLEAR AND GRAVE ERROR COMMITTED BY COUNSEL OF [PETITIONER] AND OTHER EXTRA-ORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES. as amended by Republic Act No. . 5 Hence. Petitioner.. without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. now admitting the procedural error committed by her former counsel. Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. . Case No. 8249. . Section 2 of Rule 50 of the Rules of Court provides: chan ro bles vi rt ual law libra ry SEC.7 as amended by Republic Act No. 1606. . 2. 3.
resolutions or orders of regional trial courts whether in the exercise of their own original jurisdiction or of their appellate jurisdiction as herein provided. x x x (emphasis. albeit regrettably so. Since the appeal involves criminal cases. a more thorough review and appreciation of the evidence for the prosecution and defense as well as a proper application of the imposable penalties in the present case by the Sandiganbayan would do well to assuage petitioner that her appeal is decided scrupulously.9 cralaw In Ulep v. 129. 6758. and the possibility of a person being deprived of liberty due to a procedural lapse militates against the Court's dispensation of justice. as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 11 cralaw While the negligence of counsel generally binds the client. the Sandiganbayan.R. People. Cases involving government employees with a salary grade lower than 27 are fairly common. Indeed. cralaw Moreover. or where the interests of justice so require. exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional trial court. The trial court.10 the Court remanded the case to the Sandiganbayan when it found that: cralaw x x x petitioner's failure to designate the proper forum for her appeal was inadvertent. metropolitan trial court. He should have conscientiously and carefully observed this responsibility specially in cases such as this where a person's liberty was at stake. 29514 are SET ASIDE. The omission did not appear to be a dilatory tactic on her part. (emphasis and underscoring supplied) The slapdash work of petitioner's former counsel and the trial court's apparent ignorance of the law effectively conspired to deny petitioner the remedial measures to question her conviction. as the case may be. . municipal trial court. CR No. or military and PNP officers mentioned above. the Court has made exceptions thereto. to the great prejudice of petitioner.which was exactly what happened in the CA. was duty bound to forward the records of the case to the proper forum.He should have known when appeals are to be taken to the CA and when they should be forwarded to the Sandiganbayan. as amended. such that any rigid and strict application thereof which results in technicalities tending to frustrate substantial justice must always be avoided. the assailed Resolutions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments. For rules of procedure must be viewed as tools to facilitate the attainment of justice. when its application will result in outright deprivation of the client's liberty or property. pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. and municipal circuit trial court. the Court grants petitioner's plea for a relaxation of the Rules. italics and underscoring supplied). 12 It can not be gainsaid that the case of petitioner can fall under any of these exceptions. Let the records of the cases be FORWARDED to the Sandiganbayan for proper disposition. on the other hand. It is unfortunate that the RTC judge concerned ordered the pertinent records to be forwarded to the wrong court. The judge was expected to know and should have known the law and the rules of procedure. WHEREFORE. petitioner had more to lose had that been the case as her appeal could be dismissed outright for lack of jurisdiction .xxx In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to Salary Grade '27' or higher. especially in criminal cases where reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives the client of due process of law.
under pain of administrative sanction. CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES Associate Justice. ABAD* Associate Justice MARTIN S. of the Cauayan City Regional Trial Court is warned against committing the same procedural error. Associate Justice CERTIFICATION Pursuant to Section 13. Chairperson WE CONCUR: ARTURO D.The Presiding Judge of Branch 20. Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson's Attestation. I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division. SO ORDERED. JR. VILLARAMA. Eduarte. Henedino P. CORONA Chief Justice . RENATO C. BRION Associate Justice LUCAS P. BERSAMIN Associate Justice ROBERTO A.
petitioner filed the instant special civil action for certiorari. RESPONDENTS. 26. prompting the latter to issue on July 31. the Katarungang Pambarangay Law. Respondents Cajes filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that:  the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the action because the dispute was not brought before the barangay for amicable settlement in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 1983 the certification to file action for the complainant. VS. after mediation before the barangay chairman had failed.SECOND DIVISION [G. Cajes and Ricardo M. On October 19.. petitioner asserted that the trial court had jurisdiction over the case because of the "certification to file action" issued on July 31. dismissed the complaint "without prejudice to the filing of the same after the provisions of PD 1508 shall have been complied properly as prayed for in the 'Motion to Dismiss' filed by defendants despite the Opposition filed by plaintiff. 69334. Jr. PRESIDING JUDGE DESIGNATE OF BRANCH IX. respondent Judge Perfecto M. HONORABLE PERFECTO M. There is no mention in the records of the reason for Cajes' non-appearance. In reply. Assailing the order of dismissal as a patent nullity and having been issued with grave abuse of discretion. 1508.068 square meters located in Barangay Dologon. . ESTHER G. Bukidnon. There is no question that the controversy was referred to the Punong Barangay of Dologon. Cajes for the annulment of title and recovery of possession and ownership of a parcel of land with an area of 3. CAJES AND RICARDO M. Maramag. 1984 petitioner Servillano Alinsugay instituted an action in the Regional Trial Court of Bukidnon. CAJES. Malaybalay branch.R. No. 1983 by the Punong Barangay and attested by the Barangay Secretary to the effect that respondent Esther Cajes "wilfully failed or refused to obey summons or to appear for hearing. 1508. Summons were served upon the parties.: The issue raised in this case is whether referral to the Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo under Presidential Decree No. and without passing on the merits on the other grounds alleged in the same 'Motion to Dismiss'". against respondents Esther G. J. respondent Esther Cajes failed to appear before the barangay chairman. It was docketed as Barangay Case No. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF BUKIDNON. In an order dated November 13. JR. CAGAMPANG. July 28. Maramag. 1566]. PETITIONER. and  the action was barred by prescription and laches. 10TH JUDICIAL REGION. respondents argued that petitioner did not follow the process of going through a Pangkat in the settlement of his dispute. 1984. DECISION FERNAN. herein petitioner Alinsugay. is mandatory even where the failure at conciliation is due to the non-appearance of one party. Cagampang. Bukidnon [Civil Case No.  the complaint was premature. 1986] SERVILLANO ALINSUGAY. and therefore the corresponding complaint for the dispute may now be filed in court/government office". Specifically. For one reason or another.
that the Punong Barangay on his level is bereft of legal authority to issue the questioned certification. In that case. 1508 and its implementing rules. he shall forthwith set the date for the constitution of the Pangkat. petitioner Alinsugay contends that the issuance of the certification to file action by the Punong Barangay. after due notice.The complaint may be dismissed when complainant. as certified to by the Lupon or Pangkat Secretary as the case may be. In instances where one party fails to appear for no justifiable reason. . This is a case wherein only one party appears before the Punong Barangay and the other party fails to do so despite due notice or summons. may be dismissed. It will accomplish nothing in view of a party's unwillingness. What should the Punong Barangay do in such a case? Rule VI. to settle the dispute outside the regular courts. Such dismissal. Such dismissal. as the case may be. otherwise what would prevent a corrupt barangay chairman from issuing indiscriminate certifications. the only feasible alternative for the Lupon is to issue the certification allowing complainant to bring the controversy to court. Section 4[b] of PD No. by a fine not exceeding one hundred pesos (P100. 1508 is intervention by the Punong Barangay and members of the Pangkat." Thus it is very clear from the Rules that the wilful refusal or failure to appear on the part of respondent is sufficient basis for the complainant present to be given a certification to file action. However.e. willfully fails or refuses to appear on the date set for mediation. such referral to the Pangkat is mandatory only in those cases where both parties have submitted themselves to the Lupon for conciliation and conciliation has failed. and it shall likewise be a sufficient basis for the issuance of a certification for filing complainant's cause of action in court or with the proper government agency or office. any counterclaim he has made that arises from or is necessarily connected with complainant's action. respondents Esther Cajes and Ricardo M. Cajes argue that the certification is premature and therefore null and void. "In addition. The issuance of a certification to file action means that the complainant may already bring his case to the court or other government office for adjudication. Section 7 of the Katarungang Pambarangay Rules provides: "SECTION 7. "Upon a similar failure of the respondent to appear. as reflected in his unjustified absence. We hold for petitioner Alinsugay.00) or imprisonment of not more than one (1) month of both. On the other hand. Failure to appear. shall bar the respondent from filing such counterclaim in court. such wilful failure or refusal to appear may subject the recalcitrant party or witness to punishment as for contempt of court. . and that what is contemplated by PD No. i. attested by the Barangay Secretary. 1508 likewise provides that if the Punong Barangay fails in his mediation efforts within fifteen  days from the first meeting of the parties. substantially complies with the provisions of Presidential Decree No.In his memorandum. conciliation or arbitration. They theorize that under the law. convening the Pangkat as a necessary second step will serve no useful purpose. shall bar the complainant from seeking judicial recourse for the same cause of action as that dismissed. as certified to by the Lupon or Pangkat Secretary.. the Punong Barangay should have constituted the Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo after he had failed to bring about a settlement between the contending parties.
Jr. the order of respondent Judge Cagampang. acted arbitrarily and with grave abuse of discretion in dismissing petitioner's complaint.It is evident that the respondents have not come to court with clean hands. 1984 is set aside and a new one is entered directing the Regional Trial Court of Bukidnon. WHEREFORE. The issuance of the certification to file action is warranted by the Rules in view of respondent's unexplained refusal to appear. and Paras. Malaybalay branch to proceed with the hearing on the merits of Civil Case No. They should not be subsequently allowed to frustrate petitioner's cause of action by invoking that situation which they themselves created. .. The desired conciliation at the barangay level failed to materialize due to their non-appearance. Gutierrez. SO ORDERED. JJ. Case remanded. Jr. 1566. Costs against the respondents. Jr. Alampay. Petitioner has complied with the condition precedent set forth in Presidential Decree No. dated November 13. Respondent Judge Cagampang. Feria. 1508. (Chairman).. concur.
In his answer. As a result of the sale. Consequently. respondents. the MTC of Manila handed down on August 11. Corpuz sent a written notice to Alvarado demanding that he vacate the room which he was occupying because the children of Corpuz needed it for their own use. 117005. Barredo sold his house to Corpuz for P37. however. Alvarado and the other lessees executed an "Affidavit of Waiver" granting Barredo the right to sell his house to any person who can afford to purchase the same. it ordered the dismissal of the case for unlawful . decided to sell his property to the tenants. 1992 a decision ordering Alvarado to vacate the room. Due to economic difficulties.ii Feeling aggrieved. in effect. June 19. and (2) the dispute was not referred to the Lupong Tagapayapa. 92-62869.: Petitioner Carlito Corpuz questions the decision of the Court of Appealsi affirming the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila. Corpuz filed an action for unlawful detainer against private respondent Juanito Alvarado with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila. 1997] CARLITO D. Consequently. dismissing the petition for review in Civil Case No.SECOND DIVISION [G.00. 138532. Alvarado appealed to the RTC. in May 1988. docketed as Civil Case No. a tenancy relationship was established between Corpuz and Alvarado. which Corpuz' children allegedly needed for their own use. for recovery of possession of the room being occupied by the latter. No. reversed the MTC's decision on the ground that the purported sale between Corpuz and Barredo was the subject of a controversy pending before the National Housing Authority (NHA) which must be resolved first by said agency. Finding the defenses of Alvarado to be without merit. On March 11. to wit: (1) the alleged "Affidavit of Waiver" executed between him and Barredo was a forgery. Branch 6. CORPUZ. In October 1991. vs. DECISION ROMERO. It also concluded that the "Affidavit of Waiver" executed by Alvarado and Barredo was a forgery. petitioner.R. J. Alvarado and Corpuz were two of the tenants of a certain Lorenzo Barredo who. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (SIXTEENTH DIVISION) and JUANITO ALVARADO. prompting Corpuz to seek his ejectment. Alvarado refused to vacate the room as demanded. said court rendered its decisioniii which. Branch 10.500. 1993. Alvarado raised two major defenses.
The main issues presented in this petition is whether Corpuz' unlawful detainer suit filed before the MTC against Alvarado should be suspended until the resolution of the case lodged in the NHA impugning the sale of said property. Corpuz elevated his case to the Court of Appeals.xi In Wilmor Auto Supply Construction Company Corporations." Consequently. since the present petition involves the issue of possession intertwined with the issue of ownership (i.vii The petition is impressed with merit. His motion for reconsideration of said decision having been denied for lack of merit by the RTCiv on July 16. Navarro .x however. to wit: "Neither do suits for annulment of sale. resolve the issue of ownership. by declaring who among the parties is the true and lawful owner of the subject property. Corpuz maintains that the mere assertion challenging his ownership over the said property is not a sufficient ground to divest the MTC of its exclusive jurisdiction. It cannot. that is.xii Justice (now Chief Justice) Andres Narvasa outlined the following cases involving the annulment of the title or document over the property which should not be considered in the abatement of an ejectment suit. the doctrinal pronouncement in Refugia is applicable. however. The prevailing doctrine is that suits or actions for the annulment of sale. possession de facto. in making a distinction between the reception of evidence and the resolution of the issue of ownership.. Court of Appeals. the only issue to be resolved in forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases is the physical or material possession over the real property. v. et al. 1994. this petition. found no reversible error in the assailed judgment and affirmed the same in its entirety in its assailed decision dated July 14. the controversy pending in the NHA). this Court. 129.vi Hence. Court of Appeals. that is. With this as a premise and taking into consideration the amendment introduced by Batas Pambansa Blg. and whether the "Affidavit of Waiver" between Corpuz and Barredo was authentic. however. Parenthetically speaking.. 1993. 1994. or document affecting property operate to abate ejectment actions respecting the same property (Salinas v. The appellate court. It is elementary that the MTC has exclusive jurisdiction over ejectment cases. the issue raised in this petition is far from novel. it may be suggested that inferior courts are now conditionally vested with adjudicatory power over the issue of title or ownership raised by the parties in an ejectment suit. held that the inferior court may look into the evidence of title or ownership and possession de jure insofar as said evidence would indicate or determine the nature of possession.detainer. v A subsequent motion for reconsideration was likewise denied by the Court of Appeals in its resolution dated September 1. title or document do not abate any ejectment action respecting the same property. Court of Appeals. viii As the law now stands.e. and ruled that Alvarado cannot be legally expelled from the subject premises. we ruled that: "In the case of De la Santa vs. because the resolution of said issue would effect an adjudication on ownership which is not sanctioned in the summary action for unlawful detainer. et al.ix In the recent case of Refugia v. or title.
Benguet Consolidated. is hereby REINSTATED. Jr. 1508. A perusal of Alvarado's answer reveals that no reason or explanation was given to support his allegation. We have held in Dui v. 154 SCRA 153 . Puno. Alvarado raises the issue in the instant petition that the ejectment suit was not referred to the Lupon Tagapayapa as required by Presidential Decree No.D. of respondent Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Branch 6. In any event. . Caparros v. by the simple expedient of asserting ownership thereon. JJ. 177 SCRA 288 . We are not persuaded. Regalado. SO ORDERED. Thus. The assailed decision dated July 14. and the judgment of the Metropolitan Trial Court. 1994. the proceeding outlined in P. This defense was only stated in a single general short sentence in Alvarado's answer. Manila. [annulment of document]. 126 SCRA 167 .xiii Furthermore. the controversy pending before the NHA for the annulment of the Deed of Sale and assailing the authenticity of the "Affidavit of Joint Waiver" cannot deter the MTC from taking cognizance of the ejectment suit merely for the purpose of determining who has a better possessory right among the parties. Inc. Ang Ping v. and Torres. We have ruled that a judgment rendered in an ejectment case shall not bar an action between the same parties respecting title to the land or building nor shall it be conclusive as to the facts therein found in a case between the same parties upon a different cause of action involving possession. the underlying reason for the above rulings is for the defendant not to trifle with the ejectment suit. 1992. 138532-CV dated August 11. the instant petition is GRANTED... It may be stressed that Alvarado is not without remedy. RTC [annulment of sale and title]. in Civil Case No. CA [annulment of title]. concur. WHEREFORE. Mendoza. 170 SCRA 758 . (Chairman).[annulment of deed of sale with assumption of mortgage and/or to declare the same an equitable mortgage]. 1508 is not a jurisdictional requirement and non-compliance therewith cannot affect the jurisdiction which the lower court had already acquired over the subject matter and the parties therein." Clearly. 174 SCRA 517. Galgala v. Dante v. which is deemed a mere general averment. Sison [annulment of sale with damages]. which is summary in nature. Court of Appealsxiv that failure of a party to specifically allege the fact that there was no compliance with the Barangay conciliation procedure constitutes a waiver of that defense.