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Defendants filed a counter bond with Manila Surety and Fidelity Co (Surety). Judgement was in favour of the plaintiffs, a writ of execution was issued against the defendant. Defendants moved for writ of execution against surety which was granted. Surety moved to quash the writ but was denied, appealed to CA without raising the issue on lack of jurisdiction. CA affirmed the appealed decision. Surety then filed Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction against CFI Cebu in view of the effectivity of Judiciary Act of 1948 a month before the filing of the petition for recovery. Act placed original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts all civil actions for demands not exceeding 2,000 exclusive of interest. CA set aside its earlier decision and referred the case to SC since it has exclusive jurisdiction over "all cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is in issue. ISSUE: WON Surety bond is estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the CFI Cebu for the first time upon appeal.YES RATIO: SC believes that that the Surety is now barred by laches from invoking this plea after almost fifteen years before the Surety filed its motion to dismiss raising the question of lack of jurisdiction for the first time - A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways and for different reasons. Thus we speak of estoppel in pais, or estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches. Laches, in a general sense is 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 - Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the court -"undesirable practice" of a party submitting his case for decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction, when adverse. : Other merits on the appeal : The surety insists that the lower court should have granted its motion to quash the writ of execution because the same was issued without the summary hearing - Summary hearing is "not intended to be carried on in the formal manner in which ordinary actions are prosecuted" (83 C.J.S. 792). It is, rather, a procedure by which a question is resolved "with dispatch, with the least possible delay, and in preference to ordinary legal and regular judicial proceedings" (Ibid, p. 790). What is essential is that "the defendant is notified or summoned to appear and is given an opportunity to hear what is urged upon him, and to interpose a defense, after which follows an adjudication of the rights of the parties - In the case at bar, the surety had been notified of the plaintiffs' motion for execution and of the date when the same would be submitted for consideration. In fact, the surety's counsel was present in court when the motion was called, and it was upon his request that the court a quo gave him a period of four days within which to file an answer. Yet he allowed that period to lapse without filing an answer or objection. The surety cannot now, therefore, complain that it was deprived of its day in court The orders appealed from are affirmed. METROMEDIA TIMES CORPORATION/GOKONGWEI-PE vs PASTORIN (465 SCRA 320) FACTS: Pastorin was an employee of Metromedia tasked for periodic collection of receivables from dealers of petitioner's newspapers. He terminated from service but was not dismissed due to the intervention of the labor union, the collective bargaining agent in the company. Pastorin has a loan from a certain Gloria de Manuel who seek the help of the petitioner for the collection of said loan - petitioner sent a letter addressed to respondent, requiring an explanation for the transaction with De Manuel, as well as for his failure to pay back the loan - respondent admitted having incurred the loan, but offered no definitive explanation for his failure to repay the same.- respondent was suspended – he was transferred to another department – respondent stopped reporting to work and sent a letter re refusal to accept the transfer - Respondent duly filed a complaint for constructive dismissal – ruled in favour of respondent – Metomedia is ordered to reinstate the complainant to his former position, with full backwages from the time his salary was withheld until he is actually reinstated Petitioner appealed to NLRC raising as a ground the lack of jurisdiction of the labor arbiter over respondent’s complaint – an issue never raised in the Labor Arbiter – NLRC reversed the decision for lack of jurisdiction – respondent appealed to CA after denial of motion for recon- CA reversed decision of NLRC – petitioner appealed to SC – SC reversed and set aside decision of Labor Arbiter and CA. ISSUE: WON lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case, heard and decided by the labor arbiter, may be raised for the first time before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) by a litigant who had actively participated in the proceedings, which it belatedly questioned. YES RATIO: It appears that the issue of validity of complainant’s reassignment stemmed from the exercise of a management prerogative which is a matter apt for resolution by a Grievance Committee, the parties having opted to consider such as a grievable issue. The matter of reassignment is one not directly related to the charge of complainant’s having committed an act which is unfavourable to Metromedia’s interest, since the latter had already been addressed to by complainant’s service of a suspension order. The transfer, in effect, is one which properly falls under Section the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, as such, questions as to the enforcement thereof is one which falls under the jurisdiction of the labor arbiter – estoppel does not confer jurisdiction, petitioner is not estopped from assailing the jurisdiction of the labor arbiter before the NLRC on appeal –
Respondent relied solely on estoppel to oppose petitioner’s claim of lack of jurisdiction on the part of the labor arbiter. He adduced no other legal ground in support of his contention that the Labor Arbiter had jurisdiction over the case - "The operation of the principle of estoppel on the question of jurisdiction seemingly depends upon whether the lower court actually had jurisdiction or not. If it had no jurisdiction, but the case was tried and decided upon the theory that it had jurisdiction, the parties are not barred, on appeal, from assailing such jurisdiction, for the same 'must exist as a matter of law, and may not be conferred by consent of the parties or by estoppel' (5 C.J.S., 861-863). However, if the lower court had jurisdiction, and the case was heard and decided upon a given theory, such, for instance, as that the court had no jurisdiction, the party who induced it to adopt such theory will not be permitted, on appeal, to assume an inconsistent position—that the lower court had jurisdiction. Here, the principle of estoppel applies. The rule that jurisdiction is conferred by law, and does not depend upon the will of the parties, has no bearing thereon - the NLRC’s correct observation that jurisdiction over grievance issues, such as the propriety of the reassignment of a union member falls under the jurisdiction of the voluntary arbitrator. The decision of the NLRC in dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction REINSTATED ATWEL vs CPA, INC (GR. 169370) FACTS: Emiliano Melgazo founded and organized Concepcion Progressive Association (CPA) in Hilongos, Leyte .as CPA president, Melgazo bought a parcel of land in behalf of the association. The property was later on converted into a wet market where agricultural, livestock and other farm products were sold. It also housed a cockpit and an area for various forms of amusement. The income generated from the property, mostly rentals from the wet market, was paid to CPA. When Emiliano Melgazo died, his son, petitioner Manuel Melgazo, succeeded him as CPA president and administrator of the property. On the other hand, petitioners Atwel and Pilpil were elected as CPA vice-president and treasurer, respectively. Other elected officers and members formed their own group and registered themselves in the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as officers and members of respondent CPAI. But petitioners not listed as members. CPAI alleged that it was the owner of the property and petitioners, without authority, were collecting rentals from the wet market vendors. filed a case in the SEC for mandatory injunction which was transferred to Tacloban City RTC (RA 8799), a special commercial court. Petitioners contend that since the property was purchased using the money of petitioner Manuel Melgazo's father (the late Emiliano Melgazo), it belonged to the latter and it was preposterous and impossible for the CPAI to have acquired ownership over the property in 1968 when it was only in 1997 that it was incorporated and registered with the SEC – special commercial court ruled that CPA to be one and the same as CPAI, CPA as the owner of poperty and not Melgazo- Court ruled in favour of CPAI Petitioners went to the CA and contested the jurisdiction of the special commercial court over the case. According to them, they were not CPAI members, hence the case did not involve an intra-corporate dispute “between and among members” so as to warrant the special commercial court's jurisdiction over it. CPAI, on the other hand, argued that petitioners were already in estoppel as they had participated actively in the court proceedings. - nonetheless held that petitioners were already barred from questioning the court's jurisdiction based on the doctrine of estoppel – The court agreed [CPAI] that petitioners, after actively participating in the trial of the case, can no longer be allowed to impugn the jurisdiction of the court... – CA affirmed decision. Peitioners appealed to SC. ISSUE: WON the petitioners are estopped from questioning jurisdiction after participating in the proceeding. NO RATIO: The SC agreed with the petitioners that estoppel cannot apply because a court's jurisdiction is conferred exclusively by the Constitution or by law, not by the parties' agreement or by estoppel. RA 8799 in 2000-the jurisdiction of the SEC over intra-corporate controversies and other cases enumerated in Section 5 of PD 902-A was transferred to the courts of general jurisdiction To determine whether a case involves an intra-corporate controversy to be heard and decided by the RTC, two elements must concur: (1) the status or relationship of the parties (intra-corporate or partnership relations) and (2) the nature of the question that is subject of their controversy (intrinsically connected with the regulation of the corporation). In the case at bar, these elements are not present. The records reveal that petitioners were never officers nor members of CPAI. CPAI itself admitted this in its pleadings. In fact, petitioners were the only remaining members of CPA which, obviously, was not the CPAI that was registered in the SEC. The issue in this case does not concern the regulation of CPAI (or even CPA). The determination as to who is the true owner of the disputed property entitled to the income generated therefrom is civil in nature and should be threshed out in a regular court - conflict among the parties here was outside the jurisdiction of the special commercial court The rule remains that estoppel does not confer jurisdiction on a tribunal that has none over the cause of action or subject matter of the case. Unfortunately for CPAI, no exceptional circumstance appears in this case to warrant divergence from the rule. Jurisdiction by estoppel is not available here.
Consequently, CPAI cannot be permitted to wrest from petitioners (as the remaining CPA officers) the administration of the disputed property until after the parties' rights are clearly adjudicated in the proper courts. It is neither fair nor legal to bind a party to the result of a suit or proceeding in a court with no jurisdiction. The decision of a tribunal not vested with the appropriate jurisdiction is null and void. The petition is GRANTED. Case dismissed for lack of jurisdiction FIGUEROA vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES (GR 147406) FACTS: Petitioner was charged with the crime of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide. The RTC found him guilty. In his appeal before the CA, the petitioner, for the first time, questioned RTCs jurisdiction on the case. The CA in affirming the decision of the RTC, ruled that the principle of estoppel by laches has already precluded the petitioner from questioning the jurisdiction of the RTC—the trial went on for 4 years with the petitioner actively participating therein and without him ever raising the jurisdictional infirmity. The petitioner, for his part, counters that the lack of jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter may be raised at any time even for the first time on appeal. As undue delay is further absent herein, the principle of laches will not be applicable. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: WON petitioner’s failure to raise the issue of jurisdiction during the trial of this case, constitute laches in relation to the doctrine laid down in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy, notwithstanding the fact that said issue was immediately raised in petitioner’s appeal to the CA HELD: No. RATIO: Citing the ruling in Calimlim vs. Ramirez, the Court held that as a general rule, the issue of jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal, and is not lost by waiver or by estoppel. Estoppel by laches may be invoked to bar the issue of lack of jurisdiction only in cases in which the factual milieu is analogous to that of Tijam v. Sibonghanoy. Laches should be clearly present for the Sibonghanoy doctrine to be applicable, that is, lack of jurisdiction must have been raised so belatedly as to warrant the presumption that the party entitled to assert it had abandoned or declined to assert it. In Sibonghanoy, the party invoking lack of jurisdiction did so only after fifteen years and at a stage when the proceedings had already been elevated to the CA. Sibonghanoy is an exceptional case because of the presence of laches. In the case at bar, the factual settings attendant in Sibonghanoy are not present. Petitioner Atty. Regalado, after the receipt of the Court of Appeals resolution finding her guilty of contempt, promptly filed a Motion for Reconsideration assailing the said court’s jurisdiction based on procedural infirmity in initiating the action. Her compliance with the appellate court’s directive to show cause why she should not be cited for contempt and filing a single piece of pleading to that effect could not be considered as an active participation in the judicial proceedings so as to take the case within the milieu of Sibonghanoy. Rather, it is the natural fear to disobey the mandate of the court that could lead to dire consequences that impelled her to comply. The petitioner is in no way estopped by laches in assailing the jurisdiction of the RTC, considering that he raised the lack thereof in his appeal before the appellate court. At that time, no considerable period had yet elapsed for laches to attach. DISPOSITIVE: Petition for review on certiorari is granted. Criminal case is dismissed.
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