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City Engr of Baguio vs Baniqued

Facts: Generoso Bonifacio, acting as the attorney-in-fact of Purificacion de Joya,
Milagros Villar, Minerva Baluyut and Israel de Leon filed a complaint with the Office
of the Mayor of Baguio City seeking the demolition of a house built on a parcel of
land
6
located at Upper Quezon Hill, Baguio City.
On May 19, 1999, Domogan, the then city mayor of Baguio City, issued Notice of
Demolition No. 55, Series of 1999, against spouses Rolando and Fidela Baniqued.
Pertinent parts of the notice read:
The investigation and ocular inspection conducted by the City Engineer's
Office (memorandum dated 18 February 1998) showed that you built
your structures sometime in 1999 without any building permit in
violation of P.D. 1096 and possibly R.A. 7279, qualifying your structure
structures illegal, thus, subject to demolition. The Anti-Squatting
Committee in its Resolution No. 52-4 dated 22 April 1999 has
recommended for the demolition of your illegal structures. IN VIEW OF
THE FOREGOING, you are hereby notified to voluntarily remove/demolish
your illegal structures within seven (7) days from receipt of this notice,
otherwise the City Demolition Team will undertake the demolition of
your illegal structures at your own expense.
7

Aggrieved, Rolando Baniqued filed a complaint for prohibition with TRO/injunction
before Branch 60 of the RTC in Baguio City. In his complaint, Baniqued alleged that
the intended demolition of his house was done without due process of law and
"was arrived at arbitrarily and in a martial-law like fashion." Specifically, Baniqued
alleged that he was (1) never given any copy of the complaint of Generoso
Bonifacio; (2) "never summoned nor subpoenaed to answer that complaint"; (3)
"never allowed to participate in the investigation and ocular inspection which the
City Engineer's Office allegedly conducted, as a consequence of the complaint of
Bonifacio, much less to adduce evidence in support of his position"; (4) "never
summoned nor subpoenaed to appear before the Anti-Squatting Committee"; and
(5) "not given the opportunity to contest the complaint against him, before such
complaint was decided and to be carried out by the Defendants."
8
Baniqued
buttressed his complaint by arguing that Article 536 of the Civil Code should be
applied, i.e., there should be a court action and a court order first before his house
can be demolished and before he can be ousted from the lot.
9
More, under Section
28 of Republic Act 7279, an adequate relocation should be provided first before
demolition can be had.
10
Too, by virtue of the National Building Code or
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1096, the demolition of buildings or structures
should only be resorted to in case they are dangerous or ruinous. Otherwise, the
remedy is criminal prosecution under Section 213 of P.D. No. 1096.
11
Lastly, the
1991 Local Government Code does not empower the mayor to order the
demolition of anything unless the interested party was afforded prior hearing and
unless the provisions of law pertaining to demolition are satisfied.
12
Thus, Baniqued
prayed for the following reliefs:
A. Immediately upon the filing hereof, a temporary restraining order be
issued stopping the Defendants, or any other person acting under their
orders or authority, from carrying out, or causing to carry out, the
demolition of Plaintiff's residential unit at Upper Quezon Hill, Baguio City
under Notice of Demolition No. 55;
B. After due notice and hearing, a writ of preliminary injunction be issued
for the same purpose as to that of the TRO, and, thereafter, for this
preliminary writ to be made permanent;
C. A writ of prohibition be issued, commanding the Defendants to stop
carrying out, or causing to carry out, the demolition of the aforesaid unit
of the Plaintiffs.
13

On June 7, 1999, the RTC enjoined the carrying out of the demolition of the house
of Baniqued. The hearing on his application for preliminary injunction was also
set.
14

On June 25, 1999, petitioners moved to dismiss
15
the complaint of Baniqued on the
ground of lack of cause of action because (1) there is nothing to be enjoined "as
there is no Demolition Order issued by the City Mayor" and that the Demolition
Team "does not demolish on the basis of a mere Notice of Demolition"; (2) he has
"no clear legal right to be protected as his structure is illegal, the same having been
built on a land he does not own without the consent of the owner thereof and
without securing the requisite building permit"; (3) the Notice of Demolition "was
issued in accordance with law and in due performance of the duties and functions
of defendants, who being public officers, are mandated by law to enforce all
pertinent laws against illegal constructions"; and that (4) "[d]efendants do not
exercise judicial and quasi-judicial functions. Neither was the issuance of the
assailed Notice of Demolition an exercise of a ministerial function. Nor is there any
allegation in the complaint that defendants acted without or in excess of
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction."
16

On October 15, 1999, the RTC granted the motion of petitioners and dismissed the
complaint of Baniqued with the following disposition:
The RTC reasoned that petitioners "are unquestionably members of the executive
branch whose functions are neither judicial nor quasi-judicial."
18
The RTC also
sustained the argument of petitioners that "the act complained of can hardly
qualify as ministerial in nature as to put it within the ambit of the rule on
prohibition."
19
Lastly, the complaint of Baniqued was procedurally infirm because
he failed to exhaust administrative remedies.
20

Baniqued moved for reconsideration
21
which was opposed. Refusing to give up,
Baniqued appealed the decision of the RTC.
Issue: WON Pohibition is Proper
Ruling: Baniqued correctly availed of the remedy of prohibition. Prohibition or a
"writ of prohibition" is that process by which a superior court prevents inferior
courts, tribunals, officers, or persons from usurping or exercising a jurisdiction with
which they have not been vested by law.
30
As its name indicates, the writ is one
that commands the person or tribunal to whom it is directed not to do something
which he or she is about to do. The writ is also commonly defined as one to prevent
a tribunal possessing judicial or quasi-judicial powers from exercising jurisdiction
over matters not within its cognizance or exceeding its jurisdiction in matters of
which it has cognizance.
31
At common law, prohibition was a remedy used when
subordinate courts and inferior tribunals assumed jurisdiction which was not
properly theirs. Prohibition, at common law, was a remedy against encroachment
of jurisdiction. Its office was to restrain subordinate courts and inferior judicial
tribunals from extending their jurisdiction and, in adopting the remedy, the courts
have almost universally preserved its original common-law nature, object and
function. Thus, as a rule, its proper function is to prevent courts, or other tribunals,
officers, or persons from usurping or exercising a jurisdiction with which they are
not vested by law, and confine them to the exercise of those powers legally
conferred. However, the function of the writ has been extended by some
authorities to cover situations where, even though the lower tribunal has
jurisdiction, the superior court deems it necessary and advisable to issue the writ to
prevent some palpable and irremediable injustice, and, x x x the office of the
remedy in some jurisdictions has been enlarged or restricted by constitutional or
statutory provisions. While prohibition has been classified as an equitable remedy,
it is generally referred to as a common-law remedy or writ; it is a remedy which is
in nature legal, although, x x x its issuance is governed by equitable principles. It is
very clear that before resorting to the remedy of prohibition, there should be "no
appeal or any other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law." Thus, jurisprudence teaches that resort to administrative remedies should be
had first before judicial intervention can be availed of.
The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is not an iron-clad rule.
37
It
admits of several exceptions. Jurisprudence is well-settled that the doctrine does
not apply in cases (1) when the question raised is purely legal; (2) when the
administrative body is in estoppel; (3) when the act complained of is patently
illegal; (4) when there is urgent need for judicial intervention; (5) when the claim
involved is small; (6) when irreparable damage will be suffered; (7) when there is
no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy; (8) when strong public interest is
involved; (9) when the subject of the proceeding is private land; (10) in quo
warranto proceedings; and (11) where the facts show that there was violation of
due process.
38

Here, there was an urgent need for judicial intervention. The filing of a motion for
reinvestigation or reconsideration would have been a useless exercise. The notice
of demolition is very clear and speaks for itself. City Mayor Domogan already made
up his mind that the house of Baniqued was illegally built and was thus subject to
demolition. It could reasonably be assumed that a motion for reinvestigation or
reconsideration would have also been denied outright. The irreparable damage to
Baniqued in case his house was demolished cannot be gainsaid.
The distinction between a notice of demolition and an order of demolition is
immaterial. What is material is that Baniqued felt threatened with the impending
demolition of his house. It would have been too late and illogical if he waited first
for his house to be actually demolished, before seeking protection from the courts.
Acting in the earliest opportunity and availing of the best remedy available to
protect his right was the prudent course of action.
Second, petitioners misconstrued Romero by interpreting it literally. The better
interpretation is that the absence of specific allegation that the act complained of
was done without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion would not automatically cause the dismissal of the complaint for
prohibition, provided that a reading of the allegations in the complaint leads to no
other conclusion than that the act complained of was, indeed, done without or in
excess of jurisdiction. To subscribe to the reasoning of petitioners may lead to an
absurd situation. A patently unmeritorious complaint for prohibition may not be
given due course just because of an allegation that the act complained of was
committed without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion.
The Mayor, although performing executive functions, also exercises quasi-judicial
function which may be corrected by prohibition. As a parting argument,
petitioners contend that the complaint of Baniqued is outside the scope of the rule
on prohibition which covers the proceedings of any "tribunal, corporation, board,
officer or person, whether exercising judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial
functions." The issuance of the notice of demolition by the City Mayor is never a
judicial, ministerial or rule-making function. It is strictly an act of law enforcement
and implementation, which is purely an executive function. Neither is the Office of
the City Mayor a quasi-judicial body.
Under existing laws, the office of the mayor is given powers not only relative to its
function as the executive official of the town. It has also been endowed with
authority to hear issues involving property rights of individuals and to come out
with an effective order or resolution thereon. In this manner, it exercises quasi-
judicial functions. This power is obviously a truism in the matter of issuing
demolition notices and/or orders against squatters and illegal occupants through
some of its agencies or authorized committees within its respective municipalities
or cities.
SPS. YUSAY vs CA
Facts: The petitioners owned a parcel of land with an area of 1,044 square meters
situated between Nueve de Febrero Street and Fernandez Street in Barangay
Mauway, Mandaluyong City. Half of their land they used as their residence, and the
rest they rented out to nine other families. Allegedly, the land was their only
property and only source of income. On October 2, 1997, the Sangguniang
Panglungsod of Mandaluyong City adopted Resolution No. 552, Series of 1997, to
authorize then City Mayor Benjamin S. Abalos, Sr. to take the necessary legal steps
for the expropriation of the land of the petitioners for the purpose of developing it
for low cost housing for the less privileged but deserving city inhabitants.
Notwithstanding that the enactment of Resolution No. 552 was but the initial step
in the City’s exercise of its power of eminent domain granted under Section 19 of
the Local Government Code of 1991, the petitioners became alarmed, and filed a
petition for certiorari and prohibition in the RTC, praying for the annulment of
Resolution No. 552 due to its being unconstitutional, confiscatory, improper, and
without force and effect.
The City countered that Resolution No. 552 was a mere authorization given to the
City Mayor to initiate the legal steps towards expropriation, which included making
a definite offer to purchase the property of the petitioners; hence, the suit of the
petitioners was premature. On January 31, 2001, the RTC ruled in favor of the City
and dismissed the petition for lack of merit, opining that certiorari did not lie
against a legislative act of the City Government, because the special civil action of
certiorari was only available to assail judicial or quasi-judicial acts done without or
in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction; that the special civil action of prohibition did not also lie
under the circumstances considering that the act of passing the resolution was not
a judicial, or quasi-judicial, or ministerial act; and that notwithstanding the issuance
of Resolution No. 552, the City had yet to commit acts of encroachment, excess, or
usurpation, or had yet to act without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave
abuse of discretion amounting lack or in excess of jurisdiction. The RTC, acting
upon the petitioners’ motion for reconsideration, set aside its decision and
declared that Resolution No. 552 was null and void. The RTC held that the petition
was not premature because the passage of Resolution No. 552 would already pave
the way for the City to deprive the petitioners and their heirs of their only
property. the City appealed to the CA. CA affirmed RTC.
ISSUE: WON Prohibition is proper?
RULING: We deny the petition for review, and find that certiorari and prohibition
were not available to the petitioners under the circumstances. Thus, we sustain,
albeit upon different grounds, the result announced by the CA, and declare that the
RTC gravely erred in giving due course to the petition for certiorari and prohibition.
Certiorari does not lie to assail the issuance of a resolution by the Sanggunian
Panglungsod. Prohibition does not lie against expropriation. The function of
prohibition is to prevent the unlawful and oppressive exercise of legal authority
and to provide for a fair and orderly administration of justice.
14
The writ of
prohibition is directed against proceedings that are done without or in excess of
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, there being no appeal or other plain,
speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
15
For grave abuse of
discretion to be a ground for prohibition, the petitioner must first demonstrate that
the tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or person, whether exercising judicial,
quasi-judicial or ministerial functions, has exercised its or his power in an arbitrary
or despotic manner, by reason of passion or personal hostility, which must be so
patent and gross as would amount to an evasion, or to a virtual refusal to perform
the duty enjoined or to act in contemplation of law.
16
On the other hand, the term
excess of jurisdiction signifies that the court, board, or officer has jurisdiction over
a case but has transcended such jurisdiction or acted without any authority.
17
The
petitioner must further allege in the petition and establish facts to show that any
other existing remedy is not speedy or adequate.
18
A remedy is plain, speedy and
adequate if it will promptly relieve the petitioner from the injurious effects of that
judgment and the acts of the tribunal or inferior court.
19
1avvphi1 The rule and
relevant jurisprudence indicate that prohibition was not available to the petitioners
as a remedy against the adoption of Resolution No. 552, for the Sangguniang
Panglungsod, by such adoption, was not exercising judicial, quasi-judicial or
ministerial functions, but only expressing its collective sentiment or opinion. Verily,
there can be no prohibition against a procedure whereby the immediate
possession of the land under expropriation proceedings may be taken, provided
always that due provision is made to secure the prompt adjudication and payment
of just compensation to the owner.
20
This bar against prohibition comes from the
nature of the power of eminent domain as necessitating the taking of private land
intended for public use,
21
and the interest of the affected landowner is thus made
subordinate to the power of the State. Once the State decides to exercise its power
of eminent domain, the power of judicial review becomes limited in scope, and the
courts will be left to determine the appropriate amount of just compensation to be
paid to the affected landowners. Only when the landowners are not given their just
compensation for the taking of their property or when there has been no
agreement on the amount of just compensation may the remedy of prohibition
become available. Here, however, the remedy of prohibition was not called for,
considering that only a resolution expressing the desire of the Sangguniang
Panglungsod to expropriate the petitioners’ property was issued. As of then, it was
premature for the petitioners to mount any judicial challenge, for thepower of
eminent domain could be exercised by the City only through the filing of a verified
complaint in the proper court.
22
Before the City as the expropriating authority filed
such verified complaint, no expropriation proceeding could be said to exist. Until
then, the petitioners as the owners could not also be deprived of their property
under the power of eminent domain.
23
WHEREFORE, we affirm the decision
promulgated on October 18, 2002 in CA-G.R. SP No. 70618.
DELTA DEVT VS HLURB
Facts: The BANK is a domestic financial corporation that extends loans to
subdivision developers/owners. Petitioner DELTA is a domestic corporation
engaged in the business of developing and selling real estate properties,
particularly Delta Homes I in Cavite. DELTA is owned by Ricardo De Leon (De
Leon),
6
who is the registered owner of a parcel of land covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-637183
7
of the Registry of Deeds of the Province of
Cavite, which corresponds to Lot 4 of Delta Homes I. Said Lot 4 is the subject
matter of these cases.
On July 3, 1995, De Leon and his spouse obtained a P4 million loan from the BANK
for the express purpose of developing Delta Homes I.
8
To secure the loan, the
spouses De Leon executed in favor of the BANK a real estate mortgage (REM) on
several of their properties,
9
including Lot 4. Subsequently, this REM was
amended
10
by increasing the amount of the secured loan from P4 million to P8
million. Both the REM and the amendment were annotated on TCT No. T-
637183.
11
DELTA then obtained a Certificate of Registration
12
and a License to
Sell
13
from the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). Sometime in
1997, DELTA executed a Contract to Sell with respondent Angeles Catherine
Enriquez (Enriquez)
14
over the house and lot in Lot 4 for the purchase price
of P614,950.00. Enriquez made a downpayment ofP114,950.00. When DELTA
defaulted on its loan obligation, the BANK, instead of foreclosing the REM, agreed
to a dation in payment or a dacion en pago. The Deed of Assignment in Payment of
Debt was executed on September 30, 1998 and stated that DELTA "assigns,
transfers, and conveys and sets over [to] the assignee that real estate with the
building and improvements existing thereon x x x in payment of the total obligation
owing to [the Bank] x x x."
16
Unknown to Enriquez, among the properties assigned
to the BANK was the house and lot of Lot 4,
17
which is the subject of her Contract
to Sell with DELTA. The records do not bear out and the parties are silent on
whether the BANK was able to transfer title to its name. It appears, however, that
the dacion en pago was not annotated on the TCT of Lot 4.
18
On November 18,
1999, Enriquez filed a complaint against DELTA and the BANK before the Region IV
Office of the HLURB
19
alleging that DELTA violated the terms of its License to Sell
by: (a) selling the house and lots for a price exceeding that prescribed in Batas
Pambansa (BP) Bilang 220;
20
and (b) failing to get a clearance for the mortgage
from the HLURB. Enriquez sought a full refund of the P301,063.42 that she had
already paid to DELTA, award of damages, and the imposition of administrative
fines on DELTA and the BANK. In his June 1, 2000 Decision,
21
HLURB Arbiter Atty.
Raymundo A. Foronda upheld the validity of the purchase price, but ordered DELTA
to accept payment of the balance of P108,013.36 from Enriquez, and (upon such
payment) to deliver to Enriquez the title to the house and lot free from liens and
encumbrances. DELTA appealed the arbiter’s Decision to the HLURB Board of
Commissioners.
26
DELTA questioned the imposition of an administrative fine for its
alleged violation of Section 18 of PD 957. It argued that clearance was not required
for mortgages that were constituted on a subdivision project prior to registration.
According to DELTA, it did not violate the terms of its license because it did not
obtain a new mortgage over the subdivision project. It likewise assailed the award
of moral and exemplary damages to Enriquez on the ground that the latter has no
cause of action.
27
The Board held that all developers should obtain a clearance for
mortgage from the HLURB, regardless of the date when the mortgage was secured,
because the law does not distinguish. Having violated this legal requirement, DELTA
was held liable to pay the administrative fine. The Board upheld the validity of the
contract to sell between DELTA and Enriquez despite the alleged violation of the
price ceilings in BP 220. The Board held that DELTA and Enriquez were presumed to
have had a meeting of the minds on the object of the sale and the purchase price.
Absent any circumstance vitiating Enriquez’consent, she was presumed to have
willingly and voluntarily agreed to the higher purchase price; hence, she was bound
by the terms of the contract. The OP adopted by reference the findings of fact and
conclusions of law of the HLURB Decisions, which it affirmed in toto. e CA ruled
against the validity of the dacion en pago executed in favor of the BANK on the
ground that DELTA had earlier relinquished its ownership over Lot 4 in favor of
Enriquez via the Contract to Sell.
RULING: Further, as an entity engaged in the banking business, the BANK is
required to observe more care and prudence when dealing with registered
properties. The Court cannot accept that the BANK was unaware of the Contract to
Sell existing in favor of Enriquez. In Keppel Bank Philippines, Inc. v. Adao,
66
we held
that a bank dealing with a property that is already subject of a contract to sell and
is protected by the provisions of PD 957, is bound by the contract to sell (even if
the contract to sell in that case was not registered). In the Court’s words:
It is true that persons dealing with registered property can rely solely on the
certificate of title and need not go beyond it. However, x x x, this rule does not
apply to banks. Banks are required to exercise more care and prudence than
private individuals in dealing even with registered properties for their business is
affected with public interest. As master of its business, petitioner should have sent
its representatives to check the assigned properties before signing the compromise
agreement and it would have discovered that respondent was already occupying
one of the condominium units and that a contract to sell existed between [the
vendee] and [the developer]. In our view, petitioner was not a purchaser in good
faith and we are constrained to rule that petitioner is bound by the contract to
sell.
67
Bound by the terms of the Contract to Sell, the BANK is obliged to respect the
same and honor the payments already made by Enriquez for the purchase price of
Lot 4. Thus, the BANK can only collect the balance of the purchase price from
Enriquez and has the obligation, upon full payment, to deliver to Enriquez a clean
title over the subject property.
68
Dacion en pago extinguished the loan obligation
The BANK then posits that, if title to Lot 4 is ordered delivered to Enriquez, DELTA
has the obligation to pay the BANK the corresponding value of Lot 4. According to
the BANK, the dation in payment extinguished the loan only to the extent of the
value of the thing delivered. Since Lot 4 would have no value to the BANK if it will
be delivered to Enriquez, DELTA would remain indebted to that extent. We are not
persuaded. Like in all contracts, the intention of the parties to the dation in
payment is paramount and controlling. The contractual intention determines
whether the property subject of the dation will be considered as the full equivalent
of the debt and will therefore serve as full satisfaction for the debt. "The dation in
payment extinguishes the obligation to the extent of the value of the thing
delivered, either as agreed upon by the parties or as may be proved, unless the
parties by agreement, express or implied, or by their silence, consider the thing as
equivalent to the obligation, in which case the obligation is totally extinguished."
69

In the case at bar, the Dacion en Pago executed by DELTA and the BANK indicates a
clear intention by the parties that the assigned properties would serve as full
payment for DELTA’s entire obligation
UY LIAO VS NIXON LEE
FACTS: Lee filed a petition for mandamus with damages against his mother Uy kiao
eng before TC manila to compel the petitioner to produce the holographic will of
his father so that probate proceedings for the allowance thereof maybe instituted.
Lee had already requested his mother to settle and liquidate the estate and to
deliver to the legal heirs their respective inheritance but petitioner refused to do
so. She denied that she was in custody if the said will or that she knew of its
whereabouts. RTC heard the case and after the presentation of evidence, she
demurre contending that her son failed to prove that she had in her custody the
original holographic will. The RTC denied the demurrer at first but after the motion
for recon, it was granted. Respondent file a MR but was denied. CA initially denied
the MR but it was later granted. THE CA ordered the production of the will and
payment of Atty’s fees. It ruled that respondent was able to show by testimonial
evidence that his mother had in her possession the will. Petitioner filed a MR. The
appellate court denied the motion. Left with no other course. Petitioner then
contends that petition for Mandamus is not proper in this case.
ISSUE: WON Mandamus is proper
RULING: The court upheld the order of Mandamus. Mandamus is a command
issuing from a court of law of competent jurisdiction in the mane of the state,
directed to some inferior court.. tribunal, or board, or to some corporation or
person requiring the performance of a particular duty therein specified results from
the official station of the party to whoom the writ is directed or from operation of
law. The definition recognizes the public character of the remedy. And clearly
excludes the idea that it may be resorted to for the purpose of enforcing the
performance of duties in which the public has no interest. The writ is proper
recourse for citizen who seek to enforce a public right and to compel the
performance of a public duty most especially when the public involved is mandated
by the constitution. As the provison provides, mandamus will not lie if the
tribunal,corp, officer, board or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an
act whichthe law enjoins asa duty resulting from an office, trust or station. The
writof mandamus will not issue to compel an official to compel to do anything to
which is not his duty to do so or his duty not to do or to give the applicant anything
which he is not entitled by law. Nor will mandamus issue to enforce a right which
is in substantial dispute or as to which a substantial doubt exists, although
objection raising a mere technical question will be disregarded if the right is clear
and the case is meritorious. As a rule, mandamus will not lie in the absence of any
of the following grounds: [a] that the court, officer, board, or person against whom
the action is taken unlawfully neglected the performance of an act which the law
specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from office, trust, or station; or [b] that such
court, officer, board, or person has unlawfully excluded petitioner/relator from the
use and enjoyment of a right or office to which he is entitled. On the part of the
relator, it is essential to the issuance of a writ of mandamus that he should have a
clear legal right to the thing demanded and it must be the imperative duty of
respondent to perform the act required.
Recognized further in this jurisdiction is the principle that mandamus cannot be
used to enforce contractual obligations. Generally, mandamus will not lie to
enforce purely private contract rights, and will not lie against an individual unless
some obligation in the nature of a public or quasi-public duty is imposed. The writ
is not appropriate to enforce a private right against an individual.] The writ of
mandamus lies to enforce the execution of an act, when, otherwise, justice would
be obstructed; and, regularly, issues only in cases relating to the public and to the
government; hence, it is called a prerogative writ. To preserve its prerogative
character, mandamus is not used for the redress of private wrongs, but only in
matters relating to the public.
Moreover, an important principle followed in the issuance of the writ is that there
should be no plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law
other than the remedy of mandamus being invoked. In other words, mandamus
can be issued only in cases where the usual modes of procedure and forms of
remedy are powerless to afford relief. Although classified as a legal remedy,
mandamus is equitable in its nature and its issuance is generally controlled by
equitable principles. Indeed, the grant of the writ of mandamus lies in the sound
discretion of the court.In the instant case, the Court, without unnecessarily
ascertaining whether the obligation involved here—the production of the original
holographic will—is in the nature of a public or a private duty, rules that the
remedy of mandamus cannot be availed of by respondent Lee because there lies
another plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. Let it be
noted that respondent has a photocopy of the will and that he seeks the
production of the original for purposes of probate. The Rules of Court, however,
does not prevent him from instituting probate proceedings for the allowance of the
will whether the same is in his possession or not.
There being a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law for
the production of the subject will, the remedy of mandamus cannot be availed of.
Suffice it to state that respondent Lee lacks a cause of action in his petition. Thus,
the Court grants the demurrer.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v Concerned Residents of Manila
Bay
FACTS: The complaint by the
residents alleged that the water quality of the Manila Bay had fallen way
below the allowable standards set by law, specifically Presidential Decree No
. (PD) 1152 or the Philippine Environment Code and that ALL defendants (public
officials) must be jointly and/or solidarily liable and collectively ordered to clean up
Manila Bay and to restore its water quality to class B, waters fit for swimming,
diving, and other forms of contact recreation.

ISSUES:

(1) WON Sections 17 and 20 of PD 1152 under the headings,
Upgrading of Water Quality and Clean-up Operations, envisage a cleanup in
general or are they limited
only to the cleanup of specific pollution incidents;
(2) WON petitioners be compel led by mandamus to clean up and rehabilitate the
Manila Bay.

APPLICABLE LAWS:
PD 1152 Philippine Environmental Code
Section 17. Upgrading of Water Quality.––
Where the quality of water has deteriorated t o a degree where it s state
will adversely affect its best u sage, the government agencies concerned shall
take such measures as may be necessary to upgrade the quality of such
water to meet the prescribed water quality standards. Section 20. Clean-up
Operations.––It shall be the responsibility of the polluter to contain , remove
and clean - up water pollution incidents at his own expense. In
case of his failure to do so, the government agencies concerned
shall undertake containment, removal and clean-up operations and expenses
incurred in said operation shall be charged against the persons and/ or entities
responsible for such pollution.

HELD: (1) Sec. 17 does not in any way state that the government agencies
concerned ought to confine themselves to the containment, removal, and
cleaning operations when a specific pollution incident occurs. On the contrary,
Sec. 17 requires them to act even in the absence of a specific pollution inci
dent, as long as water quality “has deteriorated to a degree where its state
will adversely affect its best usage.” Section 17 & 20 are of general application
and are not for specific pollution incidents only. The fact that the pollution of the
Manila Bay is of such magnitude and scope that it is well -nigh
impossible to draw the
line between a specific and a general pollution incident.

(2) The Cleaning or Rehabilitation of Manila Bay Can be Compelled by
Mandamus. While the implementation of the
MMDA's mandated tasks may entail a decision-making process, the
enforcement of the law or the very act of doing what the law
exacts to be done is ministerial in nature and may
be compelled by mandamus. Under what other judicial discipline describes a
s “continuing mandamus ,” the Court may, under extraordinary
circumstances, issue directives with the end in view of ensuring that
its decision would not be set to naught by administrative inaction or
indifference. NOTE: This continuing mandamus is no longer applicable, since this is
institutionalized in the rules of procedure for environmental cases.
20 days – Temporary restraining order

TOPACIO VS ONG
Facts: Ferdinand Topacio (petitioner) via the present petition for certiorari and
prohibition seeks, in the main, to prevent Justice Gregory Ong (Ong) from further
exercising the powers, duties and responsibilities of a Sandiganbayan Associate
Justice. It will be recalled that in Kilosbayan Foundation v. Ermita,
1
the Court, by
Decision of July 3, 2007, enjoined Ong "from accepting an appointment to the
position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court or assuming the position and
discharging the functions of that office, until he shall have successfully completed
all necessary steps, through the appropriate adversarial proceedings in court, to
show that he is a natural-born Filipino citizen and correct the records of his birth
and citizenship."
2
IN OCTOBER OF 1998, RESPONDENT WAS NOT DULY-QUALIFIED
UNDER THE FIRST SENTENCE OF PARAGRAPH 1, SECTION 7, OF THE 1987
CONSTITUTION, TO BE APPOINTED AN ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE
SANDIGANBAYAN, MERELY ON THE STRENGTH OF AN IDENTIFICATION CERTIFICATE
ISSUED BY THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION AND A 1ST INDORSEMENT DATED 22
MAY 1997 ISSUED BY THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, BECAUSE, AS OF OCTOBER 1998,
RESPONDET’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE INDICATED THAT RESPONDENT IS A CHINESE
CITIZEN AND BECAUSE, AS OF OCTOBER 1998, THE RECORDS OF THIS HONORABLE
COURT DECLARED THAT RESPONDENT IS A NATURALIZED FILIPINO CITIZEN. On July
9, 2007, Ong immediately filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City a
Petition for the "amendment/ correction/ supplementation or annotation of an
entry in [his] Certificate of Birth," docketed as S.P. Proc No. 11767-SJ, "Gregory
Santos Ong v. The Civil Registrar of San Juan, Metro Manila, et al."
3
Meanwhile,
petitioner, by verified Letter-Request/Complaint
4
of September 5, 2007, implored
respondent Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to initiate post-haste a quo
warranto proceeding against Ong in the latter’s capacity as an incumbent Associate
Justice of the Sandiganbayan. Invoking paragraph 1, Section 7, Article VIII of the
Constitution
5
in conjunction with the Court’s Decision in Kilosbayan Foundation v.
Ermita,
6
petitioner points out that natural-born citizenship is also a qualification for
appointment as member of the Sandiganbayan and that Ong has failed to meet the
citizenship requirement from the time of his appointment as such in October 1998.
The OSG, by letter of September 25, 2007, informed petitioner that it "cannot
favorably act on [his] request for the filing of a quo warranto petition until the
[RTC] case shall have been terminated with finality."
7
Petitioner assails this position
of the OSG as being tainted with grave abuse of discretion, aside from Ong’s
continuous discharge of judicial functions. Petitioner thus contends that Ong
should immediately desist from holding the position of Associate Justice of the
Sandiganbayan since he is disqualified on the basis of citizenship, whether gauged
from his birth certificate which indicates him to be a Chinese citizen or against his
bar records bearing out his status as a naturalized Filipino citizen, as declared
in Kilosbayan Foundation v. Ermita. Ong, on the other hand, states that Kilosbayan
Foundation v. Ermita did not annul or declare null his appointment as Justice of the
Supreme Court, but merely enjoined him from accepting his appointment, and that
there is no definitive pronouncement therein that he is not a natural-born Filipino.
He informs that he, nonetheless, voluntarily relinquished the appointment to the
Supreme Court out of judicial statesmanship.
9

ISSUE: WON Quo warranto is properly filed by petitioner
RULING: On the issue of whether the OSG committed grave abuse of discretion in
deferring the filing of a petition for quo warranto, the Court rules in the negative.
Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of
judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or, in other words, where the
power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or
personal hostility, and it must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of
positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in
contemplation of law.
18
The Court appreciates no abuse of discretion, much less, a
grave one, on the part of the OSG in deferring action on the filing of a quo
warranto case until after the RTC case has been terminated with finality. A decision
is not deemed tainted with grave abuse of discretion simply because the affected
party disagrees with it.
19
The Solicitor General is the counsel of the government, its
agencies and instrumentalities, and its officials or agents. In the discharge of its
task, the Solicitor General must see to it that the best interest of the government is
upheld within the limits set by law.

In the exercise of sound discretion, the Solicitor
General may suspend or turn down the institution of an action for quo
warranto where there are just and valid reasons. Upon receipt of a case certified to
him, the Solicitor General exercises his discretion in the management of the case.
He may start the prosecution of the case by filing the appropriate action in court or
he may opt not to file the case at all. He may do everything within his legal
authority but always conformably with the national interest and the policy of the
government on the matter at hand.
24
It appears that after studying the case, the
Solicitor General saw the folly of re-litigating the same issue of Ong’s citizenship in
the quo warranto case simultaneously with the RTC case, not to mention the
consequent risk of forum-shopping. In any event, the OSG did not totally
write finis to the issue as it merely advised petitioner to await the outcome of the
RTC case.
By petitioner’s admission, what is at issue is Ong’s title to the office of Associate
Justice of Sandiganbayan.
25
He claims to have been constrained to file the present
petition after the OSG refused to heed his request to institute a suit for quo
warranto. Averring that Ong is disqualified to be a member of any lower collegiate
court, petitioner specifically prays that, after appropriate proceedings. While
denominated as a petition for certiorari and prohibition, the petition partakes of
the nature of a quo warrantoproceeding with respect to Ong, for it effectively
seeks to declare null and void his appointment as an Associate Justice of the
Sandiganbayan for being unconstitutional. While the petition professes to be one
for certiorari and prohibition, petitioner even adverts to a "quo warranto" aspect of
the petition.
27
Being a collateral attack on a public officer’s title, the present
petition for certiorari and prohibition must be dismissed. The title to a public office
may not be contested except directly, by quo warranto proceedings; and it cannot
be assailed collaterally,
28
even through mandamus
29
or a motion to annul or set
aside order. Even if the Court treats the case as one for quo warranto, the petition
is, just the same, dismissible. A quo warranto proceeding is the proper legal
remedy to determine the right or title to the contested public office and to oust the
holder from its enjoyment.
33
It is brought against the person who is alleged to have
usurped, intruded into, or unlawfully held or exercised the public office,
34
and may
be commenced by the Solicitor General or a public prosecutor, as the case may be,
or by any person claiming to be entitled to the public office or position usurped or
unlawfully held or exercised by another.
35
Nothing is more settled than the
principle, which goes back to the 1905 case of Acosta v. Flor,
36
reiterated in the
recent 2008 case of Feliciano v. Villasin,
37
that for a quo warranto petition to be
successful, the privateperson suing must show a clear right to the contested
office. In fact, not even a mere preferential right to be appointed thereto can lend
a modicum of legal ground to proceed with the action.
38
In the present case,
petitioner presented no sufficient proof of a clear and indubitable franchise to the
office of an Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan. He in fact concedes that he was
never entitled to assume the office of an Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan. In
actions for Quo Warranto to determine title to a public office, the complaint, to be
sufficient in form, must show that the plaintiff is entitled to the office. In Garcia v.
Perez, this Court ruled that the person instituting Quo Warranto proceedings on his
own behalf, under Section 5, Rule 66 of the Rules of Court, must aver and be able
to show that he is entitled to the office in dispute. Without such averment or
evidence of such right, the action may be dismissed at any stage. Suffice it to
mention that a de facto officer is one who is in possession of the office and is
discharging its duties under color of authority, and by color of authority is meant
that derived from an election or appointment, however irregular or informal, so
that the incumbent is not a mere volunteer.
44
If a person appointed to an office is
subsequently declared ineligible therefor, his presumably valid appointment will
give him color of title that will confer on him the status of a de facto officer. If only
to protect the sanctity of dealings by the public with persons whose ostensible
authority emanates from the State, and without ruling on the conditions for the
interplay of the de facto doctrine, the Court declares that Ong may turn out to be
either a de jure officer who is deemed, in all respects, legally appointed and
qualified and whose term of office has not expired, or a de facto officer who enjoys
certain rights, among which is that his title to said office may not be contested
except directly by writ of quo warranto,
47
which contingencies all depend on the
final outcome of the RTC case.
PABLO BURGUETE vs. JOVENCIO Q. MAYOR
The petitioner, Pablo Burguete, is the municipal mayor of Badajoz, Province of
Romblon, and was elected for that position in November, 1951; the respondent,
Jovencio Q. Mayor, is the provincial governor of Romblon; and Esteban B. Montesa,
the acting municipal mayor of Badajoz, Province of Romblon. On August 21, 1952, a
criminal complaint for serious slander was filed against Burguete in the justice of
the peace court of Badajoz. On October 7, 1952, the case was forwarded to the
Court of First Instance of Romblon.
On November 13, 1952, Jovencio Q. Mayor suspended the petitioner as mayor on
the ground that a criminal case against him was pending, and that it was the
"standing policy of the Administration to the place under suspension any elective
official against whom a criminal action involving moral turpitude is pending
adjudication before the competent court."
The Governor directed Esteban B. Montesa, the vice-mayor, to act as mayor.
Burguete now files in this Court a petition for mandamus and quo warranto against
Mayor and Montesa. The case for serious slander against Burguete is still, pending
in the Court of First Instance. Burguete has filed a motion to quash, but it was
denied. The case could not be tried on the merits on account of the non-
appearance of the witnesses for the prosecution. No administrative investigation
by the provincial board has been conducted under section 2188 of the
Administrative Code.
The questions raised in this case are not new, as they have already been decided in
the case of Lacson vs. Roque,
*
(49 Off. Gaz., 93). There it was held that the mere
filing of an information for libel against a municipal officer is not a sufficient ground
for dispensing him. The same may be said with regard to serious slander, which is
another form of libel. Libel does not necessarily involve moral turpitude.
Furthermore, it would be an easy expedient to file a criminal complaint or
information against a municipal mayor for the purpose of suspending him, and the
suspension would last almost indefinitely, according to the time that would elapse
before the criminal case is finally terminated by conviction or acquittal. It is
unnecessary to elaborate here on the reasons given for the principle, as they are
set forth extensively in said decision. Our conclusion is that the suspension of the
petitioner is illegal and unjustified. In view of the foregoing, the respondent
Jovencio Q. Mayor is ordered to reinstate Pablo Burguete in his office as municipal
mayor of Badajoz, Romblon, and to oust the respondent Esteban B. Montesa, as
such officer, with costs against the respondents. It is so ordered.

CITY OF ILOILO vs. CONTRERAS-BESANA
CASE: This Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court
with a prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order seeks to overturn
the three Orders issued by Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iloilo City, Branch 32.
FACTS: On September 18, 1981, petitioner filed a Complaint for eminent domain
against private respondent Elpidio T. Javellana (Javellana) and Southern Negros
Development Bank, the latter as mortgagee. The complaint sought to expropriate
two parcels of land registered in Javellana’s name to be used as a school site for
Lapaz High School. Petitioner alleged that the Subject Property was declared for tax
purposes to have a value of P60.00 per square meter, or a total value
of P43,560.00. On December 9, 1981, Javellana filed his Answer where he admitted
ownership of the Subject Property but denied the petitioner’s avowed public
purpose of the sought-for expropriation, since the City of Iloilo already had an
existing school site for Lapaz High School. Javellana also claimed that the true fair
market value of his property was no less than P220.00 per square meter. On May
11, 1982, petitioner filed a Motion for Issuance of Writ of Possession, alleging that
it had deposited the amount of P40,000.00 with the Philippine National Bank-Iloilo
Branch. Petitioner claimed that it was entitled to the immediate possession of the
Subject Property, citing Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1533 after it had
deposited an amount equivalent to 10% of the amount of compensation.
Javellana filed an Opposition to the Motion for the Issuance of Writ of Possession
citing the same grounds he raised in his Answer – that the city already had a vast
tract of land where its existing school site was located, and the deposit of a mere
10% of the Subject Property’s tax valuation was grossly inadequate. On May 17,
1983, the trial court issued an Order which granted petitioner’s Motion for Issuance
of Writ of Possession and authorized the petitioner to take immediate possession
of the Subject Property. Thereafter, a Writ of Possession was issued in petitioner’s
favor, and petitioner was able to take physical possession of the properties
sometime in the middle of 1985. At no time has Javellana ever denied that the
Subject Property was actually used as the site of Lapaz National High School. Aside
from the filing by the private respondent of his Amended Answer on April 21,
1984, the expropriation proceedings remained dormant. Sixteen years later, on
April 17, 2000, Javellana filed an Ex Parte Motion/Manifestation, where he alleged
that when he finally sought to withdraw the P40,000.00 allegedly deposited by the
petitioner, he discovered that no such deposit was ever made. In support of this
contention, private respondent presented a Certification from the Philippine
National Bank stating that no deposit was ever made for the expropriation of the
Subject Property. Private respondent thus demanded his just compensation as well
as interest. Attempts at an amicable resolution and a negotiated sale were
unsuccessful. It bears emphasis that petitioner could not present any evidence –
whether documentary or testimonial – to prove that any payment was actually
made to private respondent. April 2, 2003, private respondent filed a Complaint
against petitioner for Recovery of Possession, Fixing and Recovery of Rental and
Damages. Private respondent alleged that since he had not been compensated for
the Subject Property, petitioner’s possession was illegal, and he was entitled to
recovery of possession of his lots. He prayed that petitioner be ordered to vacate
the Subject Property and pay rentals amounting to P15,000.00 per month together
with moral, exemplary, and actual damages, as well as attorney’s fees. On May 15,
2003, petitioner filed its Answer, arguing that Javellana could no longer bring an
action for recovery since the Subject Property was already taken for public use.
Rather, private respondent could only demand for the payment of just
compensation. Petitioner also maintained that the legality or illegality of
petitioner’s possession of the property should be determined in the eminent
domain case and not in a separate action for recovery of possession. Both parties
jointly moved to consolidate the expropriation case and the case for recovery of
possession which motion was granted by the trial court in an Order dated August
26, 2003. On November 14, 2003, a commission was created to determine the just
compensation due to Javellana. On November 20, 2003, private respondent filed a
Motion/Manifestation dated November 19, 2003 claiming that before a
commission is created, the trial court should first order the condemnation of the
property, in accordance with the Rules of Court. Javellana likewise insisted that the
fair market value of the Subject Property should be reckoned from the date when
the court orders the condemnation of the property, and not the date of actual
taking, since petitioner’s possession of the property was questionable. Before
petitioner could file its Comment, the RTC issued an Order dated November 21,
2003 denying the Motion. Javellana filed on November 25, 2003, an Omnibus
Motion to Declare Null and Void the Order of May 17, 1983 and to Require Plaintiff
to Deposit 10% or P254,000.00. Javellana claimed that the amount is equivalent to
the 10% of the fair market value of the Subject Property, as determined by the
Iloilo City Appraisal Committee in 2001, at the time when the parties were trying to
negotiate a settlement. On December 12, 2003, the RTC issued the First Assailed
Order, which nullified the Order dated May 17, 1983 (concerning the issuance of a
writ of possession over the Subject Property). Neither party sought reconsideration
of this Order. Nonetheless, about six months later, the RTC issued the Second
Assailed Order, which it denominated as an "Amended Order". The Second Assailed
Order was identical to the first, except that the reckoning point for just
compensation was now the "time this order was issued," which is June 15, 2004.
After the parties were able to fully ventilate their respective positions, the public
respondent issued the Third Assailed Order, denying the Motion for
Reconsideration , and ruling as follows:
The Order dated June 15, 2004 among other things stated that parties and counsels
must be bound by the Commissioner’s Report regarding the value of the
property not at the time it was condemned but at the time this order was issued.
ISSUE: WON the correct reckoning point for the determination of just
compensation is at the time the expropriation complaint was filed in court.

RULING: YES. Just compensation is to be ascertained as of the time of the taking,
which usually coincides with the commencement of the expropriation proceedings.
Where the institution of the action precedes entry into the property, the just
compensation is to be ascertained as of the time of the filing of the complaint.
When the taking of the property sought to be expropriated coincides with the
commencement of the expropriation proceedings, or takes place subsequent to the
filing of the complaint for eminent domain, the just compensation should be
determined as of the date of the filing of the complaint. Even under Sec. 4, Rule 67
of the 1964 Rules of Procedure, under which the complaint for expropriation was
filed, just compensation is to be determined "as of the date of the filing of the
complaint." Here, there is no reason to depart from the general rule that the point
of reference for assessing the value of the Subject Property is the time of the filing
of the complaint for expropriation.
Concededly, Javellana also slept on his rights for over 18 years and did not bother
to check with the PNB if a deposit was actually made by the petitioner. Evidently,
from his inaction in failing to withdraw or even verify the amounts purportedly
deposited, private respondent not only accepted the valuation made by the
petitioner, but also was not interested enough to pursue the expropriation case
until the end. As such, private respondent may not recover possession of the
Subject Property, but is entitled to just compensation.
The City of Iloilo should be held liable for damages for taking private respondent’s
property without payment of just compensation.

MIGUEL BELUSO VS. THE MUNICIPALITY OF PANAY (CAPIZ),
Facts: The Sangguniang Bayan of the Municipality of Panay issued Resolution No.
95-29 authorizing the municipal government through the mayor to initiate
expropriation proceedings. A petition for expropriation was thereafter filed on
April 14, 1997 by the respondent Municipality of Panay before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Branch 18 of Roxas City. Petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss alleging
that the taking is not for public use but only for the benefit of certain individuals;
that it is politically motivated because petitioners voted against the incumbent
mayor and vice-mayor; and that some of the supposed beneficiaries of the land
sought to be expropriated have not actually signed a petition asking for the
property but their signatures were forged or they were misled into signing the
same. The trial court denied petitioners’ Motion to Dismiss and declared that the
expropriation in this case is for "public use" and the respondent has the lawful right
to take the property upon payment of just compensation.
Petitioners then filed a Petition for Certiorari before the CA claiming that they
were denied due process when the trial court declared that the taking was for
public purpose without receiving evidence on petitioners’ claim that the Mayor of
Panay was motivated by politics in expropriating their property and in denying their
Motion to Hold in Abeyance the Hearing of the Court Appointed Commissioners;
and that the trial court also committed grave abuse of discretion when it
disregarded the affidavits of persons denying that they signed a petition addressed
to the municipal government of Panay. Then CA rendered its Decision dismissing
the Petition for Certiorari. It held that the petitioners were not denied due process
as they were able to file an answer to the complaint and were able to adduce their
defenses therein; and that the purpose of the taking in this case constitutes "public
use".
Issue: Whether the Municipal Government of Panay exercise the power of Eminent
Domain is being exercised in accordance with the delegating law under the
existence of legislative grant in favor of local governments.
Decision: The petition is granted.
Rationale: The Court in no uncertain terms have pronounced that a local
government unit cannot authorize an expropriation of private property through a
mere resolution of its lawmaking body. R.A. No. 7160 otherwise known as the Local
Government Code expressly requires an ordinance for the purpose and a resolution
that merely expresses the sentiment of the municipal council will not suffice.
A resolution will not suffice for an LGU to be able to expropriate private property;
and the reason for this is settled: A municipal ordinance is different from a
resolution. An ordinance is a law, but a resolution is merely a declaration of the
sentiment or opinion of a lawmaking body on a specific matter. An ordinance
possesses a general and permanent character, but a resolution is temporary in
nature. Additionally, the two are enacted differently -- a third reading is necessary
for an ordinance, but not for a resolution, unless decided otherwise by a majority
of all the Sanggunian members.
If Congress intended to allow LGUs to exercise eminent domain through a mere
resolution, it would have simply adopted the language of the previous Local
Government Code. But Congress did not. In a clear divergence from the previous
Local Government Code, Sec. 19 of R.A. [No.] 7160 categorically requires that the
local chief executive act pursuant to an ordinance.
As respondent’s expropriation in this case was based merely on a resolution, such
expropriation is clearly defective. While the Court is aware of the constitutional
policy promoting local autonomy, the court cannot grant judicial sanction to an
LGU’s exercise of its delegated power of eminent domain in contravention of the
very law giving it such power.

PLANTERS BANK VS JAMES NG
FACTS: On various occasions in 1997, James Ng and his brother Anthony
(respondents) obtained loans from petitioner amounting to Twenty Five Million
Pesos (P25,000,000.00) to secure which they mortgaged two parcels of land
situated in San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City and covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title (TCT) Nos. 79865 and 79866 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon
City. Respondents failed to settle their loan obligation, hence, petitioner instituted
extrajudicial foreclosure of the mortgage before Notary Public Stephen Z.
Taala.
2
The Notice of Auction Sale scheduled the sale of the properties covered by
the mortgage on April 7, 1999 at the Main Entrance of the Hall of Justice Building in
Quezon City.
3
The Notice was published in Metro Profile, a newspaper of general
circulation, in its March 9, 16 and 23, 1999 issues.
4

The highest bidder at the auction sale was petitioner to which was issued a
Certificate of Sale that was registered with the Register of Deeds of Quezon City on
May 19, 1999.
5
As respondents failed to redeem the mortgage within one year,
petitioner filed on June 26, 2001, an ex-partepetition for the issuance of a writ of
possession, docketed as LRC Case No. Q-14305 (01) and lodged before RTC-QC,
Branch 77.1avvphi1
In the meantime, respondents instituted an action for Annulment of Certificate of
Sale, Promissory Note and Deed of Mortgage, raffled to RTC-QC, Branch 221 which,
by Order of June 14, 2000,
6
issued a writ of preliminary injunction restraining
petitioner from consolidating its title to the properties and committing any act of
dispossession that would defeat respondents’ right of ownership. After numerous
incidents arising from petitioner’s petition for issuance of a writ of possession and
respondents’ complaint for annulment which incidents reached this Court,
petitioner was finally allowed by Branch 77 of the RTC-QC, by Order of August 22,
2008, to present evidence ex parte on its petition for the issuance of a writ of
possession.
By Decision of January 19, 2009, RTC-QC, Branch 77 denied the issuance of a writ of
possession. Petitioner, in the main, asseverates that Branch 77 of the RTC-QC
cannot cite as ground for denial of the issuance of a writ of possession questions
relating the validity of the mortgage or its foreclosure.
Respondents counter that there are no facts or the facts are insufficient to entitle
petitioner to a writ of possession.The petition is meritorious.
ISSUE: WON Foreclosure is proper
RULING: It is settled that questions regarding the validity of a mortgage or its
foreclosure as well as the sale of the property covered by the mortgage cannot be
raised as ground to deny the issuance of a writ of possession. Any such questions
must be determined in a subsequent proceeding
9
as in fact, herein respondents
commenced an action for Annulment of Certificate of Sale, Promissory Note and
Deed of Mortgage. Parenthetically, the court a quo denied the issuance of the writ
as it credited respondents’ opposition to petitioner’s petition for the issuance of a
writ of possession, which opposition it synthesized as follows: On the other hand,
the mortgagors[-respondents herein] contend that the extrajudicial foreclosure
proceedings conducted by the Notary Public over the mortgaged properties of the
mortgagors suffered jurisdictional infirmities; that the jurisdictional infirmities
consisted of the fact that the requirement of posting the notices of the sale for not
less that twenty (20) days in at least three (3) public places in the city where the
property is situated was not complied with; that the notice of auction sale did not
mention with preciseness and particularity the kind of improvement on the
mortgaged property, which consist of a three-storey building; that the bank
(petitioner herein) and the Notary Public colluded to deprive the prospective
bidders interested in the properties from participating in the public auction sale
since they were deprived of knowing the real status of the subject properties; that
the mortgaged properties were auctioned for a price grossly disproportionate and
morally shocking as compared to the real value of the same properties; that
the petitioner also violated the provisions of Supreme Court Administrative Order
No. 3, governing the procedure of extrajudicial foreclosure, x x x.
10
(underscoring
supplied) By crediting respondents’ opposition, Branch 77 of the court a quo pre-
empted its co-equal branch, Branch 221, to which jurisdiction over respondents’
annulment petition was laid, from determining the merits of respondents’ claim-
basis of said petition.
Section 33 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides:
SEC. 33. Deed and possession to be given at expiration of redemption period; by
whom executed or given. – If no redemption be made within one (1) year from the
date of the registration of the certificate of sale, the purchaser is entitled to a
conveyance and possession of the property; x x x
Upon the expiration of the right of redemption, the purchaser or redemptioner
shall be substituted to and acquire all the rights, title, interest and claim of the
judgment obligor to the property as of the time of the levy. (underscoring supplied)
Since respondents failed to redeem the mortgage within the reglementary
period, entitlement to the writ of possession becomes a matter of right and the
issuance thereof is merely a ministerial function.
11
The judge to whom an
application for a writ of possession is filed need not look into the validity of the
mortgage or the manner of its foreclosure. Until the foreclosure sale is annulled,
the issuance of the writ of possession is ministerial.
12
In fact, even during the period
of redemption, the purchaser is entitled as of right to a writ of possession provided
a bond is posted to indemnify the debtor in case the foreclosure sale is shown to
have been conducted without complying with the requirements of the law. More
so when, as in the present case, the redemption period has expired and ownership
is vested in the purchaser.
13
The defaulting mortgagor is not without any expedient
remedy, however. For under Section 8 of Act 3135, as amended by Act 4118,
14
it
can file with the court which issues the writ of possession a petition for
cancellation of the writ within 30 days after the purchaser-mortgagee was given
possession. So Section 8 of Rule 39 provides:
SECTION 8. The debtor may, in the proceedings in which possession was requested,
but not later than thirty daysafter the purchaser was given possession, petition that
the sale be set aside and the writ of possession cancelled, specifying the damages
suffered by him, because the mortgage was not violated or the sale was not made
in accordance with the provisions hereof, and the court shall take cognizance of
this petition in accordance with the summary procedure provided for in section
one hundred and twelve of Act Numbered Four hundred and ninety-six; and if it
finds the complaint of the debtor justified, it shall dispose in his favor of all or part
of the bond furnished by the person who obtained possession. Either of the parties
may appeal from the order of the judge in accordance with section fourteen of Act
Numbered Four hundred and ninety-six; but the order of possession shall continue
in effect during the pendency of the appeal. (underscoring supplied)
IN FINE, it was grievous error for QC-RTC, Branch 77 to deny petitioner’s motion for
the issuance of a writ of possession.
PNB vs. Sanao Marketing
Facts: Sanao Marketing Corporation and the Sanao spouses obtained a loan in the
amount of P150,000,000.00 from PNB secured by a real estate mortgage of several
parcels of land situated in the 3 municipalities. The contract provided that if the
mortgagors fail or refuse to pay the obligations at any time, then all the obligations
covered by the real estate mortgage and all amortizationthereof shall immediately
become due and payable and that the mortgagee may immediately foreclose the
mortgage judicially or extrajudicially. The respondents failed to pay their
obligations and so PNB foreclosed the mortgage through Atty. Clavecilla. The
mortgage was foreclosed. Thereafter, Atty. Clavecilla executed a Provisional
Certificate of Sale certifying that on the 22nd day of March 1999, at exactly ten
o’clock in the morning, he sold at a public auction at the “lobby/main entrance of
the Regional Trial Court, Hall of Justice, Naga City” the mortgaged properties to
PNB for P213,162,787.50, which amount the latter considered as payment pro
tanto of petitioners’ loan.

Respondents Amado A. Sanao and Sanao Marketing Corporation filed a complaint
with the RTC against PNB, the Register of Deeds of the City of Naga and the
Province of Camarines Sur, and Atty. Clavecilla, for the court to declare the
Provisional Certificate of Sale and the auction and foreclosure proceedings null and
void. PNB, on the other hand, filed with the RTC of Pili a petition for the issuance of
a writ of possession over the properties located in Pili. RTC of Pili granted the writ
of possession prayed for by PNB. The CA nullified the orders of the RTC. Aggrieved
by the Decision, PNB filed the instant petition, arguing in the main that in nullifying
the orders of the RTC of Pili, the Court of Appeals departed from the accepted and
usual course of judicial proceedings as the issuance of writs of possession is purely
ministerial on the part of the trial court.
Issue: Is PNB entitled to the writ of possession?
Held: YES. A writ of possession is a writ of execution employed to enforce a
judgment to recover the possession of land. It commands the sheriff to enter the
land and give possession of it to the person entitled under the judgment.
It has been consistently held that the duty of the trial court to grant a writ of
possession is ministerial. Such writ issues as a matter of course upon the filing of
the proper motion and the approval of the corresponding bond. The court
neither exercises its official discretion nor judgment. The judge issuing the order
following these express provisions of law cannot be charged with having acted
without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion.
In the case at bar, PNB has sufficiently established its right to the writ of
possession. It presented as documentary exhibits the contract of real estate
mortgage and the Provisional Certificate of Sale on the face of which appears proof
of its registration with the Registry of Deeds in Camarines Sur. There is also no
dispute that the lands were not redeemed within one year from the registration of
the Provisional Certificate of Sale. It should follow, therefore, that PNB has
acquired an absolute right, as purchaser, to the writ of possession. The RTC of Pili
had the ministerial duty to issue that writ, as it did actually, upon mere motion,
conformably to Section 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended.
The CA also erred in its decision on another ground. The judge to whom an
application for writ of possession is filed need not look into the validity of the
mortgage or the manner of its foreclosure. In the issuance of a writ of possession,
no discretion is left to the trial court. Any question regarding the cancellation of the
writ or in respect of the validity and regularity of the public sale should be
determined in a subsequent proceeding as outlined in Section 8 of Act No. 3135. In
fact, the question of the validity of the foreclosure proceedings can be threshed
out in the Civil Case pending before the RTC of Naga which was filed by
respondents before PNB had filed a petition for the issuance of a writ of
possession. The Court of Appeals should not have ruled on factual issues on which
the RTC of Naga had yet to make any finding. Besides, a review of such factual
matters is not proper in a petition for certiorari.

MUNICIPALITY OF BINAN VS GARCIA
Facts: The expropriation suit was commenced by complaint of the Municipality of
Biñan, Laguna filed in the RTC. The complaint named as defendants the owners of
eleven (11) adjacent parcels of land in Biñan The land sought to be expropriated
was intended foruse as the new site of a modern public market and the acquisition
was authorized by a resolution of the Sangguniang Bayan. One of the defendants,
Francisco filed a MTD. Her motion was filed pursuant to Section 3, Rule 67. Her
"motion to dismiss" was thus actually a pleading, taking the place of an answer in
an ordinary civil action; it was not an ordinary motion governed by Rule 15, or a
"motion to dismiss" within the contemplation of Rule 16. Respondent Judge issued
a writ of possession in favor of the plaintiffMunicipality.

Francisco filed a "Motion for Separate Trial. She alleged she had the special defense
of "a constitutional defense of vested right via a pre-existing approved Locational
Clearance from the H.S.R.C. The Court granted the motion. It directed that
a separate trial be held for Francisco regarding her special defenses.

Judge issued order dismissing the complaint "as against defendant FRANCISCO,"
and amending the Writ of Possessions as to "exclude therefrom and from its force
and effects said defendant .. and her property ..."

The Municipality filed a MR. Francisco filed an "Ex-Parte Motion for Execution
and/or Finality of Order," contending that the Order had become "final and
executory for failure of the Municipality to file a motion for reconsideration and/or
appeal within the reglementary period," i.e "fifteen (15) days counted from the
notice of the final order .. appealed from.

The Municipality contended that "multiple appeals are allowed by law" in actions
of eminent domain, and hence the period of appeal is thirty (30), not fifteen (15)
days;the special civil action of partition and accounting under Rule 69.

Issue: whether the special civil action of eminent domain under Rule 67 is a case
"wherein multiple appeals are allowed, as regards which 'the period of appeal shall
be thirty [30] days, instead of fifteen (15) days

Held: In actions of eminent domain, as in actions for partition, since no less
than two (2) appeals are allowed by law, the period for appeal from an order of
condemnation is thirty (30) days counted from notice of order and not the ordinary
period of fifteen (15) days prescribed for actions in general, conformably with the
provision of Section 39 of BP129 to the effect that in "appeals in special
proceedings in accordance with Rule 109 of the Rules of Court and other cases
wherein multiple appeals are allowed, the period of appeal shall be thirty (30) days,
a record of appeal being required.

The municipality's MR was therefore timely presented, well within the thirty-day
period laid down by law therefor; and it was error for the Trial Court to have ruled
otherwise and to have declared that the order sought to be considered had
become final and executory.

It is claimed by the Municipality that the issuance of such aseparate, final order or
judgment had given rise "ipso facto to a situation where multiple appeals became
available." The Municipality is right. In an action against several defendants, the
court may, when a several judgment is proper, render judgment against one or
more of them, leaving the action to proceed against the others. " In lieu of the
original record, a record on appeal will perforce have to be prepared and
transmitted to the appellate court. More than one appeal being permitted in this
case, therefore, "the period of appeal shall be thirty (30) days, a record of appeal
being required as provided by the Implementing Rules in relation to Section 39 of
B.P. Blg. 129.

Sps. Dioniso vs Linsangan
Facts: Gorgonio M. Cruz (Cruz) owned agricultural lands in San Rafael, Bulacan, that
his tenant, Romualdo San Mateo (Romualdo) cultivated. Upon Romualdo’s death,
his widow, Emiliana, got Cruz’s permission to stay on the property provided she
would vacate it upon demand. In September 1989 spouses Vicente and Anita
Dionisio (the Dionisios) bought the property from Cruz.[1] In April 2002, the
Dionisios found out that Emiliana had left the property and that it was already
Wilfredo Linsangan (Wilfredo) who occupied it under the strength of a “Kasunduan
ng Bilihan ng Karapatan”*2+ dated April 7, 1977. The Dionisios wrote Wilfredo on
April 22, 2002, demanding that he vacate the land but the latter declined,
prompting the Dionisios to file an eviction suit[3] against him before the Municipal
Trial Court (MTC) of San Rafael, Bulacan. Wilfredo filed an answer with
counterclaims in which he declared that he had been a tenant of the land as early
as 1977. At the pre-trial, the Dionisios orally asked leave to amend their
complaint. Despite initial misgivings over the amended complaint, Wilfredo asked
for time to respond to it. The Dionisios filed their amended complaint on August 5,
2003; Wilfredo maintained his original answer. The MTC issued a pre-trial order[4]
specifying the issues. For the plaintiffs: (1) whether or not the defendant can be
ejected from the property and (2) whether or not the plaintiffs are entitled to
reasonable rent for the use of the property, damages, and attorney’s fees. For the
defendant: (1) whether or not the MTC has jurisdiction to try this case; (2) whether
or not the defendant can be ejected from the questioned property; and (3)
whether or not the defendant is entitled to damages and attorney’s fees. On May
3, 2004 the MTC rendered judgment, ordering Wilfredo to vacate the land and
remove his house from it. Further, the MTC ordered Wilfredo to pay the Dionisios
P3,000.00 a month as reasonable compensation for the use of the land and
P20,000.00 as attorney’s fees and to pay the cost of suit. On appeal,*5+ the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos, Bulacan, affirmed the MTC decision, holding
that the case was one for forcible entry. On review,[6] however, the Court of
Appeals (CA) rendered judgment on July 6, 2006, reversing the decisions of the
courts below, and ordering the dismissal of the Dionisios’ action. The CA held that,
by amending their complaint, the Dionisios effectively changed their cause of
action from unlawful detainer to recovery of possession which fell outside the
jurisdiction of the MTC. Further, since the amendment introduced a new cause of
action, its filing on August 5, 2003 marked the passage of the one year limit from
demand required in ejectment suits. More, since jurisdiction over actions for
possession depended on the assessed value of the property and since such
assessed value was not alleged, the CA cannot determine what court has
jurisdiction over the action.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Dionisios’ amendment of their complaint effectively
changed their cause of action from one of ejectment to one of recovery of
possession; and Whether or not the MTC had jurisdiction over the action before it.
RULING: One. An amended complaint that changes the plaintiff’s cause of action is
technically a new complaint. Consequently, the action is deemed filed on the date
of the filing of such amended pleading, not on the date of the filing of its original
version. Thus, the statute of limitation resumes its run until it is arrested by the
filing of the amended pleading. The Court acknowledges, however, that an
amendment which does not alter the cause of action but merely supplements or
amplifies the facts previously alleged, does not affect the reckoning date of filing
based on the original complaint. The cause of action, unchanged, is not barred by
the statute of limitations that expired after the filing of the original complaint.
Here, the original complaint alleges that the Dionisios bought the land from Cruz on
September 30, 1989; that Romualdo used to be the land’s tenant; that when he
died, the Dionisios allowed his widow, Emiliana, to stay under a promise that she
would leave the land upon demand; that in April 2002 the Dionisios discovered on
visit to the land that Emiliana had left it and that Wilfredo now occupied it under a
claim that he bought the right to stay from Emiliana under a “Kasunduan ng Bilihan
ng Karapatan;” that the Dionisios did not know of and gave no consent to this sale
which had not been annotated on their title; that the Dionisios verbally told
Wilfredo to leave the property by April 31, 2002; that their lawyer reiterated such
demand in writing on April 22, 2002; that Wilfredo did not heed the demand; that
the Dionisios wanted to get possession so they could till the land and demolish
Wilfredo’s house on it; that Wilfredo did not give the Dionisios’ just share in the
harvest; and that the Dionisios were compelled to get the services of counsel for
P100,000.00. The amended complaint has essentially identical allegations. The
only new ones are that the Dionisios allowed Emiliana, Romualdo’s widow to stay
“out of their kindness, tolerance, and generosity;” that they went to the land in
April 2002, after deciding to occupy it, to tell Emiliana of their plan; that Wilfredo
cannot deny that Cruz was the previous registered owner and that he sold the land
to the Dionisios; and that a person occupying another’s land by the latter’s
tolerance or permission, without contract, is bound by an implied promise to leave
upon demand, failing which a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy.
To determine if an amendment introduces a different cause of action, the test is
whether such amendment now requires the defendant to answer for a liability or
obligation which is completely different from that stated in the original
complaint.[8] Here, both the original and the amended complaint required
Wilfredo to defend his possession based on the allegation that he had stayed on
the land after Emiliana left out of the owner’s mere tolerance and that the latter
had demanded that he leave. Indeed, Wilfredo did not find the need to file a new
answer.
Two. Wilfredo points out that the MTC has no jurisdiction to hear and decide the
case since it involved tenancy relation which comes under the jurisdiction of the
DARAB.[9] But the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter of the action is
determined by the allegations of the complaint.[10] Besides, the records show that
Wilfredo failed to substantiate his claim that he was a tenant of the land. The MTC
records show that aside from the assertion that he is a tenant, he did not present
any evidence to prove the same. To consider evidence presented only during
appeal is offensive to the idea of fair play. The remaining question is the nature of
the action based on the allegations of the complaint. The RTC characterized it as
an action for forcible entry, Wilfredo having entered the property and taken over
from widow Emiliana on the sly. The problem with this characterization is that the
complaint contained no allegation that the Dionisios were in possession of the
property before Wilfredo occupied it either by force, intimidation, threat, strategy,
or stealth, an element of that kind of eviction suit.[11] Nowhere in the recitation of
the amended complaint did the Dionisios assert that they were in prior possession
of the land and were ousted from such possession by Wilfredo’s unlawful
occupation of the property. Is the action one for unlawful detainer? An action is
for unlawful detainer if the complaint sufficiently alleges the following: (1) initially,
the defendant has possession of property by contract with or by tolerance of the
plaintiff; (2) eventually, however, such possession became illegal upon plaintiff’s
notice to defendant, terminating the latter’s right of possession; (3) still, the
defendant remains in possession, depriving the plaintiff of the enjoyment of his
property; and (4) within a year from plaintiff’s last demand that defendant vacate
the property, the plaintiff files a complaint for defendant’s ejectment.*12+ If the
defendant had possession of the land upon mere tolerance of the owner, such
tolerance must be present at the beginning of defendant’s possession. Here, based
on the allegations of the amended complaint, the Dionisios allowed Emiliana,
tenant Romualdo’s widow, to stay on the land for the meantime and leave when
asked to do so. But, without the knowledge or consent of the Dionisios, she sold
her “right of tenancy” to Wilfredo. When the Dionisios visited the land in April
2002 and found Wilfredo there, they demanded that he leave the land. They did so
in writing on April 22, 2002 but he refused to leave. The Dionisios filed their
eviction suit within the year. It is pointed out that the original complaint did not
allege that the Dionisios “tolerated” Emiliana’s possession of the land after her
husband died, much less did it allege that they “tolerated” Wilfredo’s possession
after he took over from Emiliana. But the rules do not require the plaintiff in an
eviction suit to use the exact language of such rules. The Dionisios alleged that
Romualdo used to be the land’s tenant and that when he died, the Dionisios
allowed his widow, Emiliana, to stay under a promise that she would leave upon
demand. These allegations clearly imply the Dionisios’ “tolerance” of her stay
meantime that they did not yet need the land. As for Wilfredo, it is clear from the
allegations of the complaint that Emiliana assigned to him her right to occupy the
property. In fact that assignment was in writing. Consequently, his claim to the
land was based on the Dionisios’ “tolerance” of the possession of Emiliana and,
impliedly, of all persons claiming right under her. True, the “Kasunduan ng Bilihan
ng Karapatan” under which Emiliana transferred her tenancy right to Wilfredo
appears to have been executed in 1977, years before Cruz sold the land to the
Dionisios, implying that Wilfredo had already been in possession of the property
before the sale. But what is controlling in ascertaining the jurisdiction of the court
are the allegations of the complaint. The Dionisios alleged in their complaint that
they were the ones who allowed Emiliana (and all persons claiming right under her)
to stay on the land meantime that they did not need it. The MTC and the RTC gave
credence to the Dionisios’ version. The Court will respect their judgment on a
question of fact. WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition.
LORENZO SHIPPING VS DISTRIBUTION MGMT
Facts: the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) issued a Letter-
Resolution,
1
advising respondent Distribution Management Association of the
Philippines (DMAP) that a computation of the required freight rate adjustment by
MARINA was no longer required for freight rates officially considered or declared
deregulated in accordance with MARINA Memorandum Circular No. 153 (MC 153).
For clarity, MARINA issued MC 153 pursuant to Executive Order No. 213 (EO 213)
entitled Deregulating Domestic Shipping Rates promulgated by President Fidel V.
Ramos on November 24, 1994.
2

On July 2, 2001, in order to challenge the constitutionality of EO 213, MC 153, and
the Letter-Resolution dated June 4, 2001, DMAP commenced in the Court of
Appeals (CA) a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition, with prayer for
preliminary mandatory injunction or temporary restraining order (CA-G.R. SP No.
65463). On November 29, 2001,
3
however, the CA dismissed the petition for
certiorari and prohibition and upheld the constitutionality of EO 213, MC 153, and
the Letter-Resolution dated June 4, 2001.
4
Later, on April 10, 2002, the CA denied
DMAP’s motion for reconsideration.
5

DMAP appealed to the Court (G.R. No. 152914), but on June 5, 2002,
6
the Court
denied DMAP’s petition for review on certiorari "for petitioners’ failure to: (a) take
the appeal within the reglementary period of fifteen (15) days in accordance with
Section 2, Rule 45 in relation to Section 5(a), Rule 56, in view of the foregoing
denial of petitioners' motion for extension of time to file the petition; and (b) pay
the deposit for sheriff's fee and clerk's commission in the total amount of P202.00
in accordance with Sections 2 and 3, Rule 45 in relation to Section [c], Rule 56 and
paragraph 1 of Revised Circular No. 1-88 of this Court."
On August 12, 2002,
7
the Court denied with finality DMAP’s motion for
reconsideration.
In October 2002, DMAP held a general membership meeting (GMM) on the
occasion of which DMAP, acting through its co-respondents Lorenzo Cinco, its
President, and Cora Curay, a consultant/adviser to Cinco, publicly circulated the Sea
Transport Update
Thereupon, the petitioners brought this special civil action for contempt against
the respondents, insisting that the publication of the Sea Transport Update
constituted indirect contempt of court for patently, unjustly and baselessly
insinuating that the petitioners were privy to some illegal act, and, worse, that the
publication unfairly debased the Supreme Court by making "scurrilous, malicious,
tasteless, and baseless innuendo"
9
to the effect that the Supreme Court had
allowed itself to be influenced by the petitioners as to lead the respondents to
conclude that the "Supreme Court ruling issued in one month only, normal lead
time is at least 3 to 6 months."
10
They averred that the respondents’ purpose,
taken in the context of the entire publication, was to "defy the decision, for it was
based on technicalities, and the Supreme Court was influenced!"
11

In their comment dated January 20, 2003,
12
the respondents denied any intention
to malign, discredit, or criticize the Court.
The respondents further stated that the term time frame was layman’s parlance to
explain to DMAP members that the petition had been dismissed due to a
technicality, considering that the appeals process in the case before the Court had
taken only a month instead of the expected three to six months; Lastly, the
respondents submitted that a serious study and analysis of the decision of the CA,
which the Court affirmed, revealed that the decision of the CA centered only on the
constitutionality of the assailed executive issuances.
ISSUE: Did the statements contained in the Sea Transport Update constitute or
amount to indirect contempt of court?
RULING: Contempt of court has been defined as a willful disregard or disobedience
of a public authority. In its broad sense, contempt is a disregard of, or disobedience
to, the rules or orders of a legislative or judicial body or an interruption of its
proceedings by disorderly behavior or insolent language in its presence or so near
thereto as to disturb its proceedings or to impair the respect due to such a body. In
its restricted and more usual sense, contempt comprehends a despising of the
authority, justice, or dignity of a court.
21
The phrase contempt of court is generic,
embracing within its legal signification a variety of different acts.
22

The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts,
23
and need not be
specifically granted by statute.
24
It lies at the core of the administration of a judicial
system.
25
Indeed, there ought to be no question that courts have the power by
virtue of their very creation to impose silence, respect, and decorum in their
presence, submission to their lawful mandates, and to preserve themselves and
their officers from the approach and insults of pollution.
26
The power to punish for
contempt essentially exists for the preservation of order in judicial proceedings and
for the enforcement of judgments, orders, and mandates of the courts, and,
consequently, for the due administration of justice.
27
The reason behind the power
to punish for contempt is that respect of the courts guarantees the stability of their
institution; without such guarantee, the institution of the courts would be resting
on a very shaky foundation.
28

Contempt of court is of two kinds, namely: direct contempt, which is committed in
the presence of or so near the judge as to obstruct him in the administration of
justice; and constructive or indirect contempt, which consists of willful
disobedience of the lawful process or order of the court.
29

The punishment for the first is generally summary and immediate, and no process
or evidence is necessary because the act is committed in facie curiae.
30
The
inherent power of courts to punish contempt of court committed in the presence
of the courts without further proof of facts and without aid of a trial is not open to
question, considering that this power is essential to preserve their authority and to
prevent the administration of justice from falling into disrepute; such summary
conviction and punishment accord with due process of law.
31
There is authority for
the view, however, that an act, to constitute direct contempt punishable by
summary proceeding, need not be committed in the immediate presence of the
court, if it tends to obstruct justice or to interfere with the actions of the court in
the courtroom itself.
32
Also, contemptuous acts committed out of the presence of
the court, if admitted by the contemnor in open court, may be punished summarily
as a direct contempt,
33
although it is advisable to proceed by requiring the person
charged to appear and show cause why he should not be punished when the judge
is without personal knowledge of the misbehavior and is informed of it only by a
confession of the contemnor or by testimony under oath of other persons.
34

In contrast, the second usually requires proceedings less summary than the first.
The proceedings for the punishment of the contumacious act committed outside
the personal knowledge of the judge generally need the observance of all the
elements of due process of law, that is, notice, written charges, and an opportunity
to deny and to defend such charges before guilt is adjudged and sentence
imposed.
35

The petitioners did not sufficiently show how the respondents’ publication of the
Sea Transport Update constituted any of the acts punishable as indirect contempt
of court under Section 3 of Rule 71, supra.
The petitioners’ mere allegation, that "said publication unfairly debases the
Supreme Court because of the scurrilous, malicious, tasteless, and baseless
innuendo therein that the Court allowed itself to be influenced by the petitioners as
concocted in the evil minds of the respondents thus leading said respondents to
unjustly conclude: Supreme Court ruling issued in one month only, normal lead time
is at least 3 to 6 months,"
54
was insufficient, without more, to sustain the charge of
indirect contempt.
Nor do we consider contemptuous either the phrase contained in the Sea
Transport Update stating: "The Motion for Reconsideration filed with the Supreme
Court was denied based on technicalities and not on the legal issue DMAP
presented",
55
or the phrase in the Sea Transport Update reading "Supreme Court
ruling issued in one month only, normal leadtime is at least 3 to 6 months."
Contrary to the petitioners’ urging that such phrases be considered as "scurrilous,
malicious, tasteless and baseless innuendo"
56
and as indicative that "the Court
allowed itself to be influenced by the petitioners"
57
or that "the point that
respondents wanted to convey was crystal clear: ‘defy the decision, for it was
based on technicalities, and the Supreme Court was influenced!’",
58
we find the
phrases as not critical of the Court and how fast the resolutions in G.R. No. 152914
were issued, or as inciting DMAP’s members to defy the resolutions. The
unmistakable intent behind the phrases was to inform DMAP’s members of the
developments in the case, and on the taking of the next viable move of going back
to MARINA on the issues, as the ruling of the Court of Appeals instructed.1avvphi1
We have long recognized and respected the right of a lawyer, or of any other
person, for that matter, to be critical of the courts and their judges as long as the
criticism is made in respectful terms and through legitimate channels. We have no
cause or reason to depart from such recognition and respect, for the Court has long
adhered to the sentiment aptly given expression to in the leading case of In re:
Almacen:
59

xxx every citizen has the right to comment upon and criticize the actuations of
public officers. This right is not diminished by the fact that the criticism is aimed at
a judicial authority, or that it is articulated by a lawyer. Such right is especially
recognized where the criticism concerns a concluded litigation, because then the
court’s actuation are thrown open to public consumption.
The test for criticizing a judge’s decision is, therefore, whether or not the criticism
is bona fide or done in good faith, and does not spill over the walls of decency and
propriety. Viewed through the prism of the test, the Sea Transport Update was not
disrespectful, abusive, or slanderous, and did not spill over the walls of decency
and propriety. Thereby, the respondents were not guilty of indirect contempt of
court.