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Digester: John Michael Vida

CASE TITLE: MUNICIPALITY OF PILILLA, RIZALvs.HON. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. ARTURO A.


MARAVE, and PHILIPPINE PETROLEUM CORPORATION
Date of Case: June 2! "##$
DOCTRINE:
%etitioner:
The Munici&alit' of %ililia! (i)al
(es&ondents:
%hili&&ine %etroleu* Cor&oration
+on. Arturo Marave , %residing Judge of -ranch . of (TC Morong! (i)al
/ACTS:
0n March ".! "##! the (TC -ranch 1 rendered 2udg*ent in a civil case in favor of %ililla and against
%hil. %etroleu* Cor&. 3%%C4! ordering %%C to &a' the follo5ing:
a4 % 6.7 *illion in ta8es due fro* %%C under Section #3A4 of Munici&al Ta8 0rdinance 9o. " of %ililla
fro* "#.# , "#7!
:4 % 7.7 *illion in storage &er*it fees under Section "1! %aragra&h ;3"743:<"<c4 of the sa*e
*unici&al ta8 ordinance fro* "#.6 , "#=!
c4 Ma'or>s &er*it fee due fro* the sa*e ta8 ordinance a*ounting to % "2!"21.11!
d4 Sanitar' ins&ection fee a*ounting to % "!1"1.11! and
e4 Costs of suit.
0n June 7! "##"! the SC affir*ed the 2udg*ent of the (TC! 5ith so*e *odification rearding :usiness
ta8es accruing &rior to "#.= to not :e &aid :' %%C. The 2udg*ent :eca*e final and e8ecutor' on Jul' "7!
"##"! 5ith the records re*anded to the (TC for e8ecution.
0n 0cto:er "$! "##"! in connection 5ith the e8ecution of the 2udg*ent of the SC! Att'. /eli8 Mendiola
filed a *otion on :ehalf of %ililla 5ith the (TC -ranch . of Morong! (i)al for the e8a*ination of %%C>s
gross sales for the 'ears "#.= , "#. and "#$ , "##" for the &ur&ose of co*&uting ta8es on
:usinesses as i*&oses under the Local Ta8 Code. Mean5hile! on 0cto:er 2"! "##"! %%C filed a
*anifestation that it had alread' &aid the su* of %"".$6 *illion to %ililla>s *a'or in full satisfaction of the
2udg*ent of the SC. As evidence! it &resented release and ?uitclai* docu*ents signed :' the *a'or.
Accordingl'! the (TC denied Att'. Mendiola>s *otion.
Att'. Mendiola filed an M( to the (TC! stating that total lia:ilit' of %%C actuall' a*ounted to %2$.2
*illion! 5hile the a*ount &aid to the Munici&alit' 5as less than half of that! and that the *a'or could not
5aive the :alance 5hich re&resents ta8es due under the 2udg*ent of the *unci&alit'. It *ust :e noted
that the la5 fir* of Att'. Mendiola had registered t5o liens over the 2udg*ent of the *unici&alit' for
alleged consultanc' services of 26@ and attorne'sA fees of 26@ 5hich! 5hen ?uantified and added!
a*ount to *ore than %"2 *illion. The (TC -ranch .! ho5ever! denied the M(.
Att'. Mendiola then filed a &etition for certiorari 5ith the SC! 5hich 5as re*anded to the CA for
dis&osition. The %%C after5ards filed a *otion ?uestioning Att'. Mendiola>s authorit' to re&resent the
Munici&alit'. The CA su:se?uentl' dis*issed the &etition of Att'. Mendiola for having :een filed :' a
&rivate counsel in violation of la5 and 2uris&rudence! :ut 5ithout &re2udice to the filing of a si*ilar &etition
:' the Munici&alit' of %ililla through the &ro&er &rovincial or *unici&al legal officer. A su:se?uent M( 5as
si*ilarl' denied.
Issue ":
B09 Att'.
Mendiola
has an'
authorit' to
re&resent
%ililla
%ETITI09E(>S
C09TE9TI09:
Ces.
Bhile Section "=7 of
the (evised Ad*in
Code &rovides that
onl' the &rovincial
fiscal and the
*unici&al attorne'
can re&resent a
&rovinceD*unici&alit'!
the &rovided
e8ce&tion is :road
enough to include
situations 5herein the
&rovincial fiscal
refuses to handle the
case.
/urther*ore! %%C
cannot raise for the
first ti*e on a&&eal
his lacE of authorit' to
re&resent the
*unici&alit'.
(ES%09DE9T>S
C09TE9TI09:
9o.
As &rovided :'
Section "=7 of the
(AC! onl' the
&rovincial fiscal and
the *unici&al attorne'
can re&resent a
&rovince or
*unici&alit' in their
la5suits.
/urther*ore! a line of
cases have alread'
sho5n that &rivate
attorne's cannot
re&resent a &rovince
or *unici&alit' in
la5suits.
SF%(EME C0F(T:
%etition of Att'. Mendiola is devoid of
*erit.
The CA is correct in holding that Att'.
Mendiola has no authorit to file a
&etition in :ehalf of and in the na*e of the
Munici&alit' of %ililla. The *atter of
re&resentation of a *unici&alit' :' a
&rivate attorne' has :een settled in
Ramos vs. Court of Appeals, et al.! and
reiterated in Province of Cebu vs.
Intermediate Appellate Court, et al.! 5here
the SC ruled that &rivate attorne's cannot
re&resent a &rovince or *unici&alit' in
la5suits.
Section "=7 of the (AC! co*&le*ented
:' Section 7 of (A 22=$ 3Local Autono*'
La54 &rovides that onl' the &rovincial
fiscal and the *unici&al attorne' can
re&resent a &rovince or *unici&alit' in
their la5suits. The &rovision is *andator'.
The *unici&alit'As authorit' to e*&lo' a
&rivate la5'er is e8&ressl' li*ited onl' to
situations 5here the &rovincial fiscal is
dis?ualified to re&resent it. /or the
afore*entioned e8ce&tion to a&&l'! the
fact that the &rovincial fiscal 5as
dis?ualified to handle the *unici&alit'As
case *ust a&&ear on record.
As a&&lied to the case at hand! there is
nothing in the records to sho5 that the
&rovincial fiscal 5as dis?ualified to act as
counsel for %ililla on a&&eal! therefore the
a&&earance of Att'. Mendiola 5as 5ithout
authorit' of la5.
The SC did not sustain Att'. Mendiola>s
argu*ent that the e8ce&tion is :road
enough to include situations 5herein the
&rovincial fiscal refuses to handle the
case. A fiscalAs refusal to re&resent the
*unici&alit' is not a legal 2ustification for
e*&lo'ing the services of &rivate counsel.
A fiscal cannot refuse to &erfor* his
functions on grounds not &rovided for :'
la5 5ithout violating his oath of office.
Instead of engaging the services of a
s&ecial attorne'! the *unici&al council
should re?uest the Secretar' of Justice to
a&&oint an acting &rovincial fiscal in &lace
of the &rovincial fiscal 5ho has declined to
handle and &rosecute its case in court!
&ursuant to Section "=.# of the (AC.
Att'. Mendiola>s argu*ent that %%C
cannot raise for the first ti*e on a&&eal
his lacE of authorit' to re&resent the
*unici&alit' 5as also held as untena:le.
The legalit' of his re&resentation can :e
?uestioned at an' stage of the
&roceedings! as &rovided in the
afore*entioned 2uris&rudence.
It should also :e noted that the lacE of
authorit' of Att'. Mendiola 5as even
raised :' the *unici&alit' itself.
/urther*ore! even assu*ing that the
re&resentation of the *unici&alit' :' Att'.
Mendiola 5as dul' authori)ed! said
authorit' is dee*ed to have :een revoEed
:' the *unici&alit' 5hen %ililla! through
the *a'or and 5ithout Att'. Mendiola>s
&artici&ation! entered into a co*&ro*ise
agree*ent 5ith herein &rivate res&ondent
5ith regard to the e8ecution of the
2udg*ent in its favor and thereafter filed
&ersonall' 5ith the court t5o &leadings
constitutive of a GSatisfaction of
Judg*entG and a G(elease and
Huitclai*G.
A client! :' a&&earing &ersonall' and
&resenting a *otion :' hi*self! is
considered to have i*&liedl' dis*issed
his la5'er. Counsel cannot &retend to :e
authori)ed to continue re&resenting the
*unici&alit' since the latter is entitled to
dis&ense 5ith his services at an' ti*e.
Fnder Section 2=! (ule "7 of the (ules
of Court! a client *a' dis*iss his la5'er
at an' ti*e or at an' stage of the
&roceedings! and there is nothing to
&revent a litigant fro* a&&earing :efore
the court to conduct his o5n litigation.
Dis&ositive %ortion:
B+E(E/0(E! the &etition at :ar is DE9IED for lacE of *erit and the 2udg*ent of res&ondent Court of
A&&eals is here:' A//I(MED.