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Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines
Metro Manila
Ninth Congress
1. Republic Act No. 7691 March 2! 199"
AN AC# $%PAN&'N( #)$ *+R',&'C#'-N -F #)$ M$#R-P-.'#AN #R'A. C-+R#,! M+N'C'PA.
#R'A. C-+R#,! AN& M+N'C'PA. C'RC+'# #R'A. C-+R#,! AM$N&'N( F-R #)$ P+RP-,$
/A#A, PAM/AN,A! /.(. 129! -#)$R0',$ 1N-0N A, #)$ 2*+&'C'AR3 R$-R(AN'4A#'-N AC#
-F 19562
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled::
,ection 1. Section 19 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as the "Judiciary Reorganization Act of
1980", is herey a!ended to read as follows:
""ec# 19# Jurisdiction in ci$il cases# % Regional &rial 'ourts shall e(ercise e(clusi$e original )urisdiction#
"*1+ ,n all ci$il actions in which the su)ect of the litigation is inca-ale of -ecuniary esti!ation.
"*/+ ,n all ci$il actions which in$ol$e the title to, or -ossession of, real -ro-erty, or any interest
therein, where the assessed $alue of the -ro-erty in$ol$ed e(ceeds &wenty thousand -esos
*0/0,000,00+ or, for ci$il actions in Metro Manila, where such $alue e(ceeds 1ifty thousand -esos
*020,000#00+ e(ce-t actions for forcile entry into and unlawful detainer of lands or uildings,
original )urisdiction o$er which is conferred u-on the Metro-olitan &rial 'ourts, Munici-al &rial
'ourts, and Munici-al 'ircuit &rial 'ourts.
"*3+ ,n all actions in ad!iralty and !ariti!e )urisdiction where the de!and or clai! e(ceeds 4ne
hundred thousand -esos *0100,000#00+ or, in Metro Manila, where such de!and or clai! e(ceeds
&wo hundred thousand -esos *0/00,000#00+.
"*5+ ,n all !atters of -roate, oth testate and intestate, where the gross $alue of the estate e(ceeds
4ne hundred thousand -esos *0100,000#00+ or, in -roate !atters in Metro Manila, where such gross
$alue e(ceeds &wo 6undred thousand -esos *0/00,000#00+.
"*2+ ,n all actions in$ol$ing the contract of !arriage and !arital relations.
"*7+ ,n all cases not within the e(clusi$e )urisdiction of any court, triunal, -erson or ody e(ercising
)urisdiction of any court, triunal, -erson or ody e(ercising )udicial or 8uasi9)udicial functions.
"*:+ ,n all ci$il actions and s-ecial -roceedings falling within the e(clusi$e original )urisdiction of a
Ju$enile and ;o!estic Relations 'ourt and of the 'ourt of Agrarian Relations as now -ro$ided y
law. and
"*8+ ,n all other cases in which the de!and, e(clusi$e of interest, da!ages of whate$er kind,
attorney<s fees, litigation e(-enses, and costs or the $alue of the -ro-erty in contro$ersy e(ceeds 4ne
hundred thousand -esos *0100,000#00+ or, in such other cases in Metro Manila, where the de!and
e(clusi$e of the ao$e!entioned ite!s e(ceeds &wo 6undred thousand -esos *0/00,000#00+#"
,ection 2. Section 32 of the sa!e law is herey a!ended to read as follows:
""ec# 3/# Jurisdiction of Metro-olitan &rial 'ourts, Munici-al &rial 'ourts and Munici-al 'ircuit &rial 'ourts
in 'ri!inal 'ases# % =(ce-t in cases falling within the e(clusi$e original )urisdiction of Regional &rial 'ourts
and of the "andiganayan, the Metro-olitan &rial 'ourts, Munici-al &rial 'ourts, and Munici-al 'ircuit &rial
'ourts shall e(ercise:
"*1+ =(clusi$e original )urisdiction o$er all $iolations of city or !unici-al ordinances co!!itted
within their res-ecti$e territorial )urisdiction. and
"*/+ =(clusi$e original )urisdiction o$er all offenses -unishale with i!-rison!ent not e(ceeding si(
*7+ years irres-ecti$e of the a!ount of fine, and regardless of other i!-osale accessory or other
-enalties, including the ci$il liaility arising fro! such offenses or -redicated thereon, irres-ecti$e of
kind, nature, $alue or a!ount thereof: 0ro$ided, howe$er, &hat in offenses in$ol$ing da!age to
-ro-erty through cri!inal negligence, they shall ha$e e(clusi$e original )urisdiction thereof#"
,ection 7. Section 33 of the sa!e law is herey a!ended to read as follows:
""ec# 33# Jurisdiction of Metro-olitan &rial 'ourts, Munici-al &rial 'ourts and Munici-al 'ircuit &rial 'ourts
in 'i$il 'ases# % Metro-olitan &rial 'ourts, Munici-al &rial 'ourts, and Munici-al 'ircuit &rial 'ourts shall
e(ercise:
"*1+ =(clusi$e original )urisdiction o$er ci$il actions and -roate -roceedings, testate and intestate,
including the grant of -ro$isional re!edies in -ro-er cases, where the $alue of the -ersonal -ro-erty,
estate, or a!ount of the de!and does not e(ceed 4ne hundred thousand -esos *0100,000#00+ or, in
Metro Manila where such -ersonal -ro-erty, estate, or a!ount of the de!and does not e(ceed &wo
hundred thousand -esos *0/00,000#00+, e(clusi$e of interest, da!ages of whate$er kind, attorney<s
fees, litigation e(-enses, and costs, the a!ount of which !ust e s-ecifically alleged: 0ro$ided, &hat
interest, da!ages of whate$er kind, attorney<s fees, litigation e(-enses, and costs shall e included in
the deter!ination of the filing fees: 0ro$ided, further, &hat where there are se$eral clai!s or causes
of actions etween the sa!e or different -arties, e!odied in the sa!e co!-laint, the a!ount of the
de!and shall e the totality of the clai!s in all the causes of action, irres-ecti$e of whether the
causes of action arose out of the sa!e or different transactions.
"*/+ =(clusi$e original )urisdiction o$er cases of forcile entry and unlawful detainer: 0ro$ided, &hat
when, in such cases, the defendant raises the 8uestions of ownershi- in his -leadings and the 8uestion
of -ossession cannot e resol$ed without deciding the issue of ownershi-, the issue of ownershi-
shall e resol$ed only to deter!ine the issue of -ossession. and
"*3+ =(clusi$e original )urisdiction in all ci$il actions which in$ol$e title to, or -ossession of, real
-ro-erty, or any interest therein where the assessed $alue of the -ro-erty or interest therein does not
e(ceed &wenty thousand -esos *0/0,000#00+ or, in ci$il actions in Metro Manila, where such assessed
$alue does not e(ceed 1ifty thousand -esos *020,000#00+ e(clusi$e of interest, da!ages of whate$er
kind, attorney<s fees, litigation e(-enses and costs: 0ro$ided, &hat in cases of land not declared for
ta(ation -ur-oses, the $alue of such -ro-erty shall e deter!ined y the assessed $alue of the
ad)acent lots#"
,ection ". "ection 35 of the sa!e law is herey a!ended to read as follows:
""ec# 35# ;elegated Jurisdiction in 'adastral and >and Registration 'ases# % Metro-olitan &rial 'ourts,
Munici-al &rial 'ourts, and Munici-al 'ircuit &rial 'ourts !ay e assigned y the "u-re!e 'ourt to hear
and deter!ine cadastral or land registration cases co$ering lots where there is no contro$ersy or o--osition,
or contested lots where the $alue of which does not e(ceed 4ne hundred thousand -esos *0100,000#00+, such
$alue to e ascertained y the affida$it of the clai!ant or y agree!ent of the res-ecti$e clai!ants if there are
!ore than one, or fro! the corres-onding ta( declaration of the real -ro-erty# &heir decisions in these cases
shall e a--ealale in the sa!e !anner as decisions of the Regional &rial 'ourts#"
,ection . After fi$e *2+ years fro! the effecti$ity of this Act, the )urisdictional a!ounts !entioned in "ec# 19*3+, *5+,
and *8+. and "ec# 33*1+ of ?atas 0a!ansa ?lg# 1/9 as a!ended y this Act, shall e ad)usted to &wo hundred
thousand -esos *0/00,000#00+# 1i$e *2+ years thereafter, such )urisdictional a!ounts shall e ad)usted further to &hree
hundred thousand -esos *0300,000#00+: 0ro$ided, howe$er, &hat in the case of Metro Manila, the ao$e!entioned
)urisdictional a!ounts shall e ad)usted after fi$e *2+ years fro! the effecti$ity of this Act to 1our hundred thousand
-esos *0500,000#00+#
,ection 6. All laws, decrees, and orders inconsistent with the -ro$isions of this Act shall e considered a!ended or
!odified accordingly#
,ection 7. &he -ro$isions of this Act shall a--ly to all ci$il cases that ha$e not yet reached the -re9trial stage#
6owe$er, y agree!ent of all the -arties, ci$il cases cognizale y !unici-al and !etro-olitan courts y the
-ro$isions of this Act !ay e transferred fro! the Regional &rial 'ourts to the latter# &he e(ecuti$e )udge of the
a--ro-riate Regional &rial 'ourts shall define the ad!inistrati$e -rocedure of transferring the cases affected y the
redefinition of )urisdiction to the Metro-olitan &rial 'ourts, Munici-al &rial 'ourts, and Munici-al 'ircuit &rial
'ourts#
,ection 5. &his Act shall take effect fifteen *12+ days following its -ulication in the 4fficial @azette or in two */+
national news-a-ers of general circulation#
A--ro$ed: March 2! 199"
/# RA :9:2
AC# No. 797
AN AC# #- ,#R$N(#)$N #)$ F+NC#'-NA. AN& ,#R+C#+RA. -R(AN'4A#'-N -F #)$
,AN&'(AN/A3AN! AM$N&'N( F-R #)A# P+RP-,$ PR$,'&$N#'A. &$CR$$ N-. 1666! A,
AM$N&$&
,ection 1. "ection 3 of 0residential ;ecree Ao# 1707, as a!ended y =(ecuti$e 4rder Ao# 185, is herey further
a!ended to read as follows:
""ec# 3# ;i$ision of the 'ourt. Buoru!# 9 &he "andiganayan shall sit in fi$e *2+ di$isions of three )ustices each# &he
fi$e *2+ !ay sit at the sa!e ti!e#
"&he first three di$isions shall e stationed in the Metro Manila area, the fourth di$ision shall e in 'eu 'ity for
cases co!ing fro! the Cisayas region, and the fifth di$ision shall e in 'agayan de 4ro 'ity for cases co!ing fro!
the Mindanao region#
"&hree Justices shall constitute a 8uoru! for sessions in di$isions: 0ro$ided, &hat when the re8uired 8uoru! for the
-articular di$ision cannot e had due to the legal dis8ualification or te!-orary disaility of a Justice or of a $acancy
occurring therein, the 0residing Justice !ay designate an Associate Justice of the 'ourt, to e deter!ined y strict
rotation on the asis of the re$erse order of -recedence, to sit as a s-ecial !e!er of said di$ision with all the rights
and -rerogati$es of a regular !e!er of said di$ision in the trial and deter!ination of a case or cases assigned thereto,
unless the o-eration of the court will e -re)udiced therey, in which case, the 0resident shall, u-on the
reco!!endation of the 0residing Justice, designate any Justice or Justices of the 'ourt of A--eals to sit te!-orarily
therein#"
,ection 2. "ection 5 of the sa!e ;ecree is herey further a!ended to read as follows:
""ec# 5# Jurisdiction# &he "andiganayan shall e(ercise original )urisdiction in all cases in$ol$ing:
"a# Ciolations of Re-ulic Act Ao# 3019, as a!ended, otherwise known as the Anti9@raft and 'orru-t
0ractices Act, Re-ulic Act Ao# 13:9, and 'ha-ter ,,, "ection /, &itle C,, of the Re$ised 0enal 'ode, where
one or !ore of the -rinci-al accused are officials occu-ying the following -ositions in the go$ern!ent,
whether in -er!anent, acting or interi! ca-acity, at the ti!e of the co!!ission of the offense:
"*1+ 4fficials of the e(ecuti$e ranch occu-ying the -ositions of regional director and higher,
otherwise classified as grade /: and higher, of the 'o!-ensation and 0osition 'lassification Act of
1989 *Re-ulic Act Ao# 7:28+, s-ecifically including:
"*a+ 0ro$incial go$ernors, $ice9go$ernors, !e!ers of the sangguniang -anlalawigan, and
-ro$incial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other -ro$incial de-art!ent heads.
"*+ 'ity !ayors, $ice9!ayors, !e!ers of the sangguniang -anlungsod, city treasurers,
assessors, engineers, and other city de-art!ent heads.
"*c+ 4fficials of the di-lo!atic ser$ice occu-ying the -osition of consul and higher.
"*d+ 0hili--ine ar!y and air force colonels, na$al ca-tains, and all officers of higher rank.
"*e+ 0A0 chief su-erintendent and 0A0 officers of higher rank.
"*f+ 'ity and -ro$incial -rosecutors and their assistants, and officials and -rosecutors in the
4ffice of the 4!uds!an and s-ecial -rosecutor.
"*g+ 0residents, directors or trustees, or !anagers of go$ern!ent9owned or controlled
cor-orations, state uni$ersities or educational institutions or foundations.
"*/+ Me!ers of 'ongress and officials thereof classified as @rade "/:" and u- under the
'o!-ensation and 0osition 'lassification Act of 1989.
"*3+ Me!ers of the )udiciary without -re)udice to the -ro$isions of the 'onstitution.
"*5+ 'hair!en and !e!ers of 'onstitutional 'o!!issions, without -re)udice to the -ro$isions of
the 'onstitution. and
"*2+ All other national and local officials classified as @rade "/:" and higher under the 'o!-ensation
and 0osition 'lassification Act of 1989.
"# 4ther offenses or felonies co!!itted y the -ulic officials and e!-loyees !entioned in susection *a+ of
this section in relation to their office#
"c# 'i$il and cri!inal cases filed -ursuant to and in connection with =(ecuti$e 4rder Aos# 1, /, 15 and 159A#
",n cases where none of the -rinci-al accused are occu-ying -ositions corres-onding to salary grade "/:" or higher, as
-rescried in the said Re-ulic Act Ao# 7:28, or 0A0 officers occu-ying the rank of su-erintendent or higher, or their
e8ui$alent, e(clusi$e )urisdiction thereof shall e $ested in the -ro-er Regional &rial 'ourt, Metro-olitan &rial 'ourt,
Munici-al &rial 'ourt, and Munici-al 'ircuit &rial 'ourt, as the case !ay e, -ursuant to their res-ecti$e )urisdictions
as -ro$ided in ?atas 0a!ansa ?lg# 1/9#
"&he "andiganayan shall e(ercise e(clusi$e a--ellate )urisdiction on a--eals fro! the final )udg!ents, resolutions or
orders of regular courts where all the accused are occu-ying -ositions lower than salary grade "/:", or not otherwise
co$ered y the -receding enu!eration#
"&he "andiganayan shall ha$e e(clusi$e original )urisdiction o$er -etitions for the issuance of the writs of
!anda!us, -rohiition, certiorari, haeas cor-us, in)unction, and other ancillary writs and -rocesses in aid of its
a--ellate )urisdiction: 0ro$ided, &hat the )urisdiction o$er these -etitions shall not e e(clusi$e of the "u-re!e 'ourt#
"&he -rocedure -rescried in ?atas 0a!ansa ?lg# 1/9, as well as the i!-le!enting rules that the "u-re!e 'ourt has
-ro!ulgated and !ay hereafter -ro!ulgate, relati$e to a--ealsD-etitions for re$iew to the 'ourt of A--eals shall a--ly
to a--eals and -etitions for re$iew filed with the "andiganayan# ,n all cases ele$ated to the "andiganayan and fro!
the "andiganayan to the "u-re!e 'ourt, the office of the 4!uds!an, through its s-ecial -rosecutor, shall re-resent
the -eo-le of the 0hili--ines e(ce-t in cases filed -ursuant to =(ecuti$e 4rders Aos# 1, /, 15 and 159A#
",n case -ri$ate indi$iduals are charged as co9-rinci-als, acco!-lices or accessories with the -ulic officers or
e!-loyees, including those e!-loyed in go$ern!ent9owned or controlled cor-orations, they shall e tried )ointly with
said -ulic officers and e!-loyees in the -ro-er courts which shall e(ercise e(clusi$e )urisdiction o$er the!#
"Any -ro$ision of law or Rules of 'ourt to the contrary notwithstanding, the cri!inal action and the corres-onding
ci$il action for the reco$ery of ci$il liaility arising fro! the offense charged shall at all ti!es e si!ultaneously
instituted with, and )ointly deter!ined in, the sa!e -roceeding y the "andiganayan or the a--ro-riate courts, the
filing of the cri!inal action eing dee!ed to necessarily carry with it the filing of the ci$il action, and no right to
reser$e the filing of such ci$il action se-arately fro! the cri!inal action shall e recognized: 0ro$ided, howe$er, &hat
where the ci$il action had heretofore een filed se-arately ut )udg!ent therein has not yet een rendered, and the
cri!inal case is hereafter filed with the "andiganayan or the a--ro-riate court, said ci$il action shall e transferred to
the "andiganayan or the a--ro-riate court as the case !ay e, for consolidation and )oint deter!ination with the
cri!inal action, otherwise the se-arate ci$il action shall e dee!ed aandoned#"
,ection 7. "ection : of the sa!e decree is herey a!ended to read as follows:
""ec# :# 1or!, 1inality and =nforce!ent of ;ecisions# 9 All decisions and final orders deter!ining the !erits of a case
or finally dis-osing of the action or -roceedings of the "andiganayan shall contain co!-lete findings of the facts and
the law on which they are ased, on all issues -ro-erly raised efore it and necessary in deciding the case#
"A -etition for reconsideration of any final order or decision !ay e filed within fifteen *12+ days fro! -ro!ulgation
or notice of the final order or )udg!ent, and such !otion for reconsideration shall e decided within thirty *30+ days
fro! su!ission thereon#
";ecisions and final orders of the "andiganayan shall e a--ealale to the "u-re!e 'ourt y -etition for re$iew on
certiorari raising -ure 8uestions of law in accordance with Rule 52 of the Rules of 'ourt# Ehene$er, in any case
decided y the "andiganayan, the -enalty of reclusion -er-etua or higher is i!-osed, the decision shall e a--ealale
to the "u-re!e 'ourt in the !anner -rescried in the Rules of 'ourt# ,n case the -enalty i!-osed is death, re$iew y
the "u-re!e 'ourt shall e auto!atic, whether or not the accused filed an a--eal#
"Judg!ents and orders of the "andiganayan shall e e(ecuted and enforced in the !anner -ro$ided y law#
";ecisions and final orders of other courts, in cases cognizale y said courts under this Act shall e a--ealale to the
"andiganayan within fifteen *12+ days fro! -ro!ulgation or notice to the -arties#"
,ection ". "ection 9 of the sa!e ;ecree is herey a!ended to read as follows:
""ec# 9# Rules of 0rocedure# 9 &he Rules of 'ourt -ro!ulgated y the "u-re!e 'ourt shall a--ly to all cases and
-roceedings filed with the "andiganayan# &he "andiganayan shall ha$e no -ower to -ro!ulgate its own rules of
-rocedure, e(ce-t to ado-t internal rules go$erning the allot!ent of cases a!ong the di$isions, the rotation of )ustices
a!ong the!, and other !atters relating to the internal o-erations of the court which shall e inforced until re-ealed or
!odified y the "u-re!e 'ourt#"
,ection . "ection 10 of the sa!e ;ecree is herey re-ealed#
,ection 6. 0residential ;ecrees Aos# 1587, 1707 and 1871, =(ecuti$e 4rders Aos# 101 and 185 and all other laws,
decrees, orders and rules of which are inconsistent therewith are herey re-ealed or !odified accordingly#
,ection 7. F-on the effecti$ity of this Act, all cri!inal cases in which trial has not egun in the "andiganayan shall
e referred to the -ro-er courts#
,ection 5. &his Act shall take effect fifteen *12+ days following its -ulication in the 4fficial @azette or in two */+
national news-a-ers of general circulation#
A--ro$ed: 30 March 1992
3# RA 8/59
Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines
Metro Manila
#enth Congress
?egun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday, the twenty9third day of July, two thousand se$en#
Republic Act No. 52"9 Februar8 ! 1997
AN AC# F+R#)$R &$F'N'N( #)$ *+R',&'C#'-N -F #)$ ,AN&'(AN/A3AN! AM$N&'N( F-R
#)$ P+RP-,$ PR$,'&$N#'A. &$CR$$ N-. 1666! A, AM$N&$&! PR-9'&'N( F+N&, #)$R$F-R!
AN& F-R -#)$R P+RP-,$,
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled::
,ection 1. &he first -aragra-h of "ection 1 of 0residential ;ecree Ao# 1707, as a!ended, is herey further a!ended to
read as follows:
""='&,4A 1# "andiganayan. 'o!-osition, Bualifications. &enure. Re!o$al and 'o!-ensation# 9 A s-ecial
court, of the sa!e le$el as the 'ourt of A--eals and -ossessing all the inherent -owers of a court of)ustice, to
e known as the "andiganayan is herey created co!-osed of a -residing )ustice and fourteen associate
)ustices who shall e a--ointed y the 0resident#"
,ection 2. "ection / of the sa!e decree is herey further a!ended to read as follows:
""='&,4A /# 4fficial "tation. 0lace of 6olding "essions# 9 &he "andiganayan shall ha$e its -rinci-al office
in the Metro Manila area and shall hold sessions thereat for the trial and deter!ination of cases filed with it:
0ro$ided, howe$er, &hat cases originating fro! the -rinci-al geogra-hical regions of the country, that is, fro!
>uzon, Cisayas or Mindanao, shall e heard in their res-ecti$e regions of origin e(ce-t only when the greater
con$enience of the accused and of the witnesses, or other co!-elling considerations re8uire the contrary, in
which instance a case originating fro! one geogra-hical region !ay e heard in another geogra-hical region:
0ro$ided, further, &hat for this -ur-ose the -residing )ustice shall authorize any di$isions of the court to hold
sessions at any ti!e and -lace outside Metro Manila and, where the interest of )ustice so re8uires, outside the
territorial oundaries of the 0hili--ines# &he "andiganayan !ay re8uire the ser$ices of the -ersonnel and the
use of facilities of the courts or other go$ern!ent offices where any of the di$isions is holding sessions and
the -ersonnel of such courts or offices shall e su)ect to the orders of the "andiganayan#"
,ection 7. &he second -aragra-h of "ection 3 of the sa!e decree is herey deleted#
,ection ". "ection 5 of the sa!e decree is herey further a!ended to read as follows:
"a# Ciolations of Re-ulic Act Ao# 3019, as a!ended, otherwise known as the Anti9graft and 'orru-t
0ractices Act, Re-ulic Act Ao# 13:9, and 'ha-ter ,,, "ection /, &itle C,,, ?ook ,, of the Re$ised 0enal
'ode, where one or !ore of the accused are officials occu-ying the following -ositions in the go$ern!ent
whether in a -er!anent, acting or interi! ca-acity, at the ti!e of the co!!ission of the offense:
"*1+ 4fficials of the e(ecuti$e ranch occu-ying the -ositions of regional director and higher,
otherwise classified as @rade </:< and higher, of the 'o!-ensation and 0osition 'lassification Act of
1989 *Re-ulic Act Ao# 7:28+, s-ecifically including:
"*a+ 0ro$incial go$ernors, $ice9go$ernors, !e!ers of the sangguniang -anlalawigan and
-ro$incial treasurers, assessors, engineers and other -ro$incial de-art!ent heads.
"*+ 'ity !ayors, $ice9!ayors, !e!ers of the sangguniang -anlungsod, city treasurers,
assessors engineers and other city de-art!ent heads.
"*c+ 4fficials of the di-lo!atic ser$ice occu-ying the -osition of consul and higher.
"*d+ 0hili--ine ar!y and air force colonels, na$al ca-tains, and all officers of higher rank.
"*e+ 4fficers of the 0hili--ine Aational 0olice while occu-ying the -osition of -ro$incial
director and those holding the rank of senior su-erintendent or higher.
"*f+ 'ity and -ro$incial -rosecutors and their assistants, and officials and -rosecutors in the
4ffice of the 4!uds!an and s-ecial -rosecutor.
"*g+ 0residents, directors or trustees, or !anagers of go$ern!ent9owned or 9controlled
cor-orations, state uni$ersities or educational institutions or foundations.
"*/+ Me!ers of 'ongress and officials thereof classified as @rade</:<and u- under the
'o!-ensation and 0osition 'lassification Act of 1989.
"*3+ Me!ers of the )udiciary without -re)udice to the -ro$isions of the 'onstitution.
"*5+ 'hair!en and !e!ers of 'onstitutional 'o!!issions, without -re)udice to the -ro$isions of
the 'onstitution. and
"*2+ All other national and local officials classified as @rade</:<and higher under the 'o!-ensation
and 0osition 'lassification Act of 1989#
"# 4ther offenses orfelonies whether si!-le or co!-le(ed with other cri!es co!!itted y the -ulic
officials and e!-loyees !entioned in susection a of this section in relation to their office#
"c# 'i$il and cri!inal cases filed -ursuant to and in connection with =(ecuti$e 4rder Aos# 1, /, 15 and 159A,
issued in 1987#
",n cases where none of the accused are occu-ying -ositions corres-onding to salary grade </:< or higher, as
-rescried in the said Re-ulic Act Ao# 7:28, or !ilitary or 0A0 officers !entioned ao$e, e(clusi$e original
)urisdiction thereof shall e $ested in the -ro-er regional trial court, !etro-olitan trial court, !unici-al trial
court and !unici-al circuit trial court < as the case !ay e, -ursuant to their res-ecti$e )urisdiction as
-ro$ided in ?atas 0a!ansa ?lg# 1/9, as a!ended#
"&he "andiganayan shall e(ercise e(clusi$e a--ellate )urisdiction o$er final )udg!ents, resolutions or orders
or regional trial courts whether in the e(ercise of their own original )urisdiction orof their a--ellate
)urisdiction as herein -ro$ided#
"&he "andiganayan shall ha$e e(clusi$e original )urisdiction o$er -etitions for the issuance of the writs of
!anda!us, -rohiition, certiorari, haeas cor-us, in)unctions, and other ancillary writs and -rocesses in aid
of its a--ellate )urisdiction and o$er -etitions of si!ilar nature, including 8uo warranto, arising or that !ay
arise in cases filed or which !ay e filed under =(ecuti$e 4rder Aos# 1,/,15 and 159A, issued in 1987:
0ro$ided, &hat the )urisdiction o$er these -etitions shall not e e(clusi$e of the "u-re!e 'ourt#
&he -rocedure -rescried in ?atas 0a!ansa ?lg# 1/9, as well as the i!-le!enting rules that the "u-re!e
'ourt has -ro!ulgated and !ay hereafter -ro!ulgate, relati$e to a--ealsD-etitions for re$iew to the 'ourt of
A--eals, shall a--ly to a--eals and -etitions for re$iew filed with the "andiganayan# ,n all cases ele$ated to
the "andiganayan and fro! the "andiganayan to the "u-re!e 'ourt, the 4ffice of the 4!uds!an,
through its s-ecial -rosecutor, shall re-resent the 0eo-le of the 0hili--ines, e(ce-t in cases filed -ursuant to
=(ecuti$e 4rder Aos# 1, /, 15 and 159A, issued in 1987#
",n case -ri$ate indi$iduals are charged as co9-rinci-als, acco!-lices or accessories with the -ulic officers
or e!-loyees, including those e!-loyed in go$e!!ent9owned or controlled cor-orations, they shall e tried
)ointly with said -ulic officers and e!-loyees in the -ro-er courts which shall e(ercise e(clusi$e )urisdiction
o$er the!#
"Any -ro$isions of law or Rules of 'ourt to the contrary notwithstanding, the cri!inal action and the
corres-onding ci$il action for the reco$ery of ci$il liaility shall at all ti!es e si!ultaneously instituted with,
and )ointly deter!ined in, the sa!e -roceeding y the "andiganayan or the a--ro-riate courts, the filing of
the cri!inal action eing dee!ed to necessarily carry with it the filing of the ci$il action, and no right to
reser$e the filing of such ci$il action se-arately fro! the cri!inal action shall e recognized: 0ro$ided,
howe$er, &hat where the ci$il action had therefore een filed se-arately ut )udg!ent therein has not yet een
rendered, and the cri!inal case is hereafter filed with the "andiganayan or the a--ro-riate court, said ci$il
action shall e transferred to the "andiganayan or the a--ro-riate court, as the case !ay e, for consolidation
and )oint deter!ination with the cri!inal action, otherwise the se-arate ci$il action shall e dee!ed
aandoned#"
,ection . "ection : of the sa!e decree is herey further a!ended to read as follows:
<"='&,4A :# 1or!, 1inality and =nforce!ent of ;ecisions# 9 All decisions and final orders deter!ining the
!erits of a case or finally dis-osing of the action or -roceedings of the "andi)anayan shall contain co!-lete
findings of the facts and the law on which they are ased, on all issues -ro-erly raised efore it and necessary
in deciding the case#
"A -etition for reconsideration of any final order or decision !ay e filed within fifteen *12+ days fro!
-ro!ulgation or notice of the final order on )udg!ent, and such !otion for reconsideration shall e decided
within thirty *30+ days fro! su!ission thereon#
";ecisions and final orders ofthe "andiganyan shall e a--ealale to the "u-re!e 'ourt y -etition for
re$iew on certiorari raising -ure 8uestions of law in accordance with Rule 52 of the Rules of 'ourt#
Ehene$er, in any case decided y the "andiganayan, the -enalty of reclusion -er-etua, life i!-rison!ent or
death is i!-osed, the decision shall e a--ealale to the "u-re!e 'ourt in the !anner -rescried in the Rules
of 'ourt#
"Judg!ents and orders of the "andiganayan shall e e(ecuted and enforced in the !anner -ro$ided y law#
";ecisions and final orders of other courts in cases cognizale y said courts under this decree as well as
those rendered y the! in the e(ercise of their a--ellate )urisdiction shall e a--ealale to, or e re$iewale
y, the "andiganayan in the !anner -ro$ided y Rule 1// of the Rules of the 'ourt#
",n case, howe$er, the i!-osed -enalty y the "andiganayan or the regional trial court in the -ro-er e(ercise
of their res-ecti$e )urisdictions, is death, re$iew y the "u-re!e 'ourt shall e auto!atic, whether or not
accused files an a--eal#"
,ection 6. Appropriations. 9 &he a!ount necessary to carry out the initial i!-le!entation of this Act shall e charged
against the current fiscal year a--ro-riations of the "andiganayan# &hereafter, such su!s as !ay e needed for its
continued i!-le!entation shall e included in the annual @eneral A--ro-riations Act#
,ection 7. Transitory Provision. 9 &his Act shall a--ly to all cases -ending in any court o$er which trial has not egun
as of the a--ro$al hereof
,ection 5. Separability of Provisions. 9 ,f for any reason any -ro$ision of this Act is declared unconstitutional or
in$alid, such -arts or -ortions not affected therey shall re!ain in full force and effect#
,ection 9. Repealing Clause. 9 All acts, decrees, general orders and circulars, or -arts thereof inconsistent with the
-ro$isions of this Act are herey re-ealed or !odified accordingly#
,ection 16. Effectivity. 9 &his Act shall take effect fifteen *12+ days after its co!-lete -ulication in at least two */+
news-a-ers of general circulation#
A--ro$ed:
*"gd#+ $RN$,#- M. MAC$&A
0resident of the "enate
*"gd#+ *-,$ &$ 9$N$C'A! *R.
"-eaker of the 6ouse of Re-resentati$es
&his Act which is a consolidation of 6ouse ?ill Ao# 23/3 and "enate ?ill Ao# 855 was finally -assed y the 6ouse of
Re-resentati$es and the "enate on January /8,199: and January /9, 199:, res-ecti$ely#
*"gd#+ .-R$N4- $. .$3N$,! *R.
"ecretary of "enate
*"gd#+ R-/$R#- P. NA4AR$N-
"ecretary @eneral
6ouse of Re-resenati$es
A--ro$ed: Februar8 ! 1997
*"gd#+ F'&$. 9. RAM-,
President of the Philippines
5# RA ra 8379
R=0F?>,' A'& A4# 8379

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41 1980, A00R40R,A&,A@ 1FA;" &6=R=14R AA; 14R
4&6=R 0FR04"="#

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in
Congress assembled:

Section 1. Title. - This Act shall be known as the "Family Courts Act of 1997".

Sec. 2. Statement of National Policies. - The State shall protect the rights and
promote the welfare of children in keeping with the mandate of the Constitution and
the precepts of the United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child. The State
shall provide a system of adjudication for youthful ofenders which takes into
account their peculiar circumstances.

The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the
family as a basic autonomous social institution. The courts shall preserve the
solidarity of the family, provide procedures for the reconciliation of spouses and the
amicable settlement of family controversy.

Sec. 3. Establishment of Family Courts. - There shall be established a Family Court
in every province and city in the country. In case where the city is the capital of the
province, the Family Court shall be established in the municipality which has the
highest population.

Sec. 4. Qualifcation and Training of Family Court Judges. - Sec. 15 of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 15. (a) Qualifcation. - No person shall be appointed Regional Trial Judge
or Presiding Judge of the Family Court unless he is a natural-born citizen of
the Philippines, at least thirty-fve (35) years of age, and, for at least ten (10)
years, has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines or has held a
public ofce in the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as
indispensable requisite.
"(b) Training of Family Court Judges. - The Presiding Judge, as well as the
court personnel of the Family Courts, shall undergo training and must have
the experience and demonstrated ability in dealing with child and family cases.

"The Supreme Court shall provide a continuing education program on child
and family laws, procedure and other related disciplines to judges and
personnel of such courts."

Sec. 5. Jurisdiction ofamily Courts. - The Family Courts shall have exclusive
original jurisdiction to hear and decide the following cases:

a) Criminal cases where one or more of the accused is below eighteen (18)
years of age but not less than nine (9) years of age but not less than nine
(9) years of age or where one or more of the victims is a minor at the time of
the commission of the ofense: Provided, That if the minor is found guilty, the
court shall promulgate sentence and ascertain any civil liability which the
accused may have incurred.
The sentence, however, shall be suspended without need of application
pursuant to Ptesidential Decree No. 603, otherwise known as the "Child and
Youth Welfare Code";
b) Petitions for guardianship, custody of children, habeas corpus in relation to
the latter;
c) Petitions for adoption of children and the revocation thereof;
d) Complaints for annulment of marriage, declaration of nullity of marriage and
those relating to marital status and property relations of husband and wife or
those living together under diferent status and agreements, and petitions for
dissolution of conjugal partnership of gains;
e) Petitions for support and/or acknowledgment;
f) Summary judicial proceedings brought under the provisions of Executive
Order No. 209, otherwise known as the "Family Code of the Philippines";
g) Petitions for declaration of status of children as abandoned, dependent o
neglected children, petitions for voluntary or involuntary commitment of
children; the suspension, termination, or restoration of parental authority and
other cases cognizable under Presidential Decree No. 603, Executive Order No.
56, (Series of 1986), and other related laws;
h) Petitions for the constitution of the family home;
i) Cases against minors cognizable under the Dangerous Drugs Act, as
amended;
j) Violations of Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as the "Special
Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination
Act," as amended by Republic Act No. 7658; and
k) Cases of domestic violence against:
1) Women - which are acts of gender based violence that results, or are likely to
result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or sufering to women; and
other forms of physical abuse such as battering or threats and coercion which
violate a woman's personhood, integrity and freedom movement; and

2) Children - which include the commission of all forms of abuse, neglect,
cruelty, exploitation, violence, and discrimination and all other conditions
prejudicial to their development.
If an act constitutes a criminal ofense, the accused or batterer shall be subject to
criminal proceedings and the corresponding penalties.
If any question involving any of the above matters should arise as an incident in any
case pending in the regular courts, said incident shall be determined in that court.
Sec. 6. Use of Income. - All Family Courts shall be allowed the use of ten per cent
(10%) of their income derived from fling and other court fees under Rule 141 of the
Rules of Court for research and other operating expenses including capital outlay:
Provided, That this beneft shall likewise be enjoyed by all courts of justice.
The Supreme Court shall promulgate the necessary guidelines to efectively
implement the provisions of this Sec.
Sec. 7. Special Provisional Remedies. - In cases of violence among immediate family
members living in the same domicile or household, the Family Court may issue a
restraining order against the accused of defendant upon verifed application by the
complainant or the victim for relief from abuse.
The court may order the temporary custody of children in all civil actions for their
custody. The court may also order support pendente lite, including deduction from
the salary and use of conjugal home and other properties in all civil actions for
support.
Sec. 8. Supervision of Youth Detention Homes. - The judge of the Family Court shall
have direct control and supervision of the youth detention home which the local
government unit shall establish to separate the youth ofenders from adult
criminals: Provided, however, That alternatives to detention and institutional care
shall be made available to the accused including counseling, recognizance, bail,
community continuum, or diversions from the justice system: Provided, further, That
the human rights of the accused are fully respected in a manner appropriate to their
well-being.
Sec. 9. Social Services and Counseling Division. - Under the guidance ofthe
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), a Social Services and
Counseling Division (SSCD) shall be established in each judicial region as the
Supreme Court shall deem necessary based on the number of juvenile and family
cases existing in such jurisdiction. It shall provide appropriate social services to all
juvenile and family cases fled with the court and recommend the proper social
action. It shall also develop programs, formulate uniform policies and procedures,
and provide technical supervision and monitoring of all SSCD in coordination with
the judge.
Sec. 10. Social Services and Counseling Division Staf. - The SSCD shall have a staf
composed of qualifed social workers and other personnel with academic preparation
in behavioral sciences to carry out the duties'of conducting intake assessment,
social case studies, casework and counseling, and othersocial services that may be
needed in connection with cases fled with the court: Provided, however, That in
adoption cases and in petitions for declaration of abandonment, the case studies
may be prepared by social workers of duly licensed child caring or child placement
agencies, or the DSWD. When warranted, the division shall recommend that the
court avail itself of consultative services of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other
qualifed specialists presently employed in other departments of the government in
connection with its cases.
The position of Social Work Adviser shall be created under the Ofce of the Court
Administrator, who shall monitor and supervise the SSCD ofthe Regional Trial
Court.
Sec. 11. Alternative Social Services. - In accordance with Sec. 17 of this Act, in areas
where no Family Court has been established or no Regional Trial Court was
designated by the Supreme Court due to the limited number of cases, the DSWD
shall designate and assign qualifed, trained, and DSWD accredited social workers of
the local government units to handle juvenile and family cases fled in the
designated Regional Trial Court of the place.
Sec. 12. Privacy and Confdentiality of Proceedings. - All hearings and conciliation of
the child and family cases shall be treated in a manner consistent with the
promotion of the child's and the family's dignity and worth, and shall respect their
privacy at all stages of the proceedings. Records of the cases shall be dealt with
utmost confdentiality and the identity of parties shall not be divulged unless
necessary and with authority of the judge.
Sec. 13. Special Rules of Procedure. - The Supreme Court shall promulgate special
rules of procedure for the transfer of cases to the new courts during the transition
period and for the disposition of family cases with the best interests of the child and
the protection of the family as primary consideration taking into account the United
Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Sec. 14. Appeals. - Decisions and orders of the court shall be appealed in the same
manner and subject to the same conditions as appeals from the ordinary Regional
Trial Courts.
Sec. 15. Appropriations. - The amount necessary to carry out the provisions of this
Act shall be included in the General Appropriations Act of the year following in its
enactment into law and thereafter.
Sec. 16. Implementing Rules and Regulations. - The Supreme Court, in
coordination with the DSWD, shall formulate the necessary rules and regulations
for the efective implementation of the social aspects of this Act.

Sec. 17. Transitory Provisions. - Pending the establishment of such Family Courts,
the Supreme Court shall designate from among the branches ofthe Regional Trial
Court at least one Family Court in each of the cities of Manila, Quezon, Pasay,
Caloocan, Makati, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, Laoag, Baguio, Santiago,
Dagupan, Olongapo, Cabanatuan, San Jose, Angeles, Cavite, Batangas, Lucena,
Naga, Iriga, Legazpi, Roxas, Iloilo, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Tacloban, Cebu, Mandaue,
Tagbilaran, Surigao, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, General Santos, Oroquieta,
Ozamis, Dipolog, Zamboanga, Pagadian, Iligan, and in such other places as the
Supreme Court may deem necessary.
Additional cases other than those provided in Sec. 5 may be assigned to the Family
Courts when their dockets permit: Provided, That such additional cases shall not be
heard on the same day family cases are heard.

In areas where there are no Family Courts, the cases referred to in Sec. 5 of this Act
shall be adjudicated by the Regional Trial Court.

Sec. 18. Separability Clause. - In case any provision of this Act is declared
unconstitutional, the other provisions shall remain in efect.

Sec. 19. Repealing Clause. - All other laws, decrees, executive orders, rules or
regulations inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed, amended or modifed
accordingly.
Sec. 20. Efectivity. - This Act shall take efect ffteen (15) days after its publication
in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.
Approved October 28, 1997.
5.
&6,R; ;,C,",4A
(.R. No. 167762 March 26! 2669
.-+R&$, .. $R',#'N(C-.! 0etitioner,
$s#
C-+R# -F APP$A., an: RAN&-.P) C. .'M*-C-! Res-ondents#
; = ' , " , 4 A
NAC)+RA! J.:
&his is a -etition for re$iew on certiorari under Rule 52 of the Rules of 'ourt which assails the 'ourt of A--eals *'A+
;ecision1 in 'A9@#R# "0# Ao# 7575/ dis!issing 'i$il 'ase Ao# 999/9: efore the Regional &rial 'ourt *R&'+ for
lack of )urisdiction#
&he facts, as narrated y the 'A, are si!-le#
J0etitioner >ourdesK =ristingcol is an owner of a residential lot in Frdaneta Cillage *or "$illage"+, Makati 'ity and
co$ered y &ransfer 'ertificate of &itle Ao# /08287# 4n the other hand, Jres-ondent Randol-hK >i!)oco, J>orenzoK
&an and JJuneK Cil$estre were the for!er -resident and chair!an of the oard of go$ernors *or "oard"+, construction
co!!ittee chair!an and $illage !anager of JFrdaneta Cillage Association ,nc#K FCA,, res-ecti$ely# FCA, is an
association of ho!eowners at Frdaneta Cillage#
J=ristingcolLsK action Jagainst FCA,, >i!)oco, &an and Cil$estreK is founded on the allegations that in co!-liance
with the Aational ?uilding 'ode and after FCA,Ls a--ro$al of her uilding -lans and acce-tance of the construction
ond and architectLs fee, =ristingcol started constructing a house on her lot with "concrete cano-y directly ao$e the
!ain door and highway". that for alleged $iolation of its 'onstruction Rules and Regulations *or "'RR"+ on ""et
?ack >ine" $is9a9$is the cano-y ease!ent, FCA, i!-osed on her a -enalty of 0500,000#00 and arred her workers
and contractors fro! entering the $illage and working on her -ro-erty. that the 'RR, -articularly on ""et ?ack >ine,"
is contrary to law. and that the -enalty is unwarranted and e(cessi$e#
4n 1eruary 9, 1999, or a day after the filing of the co!-laint, the -arties reached a te!-orary settle!ent wherey
FCA,, >i!)oco, &an and Cil$estre e(ecuted an undertaking which allowed =ristingcolLs workers, contractors and
su--liers to lea$e and enter the $illage, su)ect only to nor!al security regulations of FCA,#
4n 1eruary /7, 1999, FCA,, >i!)oco, &an and Cil$estre filed a !otion to dis!iss on ground of lack of )urisdiction
o$er the su)ect !atter of the action# &hey argued that it is the 6o!e ,nsurance @uaranty 'or-oration *or
"6,@'"+2 which has )urisdiction o$er intra9cor-orate dis-utes in$ol$ing ho!eowners associations, -ursuant to =(ec#
4rder Ao# 232, "eries of 19:9, as a!ended y =(ec# 4rder Ao# 90, "eries of 1987#
4--osing the !otion, =ristingcol alleged, a!ong others, that FCA,, >i!)oco, &an and Cil$estre did not co!-ly with
the !andatory -ro$isions of "ecs# 5 and 7, Rule 12 of the 199: Rules of 'i$il 0rocedure and are esto--ed fro!
8uestioning the )urisdiction of the JR&'K after they $oluntarily a--eared therein "and e!raced its authority y
agreeing to sign an Fndertaking#"
4n May /0, 1999, =ristingcol filed an a!ended co!-laint y *i+ i!-leading Manuel 'ar!ona *or "'ar!ona"+ and
Rene 'ristoal *or "'ristoal"+, FCA,Ls newly9elected -resident and chair!an of the oard and newly9designated
construction co!!ittee chair!an, res-ecti$ely, as additional defendants and *ii+ increasing her clai! for !oral
da!ages against each -etitioner fro! 0200,000#00 to 01,000,000#00#
4n May /2, 1999, =ristingcol filed a !otion for -roduction and ins-ection of docu!ents, which FCA,, >i!)oco, &an,
Cil$estre, 'ar!ona and 'ristoal o--osed# &he !otion sought to co!-el JFCA, and its officersK to -roduce the
docu!ents used y FCA, as asis for the i!-osition of the 0500,000#00 -enalty on =ristingcol as well as letters and
docu!ents showing that FCA, had infor!ed the other ho!eowners of their $iolations of the 'RR#
4n May /7, 1999, the JR&'K issued an order which -ertinently reads:
,A C,=E 41 &6= 14R=@4,A@, for lack of !erit, the defendantsL Motion to ;is!iss is ;enied, and -laintiffLs
!otion to declare defendants in default and for conte!-t are also ;enied#"
&he JR&'K ratiocinated that JFCA,, >i!)oco, &an and Cil$estreK !ay not assail its )urisdiction "after they $oluntarily
entered their a--earance, sought reliefs therein, and e!raced its authority y agreeing to sign an undertaking to
desist fro! -rohiiting *=ristingcolLs+ workers fro! entering the $illage#" ,n so ruling, it a--lied the doctrine
enunciated in &i)a! $# "ionghanoy#
4n June :, 1999, =ristingcol filed a !otion reiterating her earlier !otion for -roduction and ins-ection of docu!ents#
4n June 8, 1999, JFCA,, >i!)oco, &an and Cil$estreK !o$ed for -artial reconsideration of the order dated May /7,
1999# =ristingcol o--osed the !otion#
4n March /5, /001, the JR&'K issued an order granting =ristingcolLs !otion for -roduction and ins-ection of
docu!ents, while on March /7, /001, it issued an order denying JFCA,Ls, >i!)ocoLs, &anLs and Cil$estreLsK !otion
for -artial reconsideration#
4n May 10, /001, JFCA,, >i!)oco, &an and Cil$estreK ele$ated the dis-ute efore Jthe 'AK $ia JaK -etition for
certiorari alleging that the JR&'K acted without )urisdiction in issuing the orders of May /7, 1999 and March /5 and
/7, /001#3
&he 'A issued the herein assailed ;ecision re$ersing the R&' 4rder4 and dis!issing =ristingcolLs co!-laint for lack
of )urisdiction#
6ence, this a--eal -ositing a sole issue for our resolution:
Ehether it is the R&' or the 6ousing and >and Fse Regulatory ?oard *6>FR?+ which has )urisdiction o$er the
su)ect !atter of =ristingcolLs co!-laint#
?efore anything else, we note that the instant -etition i!-leads only >i!)oco as -ri$ate res-ondent# &he rest of the
defendants sued y =ristingcol efore the R&', who then collecti$ely filed the -etition for certiorari efore the 'A
assailing the R&'Ls 4rder, were, curiously, not included as -ri$ate res-ondents in this -articular -etition#
=ristingcol e(-lains that only res-ondent >i!)oco was retained in the instant -etition as her discussions with FCA,
and the other defendants re$ealed their lack of -artici-ation in the work9sto--age order which was su--osedly single9
handedly thought of and i!-le!ented y >i!)oco#
&he foregoing clarification notwithstanding, the rest of the defendants should ha$e een i!-leaded as res-ondents in
this -etition considering that the co!-laint efore the R&', where the -etition efore the 'A and the instant -etition
originated, has yet to e a!ended# 1urther!ore, the -resent -etition !aintains that it was serious error for the 'A to
ha$e ruled that the R&' did not ha$e )urisdiction o$er a co!-laint for declaration of nullity of FCA,Ls 'onstruction
Rules# 'learly, FCA, and the rest of the defendants should ha$e een i!-leaded herein as res-ondents#
"ection 5*a+, Rule 52 of the Rules of 'ourt, re8uires that the -etition shall "state the full na!e of the a--ealing -arty
as -etitioner and the ad$erse -arty as res-ondent, without i!-leading the lower courts or )udges thereof either as
-etitioners or res-ondents#" As the losing -arty in defendantsL -etition for certiorari efore the 'A, =ristingcol should
ha$e i!-leaded all -etitioners, the winning and ad$erse -arties therein#
4n this score alone, the -resent -etition could ha$e een dis!issed outright#5 6owe$er, to settle the issue of
)urisdiction, we ha$e o-ted to dis-ose of this case on the !erits#
;es-ite her ha$ing dro--ed FCA,, >orenzo &an *&an+ and June Cil$estre *Cil$estre+ fro! this suit, =ristingcol insists
that her co!-laint against FCA, and the defendants was -ro-erly filed efore the R&' as it -rays for the declaration
of nullity of FCA,Ls 'onstruction Rules and asks that da!ages e -aid y >i!)oco and the other FCA, officers who
had inflicted in)ury u-on her# =ristingcol asse$erates that since the case efore the R&' is one for declaration of
nullity, the nature of the 8uestion that is the su)ect of contro$ersy, not )ust the status or relationshi- of the -arties,
should deter!ine which ody has )urisdiction# ,n any e$ent, =ristingcol su!its that the R&'Ls )urisdiction o$er the
case was foreclosed y the -rayer of FCA, and its officers, including >i!)oco, for affir!ati$e relief fro! that court#
Eell9settled in )uris-rudence is the rule that in deter!ining which ody has )urisdiction o$er a case, we should
consider not only the status or relationshi- of the -arties, ut also the nature of the 8uestion that is the su)ect of their
contro$ersy#6 &o deter!ine the nature of an action and which court has )urisdiction, courts !ust look at the a$er!ents
of the co!-laint or -etition and the essence of the relief -rayed for#7 &hus, we e(a!ine the -ertinent allegations in
=ristingcolLs co!-laint, s-ecifically her a!ended co!-laint, to wit:
Allegations 'o!!on to All 'auses of Action
3# ,n 1928 and u-on its incor-oration, JFCA,K ado-ted a set of ?y9laws and Rules and Regulations, ( (
(# ,te! 2 of JFCA,LsK 'onstruction Rules -ertinently -ro$ides:
""et ack line: All ?uildings, including garage ser$antsL 8uarters, or -arts thereof *co$ered terraces,
-ortes cocheres+ !ust e constructed at a distance of not less than three *3+ !eters fro! the oundary
fronting a street and not less than four *5+ !eters fronting the drainage creek or underground cul$ert and
two */+ !eters fro! other oundaries of a lot# ;istance will e !easured fro! the $ertical -ro)ection of
the roof nearest the -ro-erty line# 'o!-letely o-en and unroofed terraces are not included in these
restrictions#"
"uffice it to state that there is nothing in the sa!e ?y9laws which deals e(-licitly with cano-ies or
!ar8uees which e(tend outward fro! the !ain uilding#
5# J=ristingcolK has een a resident of Frdaneta Cillage for ele$en *11+ years# ,n 1eruary 199:, she
-urchased a -arcel of land in the Cillage, located at the corner of Frdaneta A$enue and 'errada "treet# (
( (#
2# ,n considering the design for the house *the "'errada -ro-erty"+ which she intended to construct on
'errada "treet, J=ristingcolK referred to the Aational ?uilding 'ode of the 0hili--ines# After assuring
herself that the said law does not e(-ressly -ro$ide any restrictions in res-ect thereof, and after noting
that other houses owned y -ro!inent fa!ilies had si!ilar structures without eing cited y the
CillageLs 'onstruction 'o!!ittee, J=ristingcolK decided that the 'errada -ro-erty would ha$e a concrete
cano-y directly ao$e the !ain door and dri$eway#
7# ,n co!-liance with JFCA,LsK rules, J=ristingcolK su!itted to JFCA,K co-ies of her uilding -lans in
res-ect of the 'errada -ro-erty and the uilding -lans were duly a--ro$ed y JFCA,K# ( ( (#
:# J=ristingcolK su!itted andDor -aid the "cash ondDconstruction ond de-osit and architectLs
ins-ection fee" of 0/00,000#00 and the architectLs ins-ection fee of 0200#00 as re8uired under
'onstruction Rules ( ( (#
8# ,n the latter -art of 199:, and while the construction of the 'errada -ro-erty was ongoing,
J=ristingcolK recei$ed a notice fro! JFCA,K, charging her with alleged $iolations of the 'onstruction
Rules, i#e#, those on the height restriction of ele$en *11#0+ !eters, and the cano-y e(tension into the
ease!ent# 4n //nd January 1998, J=ristingcolK *through her re-resentati$es+ !et with, a!ong others,
defendant >i!)oco# ,n said !eeting, and after delieration on the definition of the -hrase "original
ground ele$ation" as a reference -oint, J=ristingcolLsK re-resentati$es agreed to re$ise the uilding -lan
y re!o$ing what was intended to e a -ara-et or roof railing, and therey reduce the height of the
structure y 50 centi!eters, which -ro-osal was acce-ted y the ?oard through defendant >i!)oco, @o$#
'atalino Macaraig Jr# *JFCA,LsK 'onstruction 'o!!ittee chair!an+, and the CillageLs Architect#
6owe$er, the issue of the alleged $iolation in res-ect of the cano-yDe(tension re!ained unresol$ed#
( ( ( (
9# ,n co!-liance with the agree!ent reached at the //nd January 1998 !eeting, J=ristingcolK caused the
re$ision of her uilding -lans such that, as it now stands, the 'errada -ro-erty has a $ertical height of
10#97 !eters and, thus, was within the CillageLs allowed !a(i!u! height of 11 !eters#
10# "o!eti!e in June 1998, J=ristingcolK was sur-rised to recei$e another letter fro! JFCA,K, this ti!e
fro! the 'onstruction 'o!!ittee chair!an *defendant &an+, again calling her attention to alleged
$iolations of the 'onstruction Rules# 4n 12th June 1998, JFCA,K arred J=ristingcolLsK construction
workers fro! entering the Cillage# &hus, J=ristingcolLsK 'onstruction Manager *Mr# Jai!e M# 6idalgo+
wrote defendant &an to e(-lain her -osition, and attached -hotogra-hs of si!ilar "$iolations" y other
-ro-erty owners which ha$e not !erited the sa!e scrutiny and sanction fro! JFCA,K#
( ( ( (
11# 4n /7th 4ctoer 1998, and for reasons known only to hi!, defendant Cil$estre sent a letter to Mr#
@eroni!o delos Reyes, de!anding for an "idea of how JMr# delos ReyesK can de!onstrate in concrete
ter!s JhisK good faith as a 8uid -ro 8uo for co!-ro!ise to" JFCA,LsK continued insistence that
J=ristingcolK had $iolated JFCA,LsK 'onstruction Rules# ( ( (#
( ( ( (
1/# J=ristingcolK through Mr# 6idalgo sent a letter dated /5th Ao$e!er 1998 to defendant &an, co-ies
of which were furnished defendants >i!)oco, Cil$estre and the ?oard, reiterating that, a!ong others: *i+
the alleged height restriction $iolation is untrue, since the 'errada -ro-erty now has a height within the
li!its i!-osed y JFCA,K. and *ii+ the de!and to reduce the cano-y y ninety *90+ centi!eters is
without asis, in light of the e(istence of thirty9fi$e *32+ si!ilar "$iolations" of the sa!e nature y other
ho!eowners# J=ristingcolK through Mr# 6idalgo further !entioned that she had done nothing to deser$e
the crude and coerci$e Cillage letters and the ?oardLs threats of work sto--age, and she cited instances
when she dealt with JFCA,K and her fellow ho!eowners in good faith and goodwill such as in 199:,
when she $ery discreetly s-ent sustantial a!ounts to landsca-e the entire Cillage 0ark, concrete the
0ark track o$al which was eing used as a )ogging -ath, and donate to the Association !ola$e enches
used as 0ark enches#
( ( ( (
13# 4n the sa!e date */5th Ao$e!er 1998+, defendant Cil$estre sent another letter addressed to
J=ristingcolLsK construction !anager 6idalgo, again threatening to en)oin all construction acti$ity on the
'errada -ro-erty as well as an entry of all workers and construction deli$eries effecti$e 1st ;ece!er
1998 unless Mr# delos Reyes !et with defendants# ( ( (#
( ( ( (
15# 4n /nd ;ece!er 1998, J=ristingcolLsK re-resentati$es !et with defendants >i!)oco, &an, and
Cil$estre# ;uring that !eeting, defendants were shown co-ies of the architectural -lans for the 'errada
-ro-erty# J=ristingcolLsK re-resentati$es agreed to allow JFCA,LsK 'onstruction 'o!!itteeLs architect to
$alidate the !easure!ents gi$en# 6owe$er, on the issue of the cano-y e(tension, the defendants
infor!ed J=ristingcolLsK re-resentati$es that the ?oard would i!-ose a -enalty of 1our 6undred
&housand 0esos *0500,000#00+ for $iolation of JFCA,LsK "set ack" or ease!ent rule# ;efendants cited
the ?oardLs i!-osition of si!ilar fines to -re$ious ho!eowners who had $iolated the sa!e rule, and
they undertook to furnish J=ristingcolK with a list of -ast -enalties i!-osed and -aid y ho!eowners
found y the ?oard to ha$e $iolated the CillageLs "set ack" -ro$ision#
12# 4n //nd ;ece!er 1998, defendant Cil$estre sent J=ristingcolK a letter dated 18th ;ece!er 1998
for!ally i!-osing a -enalty of 0500,000#00 for the "cano-y ease!ent $iolation#" ( ( (#
17# 4n /9th ;ece!er 1998, ( ( (, Cil$estre sent a letter to J=ristingcolK, stating that "as far as JhisK
ad!inistration is concerned, there has een no -ast -enalties e(ecuted y JFCA,K, si!ilar to the one we
are -resently de!anding on your on going construction# ( ( (
1:# 4n 5th January 1999, J=ristingcolLsK re-resentati$e sent a letter to the ?oard, asking for a
reconsideration of the i!-osition of the 0500,000#00 -enalty on the ground that the sa!e is unwarranted
and e(cessi$e# 4n 7th January 1999, J=ristingcolK herself sent a letter to the ?oard, e(-ounding on the
reasons for o--osing the ?oardLs action# 4n 18th January 1999, J=ristingcolK sent another letter in
co!-liance with defendantsL re8uest for a reakdown of her e(-enditures in res-ect of her donations
relati$e to the Cillage -ark#
18# 4n 3rd 1eruary 1999, J=ristingcolK through her lawyers sent defendants a letter, re8uesting that her
letters of 5th and 7th January 1999 e acted u-on#
19# 4n 5th 1eruary 1999, ( ( (, defendant >i!)oco ga$e a $eral order to JFCA,LsK guards to ar the
entry of workers working on the 'errada -ro-erty#
/0# ,n the !orning of 2th 1eruary 1999, defendants -hysically arred J=ristingcolLsK workers and
contractors fro! entering the Cillage and working at the 'errada -ro-erty#8
=ristingcol then lists the following causes of action:
1# ,te! 2 of FCA,Ls 'onstruction Rules constitutes an illegal and unwarranted intrusion u-on =ristingcolLs
-ro-rietary rights as it i!-oses a set9ack or horizontal ease!ent of 3#0 !eters fro! the -ro-erty line greater
than the s-ecification in "ection 1002*+ of the ?uilding 'ode that "the horizontal clearance etween the
outer!ost edge of the !ar8uee and the cur line shall e not less than 300 !illi!eters#" As such, =ristingcol
-rays for the declaration of nullity of this -ro$ision in FCA,Ls 'onstruction Rules insofar as she is concerned#
/# FCA,Ls i!-osition of a 0500,000#00 -enalty on =ristingcol has no factual asis, is aritrary, whi!sical and
ca-ricious as ra!-ant $iolations of the set9ack rule y other ho!eowners in the Cillage were not -enalized
y FCA,# =ristingcol -rays to -ut a sto- to defendantsL aritrary e(ercise of -ower -ursuant to FCA,Ls y9
laws#
3# Asent any factual or legal ases for the i!-osition of a 0500,000#00 -enalty, defendants and all -ersons
working under their control should e -er!anently arred or restrained fro! i!-osing andDor enforcing any
-enalty u-on =ristingcol for an alleged $iolation of FCA,Ls 'onstruction Rules, s-ecifically the -ro$ision on
set9ack#
5# ;efendants >i!)oco, &an, and Cil$estre, in $iolation of Article 19 of the 'i$il 'ode, de!onstrated ias
against =ristingcol y zeroing in on her alone and her su--osed $iolation, while other ho!eowners, who had
likewise $iolated FCA,Ls 'onstruction Rules, were not cited or -enalized therefor# ;efendantsL actuations
were in clear $iolation of their duty to gi$e all ho!eowners, including =ristingcol, their due#
2# ;efendantsL actuations ha$e seriously affected =ristingcolLs !ental dis-osition and ha$e caused her to
suffer slee-less nights, !ental anguish and serious an(iety# =ristingcolLs re-utation has likewise een
es!irched y FCA,Ls and defendantsL aritrary charge that she had $iolated FCA,Ls 'onstruction Rules# ,n
this regard, indi$idual defendants should each -ay =ristingcol !oral da!ages in the a!ount of01,000,000#00#
7# >astly, defendants should -ay =ristingcol 01,000#000#00 for litigation e(-enses she incurred in instituting
this suit and for attorneyLs fees#
At the outset, we note that the relationshi- etween the -arties is not in dis-ute and is, in fact, ad!itted y =ristingcol
in her co!-laint# Aonetheless, =ristingcol is ada!ant that the su)ect !atter of her co!-laint is -ro-erly cognizale
y the regular courts and need not e filed efore a s-ecialized ody or co!!ission#
=ristingcolLs contention is wrong#
4stensily, =ristingcolLs co!-laint, designated as one for declaration of nullity, falls within the regular courtsL
)urisdiction# 6owe$er, we ha$e, on !ore than one occasion, held that the ca-tion of the co!-laint is not deter!inati$e
of the nature of the action#9
A scrutiny of the allegations contained in =ristingcolLs co!-laint re$eals that the nature of the 8uestion su)ect of this
contro$ersy only su-erficially del$es into the $alidity of FCA,Ls 'onstruction Rules# &he co!-laint actually goes into
the -ro-er inter-retation and a--lication of FCA,Ls y9laws, s-ecifically its construction rules# =ssentially, the conflict
etween the -arties arose as =ristingcol, ad!ittedly a !e!er of FCA,, now wishes to e e(e!-t fro! the a--lication
of the cano-y re8uire!ent set forth in FCA,Ls 'onstruction Rules# "ignificantly, =ristingcol does not assail the height
restriction of FCA,Ls 'onstruction Rules, as she has readily co!-lied therewith#
;istinctly in -oint is 'hina ?anking 'or-# $# 'ourt of A--eals,10 which u-held the )urisdiction of the "ecurities and
=(change 'o!!ission *"='+ o$er the suit and recognized its s-ecial co!-etence to inter-ret and a--ly Calley @olf
and 'ountry 'lu, ,nc#Ls *C@'',Ls+ y9laws# Ee ruled, thus:
A--lying the foregoing -rinci-les in the case at ar, to ascertain which triunal has )urisdiction we ha$e to deter!ine
therefore whether or not -etitioner is a stockholder of C@'', and whether or not the nature of the contro$ersy
etween -etitioner and -ri$ate res-ondent cor-oration is intra9cor-orate#
As to the first 8uery, there is no 8uestion that the -urchase of the su)ect share or !e!ershi- certificate at -ulic
auction y -etitioner *and the issuance to it of the corres-onding 'ertificate of "ale+ transferred ownershi- of the sa!e
to the latter and thus entitled -etitioner to ha$e the said share registered in its na!e as a !e!er of C@'',# ( ( (#
?y $irtue of the afore!entioned sale, -etitioner eca!e a ona fide stockholder of C@'', and, therefore, the conflict
that arose etween -etitioner and C@'', a-tly e(e!-lifies an intra9cor-orate contro$ersy etween a cor-oration and
its stockholder under "ec# 2*+ of 0#;# 90/9A#
An i!-ortant consideration, !oreo$er, is the nature of the contro$ersy etween -etitioner and -ri$ate res-ondent
cor-oration# C@'', clai!s a -rior right o$er the su)ect share anchored !ainly on "ec# 3, Art# C,,, of its y9laws
which -ro$ides that "after a !e!er shall ha$e een -osted as delin8uent, the ?oard !ay order hisDherDits share sold
to satisfy the clai!s of the 'luM" ,t is -ursuant to this -ro$ision that C@'', also sold the su)ect share at -ulic
auction, of which it was the highest idder# C@'', ca-s its argu!ent y asserting that its cor-orate y9laws should
-re$ail# &he one of contention, thus, is the -ro-er inter-retation and a--lication of C@'',Ls afore8uoted y9laws, a
su)ect which irrefutaly calls for the s-ecial co!-etence of the "='#
Ee reiterate herein the sound -olicy enunciated y the 'ourt in Ae)o $# ;e la 'ruz:
7# ,n the fifties, the 'ourt taking cognizance of the !o$e to $est )urisdiction in ad!inistrati$e co!!issions and oards
the -ower to resol$e s-ecialized dis-utes in the field of laor *as in cor-orations, -ulic trans-ortation and -ulic
utilities+ ruled that 'ongress in re8uiring the ,ndustrial 'ourtLs inter$ention in the resolution of laor9!anage!ent
contro$ersies likely to cause strikes or lockouts !eant such )urisdiction to e e(clusi$e, although it did not so
e(-ressly state in the law# &he 'ourt held that under the "sense9!aking and e(-editious doctrine of -ri!ary
)urisdiction M the courts cannot or will not deter!ine a contro$ersy in$ol$ing a 8uestion which is within the
)urisdiction of an ad!inistrati$e triunal, where the 8uestion de!ands the e(ercise of sound ad!inistrati$e discretion
re8uiring the s-ecial knowledge, e(-erience, and ser$ices of the ad!inistrati$e triunal to deter!ine technical and
intricate !atters of fact, and a unifor!ity of ruling is essential to co!-ly with the -ur-oses of the regulatory statute
ad!inistered#
( ( ( (
,n this case, the need for the "='Ls technical e(-ertise cannot e o$er9e!-hasized in$ol$ing as it does the !eticulous
analysis and correct inter-retation of a cor-orationLs y9laws as well as the a--licale -ro$isions of the 'or-oration
'ode in order to deter!ine the $alidity of C@'',Ls clai!s# &he "=', therefore, took -ro-er cognizance of the instant
case#11
>ikewise in -oint is our illu!inating ruling in "ta# 'lara 6o!eownersL Association $# "-s# @aston,12 although it
ulti!ately held that the 8uestion of su)ect !atter )urisdiction o$er the co!-laint of res-ondent9 s-ouses @aston for
declaration of nullity of a oard resolution issued y "ta# 'lara 6o!eownersL Association *"'6A+ was $ested in the
regular courts# ,n "ta# 'lara, the !ain issue raised y "'6A reads: "Ehether Jthe 'AK erred in u-holding the
)urisdiction of the JR&'K, Nto declare as null and $oid the resolution of the ?oard of "'6A, decreeing that only
!e!ers JinK good standing of the said association were to e issued stickers for use in their $ehicles#L" ,n holding
that the regular courts had )urisdiction o$er res-ondent9s-ouses @astonLs co!-laint for declaration of nullity, we
stressed the asence of relationshi- and the conse8uent lack of -ri$ity of contract etween the -arties, thus:
Are JRes-ondent9"-ouses @astonK "'6A Me!ersO
,n order to deter!ine if the 6,@' has )urisdiction o$er the dis-ute, it is necessary to resol$e -reli!inarilyPon the
asis of the allegations in the 'o!-laintPwhether Jres-ondent9s-ouses @astonK are !e!ers of the "'6A#
J"'6AK contendJsK that ecause the 'o!-laint arose fro! intra9cor-orate relations etween the "'6A and its
!e!ers, the 6,@' therefore has )urisdiction o$er the dis-ute# &o su--ort their contention that Jres-ondent9s-ouses
@astonK are !e!ers of the association, J"'6AK citeJsK the "'6ALs Articles of ,ncor-oration and ?y9laws which
-ro$ide that all landowners of the "ta# 'lara "udi$ision are auto!atically !e!ers of the "'6A#
Ee are not -ersuaded# &he constitutionally guaranteed freedo! of association includes the freedo! not to associate#
&he right to choose with who! one will associate oneself is the $ery foundation and essence of that -artnershi-# ,t
should e noted that the -ro$ision guarantees the right to for! an association# ,t does not include the right to co!-el
others to for! or )oin one#
More to the -oint, Jres-ondent9s-ouses @astonK cannot e co!-elled to eco!e !e!ers of the "'6A y the si!-le
e(-edient of including the! in its Articles of ,ncor-oration and ?y9laws without their e(-ress or i!-lied consent# ( (
(# ,n the -resent case, howe$er, other than the said Articles of ,ncor-oration and ?y9laws, there is no showing that
Jres-ondent9s-ouses @astonK ha$e agreed to e "'6A !e!ers#
( ( ( (
Ao -ri$ity of 'ontract
'learly then, no -ri$ity of contract e(ists etween J"'6AK and Jres-ondent9s-ouses @astonK# As a general rule, a
contract is a !eeting of !inds etween two -ersons# &he 'i$il 'ode u-holds the s-irit o$er the for!. thus, it dee!s
an agree!ent to e(ist, -ro$ided the essential re8uisites are -resent# ( ( (# 1ro! the !o!ent there is a !eeting of
!inds etween the -arties, it is -erfected#
As already ad$erted to, there are cases in which a -arty who enters into a contract of sale is also ound y a lien
annotated on the certificate of title# Ee recognized this in ?el Air Cillage Association, ,nc# $# ;ionisio, in which we
ruled:
&here is no dis-ute that &ransfer 'ertificate of &itle Ao# 81137 co$ering the su)ect -arcel of land issued in the na!e
of the -etitioner contains an annotation to the effect that the lot owner eco!es an auto!atic !e!er of the
res-ondent ?el9Air Association and !ust aide y such rules and regulations laid down y the Association in the
interest of the sanitation, security and the general welfare of the co!!unity# ,t is likewise not dis-uted that the
-ro$ision on auto!atic !e!ershi- was e(-ressly annotated on the -etitionerLs &ransfer 'ertificate of &itle and on
the title of his -redecessor9in9interest#
&he 8uestion, therefore, oils down to whether or not the -etitioner is ound y such annotation#
"ection 39 of Art# 597 *&he >and Registration Act+ states:
"ec# 39# =$ery -erson recei$ing a certificate of title in -ursuance of a decree of registration, and e$ery suse8uent
-urchaser of registered land who takes a certificate of title for $alue in good faith shall hold the sa!e free of all
encu!rances e(ce-t those noted on said certificate ( ( (# *,talics su--lied+
&he ao$e ruling, howe$er, does not a--ly to the case at ar# Ehen Jres-ondent9s-ouses @astonK -urchased their
-ro-erty in 19:5 and otained &ransfer 'ertificates of &itle Aos# &91/725/ and &91/:57/ for >ots 11 and 1/ of ?lock
3: along "an Jose A$enue in "ta# 'lara "udi$ision, there was no annotation showing their auto!atic !e!ershi- in
the "'6A# &hus, no -ri$ity of contract arising fro! the title certificate e(ists etween J"'6AK and Jres-ondent9
s-ouses @astonK#
1urther, the records are ereft of any e$idence that would indicate that -ri$ate res-ondents intended to eco!e
!e!ers of the "'6A# 0rior to the i!-le!entation of the aforesaid Resolution, they and the other ho!eowners who
were not !e!ers of the association were issued non9!e!er gate -ass stickers for their $ehicles# &his fact has not
een dis-uted y J"'6AK# &hus, the "'6A recognized that there were sudi$ision landowners who were not
!e!ers thereof, notwithstanding the -ro$isions of its Articles of ,ncor-oration and ?y9laws#
Jurisdiction ;eter!ined y Allegations in the 'o!-laint
,t is a settled rule that )urisdiction o$er the su)ect !atter is deter!ined y the allegations in the co!-laint#
Jurisdiction is not affected y the -leas or the theories set u- y the defendant in an answer or a !otion to dis!iss#
4therwise, )urisdiction would eco!e de-endent al!ost entirely u-on the whi!s of the defendant#
&he 'o!-laint does not allege that Jres-ondent9s-ouses @astonK are !e!ers of the "'6A# ,n -oint of fact, they
deny such !e!ershi-# &hus, the 6,@' has no )urisdiction o$er the dis-ute#13
,n stark contrast, the relationshi- etween the -arties in the instant case is well9estalished# @i$en this ad!itted
relationshi-, the -ri$ity of contract etween FCA, and =ristingcol is -al-ale, des-ite the latterLs deft -hraseology of
its -ri!ary cause of action as a declaration of nullity of FCA,Ls 'onstruction Rules# ,n short, the cru( of =ristingcolLs
co!-laint is FCA,Ls su--osed aritrary i!-le!entation of its construction rules against =ristingcol, a !e!er
thereof#
Moreo$er, as in "ta# 'lara *had res-ondent9s-ouses @aston een !e!ers of "'6A+, the contro$ersy which arose
etween the -arties in this case -artook of the nature of an intra9cor-orate dis-ute# =(ecuti$e 4rder *=#4#+ Ao#
232,14 which a!ended Re-ulic Act Ao# 280 creating the 6,@', transferred to the 6,@' the regulatory and
ad!inistrati$e functions o$er ho!eownersL associations originally $ested with the "='# "ection / of =#4# Ao# 232
-ro$ides in -ertinent -art:
/# ,n addition to the -owers and functions $ested under the 6o!e 1inancing Act, the 'or-oration, shall ha$e a!ong
others, the following additional -owers:
*a+ ( ( (. and e(ercise all the -owers, authorities and res-onsiilities that are $ested on the "ecurities and
=(change 'o!!ission with res-ect to ho!e owners association, the -ro$ision of Act 1529, as a!ended y
0#;# 90/9A, to the contrary notwithstanding.
*+ &o regulate and su-er$ise the acti$ities and o-erations of all houseowners association registered in
accordance therewith#
?y $irtue thereof, the 6,@' likewise assu!ed the "='Ls original and e(clusi$e )urisdiction to hear and decide cases
in$ol$ing contro$ersies arising fro! intra9cor-orate or -artnershi- relations#15 &hereafter, with the ad$ent of Re-ulic
Act Ao# 8:73, the foregoing -owers and res-onsiilities $ested in the 6,@', with res-ect to ho!eownersL
associations, were transferred to the 6>FR?#
As regards the defendantsL su--osed e!race of the R&'Ls )urisdiction y a--earing thereat and undertaking to desist
fro! -rohiiting =ristingcolLs workers fro! entering the $illage, suffice it to state that the in$ocation of the doctrine
in &i)a!, et al# $# "ionghanoy, et al#16 is 8uite a long stretch#
&he factual !ilieu otaining in &i)a! and in the case at ench are worlds a-art# As found y the 'A, defendantsL
a--earance efore the R&' was -ursuant to, and in co!-liance with, a su-oena issued y that court in connection
with =ristingcolLs a--lication for a &e!-orary Restraining 4rder *&R4+# 4n defendantsL su--osed agree!ent to sign
the Fndertaking allowing =ristingcolLs workers, contractors, and su--liers to enter and e(it the $illage, this te!-orary
settle!ent cannot e e8uated with full acce-tance of the R&'Ls authority, as what actually trans-ired in &i)a!#1a$$-hi1#zwQ
&he land!ark case of &i)a! is, in fact, only an e(ce-tion to the general rule that an o)ection to the courtLs )urisdiction
o$er a case !ay e raised at any stage of the -roceedings, as the lack of )urisdiction affects the $ery authority of the
court to take cognizance of a case#17 ,n that case, the "urety filed a Motion to ;is!iss efore the 'A, raising the
8uestion of lack of )urisdiction for the first ti!ePfifteen years after the action was co!!enced in the 'ourt of 1irst
,nstance *'1,+ of 'eu# ,ndeed, in se$eral stages of the -roceedings in the '1,, as well as in the 'A, the "urety
in$oked the )urisdiction of said courts to otain affir!ati$e relief, and e$en su!itted its case for a final ad)udication
on the !erits# 'onse8uently, it was arred y laches fro! in$oking the '1,Ls lack of )urisdiction#
&o further highlight the distinction in this case, the &R4 hearing was held on 1eruary 9, 1999, a day after the filing
of the co!-laint# 4n e$en date, the -arties reached a te!-orary settle!ent reflected in the Fndertaking# 1ifteen days
thereafter, defendants, including >i!)oco, filed a Motion to ;is!iss# 'ertainly, this successi$e and continuous chain
of e$ents cannot e characterized as laches as would ar defendants fro! 8uestioning the R&'Ls )urisdiction#
,n fine, ased on the allegations contained in =ristingcolLs co!-laint, it is the 6>FR?, not the R&', which has
)urisdiction o$er this case#
E6=R=14R=, -re!ises considered, the -etition is ;=A,=;# &he ;ecision of the 'ourt of A--eals in 'A9@#R# "0#
Ao# 7575/ is herey A11,RM=;# 'osts against -etitioner#
"4 4R;=R=;#
AA&4A,4 =;FAR;4 ?# AA'6FRA
Associate Justice
E= '4A'FR:
C-N,+$.- 3NAR$,;,AN#'A(-
Associate Justice
'hair-erson
MA. A.'C'A A+,#R'A;MAR#'N$4
Associate Justice
&AN#$ -. #'N(AR
Associate Justice
&'-,&A&- M. P$RA.#A
Associate Justice
A & & = " & A & , 4 A
, attest that the conclusions in the ao$e ;ecision were reached in consultation efore the case was assigned to the
writer of the o-inion of the 'ourtLs ;i$ision#
C-N,+$.- 3NAR$,;,AN#'A(-
Associate Justice
'hair-erson, &hird ;i$ision
' = R & , 1 , ' A & , 4 A
0ursuant to "ection 13, Article C,,, of the 'onstitution and the ;i$ision 'hair-erson<s Attestation, , certify that the
conclusions in the ao$e ;ecision had een reached in consultation efore the case was assigned to the writer of the
o-inion of the 'ourtLs ;i$ision#
R$3NA#- ,. P+N-
'hief Justice
/# (.R. No. 171252 *anuar8 "! 2662
(A/R'$. .. &+$R-! -etitioner,
$s#
)-N.C-+R# -F APP$A.,! an: /$RNAR&- A. $RA&$.! res-ondents#
<+',+M/'N(! J.:
&his -etition for certiorari assails the ;ecisionl dated "e-te!er 1:, 199:, of the 'ourt of A--eals in 'A9@#R# Ao# "0
Ao## /3509 F;I, entitled Bernardo Eradel vs. Non. Ermelino . !ndal, setting aside all -roceedings in 'i$il 'ase
Ao#10:2, abriel ". #uero vs. Bernardo Eradel, efore the ?ranch /: of the Regional &rial 'ourt of &andag, "urigao
del "ur #
&he -ertinent facts are as follow#
"o!eti!e in 1988, according to -etitioner, -ri$ate res-ondent ?e!ardo =radel2 entered and occu-ied -etitioner<s land
co$ered y &a( ;eclaration Ao# A917913930/, located in ?aras, "an Miguel, "urigao del "ur# As shown in the ta(
declaration, the land had an assessed $alue of 02,/50# Ehen -etitioner -olitely infor!ed -ri$ate res-ondent that the
land was his and re8uested the latter to $acate the land, -ri$ate res-ondent refused, ut instead threatened hi! with
odily har!# ;es-ite re-eated de!ands, -ri$ate res-ondent re!ained steadfast in his refusal to lea$e the land#
4n June 17, 1992, -etitioner filed efore the R&' a co!-laint for Reco$ery of 0ossession and 4wnershi- with
;a!ages and Attorney<s 1ees against -ri$ate res-ondent and two others, na!ely, A-olinario and ,nocencio Ruena#
0etitioner a--ended to the co!-laint the afore!entioned ta( declaration# &he counsel of the Ruenas asked for
e(tension to file their Answer and was gi$en until July 18, 1992# Meanwhile, -etitioner and the, Ruenas e(ecuted a
co!-ro!ise agree!ent, which eca!e the trial court<s asis for a -artial )udg!ent rendered on January 1/, 1997# ,n
this agree!ent, the Ruenas through their counsel, Atty# =useio A$ila, entered into a 'o!-ro!ise Agree!ent with
herein -etitioner, @ariel ;uero# $nter alia, the agree!ent stated that the Ruenas recognized and ound the!sel$es to
res-ect the ownershi- and -ossession of ;uero#3 6erein -ri$ate res-ondent =radel was not a -arty to the agree!ent,
and he was declared in default for failure to file his answer to the co!-laint#4
0etitioner -resented his e$idence e% parte on 1eruary 13, 1997# 4n May 8, 1997, )udg!ent was rendered in his fa$or,
and -ri$ate res-ondent was ordered to -eacefully $acate and turn o$er >ot Ao#1072 'ad# 23:9; to -etitioner. -ay
-etitioner 0/,000 annual rental fro! 1988 u- the ti!e he $acates the land, and 02,000 as attorney<s fees and the cost
of the suit#5 0ri$ate res-ondent recei$ed a co-y of the decision on May /2, 1997#
4n June 10, 1997, -ri$ate res-ondent filed a Motion for Aew &rial, alleging that he has een occu-ying the land as a
tenant of Arte!io >aurente, "r#, since 1928# 6e e(-lained that he turned o$er the co!-laint and su!!ons to >aurente
in the honest elief that as landlord, the latter had a etter right to the land and was res-onsile to defend any ad$erse
clai! on it# 6owe$er, the trial court denied the !otion for new trial#1Sw-hi1#nTt
Meanwhile, R=; 'onflict 'ase Ao#10/9, an ad!inistrati$e case etween -etitioner and a--licant9contestants Ro!eo,
Arte!io and Jury >aurente, re!ained -ending with the 4ffice of the Regional ;irector of the ;e-art!ent of
=n$iron!ent and Aatural Resources in ;a$ao 'ity# =$entually, it was forwarded to the ;=AR Regional 4ffice in
0ros-eridad, Agusan del "ur #
4n July /5, 1997, -ri$ate res-ondent filed efore the R&' a 0etition for Relief fro! Judg!ent, reiterating the sa!e
allegation in his Motion for Aew &rial# 6e a$erred that unless there is a deter!ination on who owned the land, he
could not e !ade to $acate the land# 6e also a$erred that the )udg!ent of the trial court was $oid inas!uch as the
heirs of Arte!io >aurente, "r#, who are indis-ensale -arties, were not i!-leaded#
4n "e-te!er /5, 1997, Jose-hine, Ana "oledad and Cirginia, all surna!ed >aurente, grandchildren of Arte!io who
were clai!ing ownershi- of the land, filed a Motion for ,nter$ention# &he R&' denied the !otion#
4n 4ctoer 8, 1997, the trial court issued an order denying the 0etition for Relief fro! Judg!ent# ,n a Motion for
Reconsideration of said order, -ri$ate res-ondent alleged that the R&' had no )urisdiction o$er the case, since the
$alue of the land was only 02,/50 and therefore it was under the )urisdiction of the !unici-al trial court# 4n
Ao$e!er //, 1997, the R&' denied the !otion for reconsideration#
4n January //, 199:, -etitioner filed a Motion for =(ecution, which the R&' granted on January /8# 4n 1eruary 18,
199:, =ntry of Judg!ent was !ade of record and a writ of e(ecution was issued y the R&' on 1eruary /:,199:# 4n
March 1/,199:, -ri$ate res-ondent filed his -etition for certiorari efore the 'ourt of A--eals#
&he 'ourt of A--eals ga$e due course to the -etition, !aintaining that -ri$ate res-ondent is not esto--ed fro!
assailing the )urisdiction <of the R&', ?ranch /: in &andag, "urigao del "ur, when -ri$ate res-ondent filed with said
court his Motion for Reconsideration AndD4r Annul!ent of Judg!ent# &he 'ourt of A--eals decreed as follows:
,A &6= >,@6& 41 A>> &6= 14R=@4,A@, the 0etition is @RAA&=;# All -roceedings in "@ariel >#
;uero $s# ?ernardo =radel, et# al# 'i$il 'ase 10:2" filed in the 'ourt a 8uo, including its ;ecision, Anne(
"=" of the -etition, and its 4rders and Erit of =(ecution and the turn o$er of the -ro-erty to the 0ri$ate
Res-ondent y the "heriff of the 'ourt a 8uo, are declared null and $oid and herey "=& A",;=, Ao
-ronounce!ent as to costs#
"4 4R;=R=;#6
0etitioner now co!es efore this 'ourt, alleging that the 'ourt of A--eals acted with gra$e ause of discretion
a!ounting to lack or in e(cess of )urisdiction when it held that:
,#
###&6= >4E=R '4FR& 6A" A4 JFR,";,'&,4A 4C=R &6= "F?J='& MA &&=R 41 &6= 'A"=#
,,
###0R,CA&= R="04A;=A& EA" A4& &6=R=?G ="&400=; 1R4M BF="&,4A,A@ &6=
JFR,";,'&,4A 41 &6= >4E=R '4FR& =C=A A1&=R ,& "F''=""1F>>G "4F@6& A11,RMA&,C=
R=>,=1 &6=R=1R4M#
,,,
###&6= 1Al>FR= 41 0R,CA&= R="04A;=A& &4 1,>= 6," AA"E=R ," JF"&,1,=;# 7
&he !ain issue efore us is whether the 'ourt of A--eals gra$ely aused its discretion when it held that the !unici-al
trial court had )urisdiction, and that -ri$ate res-ondent was not esto--ed fro! assailing the )urisdiction of the R&'
after he had filed se$eral !otions efore it# &he secondary issue is whether the 'ourt of a--eals erred in holding that
-ri$ate res-ondent<s failure to file an answer to the co!-laint was )ustified#
At the outset, howe$er, we note that -etitioner through counsel su!itted to this 'ourt -leadings that contain
inaccurate state!ents# &hus, on -age 2 of his -etition,8 we find that to olster the clai! that the a--ellate court erred
in holding that the R&' had no )urisdiction, -etitioner -ointed to !nne% E9 of his -etition which su--osedly is the
'ertification issued y the Munici-al &reasurer of "an Miguel, "urigao, s-ecifically containing the notation, "Aote:
"u)ect for @eneral Re$ision =ffecti$e 1995#" ?ut it a--ears that !nne% E of his -etition is not a 'ertification ut a
(ero( co-y of a ;eclaration of Real 0ro-erty# Aowhere does the docu!ent contain a notation, "Aote: "u)ect for
@eneral Re$ision =ffecti$e 1995#" 0etitioner also asked this 'ourt to refer to !nne% &,10 where he said the zonal
$alue of the dis-uted land was 01#50 -er s8#!#, thus -lacing the co!-uted $alue of the land at the ti!e the co!-laint
was filed efore the R&' at 02:,113#98, hence eyond the )urisdiction of the !unici-al court and within the
)urisdiction of the regional trial court# 6owe$er, we find that these anne(es are oth !erely (ero( co-ies# &hey are
o$iously without e$identiary weight or $alue#
'o!ing now to the -rinci-al issue, -etitioner contends that res-ondent a--ellate court acted with gra$e ause of
discretion# ?y "gra$e ause of discretion" is !eant such ca-ricious and whi!sical e(ercise of )udg!ent which is
e8ui$alent to an e(cess or a lack of )urisdiction# &he ause of discretion !ust e so -atent and gross as to a!ount to
an e$asion of a -ositi$e duty or a $irtual refusal to -erfor! a duty en)oined y law, or to act at all in conte!-lation of
law as where the -ower is e(ercised in an aritrary and des-otic !anner y reason of -assion or hostility# 11 ?ut here
we find that in its decision holding that the !unici-al court has )urisdiction o$er the case and that -ri$ate res-ondent
was not esto--ed fro! 8uestioning the )urisdiction of the R&', res-ondent 'ourt of A--eals discussed the facts on
which its decision is grounded as well as the law and )uris-rudence on the !atter#12 ,ts action was neither whi!sical
nor ca-ricious#
Eas -ri$ate res-ondent esto--ed fro! 8uestioning the )urisdiction of the R&'O ,n this case, we are in agree!ent with
the 'ourt of A--eals that he was not# Ehile -artici-ation in all stages of a case efore the trial court, including
in$ocation of its authority in asking for affir!ati$e relief, effecti$ely ars a -arty y esto--el fro! challenging the
court<s )urisdiction,13 we note that esto--el has eco!e an e8uitale defense that is oth sustanti$e and re!edial and
its successful in$ocation can ar a right and not !erely its e8uitale enforce!ent# 146ence, esto--el ought to e
a--lied with caution# 1or esto--el to a--ly, the action gi$ing rise thereto !ust e une8ui$ocal and intentional ecause,
if !isa--lied, esto--el !ay eco!e a tool of in)ustice#15
,n the -resent case, -ri$ate res-ondent 8uestions the )urisdiction of R&' in &andag, "urigao del "ur, on legal grounds#
Recall that it was -etitioner who filed the co!-laint against -ri$ate res-ondent and two other -arties efore the said
court,16 elie$ing that the R&' had )urisdiction o$er his co!-laint# ?ut y then, Re-ulic Act :79117 a!ending ?0
1/9 had eco!e effecti$e, such that )urisdiction already elongs not to the R&' ut to the M&' -ursuant to said
a!end!ent# 0ri$ate res-ondent, an unschooled far!er, in the !istaken elief that since he was !erely a tenant of the
late Arte!io >aurente "r#, his landlord, ga$e the su!!ons to a 6i-olito >aurente, one of the sur$i$ing heirs of
Arte!io "r#, who did not do anything aout the su!!ons# 1or failure to answer the co!-laint, -ri$ate res-ondent was
declared in default# 6e then filed a Motion for Aew &rial in the sa!e court and e(-lained that he defaulted ecause of
his elief that the suit ought to e answered y his landlord# ,n that !otion he stated that he had y then the e$idence
to -ro$e that he had a etter right than -etitioner o$er the land ecause of his long, continuous and uninterru-ted
-ossession as bona'fide tenant9lessee of the land#18?ut his !otion was denied# 6e tried an alternati$e recourse# 6e
filed efore the R&' a Motion for Relief fro! Judg!ent# Again, the sa!e court denied his !otion, hence he !o$ed
for reconsideration of the denial# ,n his Motion for Reconsideration, he raised for the first ti!e the R&'<s lack of
)urisdiction# &his !otion was again denied# Aote that -ri$ate res-ondent raised the issue of lack of )urisdiction, not
when the case was already on a--eal, ut when the case, was still efore the R&' that ruled hi! in default, denied his
!otion for new trial as well as for relief fro! )udg!ent, and denied likewise his two !otions for reconsideration#
After the R&' still refused to reconsider the denial of -ri$ate res-ondent<s !otion for relief fro! )udg!ent, it went on
to issue the order for entry of )udg!ent and a writ of e(ecution#
Fnder these circu!stances, we could not fault the 'ourt of A--eals in o$erruling the R&' and in holding that -ri$ate
res-ondent was not esto--ed fro! 8uestioning the )urisdiction of the regional trial court# &he funda!ental rule is that,
the lack of )urisdiction of the court o$er an action cannot e wai$ed y the -arties, or e$en cured y their silence,
ac8uiescence or e$en y their e(-ress consent#19 1urther, a -arty !ay assail the )urisdiction of the court o$er the
action at any stage of the -roceedings and e$en on a--eal#20 &he a--ellate court did not err in saying that the R&'
should ha$e declared itself arren of )urisdiction o$er the action# =$en if -ri$ate res-ondent acti$ely -artici-ated in
the -roceedings efore said court, the doctrine of esto--el cannot still e -ro-erly in$oked against hi! ecause the
8uestion of lack of )urisdiction !ay e raised at anyti!e and at any stage of the action# 210recedents tell us that as a
general rule, the )urisdiction of a court is not a 8uestion of ac8uiescence as a !atter of fact, ut an issue of confer!ent
as a !atter of law#22 Also, neither wai$er nor esto--el shall a--ly to confer )urisdiction u-on a court, arring highly
!eritorious and e(ce-tional circu!stances#23 &he 'ourt of A--eals found su--ort for its ruling in our decision
in (avier vs. Court of !ppeals, thus:
( ( ( &he -oint si!-ly is that when a -arty co!!its error in filing his suit or -roceeding in a court that lacks
)urisdiction to take cognizance of the sa!e, such act !ay not at once e dee!ed sufficient asis of esto--el# ,t
could ha$e een the result of an honest !istake, or of di$ergent inter-retations of doutful legal -ro$isions# 'f
an8 fault is to be i=pute: to a part8 ta>ing such course of action! part of the bla=e shoul: be place: on
the court ?hich shall entertain the suit! thereb8 lulling the parties into believing that the8 pursue: their
re=e:ies in the correct foru=. Fnder the rules, it is the duty of the court to dis!iss an action <whene$er it
a--ears that the court has no )urisdiction o$er the su)ect !atter#< *"ec# /, Rule 9, Rules of 'ourt+ "hould the
'ourt render a )udg!ent without )urisdiction, such )udg!ent !ay e i!-eached or annulled for lack of
)urisdiction *"ec# 30, Rule 13/, ,id+, within ten *10+ years fro! the finality of the sa!e# J=!-hasis ours#K24
,ndeed, "###the trial court was duty9ound to take )udicial notice of the -ara!eters of its )urisdiction and its failure to
do so, !akes its decision a <lawless< thing#"25
"ince a decision of a court without )urisdiction is null and $oid, it could logically ne$er eco!e final and e(ecutory,
hence a--eal therefro! y writ of error would e out of the 8uestion# Resort y -ri$ate res-ondent to a -etition for
certiorari efore the 'ourt of A--eals was in order #
,n holding that esto--el did not -re$ent -ri$ate res-ondent fro! 8uestioning the R&'<s )urisdiction, the a--ellate court
reiterated the doctrine that esto--el !ust e a--lied only in e(ce-tional cases, as its !isa--lication could result in a
!iscarriage of )ustice# 6ere, we find that -etitioner, who clai!s ownershi- of a -arcel of land, filed his co!-laint
efore a court without a--ro-riate )urisdiction# ;efendant, a far!er whose tenancy status is still -ending efore the
-ro-er ad!inistrati$e agency concerned, could ha$e !o$ed for dis!issal of the case on )urisdictional grounds# ?ut the
far!er as defendant therein could not e e(-ected to know the nuances of )urisdiction and related issues# &his far!er,
who is now the -ri$ate res-ondent, ought not to e -enalized when he clai!s that he !ade an honest !istake when he
initially su!itted his !otions efore the R&', efore he realized that the contro$ersy was outside the R&'<s
cognizance ut within the )urisdiction of the !unici-al trial court# &o hold hi! in esto--el as the R&' did would
a!ount to foreclosing his a$enue to otain a -ro-er resolution of his case# 1urther!ore, if the R&'<s order were to e
sustained, he would e e$icted fro! the land -re!aturely, while R=; 'onflict 'ase Ao#10/9 would re!ain
unresol$ed# "uch e$iction on a technicality if allowed could result in an in)ustice, if it is later found that he has a legal
right to till the land he now occu-ies as tenant9lessee#1Sw-hi1#nTt
6a$ing deter!ined that there was no gra$e ause of discretion y the a--ellate court in ruling that -ri$ate res-ondent
was not esto--ed fro! 8uestioning the )urisdiction of the R&', we need not tarry to consider in detail the second
issue# "uffice it to say that, gi$en the circu!stances in this case, no error was co!!itted on this score y res-ondent
a--ellate court# "ince the R&' had no )urisdiction o$er the case, -ri$ate res-ondent had )ustifiale reason in law not to
file an answer, aside fro! the fact that he elie$ed the suit was -ro-erly his landlord<s concern#
0)$R$F-R$, the -etition is &',M',,$&# &he assailed decision of the 'ourt of A--eals is AFF'RM$&# &he
decision of the Regional &rial 'ourt in 'i$il 'ase Ao#10:2 entitled abriel ". #uero vs. Bernardo Eradel, its 4rder
that -ri$ate res-ondent turn o$er the dis-uted land to -etitioner, and the Erit of =(ecution it issued, areANN+..$&
an: ,$# A,'&$# 'osts against -etitioner #
,- -R&$R$&.
Bellosillo) *endo+a) #e "eon) (r.) ((.) concur# Buena) (.) on official lea$e#
3#
rule 192
1# $9AN($.'N$ A.&A3! petitioner! vs. F(+ 'N,+RANC$
C-RP-RA#'-N! respondent.
& $ C ' , ' - N
(-N4A(A;R$3$,! J.@
4n 2 May 1989, res-ondent 1@F ,nsurance 'or-oration filed a co!-laint with the Regional &rial
'ourt of MakatiJ1K alleging that -etitioner =$angeline I# Alday owed it 0115,720#:7, re-resenting
unli8uidated cash ad$ances, unre!itted costs of -re!iu!s and other charges incurred y -etitioner in
the course of her work as an insurance agent for res-ondent#J/K Res-ondent also -rayed for e(e!-lary
da!ages, attorneyLs fees, and costs of suit#J3K 0etitioner filed her answer and y way of counterclai!,
asserted her right for the -ay!ent of 0105,893#52, re-resenting direct co!!issions, -rofit co!!issions
and contingent onuses earned fro! 1 July 1987 to : ;ece!er 1987, and for accu!ulated -re!iu!
reser$es a!ounting to 0200,000#00# ,n addition, -etitioner -rayed for attorneyLs fees, litigation
e(-enses, !oral da!ages and e(e!-lary da!ages for the allegedly unfounded action filed y
res-ondent#J5K 4n /3 August 1989, res-ondent filed a UMotion to "trike 4ut Answer Eith 'o!-ulsory
'ounterclai! And &o ;eclare ;efendant ,n ;efaultV ecause -etitionerLs answer was allegedly filed
out of ti!e#J2K 6owe$er, the trial court denied the !otion on /2 August 1989 and si!ilarly re)ected
res-ondentLs !otion for reconsideration on 1/ March 1990#J7K A few weeks later, on 11 A-ril 1990,
res-ondent filed a !otion to dis!iss -etitionerLs counterclai!, contending that the trial court ne$er
ac8uired )urisdiction o$er the sa!e ecause of the non9-ay!ent of docket fees y -etitioner#J:K ,n
res-onse, -etitioner asked the trial court to declare her counterclai! as e(e!-t fro! -ay!ent of docket
fees since it is co!-ulsory and that res-ondent e declared in default for ha$ing failed to answer such
counterclai!#J8K
,n its 18 "e-te!er 1990 4rder, the trial courtJ9K granted res-ondentLs !otion to dis!iss
-etitionerLs counterclai! and conse8uently, denied -etitionerLs !otion# &he court found -etitionerLs
counterclai! to e !erely -er!issi$e in nature and held that -etitionerLs failure to -ay docket fees
-re$ented the court fro! ac8uiring )urisdiction o$er the sa!e#J10K &he trial court si!ilarly denied
-etitionerLs !otion for reconsideration on /8 1eruary 1991#
4n /3 ;ece!er 1998, the 'ourt of A--ealsJ11K sustained the trial court, finding that -etitionerLs
own ad!issions, as contained in her answer, show that her counterclai! is !erely -er!issi$e# &he
rele$ant -ortion of the a--ellate courtLs decisionJ1/K is 8uoted herewith %
'ontrary to the -rotestations of a--ellant, !ere reading of the allegations in the answer a
8uo will readily show that her counterclai! can in no way e co!-ulsory# &ake note of
the following nu!ered -aragra-hs in her answer:
U*15+ &hat, indeed, 1@FLs cause of action which is not su--orted y any docu!ent other
than the self9ser$ing N"tate!ent of AccountL dated March /8, 1988 ( ( (
*12+ &hat it should e noted that the cause of action of 1@F is not the enforce!ent of
the "-ecial AgentLs 'ontract ut the alleged Ncash accountailities which are not ased
on written agree!ent ( ( (#
( ( ( (
*19+ ( ( ( A careful analysis of 1@FLs three9-age co!-laint will show that its cause of
action is not for s-ecific -erfor!ance or enforce!ent of the "-ecial AgentLs 'ontract
rather, it is for the -ay!ent of the alleged cash accountailities incurred y defendant
during the -eriod for! JsicK 19:2 to 1987 which clai! is e(ecutory and has not een
ratified# ,t is the estalished rule that unenforceale contracts, like this -ur-orted !oney
clai! of 1@F, cannot e sued u-on or enforced unless ratified, thus it is as if they ha$e
no effect# ( ( (#V
&o su--ort the heading U'o!-ulsory 'ounterclai!V in her answer and gi$e the
i!-ression that the counterclai! is co!-ulsory a--ellant alleged that U1@F has
un)ustifialy failed to re!it to defendant des-ite re-eated de!ands in gross $iolation of
their "-ecial AgentLs 'ontract ( ( (#V &he reference to said contract was included
-ur-osely to !islead# Ehile on one hand a--ellant alleged that a--elleeLs cause of
action had nothing to do with the "-ecial AgentLs 'ontract, on the other hand, she clai!
that 1@F $iolated said contract which gi$es rise of JsicK her cause of action# 'learly,
a--ellantLs cash accountailities cannot e the offshoot of a--elleeLs alleged $iolation of
the aforesaid contract#
4n 19 May 1999, the a--ellate court denied -etitionerLs !otion for reconsideration,J13K gi$ing rise
to the -resent -etition#
?efore going into the sustanti$e issues, the 'ourt shall first dis-ose of so!e -rocedural !atters
raised y the -arties# 0etitioner clai!s that res-ondent is esto--ed fro! 8uestioning her non9-ay!ent
of docket fees ecause it did not raise this -articular issue when it filed its first !otion 9 the UMotion to
"trike out Answer Eith 'o!-ulsory 'ounterclai! And &o ;eclare ;efendant ,n ;efaultV % with the
trial court. rather, it was only nine !onths after recei$ing -etitionerLs answer that res-ondent assailed
the trial courtLs lack of )urisdiction o$er -etitionerLs counterclai!s ased on the latterLs failure to -ay
docket fees#J15K 0etitionerLs -osition is un!eritorious# =sto--el y laches arises fro! the negligence or
o!ission to assert a right within a reasonale ti!e, warranting a -resu!-tion that the -arty entitled to
assert it either has aandoned or declined to assert it#J12K ,n the case at ar, res-ondent cannot e
considered as esto--ed fro! assailing the trial courtLs )urisdiction o$er -etitionerLs counterclai! since
this issue was raised y res-ondent with the trial court itself % the ody where the action is -ending 9
e$en efore the -resentation of any e$idence y the -arties and definitely, way efore any )udg!ent
could e rendered y the trial court#
Meanwhile, res-ondent 8uestions the )urisdiction of the 'ourt of A--eals o$er the a--eal filed y
-etitioner fro! the 18 "e-te!er 1990 and /8 1eruary 1991 orders of the trial court# ,t is significant
to note that this o)ection to the a--ellate courtLs )urisdiction is raised for the first ti!e efore this
'ourt. res-ondent ne$er ha$ing raised this issue efore the a--ellate court# Although the lack of
)urisdiction of a court !ay e raised at any stage of the action, a -arty !ay e esto--ed fro! raising
such 8uestions if he has acti$ely taken -art in the $ery -roceedings which he 8uestions, elatedly
o)ecting to the courtLs )urisdiction in the e$ent that that the )udg!ent or order suse8uently rendered is
ad$erse to hi!#J17K ,n this case, res-ondent acti$ely took -art in the -roceedings efore the 'ourt of
A--eals y filing its a--elleeLs rief with the sa!e#J1:K ,ts -artici-ation, when taken together with its
failure to o)ect to the a--ellate courtLs )urisdiction during the entire duration of the -roceedings efore
such court, de!onstrates a willingness to aide y the resolution of the case y such triunal and
accordingly, res-ondent is now !ost decidedly esto--ed fro! o)ecting to the 'ourt of A--ealsL
assu!-tion of )urisdiction o$er -etitionerLs a--eal#J18K
&he asic issue for resolution in this case is whether or not the counterclai! of -etitioner is
co!-ulsory or -er!issi$e in nature# A co!-ulsory counterclai! is one which, eing cognizale y the
regular courts of )ustice, arises out of or is connected with the transaction or occurrence constituting the
su)ect !atter of the o--osing -artyLs clai! and does not re8uire for its ad)udication the -resence of
third -arties of who! the court cannot ac8uire )urisdiction#J19K
,n ,alencia v. Court of !ppeals,J/0K this 'ourt ca-sulized the criteria or tests that !ay e used in
deter!ining whether a counterclai! is co!-ulsory or -er!issi$e, su!!arized as follows:
1# Are the issues of fact and la- raised y the clai! and counterclai! largely the sa!eO
/# Eould res .udicata ar a suse8uent suit on defendantLs clai! asent the co!-ulsory
counterclai! ruleO
3# Eill substantially the same evidence su--ort or refute -laintiffLs clai! as well as
defendantLs counterclai!O
5# ,s there any logical relation etween the clai! and the counterclai!O
Another test, a--lied in the !ore recent case of /uintanilla v. Court of !ppeals,J/1K is the Uco!-elling
test of co!-ulsorinessV which re8uires Ua logical relationshi- etween the clai! and counterclai!, that
is, where conducting se-arate trials of the res-ecti$e clai!s of the -arties would entail a sustantial
du-lication of effort and ti!e y the -arties and the court#V
As contained in her answer, -etitionerLs counterclai!s are as follows:
*/0+ &hat defendant incor-orates and re-leads y reference all the foregoing allegations
as !ay e !aterial to her 'ounterclai! against 1@F#
*/1+ &hat 1@F is liale to -ay the following )ust, $alid and legiti!ate clai!s of
defendant:
*a+ the su! of at least 0105,893#52 -lus !a(i!u! interest thereon re-resenting, a!ong
others, direct co!!issions, -rofit co!!issions and contingent onuses legally due to
defendant. and
*+ the !ini!u! a!ount of 0200,000#00 -lus the !a(i!u! allowale interest
re-resenting defendantLs accu!ulated -re!iu! reser$e for 1982 and -re$ious years,
which 1@F has un)ustifialy failed to re!it to defendant des-ite re-eated de!ands in
gross $iolation of their "-ecial AgentLs 'ontract and in contra$ention of the -rinci-le of
law that Ue$ery -erson !ust, in the e(ercise of his rights and in the -erfor!ance of his
duties, act with )ustice, gi$e e$eryone his due, and oser$e honesty and good faith#V
*//+ &hat as a result of the filing of this -atently aseless, !alicious and un)ustified
'o!-laint, and 1@FLs unlawful, illegal and $indicti$e ter!ination of their "-ecial
AgentLs 'ontract, defendant was unnecessarily dragged into this litigation and to defense
JsicK her side and assert her rights and clai!s against 1@F, she was co!-elled to hire
the ser$ices of counsel with who! she agreed to -ay the a!ount of 030,000#00 as and
for attorneyLs fees and stands to incur litigation e(-enses in the a!ount esti!ated to at
least 0/0,000#00 and for which 1@F should e assessed and !ade liale to -ay
defendant#
*/3+ &hat considering further the !alicious and unwarranted action of defendant in filing
this grossly unfounded action, defendant has suffered and continues to suffer fro!
serious an(iety, !ental anguish, fright and hu!iliation# ,n addition to this, defendantLs
na!e, good re-utation and usiness standing in the insurance usiness as well as in the
co!!unity ha$e een es!irched and for which 1@F should e ad)udged and !ade
liale to -ay !oral da!ages to defendant in the a!ount of 0300,000#00 as !ini!u!#
*/5+ &hat in order to discourage the filing of groundless and !alicious suits like 1@FLs
'o!-laint, and y way of ser$ing JasK an e(a!-le for the -ulic good, 1@F should e
-enalized and assessed e(e!-lary da!ages in the su! of 0100,000#00 or such a!ount
as the 6onorale 'ourt !ay dee! warranted under the circu!stances#J//K
&ested against the ao$e!entioned standards, -etitionerLs counterclai! for co!!issions, onuses,
and accu!ulated -re!iu! reser$es is !erely -er!issi$e# &he e$idence re8uired to -ro$e -etitionerLs
clai!s differs fro! that needed to estalish res-ondentLs de!ands for the reco$ery of cash
accountailities fro! -etitioner, such as cash ad$ances and costs of -re!iu!s# &he reco$ery of
res-ondentLs clai!s is not contingent or de-endent u-on estalishing -etitionerLs counterclai!, such
that conducting se-arate trials will not result in the sustantial du-lication of the ti!e and effort of the
court and the -arties# 4ne would search the records in $ain for a logical connection etween the
-artiesL clai!s# &his conclusion is further reinforced y -etitionerLs own ad!issions since she declared
in her answer that res-ondentLs cause of action, unlike her own, was not ased u-on the "-ecial AgentLs
'ontract#J/3K 6owe$er, -etitionerLs clai!s for da!ages, allegedly suffered as a result of the filing y
res-ondent of its co!-laint, are co!-ulsory#J/5K
&here is no need for -etitioner to -ay docket fees for her co!-ulsory counterclai!# J/2K 4n the
other hand, in order for the trial court to ac8uire )urisdiction o$er her -er!issi$e counterclai!,
-etitioner is ound to -ay the -rescried docket fees#J/7K &he rule on the -ay!ent of filing fees has
een laid down y the 'ourt in the case of "un ,nsurance 4ffice, >td# $# 6on# Ma(i!iano AsuncionJ/:K9
1# ,t is not si!-ly the filing of the co!-laint or a--ro-riate initiatory -leading, ut the
-ay!ent of the -rescried docket fee, that $ests a trial court with )urisdiction o$er the
su)ect9!atter or nature of the action# Ehere the filing of the initiatory -leading is not
acco!-anied y -ay!ent of the docket fee, the court !ay allow -ay!ent of the fee
within a reasonale ti!e ut in no case eyond the a--licale -rescri-ti$e or
regle!entary -eriod#
/# &he sa!e rule a--lies to -er!issi$e counterclai!s, third9-arty clai!s and si!ilar
-leadings, which shall not e considered filed until and unless the filing fee -rescried
therefor is -aid# &he court !ay allow -ay!ent of said fee within a reasonale ti!e ut
also in no case eyond its a--licale -rescri-ti$e or regle!entary -eriod#
3# Ehere the trial court ac8uires )urisdiction o$er a clai! y the filing of the a--ro-riate
-leading and -ay!ent of the -rescried filing fee ut, suse8uently, the )udg!ent
awards a clai! not s-ecified in the -leading, or if s-ecified the sa!e has een left for
deter!ination y the court, the additional filing fee therefor shall constitute a lien on the
)udg!ent# ,t shall e the res-onsiility of the 'lerk of 'ourt or his duly authorized
de-uty to enforce said lien and assess and collect the additional fee#
&he ao$e !entioned ruling in "un ,nsurance has een reiterated in the recent case of "uson $#
'ourt of A--eals#J/8K ,n Suson, the 'ourt e(-lained that although the -ay!ent of the -rescried docket
fees is a )urisdictional re8uire!ent, its non9-ay!ent does not result in the auto!atic dis!issal of the
case -ro$ided the docket fees are -aid within the a--licale -rescri-ti$e or regle!entary
-eriod# 'o!ing now to the case at ar, it has not een alleged y res-ondent and there is nothing in the
records to show that -etitioner has atte!-ted to e$ade the -ay!ent of the -ro-er docket fees for her
-er!issi$e counterclai!# As a !atter of fact, after res-ondent filed its !otion to dis!iss -etitionerLs
counterclai! ased on her failure to -ay docket fees, -etitioner i!!ediately filed a !otion with the
trial court, asking it to declare her counterclai! as co!-ulsory in nature and therefore e(e!-t fro!
docket fees and, in addition, to declare that res-ondent was in default for its failure to answer her
counterclai!#J/9K 6owe$er, the trial court dis!issed -etitionerLs counterclai!# 0ursuant to this 'ourtLs
ruling in Sun $nsurance, the trial court should ha$e instead gi$en -etitioner a reasonale ti!e, ut in no
case eyond the a--licale -rescri-ti$e or regle!entary -eriod, to -ay the filing fees for her -er!issi$e
counterclai!#
0etitioner asserts that the trial court should ha$e declared res-ondent in default for ha$ing failed to
answer her counterclai!#J30K ,nsofar as the -er!issi$e counterclai! of -etitioner is concerned, there is
o$iously no need to file an answer until -etitioner has -aid the -rescried docket fees for only then
shall the court ac8uire )urisdiction o$er such clai!#J31K Meanwhile, the co!-ulsory counterclai! of
-etitioner for da!ages ased on the filing y res-ondent of an allegedly unfounded and !alicious suit
need not e answered since it is inse-arale fro! the clai!s of res-ondent# ,f res-ondent were to
answer the co!-ulsory counterclai! of -etitioner, it would !erely result in the for!er -leading the
sa!e facts raised in its co!-laint#J3/K
0)$R$F-R$, the assailed ;ecision of the 'ourt of A--eals -ro!ulgated on /3 ;ece!er 1998
and its 19 May 1999 Resolution are herey M4;,1,=;# &he co!-ulsory counterclai! of -etitioner for
da!ages filed in 'i$il 'ase Ao# 8993817 is ordered R=,A"&A&=;# Meanwhile, the Regional &rial
'ourt of Makati *?ranch 135+ is ordered to re8uire -etitioner to -ay the -rescried docket fees for her
-er!issi$e counterclai! *direct co!!issions, -rofit co!!issions, contingent onuses and accu!ulated
-re!iu! reser$es+, after ascertaining that the a--licale -rescri-ti$e -eriod has not yet set in#J33K
,- -R&$R$&.
*elo) 0Chairman1) ,itug) Panganiban) and Sandoval'utierre+) ((.) concur#
/#