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THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 116695. June 20, 1997]


VICTORIA G. GACHON and ALEX GUEVARA, petitioners, vs. HON. NORBERTO C. DEVERA, JR.,
Presiding Judge, Branch XXIV, RTC, Iloilo City; HON. JOSE R. ASTORGA, Presiding Judge, Branch
I, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Iloilo City; and SUSANA GUEVARA, represented by her
attorney-in-fact, ROSALIE GUEVARA, respondents.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
May the Rule on Summary Procedure be interpreted liberally to allow the admission of an answer filed out
of time due to alleged oversight?
This is the main legal question raised in this petition for review assailing the Decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Iloilo City, Branch 24,[1] which dismissed a special civil action for certiorari and injunction filed by
herein petitioners. The dispositive portion of the assailed RTC Decision reads:[2]
WHEREFORE premises considered, the prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is denied
and, with respect to the merits, the instant case is hereby ordered dismissed.
Double costs against petitioners.
Facts
The factual antecedents of this case as found by the Regional Trial Court are undisputed and admitted as
correct by the parties. A complaint for forcible entry[3] was filed by Private Respondent Susana Guevara
against Patricio Guevara and Petitioners Victoria Gachon and Alex Guevara before the Municipal Trial Court
for Cities (MTCC) of Iloilo City. Summons was served on and received by petitioners on August 25, 1993,
directing them to file an answer within the reglementary period of ten (10) days. Patricio Guevara was
abroad at that time; hence, the MTCC did not acquire jurisdiction over him. On September 4, 1993,
petitioners filed with the MTCC an urgent motion for extension of time to file an answer.[4] On September
7, 1993, the MTCC denied the motion on the ground that it was a prohibited pleading under the Rule on
Summary Procedure.[5] On September 8, 1993, or more than ten days from their receipt of the summons,
petitioner submitted an urgent motion praying for the admission of their answer,[6] which was attached
thereto. Two days later, petitioners filed another motion pleading for the admission of an amended
answer. On September 23, 1993, the MTCC denied the motions and considered the case submitted for
resolution.[7] On October 27, 1993, the MTCC also denied the petitioners motion for reconsideration.[8]
Thereafter, on November 26, 1993, the MTCC[9] issued a decision[10] resolving the complaint for forcible
entry in favor of herein private respondents.
Instead of filing an appeal, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari and injunction before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Iloilo City,[11] Branch 24, praying mainly that the MTCC be ordered to admit the amended
answer and to conduct further proceedings in the civil case for forcible entry. As prayed for, a temporary
restraining order was issued by the RTC.
Thereafter, the RTC issued the assailed Decision[12] dismissing the petition. Respondent Judge Norberto E.
Devera, Jr., ratiocinated:[13]
Section 36 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980
provides, among others, as follows:
Sec. 36 - Summary Procedures in Special Cases x x x The Supreme Court shall adopt special rules or
procedures applicable to such cases in order to achieve an expeditions (sic) and inexpensive determination
thereof without regard to technical rules. Such simplified procedures may provide that affidavits and
counter-affidavits may be admitted in lieu of oral testimony and that the periods for filing pleadings shall
be non-extendible.
Pursuant to the aforequoted legislative mandate, the Supreme Court promulgated the Rule on Summary
Procedure, the pertinent provisions of which, as related to the issues raised in this case, are hereunder set
forth II - Civil Cases
Section 3 - Pleadings
A. (P)leadings allowed - The only pleadings allowed to be filed are the complaints, compulsory counterclaims and cross-claims pleaded in the answer, and the answers thereto
xxx

xxx

xxx

Section 5 Answer - Within ten (10) days from service of summons, the defendant shall file his answer to
the complaint and serve a copy thereof on the plaintiff x x x

Section 6. Effect of Failure to answer - Should the defendant fail to answer the complaint within the period
above provided, the Court, motu proprio, or on motion of the plaintiff, shall render judgment as may be
warranted by the facts alleged in the complaint and limited to what is prayed for therein: x x x
xxx

xxx

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Section 19. Prohibited Pleadings and Motions - The following pleadings, motions, or petitions shall not be
allowed in the cases covered by this Rule:
(a) Motion for extension of time to file pleadings, affidavits or any other paper.
xxx

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xxx

The foregoing should underscore quite clearly the reality that the ten-day-period to file an answer
reckoned from the date of the receipt of the summons is mandatory and no reason of any kind is
acceptable to operate as an excuse. The rule is explicit. It is addressed more, being one of procedure, to
counsels than to litigants. Counsels, therefore cannot assert the validity of their clients cause to evade
the mandate of the law.
Accordingly, the Court cannot fault the respondent judge [referring to Judge Jose R. Astorga] in acting the
way he did in Civil Case No. 130 (93) taking into account the admitted facts and circumstances.
Hence, this petition directly filed before this Court.
The Issues
Petitioners submit for resolution the following questions of law:[14]
I. Are the provisions of the Rules on Summary Procedure on the period of pleadings to be applied
STRICTLY or LIBERALLY.
II. What is the legal effect of a belated answer under the Rules on Summary Procedure.
Petitioners argue that the technical rules of procedure must yield to the higher interest of justice.
Petitioners explain that they filed the motion for extension of time to file an answer, a prohibited pleading
under the Rule on Summary Procedure, because of oversight. That was why immediately upon receipt of
the denial of that motion, petitioners filed their motion to admit answer which was later verified and had to
be amended. All these (actions) were done in a period of five (5) days from the lapse of the reglementary
period to file an answer.[15] Furthermore, petitioners contend that no prejudice to private respondent
has been claimed or alleged by reason of the delay in filing an answer.[16] Petitioners also argue that
their defense in the action for forcible entry is based on substantial grounds, because they were in prior
physical possession of the premises subject of the action and that their houses have long been standing on
the land in question because the land on which said houses are standing are (sic) the common properties
of the parties.
Citing Section 2, Rule 1[17] of the Rules of Court, petitioners pray that the provisions in the Rule on
Summary Procedure regarding prohibited pleadings and the period for filing an answer be given liberal
interpretation. Petitioners concede that said provisions appear to be couched in mandatory language.
They contend, however, that other similarly worded provisions in the Rules of Court have nonetheless been
liberally applied by this Court to promote substantial justice.[18]
Private respondent, on the other hand, submits that the provisions in question have to be strictly
construed in order to avoid delay, considering that the Rule on Summary Procedure is aimed at
inexpensive, expeditious and summary determination of cases.[19] Private respondent adds that the
petition can also be dismissed on the ground of violation of Revised Circular 28-91 on forum shopping,
because three (3) months after the rendition of the assailed Decision, a petition for quieting of title and
partition, and damages, involving the same parcel of residential land (Cadastral Lot No. 709 x x x ), was
filed xxx docketed as Civil Case No. 21618, by (Petitioner) Victoria Guevara-Gachon (x x x), Patricio
Guevara (father of Petitioner Alex Guevara), Lilia Guevara-Doreza and Fe Guevara-Burgos against herein
private respondent. Private respondent contends that the subsequent case is the appropriate forum
where ownership of the property in question may be threshed out.[20]
As observed at the outset, the issue to be resolved is whether, under the undisputed facts of this case, the
Rule on Summary Procedure may be liberally construed in order to allow the admission of petitioners
answer which unquestionably was filed beyond the reglementary period.
Preliminary Matter
It bears noting that petitioners filed directly before this Court a petition for review assailing the RTC
Decision. This remedy is allowed under paragraph 2 of Circular 2-90[21] which provides:
Section 2. Appeals from Regional Trial Courts to the Supreme Court. -- Except in criminal cases where the
penalty imposed is life imprisonment or reclusion perpetua, judgments of regional trial courts may be
appealed to the Supreme Court only by petition for review on certiorari in accordance with Rule 45 of the

Rules of Court in relation to Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended,[22] this being the clear
intendment of the provision of the Interim Rules that (a)ppeals to the Supreme Court shall be taken by
petition for certiorari which shall be governed by Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
Petitioners ask the Court to interpret a provision of the Rule on Summary Procedure. This is a pure
question of law that may be properly raised in this petition for review.
The Courts Ruling
The petition has no merit.
First Issue: Interpretation of the Period
The pertinent provisions of the Rule on Summary Procedure are as follows:
Section 5. Answer. - Within ten (10) days from service of summons, the defendant shall file his answer to
the complaint and serve a copy thereof on the plaintiff x x x
Section 6. Effect of failure to answer. - Should the defendant fail to answer the complaint within the period
above provided, the Court, motu proprio, or on motion of the plaintiff, shall render judgment as may be
warranted by the facts alleged in the complaint and limited to what is prayed for therein: x x x
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Section 19. Prohibited pleadings and motions. - The following pleadings, motions, or petitions shall not be
allowed in the cases covered by this Rule:
(a) Motion for extension of time to file pleadings, affidavits or any other paper.
xxx
x (Underscoring supplied.)

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The word shall ordinarily connotes an imperative and indicates the mandatory character of a statute.[23]
This, however, is not an absolute rule in statutory construction. The import of the word ultimately depends
upon a consideration of the entire provision, its nature, object and the consequences that would follow
from construing it one way or the other.[24]
As a general principle, rules prescribing the time within which certain acts must be done, or certain
proceedings taken, are considered absolutely indispensable to the prevention of needless delays and to
the orderly and speedy discharge of judicial business. By their very nature, these rules are regarded as
mandatory.[25]
The Rule on Summary Procedure, in particular, was promulgated for the purpose of achieving an
expeditious and inexpensive determination of cases.[26] For this reason, the Rule frowns upon delays and
prohibits altogether the filing of motions for extension of time. Consistent with this reasoning is Section 6
of the Rule which allows the trial court to render judgment, even motu proprio, upon the failure of a
defendant to file an answer within the reglementary period.
Indeed, the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, mandating the promulgation of the Rule on Summary
Procedure, authorizes the Court to stipulate that the period for filing pleadings in cases covered by the
Rule on Summary Procedure shall be non-extendible.[27]
Furthermore, speedy resolution of unlawful detainer cases is a matter of public policy,[28] and this rule
should equally apply with full force in forcible entry cases where the possession of the premises at the start
is already illegal.
From the foregoing, it is clear that the use of the word shall in the Rule on Summary Procedure
underscores the mandatory character of the challenged provisions. Giving the provisions a directory
application would subvert the nature of the Rule on Summary Procedure and defeat its objective of
expediting the adjudication of suits. Indeed, to admit a late answer, as petitioners suggest, is to put
premium on dilatory maneuvers -- the very mischief that the Rule seeks to redress. In this light,
petitioners invocation of the general principle in Rule 1, Section 2 of the Rules of Court is misplaced.
Other than a plea for the liberal interpretation of the Rule on Summary Procedure, petitioners do not
provide an adequate justification for the admission of their late answer. Oversight, which they candidly
cite as the reason for their filing a motion for extension of time to file an answer, is not a justification.
Oversight, at best, implies negligence; at worst, ignorance. The negligence displayed by petitioners is
clearly inexcusable; ignorance of so basic a rule, on the other hand, can never be condoned. In either
case, the directory application of the questioned provision is not warranted.
Petitioners also cite Rosales vs. Court of Appeals[29] and Co Keng Kian vs. Intermediate Appellate Court,
[30] but these cases do not support their position.

In Rosales vs. Court of Appeals,[31] this Court applied the Rule on Summary Procedure liberally when the
defendant, instead of filing an answer, filed within the reglementary period a pleading labeled as a motion
to dismiss. In treating the motion to dismiss as an answer, the Court ruled:[32]
Parenthetically, petitioner argues in the present petition that, notwithstanding its being labeled as a
motion to dismiss, said pleading should have been considered as his answer pursuant to the liberal
interpretation accorded the rules and inasmuch as the grounds involved therein also qualify as defenses
proper in an answer. In this instance the Court agrees. Indeed, the rule on summary procedure was
conceptualized to facilitate the immediate resolution of cases such as the present one. Well-settled is the
rule that forcible entry and detainer cases being summary in nature and involving disturbance of social
order, procedural technicalities should be carefully avoided and should not be allowed to override
substantial justice. With this premise in mind and having insisted, however erroneously, on its jurisdiction
over the case, it certainly would have been more prudent for the lower court to have treated the motion to
dismiss as the answer of petitioner and examined the case on its merits. As will be shown shortly, the long
drawn out proceedings that took place would have been avoided.
Furthermore, the said case did not involve the question of extension in the period for filing pleadings under
the Rule on Summary Procedure.
In Co Keng Kian vs. Intermediate Appellate Court,[33] this Court allowed the notice to vacate, served upon
the tenant, by registered mail instead of personal service as required by the Rules of Court. We thus ruled:
[34]
At this juncture it bears repeating that actions for forcible entry and unlawful detainer are summary in
nature because they involve a disturbance a social order which must be abated as promptly as possible
without any undue reliance on technical and procedural rules which only cause delays. In the ultimate
analysis, it matters not how the notice to vacate was conveyed, so long as the lessee or his agent has
personally received the written demand, whether handed to him by the lessor, his attorney, a messenger
or even a postman. The undisputed facts in the instant case show that the Manila Times Publishing
Company, through its manager, had informed petitioner that Plaza Arcade Inc. was the new owner of the
subject building; that on October 18, 1979, a demand letter was sent to petitioner advising him to leave
the premises but petitioner refused to receive the letter; that a second demand on January 12, 1981
elicited the same reaction; that a final demand dated November 16, 1981 was sent to petitioner by
registered mail which he again refused. And even on the supposition that there was no personal service as
claimed by petitioner, this could only be due to petitioners blatant attempts at evasion which compelled
the new landlord to resort to registered mail. The Court cannot countenance an unfair situation where the
plaintiff in an eviction case suffers further injustice by the unwarranted delay resulting from the obstinate
refusal of the defendant to acknowledge the existence of a valid demand.
In both cases, there was substantial compliance with the law, something that cannot be said of herein
petitioners.
Second Issue: Forum-Shopping
Private respondent assails petitioners for engaging in forum-shopping by pursuing the present ejectment
suit, notwithstanding the pendency of an action for quieting of title involving the same property and
parties. We are unable to find basis for this charge.
For forum-shopping to exist, both actions must involve the same transactions, essential facts and
circumstances; and the actions must raise identical causes of action, subject matter, and issues.[35]
Suffice it to say that an action for quieting of title and partition has a different cause of action than that in
an ejectment suit. As private respondent herself contended, ownership of a certain portion of the property
which is determined in a case of partition does not necessarily mean that the successful litigant has the
right to possess the property adjudged in his favor. In ejectment cases, the only issue for resolution is
physical or material possession of the property involved, independent of any claim of ownership set forth
by any of the party litigants. Anyone of them who can prove prior possession de facto may recover such
possession even from the owner himself. This rule holds true regardless of the character of a partys
possession, provided that he has in his favor priority of time which entitles him to stay on the property
until he is lawfully ejected by a person having a better right by either accion publiciana or accion
reivindicatoria.[36] It has even been ruled that the institution of a separate action for quieting of title is not
a valid reason for defeating the execution of the summary remedy of ejectment.[37]
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision is AFFIRMED in
toto. Double costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 127480. February 28, 2000]
CONCHITA L. ABELLERA, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. JULIETO P. TABIOLO, as
Judge, RTC, Quezon City, Branch 106, and SPS. BELTRAN and NICERITA ACEBUCHE using
assumed names SPS. BELTRAN & NICERITA ABELLERA, respondents. Juri smis
This is a petition for review of the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals, dated January 26, 1996, affirming
the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 106, Quezon City, and its resolution, dated November 19,
1996, denying the motion for reconsideration.

The facts are as follows:


Since 1968, petitioner Conchita L. Abellera and her "adoptive"[2] parents, Roberto and Virginia Acebuche,
had resided in a semi-bungalow house at No. 571 A. Bonifacio St., Brgy. Bagong Silang, Quezon City. In
1990, petitioner became a beneficiary of said lot under the urban housing program of the Quezon City
government.[3] Sometime thereafter, she went to Samar for vacation and left the house and lot to the care
of her elder brother, private respondent Beltran Acebuche. When she returned in 1991, private
respondents refused to vacate the house despite petitioner's demands, the last of which was made in April
1993. As attempts to mediate the dispute between the siblings at the barangay level failed, petitioner
sued private respondents for unlawful detainer before the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 35, Quezon City.
On the basis of the position papers and other documentary evidence submitted by the parties, the MeTC,
on December 24, 1993, rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which provides:[4]
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff Conchita L. Abellera ordering
defendant spouses Beltran and Nicerita Acebuche a.k.a. Beltran and Nicerita Abellera and all persons
claiming rights under them to vacate the premises identified as Block 18, Lot 9 located at No. 571 A.
Bonifacio St., Bgy. Bagong Silang, Quezon City and to turn-over possession thereof to Plaintiff herein.
Defendants are likewise ordered to pay the following:
1) the amount of P3,000.00 per month computed from December 23, 1990 representing the reasonable
compensation for their use and occupancy of the premises in question until the same is completely
vacated by defendants and all persons claiming rights under them;
2) the amount of P5,000.00 as and for attorney's fees; and
3) the cost of suit. Jjj uris
Private respondents appealed and the case was assigned to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 106, Quezon
City, presided by Judge Julieto P. Tabiolo. Pending appeal, the decision of the MeTC was executed and fully
satisfied as private respondents failed to file a supersedeas bond. On February 22, 1994, the court required
the parties to file their memoranda, which petitioner did on April 15, 1994. On April 18, 1994, private
respondents moved for a new trial, but this was dismissed by the court on April 26, 1994 for failure to
prosecute.[5] On May 27, 1994, private respondents moved for admission of additional evidence consisting
of a Contract to Sell between them and the Quezon City government, dated March 3, 1994, involving the
lot in dispute and receipts for payment of said lot for the months of March and April 1994.[6] This motion
was submitted for resolution on May 31, 1994.[7] After private respondents filed their memorandum on
July 5, 1994, the court directed the parties to attend a preliminary conference which was held on July 26,
1994.
After said conference, the court issued the following order:[8]
When the clarificatory conference was called, the court was confronted with documents presented by both
parties. On the side of [Abellera], a document certifying that she is an awardee of the lot in question was
shown. [Acebuche], on the other hand, is also presenting a document showing that the deed of sale was
executed in [his] favor covering the same lot by the city government of Quezon City.
In the face of this conflict, it is the sense of the court that the two parties, who issued these documents,
should be summoned to the court for further clarificatory hearing, which for that purpose is set on August
2, 1994, at 8:30 a.m.
Send appropriate subpoena immediately.
As it turned out, seven "clarificatory" hearings[9] were held by the court, during which the parties, in
compliance with the court's directive, presented testimonial evidence in support of their documentary
proofs. At the hearing on August 13, 1994, on motion of private respondents, the court ordered the deputy
sheriff to conduct an ocular inspection of the disputed property. The deputy sheriff, after conducting an
inspection, submitted a report to the court on October 14, 1994.[10]
On December 15, 1994, the RTC rendered judgment reversing the decision of the MeTC, the pertinent
portion of which states:[11]
All told and painstakingly reviewed, sedately examined and objectively analyzed, this Court is inclined to
believe that the plaintiff/appellee cannot claim any right over the property in question, since there is no
evidence on records to show that she has any interest thereon, not even any right being transferred to her.
A fortiori, plaintiff's claim that defendants-appellants are unlawfully withholding possession of subject
premises in violation of her rights and interest as occupant and owner of the property in question, cannot
be accorded the court's conformance, as the evidence on record does not sustain that claim.
WHEREFORE, prescinding from the foregoing premises, judgment is hereby rendered reversing the decision
rendered by the Court a quo, and in lieu thereof, another is hereby rendered dismissing the complaint, with
costs against the plaintiff. Mis-edp

Petitioner moved for reconsideration on the ground that the appellate court exceeded its jurisdiction when
it, in effect, conducted a trial de novo and ordered an ocular inspection of the property. Before the court
could act on her motion, however, petitioner filed, on February 14, 1995, a motion seeking the inhibition of
Judge Julieto P. Tabiolo. Her motion was granted and the case was raffled to Branch 80 of the court,
presided by Judge Agustin S. Dizon. In his order dated March 17, 1995, Judge Dizon declared all pending
incidents in the case submitted for resolution.[12]
Again, before the new judge could resolve her motion for reconsideration and other incidents in the case,
petitioner, on April 4, 1995, filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals raising substantially the
same grounds cited in her motion for reconsideration.[13]
On January 26, 1996, the Court of Appeals rendered judgment the dispositive portion of which states:[14]
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Motion To Allow Restoration of Possession filed
by defendants/private respondents is GRANTED. As prayed for, an order is hereby issued directing herein
plaintiff/petitioner to allow defendants/private respondents to occupy the subject lot and directing
plaintiff/petitioner to peacefully turn over possession to defendants/private respondents.
Hence, this appeal. Petitioner alleges that I.
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT ALLOWED THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT IN THE
EXERCISE OF ITS APPELLATE JURISDICTION IN AN UNLAWFUL DETAINER CASE COVERED BY THE REVISED
RULES ON SUMMARY PROCEDURE TO CONDUCT CLARIFICATORY HEARINGS AND ALLOW A PARTY TO
SUBMIT ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE.
II.
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT ALLOWED THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT SITTING
AS AN APPELLATE COURT TO ISSUE AN ORDER FOR THE CONDUCT OF AN OCULAR INSPECTION.
The petition is partly meritorious.
The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that the Regional Trial Courts could not, in the exercise of its appellate
jurisdiction, hear the case de novo in the guise of clarificatory hearings, during which additional evidence
was presented by the parties and an ocular inspection was conducted. It held:[15]
The extent of jurisdiction of a Regional Trial Court on appeal is established as follows:
Section 22, Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 -Mis-oedp
SEC. 22. Appellate Jurisdiction. Regional Trial Court shall exercise appellate jurisdiction over all cases
decided by Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in their
respective territorial jurisdictions. Such cases shall be decided on the basis of the entire record of the
proceedings had in the court of origin and such memoranda and/or briefs as may be submitted by the
parties or required by the Regional Trial Courts. The decision of the Regional Trial Courts in such cases shall
be appealable by petition for review to the Court of Appeals which may give it due course only when the
petition shows prima facie that the lower court has committed an error of fact or law that will warrant a
reversal or modification of the decision or judgment sought to be reviewed. (underscoring ours).
Section 21(d), Interim Rules of Court Section 21. Appeal to the Regional Trial Courts. (d) Within fifteen (15) days from receipt by the parties of the notice referred to in the preceding paragraph,
they may submit memoranda and/or briefs, or be required by the regional trial court to do so. After the
submission of such memoranda and/or briefs, or upon the expiration of the period to file the same, the
regional trial court shall decide the case on the basis of the entire record of the proceedings had in the
court of origin and such memoranda and/or briefs as may have been filed. (underscoring ours)
Section 45, Republic Act No. 6031 Section 45 x x x "Courts of First Instance shall decide such appealed cases on the basis of the evidence
and records transmitted from the city or municipal courts: Provided, That the parties may submit
memoranda and/or brief with oral argument if so requested: Provided, however, That if the case was tried
in a city or municipal court before the latter became a court of record, then on appeal the case shall
proceed by trial de novo." (underscoring ours)
Thus, there can be no trial de novo. The appellate court must decide the appeal on the basis of the records
and memoranda/brief (Herrera, Oscar M. Remedial Law, Volume Two-Civil Procedure, Rules 24-56, 1990, p.
216, citing R.A. 6031, Section 22 (d), B.P. 129, Rule 21 (d), IRC).
Nevertheless, it ruled that petitioner was estopped from claiming that the trial court acted in excess of
jurisdiction as she herself had participated in the trial de novo and failed to object, through counsel, to the
issuance of the order to conduct an ocular inspection.[16]

Indeed, although Regional Trial Courts should decide cases on appeal on the basis solely of the record of
the proceedings in Municipal Trial Courts and other courts of equal rank, nonetheless, the principle of
estoppel may bar a party from questioning the reception of additional evidence, as in this case. In Tijam v.
Sibonghanoy,[17] this Court ruled: Ed-pm-is
[A] party can not invoke the jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief against his opponent and,
after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that same jurisdiction (Dean vs. Dean,
136 Or. 694, 86 A.L.R. 79). In the case just cited, by way of explaining the rule, it was further said that the
question whether the court had jurisdiction either of the subject-matter of the action or of the parties was
not important in such cases because the party is barred from such conduct not because the judgment or
order of the court is valid and conclusive as an adjudication, but for the reason that such a practice can not
be tolerated --- obviously for reasons of public policy.
Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an adverse
decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the court (Pease
vs. Rathbun-Jones etc., 243 U.S. 273, 61 L. Ed. 715, 37 S. Ct. 283; St. LOUIS etc. vs. McBride, 141 U.S. 127,
35 L. Ed. 659.) And in Littleton vs. Burgess, 16 Wyo. 58, the Court said that it is not right for a party who
has affirmed and invoked the jurisdiction of a court in a particular matter to secure an affirmative relief, to
afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape a penalty.
Upon the principle stated in Sibonghanoy, we hold that petitioner cannot be permitted to question at this
stage the reception of additional evidence and ocular inspection of property after she participated but
eventually lost in what she now calls the irregular proceedings of the trial court. During the seven hearings
conducted by Branch 106 of the RTC, Quezon City, petitioner presented no less than seven witnesses in
addition to several documentary evidence to support her case. Afterwards, on September 15, 1994, she
filed her Formal Offer of Exhibits[18] followed by a Supplemental Memorandum on September 26, 1994.
[19] The order to conduct ocular inspection was likewise made in open court, the presence of petitioner's
counsel.[20] It was only after the court rendered its ruling on December 15, 1994, reversing the lower
court, that petitioner, in her motion for reconsideration, questioned for the first time the authority of said
court to conduct the hearings and ocular inspection.[21]
We hold, however, that the Court of Appeals erred in granting private respondents' motion for execution
pending appeal. For, indeed, the case was not with said court on appeal but on a petition for certiorari.
Thus, the appellate court's jurisdiction was only to pass upon the validity of the orders of the RTC in the
conduct of clarificatory hearings and ocular inspection. Since the RTC has yet to act on private
respondents' motion for execution pending appeal, this matter should have been left for resolution by the
trial court, not by the Court of Appeals.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals, dated January 26, 1996, is AFFIRMED insofar as it
denies petitioner's petition for certiorari, but REVERSED insofar as it grants private respondents' motion to
be placed in possession of the disputed property.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 95697

August 5, 1991

PEREGRINO ROSALES, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, the Hon. SALVADOR A. MEMORACION,
Presiding Judge of the REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF BASILAN, Branch 2, the Hon. EDUARDO F. CARTAGENA
and the ESTATE OF WEE YEK SUI alias GREGORIO WEE, represented by DANIEL WEE, respondents.
The main issue in this case is whether or not respondent Court of Appeals was correct in appreciating that
the petition for review therein filed by herein petitioner involved a complete change of theory. If so,
respondent court properly applied Our ruling in Tible v. Aquino 1 that a new theory could not be raised for
the first time on appeal for being unfair to the adverse party.
The factual antecedents are not disputed: Wee Yek Sui also known as Gregorio Wee was the registered
owner of a commercial lot situated at Roxas Avenue, Isabela, Basilan, with an area of 287 square meters as
described under TCT No. T-906. Petitioner Peregrino Rosales was the occupant of a certain portion of this
property by virtue of a lease agreement on a month-to-month basis dated April 13, 1962 with rent at the
rate of P50.00 per month. Pursuant to this lease agreement, Peregrino Rosales constructed a commercial
building wherein he established his photography studio, known as Rosales Studio. On April 3, 1966, Wee
died leaving bend as heirs his son, Daniel Wee and widow, Kuaya Ong. His estate through his son on

several occasions requested petitioner to vacate the lot because the heirs wished to put up their own
building. Petitioner refused despite the termination of the term of the lease, Hence, the estate of Wee,
herein private respondent, was constrained to file an action for ejectment against petitioner. 2
The present petition is the upshot of what should have been an ordinary ejectment case. However, the
procedural background of this case is a virtual comedy fraught with procedural errors committed by all
parties involved, i.e., the complainant, the defendant and the lower courts. This case presents the classic
example of a simple factual background wittingly or unwittingly made more complicated by ill-prepared
counsel and judges who know no better, that it behooves this Court to make a discussion on the same with
the end in view of obviating the repetition of these lapses and for the guidance of the Bench and Bar. 3
In the complaint for unlawful detainer 4 private respondent alleged that petitioner occupied the property
by virtue of a lease agreement. However, the substance of the lease agreement was not set forth in the
complaint and no copy of the lease agreement was attached as an exhibit, a violation of Rule 8, Section 7
of the Rules of Court, the rule on actionable documents. 5 Private respondent also alleged that petitioner
stopped paying rent as early as 1979 and prayed for the recovery of the outstanding rental of P51,660.00
computed at the new rate of P160.00 a month. Additionally, private respondent prayed for damages for
loss of expected income in an amount to be fixed by the court and attorney's fees equivalent to 30% of the
recoverable amount but not less than P10,000.00. In effect, the sum of at least P61,660.00 was specified
as the total amount sought to be recovered by private respondent.
At this point it should be clear that respondent Municipal Trial Court judge erred when he did not motu
proprio dismiss the complaint for failure to comply with the rule on actionable documents, 6 as he is
empowered to do under the Rule on Summary Procedure, Section 3A of which provides:
SEC. 3. Duty of court upon filing of complaint. Upon the filing of the complaint, the court, from a
consideration of the allegations thereof:
A.
may dismiss the case outright due to lack of jurisdiction, improper venue, failure to state a cause of
action, or for any other valid ground for the dismissal of a civil action; or
B.
if a dismissal is not ordered, shall make a determination whether the case falls under summary
procedure. In the affirmative case, the summons must state that the summary procedure under this Rule
shall apply. [Emphasis supplied.]
The trial court judge further compounded the mistake when he made a finding that the Rule on Summary
Procedure was applicable in gross disregard of Section 1(A)(1) thereof, 7 notwithstanding that the damages
and unpaid rentals sought exceed P20,000.00, and required petitioner to file an answer and not a motion
to dismiss. 8
Municipal Trial Court judges should well take note of Section 3A of the foregoing rule which, unlike the rules
of ordinary procedure, equips them with the relatively unfettered discretion to immediately dismiss a
complaint for any of the grounds mentioned therein without prior need of an opposing party calling
attention thereto. 9 It should also be emphasized that this section confers on the judge the discretion to
dismiss complaints on the lower courts concerned dealing with cases properly covered both by summary
procedure and by regular procedure; in the sequence of events, the ascertainment of whether or not a
case falls under summary procedure is made after an assessment has been done on the formal and
substantive sufficiency of the complaint.
For, indeed, the solution to the problem of overcrowded court dockets need not be limited to the
expeditious disposition of pending cases. An approach should also be conducted from the other end, at the
inception or filing of cases. With proper exercise of the discretion conferred by this powerful tool, not order
will the number of cases be trimmed in the short term, but the long run effect will be an improvement in
the quality of questions and issues presented for judicial inquiry and adjudication. In other words,
municipal trial courts, and subsequently the higher courts by way of the hierarchy of appeal and review,
will be asked to resolve each case on the merits of the legal issues presented and no longer on procedural
technicalities. Legal pettifogging would thus be greatly obviated.
Going back to the present case, instead of filing an answer as the appropriate pleading under the rule on
summary procedure, petitioner, through counsel, filed a motion to dismiss 10 the complaint where he
alleged as grounds, lack of jurisdiction, lack of cause of action and failure to comply with the rule on
actionable documents. Anent the ground of lack of jurisdiction, petitioner argued that, under the
complaint, inasmuch as the demand to vacate was made in 1979, also the year petitioner allegedly
stopped paying rent, the unlawful detainer action was filed beyond the mandatory one-year period. Private
respondent's remedy should have been an accion publiciana. With regard to lack of cause of action,
petitioner contended that his continued stay in the premises was protected by -P.D. No. 20, the rent control
law then in force.
On the other hand, because petitioner did not file the appropriate responsive pleading under the Rule on
Summary Procedure, private respondent moved to declare defendant in default itself, like petitioner's
motion to dismiss, a prohibited pleading under Section 15 of the Rule on Summary Procedure.
The judgment rendered by respondent Municipal Trial Court recognized and resolved the motion to dismiss
filed by petitoner but addressed only one of the grounds raised therein by petitioner, that of lack of

jurisdiction. Respondent Municipal Trial Court ruled that it had jurisdiction inasmuch as the complaint also
alleged that the latest demand was made barely over a month before the filing of the complaint in 30
January 1990; a copy of said demand letter dated 27 December 1988 was subsequently admitted in
evidence and labeled as Exhibit "C". The trial court found in favor of private respondent, ordered petitioner
to vacate the premises and awarded all the damages prayed for by private respondent. The judgment,
however, did not deal with the other grounds raised by petitioner. 11
Parenthetically, petitioner argues in the present petition that, notwithstanding it being labeled as a motion
to dismiss, said pleading should have been considered as his answer pursuant to the liberal interpretation
accorded the rules and inasmuch as the grounds involved therein also qualify as defenses proper in an
answer. In this instance the Court agrees. Indeed, the rule on summary procedure was conceptualized to
facilitate the immediate resolution of cases such as the present one. Well-settled is the rule that forcible
entry and detainer cases being summary in nature and involving disturbance of social order, procedural
technicalities should be carefully avoided 12 and should not be allowed to override substantial justice. 13
With this premise in mind and having insisted, however erroneously, on its jurisdiction over the case, it
certainly would have been more prudent for the lower court to have treated the motion to dismiss as the
answer of petitioner and examined the case on its merits. As will be shown shortly, the long drawn out
proceedings that took place would have been avoided.
The procedural infirmities did not stop there. Petitioner further revealed his ignorance of the Rules by filing
a motion for reconsideration of the judgment rendered by the Municipal Trial Court, 14 another pleading
prohibited under the rule on summary procedure. Action on the same being unfavorable, petitioner
appealed to the Regional Trial Court. Before said forum, petitioner again committed a blunder: he failed to
comply with the order of the court requiring the parties to submit memoranda and thus was not able to
sufficiently argue his appeal.
The Regional Trial Court contributed its fair share to the succession of mistakes when it dismissed the
appeal and affirmed in toto the judgment of the Municipal Trial Court with the finding that no error was
committed by the lower court in applying the rule on summary procedure. 15 The Regional Trial Court
further ruled that because petitioner failed to deny under oath the genuineness and due execution of the
lease agreement, the same is deemed admitted. Apparently, the Regional Trial Court did not consider that
said agreement was not properly pleaded in the complaint as an actionable document.
Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for review with respondent Court of Appeals assigning the following
as errors committed by the lower courts:
1.
The respondent estate does not have any legal personality and its alleged representative has no
authority to represent it.
2.
The respondents Municipal Trial Court and Regional Trial Court do not have original or appellate
jurisdiction over the case that gave rise to this recourse.
3.
The respondent did not have any ground under P.D. No. 20 (as amended by B.P. Blg. 25) to eject the
petitioner, thereby lacking in cause of action.
4.
The complaint failed to set forth or attach to itself (sic) [al copy of the supposed lease contract as
an actionable document under Section 7, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court, although one of the grounds alleged
for ejectment was the claimed expiration of its terms and compliance with this rule was the only chance to
determine the matter of expiration of the term since there was no trial or formal presentation of evidence
before any of the respondent courts.
5.
The respondent Municipal Trial Court fared to comply with its duty under Section 3 of the Rule on
Summary Procedure.
6.
The demolition of petitioner's building which was ordered right in the decision or judgment (Annex
"E") is null and void for lack of hearing, lack of evidence on petitioner's failure to remove the same, and
lack of special order under Rule 39, Section 14, Rules of Court. 16
In its decision, respondent Court of Appeals 17 did not discuss any of the foregoing errors assigned by
petitioner and denied due course to the petition solely on the ground that, as claimed by private
respondent, the issues raised therein involved a complete change of theory which could not be made for
the first time on appeal, citing Tible v. Aquino. 18
Petitioner, therefore, felt constrained to bring this present petition for review mainly on the ground that
respondent Court of Appeals erred in its assessment that petitioner changed his theory oil appeal, In this
regard.
The Court finds that the present petition is impressed with merit.
A perusal of the errors assigned by petitioner before respondent court reveals that its assessment is true
only in so far the first assigned error, that is, the issue dealing with the legal personality of the estate of
Wee and the authority of his son to represent it. The other's concern the questions of jurisdiction, of cause
of action and the violation of Rule 8, Section 7 of the Rules of Court, all of which were timely raised before
the lower courts. Further, unlike Tible which involves a complete change of theory, no such change of

theory obtains in this case. Petitioner merely added another ground to his list of assigned errors committed
by the lower courts to buttress his contention that the complaint should have been dismissed. At best,
respondent court may have chosen not to deal with said issue on the well settled rule that questions not
raised in the lower courts cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. 19 The real to entertain the petition
as to the other validly raised grounds, however, cannot be justified on the basis of Tible alone whose
application is clearly misplaced. Respondent Court of Appeals should, therefore, have gone into the merits
of the petition for review filed by petitioner.
Having passed upon the first three assigned errors raised by petitioner with respondent court, We now take
a look at his defense of lack of cause of action. He argues that his continued stay on the leased premises is
protected by Presidential Decree No. 20 as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 25 inasmuch as the reason
relied upon by private respondent, i.e., construction of a bigger commercial building for higher rental
income, is not one of those enumerated by the law as grounds for ejectment. Unfortunately for petitioner,
he is mistaken. It is clear from Presidential Decree No. 20 20 that the same pertains only to dwelling units
or to land on which dwelling units are located, in other words, residential buildings. On the other hand,
Batas Pambansa Blg. 25, entitled an Act Regulating Rentals of dwelling Units or of Land on Which Another's
Dwelling is Located and for Other Purposes, defines the term residential unit as referring to
an apartment, house and/or land on which another's dwelling is located used for residential purposes and
shall include not only buildings, parts or units thereof used solely as dwelling places, except motels, motel
room, hotels, hotel rooms, boarding houses, dormitories, rooms and bedspaces for rent, but also those
used for home industries, retail stores or other business purposes if the owner thereof and his family
actually live therein and use it principally for dwelling purposes: Provided, That in the case of a retail store,
home industry or business, the capitalization thereof shall not exceed five thousand pesos (P5,000.00):
Provided, further, That in the operation of the store, industry or business, the owner thereof shall not
require the services of any person other than the immediate members of his family. 21
In the case of petitioner, it is clear that the building he constructed on the lot of private respondent is
devoted purely to commercial purposes. Petitioner operates Ms photography business therein. Not once
has petitioner claimed to use the Premises also as a place of residence. The lot itself is located in the
commercial district of the municipality. This has been the consistent finding of the lower courts and the
same is supported by the representations of petitioner since the beginning. His stay on the leased lot
owned by private respondent is unmistakably not countenanced by the rent control laws. To allow
petitioner to continue occupying the land would be to deny private respondent the effective exercise of
property rights over the same.
To settle this matter once and for all, therefore, the Court finds that petitioner should vacate the land and
remove his improvements thereon at his expense. Back rental outstanding must also be paid by petitioner
which shall be computed with legal interest at the original monthly rate of P50.00 as if the defective
complaint brought by private respondent was not filed at all.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of respondent Court of Appeals is hereby SET ASIDE
and a new judgment is hereby rendered ordering petitioner to vacate the premises and pay back rental at
the monthly rate of P50.00 with legal interest. No other pronouncement as to costs. Let copies of this
decision be finished all judges of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts.
SO ORDERED.