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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 111416 September 26, 1994


FELICIDAD UY, petitioner,
vs.
HON. MAXIMO C. CONTRERAS, Presiding Judge,
Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 61, Makati, Metro Manila;
HON. MAURO M. CASTRO, Provincial Prosecutor of Pasig,
Metro Manila; SUSANNA ATAYDE and WINNIE
JAVIER, respondents.
Albon & Serrano Law Office for petitioner.

Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160) which took effect on 1


January 1992, 1 this Court would have declined to accept the
invocation of its original jurisdiction to issue the extraordinary writ
prayed for. We have already ruled that while it is true that this
Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Regional Trial Courts have
concurrent original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari,
prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus, such
concurrence does not accord litigants unrestrained freedom of
choice of the court to which application therefor may be directed.
There is a hierarchy of courts determinative of the venue of appeals
which should also serve as a general determinant of the proper
forum for the application for the extraordinary writs. A becoming
regard for this judicial hierarchy by the petitioner and her lawyers
ought to have led them to file the petition with the proper Regional
Trial Court. 2
The antecedent facts as disclosed by the pleadings of the parties
are not complicated.

Ramon M. Velez for private respondents.

Petitioner
subleased
from
respondent
Susanna
Atayde
(hereinafter Atayde) the other half of the second floor of a building
located at corner Reposo and Oliman Streets, Makati, Metro Manila.
She operated and maintained therein a beauty parlor. 3

DAVIDE, JR., J.:

The sublease contract expired on 15 April 1993. However, the


petitioner was not able to remove all her movable properties.

Assailed in this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of


Court is the order dated 2 July 1993 of public respondent Judge
Maximo C. Contreras of Branch 61 of the Metropolitan Trial Court
(MTC) of Makati, Metro Manila, denying the petitioner's motion to
dismiss Criminal Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234 for slight physical
injuries. The motion to dismiss is based on the failure of the private
respondents, as the offended parties therein, to comply with
Section 6 of P.D. No. 1508 and Section 18 of the 1991 Revised Rule
on Summary Procedure requiring prior referral of disputes to
the Lupong Tagapamayapa of the proper barangay.

On 17 April 1993, an argument arose between the petitioner and


Atayde when the former sought to withdraw from the subleased
premises her remaining movable properties such as cabinets,
shelves, frames, a mirror, a shampoo bowl, and an airconditioning
casing. 4 The argument degenerated into a scuffle between the
petitioner, on the one hand, and Atayde and several of Atayde's
employees,
including
private
respondent
Winnie
Javier
(hereinafter Javier), on the other.

At the outset, it must be stated that were it not for the importance
of the issue to be resolved in the light of the revised law
on katarungang
pambarangay provided
for
in
the
Local

On 21 April 1993, the private respondent had themselves medically


examined for the alleged injuries inflicted on them by the
petitioner. 5

On 23 April 1993, the private respondents filed a complaint with


the barangay captain of Valenzuela, Makati, which was docketed as
Barangay Cases Nos. 1023 6 and 1024. 7
The confrontation of the parties was scheduled by the barangay
captain for 28 April 1993. On the said date, only the petitioner
appeared. The barangay captain then reset the confrontation to 26
May 1993. 8
On 11 May 1993, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal
filed two informations for slight physical injuries against the
petitioner with the MTC of Makati, which were docketed as Criminal
Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234 and assigned to Branch 61 thereof.
On 21 May 1993, public respondent Judge Contreras of Branch 61
ordered the petitioner to submit her counter-affidavit and those of
her witnesses.
On 14 June 1993, the petitioner submitted the required counteraffidavits. 9 In her own counter-affidavit, the petitioner specifically
alleged the prematurity of the filing of the criminal cases for failure
to undergo conciliation proceedings as she and the private
respondents are residents of Manila. 10 She also attached to it a
certification by the barangay captain of Valenzuela, Makati, dated
18 May 1993, that there was an ongoing conciliation between
Atayde and the petitioner in Barangay Case No. 1023. 11
On 18 June 1993, the petitioner filed a motion to dismiss Criminal
Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234 for non-compliance with the
requirement of P.D. No. 1508 on prior referral to the Lupong
Tagapamayapa and pursuant to Section 18 of the 1991 Revised
Rule on Summary Procedure.
On 2 July 1993, public respondent Judge Contreras handed down an
order denying the motion to dismiss, pertinent portions of which
read:
The court finds the motion to be without sufficient
merit. In the first place, the offense subject of these
cases accussed in Makati, Metro Manila on April 17,

1993; that Barangay Valenzuela of the Municipality of


Makati had started the conciliation proceedings
between the parties but as of May 18, 1993 nothing
has been achieved by the barangay (Annex "2" of the
Counter-Affidavit of the accused); that the aboveentitled cases were filed directly with this court by
the public prosecutor on May 11, 1993; and the
accused and her witnesses had already filed their
counter-affidavits and documents. At this stage of
the proceedings, the court believes that the accused
had already waived the right to a reconciliation
proceedings before the barangay of Valenzuela,
Makati considering that accused and complainant are
residents of different barangays; that the offense
charged occurred in the Municipality of Makati; and
finally, this offense is about to prescribe.
Under the foregoing circumstances, the court
believes, and so holds, that the complainants may go
directly to the court where their complaint is about to
prescribe or barred by statute of limitations pursuant
to Section 6 of PD 1508." 12
A motion to reconsider the above order was denied on 5 August
1993.
Hence this special civil action for certiorari. The petitioner contends
that the respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction when he denied the motion to
dismiss considering that the private respondents failed to comply
with the mandatory requirement of P.D. No. 1508, now embodied in
Section 412 of the Local Government Code of 1991 and further
required under the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure.
In their Comment, the private respondents contend that the denial
of the motion to dismiss is proper because prior referral of the
dispute to the lupon is not applicable in the case of private
respondent Javier since she and the petitioner are not residents of
barangays in the same city or municipality or of adjoining
barangays in different cities or municipalities and that referral to

the lupon is not likewise required if the case may otherwise be


barred by the
statute
of limitations.
Moreover,
even
assuming arguendo that prior referral to the lupon applies to the
case of private respondent Atayde, the latter had, nevertheless,
substantially complied with the requirement.
In its Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General agrees with the
petitioner that Criminal Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234 should be
dismissed for non-compliance with Sections 408, 409, 410, and 412
of the Local Government Code of 1991 in relation to Section 7, Rule
VI of the Rules Implementing P.D. No. 1508.
The petitioner replied to the comments of the private respondents
and of the Office of the Solicitor General. The private respondents
filed a rejoinder to the petitioner's reply to their comment and a
reply to the comment of the Office of the Solicitor General.
In the Resolution of 16 May 1994, this Court gave due course to the
petition and required the parties to submit their respective
memoranda, which the petitioner and the private respondents
complied with. The Office of the Solicitor General, in view of its
prior submission, moved that it be excused from filing a
memorandum.

(a) Where one party is the government or any


subdivision or instrumentality thereof;
(b) Where one party is a public officer or employee,
and the dispute relates to the performance of his
official functions;
(c) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding
one (1) year or a fine exceeding Five thousand pesos
(P5,000.00);
(d) Offenses where there is no private offended
party;
(e) Where the dispute involves real properties
located in different cities or municipalities unless the
parties thereto agree to submit their differences to
amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon;
(f) Disputes involving parties who actually reside in
barangays of different cities or municipalities, except
where such barangay units adjoin each other and the
parties thereto agree to submit their differences to
amicable settlement by appropriate lupon;

The petition is impressed with merit.


The law on the katarungang pambarangay was originally governed
by P.D. No. 1508 which was enacted on 11 June 1978. However, the
Local Government Code of 1991, specifically Chapter 7, Title I, Book
III thereof, 13 revised the law on the katarungang pambarangay. As
a consequence of this revision, P.D. No. 1508 was expressly
repealed pursuant to Section 534(b) of the Code. Pertinent portions
of Chapter 7, Title I, Book III thereof read as follows:
Sec. 408. Subject Matter for Amicable Settlement;
Exception Thereto. The luppon of each barangay
shall have authority to bring together the parties
actually residing in the same city or municipality for
amicable settlement of all disputes except:

(g) Such other classes of disputes which the


President may determine in the interest of justice or
upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice.
The court in which non-criminal cases not falling
within the authority of the lupon under this Code are
filed may, at anytime before trial, motu proprio refer
the case to the lupon concerned for amicable
settlement.
Sec. 409. Venue. (a) Disputes between persons
actually residing in the same barangay shall be
brought for amicable settlement before the lupon of
said barangay.

(b) Those involving actual residents of different


barangays within the same city or municipality shall
be brought in the barangay where the respondent or
any of the respondents actually resides, at the
election of the complainant.
(c) All disputes involving real property or any interest
therein shall be brought in the barangay where the
real property or the larger portion thereof is situated.
(d) Those arising at the workplace where the
contending parties are employed or at the institution
where such parties are enrolled for study shall be
brought in the barangay where such workplace or
institution is located.
Objections to venue shall be raised in the mediation
proceedings before the punong barangay; otherwise,
the same shall be deemed waived. Any legal
question which may confront the punong barangay in
resolving objections to venue herein referred to may
be submitted to the Secretary of Justice or his duly
designated representative whose ruling thereon shall
be binding.

interruption shall not exceed sixty (60) days from the


filing of the complaint with the punong barangay.
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 412. Conciliation. (a) Pre-condition to filing of
complaint in court. No complaint, petition, action,
or proceeding involving any matter within the
authority of the lupon shall be filed or instituted
directly in court or any other government office for
adjudication, unless there has been a confrontation
between the parties before the lupon chairman or the
pangkat, and that no conciliation or settlement has
been reached as certified by the lupon secretary or
pangkat
secretary
as
attested
to
by
the lupon chairman or pangkat chairman or unless
the settlement has been repudiated by the parties
thereto.
(b) Where parties may go directly to court. The
parties may go directly to court in the following
instances:
(1) Where
detention;

the

accused

is

under

Sec. 410. Procedure for Amicable Settlement. . . .


(2) Where a person has otherwise been
deprived of personal liberty calling
for habeas corpus proceedings;

xxx xxx xxx


(c) Suspension of prescriptive period of offenses.
While the dispute is under mediation, conciliation, or
arbitration, the prescriptive periods for offenses and
cause of action under existing laws shall be
interrupted upon filing of the complaint with the
punong barangay. The prescriptive periods shall
resume upon receipt by the complainant of the
complaint or the certificate of repudiation or of the
certification to file action issued by the lupon or
pangkat secretary: Provided, however, That such

(3) Where actions are coupled with


provisional
remedies
such
as
preliminary injunction, attachment,
delivery of personal property, and
support pendente lite; and
(4) Where the action may otherwise be
barred by the statute of limitations.
xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 415. Appearance of Parties in Person. In all


katarungang pambarangay proceedings, the parties
must appear in person without the assistance of
counsel or representative, except for minors and
incompetents who may be assisted by their next-ofkin who are not lawyers.
Pursuant to the authority vested in him under Section 421 of the
Code, the Secretary of Justice promulgated theKatarungang
Pambarangay Rules to implement the revised law on katarungang
pambarangay. Sections 8 and 11 of Rule VI (Amicable Settlement of
Disputes) thereof provide in part as follows:

by the complainant of the certificate of repudiation or


of the certification to file action issued by
the Lupon or Pangkat Secretary: Provided, however,
that such interruption shall not exceed sixty (60)
days from the filing of the complaint with the Punong
Barangay. After the expiration of the aforesaid period
of sixty days, the filing of the case in court or
government office for adjudication shall be subject to
the provision of paragraph (b) (4) of Rule VIII of these
Rules.
It may thus be observed that the revised katarungang
pambarangay law has at least three new significant features, to wit:

SECTION 8. Failure to appear.


a. Sanctions
The complaint may be dismissed when
complainant, after due notice, refuses
or willfully fails to appear without
justifiable reason on the date set for
mediation, conciliation or arbitration.
Such dismissal ordered by the Punong
Barangay/Pangkat
Chairman
after
giving the complainant an opportunity
to explain his non-appearance shall be
certified to by the Lupon or Pangkat
Secretary as the case may be, and
shall bar the complainant from seeking
judicial recourse for the same cause of
action as that dismissed.
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 11. Suspension of prescriptive period of
offenses and cause of action. The prescriptive
periods for offenses and causes of action under
existing laws shall be interrupted upon filing of the
complaint with the Punong Barangay. The running of
the prescriptive periods shall resume upon receipts

1. It increased the authority of the lupon in criminal


offenses from those punishable by imprisonment not
exceeding thirty days or a fine not exceeding
P200.00 in P.D. No. 1508 to those offenses
punishable by imprisonment not exceeding one year
or a fine not exceeding P5,000.00.
2. As to venue, it provides that disputes arising at the
workplace where the contending parties are
employed or at the institution where such parties are
enrolled for study, shall be brought in the barangay
where such workplace or institution is located.
3. It provides for the suspension of the prescriptive
periods of offenses during the pendency of the
mediation, conciliation, or arbitration process.
Paragraph (c) of Section 410 of the law, however,
suffers from some ambiguity when it provides that
the prescriptive periods "shall resume upon receipt
by the complainant of the complaint or the certificate
of repudiation or of the certification to file action
issued by the lupon or pangkat secretary." What is
referred to as receipt by the complainant of the
complaint is unclear; obviously, it could have been a
drafting oversight. Accordingly, in the above quoted
Section 11 of the Rules and Regulations issued by the

Secretary of Justice, the phrase "the complaint or" is


not found, such that the resumption of the running of
the prescriptive period shall, properly, be from
receipt by the complainant of the certificate of
repudiation or the certification to file action issued by
the lupon or the pangkat secretary. Such suspension,
however, shall not exceed sixty days.

While P.D. No. 1508 has been repealed by the Local Government
Code of 1991, the jurisprudence built thereon regarding prior
referral to the lupon as a pre-condition to the filing of an action in
court remains applicable because its provisions on prior referral
were substantially reproduced in the Code.

The first feature has necessarily broadened the jurisdiction of


the lupon and if the mediation and conciliation process at that level
would be effectively pursued, few cases would reach the regular
courts, justice would be achieved at less expense to the litigants,
cordial relationships among protagonists in a small community
would be restored, and peace and order therein enhanced.

Thus, Morata vs. Go, 125 SCRA 444 (1983), and Vda.
de Borromeo vs. Pogoy, 126 SCRA 217 (1983) have
held that P.D. No. 1508 makes the conciliation
process at the Barangay level a condition precedent
for the filing of a complaint in Court. Non-compliance
with that condition precedent could affect the
sufficiency of the plaintiff's cause of action and make
his complaint vulnerable to dismissal on the ground
of lack of cause of action or prematurity. The
condition
is
analogous
to
exhaustion
of
administrative remedies, or the lack of earnest
efforts to compromise suits between family
members, lacking which the case can be dismissed.

The second feature, which is covered by paragraph (d), Section 409


of the Local Government code, also broadens the authority of
the lupon in the sense that appropriate civil and criminal cases
arising from incidents occurring in workplaces or institutions of
learning shall be brought in the barangay where such workplace or
institution is located. That barangay may not be the appropriate
venue in either paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of the said section.
This rule provides convenience to the parties. Procedural rules
including those relating to venue are designed to insure a fair and
convenient hearing to the parties with complete justice between
them as a result.14 Elsewise stated, convenience is the raison
d'etre of the rule on venue.
The third feature is aimed at maximizing the effectiveness of the
mediation, conciliation, or arbitration process. It discourages any
intentional delay of the referral to a date close to the expiration of
the prescriptive period and then invoking the proximity of such
expiration as the reason for immediate recourse to the courts. It
also affords the parties sufficient time to cool off and face each
other with less emotionalism and more objectivity which are
essential ingredients in the resolution of their dispute. The sixtyday suspension of the prescriptive period could spell the difference
between peace and a full-blown, wearisome, and expensive
litigation between the parties.

In Peregrina vs. Panis, 15 this Court stated:

The parties herein fall squarely within the ambit of


P.D. No. 1508. They are actual residents in the same
barangay and their disputes does not fall under any
of the excepted cases." (Emphasis omitted)
Such non-compliance is not, however, jurisdictional. This Court said
so in Garces vs. Court of Appeals: 16
In fine, we have held in the past that prior recourse
to the conciliation procedure required under P.D.
1508 is not a jurisdictional requirement, noncompliance with which would deprive a court of its
jurisdiction either over the subject matter or over the
person of the defendant. Where, however, the fact of
non-compliance with and non-observance of such
procedure has been seasonably raised as an issue
before the court first taking cognizance of the
complaint, dismissal of the action is proper.

xxx xxx xxx


The precise technical effect of failure to comply with
the requirement of P.D. 1508 where applicable is
much the same effect produced by non-exhaustion of
administrative remedies; the complaint becomes
afflicted with the vice of pre-maturity; the
controversy there alleged is not ripe for judicial
determination. The complaint becomes vulnerable to
a motion to dismiss. (emphasis omitted)
There were, of course, cases where this Court ruled that the failure
of the defendant to seasonably invoke non-referral to the
appropriate lupon operated as a waiver thereof. 17 Furthermore,
when such defect was initially present when the case was first filed
in the trial court, the subsequent issuance of the certification to file
action by the barangay, which constituted substantial compliance
with the said requirement, cured the defect. 18

wrong forum under the decree, changed tack. In their Comment,


they assert that on 20 April 1993 Atayde "filed a complaint against
petitioner before the barangay council of Barangay Valenzuela,
Makati, in compliance with the requirement of the Katarungang
Pambarangay Law under the Local Government Code." 20 Yet, in a
deliberate effort to be cunning or shrewd, which is condemnable for
it disregards the virtue of candor, they assert that the said law is
not applicable to their cases before the court a quo because (a) the
petitioner and respondent Atayde are not residents of barangays in
the same city or municipality; (b) the law does not apply when the
action, as in the said cases, may otherwise be barred by the statute
of limitations; and (c) even assuming that the law applies insofar as
Atayde is concerned, she has substantially complied with it.
The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal should have exerted
enough diligence to inquire from the private respondents if prior
referral to the lupon was necessary before filing the informations.

Sec. 18. Referral to Lupon. Cases requiring referral


to the Lupon for conciliation under the provisions of
Presidential Decree No. 1508 where there is no
showing of compliance with such requirement, shall
be dismissed without prejudice, and may be revived
only after such requirement shall have been
complied with. This provision shall not apply to
criminal cases where the accused was arrested
without a warrant.

Respondent judge did not do any better. His total unawareness of


the Local Government Code of 1991, more specifically on the
provisions on the Katarungang pambarangay, is distressing. He
should have taken judicial notice thereof, ever mindful that under
Section 1, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court, courts are mandatorily
required to take judicial notice of "the official acts of the legislative,
executive and judicial departments of the Philippines." We have
ruled that a judge is called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory
acquaintance with the statutes and procedural rules. 21 He should
have applied the revised katarungang pambarangay law under the
Local Government Code of 1991. Had he done so, this petition
would not have reached us and taken valuable attention and time
which could have been devoted to more important cases.

In the proceeding before the court a quo, the petitioner and the
respondent had in mind only P.D. No. 1508. The petitioner further
invoked the aforequoted Section 18. None knew of the repeal of the
decree by the Local Government Code of 1991. Even in her instant
petition, the petitioner invokes the decree and Section 18 of the
Revised Rule on Summary Procedure. However, the private
respondents, realizing the weakness of their position under P.D. No.
1508 since they did refer their grievances to what might be a

In view of the private respondents' failure to appear at the first


scheduled mediation on 28 April 1993 for which the mediation was
reset to 26 May 1993, no complaint for slight physical injuries could
be validly filed with the MTC of Makati at any time before such date.
The filing then of Criminal Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234 with the
said court on 11 May 1993 was premature and, pursuant to
paragraph (a), Section 412 of the Local Government Code,
respondent Judge Contreras should have granted the motion to

On 15 October 1991, this Court promulgated the Revised Rule on


Summary Procedure. 19 Section 18 thereof provides:

dismiss the criminal cases. He cannot justify its denial by taking


refuge under Section 6 of P.D. No. 1508 (more properly, Section
412(b)(4) of the Local Government Code of 1991) which states that
the parties may go directly to court where the action is about to
prescribe. This is because, as earlier stated, pursuant to paragraph
(c), Section 410 of the Code, the prescriptive period was
automatically suspended for a maximum period of sixty days from
23 April 1993 when the private respondents filed their complaints
with the lupon of Valenzuela Makati.
Moreover, having brought the dispute before the lupon of barangay
Valenzuela, Makati, the private respondents are estopped from
disavowing the authority of the body which they themselves had
sought. Their act of trifling with the authority of the lupon by
unjustifiably failing to attend the scheduled mediation hearings and
instead filing the complaint right away with the trial court cannot
be countenanced for to do so would wreak havoc on the barangay
conciliation system.
Granting arguendo that the petitioner did inflict the alleged
physical injuries, the offense for which she may be liable would only
be slight physical injuries under paragraph (2), Article 266 of the
Revised Penal Code, considering that per the medical
certificates 22 the injuries sustained by the private respondents
would "heal" in nine days "in the absence of complication" and
there is no showing that the said injuries incapacitated them for
labor or would require medical attendance for such period. The
penalty therefor would only be "arresto menor or a fine not
exceeding 200 pesos and censure." These penalties are light under
Article 25 of the Revised Penal Code and would prescribe in two
monthspursuant to Article 90.
Accordingly, since the slight physical injuries charged in Criminal
Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234 were allegedly inflicted on 17 April
1993, the prescriptive period therefor would have expired two
months thereafter. Nevertheless, its running was tolled by the filing
of the private respondents' complaints with the lupon of
Valenzuela, Makati, on 23 April 1993 and automatically suspended
for a period of sixty days, or until 22 June 1993. If no mediation or
conciliation could be reached within the said period of suspension

and, accordingly, a certification to file action is issued, the private


respondents would still have fifty-six days within which to file their
separate criminal complaints for such offense. Evidently, there was
no basis for the invocation by the respondent judge of the
exception provided for in paragraph (b), Section 412 of the Local
Government Code.
Neither are we persuaded by the reasoning of the respondent Judge
that the petitioner "had already waived the right to a reconciliation
proceedings before the barangay of Valenzuela, Makati, considering
that the accused and the complainant are residents of different
barangays." The petitioner did not waive the reconciliation
proceedings before the lupon of Valenzuela, Makati; she submitted
to it and attended the scheduled conciliation on 28 April 1993 and
invoked the pre-condition of referral to the lupon in her counteraffidavit. 23
Nor would this Court accept the contention of the private
respondent that the parties could not agree on a compromise and
that they had to request the barangay captain to issue a
certification to file action. 24 The request is dated 23 June
1993, 25 or nearly one and a half months after Criminal Cases Nos.
145233 and 145234 were filed with the court a quo. Evidently, this
was done to support their contention in the said court that, in any
event, there was substantial compliance with the requirement of
referral to the lupon. It must be stressed that the private
respondents, after failing to appear at the initial confrontation and
long after the criminal cases were filed, had no right to demand the
issuance of a certification to file action.
The respondent judge thus acted with grave abuse of discretion in
refusing to dismiss Criminal Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234.
Before closing these cases, this Court wishes to emphasize the vital
role which the revised katarungang pambarangay law plays in the
delivery of justice at the barangay level, in promoting peace,
stability, and progress therein, and in effectively preventing or
reducing expensive and wearisome litigation. Parties to disputes
cognizable by the lupon should, with sincerity, exhaust the
remedies provided by that law, government prosecutors should

exercise due diligence in ascertaining compliance with it, and trial


courts should not hesitate to impose the appropriate sanctions for
non-compliance thereof.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The Orders of
respondent Judge of 2 July 1993 and 5 August 1993 in Criminal
Cases Nos. 145233 and 1452334, both entitled "People of the
Philippines vs. Felicidad Uy" are hereby SET ASIDE and the
respondent Judge is hereby DIRECTED to DISMISS said cases within
ten (10) days from receipt of a copy of this decision.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 113615

BIENVENIDO VELARMA, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and JOSEFINA PANSACOLA, respondents.

Costs against the private respondents.


SO ORDERED.
Cruz, Bellosillo, Quiason and Kapunan, JJ., concur.

January 25, 1996

RESOLUTION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
Will the lot owner's agreement to sell the property to the
government as evidenced by the minutes of a meeting of the
Sangguniang Bayan, absent a formal deed, constitute a sufficient
ground to defeat a forcible entry suit? This was the main question
raised in this petition for review on certiorari which seeks to set
aside the Decision dated January 26, 1994 of the Court of
Appeals1 in CA-G.R. CV No. 33332. By a Resolution dated October
25, 1995, this case, along with several others, was transferred from
the First Division to the Third. After due deliberation on the
submissions
of
the
parties,
it
was
assigned
to
undersigned ponente for the writing of the Court's Resolution.
This case arose from an "ejectment suit" 2 filed by private
respondent against petitioner before the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 64, Mauban, Quezon. Private respondent alleged: (1) that
sometime in May 1981, petitioner surreptitiously built his dwelling
on a portion of her land at Barangay Lual (Poblacion), Mauban,
Quezon, registered under Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-91037 in
the name of private respondent's husband Publio (deceased); (2)
that the matter was reported to the Barangay Captain who
conducted several conferences during which petitioner promised to
vacate the land and remove his house therefrom, notwithstanding
which he still failed or refused to do so; (3) that she instituted
Criminal Case No. 1068 against petitioner in 1986 for violation of
P.D. No. 772 (the Anti-Squatting Law); (4) that the trial court
convicted petitioner of the offense and imposed a fine of P1,500.00
on him; (5) that, despite such judgment, and notwithstanding

repeated demands to vacate, petitioner continued occupying the


property, compelling her to bring the suit.
The trial court in its nine-page judgment rendered on April 2, 1991
found that private respondent had satisfactorily established her
ownership over the parcel of land in question. It also found that
petitioner entered and occupied private respondent's land "without
authority of law and against the will of the owner . . . through
strategy and stealth."3 Furthermore, it declared that the claim of
petitioner that "by virtue of an agreement between the former
owner (Publio Pansacola) and the Municipality of Mauban . . . the lot
[being occupied by petitioner] became the property of the
government, and therefore, [respondent] has no cause of action
against [petitioner]" was "baseless and unwarranted" 4 since no
deed had ever been executed to "perfect the deal" between the
municipality and Publio for the exchange of a portion of the
abandoned provincial road with a portion of the lot owned by Publio
(on which was built petitioner's dwelling), such that the Pansacola
spouses later demanded that petitioner vacate the land and sought
the help of the barangay council. They eventually instituted the
criminal case against petitioner for violation of the Anti-Squatting
Law.
The trial court ordered petitioner to vacate the subject land,
remove his house therefrom and pay private respondent exemplary
damages and attorney's fees in the amounts of P2,000.00 and
P3,000.00, respectively.
The Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court.
Hence, this petition.
Petitioner insists that private respondent has no cause of action
against him because the land on which his house stands belongs to
the government. Petitioner's dwelling is situated on the shoulder of
the new provincial highway, part of which was constructed on a
portion of the land belonging to and titled in the name of private
respondent's husband. According to petitioner, "while it is conceded
that the premises [occupied by him] is still within the area covered
by [private respondent's] title, nonetheless, . . . [the subject
premises] . . . already belong to the government by virtue of its
exchange of the abandoned road and bridge."5
Petitioner's claim is anchored on a document entitled "Minutes of
the Meeting of the Sangguniang Bayan of Mauban, Quezon" dated
November 5, 1974. Therein, Publio Pansacola signified before the

Sangguniang Bayan of Mauban his agreement to the transfer of


that portion of his land traversed by the new provincial highway
and its shoulder in exchange for a corresponding portion of the old
abandoned provincial road.
As found by the trial court, the said minutes of the meeting of the
Sangguniang Bayan do not mention the execution of any deed to
perfect the agreement. An engineer was appointed to survey the
old abandoned road, but this act does not in any manner convey
title over the abandoned road to the Pansacola spouses nor
extinguish their ownership over the land traversed by the new
provincial highway. No evidence was introduced by petitioner to
show that the survey was actually undertaken and a specific
portion of the abandoned road partitioned and conveyed to the
Pansacolas. It must be stressed that the agreement to transfer the
property was made in 1974. More than twenty years later, no
actual transfer had yet been made. Unless and until the transfer is
consummated, or expropriation proceedings instituted by the
government, private respondent continues to retain ownership of
the land subject of this case.
We note that the ejectment suit should have been filed before the
Municipal Trial Court, and not the Regional Trial Court. The issue of
ownership, however, had been specifically raised before the
Regional Trial Court by petitioner himself, who at the same time did
not move to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. Instead,
he filed his answer and went to trial. Estoppel by laches has already
set in at this point in time.6
Petitioner also challenges the findings of the respondent Court that
prior referral to the Lupong Barangay had been made before the
ejectment case was filed in the lower court, and that therefore, the
trial court properly acquired jurisdiction over the case. We agree,
however, with the trial court's finding that The compliance (with) the provision of P.D. No. 1508,
Katarungang Pambarangay Law, can no longer be assailed
by the defendant [herein petitioner], its reference having
been admitted (in)
his
affirmative
allegations
and
affirmative defenses in the Answer (page 3, par. 3.3 of
defendant's answer).7 (emphasis supplied)
Other issues raised had already been adequately traversed and
disposed of by the appellate Court.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED, with costs


against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo and Francisco, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
1

Fourth Division, composed of J. Asaali S.


Isnani, ponente and JJ. Nathanael P. De Pano Jr. (chairman)
and Corona Ibay-Somera.
2

Civil Case No. 0371-M, filed on June 24, 1987; Judge


Antonio O. Cabungcal, presiding.
3

RTC Judgment, p. 9; rollo, p. 39.

RTC Judgment, pp. 6 & 7; rollo, pp. 36 & 37.

Petition, p. 9; rollo, p. 15.

Romualdez vs. Regional Trial Court, Br. 7, Tacloban City, et


al., 226 SCRA 408 (September 14, 1993);Pantranco North
Express Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 224 SCRA 477 (July
5, 1993).
7

RTC Judgment, p. 8; rollo, p. 38.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 101328. April 7, 1993.
EMILIANA CANDIDO AND FRANCISCA CANDIDO, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE DEMETRIO MACAPAGAL, PRESIDING JUDGE,
BRANCH 18, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF BULACAN AND MILA
CONTRERAS, respondents.
Alberto M. Diaz for petitioners.
Luis S. Cuvin for private respondent.
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; KATARUNGANG PAMBARANGAY (P.D. NO. 1508);
SCOPE OF POWER; RULE. From the provisions of P.D. No. 1508, it
is clear that the barangay court or Lupon has jurisdiction over
disputes between parties who are actual residents of barangays
located in the same city or municipality or adjoining barangays of
different cities or municipalities. The Lupon of the barangay
ordinarily has the authority to settle amicably all types of disputes

involving parties who actually reside in the same municipality, city


or province. Where the complaint does not state that it is one of the
excepted cases, or it does not allege prior availment of said
conciliation process, or it does not have a certification that no
conciliation or settlement had been reached by the parties, the
case could be dismissed on motion. In the instant case, the fact
that petitioners and private respondent, reside in the same
municipality of Obando, Bulacan does not justify compulsory
conciliation under P.D. No. 1508 where the other co-defendants
reside in barangays of different municipalities, cities and provinces.
DECISION
NOCON, J p:
This is a petition for certiorari to annul and set aside the Orders 1
dated July 10, 1991 and August 9, 1991 of the trial court dismissing
the complaint of petitioners Emiliana and Francisca Candido against
private respondent Mila Contreras on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction for petitioners' failure to comply with the mandatory
barangay conciliation process required by Presidential Decree No.
1508, otherwise known as the Katarungang Pambarangay Law.
It appears on record that petitioners Emiliana and Francisca
Candido are the only legitimate children of spouses Agapito
Candido and Florencia Santos as shown by the certificates 2 of the
latter's Record of Marriage and the petitioners' Record of Birth.
However, petitioners' father eventually left his legitimate family
and lived with Sagraria Lozada until his death on May 6, 1987.
On May 11, 1990, Sagraria Lozada, Jorge Candido, Virginia Candido,
Maximina Candido and Eduardo Candido who represented
themselves to be the sole heirs of the late Agapito Candido
executed a Deed of Extra-judicial Settlement of Estate with Sale 3
covering parcels of land owned by the latter and sold to private
respondent Mila Contreras in whose name said properties are now
registered under TCT No. T-120656-M.
On November 6, 1990, petitioners instituted an action with the
Regional Trial Court of Bulacan, Branch 18 in Civil Case No. 697-M90 against Sagraria Lozada, Gorge Candido, Virginia Candido,
Maximina Candido, Eduardo Candido, Register of Deeds of Bulacan
and private respondent Mila Contreras to annul the Deed of Extra-

judicial Settlement of Estate with Sale, to cancel TCT No. 120656-M


issued in the name of private respondent and to reinstate TCT No.
223602 in the name of Agapito Candido married to Sagraria
Lozada.
On December 5, 1990, private respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss
4 on the ground that petitioners failed to comply with the
mandatory conciliation process required under P.D. No. 1508 as she
resides in the same municipality with the petitioners.
On July 10, 1991, the trial court issued an Order, the dispositive
portion of which reads, as follows:
"WHEREFORE, as prayed for, let this case be, as it is hereby
DISMISSED in so far as defendant Mila Contreras is concerned for
lack of prior referral of the dispute before the Katarungang
Pambarangay, without prejudice." 5
Thereafter, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration 6 which
was denied in an Order 7 dated August 9, 1991.
Hence, this petition alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part
of the respondent judge dismissing private respondent in the
complaint instituted by the petitioners notwithstanding the fact
that the other defendants in Civil Case No. 697-M-90 reside in
different municipalities and cities.
The petition is impressed with merit.
Section 2 of P.D. No. 1508 provides:
"SEC. 2. Subject matters for amicable settlement. The Lupon of
each barangay shall have authority to bring together the parties
actually residing in the same city or municipality for amicable
settlement of all disputes except:
"(1) Where one party is the government, or any subdivision or
instrumentality thereof:
"(2) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the
dispute relates to the performance of his official functions;
"(3) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding 30 days, or a
fine exceeding P200.00;

"(4) Offenses where there is no private offended party;


"(5) Such other classes of disputes which the Prime Minister may in
the interest of justice determine upon recommendation of the
Minister of Justice and the Minister of Local Government."
Further, section 3 of the same law provides:
"SEC. 3. Venue. Disputes between or among persons actually
residing in the same barangay shall be brought for amicable
settlement before the Lupon of said barangay. Those involving
actual residents of different barangays within the same city or
municipality shall be brought in the barangay where the respondent
or any of the respondents actually resides, at the election of the
complainant. However, all disputes which involve real property or
any interest therein shall be brought in the barangay where the real
property or any part thereof is situated.
"The Lupon shall have no authority over disputes:
(1) involving parties who actually reside in barangays of different
cities or municipalities, except where such barangays adjoin each
other; . . ."
From the foregoing provisions of P.D. No. 1508, it is clear that the
barangay court or Lupon has jurisdiction over disputes between
parties who are actual residents of barangays located in the same
city or municipality or adjoining barangays of different cities or
municipalities.
In the instant case, petitioners alleged in their complaint that they
are residents of Barrio Paliwas, Municipality of Obando, Bulacan
while defendants' residences are as follows: Sagraria Lozada and
Jorge Candido at Javier Compound, Bo. Sto. Nio, Taytay, Rizal;
Virginia and Maximina Candido at Road 2, Doa Faustina Village,
San Bartolome, Novaliches, Quezon City; Eduardo Candido at 388
Barrio Paliwas, Municipality of Obando, Bulacan; Mila Contreras at
San Pascual, Municipality of Obando, Bulacan; and the Registrar of
Deeds of Bulacan at his official address in Bulacan.
The Lupon of the barangay ordinarily has the authority to settle
amicably all types of disputes involving parties who actually reside
in the same municipality, city or province. Where the complaint
does not state that it is one of the excepted cases, or it does not

allege prior availment of said conciliation process, or it does not


have a certification that no conciliation or settlement had been
reached by the parties, the case could be dismissed on motion. 8 In
the instant case, the fact that petitioners and private respondent,
reside in the same municipality of Obando, Bulacan does not justify
compulsory conciliation under P.D. No. 1508 where the other codefendants reside in barangays of different municipalities, cities
and provinces.
Petitioners can immediately file the case in court. It would not serve
the purpose of the law in discouraging litigation among members of
the same barangay through conciliation where the other parties
reside in barangays other than the one where the Lupon is located
and where the dispute arose.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the appealed Orders of
the trial court dated July 10, 1991 and August 9, 1991 dismissing
Civil Case No. 697-M-90 in so far as defendant Mila Contreras is
concerned are hereby annulled and set aside. The case is
remanded to the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan for further
proceedings and to REINSTATE private respondent Mila Contreras as
defendant in Civil Case No. 697-M-90. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C .J ., Padilla, Regalado and Campos, Jr., JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 115213 December 19, 1995


WILSON DIU and DORCITA DIU, petitioners,
vs.

COURT OF APPEALS, PETER LYNDON BUSHNELL and


PATRICIA PAGBA, respondents.

REGALADO, J.:
Before us is an appeal by certiorari from the judgment of the Court
of Appeals 1 setting aside the decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Naval, Biliran, Branch 16, 2 without prejudice to the refiling of the
case by petitioners after due compliance with the provisions of
Presidential Decree No. 1508, otherwise known as the
"Katarungang Pambarangay Law."
Prefatorily, the Court desires to digress and call attention to the
lamentable saga of delay in the dispensation of justice and the
regrettable abuse of judicial processes exemplified by this case.
For, if just to collect an indebtedness of P7,862.55 incurred way
back in 1988, the proceedings had to go through all the rungs of
the judicial ladder and still present the prospect of hereafter
infringing again upon the time of this Court and three other courts,
such protraction being manipulated by trifling with the very law
which ironically was intended to prevent such delay, then the
bench and the bar should soberly reflect thereon and now take
stock of themselves. Indeed, it is not improbable that there are
other cases agonizing under the same ennui created by our courts.
Coming now to the case at hand, it appears that on several
occasions from January 8, 1988 up to and until April 18, 1989,
private respondent Patricia Pagba purchased on credit various
articles of merchandise from petitioners' store at Naval, Biliran, all
valued at P7,862.55, as evidenced by receipts of goods marked as
Annexes "A" to "O" of petitioner's Manifestation filed in the trial
court, dated August 9, 1991. Private respondents failed to pay
despite repeated demands.
Petitioners brought the matter before the Barangay Chairman of
Naval and the latter set the case for hearing, but private
respondents failed to appear. When the case was again set for
hearing, the parties appeared but they failed to reach an amicable

settlement.
Accordingly,
the barangay chairman
issued
a
Certification to File Action. 3Petitioners then filed their complaint for
a sum of money before the Municipal Trial Court of Naval.
Private respondents, in their Answer, 4 while admitting the
indebtedness to petitioner, interposed two counterclaims, namely,
(1) one for P6,227.00 as alleged expenses for maintenance and
repair of the boat belonging to petitioners, and (b) another for
P12,000.00 representing the cost of the two tires which petitioners
allegedly misappropriated. Private respondents likewise alleged
that despite the confrontations before the barangay chairman,
petitioners refused to pay their just and valid obligations to private
respondent and her husband.
Aside
from
petitioners
claim
and
private
respondents'
counterclaims, the Municipal Trial Court of Naval also resolved the
issue on whether or not there was compliance with the provisions
of Presidential Decree No. 1508 on conciliation. In resolving the said
issue,
the
trial
court
relied
on
the
case
of Tijam
5
vs. Sibonghanoy which held that:
While petitioners could have prevented the trial court
from exercising jurisdiction over the case by
seasonably taking exemption thereto, they instead
invoked the very same jurisdiction by filing an
answer and seeking affirmative relief from it. What is
more, they participated in the trial of the case by
cross-examining the respondent. Upon this premise,
petitioner cannot now be allowed belatedly to adopt
an inconsistent posture by attacking the jurisdiction
of the court to which they had submitted themselves
voluntarily. 6
However, said lower court dismissed the complaint by ruling
against the admissibility of Exhibits "E-1" to "E-15", which are the
receipts of good marked as Annexes "A" to "O" of petitioners'
manifestation therein, for not having been properly identified in
court. 7

On private respondents' counterclaims, said trial court also ruled


that the same had been settled when the contending parties
entered into a compromise agreement which was approved on
January 9, 1989 by the Regional Trial Court of Naval, Branch 16, in
another action between them, that is, Civil Case No. B-0719. 8
Due to the dismissal of the complaint, petitioners appealed to the
aforementioned Regional Trial Court pursuant to Section 22 of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 129. Said appellate court, however, did not find it
necessary to pass upon the issue of the alleged non-compliance
with Presidential Decree No. 1508 but, instead, decided the appeal
on the merits. Modifying the decision of the lower court, the
Regional Trial Court held that:
The case should have proceeded to its conclusion
under the Revised Rules on Summary Procedure and
the regular procedure prescribed in the Rules of
Court applies to the special cases only in a
suppletory capacity insofar as they are not
inconsistent. . . .
The claim of the plaintiff is less than P10,000.00. It
properly falls under the Rule on Summary Procedure.
The only pleadings allowed are complaints,
compulsory counterclaims and cross claims pleaded
in the answer, and the answers thereto. The case
could have been decided based on affidavits of the
witnesses and other evidence on the factual issues
defined in the order of the Court, after the
preliminary conference, together with the position
papers setting forth the law and the facts relied upon
by the parties.
The need for a formal offer, identification and crossexamination on Exhibits "E-1" to "E-15" was not
necessary. The said exhibits were inadmissible (sic).
The receipts constituted evidence of indebtedness
and their possession by the plaintiff at the
commencement of the suit gives rise to the legal

presumption that the debts in the total amount of


P7,862.66 have not been paid.
Where, under the contract of sale, the ownership of
the goods has passed to the buyer and he wrongfully
neglects or refuses to pay for the goods according to
the terms of the contract of sale, the seller may
maintain an action against him for the price of the
goods. 9
Accordingly, it rendered judgment in favor of herein petitioners and
ordered private respondent Patricia Pagba to pay the former the
amount of P7,862.55 plus legal interest from July, 1991, P1,000.00
as attorney fees, and the costs of suit.
Private respondents then went to the Court of Appeals, raising just
two issues, viz.: (1) whether or not the Regional Trial Court erred in
not making a factual finding that herein petitioners did not comply
with Presidential Decree No. 1508; and (2) whether or not said
Regional Trial Court erred in not dismissing the appeal or case for
non-compliance with the mandatory provisions of Presidential
Decree No. 1508. 10
Respondent Court of Appeals set aside the judgment of the
Regional Trial Court, on the ground that there had been no
compliance with Presidential Decree No. 1508, with this
ratiocination:
It is, therefore, clear that if efforts of the barangay
captain to settle the dispute fails, the Pangkat ng
Tagapagkasundo shall be constituted with the end in
view of exploring all possibilities of amicable
settlement. If no conciliation or settlement has been
reached pursuant to the aforesaid rules, the matter
may then be brought to the regular courts.
In the case at bar, it has been established that there
was no valid conciliation proceeding between the
parties. The efforts of the barangay captain of
Catmon, Naval, Biliran to mediate the dispute

between the parties having failed, the Pangkat ng


Tagapamayapa should have been constituted for
purposes of settling the matter. However, the
Pangkat was not constituted, instead, a Certification
to File Action was issued by the barangay captain in
favor of respondent spouses Diu. In the same case
of Ramos vs. Court of Appeals, 174 SCRA 690, the
Supreme Court ruled that the "Punong Barangay has
no right to say that referral to the Pangkat was no
longer necessary merely because he himself has
failed to work out an agreement between the
petitioner and private respondent. Dispute should not
end with the mediation proceeding before the
Punong Barangay because of his failure to effect a
settlement . . . . In Bejer vs. Court of Appeals, 169
SCRA 566, it was held that "failure to avail of
conciliation process under P.D. 1508, . . . renders the
complaint vulnerable to a timely motion to dismiss."
Inasmuch as petitioner has pleaded in his answer the
lack of cause of action of respondent, objection to
the complaint has been timely made. 11
The basic issue to be resolved in the instant petition is whether or
not the confrontations before the BarangayChairman of Naval
satisfied the requirement therefor in Presidential Decree No. 1508.
This Court finds for petitioners.
It must be noted that Presidential Decree No. 1508 has been
repealed by codification in the Local Government Code of
1991 12 which took effect on January 1, 1992. The basic complaint
was filed by petitioners before the trial court on July 10, 1991
before the effectivity of the Local Government Code. Nevertheless,
Sections 4 and 6 of the former law have been substantially
reproduced in Sections 410 (b) and 412, respectively, of the latter
law. The pertinent provisions read as follows:
Sec. 410. PROCEDURE FOR AMICABLE SETTLEMENT.
(b) . . . . If he (lupon chairman) fails in his
mediation effort within fifteen (15) days from the first
meeting of the parties before him, he shall forthwith

set a date for the constitution of the pangkat in


accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
Sec. 412. CONCILIATION. (a) Precondition to filing
of Complaint in Court. No complaint . . . shall be
filed or instituted in court . . . unless there has been a
confrontation of the parties before the lupon
chairman or the pangkat, and that no conciliation or
settlement has been reached as certified by the
lupon secretary or pangkat secretary as attested to
by the lupon or pangkat chairman . . . .
In the case at bar, it is admitted that the parties did have
confrontations before the Barangay Chairman of Naval although
they were not sent to the pangkat as the same was not constituted.
Their meetings with said barangaychairman were not fruitful as no
amicable settlement was reached. This prompted the issuance of
the following Certification to File Action. 13
This is to certify that:
Respondent,
Patricia
Pagba
admitted
her
indebtedness with complainant but she refused to
pay because according to her, complainant has also
an unsettled accounts (sic) with her husband. Hence
no settlement/conciliation was reached and therefore
the corresponding complaint for the dispute may now
be filed in court.
Date(d) this 10th day of July 1991.
(Sgd.) JHONY C. JEREZ
Lupon Pangkat Chairman
Attested:
(Sgd.) IRENEO DOCALLOS
Lupon/Pangkat Secretary

According to private respondent, however, the above certification is


"falsified" since no pangkat was constituted. She, therefore, insists
that petitioners have not complied with the mandatory provision of
Presidential Decree No. 1508 on compulsory arbitration. We
disagree.
While no pangkat was constituted, it is not denied that the parties
met at the office of the barangay chairman for possible
settlement. 14 The efforts of the barangay chairman, however,
proved futile as no agreement was reached. Although
no pangkat was formed, we believe that there was substantial
compliance with the law. It is noteworthy that under Section 412 of
the Local Government Code aforequoted, the confrontation before
the lupon chairman OR the pangkat is sufficient compliance with
the pre-condition for filing the case in court.
This is true notwithstanding the mandate of Section 410 (b) of the
same law that the barangay chairman shall constitute a pangkat if
he fails in his mediation efforts. Section 410 (b) should be
construed together with Section 412, as well as the circumstances
obtaining in and peculiar to the case. On this score, it is significant
that thebarangay chairman or punong barangay is himself the
chairman of the lupon under the Local Government Code.15
From the foregoing facts, it is undeniable that there was substantial
compliance with Presidential Decree No. 1508 which does not
require
strict
technical
compliance
with
its
procedural
requirements. Under the factual antecedents, it cannot be said that
the failure of the parties to appear before the pangkat caused any
prejudice to the case for private respondents considering that they
already refused conciliation before the barangay chairman and, as
will hereafter be discussed, their sham insistence for a meeting
before the pangkat is merely a ploy for further delay. We are thus
forced to remind them that technicalities should not be made to
desert their true role in our justice system, and should not be used
as obstructions therein.
The court a quo was likewise correct in invoking the doctrine
in Tijam and, as indicated by the factual scenario in this case,
private respondents are clearly in estoppel to assail the jurisdiction

of the two lower courts. It is also worth stressing that while the case
was filed when Presidential Decree No. 1508 was still in force, the
procedural provisions of the Local Government Code, which we
have earlier noted as being supportive of the validity of the
conciliation proceedings, are also applicable to this case. Statutes
regulating procedure in courts are applicable to actions pending
and undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural laws are
retrospective in that sense. 16
To indulge private respondents in their stratagem will not only
result in a circuitous procedure but will necessarily entail undue
and further delay and injustice. This is inevitable if this Court
should dismiss the complaint and require the parties to meet before
the pangkat, only to bring the case all over again through the
hierarchy of courts and ultimately back to us for decision on the
merits. Obviously, this is the game plan of private respondents. For,
when private respondents appealed to respondent court, they did
not at all assail the propriety or correctness of the judgment of the
Regional Trial Court holding them liable to petitioners for the sum of
money involved. Such primary substantive issue, therefore, has
been laid to rest, but private respondents would wish to keep the
case alive merely on a conjured procedural issue invoking their
supposed right to confrontation before the pangkat.
However, from the very start of this action, private respondents
failed to show or evince any honest indication that they were
willing to settle their obligations with petitioners, notwithstanding
the efforts of the latter to submit the matter to conciliation. It is,
therefore, quite obvious that their insistence on technical
compliance with the requirements of the barangay conciliation
process is a dilatory maneuver. This is an evident and inevitable
conclusion since the main argument of respondents in this petition
is only the supposed failure of petitioners to comply with
the barangay conciliatory procedure and not the denial or
repudiation of their indebtedness.
We do not agree with the findings of respondent appellate court
that inasmuch as private respondents pleaded in their answer the
alleged lack of cause of action of petitioners, an objection to the
complaint had been timely made. It will be readily observed that

said defense was only one of the six affirmative defenses


cryptically alleged in single short sentences in private respondents'
Answer in the court a quo, running the implausible gamut from
supposed defects in parties to res judicata and up to capacity to
sue, without any statement of the facts on which they would rely to
support such drivel. This calculated travesty of the rules on
pleadings betrays the ulterior motives of private respondents and
cannot be countenanced.
The failure of private respondents to specifically allege that there
was no compliance with the barangayconciliation procedure
constitutes a waiver of that defense. All that they alleged in their
Answer in the trial court was that "the complaint states no cause of
action" without giving even the semblance of any reason to support
or explain that allegation. On the other hand, they admitted the
confrontations before the barangay chairman in paragraph 13 of
their Answer. 17
Since private respondents failed to duly raise that issue, their
defense founded thereon is deemed waived, especially since they
actually did not pursue the issue before the case was set for
hearing. Also, the conciliation procedure under Presidential Decree
No. 1508 is not a jurisdictional requirement and non-compliance
therewith cannot affect the jurisdiction which the lower courts had
already acquired over the subject matter and private respondents
as defendants therein. 18
ACCORDINGLY, the instant petition is GRANTED. The judgment of
respondent Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 30962 is hereby
SET ASIDE, and the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Naval,
Biliran, Branch 16, in Civil Case No. B-0842 is hereby REINSTATED,
with costs against private respondents.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Puno, Mendoza and Francisco, JJ., concur

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 96914 July 23, 1992
CECILIA U. LEDESMA, petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, and JOSE T.
DIZON, respondents.
NOCON, J.:
Petitioner Cecilia U. Ledesma prays before this Court for the
reversal of the Decision of the respondent Court of Appeals of
August 30, 1990 1 ordering the dismissal of her ejectment
complaint before the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court for lack of
cause of action due to non-compliance with Sections 6 and 9 of P.D.
1508 (Katarungang Pambarangay Law) as well as the Resolution of

January 7, 1991
said Decision.

denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration of

issued by her psychiatrist, copies of which are


attached as Annexes "E-E10" of the said Petition.

The facts of this case as summarized by the petitioner in her


Memorandum are as follows:

Due to the stubborn refusal of the private respondent


to vacate the premises, petitioner was constrained to
retain the services of counsel to initiate this
ejectment proceeding. 3

Petitioner is the owner-lessor of an apartment


building located at 800-802 Remedios Street, Malate,
Manila. Two (2) units of said apartment building were
leased (now being unlawfully occupied) to private
respondent at monthly rates of P3,450.00 for the
unit/apartment located at 800 Remedios Street,
Malate, Manila and P2,300.00 for the unit/apartment
located at 802 Remedios Street, Malate, Manila,
respectively. . . .
Said lease was originally covered by written
contracts of lease both dated December 10, 1984
and except for the rates and duration, the terms and
conditions of said contracts were impliedly renewed
on a "month-to-month" basis pursuant to Article
1670 of the Civil Code.
One of the terms and conditions of the said Contract
of Lease, that of monthly rental payments, was
violated by private respondent and that as of
October 31, 1988, said private respondent has
incurred arrears for both units in the total sum of
P14,039.00 for which letters of demand were sent to,
and received by, private respondent.
Upon failure of private respondent to honor the
demand letters, petitioner referred the matter to the
Barangay for conciliation which eventually issued a
certification to file action. Petitioner was assisted by
her son, Raymond U. Ledesma, (who is not a lawyer)
during the barangay proceeding as she was suffering
from recurring psychological and emotional ailment
as can be seen from the receipts and prescriptions

The Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 10, Manila, rendered a decision


on June 21, 1989 ordering private respondent to vacate the
premises, to pay rentals falling due after May 1989 and to pay
attorney's fees in the amount of P2,500.00. 4 The Regional Trial
Court of Manila, Branch IX, on appeal, affirmed the MTC ruling
except for the award of attorney's fees which it reduced to
P1,000.00. 5
Private respondent, however, found favor with the respondent
Court of Appeals when he elevated the case in a Petition for
Review, when it ruled, thus:
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Decision dated October 13,
1989 of the RTC of Manila, Br. IX in Civil Case No. 8949672 is reversed and set aside and the Complaint
for Ejectment against petitioner is dismissed for lack
of cause of action. No costs. 6
Thus, this appeal, raising several assignments of error, namely,
that the Court of Appeals erred
1. In holding that private respondent raised the issue
of non-compliance with Sections 6 and 9 of P.D. 1508
in the lower court when in fact and in truth his
answer and position paper failed to do so, contrary to
evidence on record;
2. In failing to consider that private respondent had
waived his right to question the lack of cause of
action of the complaint, if there is any, contrary to
law, established jurisprudence, and evidence on
record;

3. In giving undue weight and credence to the selfserving allegations of the private respondent that
summons was not served him, contrary to law,
established jurisprudence and evidence on record.
4. In disregarding the well-known principle of law that
barangay authorities are presumed to have
performed their official duties and to have acted
regularly in issuing the certificate to file action and
grossly and manifestly erred in making an opposite
conclusion to this effect, contrary to law, established
jurisprudence and evidence on record.
5. In not holding that the settlement was repudiated,
contrary to law and evidence on record.
6. In not affirming the judgment rendered by the
Metropolitan Trial Court and Regional Trial Court
below.
Petitioner assails private respondent for raising the issue of noncompliance with Sections 6 and 9 of P.D. 1508 only in his petition
for review with the appellate court and which mislead the court to
erroneously dismiss her complaint for ejectment.

xxx xxx xxx


while Section 9 states that:
Sec. 9. Appearance of parties in person. In all
proceedings provided for herein, the parties must
appear in person without the assistance of
counsel/representative, with the exception of minors
and incompetents who may be assisted by their next
of kin who are not lawyers.
Petitioner submits that said issue, not having been raised by
private respondent in the court below, cannot be raised for the first
time on appeal, specially in the Court of Appeals, citing Saludes
vs. Pajarillo. 7 Private respondent had waived said objection,
following the line of reasoning in Royales vs. Intermediate Appelate
Court. 8
Private respondent denies having waived the defenses of noncompliance with Sections 6 and 9 of P.D. 1508. His Answer before
the Metropolitan Trial Court, specifically paragraphs 4, 7, & 8,
substantially raised the fact of non-compliance by petitioner with
Sections 6 and 9 of P.D. 1508 and consequently, subjected
petitioner's complaint to dismissal for lack of cause of action, to
wit:

Section 6 of P.D. 1508 states:


xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 6. Conciliation pre-condition to filing of
complaint. No complaint, petition, action or
proceeding involving any matter within the authority
of the Lupon as provided in Section 2 hereof shall be
filed or instituted in court or any other government
office for adjudication unless there has been a
confrontation of the parties before the Lupon
Chairman or the Pangkat and no conciliation or
settlement has been reached as certified by the
Lupon Secretary or the Pangkat Secretary, attested
by the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman, or unless the
settlement has been repudiated. . . .

4. Answering defendant denies the allegations of


paragraph 8, the truth of the matter being that he
was not duly summoned nor subpoenaed by the
Barangay Chairman, who issued the alluded
certification, to appear for hearing. 9
xxx xxx xxx
7. Plaintiff has no cause of action against answering
defendant.

8. The certification to file action (annex D of the


complaint) was improperly or irregularly issued as
the defendant was never summoned nor subpoenaed
by the Barangay Chairman to appear for hearing in
connection with the alleged complaint of the plaintiff.
In effect the mandatory provision of P.D. 1508 was
not complied with warranting the dismissal of the
instant complaint.
xxx xxx xxx

10

We do not agree with petitioner that the issue of non-compliance


with Sections 6 and 9 of P.D. 1508 was raised only for the first time
in the Court of Appeals. When private respondent stated that he
was never summoned or subpoenaed by the Barangay Chairman,
he, in effect, was stating that since he was never summoned, he
could not appear in person for the needed confrontation of the
parties before the Lupon Chairman for conciliation and/or amicable
settlement. Without the mandatory personal confrontation, no
complaint could be filed with the MTC. Private respondent's
allegation in paragraph 4 of his Answer that he was never
summoned or subpoenaed by the Barangay Chairman; that plaintiff
has no cause of action against him as alleged in paragraph 7 of the
Answer; and that the certification to file action was improperly
issued in view of the foregoing allegations thereby resulting in noncompliance with the mandatory requirements of P.D. No. 1508, as
stated in paragraph 8 of the Answer are in substantial compliance
with the raising of said issues and/or objections in the court below.
Petitioner would like to make it appear to this Court that she
appeared before the Lupon Chairman to confront private
respondent.
She
stated
in
her
Petition 11 and
her
12
Memorandum that:
Upon failure of private respondent to honor the
demand letters, petitioner referred the matter to the
barangay for conciliation which eventually issued a
certification to file action. Petitioner was assisted by
her son, Raymond U. Ledesma, (who is not a lawyer)
during the barangay proceeding as she was suffering

from recurring psychological and emotional ailment


as can be seen from the receipt and prescriptions
issued by her psychiatrist copies of which are
attached
herewith
as
Annexes
"E-E10."
However, as found out by the respondent court:
We agree with the petitioner that private respondent
Cecile Ledesma failed to comply with section 6 of P.D.
1508. The record of the case is barren showing
compliance by the private respondent. Indeed, the
documentary evidence of the private respondent
herself attached to the complaint buttresses this
conclusion. They show that it is not the private
respondent but her son. Raymund U. Ledesma, and
her lawyer, Atty. Epifania Navarro who dealt with the
petitioner regarding their dispute. Thus, the demand
letter dated October 18, 1988 sent to the petitioner
for payment of rentals in the sum of P14,039.00 was
signed by Raymund Ledesma. On the other hand, the
demand letter dated November 14, 1988 was signed
by Atty. Epifania Navarro. More telling is the
Certification to File Action signed by Barangay
Chairman, Alberto A. Solis where it appears that the
complainant is Raymund U. Ledesma and not the
private respondent. 13
As stated earlier, Section 9 of P.D. 1508 mandates personal
confrontation of the parties because:
. . . a personal confrontation between the parties
without
the
intervention
of
a
counsel
or
representative would generate spontaneity and a
favorable disposition to amicable settlement on the
part of the disputants. In other words, the said
procedure is deemed conducive to the successful
resolution of the dispute at the barangay level. 14

Petitioner tries to show that her failure to personally appear before


the barangay Chairman was because of her recurring psychological
ailments. But for the entire year of 1988 15 specifically
September to December 6 there is no indication at all that
petitioner went to see her psychiatrist for consultation. The only
conclusion is that 1988 was a lucid interval for petitioner. There
was, therefore, no excuse then for her non-appearance at the
Lupon Chairman's office.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 117005 June 19, 1997


Petitioner, not having shown that she is incompetent, cannot be
represented by counsel or even by attorney-in-fact who is next of
kin. 16
As explained by the Minister of Justice with whom We agree:
To ensure compliance with the requirement of
personal confrontation between the parties, and
thereby, the effectiveness of the barangay
conciliation proceedings as a mode of dispute
resolution, the above-quoted provision is couched in
mandatory language. Moreover, pursuant to the
familiar maxim in statutory construction dictating
that "expressio unius est exclusio alterius", the
express exceptions made regarding minors and
incompetents must be construed as exclusive of all
others not mentioned. 17
Petitioner's non-compliance with Secs. 6 and 9 of P.D. 1508 legally
barred her from pursuing the ejectment case in the MTC of
Manila. 18 Having arrived at this conclusion, there is no need for Us
to discuss the other issues involved.
WHEREFORE, the questioned decision and resolution of the
respondent Court are affirmed in toto with treble costs against
petitioner.

CARLITO D. CORPUZ, petitioner,


vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (SIXTEENTH DIVISION) and
JUANITO ALVARADO, respondents.
ROMERO, J.:
Petitioner Carlito Corpuz questions the decision of the Court of
Appeals 1 affirming the decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila, Branch 10, dismissing the petition for review in Civil Case
No. 92-62869.
Corpuz filed an action for unlawful detainer against private
respondent Juanito Alvarado with the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Manila, Branch 6, docketed as Civil Case No. 138532, for recovery
of possession of the room being occupied by the latter, which
Corpuz' children allegedly needed for their own use.
Alvarado and Corpuz were two of the tenants of a certain Lorenzo
Barredo who, in May 1988, decided to sell his property to the
tenants. Due to economic difficulties, however, Alvarado and the
other lessees executed an "Affidavit of Waiver" granting Barredo
the right to sell his house to any person who can afford to purchase
the same. Consequently, Barredo sold his house to Corpuz for
P37,500.00. As a result of the sale, a tenancy relationship was
established between Corpuz and Alvarado.

SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Padilla and Regalado, JJ., concur.

In October 1991, Corpuz sent a written notice to Alvarado


demanding that he vacate the room which he was occupying
because the children of Corpuz needed it for their own use.

Alvarado refused to vacate the room as demanded, prompting


Corpuz to seek his ejectment.
In his answer, Alvarado raised two major defenses, to wit: (1) the
alleged "Affidavit of Waiver" executed between him and Barredo
was a forgery; and (2) the dispute was not referred to the Lupong
Tagapayapa.
Finding the defenses of Alvarado to be without merit, the MTC of
Manila handed down on August 11, 1992 a decision ordering
Alvarado to vacate the room. 2
Feeling aggrieved, Alvarado appealed to the RTC. On March 11,
1993, said court rendered its decision 3 which, in effect, reversed
the MTC's decision on the ground that the purported sale between
Corpuz and Barredo was the subject of a controversy pending
before the National Housing Authority (NHA) which must be
resolved first by said agency. It also concluded that the "Affidavit of
Waiver" executed by Alvarado and Barredo was a forgery.
Consequently, it ordered the dismissal of the case for unlawful
detainer, and ruled that Alvarado cannot be legally expelled from
the subject premises.
His motion for reconsideration of said decision having been denied
for lack of merit by the RTC 4 on July 16, 1993, Corpuz elevated his
case to the Court of Appeals. The appellate court, however, found
no reversible error in the assailed judgment and affirmed the same
in its entirety in its assailed decision dated July 14, 1994. 5 A
subsequent motion for reconsideration was likewise denied by the
Court of Appeals in its resolution dated September 1,
1994. 6 Hence, this petition.
The main issues presented in this petition is whether Corpuz'
unlawful detainer suit filed before the MTC against Alvarado should
be suspended until the resolution of the case lodged in the NHA
impugning the sale of said property, and whether the "Affidavit of
Waiver" between Corpuz and Barredo was authentic. Corpuz
maintains that the mere assertion challenging his ownership over
the said property is not a sufficient ground to divest the MTC of its
exclusive jurisdiction. 7

The petition is impressed with merit.


It is elementary that the MTC has exclusive jurisdiction over
ejectment cases. 8 As the law now stands, the only issue to be
resolved in forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases is the
physical or material possession over the real property, that is,
possession de facto. 9
In the recent case of Refugia v. Court of Appeals,
ruled that:

10

however, we

In the case of De la Santa vs. Court of Appeals, et.


al., this Court, in making a distinction between the
reception of evidence and the resolution of the issue
of ownership, held that the inferior court may look
into the evidence of title or ownership and
possession de jure insofar as said evidence would
indicate or determine the nature of possession. It
cannot, however, resolve the issue of ownership, that
is, by declaring who among the parties is the true
and lawful owner of the subject property, because
the resolution of said issue would effect an
adjudication on ownership which is not sanctioned in
the summary action for unlawful detainer. With this
as a premise and taking into consideration the
amendment introduced by Batas Pambansa Blg. 129,
it may be suggested that inferior courts are now
conditionally vested with adjudicatory power over the
issue of title or ownership raised by the parties in an
ejectment suit.
Consequently, since the present petition involves the issue of
possession intertwined with the issue of ownership (i.e., the
controversy pending in the NHA), the doctrinal pronouncement
in Refugia is applicable.
Parenthetically speaking, the issue raised in this petition is far from
novel. The prevailing doctrine is that suits or actions for the
annulment of sale, title or document do not abate any ejectment
action respecting the same property. 11

In Wilmor Auto Supply Construction Company Corporations, et


al. v. Court of Appeals, 12 Justice (now Chief Justice) Andres Narvasa
outlined the following cases involving the annulment of the title or
document over the property which should not be considered in the
abatement of an ejectment suit, to wit:
Neither do suits for annulment of sale, or title, or
document affecting property operate to abate
ejectment actions respecting the same property
(Salinas v. Navarro [annulment of deed of sale with
assumption of mortgage and/or to declare the same
an equitable mortgage], 126 SCRA 167 [1983]; Ang
Ping v. RTC [annulment of sale and title], 154 SCRA
153 [1987]; Caparros v. CA [annulment of title], 170
SCRA 758 [1989]; Dante v. Sison [annulment of sale
with damages], 174 SCRA 517; Galgala v. Benguet
Consolidated, Inc. [annulment of document] , 177
SCRA 288 [1989].
Clearly, the underlying reason for the above rulings is for the
defendant not to trifle with the ejectment suit, which is summary in
nature, by the simple expedient of asserting ownership thereon.
Thus, the controversy pending before the NHA for the annulment of
the Deed of Sale and assailing the authenticity of the "Affidavit of
Joint Waiver" cannot deter the MTC from taking cognizance of the
ejectment suit merely for the purpose of determining who has a
better possessory right among the parties.

We are not persuaded. This defense was only stated in a single


general short sentence in Alvarado's answer. We have held in Dui
v. Court of Appeals 14 that failure of a party to specifically allege the
fact that there was no compliance with the Barangay conciliation
procedure constitutes a waiver of that defense. A perusal of
Alvarado's answer reveals that no reason or explanation was given
to support his allegation, which is deemed a mere general
averment.
In any went, the proceeding outlined in P.D. 1508 is not a
jurisdictional requirement and non-compliance therewith cannot
affect the jurisdiction which the lower court had already acquired
over the subject matter and the parties therein.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed
decision dated July 14, 1994, of respondent Court of Appeals is
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the judgment of the
Metropolitan Trial Court, Manila, Branch 6, in Civil Case No. 138532CV dated August 11, 1992, is hereby REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.
Regalado, Puno, Mendoza and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.

It may be stressed that Alvarado is not without remedy. We have


ruled that a judgment rendered in an ejectment case shall not bar
an action between the same parties respecting title to the land or
building nor shall it be conclusive as to the facts therein found in a
case between the same parties upon a different cause of action
involving possession. 13

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

Furthermore, Alvarado raises the issue in the instant petition that


the ejectment suit was not referred to the Lupon Tagapayapa as
required by Presidential Decree No. 1508.

FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 132624

March 13, 2000

FIDEL M. BAARES II, LILIA C. VALERIANO, EDGAR M.


BAARES, EMILIA GATCHALIAN and FIDEL
BESARINO, petitioners,
vs.
ELIZABETH BALISING, ROGER ALGER, MERLINDA CAPARIC,
EUSTAQUIO R. TEJONES, ANDREA SAYAM, JENNY ISLA,
WILMA ROGATERO, PABLITO ALEGRIA, ROLANDO CANON,
EDITHA ESTORES, EDMUNDO DOROYA, TERESITA GUION,
DANNY ANDARAYAN, LOURDES CADAY, ROGELIO MANO,
EVANGELINE CABILTES AND PUBLIC PROSECUTOR OF RIZAL,
Antipolo, Rizal, respondents.

The municipal trial court issued an Order, dated July 17,


19958 denying petitioners' motion to dismiss on the ground that
they failed to seasonably invoke the non-referral of the cases to the
Lupong Tagapamayapa or Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo. It added
that such failure to invoke non-referral of the case to the Lupon
amounted to a waiver by petitioners of the right to use the said
ground as basis for dismissing the cases.9
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the aforementioned
Order, claiming that nowhere in the Revised Rules of Court is it
stated that the ground of prematurity shall be deemed waived if
not raised seasonably in a motion to dismiss. 10

KAPUNAN, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo, Rizal, Branch 71
dated August 26, 1997. 1
The antecedent facts are as follows:
Petitioners Fidel M. Baares II, Lilia C. Valeriano, Edgar M. Baares,
Emilia Gatchialian and Fidel Besarino were the accused in sixteen
criminal cases for estafa2 filed by the private respondents. The
cases were assigned to the Municipal Trial Court of Antipolo, Rizal,
Branch II.
After the petitioners were arraigned and entered their plea of not
guilty,3 they filed a Motion to Dismiss the aforementioned cases on
the ground that the filing of the same was premature, in view of the
failure of the parties to undergo conciliation proceedings before the
Lupong
Tagapamayapa
of
Barangay
Dalig,
Antipolo,
Rizal.4Petitioners averred that since they lived in the same
barangay as private respondents, and the amount involved in each
of the cases did not exceed Two Hundred Pesos (P200.00), the said
cases were required under Section 412 in relation to Section 408 of
the Local Government Code of 1991 5 and Section 18 of the 1991
Revised Rule on Summary Procedure 6 to be referred to the Lupong
Tagapamayapa or Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo of the barangay
concerned for conciliation proceedings before being filed in court. 7

On November 13, 1995, the municipal trial court issued an Order


dismissing the sixteen criminal cases against petitioners without
prejudice, pursuant to Section 18 of the 1991 Revised Rule on
Summary Procedure. 11
More than two months later, on February 26, 1996, private
respondents through counsel, filed a motion to revive the
abovementioned criminal cases against petitioners, stating that the
requirement of referral to the Lupon for conciliation had already
been complied with. 12 Attached to the motion was a Certification,
dated February 13, 1996 from the Lupong Tagapamayapa of
Barangay Dalig, Antipolo, Rizal 13 stating that the parties appeared
before said body regarding the charges of estafa filed by private
respondents against petitioners but they failed to reach an
amicable settlement with respect thereto. Petitioners filed a
comment and opposition to motion to revive claiming that the
Order of the municipal trial court, dated November 13, 1995
dismissing the cases had long become final and executory; hence,
private respondents should have re-filed the cases instead of filing
a motion to revive 14.
On March 18, 1996, the municipal trial court issued an
Order 15 granting private respondents' motion to revive. Petitioners
filed a motion for reconsideration 16 of the aforementioned Order
which was denied by the municipal trial court. 17

Petitioners thereafter filed with the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo,


Rizal, a petition for certiorari, injunction and prohibition assailing
the Order, dated March 18, 1996 of the municipal trial court. They
claimed that the said Order, dated November 13, 1995 dismissing
the criminal cases against them had long become final and
executory considering that the prosecution did not file any motion
for reconsideration of said Order. 18 In response thereto, private
respondents filed their Comment, 19 arguing that the motion to
revive the said cases was in accordance with law, particularly
Section 18 of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure. 20
After the parties submitted additional pleadings to support their
respective contentions 21, the regional trial court rendered the
assailed decision denying the petition for certiorari, injunction and
prohibition, stating as follows:
Evaluating the allegations contained in the petition and
respondents' comment thereto, the Court regrets that it
cannot agree with the petitioner (sic). As shown by the
records the 16 criminal cases were dismissed without
prejudice at the instance of the petitioners for failure of the
private respondent to comply with the mandatory
requirement of PD 1508. Since the dismissal of said cases
was without prejudice, the Court honestly believes that the
questioned order has not attained finality at all.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby
DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.

22

The regional trial court, likewise, denied petitioners' motion for


reconsideration 23 of the aforementioned decision for lack of
merit. 24

1. Whether or not an order dismissing a case or action


without prejudice may attain finality if not appealed within
the reglementary period, as in the present case;
2. Whether or not the action or case that had been
dismissed without prejudice may be revived by motion after
the order of dismissal had become final and executory; and
3. Whether or not the court that had originally acquired
jurisdiction of the case that was dismissed without prejudice
still have jurisdiction to act on the motion to revive after the
order of dismissal has become final and executory. 25
Petitioners contend that an order dismissing a case or action
without prejudice may attain finality if not appealed within the
reglementary period. Hence, if no motion to revive the case is filed
within the reglementary fifteen-day period within which to appeal
or to file a motion for reconsideration of the court's order, the order
of dismissal becomes final and the case may only be revived by the
filing of a new complaint or information. 26 Petitioners further argue
that after the order of dismissal of a case attains finality, the court
which issued the same loses jurisdiction thereon and, thus, does
not have the authority to act on any motion of the parties with
respect to said case. 27
On the other hand, private respondents submit that cases covered
by the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure such as the
criminal cases against petitioners are not covered by the rule
regarding finality of decisions and orders under the Revised Rules
of Court. They insist that cases dismissed without prejudice for noncompliance with the requirement of conciliation before the Lupong
Tagapamayapa or Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo of the barangay
concerned may be revived summarily by the filing of a motion to
revive regardless of the number of days which has lapsed after the
dismissal of the case. 28

Hence, this petition.


Petitioners' contentions are meritorious.
Petitioners raise the following questions of law:
A "final order" issued by a court has been defined as one which
disposes of the subject matter in its entirety or terminates a

particular proceeding or action, leaving nothing else to be done but


to enforce by execution what has been determined by the
court. 29 As distinguished therefrom, an "interlocutory order" is one
which does not dispose of a case completely, but leaves something
more to be adjudicated upon. 30
This Court has previously held that an order dismissing a case
without prejudice is a final order 31 if no motion for reconsideration
or appeal therefrom is timely filed.
In Olympia International vs. Court of Appeals,

32

we stated, thus:

The dismissal without prejudice of a complaint does not


however mean that said dismissal order was any less final.
Such Order of dismissal is complete in all details, and
though without prejudice, nonetheless finally disposed of
the matter. It was not merely an interlocutory order but a
final disposition of the complaint.
The law grants an aggrieved party a period of fifteen (15) days
from his receipt of the court's decision or order disposing of the
action or proceeding to appeal or move to reconsider the same. 33
After the lapse of the fifteen-day period, an order becomes final and
executory and is beyond the power or jurisdiction of the court
which rendered it to further amend or revoke. 34 A final judgment or
order cannot be modified in any respect, even if the modification
sought is for the purpose of correcting an erroneous conclusion by
the court which rendered the same. 35
After the order of dismissal of a case without prejudice has become
final, and therefore becomes outside the court's power to amend
and modify, a party who wishes to reinstate the case has no other
remedy but to file a new complaint.
This was explained in Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership
vs. Velasco, 36 where we ruled thus:
The dismissal of the case, and the lapse of the reglementary
period to reconsider or set aside the dismissal, effectively

operated to remove the case from the Court's docket. Even


assuming the dismissal to be without prejudice, the case
could no longer be reinstated or "revived" by mere motion
in the original docketed action, but only by the filing of
another complaint accompanied, of course, by the payment
of the corresponding filing fees prescribed by law.
xxx

xxx

xxx

[S]ince theoretically every final disposition of an action does


not attain finality until after fifteen (15) days therefrom, and
consequently within that time the action still remains within
the control of the Court, the plaintiff may move and set
aside his notice of dismissal and revive his action before
that period lapses. Butafter dismissal has become final after
the lapse of the fifteen-day reglementary period, the only
way by which the action may be resuscitated or "revived" is
by the institution of a subsequent action through the filing
of another complaint and the payment of fees prescribed by
law. This is so because upon attainment of finality of the
dismissal through the lapse of said reglementary period, the
Court loses jurisdiction and control over it and can no longer
make a disposition in respect thereof inconsistent with such
dismissal. 37(Emphasis supplied.)
Contrary to private respondents' claim, the foregoing rule applies
not only to civil cases but to criminal cases as well. In Jaca
vs. Blanco, 38 the Court defined a provisional dismissal of a criminal
case as a dismissal without prejudice to the reinstatement thereof
before the order of dismissal becomes final or to the subsequent
filing of a new information for the offense. 39
Thus, the regional trial court erred when it denied the petition
for certiorari, injunction and prohibition and ruled that the order of
the municipal trial court, dated November 13, 1995 dismissing
without prejudice the criminal cases against petitioners had not
attained finality and hence, could be reinstated by the mere filing
of a motion to revive.

Equally erroneous is private respondents' contention that the rules


regarding finality of judgments under the Revised Rules of
Court 40 do not apply to cases covered by the 1991 Revised Rule on
Summary Procedure. Private respondents claim that Section 18 of
the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure allows the revival of
cases which were dismissed for failure to submit the same to
conciliation at the barangay level, as required under Section 412 in
relation to Section 408 of the Local Government Code. The said
provision states:
Referral to Lupon. Cases requiring referral to the Lupon
for conciliation under the provisions of Presidential Decree
No. 1508 41 where there is no showing of compliance with
such requirement, shall be dismissed without prejudice, and
may be revived only after such requirement shall have been
complied with. This provision shall not apply to criminal
cases where the accused was arrested without a warrant. 42
There is nothing in the aforecited provision which supports private
respondents' view. Section 18 merely states that when a case
covered by the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure is
dismissed without prejudice for non-referral of the issues to the
Lupon, the same may be revived only after the dispute subject of
the dismissed case is submitted to barangay conciliation as
required under the Local Government Code. There is no declaration
to the effect that said case may be revived by mere motion even
after the fifteen-day period within which to appeal or to file a
motion for reconsideration has lapsed.
Moreover, the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure expressly
provides that the Rules of Court applies suppletorily to cases
covered by the former:
Sec. 22. Applicability of the regular rules. The regular
procedure prescribed in the Rules of Court shall apply to the
special cases herein provided for in a suppletory capacity
insofar as they are not inconsistent therewith. 43
A careful examination of Section 18 in relation to Section 22 of the
1991 Revised Rule of Summary Procedure and Rule 40, Section 2 in

relation to Rule 13, Sections 9 and 10, 44 and Rule 36, Section 2 45 of
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, leads to no other
conclusion than that the rules regarding finality of judgments also
apply to cases covered by the rules on summary procedure.
Nothing in Section 18 of the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary
Procedure conflicts with the prevailing rule that a judgment or order
which is not appealed or made subject of a motion for
reconsideration within the prescribed fifteen-day period attains
finality. 46 Hence, the principle expressed in the maxim interpretare
et concordare legibus est optimus interpretandi, or that every
statute must be so construed and harmonized with other statutes
as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence 47 applies in
interpreting both sets of Rules.
The rationale behind the doctrine of finality of judgments and
orders, likewise, supports our conclusion that said doctrine applies
to cases covered by the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure:
The doctrine of finality of judgments is grounded on
fundamental considerations of public policy and sound
practice that at the risk of occasional error, the judgments of
the courts must become final at some definite date set by
law. 48
It is but logical to infer that the foregoing principle also applies to
cases subject to summary procedure especially since the objective
of the Rule governing the same is precisely to settle these cases
expeditiously. 49 To construe Section 18 thereof as allowing the
revival of dismissed cases by mere motion even after the lapse of
the period for appealing the same would prevent the courts from
settling
justiciable
controversies
with
finality, 50 thereby
undermining the stability of our judicial system.
The Court also finds it necessary to correct the mistaken impression
of petitioners and the municipal trial court that the non-referral of a
case for barangay conciliation as required under the Local
Government Code of 1991 51 may be raised in a motion to dismiss
even after the accused has been arraigned.1wphi1

It is well-settled that the non-referral of a case for barangay


conciliation when so required under the law 52 is not jurisdictional in
nature 53 and may therefore be deemed waived if not raised
seasonably in a motion to dismiss. 54The Court notes that although
petitioners could have invoked the ground of prematurity of the
causes of action against them due to the failure to submit the
dispute to Lupon prior to the filing of the cases as soon as they
received the complaints against them, petitioners raised the said
ground only after their arraignment.
However, while the trial court committed an error in dismissing the
criminal cases against petitioners on the ground that the same
were not referred to the Lupon prior to the filing thereof in court
although said ground was raised by them belatedly, the said order
may no longer be revoked at present considering that the same
had already become final and executory, and as earlier stated, may
no longer be annulled 55 by the Municipal Trial Court, nor by the
Regional Trial Court or this Court. 56
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Antipolo, Rizal, Branch II dated August 26,
1997 and its Order dated January 29, 1998 in SCA Case No. 964092 are hereby SET ASIDE and Criminal Cases Nos. 94-0829, 940830, 94-0831, 94-0832, 94-0833, 94-0836, 94-0838, 94-0839, 940841, 94-0843, 94-0847, 94-0848, 94-0850, 94-0854 and 94-0058
of the Municipal Trial Court of Antipolo are ordered DISMISSED,
without prejudice, pursuant to Sec. 18 of the 1991 Revised Rule on
Summary Procedure.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 111915 September 30, 1999
HEIRS OF FERNANDO VINZONS, represented by LIWAYWAY
VINZONS-CHATO, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and MENA EDORIA, respondents.
GONZAGA-REYES, J.:

SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno and Ynares-Santiago,
Pardo, J., on official business abroad.

JJ.,

concur.

Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari seeking the reversal


of the January 27, 1993 1 Decision and September 10,
1993 2 Resolution of the Court of appeals 3 in CA-G.R. SP No. 23948.
The Court of Appeals (CA) set aside the Decision 4 of the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Daet, Camarines Norte in Civil Case No. 5832,
affirming that of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) in Civil Case No.
2137 5, which ordered the ejectment of herein private respondent.
The factual antecedents of this case are:

Petitioners Heirs of Vinzons are co-owners of a parcel of land in


Barangay 5, Daet, of which a portion measuring 148.5 square
meters is being occupied by respondent Mena Edoria as lessee
since 1951. Respondent built thereon a residential house worth
P40,000.00. He started paying a monthly rent of P4.00 which by
1986 had reached P13.00.
Sometime in 1986, an ejectment suit was filed by petitioners
several others also occupying the same lot owned by them,
docketed as Civil Case No. 1923, on the ground, among others, of
non-payment of rentals. After trial, however, the case was
dismissed on the finding that respondent was not in arrears but was
even advance in his rental payments. Both petitioner and
respondent appealed from said decision to the Regional Trial Court.
Sometime in 1988, while the aforesaid Case No. 1923 was pending
appeal before the RTC, petitioner filed another ejectment suit,
docketed as Civil Case No. 2061, against respondent and thirty-nine
(39) others alleging that said defendants refused to enter into an
agreement with them as tenants-lessees and refused to pay the
increased rent of P1.00 per square meter per month. Respondent
resisted the claim alleging, among others, lack of cause of action
and pendency of the earlier ejectment case. The trial court
rendered its decision dismissing the case against respondent in
view of the pendency of Civil Case No. 1923 on appeal. This
decision was again elevated to the RTC.
While Civil Case No. 2061 was pending appeal in the RTC,
petitioners again filed the instant suit for ejectment docketed as
Civil Case No. 2137 on the following grounds: (a) expiration of lease
contract as of 1984; (b) refusal to sign written renewal of contract
of lease; and (c) non-payment of rent for one (1) year and ten (10)
months. In his answer, respondent sought dismissal of the
complaint on the following grounds; (a) it did not pass through
barangay conciliation; (b) no prior demand was made or if there
was such a demand, it was made more than one year prior to the
filing of the case; (c) there was no cause of action as it was in
violation of PD 20 and BP Blg. 25; (d) the case is barred by prior
judgment; and (e) there is still pending appeal a similar case
between the parties, Civil Case No. 2061.

After trial, the MTC of Daet rendered its decision ordering


respondent to vacate the premises and pay the accrued rentals. On
appeal to the RTC, the said decision was affirmed in toto. The CA,
however, reversed the two (2) earlier decisions by dismissing the
complaint on the ground of litis pendentia, failure to comply with
the Katarungang Pambarangay Law (PD 1508); and lack of
evidence of prior demand to vacate before instituting the
complaint.
Hence, this petition on the following grounds:
THAT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN REVERSING THE DECISION OF THE
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CAMARINES NORTE IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD
WITH LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE.
THAT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DENYING THE MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION UPON THE GROUND THAT THE GROUNDS THEREIN
AVERRED HAD ALREADY BEEN PASSED UPON IN ITS DECISION. 6

Petitioners argue that the CA was duty-bound, under the rules and
jurisprudence, to give weight to the findings of fact of the MTC
since the same had already been affirmed in toto by the RTC.
Further, it is argued that the action is not barred by prior judgment
and the principle of litis pendentia does not apply; that the
petitioners complied with the requirements of PD 1508; and that
demand to vacate is not necessary for judicial action in case of
expiration of the lease contract.
The petition is devoid of merit, we find that the MTC had improperly
assumed jurisdiction over the ejectment suit.
First, this case being one of unlawful detainer, it must have been
filed within one year from the date of last demand with the
Municipal Trial Court, otherwise it is an accion publiciana cognizable
by the Regional Trial Court. 7 The rule is that the one-year period
provided for in Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court 8 within
which a complaint for unlawful detainer can be filed should be
counted from the last letter of demand to vacate. 9 Accion
publiciana is the plenary action to recover the right of possession
when dispossession has lasted for more than one year. 10

There is no question that the petitioners' dispossession has lasted


for more than one year. In their Complaint and Position paper,
petitioners alleged that the lease contract expired in 1984 11; that
thereafter, private respondent became a lessee on a month-tomonth basis 12; and that before the filing of Civil Cases Nos. 1908,
1923 and 2061, demand to vacate had already been made to
defendant. 13 Since Civil Case No. 1908 was instituted in 1986; Civil
Case No. 1923 in 1986; and Civil Case No. 2061 in April 1988, the
alleged demands to vacate to abort an implied renewal of the lease
on a month-to-month basis were made between 1986 and 1988,
the last one, before April 1988. Verily, the instant Complaint for
ejectment filed by petitioner in October 1989, was filed more than
one year from the termination of the month-to-month lease some
time before April 1988. It is well-established that what determines
the nature of an action and correspondingly the court which has
jurisdiction over it is the allegation made by the plaintiff in his
complaint. 14
Second, the challenged decision correctly dismissed the case for
failure of the plaintiffs, the petitioners herein, to avail of the
barangay conciliation process under PD 1508, preliminary to
judicial recourse. The Court of Appeals had found that "there is no
clear showing that it was brought before the Barangay Lupon or
Pangkat of Barangay 5, Daet, Camarines Norte, where the parties
reside and the property subject of the case is situated, as there is
no barangay certification to file action attached to the complaint. 15
Paraphrasing Peaflor vs. Panis 16, "the Lupong Barangay is with
jurisdiction under PD 1508 to pass upon an ejectment controversy
where the parties are residents in the same barangay or in
barangays within the same city or in barangays adjoining each
other." It is clearly averred in the Complaint that herein petitioners,
then represented by the widow of the late Fernando Vinzons,
resided in the same barangay, hence, covered by the said law.
In Royales vs. Intermediate Appellate Court 17, this Court ruled that
"non-compliance with the condition precedent prescribed by PD
1508 could affect the sufficiency of the plaintiff's cause of action
and make his complaint vulnerable to dismissal on the ground of
lack of cause of action or prematurity." Defendants, private
respondents herein, objected to the failure of the parties to

undergo a confrontation at the barangay level in their answer and


even during the entire proceedings a quo to no avail as the trial
courts merely brushed aside this issue. Hence, the Court of Appeals
had to rectify this error by the trial courts.
In refutation of the said findings of the Court of Appeals, petitioners
submit that "it is clear in the findings of fact of the MTC of Daet, as
affirmed by the RTC of Daet that before the filing of Civil Cases Nos.
1908, 1923 and 2061, demand to vacate had already been made to
the defendant after efforts to settle the controversy at the
barangay level had failed." 18 This is not a factual finding of the
MTC, but an allegation in petitioners' Complaint. As mentioned
earlier, the MTC merely brushed aside the issue of non-recourse to
barangay conciliation. This allegation in petitioners' Complaint that
efforts to settle the controversy at the barangay level had failed in
Civil Cases Nos. 1908, 1923 and 2061, does not constitute
compliance with the requirements of PD 1508 for purposes of filing
the Complaint in Civil Case No. 2137. Section 6 of PD 1508 insofar
as pertinent provides:
Sec. 6. Conciliation, pre-condition to filing of complaint.
No complaint, petition, action or proceeding involving any
matter within the authority of the Lupon as provided in
Section 2 hereof shall be filed or instituted in court or any
other government office for adjudication unless there has
been a confrontation of the parties before the Lupon
chairman or the Pangkat . . . .
Referral to the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat should be made
prior to the filing of the ejectment case under PD 1508. Legal action
for ejectment is barred when there is non-recourse to barangay
court. 19 The Complaint for unlawful detainer, docketed as Civil
Case No. 2137, should have been coursed first to the barangay
court. Petitioners cannot rely on the barangay conciliation
proceedings held in the other cases and consider the same as
compliance with the law.
Third, petitioners rely heavily on the general rule that findings of
trial courts deserve to be respected and affirmed by appellate
courts. Almost as well-recognized as the general rule is the

exception that the factual findings of the trial court may


nonetheless be reversed by the Court of Appeals if by the evidence
on record or the lack of it, it appears that the trial court
erred. 20 Considering that the trial courts and the Court of Appeals
arrived at different factual findings, we have reviewed the evidence
on record and have found as aforesaid, the improper assumption by
the MTC of the case due to non-recourse to barangay conciliation
and the lapse of the one-year period for bringing the case for
unlawful detainer.
Having arrived at the above conclusion, the Court finds no need to
discuss the other issues, specifically, those bearing on the
application of the principles of litis pendentia and/or res judicata.
Moreover, the records of Civil Cases Nos. 1923 and 2061 are not
before us to enable us to determine the presence of the elements
thereof in the instant case. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is
hereby DENIED, and the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is
hereby AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
A.M. No. MTJ-92-687 February 9, 1994
ENGINEER EDGARDO C. GARCIA, complainant,
vs.
JUDGE MELJOHN DE LA PEA, Municipal Circuit Trial Court,
Caibiran-Culaba, Leyte [Acting Judge, Municipal Trial Court,
Naval, Leyte], respondent.
RESOLUTION

PER CURIAM:

In a sworn-letter complaint 1 dated June 18, 1992, Engineer Edgardo


C. Garcia charged Judge Meljohn de la Pea in his capacity as
acting judge of Municipal Trial Court of Naval, Leyte with partiality,
abuse of authority and grave abuse of discretion in connection with
Crimimal Case No. 2577 for grave oral defamation which was filed
against his wife, Ignacia G. Garcia, a supervising nurse of Naval
District Hospital, by respondent judge's brother, Dr. Melencio de la
Pea. Respondent judge, while acting as the presiding judge of the
MTC of Naval, Leyte, is the incumbent presiding judge of the
Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Caibiran-Culaba, Leyte.
Complainant Engr. Edgardo C. Garcia, husband of the accused in
Criminal Case No. 2577, claimed that respondent judge took
cognizance of the criminal case without the requisite certification
from the Lupon Tagapayapa; that he should have inhibited himself
from acting on the case because private complainant Dr. Melencio
B. de la Pea is his brother; that he issued a warrant of arrest
without the accompanying copy of the complaint and affidavits of
the complainant and his witnesses; that when complainant sought
the approval of the cash bail bond he posted for the provisional
release of his wife at 2:40 P.M. of June 8, 1992, respondent judge
was not in his office, thus the Order of Release prepared by the
Clerk of Court was brought to respondent's house by Rey Morillo, a
process server, for his signature at around 2:56 P.M., but they were
informed that he left for Ormoc City then by boat for Cebu; that at
around 4:00 P.M. he hired a pump boat and sent Basilio Borrinaga
to Maripipi to have the bail bond approved and get the order of
release from Judge Dulcisimo Pitao of MTC of Maripipi but the latter
explained in his letter that he cannot do so because he does not
know whether or not Judge de la Pea is on leave; that the following
morning of June 9, 1992, they learned that respondent judge left
the Order of Release with his wife, Lolita de la Pea, instead of
leaving it with the Clerk of Court; that because of respondent
judge's actuations, complainant's wife was detained at the
municipal jail for twenty (20) hours from 2:55 P.M. of June 8, 1992
to 10:10 A.M. of June 9, 1992; and that it was only on June 15, 1992
that they received a copy of the criminal complaint, affidavit of the
witnesses and respondent judge's inhibition order dated June 15,
1992.

On November 19, 1992, this Court required respondent judge to file


his comment and, upon receipt thereof, the case was referred to
the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report and
recommendation. On July 20, 1993, Deputy Court Administrator
Reynaldo Suarez submitted a memorandum with the corresponding
evaluation and recommendation, duly approved by the Court
Administrator.
Records show that Dr. Melencio B. de la Pea filed on June 8, 1992 a
complaint for grave oral defamation 2against Ignacia G. Garcia with
the Municipal Trial Court of Naval, Leyte, docketed as Criminal Case
No. 2577. The complaint for oral defamation arose from an incident
which occurred on April 19, 1992 in Naval, Leyte. After the
preliminary examination was conducted, respondent Judge Meljohn
de la Pea issued on the same date a warrant 3 for the arrest of the
accused Ignacia G. Garcia. By virtue of said warrant, SPO3 Teofanes
Pacioles of the Philippine National Police arrested the accused. 4
On the same day, June 8, 1992, Engr. Edgardo Garcia, husband of
the accused, posted the cash bail bond in the amount of P2,000.00
as fixed in the warrant of arrest for the provisional liberty of the
accused. Thereafter, herein complainant sought at around 2:40 P.M.
the approval of the cash bail bond and the Order of Release of the
accused but respondent judge was not in the office at that time.
Meantime, the accused remained under detention in the municipal
jail of Naval. It was only the following day, June 9, 1992 at around
10:10 A.M. after complainant secured a copy of the Order of
Release 5 dated June 8, 1992 duly signed by respondent judge that
the accused was released from detention. Complainant was
informed that before respondent judge left for Cebu City, he
entrusted the Order of Release to his wife, Lolita de la Pea, whose
whereabouts, however, were unknown in the afternoon of June 8,
1992 despite efforts by the Clerk of Court to look for her. 6 The
delay in the release of his wife from detention by one day because
the Order of Release could not be obtained as respondent judge left
for Cebu City despite proper posting of the cash bond of P2,000.00
for her provisional liberty on the same day of her arrest on June 8,
1992, prompted complainant to file on July 22, 1992 this
administrative case against respondent judge.

Earlier, or on July 16, 1992, a complaint containing the same


charges was filed by complainant with the Office of the
Ombudsman (Visayas), docketed as OMB VIS-92-397. 7
In his comment, respondent judge stated that he is adopting his
counter-affidavit and memorandum filed with the Ombudsman as
part of his comment, wherein he asserted that the certification to
file action from the Lupon Tagapayapa was not necessary for the
court to acquire jurisdiction over Criminal Case No. 2577 because
the imposable penalty of the crime of grave oral defamation (4
months and 1 day to 3 years and 4 months) is not within the
coverage of the Lupon Tagapayapa; that even if the private
complainant is his brother, he need not inhibit himself to "mobilize
the machinery of justice" because the case has been deferred for
quite a long time due to the absence of the incumbent judge and
the non-designation of a presiding judge from April to May 1992;
that there is no room for bias or partiality in the issuance of a
warrant of arrest which is both a mandatory and ministerial duty
provided the complaint and the supporting affidavit engender a
probable cause; that to show his neutrality, he issued an inhibition
order dated June 15, 1992; that the cash bond posted was
defective for there was no written undertaking as required under
Section 11, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court; that his Clerk of Court
was informed in the morning of June 8, 1992 that he would be
going to Cebu City that afternoon for his pre-scheduled medical
check-up and that he is preparing an order of release which could
be obtained from his wife, Lolita de la Pea, in case the accused
actually files a bail bond, after determining that the same is in
order.
It is at once clear that the administrative charges against
respondent judge focused mainly on the fact of his taking
cognizance of the criminal case of grave oral defamation filed by
his brother, Dr. Melencio de la Pea, against complainant's wife,
Ignacia Garcia, which, as a consequence, gave rise to the incidents
narrated in the letter-complaint descriptive of the perceived bias
and partiality of respondent judge in the discharge of his official
functions in connection with Criminal Case No. 2577.

The Court agrees with respondent judge that the certification to file
an action required under Presidential Decree No. 1508 is not
necessary in the prosecution for grave oral defamation 8 for the
same is beyond the coverage of said Katarungan Pambarangay
Law. 9 But, the charge of partiality, abuse of authority and grave
abuse of discretion as regards respondent judge's taking
cognizance of the criminal case despite the fact that private
complainant is his brother a relative within the second degree of
consanguinity in violation of the rule on compulsory
disqualification of judges under Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of
Court is a different matter.
The Court, in this regard, will not hesitate to exercise its full
disciplinary powers in the instant case where the violation is so
patent and the same has caused grave injustice to a party in a
criminal case. The facts manifesting respondent's partiality are
patent in the records.
Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court provides, thus:
Sec.1. Disqualification of judges. No judge or
judicial officer shall sit in any case in which he, or his
wife or child, is pecuniarily interested as heir,
legatee, creditor or otherwise, or in which he is
related to either party within the sixth degree of
consanguinity or affinity, or to counsel within the
fourth degree, computed according to the rules of
the civil law, or in which he has been executor
administrator, guardian, trustee or counsel, or in
which he was presided in any inferior court when his
ruling or decision is the subject of review, without the
written consent of all parties in interest, signed by
them and entered upon the record.
A judge may, in the exercise of his sound discretion,
disqualify himself from sitting in a case, for just or
valid reasons other than those mentioned above.
(Emphasis supplied)

The rule on compulsory disqualification of a judge to hear a case


where, as in the instant case, the respondent judge is related to
either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity
rests on the salutary principle that no judge should preside in a
case in which he is not wholly free, disinterested, impartial and
independent. 10 A judge has both the duty of rendering a just
decision and the duty of doing it in a manner completely free from
suspicion as to its fairness and as to his integrity. 11 The law
conclusively presumes that a judge cannot objectively or
impartially sit in such a case and, for that reason, prohibits him and
strikes at his authority to hear and decide it, in the absence of
written consent of all parties concerned. The purpose is to preserve
the people's faith and confidence in the courts of justice. 12
The fact that respondent judge took cognizance of the criminal
case, notwithstanding the fact that he is related within the second
degree of consanguinity to private complainant is obviously a
glaring violation of the rule on compulsory disqualification of a
judge to hear a case. The proffered excuse that Criminal Case No.
2577 has been dragging on for some time due to the absence of
the incumbent judge and the non-designation of a presiding judge
will not justify the violation of a well-settled rule on compulsory
disqualification of judges to hear a case. Respondent judge should
have formally informed the Executive Judge of the RTC of Leyte if,
indeed, the case had been deferred, and thereafter sought the
designation of another MTC judge to take cognizance of the case.
He should have foreseen the possibility that his actuation and
motives would have been suspect if he had ruled in favor of the
prosecution as his blood relationship with the private complainant
was of general knowledge.
The violation was aggravated when respondent judge thereafter
issued a warrant of arrest on June 8, 1992 but at 3:00 o'clock in the
afternoon of the same day, left for an alleged pre-scheduled
medical check-up in the nearby province of Cebu, thus depriving
the accused of the opportunity to secure an order for her
provisional liberty upon proper posting of a bail bond on the same
day of her arrest. As a consequence, the accused spent her night in
the municipal jail of Naval until the following morning of June 9,
1992 after spending almost 20 hours in jail.

To make matters even worse, the excuse given by respondent


judge that he left the duly signed order of release with his wife
instead of the Clerk of Court before he left for Cebu exposed his
total disregard of, or indifference to, or even ignorance of, the
procedure prescribed by law. Respondent judge's actuation is
unquestionably not sanctioned by the Rules of Court. It is conduct
prejudicial to the rights of the accused. Realizing perhaps that he
has violated Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court and Rule 3.12
par. (d), Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, 13 respondent
judge belatedly issued an order inhibiting himself from the case on
June 15, 1992, or seven (7) days after he caused the arrest and
detention of the accused. Clearly, the damage and intrusion on the
liberty of the accused were already fait accompli.
Respondent judge likewise violated Rule 2.03, Canon 2 of the Code
of Judicial Conduct which provides: "A judge shall not allow family,
social, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or
judgment. The prestige of judicial office shall not be used or lent to
advance the private interests of others, nor convey or permit others
to convey the impression that they are in a special position to
influence the judge."
Respondent judge in the instant case tainted the image of the
judiciary to which he owes fealty and the obligation to keep it at all
times unsullied and worthy of the people's trust. As this Court has
had occasion to declare: "As public servants, judges are appointed
to the judiciary to serve as the visible representation of the law,
and more importantly, of justice. From them, the people draw their
will and awareness to obey the law." 14 If judges, who have sworn to
obey and uphold the Constitution, shall conduct themselves as
respondent did, in wanton disregard and violation of the rights of
the accused, then the people, especially those who have had
recourse to them shall lose all their respect and high regard for the
members of the Bench and the judiciary itself shall lose the high
moral ground from which it draws its power and strength to compel
obedience to the laws.
Worthy of note is the fact that respondent judge had been
previously charged in A.M. No. R-48-MTJ (Ragir v. de la Pea) with
ignorance of the law and incompetence, for having taking

cognizance of, and having decided, a case for frustrated murder


(Criminal Case No. 5926) over which his court has no jurisdiction. To
rectify the error, respondent judge, three days after the rendition of
judgment, recalled his decision and remanded the case to the
Office of the Provincial Fiscal at Naval, sub-province of Biliran,
Leyte, now province of Biliran. In the resolution of October 15,
1985, the Court, giving credence to respondent's allegation of good
faith in the rendition of the judgment and the fact that he took
steps to rectify his mistake three days after the rendition of the
erroneous judgment, imposed on him a fine equivalent to a month's
salary with the warning that repetition of similar acts in the future
shall be dealth with more severely.
From all indications, it is clear from the facts on record and, in the
absence of evidence to negate the perceived bias and partiality
which resulted in undue prejudice to the accused, that respondent
judge, through his oppressive and vindictive actuations towards the
accused arising from his relationship to the private complainant in
the Criminal Case No. 2577, committed a disservice to the cause of
justice. He does not, therefore, deserve to remain in the judiciary
and should accordingly be removed from the service.
In a recent case, 15 a municipal trial court judge who presided over
the trial of Criminal Case No. 89-3905 for grave threats against the
accused, Roberto Cruda, who later became her brother-in-law by
virtue of a marriage ceremony she herself solemnized, and who
thereafter rendered judgment acquitting the said accused, was
dismissed from the service by the Court, after investigation for
charges of grave misconduct, violation of the Canons of Judicial
Ethics, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service,
among others. The Court observed, thus:
. . . For one, she deliberately disregarded Section 1,
Rule 137 of the Revised Rules of Court which
pertinently provides in part: . . . and Rule 3.12 (d),
Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which
reads: . . . considering that (a) Roberto Cruda, the
accused
in
Criminal
Case
No. 89-3905, is her brother-in-law, being the husband
of her youngest sister and, therefore, her

(respondent's) relative by affinity within the second


degree, and (b) she did not obtain the written
consent of all the parties in interest. That it was only
on 9 August 1991 or long after the case had been
submitted for decision that she became Roberto's
sister-in-law provides no reason for a departure from
the enunciated rule as the abovequoted provisions
impose an absolute prohibition regardless of the
stage in the resolution of the case that the
relationship is established. As a matter of fact, given
her special bias for the accused whom she even
wanted to reform and rehabilitate a task which
became
an
obsession and in whose behalf she interceded to
obtain settlement of the criminal cases against him,
thereby necessarily blinding her impartiality and
irreparably affecting the cold neutrality she is
supposed to possess as a judge, the voluntary
disqualification from a case provided under the
second paragraph of Section 1, Rule 137 should have
been availed of by the respondent. (Emphasis
supplied)
The dismissal of the criminal aspect of the same complaint
(OMB-VIS-92-397) by the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) in its
resolution 16 of March 23, 1993 will not affect the resolution of this
case which basically relates to the power of the Supreme Court
under Article VIII, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution to exercise
administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel, from
the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals down to the lowest
municipal trial court clerk. By virtue of this power, it is only the
Supreme Court that can oversee the judges and court personnel's
compliance with all laws and pertinent rules and take proper
administrative action against them, in the event that they commit
any violation thereof. No other branch of government may intrude
into this power without running afoul of the doctrine of separation
of powers. 17
ACCORDINGLY, respondent Judge Meljohn de la Pea (Acting Judge
of Municipal Trial Court of Naval, Leyte) of the Municipal Circuit Trial

Court of Caibiran-Culaba, Leyte is hereby DISMISSED from the


service with forfeiture of all benefits and with prejudice to
reinstatement or reappointment to any public office, including
government-owned or controlled corporations.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr.,
Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug and Kapunan, JJ.,
concur.
Nocon, J., is on leave.

Ernesto Gonzales, Jr. for private respondent.


CRUZ, J.:
Private respondent Nemesio B. Jose, as owner-lessor of a house and
lot located at No. 63-20th St., East Bajac-Bajac, Olongapo City, filed
on February 24, 1992, an action for ejectment with an application
for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction
against petitioner Quintin Felizardo. 1 This was docketed as Civil
Case No. 3163 in the Municipal Trial Court of Olongapo City.
On February 27, 1992, summons was issued directing the petitioner
to file an answer and informing him that the Rule on Summary
Procedure would be applied. 2
In his answer, the petitioner averred inter alia that the private
respondent's allegations to support his prayer for a preliminary
injunction were utterly false and intended only to evade the
requirements of P.D. 1508 3 for prior barangay conciliation. 4
At the preliminary conference and in his position paper, the
petitioner questioned the jurisdiction of the court and the
sufficiency of the private respondent's cause of action for noncompliance with the said decree.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 112050 June 15, 1994


QUINTIN F. FELIZARDO, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS & NEMESIO B. JOSE, respondents.
Lorenzon O. Navario for petitioner.

On September 1, 1992, judgment was rendered against the


petitioner. 5 On September 17, 1992, upon motion of the private
respondent, the court issued an order for the execution of its
decision. 6
On that same date, the petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court
of Olongapo City a petition for certiorari with an application for the
issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of
preliminary injunction. 7
On October 7, 1992, that court issued a temporary restraining order
against the enforcement of the writ of execution. 8 Later, however,
on October 23, 1992, it dismissed the petition on the ground
that certiorari with injunction was not the proper remedy of the
petitioner, appeal being then still available to him. 9

The dismissal was sustained by the respondent Court of


Appeals. 10 His motion for a reconsideration having been
denied, 11 Felizardo is now before us in this petition for review
on certiorari.
The core issue is the propriety of the special civil action
for certiorari instituted by the petitioner before the Regional Trial
Court of Olongapo City to challenge the judgment rendered by the
court a quo.
The petition has no merit.
It is settled that the writ of certiorari is available only where the
tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial functions has acted
without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
discretion, and there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. 12 It is also the rule
that this special civil action should not be allowed as a substitute
for an ordinary appeal or where there are other remedies
available.13
There is no doubt that the Municipal Trial Court of Olongapo City
had jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the case lodged by the
private respondent and over the person of the petitioner, who had
filed his answer to the complaint. The only question is whether that
court, in continuing to act on the case despite the lack of prior
barangay conciliation as required by the Revised Katarungang
Pambarangay Law, committed a mere error or judgment that could
be reversed in an ordinary appeal or an error of jurisdiction
correctible by certiorari.
Section
412
of
the
Revised
Pambarangay Law provides:

Katarungang

Sec. 412. Conciliation. (a) Pre-condition to filing of


complaint in court. No complaint, petition, action,
or proceeding involving any matter within the
authority of the Lupon shall be filed or instituted
directly in court or any other government office for
adjudication unless there has been a confrontation

between the parties before the lupon chairman or the


pangkat, and that no conciliation or settlement has
been reached as certified by the lupon secretary or
the pangkat secretary, attested to by the lupon
chairman or pangkat chairman or unless the
settlement has been repudiated by the parties
thereto.
(b) Where the parties may go directly to court. The
parties may go directly to court in the following
instances:
(1) Where the accused is under detention;
(2) Where a person has otherwise been deprived of
personal
liberty
calling
for habeas
corpusproceedings;
(3) Where actions are coupled with provisional
remedies such as preliminary injunction, attachment,
delivery of personal property and support pendente
lite; and
(4) Where the action may otherwise be barred by the
statute of limitations.
xxx xxx xxx
In the case at bar, the complaint for ejectment filed by the private
respondent contained an application for the issuance of a writ of
preliminary mandatory injunction, as allowed under Section 33 of
BP 129. The suit would, therefore, ostensibly fall under the
exception mentioned in Section 412 (b) of the Katarungang
Pambarangay Law. A different conclusion must be reached,
however, after a closer look at the attendant circumstances in light
of the following allegations made by the private respondent in his
complaint:
xxx xxx xxx

9. Such act of subdividing and subleasing said


property by the defendant to other persons has
resulted in great irreparable loss and great injustice
to the plaintiff and as a result thereof plaintiff
incurred actual damages to be proven during the
proceedings.
10. Plaintiff is entitled to the relief demanded which
consists of immediately restraining the further
subdivision or alteration and subleasing of the
property and enjoining the defendant from
proceeding with any alteration, subdivision or
subleasing of the properties subject of the
controversy.
11. Defendant is doing, or about to do, is procuring
or suffering to be done, the act herein complained of,
in violation of plaintiffs right and tending the
judgment of the case ineffectual.
As correctly pointed out by the petitioner, the issue of the
subdividing and subleasing of the property may no longer be raised
again in this case because it had already been adjudicated in the
antecedent case between the petitioner and the private
respondent. This was Civil Case No. 3031, where it was held:
On the matter of subleasing the property, plaintiff
underscored the contention of the defendant that
since part of the provisions in the contract between
them is to the effect that he may use the premises in
question for business purposes, this is controverted
by the specific provision thereat that the same
should not be subleased to other persons. While the
terms appear to be so broad as to be susceptible of
different interpretations and while the court likewise
does not countenance that a specific provision
controls a general provision in a contract, however, it
is to be noticed that the intent of the parties to a
contract should also be given credence. It likewise
cannot be countenanced by this court that the

plaintiff has no knowledge about this alleged


violation affecting the subleasing, in a way that when
the rooms were constructed, it was with the
knowledge of the plaintiff as contained in the
affidavits submitted by the defendant forming part of
his position paper to this effect. Therefore there
appears to be an implied consent upon the plaintiff
as it is quite impossible that the plaintiff would not
notice that a construction was going on the leased
premises. The plaintiff therefore is estopped from
claiming otherwise. (Cited in the CA decision, p. 7.)
The above finding is now final and conclusive in view of the private
respondent's withdrawal of his appeal therefrom. As the Regional
Trial Court of Olongapo City observed:
The court notes plaintiff had virtually withdrawn his
own appeal concerning the finding of the lower court
that the construction of additional rooms and the
consequent subleasing of the properties to third
persons were with the consent of the plaintiff and
which therefore cannot be treated as additional
ground to eject the defendant. . . . (Cited in CA
decision, p. 9.)
That withdrawal deprived the private respondent's prayer for a
preliminary mandatory injunction of all legal basis and removed his
complaint from the operation of Sec. 412 (b) of the Katarungang
Pambarangay Law.
It is also worth noting that during the preliminary conference and in
his position paper, Jose had conveyed the impression that he was
no longer interested in pursuing his application for such provisional
remedy and was limiting his cause of action to the recovery of the
unpaid rentals. 14 This strengthens all the more the petitioner's
contention that the prayer was merely a pretense designed to
avoid the requirements of the said law.
Whether or not the court acted correctly in proceeding with the
case even without the prior barangay proceeding is a procedural

question that could not be reviewed in a special civil action


for certiorari but only in an ordinary appeal. A similar observation is
made on its declaration that it was incumbent upon the petitioner
to prove that the private respondent's allegations in support of the
prayer for preliminary injunction was false and that compensation
or set-off was not a proper defense. These conclusions would at
most constitute errors of judgment reviewable only on appeal and
not errors of jurisdiction reviewable by certiorari.
An additional consideration against the petitioner is his contention
that appeal, although available, was not a plain, speedy and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. He errs again.
The judgment in forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases, if in
favor of the plaintiff, must be executed immediately to prevent
further damage to him arising from loss of possession.
Nevertheless, the defendant is not entirely without recourse. Under
the Rules of Court, he may stay such immediate execution by a)
perfecting an appeal; b) filing a supersedeas bond; and
c) periodically depositing with the appellate court the rentals falling
due during the pendency of the appeal.
These remedies are expressly provided for in Rule 70, Section 8, of
the Rules of Court, reading in part as follows:
Sec. 8. Immediate execution of judgment. How to
stay
same. If judgment is rendered against the
defendant, execution shall issue immediately, unless
an appeal has been perfected and the defendant to
stay execution files a sufficient bond, approved by
the municipal or city court and executed to the
plaintiff to enter the action in the Court of First
Instance and to pay the rents, damages, and costs
accruing down to the time of the judgment appealed
from, and unless, during the pendency of the appeal,
he deposits with the appellate court the amount of
rent due from time to time under the contract, if any,
as found by the judgment of the municipal or city
court to exist. . . .

Although an order for the execution of the judgment in favor of the


private respondent had already been issued and Felizardo's
ejectment from the leased property was imminent, he could still
prevent the implementation of the said order by availing himself of
the above remedies. But he did not.
His reason was that "there is no way that Mr. Jose can lose in
Olongapo City and there is nothing to prevent him from securing a
writ of execution notwithstanding the filing of a supersedeas bond.
This had happened before in the very same MTCC and in the very
same RTC in the first case between him and herein petitioner."
It appears, though, that the petitioner's apprehensions are
unfounded. The record shows that in the earlier case between him
and the private respondent, he was in fact able to obtain the
suspension of the adverse judgment against him during the
pendency of his appeal with the Regional Trial Court by filing a
supersedeas bond. 15
The petitioner invokes the ruling in the case of Echaus vs. Court of
Appeals 16 which reaffirmed Valencia vs. Court of Appeals, 17 thus:
. . ., that certiorari lies against an order granting
execution pending appeal where the same is not
founded upon good reasons. Also, the fact that the
losing party had appealed from the judgment does
not bar the certiorari action filed in respondent court
as the appeal could not be an adequate remedy from
such premature execution.
That petitioner could have resorted to a supersedeas
bond to prevent execution pending appeal, as
suggested by the two lower courts, is not to be held
against him. The filing of such bond does not entitle
him to the suspension of execution as a matter of
right. It cannot, therefore, be categorically
considered as a plain, speedy and adequate remedy.
Hence, no rule requires a losing party so
circumstanced to adopt such remedy in lieu or before
availment of other remedial options at hand.

Furthermore, a rational interpretation of Section 3,


Rule 39 should be that the requirement for a
supersedeas bond presupposed that the case
presents
presumptively
valid
occasion
for
discretionary execution. Otherwise, even if no good
reason exists to warrant advance execution, the
prevailing party would unjustly compel the losing
party to post a supersedeas bond through the simple
expedient of filing a motion for, and the trial court
improvidently granting, a writ of execution pending
appeal although the situation is violative of Section
2, Rule 39. . . .
The above observations are not squarely applicable to the case at
bar
because
what
were
sought
to
be
reviewed
in
the certiorari proceedings instituted by the petitioner in those cases
were the orders of execution pending appeal, which were
interlocutory and unappealable. Moreover, the orders of execution
in those cases were for the collection of damages and attorney's
fees and were issued pursuant to Section 2, Rule 39, of the Rules of
Court. This section requires good reasons to support the issuance of
the writ. Certiorari was available to challenge the orders, which
were annulled because there was no showing of such good reasons
to sustain to sustain the execution pending appeal.
By contrast, what was challenged in the special civil action
for certiorari filed by the herein petitioner with the Regional Trial
Court was not merely the order of execution but the judgment of
the court a quo on the merits of the case. This was final and
appealable. Besides, the writ in this case was issued under Section
8, Rule 70, of the Rules of Court, under which it is not necessary to
show good reasons for the immediate execution of the judgment
against the defendant. This is an ejectment case. As the Rules of
Court require the judgment in such cases to be executed
immediately, the writ of execution can be stayed only upon
compliance with the requirements of the said action.
It is understood that the trial court retains its discretion to issue an
order of execution pending appeal even when the defendant posts
a supersedeas bond. Of course, this discretion is not absolute. The

court can still disregard the supersedeas bond but only when there
are special and compelling reasons justifying immediate
execution. 18 If that discretion is exercised arbitrarily, the aggrieved
party has the right to question such act in a petition for certiorari.
To recapitulate, when the Municipal Trial Court ruled that it could
act on the complaint for ejectment filed by the private respondent
even without prior barangay conciliation proceedings, it committed
a mere error of judgment and not of jurisdiction. We have held in
many cases that while the referral of a case to the Lupon
Tagapayapa is a condition precedent for the filing of a complaint in
court, non-compliance therewith cannot affect the jurisdiction
which the court has already required over the subject matter and
over the person of the defendant. 19 Hence, the remedy available to
the petitioner was to question the ruling of the court a quo in an
ordinary appeal and not, as he mistakenly did, in a special action
for certiorari.
At any rate, even assuming that the petition for certiorari filed by
the petitioner was the proper remedy, the same cannot be granted
as it cannot be said that the court a quo committed grave abuse of
discretion in finding the allegations for the issuance of preliminary
injunction to be sufficient compliance with the Katarungang
Pambarangay Law. We agree with the Regional Trial Court that:
Thus, when the lower court allegedly disregarded the
counterclaims of petitioner, when it refused to rule
on "compensation off-setting" and ruled that the
application for a provisional remedy in the complaint
for ejectment was not sham or that it was not proved
as such, and also when said court failed to dismiss
the case for lack of compliance with the requirement
of PD 1508 there was no grave abuse of discretion
on the part of the lower court . . . It cannot be said
that respondent judge acted in a capricious,
whimsical, arbitrary or despotic manner to be said to
be equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.

Besides, as already pointed out, the petitioner had other plain,


speedy and adequate remedies available to him under Rule 70,
Section 8, of the Rules of Court.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the appealed judgment is
AFFIRMED, with costs against the petitioner.

Davide, Jr., Bellosillo, Quiason and Kapunan, JJ., concur.