You are on page 1of 10

280

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Honrado vs. Court of Appeals
*

G.R.No.166333.November25,2005.

JOSEE.HONRADO,petitioner,vs.COURTOFAPPEALS,
HON. ROGELIO M. PIZARRO, in his official capacity as
PresidingJudgeoftheRegionalTrialCourt,QuezonCity,
Branch 222; THE CLERK OF COURT OF THE
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, as ExOfficio Sheriff of the
RTC of Quezon City; MR. NERY G. ROY, in his official
capacity as Sheriff IV of the RTC of Quezon City; and
PREMIUMAGROVETPRODUCTS,INC.,respondents.
Actions; Certiorari; A writ of certiorari is an equitable remedy
and he who comes to court for equity must do so with clean
hands.Therulingoftheappellatecourtiscorrect.Therespondent
court, tribunal or administrative agency acts without jurisdiction if
it does not have the legal power to determine the case. There is
excess of jurisdiction where the respondent, being clothed with the
power to determine the case, oversteps its authority as determined
by law. There is grave abuse of discretion where the public
respondent acts in a capricious, whimsical, arbitrary or despotic
mannerintheexerciseofitsjudgmentastobesaidtobeequivalent
to lack of jurisdiction. Mere abuse of discretion is not enough.
Moreover,inapetitionforcertiorari,thejurisdictionofthecourtis
narrowinscope.Itislimitedtoresolvingonlycasesofjurisdiction.A
writofcertiorariisanequitableremedyandhewhocomestocourt
forequitymustdosowithcleanhands.
Same; Judgments; Writs of Execution; Properties Exempt from
Execution; Claims for exemption from execution of properties under
Section 12 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court must be presented before
its sale on execution by the sheriff.Whileitistruethatthefamily
homeisconstitutedonahouseandlotfromthetimeitisoccupiedas
a family residence and is exempt from execution or forced sale
under Article 153 of the Family Code, such claim for exemption
should be set up and proved to the Sheriff before the sale of the
property at public auction. Failure to do so would estop the party
fromlaterclaimingtheexemption.AsthisCourtruledinGomez v.
Gealone:
_______________
* SECONDDIVISION.

281

VOL.476,NOVEMBER25,2005

281

Honrado vs. Court of Appeals


Although the Rules of Court does not prescribe the period within
whichtoclaimtheexemption,theruleis,nevertheless,wellsettled
that the right of exemption is a personal privilege granted to the
judgmentdebtorandassuch,itmustbeclaimednotbythesheriff,
but by the debtor himself at the time of the levy or within a
reasonableperiodthereafter;Intheabsenceofexpressprovisionit
has variously held that claim (for exemption) must be made at the
timeofthelevyifthedebtorispresent,thatitmustbemadewithin
areasonabletime,orpromptly,orbeforethecreditorhastakenany
step involving further costs, or before advertisement of sale, or at
anytimebeforesale,orwithinareasonabletimebeforethesale,or
before the sale has commenced, but as to the last there is contrary
authority. In the light of the facts above summarized, it is self
evident that appellants did not assert their claim of exemption
withinareasonabletime.Certainly,reasonabletime,forpurposesof
thelawonexemption,doesnotmeanatimeaftertheexpirationof
the oneyear period provided for in Section 30 of Rule 39 of the
RulesofCourtforjudgmentdebtorstoredeemthepropertysoldon
execution, otherwise it would render nugatory final bills of sale on
executionanddefeattheverypurposeofexecutiontoputanend
to litigation. We said before, and We repeat it now, that litigation
must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is
essential to an effective administration of justice that, once a
judgment has become final, the winning party be not, through a
meresubterfuge,deprivedofthefruitsoftheverdict.Wenowrule
thatclaims for exemption from execution of properties under Section
12 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court must be presented before its sale
on execution by the sheriff.

PETITIONforreviewoncertiorariofthedecisionand
resolutionoftheCourtofAppeals.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
Perpetuo G. Panerforpetitioner.
Abejo & Partners Law Officeforprivaterespondent.
282

282

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Honrado vs. Court of Appeals

CALLEJO,SR.,J.:
1

BeforethisCourtisapetitionforreviewoftheDecision of
theCourtofAppeals(CA)inCAG.R.SPNo.77488 dated
June 30, 2004 dismissing the petition for certiorari for the
nullificationoftheApril14,2003ResolutionoftheRegional
TrialCourt(RTC)ofQuezonCity,Branch222inCivilCase
No. Q9732965. Also assailed in this petition is the CA
ResolutiondatedDecember2,2004denyingthemotionfor
reconsiderationofthesaiddecision.
OnDecember11,1997,PremiumAgroVetProducts,Inc.
(Premium) filed with the RTC of Quezon City a complaint
for sum of money against Jose Honrado, who was doing
business under the name and style of J.E. Honrado
Enterprises.ThecasewasdocketedasCivilCaseNo.Q97

32965. Premium sought to collect the amount of


P240,765.00 representing the total price of veterinary
products purchased on credit by Honrado from November
18,1996untilJune30,1997.
ForfailureofHonrado,aswellashiscounsel,toappear
at the pretrial conference, he was declared in default.
Premiumwas,thus,allowedtopresentevidenceex parte.
It turned out that the Spouses Jose and Andrerita
HonradohadfiledapetitionwiththeRTCofCalambaCity
forthejudicialconstitutionoftheparceloflandregistered
inHonradosnameunderTransferCertificateofTitle(TCT)
No. T143175 located in Calamba, Laguna, and the house
thereon,astheirfamilyhouse.ThecasewasdocketedasSP
CaseNo.4891998C.Inhispetition,Honradodeclaredthat
his creditors were Atty. Domingo Luciano, P & J
Agriculture Trading, Inc., and Mr. Tito Dela Merced, and
thattheestimatedvalueofthepropertywasnotmorethan
P240,000.00.
_______________
1PennedbyAssociateJusticeEliezerR.delosSantos,withAssociate

JusticesRubenT.ReyesandArturoD.Brionconcurring;Rollo,pp.32
38.
283

VOL.476,NOVEMBER25,2005

283

Honrado vs. Court of Appeals


OnFebruary23,1999,theRTCrenderedjudgmentinfavor
ofPremium:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered
in favor of plaintiff and against defendant directing the latter to
payplaintiffthefollowing:
1) P240,765.00 representing the total overdue account plus
interest of 28% per annum thereon computed from their
respectivedatesofdeliveriesuntilthesameshallhavebeen
paidinfull;
2) 25% of the total amount awarded, plus acceptance fee of
P50,000.00 and additional P1,500.00 for each day of court
appearance,asattorneysfees;and
3) Costsofthissuit.
SOORDERED.

Honrado filed a Notice of Appeal. However, on March 20,


2000,theappealwasdismissedforhisfailuretofilehisbrief
as appellant.
Entry of judgment was made on April 26,
3
2000. On October 10, 2000, Premium
filed a Motion for
4
Issuance
of Writ of Execution. The RTC granted the
5
motion
and a writ of execution was issued on March 29,
6
2001.
TheSheriffleviedontheparceloflandcoveredbyTCT
No. T143175. The Notice of Levy was annotated
at the
7
dorsalportionofthetitleonApril4,2001. TheSheriffset
thesaleofthepropertyatpublicauctiononApril4,2001.

Honrado was served with a copy of the notice of such sale


butheopposedthesame.
_______________
2Rollo,p.42.
3Id.,atp.46.
4Id.,atp.43.
5Id.,atp.47.
6Id.,atpp.4950.
7Id.,atp.56.

284

284

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Honrado vs. Court of Appeals

On May 17, 2001, the property was sold to Premium,


the
8
highestbidder,fortheamountofP650,204.10. OnMay23,
9
2001,thecorrespondingCertificateofSalewasissued
and
10
annotatedatthedorsalportionofthetitle. Honradofailed
toredeemtheproperty.
In the
meantime, the RTC of Calamba City rendered a
11
Decision in SP Case No. 4891998C on April 29, 2002,
declaringthepropertyafamilyhome.
On May 3, 2002, Honrado filed a Motion to Declare
PropertiesExemptfromExecutionunderArticle155ofthe
Family Code of the Philippines in Civil Case No. Q97
32965. It was alleged therein that the property is exempt
fromexecutionbecauseitisafamilyhomewhichhadbeen
constitutedassuchbeforeheincurredhisindebtednesswith
Premium. He also alleged that he and his family had no
otherrealpropertyexceptthelandwhichwasleviedupon
12
andsoldonexecution. Premiumopposedthemotiononthe
ground that Honrado was already estopped or barred by
lachesfromclaimingtheexemption,andthatsaidclaimhas
been mooted by the lapse of the redemption period for
Honrado to redeem the property. Premium averred that,
after the sale at public auction, Honrado and his family
even vacated the property. Honrado
reoccupied the
13
propertyonlyinAprilorMay2002. Itfurtheraverredthat
thelawdoesnotautomaticallyexemptafamilyhomefrom
levyorexecutionandtherewasnoshowingthatitspresent
value does not exceed the amount
allowed by law under
14
Article157oftheFamilyCode.
OnSeptember18,2002,theRTCdeniedsaidmotionon
the ground that Honrado is deemed to have waived the
exemption
_______________
8Rollo,pp.5354.
9Ibid.
10Id.,atp.56.
11Id.,atpp.8688.
12Id.,atpp.5758.
13Id.,atpp.6068.
14Rollo,p.64.

285

VOL.476,NOVEMBER25,2005

285

Honrado vs. Court of Appeals


considering that he failed to object to
the sale of the
15
property on execution on May 17, 2001. Honrado did not
assailthesaidorder.
On October 14, 2002, Premium filed a Motion for
Issuance 16
of Final Deed of Conveyance and Writ of
Possession asserting that the oneyear redemption period
had already lapsed on May 23, 2002, without any
redemptionbeingmadebyHonrado.Thelatteropposedthe
said motion claiming that the RTC of Calamba, Laguna,
had already rendered a decision declaring the property a
family home. Honrado further averred that his family
resided in the house before the Family Code became
effective
and was entitled to the exemption under the
17
Code.
On18April 14, 2003, the respondent Judge issued an
Order granting the motion of Premium and directing
Honradoto:(1)executeafinaldeedofconveyanceoverthe
subjectparceloflandcoveredbyTCTNo.T143175ofthe
RegistryofDeedsofCalamba,Laguna;and(2)surrenderof
thesubjecttitle,TCTNo.T143175.TherespondentJudge
further ordered that after execution of the deed of
conveyance,awritofpossessionbeissuedovertheaforesaid
propertyinfavoroftheplaintiffandagainstthedefendant
orhissuccessorsininterestwhoareinpossessionofthesaid
premises.
Honrado filed a petition for certiorari with the CA
assailingtheApril14,2003ResolutionoftheRTC.OnJune
19
30,2004,theCAdismissedthepetition. TheCAdeclared
that there was no proof that the public respondents
committedgraveabuseofdiscretion.TheCAruledthatthe
petitionerfailedtoasserthisclaimforexemptionatthetime
of the levy or within a reasonable time thereafter. It held
thatonceajudg
_______________
15Id.,atp.69.
16Id.,atpp.7073.
17Id.,atpp.8285.
18Id.,atp.89.
19Rollo,p.38.

286

286

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Honrado vs. Court of Appeals

mentbecomesfinalandexecutory,theprevailingpartycan
haveitexecutedasamatterofright,andtheissuanceofa
20
writofexecutionbecomesaministerialdutyofthecourt.
On December 2, 2004, the CA
denied the motion for
21
reconsiderationfiledbyHonrado.

Inthispetitionforreview,thepetitionerallegesthatthe
CAcommittedseriouserrorsoflawandfacts:
5:A IN FINDING AND CONCLUDING THAT
ARTICLE153OFTHEFAMILYCODEFINDSNO
APPLICATIONINTHEINSTANTCASE;
5:B IN FINDING AND CONCLUDING THAT
HONRADOS FAILURE TO ASSERT HIS CLAIM
FOREXEMPTIONOFHISFAMILYHOMEFROM
EXECUTION AT THE TIME OF THE LEVY OR
WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME IS FATAL TO
HISCLAIM;
5:C IN NOT FINDING THAT THE RIGHT TO
CLAIM EXEMPTION CANNOT BE WAIVED
BECAUSE IT IS22CONTRARY TO LAW AND/OR
PUBLICPOLICY.
Thepetitionercontendsthatthetrialcourtcommittedgrave
abuseofdiscretionindisallowinghisprayerforexemption
ofhisfamilyhomefromexecution.Thepetitioneraversthat
therulingoftheRTCofCalamba,Laguna,Branch35inSP
Case No. 4891998C, declaring that the property in
questionisafamilyhome,hasalreadybecomefinal;hence,
it can no longer be disturbed. The family home cannot be
levieduponconsideringthatthedebt,whichwasthebasis
ofthejudgmentunderexecution,wasincurredbetweenthe
periodfromNovember18,1996andJune30,1997,orafter
theFamilyCodehadbeenineffect.Hence,thefamilyhome
ofthe
_______________
20Id.,atpp.3738.
21Id.,atp.40.
22Id.,atp.18.

287

VOL.476,NOVEMBER25,2005

287

Honrado vs. Court of Appeals


petitionerisexemptfromexecutionunderArticle155ofthe
23
FamilyCode.
Thepetitionerfurtherassertsthatheandhisfamilyhad
beenoccupyingthepropertyastheirfamilyhomeasearly
as 1992. Under Article 153 of the Family Code, his house
wasconstitutedasafamilyhomeinthatyear.Thus,evenif
hefailedtocontestthelevyonhispropertyormoveforthe
lifting thereof, the same cannot be deemed a waiver of his
right to claim the exemption of his family home. He avers
thathisrightcannotbewaived,foritwouldbecontraryto
public policy. He claims that the policy of the State, in
conferringsuchexemption,istoallowaparticularfamilyto
occupy, use and enjoy their family home, which must
remain with the person constituting it and his heirs.
Moreover, the waiver must be shown by overt acts and it
cannot be presumed from the mere failure24to assert the
claimforexemptionwithinareasonabletime.

The private respondent avers that the petitioner is


estopped from claiming that the property is exempt from
execution and from assailing the levy of the property, the
sale thereof at public auction and the September 18, 2002
andApril14,2003OrdersoftheRTC.Itpointsoutthatthe
petitioner agreed to the levy and sale of the property at
public auction; he even surrendered the key to the house
and vacated the property after it was purchased by the
private respondent at the public auction. The private
respondentaverredthatthepetitionerhopedtogetahigher
amountthanhisdebt.Thepetitionerneveradvertedtohis
petition in the RTC of Calamba, Laguna, for the
constitutionofthepropertyasafamilyhome.Thepetitioner
revealedthedecisionoftheRTCinSPCaseNo.4891998C
only on November 25, 2002 when he opposed the private
respondents motion for a final deed of conveyance. It was
onlyaftertheRTCofCalamba,
_______________
23Rollo,pp.1920.
24Rollo,pp.2123.

288

288

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Honrado vs. Court of Appeals

Laguna, rendered its decision that the petitioner re


occupied the property and claimed, for the first time, that
the property is a family home and exempt from execution.
Bythen,theperiodforthepetitionertoredeemtheproperty
hadlonglapsed.
Thepetitionhasnomerit.
IndismissingHonradospetition,theCAdeclaredthat:
Article 153 of the Family Code provides that the family home is
deemedconstitutedonahouseandlotfromthetimeitisoccupiedas
thefamilyresidence.Fromthetimeofitsconstitutionandsolongas
itsbeneficiariesactuallyresidestherein,thefamilyhomecontinues
tobesuchandisexemptfromexecution,forcedsaleorattachment,
except as hereinafter provided and to the extent of the value
allowedbyLaw.Afamilyhomeisarealright,whichisgratuitous,
inalienableandfreefromattachment,constitutedoverthedwelling
place and the land on which it is situated, which confers upon a
particular family the right to enjoy such properties, which must
remain with the person constituting it and his heirs. It cannot be
seized by creditors except in certain special cases. Such provision
findsnoapplicationinthiscase.
AlthoughtheRulesofCourtdoesnotprescribetheperiodwithin
whichtoclaimtheexemption,theruleis,nevertheless,wellsettled
thattherightofexemptionmustbeclaimedbythedebtorhimselfat
the time of levy or within a reasonable period thereafter. It is self
evidentthatpetitionerdidnotasserttheirclaimofexemptionwithin
a reasonable time. Any claim for exemption from execution of
propertiesunderSection12ofRule39oftheRulesofCourtmustbe
presentedbeforeitssaleonexecutionbythesheriff.Petitionerand
hiswifefailedtodiscloseintheirpetitionforthejudicialconstitution

of a family home that Premium AgroVet Products, Inc. is one of


their creditors considering the fact that the collection case filed
againstHonradowasfiledin1997orpriortotheinstitutionofsaid
petitionin1998.Petitionerneverraisedtheargumentofexemption
of his family home before the trial court before and during the
auction sale. We find that such actions reveal a dilatory intent to
rendernugatorythesaleonexecutionanddefeattheverypurpose
ofexecutiontoputanendtolitigation.Petitionerpreviouslyfailed
toappearinthepretrialconference,failedtosubmithisappellants
289

VOL.476,NOVEMBER25,2005

289

Honrado vs. Court of Appeals


brief and now conveniently raised the issue of exemption almost a
yearfromtheauctionsale.
We find no proof of grave abuse of discretion [on] the part of
public respondents. Once a judgment becomes final and executory,
theprevailingpartycanhaveitexecutedasamatterofright,and
the issuance of a Writ of Execution becomes a ministerial duty of
thecourt.Itiswellsettledthatthesheriffsdutyintheexecutionof
a writ issued by a court is purely ministerial. The function of
orderingtheexecutionofajudgment,beingjudicial,devolvesupon
25
thejudge.

Therulingoftheappellatecourtiscorrect.Therespondent
court, tribunal or administrative agency acts without
jurisdictionifitdoesnothavethelegalpowertodetermine
the case. There is excess of jurisdiction where the
respondent,beingclothedwiththepowertodeterminethe
case,overstepsitsauthorityasdeterminedbylaw.Thereis
graveabuseofdiscretionwherethepublicrespondentacts
inacapricious,whimsical,arbitraryordespoticmannerin
theexerciseofitsjudgmentastobesaidtobeequivalentto
26
lackofjurisdiction.Mereabuseofdiscretionisnotenough.
Moreover, in a petition for certiorari, the jurisdiction of
thecourtisnarrowinscope.Itislimitedtoresolvingonly
27
cases of jurisdiction. A writ of certiorari is an equitable
remedy and he who comes to court for equity must do so
withcleanhands.
Inthiscase,theRTCactedinaccordwithcaselawwhen
itissuedtheassailedorder.Thepetitioneradmitstohaving
been notified of the levy of his property and of its sale at
public auction at 9:30 a.m. on May 17, 2001 at the
Municipal Hall of Calamba, Laguna. However, he did not
bother to object to the levy and the projected sale on the
ground that the property and the house thereon was a
family home. The petitioner allowed the sale at public
auctiontoproceedandtheSheriff
_______________
25Rollo,pp.3738.
26 People

v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 144332, 10 June 2004, 431

SCRA610.
27Id.,atp.617.

290

290

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Honrado vs. Court of Appeals

toexecuteacertificateofsaleoverthepropertyinfavorof
the private respondent for P650,204.10. He even vacated
the property after the said sale. The petitioner remained
silentandfailedtoseekrelieffromtheSherifforthecourt
untilMay3,2002,whenhefiledhismotiontodeclarethe
property exempt from execution under Article 155 of the
FamilyCodeandSection13,Rule39oftheRulesonCivil
Procedure. Even then, there was no showing that, during
thehearingofsaidmotion,thepetitioneradducedevidence
to prove the value of the property and that it is, indeed, a
familyhome.
Moreover,thepetitionersetthehearingofhismotionon
May10,2002at8:30a.m.Theprivaterespondentopposed
themotion,butthepetitionerdidnotfileanyreplythereto.
Moreover,thepetitionerneverinformedtheCourtthatthe
RTC of Calamba, Laguna, had rendered judgment in SP
CaseNo.4891998CearlieronApril29,2002.Itwasonly
on November 25, 2002 that the petitioner revealed to the
RTC of Quezon City that there was such a case and a
decisionhadalreadybeenrendered.Thepetitionerhasnot
justified why he concealed such matters for such
considerableperiodoftime.
Whileitistruethatthefamilyhomeisconstitutedona
house and lot from the time it is occupied as a family
residenceandisexemptfromexecutionorforcedsaleunder
Article 153 of the Family Code, such claim for exemption
shouldbesetupandprovedtotheSheriffbeforethesaleof
thepropertyatpublicauction.Failuretodosowouldestop
thepartyfromlaterclaimingtheexemption.AsthisCourt
28
ruledinGomez v. Gealone:
Although the Rules of Court does not prescribe the period within
whichtoclaimtheexemption,theruleis,nevertheless,wellsettled
that the right of exemption is a personal privilege granted to the
judgmentdebtorandassuch,itmustbeclaimednotbythe
_______________
28G.R.No.58281,13November1991,203SCRA474.

291

VOL.476,NOVEMBER25,2005

291

Honrado vs. Court of Appeals


sheriff,butbythedebtorhimselfatthetimeofthelevyorwithina
reasonableperiodthereafter;
Intheabsenceofexpressprovisionithasvariouslyheldthatclaim(for
exemption) must be made at the time of the levy if the debtor is
present,thatitmustbemadewithinareasonabletime,orpromptly,or
beforethecreditorhastakenanystepinvolvingfurthercosts,orbefore
advertisementofsale,oratanytimebeforesale,orwithinareasonable
time before the sale, or before the sale has commenced, but as to the
lastthereiscontraryauthority.

Inthelightofthefactsabovesummarized,itisselfevidentthat
appellants did not assert their claim of exemption within a
reasonabletime.Certainly,reasonabletime,forpurposesofthelaw
onexemption,doesnotmeanatimeaftertheexpirationoftheone
year period provided for in Section 30 of Rule 39 of the Rules of
Court for judgment debtors to redeem the property sold on
execution, otherwise it would render nugatory final bills of sale on
executionanddefeattheverypurposeofexecutiontoputanend
to litigation. We said before, and We repeat it now, that litigation
must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is
essential to an effective administration of justice that, once a
judgment has become final, the winning party be not, through a
meresubterfuge,deprivedofthefruitsoftheverdict.Wenowrule
thatclaims for exemption from execution of properties under Section
12 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court must be presented before its sale
29
on execution by the sheriff.

IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is


DENIED.Costsagainstthepetitioner.
SOORDERED.
Puno (Chairman), AustriaMartinezandTinga, JJ.,
concur.
ChicoNazario, J.,OnLeave.
Petition denied.
_______________
29Gomez

v. Gealone, supra(Emphasissupplied).
292

292

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Pineda vs. Macapagal

Notes.Acasethatpertainstothede novoappreciation
of factual questions is not a fit subject for the special civil
actionsofcertiorariandmandamus.(Camid vs. Office of the
President,448SCRA711[2005])
The right of exemption from execution is a personal
privilege granted to the judgment debtor and, as such, it
must be claimed not by the sheriff but by the judgment
debtorhimselfatthetimeofthelevyorwithinareasonable
periodthereafter.(Dagooc vs. Erlina,453SCRA423[2005])
o0o

Copyright 2015 Central Book Supply, Inc. All rights reserved.