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Jurisdiction over the res (status of the party in this case)

Macasaet v. Co, Jr.


Facts:
The respondent (Co, Jr.) sued Abante Tonite, Macasaet, Quijano, Albano, Bay, Galang, Hagos, and Reyes (petitioners) for libel.
Respondent is claiming damages for an allegedly libelous article petitioners published in the June 6, 2000 issue of Abante Tonite.
The RTC branch handling the case issued summons to be served to each defendant, including Abante Tonite, at their business
address.
RTC Sheriff Medina went to such address in the morning of Sept. 18, 2000 to effect personal service of summons on the
defendants but his efforts were fruitless because petitioners were out of the office and unavailable. He returned in the afternoon
to make a second attempt but he was informed that they were still out of the office. So he resorted to substituted service of the
summons upon realizing the impossibility of his finding petitioners in person within a reasonable time because of the nature of
their jobs and explained such in his sheriffs return dated September 22, 2000.
The petitioners moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction over their persons because of invalid and ineffectual
substituted service of summons and that Abante Tonite should be dropped as a defendant by virtue of its being neither a natural
nor a juridical person that could be impleaded as a party in a civil action. RTC denied the motion as well as petitioners
subsequent Motion for Reconsideration. Then, petitioners brought a petition for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and then a
Motion for Reconsideration in the CA. Both were denied. Petitioners filed a Petition for Review in the SC.
Issue:
Whether the CA committed reversible error by sustaining the inclusion of Abante Tonite as party in the instant case?
Ruling:
No. The CA did not commit a reversible error by sustaining the inclusion of Abante Tonite as party in the instant case.
Nor can we sustain petitioners contention that Abante Tonite could not be sued as a defendant due to its not being either a
natural or a juridical person. In rejecting their contention, the CA categorized Abante Tonite as a corporation by estoppel as the
result of its having represented itself to the reading public as a corporation despite its not being incorporated. Thereby, the CA
concluded that the RTC did not gravely abuse its discretion in holding that the non-incorporation of Abante Tonite with the
Securities and Exchange Commission was of no consequence, for, otherwise, whoever of the public who would suffer any
damage from the publication of articles in the pages of its tabloids would be left without recourse. We cannot disagree with the
CA, considering that the editorial box of the daily tabloid disclosed that basis, nothing in the box indicated that Monica Publishing
Corporation had owned Abante Tonite.