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HELD

GOMEZ vs. COURT OF APPEALS


G.R. No. 127692. March 10, 2004
_____________________________
Jurisdiction
FACTS
In 1975, the spouses Trocino
mortgaged 2 parcels of land covered by
TCT to Dr. Yujuico. After foreclosure and
public auction (7-11-88) and before the
expiry of redemption period, the spouses
Trocino sold the property to petitioners
(12-12-89), who redeemed it from Dr.
Yujuico. The spouses Trocino, however,
refused to convey ownership of the
properties.
Copies of the complaint were
served by the RTC-Cebu Br 10 Process
Server to defendants Jacob, Jesus Jr.,
Adolfo, Mariano, Consolacion, Alice,
Racheal thru defendant Caridad Trocino at
their given address at Maria Cristina
Extension (besides Sacred Heart School
for Girls), Cebu City.
After trial on the merits, RTC
rendered its decision in favor of plaintiffs,
ordering defendants to execute Deed of
Sale and the balance of Php2M.
Otherwise, sale is rescinded and
defendants must return Php500,000 with
interests, moral and exemplary damages,
attorneys fees and litigation expenses.
After defendants failed, RTC
ordered the nullification of titles and the
RoD to issue new titles.
Trocinos filed with CA a petition for
the annulment of the judgment rendered
by RTC, alleging that decision is null and
void on the ground that it did not acquire
jurisdiction. At the time of summons, Adolfo
has already been in Ohio, U.S.A. for 25
years, while Mariano has been in Bohol
since 1986.
CA granted petition and denied the
MR, hence this petition.
ISSUE
Whether or not CA was correct in
dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction.

Summons is a writ by which the


defendant is notified of the action brought
against him. Service of such writ is the
means by which the court acquires
jurisdiction over his person. Any judgment
without such service in the absence of a
valid waiver is null and void.
Was the summons effectively
served on respondents? If yes, the trial
court had validly acquired jurisdiction over
their persons and judgment is valid.
To resolve this, the nature of the
action must first be determined. Was it in
personam, in rem, or quasi in rem?
Because the rules on service of summons
(Rule 14) apply according to the nature of
the action.
In the present case, petitioners pray
that spouses Trocino be ordered to
execute the appropriate deed of sale; or
the sale be rescinded. The action instituted
affects the parties alone, not the whole
world. Hence, in personam. As such,
personal service of summons upon the
defendants is essential in order for the
court to acquire of jurisdiction over
their persons.
In the failure of the sheriffs to state
the facts and circumstances showing the
impossibility of personal service of
summons, petitioners should have sought
the issuance of an alias summons (Section
5, Rule 14)
The fact that Atty. Bugarin
represented all the respondents without
any exception does not transform the
ineffective service of summons into a valid
one. There was no proof that respondents
authorized Atty. Bugarins appearance.
The fact that a pleading is signed by
one defendant does not necessarily mean
that it is binding on a co-defendant.
When the process server personally
served the summons on Caridad Trocino,
the trial court validly acquired jurisdiction
over her person alone. Hence, the trial
courts decision is valid and binding with
regard to her, but only in proportion to
Caridad Trocinos share.
The petition for review is DENIED.

ASIAVEST LIMITED vs. CA


G.R. No. 128803. September 25, 1998
____________________________
Jurisdiction
FACTS
In an action for a specific amount of
money, petitioner Asiavest Limited
obtained a favorable judgment from the
Hong Kong Court against private
respondent, Antonio Heras. In view of the
fact that the private respondent is now
residing in the Philippines, an action was
filed in order to seek enforcement of the
said judgment.
Private respondent. in his answer,
admitted the existence of the foreign
judgment but opposed its enforcement on
the ground of foreign courts lack of
jurisdiction over his person. It appears that
summons issued by the Hong Kong Court
was served through defendants law office
while he was already in the Philippines. He
contended that notice sent outside the
state to a non-resident is unavailing to give
jurisdiction in a personal action against him
for recovery of money.
RTC held that Hong Kong Court
judgment should be recognized and given
effect in thisjurisdiction for failure of Heras
to overcome the legal presumption in favor
of foreign judgment.
CA reversed the decision on the
ground of lack of jurisdiction. Hence, this
petition.
ISSUE
Whether or not the Hong Kong
Court acquired jurisdiction.
HELD
The Hong Kong Court did not
acquire jurisdiction hence judgment is not
enforceable. Although a foreign judgment
is a presumptive evidence of a right as
between the parties within the Philippines,
it may be repelled by evidence of want of
jurisdiction. Since the expert witness failed
to testify on the law of Hong Kong
concerning service of summons, it will thus
be presumed that the Hong Kong

law on the matter is similar to Philippine


law.
In an action in personam wherein
the defendant is a non- resident who does
not voluntarily submit himself to the
authority of the court, personal service of
summons within the state is essential to
the acquisition of jurisdiction, If he is not
present therein, the court cannot acquire
jurisdiction over his person and therefore
cannot validly try and decide the case
against him.
Accordingly, since Heras was not a
resident: of Hong Kong and the action
against him was one in personam,
summons should have been personally
served on him while in Hong Kong. The
extraterritorial service in the Philippines
was therefore invalid and did not confer on
the Hong Kong Court jurisdiction over his
person.

Valmonte v. CA
G.R. No. 108538 January 22, 1996
__________________________________
Service of Summons
FACTS
Petitioners Lourdes Valmonte and
husband are residents of Seattle,
Washington, U.S.A. Husband Alfredo,
however, is a lawyer in the Philippines,
commuting between Washington and
Ermita, Manila.
Private respondent Rosita
Dimalanta, sister of petitioner filed an
action for partition against former and her
husband. In her complaint, she alleged
that the plaintiff is of legal age, a widow
and is at present a resident of Missouri,
U.S.A., while the defendants are spouses
but may be served with summons at
Ermita, Manila, where defendant Alfredo
holds office. The summons were served on
her husband.
Petitioner in a letter, referred private
respondents counsel to her husband as
the party to whom all communications
intended for her should be sent. Service of
summons was then made upon petitioner
Alfredo at his office inManila. Alfredo
accepted his summons, but not the one for
Lourdes, on the ground that he was not
authorized to accept the process on her
behalf. Accordingly the process server left
without leaving a copy of the summons
and complaint for petitioner Lourdes.
Petitioner Alfredo thereafter filed his
Answer with Counterclaim. Petitioner
Lourdes, however, did not file her Answer.
For this reason private respondent moved
to declare her in default. Petitioner Alfredo
entered a special appearance in behalf of
his wife and opposed the private
respondents motion. RTC denied the MR
of respondents. CA declared petitioner
Lourdes in default. Said decision was
received by Alfredo hence this petition.
ISSUE
Whether or not petitioner Lourdes was
validly served with summons.

HELD
There was no valid service of
summons on Lourdes.
The action herein is in the nature of
an action quasiin rem.Such an action is
essentially for the purpose of affecting the
defendants interest in a specific property
and not to render a judgment against him.
As petitioner Lourdes is a
nonresident who is not found in the
Philippines, service of summons on her
must be in accordance with Rule 14, 17.
Such service, to be effective outside the
Philippines, must be made either (1) by
personal service; (2) by publication in a
newspaper of general circulation in such
places and for such time as the court may
order, in which case copy of the summons
and order of the court should be sent by
registered mail to the last known address
of the defendant; or (3) in any other
manner which the court may deem
sufficient.
In the case at bar, the service of
summons upon petitioner Lourdes was not
done by means of any of the first two
modes. The service of summons on
petitioner Alfredo was not made upon the
order of the court as required by Rule 14,
17 and certainly was not a mode deemed
sufficient by the court which in fact refused
to consider the service to be valid and on
that basis declare petitioner Lourdes in
default for her failure to file an answer.
Secondly, the service in the
attempted manner on petitioner was not
made upon prior leave of the trial court as
required also in Rule 14, 17. As provided
in 19, such leave must be applied for by
motion in writing, supported by affidavit of
the plaintiff or some person on his behalf
and setting forth the grounds for the
application.
Finally, and most importantly,
because there was no order granting such
leave, petitioner Lourdes was not given
ample time to file her Answer which,
according to the rules, shall be not less
than sixty (60) days after notice.

VILLAREAL vs. CA
G.R. No. 107314 September 17, 1998
______________________________
FACTS
The complaint to recover damages
for killing petitioner's husbandJose
Villareal was filed with the RTC Makati.
Prior to the filing of the complaint, the
Sevillas had abruptly left the country and
had started disposing of their properties in
the Philippines.
In Aug 1988, petitioners filed a
Motion for Leave to Serve Summons by
Publication which was later granted by
RTC. Meanwhile, at the instance of
petitioner Patricia, an information charging
private respondents with murder was filed
in Oct 1988 with RTC Makati.
Defendants were declared in
Default for failure to file their Answer within
the 60-day period counted from the last
day of publication and petitioners were
then allowed to present evidence ex-parte.
After presenting their evidence, petitioners
amended their complaint to make it
conform to the evidence. RTC admitted the
Amended Complaint and granted
petitioners' Motion for Extra-territorial
Service of Summons. Accordingly,
summons was published in the newspaper
Abante. Copies of the Amended
Complaint, the summons, and the order
were sent by registered mail to the last
known addresses of private respondents at
Paraaque and US.
In Feb 1990, counsel for private
respondents, Teresita Marbibi, filed a
Notice ofAppearance on their behalf; and
days after, again through counsel, filed a
verified Motion to Lift Order of Default with
MR.
RTC issued an order denying the
Motion to Lift Order of Default with MR, on
the ground that private respondents herein
failed to comply with Rule 18. In April
1990, RTC rendered a decision finding
private respondents liable for the killing of
Jose Villareal. Subsequent motions,
without questioning courts jurisdiction,
were later filed by the private respondents
but were also later denied by RTC. Thus,

in Sept 1991, private respondents filed in


CA apetition for certiorari, prohibition, and
mandamus with preliminary injunction,
alleging (1) that RTC never acquired
jurisdiction overthem since they are nonresident defendants and petitioners' action
ispurely in personam and (2) that they
were denied due process of law.
CA granted the petition and denied
MR, hence, this petition for review.
ISSUE
Whether or not the trial court acquired
jurisdiction over the private respondents.
HELD
It is true that where the defendant in
an action in personam is a non-resident,
as in this case, and refuses to appear and
submit to jurisdiction of the court, the
jurisdiction of the latter is limited to the
property within the country which the court
may have ordered attached. In such a
case, the property itself is "the sole thing
which is impleaded and is the responsible
object which is the subject of the judicial
power." Accordingly, "the relief must be
confined to the res, and the court cannot
lawfully render a personal judgment
against him."
But the Court also acknowledged
in Banco Espaol-Filipino that if property is
attached and later the defendant appears,
"the cause becomes mainly a suit in
personam, with the added incident that the
property attached remains liable, under the
control of the court, to answer to any
demand which may be established against
the defendant by the final judgment of the
court."
In this case, not only was property
in the Philippines of private respondents
attached, but, what is more, private
respondents subsequently appeared in the
trial court and submitted to its jurisdiction.
Consequently, the jurisdiction of the trial
court to render a judgment in personam
against them is undoubted. There can be
no question regarding the trial court's
acquisition of jurisdiction over the persons
of respondents when the latter's counsel

entered her appearance on their behalf.


Through counsel, private respondents
voluntarily appeared by filing a Notice of
Appearance without qualification and a
Motion to Lift Order of Default with MR, in
which they prayed for affirmative reliefs,
thus submitting to the jurisdiction of the
court. The following instances have been
considered voluntary submission to the
jurisdiction of the court: the filing by
defendant of a motion to admit answer; the
filing of a motion for reconsideration of the
judgment by default; and the filing of a
petition to set aside the judgment of
default. Not only did private respondents
voluntarily submit themselves to the
jurisdiction of the trial court, they never
questioned the validity of the mode of
service ofsummons, that is, by
extraterritorial service upon them. As
already stated, private respondents filed a
notice of appearance without qualification.