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PT&T vs.

NLRC272 SCRA 596


Facts:Grace de Guzman, private respondent, was initially hired as areliever
by PT&T, petitioner, specifi cally as a Supernumerary ProjectWorker, for a
fi xed period due to a certain employee whos having a maternity leave. Under
the agreement she signed, her employment was toi m m e d i a t e l y t e r m i n a t e
u p o n t h e e x p i r a t i o n o f t h e a g r e e d p e r i o d . Thereafter, PT&T again hired
Grace as reliever for the succeeding periods,this time as a replacement to an
employee who went on leave. The reliever status was then formally completed
until she was asked again to j o i n P T & T a s a p r o b a t i o n a r y e m p l o y e e
c o v e r i n g 1 5 0 d a y s . I n t h e j o b application form, she indicated in the portion of
the civil status therein thatshe was single although she had contracted marriage a
few months earlier.Grace has also made the same representation on her two
successivereliever agreements. The branch supervisor of PT&T having discovered
thediscrepancy sent Grace a memorandum requiring her to explain the
saiddiscrepancy and she was reminded about the companys policy of
notaccepting married women for employment. In her reply, she stated
thatshe wasnt aware of such policy at that time and all along she
hadntd e l i b e r a t e l y h i d d e n h e r t r u e c i v i l s t a t u s . H o w e v e r , P T & T
r e m a i n e d unconvinced of this reasoning pledge by Grace and thus she was
dismissedfrom the company. Grace contested by initiating a complaint for
illegaldismissal and with a claim for non-payment of cost of living allowances
Issue:Whether or not PT&T is liable against Graces illegal dismissal dueto certain
company policy
Ruling:M a r r i a g e a s a s p e c i a l c o n t r a c t c a n n o t b e
r e s t r i c t e d b y discriminatory policies of private individuals or
corporations. Wheres acompany policy disqualified from work any woman
worker who contractsmarriage, the Supreme Court invalidated such policy as
it not only runsafoul the constitutional provision on equal protection but
also on thefundamental policy of the State toward marriage. The danger of such
policy against marriage followed by PT&T isthat it strike at the very
essence, ideals and purpose of marriage as an inviolable social institution and
ultimately of the family as the foundation of the nation. Therefore, PT&T is deemed
liable for Graces illegal dismissaland the latter shall claim for damages

Estrada vs. EscritorA.M. P-02-1651 August 4, 2003


Facts:In a sworn letter-complaint, Alejandro Estrada, complainant, wrotet o J u d g e
C a o i b e s J r. r e q u e s t i n g f o r a n i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f r u m o r s t h a t respondent
Soledad Escritor, court interpreter of Las Pias, is living with aman not her
husband. Judge Caoibes referred the letter to Escritor, whostated that
there is no truth as to the veracity of the allegation and challenged
Estrada, to appear in the open and prove his allegation in theproper court.
Judge Caoibes set a preliminary conference and Escritor move for inhibition

to avoid bias and suspicion in hearing her case. In thec o n f e r e n c e , E s t r a d a


c o n fi r m e d t h a t h e fi l e d a l e t t e r- c o m p l a i n t f o r disgraceful and immoral
conduct under the Revised Administrative Codeagainst Escritor for that his
frequent visit in the Hall of Justice in Las Piaslearned Escritor is cohabiting with
another man not his husband.Escritor testified that when she entered judiciary in
1999, she wasalready a widow since 1998. She admitted that shes been
living withLuciano Quilapo Jr. without the benefit of marriage for 20 years and
thatthey have a son. Escritor asserted that as a member of the religious sectknown
as Jehovahs Witnesses, and having executed a Declaration of Pledging
Faithfulness (which allows members of the congregation whohave been
abandoned by their spouses to enter into marital relations) j o i n t l y w i t h
Quilapo after ten years of living together, her
con j u g al arran g e me n t i s i n con f ormi ty wi th h e r re li g i ou s b el i ef s
a n d h a s t h e approval of the congregation, therefore not constituting
disgraceful andimmoral conduct
Issue:Whether or not Escritor is administratively liable for disgraceful and immoral
conduct
Ruling:Escritor cannot be penalized. The Constitution adheres to
thebenevolent neutrality approach that gives room for accommodation
of religious exercises as required by the Free Exercise Clause, provided that itd o e s
not offend compelling state interests. The OSG must
t h e n demonstrate that the state has used the least intrusive means possible sothat
the free exercise clause is not infringed any more than necessary toa c h i e v e t h e
l e g i t i m a t e g o a l o f t h e s t a t e . I n t h i s c a s e , w i t h n o i o t a o f evidence
offered, the records are bereft of even a feeble attempt to showthat the state
adopted the least intrusive means. With the Solicitor Generalutterly failing to
prove this element of the test, and under these distinct circumstances,
Escritor cannot be penalized. The Constitution itself mandates the Court to make
exemptions incases involving criminal laws of general application, and
under theseistinct circumstances, such conjugal arrangement cannot be penalized
forthere is a case for exemption from the law based on the fundamental rightto
freedom of religion. In the area of religious exercise as a preferred freedom,
man stands accountable to an authority higher than the state.

Goitia vs. Campos-Rueda35 Phil. 252


Facts:Article 1; Eloisa Goitia, plaintiff-appellant, and Jose Campos-Rueda,defendant,
were legally married in the city of Manila. They establishedtheir residence
115 Calle San Marcelino, where they lived together for about a month.
However, the plaintiff returned to the home of her parents. The allegations of the
complaint were that the defendant, onemonth after they had contracted
marriage, demanded plaintiff to performunchaste and lascivious acts on his genital
organs in which the latter rejectthe said demands. With these refusals, the

defendant got irritated andprovoked to maltreat the plaintiff by word and deed.
Unable to induce thedefendant to desist from his repugnant desires and cease of
maltreatingher, plaintiff was obliged to leave the conjugal abode and take refuge
inthe home of her parents. The plaintiff appeals for a complaint against her
husband forsupport outside of the conjugal domicile. However, the defendant
objectsthat the facts alleged in the complaint do not state a cause of action
Issue:Whether or not Goitia can claim for support outside of the conjugaldomicile

Ruling:Marriage is something more than a mere contra ct. It is a


newrelation, the rights, duties and obligations of which rest not upon
theagreement of the parties but upon the general law which defi nes
andprescribes those rights, duties and obligatio ns. When the object of
amarriage is defeated by rendering its continuance intolerable to one of theparties
and productive of no possible good to the commu nity, relief insome way
should be obtainable. The law provides that defendant, who is obliged to
support thewife, may fulfill this obligation either by paying her a fixed pension or
bymaintaining her in his own home at his option. However, the option givenby law is
not absolute. The law will not permit the defendant to evade orterminate his
obligation to support his wife if the wife was forced to leavethe conjugal abode
because of the lewd designs and physical assaults of the defendant, Beatriz may
claim support from the defendant for separatemaintenance even outside of the
conjugal home.
Balogbog vs. CAG.R. No. 83598 March 7, 1997
Facts:Petitioners Leoncia and Gaudioso Balogbog are the children of Basilio
Balogbog and Genoveva Arzibal who died intestate in 1951 and 1961,
respectively. They had an older brother, Gavino, but he died in 1935,predeceasing
their parents. In 1968, private respondents Ramonito and Generoso Balogbog
brought an action for partition and accounting againstpetitioners, claiming that they
were the legitimate children of Gavino byCatalina Ubas and that, as such, they were
entitled to the one-third shareof Gavino in the estate of their grandparents. In their
answer, petitionersdenied knowing private respondents. They alleged that
their brotherGavino died single and without issue in their parents'
residence at Tag-amakan, Asturias, Cebu. The Court of First Instance of Cebu City
rendered judgment for private respondents, ordering petitioners to render
anaccounting from 1960 until the fi nality of its judgment, to partition
theestate and deliver to private respondents one-third of the estate of Basilioand
Genoveva, and to pay attorney's fees and costs. On appeal, the Courtof Appeals
affirmed
Issue:Whether or not the marriage between Gavino and Catalina is valideven in the
absence of marriage certificate

Ruling:Under the Rules of Court, the presumption is that a man and


awoman conducting themselves as husband and wife are legally married. This
presumption may be rebutted only by cogent proof to the contrary. Inthis case,
petitioners' claim that the certifi cation presente d by privaterespondents, to
the effect that the record of the marriage had been lost ordestroyed during the
war, was belied by the production of the Book of Marriages by the
assistant municipal treasurer of Asturias. Petitioners argue that this book
does not contain any entry pertaining to the allegedmarriage of private
respondents' parents. This contention has no merit. Although a marriage
contract is considered primary evidence of marriage the failure to present it is
not proof that no marriage took place. Other evidence may be presented to
prove marriage.Here, private respondents proved, through testimonial
evidence,t h a t G a v i n o a n d C a t a l i n a w e r e m a r r i e d i n 1 9 2 9 ; t h a t t h e y
h a d t h r e e children, one of whom died in infancy; that their marriage subsisted
until1935 when Gavino died; and that their children, private
respondentsherein, were recognized by Gavino's family and by the publ ic
as thelegitimate children of Gavino. Hence, the marriage between Gavino
andCatalina is valid

Eugenio Sr. vs. Velez185 SCRA 425


Facts:Unaware of the death on 28 August 1988 of Vitaliana Vargas, herfull blood
brothers and sisters, herein private respondents filed a petitionf o r h a b e a s
c o r p u s b e f o r e t h e RTC o f M i s a m i s O r i e n t a l a l l e g i n g t h a t Vitaliana
was forcibly taken from her residence sometime in 1987 and confined by
herein petitioner in his palacial residence in Jasaan, MisamisOriental. Despite her
desire to escape, Vitaliana was allegedly deprived of her liberty without any legal
authority. At the time the petition was filed, itwas alleged that Vitaliana was 25
years of age, single, and living withpetitioner Tomas Eugenio. Petitioner
refused to surrender the body of Vitaliana (who had died on 28 August 1988) to
the respondent sheriff. Asher common law husband, petitioner claimed legal
custody of her body.Private respondents (Vargases) alleged that petitioner Tomas
Eugenio, whois not in any way related to Vitaliana was wrongfully interfering with
their(Vargases') duty to bury her. Invoking Arts. 305 and 308 of the Civil Code,the
Vargases contended that, as the next of kin in the Philippines, they arethe legal
custodians of the dead body of their sister Vitaliana. An exchangeof pleadings
followed. Petitioner claims he is the spouse contemplated under Art. 294 of
the Civil Code, the term spouse used therein not beingpreceded by any
qualification; hence, in the absence of such qualification,he is the rightful
custodian of Vitaliana's body. Vitaliana's brothers and sisters contend
otherwise
Issue:W h e t h e r o r n o t p e t i t i o n e r c a n b e c o n s i d e r e d a s a s p o u s e
o f Vitaliana Vargas

Ruling: There is a view that under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code,t h e t e r m
" s p o u s e " e m b r a c e s c o m m o n l a w r e l a t i o n f o r p u r p o s e s o f exemption
from criminal liability in cases of theft, swindling and maliciousmischief
committed or caused mutually by spouses. The Penal Codea r t i c l e , i t i s
s a i d , m a k e s n o d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n a c o u p l e w h o s e cohabitation
is sanctioned by a sacrament or legal tie and another who arehusband and wife de
facto. But this view cannot even apply to the facts of the case at bar. We hold
that the provisions of the Civil Code, unlessexpressly providing to the contrary
as in Article 144, when referring to a"spouse" contemplate a lawfully wedded
spouse. Petitioner vis--visVitaliana was not a lawfully wedded spouse; in
fact, he was not legallycapacitated to marry her in her lifetime.Custody of the
dead body of Vitaliana was correctly awarded to hersurviving brothers and sisters
(the Vargases).
Cosca vs. Palaypayon237 SCRA 249
Facts:Ramon C. Sambo and other complainants filed an administrativecomplaint to
the Offi ce of the Court Administrator against Judge Lucio Palaypayon and
Nelia Baroy, respondents, for the following offenses:
1.Illegal solemnization of marriage
2.Falsifi cation of the monthly reports of cases3.Bribery in consideration of
an appointment in court4.Non-issuance of receipt for cash bond
received5.Infi delity in the custody of detained prisoners, and6.Requiring
payment of fi ling fees from exempted entities
Complainants allege that respondent judge solemnized marriageseven without the
requisite of marriage license. Thus, several couples wereable to get married by the
simple expedient of paying the marriage fees tor e s p o n d e n t B a r o y , d e s p i t e
t h e a b s e n c e o f m a r r i a g e l i c e n s e . A s a consequence, their marriage
contracts did not reflect any marriage licensenumber. In addition, the
respondent judge did not sign their marriage contracts and did not indicate the
date of solemnization, the reason beingthat he allegedly had to wait for the
marriage license to be submitted bythe parties which was usually several days after
the ceremony. Indubitably,the marriage contracts were not filed with the local civil
registrar.
Issue:Whether or not respondent judge is liable of illegal solemnization of marriage.
Ruling:O n t h e c h a r g e r e g a r d i n g i l l e g a l m a r r i a g e s , t h e Fa m i l y
C o d e pertinently provides that the formal requisite of marriage, inter alia, a
validm a r r i a g e l i c e n s e e x c e p t i n t h e c a s e s p r o v i d e d f o r
t h e r e i n . Complementarily, it declares that the absence of any of the
essential orformal requisites shall generally render the marriage void ab
initio andthat, while an irreg ularity in the formal requisites shall not aff ect
thevalidity of the marriage, the party or parties responsible for the irregularityshall
be civilly, criminally and administratively liable. Thus, respondent judge is
liable for illegal solemnization of marriage.

Ilusorio vs. BildnerG.R. No. 139789 May 12, 2000


Facts:Erlinda Kalaw and Potenciano Ilusorio contracted matrimony andlived
together for a period of thirty years. Out of their marriage, the spouses had
six children. In 1972, they separated from bed and board forundisclosed reasons.
Potenciano lived in Makati when he was in Manila andin Ilusorio penthouse when
he was in Baguio City. On the other hand, Erlinda lived in Antipolo City.When
Potenciano arrived from United States and lived with Erlindain Antipolo City for five
months. The children, Sylvia and Lin, alleged thattheir mother overdosed their
father with an antidepressant drug which thelatters health deteriorated. Erlinda
filed with RTC of Antipolo City a petitionfor guardianship over the person and
property of her husband due to thelatters advanced age, frail health, poor eyesight
and impaired judgment.Potenciano did not return to Antipolo City and
instead lived in acondominium in Makati City after attending a corporate meeting
in BaguioCity. With these, Erlinda filed with CA a petition for habeas corpus to
havecustody of her husband and also for the reason that respondent
refusedp e t i t i o n e r s d e m a n d s t o s e e a n d v i s i t h e r h u s b a n d a n d
p r o h i b i t i n g Potenciano from living with her in Antipolo City
ssue:Whether or not Erlinda Ilusorio may secure a writ of habeas corpusto compel
her husband to live with her in conjugal bliss
Ruling: The essential object and purpose of the writ of
habeas corpus
is toinquire into all manner of involuntary restraint, and to relieve a
persontherefrom if such restraint is illegal. To justify the grant of the petition,
ther e s t r a i n t o f l i b e r t y m u s t b e a n i l l e g a l a n d i n v o l u n t a r y
d e p r i v a t i o n o f freedom of action. The illegal restraint of liberty must be
actual andeffective, not merely nominal or moral.No court is empowered as a
judicial authority to compel a husbandto live with his wife. Coverture cannot be
enforced by compulsion of a writof
habeas corpus
carried out by sheriff s or by any other mesne process. That is a matter
beyond judicial authority and is best left to the man andwomans free choice.
Therefore, a petition for writ of habeas corpus is denied
Morigo vs. People of the PhilippinesG. R. No. 145226 February 6, 2004
Facts:Appellant Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete were boardmates at thehouse of
Catalina Tortor at Tagbilaran City, for a period of four years. Afterschool year, Lucio
Morigo and Lucia Barrete lost contact with each other. In1984, Lucio Morigo was
surprised to receive a card from Lucia Barrete fromSingapore. The former replied
and after an exchange of letters, theybecame sweethearts. In 1986, Lucia
returned to the Philippines but left again for Canada to work there. While in
Canada, they maintained constantcommunication. In 1990, Lucia came back to the
Philippines and proposedto petition appellant to join her in Canada. Both
agreed to get married.Lucia reported back to her work in Canada leaving
appellant Lucio behind.On August 19, 1991, Lucia fi led with the Ontario
Court a petitionfor divorce against appellant which was granted by the
court. AppellantLucio Morigo married Maria Jececha Lumbago at Tagbilaran City.

Lucio fileda complaint for judicial declaration of nullity of marriage in the


Regional Trial Court of Bohol. The complaint seeks among others, the declaration
of nullity of Lucios marriage with Lucia, on the ground that no
marriageceremony actually took place. Appellant was charged with
Bigamy ini n f o r m a t i o n fi l e d b y t h e C i t y P r o s e c u t o r o f Ta g b i l a r a n
C i t y , w i t h t h e Regional Trial Court of Bohol.Lucio Morigo moved for
suspension of the arraignment on the ground that the civil case for judicial
nullification of his marriage with Luciaposed a prejudicial question in the bigamy
case. His motion was granted,b u t s u b s e q u e n t l y d e n i e d u p o n m o t i o n f o r
r e c o n s i d e r a t i o n b y t h e prosecution. When arraigned in the bigamy case, Lucio
pleaded not guiltyto the charge
Issue: Whether or not Lucio Morigo committed bigamy even with his defense
of good faith.
Ruling:A judicial declaration of nullity of a previous marriage is necessarybefore a
subsequent one can be legally contracted. One who enters into asubsequent
marriage without fi rst obtaining such judicial declaratio n isg u i l t y o f
b i g a m y. T h i s p r i n c i p l e a p p l i e s e v e n i f t h e e a r l i e r u n i o n
i s characterized by statutes as "void."In the instant case, however, no
marriage ceremony at all wasperformed by a duly authorized solemnizing
officer. Lucio Morigo and LuciaBarrete merely signed a marriage contract on their
own. The mere privateact of signing a marriage contract bears no semblance to a
valid marriageand thus, needs no judicial declaration of nullity. Such act alone,
withoutmore, cannot be deemed to constitute an ostensibly valid marriage
forwhich Lucio might be held liable for bigamy unless he fi rst secure s
a judicial declaration of nullity before he contracts a subsequent marriage. The law
abhors an injustice and the Court is mandated to liberallyc o n s t r u e a p e n a l
s t a t u t e i n f a v o r o f a n a c c u s e d a n d w e i g h e v e r y circumstance in favor
of the presumption of innocence to ensure that justice is done. Under the
circumstances of the present case, Supreme Court held that petitioner has not
committed bigamy and that it need nottarry on the issue of the validity of his
defense of good faith or lack of criminal intent, which is now moot and
academic.
Lapuz-Sy vs. Eufemio43 SCRA 177
Facts:Carmen Lapuz-Sy fi led a petition for legal separation
againstE u f e m i o , m a r r i e d c i v i l l y o n S e p t e m b e r 2 1 , 1 9 3 4 a n d
canonically onSeptember 30, 1943. In 1943, her husband
a b a n d o n e d h e r. C a r m e n discovered Eufemio cohabiting with a Chinese woman,
Go Hiok. Carmenp r a y e d f o r t h e i s s u a n c e o f t h e d e c r e e o f l e g a l
s e p a r a t i o n . E u f e m i o amended answer to the petition and alleged
affirmative.Before the trial could be completed, petitioner died in a
vehicularaccident. With these respondent moved to dismiss the petition for
legalseparation on two grounds; the petition was filed beyond 1-year period andthe
death of petitioner abated the acted for legal separation

ssue:Whether or not the death of plaintiff in action for legal separationbefore final
decree abated the action
Ruling:An action for legal separation which involves nothing more than the
bed-and-board separation of the spouses is purely personal. The CivilCode of the
Philippines recognizes this in its Article 100, by allowing onlythe innocent spouse
and no one else to claim legal separation; and in itsArticle 108, by providing that
the spouses can, by their reconciliation, stopor abate the proceedings and even
rescind a decree of legal separation already rendered. Being personal in
character, it follows that the death of o n e p a r t y t o t h e a c t i o n c a u s e s t h e
death of the action itself
actio personalis moritur cum persona.
Gandionco vs. PearandaG.R. No. L-72984 November 27, 1987
Facts: Teresita Gandionco, legal wife of the petitioner, Froilan Gandionco,fi led with
the RTC of Misamis Oriental a complaint against petitioner for legal
separation on the ground of concubinage with a petition for supportand payment of
damages. Teresita also filed a complaint for concubinageagainst petitioner with
MTC of General Santos City. And again for theapplication for the
provisional remedy of support pendente lite. Therespondent Judge Pearanda
ordered the payment of support pendentelite .Petitioner contends that the civil
action for legal separation and theincidents thereto should be suspended in
view of the criminal case forconcubinage.
already rendered. Being personal in character, it follows that the death of o n e
party to the action causes the death of the action itself
actio personalis moritur cum persona.
Issue:W h e t h e r o r n o t t h e c i v i l a c t i o n f o r l e g a l s e p a r a t i o n s h a l l
b e suspended on the case of concubinage
Ruling:Petition is dismissed. A civil action for legal separation based
onconcubinage may proceed ahead of or simultaneously with a
criminalaction for concubinage for the action for legal separation is not to
recovercivil liability arising from the offense. Civil action is not one to enforce the
civil liability arising from the offense even if both the civil and criminal actions arise
from or are relatedto the same offense. Support pendente lite , as a remedy, can be
availed of in an action for legal separation and granted at the discretion of the
judge.

A.C. No. 10695, March 18, 2015 - CRESCENCIANO M. PITOGO, Complainant,


v. ATTY. JOSELITO TROY SUELLO, Respondent.

SECOND DIVISION
A.C. No. 10695, March 18, 2015
CRESCENCIANO M. PITOGO, Complainant, v. ATTY. JOSELITO TROY
SUELLO, Respondent.
RESOLUTION
LEONEN, J.:
Crescenciano M. Pitogo (Pitogo) purchased a motorcycle from Emcor, Inc.
However, Emcor, Inc. allegedly failed to cause the registration of the
motorcycle under his name. Pitogo, thus, filed a Civil Complaint before the
Regional Trial Court against EMCOR, Inc.1
The motorcycle was eventually registered in Pitogos name based on three
(3) documents notarized by respondent Atty. Joselito Troy Suello (Suello). 2
The documents indicate that they are registered in Suellos notarial register
as follows:
1. Deed of Assignment between
Maria P. Ponce / Rogelio
Ponce and EMCOR, Inc.
2. Deed of Sale with Assumption
of Mortgage between Maria P.
Ponce and Mariza G. Ono-on
3. Deed of Sale with Assumption
of Mortgage between Mariza
G. Ono-on and Crescenciano M.
Pitogo

Doc. No. 436;


Book No. 83;
Page No. 88;
Series of 20093
Doc. No. 437,
Page No. 88;
Book No. 83,
Series of 20094
Doc. No. 235;
Page No. 85;
Book No. 83;
Series of 20095

Pitogo obtained a copy of the three (3) documents from the Land
Transportation Office, Danao City, Cebu. On August 3, 2009, he went to
Suellos office to have them certified. Pitogo claims that when he called
Suello the next day to tell him about the importance of these documents to

his civil case, Suello disowned the documents.6 Suello instead ordered his
secretary to give Pitogo a copy of his notarial register.7
In the letter dated August 7, 2009, Pitogo reiterated to Suello that the
documents were important in his civil case pending before the Regional Trial
Court. He requested Suello to certify the authenticity and veracity of the
three (3) documents he obtained from the Land Transportation Office. 8 He
wanted to determine if the documents were duly notarized by Suello or were
merely fabricated.9 Pitogo did not receive a reply from Suello.10
On September 10, 2009, Pitogo filed his Affidavit-Complaint against Suello
before the Cebu Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Pitogo
alleges that there were discrepancies between the three (3) documents
notarized by Suello and Suellos entries in his notarial register.11
Specifically, Pitogo claims that Suellos notarial register showed that the
above entries pertain to the following documents:
a. Doc. No. 436: Deed of Absolute Sale of Mr. Roel D. Rago;12
b. Doc. No. 437: Deed of Absolute Sale of Mrs. Conchita Pitogo Tautho; 13
c. Doc. No. 235: Contract to Sell of BF Property Development Corporation. 14
In his Answer to the Affidavit-Complaint, Suello denies having notarized the
three (3) documents obtained from the Land Transportation Office. 15 He
denies the allegation that he disowned the documents. 16 He admits that he
certified the documents as true copies.17
In his Position Paper, Suello explains that it was his secretary who certified
Pitogos documents on August 3, 2009.18 Pitogo called Suello the next day to
ask for a certification.19 When he advised Pitogo that he can get it at his
office after verifying the documents, Pitogo informed him that his secretary
already certified them as true copies.20 Suello told Pitogo that his secretary
was not given such authority.21
Suello also claims that Pitogo threatened to file an administrative case
against him if he did not issue a certification stating whether the documents
were really notarized by him or were fabricated.22 According to Suello,
Pitogo needed the certification that the three (3) documents used to register
the motorcycle under his name were fabricated so he could claim P1.7
million in damages for EMCOR, Inc.s alleged non-registration of his
motorcycle.23 Pitogos claim against EMCOR, Inc. was apparently mooted by
the registration of the motorcycle under his name.
On January 10, 2012, Commissioner Hector B. Almeyda of the Commission

on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines recommended


Suellos suspension from the active practice of law for six (6) months, as well
as the revocation of his commission as a notary public. He also
recommended Suellos disqualification as notary public for two (2) years. 24
On April 15, 2013, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors
issued the Resolution adopting and approving the findings of Commissioner
Almeydas recommendation but further recommended to increase the
penalty of disqualification as notary public to four (4) years, thus:
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby unanimously ADOPTED
and APPROVED, with modification, the Report and Recommendation of the
Investigating Commissioner in the above-entitled case, herein made part of
this Resolution as Annex A, and finding the recommendation fully
supported by evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules and
considering respondent violated the Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, Atty. Joselito Troy Suellos Notarial Commission
is hereby REVOKED immediately if presently commissioned
andDISQUALIFIED from reappointment as Notary Public for four (4)
years.25 (Emphasis in the original)
Suello filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the April 15, 2013 Integrated Bar
of the Philippines Board of Governors Resolution based on the ground that
the penalty imposed on him was excessive:
1. That the sanction imposed is excessive. The respondent realizes that the
mere existence of those documents with his notarization makes him
inevitably answerable for them. Regardless how unaware he may be of how
these came about, he is still the only one to answer for them. Not the
complainant and not any party who may have access to his office
implements to do this. It made him aware of the need review his procedure
to avoid these mistakes. Respondent however finds the sanction against him
is much too excessive and respectfully invokes the following, to wit:
A.
This is the first infraction lodged against him in his 15 years of
practice.
B.
The respondent is not in bad faith and has no dishonest or selfish
motive.
C.

There is no actual or potential injury caused to any private party; 26

Suello also apologized for his oversight:


2. That substantial justice has not been done. The respondent completely
understands that this matter only pertains to him and his liability and not

about anybody or anything else. His indignation distracted him to the


mistaken belief that the complainants dubious motives would not merit his
complaint attention because he did not come with clean hands. After being
properly reminded, the respondent realizes his mistake and respectfully
apologizes for his oversight to this Honorable Commission. The respondent
finds it however grossly unjust that he is imposed with such sanction for
resisting to accommodate and be a part of the unscrupulous undertaking
sought to be accomplished motivating the complaint which is much bigger
wrong.27
On May 3, 2014, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors
issued the Resolution partially granting Suellos Motion for Reconsideration,
thus:
RESOLVED to DENY Respondents Motion for Reconsideration, there being no
cogent reason to reverse the findings of the Commission and the resolution
subject of the motion, it being a mere reiteration of the matters which had
already been threshed out and taken into consideration under Resolution No.
XX-2013-416 dated April 15, 2013. However the Board DEEMED it judicious
to reduce the penalty imposed on Atty. Joselito Troy Suello from
DISQUALIFICATION from reappointment as Notary Public from four (4)
years to two (2) years. The IMMEDIATE REVOCATION of his Notarial
Commission, if existing, under said Resolution stands. 28 (Emphasis in the
original)
After reviewing the case records and considering the parties submissions,
this court adopts the findings of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board
of Governors in its May 3, 2014 Resolution but modifies the penalties
imposed upon respondent Atty. Joselito Troy Suello.
Respondent is administratively liable for his negligence in keeping and
maintaining his notarial register. Recording every notarial act in the notarial
register is required under Rule VI the Notarial Rules, 29 thus:
Sec. 2. Entries in the Notarial Register. (a) For every notarial act, the
notary shall record in the notarial register at the time of the notarization the
following:
(1) The entry number and page number;
(2) The date and time of day of the notarial act;
(3) The type of notarial act;
(4) The title or description of the instrument, document or proceeding;
(5) The name and address of each principal;
(6) The competent evidence of identity as defined by these Rules if the
signatory is not personally known to the notary;

(7) The name and address of each credible witness swearing to or affirming
the persons identity;
(8) The fee charged for the notarial act;
(9) The address where the notarization was performed if not in the notarys
regular place of work or business; and
(10) Any other circumstance the notary public may deem of significance or
relevance.
....
(e) The notary public shall give to each instrument or document executed,
sworn to, or acknowledged before him a number corresponding to the one in
his register, and shall also state on the instrument or document the page/s
of his register on which the same is recorded. No blank line shall be left
between entries.
Failure to properly record entries in the notarial register is also a ground for
revocation of notarial commission:
SECTION 1. Revocation and Administrative Sanctions. . . . .
(b) In addition, the Executive Judge may revoke the commission of, or
impose appropriate administrative sanctions upon, any notary public who:
....
(2) fails to make the proper entry or entries in his notarial register
concerning his notarial acts[.]30
Notarial acts give private documents a badge of authenticity that the public
relies on when they encounter written documents and engage in written
transactions. Hence, all notaries public are duty-bound to protect the
integrity of notarial acts by ensuring that they perform their duties with
utmost care. This court explained in Bote v. Judge Eduardo:31
A notarial register is prima facie evidence of the facts there stated. It has
the presumption of regularity and to contradict the veracity of the entry,
evidence must be clear, convincing, and more than merely
preponderant. . . .
....
. . . Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested
with such substantial public interest that only those who are qualified or
authorized may act as notaries public. Notarization converts a private

document into a public document, making that document admissible in


evidence without further proof of its authenticity. For this reason, notaries
must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of
their duties. Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the integrity of this
form of conveyance would be undermined.32
Hence, when respondent negligently failed to enter the details of the three
(3) documents on his notarial register, he cast doubt on the authenticity of
complainants documents. He also cast doubt on the credibility of the
notarial register and the notarial process. He violated not only the Notarial
Rules but also the Code of Professional Responsibility, which requires lawyers
to promote respect for law and legal processes.33
Respondent also appears to have committed a falsehood in the pleadings he
submitted. In his Answer to complainants Affidavit-Complaint, respondent
claimed that he certified complainants documents as true copies. 34 Later, in
his Position Paper, he passed the blame to his secretary.35 This violates the
Code of Professional Responsibility, which prohibits lawyers from engaging in
dishonest and unlawful conduct.36
Respondents secretary cannot be blamed for the erroneous entries in the
notarial register. The notarial commission is a license held personally by the
notary public. It cannot be further delegated. It is the notary public alone
who is personally responsible for the correctness of the entries in his or her
notarial register.37 Respondents apparent remorse may assuage the injury
done privately, but it does not change the nature of the violation.
Besides, respondents remorse was displayed after a penalty was
recommended by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors.
It was not motivated by a realization of a wrong committed on an individual
but only by a desire to temper the penalty. It came too late.
In Agadan, et al. v. Atty. Kilaan,38 the same violations of Notarial Rules and
Code of Professional Responsibility were meted with the penalty of one-year
suspension of notarial commission and three-month suspension from the
practice of law.39 We find the same penalties proper under the
circumstances.
WHEREFORE, we find respondent Atty. Joselito Troy Suello GUILTY of
violating Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
and the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice. Accordingly, he
is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three (3) months and
is STERNLY WARNED that any similar violation will be dealt with more
severely. His notarial commission is immediately revoked if presently

commissioned. He is DISQUALIFIED from being commissioned as notary


public for one (1) year.
SO ORDERED.
Carpio, (Chairperson), Velasco, Jr.,* Del Castillo, and Mendoza, JJ., concur.
Endnotes:
*

Designated Acting Member per S.O. No. 1951 dated March 18, 2015.

Rollo, p. 3.

Id.

Id. at 6. (The document entry states: Doc No. 436; Book No. 88; Page No.
83; Series of 2009.)
3

Id. at 7.

Id. at 8. (Entry is not legible.)

Id. at 4.

Id.

Id. at 13.

Id. at 4.

10

Id.

11

Id. at 34.

The copy of the notarial register attached to the records does not indicate
the Book Number.
12

The copy of the notarial register attached to the records does not indicate
the Book Number.
13

Rollo, p. 4. The copy of the notarial register attached to the records does
not indicate the Book Number. The page number indicated is 47.
14

15

Id. at 29.

16

Id. at 30.

17

Id.

18

Id. at 75.

19

Id.

20

Id.

21

Id.

22

Id. at 76.

23

Id. at 77.

24

Id. at 9293.

25

Id. at 89.

26

Id. at 95.

27

Id. at 95.

28

Id. at 102.

29

NOTARIAL PRAC. RULE, Rule VI.

30

NOTARIAL PRAC. RULE, Rule XI, sec. 1.

31

491 Phil. 198 (2005) [Per J. Quisumbing, First Division].

32

Id. at 202203.

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, Canon 1 A lawyer shall


uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for
law and legal processes.
33

Rollo, p. 30.

34

35

Id. at 75.

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY , Canon 1 A lawyer shall


uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for
law and legal processes.
36

Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or


deceitful conduct.
See Agadan, et al. v. Atty. Kilaan, A.C. No. 9385, November 11, 2013,
709 SCRA 1, 8 [Per J. Del Castillo, Second Division].
37

A.C. No. 9385, November 11, 2013, 709 SCRA 1 [Per J. Del Castillo,
Second Division].
38

39

Id. at 12.

A.C. No. 8776, March 22, 2015 - ANTONINA S. SOSA, Complainant, v. ATTY.
MANUEL V. MENDOZA, Respondent.

SECOND DIVISION
A.C. No. 8776, March 22, 2015
ANTONINA S. SOSA, Complainant, v. ATTY. MANUEL V.
MENDOZA, Respondent.
DECISION
BRION, J.:
Before this Court is the Complaint for the disbarment/suspension of Atty.
Manuel V. Mendoza (Atty. Mendoza) filed on October 22, 2010 by Antonina
S. Sosa (Ms. Sosa), for violation of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility arising from non-payment of debt. 1
This Court, in a Resolution dated April 18, 2012, referred the case to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and
recommendation.2

On May 11, 2013, the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved with
modification the Investigating Commissioners report and recommendation.
The IBP resolved to suspend Atty. Mendoza from the practice of law for six
(6) months, likewise ordering him to return the amount of the debt with
legal interest.3
On December 10, 2013, the IBP Director for Bar Discipline transmitted to
this Court the Notice of the Resolution and the records of the case. 4
The Factual Background
Ms. Sosa alleged that on July 28, 2006, she extended a loan of Five Hundred
Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) to Atty. Mendoza at an interest of twenty-five
thousand pesos (P25,000.00) to be paid not later than September 25, 2006.
They agreed that a penalty or collection charge of ten percent (10%) per
month shall accrue in case of default.5
To ensure the payment of the obligation, Atty. Mendoza signed a promissory
note and issued a postdated check for P500,000.00. 6
Atty. Mendoza failed to comply with his obligation on due date. Upon
demand to pay, he requested Ms. Sosa not to deposit the postdated check.
She acceded and deferred the deposit of the check based on Atty. Mendozas
promise that he would later pay. The check was subsequently
returned/dishonored after Ms. Sosa finally deposited it sometime in October
2006; it was Drawn Against Insufficient Funds. Ms. Sosa then obtained the
services of a lawyer, Atty. Ernesto V. Cabrera (Atty. Cabrera), to legally
address Atty. Mendozas failure to pay.
On January 11, 2010, Atty. Cabrera sent a letter7 to Atty. Mendoza
demanding payment of the loan plus interest and collection charges. Atty.
Mendoza ignored the demand letter despite receipt, as proven by the
Registry Receipt and Registry Return Receipt. 8 Likewise, he did not, in any
manner, contact Ms. Sosa to explain why he failed to pay.
In view of the repeated failure of Atty. Mendoza to pay, Ms. Sosa filed the
complaint for disbarment or suspension, charging Atty. Mendoza for violation
of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. This Rule states that
[a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.
Acting on the complaint, this Court required Atty. Mendoza to comment on
the complaint in a Resolution dated January 10, 2011. 9 He filed an Urgent

Motion for Extension on March 18, 2011, 10which this Court granted in a
Resolution dated October 19, 2011. Atty. Mendoza finally filed his Brief
Comment on January 10, 2012.11
Atty. Mendoza admitted in his Brief Comment the existence of the loan and
that it is a valid obligation. However, he alleged that he only received One
Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) from one Elenita Cruz (Elenita), a
friend of the complainant. Atty. Mendoza did not attach an affidavit from
Elenita nor any evidence proving that he only received P100,000.00.12
The Proceedings before the IBP
On July 4, 2012, Investigating Commissioner Honesto A. Villamor issued the
Notice of Mandatory Conference/Hearing scheduled on August 16, 2012.
When the case was called for hearing, only Atty. Cabrera appeared. Atty.
Cabrera marked the complainants documentary exhibits and the mandatory
conference was subsequently declared terminated. The parties were then
directed to submit their respective verified position papers, documentary
exhibits and/or affidavits of their witnesses, if any, within fifteen (15) days.
In her position paper,13 Ms. Sosa reiterated her allegations in her ComplaintAffidavit. She argued that Atty. Mendoza is liable not only administratively
but also civilly.
Atty. Mendoza, in his Manifestation,14admitted that (i) he arrived late during
the scheduled hearing; (ii) he had on hand Six Hundred Thousand Pesos
(P600,000.00); (iii) he was advised by the Hearing Officer to communicate
with the complainants counsel; and (iv) the validity of his obligation and
that he has to pay the same.
Atty. Mendoza did not make good his offer to pay despite the express
manifestation he made.15
The IBP Findings
The Investigating Commissioner found Atty. Mendoza liable not only
administratively but also civilly. He gave credence to Ms. Sosas allegations
that Atty. Mendoza failed to pay the loan despite Ms. Sosas attempts to
collect. He also took notice of Atty. Mendozas admission that the obligation
is valid.
The IBP Board of Governors adopted with modification the findings of the

Investigating Commissioner. In a Resolution dated May 11, 2013, the IBP


ruled:
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby unanimously ADOPTED
and APPROVED, with modification, the Report and Recommendation of the
Investigating Commissioner x x x finding the recommendation fully
supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules and
considering that [the respondent] is guilty of misconduct for his failure to
pay a just and valid debt, Atty. Manuel V. Mendoza is hereby SUSPENDED
from the practice of law for six (6) months and Ordered to Return
the amount of Five Hundred Thousand (P500,000.00) to [the
complainant] with legal interest.
The Courts Ruling
We adopt with modification the findings and recommendation of the IBP.
This Court has held that any gross misconduct of a lawyer in his professional
or in his private capacity is a ground for the imposition of the penalty of
suspension or disbarment because good character is an essential
qualification for the admission to and continued practice of law.16 Any
wrongdoing, whether professional or non-professional, indicating
unfitness for the profession justifies disciplinary action. 17
Gross misconduct is defined as "improper or wrong conduct, the
transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden
act, a dereliction of duty, willful in character, and implies a wrongful intent
and not a mere error in judgment."18
Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility is emphatic: [a] lawyer
shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
The facts of the case show that Atty. Mendoza engaged in improper or wrong
conduct, as found under Rule 1.01, as the failure to pay the loan was willful
in character and implied a wrongful intent and not a mere error in judgment.
We find it undisputed that Atty. Mendoza obtained a loan in the amount of
P500,000.00. He signed the promissory note and acknowledgement receipt
showing he received P500,000.00.19 Although he initially denied getting this
amount and claimed that he only received P100,000.00, he did not present
any evidence to prove his claim. He later also admitted the validity of his
loan without qualification as to the amount.20
Also undisputed is the fact that Ms. Sosa tried to collect the amount due

upon maturity but Atty. Mendoza failed to pay. In fact, Ms. Sosa deferred
depositing the postdated check upon Atty. Mendozas request, and based on
his promises that he would pay. Despite all these, he still failed to comply
with his obligation. Worse, the check when finally deposited was
dishonored, a fact that Atty. Mendoza did not dispute.
Atty. Mendoza further claimed he had P600,000.00 on hand during the
hearing with the IBP Investigating Officer.21 He allegedly failed to deliver the
amount to Ms. Sosa or her counsel because he arrived late.
We find Atty. Mendozas excuse to be flimsy. It could have been very easy for
him to deliver the P600,000.00 to Ms. Sosa if he had the real intention to
pay. In fact, Ms. Sosa wrote, through her counsel, Atty. Mendoza asking him
to settle his obligation because of his manifestation that he already had the
money.22
It is unclear to us why Atty. Mendoza ignored Ms. Sosas request for
settlement after claiming that he already had the needed funds. He was
either lying he had the money, or had no intention of paying in the first
place. Atty. Mendoza was also not candid with the IBP Investigating Officer
when he claimed he had P600,000.00 and that he was ready to pay his
obligation. What is clear is that his obligation remains outstanding after all
these years.
In Yuhico v. Atty. Gutierrez23 this Court sitting en banc held:
We have held that deliberate failure to pay just debts constitute gross
misconduct, for which a lawyer may be sanctioned with suspension from
the practice of law. Lawyers are instruments for the administration of justice
and vanguards of our legal system. They are expected to maintain not only
legal proficiency, but also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity and
fair dealing so that the peoples faith and confidence in the judicial system is
ensured. They must, at all times, faithfully perform their duties to
society, to the bar, the courts and to their clients, which
include prompt payment of financial obligations. They must conduct
themselves in a manner that reflects the values and norms of the legal
profession as embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility. [Emphasis
supplied.]
Other than his claim that he was disposing of real properties in order to
settle his obligation,24 Atty. Mendoza failed to explain why he failed to pay
despite his admission of a just and valid loan. Whatever his reasons or
excuses may be, dire financial condition does not justify non-payment of
debt, as we have held in Yuhico. 25

We also reiterate that


[A] lawyer can do honor to the legal profession by faithfully performing his
duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to his clients. No moral
qualification for bar membership is more important than
truthfulness and candor. To this end nothing should be done by any
member of the legal fraternity which might tend to lessen in any degree the
confidence of the public in the fidelity, honesty and integrity of the
profession.
While it is true that there was no attorney-client relationship between
respondent and complainant, it is well-settled that an attorney may be
removed or otherwise disciplined not only for malpractice and
dishonesty in the profession, but also for gross misconduct not
connected with his professional duties, showing him to be unfit for the
office and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law confer
upon him.26 [Emphasis supplied and citations omitted.]
The facts and evidence in this case clearly establish Atty. Mendozas failure
to live up to his duties as a lawyer as dictated by the lawyer's oath, the Code
of Professional Responsibility and the Canons of Professional Ethics, thereby
degrading not only his personal integrity but his profession as well. 27
To reiterate, his failure to honor his just debt constitutes dishonest and
deceitful conduct. This dishonest conduct was compounded by Atty.
Mendozas act of interjecting flimsy excuses that only strengthened the
conclusion that he refused to pay a valid and just debt. 28
While we agree with the punishment meted out by the IBP, we differ
with its recommendation ordering Atty. Mendoza to pay the amount
of the loan plus legal interest.
We take exception to the IBPs order to pay only because the case before us
is solely an administrative complaint for disbarment and is not a civil
action for collection of a sum of money. The quantum of evidence in
these two types of cases alone deters us from agreeing with the IBPs order
to pay; the administrative complaint before us only requires substantial
evidence to justify a finding of liability, while a civil action requires greater
evidentiary standard of preponderance of evidence.
A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not a civil action where the
complainant is a plaintiff and the respondent lawyer is a
defendant. Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and

afford no redress for private grievance. They are undertaken and


prosecuted solely for the public welfare.29
The purpose of disbarment is mainly to determine the fitness of a lawyer to
continue acting as an officer of the court and as participant in the
dispensation of justice.30 The purpose of disbarment is to protect the courts
and the public from the misconduct of the officers of the court and to ensure
the administration of justice by requiring that those who exercise this
important function shall be competent, honorable and trustworthy men in
whom courts and clients may repose confidence. 31
We are aware that jurisprudence has allowed a complainant in a disbarment
case to collect an outstanding debt from a lawyer.32 However, in the recent
case of Heenan v. Atty. Espejo,33 this Court sitting en banc did not agree
with the IBPs recommendation to order the erring lawyer to return the
money he borrowed from the complainant. We said in this case:
In disciplinary proceedings against lawyers, the only issue is whether the
officer of the court is still fit to be allowed to continue as a member of the
Bar. Our only concern is the determination of respondents administrative
liability. Our findings have no material bearing on other judicial action
which the parties may choose to file against each other.
Furthermore, disciplinary proceedings against lawyers do not involve
a trial of an action, but rather investigations by the Court into the
conduct of one of its officers. The only question for determination in
these proceedings is whether or not the attorney is still fit to be allowed to
continue as a member of the Bar. Thus, this Court cannot rule on the
issue of the amount of money that should be returned to the
complainant.34 [Emphasis supplied and citations omitted.]
We note that as in the facts of the present case, the respondent-lawyer in
the Heenan case also did not deny the validity of her loan nor did she proffer
any reason for issuing unfunded checks.
As a final note, we understand the frustration of, and sympathize with Ms.
Sosa in her present situation. However, because the matter before us is not
a civil action for the collection money, we cannot order Atty. Mendoza to pay
his outstanding loan. We can only clarify that our ruling in this case is
without prejudice to any future civil or criminal action that Ms. Sosa, if she
so decides, may file against Atty. Mendoza in the future. Our action likewise
is without prejudice to any action we may take that is not based on the
violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, ATTY. MANUEL V.

MENDOZA is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of one (1)
year for violation of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility with
a STERN WARNING that commission of the same or similar offense in the
future will result in the imposition of a more severe penalty.
SO ORDERED.
Del Castillo, Mendoza, Perlas-Bernabe,** and Leonen, JJ., concur.
Brion,* J., (Acting Chairperson)
Endnotes:
Designated as Acting Chairperson, per Special Order No. 1955 dated March
23, 2015.
*

Designated as Acting Member vice Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, per


Special Order No. 1956 dated March 23, 2015.
**

Rollo, pp. 1-3.

Id. at 54.

Id., unpaged.

Id., unpaged.

Id. at 4.

Id. at 4-9.

Id. at 7-8.

Id. at 10.

Id. at 11.

10

Id. at 21.

11

Id. at 45-46.

12

Id.

13

Records of the case (CBD No. 12-3468), pp. 4-11; rollo unpaged.

14

Id. at 23-24; rollo unpaged.

15

Id. at 26-28; rollo unpaged.

Tomlin II v. Atty. Moya II, 518 Phil. 325 (2006).

16

Grande v. Atty. de Silva, 455 Phil. 1 (2003).

17

Santos, Sr. v. Atty. Beltran, 463 Phil. 372 (2003), citing Spouses Whitson
v. Atienza,457 Phil. 11 (2003).
18

Rollo, pp. 4-6.

19

20

Records of the case (CBD No. 12-3468), p. 23; rollo unpaged.

21

Id.

22

Id.

650 Phil. 225, 230 (2010). See also Lao v. Atty. Medel, 453 Phil. 115
(2003).
23

Rollo, p. 45.

24

25

Supra note 23.

Constantino v. Atty. Saludares, A.C. No. 2029, December 7, 1993, 228


SCRA 233.
26

27

Id.

28

Id.

Tajan v. Cusi, 156 Phil. 128, 134 (1978).

29

Office of the Court Administrator v. Atty. Liangco, A.C. No. 5355,


December 13, 2011, 662 SCRA 103.
30

Anacta v. Atty. Resurreccion, A.C. No. 9074, August 14, 2012, 678 SCRA
352, 355.
31

Barrientos v. Atty. Libiran-Meteoro, 480 Phil. 661 (2004) and Yuhico v.


Atty. Gutierrez, supra note 23.
32

33

A.C. No. 10050, December 3, 2013, 711 SCRA 290.

34

Id. at 301.

SYNTHESIS
A.M. No. P-09-2673 (A.M. OCA IPI No. 00-857-P), October 21, 2014 FRUMENCIO E. PULGAR, Petitioner, v. PAUL M. RESURRECCION AND
MARICAR M. EUGENIO, Respondents.

EN BANC
A.M. No. P-09-2673 (A.M. OCA IPI No. 00-857-P), October 21, 2014
FRUMENCIO E. PULGAR, Petitioner, v. PAUL M. RESURRECCION AND
MARICAR M. EUGENIO,Respondents.
DECISION
PER CURIAM:
Any employee or official of the Judiciary who usurps the functions of another
employee or official, or illegally exacts money from law practitioners and
litigants is guilty of grave misconduct, and may be dismissed from the
service even for the first offense.
The Charge
In his complaint-affidavit dated March 15, 2000, Atty. Frumencio E. Pulgar
denounced Court Interpreter Paul M. Resurreccion of the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 276, in Muntinlupa City, for committing acts of extortion,
illegal exaction, and blackmail by using his position to extort money from
him, a law practitioner, in exchange for non-existent goodwill, and for
violation of Administrative Circular No. 31-90. 1
In the course of the investigation of the complaint-affidavit filed against
Resurreccion, Court; Stenographer Maricar M. Eugenio testified in favor of

Resurreccion. She thereby laid the responsibility for the ex parte reception of
the evidence on Gina Bacayon, then the acting clerk of court. She claimed
that being the stenographer recording the ex parte presentation of evidence
on February 26, 1997, she was the one who had asked for the payment of
the transcript of the stenographic notes from Atty. Pulgar. However, her
testimony invited suspicion of her covering up Resurreccion's malfeasance,
leading to her being likewise investigated and made to answer for
dishonesty.
Antecedents
In his complaint-affidavit, Atty. Pulgar set forth Resurreccion's acts in the
following manner:2
1.

I am the counsel for the petitioner in Civil Case No. 95-079 entitled
Rey O. Chand vs. Armenia P. Chand for Annulment of marriage
based on Art. 36 of the Family Code;
chanroble slaw

2.

The complaint was filed in April 1996 and eventually the aforeindicated case was set for hearing before the Commissioner
on February 26, 1997;
chanrobleslaw

3.

Herein affiant presented his first and only witness, the petitioner Rey
O. Chand and he testified on the factual grounds on why the marriage
celebrated between him and the defendant should be dissolved;
chanrobleslaw

4.

After the presentation of ex-parte evidence, I was being charged by


the Acting Clerk of Court, Paul M. Resurreccion to whom I paid the
first P2,000.00 and I promised to pay the balance of P3,000.00 on the
following day. No receipt was issued to the undersigned;
chanrobleslaw

5.

The following day, I sent my Liaison Officer, Oswaldo L. Serdon who


brought with him the P3,000.00 in cash with my instruction that he
pays the Acting Clerk of Court the said amount of P3,000.00. My L.O
paid the respondent, however the Acting Clerk of Court failed to issue
the corresponding receipt;
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6.

Undersigned being a sucker for public relations and being a practicing


lawyer who does not want to cross or antagonize court personnel of
Branch 276 by not giving in to his unwarranted exaction although this
not embodied nor allowed in the Rules of Court by coming across to
the importunings of respondent;
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7.

Sometime on June 26, 1997 I received a copy of the Resolution


denying our Petition. Undersigned was perturbed by the turn of events
because the Acting Clerk of Court promised that he shall be the one to

take care of a favorable decision in exchange for the payment that I


made. But since, the decision was adverse I did not anymore bother to
file a Motion for Reconsideration and again being a sucker for public
relations treated the dismissal as one of those things being
encountered by a practicing attorney;
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8.

Sometime on February 21, 2000 at around 9:00 a.m while I was


attending a case before the Sala of the Honorable Norma Perello in
People of the Philippines vs. Marlon Velancio, I was approached by the
person announcing the cases whom I later or (sic) able to identify as
the respondent, and he asked whether I am the Atty. Pulgar who was
the counsel of Rey O. Chand in the afore-indicated case of annulment
of marriage;
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9.

10.

I answered in the affirmative. Then all of a sudden Paul M.


Ressureccion uttered "may utang pa kayong dapat bayaran sa
akin doon sa kaso ni Rey O. Chand sa ex-parte. Ibinigay na raw
sa inyo yung pera pero hindi ninyo naman daw na i-bayad" the
voice of Raul Resurrecion was loud enough to be heard by almost
everybody in the Sala. As a matter of fact, another employee butted-in
and said "wala pang ibinabayad kayo Atty." And Paul Resurrecion
again uttered and said "ibinigay na sa inyo, aba'y bayaran n'yo na
at ng matapos na ang kasong yan". I reasoned that the case that
he was referring to was already dismissed and as far as I am
concerned it was already terminated and I said "why should I pay
again when it was already dismissed. As a matter of fact, I paid
already then why are still exacting payment from me?." Again,
in an angry voice respondent reiterated his previous demands. To cut
the display of unbecoming behavior of the respondent court personnel
I told him "mabuti pa maghaharap tayo."
In view thereof, I am formally charging Paul M. Resurreccion of
extortion, illegal exaction, and blackmail by using his position to
extort money from a practitioner in exchange for non-existent goodwill
and for violation of Administrative Circular No. 31-90 particularly Sec.
76 which provides: x x x

On May 25, 2000, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), acting on the
complaint-affidavit, required Resurreccion to submit his comment within ten
days from receipt.3
In his comment,4 Resurrection tendered the following explanations:

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Pars. 1, 2 and 3 of the complaint-affidavit are admitted.


Par. 4 is vehemently denied. I did not take the ex-parte presentation of
evidence for his client, much more received the initial P2,000.00, and the
promised P3,000.00 the following day, hence, must issue the corresponding
receipt. In fact, the testimony of the Petitioner was taken before the Clerk of
Court not before this Branch Clerk of Court, who is not a lawyer. The
Honorable Judge was then available and in attendance on February 26,
1997. The Resolution denying the Petition was prepared by the Presiding
Judge assisted by the Clerk of Court.
Par. 5. If it is true that his Liaison Officer went to my office the following day,
and paid the P3,000.00, where is the Affidavit of his Liaison Officer attesting
that he/she gave any money to me? Again, it is emphasized that ex-parte
presentation of evidence, was taken by the Office of the Clerk of Court never
by me, the Branch Clerk of Court, hence, no payment, granting there was,
will be forthcoming to me. I did nor render any service in connection with
this case. Why would this lawyer pay me P2,000.00 and be promised
P3,000.00 more for doing nothing? He is truly confused!
Par. 6 is denied for the same reason as No. 5. I am not an extortionist, much
more "importunings." Even granting this is so, I cannot ask to be paid for
doing nothing.
Par. 7 is admitted as the Resolution in that case was sent to complainant,
which was adverse to him. The reason why the PETITION was denied, was
the negligence of Atty. Pulgar who did not present the Psychiatrist, not even
her report, while this Petition is based on psychological incapacity yet. Now
he is trying to redeem himself by making it appear that he lost because he
did not pay the alleged P3,000.00. How cheap can he get. The price[-]of his
incompetence is truly minimal. In fact, upon a Motion for Reconsideration by
another lawyer, the case was re-opened, the Psychiatrist testimony and
report taken, and the decision was reconsidered. His client probably saw his
negligence, so he got himself another lawyer. The case was lost due to his
negligence, if not ignorance, not because of the lack of P3,000.00.
Par. 8. If I ever I talke (sic) with Atty. Pulgar on February 21, 2000 at around
9:00 A.M. it was to remind him about the payment of the transcript, upon
the prodding of the stenographer, who had been asking for its payment,
from this squelching lawyer, who refused to pay. I only echoed the pleas of
said stenographer, who herself attested to the unpaid sum, and seconded my
request.
Par. 9. I politely approached Atty. Pulgar, NEVER in a demanding manner as I

have no right to the amount due to the stenographer. It was Atty. Pulgar
who instead shouted, embarrassed probably, because he knew that his client
told us that he had remitted the payment for the TSN to Atty. Pulgar by way
of a check, issued to him. But Atty. Pulgar never paid the stenographer for
the transcript. All that he paid for was the Commissioner's fee. Surely, if
there is any amount due me, I cannot announce this and demand for it in a
loud manner, specially, if I am "committing graft." Why would I OPENLY
demand the money from Atty. Pulgar in the presence of lawyers and other
people. It was him, shame that made him defensive knowing that the sum
for the stenographer was kept by him.
Par. 10 is strongly disputed. Asking for any sum from any lawyer or party
litigant, much more "extort", is never tolerated in our office. My presiding
judge will gun me down, and I mean literally, because she carries a gun, if
this is ever done by anyone of her staff.
Finally, it is impossible for me or anyone of us to ask money from the
LOSING party, should we ever ask, which never happened!
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that this baseless, unfounded,
tramped-up (sic) and malicious charge by this negligent, penny squelching,
and blundering lawyer, who did not pay the TSN even though he received the
sum from his client, be dismissed.
Upon the recommendation of then Court Administrator Presbitero J. Velasco,
Jr.,5 the Court called upon then Executive Judge Norma C. Perello (Judge
Perello) of the Regional Trial Court in Muntinlupa City (RTC in Muntinlupa
City) to investigate the complaint-affidavit, and to report and submit her
recommendations thereon.6
On December 12, 2002, Judge Perello submitted her report and
recommendation to the OCA, stating that the complaint-affidavit against
Resurreccion should be dismissed due to what she perceived as the failure of
Atty. Pulgar to substantiate his charge.7
On April 24, 2003, however, the OCA rejected the findings and
recommendation of Judge Perello, and, instead, recommended that the case
be referred to another investigator in the person of Judge Juanita TomasGuerrero (Judge Guerrero) of the RTC in Muntinlupa City.8 Accordingly, on
June 16, 2003, the Court directed Judge Guerrero to conduct further
investigation, and to submit her report and recommendation; and to exhaust
all possible means to locate Atty. Pulgar.9
In the ensuing hearings conducted by Judge Guerrero, Court Stenographer

Maricar Eugenio of the RTC in Muntinlupa City testified that it was Gina
Bacayon, then acting clerk of court, who had received the evidence ex
parte in the case of Atty. Pulgar;10 that being the stenographer who had
recorded the ex parte presentation of evidence on February 26, 1997,11 she
had asked for the payment of the transcript of the stenographic notes from
Atty. Pulgar;12 and that she had submitted a duplicate copy of the transcript
of the stenographic notes.13
Report and Recommendation of
Investigating Judge Guerrero
In her report and recommendation dated October 22, 2003, 14 Judge
Guerrero made the following conclusions and recommendations, to wit:

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CONCLUSIONS:
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Court concludes that the following scenarios
must have happened on February 26, 1997 and February 21, 2000:
On February 26, 1997, after the case of Rey Chand was called, the Court
allowed the petitioner to present evidence ex-parte because of the failure of
Armenia Chand to file her Answer. As is the practice and being the Acting
Branch Clerk of Court, Mr. Resurreccion was allowed to receive the evidence
of the petitioner while the Court was busy hearing other cases ready for trial.
Since Mr. Resurreccion, being also the Court Interpreter, was needed in the
courtroom, he had to call Ms. Gina Bucayon, the Acting Clerk of Court, who
is also not a lawyer, to attend to the ex-parte proceedings. This is probably
the reason why Ms. Bucayon's handwritings appeared in the minutes of
February 26, 1997 and why Mr. Resurreccion claimed that he did not know
Atty. Pulgar as he had not met him. As was the practice, Atty. Pulgar could
have given the fee for the ex-parte to Mr. Resurreccion through Ms. Bucayon.
Then, Mr. Oswaldo Serdon went to the court office and delivered the balance
of the ex-parte proceedings but which failed to reach Mr. Resurreccion as he
had just left it on a table. In the meantime, the Rey Chand case was
dismissed.
Subsequently, while Mr. Chand was following up his case after it was revived,
he mentioned that he has paid the commissioner's fee inclusive of
stenographer's fee to his lawyer (Atty. Pulgar) for the ex-parte proceedings
of February 26, 1997. So, when Atty. Pulgar appeared again on February 21,
2000, Ms. Thelma Manlingit who was familiar with Atty. Pulgar, had to call
the attention of Mr. Resurreccion about Mr. Pulgar's presence in the
courtroom. Mr. Resurrecion, then demanded payment of what was due him
as commissioner's fee since he failed to receive it from either Atty. Pulgar or

his liaison officer. Atty. Pulgar got irked by the demand for said fee and
shouted because as far as he was concerned no amount was due since the
Rey Chand case was already dismissed.
RECOMMENDATIONS:
Mr. Paul Resurreccion could not be held liable for extorting money from Atty.
Pulgar because Extortion is defined as compelling of a person by a wrongful
and illegal means (duress, threats, etc.) to give up money or property. There
was neither force nor intimidation committed by Mr. Resurreccion in
demanding money from a lawyer or litigant.
However, the Court finds Mr. Resurreccion guilty of exacting money for some
legal fees that do not exist. While Sec. 6, Rule 130 of the 1997 Rules of
Procedure allows a judge to delegate the reception of evidence to its clerk of
court who is a member of the bar in defaults or ex-parte hearings, the
Supreme Court does not give the commissioner the privilege to collect
money from the litigant or lawyer as legal fees for this purpose. Rule 141 of
the Rules of Court enumerates the numerous legal fees that may be
collected by the courts, commissioner's fees for receiving evidence are not
one of them. The demand thereof under the guise of a commissioner's fee is
illegal and tantamount to conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of
the service.
Employees of the Judiciary are expected to be examples of integrity, honesty
and uprightness. Their conduct should be characterized by propriety and
decorum. Mr. Paul Resurreccion being the designated Acting Branch Clerk of
Court of RTC Branch 276 should be an exemplar of all these
characteristics. The Manual of Clerks of Court that prohibits the
collection of commissioner's fees in an ex-parteproceeding binds
him. Furthermore, he and his lawyer's act of dictating upon his witness, Rey
O. Chand on what to say in an investigation is detestable and contumacious,
to say the least, he being a judicial employee whose main task is to see to it
that the administration of justice is upheld.
The Respondent's actions also caused needless anxiety and shame on the
part of the complainant thereby diminishing the latter's faith not only with
the Regional Trial Courts of Muntinlupa but in the entire Judiciary. The
gradual erosion of public confidence in the Judiciary caused by the failure of
Mr. Resurreccion to uphold the objective of the Supreme Court in improving
public service and preserving the people's faith and confidence in the
government, is constitutive of the offense Conduct Grossly Prejudicial to the
Best Interest of the Service for which respondent must be made answerable.

xxxx
As this is the first time that the respondent committed the act complained of,
it is hereby recommended that MR. PAUL RESURRECCION be suspended for
one (1) year from service without pay. Any repetition of the same act shall
be dealt with more severely.15
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In addition, Judge Guerrero found impropriety on the part of Eugenio,


observing:
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As an aside: Equally detestable is the attempt of the other court employees


of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 276 more particularly, Ms. Maricar M.
Eugenio to cover up the wrongdoings of their comrade by testifying falsely,
should not go unchecked. Ms. Eugenio should also be penalized for trying to
mislead the Court by making such false testimony. Her actuation amounts to
neglect in the performance of [her] official function as co-player in the
administration of justice. The undersigned recommends that she be
reprimanded.16
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First Report of the OCA


In its memorandum for the Court dated July 6, 2009,17 the OCA rendered its
own findings based on the report and recommendation of Judge Guerrero,
and recommended: (a) that Resurreccion be dismissed from the service; and
(b) that Eugenio be ordered to explain why she should not be held
administratively liable, viz:
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WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respectfully submitted for the


consideration of the Honorable Court, are the following recommendations:
1. That this instant administrative complaint be REDOCKETED as a regular
administrative matter;
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2. That respondent Paul M. Resurreccion be found GUILTY of Grave


Misconduct for:
1.1) committing gross violation of the following:
a) Circular No. 50-2001, August 21, 2001, Unauthorized Collection
of Fees or Amount of Compensation by Clerks of Court for
Reception of EvidenceEx-Parte for demanding commissioner's fee
in ex-parte proceedings;
b) Section 9, Rule 30, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires
that only a member of the bar may sit as commissioner to
receive evidence ex-parte in default or ex-parte hearings;

c) Republic Act No. 6713, Section 7, Paragraph (d) which prohibits


public officials and employees from soliciting or accepting
"directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment,
loan or anything of monetary value from any person in the
course of their official duties or in connection with any operation
being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by
the function of their office.
1.2) inducing his witness Rey O. Chand to give false testimony;
3. That respondent Paul M. Ressurreccion be DISMISSED from the service
with forfeiture of all benefits, excluding accrued leave credits, with prejudice
to re-employment in any branch or agency of the government, including
government-owned or controlled corporations; and
4. That Maricar M. Eugenio, Court Stenographer, Regional Trial Court, Branch
276, beDIRECTED to COMMENT, within ten (10) days from notice, why she
should not be held administratively liable for grave misconduct for giving
false testimony in the administrative proceedings of the case and for making
fictitious and excessive claim for payment of non-existent Transcript of
Stenographic Notes.18
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In view of the recommendation of the OCA as to her, the Court required


Eugenio to show cause why she should not be held administratively liable for
grave misconduct.19
On November 13, 2009, Eugenio proffered her comment, denying giving
false testimony in favor of Resurreccion and stating as follows:
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I did not give false testimony in the administrative proceedings conducted by


Hon. Judge Guerrero and for making fictitious and excessive claim for
payment of a non-existent transcript of stenographic notes (TSN for short). I
only told the truth as I am a God-fearing person. Nowhere in my testimony
that I demanded excessive claim for the payment of TSN and admitted
before the Honorable Judge that I was asking for the payment of my TSN in
connection with the case of Rey Chand which was already terminated. When
I was asked how much was I am demanding for the payment of said TSN, I
simply stated "Wala po akong sinabing amount", so how could I be charged
for making fictitious and excessive claim for payment of non-existent
transcript of stenographic notes? My answer on Page 35, TSN dated August
14, 2003 on the question of the Court: is that the duty of the lawyer to pay
the tsn or the client? And the answer reflected on the said tsn which I quote
"A: What I know is that in the payment of commissioner's fee is the payment
of transcript of stenographic notes", which the interpretation is not correct, I
answered in vernacular during that said hearing is: "Ang pagkakaalam ko po

ang bayad sa tsn ay kasama na doon sa commissioner's fee". I was even


asked by Atty. Pulgar about my educational attainment, and the answer as
stated in the said tsn is Secretary, which is very erroneous. The answer
should be Secretarial. Also in the said hearing, I was asked by the Court
where is the said transcript, I told the Honorable Judge, I will just bring the
same to her. So after the said hearing, I looked for the said TSN and gave
the same to one of Judge Guerrero's staff, as she, the staff, even went to our
office to ask for the same. I gave her the said tsn together with the diskette.
If the said transcript of stenographic notes is inexistent, how could then
Judge Perello finished (sic) her Resolution/Decision regarding the annulment
case of Mr. Rey Chand if no transcript of stenographic notes was ever
attached to the case record as it was an ex-parte presentation of Petitioner's
evidence? Of course, Judge Perello could not decide the same, as it was
taken ex-parte.
As a matter of fact, the Resolution/Decision of the said Annulment case has
already been issued and its finality was given likewise. I did not lie in my
testimony before Honorable Judge Guerrero. What I told is only the truth
and I was innocent of the charges imputed in my person. Even without the
presence of a lawyer, I testified to tell the truth about the charge against Mr.
Paul Resurreccion. I did not give a false testimony and for making a fictitious
and excessive claim for the payment of a nonexistent transcript of
stenographic notes, as in fact I furnished the said tsn to the Office of
Honorable Judge Guerrero, together with the diskette, when I was required
to do so.20
Second Report of the OCA
In its July 22, 2011 memorandum,21 the OCA stated its findings and
recommendations on the administrative liability of Eugenio, to wit:

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For deliberately offering false testimony during the investigatory hearing,


there is substantial evidence that respondent Eugenio committed the act of
dishonesty. It behooved respondent Eugenio to testify truthfully in
accordance with the oath she took before her testimony was taken during
the investigation conducted by Investigating Judge Guerrero. Sadly, she
disregarded the sanctity of her oath due to her misplaced loyalty to
respondent Resurreccion. Time and time again, the Court has stressed that
every employee of the judiciary should be an example of integrity,
uprightness and honesty. Like any public servant, she must exhibit the
highest sense of honesty and integrity not only in the performance of her
official duties but most especially when she herself is on the witness stand,
to preserve the court's good name and standing.

Moreover, respondent Eugenio's failure to attach the T.S.N taken on 26


February 1997 amounts to simple neglect of duty which is classified as a less
grave offense under subsection B(l) of the same section and is penalized by
suspension of one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months for the first
offense and dismissal for the second offense. This is her second infraction of
such nature in her eighteen (18) years of service in the Judiciary. As earlier
mentioned, the Court extended its compassion the first time respondent
Eugenio committed simple neglect of duty and imposed upon her the penalty
of a fine instead of suspension. The instant case is, however, significantly
different in that, aside from committing simple neglect of duty, she further
committed an act constituting dishonesty which is a more serious offense.
xxxx
Premises considered, it is respectfully recommended that:
1.

Respondent Maricar M. Eugenio, Court Stenographer, RTC Branch 276,


Muntinlupa City be IMPLEADED as a corespondent in the administrative
matter; and

2.

Respondent Maricar M. Eugenio be found GUILTY of dishonesty and


simple neglect of duty, imposing upon her the penalty of SUSPENSION
of SIX (6) months without pay, with a stern warning that commission
of the same or similar acts in the future will be dealt with more
severely.22
Ruling of the Court

We consider and declare the findings of the OCA fully warranted.


Enshrining the tenet that a public office is a public trust, Section 1, Article XI
of the 1987 Constitution mandates that public officers and employees, who
are servants of the people, must at all times be accountable to them, serve
them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with
patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives. To enforce this constitutional
tenet, the Court has incessantly reminded that officials and employees
involved in the administration of justice should faithfully adhere to their
mandated duties and responsibilities. Any act of impropriety on their part whether committed by the highest judicial official or by the lowest member
of the judicial workforce - can greatly erode the people's confidence in the
Judiciary. This is because the image of a court of justice is necessarily
mirrored in the conduct of its personnel; hence, it becomes their constant
duty to maintain the good name and standing of the Judiciary as a true

temple of justice.23
At the time material to this administrative case, Resurreccion was the Court
Interpreter of Branch 276 of the RTC in Muntinlupa City. In order to maintain
the trust and confidence of the people in the Judiciary, therefore, he should
have acted within the limits of his authority as such. Although his Presiding
Judge designated him as commissioner to receive evidence ex parte in some
cases, he still could not discharge or perform that task because he was not a
member of the Philippine Bar, and thus had no authority whatsoever to act
or serve as such commissioner to receive the evidence ex parte of any of the
parties. But, as the records indicated, he served as such commissioner. His
deliberate assumption of the duties of a commissioner for that purpose
blatantly transgressed the limits of his official functions as the Court
Interpreter, and constituted unmitigated usurpation of powers. Such
irregularity was undeniable, because the language of Section 9, Rule 30 of
the Rules of Court, of which he and his Presiding Judge were well aware, was
straightforward and unequivocal,viz:
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Section 9. Judge to receive evidence; delegation to clerk of court. The


judge of the court where the case is pending shall personally receive the
evidence to be adduced by the parties. However, in default or ex
parts hearings, and in any case where the parties agree in writing,
the court may delegate the reception of evidence to its clerk of court
who is a member of the bar. The clerk of court shall have no power to
rule on objections to any question or to the admission of exhibits, which
objections shall be resolved by the court upon submission of his report and
the transcripts within ten (10) days from termination of the hearing, (n)
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Compounding the usurpation of powers was the more serious offense of


illegally exacting fees from litigants and their lawyers or representatives. It
is worth mentioning that Circular No. 50-2001, which proscribed the
unauthorized collection of fees or amounts of compensation by clerks of
court for their reception of evidence ex parte, was issued only on August 21,
2001. Even then, Resurreccion could not feign ignorance of the prohibition
because the Manual of Clerks of Court, which had been issued long before
the issuance of Circular No. 50-2001, already contained a similar prohibition
that explicitly stated: No Branch Clerk of Court shall demand and/or receive
commissioner's fees for reception of evidence ex-parte.24
In view of the foregoing, the recommendation of the OCA for the immediate
dismissal of Resurreccion from the service is warranted. His acts of
dishonesty, usurpation of official functions and illegal exaction demanded
that we classify his acts as grave misconduct. In grave misconduct, as
distinguished from simple misconduct, the elements of corruption, clear

intent to violate the law, or flagrant disregard of established rule must be


manifest. They were so in his case. Corruption as an element of grave
misconduct consisted in his acts of unlawfully or wrongfully using his position
or character of his office to procure some benefit for himself or for another,
contrary to the rights of others.25 The collection of the fees had no legal
basis whatsoever; hence, his illegal exactions were outrightly and plainly
corrupt. It then becomes unavoidable for us to judge his transgressions as
motivated by the lust for money and power, rather than having proceeded
from his unfamiliarity with standing rules and guidelines.
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Dismissal from the service was called for because of the grave nature of
Resurreccion's offense, fie thereby revealed his absolute unworthiness to
remain in the service of the Judiciary. Indeed, he should not be allowed to
serve a minute longer in the Judiciary lest the reputation and integrity of the
service be prejudiced. Under Section 46, Rule 10 of the Revised Rules on
Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, serious dishonesty and grave
misconduct, among others, are grave offenses punishable by dismissal from
the service.
As to Eugenio, the OCA justifiably pointed out that her evident intention in
testifying in the investigation of Resurreccion was to refute the charge that
he had been the one who had conducted the ex parte hearing on February
26, 1997 despite his being not qualified to do so.26 It was quite obvious that
she wanted to give the impression that it was physically impossible for
Resurreccion to demand the commissioner's fee from Atty. Pulgar if a
different person had received the evidence ex parte. Such thinly veiled
attempt to mislead the investigator in the quest for the truth during the
administrative hearings constituted simple dishonesty nonetheless,
considering that Judge Guerrero's clear judicial vision still saw through the
attempt in order to reach the most logical conclusion that:
x x x As is the practice and being the Acting Branch Clerk of Court, Mr.
Resurreccion was allowed to receive the evidence of the petitioner while the
Court was busy hearing other cases ready for trial. Since Mr. Resurreccion,
being also the Court Interpreter, was needed in the courtroom, he had to
call Ms. Gina Bucayon, the Acting Clerk of Court, who is also not a
lawyer, to attend to theex-parte proceedings. This is probably the
reason why Ms. Bucayon's handwritings appeared in the minutes of
February 26, 1997 and why Mr. Resurreccion claimed that he did not
know Atty. Pulgar as he had not met him. As was the practice, Atty.
Pulgar could have given the fee for the ex-parte to Mr. Resurreccion
through Ms. Bucayon. Then, Mr. Oswaldo Serdon went to the court
office and delivered the balance of the ex-parteproceedings but
which failed to reach Mr. Resurreccion as he had just left it on the

table, x x x.27
Simple dishonesty is categorized as a less grave offense, and is punishable
by suspension of one month and one day to six months for the first offense;
six months and one day to one year for the second offense; or dismissal for
the second offense. In Santiago v. Jovellanos.28 we meted suspension of four
months with a warning to a branch clerk of court of the MTC in Pangasinan
for her false testimony. In the case of Eugenio, we should suspend her from
the service without pay for six months, a penalty that the Court hopes will
quickly bring her to realize the seriousness of her offense. Although this is
not her first administrative case, she being already held administratively
liable for simple neglect of duty and meted a fine of P5,000.00 for not
transcribing her stenographic notes in relation to habeas
corpus proceedings,29 such previous case is not a factor here because of the
dissimilarity of the offenses. Even so, she has to be warned to be more
prudent in her actuations as an employee of the Judiciary.
WHEREFORE, the Court:
1. FINDS AND PRONOUNCES Court Interpreter PAUL M.
RESURRECCION of Branch 276, Regional Trial Court, in Muntinlupa
City GUILTY of GRAVE MISCONDUCT; and DISMISSES him from the
service, with forfeiture of all benefits except accrued leave credits and with
prejudice to re-employment in any branch or instrumentality of the
government, including government-owned and -controlled corporations;
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2. DECLARES Court Stenographer MARICAR EUGENIO of Branch 276,


Regional Trial Court, in Muntinlupa City GUILTY of SIMPLE DISHONESTY;
and SUSPENDS her from the service for six months without pay, with a
warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more
severely; and
3. ORDERS Court Interpreter PAUL M. RESURRECCION to RESTITUTE to
Atty. Frumencio E. Pulgar within 30 days from his receipt of this decision the
amount of P5,000.00.
This decision is IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY.
SO ORDERED.

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Sereno, C.J., Carpio, Leonardo-De Castro, Brion, Peralta, Bersamin,


Villarama, Jr., Mendoza, Reyes, Perlas-Bernabe, Leonen, and Jardeleza, JJ.,
concur.

Velasco, Jr., and Del Castillo, JJ., on leave.


Perez, J., no part. acted as Court Adm.
Endnotes:
Re: Guidelines for allocating the Legal Fees Collected Under Rule 141, as
revised between the General Fund and the Judiciary Development
Fund (October 15,1990).
1

Rollo, pp. 3-5.

Id. at 6.

Id. at 7-10.

Id. at 12-14.

Id. at 14.

Id. at 38-42.

Id. at 46-48.

Id. at 49.

10

Id. at 284.

11

Id. at 288.

12

Id,

13

Id. at 444-445.

14

Id. at 617-628.

15

Id. at 625-627.

16

Id. at 627.

17

Id. at 637-646.

18

Id. at 645-646.

19

Id. at 648.

20

Id. at 656-658.

21

Id. at 664-679.

22

Id. at 678-679.

Galindes v. Susbilla-De Vera. A.M. No. P-13-3126 (Formerly A.M. OCA IPI
No. 09-3273-P), February 4, 2014, 715 SCRA 172. See also Velasco v.
Baterbonia, A.M. P-06-2161 (Formerly A.M. OCA 1P1 No. 05-2115-P),
September 25, 2012, 681 SCRA 666, 673; Office of the Court Administrator
v. Redo, A.M. No. P-04-1813 (Formerly A.M. No. 04-5-119-MeTC), May 31,
2011, 649 SCRA 552, 566-567.
23

Cited in RTC Makati Movement Against Graft And Corruption v.


Dumlao, A.M. No. P-93-800, August 9, 1995, 247 SCRA 108, 118.
24

25
cralawre d

26

Supra note 23, at 179.

OCA Memoradnum dated July 22, 2011.

Rollo, p. 626 (Emphasis supplied).

27

Adm. Mat. No. MTJ-00-1289 (Formerly A.M. No. OCA-IPI-96-216-MTJ),


August 1, 2000, 337 SCRA 21,35.
28

Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge Perello, A.M. No. RTJ-05-1952,


December 24, 2008, 575 SCRA 394.
29

G.R. No. 184045, January 22, 2014 - SPOUSES NICASIO C. MARQUEZ AND
ANITA J. MARQUEZ, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES CARLITO ALINDOG AND
CARMEN ALINDOG, Respondents.

SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 184045, January 22, 2014

SPOUSES NICASIO C. MARQUEZ AND ANITA J.


MARQUEZ, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES CARLITO ALINDOG AND CARMEN
ALINDOG, Respondents.
DECISION
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari1 are the Decision2 dated
February 29, 2008 and Resolution3 dated August 6, 2008 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 97744 finding no grave abuse of discretion
on the part of the Regional Trial Court of Tagaytay City, Branch 18 (RTC) in
issuing the Orders dated November 14, 20054 and January 17, 20075 in SCA
No. TG-05-2521. Based on these orders, a writ of preliminary injunction was
issued against petitioners-spouses Nicasio C. Marquez and Anita J. Marquez
(Sps. Marquez), enjoining them from taking possession of the property
subject of this case despite the consolidation of their title over the same.
The Facts
Records show that sometime in June 1998, petitioner Anita J. Marquez
(Anita) extended a loan in the amount of P500,000.00 to a certain Benjamin
Gutierrez (Gutierrez). As security therefor, Gutierrez executed a Deed of Real
Estate Mortgage6 dated June 16, 1998 over a parcel of land located in
Tagaytay City with an area of 660 square meters, more or less, covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-134437 (subject property), registered
under the name of Benjamin A. Gutierrez, married to Liwanag Camerin (Sps.
Gutiererez). The mortgage was duly annotated on the dorsal portion of TCT
No. T-13443, which Sps. Marquez had verified as clean prior to the
mortgage.8
crallawlibrary

Since Gutierrez defaulted in the payment of his loan obligation, Anita sought
the extra-judicial foreclosure of the subject property. At the public auction
sale held on January 19, 2000, Anita emerged as the highest bidder for the
amount of P1,171,000.00. 9 Upon Gutierrezs failure to redeem the same
property within the prescribed period therefor, title was consolidated under
TCT No. T-4193910 on November 5, 2001 (in the name of Anita J. Marquez,
married to Nicasio C. Marquez) which, however, bore an annotation of
adverse claim11 dated March 2, 2000 in the names of respondents-spouses
Carlito and Carmen Alindog (Sps. Alindog). Said annotation was copied from
an earlier annotation on TCT No. T-13443 made only after the subject
propertys mortgage to Sps. Marquez.
Subsequently, or on March 21, 2000, Sps. Alindog filed a civil case for

annulment of real estate mortgage and certificate of sale with prayer for
damages against Sps. Marquez and a certain Agripina Gonzales (Gonzales)
before the RTC, docketed as Civil Case No. TG-1966 (annulment case). In
their complaint,12 Sps. Alindog alleged that they purchased13 the subject
property from Gutierrez way back in September 1989, but were unable to
secure a certificate of title in their names because Gonzales - to whom they
have entrusted said task - had deceived them in that they were assured that
the said certificate was already being processed when such was not the
case.14 Eventually, they found out that the property had already been
mortgaged to Sps. Marquez, and that when they tried to contact Gonzales
for an explanation, she could no longer be found. Separately, Sps. Alindog
averred that when the mortgage was executed in favor of Sps. Marquez,
Gutierrez was already dead.15
crallawlibrary

In their defense,16 Sps. Marquez disputed Sps. Alindogs ownership over the
subject property, arguing that the purported sale in the latters favor was
never registered and therefore, not binding upon them. Further, they insisted
that their certificate of title, TCT No. T-41939, was already indefeasible, and
cannot be attacked collaterally.
Meanwhile, on March 16, 2005, Anita filed an ex-parte petition for the
issuance of a writ of possession17 (ex-parte petition) before the RTC,
docketed as LRC Case No. TG-05-1068, claiming that the same is ministerial
on the courts part following the consolidation of her and her husbands title
over the subject property. Impleaded in said petition are Sps. Gutierrez,
including all persons claiming rights under them.
The RTC Rulings and Subsequent Proceedings
In an Order18dated August 1, 2005, the RTC granted Anitas exparte petition and thereby directed the issuance of a writ of possession in
her favor. Consequently, a notice to vacate19 dated September 23, 2005 was
issued by Acting Sheriff Teodorico V. Cosare (Sheriff Cosare) against Sps.
Gutierrez and all persons claiming rights under them. Sps. Alindog were
served with a copy of the said notice to vacate on September 27, 2005. 20
crallawlibrary

Claiming that they would suffer irreparable injury if the implementation of


the writ of possession in favor of Sps. Marquez would be left unrestrained,
Sps. Alindog sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO)
and/or writ of preliminary injunction with prayer for damages, 21 in a separate
case docketed as SCA No. TG-05-252122 (injunction case) which was raffled
to the same court.
While it appears that the RTC issued a 72-hour TRO on September 29, 2005

in Sps. Alindogs favor, records nonetheless show that said order was not
extended to a full 20-day TRO.23 To this end, the Sheriffs Return24 dated
November 14, 2005 shows that Sheriff Cosare was able to implement the
writ of possession on November 11, 2005, turning over the possession of the
subject property to Sps. Marquez.
After further proceedings on the injunction case, the RTC, through
an Order25dated November 14, 2005, issued a writ of preliminary
injunction enjoining Sps. Marquez from taking possession of the subject
property until after the controversy has been fully resolved on the merits.
The said issuance was based on the RTCs appreciation of the initial evidence
adduced by Sps. Alindog, concluding that they appear to have a right to be
protected. Thus, notwithstanding the consolidation of Sps. Marquezs title
over the subject property, the RTC granted Sps. Alindogs prayer for
injunctive relief, holding that any further dispossession on their part would
cause them irreparable injury.26
crallawlibrary

Aggrieved, Sps. Marquez moved for reconsideration,27 essentially pointing


out that, as the confirmed and registered owners of the subject property,
they are entitled to its possession as a matter of right. They argued that
pursuant to Sections 728 and 829 of Act No. 3135,30 as amended by Act No.
4118,31 the RTC was legally bound to place them in possession of the subject
property pending resolution of the annulment case. Further, it is their
position that the purpose for the issuance of the injunctive writ - i.e., to
restrain the implementation of the writ of possession - had already been
rendered moot and academic by its actual enforcement in the interim.
For their part, Sps. Alindog filed a Motion for Approval of Cash Bond and to
Regain Possession32 of the subject property.
In an Order33 dated January 17, 2007, the RTC denied the motion of Sps.
Marquez, while granted that of Sps. Alindog. Unperturbed, Sps. Marquez
elevated the case to the CA on certiorari.34
crallawlibrary

The CA Ruling
In a Decision35 dated February 29, 2008, the CA denied Sps. Marquezs
petition as it found no grave abuse of discretion on the RTCs part when it
issued the injunctive writ that enjoined Sps. Marquez from taking possession
of the subject property. It observed that Sps. Alindog had indeed
adducedprima facie proof of their right to possess the subject
property36 while the annulment case was pending, adding that the latters
right to remain in possession37 proceeds from the fact of the subject
propertys earlier sale to them. Thus, while Sps. Marquez concededly had a

right to possess the subject property on account of the consolidation of the


title in their names, the CA nonetheless found no fault on the part of the RTC
for proceeding with caution38 in weighing the conflicting claims of the
parties and subsequently issuing the writ of preliminary injunction in Sps.
Alindogs favor.
Dissatisfied, Sps. Marquez moved for reconsideration39 which was, however,
denied in a Resolution40dated August 6, 2008, hence, this petition.
The Issue Before the Court
The essential issue in this case is whether or not the CA erred in finding no
grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC when it issued the injunctive
writ which enjoined Sps. Marquez from taking possession of the subject
property.
The Courts Ruling
The petition is meritorious.
It is an established rule that the purchaser in an extra-judicial foreclosure
sale is entitled to the possession of the property and can demand that he be
placed in possession of the same either during (with bond) or after the
expiration (without bond) of the redemption period therefor. To this end, the
Court, in China Banking Corp. v. Sps. Lozada41 (China Banking Corp.), citing
several cases on the matter, explained that a writ of possession duly applied
for by said purchaser should issue as a matter of course, and thus,
merely constitutes a ministerial duty on the part of the court,viz.:42
crallawlibrary

The procedure for extrajudicial foreclosure of real estate mortgage is


governed by Act No. 3135, as amended. The purchaser at the public
auction sale of an extrajudicially foreclosed real property may seek
possession thereof in accordance with Section 7 of Act No. 3135, as
amended, which provides:
SEC. 7. In any sale made under the provisions of this Act, the purchaser
may petition the Court of First Instance of the province or place where the
property or any part thereof is situated, to give him possession thereof
during the redemption period, furnishing bond in an amount equivalent
to the use of the property for a period of twelve months, to indemnify the
debtor in case it be shown that the sale was made without violating the
mortgage or without complying with the requirements of this Act. Such
petition shall be made under oath and filed in form or an ex parte motion in
the registration or cadastral proceedings if the property is registered, or in
special proceedings in the case of property registered under the Mortgage
chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

Law or under section one hundred and ninety-four of the Administrative


Code, or of any other real property encumbered with a mortgage duly
registered in the office of any register of deeds in accordance with any
existing law, and in each case the clerk of court shall, upon the filing of such
petition, collect the fees specified in paragraph eleven of section one
hundred and fourteen of Act Numbered Four hundred and ninety six as
amended by Act Numbered Twenty-eight hundred and sixty-six, and the
court shall, upon approval of the bond, order that a writ of
possession issue addressed to the sheriff of the province in which
the property is situated, who shall execute said order immediately.
The Court expounded on the application of the foregoing provision in De
Gracia v. San Jose, thus:
As may be seen, the law expressly authorizes the purchaser to petition for a
writ of possession during the redemption period by filing an ex
partemotion under oath for that purpose in the corresponding registration or
cadastral proceeding in the case of property with Torrens title; and upon the
filing of such motion and the approval of the corresponding bond, the law
also in express terms directs the court to issue the order for a writ of
possession. Under the legal provisions above copied, the order for a writ
of possession issues as a matter of course upon the filing of the
proper motion and the approval of the corresponding bond. No
discretion is left to the court. And any question regarding the regularity
and validity of the sale (and the consequent cancellation of the writ) is left to
be determined in a subsequent proceeding as outlined in section 8. Such
question is not to be raised as a justification for opposing the issuance of the
writ of possession, since, under the Act, the proceeding for this is ex parte.
chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

Strictly, Section 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended, refers to a situation wherein


the purchaser seeks possession of the foreclosed property during the 12month period for redemption. Upon the purchasers filing of the ex
parte petition and posting of the appropriate bond, the RTC shall, as a
matter of course, order the issuance of the writ of possession in the
purchasers favor.
In IFC Service Leasing and Acceptance Corporation v. Nera, the Court
reasoned that if under Section 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended, the RTC has
the power during the period of redemption to issue a writ of possession on
the ex parte application of the purchaser,there is no reason why it should
not also have the same power after the expiration of the redemption
period, especially where a new title has already been issued in the
name of the purchaser. Hence, the procedure under Section 7 of Act No.
3135, as amended, may be availed of by a purchaser seeking possession of
the foreclosed property he bought at the public auction sale after the
redemption period has expired without redemption having been made.

xxxx
It is thus settled that the buyer in a foreclosure sale becomes the
absolute owner of the property purchased if it is not redeemed
during the period of one year after the registration of the sale. As
such, he is entitled to the possession of the said property and can
demand it at any time following the consolidation of ownership in his
name and the issuance to him of a new transfer certificate of title.
The buyer can in fact demand possession of the land even during the
redemption period except that he has to post a bond in accordance with
Section 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended. No such bond is required after the
redemption period if the property is not redeemed. Possession of the land
then becomes an absolute right of the purchaser as confirmed owner. Upon
proper application and proof of title, the issuance of the writ of
possession becomes a ministerial duty of the court. (Emphases and
underscoring supplied; citations and emphases in the original omitted)
In the case of Spouses Espiridion v. CA,43 the Court expounded on the
ministerial nature of the foregoing issuance as follows: 44
crallawlibrary

The issuance of a writ of possession to a purchaser in a public auction is a


ministerial act. After the consolidation of title in the buyers name for
failure of the mortgagor to redeem the property, the writ of
possession becomes a matter of right. Its issuance to a purchaser in
an extrajudicial foreclosure sale ismerely a ministerial function. The
trial court has no discretion on this matter. Hence, any talk of discretion in
connection with such issuance is misplaced.
A clear line demarcates a discretionary act from a ministerial one. Thus:
The distinction between a ministerial and discretionary act is well delineated.
A purely ministerial act or duty is one which an officer or tribunal performs in
a given state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate
of a legal authority, without regard to or the exercise of his own
judgment upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done. If the
law imposes a duty upon a public officer and gives him the right to decide
how or when the duty shall be performed, such duty is discretionary and not
ministerial. The duty is ministerial only when the discharge of the same
requires neither the exercise of official discretion or judgment.
Clearly, the use of discretion and the performance of a ministerial act are
mutually exclusive. (Emphases and underscoring supplied; citations omitted)
chanRoble sVirtualawlibrary

The ministerial issuance of a writ of possession in favor of the purchaser in


an extra-judicial foreclosure sale, however, admits of an exception. Section

33,45 Rule 39 of the Rules of Court (Rules) pertinently provides that the
possession of the mortgaged property may be awarded to a purchaser in an
extra-judicial foreclosure unless a third party is actually holding the
property by adverse title or right. In the recent case of Rural Bank of
Sta. Barbara (Iloilo), Inc. v. Centeno,46 citing the case of China Banking
Corp., the Court illumined that the phrase a third party who is actually
holding the property adversely to the judgment obligor contemplates a
situation in which a third party holds the property by adverse title or
right, such as that of a co-owner, tenant or usufructuary. The co-owner,
agricultural tenant, and usufructuary possess the property in their own right,
and they are not merely the successor or transferee of the right of
possession of another co-owner or the owner of the property.
Notably, the property should not only be possessed by a third party,
but also held by the third party adversely to the judgment
obligor.47 In other words, as mentioned in Villanueva v. Cherdan Lending
Investors Corporation,48 the third person must therefore claim a right
superior to that of the original mortgagor.
In this case, it is clear that the issuance of a writ of possession in favor of
Sps. Marquez, who had already consolidated their title over the extrajudicially foreclosed property, is merely ministerial in nature. The general
rule as herein stated - and not the exception found under Section 33, Rule
39 of the Rules - should apply since Sps. Alindog hinged their claim over the
subject property on their purported purchase of the same from its previous
owner, i.e., Sps. Gutierrez (with Gutierrez being the original mortgagor).
Accordingly, it cannot be seriously doubted that Sps. Alindog are only the
latters (Sps. Gutierrez) successors-in-interest who do not have a right
superior to them.
That said, the RTC therefore gravely abused its discretion when it issued the
injunctive writ which enjoined Sps. Marquez from taking possession of the
subject property. To be sure, grave abuse of discretion arises when a lower
court or tribunal patently violates the Constitution, the law or existing
jurisprudence.49 Here, while the RTC had initially issued a writ of possession
in favor of Sps. Marquez, it defied existing jurisprudence when it effectively
rescinded the said writ by subsequently granting Sps. Alindogs prayer for
injunctive relief. The RTCs finding anent the initial evidence adduced by Sps.
Alindog constitutes improper basis to justify the issuance of the writ of
preliminary injunction in their favor since, in the first place, it had no
authority to exercise any discretion in this respect. Jurisprudence is clear on
the matter: without the exception under Section 33, Rule 39 of the Rules
availing, the issuance of a writ of possession in favor of the purchaser of an
extra-judicially foreclosed property - such as Sps. Marquez in this case should come as a matter of course, and, in such regard, constitutes only a

ministerial duty on the part of the court. Besides, it was improper for the
RTC to have issued a writ of preliminary injunction since the act sought to be
enjoined, i.e., the implementation of the writ of possession, had already
been accomplished in the interim and thus, rendered the matter moot. Case
law instructs that injunction would not lie where the acts sought to be
enjoined had already become fait accompli (meaning, an accomplished or
consummated act).50Hence, since the consummation of the act sought to be
restrained had rendered Sps. Alindogs injunction petition moot, the issuance
of the said injunctive writ was altogether improper.
All told, by acting averse to well-settled jurisprudential rules and resultantly
depriving Sps. Marquez of their right of possession over the subject property,
the Court therefore concludes that the RTC gravely abused its discretion in
this case. In effect, the CAs contrary ruling thereto is hereby reversed and
set aside, which consequentially leads to the nullification of the writ of
preliminary injunction issued by the RTC in favor of Sps. Alindog, and the
reinstatement of the writ of possession issued by the same court in favor of
Sps. Marquez. It must, however, be noted that these pronouncements are
without prejudice to any separate action which Sps. Alindog may file in order
to recover ownership of the subject property.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated February 29,
2008 and Resolution dated August 6, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. SP No. 97744, as well as the Orders dated November 14, 2005 and
January 17, 2007 of the Regional Trial Court of Tagaytay City, Branch 18 in
SCA No. TG-05-2521 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly,
the writ of preliminary injunction in SCA No. TG-05-2521 is NULLIFIED,
while the Writ of Possession in LRC Case No. TG-05-1068 is REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.
Carpio,(Chairperson), Brion, Del Castillo, and Perez, JJ., concur.
Endnotes:
Rollo, pp. 10-32.

Id. at 35-41. Penned by Associate Justice Japar B. Dimaampao, with


Associate Justices Mario L. Guaria III and Sixto C. Marella, Jr., concurring.
2

Id. at 42-43.

Id. at 69-70. Penned by Presiding Judge Edwin G. Larida, Jr.

Id. at 71-72.

Id. at 76-77.

Id. at 73-75.

Id. at 36.

Id. at 80-81.

10

Id. at 82-83.

11

Id. at 83.

12

Id. at 84-87.

13

See Deed of Absolute Sale dated September 1989; id. at 90-91.

14

Id. at 36-37.

15

Id. at 37.

See Verified Consolidated Answer (With Special/Affirmative Defenses and


Counterclaims); id. at 92-103.
16

17

Id. at 105-108.

18

Id. at 113.

19

Id. at 115.

20

Id. at 118.

21

Id. at 116-120.

22

Initially docketed as Civil Case No. TG-05-2521.

Rollo, p. 69.

23

24

Id. at 114.

25

Id. at 69-70

cralawre d

26

Id. at 70.

See Motion for Reconsideration with Urgent Prayer to Recall/Defer


Issuance of the Writ of Preliminary Injunction; id. at 132-139.
27

Sec. 7. In any sale made under the provisions of this Act, the purchaser
may petition the Court of First Instance of the province or place where the
property or any part thereof is situated, to give him possession thereof
during the redemption period, furnishing bond in an amount equivalent to
the use of the property for a period of twelve months, to indemnify the
debtor in case it be shown that the sale was made without violating the
mortgage or without complying with the requirements of this Act. Such
petition shall be made under oath and filed in form of an ex parte motion in
the registration or cadastral proceedings if the property is registered, or in
special proceedings in the case of property registered under the Mortgage
Law or under section one hundred and ninety-four of the Administrative
Code, or of any other real property encumbered with a mortgage duly
registered in the office of any register of deeds in accordance with any
existing law, and in each case the clerk of the court shall, upon the filing of
such petition, collect the fees specified in paragraph eleven of section one
hundred and fourteen of Act Numbered Four hundred and ninety-six, as
amended by Act Numbered Twenty-eight hundred and sixty-six, and the
court shall, upon approval of the bond, order that a writ of possession issue,
addressed to the sheriff of the province in which the property is situated,
who shall execute said order immediately.
28

Sec. 8. The debtor may, in the proceedings in which possession was


requested, but not later than thirty days after the purchaser was given
possession, petition that the sale be set aside and the writ of possession
cancelled, specifying the damages suffered by him, because the mortgage
was not violated or the sale was not made in accordance with the provisions
hereof, and the court shall take cognizance of this petition in accordance
with the summary procedure provided for in section one hundred and twelve
of Act Numbered Four hundred and ninety-six; and if it finds the complaint of
the debtor justified, it shall dispose in his favor of all or part of the bond
furnished by the person who obtained possession. Either of the parties may
appeal from the order of the judge in accordance with section fourteen of Act
Numbered Four hundred and ninety-six; but the order of possession shall
continue in effect during the pendency of the appeal.
29

Entitled AN ACT TO REGULATE THE SALE OF PROPERTY UNDER SPECIAL


POWERS INSERTED IN OR ANNEXED TO REAL ESTATE MORTGAGES.
30

31

Entitled AN ACT TO AMEND ACT NUMBERED THIRTY-ONE HUNDRED AND

THIRTY-FIVE, ENTITLED AN ACT TO REGULATE THE SALE OF PROPERTY


UNDER SPECIAL POWERS INSERTED IN OR ANNEXED TO REAL-ESTATE
MORTGAGES.
Posting a cash bond in the amount of P500,000.00 by way of a managers
check; CArollo, pp. 181-182.
32

Rollo, pp. 71-72.

33

34

Id. at 44-67.

35

Id. at 35-41.

36

Id. at 39.

37

Id.

38

Id. at 40.

39

Id. at 207-220.

40

Id. at 42-43.

41

579 Phil. 454 (2008).

Id. at 470-473, citing De Gracia v. San Jose, 94 Phil. 623, 625-626


(1954), and IFC Service Leasing and Acceptance Corporation v. Nera, 125
Phil. 595 (1967).
42

43

523 Phil. 664 (2006).

44

Id. at 667-668.

Section 33. Deed and possession to be given at expiration of redemption


period; by whom executed or given. - x x x.
45

Upon the expiration of the right of redemption, the purchaser or


redemptioner shall be substituted to and acquire all the rights, title, interest
and claim of the judgment obligor to the property as of the time of the levy.
The possession of the property shall be given to the purchaser or last
redemptioner by the same officer unless a third party is actually holding
the property adversely to the judgment obligor. (Emphasis supplied)
46

G.R. No. 200667, March 11, 2013, 693 SCRA 110.

47

Id. at 115, citing supra note 41, at 473-474; emphases supplied.

48

G.R. No. 177881, October 13, 2010, 633 SCRA 173.

Tagolino v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, G.R. No. 202202,


March 19, 2013, 693 SCRA 574, 599-600, citing Fernandez v. Commission
on Elections, 535 Phil 122 (2006).
49

Transfield Philippines, Inc. v. Luzon Hydro Corporation, G.R. No. 146717,


November 22, 2004, 443 SCRA 307, 339.
50

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