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Paguia vs Office of the President

FACTS: Petitioner Alan F. Paguia (petitioner), as citizen and taxpayer, filed this original action for the
writ of certiorari to invalidate President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's nomination of respondent former
Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. (respondent Davide) as Permanent Representative to the United
Nations (UN) for violation of Section 23 of Republic Act No. 715, the Philippine Foreign Service Act
of 1991. Petitioner argues that respondent Davide's age at that time of his nomination in March 2006,
70, disqualifies him from holding his post. Petitioner grounds his argument on Section 23 of RA 7157
pegging the mandatory retirement age of all officers and employees of the Department of Foreign
Affairs (DFA) at 65. Petitioner theorizes that Section 23 imposes an absolute rule for all DFA
employees, career or non-career; thus, respondent Davide's entry into the DFA ranks discriminates
against the rest of the DFA officials and employees.
Respondents argue that petitioner has no legal standing having been suspended indefinitely from the
practice of law and not having any personal and substantial interest in the suit. They also question the
propriety of this petition, contending that this suit is in truth a petition for quo warranto which can only
be filed by a contender for the office in question. On the eligibility of respondent Davide, respondents
counter that Section 23's mandated retirement age applies only to career diplomats, excluding from its
ambit non-career appointees such as respondent Davide.
(Note: this was a Resolution, not the original decision, thus the lower court's decisions were not
(1) Whether Petitioner has legal standing
(2) Whether the retirement age only applies to career diplomats
(1) No, petitioner does not have legal standing. The SC granted access to citizen's suits on the
narrowest of ground: when they raise issues of "transcendental" importance calling for urgent
resolution.Three factors are relevant in our determination to allow third party suits so we can reach and
resolve the merits of the crucial issues raised the character of funds or assets involved in the
controversy, a clear disregard of constitutional or statutory prohibition, and the lack of any other party
with a more direct and specific interest to bring the suit. None of petitioner's allegations comes close to
any of these parameters.
The same conclusion holds true for petitioner's invocation of his taxpayer status. Taxpayers'
contributions to the state's coffers entitle them to question appropriations for expenditures which are
claimed to be unconstitutional or illegal. Having assumed office under color of authority
(appointment), respondent Davide is at least a de facto officer entitled to draw salary, negating
petitioner's claim of "illegal expenditure of scarce public funds."
An incapacity to bring legal actions peculiar to petitioner also obtains. Petitioner's suspension from the
practice of law bars him from performing "any activity, in or out of court, which requires the
application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience."
(2) This issue is moot and academic because of Respondent Davide's resignation.

Cruz vs Mina
FACTS: Ferdinand A. Cruz (petitioner) filed before the MeTC a formal Entry of Appearance, as
private prosecutor, in a criminal case for Grave Threats, where his father, Mariano Cruz, is the
complaining witness. The petitioner, describing himself as a third year law student, justifies his
appearance as private prosecutor on the bases of Section 34 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court and the
ruling of the Court En Banc in Cantimbuhan v. Judge Cruz, Jr. that a non-lawyer may appear before the
inferior courts as an agent or friend of a party litigant. The petitioner furthermore avers that his
appearance was with the prior conformity of the public prosecutor and a written authority of Mariano
Cruz appointing him to be his agent in the prosecution of the said criminal case.
However, in an Order dated February 1, 2002, the MeTC denied permission for petitioner to appear as
private prosecutor on the ground that Circular No. 19 governing limited law student practice in
conjunction with Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court (Law Student Practice Rule) should take precedence
over the ruling of the Court laid down in Cantimbuhan; and set the case for continuation of trial.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration on the denial of permission, however this too was denied
by the MeTC.
Petitioner filed before the RTC a Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus with Prayer for Preliminary
Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order against the private respondent and the public respondent
MeTC. This was denied by the RTC on the ground that the crime of Grave Threats, the subject of is one
that can be prosecuted de oficio, there being no claim for civil indemnity, and that therefore, the
intervention of a private prosecutor is not legally tenable. Petitioner argued that this reasoning could be
found nowhere in the law and filed a motion for reconsideration with the RTC and while this was
pending, filed a second motion for reconsideration with the MeTC. Both however, were denied, thus
the petition to the SC.
ISSUE: Whether the petitioner, a law student, may appear before an inferior court as an agent or friend
of a party litigant
HELD: Yes. The SC held that while the Law Student Practice Rule as encapsulated in Rule 138-A of
the Rules of Court, prohibits the petitioner, as a law student, from entering his appearance in behalf of
his father, the private complainant in the criminal case without the supervision of an attorney duly
accredited by the law school; the rule is different if the law student appears before an inferior court,
where the issues and procedure are relatively simple. In inferior courts, a law student may appear in his
personal capacity without the supervision of a lawyer.
Section 34, Rule 138 is clear that appearance before the inferior courts by a non-lawyer is allowed,
irrespective of whether or not he is a law student. As succinctly clarified in Bar Matter No. 730, by
virtue of Section 34, Rule 138, a law student may appear, as an agent or a friend of a party litigant,
without the supervision of a lawyer before inferior courts.
The petitioner is also correct in stating that there being no reservation, waiver, nor prior institution of
the civil aspect in the criminal case in question, it follows that the civil aspect arising from Grave
Threats is deemed instituted with the criminal action, and, hence, the private prosecutor may rightfully
intervene to prosecute the civil aspect.

Bulacan vs Torcino
FACTS: A complaint for forcible entry and damages with preliminary mandatory injunction was filed
with the Municipal Court of Baybay, Leyte by Victoriano Bulacan against Faustino Torcino and Felipa
Torcino. The complaint was signed by Nicolas Nues, Jr., "Friend counsel for the Plaintiff" but was
verified by the plaintiff-appellee himself.
When the defendants-appellants filed their answer, they did not question the fact that the complaint was
signed by Nicolas Nues, Jr. The MTC issued an order giving the parties one week to submit a
compromise agreement, stating that failure to do so will constrain the court to render judgement based
on the ocular inspection conducted.
Due to the failure of the parties to settle their case amicably, the court rendered a decision ordering the
Torcinos to demolish and remove the portion of their house which was illegally constructed on the land
of the plaintiff. The municipal court stated that there is no doubt that Victoriano Bulacan is the owner
and has been in possession of Lot No. 5998 and that the lot of the defendants-appellants is on the
eastern portion of said lot.
The Torcinos appealed to the CFI. The Torcinos filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground
that the complaint was not signed by the plaintiff or by an admitted attorney, and therefore must be
considered as sham and false. Bulacan opposed the motion and alleged that the motion to dismiss was
not filed on time and the defenses therein were not pleaded in the answer in the municipal court and
therefore, are deemed waived and may not be raised for the first time on appeal in the Court of First
Instance. The CFI denied the motion to dismiss. A motion for reconsideration was denied for lack of
When the case was called for continuance, the parties presented to the court a stipulation of facts. The
stipulation of facts was signed by plaintiff Victoriano Bulacan, his new counsel Atty. Diego A. Cala,
defendants Faustino and Felipa Torcino, and their counsel Gerardo A. Pabello. The court issued an
order directing surveyor Jaime Kudera to conduct the relocation work on the basis of the stipulation.
On December 17, 1983, Kudera submitted his report and on the basis of his findings, the Court of First
Instance of Leyte affirmed the decision of the municipal court.
The defendants appealed to the CA, and the CA in a resolution dated August 7, 1976 certified the
appeal to us on the ground that no testimonial or oral evidence was presented by the parties and,
therefore, no factual matters are in issue in the appeal.
ISSUE: Whether or not a complaint for forcible entry and detainer should be dismissed by a municipal
court on the ground that the plaintiff knowingly asked a nonmember of the bar to sign and file it for
HELD: No, it should not be dismissed. The Rules are clear. In municipal courts, the litigant may be
assisted by a friend, agent, or an attorney. However, in cases before the regional trial court, the litigant
must be aided by a duly authorized member of the bar. The rule invoked by the Torcinos (Sec 5, Rule 7)
applies only to cases filed with the regional trial court and not to cases before a municipal court.
For relatively simple litigation before municipal courts, the Rules still allow a more educated or
capable person to appear in behalf of a litigant who cannot get a lawyer. But for the protection of the
parties and in the interest of justice, the requirement for appearances in regional trial courts and higher

courts is more stringent.

In the case before us, the complaint was verified by the party litigant himself. In the verification, the
plaintiff specifically stated that he had caused Mr. Nues to conduct the litigation and to sign the
complaint in his behalf, indicating his awareness that Nues is not a registered lawyer. There is,
therefore, added justification for the pleading to be admitted rather than dismissed. As the lower court
has cited: "So it has been held that, where a pleading is not signed by the attorney as required, but is
verified by the party, substantial rights have not been affected and the defect may be disregarded as
against a motion to strike."
The Torcinos try to impugn the results of the relocation survey. The SC agreed with the appellee that
the appellants are now estopped on this issue because they themselves prayed in the stipulation of facts
that the findings of the geodetic engineer would be bases for the decision of the court of first instance.
We see no error, much less any grave abuse of discretion, in the lower courts' findings that the house of
the Torcinos encroached on the lot of Victoriano Bulacan.