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HERRERA vs BARRETTO

25 PHIL 245, SEPTEMBER 10, 1913

FACTS: Constancio Joaquin began action against Godofredo B. Herrera as Caloocan municipal
president when authorities refused to issue a license to open and exploit a cockpit. Joaquin asked
the court to issue a mandatory injunction directed to Herrera, to issue a provisional license for
Joaquin to conduct his cockpit. The court issued such order ex parte without notice of Herrera.
Godofredo B. Herrera then began a proceeding against Honorable Alberto Barretto (judge of the
Court of First Instance who had issued the mandatory injunction re cockpit license) and Joaquin
(cockpit licensee) for a writ of certiorari alleging that the court had acted without jurisdiction in
the following statements.
Alberto Barretto exceeded his jurisdiction in issuing a mandatory injunction because:
1. Cockpit licenses in Loma and Maypajo, Caloocan are issued by the municipal council,
not municipal president (Godofredo), according to section 40j, of the Municipal Code and article 4
of municipal ordinance No. 8 of Caloocan,
2. He did not give the municipal president opportunity to show cause why such injunction
should not be issued as required by section 202 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
3. Cockpit license erroneously issued for Constancio has been cancelled according to
ordinance No. ___ of Caloocan, approved by provincial board of Rizal.

ISSUE: Whether or not Alberto Barretto and his alleged act of exceeding jurisdiction relative to
issuance of mandatory injunction for the cockpit license of Constancio Joaquin should be granted
a writ of certiorari.

RULING: The Supreme Court denied the writ of certiorari and the proceeding is dismissed. From
the order dissolving the writ of preliminary injunction, the petitioner has gone directly to the
Supreme Court without giving the respondent Judge a chance or opportunity to correct his error,
if any, in an appropriate motion for reconsideration. An omission to comply with this procedural
requirement justifies a denial of the writ applied for.
A writ of certiorari will not be issued unless it clearly appears that the court to which it is
to be directed acted without or in excess of jurisdiction. If the court has jurisdiction of the subject
matter and of the person, decisions upon all questions pertaining to the cause are decision within
its jurisdiction and, however irregular or erroneous they may be, cannot be corrected by
certiorari, but must be corrected by appeal. The Court of First Instance had jurisdiction in the
present case to resolve every question arising in such an action and to decide every question
presented to it which pertained to the cause, including issuance of a mandatory injunction to
stand until the final determination of the action in which it is issued. While the issuance of the
mandatory injunction in this particular case may have been irregular and erroneous, its issuance
was within the jurisdiction of the court and its action is not reviewable on certiorari.
It has been urged that the court exceeded its jurisdiction in requiring the municipal
president to issue the license, for the reason that he was not the proper person to issue it and
that, if he was the proper person, he had the right to exercise discretion as to whom the license
should be issued. We do not believe that either of these questions go to the jurisdiction of the
court to act. One of the fundamental questions in a mandamus against a public officer is whether
or not that officer has the right to exercise discretion in the performance of the act which the
plaintiff asks him to perform. In the case at bar no one denies the power, authority, or jurisdiction
of the Court of First Instance to take cognizance of an action for mandamus and to decide every
question which arises in that cause and pertains thereto. The contention that the decision of one
of those questions, if wrong, destroys jurisdiction involves an evident contradiction. Jurisdiction is
the authority to hear and determine a cause —the right to act in a case. Since it is the power to
hear and determine, it does not depend either upon the regularity of the exercise of that power
or upon the rightfulness of the decisions made. Jurisdiction should therefore be distinguished
from the exercise of jurisdiction. The authority to decide a cause at all, and not the decision
rendered therein, is what makes up jurisdiction.