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HERRERA-FELIX v.

CA motion praying for an extension of time to file their answer


April 11, 2004 | Callejo, Sr., J. | Petition for Review on Certiorari | Judicial to the complaint. Said motion was granted. However, the
Admissions spouses failed to file their answer to the complaint and were
declared in default. The court rendered a decision in favor of
PETITIONER: OFELIA HERRERA-FELIX represented by Jovita Herrera-Sea the respondent ordering the spouses to pay their
RESPONDENT: Court of Appeals and St. Joseph Resources Development, Inc.
outstanding obligation.
SUMMARY: Petitioner was adjudged liable for its unpaid obligation to
respondent. Petitioner contends that the judgment of the lower court is void 4. The decision of the trial court became final and executory
because of the defective service of summons since the writ was not served after the Felix Spouses failed to appeal the same. The
personally but was served to her sister. The CA agreed that the trial court acquired respondent filed a motion for a writ of execution. A copy was
jurisdiction. The SC dismissed the petition and held that jurisdiction was validly served on the said spouses by registered mail, but they
acquired as admitted by petitioner herself. failed to oppose the motion. The court issued an order
granting the motion and directing the issuance of a writ of
DOCTRINE: The admissions made in a motion are judicial
execution. The counsel for the Felix Spouses received a copy
admissions which are binding on the party who made them. Such
of the said order. Thereafter, several personal properties of
party is precluded from denying the same unless there is proof of
the latter were levied upon and sold by the sheriff at public
palpable mistake or that no such admission was made.
auction for P83k to the respondent as the winning bidder.

5. Petitioner filed a petition with the CA under Rule 47 for the


FACTS: nullification of the trial courts judgment by default, the writ
1. On March 11, 1993, respondent filed a complaint for sum of issued by the court, and the sale of her properties at public
money against the Spouses Restituto and Ofelia Felix with a auction. The petitioner alleged, inter alia, that the complaint
prayer for a writ of preliminary attachment. It was alleged and summons were handed over to her sister, Ma. Luisa
therein that the Felix Spouses purchased tubs of assorted Herrera, who was merely a visitor in her house and, as such,
fish. It was also alleged that the Felix Spouses still had an was not a valid substituted service under Rule 14, Section 7.
outstanding obligation after deducting their total payment She also alleged that her husband Restituto Felix had died
from their aggregate purchases. Respondent prayed that as early as April 23 as evidenced by his Certificate of Death.
judgment be rendered in their favor ordering the spouses to
pay them their unpaid obligation and attorneys fees. 6. In its comment on the petition, respondent alleged that the
substituted service of the complaint and summons on the
2. The trial court granted the prayer for a writ of preliminary petitioner, who was then temporarily outside the Philippines,
attachment on a bond of P1.13M. The Sheriff levied and took through her sister Ma. Luisa Herrera, was valid and effective.
custody of some of the personal properties of the Felix The respondent, likewise, averred that even if such
spouses and served a copy of the writ, summons, and substituted service on the petitioner was defective, the
complaint at their residence through the sister of Ofelia defect was cured when the latter, through her counsel, Atty.
Herrera-Felix, Ma. Luisa Herrera. According to the Sheriffs Celestino C. Juan, appeared in court and moved for an
Return, Ofelia Herrera-Felix was out of the country, as per extension of time to file her responsive pleading. The
the information relayed to him by Ma. Luisa Herrera. respondent also maintained that the petitioner and her
counsel were served with copies of the decision of the court
3. The Felix Spouses, through Atty. Celestino C. Juan, filed a a quo, but that the petitioner failed to appeal the decision.
7. The CA rendered a decision finding that the trial court the court or through counsel. In this case, the petitioner
validly acquired jurisdiction over the action and dismissed appeared before the court, through counsel, and filed a motion
the petition absent any ground warranting the annulment of for extension of time to file her answer to the complaint which
its judgment. the trial court granted. She even admitted in the said motion
that she was served with a copy of the complaint as well as the
8. Petitioner maintains that the latter was a mere visitor in her summons. By filing the said motion, through counsel, the
house, not a resident therein; hence, the decision of the trial petitioner thereby submitted herself to the jurisdiction of the
court is null and void. She further alleges that even trial court.
assuming the validity of the trial courts decision, such
decision never became final and executory since she was 2. Equally barren of factual basis is the claim of the petitioner that
not served a copy of the same. As such, the writ of she was not served with a copy of the decision of the trial court.
execution issued by the trial court, the sale of her personal The records show that aside from the copy of the decision sent
properties at public auction, as well as the issuance of the to her by the Branch Clerk of Court by registered mail, another
Certificate of Sale, are null and void. copy of the decision was served on her through her counsel,
Atty. Celestino C. Juan, who received the same. The service of
the decision on the petitioner, through counsel, is binding on
ISSUES: her, conformably to Rule 13, Section 2.
WoN the decision of the trial court is void NO
3. The essence of due process is a reasonable opportunity to be
WoN petitioner was deprived of due process NO heard and submit evidence in support of ones defense. What the
law proscribes, therefore, is the lack of opportunity to be heard.
A party who opts not to avail of the opportunity to answer
RULING: Petition DENIED. cannot complain of procedural due process. There can be no
denial of due process where a party had the opportunity to
RATIO: participate in the proceedings but failed to do so through his
1. The court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the defendant
own fault.
by service of the complaint and summons on him, either by
personal service or by substituted service or by extra-territorial
service thereof or by his voluntary personal appearance before