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Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil.

LAND BANK VS. VILLEGAS .......................................................................................................... 42

CO N T EN T S VDA DE HERRERA VS. BERNARDO .......................................................................................... 44

I. Filing Fees ...................................................................................................................................... 2 HERALD BLACK DACASIN v. SHARON DEL MUNDO DACASIN,..................................... 47

Rule 141, Sections 1, 2 , 3, 4, 7, 8 and 19 .................................................................................. 2 FEBTC v. Shemberg Marketing Corporation......................................................................... 47

Ruby Shelter vs. Formaran ............................................................................................................ 2 ARRIOLA V. ARRIOLA ................................................................................................................... 48

Do-All Metals vs. Security Bank ................................................................................................... 2 SPS MANILA VS SPS MANZO....................................................................................................... 49

Phil. First Insurance vs. First Logistics ...................................................................................... 3 EDNA DIAGO LHUILLIER, petitioner, vs. BRITISH AIRWAYS, respondent. ............... 52

Benjamin Bautista vs. Shirley Unangst...................................................................................... 4 EDNA DIAGO LHUILLIER v. BRITISH AIRWAYS .................................................................. 52

RICHARD CHUA, vs.THE EXECUTIVE JUDGE, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT, NISPEROS VS NISPEROS-DUCUSIN.......................................................................................... 54
MANILA, ............................................................................................................................................... 5
DY VS. BIBAT-PALAMOS .............................................................................................................. 58
In Re: Exemption of NPC from Payment of Filing/Docket Fees (A.M. No. 05-10-20-
SC)........................................................................................................................................................... 6

Unicapital vs. Consing...................................................................................................................... 8

Proton Pilipinas Corporation v. Banque Nacional de Paris ............................................... 9

A.M. No. 08-11-7-SC .......................................................................................................................10

RE: REQUEST OF NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AID TO EXEMPT LEGAL AID


CLIENTS FROM PAYING FILING, DOCKET AND OTHER FEES. .......................................10

RE: QUERY OF MR. ROGER C. PRIORESCHI RE EXEMPTION FROM LEGAL AND


FILING FEES OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD FOUNDATION, INC. .........................................10

II. JURISDICTION ...................................................................................................................................12

BP 129 .................................................................................................................................................12

Republic Act No. 7691 ...................................................................................................................22

REVISED RULES ON SUMMARY PROCEDURE ......................................................................24

RULE OF PROCEDURE FOR SMALL CLAIMS CASES ...........................................................27

THORNTON VS. THORNTON .......................................................................................................37

NAVIDA VS. DIZON .........................................................................................................................38


Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 2

RTC, instead of dismissing outright RSBs Complaint, granted RSB time to pay the
I. FILING FEES additional docket fees. Despite the seeming munificence of the RTC, petitioner
refused to pay the additional docket fees assessed against it, believing that it had
already paid the correct amount before, pursuant to Section 7(b)(1), Rule 141 of
RULE 141, SECTIONS 1, 2 , 3, 4, 7, 8 AND 19 the Rules of Court, as amended.

Issue: For the purposes of paying the correct amount of docket fees, whether or not the
annulment of deed of sale involving a real property is incapable of pecuniary estimation.
RUBY SHELTER VS. FORMARAN
Held: No. Case is a real action.
FACTS:
After Tan and Obiedo had the Deeds of Absolute Sale presented to the Register of Deeds,
they were already issued TCTs over the real properties in question, in their own names.
RSB borrowed P95M (loan) from Tan and Obiedo, secured by REM over five parcels
No matter how fastidiously RSB attempts to conceal them, the allegations and reliefs it
of land located in Naga City.
sought in its Complaint appears to be ultimately a real action, involving as they do the
RSB failed to pay the loan despite being granted several extensions. recovery by RSM of its title to and possession of the five parcels of land from Tan and
It was agreed that RSB should execute deeds of absolute sale over the five parcel of Obiedo.
lands in lieu of payment (i.e. dacion en pago).
Without payment having been made by RSB, Tan and Obiedo presented the While it is true that RSB does not directly seek the recovery of title or possession
Deeds of Absolute Sale, as a result of which, they were able to secure TCTs over of the property in question, his action for annulment of sale and his claim for
the five parcels of land in their names. damages are closely intertwined with the issue of ownership of the building
RSB filed before the RTC a Complaint against respondents Tan and Obiedo for which, under the law, is considered immovable property, the recovery of which is
declaration of nullity of deeds of sales and damages. RSBs causes of actions were: RSB's primary objective. The prevalent doctrine is that an action for the annulment or
o (a) pactum commissorium; and rescission of a sale of real property does not operate to efface the fundamental and
o (b) bad faith by Tan and Obediedo. prime objective and nature of the case, which is to recover said real property. It is a real
Upon filing its Complaint with the RTC, RSB paid the sum of P13,644.25 for action.
docket and other legal fees, as assessed by the Office of the Clerk of Court.
The Clerk of Court initially considered the case as an action incapable of Considering that the complaint is a real action, the Rule requires that "the
pecuniary estimation and computed the docket and other legal fees due thereon assessed value of the property, or if there is none, the estimated value thereof
according to Section 7(b)(1), Rule 141 of the Rules of Court. shall be alleged by the claimant and shall be the basis in computing the fees.
Tan filed before the RTC an Omnibus Motion in which he contended that the civil
case involved real properties, the docket fees for which should be computed in A real action indisputably involves real property. The docket fees for a real action would
accordance with Section 7(a), not Section 7(b)(1), of Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, still be determined in accordance with the value of the real property involved therein;
as amended by A.M. No. 04-2-04-SC which took effect on 16 August 2004. the only difference is in what constitutes the acceptable value.
o Since petitioner did not pay the appropriate docket fees for the civil case,
the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over the said case. In computing the docket fees for cases involving real properties, the courts, instead of
o Hence, respondent Tan asked the RTC to issue an order requiring relying on the assessed or estimated value, would now be using the fair market value of
RSB to pay the correct and accurate docket fees and should RSB fail the real properties (as stated in the Tax Declaration or the Zonal Valuation of the Bureau
to do so, to deny and dismiss the case. of Internal Revenue, whichever is higher) or, in the absence thereof, the stated value of
RTC ordered RSB to pay additional filing fee and Tan was also ordered to pay the same
docket and filing fees on his counterclaim.
CA upheld RTC, saying that the objectives of RSB in filing the complaint were DO-ALL METALS VS. SECURITY BANK
to cancel the deeds of sale and ultimately, to recover possession of the same.
It is therefore a real action. Consequently, the additional docket fees that must be
In Do-ALL Metals Industries vs. Security Bank, the Supreme Court observed that what
paid cannot be assessed in accordance with Section 7(b). As a real action, Section
the plaintiffs failed to pay merely was the filing fees for their supplemental complaint.
7(a) must be applied in the assessment and payment of the proper docket fee.
Thus, the RTC acquired jurisdiction over plaintiffs action from the moment they filed
their original complaint accompanied by the payment of the filing fees due on the same.
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 3

In other words, the plaintiffs non-payment of the additional filing fees due on their FACTS: Pyramid Logistics and Trucking Corporation (Pyramid) alleged in its complaint
additional claims did not divest the RTC of the jurisdiction it already had over the case that its delivery van, which was loaded with goods belonging to California
(PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 358 Phil. 38, 62 (1998). Manufacturing Corporation (CMC) valued at 907,149.07, left the CMC Bicutan
xxxxx Warehouse. However, the van, together with the goods, failed to reach its destination
and its driver and helper were nowhere to be found, to its damage and prejudice.
However, as to the damages that plaintiffs claim under their supplemental complaint,
their stand that the RTC committed no error in admitting the complaint even if they had It filed a criminal complaint against the driver and helper for qualified theft, and a claim
not paid the filing fees due on it since such fees constituted a lien anyway on the with Philippine First Insurance Co., Inc., and Paramount Insurance General Corporation
judgment award is not correct. The Supreme Court clarified that the after-judgment lien, as co-insurers for the lost goods. However, the insurance companies refused to
which implies that payment depends on a successful execution of the judgment, applies compensate for the loss in violation of their undertaking under the insurance policies.
to cases where the filing fees were incorrectly assessed or paid or where the court has For this reason, Pyramid suffered damages and was constrained to engage the services
discretion to fix the amount of the award. (Rules of Court, Rule 141, Section 2 (Fees in of counsel to enforce and protect its right to recover compensation under the insurance
Lien). None of these circumstances obtain in the case. policies, and for which services, it obligated itself to pay the sum equivalent to 25% of
any recovery in the instant action, as and for
Here, the supplemental complaint specified from the beginning the actual
damages that the plaintiffs sought against the Bank. Still plaintiffs paid no filing fees on attorneys fees and legal expenses. It prayed that judgment be rendered ordering the
the same. And, while petitioners claim that they were willing to pay the additional fees, insurance companies to comply with their obligation under their respective insurance
they gave no reason for their omission nor offered to pay the same. They merely said policies to pay to it jointly and severally the sum of 50,000 plus 1,500 for each court
that they did not yet pay the fees because the RTC had not assessed them for it. But a session attended by counsel until the case is terminated as attorneys fees, and the costs
supplemental complaint is like any complaint and the rule is that the filing fees due on a of suit.
complaint need to be paid upon its filing. (Section 1 (Payment of Fees) in relation to
Section 7 (Fees collectible by the Clerks of Regional Trial Courts for filing an action). The Pyramid was assessed a docket fee of 610 on the basis of the amount of 50,000. Pyramid
rules do not require the court to make special assessments in cases of supplemental later filed an amended complaint containing minor changes in the body but bearing the
complaints. same prayer. Branch 148 of the Makati RTC, to which the complaint was raffled,
admitted the amended complaint.
To aggravate plaintiffs omission, although the Bank brought up the question
of their failure to pay additional filing fees in its motion for reconsideration, plaintiffs The insurance companies filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction,
made no effort to make at least a late payment before the case could be submitted for Pyramid not having paid the docket fees in full. It argued that in the body of its amended
decision, assuming of course that the prescription of their action had not then set it in. complaint, Pyramid alleged that it suffered damages, but in the prayer, it deliberately
Clearly, plaintiffs have no excuse for their continuous failure to pay the fees they owed omitted to specify what these damages are. This deliberate omission by Pyramid was
the court. Consequently, the trial court should have treated their Supplemental intended to evade the payment of the correct filing fee. The insurance companies
Complaint as not filed. x x x x invoked the doctrine in Manchester Development Corporation vs. CA that a pleading
which does not specify in the prayer the amount sought shall not be admitted or shall
Plaintiffs of course point out that the Bank itself raised the issue of non- otherwise be expunged, and that the court acquires jurisdiction only upon the payment
payment of additional filing fees only after the RTC had rendered its decision in the case. of the prescribed docket fee. Pyramid, on the other hand, insists the application of Sun
The implication is that the Bank should be deemed to have waived its objection to such Insurance Office, Ltd. vs. Asuncion and subsequent rulings relaxing the Manchester
omission. But it is not for a party to the case or even for the trial court to waive the ruling by allowing payment of the docket fee within a reasonable time, in no case
payment of the additional filing fees due on the supplemental complaint. Only the beyond the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period, where the filing of the
Supreme Court can grant exemptions to the payment of the fees due the courts and initiatory pleading is not accompanied by the payment of the prescribed docket fee. The
these exemptions are embodied in its rules (DO-ALL METALS INDUSTRIES VS. CA applied the liberal rule in Sun Insurance.
SECURITY BANK CORPORATION, G.R. NO. 176339, JANUARY 10, 2011, ABAD, J.).

ISSUE: WON the CA erred in applying the liberal rule in Sun Insurance???
PHIL. FIRST INSURANCE VS. FIRST LOGISTICS
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 4

RULING: YES, the CA erred. The Manchester rule applies. In the case of Tacay vs. Bautistas wife, Cynthia, further agreed to pay the mortgage loan of Unangst
Regional Trial Court of Tagum, Davao del Norte, the SC clarified the effect of the Sun over the subject property to a certain Jojo Lee in the amount of Php295,000.00
as the property was then set to be publicly auctioned.
Insurance ruling on the Manchester ruling as follows: The requirement in Circular No. 7
that complaints, petitions, answers, and similar pleadings should specify the amount of In a written agreement, they agreed that Unangst would sell, subject to
damages being prayed for not only in the body of the pleading but also in the prayer, has repurchase, her residential property in favor of Cynthia, Bautistas wife to
not been altered. What has been revised is the rule that subsequent amendment of the answer for the release of the mortgage on the property, and the amount due to
complaint or similar pleading will not thereby vest jurisdiction in the Court, much less GAB Rent-A-Car.
the payment of the docket fee based on the amount sought in the amended pleading, the
trial court now being authorized to allow payment of the It was also ageed that Unangst will pay taxes on the property and that she and
her assigns will vacate the premises and deliver its possession to Bautista if
fee within a reasonable time but in no case beyond the applicable prescriptive period or she fails to exercise her right to repurchase w/in 30 days. Otherwise, Bautista
reglementary period. Moreover, a new rule has been added, governing the awards of will take immediate possession of the property.
claims not specified in the pleading i.e., damages arising after the filing of the
complaint or similar pleading as to which the additional filing fee therefore shall After Uangst failed to pay taxes, vacate premises and repurchase the property,
constitute a lien on the judgment. In the case at bar, Pyramid failed to specify in its Bautista filed for specific performance.
prayer the amount of claims/damages it was seeking both in the original and amended
complaint. It reasoned out that it was not aware of the extent of the liability of the The lower court ruled in favor of Bautista.
insurance companies under their respective policies. It left the matter of liability to the
trial courts determination. Even assuming that the amounts are yet to be determined, Unangst failed to interpose a timely appeal, but she filed a petition for relief
the rule in Manchester, as modified by Sun Insurance, still applies. In the case of Ayala pursuant to Rules on CivPro, arguing that she learned of the decision of the
Corporation vs. Madayag, the SC pronounced the following: While it is true that the RTC only on 6 September 2004 when she received a copy of the motion for
determination of certain damages x x x is left to the sound discretion of the court, it is execution filed by Bautista.
the duty of the parties claiming such damages to specify the amount sought on the basis
of which the court may make a proper determination, and for the proper assessment of Bautista moved to dismiss the petition on the ground of insufficient payment
the appropriate docket fees. The exception contemplated as to claims not specified or to of docket fees, although the correct amount was subsequently paid by Unangst
claims although specified are left for determination of the court is limited only to any beyond the 60-day reglementary period.
damages that may arise after the filing of the complaint or similar pleading for then it
will not be possible for the claimant to specify nor speculate as to the amount thereof. Unangst argued that the insufficiency was due to the incorrect assessment by
the Clerk of Court.

RTC granted the petition and ordered to file a notice of appeal within twenty-
four (24) hours from receipt of the order, which was duly accomplished.
BENJAMIN BAUTISTA VS. SHIRLEY UNANGST
On appeal, the CA upheld the granting of relief by the RTC.
Hamilton Salak rented a car from GAB Rent-a-Car, owned by Bautista
(petitioner) for 3 days at P1k per day. ISSUE: W/n appeal should be dismissed merely due to the payment of
insufficient docket fees and/or payment of the same beyond the 60-day
When Salak failed to return the car, Bautista filed a complaint against Salak for reglementary period
estafa, carnapping and violation of BP 22.
RATIO: No, it should NOT be dismissed.
Subsequently, Salak and his common-law wife, Unangst (respondent), were
arrested.
The right to appeal is a purely statutory right and may only be exercised in the
manner and in accordance with the rules provided by law. Payment of the full
After Bautista made demand for payment, Salak and Unangst expressed amount of the docket and other lawful fees within the reglementary period is
willingness to pay but since they were short on cash, they offered to sell to mandatory and jurisdictional.
Bautista a house and lot titled in the name of Unangst.
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 5

However, the court has the power to relax the strict application of this rule Due to non-payment of the required filing fees, the MeTC designated the forty (40)
under exceptional circumstances so as to meet the ends of justice. The Court counts of violation of BP Blg. 22 as undocketed cases under UDK Nos. 12001457 to 96.
must give ample opportunity for both parties to present their arguments and Subsequently, the OCP moved for consolidation of the said cases. 8
defenses, even if it means having to set aside or being at least lenient in the
technicalities. On 18 April 2012, petitioner filed before the Executive Judge of the MeTC a motion
entitled "
It was clear that Unangst paid the insufficient docket fee in good faith since it
was the Clerk of Court who made the error in assessing the said fee. Since it
was an error made by a public officer and not the fault of Unangst herself, Urgent Motion to Allow Private Complainant to Pay Filing Fee on a Per Case Basis"
dismissing the appeal will only bring grave injustice. (Urgent Motion).9 In it, petitioner reiterated his request that he be allowed to pay filing
fees on a per case basis instead of being required to pay the total amount of filing fees in
Segovia v. Barrios: Every citizen has the right to assume and trust that a public its entirety.
officer charged by law with certain duties knows his duties and performs them
in accordance with law. To penalize such citizen for relying upon said officer in On 26 June 2012, the Executive Judge issued an Order denying petitioners Urgent
all good faith is repugnant to justice. Motion. In rebuffing petitioners Urgent Motion, the Executive Judge of the MeTC
ratiocinated that granting petitioners plea would constitute a deferment in the payment
of filing fees that, in turn, contravenes Section 1(b) of the Rule 111 of the Rules of
Court.10

Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but to no avail.


RICHARD CHUA, VS.THE EXECUTIVE JUDGE, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT, MANILA,
Hence, this appeal.
PEREZ, J.:
OUR RULING
At bench is a Petition for Review on Certiorari,1
assailing the Orders2
dated 26 June
2012 and 26 July 2012 of the Executive Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Prefatorily, it must be pointed out that petitioner availed of the wrong remedy in
Manila, in UDK Nos. 12001457 to 96. assailing the Orders dated 26 June 2012 and 26 July 2012 of the Executive Judge of the
MeTC via the present petition for review on certiorari. The assailed orders are not,
The facts: technically, final orders that are appealable,11 let alone the proper subjects of an appeal
by certiorari.12 The assailed orders do not, at least for the moment, completely dispose
of the B.P. 22 cases filed before the MeTC.
On 13 January 2012, herein petitioner Richard Chua tiled before the Office of the City
Prosecutor (OCP) of Manila, a complaint charging one Letty Sy Gan of forty (40) counts
of violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang (BP Blg.) 22 or the Bouncing Checks Law. 3 After The correct remedy for the petitioner, in view of the unavailability of an appeal or any
conducting preliminary investigation, the OCP found probable cause and, on 22 March other remedy in the ordinary course of law, is a certiorari petition under Rule 65 of the
2012, filed forty (40) counts of violation of BP Blg. 22 before the MeTC. 4 Rules of Court.13 But then again, the petitioner should have filed such a petition, not
directly with this Court, but before the appropriate Regional Trial Court pursuant to the
principle of hierarchy of courts.14
Consequently, the MeTC informed petitioner that he has to pay a totalof P540,668.00 as
filing fees for all the forty (40) counts of violation of BP Blg. 22. 5 Finding the said amount
to be beyond his means, petitioner consulted with the MeTC clerk of court to ask In the weightier interest of substantial justice, however, this Court forgives such
whether he could pay filing fees on a per case basis instead of being required to pay the procedural lapses and treats the instant appeal as a certiorari petition filed properly
total filing fees for all the BP Blg. 22 cases all at once. 6 The MeTC clerk of court opined before this Court. To this Court, the grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
that petitioner could not.7 Petitioner was thus unable to pay any filing fees. Executive Judge was patent on the undisputed facts of this case and is serious enough to
warrant a momentary deviation from the procedural norm.
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 6

Thus, We come to the focal issue of whether the Executive Judge of the MeTC committed Neither would the consolidation of all forty (40) counts make any difference.
grave abuse of discretion, in light of the facts and circumstances herein obtaining, in Consolidation unifies criminal cases involving related offenses only for purposes of
refusing petitioners request of paying filing fees on a per case basis. trial.19 Consolidation does not transform the tiling fees due for each case consolidated
into one indivisible fee.
We answer in the affirmative. We grant the petition.
Third. Allowing petitioner to pay for the tiling fees of some of the forty ( 40) counts of
In proposing to pay filing fees on a per case basis, petitioner was not trying to evade or violation of BP Big. 22 tiled before the MeTC, will concededly result into the absolute
deny his obligation to pay for the filing fees for all forty (40) counts of violation of BP non-payment of the filing fees of the rest. The fate of the cases which filing fees were not
Blg. 22 filed before the MeTC. He, in fact, acknowledges such obligation. He, in fact, paid, however, is already the concern of the MeTC.
admits that he is incapable of fulfilling such obligation in its entirety.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed
Rather, what petitioner is asking is that he at least be allowed to pursue some of the Orders dated 26 June 2012 and 26 July 2012 of the Executive Judge of the Metropolitan
cases, the filing fees of which he is capable of financing. Petitioner manifests that, given Trial Court, Manila, in UDK Nos.12001457 to 96 are ANNULED and SET ASIDE. The
his current financial status, he simply cannot afford the filing fees for all the forty (40) Metropolitan Trial Court, Manila, is hereby directed to accept payments of tiling fees in
BP Blg. 22 cases. UDK Nos. 12001457 to 96 on a per information basis.

We see nothing wrong or illegal in granting petitioners request. No costs.

First. The Executive Judge erred when she treated the entireP540,668.00 as one IN RE: EXEMPTION OF NPC FROM PAYMENT OF FILING/DOCKET FEES (A.M. NO. 05-10-
indivisible obligation, when that figure was nothing but the sum of individual filing fees 20-SC)
due for each count of violation of BP Blg.22 filed before the MeTC. Granting petitioners
request would not constitute a deferment in the payment of filing fees, for the latter
clearly intends to pay in full the filing fees of some, albeit not all, of the cases filed.
The National Power Corporation (NPC) seeks clarification from the Court on whether or
Filing fees, when required, are assessed and become due for each initiatory pleading not it is exempt from the payment of filing fees, appeal bonds and supersedeas bonds.
filed.15 In criminal actions, these pleadings refer to the information filed in court.

In the instant case, there are a total of forty (40) counts of violation of BP Blg. 22 that On December 6, 2005, the Court issued A.M. No. 05-10-20-SC, In re: Exemption of the
was filed before the MeTC.1wphi1And each of the forty (40) was, in fact, assessed its National Power Corporation from the Payment of Filing/Docket Fees, on the basis of
filing fees, individually, based on the amount of check one covers.16 Under the rules of Section 13, Republic Act No. 6395 (An Act Revising the Charter of the National Power
criminal procedure, the filing of the forty(40) counts is equivalent to the filing of forty Corporation). It reads:
(40) different informations, as each count represents an independent violation of BP
Blg. 22.17 Filing fees are, therefore, due for each count and may be paid for each count The Court Resolved, upon the recommendation of the Office of the Court Administrator,
separately. to DECLARE that the National Power Corporation (NPC) is still exempt from the
payment of filing fees, appeals bond, and supersedeas bonds.
Second. In an effort to justify her refusal of petitioners request, the Executive Judge
further argues that since all forty (40) counts of violation of BP Blg. 22 were brought On October 27, 2009, however, the Court issued A.M. No. 05-10-20-SC stating that:
about by a single complaint filed before the OCP and are now consolidated before the
court, the payment of their tiling fees should be made for all or none at all. 18 The Court Resolved, upon recommendation of the Committee on the Revision of the
Rules of Court, to DENY the request of the National Power Corporation (NPC) for
exemption from the payment of filing fees pursuant to Section 10 of Republic Act No.
That all forty (40) counts of violation of BP Blg. 22 all emanated from a single complaint
6395, as amended by Section 13 of Presidential Decree No. 938. The request appears to
filed in the OCP is irrelevant. The fact remains that there are still forty (40) counts of
run counter to Section 5(5), Article VIII of the Constitution, in the rule-making power of
violation of BP Blg. 22 that were filed before the MeTC and, as a consequence, forty (40)
the Supreme Court over the rules on pleading, practice and procedure in all courts,
individual filing fees to be paid.
which includes the sole power to fix the filing fees of cases in courts.
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 7

Hence, the subject letter of NPC for clarification as to its exemption from the payment of the power to repeal, alter or supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice and
filing fees and court fees. procedure, and the admission to the practice of law in the Philippines.

Section 22 of Rule 141 reads: xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 22. Government exempt. The Republic of the Philippines, its agencies and [T]he 1973 Constitution reiterated the power of this Court to promulgate rules
instrumentalities are exempt from paying the legal fees provided in this rule. Local concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, x x x which, however, may be
government units and government-owned or controlled corporations with or without repealed, altered or supplemented by the Batasang Pambansa x x x. More completely,
independent charters are not exempt from paying such fees. (emphasis supplied) Section 5(2) [sic] 5 of its Article X provided:

Section 70 of Republic Act No. 9136 (Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001), xxx xxx xxx
on privatization of NPC assets, expressly states that the NPC shall remain as a national
government-owned and controlled corporation. Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers.

Thus, NPC is not exempt from payment of filing fees. xxx xxx xxx

The non-exemption of NPC is further fortified by the promulgation on ---February 11, (5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the
2010 of A.M. No. 08-2-01-0, In re: Petition for Recognition of the Exemption of the admission to the practice of law, and the integration of the Bar, which, however, may be
Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) from Payment of Legal Fees. In said case, repealed, altered, or supplemented by the Batasang Pambansa. Such rules shall provide
the Court, citing Echegaray v. Secretary of Justice,[1] stressed that the 1987 Constitution a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of case, shall be
took away the power of Congress to repeal, alter or supplement rules concerning uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify
pleading, practice, and procedure; and that the power to promulgate these rules is no substantive rights.
longer shared by the Court with Congress and the Executive, thus:
xxx xxx xxx
Since the payment of legal fees is a vital component of the rules promulgated by
this Court concerning pleading, practice and procedure, it cannot be validly annulled, The 1987 Constitution molded an even stronger and more independent judiciary.
changed or modified by Congress. As one of the safeguards of this Courts institutional Among others, it enhanced the rule making power of this Court. Its Section 5(5), Article
independence, the power to promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure is VIII provides:
now the Courts exclusive domain. That power is no longer shared by this Court with
Congress, much less the Executive. xxx xxx xxx

Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers.

Speaking for the Court, then Associate Justice (now Chief Justice) Reynato S. Puno xxx xxx xxx
traced the history of the rule-making power of this Court and highlighted its evolution
and development in Echegaray v. Secretary of Justice:

Under the 1935 Constitution, the power of this Court to promulgate rules (5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional
concerning pleading, practice and procedure was granted but it appeared to be co- rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of
existent with legislative power for it was subject to the power of Congress to repeal, law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall
alter or supplement. Thus, its Section 13, Article VIII provides: provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall
be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify
Sec.13. The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules concerning substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall
pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law. remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court.
Said rules shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish,
increase, or modify substantive rights. The existing laws on pleading, practice, and The rule making power of this Court was expanded. This Court for the first time
procedure are hereby repealed as statutes, and are declared Rules of Court, subject to was given the power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of
the power of the Supreme Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress shall have constitutional rights. The Court was also granted for the first time the power to
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 8

disapprove rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies. But most Unicapital and PB each bought half of the property. However, before the titles
importantly, the 1987 Constitution took away the power of Congress to repeal, alter, or were transferred to their names, Teng and Yu informed Unicapital and PB that
supplement rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure. In fine, the power to they were the lawful owners of the property. PB investigated and found out
promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure is no longer shared by this Court that Dela Cruzs titles were of dubious origin. Thus, Uni and PB demanded Dela
with Congress, more so with the Executive. Cruz and Consing to return their money.

The separation of powers among the three co-equal branches of our government has Consing filed charges of harassment against Uni and PB because of the
erected an impregnable wall that keeps the power to promulgate rules of pleading, incessant demands and accused them of coercing him to commit a violation of
practice and procedure within the sole province of this Court. The other branches BP 22. He prays that he be declared a mere agent of Dela Cruz.
trespass upon this prerogative if they enact laws or issue orders that effectively repeal,
alter or modify any of the procedural rules promulgated by this Court. Viewed from this Uni and PB filed motions to dismiss Consings complaints because of lack of
perspective, the claim of a legislative grant of exemption from the payment of legal fees jurisdiction of RTC Pasig, among others (lack of cause of action, defective
under Section 39 of RA 8291 necessarily fails. verification, etc) for failure of Consing to pay the proper amount of docket fees

With the foregoing categorical pronouncement of the Court, it is clear that NPC can no RTC refused to dismiss Consings complaint on the ground of docket fees as
longer invoke Republic Act No. 6395 (NPC Charter), as amended by Presidential Decree jurisdiction was already vested in it upon the filing of the original complaint.
No. 938, as its basis for exemption from the payment of legal fees.
Uni and PB MRed. Dennied. Petition for Certiorari to CA.
WHEREFORE, it is hereby CLARIFIED that the National Power Corporation is not
exempt from the payment of legal fees. CA denied. it ruled that while the payment of the prescribed docket fee is a
jurisdictional requirement, its non-payment will not automatically cause the
dismissal of the case. In this regard, it considered that should there be any
deficiency in the payment of such fees, the same shall constitute a lien on the
UNICAPITAL VS. CONSING judgment award

Pet for rev on certiorari


Doctrine: Docket Fees; It has long been settled that while the court acquires jurisdiction
over any case only upon the payment of the prescribed docket fees, its non-payment at
ISSUE: WON Consings complaint should be dismissed on nonpayment of
the time of the filing of the complaint does not automatically cause the dismissal of the
docket fees? NO
complaint provided that the fees are paid within a reasonable period
Neither should Consing, Jr.s failure to pay the required docket fees lead to the
dismissal of his complaint. It has long been settled that while the court
Facts: acquires jurisdiction over any case only upon the payment of the prescribed
docket fees, its non-payment at the time of the filing of the complaint does not
In 1997, Consing, Jr., an investment banker, and his mother, Cecilia Dela Cruz automatically cause the dismissal of the complaint provided that the fees are
(Dela Cruz), obtained an P18,000,000.00 loan from Unicapital, P12,000,000.00 paid within a reasonable period. Consequently, Unicapital, et al.s insistence
of which was acquired on July 24, 1997 and the remaining P6,000,000.00 on that the stringent rule on non-payment of docket fees enunciated in the case of
August 1, 1997. The said loan was secured by Promissory Notes10 and a Real Manchester Development Corporation v. CA, 149 SCRA 562 (1987), should be
Estate Mortgage over a 42000 sqm land in Imus Cavite registered in the name applied in this case cannot be sustained in the absence of proof that Consing, Jr.
of Dela Cruz. intended to defraud the government by his failure to pay the correct amount of
filing fees
Prior to these transactions, Plus Builders was already interested in developing
this land into a subdivision. PB went into a joint venture with Unicapital. Plainly, while the payment of the prescribed docket fee is a jurisdictional
requirement, even its non-payment at the time of filing does not automatically
The loan and mortgage was modified into an Option to Buy real property and cause the dismissal of the case, as long as the fee is paid within the applicable
Dela Cruz eventually decided to sell the property. Dela Cruz appointed Consing prescriptive or reglementary period, more so when the party involved
as attorney in fact. demonstrates a willingness to abide by the rules prescribing such payment.
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 9

Thus, when insufficient filing fees were initially paid by the plaintiffs and there RTC denied Motion to Dismiss, saying that docket fees were properly paid. CA
was no intention to defraud the government, the Manchester rule does not likewise denied the motion on appeal.
apply.
Thus petitioners filed an action before SC, pointing out additionally that the
clerk of court, in converting BNPs claims from US dollars to Philippine pesos,
applied the wrong exchange rate of P43 to $1, since the rate when the
complaint was filed was P43.21 to $1. Thus, BNPs claim as of August 15, 1998
PROTON PILIPINAS CORPORATION V. BANQUE NACIONAL DE PARIS
should have been about P70k+ and not P69k+
Sometime in 1995, petitioner Proton Pilipinas Corporation (Proton) availed of ISSUE: W/n the docket fees were properly paid
a loan from Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP).
RATIO: No, fees were insufficient. RTC Clerk of Court should reassess and
To guarantee the payment of its obligation, its co-petitioners Automotive determine the docket fees to be paid by BNP w/in 15 days.
Corporation Philippines (Automotive), Asea One Corporation (Asea) and
Autocorp Group (Autocorp) executed a corporate guarantee to the extent of 1) In Manchester vs. CA, the court ruled that it is not simply the filing of the
US$2M. complaint but PAYMENT of the docket fee that vests the court w/ jurisdiction
over the subject matter.
BNP and Proton subsequently entered into three trust receipt agreements. The
terms of such provided that Proton would receive and hold in trust for BNP Where the filing of the pleading is NOT accompanied by payment of docket fee,
imported passenger motor vehicles. court may allow payment w/in reasonable time as long as NOT beyond
reglementary period (also applies to 3rd party claims and counterclaims).
Proton would be free to sell the vehicles subject to the condition that it would
deliver the proceeds of the sale to BNP, to be applied to its obligations to it. The presumption of regularity of the clerk of courts application of the
exchange rate is not conclusive, but DISPUTABLE by evidence to the contrary.
In case the vehicles are not sold, Proton would return them to BNP, together
with all the accompanying documents of title. In this case, petitioners were able to prove w/ documentary evidence that the
exchange rate when the complaint was filed on September 7, 1998 was US $1 =
Allegedly, Proton failed to deliver the proceeds of the sale and return the P43.21.
unsold motor vehicles.
Thus, the docket fees paid by respondent were insufficient.
Pursuant to the corporate guarantee, BNP demanded from Automotive, Asea
and Autocorp the payment of the amount of about P1.5M+ w/c represented 2) DESPITE this, the court should not dismiss the case and in fact acquired
Protons total outstanding obligations. jurisdiction. It must be noted that MANCHESTER was superseded by SUN
INSURANANCE. In Sun Insurance, even if there was underpayment, the party
Guarantors refused to pay so BNP filed a complaint against petitioners before was willing to pay to docket fees, as opposed to Manchester where there was
RTC praying that they be ordered to pay the said amt + accrued interest and fraudulent machinations involved. Thus, CASE will NOT be dismissed as long
other related charges, and an amount equivalent to 5% of all sums due from as there is NO intention to defraud.
petitioners as attorneys fees.
Also, where the TC acquires jurisdiction over a claim by the filing of the
Makati RTC Clerk of Court assessed the docket fees which BNP paid at about appropriate pleading and payment of the filing fee but, subsequently, the
P350k+ judgment awards a claim NOT specified in the pleading / left to courts
determination, additional fee shall constitute LIEN ON JUDGEMENT. Clerk of
Petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that BNP failed to pay the Court must enforce and assess the additional fee.
correct docket fees to thus prevent the trial court from acquiring jurisdiction
over the case. Petitioenrs also raised prematurity of the complaint, BNP not In this case, respondents relied on the clerk of courts assessment which
having priorly sent any demand letter. turned out to be incorrect (since they based it on a prior ruling/statute already
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 10

repealed in 1998). Thus, the clerk of court has the responsibility of reassessing RE: QUERY OF MR. ROGER C. PRIORESCHI RE EXEMPTION FROM LEGAL AND FILING
what respondent must pay within the prescriptive period. FEES OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD FOUNDATION, INC.

Pursuant, however, to Section 2, Rule 141, as amended by Administrative


Circular No. 11-94, respondent should be made to pay additional fees which
shall constitute a lien in the event the trial court adjudges that it is entitled to In his letter dated May 22, 2009 addressed to the Chief Justice, Mr. Roger C. Prioreschi,
interest accruing AFTER the filing of the complaint. administrator of the Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc., wrote:

A.M. NO. 08-11-7-SC The Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc. is very grateful for your 1rst. Indorsement to pay a
nominal fee of Php 5,000.00 and the balance upon the collection action of 10 million
pesos, thus giving us access to the Justice System previously denied by an up-front
RE: REQUEST OF NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AID TO EXEMPT LEGAL AID excessive court fee.
CLIENTS FROM PAYING FILING, DOCKET AND OTHER FEES.

The Hon. Court Administrator Jose Perez pointed out to the need of complying with OCA
On September 23, 2008 the Misamis Oriental Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Circular No. 42-2005 and Rule 141 that reserves this privilege to indigent persons.
Philippines (IBP) promulgated Resolution No. 24. The resolution requested the IBPs While judges are appointed to interpret the law, this type of law seems to be extremely
National Committee on Legal Aid (NCLA) to ask for the exemption from the payment of detailed with requirements that do not leave much room for interpretations.
filing, docket and other fees of clients of the legal aid offices in the various IBP chapters
like the exemption granted to PAO clients under RA 9406. The Court lauded the Misamis
Oriental Chapter of the IBP for its effort to help improve the administration of justice,
particularly, the access to justice by the poor. In promulgating Resolution No. 24, the In addition, this law deals mainly with individual indigent and it does not include
Misamis Oriental Chapter of the IBP has effectively performed its duty to "participate in Foundations or Associations that work with and for the most Indigent persons. As seen
the development of the legal system by initiating or supporting efforts in law reform and in our Article of Incorporation, since 1985 the Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc. reached-
in the administration of justice." out to the poorest among the poor, to the newly born and abandoned babies, to children
who never saw the smile of their mother, to old people who cannot afford a few pesos to
In approving the Rule, the Court stressed that the Constitution guarantees the rights of pay for common prescriptions, to broken families who returned to a normal life. In
the poor to free access to the courts and to adequate legal assistance. It found the legal other words, we have been working hard for the very Filipino people, that the
aid service rendered by the NCLA and legal aid offices of IBP chapters nationwide Government and the society cannot reach to, or have rejected or abandoned them.
addresses the right to adequate legal assistance and that the recipients of the service of
the NCLA and legal aid offices of IBP Chapters may enjoy free access to courts by
exempting them from the payment of fees assessed in connection with the filing of a
complaint or action in court. The Court held that with these twin initiatives, the Can the Courts grant to our Foundation who works for indigent and underprivileged
guarantee of Section 11, Article III of the Constitution is advanced and access to justice is people, the same option granted to indigent people?
increased by bridging a significant gap and removing a major roadblock.

The Court concluded with a declaration that access to justice is essential in a


democracy and in the rule of law. Recognizing the right of access to justice as the most The two Executive Judges, that we have approached, fear accusations of favoritism or
important pillar of legal empowerment of the marginalized sectors of our society, it has other kind of attack if they approve something which is not clearly and specifically
exercised its power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of stated in the law or approved by your HONOR.
constitutional rights to open the doors of justice to the underprivileged and to allow
them to step inside the court to be heard of their plaints.
Can your Honor help us once more?
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 11

Grateful for your understanding, God bless you and your undertakings. Such authority shall include an exemption from payment of docket and other lawful fees,
and of transcripts of stenographic notes which the court may order to be furnished him.
The amount of the docket and other lawful fees which the indigent was exempted from
paying shall be a lien on any judgment rendered in the case favorable to the indigent,
We shall be privileged if you find time to visit our orphanage the Home of Love and unless the court otherwise provides.
the Spiritual Retreat Center in Antipolo City.

Any adverse party may contest the grant of such authority at any time before judgment
is rendered by the trial court. If the court should determine after hearing that the party
declared as an indigent is in fact a person with sufficient income or property, the proper
To answer the query of Mr. Prioreschi, the Courts cannot grant to foundations like the docket and other lawful fees shall be assessed and collected by the clerk of court. If
Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc. the same exemption from payment of legal fees granted payment is not made within the time fixed by the court, execution shall issue for the
to indigent litigants even if the foundations are working for indigent and payment thereof, without prejudice to such other sanctions as the court may impose.
underprivileged people. (22a)

Sec. 19. Indigent litigants exempt from payment of legal fees. Indigent litigants (a)
whose gross income and that of their immediate family do not exceed an amount double
The basis for the exemption from legal and filing fees is the free access clause, embodied the monthly minimum wage of an employee and (b) who do not own real property with
in Sec. 11, Art. III of the 1987 Constitution, thus: a fair market value as stated in the current tax declaration of more than three hundred
thousand (P300,000.00) pesos shall be exempt from payment of legal fees.

The legal fees shall be a lien on any judgment rendered in the case favorable to the
Sec. 11. Free access to the courts and quasi judicial bodies and adequate legal indigent litigant unless the court otherwise provides.
assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty.
To be entitled to the exemption herein provided, the litigant shall execute an affidavit
that he and his immediate family do not earn a gross income abovementioned, and they
do not own any real property with the fair value aforementioned, supported by an
The importance of the right to free access to the courts and quasi judicial bodies and to affidavit of a disinterested person attesting to the truth of the litigants affidavit. The
adequate legal assistance cannot be denied. A move to remove the provision on free current tax declaration, if any, shall be attached to the litigants affidavit.
access from the Constitution on the ground that it was already covered by the equal
protection clause was defeated by the desire to give constitutional stature to such Any falsity in the affidavit of litigant or disinterested person shall be sufficient cause to
specific protection of the poor.[1] dismiss the complaint or action or to strike out the pleading of that party, without
prejudice to whatever criminal liability may have been incurred.

The clear intent and precise language of the aforequoted provisions of the Rules of
In implementation of the right of free access under the Constitution, the Supreme Court indicate that only a natural party litigant may be regarded as an indigent litigant.
Court promulgated rules, specifically, Sec. 21, Rule 3, Rules of Court,[2] and Sec. 19, Rule The Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc., being a corporation invested by the State with a
141, Rules of Court,[3] which respectively state thus: juridical personality separate and distinct from that of its members,[4] is a juridical
person. Among others, it has the power to acquire and possess property of all kinds as
well as incur obligations and bring civil or criminal actions, in conformity with the laws
and regulations of their organization.[5] As a juridical person, therefore, it cannot be
Sec. 21. Indigent party. A party may be authorized to litigate his action, claim or accorded the exemption from legal and filing fees granted to indigent litigants.
defense as an indigent if the court, upon an ex parte application and hearing, is satisfied
that the party is one who has no money or property sufficient and available for food, That the Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc. is working for indigent and
shelter and basic necessities for himself and his family. underprivileged people is of no moment. Clearly, the Constitution has explicitly
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 12

premised the free access clause on a persons poverty, a condition that only a natural
person can suffer. Section 4. Exercise of powers and functions. The Court Appeals shall exercise its
powers, functions, and duties, through seventeen (17) divisions, each composed of three
There are other reasons that warrant the rejection of the request for exemption in favor (3) members. The Court may sit en banc only for the purpose of exercising
of a juridical person. For one, extending the exemption to a juridical person on the administrative, ceremonial, or other non-adjudicatory functions. (as amended by Exec.
ground that it works for indigent and underprivileged people may be prone to abuse Order No. 33,.)
(even with the imposition of rigid documentation requirements), particularly by
corporations and entities bent on circumventing the rule on payment of the fees. Also, Section 5. Succession to Office of Presiding Justice. In case of a vacancy in the absence
the scrutiny of compliance with the documentation requirements may prove too time- of inability to perform the powers, functions, and duties of his office, the associate
consuming and wasteful for the courts. Justice who is first in precedence shall perform his powers, functions, and duties until
such disability is removed, or another Presiding Justice is appointed and has qualified.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc. cannot be
extended the exemption from legal and filing fees despite its working for indigent and Section 6. Who presides over session of a division. If the Presiding Justice is present in
underprivileged people. any session of a division of the Court, he shall preside. In his absence, the Associate
Justice attending such session who has precedence shall preside.

Section 7. Qualifications. The Presiding Justice and the Associate Justice shall have the
same qualifications as those provided in Constitution for Justice of the Supreme Court.
II. JURISDICTION
Section 8. Grouping of Divisions. (Expressly repealed by Section 4, Exec. Order No. 33,
July 28, 1986.)

Section 9. Jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals shall Exercise:


BP 129
1. Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas
corpus, and quo warranto, and auxiliary writs or processes, whether or not in aid of its
Section 1. Title. This Act shall be known as "The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980." appellate jurisdiction;

Section 2. Scope. The reorganization herein provided shall include the Court of 2. Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgements of Regional
Appeals, the Court of First Instance, the Circuit Criminal Courts, the Juvenile and Trial Courts; and
Domestic Relations Courts, the Courts of Agrarian Relations, the City Courts, the
Municipal Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Courts. 3. Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgements, resolutions, orders or
awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards or
CHAPTER I commission, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Social Security
COURT OF APPEALS Commission, the Employees Compensation Commission and the Civil Service
Commission, Except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
Section 3. Organization. There is hereby created a Court of Appeals which consists of a in accordance with the Constitution, the Labor Code of the Philippines under
Presiding Justice and fifty Associate Justice who shall be appointed by the President of Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, the provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph
the Philippines. The Presiding Justice shall be so designated in his appointment, and the (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph 4 of the fourth paragraph od Section 17 of
Associate Justice shall have precedence according to the dates of their respective the Judiciary Act of 1948.
appointments, or when the appointments of two or more of them shall bear the same
date, according to the order in which their appointments were issued by the President. The court of Appeals shall have the power to try cases and conduct hearings, receive
Any member who is reappointed to the Court after rendering service in any other evidence and perform any and all acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases
position in the government shall retain the precedence to which he was entitled under falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction, including the power to grant and
his original appointment, and his service in the Court shall, for all intents and purposes, conduct new trials or Appeals must be continuous and must be completed within three
be considered as continuous and uninterrupted. (as amended by Exec. Order No. 33,, (3) months, unless extended by the Chief Justice. (as amended by R.A. No. 7902.)
July 28, 1986.)
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 13

Section 10. Place of holding sessions. The Court of Appeals shall have its permanent
station in the City of Manila. Whenever demanded by public interest, the Supreme Court, The National Capital Judicial Region, consisting of the cities of Manila, Quezon, Pasay,
upon its own initiative or upon recommendation of the Presiding Justice, may authorize Caloocan and Mandaluyong, and the municipalities of Navotas, Malabon, San Juan,
a division of the Court to hold sessions outside Manila, periodically, or for such periods Makati, Pasig, Pateros, Taguig, Marikina, Paraaque, Las Pias, Muntinlupa, and
and at such places as the Supreme Court may determine, for the purpose of hearing and Valenzuela;
deciding cases.
The Fourth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna,
Section 11. Quorum A majority of the actual members of the Court shall constitute a Marinduque, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Palawan, Quezon, Rizal (except the
quorum for its session en banc. Three members shall constitute a quorum for the cities and municipalities embraced within the National Capital Judicial Region0,
session of a division. The unanimous vote of the three members of a division shall be Romblon, and Aurora, and the cities of Batangas, Cavite, Lipa, Lucena, Puerto Princessa,
necessary for the pronouncement of a decision of final resolution, which shall be San Pablo, Tagaytay, and Trece Martires;
reached in consultation before the writing of the opinion by any members of the
division. In the event that the three members do not reach a unanimous vote, the The Fifth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines
Presiding Justice shall request the Raffle Committee of the Court for the designation of Norte, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon, and the cities of Legaspi, Naga and Iriga;
two additional Justice to sit temporarily with them, forming a special division of five
members and the concurrence of a majority of such division shall be necessary for the The Sixth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, La
pronouncement of a decision or final resolution. The designation of such additional Calota, Roxas, San Carlos, and Silay, and the subprovince of Guimaras;
Justice shall be made strictly by raffle.
The Seventh Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental,
A month for reconsideration of its decision or final resolution shall be resolved by the and Siquijor, and the cities of Bais, Canlaon, Cebu, Danao, Dumaguete, Lapu-lapu,
Court within ninety (90) days from the time it is submitted for resolution, and no second Mandaue, Tagbilaran, and Toledo,
motion for reconsideration from the same party shall be entertainment. (as amended by
Exec. Order No. 33, July 28, 1986.) The Eighth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces or Eastern Samar, Leyte,
Northern, Samar, Southern Leyte, Ormoc, and Tacloban:
Section 12. Internal Rules. The court en banc is authorized to promulgate rules or
orders governing the constitution of the divisions and the assignment of Appellate The Ninth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi,
Justices thereto, the distribution of cases, and other matters pertaining to the operations Zamboanga del Sur, and the cities of Dapitan, Dipolog, Pagadian, and Zamboanga;
of the Court of its divisions. Copies of such rules and orders shall be furnished by the
Supreme Court, which rules and orders shall be effective fifteen (15) days after receipt The Tenth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del
thereof, unless directed otherwise by the Supreme Court. Sur, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, and Surigao del Norte,
and the cities of Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Gingoog, Ozamis, Oroquieta, Surigao, and
CHAPTER II Tangub;
REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS
The Eleventh Judicial Region, consistingnof the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao
Section 13. Creation of Regional Trial Courts. There are hereby created thirteen (13) Oriental, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, and Surigao del Sur, and the cities of Davao, and
Regional Trial Courts, one for each of the following judicial regions: General Santos; and

The First Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ilocos Norte, The Twelfth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Lanao del
Ilocos Sur, La Union, Mountain Province, and Pangasinan, and cities of Baguio, Dagupan, Sur, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat, and the cities of Cotabato, Iligan,
Laog and San Carlos; and Marawi.

The Second Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Batanes, Cagayan, Ifugao, In case of transfer or redistribution of the provinces, subprovinces, cities or
Kalinga-Apayao, Nueva Viscaya, and Quirino; municipalities comprising the regions established by law of purposes of the
administrative field organization of the various departments and agencies of the
The Third Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan (except the government, the composition of the judicial regions herein constituted shall be deemed
municipality of valenzuela), Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales, and the cities modified accordingly.
of Angeles, Cabanatuan, Olongapo, Palayan and San Jose;
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 14

Section 14. Regional Trial Courts. Two branches (Branches XXV and XXVI) for the province of kalinga-Apayao, Branch XXV
with seat at Tabuk, and Branch XXVI at Luna;
(a) Fifty-seven Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the First Judicial Region.
There shall be. Four branches (Branches XXVII to XXX) for the province of Nueva Vizcaya, Branches
XXVII to XXIX with seats at Bayombong, and Branch XXX at Bambang;
Two branches (Branches III ans II) for the province of Abra, with seats at Bangued;
Two branches (Branches XXXI and XXXII) for the province of Quirino, with seats at
Eight branches (Branches III to X) for the province of Benguet and the city of Baguio, Cabarroguis.
Branches III to VII with seats at Baguio City, and Branches VIII to X at La Trinidad;
(c) Seventy-five Regional Trial judges shall be commissioned for the Third Judicial
Nine branches (Branches XI to XIX) for the province of Ilocos Norte and the city of Region. There shall be:
Laoag, Branches XI to XVI with seats at Laoag City, Branches XVII and XVIII at Batac, and
Branch XIX at Bangui; Five branches (Branches I to V) for the province of Bataan, Branches I to III with seats at
Balanga, Branch IV at Mariveles, and Branch V at Dinalupihan;
Six branches (Braches XX to XXV) for the province of Ilocos Sur, Branches XX and XXI
with seats at Vigan, Branch XXII at Narvacan, Branch XXIII at Candon, Branch XXIV at Seventeen branches (Branches VI to XXII) for the province of Bulacan (except the
Cabugao, and Branch XXV at Tagudin; municipality of Valuenzuela), with seats at Malolos;

Nine branches (Branches XXVI to XXXIV) for the province of La Union, Branches XXVI to Eighteen branches (Branches XXIII to XL) for the province of Nueva Ecija and the cities
XXX with seats at San Fernando, Branches XXXI and XXXII at Agoo, Branch XXXIII at of Cabanatuan, San Jose and Palayan, Branches XXIII to XXX with seats at Cabanatuan
Bauang, and Branch XXXIV at Balaoan; City, Branches XXXI to XXXIII at Guimba, Branches XXXIV to XXXVI at Gapan, Branch
XXXVII at Sto. Domingo, Branches XXXVIII and XXXIX at San Jose, and Branch XL at
Two branches (Branches XXXV and XXXVI) for the province of Mountain province, with Palayan.
seats at Bontoc; and
Twenty-two branches (Branches XLI to LXII) for the province of Pampanga and the city
Twenty-one branches (Branches XXXVII to LVII) for the province of Pangasinan and the of Angeles, Branches XLI to XLVIII with seats at San Fernando, Branches XLIX to LIII at
citie sof dagupan and san Carlos, Branches XXXVII to XXXIX with seats at Lingayen, Guagua, Branches LIV and LV at Macabebe, and Branches LVI to LXII at Angeles City;
Branches XL to XLIV at dagupan, Branches XLV to XLIX at Urdaneta, Branch L at Villasis,
Branches LI and LII at Tayug, Branch LIII at Rosalaes, Branches LIV and LV at Alaminos, Six branches (Branches LXIII to LXVIII) for the province of Tarlac, Branches LXVI at
and Branch LVI and LVII at san Carlos. Capas, Branch LXVII at Paniqui, and Branch LXVIII at Camiling; and

(b) Thirty-two Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Second Judicial Seven branches (Branches LXIX to LXXV) for the province of Zambales and the city of
region. There shall be: Olongapo, Branches LXIX to LXXI with seats at Iba and Branches LXXII to LXXV at
Olongapo City
Twelve branches (Branches I to XII) for the province of Cagayan, Branches I to V with
seats at Tuguegarao, Branches VI to X at Aparri, Branch XI at Tuao, and Branch XII at (d) One hundred seventy-two (172) Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the
Sanchez Mira; National Capital Judicial Region. There shall be:

One branch (Branch XIII) for the province of Batanes, with seat at Basco; Fifty-five branches (Branches 1 to 55) for the City of Manila, wit seats thereat;

Two branches (Branches XIV and XV) for the province of Ifugao, Branch XIV with seat at Thirty-two branches (Branches 76 to 107) for Quezon City, with seats thereat;
Lagawe, and Branch XV at Potia;
Twelve branches (Branches 108 to 119) for Pasay City, with seats thereat;
Nine branches (Branches XVI to XXIV) for the province of Isabela, Branches XVI to XVIII
with seats at Ilagan, Branches XIX and XX at cauayan, Branch XXI at Santiago, Branch Twelve branches (Branches 120 to 131) for Caloocan City, with seats thereat;
XXII at Cabagan, Branch XXIII at Roxas, and Branch XXIV at Echague;
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 15

Fifty-eight branches (Branches 56 to 74 and 132 to 170) for the Municipalities of


Navotas, Malabon, San Juan, Madaluyong, Makati, Pasig, Pateros, Taguig, Marikina, Two branches (Branches LXXXI and LXXXII) for the province of Romblon, Branch LXXXI
Paraaque, Las Pias, and Muntinlupa; Branches 67 to 71 and 151 to 168 at Pasig; and with seat at Romblon, and Branch LXXXII at Odiongan.
Branches 72 to 74, 169 and 170 at Malabon; and
(f) Fifty-five Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Fifth Judicial Region.
Three branches (Branches 75, 171 and 172) for the municipality of Valenzuela, with There shall be:
seats thereat. (As amended by EO No. 33, July 30, 1986.)
Eighteen branches (Branches I to XVIII) for the province of Albay and the city of Legaspi,
(e) Eihty-two Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Fourth Judicial Branches I to X with seats at Legaspi City, Branches XI to XIV at Ligao, and Branches XV
Region. There shall be: to XVIII at Tabaco;

Fourteen branches (Branches I to XIV) for the province of Batangas and the cities of Lipa Nineteen branches (Branches XIX to XXXVII) for the province of Camarines Sur and the
and Batangas, Branches I to VI with seats at Batangas City, Branch V at Lemery, cities of Naga and Iriga, Branches XIX to XXVIII with seats at Naga City, Branch XXIX at
Branches VI to VIII at Tanuan, Branches IX to XI at Balayan, Branches XII and XIII at Lipa, Libmanan, Branch XXX at Tigaon, Braches XXXI to XXXIII at Pili, and Branches XXXIV to
and Branch XIV at Nasugbu; XXXVII at Iriga City;

Nine branches (Branches XV to XXIII) for the province of Cavite and the cities of Cavite, Four branches (Branches XXXVIII to XLII) for the province of Camarines Norte, with seat
Tagaytay and Trece Matires, Branch XV with seat at Naic, Branches XVII at Cavite City, at Daet;
Branch XVIII at Tagayatay City, Branch XIX at Bacoor, Branches XX to XXII at Imus, and
Branch XXIII at Trece Martires; Two branches (Branches XLII and XLII) for the province of Catanduanes, with seats at
Virac;
Fourteen branches (Branches XXIV to XXXVII) for the province of Laguna and the city of
San Pablo, Branches XXVIII at Sta. Cruz, Branches XXIX to XXXII at San Pable City, Branch Seven branches (Branches XLIV to L) for the province of Masbate, Branches XLIV to
XXXIII at Siniloan, and Branches XXXIV to XXXVI at Calamba; XLVIII with seats at Masbate, Branch XLIX at Cataingan, and Branch L at San Jacinto; and

One branch (Branch XXXVIII) for the province of Marinduque, with seat at Boac; Five branches (Branches LI to LV) for the province of Sorsogon, Branches LI to LIII with
seats at Sorsogon, Branch LVI at Gubat, and Branch LV at Irosin.
Five branches (Branches XXXIX to XLIII) for the province of Mindoro Oriental, Branches
XXXIX to XL with seats at Calapan, Branches XLI and XLII at Pinamalayan, and Branch (g) Sixty-three Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Sixth Judicial Region.
XLII at Roxas; There shall be:

Three branches (Branches XLVII to XLVI) for the province of Mindoro Occidental, Nine branches (Branches I to IX) for the province of Aklan, with seats at Kalibo;
Branch XLIV with seat at Mamburao, and Branches XLV and XLVI at San Jose;
Four branches (Branches X to XIII) for the province of Antique, Branches X to XII with
Six branches (Branches XLVII to LII) for the province of Palawan and the city of Puerto seats at San Jose, and Branch XIII and Culasi;
Princesa, with seats at Puerto Princesa City;
Eighr branches (Branches XIV to XXI) for the province of Capiz and the city of Roxas,
Thirteen branches (Branches LIII to LXV) for the province of Quezon and the city of Branches XIV to XIX with seats at Roxas City and Branches XX and XXI at Mambusao;
Lucena, Branches LIII to LX with seats at Lucena City, Branches LXI and LXII at Gumaca,
Branch LXIII at Calauag, Branch LXIV at Mauban, and Branch LXV at Infanta; Eighteen branches (Branches XXII to XXXIX) for the province of Iloilo, the subprovince of
Guimaras, and the city of Iloilo, with seats at Iloilo City; and
One branchj(Branch LXVI) for the province of Aurora, with seat at Baler;
Twenty-four branches (Branches XL to LXIII) for the province of Negros Occidental, and
Fourteen branches (Branches LXVII to LXXX) for the province of Rizal except the cities the cities of Bacolod,Bago, Cadiz, La Carlota, San Carlos and Silay, Branch XL with seat at
and municipalities embraced within the National Capital Judicial Region, Branches LXVII Silay City, Branches XLI to LIV at Bacolod City, Branches LV and LVI at Himamaylan,
to LXX with seats at Binangonan, Branches LXXI to LXXIV at Antipolo, Branches LXXV to Branches LVII to LIX at Kabankalan, Branch LXII at Bago City, and Branch LXII at La
LXXVII at San Mateo, and Branches LXXVIII to LXXX at Morong; and Carlota City.
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 16

Two branches (Branches III and IV) for the province of Sulu, Branch III with seat at Jolo,
(h) Forty-six Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Seventh Judicial and Branch IV at Parang;
Region. There shall be:
One branch (Branch V) for the province of Tawi-Tawi, with seat at Bongao;
Four branches (Branches I to IV) for the province of Bohol and the city of Tagbilaran,
with seats at Tagbilaran City; Six branches (Branches VI to XI) for the province of Zamboanga del Norte, and the cities
of Dipolog and Dapitan, Branches VI to X seats at Dipolog City, and Branch XI at
Twenty-five branches (Branches V to XXIX) for the province of Cebu and the cities of Sindangan; and
Cebu, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Toledo, Branches V to XXIV with seats at Cebu
City, Branch XXV at Danao City, Branch XXVI at Argao, Branch XXVII at Lapu-Lapu City, Thirteen branches (Branches XII to XXIV) for the province of Zamboanga del Sur and the
Branch XXVIII at Mandaue City, and Branch XXIX at Toledo City; cities of Pagadian and Zamboanga Branches XII to XVII with seats at Zamboanga City,
Branches, XVIII to XXII at Pagadian City, Branch XXIII at Molave, and Branch XXIV at Ipil.
Sixteen branches (Branches XXX to XLV) for the province of Negros Oriental and the
cities of Dumaguete, Bais and Canlaon, Branches XXX to XLIV with seats at Dumaguete (k) Thirty-two Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Tenth Judicial
City, and Branch XLV at Bais City; and Region. There shall be:

One branch (Branch XLVI) for the province of Siquijor, with seat at Larena. Five branches (Branches I to V) for the province of Agusan del Norte and the city of
Butuan, with seats at Butuan City;
(i) Thirty-three Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Eighth Judicial
Region. There shall be: Two branches (Branches VI and VII) for the province of Agusan del Sur, Branches VI
with seat at Prosperidad and Branch VII with seat at Bayugan;
Five branches (Branches I to V) for the province of Eastern Samar, Branches I and II
with seats at Borongan, Branch III at Guiuan, Branch IV at Dolores, and Branch V at Oras; Four branches (Branches VIII to XI) for the province of Bukidnon, Branches VIII to X
with seats at Malaybalay and Branch XI at Manalo Fortich;
Thirteen branches (Branches VI to XVIII) for the province of Leyte, the sub-province of
Biliran, and the cities of Ormoc and Tacloban, Branches VI and IX with seats at Tacloban Five branches (Branches XII to XI) for the province of Misamis Occidental and the cities
City, Branch X at Abuyog, Branch XI at Calubian, Branch XII at Ormoc City, Branch XIII at of Oroquieta, Ozamis, and Tangub, Branches XII to XIV with seats at Oroquieta City,
Carigara, Branch XIV at Baybay, Branch XV at Burauen, Branch XVI at Naval, Branch XVII Branch XV at Ozamis City, and Branch XVI at Tangub City;
at Palompon, and Branch XVIII at Hilongos;
Eleven branches (Branches XVII to XXVII) for the province of Misamis Oriental and the
Five branches (Branches XIX to XXIII) for the province of Northern Samar, Branches XIX cities of Cagayan de Oro and Gingoog, Branches XVII to XXV with seats at Cagayan de
and XX with seats at Catarman, Branches XXI and XXII at Laoang, and Branch XXIII at Oro City, Branch XXVI at Medina, and Branch XXVII at Gingoog City;
Allen;
One branch (Branch XXVIII) for the province of Camiguin, with seat at Mambajao; and
Three branches (Branches XXIV to XXVI) for the province of Southern Leyte, Branches
XXIV and XXV with seats at Maasin, and Branch XXVI at San Juan; and Four branches (Branches XXIX to XXXII) for the province of Surigao del Norte and the
City of Surigao, Branches XXIX and XXX with seats at Surigao City, Branch XXXI at Dapa,
Seven branches (Branches XXVII to XXXIII) for the province of Samar and the city of and Branch XXXII at Dinagat, Dinagat Island.
Calbayog, Branches XXVII to XXIX with seats at Catbalogan, Branch XXX at Basey,
Branches XXXI and XXXII at Calbayog City, and Branch XXXIII at Calbiga. (l) Twenty-nine Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Eleventh Judicial
Region. There shall be
(j) Twenty-four Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Ninth Judicial
Region. There shall be: Four branches (Branches I to IV) for the province of Davao del Norte, Branches I and II
with seats at Tagum, Branch III at Nabunturan, and Branch IV at Panabo;
Two branches (Branches I and II) for the province of Basilan, with seats at Isabela;
Three branches (Branches V to VII) for the province of Davao Oriental, Branches V and
VI with seats at Mati and Branch VII at Banganga;
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 17

originally assigned. However, the Supreme Court may assign temporarily a Regional
Fourteen branches (Branches VIII to XXI) for the province of Davao del Sur and the city Trial Judge to another region as public interest may require, provided that such
of Davao, Branches VIII to XVII with seats at Davao City, Branches XVIII and XIX at Digos, temporary assignment shall not last longer than six (6) months without the consent of
Branch XX at Malinta, and Branch XXI a Bansalan; the Regional Trial Judge concerned.

Five Branches (Branches XXII to XXVI) for the province of South Cotabato and the city of A Regional Trial Judge may be assigned by the Supreme Court to any branch or city or
General Santos, Branches XXII and XXIII with seats at General Santos City, Branches municipality within the same region as public interest may require, and such
XXIV and XXV at Koronadal, and Branch XXVI at Surallah; and assignment shall not be deemed an assignment to another station within the meaning of
this section.
Three branches (Branches XXVII to XXIX) for the province of Surigao del Sur, Branch
XXVII with seat at Tandag, Branch XXVIII at Lianga, and Branch XXIX at Bislig. Section 18. Authority to define territory appurtenant to each branch. The Supreme
Court shall define the territory over which a branch of the Regional Trial Court shall
(m) Twenty Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Twelfth Judicial Region. exercise its authority. The territory thus defined shall be deemed to be the territorial
There shall be: area of the branch concerned for purposes of determining the venue of all suits,
proceedings or actions, whether civil or criminal, as well as determining the
Seven branches (Branches I to VII) for the province of Lanao del Norte and the city of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
Iligan, Branches I to VI with seats at Iligan City, and Branch VII at Tubod; over the said branch may exercise appellate jurisdiction. The power herein granted shall
be exercised with a view to making the courts readily accessible to the people of the
Five branches (Branches VIII to XII) for the province of Lanao del Sur and the city of different parts of the region and making the attendance of litigants and witnesses as
Marawi, Branches VIII to X with seats at Marawi City, and Branches XI and XII at inexpensive as possible.
Malabang;
Section 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive
Three branches (Branches XIII to XV) for the province of Maguindanao and the city of original jurisdiction:
Cotabato, Branches XIII and XIV with seats at Cotabato City, and Branch XV at Maganoy;
(1) In all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary
Three branches (Branches XVI to XVIII) for the province of North Cotabato, Branch XVI estimation;
with seat at Kabacan, Branch XVII at Kidapawan, and Branch XVIII at Missayap; and
(2) In all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession of, real property, or any
Two branches (Branches XIX and XX) for the province of Sultan Kudarat, Branch XIX, interest therein, where the assessed value of the property involved exceeds Twenty
with seat at Isulan, and Branch XX at Tacurong. thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or for civil actions in Metro Manila, where such the value
exceeds Fifty thousand pesos (50,000.00) except actions for forcible entry into and
Section 15. Qualifications. No persons shall be appointed Regional Trial Judge unless unlawful detainer of lands or buildings, original jurisdiction over which is conferred
he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least thirty-five years of age, and for at upon Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial
least ten years, has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines or has held a Courts;
public office in the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as an
indispensable requisite. (3) In all actions in admiralty and maritime jurisdiction where he demand or claim
exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or , in Metro Manila, where such
Section 16. Time and duration of sessions. The time and duration of daily sessions of demand or claim exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (200,000.00);
the Regional Trial Courts shall be determined by the Supreme Court: Provided, however,
That all motions, except those requiring immediate action, shall be heard in the (4) In all matters of probate, both testate and intestate, where the gross value of the
afternoon of every Friday, unless it falls on a holiday, in which case, the hearing shall be estate exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in probate matters in
held on the afternoon of the next succeeding business day: Provided, further, That the Metro Manila, where such gross value exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos
Supreme Court may, for good reasons, fix a different motion day in specified areas (200,000.00);

Section 17. Appointment and assignment of Regional Trial Judges. Every Regional Trial (5) In all actions involving the contract of marriage and marital relations;
Judge shall be appointed to a region which shall be his permanent station, and his
appointment shall state the branch of the court and the seat thereof to which he shall be
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 18

(6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or
body exercising jurisdiction or any court, tribunal, person or body exercising judicial or Section 24. Special Rules of Procedure. Whenever a Regional Trial Court takes
quasi-judicial functions; cognizance of juvenile and domestic relation cases and/or agrarian cases, the special
rules of procedure applicable under present laws to such cases shall continue to be
(7) In all civil actions and special proceedings falling within the exclusive original applied, unless subsequently amended by law or by rules of court promulgated by the
jurisdiction of a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and of the Courts of Agrarian Supreme Court.
Relations as now provided by law; and
CHAPTER III
(8) In all other cases in which the demand, exclusive of interest, damages of whatever METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS, AND MUNICIPAL
kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs or the value of the property in CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS
controversy exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (100,000.00) or, in such other
abovementioned items exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (200,000.00). (as Section 25. Establishment of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and
amended by R.A. No. 7691*) Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. There shall be created a Metropolitan Trial Court in
each metropolitan area established by law, a Municipal Trial Court in each of the other
Section 20. Jurisdiction in criminal cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive cities or municipalities, and a Municipal Circuit Trial Court in each circuit comprising
original jurisdiction in all criminal cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any such cities and/or municipalities as are grouped together pursuant to law.
court, tribunal or body, except those now falling under the exclusive and concurrent
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan which shall hereafter be exclusively taken cognizance Section 26. Qualifications. No person shall be appointed judge of a Metropolitan Trial
of by the latter. Court, Municipal Trial Court, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court unless he is a natural-born
citizen of the Philippines, at least 30 years of age, and, for at least five years, has been
Section 21. Original jurisdiction in other cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines, or has held a public office in the
original jurisdiction: Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as an indispensable requisite.

(1) In the issuance of writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas Section 27. Metropolitan Trial Courts of the National Capital Region. There shall be a
corpus and injunction which may be enforced in any part of their respective regions; Metropolitan Trial Court in the National Capital Region, to be known as the Metropolitan
and Trial Court of Metro Manila, which shall be composed of eighty-two (82) branches.
There shall be:
(2) In actions affecting ambassadors and other public ministers and consuls.
Thirty branches (Branches I to XXX) for the city of Manila with seats thereat;
Section 22. Appellate jurisdiction. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise appellate
jurisdiction over all cases decided by Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, Thirteen branches (Branches XXXI to XLIII) for Quezon City with seats thereat;
and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in their respective territorial jurisdictions. Such cases
shall be decided on the basis of the entire record of the proceedings had in the court of Five branches (Branches XLIV to XLVIII) for Pasay City with seats thereat;
origin and such memoranda and/or briefs as may be submitted by the parties or
required by the Regional Trial Courts. The decision of the Regional Trial Courts in such Five branches (Branches XLIX to LIII) for Caloocan City with seats thereat;
cases shall be appealable by petition for review to the
One branch (Branch LIV) for Navotas with seat thereat;
Court of Appeals which may give it due course only when the petition shows prima facie
that the lower court has committed an error of fact or law that will warrant a reversal or Two branches (Branches LV and LVI) for Malabon with seats thereat;
modification of the decision or judgment sought to be reviewed.
Two branches (Branches LVII and LVIII) for San Juan with seats thereat;
Section 23. Special jurisdiction to try special cases. The Supreme Court may designate
certain branches of the Regional Trial Courts to handle exclusively criminal cases, Two branches (Branches LIX and LX) for Mandaluyong with seats thereat;
juvenile and domestic relations cases, agrarian cases, urban land reform cases which do
not fall under the jurisdiction of quasi-judicial bodies and agencies, and/or such other Seven branches (Branches LXI and LXVII) for Makati with seats thereat;
special cases as the Supreme Court may determine in the interest of a speedy and
efficient administration of justice. Five branches (Branches LXVIII to LXXII) for Pasig with seats thereat;
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 19

Two branches for Batangas City;


One branch (Branch LXXIII) for Pateros with seat thereat;
Two branches for Lucena City;
One branch (Branch LXXIV) for Taguig with seat thereat;
Three branches for Naga City;
Two branches (Branches LXXV and LXXVI) for Marikina with seats thereat;
Two branches for Iriga City;
Two branches (Branches LXXVII and LXXVIII) for Paraaque with seats thereat;
Three branches for Legaspi City;
One branch (Branch LXXIX) for Las Pias with seat thereat;
Two branches for Roxas City;
One branch (Branch LXXX) for Muntinlupa with seat thereat;
Four branches for Iloilo City;
Two branches (Branches LXXXI and LXXXII) for Valenzuela with seats thereat;
Seven branches for Bacolod City;
Section 28. Other Metropolitan Trial Courts. The Supreme Court shall constitute
Metropolitan Trial Courts in such other metropolitan areas as may be established by law Two branches for Dumaguete City;
whose territorial jurisdiction shall be co-extensive with the cities and municipalities
comprising the metropolitan area. Two branches for Tacloban City;

Every Metropolitan Trial Judge shall be appointed to a metropolitan area which shall be Eight branches for Cebu City;
his permanent station and his appointment shall state branch of the court and the seat
thereof to which he shall be originally assigned. A Metropolitan Trial Judge may be Three branches for Mandaue City;
assigned by the Supreme Court to any branch within said metropolitan area as the
interest of justice may require, and such assignment shall not be deemed an assignment Two branches for Tagbilaran City;
to another station within the meaning of this section.
Two branches for Surigao City;
Section 29. Municipal Trial Courts in cities. In every city which does not form part of a
metropolitan area, there shall be a Municipal Trial Court with one branch, except as Two branches for Butuan City;
hereunder provided:
Five branches for Cagayan de Oro City;
Two branches for Laoag City;
Seven branches for Davao City;
Four branches for Baguio City;
Three branches for General Santos City;
Three branches for Dagupan City;
Two branches for Oroquieta City;
Five branches for Olongapo City;
Three branches for Ozamis City;
Three branches for Cabanatuan City;
Two branches for Dipolog City;
Two branches for San Jose City;
Four branches for Zamboanga City;
Three branches for Angeles City;
Two branches for Pagadian City; and
Two branches for Cavite City;
Two branches for Iligan City.
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 20

Section 30. Municipal Trial Courts. In each of the municipalities that are not comprised (1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all violations of city or municipal ordinances
within a metropolitan area and a municipal circuit there shall be a Municipal Trial Court committed within their respective territorial jurisdiction; and
which shall have one branch, except as hereunder provided:
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment not
Two branches for San Fernando, La Union; exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine, and regardless of other
imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil liability arising from such
Four branches for Tuguegarao; offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of kind, nature, value, or amount thereof:
Provided, however, That in offenses involving damage to property through criminal
Three branches for Lallo, and two branches for Aparri, both of Cagayan; negligence they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction thereof. (as amended by R.A,
No. 7691)
Two branches for Santiago, Isabela;
Section 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and
Two branches each for Malolos, Meycauayan and Bulacan, all of Bulacan Province; Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in civil cases. Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial
Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
Four branches for San Fernando and two branches for Guagua, both of Pampanga;
(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions and probate proceedings, testate and
Two branches for Tarlac, Tarlac; intestate, including the grant of provisional remedies in proper cases, where the value of
the personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does not exceed One hundred
Two branches for San Pedro, Laguna; and thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in Metro Manila where such personal property, estate,
or amount of the demand does not exceed Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00)
Two branches each for Antipolo and Binangonan, both in Rizal. exclusive of interest damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and
costs, the amount of which must be specifically alleged: Provided, That where there are
Section 31. Municipal Circuit Trial Court. There shall be a Municipal Circuit Trial Court several claims or causes of action between the same or different parties, embodied in
in each area defined as a municipal circuit, comprising one or more cities and/or one or the same complaint, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the claims in all
more municipalities. The municipalities comprising municipal circuits as organized the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same
under Administrative Order No. 33, issued on June 13, 1978 by the Supreme Court or different transactions;
pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 537, are hereby constituted as municipal circuits for
purposes of the establishment of the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, and the (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer:
appointment thereto of Municipal Circuit Trial Judges: Provided, however, That the Provided, That when, in such cases, the defendant raises the question of ownership in
Supreme Court may, as the interests of justice may require, further reorganize the said his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the
courts taking into account workload, geographical location, and such other factors as issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to determine the issue
will contribute to a rational allocation thereof, pursuant to the provisions of Presidential of possession.
Decree No. 537 which shall be applicable insofar as they are not inconsistent with this
Act. (3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to, or possession
of, real property, or any interest therein where the assessed value of the property or
Every Municipal Circuit Trial Judge shall be appointed to a municipal circuit which shall interest therein does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or, in civil actions
be his official station. in Metro Manila, where such assessed value does not exceed Fifty thousand pesos
(P50,000.00) exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation
The Supreme Court shall determine the city or municipality where the Municipal Circuit expenses and costs: Provided, That value of such property shall be determined by the
Trial Court shall hold sessions. assessed value of the adjacent lots. (as amended by R.A. No. 7691)

Section 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Section 34. Delegated jurisdiction in cadastral and land registration cases.
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in criminal cases. Except in cases falling within the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
exclusive original jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts and of the Sandiganbayan, the may be assigned by the Supreme Court to hear and determine cadastral or land
Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts registration cases covering lots where there is no controversy or opposition, or
shall exercise: contested lots the where the value of which does not exceed One hundred thousand
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 21

pesos (P100,000.00), such value to be ascertained by the affidavit of the claimant or by of Court. Such judgment shall be appealable to the Regional Trial Courts in accordance
agreement of the respective claimants if there are more than one, or from the with the procedure now prescribed by law for appeals to the Court of First Instance, by
corresponding tax declaration of the real property. Their decisions in these cases shall the provisions of this Act, and by such rules as the Supreme Court may hereafter
be appealable in the same manner as decisions of the Regional Trial Courts. (as prescribe.
amended by R.A. No. 7691)
(2) All processes issued by the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and
Section 35. Special jurisdiction in certain cases. In the absence of all the Regional Trial Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, in cases falling within their jurisdiction, may be served
Judges in a province or city, any Metropolitan Trial Judge, Municipal Trial Judge, anywhere in the Philippines without the necessity of certification by the Judge of the
Municipal Circuit Trial Judge may hear and decide petitions for a writ of habeas corpus Regional Trial Court.
or applications for bail in criminal cases in the province or city where the absent
Regional Trial Judges sit. CHAPTER IV
GENERAL PROVISIONS
Section 36. Summary procedures in special cases. In Metropolitan Trial Courts and
Municipal Trial Courts with at least two branches, the Supreme Court may designate one Section 39. Appeals. The period for appeal from final orders, resolutions, awards,
or more branches thereof to try exclusively forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases, judgments, or decisions of any court in all cases shall be fifteen (15) days counted from
those involving violations of traffic laws, rules and regulations, violations of the rental the notice of the final order, resolution, award, judgment, or decision appealed from:
law, and such other cases requiring summary disposition as the Supreme Court may Provided however, That in habeas corpus cases, the period for appeal shall be forty-
determine. The Supreme Court shall adopt special rules or procedures applicable to eight (48) hours from the notice of the judgment appealed from.
such cases in order to achieve an expeditious and inexpensive determination thereof
without regard to technical rules. Such simplified procedures may provide that No record on appeal shall be required to take an appeal. In lieu thereof, the entire record
affidavits and counter-affidavits may be admitted in lieu of oral testimony and that the shall be transmitted with all the pages prominently numbered consecutively, together
periods for filing pleadings shall be non-extendible. with an index of the contents thereof.

Section 37. Preliminary investigation. Judges of Metropolitan Trial Courts, except those This section shall not apply in appeals in special proceedings and in other cases wherein
in the National Capital Region, of Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial multiple appeals are allowed under applicable provisions of the Rules of Court.
Courts shall have authority to conduct preliminary investigation of crimes alleged to
have been committed within their respective territorial jurisdictions which are Section 40. Form of decision in appealed cases. Every decision of final resolution of a
cognizable by the Regional Trial Courts. court in appealed cases shall clearly and distinctly state the findings of fact and the
conclusions of law on which it is based, which may be contained in the decision or final
The preliminary investigation shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure resolution itself, or adopted by reference from those set forth in the decision, order, or
prescribed in Section 1, paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d), of Presidential Decree No. 911: resolution appealed from.
Provided, however, That if after the preliminary investigation the Judge finds a prima
facie case, he shall forward the records of the case to the Provincial/City Fiscal for the Section 41. Salaries. Intermediate Appellate Justices, Regional Trial Judges,
filing of the corresponding information with the proper court. Metropolitan Trial Judges, Municipal Trial Judges, and Municipal Circuit Trial Judges
shall receive such compensation and allowances as may be authorized by the President
No warrant of arrest shall be issued by the Judge in connection with any criminal along the guidelines set forth in Letter of Implementation No. 93 pursuant to
complaint filed with him for preliminary investigation, unless after an examination in Presidential Decree No. 985, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1597.
writing and under oath or affirmation of the complainant and his witnesses, he finds
that a probable cause exists. Section 42. Longevity pay. A monthly longevity pay equivalent to 5% of the monthly
basic pay shall be paid to the Justices and Judges of the courts herein created for each
Any warrant of arrest issued in accordance herewith may be served anywhere in the five years of continuous, efficient, and meritorious service rendered in the judiciary;
Philippines. Provided, That in no case shall the total salary of each Justice or Judge concerned, after
this longevity pay is added, exceed the salary of the Justice or Judge next in rank.
Section 38. Judgments and processes.
Section 43. Staffing pattern. The Supreme Court shall submit to the President, within
(1) All judgments determining the merits of cases shall be in writing, stating clearly the thirty (30) days from the date of the effectivity of this Act, a staffing pattern for all courts
facts and the law on which they were based, signed by the Judge and filed with the Clerk
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 22

constituted pursuant to this Act which shall be the basis of the implementing order to be
issued by the President in accordance with the immediately succeeding section. *Other provisions of the Act:

Section 44. Transitory provisions. The provisions of this Act shall be immediately "Section. 5. After five(5) years from the effectivity of this Act, the jurisdictional amounts
carried out in accordance with an Executive Order to be issued by the President. The mentioned in Sec. 19(3), (4), and (8); and Sec. 33(1) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 as
Court of Appeals, the Courts of First Instance, the Circuit Criminal Courts, the Juvenile amended by this Act, shall be adjusted to Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00).
and Domestic Relations Courts, the Courts of Agrarian Relations, the City Courts, the five (5) years thereafter, such jurisdictional amounts shall be adjusted further to Three
Municipal Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Courts shall continue to function as hundred thousand pesos (P300,000.00): Provided, however, That in the case of Metro
presently constituted and organized, until the completion of the reorganization Manila, the abovementioned jurisdictional amounts shall be adjusted after five (5) years
provided in this Act as declared by the President. Upon such declaration, the said courts from the effectivity of this Act of Four hundred thousand pesos (P400,000.00).
shall be deemed automatically abolished and the incumbents thereof shall cease to hold
office. The cases pending in the old Courts shall be transferred to the appropriate Courts Section. 7. The provisions of this Act shall apply to all civil cases that have not yet
constituted pursuant to this Act, together with the pertinent functions, records, reached the pre-trial stage. However, by agreement of all the parties, civil cases
equipment, property and the necessary personnel. cognizable by municipal and metropolitan courts by the provisions of this Act may be
transferred from the Regional Trial Courts to the latter. The executive judge of the
The applicable appropriations shall likewise be transferred to the appropriate courts appropriate Regional Trial Court shall define the administrative procedure of
constituted pursuant to this Act, to be augmented as may be necessary from the funds transferring the cases affected by the redefinition of jurisdiction to the Metropolitan
for organizational changes as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 80. Said funding shall Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court."
thereafter be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.
*Criminal cases falling within the jurisdiction of Family Courts (established by the
Section 45. Shari'a Courts. Shari'a Courts to be constituted as provided for in Family Courts Act of 1997 [R.A. No. 8369]) have been transferred from Metropolitan
Presidential Decree No. 1083, otherwise known as the "Code of Muslim Personal Laws trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts,
of the Philippines," shall be included in the funding appropriations so provided in this
Act. Municipal trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
to Regional trial Courts under A.M. No. 99-1-13-SC effective March 1, 1999.
Section 46. Gratuity of judges and personnel separated from office. All members of the
judiciary and subordinate employees who shall be separated from office by reason of
the reorganization authorized herein, shall be granted a gratuity at a rate equivalent to
one month's salary for every year of continuous service rendered in any branch of the
government or equivalent nearest fraction thereof favorable to them on the basis of the REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7691
highest salary received: Provided, That such member of the judiciary or employee shall
have the option to retire under the Judiciary Retirement Law or general retirement law, March 25, 1994
if he has met or satisfied the requirements therefor.

Section 47. Repealing clause. The provisions of Republic Act No. 296, otherwise known
as the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, of Republic Act No. 5179 as amended, of the AN ACT EXPANDING THE JURISDICTION OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS,
Rules of Court, and of all other statutes, letters of instructions and general order or parts MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS, AND MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS, AMENDING
thereof, inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or accordingly FOR THE PURPOSE BATAS PAMBANSA, BLG. 129, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE
modified. "JUDICIARY REORGANIZATION ACT OF 1980"

Section 48. Date of Effectivity. This Act shall take effect immediately.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress
Approved: August 14, 1981
assembled::

Footnotes
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 23

Section 1. Section 19 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as the "Judiciary "(7) In all civil actions and special proceedings falling within the exclusive original
Reorganization Act of 1980", is hereby amended to read as follows: jurisdiction of a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and of the Court of Agrarian
Relations as now provided by law; and

"Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive
original jurisdiction. "(8) In all other cases in which the demand, exclusive of interest, damages of
whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs or the value of the property
in controversy exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in such other
cases in Metro Manila, where the demand exclusive of the abovementioned items
"(1) In all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary exceeds Two Hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00)."
estimation;

Section 2. Section 32 of the same law is hereby amended to read as follows:


"(2) In all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession of, real property, or
any interest therein, where the assessed value of the property involved exceeds Twenty
thousand pesos (P20,000,00) or, for civil actions in Metro Manila, where such value
exceeds Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) except actions for forcible entry into and "Sec. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal
unlawful detainer of lands or buildings, original jurisdiction over which is conferred Circuit Trial Courts in Criminal Cases. Except in cases falling within the exclusive
upon the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial original jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts and of the Sandiganbayan, the Metropolitan
Courts; Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:

"(3) In all actions in admiralty and maritime jurisdiction where the demand or "(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all violations of city or municipal
claim exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in Metro Manila, where ordinances committed within their respective territorial jurisdiction; and
such demand or claim exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00);

"(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment
"(4) In all matters of probate, both testate and intestate, where the gross value of not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine, and regardless of other
the estate exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in probate matters in imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil liability arising from such
Metro Manila, where such gross value exceeds Two Hundred thousand pesos offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of kind, nature, value or amount thereof:
(P200,000.00); Provided, however, That in offenses involving damage to property through criminal
negligence, they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction thereof."

"(5) In all actions involving the contract of marriage and marital relations;
Section 3. Section 33 of the same law is hereby amended to read as follows:

"(6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person
or body exercising jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising judicial "Sec. 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal
or quasi-judicial functions; Circuit Trial Courts in Civil Cases. Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts,
and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 24

"(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions and probate proceedings,
testate and intestate, including the grant of provisional remedies in proper cases, where
the value of the personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does not exceed One Section 5. After five (5) years from the effectivity of this Act, the jurisdictional amounts
hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in Metro Manila where such personal mentioned in Sec. 19(3), (4), and (8); and Sec. 33(1) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 as
property, estate, or amount of the demand does not exceed Two hundred thousand amended by this Act, shall be adjusted to Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00).
pesos (P200,000.00), exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, Five (5) years thereafter, such jurisdictional amounts shall be adjusted further to Three
litigation expenses, and costs, the amount of which must be specifically alleged: hundred thousand pesos (P300,000.00): Provided, however, That in the case of Metro
Provided, That interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, Manila, the abovementioned jurisdictional amounts shall be adjusted after five (5) years
and costs shall be included in the determination of the filing fees: Provided, further, That from the effectivity of this Act to Four hundred thousand pesos (P400,000.00).
where there are several claims or causes of actions between the same or different
parties, embodied in the same complaint, the amount of the demand shall be the totality
of the claims in all the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action
arose out of the same or different transactions; Section 6. All laws, decrees, and orders inconsistent with the provisions of this Act shall
be considered amended or modified accordingly.

"(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful
detainer: Provided, That when, in such cases, the defendant raises the questions of Section 7. The provisions of this Act shall apply to all civil cases that have not yet
ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without reached the pre-trial stage. However, by agreement of all the parties, civil cases
deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to cognizable by municipal and metropolitan courts by the provisions of this Act may be
determine the issue of possession; and transferred from the Regional Trial Courts to the latter. The executive judge of the
appropriate Regional Trial Courts shall define the administrative procedure of
transferring the cases affected by the redefinition of jurisdiction to the Metropolitan
Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.
"(3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to, or
possession of, real property, or any interest therein where the assessed value of the
property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or, in
civil actions in Metro Manila, where such assessed value does not exceed Fifty thousand Section 8. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its publication in the
pesos (P50,000.00) exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, Official Gazette or in two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.
litigation expenses and costs: Provided, That in cases of land not declared for taxation
purposes, the value of such property shall be determined by the assessed value of the
adjacent lots."
Approved: March 25, 1994

Section 4. Section 34 of the same law is hereby amended to read as follows:


REVISED RULES ON SUMMARY PROCEDURE

"Sec. 34. Delegated Jurisdiction in Cadastral and Land Registration Cases. RESOLUTION OF THE COURT EN BANC DATED OCTOBER 15, 1991 PROVIDING FOR
Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts THE REVISED RULE ON SUMMARY PROCEDURE FOR METROPOLITAN TRIAL
may be assigned by the Supreme Court to hear and determine cadastral or land COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS IN CITIES, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS AND
registration cases covering lots where there is no controversy or opposition, or MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS.
contested lots where the value of which does not exceed One hundred thousand pesos
(P100,000.00), such value to be ascertained by the affidavit of the claimant or by
agreement of the respective claimants if there are more than one, or from the
corresponding tax declaration of the real property. Their decisions in these cases shall
be appealable in the same manner as decisions of the Regional Trial Courts."
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 25

Pursuant to Section 36 of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (B.P Blg. 129) and to Sec. 2. Determination of applicability. Upon the filing of a civil or criminal action, the
achieve an expeditious and inexpensive determination of the cases referred to herein, court shall issue an order declaring whether or not the case shall be governed by this
the Court Resolved to promulgate the following Revised Rule on Summary Procedure: Rule A patently erroneous determination to avoid the application of the Rule on
Summary Procedure is a ground for disciplinary action.

I. Applicability
II. Civil Cases
Section 1. Scope. This rule shall govern the summary procedure in the Metropolitan
Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, the Municipal Trial Courts, and the Sec. 3. Pleadings.
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in the following cases falling within their jurisdiction:
A. Pleadings allowed. The only pleadings allowed to be filed are the complaints,
compulsory counterclaims and cross-claims' pleaded in the answer, and the answers
thereto.
A. Civil Cases:
B. Verifications. All pleadings shall be verified.

Sec. 4. Duty of court. After the court determines that the case falls under summary
(1) All cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer, irrespective of the amount of procedure, it may, from an examination of the allegations therein and such evidence as
damages or unpaid rentals sought to be recovered. Where attorney's fees are awarded, may be attached thereto, dismiss the case outright on any of the grounds apparent
the same shall not exceed twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00). therefrom for the dismissal of a civil action. If no ground for dismissal is found it shall
forthwith issue summons which shall state that the summary procedure under this Rule
(2) All other civil cases, except probate proceedings, where the total amount of the shall apply.
plaintiff's claim does not exceed ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00), exclusive of interest
and costs. Sec. 5. Answer. Within ten (10) days from service of summons, the defendant shall
file his answer to the complaint and serve a copy thereof on the plaintiff. Affirmative and
negative defenses not pleaded therein shall be deemed waived, except for lack of
jurisdiction over the subject matter. Cross-claims and compulsory counterclaims not
B. Criminal Cases: asserted in the answer shall be considered barred. The answer to counterclaims or
cross-claims shall be filed and served within ten (10) days from service of the answer in
(1) Violations of traffic laws, rules and regulations; which they are pleaded.

(2) Violations of the rental law; Sec. 6. Effect of failure to answer. Should the defendant fail to answer the complaint
within the period above provided, the court, motu proprio, or on motion of the plaintiff,
(3) Violations of municipal or city ordinances; shall render judgment as may be warranted by the facts alleged in the complaint and
limited to what is prayed for therein: Provided, however, that the court may in its
(4) All other criminal cases where the penalty prescribed by law for the offense charged discretion reduce the amount of damages and attorney's fees claimed for being
is imprisonment not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding (P1,000.00), or both, excessive or otherwise unconscionable. This is without prejudice to the applicability of
irrespective of other imposable penalties, accessory or otherwise, or of the civil liability Section 4, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court, if there are two or more defendants.
arising therefrom: Provided, however, that in offenses involving damage to property
through criminal negligence, this Rule shall govern where the imposable fine does not Sec. 7. Preliminary conference; appearance of parties. Not later than thirty (30) days
exceed ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00). after the last answer is filed, a preliminary conference shall be held. The rules on pre-
trial in ordinary cases shall be applicable to the preliminary conference unless
This Rule shall not apply to a civil case where the plaintiffs cause of action is pleaded in inconsistent with the provisions of this Rule.
the same complaint with another cause of action subject to the ordinary procedure; nor
to a criminal case where the offense charged is necessarily related to another criminal The failure of the plaintiff to appear in the preliminary conference shall be a cause for
case subject to the ordinary procedure the dismissal of his complaint. The defendant who appears in the absence of the plaintiff
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 26

shall be entitled to judgment on his counterclaim in accordance with Section 6 hereof. Criminal Cases
All cross-claims shall be dismissed.
Sec. 11. How commenced. The filing of criminal cases falling within the scope of this
If a sole defendant shall fail to appear, the plaintiff shall be entitled to judgment in Rule shall be either by complaint or by information: Provided, however, that in
accordance with Section 6 hereof. This Rule shall not apply where one of two or more Metropolitan Manila and in Chartered Cities. such cases shall be commenced only by
defendants sued under a common cause of action who had pleaded a common defense information, except when the offense cannot be prosecuted de oficio.
shall appear at the preliminary conference.
The complaint or information shall be accompanied by the affidavits of the compliant
Sec. 8. Record of preliminary conference. Within five (5) days after the termination and of his witnesses in such number of copies as there are accused plus two (2) copies
of the preliminary conference, the court shall issue an order stating the matters taken up for the court's files.If this requirement is not complied with within five (5) days from
therein, including but not limited to: date of filing, the care may be dismissed.

(a) Whether the parties have arrived at an amicable settlement, and if so, the terms
thereof;
Sec. 12. Duty of court.
(b) The stipulations or admissions entered into by the parties;.
(a) If commenced by compliant. On the basis of the compliant and the affidavits and
(c) Whether, on the basis of the pleadings and the stipulations and admissions made by other evidence accompanying the same, the court may dismiss the case outright for
the parties, judgment may be rendered without the need of further proceedings, in being patently without basis or merit and order the release of the amused if in custody.
which event the judgment shall be rendered within thirty (30) days from issuance of the
order; (b) If commenced by information. When the case is commenced by information, or is
not dismissed pursuant to the next preceding paragraph, the court shall issue an order
(d) A clear specification of material facts which remain controverted; and which, together with copies of the affidavits and other evidence submitted by the
prosecution, shall require the accused to submit his counter-affidavit and the affidavits
(e) Such other matters intended to expedite the disposition of the case. of his witnesses as well as any evidence in his behalf, serving copies thereof on the
complainant or prosecutor not later than ten (10) days from receipt of said order. The
Sec. 9. Submission of affidavits and position papers. Within ten (10) days from prosecution may file reply affidavits within ten (10) days after receipt of the counter-
receipt of the order mentioned in the next preceding section, the parties shall submit the affidavits of the defense.
affidavits of their witnesses and other evidence on the factual issues defined in the
order, together with their position papers setting forth the law and the facts relied upon Sec. 13. Arraignment and trial. Should the court, upon a consideration of the
by them. complaint or information and the affidavits submitted by both parties, find no cause or
ground to hold the accused for trial, it shall order the dismissal of the case; otherwise,
Sec. 10. Rendition of judgment. Within thirty (30) days after receipt of the last the court shall set the case for arraignment and trial.
affidavits and position papers, or the expiration of the period for filing the same, the
court shall render judgment. If the accused is in custody for the crime charged, he shall be immediately arraigned and
if he enters a plea of guilty, he shall forthwith be sentenced.
However should the court find it necessary to clarify certain material facts, it may,
during the said period, issue an order specifying the matters to be clarified, and require Sec. 14. Preliminary conference. Before conducting the trial, the court shall call the
the parties to submit affidavits or other evidence on the said matters within ten (10) parties to a preliminary conference during which a stipulation of facts may be entered
days from receipt of said order. Judgment shall be rendered within fifteen (15) days into, or the propriety of allowing the accused to enter a plea of guilty to a lesser offense
after the receipt of the last clarificatory affidavits, or the expiration of the period for may be considered, or such other matters may be taken up to clarify the issues and to
filing the same. ensure a speedy disposition of the case. However, no admission by the accused shall be
used against him unless reduced to writing and signed by the accused and his counsel. A
The court shall not resort to the clarificatory procedure to gain time for the rendition of refusal or failure to stipulate shall not prejudice the accused.
the judgment.
Sec. 15. Procedure of trial. At the trial, the affidavits submitted by the parties shall
III. constitute the direct testimonies of the witnesses who executed the same. Witnesses
who testified may be subjected to cross-examination, redirect or re-cross examination.
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 27

Should the affiant fail to testify, his affidavit shall not be considered as competent (e) Motion for extension of time to file pleadings, affidavits or any other paper;
evidence for the party presenting the affidavit, but the adverse party may utilize the chanrobles virtual law library
same for any admissible purpose.
(f) Memoranda;
Except in rebuttal or surrebuttal, no witness shall be allowed to testify unless his
affidavit was previously submitted to the court in accordance with Section 12 hereof. (g) Petition for certiorari, mandamus, or prohibition against any interlocutory order
issued by the court;
However, should a party desire to present additional affidavits or counter-affidavits as
part of his direct evidence, he shall so manifest during the preliminary conference, (h) Motion to declare the defendant in default; chanrobles virtual law library
stating the purpose thereof. If allowed by the court, the additional affidavits of the
prosecution or the counter-affidavits of the defense shall be submitted to the court and (i) Dilatory motions for postponement;
served on the adverse party not later than three (3) days after the termination of the
preliminary conference. If the additional affidavits are presented by the prosecution, the (j) Reply;
accused may file his counter-affidavits and serve the same on the prosecution within
three (3) days from such service. (k) Third party complaints;

Sec. 16. Arrest of accused. The court shall not order the arrest of the accused except (l) Interventions.
for failure to appear whenever required. Release of the person arrested shall either be
on bail or on recognizance by a responsible citizen acceptable to the court. Sec. 20. Affidavits. The affidavits required to be submitted under this Rule shall state
only facts of direct personal knowledge of the affiants which are admissible in evidence,
Sec. 17. Judgment. Where a trial has been conducted, the court shall promulgate the and shall show their competence to testify to the matters stated therein.
judgment not later than thirty (30) days after the termination of trial.
A violation of this requirement may subject the party or the counsel who submits the
same to disciplinary action, and shall be cause to expunge the inadmissible affidavit or
portion thereof from the record.
IV. COMMON PROVISIONS
Sec. 21. Appeal. The judgment or final order shall be appealable to the appropriate
Sec. 18. Referral to Lupon. Cases requiring referral to the Lupon for conciliation regional trial court which shall decide the same in accordance with Section 22 of Batas
under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1508 where there is no showing of Pambansa Blg. 129. The decision of the regional trial court in civil cases governed by this
compliance with such requirement, shall be dismissed without prejudice and may be Rule, including forcible entry and unlawful detainer, shall be immediately executory,
revived only after such requirement shall have been complied with. This provision without prejudice to a further appeal that may be taken therefrom. Section 10 of Rule
shall not apply to criminal cases where the accused was arrested without a 70 shall be deemed repealed.
warrant.chanrobles virtual law library chanrobles virtual law library
Sec. 22. Applicability of the regular rules. The regular procedure prescribed in the
Sec. 19. Prohibited pleadings and motions. The following pleadings, motions or Rules of Court shall apply to the special cases herein provided for in a suppletory
petitions shall not be allowed in the cases covered by this Rule: capacity insofar as they are not inconsistent herewith. chanrobles virtual law library

(a) Motion to dismiss the complaint or to quash the complaint or information except on Sec. 23. Effectivity. This revised Rule on Summary Procedure shall be effective on
the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, or failure to comply with the November 15, 1991.
preceding section;

(b) Motion for a bill of particulars;


RULE OF PROCEDURE FOR SMALL CLAIMS CASES
(c) Motion for new trial, or for reconsideration of a judgment, or for opening of trial;

(d) Petition for relief from judgment; Section 1. Title. - This Rule shall be known as " The Rule of Procedure for Small Claims
Cases."
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 28

Section 2. Scope. - This Rule shall govern the procedure in actions before the 2. Contract of Loan;
Metropolitan trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts and
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts for payment of money where the value of the claim does 3. Contract of Services;
not exceed One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) exclusive of interest and costs.
4. Contract of Sale; or
Section 3. Definiton of Terms. - For purposes of this Rule:
5. Contract of Mortgage;
(a) Plaintiff - refers to the party who initiated a small claims action. The term
includes a defendant who has filed a counterclaim against plainfill;
(b) For damages arising from any of the following;
(b) Defendant - is the party against whom the plaintiff has filed a small claims
action. The term includes a plaintiff against whom a defendant has filed a 1. Fault or negligence;
claim, or a person who replies to the claim;
2. Quasi-contract; or
(c) Person - is an individual, corporation, partnership, limited liability
partnership, association, or other juridical entity endowed with personality by 3. Contract;
law;
(c) The enforcement of a barangay amicable settlement or an arbitration
(d) Individual - is a natural person; award involving a money claim covered by this Rule pursuant to Sec. 417 of
Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.
(e) Motion - means a party's request, written or oral, to the court for an
orderaction. It shall include an informal written request to the court, such as a Section 5. Commencement of Small Claims Action. - A small claims action is commenced
letter; by filing with the court an accomplished and verified Statement of Claim (Form 1 -
SCC) in duplicate, accompanied by a Certification of Non-forum Shopping (Form 1-
(f) Good cause - means circumtances sufficient to justify the requested order or A,SCC), and two (2) duly certified photocopies of the actionable document/s subjects of
other action, as determined by the judge; and the claim, as well as the affidavits of witnesses and other evidence to support the claim.
No evidence shall be allowed during the hearing which was not attached to or submitted
together with the Claim, unless good cause is shown for the admission of additional
(g) Affidavit - means a written statement or declaration of facts that are shown evidence.
or affirmed to be true.
No formal pleading, other than the Statement of Claim described in this Rule, is
Section 4. Applicability - The Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, necessary to initiate a small claims action.
Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall apply this Rule in all
actions which are; (a) purely civil in nature where the claim or relief prayed for by the
plaintiff is solely for payment or reimbursement of sum of money, and (b) the civil Section 6. Joinder of Claims - Plaintiff may join in a single statement of claim one or
aspect of criminal action, or reserved upon the filing of the criminal action in court, more separate small claims against a defendant provided that the total amount claimed,
pursuant to Rule of 111 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. exclusive of interest and costs, does not exceed P100,00.00.

These claims or demands may be; Section 7. Affidavits - The affidavits submitted under this Rule shall state only facts of
direct personal knowledge of the affiants which are admissible in evidence.
(a) For money owned under any of the following;
A violation of this requirement shall subject the party, and the counsel who assisted the
party in the preparation of the affidavits, if any, to appropriate disciplinary action. The
1. Contract of Lease; inadmissible affidavit(s) or portion(s) thereof shall be expunged from the record.
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 29

Section 8. Payment of Filing Fees. - The plaintiff shall pay the docket and other legal fees Section 13. Counterclaims Within the Coverage of this Rule - If at the time the action is
prescribed under Rule 141 of the Revised Rules of Court, unless allowed to litigate as an commenced, the defendant possesses a claim against the plaintiff that (a) is within the
indigent. coverage of this rule, exclusive of interest and costs; (b) arises out of the same
transaction or event that is the subject matter of the plaintiff's claim; (c) does not
A claim filed with a motion to sue as indigent (Form 6-SCC) shall be referred to the require for its adjudication the joinder of third parties; and (d) is not the subject of
Executive Judge for immediate action in case of multi-sala courts, or to the Presiding another pending action, the claim shall be filed as a counterclaim in the response;
Judge of the court hearing the small claims case. If the motion is granted by the otherwise, the defendant shall be barred from suit on the counterclaim.
Executive Judge, the case shall be raffled off or assigned to the court designated to hear
small claims cases. If the motion is denied, the plaintiff shall be given five (5) days within The defendant may also elect to the file a counterclaim against the plaintiff that does not
which to pay the docket fees, otherwise, the case shall be dismissed without prejudice. arise out of the same transaction or occurrence , provided that the amount and nature
In no case shall a party, even if declared an indigent, be exempt from the payment of the thereof are within the coverage of this Rule and the prescribed docket and the other
P1,000.00 fee for service of summons and processes in civil cases. legal fees are paid.

Section 9. Dismissal of the Claim. - After the court determines that the case falls under Section 14. Prohibited Pleadings and Motions - The following pleadings, motions, and
this Rule, it may, from an examination of the allegations of the Statement of Claim and petitions shall not be allowed in the cases covered by this Rule:
such evidence attached thereto, by itself, dismiss the case outright of any of the grounds
apparent from the Claim for the dismissal of a civil action. (a) Motion to dismiss the compliant except on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction;
Section 10. Summons and Notice of Hearing - If no ground for dismissal is found, the
court shall forthwith issue Summons (Form 2-SCC) on the day of receipt of the (b) Motion for a bill of particulars;
Statement of Claim, directing the defendant to submit a verified Response.
(c) Motion for new trial, or for reconsideration of a judgement, or for
The court shall also issue a Notice (Form 4-SCC) to both parties, directing them to reopening of trial;
appear before it on a specific date and time for hearing, with a warning that no
unjustified postponement shall be allowed, as provided in Section 19 of this Rule.
(d) Petiton for relief from judgement;
The summons and notice to be served on the defendant shall be accompanied by a copy
of the Statement of Claim and documents submitted by plaintiff, and a copy of the (e) Motion for extension of time to file pleadings, affidavits, or any other paper;
Response (Form 3-SCC) to be accomplished by the defendant. The Notice shall contain
an express prohibition against the filing of a motion to dismiss or any other motion (f) Memoranda;
under Section 14 of this Rule.
(g) Petition for certiorari, mandamus, or prohibition against any interlocutory
Section 11. Response - The defendant shall file with the court and serve on the plaintiff a order issued by the court;
duly accomplished and verified Response within a non - extendible period of ten (10)
days from receipt of summons. The Response shall be accompanied by certified (h) Motion to declare the defendant in default;
photocopies of documents, as well as affidavits of witnesses and other evidence in
support thereof. No evidence shall be allowed during the hearing which was not
attached to or submitted together with the Response, unless good cause is shown for the (i) Dilatory motions for postponement;
admission of additional evidence.
(j) Reply;
Section 12. Effect of Failure to File Response - Should the defendant fail to file his
response within the required period, the court by itself shall render judgement as may (k) Third-party complaints; and
be warranted by the facts alleged in the Statement of claim limited to what is prayed for.
The court however, may, in its discretion, reduce the amount of damages for being (l) Interventions.
excessive or unconscionable
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 30

Section 15. Availability of Forms; Assistance by Court Personnel. - The Clerk of Court or Section 22. Failure of JDR. - If JDR fails and the parties agree in writing (Form 10-
other personnel shall provide such assistance as may be requested by a plaintiff or a SCC) that the hearing of the case shall be presided over by the judge who conducted the
defendant regarding the availability of forms and other information about the coverage, JDR, the hearing shall so proceed in an informal and expeditious manner and terminated
requirements as well as procedure for small claims cases. within one (1) day.

Section 16. Appearance. - the parties shall appear at the designated date of hearing Absent such agreement, (a) in case of a multi-sala court , the case shall, on the same day,
personally or through a representative authorized under a Special Power of be transmitted (Form 11-SCC) to the Office of the Clerk of Court for immediate referral
Attorney (Form 5-SCC ) to enter into an amicable settlement, to submit of Judicial by the Executive Judge to the pairing judge for hearing and decision within five (5)
Dispute Resolution (JDR) and to enter into stipulations or admissions of facts and of working days from referral; and (b) in case of single sala court, the pairing judge shall
documentary exhibits hear and decide the case in the court of origin within five (5) working days from referral
by the JDR judge.
Section 17. Appearance of Attorneys Not Allowed. - No attorney shall appear in behalf of
or represent a party at the hearing, unless the attorney is the plaintiff or defendant. Section 23. Decision. - After the hearing, the court shall render its decision on the same
day, based on the facts established by the evidence (Form 13-SCC). The decision shall
If the court determines that a party cannot properly present his/her claim or defense immediately be entered by the Clerk of Court in the court docket for civil cases and a
and needs assistance, the court may, in its discretion, allow another individual who is copy thereof forthwith served on the parties.
not an attorney to assist that party upon the latter's consent.
The decision shall be final and unappealable.
Section 18. Non-appearance of Parties. - Failure of the plaintiff to appear shall be cause
for the dismissal of the claim without prejudice. The defendant who appears shall be Section 24. Execution. - If the decision is rendered in favor of the plaintiff, execution
entitled to judgement on a permissive counterclaim. shall issue upon motion (Form 9-SCC).

Failure of the defendant to appear shall have the same effect as failure to file a Response Section 25. Applicability. of the Rules of Civil Procedure - The Rules of Civil procedure
under Section 12 of this Rule. This shall not apply where one of two or more defendants shall apply suppletorily insofar as they are not inconsistent with this rule.
who are sued under a common cause of action and have pleaded a common defense
appears at the hearing. Section 26. Effectivity. - This Rule shall take effect on October 01, 2008 for the pilot
courts designated to apply the procedure for small claims cases following its publication
Failure of both parties to appear shall cause the dismissal with prejudice of both the in two newspaper of general circulation.
claim and counterclaim.

Section 19. Postponement When Allowed. - A request for postponement of a hearing may
be granted only upon proof of the physical inability of the party to appear before the
court on the scheduled date and time. A party may avail of only one (1) postponement.
RATIONALE OF THE PROPOSED RULE OF PROCEDURE FOR SMALL CLAIMS
Section 20. Duty of the Court. - At the beginning of the court session, the judge shall read CASES
aloud a short statement explaining the nature, purpose and the rule of procedure of
small claims cases. a. Introduction

Section 21. Judicial Dispute Resolution. - At the hearing, the judge shall conduct Judicial The most significant recurring theme of every program for judicial reform of
Dispute Resolution (JDR) through mediation, conciliation, early neutral evaluation, or the Supreme Court is the pressing need for a more accessible, much swifter
any other mode of JDR. Any settlement (Form 7-SCC) or resolution (Form 8-SCC) of the and less expensive delivery of justice. Undeniably, the slow grind of the wheels
dispute shall be reduced into writing, signed by the parties and submitted to the court of justice is the result of a variety of factors, foremost of which is the perennial
for approval (Form 12-SCC). congestion of court dockets which has transformed court litigation into a
protracted battle, that invariably exhausts the time, effort and resources of
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 31

party-litigants, especially the poor. Many strategies have been devised to corporations were more likely to use attorneys in small
unclog heavy court dockets, and one such approach is the use on mandatory claims courts thereby placing inexperienced individual
Pre-trial and Alternative Dispute Resolutions mechanisms such as mediation, defendants at a disadvantage, studies showed that
arbitration and conciliation. Another scheme that has been widely used in defendants with an attorney were more likely to win against
many foreign legal system but which has yet to be tried in the Philippines is the plaintiffs than unrepresented defendants, whereas
small claims case processing method used by small claims courts, often palintiffs without attorneys did just as well as represented
referred to as the "Peoples Court," as it comes most directly into contact with plaintiffs against unrepresented defendants. The result
the citizenry of a jurisdiction. was an appraisal of the need to bar attorneys and
collection agencies from the small claims
Small claims courts are courts of limited jurisdiction that hear civil cases courts.lawphil.net
between private litigants. Courts authorized to try small claims may also have
other judicial functions, and the name by which such a court is known varies Small claims courts in the United States are often
by jurisdiction: it may be known by such names as county court or magistrates considered courts of equity and are not necessarily bound
court. Small claims courts can be found in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, by the letter of the law. The courts have flexibility to use
New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the more holistic approaches to problem solving and dispute
United States. resolution than what is typical. Most judges act according to
what makes sense to them, even if this means setting aside
b. The History and the Reforms of Small Claims Court legal formalities. Moreover, traditional rules of evidence
and court processes do not apply. The rules of small claims
courts emphasize conciliation and pragmatism over
1.In the United States1 winning, and rules of evidence and evil procedure have
been simplified to allow maximum access to the courts by
For almost a century now, small claims courts have individuals unable to afford an attorney.
provided a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in
the United States. Originating around 1912 or 1913, these 2. Small Claims Courts in Canada2
courts were established primarily as a means for small
businesses to collect money from borrowers through a
process that was faster, less formal, and less expensive than All provinces in Canada have procedures for small claims. In
traditional civil litigation. general, there are two different models. In most provinces,
as in British Columbia, Alberta, and new Brunswick, small
claims courts operate independently of the superior courts.
Following the lead of the establishment of the initial small In other jurisdictions, the small claims courts are either
claim court in Kansas, USA in 1912 or 1913, every state in branches or divisions of the superior courts.
the United States has created some form of a small claims
court system. Although the financial claims limits, methods
or procedure, and overall structure vary from state to state, The small claims courts are meant to be an easier and less
the concept is essentially the same, i.e., that relatively minor expensive way to resolve disputes than in the superior
disputes, involving dollar amounts that are insufficient to courts. Small Claims Court procedure is regulated both by
warrant processing the case through the normal court provincial legislation and rules in most provinces. It is
procedure, justify expeditious and simplified handling. simplified and less costly with no strict pleading
requirements and formal discovery process.
The consumer justice reform movements of the 1960s and
1970s brought renewed research and interest in the small 3. Small Claims Courts in England and Wales?3
claims courts. This movement emphasized the need for
reform of small claims courts to facilitate the adjudication of From early times, England had a tradition of local courts
consumer grievances. Although "consumer justice where ordinary men could pursue justice in the form of civil
reformers" were concerned that businesses and claims without the aid of lawyers. Some were set up by local
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 32

statutes, others by custom. These local courts could not The Small Claims Tribunals in Singapore have been in
keep pace with the changes in the society brought about by operation since 1 February 1985. The tribunals have
the Industrial Revolution. By the 1830s, the decade of great fulfilled an integral role in providing the community with
liberal reform, there was a great public awakening to the accessible justice for civil claims involving small amounts.
urgent need for constitutional reform in the administration Various features and programs have been put in place to
of justice. The result was the County Courts Act of 1846, enhance access to justice for the community, by removing
described in its preamble as an "Act For The More Easy barriers such as cost, delay, distance, time and
Recovery of Small Debts and Demands in England. " It was inconvenience. The Tribunals, constituted as part of the
initially a poor mans court. Andrew Amos, the first judge at Subordinate Courts of Singapore, were established for the
Marylebone County, described regular litigants as being "a primary purpose of providing a quick and inexpensive
great proportion of the poorer classes, gaining their avenue for the resolution of small claims arising from
livelihoods by bricklaying, gardening or other out of door disputes between consumers and suppliers. There was a
occupations against whom are usually issued in the summer need for a less expensive and less formal forum to deal with
months." The county courts jurisdiction for claims brought such small claims. Hence, in 1985, the Small Claims
in contract and tort gradually increased from 50 in1888 to Tribunals Act was passed, which authorized the setting up
5,000 in 1894. of one or more Tribunals to help consumers who have
claims of up to $2,000 relating to disputes arising from
The purpose and structure of the county court system has in contracts for the sale of goods or the provision of services.
many ways remained the same since 1846. The aim is still
to make civil justice available locally there are now 223 c. Introduction of the Concept of Small Claims Court in the Philippines
county courts in England and Wales. They have continued to
be responsive to the needs of smaller cases which, although The idea of establishing Small Claims Courts in the Philippines was first
small in terms of their financial value, are important to the proposed to the Supreme Court through a study conducted in 1999 by Justice
litigants involved. However, recent decades have seen two Josue N. Bellosillo, former Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. After
major changes in relation to small claims first, the observing small claims courts and interviewing judges of such courts in Dallas,
introduction of the Civil procedure Rules reforms of 1998 Texas, United States in 1999, Justice Bellosillo proposed in a Report that courts
with emphasis on proportionality. can be established in the Philippines to handle exclusively small claims
without the participation of lawyers and where ordinary litigants can
4 prosecute and defend a small claims action through ready-made forms. He
envisioned the small claims courts as another positive approach, in addition to
Since January 1996, when the small claims limits in England mandatory pre-trial, for solving court congestion and delay. 6The study and
and Wales was trebled overnight to 3,000, district judges report was subsequently endorsed for legislative action to Senator Franklin
have been expected to play the role of "interventionist" and Drilon who later funded a project for this purpose.
assist litigants in presenting their own cases personally at
small claims hearings. Like adjudicators in other parts of the At the regular session of the Fourteenth Congress, House Bill No. 2921 entitled
world, district judges in these countries have been "An Act Establishing Small Claims Courts" was introduced by Congressman
encouraged to intervene to an increasing extent at small Jose V. Yap. Thereafter, on July 3, 2007, Senate Bill No. 800 entitled
claims hearings. Such interventionism is, indeed, vital and "Philippines Small Claims Court Act" was filed by Senator Ramon A. Revilla, Jr.
although there may be wide variations between and, on September 3, 2007, the bill passed First Reading and was referred to
jurisdictions in the methods that are adopted to deal with the Committee(s) on Justice and Human Rights and Finance. The same is still
small claims, the idea of the adjudicator freely entering the pending with these committees at present.
arena of the dispute to assist unrepresented litigants is
fundamental in almost all matters about small claims. In 2007, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
awarded a two-year grant to the American Bar Association Rule of Law
4. Small Claims Tribunals in Singapore5 Initiative (ABA-ROLI) to pursue judicial reform activities in the Philippines for
the fiscal period October 2007 to September 30, 2009. 7In a letter to Chief
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 33

Justice Reynato S. Puno dated October 10, 2007, ABA-ROLI proposed the giving citizens a renewed "stake" in preserving peace in the land. This is a
establishment of small claims pilot courts among first level courts in different hopeful message to our people that "there is no need to despair for there is
regions of the Philippines. The small claims pilot court project was proposed deliverance in law; that is a promise that has been fulfilled by law in the past; it
by ABA to USAID after consultation with various Supreme Court officials in is a promise law will again fulfill in the future."14
conjunction with the 2000 Action Plan for Judicial Reform.
In December 2007, the Supreme Court established a Technical Working Group
Among the critical issues being addressed by the APJR are case congestion and composed of the Court Administrator, the Program Management Office
delay. The congestion of case dockets is central to a multitude of problems, Administrator, selected judges and other officials of the Supreme Court and the
either as cause or effect; it is either the manifestation of the source of other Integrated Bar of the Philippines to undertake the following activities:
difficulties. Addressing this concern is thus an imperative 8 which is why
present reforms in judicial systems and procedures have included the 5. The development of Rules and Procedures to Implement pilot Small
following: Claims Courts;
6. The establishment of Criteria to Select Appropriate regions/Judges
1. streamlining procedural rules to eliminate provisions that cause for pilot Small Claims Courts and set Peso Limits for the Small Claims
delay and permit dilatory tactics; Courts;
2. re-engineering the jurisdictional structure of the courts to ensure 7. Through the Philippine Judicial Academy, the conduct of training
easy geographical access to the courts particularly by the poor programs for Judges and their personnel participating in the Pilot
litigants. Small Claims Courts project; and
8. The employment of "justice on Wheels" buses to launch pilot small
9 claims tribunals.

15
3. improving the case management system toward more transparency,
accountability and integrity of the judicial process and for better
efficiency; and On June 23, 2008, the Technical Working Group finalized its draft of a Rule of
4. strengthening of the mediation mechanism to promote early dispute procedure for Small Claims Cases. Highlights of the Proposed Rule are the
resolution nationwide. This involves the institutionalization of court- following;
annexed mediation, and the establishment of a Mediation Center to
continually monitor and assess the performance of the system and IX. The Rule governs the procedure in actions before the first level
provide training and research. courts, i.e., Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trials Courts in
Cities, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
Notwithstanding the absence of a law at the present time creating small claims (excluding Sharia Circuit Courts) for the payment of money
courts in our country, 10the Supreme Court through a program in partnership where the value of the claim does not exceed One Hundred
with ABA-ROLI and USAID, can promulgate and implement a simplified rule of Thousand Pesos (100,000.00) exclusive of interest and costs.
procedure exclusively for small claims and assign a certain number of existing
first level courts to take cognizance of small claims. 11This does not need Explanatory note: The purpose of a small claims process is to provide
legislative action as the Court can designate several first level courts all over an inexpensive and expeditious means to settle disputes over small
the country to jump-start the pilot project. Thus, pursuant to its rule-making amounts. For purposes of the project, the amount has been set for
power, 12the Court under the present Constitution can adopt a special rule of claims involving amounts of not more than 100,000.00.
procedure to govern small claims cases and select pilot courts that would
empower the people to bring suits before them pro se to resolve legal disputes
involving simple issues of law and procedure without the need for legal The theory behind the small claims system is that ordinary litigation
representations and extensive judicial intervention. This system will enhance fails to bring practical justice to the parties when the disputed claim
access to justice especially by those who cannot afford the high costs of is small, because the time and expense required by the ordinary
litigation even in cases of relatively small value. 13 It is expeditious rules and litigation process is so disproportionate to the amount involved that
means, our Court can improve the perception of justice in this country, thus it discourages a just resolution of the dispute. The small claims
process is designed to function quickly and informally. There are no
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 34

attorneys, no formal pleadings and no strict legal rules of evidence. 7. Money claim pursuant to contact, warranty or
The small claims court system is not a " typical inferior court." Parties agreement; and
are encouraged to file small claims court actions to resolve their 8. Purely civil action for payment of money covered
minor disputes as opposed to resorting to self-help or forcible means by bounced or stopped check.
to seek their remedy. (Pace v. Hillcrest Motor Co.,161 Cal. Rptr. 663,
664 Ct. App. 1980) A small claims action is commenced by filing with the court an
accomplished and verified Statement of Claim in duplicate, accompanied by
X. This Rule applies to all actions that are: (a) purely civil in nature Certification of Non-Forum Shopping, a nd two (2) duly certified photocopies of
where the claim or relief prayed for by the plaintiff is solely for the actionable document/s subject of the claim. No evidence shall be allowed
payment/reimbursement of a sum of money, and (b) the civil during the hearing which was not attached to or submitted together with the
aspect of criminal actions, either filed prior to the institution of Claim, unless good cause is shown for the admission of additional evidence.
the criminal action, or reserved upon the filing of the criminal Plaintiff may join in a single Statement of Claim one or more separate
action in court, pursuant to Rule 111 of the Revised Rules of small claims against a defendant as long as the costs, does not exceed
Criminal Procedure. These claims or demands may be: P100,000.00.
a. For money owed under any of the following: The plaintiff shall pay the prescribed fees upon filing, unless allowed to
1. Contract of lease; litigate as an indigent.
2. Contract of loan; For the purposes of this rule: (a) Plaintiff is the party who has filed a
3. Contract of services; small claims action. The term includes a defendant who has filed a counterclaim
4. Contract of sale; or against a plaintiff, (b) Defendant is the party against whom the plaintiff has a filed
5. Contract of mortgage; a small claims action. The term includes a plaintiff against whom defendant has
b. For damages arising from: filed a claim, or a person who replies to the claim; (c) Person is an individual,
1. Fault or negligence; corporation, partnership, limited liability partnership, association, or other
2. Quasi-contract; or entity; (d) Individual is natural person: (e) Motion means a partys request,
3. Contract; written or oral, to the court for an order or other action. It shall include an
c. Enforcement of a barangay amicable settlement or informal written request to the court, such as a letter; (f) Good cause means
an arbitration award involving money claims circumstances sufficient to justify the requested order or other action, as
covered by this Rule pursuant to Sec. 417 of determined by the judge; and (g) Affidavit means a written statement or
Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the declaration of facts that are sworn or affirmed to be true.
"Local Government Code of 1991."
Explanatory Note: A plaintiff may commence an action in the small
Explanatory Note: The kinds of cases that can be filed in claims court by filing a Statement of claim under oath with the Clerk
Small Claims Court vary, but the case must seek money only. of the first level court in person or by mail. The claim form shall be a
For example, a suit cannot be brought in Small Claims Court simple non technical form approved or adopted by the Supreme
to force a person or business to fix a damaged good; or to Court. The claim form shall set forth (1) the name and address of the
demand fulfillment of a promised obligation which is not defendant, if known; (2) the amount and the basis of the claim: (3)
purely for money, or to seek money to compensate for pain that the plaintiff, where possible, has demanded payment and, in
and suffering. Some of the kinds of cases which are allowed applicable cases, possession of the property; (4) that the defendant
as small claims include the following: has failed or refused to pay, and where applicable, has refused to
surrender the property; and (5) that the plaintiff understands that
4. Actual damage caused to vehicles, other personal the judgement on his or her claim will be conclusive and without a
property, real property or person; right of appeal. The plaintiff should attach to the claim all documents
5. Payment or reimbursement for property, deposit, necessary to proved his/her right to reliefs prayed for. The form or
or money loaned; accompanying instructions shall include information that the plaintiff
6. Payment for services rendered, insurance claim, (1) may not represented by an attorney; (2) has no right to appeal;
rent, commissions, or for goods sold and and (3) may ask the court to waive fees for filing and serving the
delivered;
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 35

claim on the ground that the plaintiff is indigent unable to pay them, relates to the contract, transaction, matter, or event which is the
using the forms approved by the Supreme Court for the purpose. subject of the plaintiffs claim, the defendant may commence an
action against the plaintiff in a court of competent jurisdiction. If said
The Court may dismiss the case outright on any of the grounds for claim which is beyond the limit of money claim provided in this Rule
dismissal of a civil actions provided by the Rules of the Civil Procedure. A is filed with the Response befire the Small Claims Court, the latter
defendant may challenges jurisdiction or venue or court location by including shall dismiss the counterclaim.
these defenses in his Response before appearing in the hearing, the court shall
inquire into the facts sufficiently to determine whether jurisdiction and authority Prohibited pleadings and motions: (a) Motion to dismiss the complaint
of the court over the action are proper, and shall make its determination except on the ground of lack of jurisdiction; (b) Motion for bill of particulars; (c)
accordingly. Motion for new trial, or for reconsideration of a judgement, or for reopening of
trial; (d) Petition for relief from judgement; (e) Motion for extension of time to file
Explanatory Note: Jurisdiction and venue requirements in small pleadings, affidavits, or any other paper; (f) Memoranda; (g) Petition
claims action shall be the same as in other civil actions provided in for certiorari, mandamus, or prohibition against any interlocutory order issued by
the Rules of Civil Procedure. A defendant may challenge jurisdiction the court; (h) Motion to declare the defendant in default; (i) Dilatory motions for
or venue or court location by including these defenses in his postponement; (j) Reply; (k) Third-party complaints; and (l) Interventions.
Response before appearing in the scheduled hearing. In all cases, Availability of Forms for the Parties who shall be assisted by Clerk of
even if the defendant does not ask for dismissal of the case in the Court.
Response or appear at the hearing, the court shall inquire into the The parties must personally appear at the hearing; if unable, then
facts sufficiently to determine whether jurisdiction and authority of through a designated representative who must be duly authorized to enter into an
the court over the action are proper, and shall make its determination amicable settlement.
accordingly. Attorneys are not allowed at the hearing, except as plaintiff or defendant.
However this does not preclude them from offerings their services in assisting the
party to small claims case to prepare for the hearing or for other matters outside
No Motion to Dismiss shall be allowed except on the grounds under of the hearing. If the court determines that a party cannot properly present
Section 13 thereof (See No. X below). his/her claim of defense and needs assistance, the court may, in its discretion,
Should the defendant fail to file a response within the required period, allow another individual, who is not an attorney, to assist that party upon the
the court shall render judgement as may be warranted by the facts alleged in the latters consent.
Statement of Claim and limited to what prayed for therein. The court may, in its
discretion, reduce the amount of damages for being excessive or otherwise
unconscionable. Explanatory Note: Except as permitted by this section, no attorney
If at the time the action is commenced, a defendant possesses a claim shall appear in a small claims action except when the latter shall
against the plaintiff that (a) is within the coverage of this Rule, exclusive of maintain or defend an action in any of the following capacities:
interest and costs; (b) arises out of the same transaction or event that is the
subject matter of the plaintiffs claim; (c) does not require, for its adjudication, the 0. By or against himself or herself;
joiner or third parties; and (d) is not the subject of another pending action, this 1. By or against a partnership in which he or she is general
claim shall be included as a counterclaim in the Response, otherwise, such partner and in which all the partners are attorneys; or
counterclaim shall be barred. 2. By or against a professional corporation of which he or she
is an officer or director and of which all other officers and
The defendant may also elect to include in the Response a directors are attorneys.
counterclaim against the plaintiff that does not arise out of the
transaction or occurrence provided that the amount and nature Nothing in this section shall prevent an attorney from doing any of
thereof are within the coverage of this Rule and the prescribed the following:
docket fees are paid.
3. Providing advice to a party to a small claims action, either
Explanatory Note: If a defendant has claim against a plaintiff that before or after the commencement of the action; or
exceeds the limits stated in Section 2 of this Rule, and the claim
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 36

4. Submitting an affidavit as a witness for a party in order to determines that the requesting party has good cause to file
state facts of which he or she has personal knowledge and the request on the date of hearing itself: and
about which he or she competent to do so. 2. If the court finds that the interest of justice would be served
by postponing the hearing, the court shall do so and shall
If the court determines that the party does not speak or understand notify all parties by mail on the same day of the new hearing
English or Filipino sufficiently to comprehend the proceedings or give date, time and place.
testimony, to the questions of the court, if any, and needs assistance
in so doing, the court may permit another individual (other than an This section does not limit the inherent power of the court to order
attorney) to assist that the party. Any additional continuances shall postponement of hearing in strictly appropriate circumstances. The
be at the sound discretion of the court. If the court interpreter or postponement fee of One Hundred Pesos (or as provided in Rule 141,
other competent interpreter of the language or dialect known to the Revised Rules of Court, as amended on Legal Fees) shall be charged
party is not available to aid that party in a small claims action, at the and collected before the filing of a request for postponement and
first hearing of the case the court shall postpone the hearing one time rescheduling of a hearing date.
only to allow the party the opportunity to obtain another individual
(other than an attorney) to assist that party An additional XVII. Judicial Dispute Resolution. At the hearing, the court shall exert
continuances shall be at the sound discretion of the court. all efforts to encourage the parties to resolve their dispute
through mediation, conciliation, early neutral evaluating or any
XV. Non-appearance of Parties. Failure of the plaintiff to appear other mode of JDR. Any settlement or resolution of the dispute
shall be a cause for the dismissal of the complaint without shall be reduced into writing, signed by the parties, and
prejudice. The defendant who appears shall be entitled to submitted to the court for approval.
judgement on a permissive counterclaim. XVIII. If JDR fails and the parties agree in writing (Form 10-SCC) that
the hearing of the case shall be presided over by the judge who
On the other hand failure of the defendant to appear shall have conducted the JDR, the hearing shall so proceed in an informal
the same effect as failure to file a Response under Section 12 of and expeditious manner and terminated within one (1) day.
this Rule. This is however shall not apply where one of two or
more defendants sued under a common cause of action and who Absent such agreement, (a) in case of a multi-sala court, the
pleaded a common defense shall appear at the hearing. court shall, on the same day, be transmitted (Form 11-SCC) to the
Office of the Clerk of Court for immediate referral by the
Failure of both parties to appear shall causes the dismissal with Executive Judge to the pairing judge for hearing and decision
prejudice of both the claim and counterclaim. within five (5) working days from referral; and )b) in case of a
single sala court, the pairing judge shall hear and decide the case
in the court of origin within five (5) working days from referral
XVI. A request for postponement of a hearing may be granted only by the JDR judge.
upon proof of the physical inability of the party to appear before
the court on that date and time. Every party may avail of only
one (1) postponement. Explanatory Note: In hearing before the small claims court, witnesses
shall still be sworn in. The judge shall conduct the hearing in an
informal manner so as to do substantial justice between the parties.
Explanatory Note: A Party may submit an oral or written request to The judge shall have the discretion to admit all evidence which may
postpone a hearing date for good cause, as follows: be of probative value although not in accordance with formal rules of
practice, procedure, pleading or evidence provided in the Rules of
0. If the written request is writing, it may be made either by Court, except that privileged communications shall not be admissible.
letter or on a form adopted or approved by the Supreme The object of such hearings shall be to determine the rights of the
Court; litigants on the merits and to dispense expeditious justice between
1. The request shall be filed before the hearing date and the parties.
accompanied by proof of physical inability, unless the court
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 37

An interventionist role by judges in such hearings is effective in The prohibition against appeals assures immediate and swift justice.
eliciting evidence from litigants in person. It is seen by unrepresented
parties as a "helping hand" which they appreciate, provided that The right to appeal is not a natural right nor a part due process. It is
judges avoid the danger of appearing to be partial. By discussing the merely a statutory privilege and a procedural remedy of statutory
facts of the case, judges find what common ground does exist origin, a remedy that may be exercised only in the manner and in
between the parties. This tends to narrow the differences between accordance with the provisions of the law authorizing such exercise.
the parties and make the final judicial decision easier whereas The applicable provisions of the law allowing appeals from decisions
traditional open court trials, with the presence of lawyers and the use of the first level courts are Sections 36 of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended,
of cross-examination tend to polarize the parties, increase also known as "The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980." The
antagonism and heighten the differences. procedure on appeal is subject to the limitations and restrictions
provided by this Act and any such rules as the Supreme Court may
In this regard, Lord Woolf, Great Britains case management expert, hereafter prescribe. Sec. 36 of B.P. Blg. 129 provides an instance
has observed: wherein the Supreme Court may adopt special procedures, including
cases where appeal may not be allowed, to achieve an expeditious
"The role of the judge in small claims is not only that of an and inexpensive determination of particular cases requiring
adjudicator. It is a key safeguard of the rights of both summary disposition.
parties. In most cases, the judge is effectively a substitute
for a legal representative. His duty is to ascertain the main XX. Execution. If the decision is rendered in favor of the plaintiff,
matters at issue, to elicit the evidence, to reach a view on execution shall issue upon motion (Form 9-SCC).
the facts of the matter and to give a decision. In some cases
he may encourage the parties to settle. In doing so he
should ensure that both parties have presented the
evidence and called the witnesses germane to their case and
that he has identified and considered any issue of law which THORNTON VS. THORNTON
is pertinent to the case in hand. He must also hold the ring
and ensure that each party has a fair chance to present his
own case and to challenge that of his opponent."
FACTS: American husband and Filipina wife got married here and had a daughter. Three
The key judicial skills in conducting such hearings are to maintain a years into the marriage, wife became bored as a housewife and wanted to go back to her
balance between informality and fairness, to ensure a level playing life as a GRO. Because of this, their relationship turned sour and one day, the wife left
field and to protect the weak and the scrupulous. In practice, this is the family home with her daughter without notifying her husband. Husband filed a
achieved by preventing interruptions and parties talking over each petition for habeas corpus before the Family Court of Makati. Dismissed since the child
other, and making it clear that both parties will have plenty of time to daw was in Basilan and hence it did not have jurisdiction. Husband went to Basilan but
say all that they wish before the end of the hearing. could not find his wife and child there. He had a lead that his wife and child may be
somewhere in Cavite, Nueva Ecija, or Manila.
XIX. Decision. After the hearing, the court shall, on the same day, Therefore, he filed a petition for habeas corpus before the CA (para enforceable within
render its decision using the form provided. The decision shall the country) but CA denied the petition, claiming that it does not have jurisdiction
immediately be entered by the Clerk of Court in the court docket because the Family Courts Act (which gave the FC jurisdiction regarding petition for
for civil cases and a copy thereof served on the parties. The habeas corpus in cases involving custody of minors) impliedly repealed BP129 (which
decision is final and unappealable. gave CA jurisdiction over habeas corpus cases)

Explanatory Note: Despite the relative informality of the procedure, CA: Family Courts Act (RA 8369) uses the word exclusive in granting the FC
judgements are based upon a strict application of the substantive law jurisdiction over habeas corpus cases.
and an objective judicial analysis of the facts. The judge is duty-bound
to give the legal basis for the findings. Issue: Does CA have jurisdiction over habeas corpus cases involving custody of minors?
YES.
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 38

SC: The CA should take cognizance of the case since there is nothing in RA 8369 that consolidated in, the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston
revoked its jurisdiction to issue writs of habeas corpus involving the custody of minors. Division. The defendants in the consolidated cases prayed for the dismissal of all the
actions under the doctrine of forum non conveniens.

CAs reasoning will result in an iniquitous situation, leaving individuals like petitioner
without legal recourse in obtaining custody of their children. Individuals who do not In a Memorandum Order, the Federal District Court conditionally granted the
know the whereabouts of minors they are looking for would be helpless since they defendants motion to dismiss provided the defendants:
cannot seek redress from family courts whose writs are enforceable only in their
respective territorial jurisdictions. Thus, if a minor is being transferred from one place
to another, which seems to be the case here, the petitioner in a habeas corpus case will
be left without legal remedy. (1) participated in expedited discovery in the United States

The primordial consideration is the welfare and best interests of the child. In the case at (2) either waived or accepted service of process and waived any other jurisdictional
bar, a literal interpretation of the word exclusive will result in grave injustice and defense in any action commenced by a plaintiff in these actions in his home country or
negate the policy to protect the rights and promote the welfare of children under the the country in which his injury occurred.
Constitution and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This mandate
must prevail over legal technicalities and serve as the guiding principle in construing the
provisions of RA 8369.
(3) waived any limitations-based defense that has matured since the commencement of
these actions in the courts of Texas;

The provisions of RA 8369 reveal no manifest intent to revoke the jurisdiction of the CA
and SC to issue writs of habeas corpus relating to the custody of minors. Further, it
cannot be said that the provisions of RA 8369 and BP 129 are absolutely incompatible (4) stipulated that any discovery conducted during the pendency of these actions may
since RA 8369 does not prohibit the CA and the SC from issuing writs of habeas corpus be used in any foreign proceeding to the same extent as if it had been conducted in
in cases involving the custody of minors. proceedings initiated there; and

In any case, whatever uncertainty there was has been settled with the adoption of A.M. (5) submitted an agreement binding them to satisfy any final judgment rendered in
No. 03-03-04-SC Re: Rule on Custody of Minors and Writ of Habeas Corpus in Relation to favor of plaintiffs by a foreign court.
Custody of Minors(SEC20: The petition may likewise be filed with the SC, CA, or with any
of its members and, if so granted, the writ shall be enforceable anywhere in the
Philippines.
In the event that the highest court of any foreign country finally affirms the dismissal for
lack of jurisdiction of an action commenced by a plaintiff in these actions in his home
NAVIDA VS. DIZON country or the country in which he was injured, that plaintiff may return to this court
and, upon proper motion, the court will resume jurisdiction over the action as if the case
Facts: had never been dismissed for.

Beginning 1993, a number of personal injury suits were filed in different Texas state
courts by citizens of twelve foreign countries, including the Philippines. The thousands
of plaintiffs sought damages for injuries they allegedly sustained from their exposure to Case 1 (125078) and 2 (125598):
dibromochloropropane (DBCP), a chemical used to kill nematodes (worms), while
working on farms in 23 foreign countries. The cases were eventually transferred to, and
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 39

336 plaintiffs from General Santos City filed a Joint Complaint in the RTC of General
Santos City. Named as defendants therein were: Shell Oil Co. (SHELL); Dow Chemical Co.
(DOW); Occidental Chemical Corp. (OCCIDENTAL); Dole Food Co., Inc., Dole Fresh Fruit Third, the trial court ascribed little significance to the voluntary appearance of the
Co., Standard Fruit Co., Standard Fruit and Steamship Co. (hereinafter collectively defendant companies. Defendants have appointed their agents authorized to accept
referred to as DOLE); Chiquita Brands, Inc. and Chiquita Brands International, Inc. service of summons/processes in the Philippines pursuant to the agreement in the U.S.
(CHIQUITA); Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. and Del Monte Tropical Fruit Co. court that defendants will voluntarily submit to the jurisdiction of this court. While it is
(hereinafter collectively referred to as DEL MONTE); Dead Sea Bromine Co., Ltd.; true that this court acquires jurisdiction over persons of the defendants through their
Ameribrom, Inc.; Bromine Compounds, Ltd.; and Amvac Chemical Corp. (The voluntary appearance, it appears that such voluntary appearance of the defendants in
aforementioned defendants are hereinafter collectively referred to as defendant this case is conditional. Thus in the Defendants Amended Agreement Regarding
companies.) Conditions of Dismissal for Forum Non Conveniens filed with the U.S. District Court,
defendants declared that (t)he authority of each designated representative to accept
service of process will become effective upon final dismissal of these actions by the
Court. The decision of the U.S. District Court dismissing the case is not yet final and
NAVIDA, et al., prayed for the payment of damages in view of the illnesses and injuries to executory since both the plaintiffs and defendants appealed therefrom. Consequently,
the reproductive systems which they allegedly suffered because of their exposure to since the authority of the agent of the defendants in the Philippines is conditioned on
DBCP. They claimed, among others, that they were exposed to this chemical during the the final adjudication of the case pending with the U.S. courts, the acquisition of
early 1970s up to the early 1980s when they used the same in the banana plantations jurisdiction by this court over the persons of the defendants is also conditional.
where they worked at; and/or when they resided within the agricultural area where
such chemical was used. NAVIDA, et al., claimed that their illnesses and injuries were
due to the fault or negligence of each of the defendant companies in that they produced,
sold and/or otherwise put into the stream of commerce DBCP-containing products. Fourth, the RTC of General Santos City ruled that the act of NAVIDA, et al., of filing the
According to NAVIDA, et al., they were allowed to be exposed to the said products, which case in the Philippine courts violated the rules on forum shopping and litis pendencia.
the defendant companies knew, or ought to have known, were highly injurious to the This court frowns upon the fact that the parties herein are both vigorously pursuing
formers health and well-being. their appeal of the decision of the U.S. District court dismissing the case filed thereat. To
allow the parties to litigate in this court when they are actively pursuing the same cases
in another forum, violates the rule on forum shopping so abhorred in this jurisdiction.
Moreover, the filing of the case in the U.S. courts divested this court of its own
Without resolving the motions filed by the parties, the RTC of General Santos City issued jurisdiction. This court takes note that the U.S. District Court did not decline jurisdiction
an Order dismissing the complaint. First, the trial court determined that it did not have over the cause of action. The case was dismissed on the ground of forum non
jurisdiction to hear the case because the substance of the cause of action as stated in the conveniens, which is really a matter of venue. By taking cognizance of the case, the U.S.
complaint against the defendant foreign companies cites activity on their part which District Court has, in essence, concurrent jurisdiction with this court over the subject
took place abroad and had occurred outside and beyond the territorial domain of the matter of this case. It is settled that initial acquisition of jurisdiction divests another of
Philippines. These acts of defendants cited in the complaint included the manufacture of its own jurisdiction.
pesticides, their packaging in containers, their distribution through sale or other
disposition, resulting in their becoming part of the stream of commerce. The subject
matter stated in the complaint and which is uniquely particular to the present case,
consisted of activity or course of conduct engaged in by foreign defendants outside Case 3 (126654), 4 (127856), 5(128398)
Philippine territory, hence, outside and beyond the jurisdiction of Philippine Courts,
including the present Regional Trial Court.

Another joint complaint for damages against SHELL, DOW, OCCIDENTAL, DOLE, DEL
MONTE, and CHIQUITA was filed before Branch 16 of the RTC of Davao City by 155
Second, the RTC of General Santos City adjudged that NAVIDA, et al., were coerced into plaintiffs from Davao City. They alleged that as workers in the banana plantation and/or
submitting their case to the Philippine courts, merely to comply with the U.S. District as residents near the said plantation, they were made to use and/or were exposed to
Courts Order and in order to keep open to the plaintiffs the opportunity to return to the nematocides, which contained the chemical DBCP. According to ABELLA, et al., such
U.S. District Court. exposure resulted in serious and permanent injuries to their health, including, but not
limited to, sterility and severe injuries to their reproductive capacities.
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 40

making voluntary appearances and seeking for affirmative reliefs during the course of
the proceedings.
The RTC of Davao City, however, junked Civil Cases. The Court however is constrained to
dismiss the case at bar not solely on the basis of the above but because it shares the
opinion of legal experts given in the interview made by the Inquirer in its Special report
Pesticide Cause Mass Sterility, Former Justice Secretary Demetrio Demetria in a May Issue:
1995 opinion said: The Philippines should be an inconvenient forum to file this kind of
damage suit against foreign companies since the causes of action alleged in the petition Whether or not the RTCs have jurisdiction over the subject matter in these cases.
do not exist under Philippine laws. There has been no decided case in Philippine
Jurisprudence awarding to those adversely affected by DBCP. This means there is no
available evidence which will prove and disprove the relation between sterility and
DBCP. Held: Yes.

Eventually, the cases reached the SC! 1. The rule is settled that jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is conferred by
law and is determined by the allegations in the complaint and the character of the relief
sought, irrespective of whether the plaintiffs are entitled to all or some of the claims
asserted therein. Once vested by law, on a particular court or body, the jurisdiction over
Present case: the subject matter or nature of the action cannot be dislodged by anybody other than by
the legislature through the enactment of a law.

The main contention of the petitioners states that the allegedly tortious acts and/or
omissions of defendant companies occurred within Philippine territory. Said fact At the time of the filing of the complaints, the jurisdiction of the RTC in civil cases under
allegedly constitutes reasonable basis for our courts to assume jurisdiction over the Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended by Republic Act No. 7691, was:
case.

In all other cases in which the demand, exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind,
DOLE similarly maintains that the acts attributed to defendant companies constitute a attorneys fees, litigation expenses, and costs or the value of the property in controversy
quasi-delict, which falls under Article 2176 of the Civil Code. DOLE also argues that if exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in such other cases in Metro
indeed there is no positive law defining the alleged acts of defendant companies as Manila, where the demand, exclusive of the abovementioned items exceeds Two
actionable wrong, Article 9 of the Civil Code dictates that a judge may not refuse to hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00).
render a decision on the ground of insufficiency of the law. The court may still resolve
the case, applying the customs of the place and, in the absence thereof, the general
principles of law.
Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 09-94, states:

The exclusion of the term damages of whatever kind in determining the jurisdictional
CHIQUITA (another petitioner) argues that the courts a quo had jurisdiction over the amount under Section 19 (8) and Section 33 (1) of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by R.A. No.
subject matter of the cases filed before them. CHIQUITA avers that the pertinent matter 7691, applies to cases where the damages are merely incidental to or a consequence of
is the place of the alleged exposure to DBCP, not the place of manufacture, packaging, the main cause of action. However, in cases where the claim for damages is the main
distribution, sale, etc., of the said chemical. This is in consonance with the lex loci delicti cause of action, or one of the causes of action, the amount of such claim shall be
commisi theory in determining the situs of a tort, which states that the law of the place considered in determining the jurisdiction of the court.
where the alleged wrong was committed will govern the action. CHIQUITA and the other
defendant companies also submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the RTC by
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 41

It is clear that the claim for damages is the main cause of action and that the total initially filed their claims for damages. Third, the testimonial and documentary evidence
amount sought in the complaints is approximately P2.7 million for each of the plaintiff from important witnesses, such as doctors, co-workers, family members and other
claimants. The RTCs unmistakably have jurisdiction over the cases filed in General members of the community, would be easier to gather in the Philippines.
Santos City and Davao City.

----
2. The jurisdiction of the court cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in
the answer or upon the motion to dismiss, for otherwise, the question of jurisdiction Re: Jurisdiction over the person
would almost entirely depend upon the defendants. What determines the jurisdiction of
the court is the nature of the action pleaded as appearing from the allegations in the
complaint. The averments therein and the character of the relief sought are the ones to
be consulted. The RTC of General Santos City and the RTC of Davao City validly acquired jurisdiction
over the persons of all the defendant companies. All parties voluntarily, unconditionally
and knowingly appeared and submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the courts a
quo. All the defendant companies submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the courts
Clearly then, the acts and/or omissions attributed to the defendant companies a quo by making several voluntary appearances, by praying for various affirmative
constitute a quasi-delict which is the basis for the claim for damages filed by NAVIDA, et reliefs, and by actively participating during the course of the proceedings below.
al., and ABELLA, et al., with individual claims of approximately P2.7 million for each
plaintiff claimant, which obviously falls within the purview of the civil action jurisdiction
of the RTCs.
In line herewith, this Court, in Meat Packing Corporation of the Philippines v.
Sandiganbayan, held that jurisdiction over the person of the defendant in civil cases is
acquired either by his voluntary appearance in court and his submission to its authority
3. It is, therefore, error on the part of the courts a quo when they dismissed the cases on or by service of summons. Furthermore, the active participation of a party in the
the ground of lack of jurisdiction on the mistaken assumption that the cause of action proceedings is tantamount to an invocation of the courts jurisdiction and a willingness
narrated by NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., took place abroad and had occurred to abide by the resolution of the case, and will bar said party from later on impugning
outside and beyond the territorial boundaries of the Philippines, i.e., the manufacture the court or bodys jurisdiction.
of the pesticides, their packaging in containers, their distribution through sale or other
disposition, resulting in their becoming part of the stream of commerce, and, hence,
outside the jurisdiction of the RTCs.
---

Jurisdiction v Exercise of Jurisdiction


Certainly, the cases below are not criminal cases where territoriality, or the situs of the
act complained of, would be determinative of jurisdiction and venue for trial of cases. In
personal civil actions, such as claims for payment of damages, the Rules of Court allow
the action to be commenced and tried in the appropriate court, where any of the It may also be pertinently stressed that jurisdiction is different from the exercise of
plaintiffs or defendants resides, or in the case of a non-resident defendant, where he jurisdiction. Jurisdiction refers to the authority to decide a case, not the orders or the
may be found, at the election of the plaintiff. decision rendered therein. Accordingly, where a court has jurisdiction over the persons
of the defendants and the subject matter, as in the case of the courts a quo, the decision
on all questions arising therefrom is but an exercise of such jurisdiction. Any error that
the court may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction is merely an error of judgment,
In a very real sense, most of the evidence required to prove the claims of NAVIDA, et al., which does not affect its authority to decide the case, much less divest the court of the
and ABELLA, et al., are available only in the Philippines. First, plaintiff claimants are all jurisdiction over the case.
residents of the Philippines, either in General Santos City or in Davao City. Second, the
specific areas where they were allegedly exposed to the chemical DBCP are within the
territorial jurisdiction of the courts a quo wherein NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al.,
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 42

---- Oriental. These lands happened to be outside the regular territorial jurisdiction of RTC
Branch 32 of Dumaguete City.
Re: Bad faith in filing cases to procure a dismissal and to allow petitioners to return to
the forum of their choice.

On September 13, 2007 RTC, Branch 32 dismissed Civil Case 2007-14174 for lack
of jurisdiction.[2] It ruled that, although it had been designated Special Agrarian Court
This Court finds such argument much too speculative to deserve any merit. for Negros Oriental, the designation did not expand its territorial jurisdiction to hear
agrarian cases under the territorial jurisdiction of the RTC, Branch 64 of Guihulngan City
where respondent Villegas property can be found.

It must be remembered that this Court does not rule on allegations that are unsupported
by evidence on record. This Court does not rule on allegations which are manifestly
conjectural, as these may not exist at all. This Court deals with facts, not fancies; on On November 16, 2007 RTC, Branch 32 also dismissed Civil Case 2007-14193 for
realities, not appearances. lack of jurisdiction. It pointed out that RTC, Branch 63 of Bayawan City had jurisdiction
over the case since respondent heirs property was within the latter courts territorial
jurisdiction.

* We REMAND the records of this case to the respective Regional Trial Courts of origin
for further and appropriate proceedings in line with the ruling herein that said courts
have jurisdiction over the subject matter of the amended complaints. Petitioner Land Bank moved for the reconsideration of the dismissal of the two
cases but RTC, Branch 32 denied both motions.[3] Aggrieved, Land Bank directly filed
this petitions for certiorari[4] before this Court, raising a purely question of law.

Sole Question Presented


LAND BANK VS. VILLEGAS

The sole question presented in these cases is whether or not an RTC, acting as Special
These consolidated cases[1] are about the jurisdiction of a Regional Trial Court (RTC), Agrarian Court, has jurisdiction over just compensation cases involving agricultural
acting as a Special Agrarian Court, over just compensation cases involving agricultural lands located outside its regular jurisdiction but within the province where it is
lands located outside its regular territorial jurisdiction but within the province where it designated as an agrarian court under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of
is designated as agrarian court under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988. 1998.

The Facts and the Case The Courts Ruling

Petitioner Land Bank of the Philippines (Land Bank) filed cases for determination The RTC, Branch 32 based its order on Deputy Court Administrator (DCA) Zenaida
of just compensation against respondent Corazon M. Villegas in Civil Case 2007-14174 Elepaos opinion that single sala courts have jurisdiction over agrarian cases involving
and respondent heirs of Catalino V. Noel and Procula P. Sy in Civil Case 2007-14193 lands located within its territorial jurisdiction. An RTC branch acting as a special
before the RTC of Dumaguete City, Branch 32, sitting as a Special Agrarian Court for the agrarian court, she claimed, did not have expanded territorial jurisdiction. DCA Elepao
province of Negros Oriental. Respondent Villegas property was in Hibaiyo, Guihulngan said:
City, Negros Oriental, while respondent heirs land was in Nangca, Bayawan City, Negros
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 43

SEC. 56. Special Agrarian Court. - The Supreme Court shall designate at least one
(1) branch of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) within each province to act as a Special
x x x [B]eing a single sala court, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 64, Guihulngan, Agrarian Court.
Negros Oriental, has jurisdiction over all cases, including agrarian cases, cognizable by
the Regional Trial Court emanating from the geographical areas within its territorial
jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court may designate more branches to constitute such additional
Special Agrarian Courts as may be necessary to cope with the number of agrarian cases
in each province. In the designation, the Supreme Court shall give preference to the
Further, the jurisdiction of the Special Agrarian Courts over agrarian cases is co- Regional Trial Courts which have been assigned to handle agrarian cases or whose
extensive with its territorial jurisdiction. Administrative Order No. 80 dated July 18, presiding judges were former judges of the defunct Court of Agrarian Relations.
1989, as amended by Administrative Order No. 80A-90 dated February 23, 1990, did not
expand the territorial jurisdiction of the courts designated as Special Agrarian Courts.[5]

The Regional Trial Court (RTC) judges assigned to said courts shall exercise said
special jurisdiction in addition to the regular jurisdiction of their respective courts.
Respondent Villegas[6] adopts DCA Elepaos view. Villegas points out that the
designation of RTC, Branch 32 as a Special Agrarian Court did not expand its territorial
jurisdiction. Although it has been designated Special Agrarian Court for the Province of
Negros Oriental, its jurisdiction as an RTC did not cover the whole province. SEC. 57. Special Jurisdiction. - The Special Agrarian Courts shall have original and
exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to
landowners, and the prosecution of all criminal offenses under this Act. The Rules of
Court shall apply to all proceedings before the Special Agrarian Courts unless modified
Respondent Villegas adds that, in hearing just compensation cases, RTC, Branch 64 in by this Act.
Guihulngan City should be no different from the situation of other single sala courts that
concurrently hear drugs and family-related cases even as the Supreme Court has
designated family and drugs courts in Dumaguete City within the same province.
Further, Guihulngan City is more than 100 kilometers from Dumaguete City where RTC, The Special Agrarian Courts shall decide all appropriate cases under their special
Branch 32 sits. For practical considerations, RTC, Branch 64 of Guihulngan City should jurisdiction within thirty (30) days from submission of the case for decision.
hear and decide the case.

The law is clear. A branch of an RTC designated as a Special Agrarian Court for a
For their part, on June 19, 2009 respondent heirs of Noel informed[7] the Court that province has the original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the
petitioner Land Bank had already paid them for their land. Consequently, they have no determination of just compensation in that province. In Republic v. Court of Appeals,[9]
further interest in the outcome of the case. It is not clear, however, if the trial court had the Supreme Court ruled that Special Agrarian Courts have original and exclusive
already approved a settlement. jurisdiction over two categories of cases: (1) all petitions for the determination of just
compensation to landowners, and (2) the prosecution of all criminal offenses under R.A.
6657.

Jurisdiction is the courts authority to hear and determine a case. The courts
jurisdiction over the nature and subject matter of an action is conferred by law.[8] In
this case, the law that confers jurisdiction on Special Agrarian Courts designated by the By special jurisdiction, Special Agrarian Courts exercise power in addition to or over
Supreme Court in every province is Republic Act (R.A.) 6657 or the Comprehensive and above the ordinary jurisdiction of the RTC, such as taking cognizance of suits
Agrarian Reform Law of 1988. Sections 56 and 57 are the relevant provisions: involving agricultural lands located outside their regular territorial jurisdiction, so long
as they are within the province where they sit as Special Agrarian Courts.
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 44

R.A. 6657 requires the designation by the Supreme Court before an RTC Branch can with an area of 7,993 square meters. The complaint was docketed as COSLAP Case No.
function as a Special Agrarian Court. The Supreme Court has not designated the single 99-221.
sala courts of RTC, Branch 64 of Guihulngan City and RTC, Branch 63 of Bayawan City as
Special Agrarian Courts. Consequently, they cannot hear just compensation cases just
because the lands subject of such cases happen to be within their territorial jurisdiction.
Respondents claimed that said parcel of land was originally owned by their
predecessor-in-interest, Crisanto Bernardo, and was later on acquired by Crisanto S.
Bernardo. The parcel of land was later on covered by Tax Declaration No. CD-006-0828
Since RTC, Branch 32 of Dumaguete City is the designated Special Agrarian Court under the name of the respondents.
for the province of Negros Oriental, it has jurisdiction over all cases for determination of
just compensation involving agricultural lands within that province, regardless of
whether or not those properties are outside its regular territorial jurisdiction.
Petitioner, on the other hand, alleged that the portion of the subject property
consisting of about 700 square meters was bought by Diosdado Herrera, Alfredo's
father, from a certain Domingo Villaran. Upon the death of Diosdado Herrera, Alfredo
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petitions, SETS ASIDE the orders of the inherited the 700-square-meter lot.
Regional Trial Court, Branch 32 of Dumaguete City dated September 13, 2007 and
October 30, 2007 in Civil Case 2007-14174, entitled Land Bank of the Philippines v.
Corazon Villegas, and its orders dated November 16, 2007 and December 14, 2007 in
Civil Case 2007-14193, entitled Land Bank of the Philippines v. Heirs of Catalino V. Noel The COSLAP, in a Resolution[3] dated December 6, 1999, ruled that respondents
and Procula P. Sy, which orders dismissed the cases before it for lack of jurisdiction. have a rightful claim over the subject property. Consequently, a motion for
Further, the Court DIRECTS the Regional Trial Court, Branch 32 of Dumaguete City to reconsideration and/or reopening of the proceedings was filed by Alfredo. The COSLAP,
immediately hear and decide the two cases unless a compromise agreement has in the in an Order[4] dated August 21, 2002, denied the motion and reiterated its Order dated
meantime been approved in the latter case. December 6, 1999. Aggrieved, petitioner Celia S. Vda. de Herrera, as the surviving
spouse of Alfredo, filed a petition for certiorari with the CA.[5] The CA, Twelfth Division,
in its Decision dated April 28, 2005, dismissed the petition and affirmed the resolution
of the COSLAP. The CA ruled that the COSLAP has exclusive jurisdiction over the present
case and, even assuming that the COSLAP has no jurisdiction over the land dispute of the
parties herein, petitioner is already estopped from raising the issue of jurisdiction
because Alfredo failed to raise the issue of lack of jurisdiction before the COSLAP and he
VDA DE HERRERA VS. BERNARDO actively participated in the proceedings before the said body. Petitioner filed a motion
for reconsideration, which was denied by the CA in a Resolution dated October 17, 2005.

This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to
reverse and set aside the Decision[1] and Resolution[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in Hence, petitioner elevated the case to this Court via Petition for Review on
CA-G.R. SP No. 73674. Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, with the following issues:

I
The antecedents are as follows: WHETHER OR NOT COSLAP HAD JURISDICTION TO DECIDE THE QUESTION OF
OWNERSHIP.

Respondents heirs of Crisanto S. Bernardo, represented by Emelita Bernardo, filed a


complaint before the Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP) against II
Alfredo Herrera (Alfredo) for interference, disturbance, unlawful claim, harassment and
trespassing over a portion of a parcel of land situated at Barangay Dalig, Cardona, Rizal,
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 45

WHETHER OR NOT THE ISSUANCE OF A TORRENS TITLE IN THE NAME OF THE xxxx
PETITIONER'S HUSBAND IN 2002 RENDERED THE INSTANT CONTROVERSY ON THE
ISSUE OF OWNERSHIP OVER THE SUBJECT PROPERTY MOOT AND ACADEMIC.[6]

2. Refer and follow up for immediate action by the agency having appropriate
jurisdiction any land problem or dispute referred to the Commission: Provided, That the
Petitioner averred that the COSLAP has no adjudicatory powers to settle and Commission may, in the following cases, assume jurisdiction and resolve land problems
decide the question of ownership over the subject land. Further, the present case cannot or disputes which are critical and explosive in nature considering, for instance, the large
be classified as explosive in nature as the parties never resorted to violence in resolving number of the parties involved, the presence or emergence of social tension or unrest,
the controversy. Petitioner submits that it is the Regional Trial Court which has or other similar critical situations requiring immediate action:
jurisdiction over controversies relative to ownership of the subject property.

(a) Between occupants/squatters and pasture lease agreement holders or timber


Respondents, on the other hand, alleged that the COSLAP has jurisdiction over the concessionaires;
present case. Further, respondents argued that petitioner is estopped from questioning
the jurisdiction of the COSLAP by reason of laches due to Alfredo's active participation (b) Between occupants/squatters and government reservation grantees;
in the actual proceedings before the COSLAP. Respondents said that Alfredo's filing of
the Motion for Reconsideration and/or Reopening of the proceedings before the (c) Between occupants/squatters and public land claimants or applicants;
COSLAP is indicative of his conformity with the questioned resolution of the COSLAP.
(d) Petitions for classification, release and/or subdivision of lands of the public domain;
The main issue for our resolution is whether the COSLAP has jurisdiction to decide and
the question of ownership between the parties.
(e) Other similar land problems of grave urgency and magnitude.[7]

Administrative agencies, like the COSLAP, are tribunals of limited jurisdiction that
The petition is meritorious. can only wield powers which are specifically granted to it by its enabling statute.[8]
Under Section 3 of E.O. No. 561, the COSLAP has two options in acting on a land dispute
or problem lodged before it, to wit: (a) refer the matter to the agency having
appropriate jurisdiction for settlement/resolution; or (b) assume jurisdiction if the
The COSLAP was created by virtue of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 561, issued on matter is one of those enumerated in paragraph 2 (a) to (e) of the law, if such case is
September 21, 1979 by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos. It is an administrative body critical and explosive in nature, taking into account the large number of parties involved,
established as a means of providing a mechanism for the expeditious settlement of land the presence or emergence of social unrest, or other similar critical situations requiring
problems among small settlers, landowners and members of the cultural minorities to immediate action. In resolving whether to assume jurisdiction over a case or to refer the
avoid social unrest. same to the particular agency concerned, the COSLAP has to consider the nature or
classification of the land involved, the parties to the case, the nature of the questions
raised, and the need for immediate and urgent action thereon to prevent injuries to
persons and damage or destruction to property. The law does not vest jurisdiction on
Section 3 of E.O. No. 561 specifically enumerates the instances when the COSLAP the COSLAP over any land dispute or problem.[9]
can exercise its adjudicatory functions:

In the instant case, the COSLAP has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of
Section 3. Powers and Functions. - The Commission shall have the following powers and respondents' complaint. The present case does not fall under any of the cases
functions: enumerated under Section 3, paragraph 2 (a) to (e) of E.O. No. 561. The dispute
between the parties is not critical and explosive in nature, nor does it involve a large
number of parties, nor is there a presence or emergence of social tension or unrest. It
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 46

can also hardly be characterized as involving a critical situation that requires immediate from thereafter challenging its jurisdiction over the subject matter, since such
action. jurisdiction must arise by law and not by mere consent of the parties.[19]

In Regalado v. Go,[20] the Court held that laches should be clearly present for the
Sibonghanoy[21] doctrine to apply, thus:
It is axiomatic that the jurisdiction of a tribunal, including a quasi-judicial officer or
government agency, over the nature and subject matter of a petition or complaint is Laches is defined as the "failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length
determined by the material allegations therein and the character of the relief prayed for, of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done
irrespective of whether the petitioner or complainant is entitled to any or all such earlier, it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable length of time,
reliefs.[10] warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or
declined to assert it.

The ruling in People v. Regalario that was based on the landmark doctrine enunciated
Respondents' cause of action before the COSLAP pertains to their claim of in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy on the matter of jurisdiction by estoppel is the exception rather
ownership over the subject property, which is an action involving title to or possession than the rule. Estoppel by laches may be invoked to bar the issue of lack of jurisdiction
of real property, or any interest therein,[11] the jurisdiction of which is vested with the only in cases in which the factual milieu is analogous to that in the cited case. In such
Regional Trial Courts or the Municipal Trial Courts depending on the assessed value of controversies, laches should have been clearly present; that is, lack of jurisdiction must
the subject property.[12] have been raised so belatedly as to warrant the presumption that the party entitled to
assert it had abandoned or declined to assert it.

In Sibonghanoy, the defense of lack of jurisdiction was raised for the first time in a
The case of Banaga v. Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems,[13] applied motion to dismiss filed by the Surety almost 15 years after the questioned ruling had
by the CA and invoked by the respondents, is inapplicable to the present case. Banaga been rendered. At several stages of the proceedings, in the court a quo as well as in the
involved parties with conflicting free patent applications over a parcel of public land and Court of Appeals, the Surety invoked the jurisdiction of the said courts to obtain
pending with the Bureau of Lands. Because of the Bureau of Land's inaction within a affirmative relief and submitted its case for final adjudication on the merits. It was only
considerable period of time on the claims and protests of the parties and to conduct an when the adverse decision was rendered by the Court of Appeals that it finally woke up
investigation, the COSLAP assumed jurisdiction and resolved the conflicting claims of to raise the question of jurisdiction.[22]
the parties. The Court held that since the dispute involved a parcel of public land on a
free patent issue, the COSLAP had jurisdiction over that case. In the present case, there
is no showing that the parties have conflicting free patent applications over the subject
parcel of land that would justify the exercise of the COSLAP's jurisdiction. The factual settings attendant in Sibonghanoy are not present in the case at bar
that would justify the application of estoppel by laches against the petitioner. Here,
petitioner assailed the jurisdiction of the COSLAP when she appealed the case to the CA
and at that time, no considerable period had yet elapsed for laches to attach. Therefore,
Since the COSLAP has no jurisdiction over the action, all the proceedings therein, petitioner is not estopped from assailing the jurisdiction of the COSLAP. Additionally, no
including the decision rendered, are null and void.[14] A judgment issued by a quasi- laches will even attach because the judgment is null and void for want of
judicial body without jurisdiction is void. It cannot be the source of any right or create jurisdiction.[23]
any obligation.[15] All acts performed pursuant to it and all claims emanating from it
have no legal effect.[16] Having no legal effect, the situation is the same as it would be as Anent the issuance of OCT No. M-10991 in favor of petitioners husband Alfredo
if there was no judgment at all. It leaves the parties in the position they were before the Herrerra in 2002, respondents alleged that there was fraud, misrepresentation and bad
proceedings.[17] faith in the issuance thereof. Thus, respondents are now questioning the legality of OCT
No. M-10991, an issue which this Court cannot pass upon in this present petition. It is a
Respondents allegation that petitioner is estopped from questioning the rule that the validity of a Torrens title cannot be assailed collaterally.[24] Section 48 of
jurisdiction of the COSLAP by reason of laches does not hold water. Petitioner is not Presidential Decree No. 1529 provides that:
estopped from raising the jurisdictional issue, because it may be raised at any stage of
the proceedings, even on appeal, and is not lost by waiver or by estoppel.[18] The fact Certificate not Subject to Collateral Attack. A certificate of title shall not
that a person attempts to invoke unauthorized jurisdiction of a court does not estop him be subject to collateral attack. It cannot be altered, modified, or canceled, except in a
direct proceeding in accordance with law.
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 47

jurisdiction; and (3) the Agreement is void for contravening Article 2035, paragraph 5 of
the Civil Code prohibiting compromise agreements on jurisdiction and dismissed the
The issue of the validity of the Title was brought only during the proceedings case.
before this Court as said title was issued in the name of petitioner's husband only during
the pendency of the appeal before the CA. The issue on the validity of title, i.e., whether
or not it was fraudulently issued, can only be raised in an action expressly instituted for
that purpose[25] and the present appeal before us, is simply not the direct proceeding Issue:
contemplated by law.
WON the trial court has jurisdiction to take cognizance of petitioners suit and enforce
the Agreement on the joint custody of the parties child

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision and the Resolution of the
Court of Appeals, dated April 28, 2005 and October 17, 2005, respectively, in CA-G.R. SP
No. 73674 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Decision and Order of the Commission on Held/ Rationale:
the Settlement of Land Problems, dated December 6, 1999 and August 21, 2002,
respectively, in COSLAP Case No. 99-221, are declared NULL and VOID for having been The trial courts refusal to entertain petitioners suit was grounded not on its lack of
issued without jurisdiction. power to do so but on its thinking that the Illinois courts divorce decree stripped it of
jurisdiction. This conclusion is unfounded. What the Illinois court retained was
jurisdiction x x x for the purpose of enforcing all and sundry the various provisions of
[its] Judgment for Dissolution. Petitioners suit seeks the enforcement not of the
SO ORDERED. various provisions of the divorce decree but of the post-divorce Agreement on joint
child custody. Thus, the action lies beyond the zone of the Illinois courts so-called
retained jurisdiction

HERALD BLACK DACASIN V. SHARON DEL MUNDO DACASIN,

Facts: FEBTC V. SHEMBERG MARKETING CORPORATION

Herald, American, and Sharon, Filipino, weremarried in Manila in April 1994. They have Shemberg Corporations (major stockholders were the members of the Dacay
one daughter, Stephanie, born on September 21, 1995. In June 1999, Sharon sought and family) owned several realties. (9 parcels of land were mentioned in the table
obtained a divorce decree from the Circuit Court, 19th Judicial Circuit, Lake County, provided in the original case).
Illinois (Illinois court). In its ruling, the Illinois court dissolved the marriage of petitioner
and respondent, awarded to respondent sole custody of Stephanie and retained Shemberg loaned from Far East Bank an approximate aggregate amount of
jurisdiction over the case for enforcement purposes. 39M secured by 11 different real properties in varied amounts.

On January 28, 2002, both executed in Manila a contract for joint custody over The mortgage contracts states that upon failure of the mortgagor to pay the
Stephanie. obligations when due, the entire principal, interest, penalties and other
charges shall be immediately demandable and payable WITHOUT need of
In 2004, Herald filed a case against Sharon alleging that Sharon had exercised sole notice/demand. Also, if such happens, FEBTC would have the absolute
custody over Stephanie contrary to their agreement. discretion to foreclose the mortgage extrajudicially pursuant to Act No. 3135.

The trial court held that (1) it is precluded from taking cognizance over the suit Shemberg Corporations issued promissory notes on the principal amounts of
considering the Illinois courts retention of jurisdiction to enforce its divorce decree, the obligations.
including its order awarding sole custody of Stephanie to respondent; (2) the divorce
decree is binding on petitioner following the nationality rule prevailing in this
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 48

However, when the loans that matured, they were unable to pay. FEBTC sought ARRIOLA V. ARRIOLA
to foreclose the properties extrajudicially.
FACTS: John Arriola (respondent) filed a case with the RTC for judicial partition of the
Shemberg Corporations filed with RTC of Mandaue the following: 1) Declatory properties of decedent Fidel Arriola against herein petitioners Vilma and Ronald Arriola.
Releif, 2) Injuction, 3)Damages, 4) Annulment of Promissory notes, documents John is a son of the decedent with the 1st wife; Vilma is the 2nd wife, Ronald her kid
and contracts with FEBTC because FEBTC employees allegedly filled the blanks with the deceased.
in their pre-printed contracts with fraudulent information.
The RTC rendered a decision ordering partition of the subject lot into 1/3 share to each
RTC granted the TRO against the foreclosure of the Shemberg Corporations party. This decision became final in March 4, 2004. However, since the parties failed to
Properties. agree on how to partition the lot, John sought its sale through public auction, which the
court ordered. After the date for the public auction had been scheduled, it had to be
FEBTC alleged that RTC did not have jurisdiction over the case because the reset because the petitioners Vilma and Roland refused to include in the auction sale the
docket fees were not fully paid yet. house standing on the land. Thus, John filed with the RTC an Urgent Manifestation and

ISSUE: W/N the cancellation of mortgage is capable of pecuniary estimation Motion for Contempt of Court praying that petitioners be held in contempt.
NO
RTC denied the motion, ruling that the non-inclusion of the house was justified since the
W/N the RTC acquired jurisdiction of the case for annulment of the mortgage decision of the court earlier shows that nothing was mentioned about the house. Even
YES Johns initiatory complaint never mentioned the house. The court said it could not grant
a relief not alleged and prayed for in the complaint. MR with the RTC also denied.
RATIO: To determine whether the subject matter of an action is incapable of
pecuniary estimation, one must ascertain the NATURE of the principal action In a petition for certiorari with CA, the court granted the petition, reversing and setting
sought: aside the RTC ruling. It ordered the sale of the lot, including the house standing thereon.
Petitioners filed MR with CA, but it was denied, hence the present case.
If the action is primarily for recovery of money, the claim IS considered
capable of pecuniary estimation. Court acquires jurisdiction depending on the
AMT of claim.
Issue: Did the lower court err in taking jurisdiction over the contempt proceeding?
When the right to recover a sum of money, where the money claim is only Yes, it was wrong for it to do so for failure to comply with reqts
incidental or a consequence of the principal relief sought, the action in
INCAPABLE of pecuniary estimation.

Under RA 7691, RTC has sole, exclusive, and original jurisdiction to hear, try Ruling: The contempt proceeding initiated by the John Arriola is one for indirect
and decide all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of contempt. Under Rule 71, it is to be initiated by the court motu propio or by a verified
pecuniary estimation. petition, with supporting particulars and certified true copies of docs/papers involved
and with full compliance with the reqts for filing initiatory pleadings for civil actions.
In this case, the primary action sought is the annulment of the Real Estate The law is clear. The filing of a verified petition that has complied with the reqts for the
Mortgage. THUS, the recovery of the amount of the loans is only incidental. filing of initiatory pleading is mandatory and for failure to do so, the court should
dismiss it outright. Here, John Arriola merely filed an Urgent Manifestation and Motion
The docket fees to be paid are FIXED docket fees because it is not capable of for Contempt. It was not verified, and it failed to conform with the reqts for initiatory
pecuniary estimation. If it a question on validity of the mortgage then it is not pleadings such as submission of certification against non-forum shopping and payment
capable of pecuniary estimation. of docket fees. The RTC clearly erred in taking jurisdiction over the contempt
proceeding. Even if the contempt proceedings stemmed from the main case over which
Simply put, if it is a question on validity of mortgage, it is NOT capable of the court already acquired jurisdiction, the rules direct that the petition for contempt be
pecuniary estimation. treated independently of the principal action. Consequently, the necessary prerequisites
for the filing of initiatory pleadings, such as the filing of a verified petition, attachment of
a certification on non-forum shopping, and the payment of the necessary docket fees,
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 49

must still be faithfully observed. (Before, it was actually allowed that contempt Their disagreement was later brought to the Barangay for conciliation but the parties
proceedings be initiated by mere motion and without compliance with the reqts for failed to reach a compromise, hence the present action.[4]
initiatory pleadings, but since the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, such practice
was no longer countenanced). On July 14, 1993, the MeTC rendered its decision,[5] the dispositive portion of
which reads:
[Substantive part: even if the motion complied with the reqts of the Rules of Court, it
should still fail on substantive grounds since it turned out that the house is a family WHEREFORE, a judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiffs ordering the defendants:
home and despite the death of one or both spouses, it shall continue for a period of 10y
or for as long as there is a minor beneficiary, and the heirs cannot partition it unless 1) To vacate the subject parcels of land and surrender possession thereof upon the
there is a compelling reason. No such reason here.] payment by the plaintiff of one-half of the value of the building constructed by the
lessee. Should the lessor refuse to reimburse the aforesaid amount, the lessee shall have
CA ruling is modified. The house is declared part of the lot, but it is exempted from the option to exercise her right under Article 1678 of the New Civil Code;
partition by public auction until the period provided for in the law.
2) To pay rental arrearages up to July 1, 1992 in the amount of Two Hundred Twenty
Eight Thousand and Forty Four 80/100 Pesos (P228,044.80);

3) To pay, as reasonable compensation for their continued withholding of possession


of the subject lots, the sum of Three Thousand Two Hundred and Twenty One Pesos
(P3,221.00) every month, commencing July 2, 1992 up to such time that they finally
SPS MANILA VS SPS MANZO yield possession thereof to the plaintiffs, subject to an increase of ten percent (10%)
after every two (2) years from said date; and
This resolves the petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure, as amended, assailing the Decision[1] dated February 27, 2004 and 4) To pay plaintiffs attorneys fees in the sum of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00)
Resolution[2] dated May 14, 2004 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 49998
which granted the petition for annulment of judgment filed by the respondents. No pronouncement as to costs.

The controversy stemmed from an action for ejectment[3] filed by the SO ORDERED.[6]
respondents, spouses Ederlinda Gallardo-Manzo and Daniel Manzo, against the
petitioners, spouses Ramon and Eulogia Manila, before the Metropolitan Trial Court Petitioners appealed to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 63 (Civil
(MeTC) of Las Pias City, Branch 79 (Civil Case No. 3537). The facts as summarized by Case No. 93-3733) which reversed the MeTC. The RTC found that petitioners have in
the said court are as follows: fact exercised their option to buy the leased property but the respondents refused to
honor the same. It noted that respondents even informed the petitioners about
On June 30, 1982, Ederlinda Gallardo leased two (2) parcels of land situated along Real foreclosure proceedings on their property, whereupon the petitioners tried to intervene
St., Manuyo, Las Pias, Metro Manila, to Eulogia Manila for a period of ten (10) years at a by tendering rental payments but the respondents advised them to withhold such
monthly rental(s) of P2,000.00 for the first two years, and thereafter an increase of ten payments until the appeal of respondents in the case they filed against the Rural Bank of
(10) percent every after two years. They also agreed that the lessee shall have the Bombon (Camarines Sur), Inc. (Civil Case No. 6062) is resolved. It further noted that
option to buy the property within two (2) years from the date of execution of the respondents intention to sell the lot to petitioners is confirmed by the fact that the
contract of lease at a fair market value of One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pesos former allowed the latter to construct a building of strong materials on the premises.
(P150,000.00) The RTC thus decreed:

The contract of lease expired on July 1, 1992 but the lessee continued in possession of IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered reversing the decision
the property despite a formal demand letter dated August 8, 1992, to vacate the same of the lower court dated July 14, 1993 and ordering as follows:
and pay the rental arrearages. In a letter reply dated August 12, 1992, herein defendant
claimed that no rental fee is due because she allegedly became the owner of the 1) That plaintiffs execute a deed of absolute sale over that parcel of land subject of
property at the time she communicated to the plaintiff her desire to exercise the option the Contract of Lease dated June 30, 1982 after full payment of defendants of the
to buy the said property. purchase price of P150,000.00;

2) That plaintiffs pay the costs of suit.


Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 50

SO ORDERED.[7] It follows that the respondent Regional Trial Court clearly acted without jurisdiction
when it ordered the petitioners to sell their properties to the private respondents. The
Respondents filed a motion for reconsideration on December 23, 1994. In its order to sell can be made only by the respondent court in an action for specific
Order dated March 24, 1995, the RTC denied the motion for having been filed beyond performance under its exclusive original jurisdiction, and not in the exercise of its
the fifteen (15)-day period considering that respondents received a copy of the decision appellate jurisdiction in an appealed ejectment suit, as in this case. Worse, the relief
on December 7, 1994.[8] Consequently, the November 18, 1994 decision of the RTC granted by the same court was not even prayed for by the private respondents in their
became final and executory.[9] Answer and position paper before the MTC, whereat they only asked for the dismissal of
the complaint filed against them.[10] (Emphasis supplied.)
On December 22, 1998, respondents filed a petition for annulment of the RTC
decision in the CA. Respondents assailed the RTC for ordering them to sell their With the denial of their motion for reconsideration, petitioners filed the present
property to petitioners arguing that said courts appellate jurisdiction in ejectment cases petition raising the following issues:
is limited to the determination of who is entitled to the physical possession of real
property and the only judgment it can render in favor of the defendant is to recover his A
costs, which judgment is conclusive only on the issue of possession and does not affect
the ownership of the land. They contended that the sale of real property by one party to WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR IN ANNULLING THE
another may be ordered by the RTC only in a case for specific performance falling under JUDGMENT BY THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MAKATI CITY NOTWITHSTANDING
its original exclusive jurisdiction, not in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction in an THE FINDING THAT THE ORDINARY REMEDIES OF NEW TRIAL, APPEAL, PETITION
ejectment case. Respondents also alleged that the petition for annulment is the only FOR RELIEF OR OTHER APPROPRIATE REMEDIES WERE LOST THROUGH THE FAULT
remedy available to them because the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition OF THE RESPONDENTS
for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault on their
part. B

By Decision dated February 27, 2004, the CA granted the petition, annulled the WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR IN ANNULLING THE
November 18, 1994 RTC decision and reinstated the July 14, 1993 MeTC decision. On JUDGMENT BY THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MAKATI CITY ON THE GROUND OF
the issue of lack of jurisdiction raised by the respondents, the CA ruled as follows: LACK OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT HAS NOT BEEN SHOWN THAT THE REGIONAL
TRIAL COURT OF MAKATI CITY HAD NO JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF THE
It must be stressed that the main action before the Metropolitan Trial Court is one for RESPONDENTS OR THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THE CLAIM[11]
ejectment grounded on the expiration of the parties contract of lease. And said court,
finding that petitioners have a valid right to ask for the ejectment of private The petition is meritorious.
respondents, ordered the latter to vacate the premises and to pay their rentals in
arrears. To Our mind, what the respondent court should have done in the exercise of its A petition for annulment of judgments or final orders of a Regional Trial Court in civil
appellate jurisdiction, was to confine itself to the issue of whether or not petitioners actions can only be availed of where the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition
have a valid cause of action for ejectment against the private respondents. for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the
petitioner.[12] It is a remedy granted only under exceptional circumstances and such
Unfortunately, in the decision herein sought to be annulled, the respondent court went action is never resorted to as a substitute for a partys own neglect in not promptly
further than what is required of it as an appellate court when it ordered the petitioners availing of the ordinary or other appropriate remedies.[13] The only grounds provided
to sell their properties to the private respondents. In a very real sense, the respondent in Sec. 2, Rule 47 are extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction.
court materially changed the nature of petitioners cause of action by deciding the
question of ownership even as the appealed case involves only the issue of prior In this case, respondents alleged that the loss of remedies against the RTC decision was
physical possession which, in every ejectment suit, is the only question to be resolved. attributable to their former counsels late filing of their motion for reconsideration and
As it were, the respondent court converted the issue to one for specific performance failure to file any proper petition to set aside the said decision. They claimed that they
which falls under its original, not appellate jurisdiction. Sad to say, this cannot be done had been constantly following up the status of the case with their counsel, Atty. Jose
by the respondent court in an appealed ejectment case because the essential criterion of Atienza, who repeatedly assured them he was on top of the situation and would even get
appellate jurisdiction is that it revises and corrects the proceedings in a cause already angry if repeatedly asked about the case. Out of their long and close relationship with
instituted and does not create that cause (Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch (U.S.), 137, 172, Atty. Atienza and due regard for his poor health due to his numerous and chronic
2 L. edition 60, cited in 15 Corpus Juris 727). illnesses which required frequent prolonged confinement at the hospital, respondents
likewise desisted from hiring the services of another lawyer to assist Atty. Atienza, until
the latters death on September 10, 1998. Thus, it was only on November 1998 that
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 51

respondents engaged the services of their new counsel who filed the petition for validity of the RTC decision pertains to a relief erroneously granted on appeal, and
annulment of judgment in the CA. beyond the scope of judgment provided in Section 6 (now Section 17) of Rule 70.[18]
While the court in an ejectment case may delve on the issue of ownership or possession
We are not persuaded by respondents asseveration. They could have directly followed de jure solely for the purpose of resolving the issue of possession de facto, it has no
up the status of their case with the RTC especially during the period of Atty. Atienzas jurisdiction to settle with finality the issue of ownership[19] and any pronouncement
hospital confinement. As party litigants, they should have constantly monitored the made by it on the question of ownership is provisional in nature.[20] A judgment in a
progress of their case. Having completely entrusted their case to their former counsel forcible entry or detainer case disposes of no other issue than possession and
and believing his word that everything is alright, they have no one to blame but establishes only who has the right of possession, but by no means constitutes a bar to an
themselves when it turned out that their opportunity to appeal and other remedies from action for determination of who has the right or title of ownership.[21] We have held
the adverse ruling of the RTC could no longer be availed of due to their counsels neglect. that although it was proper for the RTC, on appeal in the ejectment suit, to delve on the
That respondents continued to rely on the services of their counsel notwithstanding his issue of ownership and receive evidence on possession de jure, it cannot adjudicate with
chronic ailments that had him confined for long periods at the hospital is unthinkable. semblance of finality the ownership of the property to either party by ordering the
Such negligence of counsel is binding on the client, especially when the latter offered no cancellation of the TCT.[22]
plausible explanation for his own inaction. The Court has held that when a party retains
the services of a lawyer, he is bound by his counsels actions and decisions regarding the In this case, the RTC acted in excess of its jurisdiction in deciding the appeal of
conduct of the case. This is true especially where he does not complain against the respondents when, instead of simply dismissing the complaint and awarding any
manner his counsel handles the suit.[14] The oft-repeated principle is that an action for counterclaim for costs due to the defendants (petitioners), it ordered the respondents-
annulment of judgment cannot and is not a substitute for the lost remedy of appeal.[15] lessors to execute a deed of absolute sale in favor of the petitioners-lessees, on the basis
of its own interpretation of the Contract of Lease which granted petitioners the option to
In any event, the petition for annulment was based not on fraudulent assurances or buy the leased premises within a certain period (two years from date of execution) and
negligent acts of their counsel, but on lack of jurisdiction. for a fixed price (P150,000.00).[23] This cannot be done in an ejectment case where the
only issue for resolution is who between the parties is entitled to the physical
Petitioners assail the CA in holding that the RTC decision is void because it granted a possession of the property.
relief inconsistent with the nature of an ejectment suit and not even prayed for by the
respondents in their answer. They contend that whatever maybe questionable in the Such erroneous grant of relief to the defendants on appeal, however, is but an exercise
decision is a ground for assignment of errors on appeal or in certain cases, as ground of jurisdiction by the RTC. Jurisdiction is not the same as the exercise of jurisdiction. As
for a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 and not as ground for its distinguished from the exercise of jurisdiction, jurisdiction is the authority to decide a
annulment. On the other hand, respondents assert that the CA, being a higher court, has cause, and not the decision rendered therein.[24] The ground for annulment of the
the power to adopt, reverse or modify the findings of the RTC in this case. They point decision is absence of, or no, jurisdiction; that is, the court should not have taken
out that the CA in the exercise of its sound discretion found the RTCs findings cognizance of the petition because the law does not vest it with jurisdiction over the
unsupported by the evidence on record which also indicated that the loss of ordinary subject matter.[25]
remedies of appeal, new trial and petition for review was not due to the fault of the
respondents. Thus, while respondents assailed the content of the RTC decision, they failed to show
that the RTC did not have the authority to decide the case on appeal. As we held in
We agree with the petitioners. Ybaez v. Court of Appeals:[26]

Lack of jurisdiction as a ground for annulment of judgment refers to either lack of On the first issue, we feel that respondent court acted inadvertently when it set aside the
jurisdiction over the person of the defending party or over the subject matter of the RTC ruling relative to the validity of the substituted service of summons over the
claim.[16] In a petition for annulment of judgment based on lack of jurisdiction, persons of the petitioners in the MTC level. We must not lose sight of the fact that what
petitioner must show not merely an abuse of jurisdictional discretion but an absolute was filed before respondent court is an action to annul the RTC judgment and not a
lack of jurisdiction. Lack of jurisdiction means absence of or no jurisdiction, that is, the petition for review. Annulment of judgment may either be based on the ground that a
court should not have taken cognizance of the petition because the law does not vest it judgment is void for want of jurisdiction or that the judgment was obtained by extrinsic
with jurisdiction over the subject matter. Jurisdiction over the nature of the action or fraud. There is nothing in the records that could cogently show that the RTC lacked
subject matter is conferred by law.[17] jurisdiction. Chiefly, Section 22 of B.P. Blg. 129, otherwise known as the Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980, vests upon the RTC the exercise of an appellate jurisdiction
There is no dispute that the RTC is vested with appellate jurisdiction over ejectment over all cases decided by the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and
cases decided by the MeTC, MTC or MCTC. We note that petitioners attack on the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in their respective territorial jurisdictions. Clearly then,
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 52

when the RTC took cognizance of petitioners appeal from the adverse decision of the FACTS: On April 28, 2005, petitioner Edna Diago Lhuillier filed a Complaint for damages
MTC in the ejectment suit, it (RTC) was unquestionably exercising its appellate against respondent British Airways before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City.
jurisdiction as mandated by law. Perforce, its decision may not be annulled on the basis The tortuous conduct by the flight attendants of said Airways, which prompted
of lack of jurisdiction as it has, beyond cavil, jurisdiction to decide the appeal.[27] petitioner to file a case for damages, allegedly transpired when petitioner boarded
(Emphasis supplied.) respondents flight 548 from London, United Kingdom to Rome, Italy. On May 30, 2005,
respondent, by way of special appearance through counsel, filed a Motion to Dismiss on
The CA therefore erred in annulling the November 18, 1994 RTC decision on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction over the case and over the person of the respondent.
ground of lack of jurisdiction as said court had jurisdiction to take cognizance of Respondent alleged that only the courts of London, United Kingdom or Rome, Italy, have
petitioners appeal. jurisdiction over the complaint for damages pursuant to the Warsaw Convention, Article
28(1) of which provides:
On the timeliness of the petition for annulment of judgment filed with the CA, Section 3,
Rule 47 of the Rules of Court provides that a petition for annulment of judgment based An action for damages must be brought at the option of the plaintiff, either before the
on extrinsic fraud must be filed within four years from its discovery; and if based on lack court of domicile of the carrier or his principal place of business, or where he has a place
of jurisdiction, before it is barred by laches or estoppel. The principle of laches or stale of business through which the contract has been made, or before the court of the place
demands ordains that the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained of destination.
length of time, to do that which by exercising due diligence could or should have been
done earliernegligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, ISSUE: Whether or not Philippines, a signatory to the Warsaw Convention, should
warrants a presumption that the party entitled to assert it has abandoned it or declined adhere to the provision of the Warsaw Convention in the determination of its
to assert it.[28] There is no absolute rule as to what constitutes laches or staleness of jurisdiction with respect to a case for damages involving a tortuous conduct committed
demand; each case is to be determined according to its particular circumstances.[29] by an airline personnel while in an international carrier against a Filipino citizen.

Here, respondents failure to assail the RTC ruling in a petition for review or certiorari HELD: Yes. It is settled that the Warsaw Convention has the force and effect of law in
before the CA, rendered the same final and executory. Having lost these remedies due to this country.
their lethargy for three and a half years, they cannot now be permitted to assail anew
the said ruling rendered by the RTC in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. Their In Santos III v. Northwest Orient Airlines, 210 SCRA 256 (1992), we held that: The
inaction and neglect to pursue available remedies to set aside the RTC decision for such Republic of the Philippines is a party to the Convention for the Unification of Certain
length of time, without any acceptable explanation other than the word of a former Rules Relating to International Transportation by Air, otherwise known as the Warsaw
counsel who already passed away, constitutes unreasonable delay warranting the Convention. It took effect on February 13, 1933. The Convention was concurred in by
presumption that they have declined to assert their right over the leased premises the Senate, through its Resolution No. 19, on May 16, 1950. The Philippine instrument of
which continued to be in the possession of the petitioners. Clearly, respondents petition accession was signed by President Elpidio Quirino on October 13, 1950, and was
to annul the final RTC decision is barred under the equitable doctrine of laches. deposited with the Polish government on November 9, 1950. The Convention became
applicable to the Philippines on February 9, 1951. On September 23, 1955, President
WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. The Decision dated Ramon Magsaysay issued Proclamation No. 201, declaring our formal adherence
February 27, 2004 and Resolution dated May 14, 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. thereto, to the end that the same and every article and clause thereof may be observed
SP No. 49998 are SET ASIDE. The petition for annulment of judgment filed by herein and fulfilled in good faith by the Republic of the Philippines and the citizens thereof.
respondents is DISMISSED.
The Convention is thus a treaty commitment voluntarily assumed by the Philippine
government and, as such, has the force and effect of law in this country.

EDNA DIAGO LHUILLIER V. BRITISH AIRWAYS

EDNA DIAGO LHUILLIER, PETITIONER, VS. BRITISH AIRWAYS, RESPONDENT. G.R. No. 171092, March 15, 2010, SECOND DIVISION (Del Castillo, J.)

G.R. No. 171092. March 15, 2010.

Where the matter is governed by the Warsaw Convention, jurisdiction takes on a


dual concept. Jurisdiction in the international sense must be established in accordance
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 53

with Article 28(1) of the Warsaw Convention, following which the jurisdiction of a gratuitous carriage by aircraft performed by an air transport
particular court must be established pursuant to the applicable domestic law. Only after undertaking.
the question of which court has jurisdiction is determined will the issue of venue be taken
up. This second question shall be governed by the law of the court to which the case is Thus, when the place of departure and the place of destination in a contract of
submitted. carriage are situated within the territories of two High Contracting Parties, said carriage
is deemed an "international carriage". The High Contracting Parties referred to herein
Edna Diago Lhuillier took British Airway flight 548 from London to Rome. were the signatories to the Warsaw Convention and those which subsequently adhered
Once on board, she requested Julian Halliday, one of its flight attendants, to assist her in to it.
placing her hand-carried luggage in the overhead bin. Halliday allegedly refused to help
and assist her, and even sarcastically remarked that "If I were to help all 300 passengers In the case at bench, petitioners place of departure was London, United
in this flight, I would have a broken back!". Edna further alleged that when the plane was Kingdom while her place of destination was Rome, Italy. Both the United Kingdom and
about to land in Rome, another flight attendant, Nickolas Kerrigan (Kerrigan), singled Italy signed and ratified the Warsaw Convention. As such, the transport of the petitioner
her out from among all the passengers in the business class section to lecture on plane is deemed to be an "international carriage" within the contemplation of the Warsaw
safety. Upon arrival in Rome, petitioner complained to British Airwayss ground Convention. Since the Warsaw Convention applies in the instant case, then the
manager and demanded an apology. However, the latter declared that the flight jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action is governed by the provisions of the
stewards were "only doing their job." Warsaw Convention.

Edna then filed a complaint against British Airways before the Regional Trial Under Article 28(1) of the Warsaw Convention, the plaintiff may bring the
Court (RTC) of Makati City. Summons, together with a copy of the complaint, was served action for damages before
on British Airways through Violeta Echevarria, General Manager of Euro-Philippine
Airline Services, Inc. British Airways filed a Motion to Dismiss on grounds of lack of 1. the court where the carrier is domiciled;
jurisdiction over the case and over the person of the respondent. It alleged that only the
courts of London, United Kingdom or Rome, Italy, have jurisdiction over the complaint 2. the court where the carrier has its principal place of business;
for damages pursuant to the Warsaw Convention, Article 28(1). The RTC of Makati City
granted the Motion to Dismiss. Edna filed a Motion for Reconsideration but the motion 3. the court where the carrier has an establishment by which the contract has
was denied. Hence, this petition. been made; or

ISSUES: 4. the court of the place of destination.

Whether Philippine Courts have jurisdiction over a tortious conduct


committed against a Filipino citizen and resident by airline personnel of a foreign
carrier travelling beyond the territorial limit of any foreign country In this case, it is not disputed that respondent is a British corporation
domiciled in London, United Kingdom with London as its principal place of business.
HELD: Hence, under the first and second jurisdictional rules, the petitioner may bring her case
before the courts of London in the United Kingdom. In the passenger ticket and baggage
Petition DENIED. check presented by both the petitioner and respondent, it appears that the ticket was
issued in Rome, Italy. Consequently, under the third jurisdictional rule, the petitioner
It is settled that the Warsaw Convention has the force and effect of law in this has the option to bring her case before the courts of Rome in Italy. Finally, both the
country. xxx The Convention is thus a treaty commitment voluntarily assumed by the petitioner and respondent aver that the place of destination is Rome, Italy, which is
Philippine government and, as such, has the force and effect of law in this country. The properly designated given the routing presented in the said passenger ticket and
Warsaw Convention applies because the air travel, where the alleged tortious conduct baggage check. Accordingly, petitioner may bring her action before the courts of Rome,
occurred, was between the United Kingdom and Italy, which are both signatories to the Italy. The Court finds that the RTC of Makati correctly ruled that it does not have
Warsaw Convention. jurisdiction over the case filed by the petitioner.

Article 1 of the Warsaw Convention provides: The Court further held that Article 28(1) of the Warsaw Convention is
jurisdictional in character:
1. This Convention applies to all international carriage of persons,
luggage or goods performed by aircraft for reward. It applies equally to
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 54

A number of reasons tends to support the characterization of Article Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of
28(1) as a jurisdiction and not a venue provision. First, the wording of Civil Procedure, as amended, assailing the July 13, 2009 Decision1 and September 14,
Article 32, which indicates the places where the action for damages 2009 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 105898. The appellate
"must" be brought, underscores the mandatory nature of Article 28(1). court affirmed the Decision3 of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board
Second, this characterization is consistent with one of the objectives of (DARAB) upholding the validity of the Deed of Voluntary Land Transfer and Original
the Convention, which is to "regulate in a uniform manner the Certificate of Title (OCT) No. CLOA-623 issued in favor of respondent Marissa Nisperos-
conditions of international transportation by air." Third, the Ducusin.
Convention does not contain any provision prescribing rules of
jurisdiction other than Article 28(1), which means that the phrase
"rules as to jurisdiction" used in Article 32 must refer only to Article
28(1). In fact, the last sentence of Article 32 specifically deals with the The instant case stemmed from a complaint4 filed by petitioners with the DARAB
exclusive enumeration in Article 28(1) as "jurisdictions," which, as alleging the following antecedents:
such, cannot be left to the will of the parties regardless of the time
when the damage occurred.

xxxx The 15,837-square-meter parcel of land subject of the instant case is part of the 58,350-
square-meter agricultural land in Pao Sur, San Fernando City, La Union acquired by
Santiago Nisperos, the predecessor of petitioners, during his lifetime. He declared said
property for taxation purposes starting December 1947.5
In other words, where the matter is governed by the Warsaw Convention,
jurisdiction takes on a dual concept. Jurisdiction in the international sense must be
established in accordance with Article 28(1) of the Warsaw Convention, following which
the jurisdiction of a particular court must be established pursuant to the applicable When Santiago and his wife Estefania died, they were survived by their nine children:
domestic law. Only after the question of which court has jurisdiction is determined will Tranquilino, Felix, Olling, Maria, Lenardo, Millan, Fausto, Candido and Cipriana. The
the issue of venue be taken up. This second question shall be governed by the law of the heirs of Santiago, petitioners herein, claim that the subject property was occupied,
court to which the case is submitted. controlled and tilled by all nine children of Santiago. They paid taxes for it and even
hired farm workers under Maria and Ciprianas supervision for the cultivation of the
Tortious conduct as ground for the Lhuillers complaint is within the purview same. For taxation purposes, however, it was initially declared only under the name of
of the Warsaw Convention. It is thus settled that allegations of tortious conduct Maria.6 Starting 1988, it was declared under the names of Maria and Cipriana.7
committed against an airline passenger during the course of the international carriage
do not bring the case outside the ambit of the Warsaw Convention. British Airways, in
seeking remedies from the trial court through special appearance of counsel, is not
deemed to have voluntarily submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the trial court. xxx In During the time when Maria and Cipriana were overseeing the property, Maria took
refuting the contention of petitioner, respondent cited La Naval Drug Corporation v. respondent Marissa Nisperos-Ducusin, a daughter of their cousin Purita, as her ward
Court of Appeals where the Court held that even if a party "challenges the jurisdiction of and raised her like her own child.
the court over his person, as by reason of absence or defective service of summons, and
he also invokes other grounds for the dismissal of the action under Rule 16, he is not
deemed to be in estoppel or to have waived his objection to the jurisdiction over his
person." On February 12, 1988, Maria and Cipriana, acting as representatives of their other
siblings, executed a Deed of Donation Mortis Causa8 in favor of petitioners over the
58,350-square-meter property and another 46,000-square-meter property.

NISPEROS VS NISPEROS-DUCUSIN
On April 28, 1992, a Deed of Voluntary Land Transfer9 (VLT) over the subject property
was executed between Maria and Cipriana as landowners, and respondent, who was
then only 17 years old, as farmer-beneficiary. The instrument was signed by the three in
the presence of witnesses Anita, Lucia and Marcelina Gascon and Municipal Agrarian
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 55

Reform Officer Susimo Asuncion. The same was notarized by Notary Public Atty. In an Order15 dated April 17, 2002, the DARAB Regional Adjudicator denied
Roberto E. Caoayan. respondents Motion to Dismiss and ordered her to file her answer to the complaint.

On June 24, 1992, Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) No. 000212245390210 In respondents Answer with Counterclaim16 dated July 7, 2002, respondent alleged
was issued to respondent by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) over the subject that Maria and Cipriana acquired the property from Santiago and possessed the same
property. By virtue of said CLOA, OCT No. CLOA-62311 was issued to respondent a openly, continuously, exclusively and publicly; thus, the consent of petitioners is not
month later, or on July 24, 1992. necessary to the VLT. She denied the allegations of fraud and falsification, and insisted
that she is a bona fide beneficiary as she has been tilling the land with her parents even
before 1992. She added that her minority does not disqualify her from availing the
benefits of agrarian reform.
Alleging fraud on the part of respondent which petitioners claim to have discovered only
in August 2001, petitioners filed a complaint on September 6, 2001 with the Municipal
Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) of San Fernando City, La Union. Unfortunately, no
settlement between petitioners and respondent was reached prompting the MARO to On October 16, 2002, DARAB Regional Adjudicator Rodolfo A. Caddarao rendered a
issue a Certificate to File Action.12 Decision17 annulling the VLT and OCT/CLOA in respondents name. The fallo of the said
decision reads:

On January 23, 2002, petitioners filed with the DARAB a complaint for annulment of
documents and damages against respondent. Petitioners contended that the transfer of WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
ownership over the subject land was made without the consent of the heirs of Santiago
and that respondent took advantage of Marias senility and made it appear that Maria
and Cipriana sold said property by virtue of the VLT. They further alleged that said
document was falsified by respondent because Maria could not anymore sign but could 1. Declaring Deed of Voluntary [L]and Transfer dated April 28, 1992 executed by Maria
only affix her thumbmark as she did in a 1988 Deed of Donation. To support their Nisperos in favor of Marissa Nisperos annulled or cancelled and without force and effect
complaint, they attached a Joint Affidavit of Denial13 by Anita and Lucia Gascon the for having been executed not in accordance with agrarian laws;
supposed instrumental witnesses to the VLT. In said affidavit, Anita and Lucia claimed
that the signatures appearing therein are not theirs as they never affixed their
signatures on said document. They further stated that they were never aware of said
document. 2. Declaring OCT No. 00021224 in the name of Marissa D. Nisperos annulled or cancelled
on the ground of material misrepresentation of the alleged agrarian reform beneficiary.

Petitioners likewise asseverated in their complaint that respondent committed fraud


because she was not a bona fide beneficiary as she was not engaged in farming since she 3. Directing the Register of Deeds of La Union to cause the cancellation of the
was still a minor at that time and that she could not validly enter into a contract with aforementioned title;
Maria and Cipriana.

4. Directing the concerned Assessors Office to reinstate the tax declaration of said
On March 6, 2002, respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss14 petitioners complaint. She landholding in the name of Maria and Cipriana Nisperos;
argued that the action for annulment of the VLT and the OCT/CLOA and the claim for
damages have already prescribed.
5. Directing the parties to refer this problem with the court so that the issue of
ownership of the landholding could be finally resolved; and
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 56

1. DECLARING the VLT executed on April 28, 1992, between respondent-appellant


Marissa Nisperos-Ducusin and Maria and Cipriana Nisperos as valid and regular;
6. Dismissing the other ancillary claims and counterclaims for lack of merit and
evidence.

2. DECLARING the validity of the Original Certificate of Title (OCT) CLOA No. 623 issued
in the name of respondent-appellant Marissa Nisperos-Ducusin covering 15,837 square
SO ORDERED.18 meter portion of the disputed lot; and

The Regional Adjudicator noted that the land supposedly owned by Maria and Cipriana 3. MAINTAINING respondent-appellant Marissa Nisperos-Ducusin in peaceful
(which includes the 15,837-square-meter subject property) has a total area of 58,350 possession and cultivation of the subject lot.
square meters. Considering that there are two owners, he ruled that the individual share
of each would be less than five hectares each and well within the retention limit.

No costs.

The Regional Adjudicator also held there was reason to believe that Maria and
Ciprianas names were stated in the tax declaration for purposes of taxation only as no
evidence was presented that they lawfully acquired the property from their parents. It SO ORDERED.20
was also ruled that the issuance of the title in respondents name was not in accordance
with agrarian laws because she cannot be considered as a tenant but more of an heir of
the transferors.
The DARAB dismissed petitioners claim of fraud since the VLT was executed in the
presence of DAR-MARO Susimo Asuncion, signed by three instrumental witnesses and
notarized by Atty. Roberto E. Caoayan of the DAR. It likewise held that the records are
Respondent contested the Regional Adjudicators decision before the DARAB alleging bereft of any indication that fraud was employed in the transfer, and mere conjectures
that the Regional Adjudicator committed grave abuse of discretion. Respondent that fraud might have been exerted just because Maria was already of advanced age
contended that the complaint should not have been given due course since other while respondent was her care giver or ward is not evidence. The DARAB also did not
parties-in-interest such as Maria, the Register of Deeds of La Union and duly authorized give credence to the Affidavit of Denial by the instrumental witnesses since the
representatives of the DAR were not impleaded and prescription had already set in statements there are mere hearsay because the affiants were not cross-examined.
insofar as the contestability of the CLOA is concerned. She likewise argued that being a
farmer or a tenant is not a primordial requisite to become an agrarian reform
beneficiary. She added that the Regional Adjudicator went beyond the scope of his
authority by directing the parties to litigate the issue of ownership before the court. The DARAB likewise ruled that the fact that respondent was a minor at the time of the
execution of the VLT does not void the VLT as this is the reason why there is an active
government involvement in the VLT: so that even if the transferee is a minor, her rights
shall be protected by law. It also held that petitioners cannot assert their rights by virtue
On September 16, 2008, the DARAB rendered a Decision19 reversing the decision of the of the Deed of Donation Mortis Causa allegedly executed by Maria and Cipriana in their
Regional Adjudicator and upholding the validity of the VLT and respondents title. The favor since before the operative condition (the death of the donors) was fulfilled, the
decretal portion reads: donation was revoked by virtue of the VLT. The DARAB further ruled that when OCT No.
CLOA-623 was issued in respondents name, she acquired absolute ownership of the
landholding. Thus her right thereto has become fixed and established and is no longer
open to doubt or controversy.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, a new judgment is hereby rendered:
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 57

Aggrieved, petitioners elevated the case to the CA via a petition for review21 where they
raised the following issues: (1) whether the subject property is covered by the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP); (2) whether the VLT is valid having SECTION 1. Primary and Exclusive Original and Appellate Jurisdiction. The Board shall
been issued through misrepresentation and fraud; and (3) whether the action for have primary and exclusive jurisdiction, both original and appellate, to determine and
annulment had already prescribed. adjudicate all agrarian disputes involving the implementation of the Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) under Republic Act No. 6657, Executive Order Nos.
228, 229 and 129-A, Republic Act No. 3844 as amended by Republic Act No. 6389,
Presidential Decree No. 27 and other agrarian laws and their implementing rules and
On July 13, 2009, the appellate court rendered the assailed decision dismissing the regulations. Specifically, such jurisdiction shall include but not be limited to cases
petition for review and upholding the DARAB decision. It ruled that the Regional involving the following:
Adjudicator acted with grave abuse of discretion when it held that the subject property
was no longer covered by our agrarian laws because of the retention rights of xxxx
petitioners. The CA held that retention rights, exclusion of a property from CARP
coverage and the qualification and disqualification of agrarian reform beneficiaries are f) Those involving the issuance, correction and cancellation of Certificates of Land
issues not cognizable by the Regional Adjudicator and the DARAB but by the DAR Ownership Award (CLOAs) and Emancipation Patents (EPs) which are registered with
Secretary. The appellate court nevertheless held that petitioners failed to discharge the Land Registration Authority;
their burden of proving that fraud attended the execution of the VLT. It also agreed with
the DARAB that considering a certificate of title was already issued in favor of xxxx
respondent, the same became indefeasible and incontrovertible by the time petitioners
instituted the case in January 2002, and thus may no longer be judicially reviewed. However, it is not enough that the controversy involves the cancellation of a CLOA
registered with the Land Registration Authority for the DARAB to have jurisdiction.
What is of primordial consideration is the existence of an agrarian dispute between the
parties.23
Hence this petition before this Court raising the issues of whether the appellate court
erred in: Section 3(d) of R.A. No. 6657 defines an agrarian dispute as "any controversy relating to
tenurial arrangements, whether leasehold, tenancy, stewardship or otherwise, over
I lands devoted to agriculture, including disputes concerning farmworkers associations
or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to
x x x DECLARING THAT THE PARAB HAS NO JURISDICTION TO RULE THAT THE arrange terms or conditions of such tenurial arrangements" and includes "any
SUBJECT PIECE OF LAND WAS NO LONGER COVERED BY AGRARIAN LAWS. controversy relating to compensation of lands acquired under this Act and other terms
and conditions of transfer of ownership from landowners to farmworkers, tenants and
II other agrarian reform beneficiaries, whether the disputants stand in the proximate
relation of farm operator and beneficiary, landowner and tenant, or lessor and lessee."
x x x AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE DARAB DESPITE CLEAR AND CONVINCING
EVIDENCE REGARDING THE EXISTENCE OF FRAUD. Thus, in Morta, Sr. v. Occidental,24 this Court held that there must be a tenancy
relationship between the parties for the DARAB to have jurisdiction over a case. It is
III essential to establish all of the following indispensable elements, to wit: (1) that the
parties are the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee; (2) that the subject
x x x RULING THAT THE CERTIFICATES OF TITLE ISSUED IN THE NAME OF THE matter of the relationship is an agricultural land; (3) that there is consent between the
RESPONDENT IS INDEFEASIBLE.22 parties to the relationship; (4) that the purpose of the relationship is to bring about
agricultural production; (5) that there is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or
We set aside the assailed Decision and Resolution. agricultural lessee; and (6) that the harvest is shared between the landowner and the
tenant or agricultural lessee.25
The complaint should have been lodged with the Office of the DAR Secretary and not
with the DARAB. In the instant case, petitioners, as supposed owners of the subject property, did not
allege in their complaint that a tenancy relationship exists between them and
Section 1, Rule II of the 1994 DARAB Rules of Procedure, the rule in force at the time of respondent. In fact, in their complaint, they described respondent as a "ward" of one of
the filing of the complaint by petitioners in 2001, provides:
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 58

the co-owners, Maria, who is "not a bona fide beneficiary, she being not engaged in on its merits. The doctrine of primary jurisdiction does not allow a court to arrogate
farming because she was still a minor" at the time the VLT was executed.26 unto itself authority to resolve a controversy, the jurisdiction over which is initially
lodged with an administrative body of special competence.29 To assume the power is to
It is axiomatic that the jurisdiction of a tribunal, including a quasi-judicial officer or short-circuit the administrative process, which has yet to run its regular course. The
government agency, over the nature and subject matter of a petition or complaint is DAR must be given a chance to correct its administrative and procedural lapses in the
determined by the material allegations therein and the character of the relief prayed for, issuance of the CLOA.30 Moreover, it is in a better position to resolve the particular
irrespective of whether the petitioner or complainant is entitled to any or all such issue at hand, being the agency possessing the required expertise on the matter and
reliefs. Jurisdiction over the nature and subject matter of an action is conferred by the authority to hear the same.
Constitution and the law, and not by the consent or waiver of the parties where the
court otherwise would have no jurisdiction over the nature or subject matter of the WHEREFORE, the July 13, 2009 Decision and September 14, 2009 Resolution of the
action. Nor can it be acquired through, or waived by, any act or omission of the parties. Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 105898 are SET ASIDE. The complaint is REFERRED
Moreover, estoppel does not apply to confer jurisdiction to a tribunal that has none over to the Office of the Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary for appropriate action.
the cause of action. The failure of the parties to challenge the jurisdiction of the DARAB
does not prevent the court from addressing the issue, especially where the DARABs lack No pronouncement as to costs.
of jurisdiction is apparent on the face of the complaint or petition.27

Considering that the allegations in the complaint negate the existence of an agrarian DY VS. BIBAT-PALAMOS
dispute among the parties, the DARAB is bereft of jurisdiction to take cognizance of the
same as it is the DAR Secretary who has authority to resolve the dispute raised by This petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure
petitioners. As held in Heirs of Julian dela Cruz v. Heirs of Alberto Cruz: questions the December 13, 2010 and March 7, 2011Orders1 of the Regional Trial Court
of Makati, Branch 64 (RTC), in Civil Case No. 92-2311, granting the motion for execution
The Court agrees with the petitioners contention that, under Section 2(f), Rule II of the of petitioner, but denying his prayer for the return of his cargo vessel in the condition
DARAB Rules of Procedure, the DARAB has jurisdiction over cases involving the when the possession thereof was seized from him.
issuance, correction and cancellation of CLOAs which were registered with the LRA.
However, for the DARAB to have jurisdiction in such cases, they must relate to an
The Facts
agrarian dispute between landowner and tenants to whom CLOAs have been issued by
the DAR Secretary. The cases involving the issuance, correction and cancellation of the
CLOAs by the DAR in the administrative implementation of agrarian reform laws, rules The present controversy finds its roots in the Courts decision in Orix Metro Leasing and
and regulations to parties who are not agricultural tenants or lessees are within the Finance Corporation v. M/V "Pilar-I" and Spouses Ernesto Dy and Lourdes Dy2 involving
jurisdiction of the DAR and not of the DARAB.28 (Emphasis supplied.) the same parties. The facts, as culled from the Courts decision in the said case and the
records, are not disputed by the parties.
What the P ARAD should have done is to refer the complaint to the proper office as
mandated by Section 4 of DAR Administrative Order No. 6, Series of 2000: Petitioner Ernesto Dy (petitioner) and his wife, Lourdes Dy (Lourdes), were the
proprietors of Limchia Enterprises which was engaged in the shipping business. In
SEC. 4. Referral of Cases.- If a case covered by Section 2 herein is filed before the DARAB, 1990, Limchia Enterprises, with Lourdes as co-maker, obtained a loan from Orix Metro
the concerned DARAB official shall refer the case to the proper DAR office for Leasing and Finance Corporation (respondent) to fund its acquisition of M/V Pilar-I, a
appropriate action within five (5) days after said case is determined to be within the cargo vessel. As additional security for the loan, Limchia Enterprises executed the Deed
jurisdiction of the Secretary. of Chattel Mortgage over M/V Pilar-I.3
Likewise, if a case covered by Section 3 herein is filed before any office other than the
DARAB, the concerned DAR official shall refer the case to the DARAB for resolution Due to financial losses suffered when M/V Pilar-I was attacked by pirates, Spouses Dy
within the same period provided herein. failed to make the scheduled payments as required in their promissory note. After
receiving several demand letters from respondent, Spouses Dy applied for the
While it is true that the PARAD and the DARAB (which was upheld by the CA) restructuring of their loan. Meanwhile, Lourdes issued several checks to cover the
thoroughly discussed in their respective decisions the issues pertaining to the validity of remainder of their loan but the same were dishonored by the bank, prompting
the VLT and the OCT/CLOA issued to respondent, the fact that they are bereft of respondent to institute a criminal complaint for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law.
jurisdiction to resolve the same prevents this Court from resolving the instant petition Lourdes appealed to respondent with a new proposal to update their outstanding loan
obligations.4
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 59

On August 18, 1992, respondent filed the Complaint and Petition for Extrajudicial and immutable rendered whatever right they may have to remedy the situation to be
Foreclosure of Preferred Ship Mortgage under Presidential Decree No. 1521 with Urgent nugatory. [Underlining supplied]
Prayer for Attachment with the RTC. Following the filing of an affidavit of merit and the
posting of bond by respondent, the RTC ordered the seizure of M/V Pilar-I and turned Petitioner moved for reconsideration but the motion was denied by the RTC in its March
over its possession to respondent. On September 28, 1994, respondent transferred all of 7, 2011 Order.12
its rights, title to and interests, as mortgagee, in M/V Pilar-I to Colorado Shipyard
Corporation (Colorado).5
Hence, this petition.
On July 31, 1997, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of Spouses Dy, ruling that they
had not yet defaulted on their loan because respondent agreed to a restructured The Issues
schedule of payment. There being no default, the foreclosure of the chattel mortgage on
M/V Pilar-I was premature. The RTC ordered that the vessel be returned to Spouses Petitioner raises the following issues in its Memorandum:
Dy.6 This was affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA), with the modification that Spouses
Dy be ordered to reimburse the respondent for repair and dry docking expenses while 1. Whether or not the rule on hierarchy of courts is applicable to the instant
the vessel was in the latters possession.7 On appeal, the Court promulgated its Decision, petition?
dated September 11, 2009, upholding the findings of the CA but deleting the order
requiring Spouses Dy to reimburse respondent.8
2. Whether or not the honorable trial court gravely abused its discretion,
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, in finding that petitioner is not
Consequently, on August 17, 2010, petitioner filed a motion for execution of judgment entitled to the return of M/VPilar-1 in the condition that it had when it was
with the RTC. In the intervening period, Colorado filed its Manifestation/Motion, dated wrongfully seized by Orix Metro, or in the alternative, to a vessel of similar
July 29, 2010, informing the RTC that M/V Pilar-I, which was in its possession, had tonnage, length, beam, and other particulars as M/VPilar-1;
sustained severe damage and deterioration and had sunk in its shipyard because of its
exposure to the elements. For this reason, it sought permission from the court to cut the
sunken vessel into pieces, sell its parts and deposit the proceeds in escrow.9 In his 3. Whether or not petitioner is estopped from asking for the return of the
Comment/Objection, petitioner insisted that he had the right to require that the vessel vessel in the condition it had at the time it was seized?
be returned to him in the same condition that it had been at the time it was wrongfully
seized by respondent or, should it no longer be possible, that another vessel of the same 4. Whether or not it was petitioners duty to look out for the vessels
tonnage, length and beam similar to that of M/V Pilar-I be delivered.10 Colorado, condition?13
however, responded that the vessel had suffered severe damage and deterioration that
refloating or restoring it to its former condition would be futile, impossible and very To be succinct, only two central issues need to be resolved: (1) whether petitioner was
costly; and should petitioner persist in his demand that the ship be refloated, it should justified in resorting directly to this Court via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65; and
be done at the expense of the party adjudged by the court to pay the same. 11 (2) whether petitioner is entitled to the return of M/V Pilar-I in the same condition
when it was seized by respondent.
The RTC issued its questioned December 13, 2010 Order granting the motion for
execution but denying petitioners prayer for the return of M/V Pilar-I in the same state The Courts Ruling
in which it was taken by respondent. In so resolving, the RTC ratiocinated:
The Court finds the petition to be partly meritorious.
First, the judgment of the Supreme Court does not require the delivery of M/V Pilar in
the state the defendants wanted it to be. Secondly, said judgment has now become final
and it is axiomatic that after judgment has become executory, the court cannot amend Hierarchy of Courts; Direct Resort To The Supreme Court Justified
the same, except: x x x None of the three circumstances where a final and executory
judgment may be amended is present in this case. And third, the present deplorable Petitioner argues that his situation calls for the direct invocation of this Courts
state of M/V Pilar certainly did not happen overnight, thus, defendants should have jurisdiction in the interest of justice. Moreover, as pointed out by the RTC, what is
brought it to the attention of this Court, the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court after involved is a judgment of the Court which the lower courts cannot modify. Hence,
it became apparent. Their inaction until after the judgment has become final, executory petitioner deemed it proper to bring this case immediately to the attention of this Court.
Lastly, petitioner claims that the present case involves a novel issue of law that is,
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 60

whether in an action to recover, a defendant in wrongful possession of the subject the ship at the time it was taken from petitioner, and not a special civil action for
matter in litigation may be allowed to return the same in a deteriorated condition certiorari.20
without any liability.14
There are considerable differences between an ordinary appeal and a petition for
Respondent, on the other hand, contends that the petition should have been filed with certiorari which have been exhaustively discussed by this Court in countless cases. The
the CA, following the doctrine of hierarchy of courts. It pointed out that petitioner failed remedy for errors of judgment, whether based on the law or the facts of the case or on
to state any special or important reason or any exceptional and compelling the wisdom or legal soundness of a decision, is an ordinary appeal. 21 In contrast, a
circumstance which would warrant a direct recourse to this Court.15 petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is an original action designed to correct errors of
jurisdiction, defined to be those "in which the act complained of was issued by the court,
Under the principle of hierarchy of courts, direct recourse to this Court is improper officer, or quasi-judicial body without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
because the Supreme Court is a court of last resort and must remain to be so in order for discretion which is tantamount to lack of in excess of jurisdiction." 22 A court or tribunal
it to satisfactorily perform its constitutional functions, thereby allowing it to devote its can only be considered to have acted with grave abuse of discretion if its exercise of
time and attention to matters within its exclusive jurisdiction and preventing the judgment was so whimsical and capricious as to be equivalent to a lack of jurisdiction.
overcrowding of its docket. 16 Nonetheless, the invocation of this Courts original The abuse must be extremely patent and gross that it would amount to an "evasion of a
jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari has been allowed in certain instances on the positive duty or to virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in
ground of special and important reasons clearly stated in the petition, such as,(1) when contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic
dictated by the public welfare and the advancement of public policy; (2) when manner by reason of passion and hostility."23
demanded by the broader interest of justice; (3) when the challenged orders were
patent nullities; or (4) when analogous exceptional and compelling circumstances called Therefore, a misappreciation of evidence on the part of the lower court, as asserted by
for and justified the immediate and direct handling of the case. 17 petitioner, may only be reviewed by appeal and not by certiorari because the issue
raised by the petitioner does not involve any jurisdictional ground. 24 It is a general rule
This case falls under one of the exceptions to the principle of hierarchy of courts. Justice of procedural law that when a party adopts an inappropriate mode of appeal, his
demands that this Court take cognizance of this case to put an end to the controversy petition may be dismissed outright to prevent the erring party from benefiting from his
and resolve the matter which has been dragging on for more than twenty (20) years. neglect and mistakes.25 There are exceptions to this otherwise ironclad rule, however.
Moreover, in light of the fact that what is involved is a final judgment promulgated by One is when the strict application of procedural technicalities would hinder the
this Court, it is but proper for petitioner to call upon its original jurisdiction and seek expeditious disposition of this case on the merits,26 such as in this case.
final clarification.
Petitioner Not Barred from Demanding Return of the Vessel in its Former
Wrong Mode of Appeal; Exception Condition

Petitioner asserts that the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion when it failed to Petitioner insists that it is respondent who should bear the responsibility for the
rule in his favor despite the fact that he had been deprived by respondent of his deterioration of the vessel because the latter, despite having in its possession the vessel
property rights over M/V Pilar-I for the past eighteen(18) years. Moreover, the change M/V Pilar-I during the pendency of the foreclosure proceedings, failed to inform the
in the situation of the parties calls for a relaxation of the rules which would make the court and petitioner himself about the actual condition of the ship. For estoppel to take
execution of the earlier decision of this Court inequitable or unjust. According to effect, there must be knowledge of the real facts by the party sought to be estopped and
petitioner, for the RTC to allow respondent to return the ship to him in its severely reliance by the party claiming estoppel on the representation made by the former. In
damaged and deteriorated condition without any liability would be to reward bad this case, petitioner cannot be estopped from asking for the return of the vessel in the
faith.18 condition that it had been at the time it was seized by respondent because he had not
known of the deteriorated condition of the ship.27
Conversely, respondent submits that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part
of the RTC as the latter merely observed due process and followed the principle that an On the contrary, respondent argues that petitioner is barred from asking for a
execution order may not vary or go beyond the terms of the judgment it seeks to modification of the judgment since he never prayed for the return of M/V Pilar-I in the
enforce.19 Respondent adds that the proper remedy should have been an ordinary same condition that it had been at the time it was seized. 28Petitioner could have prayed
appeal, where a factual review of the records can be made to determine the condition of for such relief in his prior pleadings and presented evidence thereon before the
judgment became final and executory. During the course of the trial, and even at the
Remedial Law Compiled. Codal and Cases. Atty. Tranquil. 61

appellate phase of the case, petitioner failed to ask the courts to look into the naturally Having declared that a modification of our earlier judgment is permissible in light of the
foreseeable depreciation of M/V Pilar-I and to determine who should pay for the wear exceptional incident present in this case, the Court further rules that petitioner is
and tear of the vessel. Consequently, petitioner can no longer pursue such relief for the entitled to the return of M/V Pilar-I in the same condition in which respondent took
first time at this very late stage.29 Moreover, respondent posits that it can only be held possession of it. Considering, however, that this is no longer possible, then respondent
liable for the restoration and replacement of the vessel if it can be proven that M/V should pay petitioner the value of the ship at such time.
Pilar-I deteriorated through the fault of respondent. Nowhere in the prior decision of
this Court, however, does it appear that respondent was found to have been negligent in This disposition is not without precedent. In the case of Metro Manila Transit
its care of the vessel. In fact, respondent points out that, for a certain period, it even paid Corporation v. D.M. Consortium, Inc.,34D.M. Consortium, Inc. (DMCI) acquired 228 buses
for the repair and maintenance of the vessel and engaged the services of security guards under a lease purchase agreement with Metro Manila Transit Corporation (MMTC).
to watch over the vessel. It reasons that the vessels deterioration was necessarily due to MMTC later alleged that DMCI was in default of its amortization, as a result of which,
its exposure to sea water and the natural elements for the almost twenty years that it MMTC took possession of all the buses. This Court upheld the right of DMCI, after having
was docked in the Colorado shipyard.30 been unjustly denied of its right of possession to several buses, to have them returned
by MMTC. Considering, however, that the buses could no longer be returned in their
On this matter, the Court finds for petitioner. original state, the Court sustained the resolution of the CA ordering MMTC to pay DMCI
the value of the buses at the time of repossession.
This Court is not unaware of the doctrine of immutability of judgments. When a
judgment becomes final and executory, it is made immutable and unalterable, meaning The aforecited case finds application to the present situation of petitioner. After having
it can no longer be modified in any respect either by the court which rendered it or even been deprived of his vessel for almost two decades, through no fault of his own, it would
by this Court. Its purpose is to avoid delay in the orderly administration of justice and to be the height of injustice to permit there turn of M/V Pilar-I to petitioner in pieces,
put an end to judicial controversies. Even at the risk of occasional errors, public policy especially after a judgment by this very same Court ordering respondent to restore
and sound practice dictate that judgments must become final at some point. 31 possession of the vessel to petitioner. To do so would leave petitioner with nothing but a
hollow and illusory victory for although the Court ruled in his favor and declared that
As with every rule, however, this admits of certain exceptions. When a supervening respondent wrongfully took possession of his vessel, he could no longer enjoy the
event renders the execution of a judgment impossible or unjust, the interested party can beneficial use of his extremely deteriorated vessel that it is no longer seaworthy and has
petition the court to modify the judgment to harmonize it with justice and the facts.32 A no other commercial value but for the sale of its parts as scrap.
supervening event is a fact which transpires or a new circumstance which develops
after a judgment has become final and executory. This includes matters which the Moreover, the incongruity only becomes more palpable when consideration is taken of
parties were unaware of prior to or during trial because they were not yet in existence the fact that petitioner's obligation to respondent, for which the now practically
at that time.33 worthless vessel serves as security, is still outstanding. 35 The Court cannot countenance
such an absurd outcome. It could not have been the intention of this Court to perpetrate
In this case, the sinking of M/V Pilar-I can be considered a supervening an injustice in the guise of a favorable decision. As the court of last resort, this Court is
event.1wphi1 Petitioner, who did not have possession of the ship, was only informed of the final bastion of justice where litigants can hope to correct any error made in the
its destruction when Colorado filed its Manifestation, dated July 29, 2010, long after the lower courts.
September 11, 2009 Decision of this Court in Orix Metro Leasing and Finance
Corporation v. M/V "Pilar-I" and Spouses Ernesto Dy and Lourdes Dy attained finality on WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTIALLYGRANTED. Respondent is ordered to pay
January 19, 2010. During the course of the proceedings in the RTC, the CA and this petitioner the value of M/V Pilar- I at the time it was wrongfully seized by it. The case is
Court, petitioner could not have known of the worsened condition of the vessel because hereby REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 64, Makati City, for the proper
it was in the possession of Colorado. determination of the value of the vessel at said time.

It could be argued that petitioner and his lawyer should have had the foresight to ask for
the return of the vessel in its former condition at the time respondent took possession of
the same during the proceedings in the earlier case. Nonetheless, the modification of the
Courts decision is warranted by the superseding circumstances, that is, the severe
damage to the vessel subject of the case and the belated delivery of this information to
the courts by the party in possession of the same.