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G.R. No. 131282 January 4, 2002 QUISUMBING, J.:

Sometime in 1988, PR Eradel entered and occupied Ps land in Baras, San Miguel, Surigao Del
Sur with an assessed value of PHP 5,240. P informed PR that the land was his and requested
the latter to vacate said land. PR however refused and threatened P with bodily harm. Despite
repeated demands from P, PR occupied said land.

On June 16 1995, P filed a complaint for Recovery of Possession and Ownership with
Damages and Attorneys Fees against PR, Apolinario and Inocencio Ruena before the RTC
Tandag, Surigao del Sur. The Ruenas entered into a compromise agreement with P that the
former shall bound themselves to respect the ownership and possession of P. PR was not a party
to the agreement and was declared in default for failure to file his answer. P presented his
evidence ex parte sometime in February 1996 and on May 8 1996, judgment was rendered in
favor of him. PR was ordered to peacefully vacate and turn over the land and to pay P PHP2000
as annual rentals from 1988 until the time he vacated said land. He was also ordered to pay PHP
5000 as attorneys fees. PR received a copy of the decision on May 25, 1996. On June 10, 1996,
PR filed a Motion for New Trial alleging that he has been occupying the land as a tenant of
Artemio Laurente, Sr., since 1958. He explained that he turned over the complaint and summons
to Laurente in the honest belief that as landlord, the latter had a better right to the land and was
responsible to defend any adverse claim on it. However, the trial court denied the motion for new

Meanwhile, an administrative case between P and applicant-contestants Romeo, Artemio

and Jury Laurente, remained pending with the Office of the Regional Director of the Department
of Environment and Natural Resources in Davao City. Eventually, it was forwarded to the DENR
Regional Office in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.

On July 24, 1996, PR filed before the RTC a Petition for Relief from Judgment,
reiterating the same allegation in his Motion for New Trial. He averred that unless there is a
determination on who owned the land, he could not be made to vacate the land. The trial court
issued an order denying the Petition for Relief from Judgment. In a MR of said order, PR alleged
that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the case, since the value of the land was only P5,240
and therefore it was under the jurisdiction of the municipal trial court. The RTC denied the

On January 1997, P filed a Motion for Execution, which the RTC granted. Entry of Judgment
was made of record and a writ of execution was issued by the RTC on February 27, 1997. On
March 12, 1997, PR filed his petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals.

The CA granted PRs petition. It declared the RTCs decision, Orders and Writs of
execution null and void.

(1) Jurisdiction of the RTC over the case;
(2) WON PR was not estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the RTC even after it
successfully sought affirmative relief therefrom; and
(3) WON PRs failure to file his answer was justified.
(1) Jurisdiction
The MTC has JURISDICTION over the case.
SEC. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal
Circuit Trial Courts in Criminal Cases.- Except in cases falling within the exclusive original
jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts and of the Sandiganbayan, Metropolitan Trial Courts,
Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
(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 pesos
(P50,000.00) exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorneys fees, 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.

Grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment
which is equivalent to an excess or a lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be so
patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a
duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law as where the power is exercised in
an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility. When complaint was filed by
P RA 7691 amending BP 129 had become effective, such that jurisdiction already belongs not to
the RTC but to the MTC pursuant to said amendment.

(2) WON PR was estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the RTC even after it
successfully sought affirmative relief therefrom

In this case, we are in agreement with the Court of Appeals that he was not
estopped. While participation in all stages of a case before the trial court, including invocation of
its authority in asking for affirmative relief, effectively bars a party by estoppel from challenging
the courts jurisdiction, we note that estoppel has become an equitable defense that is both
substantive and remedial and its successful invocation can bar a right and not merely its equitable
enforcement. Hence, estoppel ought to be applied with caution. For estoppel to apply, the action
giving rise thereto must be unequivocal and intentional because, if misapplied, estoppel may
become a tool of injustice.

The fundamental rule is that, the lack of jurisdiction of the court over an action cannot be
waived by the parties, or even cured by their silence, acquiescence or even by their express
consent. Further, a party may assail the jurisdiction of the court over the action at any stage of
the proceedings and even on appeal. The appellate court did not err in saying that the RTC should
have declared itself barren of jurisdiction over the action. Even if private respondent actively
participated in the proceedings before said court, the doctrine of estoppel cannot still be properly
invoked against him because the question of lack of jurisdiction may be raised at anytime and at
any stage of the action. Precedents tell us that as a general rule, the jurisdiction of a court is not
a question of acquiescence as a matter of fact, but an issue of conferment as a matter of law.
Also, neither waiver nor estoppel shall apply to confer jurisdiction upon a court, barring highly
meritorious and exceptional circumstances.

The point simply is that when a party commits error in filing his suit or proceeding in a
court that lacks jurisdiction to take cognizance of the same, such act may not at once be
deemed sufficient basis of estoppel. It could have been the result of an honest mistake,
or of divergent interpretations of doubtful legal provisions. If any fault is to be imputed
to a party taking such course of action, part of the blame should be placed on the
court which shall entertain the suit, thereby lulling the parties into believing that
they pursued their remedies in the correct forum. Under the rules, it is the duty of the
court to dismiss an action whenever it appears that the court has no jurisdiction over the
subject matter. (Sec. 2, Rule 9, Rules of Court) Should the Court render a judgment
without jurisdiction, such judgment may be impeached or annulled for lack of jurisdiction
(Sec. 30, Rule 132, Ibid), within ten (10) years from the finality of the same. [Emphasis

This farmer, who is now the PR, ought not to be penalized when he claims that he made
an honest mistake when he initially submitted his motions before the RTC, before he realized that
the controversy was outside the RTCs cognizance but within the jurisdiction of the municipal trial
court. To hold him in estoppel as the RTC did would amount to foreclosing his avenue to obtain
a proper resolution of his case. Furthermore, if the RTCs order were to be sustained, he would
be evicted from the land prematurely, while RED Conflict Case No. 1029 would remain
unresolved. Such eviction on a technicality if allowed could result in an injustice, if it is later found
that he has a legal right to till the land he now occupies as tenant-lessee.

(3) Justified failure of filing an answer

Suffice it to say that, given the circumstances in this case, no error was committed on this
score by respondent appellate court. Since the RTC had no jurisdiction over the case, private
respondent had justifiable reason in law not to file an answer, aside from the fact that he believed
the suit was properly his landlords concern.
G.R. No. 139539 February 5, 2002 PARDO, J.:

On March 16, 1994, P filed a complaint for damages and injunction, with preliminary
injunction with RTC Branch 93 Quezon City. In the complaint, P prayed that PR and his agents
be enjoined from - claiming possession and ownership over Lot No. 68 of the Tala Estate
Subdivision, Quezon City; that PR and his agents be prevented from making use of the vacant lot
as a jeepney terminal; that Santiago be ordered to pay P P650.00 daily as lost income for the use
of the lot until possession is restored to the latter; and that PR be directed to pay plaintiff Ceroferr
moral, actual and exemplary damages and attorneys fees, plus expenses of litigation. PR in his
answer alleged that the disputed vacant lot is within No. 90 of the Tala Estate Subdivision, covered
by his TCT; that he was not claiming any portion of Lot No. 68 claimed by P; that he had the legal
right to fence Lot No. 90 since this belonged to him, and he had a permit for the purpose; that P
had no color of right over Lot No. 90 and, hence, was not entitled to an injunction to prevent PR
from exercising acts of ownership thereon; and that the complaint did not state a cause of action.

In the course of the proceedings, an important issue metamorphosed as a result of the

conflicting claims of the parties over the vacant lot actually used as a jeepney terminal the exact
identity and location thereof. There was a verification survey, followed by a relocation survey,
whereby it would appear that the vacant lot is inside Lot No. 68. The outcome of the survey,
however, was vigorously objected to by defendant who insisted that the area is inside his lot. PR,
in his manifestation, adverted to the report of a geodetic engineer, Mariano V. Flotildes, to the
effect that the disputed portion is inside the boundaries of Lot No. 90 of the subdivision, which is
separate and distinct from, Lot No. 68, and that the two lots are separated by a concrete fence.

PR filed a motion to dismiss the complaint premised primarily on his contention that the
trial court cannot adjudicate the issue of damages without passing over the conflicting claims of
ownership of the parties over the disputed lot.

On May 14, 1996, the trial court dismissed the case for lack of cause of action and lack
of jurisdiction. The court held that P was in effect impugning the title of PR which could not be
done in the case for damages and injunction before it. The court cited the hoary rule that a Torens
certificate of title cannot be the subject of collateral attack but can only be challenged through a
direct proceeding. It concluded that it could not proceed to decide Ps claim for damages and
injunction for lack of jurisdiction because its judgment would depend upon a determination of the
validity of defendants title and the identity of the land covered by it.

P appealed to the CA insisting that P has a valid cause of action and, that in any event,
the trial court could proceed to try and decide the case before it since, under present law, there
is now no substantial distinction between the general jurisdiction vested in a regional trial
court and its limited jurisdiction when acting as a land registration court. The CA dismissed
the appeal for lack of merit.

(1) Whether Ceroferrs complaint states a sufficient cause of action and
(2) Whether the trial court has jurisdiction to determine the identity and location of the vacant lot
involved in the case.
(1) Whether Ceroferrs complaint states a sufficient cause of action
The rules of procedure require that the complaint must state a concise statement of the
ultimate facts or the essential facts constituting the plaintiffs cause of action. A fact is essential if
it cannot be stricken out without leaving the statement of the cause of action inadequate. A
complaint states a cause of action only when it has its three indispensable elements, namely:

(1) a right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or
is created;
(2) an obligation on the part of the named defendant to respect or not to violate such right;
(3) an act or omission on the part of such defendant violative of the right of plaintiff or
constituting a breach of the obligation of defendant to the plaintiff for which the latter may maintain
an action for recovery of damages.
If these elements are not extant, the complaint becomes vulnerable to a motion to dismiss
on the ground of failure to state a cause of action.

These elements are present in the case at bar. Ps cause of action has been sufficiently
averred in the complaint. If it were admitted that the right of ownership of P to the peaceful use
and possession of Lot 68 was violated by PRs act of encroachment and fencing of the same,
then P would be entitled to damages.

(2) Whether the trial court has jurisdiction to determine the identity and location of the
vacant lot involved in the case.
The trial court has jurisdiction to determine the identity and location of the vacant lot in

Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law and is determined by the
allegations of the complaint irrespective of whether the plaintiff is entitled to all or some of the
claims asserted therein. The jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter is determined by the
allegations of the complaint and cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in the
answer or pleadings filed by the defendant.

While the lack of jurisdiction of a court may be raised at any stage of an action,
nevertheless, the party raising such question may be estopped if he has actively taken part in the
very proceedings which he questions and he only objects to the courts jurisdiction because the
judgment or the order subsequently rendered is adverse to him.

In this case, PR may be considered estopped to question the jurisdiction of the trial court
for he took an active part in the case. In his answer, PR did not question the jurisdiction of the trial
court to grant the reliefs prayed for in the complaint. His geodetic engineers were present in the
first and second surveys that the LRA conducted. It was only when the second survey report
showed results adverse to his case that he submitted a motion to dismiss.

Both parties in this case claim that the vacant lot is within their property. This is an issue
that can be best resolved by the trial court in the exercise of its general jurisdiction.

After the land has been originally registered, the Court of Land Registration ceases to
have jurisdiction over contests concerning the location of boundary lines. In such case, the action
in personam has to be instituted before an ordinary court of general jurisdiction.
The RTC has jurisdiction to determine the precise identity and location of the vacant lot
used as a jeepney terminal.

[G.R. No. 140746. March 16, 2005]


A passenger bus driven by Buncan and owned Pantranco hit the left rear side of the jeepney
driven by Crispin Gacale owned by Martina Gacale, his mother. Buncan, instead of doing what
every good citizen must do, sped away after hitting the jeep.
Standard Insurance and Crispin Gacale reported the incident to the police station. Standard
Insurance and Martina caused the repair, with participation of the owner with the cost. Upon
refusal of Pantranco and Buncao to pay for reimbursement, RESPONDENTS filed with RTC for
collection of sum money. The RTC ruled in favor of the Respondents.
On appeal, Pantranco argue that the appellee Gicales claim of P13,415 and the insurance
claim of P8,000 individually fell under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the municipal trial court.
CA ruled in favor of the respondents because the two claims are definitely more than P20, 000,
which at that time, is within the jurisdiction of the RTC, the two claims arising from the same
vehicular accident. Pantranco filed for a motion for a Reconsideration but was denied. Hence, a
petition for certiorari was filed with the Supreme Court.

WON the RTC has jurisdiction over the case considering that the respondents respective cause
of action did not arise out of the same transaction nor are these questions of law and facts
common to both petitioners and respondents.

Yes, Rule 3 Section 6 of the Revised Rules of Court, provides:
Sec. 6. Permissive joinder of parties. All persons in whom or against whom any right to relief
in respect to or arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions is alleged to exist,
whether jointly, severally, or in the alternative, may, except as otherwise provided in these Rules,
join as plaintiffs or be joined as defendants in one complaint, where any question of law or fact
common to all such plaintiffs or to all such defendants may arise in the action; but the court may
make such orders as may be just to prevent any plaintiff or defendant from being embarrassed or
put to expense in connection with any proceedings in which he may have no interest.
Permissive joinder of parties requires that:
(a) the right to relief arises out of the same transaction or series of transactions;
(b) there is a question of law or fact common to all the plaintiffs or defendants; and
(c) such joinder is not otherwise proscribed by the provisions of the Rules on jurisdiction
and venue.

In this case, there is a single transaction common to all, that is, Pantrancos bus hitting
the rear side of the jeepney. There is also a common question of fact, that is, whether petitioners
are negligent. There being a single transaction common to both respondents, consequently, they
have the same cause of action against petitioners.

To determine identity of cause of action, it must be ascertained whether the same

evidence which is necessary to sustain the second cause of action would have been sufficient to
authorize a recovery in the first. Here, had respondents filed separate suits against petitioners,
the same evidence would have been presented to sustain the same cause of action. Thus, the
filing by both respondents of the complaint with the court below is in order. Such joinder of parties
avoids multiplicity of suit and ensures the convenient, speedy and orderly administration of justice.

Corollarily, Section 5(d), Rule 2 of the same Rules provides:

Sec. 5. Joinder of causes of action. A party may in one pleading assert, in the alternative or
otherwise, as many causes of action as he may have against an opposing party, subject to the
following conditions: (d) Where the claims in all the causes of action are principally for recovery
of money the aggregate amount claimed shall be the test of jurisdiction.

The above provision presupposes that the different causes of action which are joined
accrue in favor of the same plaintiff/s and against the same defendant/s and that no misjoinder of
parties is involved. The issue of whether respondents claims shall be lumped together is
determined by paragraph (d) of the above provision. This paragraph embodies the totality rule
as exemplified by Section 33 (1) of B.P. Blg. 129[9] which states, among others, that where there
are several claims or causes of action 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

Clearly, it is the RTC that has jurisdiction over the instant case. It bears emphasis that
when the complaint was filed, R.A. 7691 expanding the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan, Municipal
and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts had not yet taken effect. It became effective on April 15, 1994.
Respondent Standards claim: P8,000.00, Martina Gicale is P13,415.00, or a total of P21,415.00

G.R. No. 147417 July 8, 2005


The civil case filed by the petitioners before the trial court against the respondents for
Enforcement of Contract and Damages with Prayer for TRO (Branch 224) presented three (3)
causes of action: first, enforcement of contract to sell entered into between petitioners and Zescon
Land, Inc.; second, for the annulment or rescission of two contracts of mortgage entered into
between petitioners and respondent Hermano; and third, for damages against all defendants.

First cause of action: Sometime in 1997, petitioners entered into a Contract to Sell with
Zescon through Sales - Contreras, for the purchase of 5 parcels of land in the total amount of
P19, 104, 000.00. as part of their agreement, a portion of the purchase price would be paid to
them as down payment, another portion to be given to them as cash advance upon the execution
of the contract, and another portion to be used by the buyer, Zescon, to pay for loans earlier
contracted by petitioners which loans were secured by mortgages.

Second cause of action: In a tricky machination and simultaneous with the execution of
the aforesaid Contract of Sell, they were made to sign other documents, two of which were
Mortgage deeds over the same 5 properties in favor of respondent Hermano, whom they had
never met. It was allegedly explained to them by Sales-Contreras that the mortgage contracts
would merely serve to facilitate the payment of the price as agreed upon in their Contract to Sell.
They claim that it was never their intention to mortgage their property to Hermano, more so that
they have never received a single centavo from the latter.

As to third cause of action, they prayed for damages against all defendants.

In his Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim, respondent Hermano denied petitioners

allegations. He then filed a civil case for Judicial Foreclosure of Real Estate Mortgage (Branch
216) against petitioner Aviso. He also filed a Motion with Leave to Dismiss the Complaint Against
Him or Ordered Severed for Separate Trial before Branch 224, arguing that there was a mis-
joinder of causes of action under Rule 2, Section 6 of the Rules of Court.

The trial court (Branch 224) granted the said motion over the opposition of the petitioners,
holding that respondent Hermano should be dropped as one of the defendants in this case and
whatever claims petitioner may have against Hermano, they can set it up by way of an answer to
said judicial foreclosure. Petitioners motion for reconsideration was also dismissed.

They filed a petition for certiorari to the CA under Rule 65, however it was dismissed on
mere technicality, the petition having been filed out of time. Hence, this petition after the denial of
their motion for reconsideration.

Whether or not there was mis-joinder of causes of action.

NONE. The statutory intent behind the provisions on joinder of causes of action is to encourage
joinder of actions which could reasonably be said to involve kindred rights and wrongs, although
the courts have not succeeded in giving a standard definition of the terms used or in developing
a rule of universal application. The dominant idea is to permit joinder of causes of action, legal or
equitable, where there is some substantial unity between them. While the rule allows a plaintiff to
join as many separate claims as he may have, there should nevertheless be some unity in the
problem presented and a common question of law and fact involved, subject always to the
restriction thereon regarding jurisdiction, venue and joinder of parties. Unlimited joinder is not

Our rule on permissive joinder of causes of action, with the proviso subjecting it to the
correlative rules on jurisdiction, venue and joinder of parties and requiring a conceptual unity in
the problems presented, effectively disallows unlimited joinder.

In herein case, petitioners have adequately alleged in their complaint that after they had
already agreed to enter into a contract to sell with Zescon Land, Inc., through Sales-Contreras,
the latter also gave them other documents to sign, to wit: A Deed of Absolute Sale over the same
properties but for a lower consideration, two mortgage deeds over the same properties in favor of
respondent Hermano with accompanying notes and acknowledgment receipts for Ten Million
pesos (P10,000,000) each. Petitioners claim that Zescon Land, Inc., through Sales-Contreras,
misled them to mortgage their properties which they had already agreed to sell to the latter.

From the above averments in the complaint, it becomes reasonably apparent that there
are questions of fact and law common to both Zescon Land, Inc., and respondent Hermano arising
from a series of transaction over the same properties. There is the question of fact, for example,
of whether or not Zescon Land, Inc., indeed misled petitioners to sign the mortgage deeds in favor
of respondent Hermano. There is also the question of which of the four contracts were validly
entered into by the parties. Note that under Article 2085 of the Civil Code, for a mortgage to be
valid, it is imperative that the mortgagor be the absolute owner of the thing mortgaged. Thus,
respondent Hermano will definitely be affected if it is subsequently declared that what was entered
into by petitioners and Zescon Land, Inc., was a Contract of Sale (as evidenced by the Deed of
Absolute Sale signed by them) because this would mean that the contracts of mortgage were void
as petitioners were no longer the absolute owners of the properties mortgaged. Finally, there is
also the question of whether or not Zescon Land, Inc., as represented by Sales-Contreras, and
respondent Hermano committed fraud against petitioners as to make them liable for damages.

Prescinding from the foregoing, and bearing in mind that the joinder of causes of action
should be liberally construed as to effect in one action a complete determination of all matters in
controversy involving one subject matter, we hold that the trial court committed grave abuse of
discretion in severing from the complaint petitioners cause of action against respondent

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated 19 October
2000 dismissing petitioners petition for certiorari and its Resolution dated 02 March 2001 denying
petitioners motion for reconsideration are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The petition
for certiorari is hereby GRANTED. The Orders of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch
224, dated 28 February 2000 and 25 May 2000 are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The RTC is
further ordered to reinstate respondent Antonio Hermano as one of the defendants in Civil Case
No. Q-98-34211. No costs.

Requisites for Joinder of Causes of Action
It will not violate the rules on jurisdiction, venue and joinder of parties; and
The causes of action arise out of the same contract, transaction or relation between parties, or
are for demands for money or are of the same nature and character

Objectives of the rule or provision

To avoid multiplicity of suits where the same parties and subject matter are to be dealt with by
effecting in one action a complete determination of all matters in controversy and litigation
between the parties involving one subject matter; and
To expedite the disposition of litigation at minimum cost

Should be construed so as to avoid such multiplicity, where possible, without prejudice to the
rights of the litigants

Sec. 6. Misjoinder of causes of action. - Misjoinder of causes of action is not a ground for dismissal
of an action. A misjoined cause of action may, on motion of a party or on the initiative of the court,
be severed and proceeded with separately.
Sec. 5. Joinder of causes of action. - A party may in one pleading assert, in the alternative or
otherwise, as many causes of action as he may have against an opposing party, subject to the
following conditions:

(a) The party joining the causes of action shall comply with the rules on joinder of parties;
(b) The joinder shall not include special civil actions or actions governed by special rules;
(c) Where the causes of action are between the same parties but pertain to different venues or
jurisdictions, the joinder may be allowed in the Regional Trial Court provided one of the causes
of action falls within the jurisdiction of said court and the venue lies therein; and
(d) Where the claims in all the causes of action are principally for recovery of money, the
aggregate amount claimed shall be the test of jurisdiction.


G.R. No. 194751 November 26, 2014 LEONEN, J.:

This case originated from separate complaints for nullification of free patent and original
certificates of title, filed against several defendants. One of the defendants is petitioner Aurora De
Pedro (De Pedro). The complaints were filed by respondent Romasan Development Corporation
(RDC) before the RTC of Antipolo City.

Respondent RDC alleged in its complaints that it was the owner and possessor of land.
Attempts to personally serve summons on De Pedro failed. The officers return reads in part: xxxx
AURORA N. DE PEDRO Unserved for the reason that according to the messenger of Post
Office of Pasig their [sic] is no person in the said given address.
Respondent filed a motion to serve summons and the complaint by publication.
RTC granted the motion. The summons and the complaint were published in Peoples Balita.

Respondent moved to declare all defendants in its complaints, including De Pedro, in

default for failure to file their answers. The RTC granted the motion. The RTC issued an order
declaring as nullity the titles and free patents issued to all defendants in respondents complaint,
including the free patent issued to De Pedro.

De Pedro, through counsel, filed before the RTC a motion for new trial, De Pedro argued
that the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over her person because of improper and defective
service of summons. Citing the officers return, De Pedro pointed out that summons was not
personally served upon her for the reason that according to the messenger of Post Office of
Pasig their (sic) is no person in the said given address.

De Pedro also argued that the case should have been dismissed on the ground of litis
pendentia. She alleged that there was a pending civil case filed by her, involving the same
property, when respondent filed the complaints against her and several others.
RTC issued an order denying De Pedros motion for new trial.

The RTC ruled that summons was validly served upon De Pedro through publication, in
accordance with the Rules of Court. De Pedro filed a petition for certiorari before the CA, alleging
that the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion when it denied her motion for new trial. CA
dismissed the petition for certiorari for lack of merit, and affirmed the denial of De Pedros motion
for new trial.

De Pedros motion for reconsideration was denied in the CA.

De Pedro elevated the case to this court, but this was likewise denied. De Pedro filed
before the CA a petition for annulment of judgment of the RTC on grounds of lack of
jurisdiction, litis pendentia, and for having been dispossessed of her property without due process.
CA promulgated its decision denying De Pedros petition for annulment of judgment. CA
ruled that since petitioner already availed herself of the remedy of new trial, and raised the case
before the CA via petition for certiorari, she can no longer file a petition for annulment of judgment.

De Pedros motion for reconsideration was denied. De Pedro filed before this court a Rule
45 petition, seeking the reversal of the CA decision.

Whether the trial court decision was void for failure of the trial court to acquire jurisdiction
over the person of petitioner Aurora N. De Pedro;

Whether filing a motion for new trial and petition for certiorari is a bar from filing a petition
for annulment of judgment.

The sheriffs return must show the details of the efforts exerted to personally serve
summons upon defendants or respondents, before substituted service or service by publication
is availed

Regardless of the type of action whether it is in personam, in rem or quasi in rem

the preferred mode of service of summons is personal service. To avail themselves of substituted
service, courts must rely on a detailed enumeration of the sheriffs actions and a showing that the
defendant cannot be served despite diligent and reasonable efforts. The sheriffs return, which
contains these details, is entitled to a presumption of regularity, and on this basis, the court may
allow substituted service. Should the sheriffs return be wanting of these details, substituted
service will be irregular if no other evidence of the efforts to serve summons was presented.

Failure to serve summons will mean that the court failed to acquire jurisdiction over the
person of the defendant. However, the filing of a motion for new trial or reconsideration is
tantamount to voluntary appearance.

Courts may exercise their powers validly and with binding effect if they acquire jurisdiction
over: (a) the cause of action or the subject matter of the case; (b) the thing or the res; (c) the
parties; and (d) the remedy.

Due process requires that those with interest to the thing in litigation be notified and given
an opportunity to defend those interests. Courts, as guardians of constitutional rights, cannot be
expected to deny persons their due process rights while at the same time be considered as acting
within their jurisdiction. Violation of due process rights is a jurisdictional defect. The relation of
due process to jurisdiction is recognized even in administrative cases wherein the standard of
evidence is relatively lower.

Hence, regardless of the nature of the action, proper service of summons is imperative. A
decision rendered without proper service of summons suffers a defect in
jurisdiction. Respondents institution of a proceeding for annulment of petitioners certificate of
title is sufficient to vest the court with jurisdiction over the res, but it is not sufficient for the court
to proceed with the case with authority and competence. Personal service of summons is the
preferred mode of service of summons. Thus, as a rule, summons must be served personally
upon the defendant or respondent wherever he or she may be found. If the defendant or
respondent refuses to receive the summons, it shall be tendered to him or her.
If the defendant or respondent is a domestic juridical person, personal service of summons
shall be effected upon its president, managing partner, general manager, corporate secretary,
treasurer, or in-house counsel wherever he or she may be found.

Other modes of serving summons may be done when justified. Service of summons
through other modes will not be effective without showing serious attempts to serve summons
through personal service. Thus, the rules allow summons to be served by substituted service
only for justifiable causes and if the defendant or respondent cannot be served within reasonable
time.98 Substituted service is effected (a) by leaving copies of the summons at the defendants
residence with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving
the copies at defendants office or regular place of business with some competent person in
charge thereof.

Service of summons by publication in a newspaper of general circulation is allowed when

the defendant or respondent is designated as an unknown owner or if his or her whereabouts are
unknown and cannot be ascertained by diligent inquiry.100 It may only be effected after
unsuccessful attempts to serve the summons personally, and after diligent inquiry as to the
defendants or respondents whereabouts.

Service of summons by extraterritorial service is allowed after leave of court when the
defendant or respondent does not reside or is not found in the country or is temporarily out of the

If a defendant or respondent voluntarily appears in trial or participates in the proceedings,

it is generally construed as sufficient service of summons.

In this case, the sheriffs return states: 1. AURORA N. DE PEDRO Unserved for the
reason that according to the messenger of Post Office of Pasig their [sic] is no person in the said
given address.

This return shows no detail of the sheriffs efforts to serve the summons personally upon
petitioner. The summons was unserved only because the post office messenger stated that there
was no Aurora N. De Pedro in the service address. The return did not show that the sheriff
attempted to locate petitioners whereabouts. Moreover, it cannot be concluded based on the
return that personal service was rendered impossible under the circumstances or that service
could no longer be made within reasonable time.

The lack of any demonstration of effort on the part of the sheriff to serve the summons
personally upon petitioner is a deviation from this courts previous rulings that personal service is
the preferred mode of service, and that the sheriff must narrate in his or her return the efforts
made to effect personal service. Thus, the sheriffs return in this case was defective. No
substituted service or service by publication will be allowed based on such defective return.

The issuance of a judgment without proper service of summons is a violation of due

process rights. The judgment, therefore, suffers a jurisdictional defect. The case would have
been dismissible had petitioner learned about the case while trial was pending. At that time, a
motion to dismiss would have been proper. After the trial, the case would have been the proper
subject of an action for annulment of judgment.

What cannot be denied is the fact that petitioner was already notified of respondents
action for annulment of petitioners title when she filed a motion for new trial and, later, a petition
for certiorari. At that time, petitioner was deemed, for purposes of due process, to have been
properly notified of the action involving her title to the property. Lack of jurisdiction could have
already been raised in an action for annulment of judgment.

Thus, when petitioner erroneously filed her motion for new trial and petition for certiorari
instead of an action for annulment of judgment, she was deemed to have voluntarily participated
in the proceedings against her title. The actions and remedies she chose to avail bound
her. Petitioners failure to file an action for annulment of judgment at this time was fatal to her
cause. We cannot conclude now that she was denied due process.
CONSTANTINO A. PASCUAL, substituted by his heirs, represented byZENAIDA
G.R. No. 171916 December 4, 2009 PERALTA, J.:

Constatino A. Pascual filed a complaint for Specific Performance before the RTC. In the
Return Service, the Process Server reported that he failed to deliver the summons to the

According to the report, the defendant[Dr. Lourdes Pascual] was not at her home and only
her maid was there who refused to receive the summons. His efforts to effect the service is backed
up by a certification of the Barangay in the area. The following day, the Process Server went back
at the defendants place, but again she is not home.

Thereafter, an alias summons was issued by the RTC. Subsequently, the Process Server
returned with the report that a substituted service was effected.

For failure of respondent to file a responsive pleading, petitioner, filed a Motion to Declare
Defendant in Default to which Dr. Lourdes Pascual filed an opposition claiming that she was not
able to receive any summons and a copy of the complaint hence the RTC cannot exercise
jurisdiction over her person.

RTC declared Dr. Lourdes Pascual in Default. She filed a Motion for Reconsideration,
which was denied.

Consequently, the RTC in its decision found favor on Mr. Constantino Pascual against Dr.
Lourdes Pascual. She then filed a Motion to Set Aside Order of Default with the argument of non-
service of Summons. RTC denied and on the same day issued a Certificate of Finality and Entry
of Judgment.

Dr. Lourdes filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65 in the CA. The CA
ruled favoring her.

Petitioner herein [Constantino Pascual] through a Petition for Review on Certiorari under
Rule 45 comes now to the SC.

Whether the Service of Summons is valid?

In a case where the action is in personam and the defendant is in the Philippines, the
service may be done by personal or substituted. A plain reading of Rule 14, Sections 6 and 7
indicates that Personal Service should and always be the first option, only when the said
summons cannot be served within a reasonable time can the process server resort to substituted

The Court gave a discussion as to the nature of the requisites of substituted service in
Manotoc v. Court of Appeals.
We can break down this section into the following requirements to effect a valid substituted
Impossibility of Prompt Personal Service
Specific Details in the Return
A Person Suitable of Age and Discretion
A Competent Person in Charge

Petitioner contends that there was a valid substituted service of summons as shown in
three officers return.

However, this Court stresses that the Process Server must show that the defendant
cannot be served promptly, or that there was an impossibility of service.

The Return of Summons in this case does not show or indicate the actual exertion or any
steps by the officer to serve the summons.

In the absence of even the barest compliance with the procedure for substituted service
of summons outlined in the Rules, the principle of Presumption of Regularity cannot apply. CA
affirmed in toto.


G.R. No. 187021 January 25, 2012 MENDOZA, J.:

This is a petition for review under Rule 45 assailing the March 31, 2008 Decision of the
Court of Appeals (CA) and its February 27, 2009 Resolution granting the motion for issuance of
a writ of execution of respondents.

In March 1973, the Petitioner, Douglas F. Anama (Anama), and the Respondent,
Philippine Savings Bank (PSB), entered into a "Contract to Buy," on installment basis, the real
property owned and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 301276 in the latter's name.
However, Anama defaulted in paying his obligations thereunder, thus, PSB rescinded the
said contract and title to the property remained with the latter.

Subsequently, the property was sold by PSB to the Spouses Saturnina Baria and Tomas
Co (Co Spouses) who, after paying the purchase price in full, caused the registration of the same
in their names and were, thus, issued TCT No. 14239.

Anama filed before the Respondent Court a complaint for declaration of nullity of the deed
of sale, cancellation of transfer certificate of title, and specific performance with damages against
PSB, the Co Spouses, and the Register of Deeds of Metro Manila, District II.

The Respondent Court dismissed Anama's complaint and upheld the validity of the sale
between PSB and the Co Spouses on August 21, 1991.
Anama appealed, at first, to this Court, and after failing to obtain a favorable decision, to the
Supreme Court.

On January 29, 2004, the Supreme Court rendered judgment denying Anama's petition
and sustaining the validity of the sale between PSB and the Co Spouses. Its decision became
final and executory on July 12, 2004.
Pursuant thereto, the Co Spouses moved for execution, which was granted by the Respondent
Court per its Order, dated November 25, 2005.

Anama filed a motion for reconsideration, however, the Respondent Court, denied his
motion(s) for reconsideration.

January 29, 2004 Decision of this Court became final and executory on July 12, 2004.
Hence, execution was already a matter of right on the part of the respondents and the RTC had
the ministerial duty to issue a writ of execution enforcing a final and executory decision.

Not satisfied with the CA's unfavorable disposition, petitioner filed this petition praying for
the reversal thereof:
The respondents failed to substantially comply with the rule on notice and hearing when
they filed their motion for the issuance of a writ of execution with the RTC.

WoN the respondents failed to substantially comply with the rule on notice and hearing
when they filed their motion for the issuance of a writ of execution with the RTC.

No, respondents did not violate the Rules of the Court. Wherefore, the petition for review
is denied.

The Court has consistently held that a motion that fails to comply with the requirements is
considered a worthless piece of paper which should not be acted upon. The rule, however, is not
absolute. There are motions that can be acted upon by the court ex parte if these would not cause
prejudice to the other party.

They are not strictly covered by the rigid requirement of the rules on notice and hearing of

The motion for execution of the Spouses Co is such kind of motion. It cannot be denied
that the judgment sought to be executed in this case had already become final and executory. As
such, the Spouses Co have every right to the issuance of a writ of execution and the RTC has
the ministerial duty to enforce the same as provided in Section 1 and Section 2 of Rule 39 of the
1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.

At any rate, it is not true that the petitioner was not notified of the motion for execution of
the Spouses Co. The records clearly show that the motion for execution was duly served upon,
and received by, petitioner's counsel-of-record, the Quasha Ancheta Pena Nolasco Law Offices,
as evidenced by a "signed stamped received mark" appearing on said pleading. The said law
office, as a matter of fact, did not present any written denial of its valid receipt on behalf of its
client, neither is there proof that the Quasha Ancheta Pena Nolasco Offices has formally
withdrawn its appearance as petitioners counsel-of-record. Thus, there was compliance with the

The three-day notice rule is not absolute. A liberal construction of the procedural rules is
proper where the lapse in the literal observance of a rule of procedure has not prejudiced the
adverse party and has not deprived the court of its authority. Indeed, Section 6, Rule 1 of the
Rules of Court provides that the Rules should be liberally construed in order to promote their
objective of securing a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding.
Rules of procedure are tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice, and courts must avoid
their strict and rigid application which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather
than promote substantial justice. Through such notice, the adverse party is given time to study
and answer the arguments in the motion.

The notice requirement is not a ritual to be followed blindly. Procedural due process is not
based solely on a mechanical and literal application that renders any deviation inexorably fatal.
Instead, procedural rules are liberally construed to promote their objective and to assist in
obtaining a just, speedy and inexpensive determination of any action and proceeding.
Thus, in the absence of a statutory requirement as in the case at bar, it is not essential
that he be given notice before the issuance of an execution against his tangible property; after
the rendition of the judgment he must take "notice of what will follow," no further notice being
"necessary to advance justice."
G.R. No. L-40945 November 10, 1986 NARVASA, J.:

Azajar purchased thru the agent of Cham Samco 100 kegs of nails of various sizes and
paid P18,000 in full. However, Cham Samco only delivered a part of the quantity ordered. Azajar
filed a complaint before the CFI of Cam Sur.

Instead of submitting an answer, Samco filed a motion to dismiss on two grounds: failure
of the complaint to state a cause of action and that venue was improperly laid.

The motion to dismiss contained a notice addressed to the Clerk of Court.

Contending that such notice was fatally defective, Azajar filed a motion to declare Samco
in default, which the court granted. Azajar was allowed to present evidence ex parte and the court
rendered judgment against Samco.

The TC justified its order of default in this wise: that instead of filling an answer to the
complaint, Samco filed a motion to dismiss which is not a motion at all because the notice is
directed to the Clerk of Court instead of the party concerned (as required by Sec.5, Rule 15, RC)
and is without the requisite notice of hearing directed to the CC and not to the parties, and merely
stating that the same be submitted for resolution. It is without the requisite notice of time and place
of hearing.

Aggrieved, Samco went to CA for recourse, but the CA affirmed the decision of the TC.
However, on motion for reconsideration, CA reversed itself and declared that technicalities should
be brushed aside so that Samco can be given a day in court.

WON the failure of Cham Samco to set its motion to dismiss for hearing on a specified
date and time and for not addressing the same to the party interested is fatal to his cause.

Yes. Although the Court sided with CA that technicalities should be set aside to Samco to be
afforded with his day in court.

The law explicitly requires that notice of motion shall be served by the appellant to all
parties concerned at least 3 days before the hearing, together with a copy of the motion, and of
any affidavits and other papers accompanying it; and that notices shall be directed to the parties
concerned stating the time and place for the hearing of the motion. Failure to comply with the
requirement is a fatal flaw.

Such notice is required to avoid surprises upon the opposite party and give the latter time
to study and meet the arguments of the motion as well as to determine or make determinable the
time of submission of the motion for resolution.

Without the notice, the occasion would not arise to determine with reasonable certitude
whether and within what time the adverse party would respond to the motion, and when the motion
might already be resolved by the Court.
The duty to give that notice is imposed on the movant and not on the court.

LEE BUN TING and ANG CHIA v. HON. JOSE A. ALIGAEN Judge of the Court of First
Instance, of Capiz, 11th Judicial District, Branch II; ATTY. ANTONIO D. AMOSIN, as court-
G.R. No. L-30523 April 22, 1977

In a previous cases [G. R. No. L-5996, "Rafael Dinglasan, et al. vs. Lee Bun Ting, et al.]
decided by the SC with the same set of private parties, it was found that private respondents sold
to herein petitioner a parcel of land located in Roxas City, Capiz through a conditional sale. Lee,
the buyer, on the other hand avers that it was an absolute sale. Both trial court and CA ruled in
favor of buyer Lee. The SC found that Lee is normally not allowed to purchase the property on
the count of the constitutional prohibition (Section 5. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no
private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals, corporations, or
associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines.- Article 13,
1935 Consitution) But since it was also found out that the buyers (private respondents) are in pari
delicto for selling the property in spite of the constitutional prohibition they are proscribed from
assailing the sale made between them and herein private respondents.

12 years after the above mentioned case was promulgated, the present case for the
recovery of the lot was instituted with the same contention of the respondents Dinglasan that the
sale should be null and void on account of the constitutional prohibition.

A motion to dismiss was filed by petitioners in this case on the ground of res judicata. An
opposition thereto was filed by plaintiffs, with the averment that the decision in the prior case
"cannot be pleaded in bar of the instant action because of new or additional facts or grounds of
recovery and because of change of law or jurisprudence.

The Court of Appeals denied the motion to dismiss.

Whether or not the motion to dismiss should be granted

Yes. The decision of this Court in G. R. No. L-5996, "Rafael Dinglasan, et al. vs. Lee Bun
Ting, et al." constitutes a bar to Civil Case No. V-3064 before the respondent court. Said Civil
case, therefore, should have been dismissed because it is a mere relitigation of the same issues
previously adjudged with finality, way back in 1956, between the same parties or their privies and
concerning the same subject matter. We have consistently held that the doctrine of res
judicata applies where, between a pending action and one which has been finally and definitely
settled, there is Identity of parties, subject matter and cause of action.
We find that in the ultimate analysis, Civil Case No. V-3064 is but an attempt to reopen
the issues which were resolved in the previous case. Contrary to the contentions of private
respondents, there has been no change in the facts or in the conditions of the parties. Posterior
changes in the doctrine of this Court cannot retroactively be applied to nullify a prior final ruling in
the same proceeding where the prior adjudication was had, whether the case should be civil or
criminal in nature. The determination of the questions of fact and of law by this Court on June 27,
1956 in case No. L-5996 has become the law of the case, and may not now be disputed or
relitigated by a reopening of the same questions in a subsequent litigation between the same
parties and their privies the same subject matter.
G.R. No. L-16463 January 30, 1965 MAKALINTAL, J.:

June 18, 1959 a complaint was filed alleging that defendant Hermogenes Hipolito and
Leonor Junsay obtained various sugar crop loans from plaintiff PNB through its Victorias Branch,
evidenced by promissory notes.

The amount of the notes was a total of P9,692.00. Defendants only paid P3,905.61,
leaving a balance of P6,786.39, which, added to accrued interest of P5,213.34, summed up to
P11,999.73 as of January 17, 1957.

Despite repeated demands, defendants failed and refused to pay said amount. May 7,
1957 - defendants went to Atty. Francis I. Medel of the legal department of plaintiff's Victorias
branch and offered a plan of payment of the account

For reasons unknown to plaintiff and probably due to the transfer of defendant Hipolito as
supervising teacher to some other province, his proposed plan of payment did not materialize.
Said offer of plan of payment was an acknowledgment of defendants' just and valid obligation.

The prayer is for the court to order defendants to pay to plaintiff the said amount of
P11,999.73, with accrued annual interest thereon ( rate of 5% from January 17, 1957 up to the
date of payment, plus attorney's fees equivalent to 10%.)

Defendants moved for a bill of particulars denied. Defendants moved to dismiss on the
ground that plaintiff's cause of action already prescribed. attached to the motion: a joint affidavit
and defendants averred that they never made any acknowledgment of indebtedness nor offered
a plan of payment, but on the contrary had always maintained that plaintiff's action had prescribed.
Plaintiffs opposition - contending that the prescriptive period had been suspended by "EO No.
32, known as the Moratorium Law," and interrupted, pursuant to Article 1973 of the old Civil Code,
by plaintiffs written extra-judicial demands as well as by defendants acknowledgment of the

Defendants reply to plaintiff's opposition - citing Bachrach Motors Co., Inc. v. Chua Tia
Hian, stated that EO. No. 32, if at all, suspended the prescriptive period "only for 2yrs, 4 months
and 16 days, from March 10, 1945, or only up to July 26, 1948," - that the alleged written
extrajudicial demands constitute self-serving evidence; and that defendant Hipolitos letter of
February 16, 1959 cannot be considered as an acknowledgment of indebtedness.

Lower court dismissed the complaint: ruled that the 7 promissory notes constituted 1
single obligation, that the last promissory note dated June 23, 1941, should be considered as the
true date of the written contract, from which the 10-year prescriptive period and such period has
been suspended for 2 years, 4 months and sixteen 16 days (by reason of EO No. 32) until said
Order was declared unconstitutional.

Whether or not the defendants denial of the allegations constitute as grounds for the
dismissal of the complaint
NO. The dismissal is erroneous. In a motion to dismiss defendant hypothetically admits
the truth of the allegations of fact contained in the complaint.

An examination of the complaint herein does not indicate clearly that prescription has set
in. On the contrary, it is belied by the allegation concerning defendants offer of payment made
on May 7, 1957. Such offer hypothetically admitted in the motion, worked as a renewal of the
obligation. An offer of payment works as a renewal of the obligation and prevents prescription
from setting in.

It is true that defendants attached to the motion a joint affidavit of merit wherein they deny
having made an offer of a plan of payment. The denial, being a contrary averment of fact, would
be proper in the answer to the complaint but not in a motion for dismissal, for the contradictory
allegations would require presentation of evidence. Denial of allegations in a complaint is not
proper in a motion to dismiss.

A denial of an allegation of a complaint, as for example the denial of an offer of payment

which would prevent prescription from setting in, would be proper in the answer to the complaint
but not in a motion for dismissal, for the contradictory allegations would require presentation of

The same is true of the other allegations in the complaint concerning, the demands for
payment sent by plaintiff upon defendants and the partial payments made by them, all or some of
which may have a material bearing on the question of prescription. In other words, the ground for
dismissal not being indubitable, the lower court should have deferred determination of the issue
until after trial of the case on the merits.

The order appealed from is set aside and the case is remanded to the lower court for
further proceedings.


G.R. No. L-58986 April 17, 1989 NARVASA, J.

On October 26, 1981, California Manufacturing Co., Inc. brought an action in the CFI of
Manila against Dante Go, accusing him of unfair competition. California alleged that Dante Go is
doing business under the name and style of "Sugarland International Products," and engaged like
California in the manufacture of spaghetti, macaroni, and other pasta was selling his products in
the open market under the brand name, "Great Italian," in packages which were in colorable and
deceitful limitation of California's containers bearing its own brand, "Royal." Its complaint
contained an application for preliminary injunction commanding Dante Go to immediately cease
and desist from the further manufacture, sale and distribution of said products, and to retrieve
those already being offered for sale.

About two weeks later, however, or on November 12, 1981, California filed a notice of

Four days afterwards, or on November 16, 1981, California received by registered mail a
copy of Dante Go's answer with counterclaim dated November 6, 1981, which had been filed with
the Court on November 9, 1981.

On November 19, 1981 a fire broke out at the Manila City Hall destroying among others
the sala of Judge Tengco and the records of cases therein kept, including that filed by California
against Dante Go.

On December 1, 1981, California filed another complaint asserting the same cause of
action against Dante Go, this time with the CFI at Caloocan City. This second suit was docketed
as Civil Case No. C-9702 and was assigned to the branch presided over by Judge Fernando A.

On December 3, 1981, Judge Cruz issued an ex parte restraining order against Go.

On the day following the rendition of the restraining order, Dante Go filed the present
petition for certiorari, etc. with this Court praying for its nullification and perpetual inhibition. On
December 11, 1981, this Court, in turn issued a writ of preliminary injunction restraining California,
Judge Cruz and the City Sheriff from enforcing or implementing the restraining order of December
3, 1981, and from continuing with the hearing on the application for preliminary injunction in said
Civil Case No. C-9702. The scope of the injunction was subsequently enlarged by this Court's
Resolution of April 14,1982 to include the City Fiscal of Manila, who was thereby restrained from
proceeding with the case of unfair competition filed in his office by California against Dante Go.

WON Sec. 1, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court applies in the present case.

No. What marks the loss by a plaintiff of the right to cause dismissal of the action by mere
notice is not the filing of the defendant's answer with the Court (either personally or by mail) but
the service on the plaintiff of said answer or of a motion for summary judgment. This is the plain
and explicit message of the Rules. "The filing of pleadings, appearances, motions, notices, orders
and other papers with the court, "according to Section 1, Rule 13 of the Rules of Court, means
the delivery thereof to the clerk of the court either personally or by registered mail. Service, on
the other hand, signifies delivery of the pleading or other paper to the parties affected thereby
through their counsel of record, unless delivery to the party himself is ordered by the court, by any
of the modes set forth in the Rules, i.e., by personal service, service by mail, or substituted

Here, California filed its notice of dismissal of its action in the Manila Court after the filing of
Dante Go's answer butbefore service thereof. Thus having acted well within the letter and
contemplation of the afore-quoted Section 1 of Rule 17 of the Rules of Court, its notice ipso facto
brought about the dismissal of the action then pending in the Manila Court, without need of any
order or other action by the Presiding Judge. The dismissal was effected without regard to
whatever reasons or motives California might have had for bringing it about, and was, as the
same Section 1, Rule 17 points out, "without prejudice," the contrary not being otherwise "stated
in the notice" and it being the first time the action was being so dismissed.

There was therefore no legal obstacle to the institution of the second action in the
Caloocan Court of First Instance based on the same claim. The filing of the complaint invested it
with jurisdiction of the subject matter or nature of the action. In truth, and contrary to what
petitioner Dante Go obviously believes, even if the first action were still pending in the Manila
Court, this circumstance would not affect the jurisdiction of the Caloocan Court over the second
suit. The pendency of the first action would merely give the defendant the right to move to dismiss
the second action on the ground of auter action pendant or litis pendentia.

G.R. No. L-58986 April 17, 1989 NARVASA, J.:

California Manufacturing filed a case against Dante Go for unfair competition alleging that the
latters pasta products (Great Italian) such as spaghetti and macaroni are packed with confusing
similarity and colourable imitation with the formers Royal Pasta products.

Two weeks later, California filed a Notice of Dismissal without prejudice. Four days after
it received Gos answer with counterclaim. Fire broke out at the Manila City Hall and burned the
records therein including the case filed by California. California filed another complaint based on
the same cause of action against Go in the CFI Caloocan.

Caloocan judge issued a restraining order directing Go to cease and desist from
manufacturing and selling his products. Go claims that the case in Manila is still pending and that
the dismissal sought by California is no longer a matter of right. He further accused California of
forum shopping at Caloocan judges sala.

Whether or not the dismissal of California is in accordance with the Rules of Court thus
allowing it to file a subsequent case.
Yes, it is in accord with RC. Section 1 Rule 17 mandates that notice of dismissal must be
filed any time before service of answer.
California filed its notice of dismissal in CFI manila after Gos filing of answer but before
service thereof. Thus, its notice ipso facto brought about the dismissal of the action pending in
Manila court, without need of any order or action by the presiding judge therein.

No legal obstacle to the institution of the second action in the Caloocan CFI based on the
same claim.



G.R. No. 173956 August 6, 2008 YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:


Frisco F. San Juan (in his capacity as Chairman of the Public Estates Authority), together
with 26 other accused, were charged before the Sandiganbayan with violation of Sec. 3(e) of RA
3019, for illegally awarding the President Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard Project to accused
Jesusito D. Legaspis J.D. Legazpi Construction and approving the award of the project to the
same company despite lack of compliance with the mandatory requirements and procedure for
bidding, even if no funds were yet available; as well as for causing the allowance and payment to
Legaspi of undue payments in improper overprice in the aggregate amount of P532,926,420.39.

The Sandiganbayan issued a Pre-Trial Order, whereby both parties reserved the right to
present additional documentary evidence.
Instead of proceeding with the presentation of its evidence, the Office of the Special

Prosecutor (representing the People) filed a manifestation with motion for additional
marking of documentary exhibits.

San Juan filed an Opposition, alleging that the motion fails to comply with the three-day
notice rule, thus violating his right to due process.


Did the Sandiganbayan gravely abuse its discretion when it granted the OSPs motion for
additional marking of exhibits?

Did the admission of additional evidence constitute a violation of San Juans right to due


NO to both issues.
While it is true that any motion that does not comply with the requirements of Rule 15
should not be accepted for filing and, if filed, is not entitled to judicial cognizance, however, this
Court has likewise held that where a rigid application of the rule will result in a manifest failure or
miscarriage of justice, technicalities may be disregarded in order to resolve the case.

In the exercise of its equity jurisdiction, the Court may disregard procedural lapses, so that
a case may be resolved on its merits based on the evidence presented by the parties.

Although the three-day notice rule was not complied with, the Sandiganbayan allowed the
motion based on good cause, i.e. that the markings of the additional documentary evidence at
this period was due to the sheer volume of the supporting documents to the disbursement
vouchers and the fact that such supporting documents were only recently completed and secured.

It cannot be said that there is a violation of San Juans right to due process because he
can still file his objections to the documentary evidence during the trial on the merits of the case.

It must be noted that both parties in this case made reservations to present additional
documentary and testimonial evidence, as may be necessary in the course of the trial; such
reservations were incorporated in the Pre-Trial Order.

FILOIL MARKETING CORPORATION (now Petrophil Corporation) v. DY PAC & CO., INC.
G.R. No. L-40307 April 15, 1988 FELICIANO, J.

Filoil commenced an action for collection of sum of money with interest against Dy Pac on
the ground that the latter fails to pay, notwithstanding repeated demands, the amount due to it for
petroleum products bought on credit.
At the hearing set, neither Dy Pac nor its counsel appeared. Filoil was allowed by the City
Court of Manila to proceed ex parte. The said court rendered a decision on the same date ordering
Dy Pac to pay Filoil.
Dy Pac appealed to CFI Manila which immediately set the case for pre-trial. It ruled that:
[]plaintiff and defendant, who are hereby ordered to prepare a stipulation of facts based on
their exhibits already marked and submit the same to the court the parties are warned that if
they cannot submit the stipulation of facts, the Court will dismiss the appeal.
CFI Manila dismissed the case for failure of the parties to submit the required stipulation
of facts and ordered the immediate return of the records to the City Court for execution.

Whether or not the case can be dismissed on the ground that the parties failed to submit
a stipulation of facts.

No. There is no law which compulsorily requires litigants to stipulate at pre-trial on the
facts and issues that may possibly crop up in a particular case, upon pain dismissal of such case.
The process of securing admissions whether of facts or evidence is essentially voluntary, since
stipulations of facts, like contracts, bind the parties thereto who are not allowed to controvert
statements made therein. Courts cannot compel the parties to enter into an agreement upon the
Where the parties are unable to arrive at a stipulation of facts and do not reach an
amicable settlement of their controversy, the court must close the proceedings and go forward
the trial of the case. The CFI Manila committed serious error in dismissing Dy Pacs appeal from
the City Courts decision solely on the ground that the parties failed to comply with the order.