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Afdal vs Carlos

Carpio, J.
 Respondent Romeo Carlos filed a complaint for unlawful detainer and damages
against petitioners Zenaida Guijabar, et al.

 Respondent alleged that petitioners were occupying, by mere tolerance.

Respondent claimed that petitioner Abubakar Afdal sold the property to him but
that he allowed petitioners to stay in the property. Respondent claimed that he
demanded return of the property because he needed its use but that they refused
to heed the demand.

 According to the records, there were three attempts to serve the summons and
complaint on petitioners which were returned with the following annotations:
1.) Unsatisfied/given address cannot be located.
2.) Duly served as evidenced by his signature of one Gary Acob (relative)
3.) Duly served but refused to sign” without specifying to whom it was served.

 Petitioner failed to file an answer. The MTC ruled in favor of respondent.

Petitioner filed a motion for relief in the MTC which they withdrew. They filed the
same motion in the RTC.

 The RTC dismissed the petition holding that it didn’t have jurisdiction.

Issue: Whether or not the RTC had jurisdiction over the petition for relief from
judgement. No jurisdiction.

In the present case, petitioners cannot file the petition for relief with the MTC because it
is a prohibited pleading in an unlawful detainer case. Petitioners cannot also file the
petition for relief with the RTC because the RTC has no jurisdiction to entertain petitions
for relief from judgments of the MTC. Therefore, the RTC did not err in dismissing the
petition for relief from judgment of the MTC.

The remedy is to file a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction of the MTC over the person of petitioners in view of the absence of
summons to petitioners. An action for unlawful detainer or forcible entry is a real action
and in personam. In an action in personam, jurisdiction over the person of the defendant
is necessary for the court to validly try and decide the case. Any judgment of the court
which has no jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is null and void.

Service of summons upon the defendant shall be by personal service first and only
when the defendant cannot be promptly served in person will substituted service be
availed of. In this case, the indorsements failed to state that prompt and personal
service on petitioners was rendered impossible. These requirements are indispensable
because substituted service is in derogation of the usual method of service.

Likewise, nowhere in the return of summons or in the records of the case was it shown
that Gary Acob, the person on whom substituted service of summons was effected, was
a person of suitable age and discretion residing in petitioners’ residence. the process
server failed to specify Gary Acob’s age, his relationship to petitioners and to ascertain
whether he comprehends the significance of the receipt of the summons and his duty to
deliver it to petitioners or at least notify them of said receipt of summons.

In sum, petitioners were not validly served with summons by substituted service.
Hence, the MTC failed to acquire jurisdiction over the person of the petitioners and,
thus, the MTC’s decision is void