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1997 Rules on Civil Procedure Rule 47 – Annulment of Judgments

2001 Edition <draft copy. pls. check for errors> Or Final Orders and Resolutions

Rule 47
ANNULMENT OF JUDGMENTS OR
FINAL ORDERS AND RESOLUTIONS

Rule 47 is an entirely new rule which governs the remedy of annulment of


judgments or final orders or resolutions. We already met this remedy in judiciary
law. The CA has original exclusive jurisdiction to annul final judgments and
resolutions of the RTC. (Section 9, BP 129) So it is an entirely original action for
annulment of judgment of the RTC.

Now, that should not be confused with certiorari, prohibition and mandamus
which fall under the original concurrent jurisdiction of the CA. Rule 47 or
annulment of judgment of the RTC falls within the exclusive original jurisdiction
of the CA.

Take note that in an appeal, the judgment appealed from is valid. But in
annulment under Rule 47, the judgment is being asked to be declared void.

Under the prior law there was no direct rule governing that remedy. The only
guideline for annulment of judgments of the RTC are decided cases. Now for the
first time the 1997 Rules have a definite rule on how to enforce this remedy.

Section 1. Coverage. This Rule shall govern the


annulment by the Court of Appeals of judgments or
final orders and resolutions in civil actions of
Regional Trial Courts for which the ordinary
remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief
or other appropriate remedies are no longer
available through no fault of the petitioner. (n)

Nature of the action

An action for annulment of judgment is a remedy in law independent of the


case where the judgment sought to be annulled was rendered. The purpose of
such action is to have the final and executory judgment set aside so that there
will be a renewal of litigation. It is resorted to in cases where the ordinary
remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief from judgment, or other
appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the petitioner,
and is based only on two grounds: extrinsic fraud, and lack of jurisdiction or
denial of due process (Alaban vs. C\A 470 SCRA 697).

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1997 Rules on Civil Procedure Rule 47 – Annulment of Judgments
2001 Edition <draft copy. pls. check for errors> Or Final Orders and Resolutions

This remedy is available only where the ordinary remedies of new trial,
appeal, petition for review or appropriate remedies are no longer available
through no fault of the petitioner. Hence, if such remedies were not availed of
due to the petitioner’s fault, the petition will be dismissed (Republic vs. Asset
Privatization Trust GR 141241, Nov. 22, 2005; Sec. 1, Rule 47).

Like a petition for relief, an action for the annulment of a judgment is a


recourse equitable in character, allowed only in exceptional cases as where there
is no available or adequate remedy (Ramos vs. Combong 473 SCRA 499). The
remedy may no longer be invoked where the party has availed himself of the
remedy of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedy and
lost or where he has failed to avail himself of those remedies through his fault or
negligence (Heirs of Maura So vs. Obliosca 542 SCRA 406)

Well of course the remedy of new trial under Rule 37 must be availed of
before the judgment or order becomes final and executory. Also, the remedy of
appeal must also be availed before the judgment or order becomes final and
executory.

In petition for relief under Rule 38, although the judgment or order is already
final and executory, it must be done still within 60 days and 6 months.

Q: Suppose all the abovementioned remedies have lapsed, is there a remedy


left?
A: Section I says YES. There is annulment of judgment but only on limited
grounds.

Who may file the action

The petitioner need not be a party to the judgment sought to be annulled.


What is essential is that the petitioner is one who can prove his allegation that the
judgment was obtained by the use of fraud and collusion and that he was
affected thereby (Alaban vs. CA; Islamic Da’Wah Council of the Phil. vs. CA 178
SCRA 178). An action for annulment can be filed by one who was not a party to
the action in which the assailed judgment was rendered. It is a remedy in law
independent of the case where the judgment sought to be annulled is
promulgated (Villanueva vs. Nite 496 SCRA 459).

Sec. 2. Grounds for annulment. The annulment may


be based only on the grounds of extrinsic fraud and
lack of jurisdiction.
Extrinsic fraud shall not be a valid ground if it
was availed of, or could have been availed of, in a
motion for new trial or petition for relief. (n)
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1997 Rules on Civil Procedure Rule 47 – Annulment of Judgments
2001 Edition <draft copy. pls. check for errors> Or Final Orders and Resolutions

Q: What are the grounds for annulment of judgment under Section 2?


A: The grounds recognized by law for annulment of judgment are the only
two (2):

1.) The judgment was secured through extrinsic fraud; or


Extrinsic fraud should not be a valid ground if availed of, or could
have been availed of, in a motion for new trial or petition for relief.

2.) The judgment is void for lack of jurisdiction.

The rationale for the restriction is to prevent the extraordinary action from being
used by a losing party to make a complete farce of a duly promulgated decision
that has long become final and executory.

First Ground: EXTRINSIC FRAUD

Petition for relief under Rule 38 is a remedy against a final and executory
judgment kaya lang merong deadline – 6 months and 60 days. So after these
periods lapse, wala na.

Sa petition for relief, apat yon eh: Fraud, accident, mistake and excusable
negligence. In annulment of judgment, wala na yung accident, mistake and
excusable negligence. But yung EXTRINSIC FRAUD natira pa. That is the only
one which can be left behind under Rule 47.

Q: Now what is meant by extrinsic fraud ?


A: We already discussed this. Fraud, to be a ground for nullity of a judgment,
must be extrinsic – that fraud done by the adverse party which prevented a party
from having a trial or from presenting his case fully.

Therefore, intrinsic fraud is not a ground for new trial. It is not a ground for
petition for relief. And it is not a ground for annulment.

COSMIC LUMBER CORP. vs. COURT OF APPEALS


256 SCRA 168 [1996]

FACTS: Cosmic Lumber owns a piece of land occupied by some


squatters. Now, Cosmic Lumber executed a board resolution for a
special power of attorney authorizing an attorney-in-fact to initiate,
institute and file in any court action for the ejectment of the squatters
from its property. Then the agent by virtue of the power of attorney,

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2001 Edition <draft copy. pls. check for errors> Or Final Orders and Resolutions

filed a case to recover a portion of this property from its occupants


before the RTC.
While the case was going on, the agent (the attorney-in- fact) entered
into a compromise agreement with the squatters. In the compromise
agreement, the attorney-in-fact sold the property or land to the squatter
for only P26,000. And the compromise agreement was approved by the
court and it became final and executory.
Now it was several years later that the Cosmic Lumber heard about
it. The Cosmic Lumber filed an action to annul the judgment before the
CA on the ground of extrinsic fraud.
The CA: The case will be dismissed because that is not one of the
grounds for annulment of judgment because the alleged nullity of the
compromise judgment, because petitioner’s attorney-in-fact was not
authorized to sell the property. That does not amount to extrinsic fraud.
That was fraud by your own representative, it is not fraud by the other
party. The one who exercised fraud was your own attorney-in-fact, not
the squatter. So kaya nga that is not a ground. The CA dismissed the
action. So Cosmic Lumber went to the SC.

HELD: “The petition to annul the decision of the trial court in civil
case before the CA was proper. Emanating as it did from a void
compromise agreement, the trial court had no jurisdiction to render a
judgment based thereon.” So there is another ground – lack of
jurisdiction.
“The highly reprehensible conduct of attorney-in-fact in the civil case
constituted an extrinsic or collateral fraud by reason of which the
judgment rendered thereon should have been struck down. Not all the
legal semantics in the world can becloud the unassailable fact that
petitioner was deceived and betrayed by its attorney-in-fact. The latter
deliberately concealed from petitioner, her principal, that a compromise
agreement had been forged with the end result that a portion of
petitioner’s property was sold literally for a song, for P26,000. Thus
completely kept unaware of its agent’s artifice, petitioner was not
accorded even a fighting chance to repudiate the settlement so much so
that the judgment based thereon became final and executory.”
“For sure, the CA restricted the concept of fraudulent acts within too
narrow limits. Fraud may assume different shapes and be committed in
as many different ways and here lies the danger of attempting to define
fraud. For man in his ingenuity and fertile imagination will always
contrive new schemes to fool the unwary.”

So fraud by your attorney-in-fact is also considered as a ground for


annulment.

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1997 Rules on Civil Procedure Rule 47 – Annulment of Judgments
2001 Edition <draft copy. pls. check for errors> Or Final Orders and Resolutions

Second Ground: JUDGMENT IS VOID FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION

Lack of jurisdiction

Lack of jurisdiction as a ground for annulment of judgment refers to either


lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defending party or over the subject
matter of the claim. Where the court has jurisdiction over the defendant and over
the subject matter of the case, its decision will not be voided on the ground of
absence of jurisdiction (Republic vs. “G” Holdings GR No. `141241 November 22,
2005). The petitioner must show not a mere grave abuse of discretion but an
absolute lack of jurisdiction (Republic vs.”G” Holdings 475 SCRA 608). A claim
of grave abuse of discretion will support a petition for certiorari under Rule 65
but it will not support an action for annulment of a judgment.

In a petition for annulment of judgment, based on lack of jurisdiction,


petitioner must show an absolute lack of authority to hear and decide the case.
There would be no valid ground to grant the petition for annulment where the
error raised pertain to the trial court’s exercise of jurisdiction, not the absence of
jurisdiction (Heirs of Maura So vs. Obliosca 542 SCRA 406).

If we follow jurisprudence, there is a third ground which is implied: LACK


OF DUE PROCESS. When there is lack of due process there is also lack of
jurisdiction.

Q: How do you attack a judgment which is void?


A: It depends:

a.) when the judgment is null and void on its very face, the judgment may
be attacked:
1.) DIRECTLY; or
2.) COLLATERALLY;

b.) when the nullity is not apparent on the face of the judgment, the
judgment can be attacked only be DIRECTLY attacked.

Q: What is a COLLATERAL ATTACK?


A: Meaning, there is no need for me to file a case but I can invoke its nullity
anytime because a judgment which is void on its very face can be attacked at
anytime, in any manner anywhere.

EXAMPLE of Collateral attack: You are moving to execute a judgment. I will


oppose the execution on the ground that the judgment is void. That is collateral
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2001 Edition <draft copy. pls. check for errors> Or Final Orders and Resolutions

attack. I’m just saying that the judgment cannot be enforced because it is null and
void. But I never filed a direct action to declare its nullity. That can be done if the
judgment is void on its very face.

Q: What is a DIRECT ATTACK?


A: By direct attack means you must file an action to declare its nullity. So
there must be a case for its annulment.

Again, when the judgment is null and void on its face, (1) you may file a direct
action to annul it under Rule 47. Or, (2) it can also be attacked collaterally, a
direct attack is not necessary. A collateral attack will suffice.

EXAMPLE: RTC decided a forcible entry. By simply reading the decision,


obviously the RTC has no jurisdiction. Therefore, I can attack it directly by filing
a case for its annulment under Rule 47. OR, I will not file a case under Rule 47
but I will attack it collaterally. Meaning, bayaan ko lang. I will raise that issue
during execution. If you move for execution, I can oppose, “You cannot execute
because the RTC has no jurisdiction over the case. Therefore the judgment is void.” So it
is not necessary to file a case to declare the decision as null and void. That is
collateral attack.

But if the judgment is not void on its face but the nullity is intrinsic or
nakatago – not obvious ba – the rule is, you must file a direct action for its
annulment which must be done before the action is barred by laches or estoppel.
So it is necessary to file a case for annulment of judgment under Rule 47.

Well of course, certiorari under Rule 65 is also a ground for attacking a


judgement but the trouble is you are limited to 3 grounds: Lack of jurisdiction,
excess of jurisdiction and grave abuse of discretion. Walang extrinsic fraud. That
is governed by Rule 65 and not by Rule 47.

And under Rule 65, you can avail of certiorari only within 60 days. But if you
want annulment, it could be longer under Rule 47. That is under section 3. That
could be a big difference.

Moreover, what do you attack in certiorari? Normally, interlocutory orders


eh. But a final judgment can be attacked by annulment under Rule 47.

Now, those remedies were summarized in the case of

BAYOG vs. NATINO


258 SCRA 378 [1996]

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1997 Rules on Civil Procedure Rule 47 – Annulment of Judgments
2001 Edition <draft copy. pls. check for errors> Or Final Orders and Resolutions

HELD: It is a settled rule that a final and executory judgment may be


set aside in three (3) ways. To wit:
1. By petition for relief from judgment under Rule 38;
2. When the judgment is void for want of jurisdiction, by direct
attack, by certiorari, annulment of judgment or by collateral
attack; and
3. When the judgment was obtained by fraud and Rule 38 cannot
be applied anymore.

So those are the summary of the remedies.

ISLAMIC DA’WAH COUNCIL vs. COURT OF APPEALS


178 SCRA 178

ISSUE #1: Can a person, who is not a party to the judgment, file an
action for annulment of judgment?
HELD: A person who is not a part of the judgment may sue for its
annulment PROVIDED that he can prove [1] that the judgment was
obtained through fraud and collusion and [2] that he would be
adversely affected thereby.

ISSUE #2: Suppose the judgment had already been fully executed
and implemented, can you still file a case for annulment of judgment?
HELD: YES. We will also annul the execution. If there is no execution
yet, the proper remedy normally is you file an action for annulment and
ask for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction so that it will not
be enforced. Pero kung na-enforced na pwede pa man din ba.

SUMMARY: Possible remedies of defendant declared in DEFAULT:

1.) Rule 9, Section 3 [b] – Motion to lift Order of Default, there is still no
judgment; ground: FAME;
2.) Rule 37 – Motion for new trial, judgment not yet final; Ground: FAME;
3.) Rule 38 – Petition for relief within 60 days and 6 months, judgment is
already final; ground: FAME;
4.) Rule 41 – Appeal within 15 days; ground: Default judgment is contrary
to law or evidence;
5.) Rule 47 – Annulment of judgment; Ground: Extrinsic Fraud;
6.) Rule 65 – Certiorari; ground: Lack or excess of jurisdiction or grave
abuse of discretion

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1997 Rules on Civil Procedure Rule 47 – Annulment of Judgments
2001 Edition <draft copy. pls. check for errors> Or Final Orders and Resolutions

Q: What is the period to file an action for annulment on the ground of


extrinsic fraud?
A: Section 3:

Sec. 3. Period for filing action. If based on


extrinsic fraud, the action must be filed within
four (4) years from its discovery; and if based on
lack of jurisdiction, before it is barred by laches
or estoppel. (n)

This is based on decided cases. If your ground is extrinsic fraud, the action is
filed within four (4) years from its discovery. Now, if it is based on lack of
jurisdiction, before it is barred by laches or estoppel. That is very elastic – laches
or estoppel.

Although if you look at the strict law based on Article 1144 of the New Civil
Code, the prescriptive period really is 10 years for any action on judgment. That
is the strict law but it could be barred earlier by laches or estoppel.

Now as to the contents of the petition, we have Section 4:

Sec. 4. Filing and contents of petition. The


action shall be commenced by filing a verified
petition alleging therein with particularity the
facts and the law relied upon for annulment, as
well as those supporting the petitioner’s good and
substantial cause of action or defense, as the case
may be.
The petition shall be filed in seven (7) clearly
legible copies, together with sufficient copies
corresponding to the number of respondents. A
certified true copy of the judgment or final order
or resolution shall be attached to the original
copy of the petition intended for the court and
indicated as such by the petitioner.
The petitioner shall also submit together with
the petition affidavits of witnesses or documents
supporting the cause of action or defense and a
sworn certification that he has not theretofore
commenced any other action involving the same
issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals
or different divisions thereof, or any other
tribunal or agency; if there is such other action
or proceeding, he must state the status of the
same, and if he should thereafter learn that a
similar action or proceeding has been filed or is
pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of
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Appeals, or different divisions thereof, or any


other tribunal or agency, he undertakes to promptly
inform the aforesaid courts and other tribunal or
agency thereof within five (5) days therefrom.(n)

Take note that yung mga affidavits of your witnesses or documents


supporting your cause of action must be attached already. You correlate this with
Rule 37, Section 2 on new trial and Rule 38, Section 3 on petition for relief.

What does Rule 37, Section 2 and Rule 38, Section 3 say about motion for new
trial or petition for relief? There is also an AFFIDAVIT OF MERITS showing the
nature of the fraud, accident and the meritorious cause of action or defense. So
more or less that principle also applies in Rule 47.

Sec. 5. Action by the court. Should the court


find no substantial merit in the petition, the same
may be dismissed outright with specific reasons for
such dismissal.
Should prima facie merit be found in the
petition, the same shall be given due course and
summons shall be served on the respondent. (n)

Under Section 5, the court may dismiss outright the petition if there is no
merit or no substantial merit. If there is, then the same shall be given due course
and summons shall be served on the respondent.

Take note there will be SUMMONS here. Unlike in Rule 46, walang summons
yon. But here, there will be summons by the CA. That is the difference between
Rule 47 and Rule 46.

Sec. 6. Procedure. The procedure in ordinary


civil cases shall be observed. Should a trial be
necessary, the reception of the evidence may be
referred to a member of the court or a judge of a
Regional Trial Court. (n)

Q: What happens if the judgment is annulled? Can the plaintiff re-file the
case?
A: YES, because it is as if there was no judgment. Section 7:

Sec. 7. Effect of judgment. A judgment of


annulment shall set aside the questioned judgment
or final order or resolution and render the same
null and void, without prejudice to the original
action being refiled in the proper court. However,
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2001 Edition <draft copy. pls. check for errors> Or Final Orders and Resolutions

where the judgment or final order or resolution is


set aside on the ground of extrinsic fraud, the
court may on motion order the trial court to try
the case as if a timely motion for new trial had
been granted therein. (n)

So if the judgment is set aside on the ground of extrinsic fraud, the action can
be re-filed. The court may, on motion, order the trial court to try the case as if a
timely motions for the trial had been granted therein. That is similar to Rule 38,
Section 6. Remember when the court grants a petition for relief, the case will be
tried all over again as if a timely motion for new trial has been filed.

Q: What happens if by the time you re-file the case the prescriptive period has
already lapsed?
A: As a general rule, while the action for annulment is pending, the
prescriptive period for filing is interrupted. That is Section 8:

Sec. 8. Suspension of prescriptive period. The


prescriptive period for the refiling of the
aforesaid original action shall be deemed suspended
from the filing of such original action until the
finality of the judgment of annulment. However, the
prescriptive period shall not be suspended where
the extrinsic fraud is attributable to the
plaintiff in the original action. (n)

Q: What happens if a judgment is annulled and it was earlier executed?


A: Section 9:

Sec. 9. Relief available. The judgment of


annulment may include the award of damages,
attorney’s fees and other relief.
If the questioned judgment or final order or
resolution had already been executed, the court may
issue such orders of restitution or other relief as
justice and equity may warrant under the
circumstances. (n)

Under Section 9, the court may issue order of restitution or other reliefs as
justice and equity may warrant. That is similar to Rule 39, Section 5 – in case of
execution pending appeal and the appealed judgment is reversed, the court will
now order mutual restitution pursuant to Rule 39, Section 5.

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2001 Edition <draft copy. pls. check for errors> Or Final Orders and Resolutions

Sec. 10. Annulment of judgments or final orders


of Municipal Trial Courts. An action to annul a
judgment or final order of a Municipal Trial Court
shall be filed in the Regional Trial Court having
jurisdiction over the former. It shall be treated
as an ordinary civil action and sections 2, 3, 4,
7, 8 and 9 of this Rule shall be applicable
thereto. (n)

And the QUESTION is asked: “Meron bang action for annulment of judgments of
MTC?” Yaann!
Answer: YES. Kung merong annulment of judgment of the RTC, by
implication, meron din ang MTC. You cannot file it in the CA. You file it in the
RTC.

Annulment of judgment of the MTC will fall under the rule on jurisdiction of
the RTC – any action which does not belong to the jurisdiction of any other courts
(Section 19 [6], BP 129) or, an action the subject matter of which is incapable of
pecuniary estimation (Section 19 [1], BP 129) That would be the authority.

Now it’s very clear, meron talaga. It is now stated categorically there is an
action for annulment of judgment also of the MTC. It must be filed in the RTC
having jurisdiction over the MTC. The grounds are identical as those found in
the previous section. So this is an entirely new section.

Annulment of judgments of quasi-judicial bodies

In Macalalag vs. Ombudsman 424 SCRA 741, 745 the Court ruled that Rule 47
of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure on annulment of judgments or final orders
and resolutions covers annulment of the judgments of RTC by the CA.

The silence of BP 129 on the jurisdiction of the CA to annul judgments or final


orders and resolutions of quasi-judicial bodies like the DARAB indicates its lack
of such authority (Springfield Development Corporation vs. RTC of Mis Or. GR
142628 Feb 6 2007). It is hence, submitted that a party aggrieved who desires an
annulment of a judgment or resolution of quasi-judiciaL BODY ENUMERATED
UNDER Rule 43 may avail of a petition for review to the CA under said rule and
not an action to annul the judgment or resolution.

CERTIORARI (RULE 65)

Called a “supervisory or superintending writ,” this remedy is availed of to


annul or modify the proceedings of a tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial
or extrajudicial functions which has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or
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with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. For this petition
to prosper, it is necessary to allege and show that there is no more appeal, or any
other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.

As a rule, where appeal is available, certiorari cannot be availed of unless it


can be shown that appeal is not speedy, or adequate. Hence, the basic question to
be considered is: Does the petitioner have the remedy of appeal or any other
remedy? If the answer is in the affirmative, certiorari is not available, as a rule.
However, even if appeal is available, if it is not adequate, speedy or equally
beneficial as certiorari, a petition for certiorari may be availed of (Landbank vs.
CA 409 SCRA 455)

The task of the court in a certiorari proceeding is to determine whether the


lower court committed grave abuse of discretion (Marcopper Mining vs.
Solidbank Corporation, GR 134049 June 17, 2004). It is a remedy narrow in scope.
It is not a general utility tool in the legal workshop. Its function is to raise only
questions of jurisdiction and no other. It cannot be used for any other purpose
(Landbank vs. CA, supra). Do not file a certiorari if your purpose is to raise a
factual issue or to ask for a re-evaluation of the facts and the evidence (PILTEL
vs. NTC 410 SCRA 82).

The sole object of the writ is to correct errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of
discretion. The phrase “grave abuse of discretion” has a precise meaning in law,
denoting abuse of discretion “too patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of
a positive duty, or a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or act in
contemplation of law, or where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and
despotic manner by reason of passion and personal hostility.” It does not
encompass an error of law. Nor does it include a mistake in the appreciation of
the contending parties’ respective evidence or the evaluation of their relative
weight.

The Court cannot be tasked to go over the proofs presented by the parties and
analyze, assess and weigh them all over again to ascertain if the trial court or
quasi-judicial agency and the appellate court were correct in according superior
credit to this or that piece of evidence of one party or the other. The sole office of
a writ of certiorari is the correction of errors of jurisdiction including the
commission of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, and
does not include the review of factual findings based thereon (Remy’s Freight
Service GR 14167 June 8, 2006)

The petition shall be filed not later than 60 days from notice of the judgment,
order or resolution. In case a motion for reconsideration was filed, the 60-day
period starts not from the notice of judgment but from notice of the denial of the
motion for reconsideration (Docena vs. Lapser 355 SCRA 658).
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COLLATERAL ATTACK OF A JUDGMENT

Distinction between a direct and collateral attack

A direct attack of a judgment is made through an action or proceeding the


main object of which is to annul, set aside or enjoin the enforcement of such
judgment if not yet carried into effect; or if the property has been disposed of, the
aggrieved party may sue for recovery. A collateral attack is made when, in
another action to obtain a different relief, an attack on the judgment is made as
an incident in said action. This is proper only when the judgment, on its face, is
null and void, as where it is patent that the court which rendered said judgment
has no jurisdiction (Co vs. CA 196 SCRA 705)

Examples: A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is a direct attack. It is filed


primarily to have an order annulled. An action for annulment of a judgment is
likewise a direct attack on a judgment. A motion to dismiss a complaint for
collection of sum of money filed by a corporation against the defendant on the
ground that the plaintiff has no legal capacity to sue is a collateral attack on the
corporation. A motion to dismiss is incidental to the main action for a sum of
money. It is not filed as an action intended to attack the legal existence of the
plaintiff (Macabingkil vs. PHHC 72 SCRA 326; Co vs. CA 196 SCRA 705).
-oOo-

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