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SOLIVEN vs FASTFORMS PHILS.

440 SCRA 389
Sandoval-Gutierrez, October 18, 2004
NATURE
-petition for review on certiorari

FACTS
-Petitioner Marie Antoinette Soliven filed a complaint for P195,155 as actual damages with P200k as moral damages, P100k as
exemplary damages and P100k as attorney’s fees against respondent Fastform Phils., with the Makati RTC. It alleged that
respondent, through its president Dr. Escobar, obtained a loan from petitioner (P170k) payable within 21 days with 3% interest. On
the same day, respondent issued a postdated check for P170k + P5k int. 3 weeks later, Escobar advised petitioner not to deposit
the check as the account from where it was drawn had insufficient funds and instead proposed that the P175k be rolled-over with
5% monthly interest, to which the latter agreed. Respondent issued several checks as payment for interests for 5 months but
thereafter refused to pay its principal obligation despite petitioner’s repeated demands.
-In its counterclaim, respondent denied obtaining the loan and that it did not authorize Escobar to secure said loan or issue checks
as payment for interests. After a trial on the merits, the court ordered respondent to pay the amount of the loan plus interest and
attorneys fees, but moral and exemplary damages as well as the counterclaim were dismissed.
-Respondent filed a MFR questioning the court’s jurisdiction alleging that since the principal demand (P195,155) did not exceed
P200k, the complaint should have been filed with the MTC, pursuant to RA 7691. The TC denied the MFR since the totality of the
claim exceeded 200k and since respondent was estopped from questioning jurisdiction. On appeal, the CA reversed the TC
decision on the ground of lack of jurisdiction and that respondent may assail jurisdiction of the TC anytime even for the first time on
appeal. Petitioner filed an MFR which was denied by the CA, hence this petition.

ISSUE (Members of religious group)
WON the trial court has jurisdiction over the case

HELD
NO.
Ratio. While it is true that jurisdiction may be raised at any time, this rule presupposes that estoppel has not supervened. Since
respondent actively participated in all stages of the proceedings before the TC and even sought affirmative relief, it is estopped from
challenging the TC’s jurisdiction, especially since an adverse judgment had been rendered. A party cannot invoke the jurisdiction of
a court to secure affirmative relief against his opponent and after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate that same
jurisdiction.
Reasoning. Section 3 of RA 7691 provides that where the amount of the demand in the complaint instituted in Metro Manila does
not exceed P200k, exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, atty’s fees, litigation expenses and costs, the exclusive
jurisdiction over the same is vested in the Metropolitan Trial court, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court.
-Administrative Circular 09-94 specifies guidelines in the implementation of RA 7691. Par 2 of the Circular provides that the term
“damages of whatever kind” applies only to cases where damages are merely a consequence of the main action. In the instant case,
the main cause of action is the collection of the debt amounting to P195k. The damages being claimed are merely incidental and are
thus not included in determining the jurisdictional amount.

Disposition. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED