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JURISDICTION

CASE # 1

CONCORDE CONDOMINIUM v. AUGUSTO H. BACULIO


G.R. No. 203678, February 17, 2016

TOPIC: Regional Trial Court as court of general jurisdiction.

FACTS:

Petitioners filed with the RTC Makati a petition for injunction (with
damages with prayer for issuance of a TRO, writ of preliminary injunction,
and writ of mandatory preliminary injunction) against the respondents
seeking to enjoin them from misrepresenting to the public that they are the
owners of the Concorde condominium building, and to prevent other certain
individuals and government officials from doing particular acts. The case
was docketed as a civil case and raffled to a Makati RTC branch which was
designated as a special commercial court. The respondents moved to
dismiss claiming that the said RTC branch, as a special commercial court,
has no jurisdiction over the case because it is merely an ordinary civil action
and not those cases such as intra-corporate disputes over which special
commercial courts have exclusive jurisdiction.

Due to the absence of intra-corporate relations between the parties, it ruled


that the case does not involve an intra-corporate controversy cognizable by it
sitting as a Special Commercial Court. It also held that there is no more
necessity to discuss the other issues raised in the motion to dismiss, as well
as the motion to vacate order, for lack of jurisdiction over the case.

Hence, this petition for review on certiorari.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the RTC dismissing the petition on the ground of lack
of jurisdiction.

RULING:

Petition for review on certiorari is granted.

The designation of the said branch as a Special Commercial Court by no


means diminished its power as a court of general jurisdiction to hear and
decide cases of all nature, whether civil, criminal or special proceedings.
Clearly, as the suit between petitioner and respondents neither arises
from an intra-corporate relationship nor does it pertain to the enforcement of
their correlative rights and obligations under the Corporation Code, and the
internal and intra-corporate regulatory rules of the corporation, Branch 149
correctly found that the subject matter of the petition is in the nature of an
ordinary civil action.

As to the jurisdiction of RTC, the court take cognizance of the


guidelines established in the case of Manuel Luis C. Gonzales and Francis
Martin D. Gonzal.es v. GJH Land, Inc. (formerly known as S.J. Land Inc.),
Chang Hwan Jang a.k.a. Steve Jang, Sang Rak, Kim, Mariechu N. Yap and
Atty. Roberto P. Mallari II,21 to wit:

“The designation of Special Commercial Courts was merely


intended as a procedural tool to expedite the resolution of
commercial cases in line with the court's exercise of
jurisdiction. This designation was not made by statute but only
by an internal Supreme Court rule under its authority to
promulgate rules governing matters of procedure and its
constitutional mandate to supervise the administration of all
courts and the personnel thereof. Certainly, an internal rule
promulgated by the Court cannot go beyond the commanding
statute. But as a more fundamental reason, the designation of
Special Commercial Courts is, to stress, merely an incident
related to the court's exercise of jurisdiction, which, as first
discussed, is distinct from the concept of jurisdiction over the
subject matter. The RTCs general jurisdiction over ordinary
civil cases is therefore not abdicated by an internal rule
streamlining court procedure.”(Emphasis supplied)

It is apt to note, however, that the foregoing guideline applies only in


a situation where the ordinary civil case filed before the proper RTCs was
"wrongly raffled" to its branches designated as Special Commercial Courts,
which situation does not obtain in this case. Here, no clear and convincing
evidence is shown to overturn the legal presumption that official duty has
been regularly performed when the Clerk of Court of the Makati RTC
docketed the petition for injunction with damages as an ordinary civil case -
not as a commercial case - and, consequently, raffled it among all branches
of the same RTC, and eventually assigned it to Branch 149. To recall, the
designation of the said branch as a Special Commercial Court by no means
diminished its power as a court of general jurisdiction to hear and decide
cases of all nature, whether civil, criminal or special proceedings. There is
no question, therefore, that the Makati RTC, Branch 149 erred in dismissing
the petition for injunction with damages, which is clearly an ordinary civil
case. As a court of general jurisdiction, it still has jurisdiction over the
subject matter thereof.

CASE # 2

CONRADO NICART, AS GOVERNOR OF EASTERN SAMAR

v. TITONG AND ABRUGAR

G.R. No. 207682, December 10, 2014

FACTS:

Titong and Abrugar, together with 93 others, were appointed as


department heads by the then Governor Evardone of Samar a few days
before the end of his term.Their appointments were disapproved by the CSC
Regional Office for violation of CSC rules and for not having met the
requirements laid down in Nazareno vs City of Dumaguete case. Titong and
Abrugar filed a petition for review before the CSC Main, which granted and
declared their appointments as valid. The new Governor Nicart sought for
reconsideration, but it was denied. Before the CA, he appealed arguing that
their appointments cannot be valid since there was no need to fill up the
positions and that their appointments were en masse.

Meanwhile, the CSC Main issued a writ of execution ordering Gov


Nicart and the provincial government to pay the salaries and emoluments of
Titong and Abrugar. Gov Nicart refused, so they filed a petition for
mandamus before the RTC even while the case before the CA was still
pending.

The RTC decided the petition on the basis of the CSC memo circular
82 which states that the non-issuance of a restraining order or injunction
would make the CSC resolution executory pending appeal. Since there was
no TRO or injunction, and its opinion that the CA decision would not
constitute res judicata or in any way affect the petition for mandamus, the
RTC issued a writ of mandamus and went even further in deciding that the
appointments were valid.
ISSUE:

Whether or not it is proper for the RTC to take cognizance of the


petition for mandamus even while the issues involved is still pending
resolution before the CA.

HELD:

No. First, it is erroneous for the RTC to opine that the CA decision would
not affect the petition before it because clearly, the mandamus petition
heavily relies on the validity or invalidity of the appointments which issue is
yet to be resolved by the CA. Second, even while there is no preliminary
injunction or TRO issued by the higher court, ordinarily it would be
proper for a lower court or a court of origin to suspend the proceedings
on the precept of judicial courtesy. Hence, the RTC erred when it decided
on the mandamus petition for disregarding such principle.