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3.

Secondly, the service in the attempted manner on petitioner was not made
Valmonte v. CA Digest upon prior leave of the trial court as required also in Rule 14, § 17. As provided
in § 19, such leave must be applied for by motion in writing, supported by
G.R. No. 108538 January 22, 1996 affidavit of the plaintiff or some person on his behalf and setting forth the
Ponente: Mendoza, J.: grounds for the application.

Service of Summons 4. Finally, and most importantly, because there was no order granting such
leave, petitioner Lourdes was not given ample time to file her Answer which,
Facts: according to the rules, shall be not less than sixty (60) days after notice.

1. Petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte is a foreign resident.


Petitioners Lourdes and Alfredo are husband and wife both
residents of 90222 Carkeek Drive South Seattle, Washington,
U.S.A. Petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte, who is a member of the
Philippine bar, however, practices his profession in the
Philippines, commuting for this purpose between his residence in
the state of Washington and Manila, where he holds office at S-
304 Gedisco Centre, 1564 A. Mabini, Ermita, Manila.
2. Private respondent Rosita Dimalanta, who is the sister
of petitioner filed an action for partition against former and her
husband. She alleged that, the plaintiff is of legal age, a widow
and is at present a resident of 14823 Conway Road, Chesterfield,
Missouri, U.S.A., while the defendants are spouses but, for
purposes of this complaint may be served with summons at
Gedisco Center, Unit 304, 1564 A. Mabini St., Ermita, Manila
where defendant Alfredo D. Valmonte as defendant Lourdes
Arreola Valmonte’s spouse holds office and where he can be
found.He husband was also her counsel, who has a law office in
the Philippines. The summons were served on her husband.
3. Petitioner in a letter, referred private respondent’s
counsel to her husband as the party to whom all communications
intended for her should be sent. Service of summons was then
made upon petitioner Alfredo at his office in Manila. Alfredo D.
Valmonte accepted his summons, but not the one for Lourdes, on
the ground that he was not authorized to accept the process on
her behalf. Accordingly the process server left without leaving a
copy of the summons and complaint for petitioner Lourdes A.
Valmonte.
4. Petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte thereafter filed his
Answer with Counterclaim. Petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte,
however, did not file her Answer. For this reason private
respondent moved to declare her in default. Petitioner Alfredo D.
Valmonte entered a special appearance in behalf of his wife and
opposed the private respondent’s motion. RTC denied the MR of
respondents. CA declared petitioner Lourdes in default. Said
decision was received by Alfredo hence this petition.

Issue: Whether or not petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte was validly served with
summons.
NO.
There was no valid service of summons on Lourdes.
1. The action herein is in the nature of an action quasi in rem. Such an action is
essentially for the purpose of affecting the defendant’s interest in a specific
property and not to render a judgment against him. As petitioner Lourdes A.
Valmonte is a nonresident who is not found in the Philippines, service of
summons on her must be in accordance with Rule 14, § 17. Such service, to be
effective outside the Philippines, must be made either (1) by personal service;
(2) by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in such places and for
such time as the court may order, in which case a copy of the summons and
order of the court should be sent by registered mail to the last known address
of the defendant; or (3) in any other manner which the court may deem
sufficient.

2. In the case at bar, the service of summons upon petitioner Lourdes A.


Valmonte was not done by means of any of the first two modes. This mode of
service, like the first two, must be made outside the Philippines, such as
through the Philippine Embassy in the foreign country where the defendant
resides. The service of summons on petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte was not
made upon the order of the court as required by Rule 14, § 17 and certainly
was not a mode deemed sufficient by the court which in fact refused to
consider the service to be valid and on that basis declare petitioner Lourdes A.
Valmonte in default for her failure to file an answer.
MILLENIUM VS TAN  November 9, 1995: Tan filed against Millenium a complaint for
foreclosure of mortgage in the RTC Cebu City.
[GR NO. 131724] | [February 28, 2000] | [MENDOZA, J.]  November 21, 1995: summons and a copy of the complaint were
served upon Millenium trough a certain Lynverd Cinches,
CASE SUMMARY Must be recit ready. Important facts and ruling of the court described in the sheriff's return, dated November 23, 1995, as "a
plus basis Draftsman, a person of sufficient age and (discretion) working
therein, he is the highest ranking officer or Officer-in-Charge of
defendant's Corporation, to receive processes of the Court."
Millennium mortgaged its real property to secure its indebtedness to Tan.
 [Millennium’s MTD] Millenium moved for the dismissal of the
Millennium defaulted. Tan filed a complaint for foreclosure of mortgage. The complaint on the ground that there was no valid service of
sheriff’s return showed that summons and a copy of the complaint were summons upon it, as a result of which the trial court did not acquire
served on one Lynverd Cinches, Millennium’s alleged jurisdiction over it.
draftsman/OIC/employee. Millennium filed MTD on the ground that there  Millenium invoked Rule 14, Sec 13 of the 1964 Rules of Court and
was no valid service of summons upon it. SC ruled in its favour, finding there contended that service on Lynverd Cinches, as alleged in the
was neither a valid service of summons nor a waiver of the defense of lack of sheriff's return, was invalid as he is not one of the authorized
persons on whom summons may be served and that, in fact, he
jurisdiction by raising an affirmative defense. The Court ruled that though the
was not even its employee.
general rule is that the enumeration in Rule 14, Sec 13 is exclusive and that  Millenium also sought the dismissal of the complaint against it on
service of summons upon one who is not enumerated therein is invalid, the ground that it had satisfied its obligation to Tan when the
substantial compliance by serving summons on persons other than those latter opted to be paid in shares of stock under a stipulation in the
mentioned in the above rule may be justified. What is imperative however, is mortgage contract
that for there to be substantial compliance, actual receipt of summons by the  Millenium further prayed for "other reliefs just and equitable
corporation through the person served must be shown. Receipt by Millenium under the premises."
 RTC (December 15, 1995): denied Millennium's MTD
of the summons and complaint cannot be inferred from the fact that it filed a
o By interposing the ground that the obligation was
Motion to Dismiss the case; proof of actual receipt of summons by the already paid and extinguished, the Millenium has
corporation through the person served must be shown, which Respondents availed of an affirmative defense on the basis of which
failed to do. the Court has to hear and receive evidence.
o For the Court to validly decide the said plea of the
DOCTRINE copy SCRA syllabus related to the topic if possible defendant it necessarily had to acquire jurisdiction over
the person of the defendant. Thus, defendant is
1. The enumeration in Rule 14, Sec 13 is exclusive and that service of considered to have then abandoned its first ground
summons upon one who is not enumerated therein is invalid. However, (lack of jurisdiction) and is deemed to have voluntarily
it is settled that substantial compliance by serving summons on persons submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the Court.
other than those mentioned in the above rule may be justified. o It is a legal truism that voluntary appearance cures the
defect of the summons, if any.
 Porac Trucking, Inc. v. CA: requisites for the application of the
o MR denied
doctrine of substantial compliance: (a) there must be actual receipt
 CA dismissed Millenium’s petition for certiorari, finding that
of the summons by the person served, i.e., transferring possession
although Millenium denied Lynverd Cinches' authority to receive
of the copy of the summons from the Sheriff to the person served;
summons for it, its actual receipt of the summons could be
(b) the person served must sign a receipt or the sheriff's return; and
inferred from its filing of a motion to dismiss, hence, the purpose
(c) there must be actual receipt of the summons by the corporation
for issuing summons had been substantially achieved.
through the person on whom the summons was actually served.
o Moreover, by including the affirmative defense that it
 The third requisite is the most important for it is through such had already paid its obligation and praying for other
receipt that the purpose of the rule on service of summons is reliefs in its Motion to Dismiss, Millenium voluntarily
attained. For there to be substantial compliance, actual receipt of submitted to the jurisdiction of the court.
summons by the corporation through the person served must be
shown.
 La Naval Drug Corporation v. CA: Jurisdiction over the person must
be seasonably raised, i.e., that it is pleaded in a motion to dismiss
ISSUE state all issues first. Bold the one related to the subject
or by way of an affirmative defense. Voluntary appearance shall be
deemed a waiver of this defense. The assertion, however, of
affirmative defenses shall not be construed as an estoppel or as a 1. W/N the service of summons was valid  NO
waiver of such defense. 2. W/N there was acquisition of jurisdiction by estoppel through the
inclusion of an affirmative relief, barring the right to question the
jurisdiction over the person?  NO
HELD
2. It is not allowable to merely infer actual receipt of summons by the
1. W/N the service of summons was valid  NO; No direct proof of
corporation through the person on whom summons was served. For
this or that Lynverd Cinches actually turned over the summons
there to be substantial compliance, actual receipt of summons by the
to any of the officers of the corporation.
corporation through the person served must be shown.
a. Millenium objects to the application of the doctrine of
substantial compliance in the service of summons for
two reasons: (1) the enumeration of persons on whom
FACTS bullet points service of summons on a corporation may be effected
in Rule 14, Sec 13, is exclusive and mandatory; and (2)
 December 1994: Petitioner Millennium Industrial Commercial even assuming that substantial compliance is based on
Corporation executed a Deed of Real Estate Mortgage over its real an unfounded speculation because there is nothing in
property covered by TCT No. 24069 in favor of respondent Jackson the records to show that Lynverd Cinches actually
Tan. turned over the summons to any of the officers of the
 The mortgage was executed to secure payment of Millenium's corporation; it it was able to file a motion to dismiss
indebtedness to Tan for P2M, without monthly interest, but which, only because of its timely discovery of the foreclosure
at maturity date on June 10, 1995, was payable in the amount of suit against it when it checked the records of the case
P4M in the trial court.
 Court: Summons is the means by which the  Dismissed Special Proceeding against PET
defendant in a case is notified of the existence of
an action against him and, thereby, the court is
conferred jurisdiction over the person of the APPENDIX
defendant. If the defendant is a corporation, Rule
14, Sec 13 requires that service of summons be DIGESTER’S NOTES / TABLES/ ILLUSTRATIONS
made upon the corporation's president,
manager, secretary, cashier, agent, or any of its
directors. Service must be made on a
representative so integrated with the corporation
sued as to make it a priori presumable that he On the effect of Millenium's prayer for "other reliefs" in its Motion to
will realize his responsibilities and know what he Dismiss.
should do with any legal papers received by him.
b. Millenium likewise contends: that the enumeration in  De Midgely v. Fernandos: in a motion to dismiss, the allegation of
Rule 14, Sec 13 is exclusive and that service of grounds other than lack of jurisdiction over the person of the
summons upon one who is not enumerated therein is defendant, including a prayer "for such other reliefs as" may be
invalid. The Court said that although this is the deemed "appropriate and proper" amounted to voluntary appearance
general rule, it is settled that substantial compliance  Superseded by the ruling in La Naval that estoppel by jurisdiction must
by serving summons on persons other than those be unequivocal and intentional. It would be absurd to hold that
mentioned in the above rule may be justified. (See Millenium unequivocally and intentionally submitted itself to the
Doctrine For Case Justification) jurisdiction of the court by seeking other reliefs to which it might be
 In the case at bar, no dispute that the first and entitled when the only relief that it can properly ask from the trial court
second requisites were fulfilled. Contrary to CA’s is the dismissal of the complaint against it.
finding that Millenium's filing of MTD the
foreclosure suit is proof that it received the copy
of the summons and the complaint, there is no
direct proof of this or that Lynverd Cinches
actually turned over the summons to any of the
officers of the corporation.
 It is not allowable to merely infer actual receipt
of summons by the corporation through the
person on whom summons was served. For there
to be substantial compliance, actual receipt of
summons by the corporation through the
person served must be shown.
 Where a corporation only learns of the service of
summons and the filing of the complaint against
it through some person or means other than the
person actually served, the service of summons
becomes meaningless. This is particularly true in
the present case where there is serious doubt if
Lynverd Cinches is in fact an employee of the
corporation. Except for the sheriff's return, there
is nothing to show that Lynverd Cinches was
really a draftsman employed by the corporation.
 Receipt by Millenium of the summons and
complaint cannot be inferred from the fact that it
filed a Motion to Dismiss the case.

2. W/N there was acquisition of jurisdiction by estoppel through the


inclusion of an affirmative relief, barring the right to question the
jurisdiction over the person  NO. Doctrine of estoppel by
jurisdiction must be unequivocal and intentional
a. La Naval Drug Corporation v. CA: Jurisdiction over the
person must be seasonably raised, i.e., that it is
pleaded in a motion to dismiss or by way of an
affirmative defense. Voluntary appearance shall be
deemed a waiver of this defense. The assertion,
however, of affirmative defenses shall not be
construed as an estoppel or as a waiver of such
defense.
b. The rule prior to La Naval was that if a defendant, in a
motion to dismiss, alleges grounds for dismissing the
action other than lack of jurisdiction, he would be
deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction
of the court. This rule no longer holds true. Doctrine of
estoppel by jurisdiction must be unequivocal and
intentional

DECISION bullet points. Don’t copy and paste


 Petition GRANTED
E.B. Villarosa & Partners Co., Ltd. i. Benito, 312 SCRA 65 ,1999|

FACTS:
E.B. Villarosa & Partners is a limited partnership with principal
office address at 102 Juan Luna St., Davao City and with branch offices at
Parañaque and Cagayan de Oro City (CDO). Villarosa and Imperial
Development (ID) executed an Agreement wherein Villarosa agreed to develop
certain parcels of land in CDO belonging to ID into a housing subdivision. ID,
filed a Complaint for Breach of Contract and Damages against Villarosa before
the RTC allegedly for failure of the latter to comply with its contractual
obligation.
Summons, together with the complaint, were served upon Villarosa, through
its Branch Manager Wendell Sabulbero at the address at CDO but the Sheriff’s
Return of Service stated that the summons was duly served "E.B. Villarosa &
Partner thru its Branch Manager at their new office Villa Gonzalo, CDO, and
evidenced by the signature on the face of the original copy of the summons."
Villarosa prayed for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of improper
service of summons and for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant. Villarosa contends that the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over its
person since the summons was improperly served upon its employee in its
branch office at CDO who is not one of those persons named in Sec. 11, Rule
14 upon whom service of summons may be made. ID filed a Motion to Declare
Villarosa in Default alleging that Villarosa has failed to file an Answer despite
its receipt allegedly on May 5, 1998 of the summons and the complaint, as
shown in the Sheriff's Return.

Issue: Won an agent of a corporation can receive summons in behalf of their


corporation?

HELD: The court agrees with the contention of Villarosa. Earlier cases have
uphold service of summons upon a construction project manager; a
corporation's assistant manager; ordinary clerk of a corporation; private
secretary of corporate executives; retained counsel; officials who had charge
or control of the operations of the corporation, like the assistant general
manager; or the corporation's Chief Finance and Administrative Office. In
these cases, these persons were considered as "agent" within the
contemplation of the old rule.”

“Notably, under the new Rules, service of summons upon an AGENT of the

corporation is NO LONGER authorized.”


“The designation of persons or officers who are authorized to accept summons
for a domestic corporation or partnership is now limited and more clearly
specified in Section11, Rule 14. The rule now states "general manager" instead
of only "manager";"corporate secretary" instead of "secretary"; and
"treasurer" instead of "cashier." The phrase “agent, or any of its directors" is
conspicuously deleted in the new rule.”
“A strict compliance with the mode of service is necessary to confer
jurisdiction of the court over a corporation. The officer upon whom service is
made must be one who is named in the statute; otherwise the service is
insufficient. . . The liberal construction rule cannot be invoked and utilized as a
substitute for the plain legal requirements as to the manner in which summons
should be served on a domestic corporation. .”
Mason v CA (2003)

Quisumbing, J. Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure requires
that service of summons upon domestic private juridical entity shall
Re: Rules 10-14; Summons; default be made through its president, managing partner, general
manager, corporate secretary, treasurer or in-house counsel.

DOCTRINE
Since service upon private respondent was made through a certain
No substantial compliance in serving summons. Service of summons, to be Ayreen Rejalde, a mere filing clerk in private respondent’s office,
valid, must be received by any of those enumerated under Sec 11, Rule 14. as evidenced by the latter’s employment record, such service
cannot be considered valid. Consequently, the subsequent
Villarosa overturned the doctrine in Millenium case (substantial compliance). proceedings, including the order of default, judgment by default
and its execution, were also invalid because the trial court did not
FACTS acquire jurisdiction over private respondent. Besides, judgments
by default are not favored, especially so when there is a prima facie
Petitioners spouses Efren and Digna Mason owned two parcels of land located showing that the defaulting party has a meritorious defense, which
along EDSA in Pasay City. On March 30, 1993, petitioners and private in this case was grounded on the contract of lease sued upon, said
respondent Columbus Philippines Bus Corporation (hereafter Columbus) the Court of Appeals.
entered into a lease contract, under which Columbus undertook to construct
a building worth P10M at the end of the third year of the lease. Petitioner filed a petition for review.

According to petitioners:

Because private respondent failed to comply with this stipulation, the 1. Petitioners contend that while Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997
petitioners on November 13, 1998, filed a complaint for rescission of contract Rules of Civil Procedure clearly specifies the persons authorized to
with damages against private respondent before the RTC of Pasay City. receive summons on behalf of a private juridical entity, said
provision did not abandon or render inapplicable the substantial
compliance rule. Petitioners cite MilleniumIndustrial Commercial
Corporation v. Tan, and maintain that this Court, by referring
Summons was served upon private respondent through a certain to E.B Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd. v. Judge Benito, effectively ruled
Ayreen Rejalde. While the receiving copy of the summons that said provision is the statement of the general rule on service
described Rejalde as a secretary of Columbus, the sheriff’s return of summons upon corporation and the substantial compliance
described Rejalde as a secretary to the corporate president, duly rule is the exception.
authorized to receive legal processes.
2. Even though the summons was received by a mere filing clerk in
private respondent’s corporation, there was substantial
compliance with Section 11, Rule 14 because the summons
Private respondent failed to file its answer or other responsive actually reached private respondent. This can be gleaned from
pleading, hence petitioners filed a motion to declare private private respondent’s motion to lift order of default where private
respondent in default. The motion was granted and petitioners respondent did not question the validity of the service of
were allowed to present evidence ex-parte. Thereafter, the case summons but explained in paragraph three thereof that its failure
was submitted for decision. to answer the complaint was due to its impression that the case
would not be pursued by petitioners because the corporation
already made payments to them.

RTC: The trial court rendered its decision in favor of the petitioners declaring
the contract of lease rescinded, terminated and cancelled. That decision 3. According to petitioners, private respondent in effect admitted
became final on May 12, 1999. that it received the summons. Notwithstanding this, private
respondent did not file its answer to the complaint, said the
petitioners. This is tantamount to negligence which the court
cannot tolerate,
1. The following day, private respondent filed a motion to lift
order of default, which was opposed by petitioners. The trial
court denied the motion to lift order of default. According to respondent

2. Private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration, which 1. Private respondent counters that nowhere in the Millenium case
was denied. did this Court expressly state or remotely imply that we have not
abandoned the doctrine of substantial compliance.

3. Undaunted, private respondent filed a manifestation and 2. Private respondent claims that petitioners misquoted the portion
motion to lift the writ of execution. It suffered the same fate of the Millenium decision where this Court cited
as the motion for reconsideration for being dilatory. The the Villarosa case, to make it appear that the Villarosa ruling,
branch sheriff was directed to proceed with the enforcement which provides an interpretation of Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997
of the decision. Rules of Civil Procedure, states the general rule on the service of
summons upon corporations where the substantial compliance
rule is the exception. Private respondent avers that what this
CA: Private respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals, which ruled in its Court discussed in the Millenium case was the rule on service of
favor. The CA held that the trial court erred when it denied private summons under the old Rules of Court prior to the promulgation
respondent’s motion to lift order of default. The appellate court pointed out and effectivity of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
that private respondent was not properly served with summons, thus it
cannot be faulted if it failed to file an Answer.
The Millenium case held that as a general rule, service upon one Neither can herein petitioners invoke our ruling in Millenium to support their
who is not enumerated in Section 13, Rule 14 of the then Rules of position for said case is not on all fours with the instant case. We must stress
Court is invalid, according to private respondent. An exception is that Millenium was decided when the 1964 Rules of Court were still in force
when the summons is actually received by the corporation, which and effect, unlike the instant case which falls under the new rule. Hence, the
means that there was substantial compliance with the case cited by petitioners where we upheld the doctrine of substantial
rule. Private respondent stresses that since the exception compliance must be deemed overturned by Villarosa, which is the later case.
referred to the old rule, it cannot be made to apply to the new
rule, which clearly specifies and limits the persons authorized to 2. Moot and academic. Since there was no valid summons, RTC did
receive the summons in behalf of the corporation. not acquire jurisdiction over respondent. Thus, all subsequent
proceedings held before it, including the order of default, are null
3. Neither can petitioners rely on Millenium to justify their theory and void.
because at the time the complaint in this case was filed with the
trial court, the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure were already in
effect. The case law applicable in the instant case, contends
private respondent, is Villarosa which squarely provides for the
proper interpretation of the new rule on the service of summons
upon domestic corporation,

ISSUES

1. Whether there was valid service of summons on private


respondent for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction
2. Whether private respondent’s motion to lift order of default was
in order.

HELD

1. There was no valid service of summons. Service


through Ayreen Rejalde, a mere filing clerk of private respondent
and not one of those enumerated in Section 11, Rule 14 of the
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, is invalid.

The question of whether the substantial compliance rule is still applicable


under Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure has been
settled in Villarosa which applies squarely to the instant case.

In the said case, petitioner E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co.


Ltd. (hereafter Villarosa) with principal office address at 102 Juan
Luna St., Davao City and with branches at 2492 Bay View Drive,
Tambo, Parañaque, Metro Manila and Kolambog, Lapasan,
Cagayan de Oro City, entered into a sale with development
agreement with private respondent Imperial Development
Corporation. As Villarosa failed to comply with its contractual
obligation, private respondent initiated a suit for breach of contract
and damages at the Regional Trial Court of Makati. Summons,
together with the complaint, was served upon Villarosa through its
branch manager at Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de
Oro City. Villarosa filed a Special Appearance with Motion to
Dismiss on the ground of improper service of summons and lack of
jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion and ruled that there
was substantial compliance with the rule, thus, it acquired
jurisdiction over Villarosa. The latter questioned the denial before
us in its petition for certiorari. We decided in Villarosa’s favor and
declared the trial court without jurisdiction to take cognizance of
the case. We held that there was no valid service of summons
on Villarosa as service was made through a person not included in
the enumeration in Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, which revised the Section 13, Rule 14 of the 1964 Rules
of Court. We discarded the trial court’s basis for denying the
motion to dismiss, namely, private respondent’s substantial
compliance with the rule on service of summons, and fully agreed
with petitioner’s assertions that the enumeration under the new
rule is restricted, limited and exclusive, following the rule in
statutory construction that expression unios est exclusion
alterius. Had the Rules of Court Revision Committee intended to
liberalize the rule on service of summons, we said, it could have
easily done so by clear and concise language. Absent a manifest
intent to liberalize the rule, we stressed strict compliance with
Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.