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86. SPS. MANILA VS. SPS.

MANZO jurisdiction over the person of the defending party or over the subject matter of the
claim. In a petition for annulment of judgment based on lack of jurisdiction,
G.R. No. 163602. September 7, 2011.* petitioner must show not merely an abuse of jurisdictional discretion but an
SPOUSES EULOGIA MANILA and RAMON MANILA, petitioners, vs. SPOUSES absolute lack of jurisdiction. Lack of jurisdiction means absence of or no
EDERLINDA GALLARDO-MANZO and DANIEL MANZO, respondents. jurisdiction, that is, the court should not have taken cognizance of the petition
Actions; Judgments; Annulment of Judgments; A petition for annulment of because the law does not vest it with jurisdiction over the subject matter.
judgments or final orders of a Regional Trial Court in civil actions can only be Jurisdiction over the nature of the action or subject matter is conferred by law.
availed of where “the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or Same; Same; Same; The erroneous grant of relief by the Regional Trial Court
other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the on appeal is but an exercise of jurisdiction by said court—the ground for annulment
petitioner.”—A petition for annulment of judgments or final orders of a Regional of the decision is absence of, or no, jurisdiction; that is, the court should not have
Trial Court in civil actions can only be availed of where “the ordinary remedies of taken cognizance of the petition because the law does not vest it with jurisdiction
new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer over the subject matter; The Regional Trial Court (RTC) acted in excess of its
available through no fault of the petitioner.” It is a remedy granted only under jurisdiction in deciding the appeal when, instead of simply dismissing the complaint
exceptional circumstances and such action is never resorted to as a substitute for a and awarding any counterclaim for costs due to the defendants, it ordered the lessors
party’s own neglect in not promptly availing of the ordinary or other appropriate to execute a deed of absolute sale in favor of the lessees, on the basis of its own
remedies. The only grounds provided in Sec. 2, Rule 47 are extrinsic fraud and lack interpretation of the Contract of Lease which granted petitioners the option to buy
of jurisdiction. the leased premises within a certain period and for a fixed price.—In this case, the
Same; Same; Same; Attorneys; When a party retains the services of a lawyer, RTC acted in excess of its jurisdiction in deciding the appeal of respondents when,
he is bound by his counsel’s actions and decisions regarding the conduct of the case, instead of simply dismissing the complaint and awarding any counterclaim for
and this is true especially where he does not complain against the manner his costs due to the defendants (petitioners), it ordered the respondents-lessors to
counsel handles the suit.—We are not persuaded by respondents’ asseveration. execute a deed of absolute
They could have directly followed up the status of their case with the RTC 22
especially during the period of Atty. Atienza’s hospital confinement. As party 22 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
litigants, they should have constantly monitored the progress of their case. Having Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo
completely entrusted their case to their former counsel and believing his word that sale in favor of the petitioners-lessees, on the basis of its own interpretation
everything is alright, they have no one to blame but themselves when it turned out of the Contract of Lease which granted petitioners the option to buy the leased
that their opportunity to appeal and other remedies from the adverse ruling of the premises within a certain period (two years from date of execution) and for a fixed
RTC could no longer be availed of due to their counsel’s neglect. That respondents price (P150,000.00). This cannot be done in an ejectment case where the only issue
continued to rely on the services of their counsel notwithstanding his chronic for resolution is who between the parties is entitled to the physical possession of
ailments that had him confined for long periods at the hospital is unthinkable. Such the property. Such erroneous grant of relief to the defendants on appeal, however,
negligence of counsel is binding on the client, especially when the latter offered no is but an exercise of jurisdiction by the RTC. Jurisdiction is not the same as the
plausible exercise of jurisdiction. As distinguished from the exercise of jurisdiction,
_______________ jurisdiction is the authority to decide a cause, and not the decision rendered
* FIRST DIVISION. therein. The ground for annulment of the decision is absence of, or no, jurisdiction;
21 that is, the court should not have taken cognizance of the petition because the law
VOL. 657, SEPTEMBER 7, 2011 21 does not vest it with jurisdiction over the subject matter.
Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo Same; Same; Laches; Doctrine of Stale Demands; The principle of laches or
explanation for his own inaction. The Court has held that when a party “stale demands” ordains that the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and
retains the services of a lawyer, he is bound by his counsel’s actions and decisions unexplained length of time, to do that which by exercising due diligence could or
regarding the conduct of the case. This is true especially where he does not should have been done earlier—negligence or omission to assert a right within a
complain against the manner his counsel handles the suit. The oft-repeated reasonable time—warrants a presumption that the party entitled to assert it has
principle is that an action for annulment of judgment cannot and is not a substitute abandoned it or declined to assert it.—On the timeliness of the petition for
for the lost remedy of appeal. annulment of judgment filed with the CA, Section 3, Rule 47 of the Rules of Court
Same; Same; Same; In a petition for annulment of judgment based on lack of provides that a petition for annulment of judgment based on extrinsic fraud must
jurisdiction, petitioner must show not merely an abuse of jurisdictional discretion be filed within four years from its discovery; and if based on lack of jurisdiction,
but an absolute lack of jurisdiction—lack of jurisdiction means absence of or no before it is barred by laches or estoppel. The principle of laches or “stale demands”
jurisdiction, that is, the court should not have taken cognizance of the petition ordains that the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of
because the law does not vest it with jurisdiction over the subject matter.—Lack of time, to do that which by exercising due diligence could or should have been done
jurisdiction as a ground for annulment of judgment refers to either lack of earlier—negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warrants
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a presumption that the party entitled to assert it has abandoned it or declined to 1) To vacate the subject parcels of land and surrender possession thereof upon
assert it. There is no absolute rule as to what constitutes laches or staleness of the payment by the plaintiff of one-half of the value of the building
demand; each case is to be determined according to its particular circumstances. constructed by the lessee. Should the lessor refuse to reimburse the
PETITION for review on certiorari of the decision and resolution of the Court of aforesaid amount, the lessee shall have the option to exercise her right
Appeals. under Article 1678 of the New Civil Code;
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. 2) To pay rental arrearages up to July 1, 1992 in the amount of Two Hundred
Roque & Butuyan Law Offices for petitioners.23 Twenty Eight Thousand and Forty Four 80/100 Pesos (P228,044.80);
VOL. 657, SEPTEMBER 7, 2011 23 3) To pay, as reasonable compensation for their continued withholding of
Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo possession of the subject lots, the sum of Three Thousand Two Hundred and
Cabochan, Reyes & Capones Law Offices for respondents. Twenty One Pesos (P3,221.00) every month, commencing July 2, 1992 up to
VILLARAMA, JR., J.: such time that they finally yield possession thereof to the plaintiffs, subject
This resolves the petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 to an increase of ten percent (10%) after every two (2) years from said date;
Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, assailing the Decision1 dated February 27, and
2004 and Resolution2 dated May 14, 2004 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. 4) To pay plaintiffs attorney’s fees in the sum of Five Thousand Pesos
SP No. 49998 which granted the petition for annulment of judgment filed by the (P5,000.00)
respondents. No pronouncement as to costs.
The controversy stemmed from an action for ejectment3filed by the SO ORDERED.”6
respondents, spouses Ederlinda Gallardo-Manzo and Daniel Manzo, against the Petitioners appealed to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch
petitioners, spouses Ramon and Eulogia Manila, before the Metropolitan Trial 63 (Civil Case No. 93-3733) which reversed the MeTC. The RTC found that
Court (MeTC) of Las Piñas City, Branch 79 (Civil Case No. 3537). The facts as petitioners have in fact exercised their option to buy the leased property but the re-
summarized by the said court are as follows: _______________
“On June 30, 1982, Ederlinda Gallardo leased two (2) parcels of land situated 4 Id., at p. 145.
along Real St., Manuyo, Las Piñas, Metro Manila, to Eulogia Manila for a period of 5 Id., at pp. 145-148. Penned by Judge Alfredo R. Enriquez.
ten (10) years at a monthly rental(s) of P2,000.00 for the first two years, and 6 Id., at pp. 147-148.
thereafter an increase of ten (10) percent every after two years. They also agreed 25
that the lessee shall have the option to buy the property within two (2) years from VOL. 657, SEPTEMBER 7, 2011 25
the date of execution of the contract of lease at a fair market value of One Hundred Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo
and Fifty Thousand Pesos (P150,000.00) spondents refused to honor the same. It noted that respondents even informed the
The contract of lease expired on July 1, 1992 but the lessee continued in petitioners about foreclosure proceedings on their property, whereupon the
possession of the property despite a formal demand letter dated August 8, 1992, to petitioners tried to intervene by tendering rental payments but the respondents
vacate the same and pay the rental arrearages. In a letter reply dated August 12, advised them to withhold such payments until the appeal of respondents in the
1992, herein defendant claimed that no rental fee is due because she allegedly case they filed against the Rural Bank of Bombon (Camarines Sur), Inc. (Civil Case
became the owner of the property at the time she communicated to the plaintiff her No. 6062) is resolved. It further noted that respondents’ intention to sell the lot to
desire to exercise the option to buy the said property. petitioners is confirmed by the fact that the former allowed the latter to construct
_______________ a building of strong materials on the premises. The RTC thus decreed:
1 Rollo, pp. 10-21. Penned by Presiding Justice Cancio C. Garcia (retired “IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered
Member of this Court) with Associate Justices Renato C. Dacudao and Danilo B. reversing the decision of the lower court dated July 14, 1993 and ordering as
Pine, concurring. follows:
2 Id., at p. 22. 1) That plaintiffs execute a deed of absolute sale over that parcel of land
3 Records, pp. 8-12. subject of the Contract of Lease dated June 30, 1982 after full payment of
24 defendants of the purchase price of P150,000.00;
24 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED 2) That plaintiffs pay the costs of suit.
Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo SO ORDERED.”7
Their disagreement was later brought to the Barangay for conciliation but the Respondents filed a motion for reconsideration on December 23, 1994. In its
parties failed to reach a compromise, hence the present action.”4 Order dated March 24, 1995, the RTC denied the motion for having been filed
On July 14, 1993, the MeTC rendered its decision,5 the dispositive portion of beyond the fifteen (15)-day period considering that respondents received a copy of
which reads: the decision on December 7, 1994.8Consequently, the November 18, 1994 decision
“WHEREFORE, a judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiffs ordering the of the RTC became final and executory.9
defendants:
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On December 22, 1998, respondents filed a petition for annulment of the RTC It follows that the respondent Regional Trial Court clearly acted without
decision in the CA. Respondents assailed the RTC for ordering them to sell their jurisdiction when it ordered the petitioners to sell their properties to the private
property to petitioners arguing that said court’s appellate jurisdiction in ejectment respondents. The order to sell can be made only by the respondent court in an action
_______________ for specific performance under its exclusive original jurisdiction, and not in the
7 Id., at p. 243. exercise of its appellate jurisdiction in an appealed ejectment suit, as in this case.
8 Id., at p. 264. Worse, the relief granted by the same court was not even prayed for by the private
9 Id., at p. 267. respondents in their Answer and position paper before the MTC, whereat they only
26 asked for the dismissal of the complaint filed against them.”10(Emphasis supplied.)
26 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED With the denial of their motion for reconsideration, petitioners filed the present
Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo petition raising the following issues:
cases is limited to the determination of who is entitled to the physical possession of A
real property and the only judgment it can render in favor of the defendant is to WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR IN
recover his costs, which judgment is conclusive only on the issue of possession and ANNULLING THE JUDGMENT BY THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
does not affect the ownership of the land. They contended that the sale of real MAKATI CITY NOTWITHSTANDING THE FINDING THAT THE ORDINARY
property by one party to another may be ordered by the RTC only in a case for REMEDIES OF NEW TRIAL, APPEAL, PETITION FOR RELIEF OR OTHER
specific performance falling under its original exclusive jurisdiction, not in the APPROPRIATE REMEDIES WERE LOST THROUGH THE FAULT OF THE
exercise of its appellate jurisdiction in an ejectment case. Respondents also alleged RESPONDENTS
that the petition for annulment is the only remedy available to them because the B
ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR IN
remedies are no longer available through no fault on their part. ANNULLING THE JUDGMENT BY THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
By Decision dated February 27, 2004, the CA granted the petition, annulled the MAKATI CITY ON THE GROUND OF “LACK OF JURISDICTION” WHEN IT
November 18, 1994 RTC decision and reinstated the July 14, 1993 MeTC decision. HAS NOT BEEN SHOWN THAT THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MAKATI
On the issue of lack of jurisdiction raised by the respondents, the CA ruled as CITY HAD NO
follows: _______________
“It must be stressed that the main action before the Metropolitan Trial Court 10 Rollo, pp. 20-21.
is one for ejectment grounded on the expiration of the parties’ contract of lease. And 28
said court, finding that petitioners have a valid right to ask for the ejectment of 28 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
private respondents, ordered the latter to vacate the premises and to pay their Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo
rentals in arrears. To Our mind, what the respondent court should have done in JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF THE RESPONDENTS OR THE
the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, was to confine itself to the issue of SUBJECT MATTER OF THE CLAIM11
whether or not petitioners have a valid cause of action for ejectment against the The petition is meritorious.
private respondents. A petition for annulment of judgments or final orders of a Regional Trial Court
Unfortunately, in the decision herein sought to be annulled, the respondent in civil actions can only be availed of where “the ordinary remedies of new trial,
court went further than what is required of it as an appellate court when it ordered appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available
the petitioners to sell their properties to the private respondents. In a very real through no fault of the petitioner.”12 It is a remedy granted only under exceptional
sense, the respondent court materially changed the nature of petitioners’ circumstances and such action is never resorted to as a substitute for a party’s own
cause of action by deciding the question of ownership even as the neglect in not promptly availing of the ordinary or other appropriate
appealed case involves only the issue of prior physical possession which, remedies.13 The only grounds provided in Sec. 2, Rule 47 are extrinsic fraud and
in every ejectment suit, is the only question to be resolved. As it were, the lack of jurisdiction.
respondent court converted the In this case, respondents alleged that the loss of remedies against the RTC
27 decision was attributable to their former counsel’s late filing of their motion for
VOL. 657, SEPTEMBER 7, 2011 27 reconsideration and failure to file any proper petition to set aside the said decision.
Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo They claimed that they had been constantly following up the status of the case with
issue to one for specific performance which falls under its original, not appellate their counsel, Atty. Jose Atienza, who repeatedly assured them he was on top of
jurisdiction. Sad to say, this cannot be done by the respondent court in an appealed the situation and would even get angry if repeatedly asked about the case. Out of
ejectment case because the essential criterion of appellate jurisdiction is that it their long and close relationship with Atty. Atienza and due regard for his poor
revises and corrects the proceedings in a cause already instituted and does not health due to his numerous and chronic illnesses which required frequent
create that cause (Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch (U.S.), 137, 172, 2 L. edition 60, prolonged confinement at the hospital, respondents likewise desisted from hiring
cited in 15 Corpus Juris 727). the services of another lawyer to assist Atty. Atienza, until the latter’s death on
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September 10, 1998. Thus, it was only on November 1998 that respondents engaged by the evidence on record which also indicated that the loss of ordinary remedies of
the services of their new counsel who filed the petition for annulment of judgment appeal, new trial and petition for review was not due to the fault of the respondents.
in the CA. We agree with the petitioners.
_______________ Lack of jurisdiction as a ground for annulment of judgment refers to either lack
11 Id., at p. 38. of jurisdiction over the person of the defending party or over the subject matter of
12 Sec. 1, Rule 47, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. the claim.16 In a petition for annulment of judgment based on lack of jurisdiction,
13 Lazaro v. Rural Bank of Francisco Balagtas (Bulacan), Inc., G.R. No. petitioner must show not merely an abuse of jurisdictional discretion but an
139895, August 15, 2003, 409 SCRA 186, 192. absolute lack of jurisdiction. Lack of jurisdiction means absence of or no
29 jurisdiction, that is, the court should not have taken cognizance of the petition
VOL. 657, SEPTEMBER 7, 2011 29 because the law does not vest it with jurisdiction over the subject matter.
Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo Jurisdiction over the nature of the action or subject matter is conferred by law. 17
We are not persuaded by respondents’ asseveration. They could have directly There is no dispute that the RTC is vested with appellate jurisdiction over
followed up the status of their case with the RTC especially during the period of ejectment cases decided by the MeTC, MTC or MCTC. We note that petitioners’
Atty. Atienza’s hospital confinement. As party litigants, they should have attack on the validity of the RTC decision pertains to a relief erroneously granted
constantly monitored the progress of their case. Having completely entrusted their on appeal, and beyond the scope of judgment provided in Section 6 (now Section 17)
case to their former counsel and believing his word that everything is alright, they of Rule 70.18 While the court in an eject-
have no one to blame but themselves when it turned out that their opportunity to _______________
appeal and other remedies from the adverse ruling of the RTC could no longer be 16 Tolentino v. Leviste, supra note 14 at p. 284.
availed of due to their counsel’s neglect. That respondents continued to rely on the 17 Durisol Philippines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 121106, February 20,
services of their counsel notwithstanding his chronic ailments that had him 2002, 377 SCRA 353, 358.
confined for long periods at the hospital is unthinkable. Such negligence of counsel 18 SEC. 17. Judgment.—If after trial the court finds that the allegations of
is binding on the client, especially when the latter offered no plausible explanation the complaint are true, it shall render judgment in favor of the plaintiff for the
for his own inaction. The Court has held that when a party retains the services of restitution of the premises, the sum justly due as arrears of rent or as reasonable
a lawyer, he is bound by his counsel’s actions and decisions regarding the conduct compensation for the use and occupation of the premises, attorney’s fees and costs.
of the case. This is true especially where he does not complain against the manner If it finds that said allegations are not true, it shall render judgment for
his counsel handles the suit.14 The oft-repeated principle is that an action for 31
annulment of judgment cannot and is not a substitute for the lost remedy of VOL. 657, SEPTEMBER 7, 2011 31
appeal.15 Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo
In any event, the petition for annulment was based not on fraudulent ment case may delve on the issue of ownership or possession de jure solely for the
assurances or negligent acts of their counsel, but on lack of jurisdiction. purpose of resolving the issue of possession de facto, it has no jurisdiction to settle
Petitioners assail the CA in holding that the RTC decision is void because it with finality the issue of ownership19 and any pronouncement made by it on the
granted a relief inconsistent with the nature of an ejectment suit and not even question of ownership is provisional in nature.20 A judgment in a forcible entry or
prayed for by the respondents in their answer. They contend that whatever maybe detainer case disposes of no other issue than possession and establishes only who
questionable in the decision is a ground for assignment of errors on appeal—or in has the right of possession, but by no means constitutes a bar to an action for
certain cases, as ground for a special determination of who has the right or title of ownership. 21 We have held that
_______________ although it was proper for the RTC, on appeal in the ejectment suit, to delve on the
14 Tolentino v. Leviste, G.R. No. 156118, November 19, 2004, 443 SCRA 274, issue of ownership and receive evidence on possession de jure, it cannot adjudicate
282, citing Alarcon v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 126802, January 28, 2000, 323 with semblance of finality the ownership of the property to either party by ordering
SCRA 716, 725. the cancellation of the TCT.22
15 Mercado v. Security Bank Corporation, G.R. No. 160445, February 16, 2006, In this case, the RTC acted in excess of its jurisdiction in deciding the appeal of
482 SCRA 501, 514. respondents when, instead of simply dismissing the complaint and awarding any
30 counterclaim for
30 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED _______________
Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo the defendant to recover his costs. If a counterclaim is established, the court
civil action for certiorari under Rule 65—and not as ground for its annulment. On shall render judgment for the sum found in arrears from either party and award
the other hand, respondents assert that the CA, being a higher court, has the power costs as justice requires.
to adopt, reverse or modify the findings of the RTC in this case. They point out that 19 See Paz v. Reyes, G.R. No. 127439, March 9, 2000, 327 SCRA 605, 609-
the CA in the exercise of its sound discretion found the RTC’s findings unsupported 610; Aznar Brothers Realty Company v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128102, March

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7, 2000, 327 SCRA 359, 372-373; Carreon v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 112041, jurisdiction or that the judgment was obtained by extrinsic fraud. There is nothing
June 22, 1998, 291 SCRA 78, 88. in the records that could cogently show that the RTC lacked jurisdiction. Chiefly,
Sec. 16, Rule 70, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure states: Section 22 of B.P. Blg. 129, otherwise known as the Judiciary Reorganization Act
SEC. 16. Resolving defense of ownership.—When the defendant raises the of 1980, vests upon the RTC the exercise of an “appellate jurisdiction over all cases
defense of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be decided by the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal
resolved without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be Circuit Trial Courts in their respective territorial jurisdictions.” Clearly
resolved only to determine the issue of possession. then, when the RTC took cognizance of petitioners’ appeal from the
20 Heirs of Rosendo Sevilla Florencio v. Heirs of Teresa Sevilla De Leon,G.R. adverse decision of the MTC in the ejectment suit, it (RTC) was
No. 149570, March 12, 2004, 425 SCRA 447, 458. unquestionably exercising its appellate jurisdiction as mandated by law.
21 Sec. 18, Rule 70, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure; Custodio v. Corrado, G.R. Perforce, its decision may not be annulled on the basis of lack of
No. 146082, July 30, 2004, 435 SCRA 500, 509. jurisdiction as it has, beyond cavil, jurisdiction to decide the
22 Dizon v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 116854, November 19, 1996, 264 SCRA appeal.”27 (Emphasis supplied.)
391, 396. The CA therefore erred in annulling the November 18, 1994 RTC decision on
32 the ground of lack of jurisdiction as said court had jurisdiction to take cognizance
32 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED of petitioners’ appeal.
Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo On the timeliness of the petition for annulment of judgment filed with the CA,
costs due to the defendants (petitioners), it ordered the respondents-lessors to Section 3, Rule 47 of the Rules of Court provides that a petition for annulment of
execute a deed of absolute sale in favor of the petitioners-lessees, on the basis of its judgment based on extrinsic fraud must be filed within four years from its
own interpretation of the Contract of Lease which granted petitioners the option to discovery; and if based on lack of jurisdiction, before it is barred by laches or
buy the leased premises within a certain period (two years from date of execution) estoppel. The principle of laches or “stale demands” ordains that the failure or
and for a fixed price (P150,000.00).23 This cannot be done in an ejectment case neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which by
where the only issue for resolution is who between the parties is entitled to the exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier—negligence or
physical possession of the property. omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warrants a presumption that
Such erroneous grant of relief to the defendants on appeal, however, is but an the party entitled to assert it has abandoned it or declined to assert it. 28 There is
exercise of jurisdiction by the RTC. Jurisdiction is not the same as the exercise of no absolute rule as to what constitutes laches or staleness of
jurisdiction. As distinguished from the exercise of jurisdiction, jurisdiction is the _______________
authority to decide a cause, and not the decision rendered therein.24 The ground for 27 Id., at p. 548.
annulment of the decision is absence of, or no, jurisdiction; that is, the court should 28 Galicia v. Manliquez Vda. de Mindo, G.R. No. 155785, April 13, 2007, 521
not have taken cognizance of the petition because the law does not vest it with SCRA 85, 96, citing Chua v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 125837, October 6, 2004,
jurisdiction over the subject matter.25 440 SCRA 121, 135.
Thus, while respondents assailed the content of the RTC decision, they failed 34
to show that the RTC did not have the authority to decide the case on appeal. As 34 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
we held in Ybañez v. Court of Appeals:26 Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo
“On the first issue, we feel that respondent court acted inadvertently when it demand; each case is to be determined according to its particular circumstances. 29
set aside the RTC ruling relative to the validity of the substituted service of Here, respondents’ failure to assail the RTC ruling in a petition for review
summons over the persons of the petitioners in the MTC level. We must not lose on certiorari before the CA, rendered the same final and executory. Having lost
sight of the fact that what was filed before respondent court is an action to annul these remedies due to their lethargy for three and a half years, they cannot now be
the RTC judgment and not a petition for review. Annulment of judgment may either permitted to assail anew the said ruling rendered by the RTC in the exercise of its
be based on the ground that a judgment is void for want of appellate jurisdiction. Their inaction and neglect to pursue available remedies to
_______________ set aside the RTC decision for such length of time, without any acceptable
23 CA Rollo, p. 187. explanation other than the word of a former counsel who already passed away,
24 Tolentino v. Leviste, supra note 14 at p. 285. constitutes unreasonable delay warranting the presumption that they have
25 Republic v. Technological Advocates for Agro-Forest Programs Association, declined to assert their right over the leased premises which continued to be in the
Inc., G.R. No. 165333, February 9, 2010, 612 SCRA 76, 86. possession of the petitioners. Clearly, respondents’ petition to annul the final RTC
26 G.R. No. 117499, February 9, 1996, 253 SCRA 540. decision is barred under the equitable doctrine of laches.
33 WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. The Decision
VOL. 657, SEPTEMBER 7, 2011 33 dated February 27, 2004 and Resolution dated May 14, 2004 of the Court of Appeals
Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo in CA-G.R. SP No. 49998 are SET ASIDE. The petition for annulment of judgment
filed by herein respondents is DISMISSED.
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No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Corona (C.J., Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Bersamin and Del Castillo,
JJ., concur.
Petition granted, judgment and resolution set aside.
Notes.—The doctrine of stale demands would apply only where by reason of
the lapse of time, it would be inequitable
_______________
29 Id., citing Far East Bank and Trust Company v. Querimit, 424 Phil. 721,
732; 373 SCRA 665, 673 (2002).
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VOL. 657, SEPTEMBER 7, 2011 35
Manila vs. Gallardo-Manzo
to allow a party to enforce his legal rights. (Tsai vs. Court of Appeals, 366 SCRA
324 [2001])
Rule 47 of the Rules of Civil Procedure applies only to a petition to annul a
judgment or final order and resolution in civil actions—it does not apply to an
action to annul the levy and sale at public auction or the certificate of sale executed
by the deputy sheriff over said properties, and neither does it apply to an action to
nullify a writ of execution. The remedy to nullify the levy and sale of the properties
at public auction in violation of Sections 15 and 21, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court is
a motion for that purpose before the trial court, and not in the Court of Appeals,
and thereafter the remedy from an adverse resolution of the trial court would be a
petition for certiorari under Rule 65, if the trial court committed a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction. (Guiang vs. Co, 435 SCRA
556 [2004])
——o0o——
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