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JURISDICTION IN GENERAL

The word JURISDICTION is derived from 2 Latin words: 1.) JURIS law; 2.)
DICO to speak, or to say. So, in effect, when you say jurisdiction, literally
translated, it means, I speak by the law. It means that you are saying I speak
with authority because when you invoke the law, then your act is authorized.

So when you say, I speak by the law you mean I will do it in the name of the
law. It connotes authority or power.

So jurisdiction implies authority or power to act.

But what act or acts is/are authorized?

If we relate jurisdiction to courts, it means authority or the power to hear, try


and decide a case. So jurisdiction means the power or authority of the court to
hear, try and decide a case. In its complete aspect, jurisdiction includes not
only the powers to hear and decide a case, but also the power to enforce the
judgment (14 Am. Jur. 363-364) as the judgment or decree is the end for which
jurisdiction is exercised, and it is only through the judgment and its execution
that the power of the court is made efficacious and its jurisdiction complete (21
CJS, Courts, S 9). The power to control the execution of its decision is an
essential aspect of jurisdiction. It cannot be the subject of substantial
subtraction and the most important part of the litigation is the process of
execution of decisions (Echegaray vs. Sec. of Justice, 301 SCRA 96).

Test of Jurisdiction

Since jurisdiction refers to power or authority to hear, try and decide a case, it
cannot depend on the correctness or rightfulness of the decision made.
(Century Insurance Co. v. Fuentes, 2 SCRA 1168 [1961])
Correctness or rightfulness of the decision relates to the exercise of and not to
the authority itself.
The test of jurisdiction is whether the court has the power to enter into the
inquiry and not whether the decision is right or wrong. (Herrera vs. Barreto, 25
Phil. 245)

Duty of the court to determine its jurisdiction

It is the duty of the court to consider the question of jurisdiction before it


looks at other matters involved in the case. It may, and must, do this on its
own motion without waiting for the question of jurisdiction being raised by
any of the parties involved in the proceeding (20 Am Jur 2d, Courts, S 92).
Courts are bound to take notice of the limits of their authority and they may
act accordingly by dismissing the action even thought the issue of jurisdiction
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is not raised or not even suggested by counsel (Ace Publicatiions vs.
Commissioner of Customs, 11 SCRA 147).

What is the effect if the court has no jurisdiction or of absence or lack of


jurisdiction?
A: If a court has no jurisdiction, it has no power or authority to try a case
and because it has no authority it must not exercise it. Exercise of absent
authority or power is necessarily nothing. Thus, without jurisdiction, the
entire proceedings would be null and void.

The only recourse for the court, absent jurisdiction, is to dismiss the case
motu proprio or on motion for without authority it cannot act.

What about if it has jurisdiction?


It is the duty of the court to exercise the jurisdiction conferred upon it by
law and to render a decision in a case properly submitted to it. Failure to do so
may be enforced by way of a mandamus proceeding (20 Am Jur. 2d, S 93).

Constitutional Guarantee of Access to Courts and Jurisdiction

The Constitutional guarantee of access to courts refers to courts with


appropriate jurisdiction as defined by law. It does not mean that a person can
go to any court for redress of grievances regardless of the nature or value of his
claim. (Santos III v. Northwest Airlines, 210 SCRA 256 [1992])

JURISDICTION vs. EXERCISE OF JURISDICTION

Q: Distinguish jurisdiction from exercise of jurisdiction.


A: Jurisdiction pertains to the authority to hear and decide a case. Any act of
the court pursuant to such authority, including the decision and its
consequences is exercise of jurisdiction.

The authority to decide a case, not the decision rendered, is what makes up
jurisdiction. It does not depend upon the regularity of the exercise of that power
or upon the rightfulness of the decision made. Where there is jurisdiction over
the person and subject matter, the resolution of all other questions arising in the
case is but an exercise of jurisdiction. (Herrera vs. Barreto, 25 Phil. 245)

Q: Why is it important to distinguish jurisdiction from exercise of jurisdiction?


A: Definitely, a court acting as such may commit errors or mistakes and
questioned later before a higher court. The procedure or remedy in case of a
mistake or error would be dependent on whether it is an error of jurisdiction
or an error in the exercise of jurisdiction also known as error of judgment.

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EXAMPLE: A case of murder was filed in the MTC. The accused, Ken Sur,
files a motion to quash because MTC has no jurisdiction over cases of murder.
But the court denied the motion to quash. Meaning, the judge has decided to
assume jurisdiction. What is the error committed?

When the court without authority assumes authority over the case that is
called ERROR OF JURISDICTION the court committed an error of jurisdiction.

EXAMPLE: Suppose the case for murder is filed in the RTC where the court
has jurisdiction. But in the course of the trial, it committed mistakes like the court
misinterpreted or misapplied the provision of the RPC or the Indeterminate
Sentence Law. What error is committed?

Obviously the RTC has the authority to hear and decide the case and therefore
acted with authority or jurisdiction. There is no error of jurisdiction.

However, in the exercise of such authority it committed a mistake, thus, the


error committed is error in the exercise of jurisdiction, also known as error of
judgment.

Is the proceeding null and void?

NO. What is committed is an error in the exercise of jurisdiction and if not


corrected the error can become final and executory. In other words, if not
objected to, it will stay.

ERROR OF JURISDICTION vs. ERROR OF JUDGMENT

Distinguish ERROR OF JURISDICTION from ERROR OF JUDGMENT.


A: The following are the distinctions:
1.) When a court acquires jurisdiction over the subject matter, the decision
or order on all other questions arising in the case is but an exercise of
jurisdiction; Errors which the court may commit in the exercise of
such jurisdiction, like errors of procedure or mistakes in the court's
findings, are merely ERRORS OF JUDGMENT; whereas,
When a court takes cognizance of a case over the subject matter of
which it has no jurisdiction, or acts in excess of jurisdiction or with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, the court
commits an ERROR OF JURISDICTION.(GSIS vs. Oliza 304 SCRA
421).

2.) When the court acts without authority (error of jurisdiction) such act would
be null and void or at least voidable, but if the court has authority but
commits a mistake in the exercise of such authority (error of judgment)
such mistake will bind unless corrected

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3.) .ERRORS OF JURISDICTION are reviewable by the extraordinary writ of
certiorari; whereas, ERRORS OF JUDGMENT are reviewable by appeal.

An error of judgment should be raised on ordinary appeal, not by certiorari


because certiorari is only confined to correcting errors of jurisdiction or grave
abuse of discretion. The governing rule is that the remedy of certiorari is not
available when the remedy of appeal is available or even if available, when it will
not be a speedy and adequate remedy. And when the remedy of appeal is lost,
you cannot revive it by resorting to certiorari because certiorari is not a substitute
for the lost remedy of appeal.

Lack of jurisdiction and excess of jurisdiction

They are distinguished thus: the respondent court or tribunal acts without
jurisdiction if it does not have the legal power to determine the case; where the
respondent, being clothed with the power to determine the case, oversteps its
authority as determined by law, it is performing a function in excess of its
jurisdiction (Vette Industrial Sales Company Inc. vs. Cheng, 509 SCRA 532).

Example of excess of jurisdiction:


When the court does not conduct a pre-trial conference which is mandatory
under the rules.

Q: In whom is jurisdiction vested?


A: Jurisdiction is vested in the court, not in the judge. A court may be a
single sala or may have several branches (multiple sala). If the latter, each is not a
court distinct and separate from the others. So, when a case is filed before a
branch, the trial may be had or proceedings may continue before another branch
or judge. (Tagumpay vs. Moscoso, L-14723, May 29, 1959)

EXAMPLE:
The RTC of Cebu City is composed of several branches 22 all in all. But
technically, there is only one court the RTC of Cebu City.

Q: Now, if the case is filed and is assigned to Branch 8, can that case later be
transferred and continued in Branch 9?
A: YES, because you never left the same court. You are still in the same court.
This is because jurisdiction is not with the judge. It is with the court itself.

But there is only one branch of RTC-Bogo, can RTC-Cebu City take jurisdiction
over its cases?

No because they are different courts and jurisdiction is attached to the court.

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TYPES OF JURISDICTION:

Types of jurisdiction:
1.) Based on cases tried: General Jurisdiction and Special or Limited
Jurisdiction;
2.) Based on the nature of the cause: Original Jurisdiction and Appellate
Jurisdiction; and
3.) Based on the nature and extent of exercise: Exclusive Jurisdiction and
Concurrent or Coordinate Jurisdiction;
4.) Based on situs; Territorial jurisdiction and extra-territorial jurisdiction.

1. GENERAL JURISDICTION and SPECIAL OR LIMITED JURISDICTION

a.) GENERAL JURISDICTION is the authority of the court to hear and


determine all actions and suits, whether civil, criminal, administrative,
real, personal or mixed. It is very broad to hear and try practically all
types of cases. (14 Am. Jur. 249; Hahn vs. Kelly, 34 Cal. 391)

b.) SPECIAL or LIMITED JURISDICTION is the authority of the court to


hear and determine particular cases only. Its power is limited. (14 Am.
Jur. 249; Hahn vs. Kelly, 34 Cal. 391)

Example:
In criminal cases, the MTC has jurisdiction over offenses where the penalty
imposable does not exceed 6 years while beyond 6 years they are triable before
the RTC.

If you examine the jurisdiction of the MTC, it has a limit but none for the RTC.

The same applies in civil cases as we shall learn.

2. ORIGINAL JURISDICTION and APPELLATE JURISDICTION

a.) ORIGINAL JURISDICTION is the power of the court to take cognizance


of a case at its inception or commencement. (Ballentines Law Dict., 2nd
Ed., pp. 91 and 917)

b.) APPELLATE JURISDICTION is the power vested in a superior court to


review and revise the judicial action of a lower court. (Ballentines Law
Dict., 2nd Ed., pp. 91 and 917) If one court has the power to correct the
decision of a lower court, the power of this court is appellate. This is
because it is commenced somewhere else and it is just reviewing the
decision of the said lower court.
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Note that in certiorari petition, the action of the superior court is not to correct but to
annul. The power exercised by the superior court is the power of control and supervision
over an inferior court, not appellate, that is, to limit the inferior court within its
jurisdiction, its authority.

3. EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION and CONCURRENT OR COORDINATE


JURISDICTION

a.) EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION is that possessed by a court to the


exclusion of all others.

b.) CONCURRENT or COORDINATE JURISDICTION is that possessed by


the court together with another or other courts over the same subject
matter, the court obtaining jurisdiction first retaining it to the exclusion
of the others, but the choice of court is lodged in those persons duly
authorized to file the action. (Villanueva vs. Ortiz, 58 O.G. 1318, Feb. 12,
1962)

Q: Are there certain types of cases or petitions where I can file it


directly with the SC or file with the CA or file it with the RTC?
A: YES and the best example is a petition for HABEAS CORPUS.
The SC, CA and RTC share concurrent jurisdiction to entertain
petitions for habeas corpus.
In effect, these are the instances when the SC, CA and RTC
exercise concurrent jurisdiction. There can also be concurrent
jurisdiction among branches of a multiple sala court.

Exclusionary Principle
The court first acquiring jurisdiction excludes all others.

Another principle that may be relevant is the policy of judicial


hierarchy.

4. TERRITORIAL AND EXTRA-TERRITORIAL

Territorial jurisdiction - exercised within the limits of the place


where the court is located.

Extra-territorial jurisdiction - exercised beyond the confines of


the territory where the court is located.

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Examples: Writs of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus are
enforceable only within the region where the issuing court is
located; while a writ of execution can be enforced even outside said
territory.

ELEMENTS OF JURISDICTION IN CIVIL CASES

The word jurisdiction as applied to the faculty of exercising judicial


power is used in different but related senses which are:

1. The authority of the court to entertain a particular kind of action,


or
2. Administer a particular kind of relief depending on the issues
raised;
3. It may refer to the power of the court over or to bind the parties,
or
4. Over or to bind the property which is the subject of the litigation.

In your study of criminal procedure where you also studied the law on
jurisdiction, we studied the authority of the court over the cases as determined
by the imposable penalty; its authority to bind the accused and the prosecution;
its authority to grant the relief which is either acquittal or conviction and over
the place where the offense charged is alleged to have been committed.

So there are what we call elements of jurisdiction in criminal cases, otherwise,


the proceeding will be illegal. These elements are:
Jurisdiction over the subject matter;
Jurisdiction over the person of the accused; and
Territorial jurisdiction, i.e. the case should be filed in the place where the
crime was committed.

Q: What are the elements of jurisdiction in civil cases?


A: The following:
a.) Jurisdiction over the subject matter ;
b.) Jurisdiction over the person of the parties to the case;
c.) Jurisdiction over the res; and
d.) Jurisdiction over the issues.

Q: Now, what happens if in a particular case one of these is missing?


A: The proceedings become questionable. The proceedings become void.
The judgment is not binding. That is the effect of lack of jurisdiction. The
proceedings are tainted with illegality and irregularity.
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A. JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT MATTER

Q: Define jurisdiction over the subject matter.


A: Jurisdiction over the subject matter is the power of the court to hear and
determine cases of the general class to which the proceedings in question
belong. (Banco Espaol-Filipino vs. Palanca, 37 Phil. 291)

In other words, it is the jurisdiction over the nature of the action. In criminal
cases you have light, less grave and grave offenses. In civil cases we have such
actions as actions for sum of money, actions not capable of pecuniary estimation,
real and personal actions, action in rem, action in personam etc. This is what we
call the NATURE or classification OF THE ACTION.

When a complaint is filed in court, the basic questions that ipso facto are to be
immediately resolved by the court on its own are:
a.)What is the nature of the action filed?
b.) Does the court have authority to try and determine that class of actions to
which the one before it belongs?

Jurisdiction over the subject matter is not to be confused with the term
subject matter of the action.

Lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter is the proper ground for a motion
to dismiss. This is broad enough to include the nature of the action. The term
should not be confused with the terms subject or subject matter of the action
which refer to the physical facts, the things real or personal, the money, lands
or chattels and the like, in relation to which the suit is prosecuted and not the
delict or wrong committed by the defendant.

So if you talk about declaration of nullity of marriage the subject matter of the
action is the marriage of the parties involved not any other contract but the
nature of the action is that it is not capable of pecuniary estimation; if it is for
foreclosure of mortgage, the thing or subject of the action is the property
mortgaged, in specific performance or rescission of contract, it is the contract
involved that is the subject matter of the action.

Q: How is jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of the action acquired?
A: Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law, which may be
either the Constitution or a statute(Tysons Super Concrete, Inc. vs. Court of
Appeals, 461 SCRA 435; de la Cruz vs. CA, 510 SCRA 103; Guy vs. CA, December
10, 2007), and is never acquired by consent or submission of the parties or by
their laches. This is a matter of legislative enactment which none but the
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legislature can change. (MRR Co. vs Atty. Gen. 20 Phil. 523; Otibar vs. Vinson, L-
18023, May 30, 1962) It cannot be acquired by an agreement of the parties,
waiver, or failure to object (silence).

So Congress plays an important role in the exercise of judicial power,


namely:

1. It creates the rights which are sought to be protected or enforced;


2. It defines jurisdiction over the subject matter.
Both are of course in the form of substantive laws.

The law that confers jurisdiction refers to substantive law, not a procedural
law. It likewise does not refer to an administrative order or circular (Malaloan vs.
CA, 232 SCRA 249).

Q: Suppose I will file a case against you in a wrong court. Actually what you
should do is file a motion to dismiss (or in criminal cases a motion to quash.) but
you did not. Since you did not object, you did not file a motion to dismiss, you
did not file a motion to quash, did the wrong court acquire jurisdiction over the
case?
A: NO. Jurisdiction over the subject matter cannot be conferred by silence of
the parties or by waiver. Estoppel or waiver or silence or failure to object cannot
vest jurisdiction in the wrong court because jurisdiction over the subject matter is
conferred by law. And when the court has no jurisdiction, the court by itself or
motu propio has the power to dismiss.

Q: How is the subject matter or nature (class) of the action determined?


A: It is a settled rule that jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined
by the allegations in the complaint (Baltazar vs. Ombudsman, 510 SCRA 74)
regardless of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to his claims asserted
therein (Gocotano vs. Gocotano 469 SCRA 328; Cadimas vs. Carrion GR No.
180394, Sept. 29, 2008).

It does not depend upon the pleas or defenses of the defendant in his answer
or motion to dismiss. (Cardenas vs. Camus, L-19191, July 30, 1962; Edward J.
Nell Co. vs. Cubacub, L-20842, June 23, 1965; Serrano vs. Muoz Motors, L-
25547, Nov. 27, 1967)

How do you determine then jurisdiction over the subject matter?


It is determined by facts alleged in the complaint and the law in force at the
time of the commencement of the action. (Mercado v. Ubay 187 SCRA 719)

This is true in criminal and civil cases.

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Examples:

A case of Serious Physical Injuries was alleged in the information filed with
the CFI which was then vested with jurisdiction over this type of cases, even if
the medical certificate attached to the records shows that the injuries are only
slight which falls under the jurisdiction of the municipal court. The CFI may
convict for slight physical injuries. Jurisdiction was determined from the
allegations in the information. (People v. Ocaya, 83 SCRA 218[1978])

In a civil case for collection of sum of money where the complaint alleges that
the totality of the demand is P350,000.00, the case is properly filed with the RTC
even if the defendant is able to prove that it is only P50,000.00 for jurisdiction
over the subject matter is determined by the allegations in the complaint not the
defense or evidence presented.

Exception to the rule that jurisdiction is determined by the allegations of the


complaint

The general rule is not applied with rigidity in ejectment cases in which the
defendant averred the defense of the existence of tenancy relationship
between the parties.

In Ignacio vs. CFI of Bulacan (42 SCRA 89), it was held, that while the
allegations in the complaint make out a case of forcible entry, where tenancy is
averred by way of defense and is proved to be the real issue, the case should be
dismissed for lack of jurisdiction as the case should properly be filed with the
then Court of Agrarian Reform (now DARAB) (De la Cruz vs. CA 510 SCRA 103)

In Ignacio and other ejectment cases (Salandanan vs. Tizon 62 SCRA 388;
Concepcion vs. CFI of Bulacan 119 SCRA 222), where tenancy was the defense,
the court went beyond the allegations of the complaint in determining
jurisdiction over the subject matter and required the presentation of evidence
to prove or disprove the defense of tenancy. After finding the real issue to be
tenancy, the cases were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

In Salmorin vs. Zaldivar, GR No. 169691, July 23, 2008, the plaintiff entered into
an agreement with the defendant designating him as administrator of a lot with a
monthly salary of P150. The defendant allegedly did not comply with the terms
of the agreement when he failed to till the vacant areas as agreed. This compelled
the plaintiff to terminate his services and eject him from the lot. When the
defendant refused to vacate the property, the plaintiff filed a complaint for
unlawful detainer against him in the MCTC.

In his Answer, the defendant alleged the existence of a tenancy relationship


between him and the plaintiff. Thus, he claimed that the case was an agrarian
matter over which the MCTC had no jurisdiction.
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The Court found that the plaintiff alleged the following:

(1) That he possessed the subject lot;


(2) That he instituted the defendant as administrator thereof;
(3) That the defendant failed to administer the subject lot by not having the
vacant areas thereof planted;
(4) That for the defendants failure to administer the subject lot, his services as
administrator was terminated;
(5) That he advised defendant through registered mail to leave or vacate the
subject lot; and
(6) That the defendant refused to vacate the subject lot without justification.

The Court ruled that from its material allegations, the complaint concerned the
unlawful detainer by the defendant of the subject lot, a matter which is properly
within the jurisdiction of the regular courts.

The allegation of tenancy in the defendants answer did not automatically


deprive the MCTC of its jurisdiction because the jurisdiction of the court over the
nature of the action and the subject matter thereof cannot be made to depend
upon the defenses set up in the court or upon a motion to dismiss. Otherwise, the
Court ruled, the question of jurisdiction would depend almost entirely on the
defendant. Accordingly, the MCTC does not lose its jurisdiction over an
ejectment case by the simple expedient of a party raising as defense therein
the alleged existence of a tenancy relationship between the parties. It is
however, the duty of the court to receive evidence to determine the allegations
of tenancy. If after hearing, tenancy had in fact been shown to be the real
issue, the court should dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.

The Court further stressed that a tenancy relationship cannot be presumed.


There must be evidence to prove the tenancy relations such that all its
indispensable elements must be established, to wit:
(1) The parties are the landowner and tenant;
(2) The subject is agricultural land;
(3) There is consent by the landowner;
(4) The purpose is agricultural production;
(5) There is personal cultivation; and
(6) There is sharing of the harvests.

All these requisites are necessary to create tenancy relationship, and the
absence of one or more requisites will not make the alleged tenant a de facto
tenant. All these elements must concur. It is not enough that they are alleged.

The statement that jurisdiction is conferred by substantive law is not accurate because
only jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by substantive law. Jurisdiction
over the parties, issues and res is governed by procedural laws.
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No Retroactive Effect of Law on Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction being a matter of substantive law, the established rule is that


statute in force at the time of the commencement of the action determines
jurisdiction RA 7691 has no retroactive application. (Yu Oh v. CA GR No.
125297, June 6, 2003)

This follows the general rule on application of laws.

Why is jurisdiction substantive not procedural?

Because the law vests, defines, regulates, authority or power.

Doctrine of Continuity of jurisdiction (Adherence of Jurisdiction)

Under this rule, jurisdiction, once it attaches cannot be ousted by the


happening of subsequent events although of such a character which should
have prevented jurisdiction from attaching in the first instance (Ramos vs.
Central Bank of the Phil. 41 SCRA 586 [1971]).

The court, once jurisdiction has been acquired, retains that jurisdiction until it
finally disposes of the case (De La Rosa vs. Roldan, 501 SCRA 34).

As a consequence of this principle, jurisdiction is not affected by a new law


placing a proceeding under the jurisdiction of another tribunal except when
otherwise provided in the statute or if the statute is clearly intended to apply to
actions pending even before its enactment (People vs. Cawaling, 293 SCRA 267)

Thus, when RA No. 7691 expanded the jurisdiction of the first level courts, said
courts acquired jurisdiction over cases that under BP 129 were originally within
the jurisdiction of the RTC. But cases pending already with the RTC at the time
of the effectivity of the law were not affected by such new law unless the parties
by agreement, pursuant to Sec. 7 therein, agreed to transfer the pending cases
from the RTC to the lower courts especially those which have reached the pre-
trial stage.

In an action for ejectment, if the defendant voluntarily surrenders the


premises subject of the action to the plaintiff, the surrender of the property does
not divest the court of jurisdiction (Pamintuan vs. Tiglao 53 Phil. 1)

If the court has jurisdiction to act on a motion at the time it was filed, that
jurisdiction to resolve the motion continues until the matter is resolved and is not
lost by the subsequent filing of a notice of appeal. (Asmala vs. Comelec, 289
SCRA 746)

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The trial court did not lose jurisdiction over the case involving a public official
by the mere fact that said official ceased to be in office during the pendency of
the case (Flores vs. Sumaljag, 290 SCRA 568). Also, the jurisdiction that the court
had at the time of the filing of the complaint is not lost by the mere fact that the
respondent judge ceased to be in office during the pendency of the case (Victory
Liner vs. Bellosillo, 425 SCRA 79).

Even the finality of the judgment does not totally deprive the court of
jurisdiction over the case. What the court loses if the power to amend, modify
or alter the judgment. Even after the judgment has become final, the court
retains jurisdiction to enforce and execute it (Echegaray vs. Sec. of Justice, 301
SCRA 96; Republic vs. Atlas Farms, 345 SCRA 296).

Exception to the Rule of Adherence/Continuity of Jurisdiction

1. When there is an express provision in the statute on retroactive


application; or
2. The statute is clearly intended to apply to actions pending before its
enactment; or
3. The statute is curative. This means that even if originally there was no
jurisdiction, the lack of jurisdiction may be cured by the issuance of the
amendatory decree which is in the nature of a curative statute with
retrospective application to a pending proceeding and cures that lack of
jurisdiction. Thus, in a case, while the CFI has no jurisdiction over a
complaint for damages arising from the dismissal of a radio station
manager which was filed on August 2, 1976, PD 1367 vesting the court with
jurisdiction over such type of cases cured the lack of jurisdiction of the trial
court at the time the instant claim was filed before it. (Garcia vs. Martinez
90 SCRA 331 [1979])

Read also Atlas Fertilizer vs. Hon. Exaltacion Navarro, 149 SCRA 432)

How Jurisdiction Over the Subject Matter is Acquired By the Court

1. It is conferred by law applicable at the time of the commencement of the


action; and
2. Jurisdiction must be properly invoked by filing the complaint or
information.

DOCTRINE OF PRIMARY JURISDICTION

Statement of the Doctrine

Under this doctrine, courts will not resolve a controversy involving a question
which is within its jurisdiction and also of an administrative tribunal,
especially where the question demands the exercise of sound administrative
JBD 19
discretion requiring the special knowledge and experience of said tribunal in
determining technical and intricate matters of fact. (Villaflor vs. CA, GR No.
95694, Oct. 8, 1997).

Where a case is such that its determination requires the expertise, specialized
skills and knowledge of the proper administrative bodies because technical
matters or intricate questions of fact are involved, then relief must be obtained in
an administrative proceeding before a remedy will be supplied by the courts
even though the matter is within the proper jurisdiction of a court. This is the
doctrine of primary jurisdiction. It applies where a claim is originally
cognizable in the courts, and comes into play whenever enforcement of the
claim requires the resolution of issues which, under a regulatory scheme, have
been placed within the special competence of an administrative body, in such
case, the judicial process is suspended pending referral of such issues to the
administrative body for its view. (US v. Western Pacific Railroad Co., 352 US
59; Industrial Enterprises, Inc. v. CA, 184 SCRA 426)

Example: Damages is claimed arising from the collision between the claimant's
vessel and that of another. Such claim can of course be determined by the courts.
But in order to enforce such claim before the courts, there must be a
determination of which vessel is at fault. This is issue is placed within the special
special competence of the Maritime Industry Authority or Philippine Coast
Guard which administrative body regulates sea travel. Under this situation
courts should defer to the jurisdiction of such administrative body for it has the
competence to determine which vessel is at fault. Its finding then can serve as
basis or premise for the legal consequences to be then defined by the court.

In Far East Conference v. US 342 US 570 (1952) the Court defined the primary
jurisdiction doctrine as:

A principle, now firmly established, that in cases raising issues of fact not within
the conventional expertise of judges or cases requiring the exercise of
administrative discretion, agencies created by Congress for regulating the subject
matter should not be passed over. This is even though the facts after they have
been appraised by specialized competence serve as a premise for legal
consequences to be judicially defined. Uniformity and consistency in the
regulation of business entrusted to a particular agency are secured, and the
limited functions of review by the judiciary are more rationally exercised, by
preliminary resort for ascertaining and interpreting the circumstances
underlying legal issues to agencies that are better equipped than courts by
specialization, by insight gained through experience, and by more flexible
procedure.

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Since the inception of the doctrine courts have resisted creating any fixed rules
or formulas for its application, in every case the question is whether the
reasons for the existence of the doctrine are present and whether the
purposes it serves will be aided by its application in the particular
litigation. As the origin and evolution of the primary jurisdiction doctrine
demonstrate, the reasons for the existence and the purposes it serves are
two-fold: the desire for the uniformity and the reliance on administrative
expertise. Thus, in determining whether to apply the primary jurisdiction
doctrine, we must examine whether doing so would serve either of these
purposes.

These same tests were applied by our courts in the determination of whether or
not to apply the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. Spouses Jose Abejo and Aurora
Abejo, et a., v. Hon. Rafael de la Cruz, etc. et al., 149 SCRA 654, citing Pambujan
Sur United Mine Workers v. Samar Mining Co., In., 94 Phil. 932, 941 [1954])

See GMA Network, Inc., v. ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, G.R. No.


160703, September 23, 2005.

In Paat v. CA, 266 SCRA 167 the Court said that enforcement of forestry laws,
rules and regulations and the protection, development and management of forest
lands fall within the primary and special responsibilities of the DENR. By the
very nature of the functions, the DENR should be given a free hand unperturbed
by judicial intrusion to determine a controversy which is well within its
jurisdiction. The assumption therefore of the replevin suit by the trial court
filed by the private respondents constitutes an unjustified encroachment into
the domain of the administrative agencys prerogative.

Quasi-judicial bodies like the CSC are better equipped in handling cases
involving the employment status of employees of those in the civil service
since it is within the field of its expertise. (Paloma v. Mora GR No. 157783,
Sept. 23, 2005)

Doctrine of Ancillary Jurisdiction

It involves the inherent or implied power of the court to determine issues


incidental to the exercise of its primary jurisdiction.

Under its ancillary jurisdiction, a court may determine all questions relative to
the matters brought before it, regulate the manner in which a trial shall be
conducted, determine the hours at which the witnesses and lawyers may be
heard, direct the disposition of money deposited incourt in the course of the
proceedings, appoint a receiver an grant an injunction, attachment or
garnishment.

Doctrine of Judicial Stability or Non-Interference

General rule:

JBD 21
No court has the authority to interfere by injunction with the judgment of
another court of coordinate jurisdiction or to pass upon or scrutinize and much
less declare as unjust a judgment of another court. (Industrial Enterprises, Inc.
vs. CA GR No. 88550, April 18, 1990)

Exception:
The doctrine of judicial stability does not apply where a third party claimant is
involved. (Santos vs. Bayhon, GR No. 88643, July 23, 1991).

Objections to jurisdiction over the subject matter

The court may on its own initiative object to an erroneous jurisdiction and may
ex mero motu take cognizance of lack of jurisdiction at any point in the case
and has a clearly recognized right to determine its own jurisdiction (Fabian vs.
Desierto, 295 SCRA 470). When it appears from the pleadings or evidence on
record that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter,the court shall
dismiss the same (Sec. 1, Rule 9, Rules of Court)

The earliest opportunity of a party to raise the issue of jurisdiction is in a motion


to dismiss filed before the filing or service of an answer. Lack of jurisdiction over
the subject matter is a ground for a motion to dismiss (Sec. 1(b), Rule 16, Rules of
Court). If no motion is filed, the defense of lack of jurisdiction may be raised as
an affirmative defense in the answer (Sec. 6, Rule 16)

Under the Omnibus Motion rule, a motion attacking a pleading like a motion to
dismiss, shall include all grounds then available, and all objections not so
included shall be deemed waived (Sec. 8 Rule 15). The defense of lack of
jurisdiction over the subject matter is however, a defense not barred by the
failure to invoke the same in a motion to dismiss already filed. Even if a motion
to dismiss was filed and the issue of jurisdiction was not raised therein, a party
may, when he files an answer, raise the lack of jurisdiction as an affirmative
defense because this defense is not barred under the omnibus motion rule
Thus, the prevailing rule is that jurisdiction over the subject matter may be
raised at any stage of the proceedings, even for the first time on appeal
(Calimlim vs. Ramirez, 118 SCRA 399; Francel Realty Corporation vs. Sycip 469
SCRA 424).

The issue is so basic that it may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even
on appeal. In fact, courts may take cognizance of the issue even if not raised by
the parties. There is thus no reason to preclude the Court of Appeals, for
example, from ruling on this issue even if the same has not yet been resolved
by the trial court below (Asia International Auctioneers, Inc. vs. GR No.
163445, Dec. 18, 2007).

Lack of jurisdiction is one of those excepted grounds where the court may
dismiss a claim or a case at any time when it appears from the pleadings or the
JBD 22
evidence on record that any of those ground exists, even if they were not raised
in the answer or in a motion to dismiss. That the issue of lack of jurisdiction was
raised only by the defendants in their memorandum filed before the trial court
did not render them in estoppel (Vda. De Barrera vs. Heirs of Vicente Legaspi GR
No. 174346 Sept. 12, 2008).

When the court dismisses the complaint for lack of jurisdiction over the subject
matter, should it refer or forward the case to another court with the proper
jurisdiction? It is submitted that the court should not do so. Its only authority is
to dismiss the complaint and not to make any other order.

Objections to Jurisdiction and Estoppel by Laches

Estoppel means you cannot disown your act by which you have misled
another while laches means abandonment of a right for failure to assert it for a
long time.

Gen. Rule: You can raise your objection on jurisdiction over the subject matter
even for the first time on appeal.

The ONLY exception is when there is estoppel by laches, as laid down in


TIJAM vs. SIBONGHANOY ( Tijam vs. Sibonghanoy 23 SCRA 29, April 15,
1968).

In this case, a complaint for collection cognizable by the inferior court was
filed in the CFI. The jurisdiction was not questioned. The CFI issued a writ of
preliminary attachment but was dissolved when the defendant filed a
counterbond thru a surety. After trial, the court rendered a judgment against the
defendants. That decision became final and a motion for execution was filed and
granted. When implemented, the writ of execution was unsatisfied so the
plaintiff moved that the writ be executed against the counterbond. The surety
filed an opposition and sought to be relieved from liability. The motion was
denied on ground that the surety was not notified. Plaintiff then filed a second
motion for execution against the counterbond notifying the surety this time.
Since the surety failed to oppose the motion was granted. The surety moved to
quash the writ against the counterbond but was denied. The surety went to the
Court of Appeals which affirmed the order. The surety filed a motion for
extension of time to file a motion to for reconsideration which the CA granted.
However, instead of filing a motion for reconsideration the surety filed this time
a motion to dismiss on ground that the CFI did not have jurisdiction over the
subject matter. Instead of deciding the CA certified the case to the Supreme
Court because the issue raised is purely legal.
The Court emphatically declared: The facts of the case show that from the
time the Surety became a quasi-party on July 31, 1948, it could have raised the
question of the lack of jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Cebu to take
cognizance of the present action by reason of the sum of money involved which,
JBD 23
according to the law then in force, was within the original exclusive jurisdiction
of inferior courts. It failed to do so. Instead, at several stages of the proceedings,
in the court a quo as well as in the CA, it invoked the jurisdiction of said courts
to obtain affirmative reliefs and submitted its case for a final adjudication on the
merits. It was only after an adverse decision was rendered by the CA that it
finally woke up to raise the question of jurisdiction. Were we to sanction such
conduct on its part we would in effect be declaring as useless all the proceedings
had in the present case since it was commenced on July 19, 1948 and compel the
judgment creditors to go up their Calvary once more. The inequity and
unfairness of this is not only patent but revolting.

In other words, while jurisdiction as a rule, may be raised at any stage of the
proceedings (Panganiban vs. CA, 321SCRA 51, 59 [1999]), a party may be
stopped from raising such questions if he has actively taken part in the very
proceedings which he questions, belatedly objecting to the courts jurisdiction in
the event that the judgment or order subsequently rendered is adverse to him.
(Alday v. FGU Insurance Corporation, 350 SCRA 113, 120 [2001]).

In general sense, estoppel by laches is failure or neglect for an unreasonable


and unexplained length of time to do what ought to have been done earlier. The
failure to act warrants the presumption that one has abandoned his right or that
he had acquiesced to the correctness and fairness of what has been resolved. The
doctrine of estoppel is based on public policy intended to discourage stale
claims. Estoppel is not a question of time unlike the statute of limitations. It is
rather based on the inequity or unfairness of permitting a claim to be asserted
at a time such claim is presumed to have been abandoned. (Sps. Guillermo
Agbada and Maxima Agbada v. Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. GR 144029, Sept.
19,2002)

The fact pattern common among those cases wherein the Court invoked
estoppel to prevent a party from questioning jurisdiction is a partys active
participation in all stages of a case, including invoking the authority of the
court in seeking affirmative relief and questioning the courts jurisdiction only
after receiving a ruling or decision adverse to his case for the purpose of
annulling everything done in the trial in which he has actively participated. As
clearly pointed out in Lao vs. Republic 479 SCRA 439: A party who has
invoked the jurisdiction of the court over a particular matter to secure
affirmative relief cannot be permitted to afterwards deny the same jurisdiction
to escape liability.

The Supreme Court frowns upon the undesirable practice of submitting ones
case for decision, and then accepting the judgment only if favorable, but
attacking it for lack of jurisdiction if it is not (Bank of the Philippine Islands vs.
ALS Management and Development Corporation, 427 SCRA 564).

Bar by Estoppel Is An Exception and Not the General Rule


JBD 24
The doctrine laid down in Tijam is the exception to, and not the general rule
(Pangilinan v. CA, 321 SCRA 51, 59 [1999]).
Estoppel by laches may be invoked to bar the issue of jurisdiction only in
cases in which the factual milieu is analogous to that of Tijam.

In Tijam, the defense of lack of jurisdiction was raised for the first time in a
motion to dismiss filed by the Surety almost fifteen (15) years after the
questioned ruling had been rendered. At several stages of the proceedings, in the
court a quo as well as in the Court of Appeals, the Surety invoked the jurisdiction
of the said courts to obtain affirmative relief and submitted its case for final
adjudication on the merits. It was only when the adverse decision was rendered
by the Court of Appeals that it finally woke up to raise the question of
jurisdiction (Regalado vs. Go, GR No. 167988, February6, 2007)

Inspite of Tijam and subsequent cases which invoked it, the rule that the lack
of jurisdiction over the subject matter may be raised at any stage of the
proceedings, even on appeal, still remains the prevailing rule and Tijam should
be confined only to situations prevailing in a particular case viewed in the light
of the special circumstances surrounding it.

JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON (PARTIES)

Q: Define jurisdiction over the person.


A: Jurisdiction over the person is the power to render a personal judgment
against a party to an action or proceeding through the service of process or by
voluntary appearance of a party during the progress of a cause. (Banco Espaol-
Filipino vs. Palanca, 37 Phil. 291)

It is the power of the court to bring before it persons to be affected by the


judgment so as to give him an opportunity to be heard, and to render a
judgment binding upon his person. (21C.J.S., Courts, Sec. 11, 1990)

Q: In criminal cases, how does the court acquire jurisdiction over the person
of the accused?
A: By having him (1) arrested; (2) by service of the warrant of arrest; or (3) by
his voluntary surrender.

Q: Even if he is not arrested, can the court try an accused?


A: Of course not, because the court has not acquired jurisdiction over his
person. There must first be an arrest or surrender. The accused can post bail and
be released but if he jumps bail there can be trial in absentia. There will be a valid
decision because the court has already acquired jurisdiction. Of course we cannot
enforce the decision until we catch him.

JBD 25
How does the court acquire jurisdiction over the person?

In civil cases, it is also a must that the court acquires jurisdiction over the
person of the parties. The manner by which the court acquires jurisdiction over
the parties depends on whether the party is the plaintiff or the defendant.

As to Plaintiff

Jurisdiction over the person of the plaintiff is acquired by his/her filing of the
complaint or petition. By doing so, he submits himself/herself to the
jurisdiction of the court. (Davao Light & Power Co. Inc. v. CA, 204 SCRA 343,
348 [1991])

Example:

X, a resident of Melbourne, Australia, presented a complaint against Y, a


resident of Manila, before the CFI of Manila for accounting and damages. X
never came to the Philippines to file the suit and is only represented in this case
by counsel. Y files a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the court
acquired no jurisdiction over the person of X.

Should the complaint be dismissed on said ground? Why?

No. It is a recognized procedural rule that jurisdiction over the plaintiff is


acquired by his/her filing of the complaint in court. By filing the complaint
through his/her counsel, X invoked the jurisdiction of the court over his person.

As to Defendant

Jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is required only in action in


personam (Asiavest Limited vs. CA, 296 SCRA 539). Jurisdiction over the
person of the defendant is not a prerequisite in an action in rem and quasi in rem
(Gomez vs. CA 425 SCRA 98; Biaco vs. Phil. Countryside Rural Bank 515 SCRA
106.

Jurisdiction Over the Person of the Defendant in Actions in Personam, How


Acquired

Jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is obtained either by a valid


service of summons upon him or by his/her voluntary submission to the
courts authority. (Ang Ping vs. CA, 310 SCRA 343, 349 [1999]; Davao Light vs.
CA)

The service of summons is intended to give official notice to the defendant


or respondent that an action has been commenced against him. He is thus put
on guard as to the demands of the plaintiff as stated in the complaint. The
JBD 26
service of summons is an important element in the operation of a courts
jurisdiction upon a party to a suit because it is the means by which the court
acquires jurisdiction over his person. Without service of summons, or when
the service is improper, the trial and the judgment being in violation of due
process, are both null and void. (Avon Insurance PLC v. CA, 278 SCRA 312, 325
[1997])

The mode of acquisition of jurisdiction over the plaintiff and the defendant
applies to both ordinary and special civil actions like mandamus or unlawful
detainer cases (Bar 1994).

First Instance: UPON SERVICE ON HIM OF COERCIVE PROCESS


IN THE MANNER PROVIDED BY LAW

The first instance when a court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant is through a service upon him of the appropriate court process which
in civil law is called service of summons. This is the counterpart of warrant of
arrest in criminal procedure.

So if the defendant was never served with summons, any judgment rendered
by the court will not bind him. Even if he is the loser in the case, judgment
cannot be enforced because the court did not acquire jurisdiction over his person.

The same principle holds true in criminal cases. A court cannot try and
convict an accused over whose person the court never acquired jurisdiction. In
criminal cases, the court acquires jurisdiction over the person through the
issuance and service of a warrant of arrest. The warrant cannot have its effect
even if it was issued, if the same had not been served, i.e. by effecting the arrest
of the accused by virtue of a warrant.

Q: In criminal cases, how can the warrant of arrest be effected?


A: Once an information has been filed in court, the court issues a warrant.
Then, the arresting officer will arrest the accused. The court acquires jurisdiction
by ENFORCEMENT OF SERVICE for effective arrest of the accused pursuant to
the warrant of arrest.

Second Instance: BY HIS VOLUNTARY SUBMISSION TO THE


JURISDICTION OF THE COURT

Another way to acquire jurisdiction over the person of the accused even if the
accused is not arrested is through VOLUNTARY SURRENDER. Since there is no
more need for the warrant, the court will recall the same.

JBD 27
In civil cases, it is the voluntary submission of the defendant to the
jurisdiction of the court.

Q: Defendant was served with summons improperly or irregularly therefore,


he could question the jurisdiction of the court over his person. But instead, he
did not question the jurisdiction of the court despite the defective service of court
process. Did the court acquire jurisdiction over the person of the defendant?
A: YES, because jurisdiction over the person can be acquired by:
a.) waiver;
b.) consent; or
c.) lack of objection by the defendant. (MRR Co. vs. Atty. Gen. 20 Phil.
523)

This is unlike the jurisdiction over subject matter wherein the case could be
dismissed upon filing in the wrong court. The SC said that when you remained
silent despite the defects, your silence has cured the defect. Meaning, the
jurisdiction over your person was acquired by waiver, or consent, or lack of
objection.

Q: Distinguish jurisdiction over the subject matter from jurisdiction over the
person of the defendant?
A: Lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant may be cured by
waiver, consent, silence or failure to object, whereas jurisdiction over the
subject matter cannot be cured by failure to object or by silence, waiver or
consent. (MRR Co. vs. Atty. Gen. 20 Phil. 523)

Voluntary Appearance as Voluntary Submission To Courts Jurisdiction

Voluntary appearance must be the kind that constitutes voluntary


submission to the courts jurisdiction. Voluntary submission to the courts
jurisdiction cannot be inferred from the defendants mere knowledge or existence
of a case against him/her. In general, the form of appearance that would be
construed as a voluntary submission to the courts jurisdiction is an
appearance that seeks affirmative relief except when the relief is for the
purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the
defendant.

Certain actions which could be construed as voluntary appearance are:


1.) when the defendants counsel files the corresponding pleading thereon;
2.) when the defendant files a motion for reconsideration of the judgment
by default;
3.) when the defendant files a petition to set aside the judgment of default;
4.) when the defendant and plaintiff jointly submit a compromise
agreement for the approval of the court;
5.) when the defendant files an answer to the contempt charge;

JBD 28
6.) when the defendant files a petition for certiorari without questioning the
courts jurisdiction over his person (Navale v. CA, 253 SCRA 705, 709,
710, 709-712 [1996])

Objections to jurisdiction over the person of the defendant

An objection to the jurisdiction over the person of the defendant may be


raised as a ground for a motion to dismiss (Sec. 1(a) Rule 16). If no motion to
dismiss has been filed, the objection may be pleaded as an affirmative defense
in the answer (Sec. 6 Rule 16).

If a motion to dismiss has been filed, the objection to the lack of jurisdiction
over the person of the defendant must be pleaded in the same motion where
such ground is available at the time the motion is filed, otherwise it is deemed
waived pursuant to the omnibus motion rule. The defense of lack of
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is not one of those defenses
which are not deemed waived if not raised in the motion to dismiss. Only lack
of jurisdiction over the subject matter, litis pendentia, res judicata and
prescription are not waived (Sec. 1 Rule 9 in relation to Sec. 8 Rule 15).

Effect of pleading additional defenses aside from lack of jurisdiction over the
person of the defendant

Under the former procedure, if the defendant raises the objection of lack of
jurisdiction over his person in a motion to dismiss, the motion must rely only on
that particular ground. If the defendant appears in court, objects to its
jurisdiction over his person and at the same time alleges other grounds, the
appearance would be deemed a general appearance which was in effect a
voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the court (Republic vs. Kerr 18 SCRA
207; WANG Laboratories VS. Mendoza 156 SCRA 44).

The above rule was re-examined in La Naval Drug Corporation vs. CA 236
SCRA 78). The pronouncements in said case are now embodied in Sec. 20 of
Rule 14 which provides: ****The inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other
grounds aside from lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant shall
not be deemed a voluntary appearance.

C. JURISDICTION OVER THE RES

RES is the Latin word for thing. It is applied to an object, subject matter
(not nature of the action), status, considered as the defendant in the action or
as the object against which, directly, proceedings are taken. (Blacks 5 th Ed.,
1172)

Q: Define jurisdiction over the res.

JBD 29
A: Jurisdiction over the res is the power or authority of the court over the
thing or property under litigation. (Perkins v. Dizon, 69 Phil. 186, 190 [1939])
It is the power to bind the thing.

How is it acquired?

It is acquired either by the (a) the seizure of the property under legal
process whereby it is brought into actual or constructive custody of the court
or (b) as a result of the institution of legal proceedings, in which the power of
the court is recognized and made effective. (Macahilig vs. Heirs of Grace M.
Magalit, GR No. 141423, Nov. 15, 2000)

Q: A files a case for recovery of ownership against B over a piece of land.


What is the res of the case?
A: The piece of land is the res of the case.

What is the nature of the action?


To recover ownership of real property or real action.

Q: However, res may not be tangible. For example, X is an illegitimate child.


She wants to be acknowledged by her father. Thus, she filed a case against her
father for compulsory recognition. What is the res?
A: The res is the status of the child because it is the object of the litigation.

Q: Why is jurisdiction over the res important?


A: Sometimes it is a substitute for jurisdiction over the person. There are
instances when the court cannot acquire jurisdiction over the defendant like
when he is abroad. But if the court acquires jurisdiction over the res, the case may
go on. Even if the court cannot acquire jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant, jurisdiction over the res becomes a substitute over the person.

In the example of action for compulsory recognition, even if the defendant is a


non-resident who is out of the country the object of litigation is status here in the
Philippines, then acquisition of jurisdiction over the res confers jurisdiction to the
court even if the defendant is abroad. The res here is the thing or object or status
against which or in relation to which the judgment can be enforced.

Acquisition of jurisdiction over the res by actual seizure is exemplified by an


attachment proceeding where the property is seized at the commencement of
the action or at some subsequent stage in the action. It is also acquired through
a legal provision which authorizes the court to exercise authority over a
property or subject matter such as suits involving a persons status or property
located in the Philippines in actions in rem or quasi in rem. (Banco Espanol
Filipino vs. Palanca 37 Phil. 921, 927 [1918]; Perkins v. Dizon; Sec. 15, Rule 14,
Rules of Court.)

JBD 30
In Land Registration cases or probate proceedings, jurisdiction is acquired
by compliance with procedural requisites, such as publication.
In a petition for change of name, the title of the petition must be complete
by including the name sought to be adopted; otherwise, the court acquires no
jurisdiction over the proceedings. (Telmo vs. Republic, 73 SCRA 29 (1976).

D. JURISDICTION OVER THE ISSUES

Meaning of Issue

An issue is a disputed point or question to which parties to an action have


narrowed down their several allegations and upon which they are desirous of
obtaining a decision. (Blacks 5th Ed., 745 citing Muller v. Muller, 235 Cal App.
2nd 341, 45 Cal. Rptr 182, 184)

How Jurisdiction Over The Issues Is Conferred and Determined

In order to determine whether or not a court has jurisdiction over the issue or
issues of the case, one must examine the pleadings.

Q: Define jurisdiction over the issues.


A: Jurisdiction over the issue is the authority to try and decide the issues
raised in the pleadings of the parties. (Reyes vs. Diaz, 73 Phil. 484)

Q: What are pleadings?


A:Rule 6, Section 1 - Pleadings are the written allegation of the parties of their respective claims
and defenses submitted to the court for trial and judgment.

In a civil case, pleadings are written statements of the respective positions of


the parties, namely, the claims for the plaintiff and defenses for the defendant.

EXAMPLE: X files a case for collection of sum of money against Y. The


pleading that X will file will contain the written statements of his claim. He will
narrate there for instance that Y borrowed money from him promising to pay it
on a day certain but when it became due no payment was made despite
demands so he suffered actual loss or damage aside from moral damage.
By way of response, X will file his position in writing stating his defenses like
denying the loan; the promissory note is a forgery or admitting the loan but
claiming that it had already been paid or the action has prescribed. This written
statement of his position containing his defense or defenses is a pleading called
an answer. In the answer Y can also allege claims, if he has any against the
plaintiff like the case is merely intended to harass him for which reason he
suffered damages. This is called a counterclaim, another pleading and X can in

JBD 31
turn file an answer to the counterclaim where he will state his defense/s as
regards the claim contained in the counterclaim.

Based on their allegations and counter-allegations the court will know what
issues are to be resolved.

So, if X says that Y borrowed money, and never paid him, while Y, in
answer states that he did borrow but already paid it, what issue is being
presented to be resolved by the court?

A: The issue is, whether the obligation is still existing or is it already


extinguished by payment. So that is how the court will know what it will try
in this case.

Q: Let us suppose that after the trial, the court said in its decision that the
obligation has been extinguished by condonation. Will that bind?

A:No, because the parties did not raise condonation as the issue. So the court
decided that issue over which it never acquired jurisdiction.
In other words, the court should only rule on what the parties raised in their
pleadings. That is what we call jurisdiction over the issue.

Jurisdiction over the issue is, therefore, conferred and determined by the
pleadings of the parties.

Jurisdiction over the issues may also be determined and conferred by


stipulation of the parties as when in the pre-trial, the parties enter into
stipulation of facts and documents or enter into an agreement simplifying the
issues of the case (Sec. 2 Rule 18)

Jurisdiction over the issues may also be conferred by waiver or failure to


object to the presentation of evidence on a matter not raised in the pleadings.
Here the parties try with their express or implied consent issues not raised by
the pleadings. The issues tried shall be treated in all respects as if they had
been raised in the pleadings (Sec. 5 Rule 10).

Jurisdiction Over the Subject Matter Distinguished from Jurisdiction Over


the Issues

Jurisdiction over the issues is conferred by the pleadings and by the express
(stipulation) or implied (failure to object to evidence) consent of the parties
because an issue not duly pleaded may be validly tried and decided by the court
as long as there is no objection from the parties. Jurisdiction over the subject
matter is conferred by law and cannot be subject to the agreement of the parties.
(Vda de Victoria v. CA, GR No. 147550, Jan. 26, 2005)
JBD 32
A: The following are the distinctions:

1.) Jurisdiction over the subject matter is the power to hear and try a
particular case, while
Jurisdiction over the issues is the power of the court to resolve legal
questions involved in the case;
2.) Jurisdiction over the subject matter is acquired upon filing of the
complaint, while
Jurisdiction over the issues of the case is acquired upon filing of the
answer which joins the issues involved in the case.

When An Issue Arises Even If Not Raised In the Pleadings

Although it is a rule that jurisdiction over the issue is to be determined by the


pleadings of the parties, an issue may arise in a case without it being raised in the
pleadings. This happens when the parties try an issue with their consent. Under
Sec. 5, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court, when issues not raised by the pleadings are
tried with the express or the implied consent of the parties, they shall be treated
in all respects, as if they had been raised in the pleadings. Thus, if evidence on a
claim for salary differential is not objected to, the Labor Arbiter correctly
considered the evidence even if the claim is not mentioned in the complaint.
(Cindy and Lynsy Garment v. NLRC, 284 SCRA 38, 45 [1998])

Take note that jurisdiction over the issues in civil cases is acquired after
defendant has filed an answer. In criminal cases, jurisdiction over the issues is
acquired when the accused enters a plea of not guilty or pleads guilty but seeks
to prove a mitigating circumstance.

For a decision to be effective, the court must acquire the jurisdiction over the
subject matter, the person, the res in case the defendant is not around, and the
last is jurisdiction over the issue.

JBD 33