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Survey of 2009 SC Decisions

In
CIVIL LAW
Judge ED VINCENT S. ALBANO

ARTICLES 40, 41, 42, NCC


BIRTH AND PERSONALITY; EFFECT OF DEATH

Acquisition of personality

A scrutiny of the recent Supreme Court decisions would show that there are some that deviate
from the law, especially on children. This was done because the Court has to uphold the best interest of
the child.

In Continental Steel Manufacturing Corp. v. Hon. Accredited Voluntary Arbitrator, et al., G.R.
No. 182836, October 13, 2009, the issue raised was in case a fetus died, are the parents of the unborn
fetus entitled to bereavement benefits under the CBA with the employer? Before the question can be
answered, it must first be determined whether the fetus can be considered a dependent within the
meaning of the term under the CBA.

Yes. A child does not need to be born to be considered a dependent; during the period of conception
where the fetus is still inside the mother’s womb, it is already dependent upon her for sustenance to
survive. It is not necessary that the fetus be born in order that he may die. It cannot be said that only one
with juridical personality can die and a dead fetus never acquired juridical personality. That is not quite
correct, for even the fetus already attains life during conception and can die in the womb of the mother.

It was contended that no such benefits were due as no death of an employee’s dependent had
occurred. The death of a fetus, at whatever stage of pregnancy, was excluded from the coverage of the
CBA since the fetus did not acquire any juridical personality. But, as explained earlier, even a fetus has
a personality, especially so that the CBA can be considered as a contract between the parent and the
employer and the bereavement benefits can be considered as a stipulation where the fetus is the subject.

Article 40 of the Civil Code provides that a conceived child acquires personality only when it is
born, and Article 41 defines when a child is considered born. Article 42 plainly states that civil
personality is extinguished by death. Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code on natural persons, must
be applied in relation to Article 37, the very first of the general provisions on civil personality. Articles
40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code do not provide at all a definition of death. While the Civil Code
expressly provides that civil personality may be extinguished by death, it does not explicitly state that
only those who have acquired juridical personality could die.

Death has been defined as the cessation of life. (Black’s Law Dictionary). Life is not
synonymous with civil personality. One need not acquire civil personality first before he or she could
die. Even a child inside the womb already has life. No less than the Constitution recognizes the life of
the unborn from conception, (Art. II, Sec. 12, Constitution) that the State must protect equally with the
life of the mother. If the unborn already has life, then the cessation thereof even prior to the child being
delivered, qualifies as death.

The unborn child can be considered a dependent under the CBA. A dependent is “one who relies
on another for support; one not able to exist or sustain oneself without the power or aid of someone
else.” Under the said general definition, even an unborn child is a dependent of its parents. The child
could not have reached 38-39 weeks of its gestational life without depending upon its mother for
sustenance. It is also explicit in the CBA provisions in question that the dependent may be the parent,
spouse, or child of a married employee, or the parent, brother, or sister of a single employee. The CBA
did not provide a qualification for the child dependent, such that the child must have been born or must
have acquired civil personality, as the employer avers. Without such qualification, then child shall be
understood in its more general sense, which includes the unborn fetus in the mother’s womb.

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The term legitimate merely addresses the dependent child’s status in relation to his or her
parents. In Angeles v. Maglaya, G.R. No. 153798, September 2, 2005, 469 SCRA 363, it was said that a
legitimate child is a product of, and, therefore, implies a valid and lawful marriage. Remove the element
of lawful union and there is strictly no legitimate filiation between the parents and the child. Article 164
of the Family Code cannot be more emphatic on the matter: “Children conceived or born during the
marriage of the parents are legitimate.” Conversely, in Briones v. Miguel, 483 Phil. 483 (2004), it was
held that the fine distinctions among the various types of illegitimate children have been eliminated in
the Family Code. Now, there are only two classes of children -- legitimate (and those who, like the
legally adopted, have the rights of legitimate children) and illegitimate. All children conceived and born
outside a valid marriage are illegitimate, unless the law itself gives them legitimate status.

The legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child attaches upon his or her conception. In the present case,
the parents of the unborn fetus were validly married and their child was conceived during the said
marriage, making the child legitimate upon her conception. (Continental Steel Manufacturing Corp. v.
Hon. Accredited Voluntary Arbitrator, et al.)

MARRIAGE

License issued in a place not the residence of parties;


marriage valid.

In Alcantara v. Alcantara, et al., G.R. No. 167746, August 28, 2007, there was an action to
nullify a marriage on the ground that the marriage was solemnized on December 8, 1982, without
securing a marriage license. They went through another marriage ceremony on March 26, 1983 in
Tondo, Manila at the San Jose de Manuguit Church. This time, there was a license secured in Carmona,
Cavite but they never went nor resided there. Hence, it was contended that the marriage was void.

The marriage was valid. The defect, if ever it exists, is a mere formal infirmity which does not go
into the validity of the marriage. A marriage license is a requisite of marriage, the absence of which
renders the marriage void ab initio. The requirement and issuance of a marriage license is the state’s
demonstration of its involvement and participation in every marriage in the maintenance of which the
general public is interested (Niñal v. Bayadog, 384 Phil. 661 {2000}).

The petitioner invoked Rep. v. CA, G.R. No. 103047, September 2, 1994, 236 SCRA 257; Cariño
v. Cariño, G.R. No. 132529, February 2, 2001, 351 SCRA 127; and Sy v. CA, 386 Phil. 760 (2000) to
support the contention of invalidity of their marriage. These cases are not applicable since in all of
them, there were no licenses at the time of the celebration of the marriages. In this case, there was a
marriage license.

To be void on the ground of absence of a marriage license, the absence thereof must be apparent
on the marriage contract, or at the very least, supported by a certification from the local civil registrar
that no such marriage license was issued to the parties. This certification enjoys the presumption that
official duty has been regularly performed and the issuance of the marriage license was done in the
regular conduct of official business. (Sec. 3, Rule 131, Rules of Court) The presumption of regularity of
official acts may be rebutted by affirmative evidence of irregularity or failure to perform a duty. The
presumption prevails until it is overcome by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. Unless the
presumption is rebutted, it becomes conclusive. Every reasonable intendment will be in support of the
presumption; in case of doubt as to an officer’s act being lawful and unlawful, construction should be in
favor of its lawfulness. (Magsuicang v. Balgos, 446 Phil. 217 {2003}).

Note however, that their marriage was initially void as there was no license. But when there was
a church wedding after they secured a license, the marriage became valid. Its validity cannot retroact to
December 8, 1982 as it was void ab initio; its validity can be counted only on March 26, 1983 because a
void marriage cannot be validated by a subsequent valid act.

Effect if license is issued in a place

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where parties do not reside.

The church ceremony was confirmatory of their civil marriage, thereby cleansing whatever
irregularity or defect which attended the civil wedding. (Ty v. CA, 399 Phil. 647 {2003}). The
requirement that the parties or one of them must reside in the place of the issuance of the license is a
mere formal requirement. Non-compliance with the same is a mere infirmity that does not affect the
validity of the marriage.

False affidavit on 5-year period of cohabitation;


as if marriage celebrated without a license; void.

In Rep. v. Jose Dayot, G.R. No. 175581, March 28, 2008, the Supreme Court once again ruled
that the requirement of a marriage license for the validity of marriage is mandatory. One exception is if
the parties have lived together as husband and wife without any legal impediment to marry one another.
In lieu of the license, an affidavit of cohabitation would be sufficient.

Jose and Felisa were introduced to each other in March 1986. In June 1986, Jose lived in the
house of Felisa as a boarder or they lived together barely 5 months before they got married. In 1986,
Felisa asked him to accompany her to the Pasay City Hall to claim a package where he was asked to
sign documents. He initially refused but he was cajoled by Felisa, hence, he signed the same, only to
find out that he contracted marriage with her. The marriage of Jose and Felisa was performed without a
marriage license. In lieu thereof, they executed an affidavit declaring that “they have attained the age of
maturity; that being unmarried, they have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years; and
that because of this union, they desire to marry each other.” He then filed a complaint for annulment
and/or declaration of nullity of the marriage alleging that it was a sham, as no marriage ceremony was
held; that he did not execute an affidavit stating that they lived as husband and wife for at least 5 years.
The RTC dismissed the complaint. The Court of Appeals however, declared their marriage, relied on the
ruling in Niñal v. Bayadog, 384 Phil 661 (2000) and reasoned that:

In Niñal v. Badayog, the Supreme Court ruled as follows:

“x x x [T]he five – year common --- law cohabitation period,


counted back from the date of celebration of marriage, should be a period
of legal union had it not been for the absence of the marriage. This 5-year
period should be the years immediately before the day of the marriage
and it should be a period of cohabitation characterized by exclusivity –
meaning no third party was involved at any time within the 5 years and
continuity – that is unbroken. If that continuous five-year cohabitation
period is computed without any distinction as to whether the parties were
capacitated to marry each other during the entire five years ,the law
would be sanctioning immorality and encouraging parties to have
common law relationships and placing them on the same footing with
those who lived faithfully with their spouse.. xxx There should be no
exemption from securing a marriage license unless the circumstances
clearly fall within the ambit of the exception.

Effect of false affidavit under Art. 76, NCC


(now Article 34, Family Code).

The reason for the law, (Niñal v. Bayadog) as espoused by the Code Commission, is that the
publicity attending a marriage license may discourage such persons who have lived in a state of
cohabitation from legalizing their status. The exception of a marriage license under Article 76, NCC
(now Art. 34, FC) applies only to those who have live together as husband and wife for at least five
years and desire to marry each other. The Civil Code places a minimum period of five years of
cohabitation, an indispensability carved in the language of the law. For a marriage celebrated under
Article 76 to be valid, this material fact cannot be dispensed with. It is in the law not as a directory
requirement, but as one that partakes of a mandatory character.

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Meaning of the 5-year cohabitation.

Jurisprudence has laid down the rule that the five-year common-law cohabitation period under
Article 76 (now Art. 34, FC) means a five-year period computed back from the date of celebration of
marriage, and refers to a period of legal union had it not been for the absence of a marriage. (Niñal v.
Bayadog). It covers the years immediately preceding the day of the marriage, characterized by
exclusivity – meaning no third party was involved at any time within the five years – and continuity that
is unbroken.

ARTICLE 36
PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY

In Edward Kenneth Ngo Te v. Rowena Ong-Gutierrez Yu-Te, G.R. No. 161793, February 13,
2009, Edward and Rowena met in January 1996 at a gathering organized by the Filipino-Chinese
association in their college. He courted her and in March 1996, Rowena asked Edward that they elope
to which proposal, he refused at first but due to her persistence, he relented. They sailed to Cebu but
their travel money of P80,000.00 lasted for only a month, so they went back to Manila with Rowena
staying at her uncle’s house and Edward going home. She kept on calling him, threatening that she
would commit suicide if he would not stay with her; he went to stay with her where he was treated like a
prisoner and could not go out unaccompanied. He was shown the guns of her uncle and warned not to
leave her. He tried to convince her to stay at their house but Rowena refused. Rowena’s uncle brought
them to a court on April 23, 1996 to get married. In June 1996, Edward was able to escape and his
family had to hide him. Then, they parted ways. He filed a complaint for declaration of nullity of their
marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity. The clinical psychologist conducted an
examination and dubbed them to be emotionally immature and recklessly impulsive upon swearing their
marital vows as each of them were motivated by different notions on marriage. Edward was found to be
unsure and unready to commit himself to marriage; an introvert as against the aggressively dangerous
moves of Rowena, who was found to be as aggressive-rebellious type of woman. She was suffering from
grave, severe, incurable presence of Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorder that started since
childhood but only manifested during the marriage. Both of them manifested or displayed psychological
incapacities that made marriage a big mistake for them to take.

Edward contended that the marriage is void on the ground of psychological incapacity of both of
them, not of Rowena alone. He pointed out that there is no need for the psychologist to examine
Rowena. Tthe OSG contended that the requirements in Molina were not satisfied as the nullity petition
contained no statement of the essential marital obligations that the parties failed to comply with. The
root cause of the psychological incapacity was not alleged in the petition; neither was it medically or
clinically identified. The purported incapacity of both parties was not shown to be medically or
clinically permanent or incurable. And the clinical psychologist did not personally examine the
respondent. Is the marriage between the parties is null and void?

Yes. The Court found as decisive the psychological evaluation made by the expert witness and ruled that
the marriage of the parties is null and void on ground of both parties’ severe and incurable psychological
incapacity.

Petitioner, who is afflicted with dependent personality disorder cannot assume the essential
marital obligations of living together, observing love, respect and fidelity and rendering help and
support, for he is unable to make everyday decisions without advice from others, allows others to make
most of his important decisions (such as where to live), tends to agree with people even when he
believes they are wrong, has difficulty doing things on his own, volunteers to do things that are
demeaning in order to get approval from other people, feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone and is
often preoccupied with fears of being abandoned. Petitioner followed everything dictated to him by the
persons around him. He is insecure, weak and gullible, has no sense of his identity as a person, has no
cohesive self to speak of, and has no goals and clear direction in life.

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The same may also be said of the respondent. Her being afflicted with antisocial personality
disorder makes her unable to assume the essential marital obligations. This finding takes into account
her disregard for the rights of others, her abuse, mistreatment and control of others without remorse, her
tendency to blame others, and her intolerance of the conventional behavioral limitations imposed by
society. Moreover, respondent is impulsive and domineering, she had no qualms in manipulating
petitioner with her threats of blackmail and of committing suicide.

Role of psychological expert.

The Court considered as important the role of the expert opinion on the psychological and mental
temperaments of the parties in declaring the marriage void. It cited Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, D. D., of
the Archdiocese of Lingayen – Dagupan in Marriage Tribunal Ministry, 1992 edition who explained that
“standard practice shows that marked advisability of Expert Intervention in Marriage Cases of persons
accused of nullity on the ground of defective matrimonial consent on account of natural incapacity by
reason of any factor causative of lack of sufficient use of reason, grave lack of discretion and inability to
assume essential obligations – although the law categorically mandates said intervention only in the case
of impotence and downright mental disorder.” (p.106).

Hernandez v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 126010, December 8, 1999, 320 SCRA 76, emphasizes
the importance of presenting expert testimony to establish the precise cause of a party’s psychological
incapacity, and to show that it existed at the inception of the marriage. (See also: Rep. Quintero-
Hermano, G.R. No. 149498, May 20, 2004, 428 SCRA 735). As Marcos v. Marcos asserts, there is no
requirement that the person to be declared psychological incapacitated be personally examined by a
physician, if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity.
(397 Phil. 840 (2000). Verily, the evidence must show a link, medical or the like, between the acts that
manifest psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder itself.

The presentation of expert proof presupposes a thorough and in-depth assessment of the parties
by the psychologist or expert, for a conclusive diagnosis of a grave, severe and incurable presence of
psychological incapacity. Parenthetically, it is fitting to suggest the inclusion in the Rule on Declaration
of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages, A.M. No. 02-11-10 SC,
effective March 15, 2003), an option for the trial judge to refer the case to a court-appointed
psychologist/expert for an independent assessment and evaluation of the psychological state of the
parties, to assist the courts, who are no experts in the field of psychology, to arrive at an intelligent and
judicious determination of the case. The rule, however, does not dispense with the parties’ prerogative to
present their own expert witnesses.

Molina case used as a strait-jacket; effect

In ruling on the invalidity of the marriage of Edward and Rowena, the Supreme Court traced the
history of the concept of psychological incapacity based on Canon Law and the proceedings of the
Committee that was drafted by the Family Code. The net effect is that, the impositions of Republic v.
CA and Molina were considered as inappropriate. Molina should not be used as a guide in nullification
of marriages even if the guidelines do not fit the facts of other cases. Each case must be judged, not on
the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according to its own facts. Courts
should interpret the provision on a case to case basis; guided by experience; the findings of experts and
researchers in psychological disciplines; and by decisions of church tribunals.

Due to the conditions set forth in Molina, the courts, including the Supreme Court have decided
cases in a uniform manner, denying such actions without too much regard for the law’s clear intention.
The Court was then alarmed by the deluge of petitions for the dissolution of marital bonds, and was
sensitive to the OSG’s exaggeration of Article 36 as the “most liberal divorce procedure in the world.”
The unintended consequences of Molina has taken its toll on people who have to live with deviant
behavior, moral insanity and sociopathic personality anomaly, which, like termites, consume by little the
very foundation of their families, our basic social institutions. Molina has become a strait-jacket, forcing
all sizes to fit and be bound by it. The Court, in conveniently applying Molina, has allowed diagnosed

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sociopaths, schizophrenics, nymphomaniacs, narcissists and the like, to continuously debase and pervert
the sanctity of marriage.

Safeguards against abuse of use of Art. 36

The Court need not worry about the possible abuse of the remedy provided by Article 36, for
there are ample safeguards against this contingency, among which is the intervention by the State,
through the public prosecutor, safeguard against collusion between the parties and/or fabrication of
evidence. The Court should rather be alarmed by the rising number of cases involving marital abuse,
child abuse, domestic violence and incestuous rape.

In dissolving marital bonds on account of either party’s psychological incapacity, the Court is
not demolishing the foundation of families, but it is actually protecting the sanctity of marriage, because
it refuses to allow a person afflicted with a psychological disorder, who cannot comply with or assume
the essential marital obligations, from remaining in that sacred bond. The infliction of physical violence,
constitutional indolence or laziness, drug dependence or addiction, and psychosexual anomaly are
manifestations of a sociopathic personality anomaly. Let it be noted that in Article 36, there is no
marriage to speak of in the first place, as the same is void from the very beginning. The declaration of
nullity under Article 36 will simply provide a decent burial to a stillborn marriage.

Possibility of re-marriage
of party declared psychological incapacity.

The prospect of a possible remarriage by the freed spouses should not pose too much of a
concern for the Court because it is none of its business and because the judicial declaration of
psychological incapacity operates as a warning or a lesson learned. The normal spouse would have
become vigilant, never again to marry a person with a personality disorder. A would-be spouse of the
psychologically incapacitated runs the risk of the latter’s disorder recurring in their marriage.

Note that there is no such thing as absolute psychological incapacity. It is only relative. One may
not be able to comply with the duties to the marriage bond with respect to a partner but he may be able
to assume such responsibilities with respect to another. So, even a person who has been declared
psychological incapacitated can still contract a subsequent valid marriage.

ARTICLE 41
DECLARATION OF PRESUMPTIVE DEATH

Application of the law

The provision does not apply to a marriage celebrated under the Civil Code as the law itself
presumed as dead the spouse who disappeared for a period of seven (7) years where the present spouse
had no news of the absentee being alive or for less than seven (7) years where the absentee was
generally presumed dead. (Art. 83, NCC). The present spouse could contract a subsequent valid
marriage without obtaining a declaration of presumptive death as such was not necessary. In the cases of
In re Szatraw, 81 Phil. 461 (1948), 98 Phil. 674 (1956) there was a no need to have the absent spouses
declared presumptively dead as it was not authorized by law then prevailing.

In Angelita Valdez v. Republic, G.R. No. 180863, September 8, 2009, the marriage was
celebrated in 1971, but the husband left the conjugal dwelling in 1972. Believing that the husband was
dead, the woman got married and later on in 2007, she filed a petition for declaration of presumptive
death of the first husband, invoking the provisions of the Family Code. It was held that there was no
need to do so since the marriage was celebrated under the Civil Code as the presumption of death was
after seven (7) years. As it was the Civil Code that applied, proof of “well-founded belief” was not
required. Petitioner could not have been expected to comply with this requirement since the Family
Code was not yet in effect at the time of her marriage to the first spouse. The enactment of the Family
Code does not change this conclusion. The Family Code itself states under Art. 256 that the Code shall
have retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights in accordance

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with the Civil Code or other laws. To retroactively apply the provisions of the Family Code requiring
petitioner to exhibit “well-founded belief” will result in the invalidation of her second marriage, which
was valid at the time it was celebrated. Such a situation would go against the objectives that the Family
Code wishes to achieve.

Example of continuity

A and B met each other in 1990. At that time, they were of age, and there was no impediment to
marry one another. They lived together as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage but
separated in 1994. In 1999, they met again and still feeling the love for one another, they lived together
up to 2003 but after a violent quarrel, they separated. In 2007, they met again and up to now, 2010, they
are still living together as husband and wife. In short they have lived together as husband and wife for a
period of more than ten (10) years.

A and B cannot get married without a license because the cohabitation was not continuous. The
requirement of continuous cohabitation is mandatory as it is a substitute for the license, otherwise, the
marriage is void.

FAMILY LAW
Articles 238, 253, 247

Judgment declaring a spouse presumptively


dead is unappealable; remedy is special civil
action for certiorari.

If a spouse is declared presumptively dead, the judgment cannot be appealed from. The reason is
that, the proceedings are summary in nature. This is exemplified by Article 253 of the Family Code
which provides:

“The foregoing rule in Chapters 2 and 3 hereof shall likewise


govern summary proceedings filed under Articles 41, 51, 69, 73, 96, 124,
and 217, insofar as they are applicable.”

In plain text, Article 247 in Chapter 2 of the same title reads:

ART 247. The judgment of the court shall be immediately final


and executory.”

The judgment of the court in a summary proceeding shall be immediately final and executory. No
appeal can be had of the trial court’s judgment in a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive
death of an absent spouse under Article 41 of the Family Code. An aggrieved party may file a petition for
certiorari to question abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Such petition should
be filed in the Court of Appeals in accordance with the Doctrine of Hierarchy of Courts. (Flaminiano v.
Adriano, G.R. No. 165258, February 4, 2008, 543 SCRA 605). From the decision of the Court of Appeals,
the losing party may then file a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court with
the Supreme Court. (Heirs of Maura So v. Obliosca, G.R. No. 147082, January 28, 2008, 542 SCRA 406).

ARTICLE 48

Role of the prosecuting attorney


in actions for nullity or annulment of marriage

When the Supreme Court resolved the case of Republic v, CA and Molina, G.R. No. 108763,
February 13, 1997, 268 SCRA 198, it imposed restrictive requirements in actions for nullity of marriage,
like the certification by the OSG, before a judgment was rendered. That was never intended by the
framers of the Family Code. That is why, in Rowena Padilla-Rumbasa v. Edward Rumbasa, G.R. No.
166738, August 14, 2009, there was a contention that the judgment was premature without such

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certification. The Supreme Court promulgated A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC which took effect on March 15,
2003, but it was contended that such administrative matter cannot overturn Molina. More specifically,
Molina decreed that:

“The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and
the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. No decision shall
be handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification,
which will be quoted in the decision, briefly stating therein his reasons
for his agreement or opposition, as the case may be, to the petition.
The Solicitor General, along with the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to
the court such certification within fifteen (15) days from the date the case
is deemed submitted for resolution of the court. The Solicitor General
shall discharge the equivalent function of the defensor vinculi
contemplated under Canon 1095.

A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, promulgated on March 15, 2003 by the Supreme Court is geared
towards the relaxation of the OSG certification that Molina required. Section 18 of this remedial
regulation provides:

SEC. 18. Memoranda. – The court may require the parties and the
public prosecutor, in consultation with the Office of the Solicitor General,
to file their respective memoranda in support of their claims within fifteen
days from the date the trial is terminated. It may require the Office of the
Solicitor General to file its own memorandum if the case is of significant
interest to the State. No other pleadings or papers may be submitted
without leave of court. After the lapse of the period herein provided, the
case will be considered submitted for decision, with or without the
memoranda.

The amendment introduced under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is procedural or remedial in character;
it does not create or remove any vested right, but only operates as a remedy in aid of or confirmation of
already existing rights. Procedural laws may be given retroactive effect, as held in De Los Santos v.
Vda. de Mangubat, G.R. No. 149508, October 10, 2007, 535 SCRA 411, procedural Laws do not come
within the legal conception of a retroactive law, or the general rule against the retroactive operation of
statues - they may be given retroactive effect on actions pending and undetermined at the time of their
passage and this will not violate any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely affected,
insomuch as there are no vested rights in rules of procedure.

A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, as a remedial measure, removed the mandatory nature of an OSG
certification and may be applied retroactively to pending matters. The measure cures in any pending
matter any procedural lapse on the certification prior to its promulgation. The rulings in Antonio v.
Reyes, G.R. No. 155800, March 10, 2006, 484 SCRA 353 and Navales v. Navales, G.R. No. 167523,
June 27, 2008 have since confirmed and clarified that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC has dispensed with the
Molina guideline on the matter of certification, although Article 48 mandates the appearance of the prosecuting
attorney or fiscal to ensure that no collusion between the parties would take place. Thus, what is important is the
presence of the prosecutor in the case, not the remedial requirement that he be certified to be present.

Sale of conjugal property by a spouse


without consent of the other; effect

In Sps. Lita De Leon & Felic Rio Tarrosa v. Anita de Leon, et al., G.R. No. 185063, July 23, 2009,
it was again over-emphasized that the 1950 Civil Code (now Article 96, Family Code) is very explicit on
the consequence of the husband alienating or encumbering any real property of the conjugal partnership
without the wife’s consent. To a specific point, the sale of a conjugal piece of land by the husband, as
administrator, must, as a rule, be with the wife’s consent. Else, the sale is not valid. In several cases, it
has been ruled that the sale by the husband of property belonging to the conjugal partnership without the
consent of the wife is void ab initio, absent any showing that the latter is incapacitated, under civil

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interdiction, or like causes. The nullity proceeds from the fact that sale is in contravention of the
mandatory requirements of Art. 166 of the Civil Code. (now Article 96, Family Code). Since the Code
requires the consent of the wife before the husband may alienate or encumber any real property of the
conjugal partnership, it follows that the acts or transactions executed against this mandatory provision
are void except when the law itself authorizes their validity. (Article 5, NCC).

Liability of the wife based on crime,


not chargeable against the conjugal partnership

As a rule, if there are obligations contracted by the spouses redounding to the benefit of the
family, the same are chargeable against the properties comprising the conjugal partnership or the
absolute community of properties. But if one of the spouses committed the crime of slander and was
held liable for damages in a damage suit, is it chargeable against the conjugal partnership? This
question is relevant because after the judgment in an action for damages against the wife, her personal
properties were levied upon but because they were insufficient to answer for the judgment liability, real
properties were levied upon and sold by the sheriff. The husband filed a complaint for annulment of the
certificate of sale and damages. A motion to dismiss was filed alleging that the court where the case was
filed did not have jurisdiction over the subject matter, and that the same should have been filed before
the court that rendered the judgment and which issued the writ of execution. The basic issue is whether
the husband of the judgment debtor may file an independent action to protect the conjugal property
subject of execution. Is the husband considered a stranger?

In Sps. Roberto and Venus Buado v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 145222, April 24, 2009, a distinction
was made, whether the parties are governed by the conjugal partnership or absolute community of
property regime as well as the character of the property.

In determining whether the husband is a stranger to the suit, the character of the property must be
taken into account. In Mariano v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 51283, June 7, 1989, 174 SCRA 59 which
was later adopted in Spouses Ching v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 124642, February 23, 2004, 423
SCRA 365, it was held that the husband of the judgment debtor cannot be deemed a “stranger” to the
case prosecuted and adjudged against his wife for an obligation that has redounded to the benefit of the
conjugal partnership. On the other hand, in Naguit v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 7675, December 5,
2000, 347 SCRA 60 and Sy v. Discaya, G.R. No. 86301, January 23, 1990, 181 SCRA 378 it was held
that a spouse is deemed a stranger to the action wherein the writ of execution was issued and is justified
in bringing an independent action to vindicate her right of ownership over his exclusive property.

Pursuant to Mariano however, it must further be settled whether the obligation of the judgment
debtor redounded to the benefit of the conjugal partnership or not.

Petitioners argued that the obligation of the wife arising from her criminal liability is
chargeable to the conjugal partnership. The Supreme Court ruled otherwise. The contested property is
conjugal in nature. Payment of personal debts contracted by the husband or the wife before or during the
marriage shall not be charged to the conjugal partnership except insofar as they redounded to the benefit
of the family. Unlike in the system of absolute community where liabilities incurred by either spouse by
reason of a crime or quasi-delict is chargeable to the absolute community of property, in the absence or
insufficiency of the exclusive property of the debtor-spouse, the same advantage is not accorded in the
system of conjugal partnership of gains, which has no duty to make advance payments for the liability of
the debtor-spouse.

Parenthetically, by no stretch of imagination can it be concluded that the civil obligation arising
from the crime of slander committed by the wife redounded to the benefit of the conjugal partnership.

FAMILY HOME

Duties of the court when there is invocation of


exemption of the family home from attachment, etc.

9
After a judgment for collection of sum of money became final and executory, a motion for
execution was filed and a writ of execution was issued. The house and lot of the defendant-petitioner
was levied upon; he questioned the levy as void and claimed that the house where he was residing was a
family home. The lower court did not inquire into the nature of the same. Was the order of execution
improper and void?

Although the family home is exempt from attachment, levy or forced sale, the mere assertion that
it is exempt is not sufficient. The Court has to make a determination of the truth or falsity of such
allegation. The above order did not resolve nor take into account petitioner’s allegations in his
Opposition, which are material and relevant in the resolution of the motion for issuance of a writ of
execution. This is serious error on the part of the trial court. It should have made an earnest
determination of the truth to petitioner’s claim that the house and lot was their duly constituted family
home. Since it did not, the order is thus null and void. A void judgment or judicial order may be said to
be a lawless thing; it can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever and whenever it
exhibits its head.

Upon being apprised that the property subject of execution allegedly constitutes petitioner’s
family home, the trial court should have observed the following procedure: (1) Determine if petitioner’s
obligation to respondent falls under either of the exceptions under Article 155 of the Family Code, (2)
Make an inquiry into the veracity of petitioner’s claim that the property was his family home; conduct
an ocular inspection of the premises; an examination of the title; an interview of members of the
community where the alleged family home is located to determine if petitioner actually resided within
the premises of the claimed family home; order a submission of photographs of the premises,
depositions, and/or affidavits of proper individuals/parties; or a solemn examination of the petition, his
children and other witnesses. At the same time, the respondent is given the opportunity to cross-examine
and present evidence to the contrary, (3) If the property is found to constitute petitioner’s family home,
the court should determine: (a) if the obligation sued upon was contracted or incurred prior to, or after,
the effectivity of the Family Code; (b) if petitioner’s spouse is still alive, and if there are other
beneficiaries of the family home; (c) if the petitioner has more than one residence for the purpose of
determining which of them, if any, is his family home; and (d) its actual location and value, for the
purpose of applying the provisions of Article 157 and 160 of the Family Code.

The protection of the family home is just as necessary in preservation of the family as a basic
social institution, and since no custom, practice or agreement destructive of the family shall be
recognized or given effect, the trial court’s failure to observe the proper procedures to determine the
veracity of petitioner’s allegations, is unjustified.

Exemption must be claimed,


otherwise party may be estopped

A claim for exemption from execution of the family home should be set up and proved before
the sale of the property at public auction; failure to do so would estop the party from later claiming the
exemption. The right of exemption is a personal privilege granted to the judgment debtor; it must be
claimed by the judgment debtor himself at the time of levy or within a reasonable period thereafter.
Petitioner claimed exemption from execution of his family home soon after respondent filed the motion
for issuance of writ of execution, thus giving notice to the trial court and respondent that a property
exempt from execution may be in danger of being subject to levy and sale. The respondent should
observe the procedure prescribed in Article 160 of the Family Code, that is, to obtain an order for the
sale on execution of the petitioner’s family home, if so, and apply the proceeds –less the maximum
amount allowed by law under Article 157 of the Code which should remain with the petitioner for the
rebuilding of his family home – to his judgment credit. Hence, if the family home is attached, a motion
to quash the writ of attachment is the appropriate remedy to lay claim over the exemption. Or, if it is
levied upon, a motion to quash the levy is likewise the appropriate remedy to invoke the exemption. If
the owner does not, he cannot claim the exemption anymore because of the principle of estoppel.

Family home, when it cannot be partitioned

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In Arriola v. Arriola, G.R. No. 177703, January 28, 2008, the issue is whether the family home
may be the subject of partition after the death of the father. Answering the question in the negative, the
Supreme Court held that the family home is shielded from immediate partition under Article 159 of the
Family code. The purpose of Article 159 is to avert the disintegration of the family unit following the
death of its head. It preserves the family home as the physical symbol of family love, security and unity
by imposing the following restrictions on its partition; first, that the heirs cannot extra-judicially
partition it for a period of 10 years from the death of one or both spouses or of the unmarried head of the
family, or for a longer period, if there is still a minor beneficiary residing therein; and second, that the
heirs cannot judicially partition it during the aforesaid periods unless the court finds compelling reasons
therefore. Article 159 imposes the proscription against the immediate partition of the family home
regardless of its ownership. Even if the family home has passed by succession to the co-ownership of the
heirs, or has been willed to any one of them, this fact alone cannot dispel the protection cast upon it by
the law. The rights of the individual co-owner of the family home cannot subjugate the rights granted
under Article 159 to the beneficiaries of the family home.

ARTICLE 172

Unsigned autobiography of the father;


sufficient evidence of filiation

In Jenie San Juan dela Cruz and Christian Dela Cruz “Aquino”, etc. v. Garcia, G.R. No.
177728, July 31, 2009, Jenie and Christian Dominique lived together as husband and wife without the
benefit of marriage. When Jenie was pregnant, Dominique wrote his autobiography and stated therein
the following statements: “Jenie dela Cruz is my wife as we fell in love with each other and now she is
pregnant and for that we lived together.” Before the child was born, Dominique died. Jenie sought to
register the child’s birth with Dominique as the father, but the local civil registrar denied the same
stating that the child cannot use the surname of his father because he was born out of wedlock and the
father unfortunately died prior to his birth and has no more capacity to acknowledge his paternity to the
child (either through the back of Municipal Form No. 102 – Affidavit of Acknowledgment/Admission of
Paternity – or the Authority to Use the Surname of the Father). Jenie and the child promptly filed a
complaint for injunction/registration of name against respondent, alleging that the denial of registration
of the child’s name is a violation of his right to use the surname of his deceased father under Article 176
of the Family Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 9225 and maintained that the Autobiography
executed by Dominique constituted an admission of paternity in a “private handwritten instrument”
within the contemplation of the law.

Article 176 of the Family Code, as amended by R.A. 9225 permits an illegitimate child to use the
surname of his/her father if the latter had expressly recognized him/her as his offspring through the
record of birth appearing in the civil register, or through an admission made in a public or private
handwritten instrument. The recognition made in any of these documents is, in itself, a consummated act
of acknowledgment of the child’s paternity; hence, no separate action for judicial approval is necessary.
(De Jesus v. Estate of Juan Dizon, G.R. No. 142877, October 2, 2001, 366 SCRA 499).

Article 176 of the Family Code, as amended, does not explicitly state that the private handwritten
instrument acknowledging the child’s paternity must be signed by the putative father. This provision
must, however, be read in conjunction with related provisions of the Family Code which require that
recognition by the father must bear his signature, as provided in Art. 172 and 175. That a father who
acknowledges paternity of a child through a written instrument must affix his signature thereon is clearly
implied in Article 176 of the Family Code. Paragraph 2.2, Rule 2 of A.O. No. 1, Series of 2004, merely
articulated such requirement; it did not “unduly expand” the import of Article 176 as claimed by
petitioners.

In this case special circumstances exist to hold that Dominique’s Autobiography, though
unsigned by him, substantially satisfies the requirement of the law. First, Dominique died about two
months prior to the child’s birth. Second, the relevant matters in the Autobiography, unquestionably
handwritten by Dominique, correspond to the facts culled from the testimonial evidence Jenie proffered.
(Reyes v. CA, 135 SCRA 439 (1985); Varla v. Villanueva, 95 Phil. 248 (1954). Third, Jenie’s testimony

11
is corroborated by the Affidavit of Acknowledgment of Dominique’s father Domingo Aquino and
testimony of his brother Joseph Butch Aquino whose hereditary rights could be affected by the
registration of the questioned recognition of the child. These circumstances indicating Dominique’s
paternity of the child give life to his statements in his Autobiography. The statements in Dominique’s
Autobiography have been made and written by him. Taken together with the other relevant facts that
Dominique, during his lifetime, and Jenie were living together as common-law spouses for several
months in 2005 at his parents’ house in Pulang-lupa, Dulumbayan, Teresa, Rizal; she was pregnant
when Dominique died on September 4, 2005; and about two months after his death, Jenie gave birth to
the child – they sufficiently establish that the child of Jenie is Dominique’s.

In the eyes of society, a child with an unknown father bears the stigma of dishonor. It is to
petitioner minor child’s best interests to allow him to bear the surname of the now deceased Dominique
and enter it in his birth certificate.

RULE 103 AND 108


RA 9084

CHANGE OF NAME AND GENDER

Gender classification of a person with intersex when


he/she reaches age of majority depends upon what he
thinks of his or her sex.

In the case of Republic v. Jennifer B. Cagandahan, G.R. No. 166676, September 12, 2008,
Quisumbing, J., respondent Jennifer Cagandahan filed a Petition for Correction of Entries in her Birth
Certificate. n her petition, she alleged that she was born on January 13, 1981 and was registered as a
female in the Certificate of Live Birth but while growing up, she developed secondary male
characteristics and was diagnosed to have Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) which is a condition
where persons thus afflicted possess both male and female characteristics. She further alleged that she
was diagnosed to have clitoral hyperthropy in her early years and at age six, underwent an ultrasound
where it was discovered that she had small ovaries. At age thirteen, tests revealed that her ovarian
structure had minimized, she has stopped growing and had no breast or menstrual development. She
then alleged that for all intents and appearances as well as in mind and emotion, she had become a
male person. Thus, she prayed that her birth certificate be corrected such that her gender be changed
from female to male and her first name be changed from Jennifer to Jeff. The OSG argued that Rule 108
does not allow change of sex or gender in the birth certificate and respondent’s claimed medical
condition known as CAH does not make her a male. Respondent countered that he is actually a male
person and hence his birth certificate has to be corrected to reflect his true sex/gender, change of sex or
gender is allowed under Rule 108, and respondent substantially complied with the requirement of Rules
103 and 108 of the Rules of Court.

The Supreme Court held that respondent undisputedly had CAH, which condition causes the
early or “inappropriate” appearance of male characteristics. Where the person is biologically or naturally
intersex, the determining factor in his gender classification would be what the individual, like
respondent, having reached the age of majority, with good reason thinks of his/her sex. Respondent
thinks of himself as a male and considering that his body produces high levels of male hormones
(androgen), there is preponderant biological support for considering him as being male. Sexual
development in cases of intersex persons makes the gender classification at birth inconclusive. It is at
maturity that the gender of such person, like respondent, is fixed.

In the absence of a law on the matter, the court will not dictate on respondent concerning a
matter so innately private as one’s sexuality and lifestyle preference, much less on whether or not to
undergo medical treatment to reverse the male tendency due to CAH. Respondent is the one who has to
live with intersex anatomy. To him belongs the human right to the pursuit of happiness and of health. To
him should belong the primordial choice of what courses of action to take along the path of his sexual
development and maturation. In the absence of evidence that respondent is an “incompetent” that
classifying respondent as a male will harm other members of society who are equally entitled to

12
protection under the law, the court affirm as valid and justified the respondent’s personal judgment of
being a male.

As for his change of name under Rule 103, it has always been held that a change of name is not a
matter of right but of judicial discretion, to be exercised in the light of the reasons added and the
consequences that will follow. (Yu v. Republic, 123 Phil 1106 (1996). The grant of respondent’s change
of name from Jennifer to Jeff implied a change of a feminine name to a masculine name. Considering
the consequence that respondent’s change of name merely recognized his preferred gender, there is
merit in respondent’s change of name. Such a change will conform with the change of the entry in his
birth certificate from female to male.

Consent of spouse necessary in adoption

In the case of In Re: Petition for Adoption of Michelle P. Lim and Michael Jude P. Lim, G.R.
Nos. 168992-93, May 21, 2009, Monina and Primo Lim were married. Two children whose parents
were unknown and whose whereabouts were unknown were brought to them. They reared and took care
of the two kids. Primo died in 1998 but Monina got married to Angel Olario, an American citizen. When
the children were brought to them, they registered them making it appear that they were the natural
parents. Monina decided to adopt the two (2) children by availing of the amnesty under RA 8552 to
those individuals who simulated the birth of a chidl; she filed the petition on April 24, 2002. Michelle
was 25 years old and already married at the time of the filing of the petition. Michael was 18 years old.
The husband of Michelle gave his consent to the adoption. The DSWD issued a certification that they
were abandoned children. After trial, the RTC dismissed the petition on the ground that the husband of
Monina did not join her in the petition as required by Section 7(c), Article III, RA 8552 and Article 185
of the Family Code. She filed a Motion for reconsideration as she did not fall under any of the
exceptions provided for by the law. (Sec. 7(c), Article III, RA 8552). Monina filed a petition with the
Supreme Court raising the sole issue of whether or not petitioner, who has remarried, can singly adopt.
She contended that the rule on joint adoption must be relaxed because it is the duty of the court and the
State to protect the paramount interest and welfare of the child to be adopted. She argued that the legal
maxim “dura lex sed lex” is not applicable to adoption cases and that joint parental authority was not
necessary in this case since, at the time the petitions were filed, Michelle was 25 years old and already
married, while Michael was already 18 years of age. Parental authority was not necessary since they
have been emancipated having attained the age of majority. Is the petition proper?

No. The husband and wife should have jointly filed the petition for adoption. The principle of dura lex
sed lex is applicable as the law is explicit that the husband and wife shall jointly adopt.

The use of the word “shall” means that joint adoption by the husband and the wife is mandatory.
This is in consonance with the concept of joint parental authority over the child which is the ideal
situation. As the child to be adopted is elevated to the level of a legitimate child, it is natural to require
the spouses to adopt jointly. The rule also insures harmony between the spouses. (Rep. v. Toledano, G.R.
No. 94147, June 8, 1994, 233 SCRA 9).

Petitioner, having remarried at the time the petitions for adoption were filed, must jointly adopt.
Since the petitions for adoption were filed only by petitioner herself, without joining her husband, the
trial court was correct in denying the petitions for adoption on this ground. Neither does petitioner fall
under any of the three exceptions enumerated in Section 7. First, the children to be adopted are not the
legitimate children of petitioner or of her husband. Second, the children are not the illegitimate children
of petitioner. And third, petitioner and her husband are not legally separated from each other.

The fact that her husband gave his consent to the adoption as shown in his Affidavit of Consent
does not suffice. There are certain requirements that her husband must comply with, being an American
citizen. He must meet the qualifications set forth in Section 7 of RA 8552 such as: (1) he must prove that
his country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines; (2) he must have been living in
the Philippines for at least three continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption; (3)
he must maintain such residency until the adoption decree is entered; (4) he has legal capacity to adopt
in his own country; and (5) the adoptee is allowed to enter the adopter’s country as the latter’s adopted

13
child. None of these qualifications were shown and proved during the trial. These requirements on
residency and certification of the alien’s qualification to adopt cannot be waived pursuant to Section 7.
The children or adoptees are not relatives within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity of
petitioner or of her husband. Neither is the adoptees the legitimate children of petitioner.

PROPERTY

Builder in good faith

In Arogante v. Sps. Maglunob, et al., G.R. No. 178906, February 18, 2009, the Supreme Court
had the occasion to rule on the rights of a builder in good faith and that of the owner of the land.

In the context that such term is used in particular reference to Article 448 of the Civil Code, a
builder in good faith is one who, not being the owner of the land, builds on that land, believing himself
to be its owner and unaware of any defect in his title or mode of acquisition. (PNB v. De Jesus, 454
SCRA 459 {2003}). The builder in good faith can compel the landowner to make a choice between
appropriating the building by paying the proper indemnity or obliging the builder to pay the price of the
land. The choice belongs to the landowner, a rule that accords with the principle of accession, i.e., that
the accessory follows the principal and not the other way around. Even as the option lies with the
landowner, the grant to him is preclusive. He must choose one. He cannot compel the owner of the
building to instead remove it from the land. For the builder to invoke that accruing benefit and to enjoy
his corresponding right to demand that a choice be made by the landowner, he should be able to prove
good faith on his part.

Good faith is an intangible and abstract quality with no technical meaning or statutory definition,
and it encompasses, among other things, an honest belief, the absence of malice and the absence of
design to defraud or to seek an unconscionable advantage. An individual’s personal good faith is a
concept of his own mind and may not conclusively be determined by his protestations alone. The
essence of good faith lies in an honest belief in the validity of one’s right, ignorance of a superior claim,
and absence of intention to overreach another. Applied to possession, one is considered in good faith if
he is not aware that there exists in his title or mode of acquisition any flaw which invalidates it.

EASEMENT

Easement of right of way cannot be acquired by prescription;


only by title or contract

In Bicol Agro-Industrial Producers Cooperative, Inc. (BAPCI) v. Obiasm et al., G.R. No. 172077, October
9, 2009, the SC had the occasion to say that an easement of right of way cannot be acquired by prescription.
Earlier in Costabella Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 80511, January 25, 1991, 193 SCRA
333 it was held that, iIt is already well-established that a right of way is discontinuous and, as such,
cannot be acquired by prescription.”

In Bogo-Medellin Milling Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals, involving the construction of a railroad
track to a sugar mill, the Court discussed the discontinuous nature of an easement of right of way and the
rule that the same cannot be acquired by prescription, to wit:

Continuous and apparent easements are acquired either by virtue of


a title or by prescription of ten years.

The RTC and CA held that the more or less permanent railroad tracks
were visually apparent and they continuously occupied the subject strip of
land from 1959 (the year the easement granted by Feliciana Santillan to
petitioner expired). Thus, with the lapse of the 10-year prescriptive period
in 1969, petitioner supposedly acquired the easement of right of way over
the subject land.

14
Following the logic of the courts a quo, if a road for the use of
vehicles or the passage of persons is permanently cemented or
asphalted, then the right of way over it becomes continuous in nature.
The reasoning is erroneous.

Under civil law and its jurisprudence, easements are either


continuous or discontinuous according to the manner they are
exercised, not according to the presence of apparent signs or physical
indications of the existence of such easements. Easement is continuous
if its use is, or may be, incessant without the intervention of any act of
man, like the easement of drainage; and it is discontinuous if it is used at
intervals and depends on the act of man, like the easement of right of
way.

The easement of right of way is considered discontinuous, like a


road for the passage of vehicles or persons, because the right is
exercised only if and when a train operated by a person passes over
another's property. The very exercise of the servitude depends upon
the act or intervention of man which is the very essence of
discontinuous easements.

The presence of more or less permanent railroad tracks does not,


in any way, convert the nature of an easement of right of way to one
that is continuous. It is not the presence of apparent signs or physical
indications showing the existence of an easement, but rather the
manner of exercise thereof, that categorizes such easement into
continuous or discontinuous. The presence of physical or visual signs
only classifies an easement into apparent or non-apparent. Thus, a road
(which reveals a right of way) and a window (which evidences a right to
light and view) are apparent easements, while an easement of not building
beyond a certain height is non-apparent.

Easements are either continuous or discontinuous according to the manner they are exercised,
not according to the presence of apparent signs or physical indications of the existence of such
easements. Even if the road has been improved and maintained over a number of years, it will not
change its discontinuous nature but simply make the same apparent. Article 622 of the New Civil Code
states that discontinuous easements, whether apparent or not, may be acquired only by virtue of a title.

Value to be paid

Based on Article 649, NCC, the law does not provide for a specific formula for the valuation of
the land. Neither does the same state that the value of the land must be computed at the time of taking.
The only primordial consideration is that the same should consist of the value of the land and the amount
of damage caused to the servient estate.

Voluntary easement can only be extinguished by


agreement, not by an action in court.

Unisource Commercial and Development Corporation is the owner of a parcel of land covered
by a title. It contains a memorandum of encumberance of a voluntary easement which has been carried
from the OCT belonging to Sandico. The voluntary easement is in favor of Hidalgo. The Sandico
property has been transferred to several owners. The Hidalgo property has likewise been transferred to
several owners, the respondents. Unisource filed a petition to cancel the encumberance of voluntary
right of way alleging that the dominant estate has an adequate access to a public road. It was granted
by the RTC ruling that the dominant estate has no more use since it has another adequate outlet to a
public road. The CA reversed on appeal. The appellate court ruled that Article 631(3) of the Civil Code,

15
which was cited by the trial court, is inapplicable since the presence of an adequate outlet to a highway
extinguishes only legal or compulsory easements but not voluntary easements like in the instant case.
There having been an agreement between the original parties for the provision of an easement of right
of way in favor of the dominant estate, the same can be extinguished only by mutual agreement or by
renunciation of the owner of the dominant estate. Is the ruling of the CA correct?

Yes. The opening of an adequate outlet to a highway can extinguish only legal or compulsory
easements, not voluntary easements. The fact that an easement by grant may have also qualified as an
easement of necessity does not detract from its permanency as a property right, which survives the
termination of the necessity. (La Vista Assn. Inc. v. CA, G.R. No. 95252, September 5, 1997, 287 SCRA
498). A voluntary easement of right of way, like any other contract, could be extinguished only by
mutual agreement or by renunciation of the owner of the dominant estate. (Unisource Commercial &
Dev. Corp. v. Chung, et al., G.R. No. 173252, July 17, 2009).

Agreement on easement
binds parties and heirs

That the heirs or assigns of the parties were not mentioned in the annotation does not mean that it
is not binding on them. A voluntary easement of right of way is like any other contract. It is generally
effective between the parties, their heirs and assigns, except in case where the rights and obligations
arising from the contract are not transmissible by their nature, or by stipulation or by provision of law.
Petitioner cited City of Manila v. Entote, No. L-24776, June 28, 1974, 57 SCRA 497, in justifying that
the easement should bind only the parties mentioned therein and exclude those not so mentioned. That
case is inapplicable since the issue therein was whether the easement was intended not only for the
benefit of the owners of the dominant estate but of the community and the public at large. In interpreting
the easement, the clause “any and all other persons whomsoever” in the easement embraces only “those
who are privy to the owners of the dominant estate, and excludes “the indiscriminate public from the
enjoyment of the right-of-way easement.” (Unisource Commercial & Dev. Corp. v. Chung, et al., G.R.
No. 173252, July 17, 2009).

Effect of subdivision of the property.

The fact that the property was subdivided does not extinguish the easement. If the dominant
estate is divided between two or more persons, each of them may use the easement in its entirety,
without changing the place of its use, or making it more burdensome in any other way.

DONATION

Requisite of donation of real property

Esperanza executed an Affidavit where she renounced, relinquished, waived and quitclaimed all
her rights, shares, interest and participation over a parcel of land unto Spouses Ray and Elvira
Arogante, their heirs, successors, and assigns. What is the nature of such affidavit and is it valid?

The affidavit is in the nature of a donation, a simple/pure donation covered by Article 749, NCC. There
are three requisites for the validity of a simple donation of a real property, to wit: (1) it must be made in
a public instrument; (2) it must be accepted, which acceptance may be made either in the same Deed of
Donation or in a separate public instrument; and (3) if the acceptance is made in a separate instrument,
the donor must be notified in an authentic form, and the same must be noted in both instruments. The
donation, however suffers from legal infirmities, as it failed to comply with the aforesaid requisites of
the law, that is, the lack of acceptance.

In Sumipat v. Banga, G.R. No. 155810, August 13, 2004, 346 SCRA 521, it was said that title to
immovable property does not pass from the donor to the donee by virtue of a Deed of Donation until
and unless it has been accepted in a public instrument and the donor duly notified thereof. The
acceptance may be made in the very same instrument of donation. If the acceptance does not appear in
the same document, it must be made in another. Where the Deed of Donation failed to show the

16
acceptance, or where the formal notice of the acceptance, made in a separate instrument, was either not
given to the donor or else not noted in the Deed of Donation and in the separate acceptance, the
donation is null and void. (JLT Agro, Inc. v. Balansag, 453 SCRA 211 (2005).

The acceptance of the said donation was not made by the petitioner and her husband either in the
same Affidavit or in a separate public instrument. As there was no acceptance made of the said donation,
there was also no notice of the said acceptance given to the donor, Esperanza. Therefore, the Affidavit
executed by Esperanza in favor of petitioner and her husband is null and void. The subsequent
notarized Deed of Acceptance dated 23 September 2000, as well as the notice of such acceptance,
executed by the petitioner did not cure the defect. It is true that the acceptance of a donation may be
made at any time during the lifetime of the donor. And granting arguendo that such acceptance may
still be admitted in evidence on appeal, there is still need for proof that a formal notice of such
acceptance was received by the donor and noted in both the Deed of Donation and the separate
instrument embodying the acceptance. (Lagazo v. CA, 350 Phil. 449 (1998). At the very least, this
last legal requisite of annotation in both instruments of donation and acceptance was not fulfilled by the
petitioner. Neither the Affidavit nor the Deed of Acceptance bears the fact that Esperanza received
notice of the acceptance of the donation by petitioner. For this reason, even Esperanza’s one-third share
in the subject property cannot be adjudicated to the petitioner. (Arogante v. Sps. Maglunob, et al., G.R.
No. 178906, February 18, 2009).

PRESCRIPTION / LACHES

Action for reconveyance is equivalent to quieting of


title; when it prescribes

In DBT Mar-Bay Construction, Inc. v. Ricaredo Panes, et al., G.R. No. 167232, July 31, 2009,
the SC had the occasion to say that an action for reconveyance can be barred by prescription. When an
action for reconveyance is based on fraud, it must be filed within four (4) years from discovery of the
fraud, and such discovery is deemed to have taken place from the issuance of the original certificate of
title. An action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten (10) years
from the date of the issuance of the original certificate of title or transfer certificate of title. The
registration of an instrument in the Office of the RD constitutes constructive notice to the whole world
and the discovery of the fraud is deemed to have taken place at the time of registration. (Millena v. CA,
381 Phil. 132 {2000}).

The prescriptive period applies only if there is an actual need to reconvey the property as when
the plaintiff is not in possession of the property. If the plaintiff, as the real owner of the property also
remains in possession of the property, the prescriptive period to recover title and possession of the
property does not run against him. In such a case, an action for reconveyance, if nonetheless filed, would
be in the nature of a suit for quieting of title, an action that is imprescriptible. (Aguirre v. Heirs of Lucas
Villanueva, 524 SCRA 492 (2007). One who is in actual possession of a piece of land claiming to be the
owner thereof may wait until his possession is disturbed or his title is attacked before taking steps to
vindicate his right. His undisturbed possession gives him a continuing right to seek the aid of a court of
equity to ascertain and determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third party and its effect on his
own title, which right can be claimed only by one who is in possession. (Vda. de Gualberto v. Go, 463
SCRA 671 {2005}).

SUCCESSION

Perpetual trust is void

In Orendain v. Trusteeship of the Estate of Doña Margarita Rodriguez, G.R. No. 168660, June
30, 2009, Nachura, J., in the last will and testament of the decedent, she enumerated properties to be
placed in trust for perpetual administration. The decedent unequivocally forbade the alienation or
mortgage of these properties. The decedent did not contemplate the disposition of these properties, but
only sought to bequeath the income derived therefrom to various sets of beneficiaries. There was a

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motion to dissolve the trust applying Articles 867 and 870 of the Civil Code. The RTC ruled that only
the perpetual prohibition to alienate or mortgage is void. Is the ruling correct?

No. It was held in Rodriguez v. Court of Appeals, 137 Phil 371 (1969) that the perpetual prohibition was
valid only for twenty (20) years. The trust stipulated in the decedent’s will prohibiting perpetual
alienation or mortgage of the properties violated Articles 867 and 870 of the Civil Code. The decision
which declared that that portion of the decedent’s estate, the properties listed in Clause 10 of the will,
ought to be distributed based on intestate succession is not correct there being no institution of heirs to
the properties covered by the perpetual trust.

Due to the invalidity of the perpetual trust the rules of


intestate succession apply

The RTC was mistaken in denying petitioners’ motion to dissolve and ordering the disposition of
the properties according to the testatrix’s wishes. As regards these properties, intestacy should apply as
the decedent did not institute an heir therefor. It is erroneous to hold that paragraph 4, Article 1013 of
the same code specifically allows a perpetual trust, because this provision of law is inapplicable. The
article is among the Civil Code provisions on intestate succession, specifically on the State inheriting
from a decedent, in default of persons entitled to succeed. Under this article, the allowance for a
permanent trust, approved by a court of law, covers property inherited by the State by virtue of intestate
succession. The article does not cure a void testamentary provision which did not institute an heir.
Accordingly, the article cannot be applied to dispose of the decedent’s properties.

In Palad, et al. v. Governor of Quezon Province, et al., No. L-24302, August 18, 1972, 46 SCRA
354, it was ruled that Article 870 of the New Civil Code, which regards as void any disposition of the
testator declaring all or part of the estate inalienable for more than 20 years, is not violated by the trust
constituted by the late Luis Palad; because the will of the testator does not interdict the alienation of the
parcels devised. The will merely directs that the income of said two parcels be utilized for the
establishment, maintenance and operation of the high school, a public and social purpose. The use of
said parcels therefore is in a sense socialized. There is no hint in the record that the trust has spawned
agrarian conflicts.

In this case, however, a different conclusion was reached as the testatrix specifically prohibited
the alienation or mortgage of her properties which were definitely more than the two (2) properties in
the aforecited case. The testatrix’s large landholdings cannot be subjected indefinitely to a trust because
the ownership thereof would then effectively remain with her even in the afterlife.

SOLIDARY OBLIGATIONS

Liability may be direct but not necessarily solidary.

In The Heirs of George Poe v. Malayan Insurance Co., Inc., G.R. No. 156302, April 7, 2009, the
Supreme Court ruled that a solidary or joint and several obligation is one in which each debtor is liable
for the entire obligation, and each creditor is entitled to demand the whole obligation. In a joint
obligation, each obligor answers only for a part of the whole liability and to each obligee belongs only a
part of the correlative rights. Solidary obligation cannot lightly be inferred. It exists only when the
obligation expressly so states, when the law so provides or when the nature of the obligation so requires.

Where the insurance contract provides for indemnity against liability to third persons, the
liability of the insurer is direct and such third persons can directly sue the insurer. The direct liability of
the insurer does not mean, however, that the insurer can be held solidarily liable with the insured and/or
the other parties found at fault, since they are being held liable under different obligations. The liability
of the insured carrier or vehicle owner is based on tort while that of the insurer arises from contract,
particularly, the insurance policy. The third-party liability of the insurer is only up to the extent of the
insurance policy and that required by law; it cannot be held solidarily liable for anything beyond that
amount. (MMTC v. CA, 359 Phil. 18 (1998). Any award beyond the insurance coverage would be the
sole liability of the insured and/or the other parties at fault. (GSIS v. CA, 368 Phil. 36; MMTC v. CA).

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In Vda. de Maglana v. Consolacion, G.R. No. 60506, August 6, 1992, 212 SCRA 218, it was ruled that
an insurer in an indemnity contract for third-party liability is directly liable to the injured party up to the
extent specified in the agreement, but it cannot be held solidarily liable beyond that amount. Following
Vda. de Maglana, petitioners would have had the option either (1) to claim the amount awarded to them
from respondent, up to the extent of the insurance coverage, and the balance from Rhoda; or (2) to
enforce the entire judgment against Rhoda, subject to reimbursement from respondent MICI to the
extent of the insurance coverage.

PAYMENT

Tender of payment;
unjustified refusal to accept payment
is not extinguishment of obligation.

If an obligation is due and demandable and there is unjustified refusal to accept payment, does
such act constitute extinguishment of the obligation by payment?

No. To have the effect of payment, the law requires the twin acts of tender of payment and consignation.
If there is tender of payment but no consignation, it does not have the effect of payment. The effect of
the tender is that the debtor is freed from the obligation to pay interest on the outstanding amount from
the time the unjust refusal took place. (Go Sinco v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 151903, October 9, 2009).

State the effect of an unjustified refusal of the creditor to accept payment.

The creditor can be liable for damages under Article 19 of the Civil Code which requires a person to act
with honesty and good faith in the exercise of rights and in the fulfillment of his duties. (Go Sinco v.
CA, et al., G.R. No. 151903, October 9, 2009).

NOVATION
Extension of payment;
no novation that extinguishes the obligation

What is the effect if there is a 45-day credit extension in the payment of an obligation?

There is no novation that would extinguish the obligation.

Novation a mode of extinguishing an obligation, done by the substitution or change of the


obligation by a subsequent one which extinguishes the first, either by changing the object or principal
conditions, or by substituting the person of the debtor, or by subrogating a third person in the rights of
the creditor. Novation may either be extinctive or modificatory, much being dependent on the nature of
the change and the intention of the parties. Extinctive novation is never presumed; there must be an
express intention to novate; in cases where it is implied, the acts of the parties must clearly
demonstrate their intent to dissolve the old obligation as the moving consideration for the
emergence of the new one. Implied novation necessitates that the incompatibility between the old and
new obligation be total on every point such that the old obligation is completely superseded by the new
one. The test of incompatibility is whether they can stand together; if they cannot and are irreconcilable,
the subsequent obligation would also extinguish the first.

An extinctive novation would thus have the twin effects of, first, extinguishing an existing
obligation and, second, creating a new one in its stead. This presupposes four essential requisites: (1) a
previous valid obligation, (2) an agreement of all parties concerned to a new contract, (3) the
extinguishment of the old obligation, and (4) the birth of a valid new obligation. Novation is merely
modificatory where the change brought about by any subsequent agreement is merely incidental to the
main obligation (e.g., a change in interest rates or an extension of time to pay). The new agreement will
not have the effect of extinguishing the first but would merely supplement it or supplant some but not all
of its provisions.

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The obligation to pay a sum of money is not novated by an instrument that expressly recognizes
the old, changes only the terms of payment, adds other obligations not incompatible with the old ones or
supplements the old one. (Sps. Reyes v. BPI Family Savings Bank, 486 SCRA 276). The grant of a 45-
day credit extension did not novate the contracts so as to extinguish the latter. There was no
incompatibility between them. There was no intention to supersede the obligations under the contracts.
The intention of the 45-day credit extension was precisely to revive the old obligation after the original
period expired with the obligation unfulfilled. The grant of a 45-day credit period merely modified the
contracts by extending the period within which FSI was allowed to settle its obligation.

CONTRACTS

Lease with option of lessee to renew;


it must be exercised.

A lease contract was entered into between Cornelio as lessor and Orlando, as lessee. It provided
for a prohibition against sale to a third person and option to renew. During the period of the contract
Orlando died on November 7, 1983. The contract was set to expire on December 3, 1983 when Orlando
died unless renewed by Orlando’s heirs for another four (4) years. The heirs never renewed the
contract. The sale was made on January 29, 1987. The heirs of Orlando questioned the validity of the
sale contending that it violated the prohibition against sale to third person. Is the contention correct?

No. The heirs to whom the right to renew the contract was transmitted after Orlando’s death did not
exercise the option to renew the lease. There was no obstacle to sell, the prohibitory clause no longer
existed at the time of the sale.

While the option to renew is an enforceable right, it must be first exercised to be given effect.
(Mercy’s Inc. v. Verde, 18 SCRA 171 (1966). As the Court explained in Dioquino v. Intermediate
Appellate Court, G.R. No. 68580-81, November 7, 1989, 179 SCRA 163:

“A clause found in an agreement relative to the renewal of the lease


agreement at the option of the lessee gives the latter an enforceable right
to renew the contract in which the clause is found for such time as
provided for. The agreement is n favor of the lessee, and the latter is
authorized to renew the contract and to continue to occupy the leased
property after notifying the lessor to that effect. A lessor’s covenant or
agreement to renew gives a privilege to the tenant, but is nevertheless an
executory contract, and until the tenant has exercised the privilege by way
of some affirmative act, he cannot be held for the additional term. In the
absence of a stipulation in the lease requiring notice of the exercise of an
option or an election to renew to be given within a certain time before the
expiration of the lease, which the lessee must comply with, the general
rule is that a lessee must exercise an option or election to renew his lease
and notify the lessor thereof before, or at least at the time of the expiration
of his original term, unless there is a waiver or special circumstances
warranting equitable relief.”

In the instant case, the lessees were granted the option to renew the lease for another five (5)
years after the termination of the original period of fifteen years. Yet, there was never any positive act
on their part before or after the termination of the original period to show their exercise of such option.
The silence of the lessees after the termination of the original period cannot be taken to mean that they
opted to renew the contract by virtue of the promise by the lessor, as stated in the original contract of
lease, to allow them to renew. Neither can the exercise of the option to renew be inferred from their
persistence to remain in the premises despite petitioners’ demand for them to vacate. (Estate of Orlando
Llenado, et al. v. Eduardo Llenado, et al., G.R. No. 145736, March 4, 2009).

Conveyance of land in private document

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A conveyance of land made in a private document does not affect its validity. Article 1358, NCC
does not require the accomplishment of the acts or contracts in a public instrument in order to validate
the act or contract but only to ensure its efficiency. (Manotok Realty, Inc. v. CA, 233 Phil. 178 {1987});
(Alano v. Babasa, 10 Phil. 511 {1908}); (Heirs of Tranquilino Labiste v. Heirs of Jose Laniste, et al.,
G.R. No. 162033, May 8, 2009).

TRUST

Express trust; need to repudiate

Express trusts are created by direct and positive acts of the parties, by some writing or deed, or
will, or by words either expressly or impliedly evincing an intention to create a trust. Under Article 1444
of the Civil Code, "[n]o particular words are required for the creation of an express trust, it being
sufficient that a trust is clearly intended." The Affidavit of Epifanio is in the nature of a trust agreement.
Epifanio affirmed that the lot in his name was co-owned by him, as one of the heirs of Jose, and his
uncle Tranquilino. By agreement, each of them has been in possession of half of the property. Their
arrangement was corroborated by the subdivision.

As such, prescription and laches will run only from the time the express trust is repudiated. For
acquisitive prescription to bar the action of the beneficiary against the trustee in an express trust for the
recovery of the property held in trust, it must be shown that: (a) the trustee has performed unequivocal
acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the cestui que trust; (b) such positive acts of repudiation
have been made known to the cestui que trust, and (c) the evidence thereon is clear and conclusive.
Respondents cannot rely on the fact that the Torrens title was issued in the name of Epifanio and the
other heirs of Jose. It has been held that a trustee who obtains a Torrens title over property held in trust
by him for another cannot repudiate the trust by relying on the registration. (Sotto v. Teves, 175 SCRA
343 {1978}). The rule requires a clear repudiation of the trust duly communicated to the beneficiary.
The only act that can be construed as repudiation was when respondents filed the petition for
reconstitution in October 1993. Since petitioners filed their complaint in January 1995, their cause of
action has not yet prescribed, laches cannot be attributed to them.

SALES

Fraudulent transfer of property


does not vest ownership; exception

In Heirs of Julian Tiro v. Phil. Estates Corp., G.R. No. 170528, August 26, 2008, a property was
fraudulently acquired resulting in the issuance of a TCT. Thereafter, there were five (5) other transfers.
A complaint to nullify the title of the present owner was filed contending that since the initial transfer of
the disputed land was fraudulent, then all the subsequent transfers including the last, were all invalid.

In brushing aside the contention, the Supreme Court held that insofar as a person who has
fraudulently obtained property is concerned, the consequently fraudulent registration of the property in
the name of such person would not be sufficient to vest in him or her the title to the property.
Certificates of title merely confirm or record title already existing and vested. The indefeasibility of the
Torrens Title should not be used as a means to perpetrate fraud against the rightful owner of real
property. Good faith must concur with registration; otherwise, registration would be an exercise in
futility. However, where good faith is established, as in the case of an innocent purchaser for value, a
forged document may become the root of a valid title.

A person is considered in law as an innocent purchaser for value when he buys the property of
another, without notice that some other person has a right or an interest in such property, and pays a full
price for the same at the time of such purchase, or before he has notice of the claims or interest of some
other person in the property. A person dealing with registered land may safely rely on the correctness of
the certificate of title of the vendor/transferor, and the law will in no way oblige him to go behind the
certificate to determine the condition of the property. The courts cannot disregard the rights of innocent

21
third persons, for that would impair or erode public confidence in the Torrens System of land
registration. Thus, a title procured by fraud or misrepresentation can still be the source of a completely
legal and valid title if the same is in the hands of an innocent purchaser for value.

In Spouses Villamil, etc. v. Villarosa, G.R. No. 177187, April 7, 2009, the owners of a parcel of
land covered by a TCT found out one day that a house was being constructed on it. They discovered that
their title was cancelled due to a Deed of Sale to which they did not participate in and a title was issued
under the name of another. The same was sold to a couple and a title was issued under their names. The
said couple sold it to another where a title was likewise issued. The last buyer inspected the property at
the Office of the Register of Deeds and found it to be clean. The original owners filed a complaint for
nullity of title, reconveyance, and damages but the last buyer contended that he was a buyer in good
faith and for value to which argument the CA agreed.

The Supreme Court held that the CA ruling was correct.

The honesty of intention that constitutes good faith implies freedom from knowledge of
circumstances that ought to put a prudent person on inquiry. Good faith consists in the belief of the
possessors that the persons from whom they received the thing are the rightful owners who could convey
their title. The burden of proving the status of purchaser in good faith lies on the one who asserts that
status. Larry, the last buyer, had successfully discharged such burden. There were no traces of bad faith
on Larry’s part in acquiring such property by purchase. He merely responded to an Ad for the sale of
said land and performed every act that a reasonable cautious man would do under the circumstances.
Every person dealing with a registered land may safely rely on the correctness of the certificate of title
issued therefor and the law will in no way oblige him to go beyond the certificate to determine the
condition of the property.

Payment of earnest money; contract of sale is perfected.

In Heirs of Pangan v. Sps. Perreras, G.R. No. 157374, August 27, 2009, the Spouses Pangan
agreed to sell a 2-door apartment to the Spouses Perreras; the latter delivered an earnest money of
P20,000.00 out of the agreed price of P540,000.00. Later on, the owners/sellers refused to accept the
checks as consideration on the ground that their children who are co-owners refused to sell the
property. A petition for consignation was filed. Later, a complaint for specific performance was filed but
the sellers contended that the sale was subject to the consent of the heirs, her children who became co-
owners after the death of her husband. It was claimed that the refusal of the co-owners to sell the
property amounted to the absence of the requisite element of consent.

The Supreme Court held that the elements of a valid contract are all present. The consent of the
owner together with the payment of earnest money show that a contract of sale was perfected. Article
1482 of the Civil Code, provides that whenever earnest money is given in a contract of sale, it shall be
considered as part of the price and proof of the perfection of the contract. Although the presumption is
not conclusive, as the parties may treat the earnest money differently, there is nothing alleged in the
present case that would give rise to a contrary presumption. In cases where a conclusion contrary to the
presumption is reached, the money initially paid is deemed given to guarantee that the buyer would not
back out from the sale, considering that the parties to the sale have yet to arrive at a definite agreement
as to its terms – that is, a situation where the contract has not yet been perfected. (Manila Metal
Container Corp. v. Tolentino, G.R. No. 166862, December 20, 2006, 511 SCRA 444; San Miguel
Properties Phil. Inc. v. Huang, G.R. No. 137290, July 31, 2000, 336 SCRA 737).

Distinction between effect of non-payment


in a contract of sale from that of a contract to sell

In cases of breach due to nonpayment, the vendor may avail of the remedy of rescission in a
contract of sale. Nevertheless, the defaulting vendee may defeat the vendor’s right to rescind the
contract of sale if he pays the amount due before he receives a demand for rescission, either judicially or
by a notarial act, from the vendor. This right is provided under Article 1592 of the Civil Code.
Nonpayment of the purchase price in contracts to sell, however, does not constitute a breach; rather,

22
nonpayment is a condition that prevents the obligation from acquiring obligatory force and results in its
cancellation. In Ong v. CA, G.R. No. 97347, July 6, 1999, 310 SCRA 1, it was said that in a contract to
sell, the payment of the purchase price is a positive suspensive condition, the failure of which is not a
breach, casual or serious, but a situation that prevents the obligation of the vendor to convey title from
acquiring obligatory force. The non-fulfillment of the condition of full payment rendered the contract to
sell ineffective and without force and effect.

As in the rescission of a contract of sale for nonpayment of the price, the defaulting vendee in a
contract to sell may defeat the vendor’s right to cancel by invoking the rights granted to him under
Republic Act No. 6552 or the Realty Installment Buyer Protection Act (also known as the Maceda Law);
this law provides for a 60-day grace period within which the defaulting vendee who has paid less than
two years of installments may still pay the installments due. Only after the lapse of the grace period with
continued non-payment of the amounts due can the actual cancellation of the contract take place.

Coverage of Maceda Law

The Maceda Law covers not only sales of real estates on installments but also the financing of
such acquisition; its Section 3 is comprehensive enough to include both contracts of sale and contracts to
sell, provided that the terms of payment of the price require at least two installments. The contract
entered into by the parties herein can very well fall under the Maceda Law.

When there is no ownership in a contract of sale


despite delivery

In Asset Privitization Trust v. T.J. Enterprises, G.R. No. 167195, May 8, 2009, there was a
contract of sale over certain machinery and refrigeration equipment. Initially, the buyer was only able
to pull out some of the machinery and equipment as the same were in the possession of Creative Lines,
which refused the hauling of the same. It was, however, able to finally pull out all. Upon inspection, it
found out that the machinery and equipment were damaged and had missing parts. It filed a complaint
for damages; petitioner contended that upon the execution of the deed of sale it had complied with its
obligation to deliver the object of the sale since there was no stipulation to the contrary. Petitioner
claimed that there was already a constructive delivery of the machinery and equipment. It further
argued that being a sale on an as-is-where-is basis, it was the duty of respondent to take possession of
the property.

The ownership of a thing sold shall be transferred to the vendee upon the actual or constructive
delivery thereof. The thing sold shall be understood as delivered when it is placed in the control and
possession of the vendee. As a general rule, when the sale is made through a public instrument, the
execution thereof shall be equivalent to the delivery of the thing which is the object of the contract, if
from the deed the contrary does not appear or cannot be clearly inferred. With regard to movable
property, its delivery may also be made by the delivery of the keys of the place or depository where it is
stored or kept. In order for the execution of a public instrument to effect tradition, the purchaser must be
placed in control of the thing sold. (Santos v. Santos, 418 Phil. 681 {2001}). However, the execution of
a public instrument only gives rise to a prima facie presumption of delivery. Such presumption is
destroyed when the delivery is not effected because of a legal impediment. It is necessary that the
vendor has control over the thing sold such that, at the moment of sale, its material delivery could have
been made. Thus, a person who does not have actual possession of the thing sold cannot transfer
constructive possession by the execution and delivery of a public instrument.

In this case, there was no actual or constructive delivery of the thing sold. The execution of the
deed of absolute sale or the issuance of the gate pass did not constitute as constructive delivery of the
machinery and equipment since it was not petitioner but Creative Lines which had actual possession of
the property. The presumption of constructive delivery is not applicable as it has to yield to the reality
that the purchaser was not placed in possession and control of the property.

Nature of the phrase as-is-where is basis.

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Petitioner posits that the sale being in an as-is-where-is basis, respondent agreed to take
possession of the things sold in the condition in which hey are found and from the place where they are
located. The phrase as-is where-is basis pertains solely to the physical condition of the thing sold, not to
its legal situation. (NDC v. Madrigal Wan Hai Lines Corp., 458 Phil. 1038 {2003). It is merely
descriptive of the actual state and location of the thing sold. The depiction does not alter petitioner’s
responsibility to deliver the property to respondent.

Disclaimer of warranty in Deed of Absolute Sale;


does not absolve seller from all warranties

The vendor is bound to transfer the ownership of and to deliver, as well as to warrant the thing
which is the object of the sale. Ownership of the thing sold is acquired by the vendee from the moment it
its delivered to him in any of the ways specified in articles 1497 to 1501 of the Civil Code, or in any
other manner signifying an agreement that the possession is transferred from the vendor to the vendee. A
perusal of the deed of absolute sale shows that both the vendor and the vendee represented and
warranted to each other that each had all the requisite power and authority to enter into the deed of
absolute sale and that they shall perform each of their respective obligations under the deed of absolute
in accordance with the terms thereof. As previously shown, there was no actual or constructive delivery
of the things sold. Thus, petitioner has not performed its obligation to transfer ownership and possession
of the things sold to respondent.

It was also contended that the refusal of Creative Lines to allow the hauling of the machinery and
equipment was unforeseen and constituted a fortuitous event. The contention is without merit as the
seller was at fault.

A fortuitous event may either be an act of God, or natural occurrences such as floods or
typhoons, or an act of man such as riots, strikes or wars. But when the loss is found to be partly the
result of a person’s participation–whether by active intervention, neglect or failure to act—the whole
occurrence is humanized and removed from the rules applicable to a fortuitous event. (Sicam v. Jorge,
G.R. No. 159617, August 8, 2007, 529 SCRA 443; Mindez Resources Dev. Corp., 482 Phil. 934).
Moreover, Art. 1504 of the Civil Code provides that where actual delivery has been delayed through the
fault of either the buyer or the seller, the goods are at the risk of the party in fault. The risk of loss or
deterioration of the goods sold does not pass to the buyer until there is actual or constructive delivery
thereof. Since there was no actual or constructive delivery of the machinery and equipment, the risk of
loss or deterioration of property is borne by petitioner, who should be liable for the damages that may
arise from the delay.

Assuming arguendo that Creative Lines’ refusal to allow the hauling of the machinery and
equipment is a fortuitous event, petitioner will still be liable for damages.

AGENCY

Sale of real property without written authority is void

In Pahud, et al. v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 160346, August 25, 2009, a property was the subject of
co-ownership and was sold in full by four (4) of the co-owners to the exclusion of three (3) other co-
owners; they were not authorized to sell the shares of the three (3) other co-owners. Is the sale of the
shares of the three (3) co-owners without authority valid?

The authority of an agent to execute a contract of sale of real estate must be conferred in writing
and must give him specific authority, either to conduct the general business of the principal or to execute
a binding contract containing terms and conditions which are in the contract he executed. A special
power of attorney is necessary to enter into any contract by which the ownership of an immovable is
transmitted or acquired either gratuitously or for a valuable consideration. The express mandate required
by law to enable an appointee of an agency couched in general terms to sell must be one that expressly
mentions a sale or that includes a sale as a necessary ingredient of the act mentioned. For the principal to
confer the right upon an agent to sell real estate, a power of attorney must express the powers of the

24
agent in clear and unmistakable language. When there is any reasonable doubt that the language used
conveys such power, no such construction shall be given the document. (332 Phil. 948 {1996}).

The absence of a written authority to sell a piece of land is, ipso jure, void, (Estate of Lino
Olaguer, etc. v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 173312, August 26, 2008) precisely to protect the interest of an
unsuspecting owner from being prejudiced by the unwarranted act of another.

INTEREST

When 6% interest is imposed;


when judgment is rendered.

In Crystal, et al. v. BPI, G.R. No. 180274, September 4, 2007, a loan in the amount of P3M was
obtained from the bank. For failure to pay, the mortgage over the real property used to secure the
payment of the obligation was extrajudicially foreclosed. There was a deficiency after the sale. A
complaint for sum of money was filed for the collection of the same. The issue was whether 12% or 6%
interest should be imposed and the reckoning point of the same.

It was held that the imposition of 6% interest per annum was to be computed from the time the
trial court rendered the judgment, and not from the date of the auction sale. After the finality of the
decision, the judgment award inclusive of interest shall bear interest of 12% per annum until the full
satisfaction thereof.

TORTS AND DAMAGES

Liability of registered owner


of motor vehicle already sold.

Is the registered owner of a motor vehicle still liable for the damage or injury caused by the
vehicle even if he has already sold it to someone else who has not yet transferred the registration when
the injury occurred?

Yes. The registered owner of any vehicle is primarily responsible to the public for whatever damage or
injury the vehicle may cause even if he had already sold it to someone else.

Were the registered owner allowed to evade responsibility by proving who the supposed
transferee or owner is, it would be easy for him, by collusion with others or otherwise, to escape said
responsibility by transferring the same to an indefinite person or to one who possesses no property with
which to respond financially for the damage or injury done. The policy behind the vehicle registration is
the easy identification of the owner who can be held responsible in case of accident, damage or injury
caused by the vehicle, so as not to inconvenience or prejudice a third party injured by one whose identity
cannot be secured. (Cadiente v. Macas, G.R. No. 161946, November 14, 2008)

LAND REGISTRATION

As a rule a person who wants to purchase property covered by the Torrens System need only to
rely on the face of the title because of the protection afforded by the Torrens System; otherwise, there
would be no relying on the title. The rule, however, is not absolute. An ordinarily prudent man should
inquire into the authenticity of the certificate of title, the property’s location, and its owners. Although it
is recognized principle that a person dealing with registered land need not go beyond its certificate of
title, it is also a firmly established rule that where circumstances exist which would put a purchaser on
guard and prompt him to investigate further, such as the presence of occupants or tenants on the property
offered for sale, it is expected that the purchaser would inquire first into the nature of possession of the
occupants, i.e., whether or not the occupants possess the land in the concept of an owner. A buyer of real
property that is in the possession of a person other than the seller must be wary and should investigate
the rights of those in possession. Without such inquiry, the buyer can hardly be regarded as a buyer in
good faith (Rufloe, et al. v. Burgos, et al., G.R. No. 143573, January 30, 2009).

25
Survey of 2009 SC Decisions
In
REMEDIAL LAW
Judge ED VINCENT S. ALBANO

JURISDICTION

Nature of jurisdiction; how acquired.

Jurisdiction is the power invested in courts for administering justice, that is, to hear and decide
cases. For the court to exercise the authority to dispose of the case on the merits, it must acquire
jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties. (Perkin Elmer Singapore Pte Ltd. v. Dakila Trading
Corp., G.R. No.. 172242, August 14, 2007, 530 SCRA 170).

Courts acquire jurisdiction over a party plaintiff upon the filing of the complaint. On the other
hand, jurisdiction over the person of a party defendant is assured upon the service of summons in the
manner required by law or, otherwise, by his voluntary appearance. As a rule, if a defendant has not
been summoned, the court acquires no jurisdiction over his person, and a personal judgment rendered
against such defendant is null and void. A decision that is null and void for want of jurisdiction of the
trial court is not a decision in contemplation of law and can never become final and executory.
(Lagunilla, et al. v. Velasco, et al., G.R. No. 169276, June 16, 2009).

Action for reconveyance involves title to or


possession of realty.

In San Pedro, et al. v. Hon. Asdala, et al., G.R. No. 164560, July 22, 2009, reiterating Heirs of
Valeriano S. Concha, Sr. v. Spouses Lumocso, 540 SCRA 1 (2007) had the occasion to rule that in a
number of cases, the Court have held that actions for reconveyance of or for cancellation of title to or to
quiet title over real property are actions that fall under the classification of cases that involve “title to,
or possession of, real property, or any interest therein.”

Thus, under the old law, there was no substantial effect on jurisdiction whether a case is one, the
subject matter of which was incapable of pecuniary estimation, under Section 19(1) of B.P. 129, or one
involving title to property under Section 19(2). The distinction between the two classes became crucial
with the amendment introduced by R.A. No. 7691 in 1994, which expanded the exclusive original
jurisdiction of the first level courts to include “all civil actions which involve title to, or possession or,
real property, or any interest therein wherein the assessed value of the property or interest therein does
not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or in civil actions in Metro Manila, where such
assessed value does not exceed Fifty Thousand pesos (P50,000.00) exclusive of interest, damages of
whatever kind, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses and costs. Thus, under the present law, original
jurisdiction over cases the subject matter of which involves “title to, possession of, real property or any
interest therein” under Section 19(2) of B.P. 129 is divided between the first and second level courts,
with the assessed value of the real property involve as the benchmark. This amendment was introduced
to “unclog the over loaded dockets of the RTCs which would result in the speedier administration of
justice.”

Clearly, the RTC and the CA ruled correctly that the MeTC had jurisdiction over private
respondents’ complaint for Accion Reivindicatoria.

Liberal interpretation of the rules.

For the rules to be liberally construed and allow appeals, although filed late in some rare cases,
there must be exceptional circumstance to justify the relaxation of the rules. (Bank of America, NT and
SA v. Gerochi, Jr., 230 SCRA 9 (1994). This being so, another fundamental rule of procedure applies,

26
and that is the doctrine that perfection of an appeal within the reglementary period is not only mandatory
but also jurisdictional, so that failure to do so renders the questioned decision final and executory and
deprives the appellate court of jurisdiction to alter the final judgment, more so, to entertain the appeal.
(PCIB v. CA, 452 Phil. 542 (2003); Salvacion v. SB, G.R. No. 175006, November 27, 2008).

Allegation of gross value of the estate required in


petition for probate of a will.

In Frianela v. Banayan, Jr., G.R. No. 169700, July 30, 2009, a petition for probate of two (2)
wills was filed on November 18, 1995. Oppositions were filed and petitioned for the wills dated
September 27, 1989 and September 28, 1989. On September 29, 1995, the trial court declared that the
September 27, 1989 holographic will has been revoked by another will, allowing probate of the
September 28, 1989 will. At the time of the probate, BP 129, Secs. 19 & 33 have already gone into effect
providing that the RTC shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in all probate cases both testate or
intestate, where the gross value exceeds P20,000.00. The petition however, did not allege the gross
value of the estate. The RTC’s decision allowing the will was upheld by the CA but both never looked
into the jurisdictional issue. Did the lower court have jurisdiction over the subject matter?

No. The MTC had jurisdiction over the subject matter.

The jurisdiction of the court to hear and decide a case is conferred by the law in force at the time
of the institution of the action unless such statute provides for a retroactive application thereof.
Jurisdiction is moreover determined by the allegations or averments in the complaint or petition.

The applicable law, therefore, confers jurisdiction on the RTC or the MTCs over probate
proceedings depending on the gross value of the estate, (Lim v. CA, 380 Phil. 61 (2000), which value
must be alleged in the complaint or petition to be filed.

Nowhere in the petition is there a statement of the gross value of the estate. Thus, from a reading
of the original petition filed, it cannot be determined which court has original and exclusive jurisdiction
over the proceedings. (Hilario v. Salvador, G.R. No. 160384, April 29, 2005, 457 SCRA 815). The RTC
therefore committed gross error when it had perfunctorily assumed jurisdiction despite the fact that the
initiatory pleading filed before it did not call for the exercise of its jurisdiction. The RTC should have, at
the outset, dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. Be it noted that the dismissal on the said ground
may be ordered motu proprio by the courts. (Sales, et al. v. Barro, G.R. No. 171678, December 10,
2008). Further, the CA, on appeal, should have dismissed the case on the same ground. Settled is the
doctrine that the issue of jurisdiction may be raised by any of the parties or may be reckoned by the
court, at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal, and is not lost by waiver or by estoppel.
(Figueroa v. People, G.R. No. 147406, July 14, 2008, 558 SCRA 63).

Despite the pendency of this case for around 18 years, the exception laid down in Tijam v.
Sibonghanoy, L-21450, April 15, 1968, 131 Phil. 556, and clarified recently in Figueroa v. People, 558
SCRA 61 (2008) cannot be applied. First, because, as a general rule, the principle of estoppel by laches
cannot lie against the government. (Estate of the Late Jesus S. Yujuico v. Rep., 537 SCRA 513 (2007).
No injustice to the parties or to any third person will be wrought by the ruling that the trial court has no
jurisdiction over the instituted probate proceedings.
Second and most important, because in Tijam, the delayed invocation of lack of jurisdiction has
been made during the execution stage of a final and executory ruling of a court. In Figueroa, the Court
has emphasized that estoppel by laches only supervenes in exceptional cases similar to the factual milieu
in Tijam.

Clearly, then, In Tijam, the issue of lack of jurisdiction has only been raised during the execution
stage, specifically when the matter of the trial court’s denial of the surety’s motion to quash the writ of
execution has been brought to the appellate court for review. Here, the trial court’s assumption of
unauthorized jurisdiction over the probate proceedings has been discovered by the Court during the

27
appeal stage of the main case, not during the execution stage of a final and executory decision. Thus, the
exceptional rule laid down in Tijam cannot apply.

Since the RTC has no jurisdiction over the action, all the proceedings therein, including the
decision rendered, are null and void. (Hilario v. Salvador, G.R. No. 160384, April 29, 2005, 457 SCRA
815).

RULE 2
ACTIONS

Actions in personam and in rem distinguished;


action for specific performance in personam.

The nature of an action for specific performance with damages was the issue on Sps. Yu v.
Pacleb, G.R. No. 172172, February 24, 2009. In this case, there was a contract to sell where the buyer
sought to compel the seller to accept full payment and to sell the property.

The SC ruled it to be one of an action in personam. (La Tondeña Distilleria v. Ponferadam, 332
Phil. 593 (1996); Siasoco v. CA, 362 Phil. 525 (1999); Jose v. Boyon, 414 SCRA 216 (2003). An action
for specific performance praying for the execution of a deed of sale in connection with an undertaking in
a contract, such as a contract to sell, is an action in personam. It is binding only upon the parties
properly impleaded therein and duly heard or given an opportunity to be heard. (Ching v. CA, 181
SCRA 9 (1990). Therefore, it cannot bind respondent since he was not a party therein. Neither can
respondent be considered as privy thereto since his signature and that of his late first wife, were forged
in the deed of sale.

In Domagas v. Jense, 448 SCRA 663 (2005), distinctions between actions in personam and
actions quasi in rem were made, thus:

The settled rule is that the aim and object of an action determine its
character. Whether a proceeding is in rem, or in personam, or quasi in rem
for that matter, is determined by its nature and purpose, and by these only.
A proceeding in personam is a proceeding to enforce personal rights and
obligations brought against the person and is based on the jurisdiction of
the person, although it may involve his right to, or the exercise of
ownership of, specific property, or seek to compel him to control or
dispose of it in accordance with the mandate of the court. The purpose of a
proceeding in personam is to impose, through the judgment of a court,
some responsibility or liability directly upon the person of the defendant.
Of this character are suits to compel a defendant to specifically perform
some act or actions to fasten a pecuniary liability on him. An action in
personam is said to be one which has for its object a judgment against the
person, as distinguished from a judgment against the propriety (sic) to
determine its state. It has been held that an action in personam is a
proceeding to enforce personal rights or obligations; such action is brought
against the person.

On the other hand, a proceeding quasi in rem is one brought


against persons seeking to subject the property of such persons to the
discharge of the claims assailed. In an action quasi in rem, an individual is
named as defendant and the purpose of the proceeding is to subject his
interests therein to the obligation or loan burdening the property. Actions
in quasi in rem deal with the status, ownership or liability of a particular
property but which are intended to operate on these questions only as
between the particular parties to the proceedings and not to ascertain or cut

28
off the rights or interests of all possible claimants. The judgments therein
are binding only upon the parties who joined in the action.

Splitting of cause of action is a form of forum


shopping.

In Chua, et al. v. Metrobank, et al., G.R. No. 182311, August 19, 2009, there was foreclosure of
a mortgage to the debtor’s failure to pay an obligation. The debtor filed a complaint for declaration of
nullity of the foreclosure proceeding (Civil Case No. 01-0207). Then, there was a complaint for
damages arising out of the foreclosure proceedings. (Civil Case No. 05-0402). It was contended that
there was splitting of causes of action resulting in forum shopping. Is the contention correct?

Yes, because of the filing of multiple cases based on the same cause of action although with different
prayers.

Sections 3 and 4, Rule 2 of the Rules of Court proscribe the splitting of a single cause of action
as they provide that a party may not institute more than one suit for a single cause of action. If two or
more suits are instituted on the basis of the same cause of action, the filing of one or a judgment upon
the merits in any one is available as a ground for the dismissal of the others.

Forum shopping occurs although the actions seem to be different, when it can be seen that there
is a splitting of a cause of action. (Cuenca v. Atas, 535 SCRA 48 (2007). A cause of action is understood
to be the delict or wrongful act or omission committed by the defendant in violation of the primary
rights of the plaintiff. It is true that a single act or omission can violate various rights at the same time,
as when the act constitutes juridically a violation of several separate and distinct legal obligations.
However, where there is only one delict or wrong, there is but a single cause of action regardless of the
number of rights that may have been violated belonging to one person. (Joseph v. Bautista, 170 SCRA
540 (1989).

Even if the two cases contain two separate remedies that are both available to petitioners, these
two remedies that arose from one wrongful act cannot be pursued in two different cases. The rule against
splitting a cause of action is intended to prevent repeated litigation between the same parties in regard to
the same subject of controversy, to protect the defendant from unnecessary vexation; and to avoid the
costs and expenses incident to numerous suits. It comes from the old maxim nemo debet bis vexari, pro
una et eadem causa (no man shall be twice vexed for one and the same cause). (Bachrach Motor Co.,
Inc. v. Icarangal, 68 Phil. 287 (1939).

Effect of forum shopping.

If the forum shopping is not considered willful and deliberate, the subsequent case shall be
dismissed without prejudice, on the ground of either litis pendentia or res judicata. However, if the
forum shopping is willful and deliberate, both (or all, if there are more than two) actions shall be
dismissed with prejudice. In this case, petitioners did not deliberately file Civil Case No. CV-05-0402
for the purpose of seeking a favorable decision in another forum. Otherwise, they would not have
moved for the consolidation of both cases. Thus, only Civil Case No. CV-05-0402 is dismissed and the
hearing of Civil Case No. CV-01-0207 before RTC-Branch 258 will be continued.

Allegations in the complaint determine the cause


of action; not the defense; reason.

In Sison v. Cariaga, G.R. No. 177847, July 31, 2009, Morales, J, the SC had the occasion to rule
that the nature of an action and which court has jurisdiction over it are determined by the allegations of
the complaint and the character of the relief sought. (Ten Forty Realty & Dev. Corp. v. Cruz. 410 SCRA
484 (2003). They cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in the Answer or pleadings filed by
the defendant, and neither can they be made to depend on the exclusive characterization of the case by

29
one the parties. (Larano v. CA, 525 SCRA 57 (2007). The reason for the rule is that if the defense
determines, then, it would be easy for a defendant to divest a court of its jurisdiction by interposing a
defense that is outside of the court’s jurisdiction.

In this case, it was alleged that after the relocation survey of the lots, the house of the defendants
was constructed on the land of the plaintiff. Demand was made for the removal of the house but to no
avail, hence, a complaint for unlawful detainer was filed where the SC ruled that the basic element of a
complaint for unlawful detainer were established to vest jurisdiction upon the MTC.

Assessed value determines the court that has


jurisdiction in real actions.

A complaint for specific performance with damages was filed seeking the reconveyance or transfer of a
real property or the execution of deed of reconveyance. It was fled with the RTC. Was the filing proper?

No, because the action is a real, affecting title to or possession of real property. Consequently, the bases
for determining the court that has jurisdiction over the subject matter. In Gochan v. Gochan, 423 Phil.
491 (2001), the plaintiff did not allege the assessed value of the real property hence, the RTC did not
acquire jurisdiction over the same. (Ruby Shelter Builders & Realty Dev. Corp. v. Hon. Ramon
Formaran III, et al., G.R. No. 175914, February 10, 2009).

In Siapno v. Manalo, 468 SCRA 330 (2005) the Court disregarded the title/denomination of
therein plaintiff Manalo’s amended petition as one for Mandamus with Revocation of Title and
Damages; and adjudged the same to be a real action, the filing fees for which should have been
computed based on the assessed value of the subject property or, if there was none, the estimated value
thereof. The Court expounded in Siapno that:

In his amended petition, respondent Manalo prayed that NTA’s sale of the
property in dispute to Standford East Realty Corporation and the title issued to the latter
on the basis thereof, be declared null and void. In a very real sense, albeit the amended
petition is styled as one for “Mandamus with Revocation of Title and Damages,” it is, at
bottom, a suit to recover from Standford the realty in question and to vest in respondent
the ownership and possession thereof. In short, the amended petition is in reality an
action in res or a real action. Our pronouncement in Fortune Motors (Phils.), Inc. vs.
Court of Appeals is instructive. There, we said:

A prayer for annulment or rescission of contract does not operate


to efface the true objectives and nature of the action which is to recover
real property. (Inton, et al., v. Quintan, 81 Phil. 97, 1948)

An action for the annulment or rescission of a sale of real property


is a real action. Its prime objective is to recover said real property.
(Gavieres v. Sanchez, 94 Phil. 760, 1954)

An action to annul a real estate mortgage foreclosure sale is no


different from an action to annul a private sale of real property. (Muñoz v.
Llamas, 87 Phil. 737, 1950).

While it is true that petitioner does not directly seek the recovery
of title or possession of the property in question, his action for annulment
of sale and his claim for damages are closely intertwined with the issue of
ownership of the building which, under the law, is considered immovable
property, the recovery of which is petitioner's primary objective. The
prevalent doctrine is that an action for the annulment or rescission of a
sale of real property does not operate to efface the fundamental and prime

30
objective and nature of the case, which is to recover said real property. It
is a real action.

RULE 3
PARTIES

Indispensable party; effect if not impleaded.

In Lagunilla, et al. v. Velasco, et al., G.R. No. 169276, June 16, 2009, (Nachura, J), a complaint
for Annulment of Documents with damages was filed alleging that after the death of the owners of a
parcel of land, the other heirs executed an Extrajudicial Settlement of the estate with a Deed of
Donation to one of the heirs, a certain Pedro. The other heirs were excluded, hence, they filed the
complaint but did not implead Pedro. After trial, they moved to amend the complaint to implead Pedro
and to conform to evidence as the decision affected heir as indispensable party since the property was
under his name. The RTC denied it as it would cause delay in the resolution of the case. The RTC later
dismissed the complaint and gave credence to the claim that the plaintiffs have received advances on
their share of inheritance. The CA affirmed the order denying the motion to amend. Is the ruling
correct?

No, because Pedro is an indispensable party. In Regner v. Logarta, 537 SCRA 277 (2007) and Arcelona
v. CA, 345 Phil. 250 (1997), it was ruled that an indispensable party is a party who has an interest in the
controversy or subject matter of that a final adjudication cannot be made, in his absence, without
injuring or affecting that interest, a party who has not only an interest in the subject matter of the
controversy, but also has an interest of such nature that a final decree cannot be made without affecting
his interest or leaving the controversy in such a condition that its final determination may be wholly
inconsistent with equity and good conscience. It has also been considered that an indispensable party is a
person in whose absence there cannot be a determination between the parties already before the court
which is effective, complete or equitable. Further, an indispensable party is one who must be included in
an action before it may property go forward.

A person is not an indispensable party, however, if his interest in the controversy


or subject matter is separable from the interest of the other parties, so that it will not necessarily be
directly or injuriously affected by a decree which does complete justice between them. Also, a person is
not an indispensable party if his presence would merely permit complete relief between him and those
already parties to the action, of if he has no interest in the subject matter of the action. It is not a
sufficient reason to declare a person to be an indispensable party that his presence will avoid multiple
litigation.

In upholding the denial of the motion to amend the complaint, the appellate court concluded that the
sole desire of petitioners in instituting the case was the annulment of the extrajudicial settlement.
Effectively, it separated the question of the validity of the extrajudicial settlement from the validity of the
donation. Accordingly, the court said, the latter issue could be threshed out in a separate proceeding
later. This explains why Pedro was not considered an indispensable party by the trial and appellate
courts. Is the ruling correct?

No. Pedro’s interest in the subject matter of the suit and in the relief sought are so inextricably
intertwined with that of the other parties. His legal presence as a party to the proceedings is, therefore,
an absolute necessity. His interest in the controversy and in the subject matter is not separable from the
interest of the other parties.

Nature of requirement of joinder of


indispensable parties.

Well-settled is the rule that joinder of indispensable parties is mandatory. It is a condition sine
qua non to the exercise of judicial power. (Orbeta v. Sendiong, 463 SCRA 180 (2005); Aron v. Realon,

31
450 SCRA 372 (2005). The absence of an indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the court
null and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties but even as to those present.
(Orbeta v. Sendiong). Without the presence of indispensable parties to the suit, the judgment of the court
cannot attain finality. One who is not a party to a case is not bound by any decision of the court;
otherwise, he will be deprived of his right to due process. (Aron v. Realon). That is why the case is
generally remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings. (Moldex Realty, Inc. v. HLURB, 525
SCRA 198 (2007).

To do so could result in a possible violation of due process. The inclusion of an indispensable


party is necessary for the effective and complete resolution of the case and in order to accord all parties
the benefit of due process and fair play. (Pepsi Cola, Inc. v. Emerald Pizza, Inc., G.R. No. 153059,
August 14, 2007, 530 SCRA 58; Lagunilla, et al. v. Velasco, et al., G.R. No. 169276, June 16, 2009,
Nachura, J).

Effect of failure to implead indispensable party.

In Commissioner Domingo v. Scheer, 466 Phil. 235, Lotte Pjhil. Co., Inc. v. Dela Cruz, 464
SCRA 591, and PepsiCo, Inc. v. Emerald Pizza, Inc., 530 SCRA 58 (2007), the non-joinder of
indispensable parties is not a ground for the dismissal of an action. The remedy is to implead the non-
party claimed to be indispensable. Parties may be added by order of the court on motion of the party or
on its own initiative at any stage of the action and/or at such time as are just. If the plaintiff refuses to
implead an indispensable party despite the order of the court, then the court may dismiss the complaint
for the plaintiff’s failure to comply with a lawful court order. (Lagunilla, et al. v. Velasco, et al., G.R.
No. 169276, June 16, 2009).

Intent of the rules on indispensable parties.

The general rule with reference to parties to a civil action requires the joinder of all necessary
parties, where possible, and the joinder of all indispensable parties under any and all conditions. The
evident intent of the Rules on the joinder of indispensable and necessary parties is the complete
determination of all possible issues, not only between the parties themselves but also as regards other
persons who may be affected by the judgment. (Moldes v. Villanueva, G.R. No. 161955, August 31,
2005, 468 SCRA 697; Lagunilla, et al. v. Velasco, et al., G.R. No. 169276, June 16, 2009).

Real party in interest.

Under Section 2, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, “every action must be prosecuted
or defended in the name of the real party in interest.” To qualify a person to be a real party in interest in
whose name an action must be prosecuted, he must appear to be the present real owner of the right
sought to be enforced. A real party in interest is the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the
judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to remedies under the suit.

Interest within the meaning of the Rules refers to material interest or an interest in issue to be
affected by the decree or judgment of the case. One having no material interest to protect cannot invoke
the jurisdiction of the court as the plaintiff (or petitioner) in an action. (NHA v. Magat, G.R. No.
164244, July 30, 3009).

Real party in interest; SPA executed abroad;


effect if not authenticated.

In Heirs of Medina v. Natividad, G.R. No. 177505, November 27, 2008, the father
executed a special power of attorney authorizing his son to file a complaint for partition over a property
located in the Philippines but it was not authenticated in the USA. The defendants moved to dismiss on

32
the ground that the son cannot institute the action on his own because he is not a party to the contract of
sale and therefore not a real party in interest. Is the contention correct?

Yes. ASPA executed in a foreign country is generally not admissible in evidence as a public document
in our courts. A certification or authentication by a secretary of the embassy or legation, consul general,
consul, vice consul or consular agent or any other officer in the foreign service of the Philippines
stationed in the foreign country where the record is kept, and authenticated by the seal of his office, is
required pursuant to Rule 132, Section 24 of the Rules of Court. Non-compliance therewith will render
the SPA not admissible in evidence.

In this case, there is no such compliance. Hence the SPA cannot be used by Philip to represent
his father Boni in this legal action against the heirs. It is thus clear that this case was not filed by the real
party in interest and san authority to pursue the case. Philip could not have validly commenced this case.
The failure to have the SPA authenticated is not a mere technicality – it is a question of jurisdiction.
Jurisdiction over Boni who is the real party in interest was never acquired by the courts. As a result all
the proceedings in the lower court are null and void.

Failure to implead indispensable parties; effect.

In Quilatan, et al. v. Heirs of Lorenzo Quilatan, et al., G.R. No. 183059, August 28, 2009, there
was a complaint for nullification of Tax Declaration and Partition of a real property. The complaint
alleged that during the lifetime of Pedro Quilatan, he owned two (2) parcels of land but in 1998, the
plaintiffs discovered that the same were placed under the names of Spouses Lorenzo and Anita
Quilatan. The complaint did not implead the heirs of Lorenzo, hence the CA reversed the judgment of
the RTC ordering the cancellation and partition for failure to implead indispensable parties. The
plaintiffs contended that the argument that they failed to implead indispensable parties was merely an
afterthought since they never raised the same in their answer but only for the first time in their MR. Is
the contention correct?

No, because the heirs as co-owners of the property are indispensable parties in an action for partition.
The absence of an indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the court null and void for want
of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties but even as to those present. Hence, the trial court
should have ordered the dismissal of the complaint.

In Moldes v. Villanueva:

An indispensable party is one who has such an interest in the


controversy or subject matter that a final adjudication cannot be made, in
his absence, without injuring or affecting that interest. A party who has
not only an interest in the subject matter of the controversy, but also has
an interest of such nature that a final decree cannot be made without
affecting his interest or leaving the controversy in such a condition that its
final determination may be wholly inconsistent with equity and good
conscience. He is a person in whose absence there cannot be a
determination between the parties already before the court which is
effective, complete, or equitable. In Commissioner Andrea D. Domingo v.
Herbert Markus Emil Scheer, the Court held that the joinder of
indispensable parties is mandatory. Without the presence of indispensable
parties to the suit, the judgment of the court cannot attain real finality.
Strangers to a case are not bound by the judgment rendered by the court.
The absence of an indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of
the court null and void, with no authority to act not only as to the absent
party but also as to those present. The responsibility of impleading all the
indispensable parties rests on the petitioner/plaintiff. (468 SCRA 697
(2005).

33
Likewise, in Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company v. Hon. Floro
T. Alejo, the Court ruled that the evident aim and intent of the Rules
regarding the joinder of indispensable and necessary parties is a complete
determination of all possible issues, not only between the parties
themselves but also as regards to other persons who may be affected by
the judgment. A valid judgment cannot even be rendered where there is
want of indispensable parties.

In action for quieting of title, jurisdiction over


the person is not necessary; jurisdiction over the
case is sufficient.

In San Pedro v. Ong, et al., G.R. No. 177598, October 17, 2008, San Pedro purchased a real
property from spouses Santiago. He hired the services of Dela Peña to register the deed of sale, but
instead of doing so, she mortgaged the properties on the strength of a Special Power of Attorney
executed by Santiago but which was proven to be a falsified document as the signatures of the Santiagos
were forged. San Pedro filed a complaint for quieting of title to nullify the mortgage with damages.
Summons was served on Dela Peña thru her sister without the sheriff making a return of the efforts
exerted to serve summons upon her and the impossibility of the service. Judgment was rendered in favor
of San Pedro, but when appeal was made to the CA, it was contended that judgment against Dela Peña
was void as there was defective substituted service of summons, hence, the RTC did not acquire
jurisdiction over her. The CA ruled that the judgment was void. Is the ruling of the CA correct?

No, because the action is for quieting of title, a quasi in rem action where the court is not required to
acquire jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. It is sufficient for the court to acquire jurisdiction
over the subject matter of the case. By filing the complaint, the court already acquired jurisdiction over
the subject matter, the res. Hence, service of summons upon the defendants, including Dela Peña did not
affect the jurisdiction of the court to hear and decide the case, and did not invalidate the proceedings
held on the basis of jurisdiction. While there may be defective substituted service of summons as there
was no attempt to effect service upon Dela Peña within a reasonable time, the same did not void the
proceedings for lack of jurisdiction. In quasi in rem proceedings, the court need not acquire jurisdiction
over the person of the defendant, for as long as it has acquired jurisdiction over the res.

Is Dela Peña in this case an indispensable party?

No, because the judgment declaring the mortgage executed by her has no effect on her because she
never claimed to be the owner of the properties mortgaged. She only misrepresented that she had the
authority to mortgage the same on behalf of the registered owners. After she successfully, although,
fraudulently, obtained the loan using the subject properties as mortgage, her interest in the same ended.
She may have perpetrated fraud for which she may be held liable but, clearly, these may be established
in a separate and subsequent case. Her presence in the proceedings before the RTC would have only
permitted complete relief since the said court could have already determined therein her liability for the
damages she had caused to any of the parties, but it does not make her presence indispensable.

Effect if there is no substitution of party in an


action that survives.

In Saligumba, et al. v. Palanog, G.R. No. 143365, December 4, 2008, a complaint for quieting of
title was filed. It was decided and the judgment became final and executory. It was not however,
executed, hence, a complaint was filed to revived it. The plaintiff impleaded the children of the
defendants as they died during the pendency of the action. Answer was filed alleging that since the
defendants died while the original action was pending, and no order of substitution was issued, the
judgment was null and void especially so that the court did not acquire jurisdiction over the heirs of the
decedents, thus, the judgment is not binding on them. The RTC rendered a judgment reviewing the
judgment, ruling that the non-substitution of the deceased spouses did not have any legal significance

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especially so that the counsel did not inform the court of their death. The petitioners appealed to the SC
and contended that the judgment is void for want of substitution of parties. Is the contention correct?

No, because an action for quieting of title with damages which is an action involving real property
survives. It is an action that survives pursuant to Section 1, Rule 87 as the claim is not extinguished by
the death of a party.

Under the express terms of Section 17, in case of death of a party, and upon proper notice, it is
the duty of the court to order the legal representative or heir of the deceased to appear for the deceased.
In the instant case, it is true that the trial court, after receiving an informal notice of death by the mere
notation in the envelopes, failed to order the appearance of the legal representative or heir of the
deceased. There was no court order for deceased’s legal representative or heir to appear, nor did any
such legal representative ever appear in court to be substituted for the deceased. Neither did the
respondent ever procure the appointment of such legal representative, nor did the heirs ever ask to be
substituted.

The record is bereft of any evidence proving the death of the spouses, except the mere notations
in the envelopes enclosing the trial court’s orders which were returned unserved.

Section 17 is explicit that the duty of the court to order the legal representative or heir to appear
arises only “upon proper notice.” The notation “Party-Deceased” on the unserved notices could not be
the “proper notice” contemplated by the rule. As the trial court could not be expected to know or take
judicial notice of the death of a party without the proper manifestation from counsel, the trial court was
well within its jurisdiction to proceed as it did with the case. Moreover, there is no showing that the
court’s proceedings were tainted with irregularities. (Florendo, Jr. v. Coloma, 214 Phil. 268 (1984).

Likewise, the plaintiff or his attorney or representative could not be expected to know of the
death of the defendant if the attorney for the deceased defendant did not notify the plaintiff or his
attorney of such death as required by the rules. (Rep. v. Bagtas, 6 SCRA 262 1962). The judge cannot be
blamed for sending copies of the orders and notices to defendants spouses in the absence of proof of
death or manifestation to that effect from counsel. (Ang v. Judge Andrade, 376 Phil. 136 (1999).

Effect if counsel fails to inform the court of death


of party.

It is the duty of counsel for the deceased to inform the court of the death of his client. The failure
of counsel to comply with his duty under Section 16 to inform the court of the death of his client and the
non-substitution of such party will not invalidate the proceedings and the judgment thereon if the action
survives the death of such party. The decision rendered shall bind the party’s successor-in-interest.
(Benavidez v. CA, 372 Phil. 615 (1999).

The rules operate on the presumption that the attorney for the deceased party is in a better
position than the attorney for the adverse party to know about the death of his client and to inform the
court of the name and address of his legal representative.

The counsel continued to represent the deceased spouses even after the latter’s demise. Acting on
their behalf, he even asked for postponement of the hearings and did not even confirm the death of his
clients nor his appointment as Municipal Circuit Trial Court judge. These clearly negate petitioners’
contention that he ceased to be deceased spouses’ counsel.

There was no formal substitution nor submission of proof of death. Counsel was remiss in his
duty under Section 16, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court. The counsel of record is obligated to
protect his client’s interest until he is released from his professional relationship with his client. For its
part, the court could recognized no other representation on behalf of the client except such counsel of
record until a formal substitution of attorney is effected.

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An attorney must make an application to the court to withdraw as counsel, for the relation does
not terminate formally until there is a withdrawal of record; at least, so far as the opposite party is
concerned, the relation otherwise continues until the end of the litigation. Unless properly relieved, the
counsel is responsible for the conduct of the case. Until his withdrawal shall have been approved, the
lawyer remains counsel of record who is expected by his client as well as by the court to do what the
interests of his client require. He must still appear on the date of hearing for the attorney-client relation
does not terminate formally until there is a withdrawal of record.

Effect of failure to question proceedings.

Petitioners should have questioned immediately the validity of the proceedings absent any formal
substitution. Yet, despite the court’s alleged lack of jurisdiction over the persons of petitioners,
petitioners never bothered to challenge the same, and in fact allowed the proceedings to go on until the
trial court rendered its decision. There was no motion for reconsideration, appeal or even an action to
annul the judgment. Petitioners themselves could not feign ignorance of the case since during its
pendency, petitioner, son of the deceased spouses, was among the persons present during the
delimitation of the land in question. Petitioner was likewise furnished a copy of the trial court’s orders
and notices.

Substitution of parties; its nature.

In Sarsaba v. Vda. de Te, G.R. No. 175910, July 30, 2009, a party in an action died during the
pendency of the case, hence, the petitioner moved that the attorney-in-fact be discharged as he had no
more legal personality to one on behalf of the principal. The respondent’s counsel did not make any
manifestation of her death. In fact, he participated in all the proceedings. He was not even retained by
the legal representatives of the decedent. Are the proceedings valid?

Yes. When a party to a pending action dies and the claim is not extinguished, the Rules of Court require
a substitution of the deceased. (De la Cruz v. Joaquin, G.R. No. 162788, July 28, 2005, 464 SCRA 576).
Section 1, Rule 87 of the Rules of Court enumerates the actions that survived and may be filed against
the decedent's representatives as follows: (1) actions to recover real or personal property or an interest
thereon, (2) actions to enforce liens thereon, and (3) actions to recover damages for an injury to a person
or a property. In such cases, a counsel is obliged to inform the court of the death of his client and give
the name and address of the latter's legal representative. (Napere v. Barbarona, G.R. No. 160426, 543
SCRA 376 (2008).

The rule on substitution of parties is governed by Section 16, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, as amended.

Strictly speaking, the rule on substitution by heirs is not a matter of jurisdiction, but a
requirement of due process. The rule on substitution was crafted to protect every party's right to due
process. It was designed to ensure that the deceased party would continue to be properly represented in
the suit through his heirs or the duly appointed legal representative of his estate. Moreover, non-
compliance with the Rules results in the denial of the right to due process for the heirs who, though not
duly notified of the proceedings, would be substantially affected by the decision rendered therein. Thus,
it is only when there is a denial of due process, as when the deceased is not represented by any legal
representative or heir, that the court nullifies the trial proceedings and the resulting judgment therein.
(Napere v. Barbarona).

While counsel did not manifest that the party was dead and did not furnish the names of the
representatives of the decedent, however, such failure of counsel would not lead to the invalidate the
proceedings that have long taken place before the RTC. It has repeatedly been declared that failure of
the counsel to comply with his duty to inform the court of the death of his client, such that no
substitution is effected, will not invalidate the proceedings and the judgment rendered thereon if the

36
action survives the death of such party. The trial court's jurisdiction over the case subsists despite the
death of the party.

The purpose behind this rule is the protection of the right to due process of every party to the
litigation who may be affected by the intervening death. The deceased litigants are themselves
protected as they continue to be properly represented in the suit through the duly appointed legal
representative of their estate. (Sumaljag v. Literato, 555 SCRA 53 (2008).

Ejectment suit survives; no need to substitute if


the plaintiff dies.

In Limbaran v. Acosta, G.R. No. 148606, June 30, 2009, an unlawful detainer case was pending.
The plaintiff died. The counsel did not ifnorm the court of his death while the case was pending appeal.
It was contended by the defendant that such failure rendered the case moot and academic as no proper
substitution of a party was effected in compliance with Rule 3, Section 16 of the Rules of Court. Is the
contention correct?

No, because the action survived. It is well settled that the failure of counsel to comply with his duty
under Section 16 to inform the court of the death of his client and no substitution of such party is
effected, will not invalidate the proceedings and the judgment thereon if the action survives the death of
such party. Moreover, the decision rendered shall bind his successor-in-interest. (Benavidez v. Court of
Appeals, G.R. No. 125848, September 6, 1999, 313 SCRA 714, 722). An action for unlawful detainer,
like any action for recovery of real property, is a real action and as such survives the death of plaintiff.
His heirs have taken his place and now represent his interests in the case. Hence, the case cannot be
rendered moot despite the death of respondent.

RULE ON SUMMARY PROCEDURE

Effect of failure to file affidavits and position


paper.

In Teraña v. Hon. Antonio de Sagun, et al., G.R. No. 152131, April 29, 2009 the SC had the
occasion to rule that if the defendant fails to submit position paper and affidavits, the court can render
the judgment. A motion to admit the same can even be denied.
The intent and terms of the RSP both speak against the liberality that the petitioner sees. By its
express terms, the purpose of the RSP is to "achieve an expeditious and inexpensive determination" of
the cases they cover, among them, forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases. To achieve this objective,
the RSP expressly prohibit certain motions and pleadings that could cause delay, among them, a motion
for extension of time to file pleadings, affidavits or any other paper. If the extension for the filing of
these submissions cannot be allowed, we believe it illogical and incongruous to admit a pleading that is
already filed late. Effectively, we would then allow indirectly what we prohibit to be done directly. It is
for this reason that in Don Tino Realty Development Corporation v. Florentino, 314 SCRA 197,albeit on
the issue of late filing of an answer in a summary proceeding, it was stated that "[t]o admit a late answer
is to put a premium on dilatory measures, the very mischief that the rules seek to redress."
The strict adherence to the reglementary period prescribed by the RSP is due to the essence and
purpose of these rules. The law looks with compassion upon a party who has been illegally dispossessed
of his property. Due to the urgency presented by this situation, the RSP provides for an expeditious and
inexpensive means of reinstating the rightful possessor to the enjoyment of the subject property.
(Tubiano v. Razo, 335 SCRA 531). This fulfills the need to resolve the ejectment case quickly. Thus, we
cannot reward the petitioner’s late filing of her position paper and the affidavits of her witnesses by
admitting them now.
The failure of one party to submit his position paper does not bar at all the MTC from issuing a
judgment on the ejectment complaint. Section 10 of the RSP.

37
Thus, the situation obtaining in the present case has been duly provided for by the Rules; it was
correct to render a judgment, as the MTC did, after one party failed to file their position paper and
supporting affidavits.

That a position paper is not indispensable to the court’s authority to render judgment is further
evident from what the RSP provides regarding a preliminary conference: "on the basis of the pleadings
and the stipulations and admissions made by the parties, judgment may be rendered without the need for
further proceedings, in which event the judgment shall be rendered within 30 days from the issuance of
the order." Thus, the proceedings may stop at that point, without need for the submission of position
papers. In such a case, what would be extant in the record and the bases for the judgment would be the
complaint, answer, and the record of the preliminary conference.

Special civil action for certiorari is not the


remedy in case of interlocutory order in a case
governed by the Summary Procedure.

In Caluvian v. Ocampo, et al., G.R. No. 183270, February 13, 2009, a motion to withdraw information
for slight physical injuries and light threats was denied by the MTC, hence, the petitioner filed a special
civil action for certiorari with the RTC. Is the remedy proper?

No, because it is a prohibited pleading under the Rule on Summary Procedure (Sec. 19, 1991 Rule on
Summary Procedure) as the order of denial is merely an interlocutory order.

An interlocutory order is one that does not finally dispose of the case and does not end the
Court’s task of adjudicating the parties’ contentions and determining their rights and liabilities as
regards each other, but obviously indicates that other things remain to be done by the Court. The word
“interlocutory” refers to something intervening between the commencement and the end of a suit which
decides some point or matter but is not a final decision of the whole controversy. Interlocutory orders
merely rule on an incidental issue and do not terminate or finally dispose of the case as they leave
something to be done before it is finally decided on the merits.

Instead of filing a petition for certiorari, petitioner could ventilate her defenses before the MTC
during the trial of the case. In the even that the MTC’s decision is adverse to her cause, she could avail
of the remedy of appeal as provided in Section 21 of the 1991 Revised Rules on Summary Procedure.
(Sec. 21; Caluvian v. Ocampo, et al., G.R. No. 183270, February 13, 2009).

The Revised Rules on Summary Procedure was promulgated to achieve an expeditious and
inexpensive determination of cases. It was conceptualized to facilitate the immediate resolution of cases.
Respect for the Rule on Summary Procedure as a practicable norm for the expeditious resolution of
cases like the one at bar could have avoided lengthy litigation that has unduly imposed on the time of the
Court. (Santiago v. Guadiz, Jr., G.R. No. 85923, February 26, 1992, 206 SCRA 590).

RULE 8
MANNER OF ALLEGATIONS IN THE PLEADINGS

Party denying must allege the defenses upon


which he relies upon in support of the denial;
otherwise, there is admission.

In Teraña v. Hon. De Sagun, et al., G.R. No. 152131, April 29, 2009, One of the terms
and conditions in the contract of lease is that, no alterations may be made on the property without the
knowledge and consent of the lessor. The lessee demolished the house being leased and built a new one
without the consent of the lessor. When sued for ejectment, the defendant denied the allegation of no
knowledge to demolish and repair and contended that plaintiff had the burden to prove with positive
evidence after she frontally denied it in her answer. Is the contention correct?

38
No. The material allegations in the complaint must be specifically denied by the defendant in his
answer. (Sec. 10, Rule 8).

Section 11, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court likewise provides that material allegations in the
complaint which are not specifically denied, other than the amount of unliquidated damages, are deemed
admitted. A denial made without setting forth the substance of the matters relied upon in support of the
denial, even when to do so is practicable, does not amount to a specific denial. (Rep. v. Southside
Homeowners Assn., Inc., 502 SCRA 587 (2006); Rep. v. SB, 406 SCRA 190 (2003).

The denials were not specific as the petitioner failed to set forth the substance of the matters in
which she relied upon to support her denial. The petitioner merely alleged that consent was given; how
and why, she did not say. If indeed consent were given, it would have been easy to fill in the details. She
could have stated in her pleadings that she verbally informed the respondent of the need for the repairs,
or wrote him a letter. She could have stated his response, and how it was conveyed, whether verbally or
in writing. She could have stated when the consent was solicited and procured. These, she failed to do.
Ergo, the petitioner is deemed to have admitted the material allegations in the complaint. (Teraña v.
Hon. De Sagun, et al., G.R. No. 152131, April 29, 2009).

Damages recoverable in an unlawful detainer action are


limited to rentals or reasonable compensation for the
use of the property.

The Court has no jurisdiction to award the reimbursement prayed for by both parties. Both
parties seek damages other than rentals or reasonable compensation for the use of the property, which
are the only forms of damages that may be recovered in an unlawful detainer case. (Araos v. CA, 231
SCRA 770; Herrera v. Ballos, 374 SCRA 107 (2002). Rule 70, Section 17 of the Rules of Court
authorizes the trial court to order the award of an amount representing arrears of rent or reasonable
compensation for the use and occupation of the premises if it finds that the allegations of the complaint
are true.

The rationale for limiting the kind of damages recoverable in an unlawful detainer case was
explained in Araos v. Court of Appeals it was said that the only issue raised in ejectment cases is that of
rightful possession; hence, the damages which could be recovered are those which the plaintiff could
have sustained as a mere possessor, or those caused by the loss of the use and occupation of the
property, and not the damages which he may have suffered but which have no direct relation to his loss
of material possession. (G.R. No. 107057, June 2, 1994; Herrera v. Ballos, G.R. No. 138258, January
18, 2002, 374 SCRA 107).

An action for reimbursement or for recovery of damages may not be properly joined with the
action for ejectment. The former is an ordinary civil action requiring a full-blown trial, while an action
for unlawful detainer is a special civil action which requires a summary procedure. The joinder of the
two actions is specifically enjoined by Section 5 of Rule 2 of the Rules of Court, which provides that a
party may in one pleading assert, in the alternative or otherwise, as many causes of action as he may
have against an opposing party, subject to the condition that the joinder shall not include special civil
actions or actions governed by special rules.

RULE 9
DEFAULT

In Multi-Trans Agency Phils., Inc. v. Oriental Assurance Corp., G.R. No. 180817, June 23, 2009,
a defendant was declared in default after the denial of the motion to dismiss filed by its counsel.
Counsel did not oppose the motion to declare the defendant in default; did not file a motion to set aside
the order. He even misrepresented to his client that he filed such motion. Hence, the other party
presented evidence. Defendant failed to present evidence. May his motion for new trial be granted?

39
Yes, on the ground of excusable negligence. It is settled that the negligence of counsel binds the client.
This is based on the rule that any act performed by a counsel within the scope of his general or implied
authority is regarded as an act of his client. (Salonga v. CA, 336 Phil. 514 (1997). Consequently, the
mistake or negligence of counsel may result in the rendition of an unfavorable judgment against the
client. (Victory Liner, Inc. v. Gammad, 444 SCRA 355 (2004). There are, however, out exceptions to
this rule; as where the reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives the client of due process of law;
or where the application of the rule will result in outright deprivation of the client’s liberty or property;
or where the interests of justice so requires and relief ought to be accorded to the client who suffered by
reason of the lawyer’s gross or palpable mistake or negligence. (Gacutana-Fraile v. Domingo, 401 Phil.
604 (2000). In order to apply the exceptions rather than the rule, the circumstances obtaining in each
case must be looked into. In cases where one of the exceptions is present, the courts must step in and
accord relief to a client who suffered thereby.

Gross negligence has been defined as the want or absence of or failure to exercise slight care or
diligence, or the entire absence of care. It examines a thoughtless disregard of consequences without
exerting any effort to avoid them.

RULE 10
AMENDED AND SUPPLEMENTAL PLEADINGS

Amendment of an action for unlawful detainer.

In Limbauan v. Acosta, G.R. No. 148606, June 30, 2009, may a complaint for unlawful detainer
be amended? This question arose in one case when after the first demand to vacate and the lessee
refused to vacate, there was a second demand to vacate the premises and pay the rental. The plaintiff
filed a Motion to Approve Attached Amended Complaint as it was done before answer. The MTC
admitted the amended complaint. Was the act of the court proper?

Yes. As a matter of right; the plaintiff can amend the pleading.

A party has the absolute right to amend his pleading whether a new cause of action or change in
theory is introduced, at any time before the filing of any responsive pleading. (RCPI v. CA, 271 SCRA
286 (1997). Undoubtedly, when plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint no responsive pleading had yet
been filed by petitioner, thus, the MTC validly admitted the said amended complaint.

It is well-settled that amendment of pleadings is favored and should be liberally allowed in the
furtherance of justice in order to determine every case as far as possible on its merits without regard to
technicalities. This principle is generally recognized in order that the real controversies between the
parties are presented, their rights determined and the case decided on the merits without unnecessary
delay to prevent circuity of action and needless expense.

First not alleged but proven during the trial may


be awarded.

In Raquel-Santos and Annalissa Mallari v. CA, G.R. No. 174986 and companion cases, July 7,
2009, a complaint was filed by Filinvest against petitioners accounting and damages, arising from the
allegedly missing stock certificates. In relation to such cause of action, Finvest alleged in the Complaint
that petitioners had sole authority and custody of the stock certificates and that they took undue
advantage of their positions in diverting to their personal benefit the proceeds from the sale of the
shares of stock. Finvest, therefore, prayed that petitioners be held “jointly and severally liable to
account for and/or to pay for all missing stock certificates and payables listed in Annex X [of the
Complaint] and for any other subsequent claims and the corresponding profits that could have accrued
to the corporation”; and “damages that the corporation may sustain by reason of and/or in relation to
such missing or unaccounted stock certificates, payables, and any other subsequent claims.” There was

40
no demand/claim for payment of cash advances but prayed for such other reliefs. May such cash
advances be awarded if proven during the trial?
Yes. Lack of prayer for a specific relief will not deter the court from granting that specific relief. Even
without the prayer for a particular remedy, proper relief may be granted by the court if the facts alleged
in the complaint and the evidence adduced so warrant. The prayer in the complaint for other reliefs
equitable and just in the premises justifies the grant of a relief not otherwise specifically prayed for.
(United Overseas Bank of the Phils. v. Rosemoor Mining & Dev. Corp., G.R. No. 172651, October 2,
2007, 534 SCRA 523).

Even if an issue has not been raised in the complaint but evidence has been presented thereon,
the trial court may grant relief on the basis of such evidence. A court may rule and render judgment on
the basis of the evidence before it, even though the relevant pleading has not been previously amended,
provided that no surprise or prejudice to the adverse party is thereby caused. (Vlason Ent. Corp. v. CA,
369 Phil. 269 (1999). So long as the basic requirements of fair play have been met, as where litigants
were given full opportunity to support their respective contentions and to object to or refute each other’s
evidence, the court may validly treat the pleadings as if they have been amended to conform to the
evidence and proceed to adjudicate on the basis of all the evidence before it. (Talisay-Silay Milling Co.,
Inc. v. Asociacion de Agricultores de Talisay-Silay, Inc., 247 SCRA 361 (1995).

A question that was never raised in courts below cannot be allowed to be raised for the first time
on appeal without offending basic rules of fair play, justice and due process. (Ysmael v. CA, 376 Phil.
323 (1999).

RULE 14
SUMMONS

Summons need not be served in the place stated


in the same.

In Sansio Phils. Inc. v. Sps. Mogol, G.R. No. 177007, July 14, 2009, summons was being served
upon the defendants. They immediately referred it to their lawyer who was present. The lawyer took the
summons and the complaint. The lawyer instructed them no to receive as it should be served at the place
stated in the summons. Was there service of summons?

Yes. It is well-established that summons upon a respondent or a defendant must be served by handing a
copy thereof to him in person or, if he refuses to receive it, by tendering it to him. Personal service of
summons most effectively ensures that the notice desired under the constitutional requirement of due
process is accomplished. The essence of personal service is the handing or tendering of a copy of the
summons to the defendant himself, wherever he may be found; that is, wherever he may be, provided he
is in the Philippines. (Cohen & Cohen v. Benguet Commercial Co., Ltd., 34 Phil. 526 (1916).

Relevantly, in Lazaro v. Rural Bank of Francisco Balagtas (Bulacan), Inc., 456 Phil. 414 (2003),
very categorical was the statement that the service of summons to be done personally does not mean that
service is possible only at the defendant’s actual residence. It is enough that the defendant is handed a
copy of the summons in person by anyone authorized by law. This is distinct from substituted service
under Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court.

Indeed, a contrary ruling would inevitably give every future defendant to a case the unwarranted
means to easily thwart the cardinal procedures for the service of summons at the simple expedient of
returning the summons and the copy of the complaint to the process server and refusing to sign for the
same even after being already informed of their contents. This should not be allow.

41
Respondent spouses Mogol principally argued that Section 6 of Rule 14 cannot be singled out
without construing the same with Section 7. They posit that, in a civil case, summons must be served
upon the defendants personally at the designated place alleged in the complaint. If the defendants
refuse to receive and sign the summons, then the process server must tender the same to them by leaving
a copy at the residence of the defendants. If the summons cannot be served in person because of the
absence of the defendants at the address stated, then the same can be served by (1) leaving copies of the
summons at the defendants’ residence with some person of suitable age and discretion residing therein,
or (2) leaving the copies at defendants’ office or regular place of business with some competent person
in charge thereof. Are the arguments correct?

No. Sections 6 and 7 of Rule 14 of the Rules of Court cannot be construed to apply simultaneously.
Said provisions do not provide for alternative modes of service of summons, which can either be
resorted to on the mere basis of convenience to the parties. Under the rules, service of summons in the
persons of the defendants is generally preferred over substituted service. (Robinson v. Miralles, 510
SCRA 678 (2006). Substituted service derogates the regular method of personal service. It is an
extraordinary method, since it seeks to bind the respondent or the defendant to the consequences of a
suit, even though notice of such action is served not upon him but upon another whom the law could
only presume would notify him of the pending proceedings. For substituted service to be justified, the
following circumstances must be clearly established: (a) personal service of summons within a
reasonable time was impossible; (b) efforts were exerted to locate the party; and (c) the summons was
served upon a person of sufficient age and discretion residing at the party’s residence or upon a
competent person in charge of the party’s office or place of business. (Robinson v. Miralles, G.R. No.
163584, December 12, 2006, 510 SCRA 678).

Service upon domestic corporation; enumeration


is exclusive; agent no longer exists in the rules.

The rule laid down in Sps. Julian & Leonila Santiago, et al v. BPI., G.R. No. 163749, September
26, 2008 is a reiteration of previous ruling that service upon domestic corporations must be made upon
the persons enumerated by Section 13, Rule 14. In this case, the summons was served upon the branch
manager in Dumaguete City. The SC ruled that the designation of persons or officers who are authorized to
accept summons for a domestic corporation or partnership is now limited and more clearly specified in Section 11,
Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The rule now states "general manager" instead of only "manager";
"corporate secretary" instead of "secretary"; and "treasurer" instead of "cashier." The phrase "agent, or any of its
directors" is conspicuously deleted from the new rule. (E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd. v. Benito, 312 SCRA 65
(1999).

Basic is the rule that a strict compliance with the mode of service is necessary to confer jurisdiction of the
court over a corporation. The officer upon whom service is made must be one who is named in the statute;
otherwise, the service is insufficient. The purpose is to render it reasonably certain that the corporation will receive
prompt and proper notice in an action against it or to insure that the summons be served on a representative so
integrated with the corporation that such person will know what to do with the legal papers served on him. (Mason
v. CA 413 SCRA 303 (2003); BPI v. Santiago, 519 SCRA 389 (2003).

RULE 16
MOTION TO DISMISS

Nature of order denying motion to dismiss.

In Sarsaba v. Vda. de Te, G.R. No. 17510, July 30, 2009, the SC once again said that an order
denying a motion to dismiss is interlocutory. Under Section 1(c), Rule 41 of the Rules of Court, an
interlocutory order is not appealable. As a remedy for the denial, party has to file an answer and

42
interpose as a defense the objections raised in the motion, and then to proceed to trial; or, a party may
immediately avail of the remedy available to the aggrieved party by filing an appropriate special civil
action for certiorari under rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court. A petition for certiorari is appropriate
only when an order has been issued without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

Based on the foregoing, the order of the RTC denying petitioner’s Omnibus Motion to Dismiss is
not appealable even on pure questions of law. It is worth mentioning that the proper procedure in this
case, as enunciated by the Court, is to cite such interlocutory order as an error in the appeal of the case –
in the event that the RTC rules in favor of respondent – and not to appeal such interlocutory order.

RULE 34
JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

Judgment on the pleadings; effect of admission


of facts.

In Cristina Reillo, et al., v. San Jose, et al., G.R. No. 166393, June 18, 2009, Peralta, J, after the
death of the original owners of a parcel of land, some of the heirs executed a Deed of Extrajudicial
Settlement of Estate Among Heirs with Waiver of Rights but excluded other heirs. The excluded heirs
filed a complaint for annulment of title, the deed and for partition. The defendants filed an answer
admitting the existence of other heirs, hence, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for Judgment on the pleadings
on the grounds that the defendants failed to deny the allegations that they committed misrepresentations
by stating that they are the sole heirs and that in their allegation for counter-partition, they admitted
that they are not the sole heirs. The motion was granted and on appeal, the CA affirmed the same,
hence, they filed a petition for review in the SC alleging that the lower court committed an error in not
considering their allegation that they will not oppose the Motion for judgment on the pleadings
provided that the Answer with Counter-Petition for Partition be considered in deciding the case but the
lower court decided the case on the basis alone of the falsified document. Is the contention correct?

No, because there was no genuine issue raised in the pleading of the defendants. In this case the action is
based on the exclusion of other legal heirs from the settlement of estate but in the answer, the defendants
admitted that the plaintiffs are heirs of the decedents. While they denied that there was falsification of
the Deed, yet they admitted that the plaintiffs are the heirs. The answer must be considered in the
entirety and not truncated parts. Since there was an admission that the plaintiffs are the other heirs, there
is no genuine issue between the parties generated by the pleadings, hence, the order granting the motion
for judgment on the pleadings is proper.

Where a motion for judgment on the pleadings is filed, the essential question is whether there are
issues generated by the pleadings. In a proper case for judgment on the pleadings, there is no ostensible
issue at all because of the failure of the defending party’s answer to raise an issue. (Tan v. De la Vega,
G.R. No. 168809, March 10, 2006, 484 SCRA 538; Wood Tech. Corp. v. EBC, 451 SCRA 724 (2005).
The answer would fail to tender an issue, of course, if it does not deny the material allegations in the
complaint or admits said material allegations of the adverse party’s pleadings by confessing the
truthfulness thereof and/or omitting to deal with them at all. (Tan v. De la Vega, supra.).

RULE 35
SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Summary judgment not proper if there is


genuine issue.

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In DM Consunji, Inc. v. Duvaz Corp., G.R. No. 155174, August 4, 2009, the parties entered into
a construction contract which was completed with a one-year defect liability period. The owner failed to
pay the contract price hence, a complaint for sum of money amounting to more than P38M was filed.
The defendant filed an answer denying such obligation. While admitting that there was a contract, the
defendant alleged that there were defects of the project necessitating repairs. The plaintiff filed a motion
for summary judgment alleging that the defenses were sham; that they have already prescribed. The
RTC denied the motion which was affirmed by the CA. Is summary judgment proper?

No, because there are genuine issues raised such as the amount of the claim as well as the counterclaims
to aggregate amount of which is more than the plaintiff’s claim as a consequence of defects in the
project. A summary judgment or accelerated judgment is proper only when, based on the pleadings,
depositions, and admissions on file, and after hearing, it is shown that save as to the amount of damages,
there is no veritable issue regarding any material fact in the action and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Conversely, where the pleadings tender an issue, that is, an issue of fact the
resolution of which calls for a presentation of evidence, as distinguished from an issue which is sham or
contrived, summary judgment is not proper, like in this case.

RULE 37
MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

Motion for extension of time to file motion for


reconsideration.

May a party file a motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration? Is the rule
absolute?

As a rule, no, if filed with the lower courts. Such motion can only be filed with the Supreme Court
which may in its sound discretion either grant or deny the extension requested. (Habaluyas Ent. V.
Japzon, G.R. No. 70895, May 30, 1986, 142 SCRA 208). Such motion does not stop the running of the
15-day period for the computation of a decision’s finality. The rule is not, however, absolute when the
interest of equity and justice would be served. In Barnes v. Padilla, 461 SCRA 539 (2005), the SC said
that we “cannot look with favor on a course of action which would place the administration of justice in
a straight jacket for then the result would be a poor kind of justice if there would be justice at all.”
(Imperial v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 158093, June 5, 2009).

In the present case, the CA apparently made a mountain out of a mole hill over a perceived
irregularity in the certificate of publication issued by the NPO on March 28, 1995. This certificate stated
that the notice of the petition for reconstitution filed by Obdulia Cocatana Quintan, Sulpicio Cocatana,
and Alberto Imperial was published in the Official Gazette, Volume 91, No. 13, date of issue, March 27,
1995, and No. 14, date of issue, April 3, 1995. The certificate further declared that “the last issue
[referring to the April 3, 1995 issue] has been officially released by this Office on March 28, 1995.”
Because of this, the CA concluded that the requirement of publication of the notice of the petition in two
consecutive issues of the Official Gazette 30 days prior to the date of hearing under Section 13 of RA
No. 26 was not met.

RULE 39
JUDGMENT

Reason for the 5-year period to execute


judgment.

In Sps. Henry O and Pacita Cheng v. Sps. Javier, G.R. No. 182485, July 3, 2009, the judgment
became final and executor in 1989. A motion for execution was filed only on January 24, 2003 or 13
years thereafter. Can the judgment be still executed?

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No more. Having slept on their right to enforce the judgment for more than 13 years, it is now bared by
the statute of limitations. The purpose of the law in prescribing time limitations for enforcing judgments
by action is to prevent obligors from sleeping on their rights. (Camacho v. CA, 351 Phil. 108 (1998).

Possession not awarded.

The Court is not unmindful of a number of decisions wherein the Court affirmed writs of
execution awarding possession of land, notwithstanding that the decisions sought to be executed did not
order its delivery to the parties. In Perez v. Evite, 1 SCRA 949 (1961); Tiro v. CA, 85 SCRA 554 (1978),
the Court ruled that where the ownership of a parcel of land was decreed in the judgment, the delivery of
possession of the land should be considered included in the decision, it appearing that the defeated
party’s claim to the possession thereof is based on his claim of ownership. Moreover, in Baluyot v.
Guiao, 315 SCRA 396 (1999), the Court held that a judgment is not confined to what appears on the
face of the decision, but also covers those necessarily included therein or necessary thereto. The
foregoing ruling, however, find no application to the case at bar, as it is necessary that the decision
sought to be executed must have at the very least awarded ownership of the lands to the parties. To
reiterate, respondents are not the owners of the land in dispute, but the State.

Effect if judgment is final and executory.

In La Campana Dev. Corp. v. DBP, G.R. No. 146157, February 13, 2009, once again the SC said
that it must be remembered that it is to the interest of the public that there should be an end to litigation
by the parties over a subject fully and fairly adjudicated. The doctrine of res judicata is a rule that
pervades every well-regulated system of jurisprudence and is founded upon two grounds embodied in
various maxims of the common law, namely: (1) public policy and necessity, which dictates that it
would be in the interest of the State that there should be an end to litigation – republicae ut sit litium;
and (2) the hardship on the individual that he should be vexed twice for the same cause – nemo debet
vexari pro una et eadem causa. A contrary doctrine would subject public peace and quiet to the will and
neglect of individuals and prefer the gratification of the litigious disposition on the party of suitors to the
preservation of public tranquility and happiness.

It is almost trite to say that execution is the fruit and end of the suit and is the life of the law. A
judgment, if left unexecuted, would be nothing but an empty victory for the prevailing party. Litigation
must end sometime and somewhere. An effective and efficient administration of justice requires that
once a judgment has become final, the winning party be not deprived of the fruits of the verdict. Courts
must, therefore, guar against any scheme calculate to bring about that result. Constituted as they are to
put an end to controversies, courts should frown upon any attempt to prolong them.

In case of sale on auction, is it necessary that written notice be served personally on the defendant and
no other else for the sale to be valid?

No. The written notice of sale to the judgment obligor need not be personally served on the judgment
obligor himself. It may be served on his counsel, or by leaving the notice in his office with his clerk or a
person having charge thereof. If there is no one found at the judgment obligor’s or his counsel’s office
or if such office is not known/existent, it may be served at the residence of the judgment obligor or his
counsel and may be received by any person of sufficient age and discretion residing therein. Thus,
petitioner’s theory (that only written notice of sale served on petitioners’ themselves would be valid) is
utterly bereft of merit. (Sec. 6, Rule 13 in relation to Sec. 15(d), Rule 39; Sps. Tagle v. CA, et al., G.R.
No. 162738, July 8, 2009).

Civil case and administrative case; no res


judicata.

In Judge Felimon Abelita III v. P/Supt. Doria, et al., G.R. No. 170672, August 14, 2009, after a
shooting incident, the police seized firearms inside the car of a judge. He claimed that the seizure was

45
made without warrant. He sued the police for damages but the court dismissed the case. In the
administrative case against them, they invoked res judicata. Is the contention correct?

No. While the civil case and the administrative case are based on the same essential facts and
circumstances, the doctrine of res judicata will not apply. An administrative case deals with the
administrative liability which may be incurred by the respondent for the commission of the acts
complained of. The case deals with the civil liability for damages of the police authorities. There is no
identity of causes of action in the cases. While identity of causes of action is not required in the
application of res judicata in the concept of conclusiveness of judgment, it is required that there must
always be identity of parties in the first and second cases.

There is no identity of parties between the present case and the administrative case. The
administrative case was filed by Benjamin Sia Lao (Sia Lao) against petitioner. Sia Lao is not a party to
the civil case. Respondents in the present case were not parties to the administrative case between Sia
Lao and petitioner. In the present case, petitioner is the complainant against respondents. Hence, while
res judicata is not a defense to petitioner’s complaint for damages, respondents nevertheless cannot be
held liable for damages as discussed above.

EXECUTION OF JUDGMENT

No need to serve summons on garnishee.

In NPC v. PCIB, G.R. No. 171176, September 4, 2009, Brion, J, the SC had the occasion to rule
that whenever there is garnishment, the garnishee need not be served with summons.

Garnishment has been defined as a specie of attachment for reaching credits belonging to the
judgment debtor and owing to him from a stranger to the litigation. Under this rule, the garnishee is
obliged to deliver the credit, etc. to the proper officer issuing the writ and “the law exempts from
liability the person having in his possession or under his control any credits or other personal property
belonging to the defendant if such property be delivered or transferred to the clerk, sheriff, or other
officer of the court in which the action is pending.

A self-evidence feature of this rule is that the court is not required to serve summons on the
garnishee, nor is it necessary to implead the garnishee in the case in order to hold him liable. As the
Court have consistently ruled, all that is necessary for the trial court to lawfully bind the person of the
garnishee or any person who has in his possession credits belonging to the judgment debtor is service
upon him of the writ of garnishment. Through service of this writ, the garnishee becomes a “virtual
party” to or a “forced intervenor” in the case, and the trial court thereby acquires jurisdiction to bind him
to compliance with all orders and processes of the trial court, with a view to the complete satisfaction of
the judgment of the court.

NPC’s contention that it cannot be bound by the CFI Branch II judgment on the ground that it
was not a party to Civil Case No. 79092 is therefore unavailing.

Remedy of terceria.

A & B are married. B was sued for damages due to a libelous statement. She was held liable for
damages. Levy was made upon her personal properties, but since they were not enough to answer for
the judgment liability, a real property forming part of their conjugal partnership was sold. What is the
remedy of the husband?

He can file a terceria since the conjugal property cannot be made to answer for such liability of the wife.

46
Apart from the remedy of terceria available to a third-party claimant or to a stranger to the
foreclosure suit against the sheriff or officer effecting the writ by serving on him an affidavit of his title
and a copy thereof upon the judgment creditor, a third-party claimant may also resort to an independent
separate action, the object of which is the recovery of ownership or possession of the property seized by
the sheriff, as well as damages arising from wrongful seizure and detention of the property. If a separate
action is the recourse, the third-party claimant must institute in a forum of competent jurisdiction an
action, distinct and separate from the action in which the judgment is being enforced, even before or
without need of filing a claim in the court that issued the writ. (423 SCRA 356 (2004); Sps. Roberto and
Venus Buado v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 145222, April 24, 2009).

The reason for the rule is that conjugal properties cannot be made to answer for personal debts
contracted by the husband or the wife before or during the marriage which did not redound to the benefit
of the family. Civil liability for slander, of course, could not have redounded to the benefit of the family.
(Art. 122, Family Code).

APPEAL

Modes of appeal.

Once again in Sarsaba v. Vda. de Te, G.R. No. 175910, July 30, 2009 (Peralta, J), the SC had the
occasion to outline the rule on appeals, to wit:

(1) In all cases decided by the RTC in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, appeal may be made to
the Court of Appeals by mere notice of appeal where the appellant raises questions of fact or
mixed questions of fact and law;

(2) In all cases decided by the RTC in the exercise of its original jurisdiction where the appellant
raises only questions of law, the appeal must be taken to the Supreme Court on a petition for
review on certiorari under Rule 45;

(3) All appeals from judgment rendered by the RTC in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction,
regardless of whether the appellant raises questions of fact, questions of law, or mixed questions
of fact and law, shall be brought to the Court of Appeals by filing a petition for review under
Rule 42.

Accordingly, an appeal may be taken from the RTC which exercised its original jurisdiction,
before the Court of Appeals or directly before this Court, provided that the subject of the same is a
judgment or final order that completely disposes of the case, or of a particular matter therein when
declared by the Rules to be appealable. The first mode of appeal, to be filed before the Court of Appeals,
pertains to a writ of error under Section 2(a), Rule 41 of the Rules of Court, if questions of fact or
questions of fact and law are raised or involved. On the other hand, the second mode is by way of an
appeal by certiorari before the Supreme Court under Section 2(c), Rule 41, in relation to Rule 45, where
only questions of law are raised or involved. (First Bancorp, Inc. v. CA, 492 SCRA 221 (2006).

While it is settled doctrine that findings of fact of the CA are binding and not to be disturbed,
they are subject to certain exceptions for very compelling reasons, such as when: (1) the conclusion is a
finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise and conjecture; (2) the inference made is manifestly
mistaken; (3) there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts;
(5) the findings of fact of the CA are contrary to those of the trial court; (6) said findings of fact are
conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; and (7) the findings of fact of
the CA are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record.
(Sps. Anunciacion, et al. v. Bocanegra, et al., G.R. No. 152496, July 30, 2009).

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When criminal case is on appeal to CA or SC,
OSG takes over.

May the private prosecutor appeal the dismissal of a criminal case to the SC or the CA?

No, otherwise, it would be defective since it should be the OSG who should do it. Settled is the rule that
only the Solicitor General may bring or defend actions on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, or
represent the People or State in criminal proceedings before the Court and the Court of Appeals.
(Section 35, Chapter 12, Title III, Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987; People v. Nano, G.R.
No. 94639, January 13, 1992, 205 SCRA 155, 159; People v. Mendoza, G.R. No. 80845, March 14,
1994, 231 SCRA 264, 268; see Perez v. Hagonoy Rural Bank, Inc., 384 Phil. 322, 335 (2000); Columbia
Pictures Entertainment, Inc. v. CA, G.R. No. 111267, September 20, 1996, 262 SCRA 219, 224; People
v. Calo, G.R. No. 88531, June 18, 1990, 186 SCRA 620, 624; People v. Eduarte, G.R. No. 88232,
February 26, 1990, 182 SCRA 750, 753). The offended party is without legal personality to appeal the
decision of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. (Tiu v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 162370, April 21,
2009).

Fresh 15-day period is retroactive in nature.

In Sumiran v. Sps. Damaso, G.R. No. 162518, August 19, 2009, it was contended that appeal
was not perfected on time. After receipt of the judgment, the defendant filed a motion for
reconsideration on March 4, 2003 stating that he received a copy of the decision on February 21, 2003.
It was denied and he received a copy of the order denying the MR on May 19, 2003. It was contended
that the period has already lapsed when he filed a notice of appeal on May 29, 2003. Is the contention
correct?

No, because the defendant had a fresh 15-day period from the time he received a copy of the order
denying the Motion for Reconsideration. Even if the case was pending in 2003, or prior to Neypes v. CA,
the ruling in Neypes is retroactive where the SC ruled that as early as 2005, the Court categorically
declared in Neypes v. Court of Appeals, 469 SCRA 633 (2005), that by virtue of the power of the
Supreme Court to amend, repeal and create new procedural rules in all courts, the Court is allowing a
fresh period of 15 days within which to file a notice of appeal in the RTC, counted from receipt of the
order dismissing or denying a motion for new trial or motion for reconsideration. This would
standardize the appeal periods provided in the Rules and do away with the confusion as to when the 15-
day appeal period should be counted. Thus, the Court stated that a party-litigant may either file his
notice of appeal within 15 days from receipt of the Regional Trial Court’s decision or file it within 15
days from receipt of the order (the “final order”) denying his motion for new trial or motion for
reconsideration. Obviously, the new 15-day period may be availed of only if either motion is filed;
otherwise, the decision becomes final and executory after the lapse of the original appeal period
provided in Rule 41, Section 3.

In Makati Insurance Co., Inc. v. Reyes, G.R. No. 167403, August 6, 2008, it was ruled that the
“fresh period rule” is not inconsistent with Rule 41, Section 3 of the Revised Rules of Court which states
that the appeal shall be taken “within fifteen (15) days from notice of judgment or final order appealed
from.” The use of the disjunctive word “or” signifies disassociation and independence of one thing from
another. It should, as a rule, be construed in the sense which it ordinarily implies. Hence, the use of
“or” in the above provision supposes that the notice of appeal may be filed within 15 days from the
notice of judgment or within 15 days from notice of the “final order,”

The “fresh period rule” finally eradicates the confusion as to when the 15-day appeal period
should be counted – from receipt of notice of judgment or from receipt of notice of “final order”
appealed from.

Taking our bearings from Neypes, in Sumaway v. Urban Bank, Inc., we set aside the denial of a
notice of appeal which was purportedly filed five days late. With the fresh period rule, the 15-day

48
period within which to file the notice of appeal was counted from notice of the denial of the therein
petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.

The retroactivity of the Neypes rule in cases where the period for appeal had lapsed prior to the
date of promulgation of Neypes on September 14, 2005, was clearly explained by the Court in Fil-Estate
Properties, Inc. v. Homena-Valencia, stating thus:

The determinative issue is whether the “fresh period” rule announced in Neypes could
retroactively apply in cases where the period for appeal had lapsed prior to 14 September 2005 when
Neypes was promulgated. That question may be answered with the guidance of the general rule that
procedural laws may be given retroactive effect to actions pending and undetermined at the time of their
passage, there being no vested rights in the rules of procedure. Amendments to procedural rules are
procedural or remedial in character as they do not create new or remove vested rights, but only operate
in furtherance of the remedy or confirmation of rights already existing. (555 SCRA 345 (2008).

RULE 57
ATTACHMENT

For failure to pay their obligations a complaint was filed against the debtors together with their
surety. The plaintiff applied for a writ of attachment alleging fraud committed by the debtors, hence, a
writ of attachment was issued. The surety filed a motion to discharge the writ alleging that the affidavit
in support of the application for a writ of attachment did not allege any fraudulent act they committed
and no proof was shown on the alleged fraud. The lower court denied the application. The RTC ruled
that the lack of specific finding of fraud is not a ground to discharge the writ under Secs. 12 & 13, Rule
57. The CA agreed. Was the ruling of the lower courts correct?

No. A writ of preliminary attachment is too harsh a provisional remedy to be issued based on mere
abstractions of fraud. (PCL Industries Mfg. Corp. v. CA, 486 SCRA 214 (2006). Rather, the rules require that for
the writ to issue, there must be a recitation of clear and concrete factual circumstances manifesting that the debtor
practiced fraud upon the creditor at the time of the execution of their agreement in that said debtor had a pre-
conceived plan or intention not to pay the creditor. Being a state of mind, fraud cannot be merely inferred from a
bare allegation of non-payment of debt or non-performance of obligation. (PBCom v. CA, 352 SCRA 616).

The requirement becomes all the more stringent when the application for preliminary attachment is directed
against a defendant officer of a defendant corporation, for it will not be inferred from the affiliation of one to the
other that the officer participated in or facilitated in any fraudulent practice attributed to the corporation. There must
be evidence clear and convincing that the officer committed a fraud or connived with the corporation to commit a
fraud; only then may the properties of said officer, along with those of the corporation, be held under a writ of
preliminary attachment.

There is every reason to extend the foregoing rule, by analogy, to a mere surety of the defendant. A surety's
involvement is marginal to the principal agreement between the defendant and the plaintiff; hence, in order for the
surety to be subject to a proceeding for issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment, it must be shown that said
surety participated in or facilitated the fraudulent practice of the defendant, such as by offering a security solely to
induce the plaintiff to enter into the agreement with the defendant. (Sps. Tanchan v. Allied Banking Corp., G.R. No.
164510, November 25, 2008).

Effect of wrongful attachment.

In so ruling, however, the Court does not go so far as to grant petitioners' claim for moral damages. A
wrongful attachment may give rise to liability for moral damages but evidence must be adduced not only of the
torment and humiliation brought upon the defendant by the attaching party but also of the latter's bad faith or malice
in causing the wrongful attachment, such as evidence that the latter deliberately made false statements in its
application for attachment. Absent such evidence of malice, the attaching party cannot be held liable for moral
damages.

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Cause of action by mortgagor.

There is no question that a mortgage creditor has a single cause of action against a mortgagor debtor, which
is to recover the debt; but it has the option of either filing a personal action for collection of sum of money or
instituting a real action to foreclose on the mortgage security. An election of the first bars recourse to the second;
otherwise, there would be multiplicity of suits in which the debtor would be tossed from one venue to another,
depending on the location of the mortgaged properties and the residence of the parties. On the other hand, a creditor
who elects to foreclose on the mortgage may yet file an independent civil action for recovery of whatever deficiency
may remain in the outstanding obligation of the debtor, after deducting the price obtained in the sale of the
mortgaged properties at public auction. The complaint, though, must specifically allege that what is being sought is
the recovery of the deficiency, or that in the pre-trial, such claim be raised as an issue. (Sps. Tanchan v. Allied
Banking Corp., G.R. No. 164510, November 25, 2008).

What is the foundation of a writ of attachment?

The affidavit, being the foundation of the writ, must contain such particulars as to how the fraud imputed to
respondent was committed for the court to decide whether or not to issue the writ. Absent any statement of other
factual circumstances to show that respondent, at the time of contracting the obligation, had a preconceived plan or
intention not to pay, or without any showing of how respondent committed the alleged fraud, the general averment
in the affidavit that respondent is an officer and director of Wincorp who allegedly connived with the other
defendants to commit a fraud, is insufficient to support the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment x x x. Verily,
the mere fact that respondent is an officer and director of the company does not necessarily give rise to the inference
that he committed a fraud or that he connived with the other defendants to commit a fraud. While under certain
circumstances, courts may treat a corporation as a mere aggroupment of persons, to whom liability will directly
attach, this is only done when the wrongdoing has been clearly and convincingly established. (Ng Wee v.
Tankiausen, 545 SCRA 263 (2008); Sps. Tanchan v. Allied Banking Corp., G.R. No. 164510, November 25, 2008).

What are the remedies of a party whose properties were attached?

Under Section 13, Rule 57 of the Rules of Court, a party whose property has been ordered attached may file a
motion “with the court in which the action is pending” for the discharge of the attachment on the ground that it has
been improperly issued or enforced. In addition, said party may file, under Section 20, Rule 57, a claim for damages
on account of improper attachment within the following periods:
Sec. 20. Claim for damages on account of improper, irregular or excessive
attachment. – An application for damages on account of improper, irregular or
excessive attachment must be filed before the trial or before appeal is perfected or
before the judgment become executory, with due notice to the attaching oblige or
his surety or sureties, setting forth the facts showing his right to damages and the
amount thereof. Such damages may be awarded only after proper hearing and shall
be included in the judgment on the main case.
If the judgment of the appellate court be favorable to the party against
whom the attachment was issued, he must claim damages sustained during the
pendency of the appeal by filing an application in the appellate court with notice to
the party in whose favor the attachment was issued or his surety or sureties, before
the judgment of the appellate court becomes executory. The appellate court may
allow the application to be heard and decided by the trial court. (Sps. Tanchan v.
Allied Banking Corp., G.R. No. 164510, November 25, 2008).

RULE 45/65

Decisions of the CA are brought to the SC via


Rule 45.

In San Pedro, et al. v. Hon. Asdala, et al., G.R. No. 164560, July 22, 2009, the SC ruled that the
settled rule is that appeals from judgments or final orders or resolutions of the CA should be by a

50
verified petition for review on certiorari, as provided for under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Civil
Procedure. Thus, in Pasiona, Jr. v. CA, G.R. No. 165471, July 21, 2008, 559 SCRA 137 it has been
ruled that the aggrieved party is proscribed from assailing a decision or final order of the CA via Rule
65, because such recourse is proper only if the party has no plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the
course of law. In this case, petitioner had an adequate remedy, namely, a petition for review on certiorari
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. A petition for review on certiorari, not a special civil action for
certiorari was, therefore, the correct remedy.

Mandamus does not lie to establish a right;


proper to enforce.

Appointments were extended by an outgoing Mayor, but the newly elected Mayor did not
recognize the same. In fact, they were invalidated by the CSC-FODirector. While their cases were
pending appeal, they filed a petition for mandamus to compel the LGU to pay their salaries and wages.
Is the petition proper?

No, because the disapproval of the appointments was due to violation of CS rules barring outgoing
public officers from granting mass appointments. While it is true that it is the ministerial duty of the
government to pay the salaries of the appointees while the latters’ appeal of the disapproval of their
appointments by the CSC-FO and/or CSC-RO is still pending before the CSC Proper, this applies only
when the said appointments have been disapproved on grounds which do not constitute violation of civil
service law. In this case, there was a violation of the civil service law. Since their right to their salaries
was still an unsettled one, mandamus is improper. It applies only if there is a clear, not doubtful right.
(Garces vs. CA, 328 Phil. 403. The writ will not issue to compel an official to give to the applicant
anything to which he is not entitled to. (Lamb v. Phipps, 22 Phil. 456 (1912). Mandamus will not lie to
establish a right, but to enforce one that is already established. (Lim Tay v. CA, 355 Phil. 381 (1998).
Furthermore, mandamus is not the proper, plain and adequate remedy. Even if the CSC would have
denied the appeal, they could still go to the CA, but they did not avail of all these processes, hence, the
petition for mandamus is improper. (Nazareno, et al. v. City of Dumaguete, et al., G.R. No. 177795,
June 19, 2009 citing Bunsay v. CSC, 530 SCRA 68 (2007).

RULE 70

When there is forcible entry.

In Bunyi, et al. v. Factor, G.R. No. 172547, June 30, 2007, it was said that in forcible entry, it is
not necessary that the respondent must demonstrate that the taking was done with force, intimidation
threat, strategy or stealth. The SC, in Bañs v. Lutheran Church in the Philippines, explained:

In order to constitute force that would justify a forcible entry case,


the trespasser does not have to institute a state of war. The act of going to
the property and excluding the lawful possessor therefrom necessarily
implies the exertion of force over the property which is all that is
necessary and sufficient to show that the action is based on the provisions
of Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court. (475 SCRA 13 (2005)

As expressly stated in David v. Cordova:

The words ‘by force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth’


include every situation or condition under which one person can
wrongfully enter upon real property and exclude another, who has had
prior possession therefrom. If a trespasser enters upon land in open
daylight, under the very eyes of the person already clothed with lawful
possession, but without the consent of the latter, and there plants himself

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and excludes such prior possessor from the property, the action of forcible
entry and detainer can unquestionably b maintained, even though no force
is used by the trespasser other than such as is necessarily implied from the
mere acts of planting himself on the ground and excluding the other party.
(464 SCRA 384 (2005).

Respondent, as co-owner, has the control of the subject property even if she does not stay in it.
So when petitioners entered said property without the consent and permission of the respondent and the
other co-owners, the latter were deprived of its possession. Moreover, the presence of an unidentified
man forbidding respondent from entering the subject property constitutes force contemplated by Section
1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court.

As to the last issue, the Court have previously ruled that while the courts may fix the reasonable
amount of rent for the use and occupation of a disputed property, they could not simply rely on their
own appreciation of land values without considering any evidence. The reasonable amount of any rent
could not be determined by mere judicial notice but by supporting evidence. In the instant case, the
Court find no evidence on record to support the MeTC’s award of rent.

Possession by tolerance after dacion en pago.

In Malabanan v. Rural Bank of Cabuyao, Inc., G.R. No. 163495, May 8, 2009, for failure to pay
a loan secured by a Real Estate Mortgage, the creditor and debtor entered into a dacion en pago,
hence, ownership over the property mortgaged was transferred to the creditor. The debtor, however
remained in possession without a contract. Can the owner file an action for unlawful detainer against
the former owner based on possession by tolerance after refusal to vacate despite demand?

Yes, because the owner has a better right of possession.

Well-established is the rule that if possession is by tolerance as has been alleged in the complaint
such possession becomes illegal upon demand to vacate, with the possessor refusing to comply with
such demand.

From the time the title to the property was transferred in the name of respondent, petitioner’s
possession was converted into one by mere tolerance of the owner. The forbearance ceased when
respondent made a demand on petitioner to vacate the lot. Thenceforth, petitioner’s occupancy had
become unlawful.

A person who occupies the land of another with the latter’s tolerance or permission, without any
contract between them, is necessarily bound by an implied promise that he will vacate upon demand,
failing which a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against him.

There is no doubt that the plaintiff in an ejectment case is entitled to damages caused by his loss
of the use and possession of the premises. Damages in the context of Section 17, Rule 70 of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure is limited to "rent" or fair rental value or the reasonable compensation for the
use and occupation of the property.

Demand to vacate.

In Limbauan v. Acosta, G.R. No. 148606, June 30, 2008, there was a lease of contract over a
parcel of land between the owner and the lessee. The lessor sent a demand letter dated January 2, 1996
to the lessee and gave him five (5) days from receipt within which to pay the unpaid rentals and vacate
the premises. It was received by the lessee on January 10, 1996. The complaint for unlawful detainer
was filed on February 7, 1996 or beyond 15 days from receipt of the demand letter. Judgment was
rendered in favor of the plaintiff, but on appeal, it was contended that the MTC did not acquire
jurisdiction over the subject matter since the demand letter gave him a 5-day period only instead of 15
days within which to comply with the demand to vacate. A jurisdictorial requisite, not having been

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complied with, the defendant contended that the MTC did not acquire jurisdiction over the case. Is the
contention correct?

No, the contention is not correct. It is a well-settled rule that, the demand to pay rent and vacate is
necessary if the action for unlawful detainer is anchored on the non-payment of rentals. The same rule
explicitly provides that the unlawful detainer suit must be commenced only if the lessee fails to comply
after the lapse or expiration of fifteen (15) days in case of lands and five (5) days in case of buildings,
from the time the demand is made upon the lessee. The demand required and contemplated in Section 2
of Rule 70 is a jurisdictional requirement for the purpose of bringing an unlawful detainer suit for failure
to pay rent. It partakes of an extrajudicial remedy that must be pursued before resorting to judicial action
such that full compliance with the demand would render unnecessary a court action. (Cetus Dev. Inc. v.
CA, G.R. Nos. 77647-77652, August 17, 1989; 176 SCRA 72).

Hence, it is settled that for the purpose of bringing an ejectment suit, two requisites must concur,
namely: (1) there must be failure to pay rent or to comply with the conditions of the lease and (2) there
must be demand both to pay or to comply and vacate within the periods specified in Section 2,
particularly, 15 days in the case of land and 5 days in the case of buildings. The first requisite refers to
the existence of the cause of action for unlawful detainer while the second refers to the jurisdictional
requirement of demand in order that said cause of action may be pursued.

As the subject matter of the instant case is a parcel of land, the expiration of the aforesaid fifteen-
day period is a prerequisite to the filing of an action for unlawful detainer. The fact that respondent’s
demand letter granted petitioner five (5) days to pay and to vacate the subject property is of no moment
because what is important and required under Section 2 of Rule 70 is for the lessor to allow a period of
fifteen (15) days to lapse before commencing an action for unlawful detainer. Evidently, respondent
actually complied with this requirement. For this reason, no error was committed by the MTC in
assuming jurisdiction over the complaint and in not dismissing the same.

Effect of failure to plead the date of


dispossession in an unlawful detainer case.

QUO WARRANTO

A private individual filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition to prevent Justice Gregory Ong from
further exercising the powers, duties and responsibilities of an Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan.
He did it because the OSG refused to file a quo warranto proceeding against Ong despite his request.
He alleged that Ong is disqualified to be a member of the SB. Is the petition proper?

No, because the petition is not proper since it is a collateral attack on a public officer’s title. The title to
a public office may not be contested except directly, by quo warranto proceedings; and it cannot be
assailed collaterally, (Gonzales v. COMELEC, et al., 129 Phil. 7 (1967) even through mandamus (Pilar
v. Sec. of the DPWTC, et al., 125 Phil 766 (1967) or a motion to annul or set aside order. (Gamboa v.
CA, et al., 194 Phil. 624 (1981). In Nacionalista Party v. De Vera, it was ruled that prohibition does not
lie to inquire into the validity of the appointment of a public officer.

x x x [T]he writ of prohibition, even when directed against persons acting


as judges or other judicial officers, cannot be treated as a substitute for
quo warranto or be rightfully called upon to perform any of the functions
of the writ. If there is a court, judge or officer de facto, the title to the
office and the right to act cannot be questioned by prohibition. If an
intruder takes possession of a judicial office, the person dispossessed
cannot obtain relief through a writ of prohibition commanding the alleged
intruder to cease from performing judicial acts, since in its very nature
prohibition is an improper remedy by which to determine the title to an
office. (85 Phil 126 (1949); Topacio v. Associate Justice of the SB
Gregory Ong, et al., G.R. No. 179895, December 18, 2008).

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State the appropriate remedy to determine the right to public office. Explain.

A quo warranto proceeding is the proper legal remedy to determine the right or title to the contested
public office and to oust the holder from its enjoyment. (Santiago v. Guingona, Jr., 359 Phil. 276 (1998).
It is brought against the person who is alleged to have usurped, intruded into, or unlawfully held or
exercised the public office, (Sec. 1, Rule 66) and may be commenced by the Solicitor General or a
public prosecutor, as the case may be, or by any person claiming to be entitled to the public office or
position usurped or unlawfully held or exercised by another. (Sec. 5, Rule 66).

In Acosta v. Flor, 5 Phil. 18 (1905) and Feliciano v. Villasin, (G.R. No. 174929, June 27, 2008,
556 SCRA 348, it was ruled for a quo warranto petition to be successful, the private person suing must
show a clear right to the contested office. In fact, not even a mere preferential right to be appointed
thereto can lend a modicum of legal ground to proceed with the action. (Garcia v. Perez, 188 Phil. 43
(1980); Topacio v. Associate Justice of the SB Gregory Ong, et al., G.R. No. 179895, December 18,
2008).

The rightful authority of a judge, in the full exercise of his public judicial functions, cannot be
questioned by any merely private suitor, or by any other, except in the form especially provided by law.
To uphold such action would encourage every disgruntled citizen to resort to the courts, thereby causing
incalculable mischief and hindrance to the efficient operation of the governmental machine. (Tarrosa v.
Singson, G.R. No. 111243, May 25, 1994, 232 SCRA 553).

SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS

Effect if extrajudicial settlement excludes other


heirs.

A deed of extrajudicial partition executed without including some of the heirs, who had no
knowledge of and consent to the same, is fraudulent and vicious. (Pedrosa v. CA, 353 SCRA 620;
Villaruz v. Men, 1 SCRA 27 (1963). The deed of settlement made by petitioners was invalid because it
excluded respondents who were entitled to equal shares in the subject property. Under the rule, no
extrajudicial settlement shall be binding upon any person who has not participated therein or had no
notice thereof.

Settlement of estate; who are interested persons;


entitlement to notice.

In Hilado, et al. v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 164108, May 8, 2009, after the death of well-known sugar
magnate Roberto S. Benedicto, his wife filed a petition for settlement of his estate before the RTC of
Manila. At that time, there were two (2) cases against the estate filed in Bacolod City for tortuous acts
committed by Benedicto during his lifetime. The plaintiffs in said cases filed a motion praying that they
do furnished with copies of all processes and orders pertaining to the intestate proceedings. It was
opposed on the ground that they have no personality to intervene. The RTC denied the motion as they
are not interested parties to intervene in the estate proceedings. The CA affirmed. Is the ruling correct?

No. Even if their claims may be inchoate interests, they are, however, viable interests. The Rules allow
not just creditors, but any person interested or persons interested in the estate in various capacities to
protect their respective interests in the estate. Anybody with a contingent claim based on a pending
action for quasi-delict against a decedent may be reasonably concerned that by the time judgment is
rendered in their favor the estate of the decedent would have already been distributed or diminished to
the extent that the judgment could no longer be enforced against it. While the Rules do not allow the
right to intervene they may be allowed to seek certain prayers or reliefs from the intestate court not
explicitly provided for under the Rules, if the prayer or relief sought is necessary to protect their interest
in the estate, and there is no other modality under the Rules by which such interests can be protected

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What claims may be filed against the estate of a decedent during the proceedings for settlement?
Explain.

Money claims based on contract whether express or implied, even if contingent may be filed under the
aegis of the notice to creditors to be issued by the court immediately after granting letters of
administration and published by the administrator immediately after the issuance of the notice. (Rule 86,
Secs. 1 & 3; Hilado, et al. v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 164108, May 8, 2009).

How about if the claims are based on tort, can they be filed in the estate proceedings? Explain.

Answer: No. They do not fall within the class of claims to be filed under the notice to creditors under
Rule 86. (Aguas v. Llemos, et al., 116 Phil. 112; Leung Ben v. O’Brien, 38 Phil. 182 (1918). These
actions, being as they are civil, survive the death of the decedent and may be commenced against the
administrator pursuant to Section 1, Rule 87. They are to be settled in the civil cases where they were
raised, and not in the intestate proceedings. In the event the claims for damages are granted, they would
have to be enforced against the estate. (Hilado, et al. v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 164108, May 8, 2009).

In this case, the petitioners relied the ruling in Dinglasan v. Ang Chia, L-3342, April 18, 1951.
Dinglasan had filed an action for reconveyance and damages against respondents, and during a
hearing of the case, learned that the same trial court was hearing the intestate proceedings of Lee Liong
to whom Dinglasan had sold the property years earlier. Dinglasan thus amended his complaint to
implead Ang Chia, administrator of the estate of her late husband. He likewise filed a verified claim-in-
intervention, manifesting the pendency of the civil case, praying that a co-administrator be appointed,
the bond of the administrator be increased, and that the intestate proceedings not be closed until the
civil case had been terminated. When the trial court ordered the increase of the bond and took
cognizance of the pending civil case, the administrator moved to close the intestate proceedings, on the
ground that the heirs had already entered into an extrajudicial partition of the estate. The trial court
refused to close the intestate proceedings pending the termination of the civil case. Was the act of the
trial court correct?

If the intervenors filed a claim in intervention in the intestate proceedings it was only pursuant to their
desire to protect their interests it appearing that the property in litigation is involved in said proceedings
and in fact is the only property of the estate left subject of administration and distribution; and the court
is justified in taking cognizance of said civil case because of the unavoidable fact that whatever is
determined in said civil case will necessarily reflect and have a far reaching consequence in the
determination and distribution of the estate. In so taking cognizance of the civil case the court did not
assume general jurisdiction over the case but merely made of record its existence because of the close
interrelation of the two cases and cannot therefore be branded as having acted in excess of its
jurisdiction.

Appellants' claim that the lower court erred in holding in abeyance the closing of the intestate
proceedings pending determination of the separate civil action for the reason that there is no rule or
authority justifying the extension of administration proceedings until after the separate action pertaining
to its general jurisdiction has been terminated, cannot be entertained. Section 1, Rule 88, of the Rules of
Court, expressly provides that "action to recover real or personal property from the estate or to enforce a
lien thereon, and actions to recover damages for an injury to person or property, real or personal, may be
commenced against the executor or administrator." What practical value would this provision have if the
action against the administrator cannot be prosecuted to its termination simply because the heirs desire
to close the intestate proceedings without first taking any step to settle the ordinary civil case? This rule
is but a corollary to the ruling which declares that questions concerning ownership of property alleged to
be part of the estate but claimed by another person should be determined in a separate action and should
be submitted to the court in the exercise of its general jurisdiction. These rules would be rendered
nugatory if we are to hold that an intestate proceedings can be closed by any time at the whim and
caprice of the heirs x x x.

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It is not clear whether the claim-in-intervention filed by Dinglasan conformed to an action-in-
intervention under the Rules of Civil Procedure, but we can partake of the spirit behind such
pronouncement. Indeed, a few years later, the Court, citing Dinglasan, stated: “[t]he rulings of this court
have always been to the effect that in the special proceeding for the settlement of the estate of a
deceased person, persons not heirs, intervening therein to protect their interests are allowed to do so to
protect the same, but not for a decision on their action.” (Baquial v. Amihan, 92 Phil. 501 (1953);
Hilado, et al. v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 164108, May 8, 2009).

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

Concept of personal knowledge of facts based on


probable cause.

In Judge Felimon Abelita III v. P/Supt. Doria, et al., G.R. No. 170672, August 14, 2009, the SC
had the occasion to rule that for the warrantless arrest under Rule 113, Sec. 5, Rules of Court to be
valid, two requisites must concur: (1) the offender has just committed an offense; and (2) the arresting
peace officer or private person has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested
has committed it. (People v. Cubcubin, Jr., 413 SCRA 249 (2001).

Personal knowledge of facts must be based on probable cause, which means an actual belief or
reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual
belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of
committing the offense is based on actual facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in
themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. (Amil v. Ramos, 202 SCRA
251; People v. Lozada, 454 Phil. 241 (2003). A reasonable suspicion, therefore, must be founded on
probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the arrest.

Section 5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure does not require the arresting
officers to personally witness the commission of the offense with their own eyes. In this case, P/Supt.
Doria received a report about the alleged shooting incident. SPO3 Ramirez investigated the report and
learned from witnesses that petitioner was involved in the incident. They were able to track down
petitioner, but when invited to the police headquarters to shed light on the incident, petitioner initially
agreed then sped up his vehicle, prompting the police authorities to give chase. Petitioner’s act of trying
to get away, coupled with the incident report which they investigated, is enough to raise a reasonable
suspicion on the part of the police authorities as to the existence of probable cause.

Plainview doctrine; its requisite.

In Judge Felimon Abelita III v. P/Supt. Doria, et al., G.R. No. 170672, August 14, 2009, after the
shooting incident where petitioner was involved, he was requested to go to the police precinct. But
instead, he sped up his car, proceeded to his house but the police caught up on him. They saw a gun and
shotgun inside the car. The petitioner contended that they were seized without warrant. Is the contention
correct?

No. The seizure of the firearms was justified under the plain view doctrine.

Under the plain view doctrine, objects falling in the plain view of an officer who has a right to be
in the position to have that view are subject to seizure and may be presented in evidence. (Abenes v. CA,
515 SCRA 690 (2007). The plain view doctrine applies hen the following requisites concur: (1) the law
enforcement officer in search of the evidence has a prior justification for an intrusion or is in a position
from which he can view a particular area; (2) the discovery of the evidence in plain view is inadvertent;
and (3) it is immediately apparent to the officer that the item he observes may be evidence of a crime,
contraband or otherwise subject to seizure.

56
In this case, the police authorities were in the area because that was where they caught up with
petitioner after the chase. They saw the firearms inside the vehicle when petitioner opened the door.
Since a shooting incident just took place and it was reported that petitioner was involved in the incident,
it was apparent to the police officers that the firearms may be evidence of a crime. Hence, they were
justified in seizing the firearms.

Nature and character of crime charge


determines the offense; not designation.

In People v. Quemeggen, G.R. No. 178205, July 27, 2009, the accused were charged with the
crime of Robbery with homicide. One of them was convicted of Robbery and the other of two separate
crimes of robbery and homicide. Is the conviction proper? Why?

Answer: Yes. It is axiomatic that the nature and character of the crime charged are determined not by the
designation of the specific crime, but by the facts alleged in the information. Controlling in an
information should not be the title of the complaint or the designation of the offense charged or the
particular law or part thereof allegedly violated, these being, by and large, mere conclusions of law
made by the prosecutor, but the description of the crime charged and the particular facts therein recited.
These should also be no problem in convicting an accused of two or more crimes erroneously charged in
one information or complaint, but later proven to be independent crimes, as if they were made the
subject of separate complaints or informations. This is especially so that as worded, the Information
sufficiently alleged all the elements of both felonies.

Effect of failure to move to quash.

Needless to state, appellants failed, before their arraignment, to move for the quashal of the
Information, which appeared to charge more than one offense. They have thereby waived any objection
thereto, and may thus be found guilty of as many offenses as those charged in the information and
proven during the trial.

As to the proper penalty, the Court sustain the appellate court. The penalty for simply robbery is
prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its medium period, ranging from 4
years, 2 months and 1 day to 10 years. Applying the Intermediate Sentence Law, the maximum term
thereof shall be 6 years, 1 month and 11 days to 8 years and 20 days; while the minimum term shall be
within the range of the penalty next lower in degree or 4 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months. The
CA thus correctly imposed the indeterminate penalty of 4 years of prision correccional as minimum to 8
years of prision mayor as maximum.

On the other hand, the penalty for homicide is reclusion perpetua or 12 years and 1 day to 20
yeas. The maximum term of the indeterminate penalty shall be 14 years, 8 months and 1 day to 17 years
and 4 months; while the minimum term shall be within the range of prision mayor or 6 years and 1 day
to 12 years. Therefore, the CA was correct in imposing the indeterminate penalty of 8 years and 1 day of
prision mayor as minimum to 17 years and 4 months of reclusion temporal as maximum.

Venue in libel suits.


In People, et al. v. Benipayo, G.R. No. 154474; Photokina Marketing Corp. v. Benipayo, G.R.
No. 154473, April 24, 2009, the SC said that uniformly applied is the familiar rule that the jurisdiction
of the court to hear and decide a case is conferred by the law in force at the time of the institution of the
action, unless a latter statute provides for a retroactive application thereof. Article 360 of the Revised
Penal Code (RPC), as amended by Republic Act No. 4363, is explicit on which court has jurisdiction to
try cases of written defamations.

More than three decades ago, the Court, in Jalandoni v. Endaya, 55 SCRA 261 (1974)
acknowledged the unmistakable import of the said provision:

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There is no need to make mention again that it is a court of first instance
[now, the Regional Trial Court] that is specifically designated to try a libel
case. Its language is categorical; its meaning is free from doubt. This is
one of those statutory provisions that leave no room for interpretation. All
that is required is application. What the law ordains must then be
followed.

This exclusive and original jurisdiction of the RTC over written defamations is echoed in
Bocobo v. Estanislao, 72 SCRA 520 (1976) where the Court further declared that jurisdiction remains
with the trial court even if the libelous act is committed "by similar means," and despite the fact that the
phrase "by similar means" is not repeated in the latter portion of Article 360. In these cases, and in those
that followed, the Court had been unwavering in its pronouncement that the expanded jurisdiction of the
municipal trial courts cannot be exercised over libel cases. Thus, in Manzano v. Hon. Valera, 354 SCRA
66 (1998) it was explained at length that:

The applicable law is still Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code,
which categorically provides that jurisdiction over libel cases [is] lodged
with the Courts of First Instance (now Regional Trial Courts).

This Court already had the opportunity to rule on the matter in


G.R. No. 123263, People vs. MTC of Quezon City, Branch 32 and Isah v.
Red wherein a similar question of jurisdiction over libel was raised. In that
case, the MTC judge opined that it was the first level courts which had
jurisdiction due to the enactment of RA 7691. Upon elevation of the
matter to us, respondent judge’s orders were nullified for lack of
jurisdiction.

As has been constantly held in Jalandoni, Bocobo, People v. Metropolitan Trial Court of
Quezon City, Br. 32, 265 SCRA 645 (1996) Manzano, and analogous cases, the law, dictates that
criminal and civil actions for damages in cases of written defamations shall be filed simultaneously or
separately with the RTC to the exclusion of all other courts. A subsequent enactment of a law defining
the jurisdiction of other courts cannot simply override, in the absence of an express repeal or
modification, the specific provision in the RPC vesting in the RTC, as aforesaid, jurisdiction over
defamations in writing or by similar means. The grant to the Sandiganbayan of jurisdiction over offenses
committed in relation to (public) office, similar to the expansion of the jurisdiction of the MTCs, did not
divest the RTC of its exclusive and original jurisdiction to try written defamation cases regardless of
whether the offense is committed in relation to office. The broad and general phraseology of Section 4,
Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended by Republic Act No. 8249, cannot be construed to have
impliedly repealed, or even simply modified, such exclusive and original jurisdiction of the RTC. (De
Jesus v. People, 205 Phil. 663 (1983). In De Jesus v. People, 205 Phil. 663, 670 (1983), in which the
Court ruled that the provision of the law stating the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, which is phrased
in terms so broad and general, cannot be legitimately construed to vest the said court with exclusive
jurisdiction over election offenses committed by public officers in relation to their office. Neither can it
be interpreted to impliedly repeal the exclusive and original jurisdiction granted by Section 184 of the
Election Code of 1978 to the court of first instance (now, the RTC) to hear and decide all election
offenses, without qualification as to the status of the accused.

Since jurisdiction over written defamations exclusively rests in the RTC without qualification, it
is unnecessary and futile for the parties to argue on whether the crime is committed in relation to office.
Thus, the conclusion reached by the trial court that the respondent committed the alleged libelous acts in
relation to his office as former COMELEC chair, and deprives it of jurisdiction to try the case, is,
following the above disquisition, gross error.

RULE 110

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Date of offense is immaterial.

In People v. Jimenez, G.R. No. 170235, April 24, 2009, the SC once again said that the failure of
the prosecution to prove the exact dates of the commission of the crimes is immaterial and would not
warrant the reversal of accused-appellant’s conviction. The exact time of the commission of the crime of
rape is not a material ingredient of the said crime and it is sufficient if the acts complained of are alleged
to have taken place as near to the actual date at which the offenses are committed as the information or
complaint will permit. The gravamen of the crime of rape is carnal knowledge of a woman through
force, threat, or intimidation against her will or without her consent. As the exact date of the commission
of the rape is not the essence of the crime and it is sufficient to allege in the information a date as near to
the actual date of the offense as the circumstances allow, the dates of the rapes committed by the
accused-appellant need not be proven exactly as alleged in the criminal informations.

Amendment of information after arraignment.

In Herrera, et al. v. SB, et al., G.R. No. 119660-61, February 13, 2009, accused were charged
with two (2) counts of murder. They pleaded not guilty. They filed a petition for bail and raised the issue
of lack of jurisdiction for failure of the prosecution to allege in the information that they committed the
crime “in relation to their office.” The information was amended upon order of the Sandiganbayan.
They were arraigned again. They were convicted, but on appeal, they contended that the SB erred in
convicting them for the crime of murder under the amended informations as they had earlier been
arraigned under the original informations for murder and their re-arraignment under the amended
informations placed them in double jeopardy. Is the contention correct?

No. The rule on double jeopardy does not apply. Public respondent Sandiganbayan ordered the
amendment of the informations and made it of record that the evidence adduced during the pre-trial of
the case and the hearing on the petition for bail shall be deemed automatically reproduced as evidence
during the trial of the case on the merits. Double jeopardy did not attach by virtue of petitioners’ plea of
not guilty under the amended information. For a claim of double jeopardy to prosper, the following
requisites must concur: (1) there is a complaint or information or other formal charge sufficient in form
and substance to sustain a conviction; (2) the same is filed before a court of competent jurisdiction; (3)
there is a valid arraignment or plea to the charges; and (4) the accused is convicted or acquitted or the
case is otherwise dismissed or terminated without his express consent. (Amadore v. Romulo, 466 SCRA
397 (2005); Lasoy v. Zeñarosa, 455 SCRA 360 (2005).

In the present case, petitioners and the two accused pleaded not guilty to the two original
informations for the crimes of murder. Thereafter, in their Joint Petition for Bail, petitioners raised the
issue of lack of jurisdiction on the ground that the prosecution failed to allege in the informations that
the crimes were committed “in relation to their office.” On the same day, public respondent order the
amendment of the informations accordingly. Thus, the first requirement for double jeopardy to attach,
i.e., that the informations against the petitioners were valid, has not been complied with.

Likewise, the forth element was lacking. Petitioners cannot be validly convicted on the basis of
the original informations as the prosecution failed to allege in the informations that the crimes were
committed “in relation to their office”. Thus, petitioners were not placed in danger of being convicted
when they entered their pleas of not guilty to the two original informations which were insufficient in
form and substance to sustain their conviction. There was also no dismissal or insufficient of the cases.

It was well-within the power of public respondent Sandiganbayan to order the amendment of the
two original informations. Section 4, Rule 117 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure states that if the
motion to quash is based on an alleged defect of the complaint or information which can be cured by
amendment, the court shall order that an amendment be made. If it is based on the ground that the facts
charged do not constitute an offense, the prosecution shall be given by the court an opportunity to
correct the defect by amendment. The motion shall be granted if the prosecution fails to make the
amendment, or the complaint or information still suffers from the same defect despite the amendment.

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Duplicity of offenses.

In Soriano, et al. v. People, et al., G.R. No. 159517-18, June 30, 2009, the accused Soriano was
charged with violation of RA 337, Section 83 or the General Banking Act as amended by PD 1795 or
Violation of the Director, Officer, Stockeholder or Related Interest (DORSI) Rules by securing a loan
with Rural Bank of San Miguel-San Miguel Branch in the amount of P15M without the consent and
written approval of the majority of the directors of the bank, using the name of a depositor who had no
knowledge of the same. On the same date, he was also charged with the crime of estafa thru falsification
of commercial document, together with Rosalinda Ilagan. The information alleged that they falsified
documents consisting of loan application/information sheet and promissory note, disclosure statement
on loan/credit transaction and other documents with deceit and intent to cause damage to the bank.
Another information was filed against Soriano for violation of RA 337, Section 83 covering the P15M
loan obtained in the name of Rogelio Mañaol. They were likewise indicted for estafa thru falsification of
commercial document. They filed a motion to quash before the two (2) court where the cases were
pending on the grounds of duplicity and that the facts charged did not constitute an offense. They
contended that the prosecutor charged them for more than one offense for a single act. The motions
were denied. They filed a special civil action for certiorari with the CA but the same were denied
sustaining the RTC rulings. They filed a special civil action for certiorari with the SC alleging grave
abuse of discretion in denying the motions to quash and the petition before the CA. They contended that
they cannot be charged with estafa thru falsification of commercial document considering that they have
already been charged for obtaining DORSI loan. Rule on the contention.

The contention is not correct. By duplicity of charges is meant a single complaint or information that
charges more than one offense. Section 13 of Rule 110 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure clearly
states:

Duplicity of Offense. – A complaint or information must charge


but one offense, except only in those cases in which existing laws
prescribe a single punishment for various offenses.

Otherwise stated, there is duplicity (or multiplicity) of charges when a single information charges
more than one offense.

Jurisprudence teems with pronouncements that a single act or incident might offend two or more
entirely distinct and unrelated provisions.of law (Nierra v. Dacuycuy, 181 SCRA 1), thus justifying the
filing of several charges against the accused.

In Loney v. People, in upholding the filing of multiple charges against the accused, the SC held:

As early as the start of the last century, this Court had ruled that a
single act or incident might offend against two or more entirely distinct
and unrelated provisions of law thus justifying the prosecution of the
accused for more than one offense. The only limit to this rule is the
Constitutional prohibition that no person shall be twice put in jeopardy of
punishment for “the same offense.” In People v. Doriquez, we held that
two (or more) offenses arising from the same act are not “the same” –

x x x if one provision of law requires proof of an


additional fact or element which the other does not, x x x.
phrased elsewise, where two different laws or articles of the
same code define two crimes, prior jeopardy as to one of
them is no obstacle to a prosecution of the other, although
both offenses arise from the same facts, if each crime
involves some important act which is not an essential
element of the other.

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Consequently, the filing of the multiple charges against petitioners
although based on the same incident, is consistent with settled doctrine.
(482 SCRA 194 (2006).

There are differences between the two (2) offenses. A DORSI violation consists in the failure to
observe and comply with procedural, reportorial or ceiling requirements prescribed by law in the grant
of a loan to a director, officer, stockholder and other related interests in the bank, i.e., lack of written
approval of the majority of the directors of the bank and failure to enter such approval into corporate
records and to transmit a copy thereof to the BSP supervising department. The elements of abuse of
confidence, deceit, fraud, or false pretences, and damage, which are essential to the prosecution for
estafa, are not element of a DORSI violation.

RULE 111

Prejudicial question.

In Dreamwork Construction Inc. v. Janiola, et al., G.R. No. 184861, June 30, 2009, there was a
construction contract and it resulted in the issuance of checks. There was a complaint for rescission of
the contract for lack of consideration. Prior to this, cases for violation of BP22 were filed. There was a
motion for suspension of the criminal cases on the ground of prejudicial question contending that if the
contract is declared rescinded, then, there can be no liability in the criminal cases. Is the contention
correct?

No. The filing of the civil action and the subsequent move to suspend the criminal proceedings by
reason of the presence of a prejudicial question were a mere afterthought and instituted to delay the
criminal proceedings.

In Sabandal v. Tongco, G.R. No. 124498, October 5, 2001, 366 SCRA 567, no prejudicial
question existed involving a civil action for specific performance, overpayment, and damages, and a
criminal complaint for BP22, as the resolution of the civil action would not determine the guilt or
innocence of the accused in the criminal case. In resolving the case, it was said:

Furthermore, the peculiar circumstances of the case clearly


indicate that the filing of the civil case was a ploy to delay the resolution
of the criminal cases. Petitioner filed the civil case three years after the
institution of the criminal charges against him. Apparently, the civil action
was instituted as an afterthought to delay the proceedings in the criminal
cases.
In Sabandal, the circumstances surrounding the filing of the cases involved here show that the
filing of the civil action was a mere afterthought on the part of private respondent and interposed for
delay.

Effect of filing BP 22.

In Cheng v. Sps. Sy, G.R. No. 174238, July 7, 2009, petitioner filed two (2) cases for violation of
BP 22 against the defendants. The two (2) cases were dismissed on demurrer due to the failure of the
petitioner to identify the accused in open court but did not make any pronouncement as to the civil
liability of the accused. She filed a complaint for sum of money but it was dismissed for lack of
jurisdiction since the amount was already impliedly instituted in the BP 22 cases in view of Section 1(b),
Rule 111 of the Rules of Court. Is the ruling correct?

No. While it is true that the filing of BP 22 carries with it the civil liability, the rule admits an exception
as when the counsel failed to protect and prosecute her interest when he failed to establish the identities
of the accused during the trial and when he failed to appeal the civil action deemed impliedly instituted
with the BP 22 case.

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Faced with the dismissal of the BP 22 cases, petitioner’s recourse pursuant to the prevailing rules
of procedure would have been to appeal the civil action to recover the amount loaned to respondents
corresponding to the bounced checks. Hence, the said civil action may proceed requiring only a
preponderance of evidence on the part of petitioner. Her failure to appeal within the reglementary period
was tantamount to a waiver altogether of the remedy to recover the civil liability of respondents.
However, due to the gross mistake of the prosecutor in the BP 22 cases, the Court was constrained to
digress from this rule.
Moreover, the trial court’s observation when it dismissed the estafa charge that if there was any
liability on the part of respondent, it was civil action in nature must be considered. Hence, if the loan be
proven true, the inability of petitioner to recover the loaned amount would be tantamount to unjust
enrichment of respondents, as they may now conveniently evade payment of their obligation merely on
account of a technicality applied against petitioner.

There is unjust enrichment when (1) a person is unjustly benefited, and (2) such benefit is
derived at the expense of or with damages to another. This doctrine simply means that a person shall not
be allowed to profit or enrich himself inequitably at another’s expense. One condition for invoking this
principle of unjust enrichment is that the aggrieved party has no other recourse based on contract, quasi-
contract, crime, quasi-delict or any other provision of law.

Court litigations are primarily designed to search for the truth, and a liberal interpretation and
application of the rules which will give the parties the fullest opportunity to adduce proof is the best way
to ferret out the truth. The dispensation of justice and vindication of legitimate grievances should not be
barred by technicalities. For reasons of substantial justice and equity, as the complement of the legal
jurisdiction that seeks to dispense justice where courts of law, through the inflexibility of their rules and
want of power to adapt their judgments to the special circumstances of cases, are incompetent to do so,
the Court thus rule, pro hac vice, in favor of petitioner.

The rule is that upon the filing of the estafa and BP 22 cases against respondents, where the
petitioner has not made any waiver, express reservation to litigate separately, or has not instituted the
corresponding civil action to collect the amount of P600,000.00 and damages prior to the criminal
action, the civil action is deemed instituted with the criminal cases.

This rule applies especially with the advent of the 2000 Rvised Rules on Criminal Procedure.
Thus, during the pendency of both the estafa and the BP 22 cases, the action to recover the civil liability
was impliedly instituted and remained pending before the respective trial courts. This is consonant with
the Court ruling in Rodriguez v. Ponferrada that the possible single civil liability arising from the act of
issuing a bouncing check can be the subject of both civil actions deemed instituted with the estafa case
and the prosecution for violation of BP 22, simultaneously available to the complaining party, without
traversing the prohibition against forum shopping. Prior to the judgment in either the estafa case or the
BP 22 case, petitioner, as the complainant, cannot be deemed to have elected either of the civil actions
both impliedly instituted in the said criminal proceedings to the exclusion of the other.

Effect if an accused did not appeal.

The RTC convicted accused of the crime of murder. One of them did not appeal. The judgment in
the RTC did not award exemplary damages. The CA affirmed the decision. On appeal, the SC found that
only temperate damages should be awarded, not actual damages. Can he benefit from the judgment on
appeal?

Since accused did not appeal the decision of the CA, only portions of this judgment that are favorable to
him may affect him. On the other hand, portions of the SC judgment that are unfavorable to him cannot
apply to him. Thus, he cannot be made liable to pay for exemplary damages, as the same were not
awarded by the RTC. (People v. Gandia, 544 SCRA 115 (2008). However, he benefits from this Court's
finding that, instead of actual damages, only temperate damages should be awarded to the heirs of the
victim. (People v. Malibiran, G.R. No. 178301, April 24, 2009).

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EVIDENCE

Independently relevant evidence; when admissible.

In a case of murder, appellant contended that the testimony of a witness is hearsay. He


contended that the testimony of the witness that he overheard a conversation between Rolando and
Beverly that they will fetch a man in Bulacan who knew how to place a bomb in a vehicle is hearsay. Is
the contention correct?

No. It is not hearsay. Contrary to the claim of appellant, the testimonies of Oswaldo and Janet are not
covered by the hearsay rule.

The hearsay rule states that a witness may not testify as to what he merely learned from others
either because he was told, or he read or heard the same. This is derived from Section 36, Rule 130,
Revised Rules of Court, which requires that a witness can testify only to those facts that he knows of or
comes from his personal knowledge, that is, that are derived from his perception. Hearsay testimony
may not be received as proof of the truth of what he has learned. (Fullero v. People, 533 SCRA 97
(2007).

The law, however, provides for specific exceptions to the hearsay rule. One is the doctrine of
independently relevant statements, where only the fact that such statements were made is relevant, and
the truth or falsity thereof is immaterial. The hearsay rule does not apply; hence, the statements are
admissible as evidence. Evidence as to the making of such statement is not secondary but primary, for
the statement itself may constitute a fact in issue or be circumstantially relevant as to the existence of
such a fact. (People v. Lobrigas, 394 SCRA 170 (2002). The witness who testifies thereto is competent
because he heard the same, as this is a matter of fact derived from his own perception, and the purpose is
to prove either that the statement was made or the tenor thereof. (People v. Cusi, Jr., 14 SCRA 944
(1965); Cornejo, Sr. v. SB, 152 SCRA 559 (1987); People v. Malibiran, G.R. No. 178301, April 24,
2009).

Exception to the hearsay rule; part of the res gestae.

In Zarate v. RTC Branch 43, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, G.R. No. 152263, July 3, 2009, a
person was stabbed and brought to the hospital where operation was conducted on him for 2 hours. A
police officer took his statement and the victim identified the perpetrator. He put his ear near the
victim’s mouth so he could hear the answers as he was catching his breadth. The statement was taken a
few hours after he regained consciousness. The accused contended that it cannot be admissible as part
of the res gestae because the statement was taken the following morning after he regained
consciousness. Is the contention correct?

No. His statements were still the reflex product of immediate sensual impressions so that it was the
shocking event speaking through him, and he did not have the opportunity to concoct or continue the
story. His statement is admissible as part of the res gestae.

A declaration made spontaneously after a startling occurrence is deemed as part of the res gestae
when (1) the principal act, the res gestae is a startling occurrence; (2) the statements were made before
the declarant had time to contrive or devise; and (3) the statements concern the occurrence in question
and its immediately attending circumstances.

RULE 3
PARTIES

Real party-in-interest.

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In Equitable PCIB, Inc. v. Heirs of Antonio Tiu, et al., G.R. No. 178529, September 4, 2009,
Antonio obtained a loan from PCIB-Tacloban City and executed a REM over a property. His wife
matilde signed with the words “With my Marital Consent”. The REM was amended to increase the loan
and Matilde signed in the same capacity. After Antonio died, there was a notice of foreclosure but the
heirs of Antonio filed a complaint to annul the REM contending that it was without force and effect as it
was executed without the valid consent of the wife. MTD was filed alleging that the heirs are not the
real parties in interest, hence, they have no cause of action. It was denied hence, a petition was brought
to the SC where the main issue raised was that the children are not the real parties in interest, hence,
their complaint states no cause of action citing (Travel Wide Associated, Inc. v. CA, G.R. No. 77356,
July 15, 1991, (99 SCRA 205). Or, is the complaint dismissible considering that the complaint was filed
by the children of Antonio without impleading the wife who is an heir of the husband and principally
obliged under the REM. Explain.

Yes, because Matilde is the real party in interest. The AREM was executed by Antonio, with the marital
consent of Matilde. Since the mortgaged property is presumed conjugal, she is obliged principally under
the AREM. It is thus she, following Art. 1397 of the Civil Code vis a vis Sec. 2 of Rule 3 of the Rules
of Court, who is the real party in interest, hence, the action must be prosecuted in her name as she stands
to be benefited or injured in the action.

RULE 6

Counterclaim is not a collateral attack on a title.

If there is a complaint for recovery of possession over a real property and the defendant files an
answer with counterclaim claiming to be the owner of the property, is the counterclaim a collateral
attack on the title?

No. It is well-settled that a counterclaim is considered an original complaint and as such, the attack on
the title in a case originally for recovery of possession cannot be considered as a collateral attack on the
title. (Sarmiento v. CA, G.R. No. 152627, September 16, 2005, 470 SCRA 99; DBP v. CA, 387 Phil.
283 (2000). It is true that the indefeasibility of torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked. The original
complaint is for the recovery of possession, not an original action to question the validity of the title. To
rule on the issue of validity of the title in a case for recovery of possession is tantamount to a collateral
attack. The exception is when there is a counterclaim claiming ownership, hence, the court can rule on
the validity of the title. To rule on the issue of validity of the title in a case for recovery of possession is
tantamount to a collateral attack. The exception is when there is a counterclaim claiming ownership,
hence, the court can rule on the validity of the title for the counterclaim can be considered as a direct
attack on the same. A counterclaim is considered a complaint only this time, it is the original defendant
who becomes the plaintiff. It stands on the same footing and is to be tested by the same rules as if it
were an independent action. (Rogelio Pasiño, et al. v. Dr. Montenegro, et al., G.R. No. 159494, July 31,
2008).

RULE 8

Complaint must allege actionable document;


effect if not.

In Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Prudential Guarantee & Insurance, Inc., G.R. No. 174116,
September 11, 2009, after the insurer of a cargo from Japan paid the claims for damages, it sued for
reimbursement, claiming that it was subrogated to the rights of the party by virtue of such payment. In
its action, it pleaded a marine cargo risk note, and not a subrogation receipt. The lower court
exonerated the defendant and held that the insurance company was solely liable, as there was no
presentation of the marine insurance policy. Is the decision of the lower court correct?

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The complaint has no basis because, other than the marine cargo risk note, the plaintiff did not present
the marine insurance policy as the same also served as the basis of the complaint for subrogation.

Section 7, Rule 9 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, provides that:

Whenever an action or defense is based upon a written instrument or document,


the substance of such instrument or document shall be set forth in the pleading, and the
original or a copy thereof shall be attached to the pleading as an exhibit, which shall be
deemed to be a part of the pleading, or said copy may, with like effect, be set forth in the
pleading.

Our procedural rules make plain how easily Malayan could have adduced
the Marine Insurance Policy. Ideally, this should have been accomplished from the
moment it filed the complaint. Since the Marine Insurance Policy was constitutive of
the insurer-insured relationship from which Malayan draws its right to
subrogation, such document should have been attached to the complaint itself, as
provided for in Section 7, Rule 9 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
Therefore, since respondent alluded to an actionable document in its complaint, the contract of
insurance between it and Nissan, as integral to its cause of action against petitioner, the Marine
Insurance Policy should have been attached to the Complaint.

It is significant that the date when the alleged insurance contract was constituted cannot be
established with certainty without the contract itself. Said point is crucial because there can be no
insurance on a risk that had already occurred by the time the contract was executed. Surely, the Marine
Risk Note on its face does not specify when the insurance was constituted.

RULE 10
AMENDED PLEADING

Substantial amendment of pleading can be


made; it includes the annexes to the same.

After the debtor failed to pay its obligations secured by collateral over a real property and
Surety Undertakings made by the Directors of the corporation which obtained the loans, a complaint for
sum of money was file attaching thereto the Surety Undertakings of the Directors. In the answer, the
Directors alleged that they were not liable in their personal capacities, but only in their official
capacities attaching thereto a copy of the Surety Undertaking. It was discovered later on that the
auditor of the bank-creditor ordered the insertion of the phrase “In their personal capacities” without
the knowledge of the notary public. The creditor bank filed a motion for leave to substitute the Surety
Undertaking which was granted by the RTC. The CA affirmed the order, hence, a petition for certiorari
was filed with the SC alleging the RTC and CA committed a reversible error in allowing the substitution
of the document since the cause of action was based on a falsified document. It was contended that the
lower courts committed the error in allowing the document’s substitution by relying on Sec. 3, Rule 10
of the Rules of Court. The creditor-bank contended that since the document became an integral part of
the complaint, its substitution with another copy is in the nature of a substantial amendment which is
allowed by the Rules provided that leave of court is obtained. Whose contention is correct?

The contention of the creditor-bank is correct. The lower courts did not err in allowing the substitution
of the surety agreement annexed to the complaint. Under the Rules, when a cause of action is anchored
on a document, its substance must be set forth, and the original or copy thereof shall be attached to the
pleading as an exhibit and deemed a party thereof. (Sec. 7, Rule 8). Substantial amendments may be
made only upon leave of court, but such leave may be refused it is appears to the court that the motion
was made with intent to delay. In Valenzuela v. CA, 416 Phil. 289 (2001), it was ruled that interestingly,
Section 3, Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure amended the former rule in such manner that
the phrase “or that the cause of action or defense is substantially altered” was stricken-off and not
retained in the new rules. The clear import of such amendment in Section 3, Rule 10 is that under the

65
new rules, “the amendment may (now) substantially alter the cause of action or defense.” This should
only be true, however, when despite a substantial change or alteration in the cause of action or defense,
the amendments sought to be made shall serve the higher interests of substantial justice, and prevent
delay and equally promote the laudable objective of the rules which is to secure a “just, speedy and
inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding.

Rules of procedure are but mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. Their strict
and rigid application that would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote
substantial justice must always be avoided. Applied to this case, this not only assures that it would be
resolved based on real facts, but would also aid in the speedy disposition of the case by utilizing the best
evidence possible to determine the rights and obligations of the party litigants. (Tiu, et al. v. Phil. Bank
of Communications, G.R. No. 151932, August 19, 2009).

RULE 38
PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT

Effect if a petition for relief from judgment has no


separate affidavit of merits.

In Samonte v. S.F. Naguiat, Inc., G.R. No. 165544, October 2, 2009, Peralta, J, the SC had the occasion to
once again rule that Section 3, Rule 38 of the Rules of Court requires that the petition must be
accompanied with affidavits of merits showing the fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence
relied upon by petitioner and the facts constituting the petitioner's good and substantial cause of action
or defense as the case maybe. While a petition for relief without a separate affidavit of merit is sufficient
where facts constituting petitioner’s substantial cause of action or defense, as the case may be, are
alleged in a verified petition since the oath elevates the petition to the same category as a separate
affidavit. (Mago v. CA, 363 Phil. 225 (1999).

In this case, the petition for relief was not even verified, hence, the CA was correct in ruling that
the affidavit of merits is an essential requisite without which the petition would be denied.

RULE 39

In Cabang, et al. v. Basay, G.R. No. 180587, March 20, 2009, the SC had the occasion to say
that a final and executory judgment may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification
is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact or law and whether it will be made by the court that
rendered it or by the highest court in the land. The only exceptions to this rule are the correction of (1)
clerical errors; (2) the so-called nunc pro tunc entries which cause no prejudice to any party, and (3)
void judgments.

Well-settled is the rule that there can be no execution until and unless the judgment has become
final and executory, i.e. the period of appeal has lapsed without an appeal having been taken, or, having
been taken, the appeal has been resolved and the records of the case have been returned to the court of
origin, in which event, execution shall issue as a matter of right. In short, once a judgment becomes
final, the winning party is entitled to a writ of execution and the issuance thereof becomes a court’s
ministerial duty.

Furthermore, as a matter of settled legal principle, a writ of execution must adhere to every
essential particulars of the judgment sought to be executed. An order of execution may not vary or go
beyond the terns of the judgment it seeks to enforce. A writ of execution must conform to the judgment
and if it is different from, goes beyond or varies the tenor of the same is void.

Revival of judgment.

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In Quesada, et al. v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 177516, March 13, 209 (Carpio-Morales, J) a judgment
was rendered in a case for forcible entry on August 25, 1975. A Motion for Reconsideration was filed
but it was denied on September 15, 1976. A writ of execution was issued but was not enforced.

In a petition for revival of the judgment on August 26, 1985, the RTC ruled that it cannot be
because the decision had passed from finality after the trial court’s decision. Is the ruling correct? Why?

Answer: No. The 10-year prescriptive period should be reconed from the receipt of the order of denial of
the MR, hence, the action for revival is well-within the 10-year period.

Complaint for revival of judgment and recovery of possession and damages had two causes of
action. The first sought the revival of judgment in the case for forcible entry, which was in favor of
former lessee San Luis. The second sought the recovery of possession and damages against respondents
for violation of petitioners’ right to the possession and fruits of the lot since 1977.

APPEAL

Remedy if a motion for execution is denied;


appeal is proper.

In Simeon M. Valdez v. Financiena Manila, Inc., G.R. No. 183387, September 29, 2009, there was a
Compromise Agreement which was sought to be enforced, hence, a motion for execution was filed. Appeal was
made. Is the remedy proper?

Yes. While 41, Sec. 1 provides that no appeal may be taken from an order of execution, yet, appeal is the proper
remedy if there is a denial of a motion for execution of a judgment. Certiorari under Rule 65 is not the appropriate
remedy as it would be used as a substitute for appeal which is available.

Sps. Dadigon v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 159116, September 30, 2009 reiterates the principle that if the RTC is
acting in its appellate juris, its decision is appealable to the CA by way of Rule 42. Any error is inexcusable and
inexplicable. (Bersamin, J).

RULE 47

Rule 47 is not available to annul a judgment of


conviction; Rule applies only to civil actions.

In Llamas v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 149588, September 29, 2009, the SC once again had the occasion to rule
that Rule 47 cannot be availed of as a remedy to annul a judgment in a criminal case. (People v. Bitanga, G.R. No.
159222, June 26, 2007, 525 SCRA 623).

In Bitanga, it was said that there is basis in law or rules, to extend the scope of Rule 47 to criminal cases for
a explained in Macalalag v. Ombudsman, where there is no law or rule providing for this remedy, recourse to it
cannot be allowed. This is especially so that under Sec. 18, Rule 47, the Rule states that the provisions of Rules
42, 44 to 46 and 48 to 56 relating to procedure in the Court of Appeals and in the Supreme Court in
original and appealed civil cases shall be applied to criminal cases insofar as they are applicable and not
inconsistent with the provisions of this Rule.

EVIDENCE

Effect of statement in the affidavit calling the


two accused as “unidentified men.”

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In Mercado v. People, G.R. No. 161902, September 11, 2009, the SC had the occasion to say
that the statement in witnesses’ affidavit calling the two accused as “two unidentified men” does not
foreclose the fact that the affiant is familiar with the faces of the assailants but cannot identify them by
their names. In fact, in his affidavit, he already mentioned that he remembered seeing accused before as
the latter had a scar on his face. As stated in Decasa v. Court of Appeals, it was said:

x x x [T]his Court had consistently ruled that the alleged inconsistencies between the
testimony of a witness in open court and his sworn statement before the
investigators are not fatal defects to justify a reversal of judgment. Such discrepancies
do not necessarily discredit the witness since ex parte affidavits are almost always
incomplete. A sworn statement or an affidavit does not purport to contain a complete
compendium of the details of the event narrated by the affiant. Sworn statements taken
ex parte are generally considered to be inferior to the testimony given in open court.

xxxx

The discrepancies in [the witness]’s testimony do not damage the essential


integrity of the prosecution’s evidence in its material whole. Instead, the discrepancies
only erase suspicion that the testimony was rehearsed or concocted. These honest
inconsistencies serve to strengthen rather than destroy [the witness]’s credibility.
(G.R. No. 172184, July 10, 2007, 527 SCRA 267).

His statement in his affidavit that “two unidentified men arrived” cannot be taken to mean that he
cannot identify the assailants from mug shots or if he comes face to face with said persons again. His
candid, though, imprecise language in his affidavit merely bolsters his credibility.

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