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Nocom v Camerino

P: Mariano Nocom
R: Oscar Camerino, Efren Camerino, Cornelio Mantile, and Mildred Del Rosario, in her capacity as legal heir and representative of
Nolasco del Rosario

Petition for Review on Certiorari seeking to reverse and set aside the CA decision. Offshoot from prior case entitled “Springsun
Management Systems Corporation v Oscar Camerino, Efren Camerino, Cornelio Mantile, Nolasco Del Rosario, and Domingo
Enriquez.”

The respondents Camerino et al were the tenants who were tilling on the parcels of land planted to rice and corn previously owned
by Victoria Homes. Without notifying Camerino et al, Victoria Homes sold the lots to SMSC for P9,790,612. The 3 deeds of sale were
registered and new titles were issued in the name of SMSC. SMSC subsequently mortgaged to BF (Banco Filipino) these lots as
collaterals for its loans amounting to P11,545,000. Since SMSC failed to pay, SMSC extrajudicially foreclosed the mortgage and was
later adjudged the highest bidder.

Camerino et al filed a complaint against SMSC and BF for "Prohibition/Certiorari, Reconveyance/Redemption, Damages, Injunction
with Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order." SMSC redeemed lots from BF.
RTC Muntinlupa found Camerino et al to be tenants who have been tilling on the land since 1967 and, thus, authorized them to
redeem the lots. The court’s judgment is as follows:
o Camerino et al are entitled to redeem; SMSC is ordered to allow Camerino to redeem the landholdings within 180 days
from the finality of the decision at the price of P9,790,612; if fully paid, SMSC is ordered to deliver the titles and Deed
of redemption to Camerino
o Camerino et al are entitled to possession, SMSC should vacate and surrender the lands to them
o The case is dismissed against BF and Mortgage Bank
o SMSC ordered to pay 200k to Camerino as atty’s fees, plus costs.

CA affirmed with the modification RTC decision and deleted award of 200K attorney’s fees for lack of legal basis.
SC affirmed the CA decision, reiterating that being agricultural tenants of Victoria Homes that sold lots to SMSC without notifying
them, Camerino et al had right to redeem properties from SMSC. MR and leave to file for second MR by SMSC were denied.

[Dec. 3, 2003] Petitioner Nocom gave Camerino et al several Philtrust Bank Manager’s Cehcks amounting to 500k each, which they
encashed, representing price of their “inchoate and contingent rights” over the lots sold to the former. Camerino et al, with their
wives’ consent, executed an Irrevocable Power of Attorney in favor of Nocom, which was notarized by their counsel, Atty. Santos. In
the instrument, Nocom was authorized to:
o Sell, assign, transfer, dispose of, mortgage, and alienate the property in the name of SMSC
o Comply with decision by paying redemption price and secure execution of judgment
o Accept and receive for his exclusive benefit proceeds which may be derived from sale, mortgage, transfer, or
deposition
o Sign and execute deeds and docs necessary and to issue receipts
o Negotiate, deal, and transact with all people involved in the civil case, with full power and authority to compromise
with them
o Procure all documents and papers in government agencies
o Procure necessary transfer certificate of titles in his name as absolute owner of the properties.
o “giving and granting full power and authority to [Nocom] to do all things requisite and necessary with legal effects as if
done by Camerino et al

In 2005, Camerino et al filed a Motion for Execution with Prayer to Order the Register of Deeds to divest SMSC of titles and have
the same vested on them. Because SMSC refused to accept the redemption amount given by Nocom, Camerino et al deposited the
same with the RTC. RTC granted the Motion and the titles were cancelled and issued in the name of Camerino et al. It also ordered
the annotation of the Power of Attorney in the memorandum of encumbrances.
Oscar Camerino filed a complaint captioned as “Petition to Revoke Power of Attorney” in the RTC, seeking the turnover of titles and
payment of atty’s fees and other legal fees, claiming that he didn’t know the contents of the document that his lawyer asked him to
sign and that he had no intention of conferring authority to do any of the acts enumerated in the document. Nocom filed an Answer
with Counterclaim and said that Camerino’s counsel, Atty. Santos, informed him of his clients’ desire and that they are in dire need
of money to redeem their lots. He decided to buy the contingent rights and interests of Camerino and paid them 500k each (total of
2.5M) + commission of P147,059.18. Along with the payment, they also signed an Irrevocable Power of Attorney, which cannot be
cancelled by any of the parties. Nocom prayed for the Dismissal + damages
Nocom filed a Motion for Preliminary Hearing on his special/affirmative defense that:
o Oscar Camerino had no action/legal right over the lots because he and his wife received the check and personally
encashed the same
o Being coupled with interest, the IPOA (“irrevocable power of attorney”) cannot be revoked or cancelled at will by any
party.

Efren Camerino, Mantile, and Del Rosario filed a Motion for Leave of Court to Admit the Complaint-in-Intervention seeking
nullification of IPOA for being contrary to law and public policy. They alleged:
o To have legal interest in the subject matter of the controversy and would be directly affected by the judgment
o To be co-signatories or co-grantors of Oscar
o Their consent was vitiated due to fraud, misrepresentation, etc. by their counsel and Nocom
o Sometime in Dec. 2003, they were called in a meeting attended by Nocom and Judge Lerma where Nocom gave them
500K checks each as “Christmas Gifts”
o The IPOA was void since it was contrary to law and public policy for being a champertous 1 contract

Oscar filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, alleging that the only issues to be resolved as whether the document was coupled
with interest and whether it was revocable. According to Oscar, Summary Judgment was proper since Nocom did not raise any issue
relevant to the contents of the IPOA and that Oscar already admitted having received a check from Nocom. Nocom opposed the
Motion on the ground that there were still factual issues requiring presentation of evidence.
Nocom then filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaint on the ground that the Petition for the Cancellation of IPOA was actually an
Action to Recover titles and ownership on the properties; since the value of the lots amounted to 600k, the case is a real action and
the docket fees of 3,929 was insufficient. As such, RTC did not have jurisdiction over the subject matter and complaint should be
dismissed. Oscar filed Reply to Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment claiming that the issue of WON the 500k received by
him rendered the IPOA irrevocable can be determined from the allegations in the pleadings and affidavits on record without need of
introducing evidence.
Oscar filed an Opposition to Nocom’s Motion to Dismiss stating that the case was a personal action for the revocation to the IPOA
and NOT for the recovery of real property. [RTC] June 9 – RTC Muntinlupa decided to:
o admit the Complaint-in-Intervention because the Efren et al have legal interest in the properties and in the success of
Oscar Camerino in the civil case.
o grant the Motion for Summary Judgment because there is no genuine issue of fact that needs to be tried in order for
the court to arrive at a resolution of a matter of law.
o Deny Nocom’s Motion to Dismiss, provided that Camerino should pay the balance of the docket fees
o Motion for Intervention filed by Efren et al is Granted
o Nocom’s Motion for Preliminary Hearing on Special and Affirmative Defenses is moot and academic

RTC rendered Summary Judgment annulling IPOA for being contrary to law and public policy. Accdg to the court, irrespective of
whether it is coupled with interest or not, the IPA can be revoked because it is contrary to law and public policy.
o The IPOA which authorizes Nocom to procure the titles as absolute owner of the properties is a disguised conveyance
of Camerino et al’s statutory rights of redemption which is prohibited under RA 3844 (Agricultural Land Reform Code),
Sec. 62, which states that “…landholdings acquired under this Code may not be resold, mortgaged, encumbered, or
transferred until after the lapse of ten years from the date of full payment and acquisition and after such ten year
period..”
o The IPOA is void for being contrary to the prohibition of the law above and the public policy of qualification of the
beneficiaries of the agrarian reform program. Court pointed out that the redemption price was paid only 1 yr, 8 mos,
and 14 days after the execution of the IPOA. If Agrarian Reform Law prohibits the tenant from selling the landholding
within 10 yrs, with more reason should the tenant not be allowed to alienate his landholding before he actually
acquires it. Besides, it is State Policy to provide “land for the landless”
o IPOA is a champertous contract, making it void against public policy since it violates the fiduciary relations between
lawyer and client, whose weakness or disadvantage is being exploited by the former. An Agreement whereby the
attorney agrees to pay expenses of proceedings to enforce the client’s rights is champertous. [JBP Holding Corp v US].
In this case, Atty. Santos and Nocom colluded to circumvent the prohibition. Atty. Santos brokered the agreement
between Nocom and Camerino, therefore, the contract is illegal and cannot be enforced. Also, because of this, the
lawyer must incur administrative sanction.
 The intention for this prohibition is to prevent a lawyer from acquiring an interest in the subject of his
litigation and to avoid a conflict of interest between him and his client.
RTC thus ordered IPOA nullified; ordered Nocom to turn over the certificates of title to Camerino, and to return the amount paid by
Nocom as redemption price + commission. Camerino et al ordered to return the P2.5M (500k paid to each by Nocom)

CA affirmed trial court’s order and dismissed Nocom’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction and denied Nocom’s MR.
o Since RTC rendered the Summary Judgment based on pleadings and without trial, the same did not involve factual
matters.
o Issues raised by Nocom are questions of law, but the proper mode of appeal should have been a Petition for Review on
Certiorari under Rule 45, ROC, and not through an ordinary appeal under Rule 41.

Nocom:
 Case involves questions of fact so CA shouldn’t have dismissed the appeal; Summary judgment likewise not proper because
there were genuine issues of fact
 Camerino et al failed to implead their lawyer Atty. Santos as an indispensable party-defendant
 Since the case is an action to recover ownership and titles to properties, Camerino et al’s complaint should be dismissed for
failure to pay the correct docket fees.
Oscar Camerino:
 Sole issue to be resolved is the legal issue of whether the IPOA may be revoked.
 3 material facts have been established: (1) Spa was executed; (2) Atty Santos facilitated signing and execution of SPA; (3) Nocom
failed 500k to each of the respondents; thus, summary judgment was proper
 Pure questions of law not proper in ordinary appeal under Rule 41 of the Rules
Efren Camerino et al:
 Nocom’s petition is insufficient in form due to defective verification as the word “personal” was not stated when referring to
“personal knowledge” and in substance i.e. no genuine issue to be resolved since factual allegations of Nocom are
unsubstantial;
 Atty. Santos is not party to the case

Issue: Was the CA correct in dismissing Nocom’s appeal? (NO.)

Ratio:
Summary judgment is inappropriate in this case. Contrary to findings of RTC and CA, the present case involves certain factual issues
which remove it from the coverage of a summary judgment. Sec. 1, Rule 35, ROC states that a party seeking to recover upon a claim,
counterclaim, or cross-claim or to obtain a declaratory relief may, at any time after the pleading in answer thereto has been served,
move with supporting affidavits, depositions or admissions for a summary judgment in his favor upon all or any part thereof.
A Summary Judgment is a procedural device resorted to in order to avoid long drawn out litigations and useless delays. When the
pleadings show that there are no genuine issues of fact, the Rules allow a party to obtain immediate relief by way of summary
judgment, that is, when the facts are not in dispute, the court is allowed to decide the case summarily by applying the law to the
material facts. However, when the pleadings tender a “genuine issue” a summary judgment is not proper.
Two requisites for a Summary Judgment to be proper:
a) No genuine issue as to any material fact, except for the amount of damages
b) Party presenting the motion for summary judgment must be entitled to a judgment as a matter of law
A summary judgment is proper if, while the pleadings on their face appear to raise issues, the affidavits, depositions, and admissions
presented by the moving party show that such issues are not genuine. In this case, Summary Judgment is inappropriate because
there are genuine issues which call for a full blown trial. Party who proves for summary judgment has the burden of proving the
absence of any genuine issue of fact, or that the issue in the complaint is unsubstantial as to not constitute a genuine issue for trial.
When the facts as pleaded by the parties are disputed or contested, proceedings for summary judgment cannot take the place of
trial.
A Summary Judgment is based on the facts proven by affidavits, depositions, pleadings, or admissions of the parties. In this case,
despite the fact that both parties acknowledge the existence of the IPOA, there is a need to determine whether the same is valid and
whether its execution was attended by vices of consent. The incongruence and disparity in the material allegations of both parties
regarding the validity of the IPOA is evident (i.e. Camerino says it was procured through fraud therefore making it void. On the other
hand, Nocom says that they knowingly and voluntarily signed the IPOA, and that after his payment of the redemption money, the
IPOA, being coupled with interest, cannot be revoked at will by any party)

Failure to implead Atty. Santos in Camerino’s complaint does not warrant dismissal. Since Camerino et al claim that they were
deceived by their lawyer, they should have impleaded Atty. Santos as an indispensable party when the case was still with the RTC,
but they failed to do so. However, this did not constitute sufficient ground for the dismissal of the civil case. Citing Domingo v
Scheer, Sec. 7, Rule 3 ROC as amended requires indispensable parties to be joined as plaintiffs or defendants. Such joinder of
indispensable parties is mandatory; without presence of indispensable parties, the judgment of the court cannot attain real finality
and 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. Such responsibility of impleading the indispensable party rests on the plaintiff.
However, non-joinder of an indispensable party is not a ground for the dismissal of an action. 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 such times as are just. If the petitioner or
plaintiff refuses to implead an indispensable party despite the order of the court, the latter may dismiss the complaint or petition. In
effect, remedy is to implead the non-party claimed to be indispensable. In this case, RTC and CA did not require Camerino et al to
implead Atty. Santos. The operative act that would lead to the dismissal of the civil case would be the refusal of Camerino to comply
with the directive of the court for the joinder of an indispensable party to the case.

Action filed by Camerino is personal and not real. The complaint filed by Oscar Camerino denominated as “Petition to Revoke
Power of Attorney” seeks the nullification of the IPOA, turnover of the Certificate of titles, and payment by Nocom of atty’s fees and
other legal fees. As it stands, the action is not to recover the titles and ownership over the subject properties. For now, the nature of
the suit remains that of personal action and not a real action in contemplation of Rule 4 of the Rules. Docket fees paid by Camerino
were correct. Should the complaint be amended to seek recovery of ownership of the land, then the proper docket fees should be
paid and collected.

Although RTC erred in rendering the summary judgment, it should not be dismissed. It should be remanded to the RTC for further
proceedings and proper disposition according to the rudiments of a regular trial on the merits and not through an abbreviated
termination of the case by summary judgment.

Dispositive: Petition PARTIALLY GRANTED. Case Remanded to RTC for further proceedings.