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VOL. 618, APRIL 20, 2010 489 instrumentalities. The pertinent portions of Executive Order No.

in turn, provide:
Banda vs. Ermita
“SECTION 1. The NPO shall continue to provide printing
G.R. No. 166620. April 20, 2010.*
services to government agencies and instrumentalities as
mandated by law. However, it shall no longer enjoy exclusive
The present controversy arose from a Petition for Certiorari and
jurisdiction over the printing services requirements of the
prohibition challenging the constitutionality of Executive Order No.
government over standard and accountable forms. It shall have
378 dated October 25, 2004, issued by President Gloria Macapagal
to compete with the private sector, except in the printing of
Arroyo (President Arroyo). Petitioners characterize their action as a
election paraphernalia which could be shared with the Bangko
class suit filed on their own behalf and on behalf of all their co-
Sentral ng Pilipinas, upon the discretion of the Commission on
employees at the National Printing Office (NPO).
Elections consistent with the provisions of the Election Code of 1987.
The NPO was formed on July 25, 1987, during the term of former
SECTION 2. Government agencies/instrumentalities may source
President Corazon C. Aquino (President Aquino), by virtue of
printing services outside NPO provided that:
Executive Order No. 2851 which provided, among others, the creation
2.1 The printing services to be provided by the private sector is
of the NPO from the merger of the Government Printing Office and the
superior in quality and at a lower cost than what is offered by the NPO;
relevant printing units of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
Section 6 of Executive Order No. 285 reads:
2.2 The private printing provider is flexible in terms of meeting
“SECTION 6. Creation of the National Printing Office.—
the target completion time of the government agency.
There is hereby created a National Printing Office out of the merger of
SECTION 3. In the exercise of its functions, the amount to
the Government Printing Office and the relevant printing units of the
be appropriated for the programs, projects and activities of the
Philippine Information Agency. The Office shall have exclusive
NPO in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) shall be limited
printing jurisdiction over the following:
to its income without additional financial support from the
a. Printing, binding and distribution of all standard and
government.” (Emphases and underscoring supplied.)
accountable forms of national, provincial, city and municipal
Pursuant to Executive Order No. 378, government agencies and
governments, including government corporations;
instrumentalities are allowed to source their printing services from the
b. Printing of officials ballots;
private sector through competitive bidding, subject to the condition
c. Printing of public documents such as the Official Gazette,
that the services offered by the private supplier be of superior quality
General Appropriations Act, Philippine Reports, and development
and lower in cost compared to what was offered by the NPO. Executive
information materials of the Philippine Information Agency.
Order No. 378 also limited NPO’s appropriation in the General
The Office may also accept other government printing jobs,
Appropriations Act to its income.
including government publications, aside from those enumerated
Perceiving Executive Order No. 378 as a threat to their security of
above, but not in an exclusive basis.
tenure as employees of the NPO, petitioners now challenge its
The details of the organization, powers, functions, authorities, and
constitutionality, contending that: (1) it is beyond the executive powers
related management aspects of the Office shall be provided in the
of President Arroyo to amend or repeal Executive Order No. 285 issued
implementing details which shall be prepared and promulgated in
by former President Aquino when the latter still exercised legislative
accordance with Section II of this Executive Order.
powers; and (2) Executive Order No. 378 violates petitioners’ security
The Office shall be attached to the Philippine Information Agency.”
of tenure, because it paves the way for the gradual abolition of the
On October 25, 2004, President Arroyo issued the herein assailed
Executive Order No. 378, amending Section 6 of Executive Order No.
We dismiss the petition.
285 by, inter alia, removing the exclusive jurisdiction of the NPO over
Before proceeding to resolve the substantive issues, the Court must
the printing services requirements of government agencies and
first delve into a procedural matter. Since petitioners instituted this
case as a class suit, the Court, thus, must first determine if the petition counsel for respondents, who pointed out that there were about 549
indeed qualifies as one. In Board of Optometry v. Colet,2 we held that employees in the NPO.4 The 67 petitioners undeniably comprised a
“[c]ourts must exercise utmost caution before allowing a class suit, small fraction of the NPO employees whom they claimed to represent.
which is the exception to the requirement of joinder of all indispensable Subsequently, 32 of the original petitioners executed an Affidavit of
parties. For while no difficulty may arise if the decision secured is Desistance, while one signed a letter denying ever signing the
favorable to the plaintiffs, a quandary would result if the decision were petition,5ostensibly reducing the number of petitioners to 34. We note
otherwise as those who were deemed impleaded by their self-appointed that counsel for the petitioners challenged the validity of the desistance
representatives would certainly claim denial of due process.” or withdrawal of some of the petitioners and insinuated that such
Section 12, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court defines a class suit, as desistance was due to pressure from people “close to the seat of
follows: power.”6 Still, even if we were to disregard the affidavit of desistance
“Sec. 12. Class suit.—When the subject matter of the controversy filed by some of the petitioners, it is highly doubtful that a sufficient,
is one of common or general interest to many persons so numerous that representative number of NPO employees have instituted this
it is impracticable to join all as parties, a number of them which the purported class suit. A perusal of the petition itself would show that of
court finds to be sufficiently numerous and representative as to fully the 67 petitioners who signed the Verification/Certification of Non-
protect the interests of all concerned may sue or defend for the benefit Forum Shopping, only 20 petitioners were in fact mentioned in
of all. Any party in interest shall have the right to intervene to protect the jurat as having duly subscribed the petition before the notary
his individual interest.” public. In other words, only 20 petitioners effectively instituted the
From the foregoing definition, the requisites of a class suit are: 1) present case.
the subject matter of controversy is one of common or general interest Indeed, in MVRS Publications, Inc. v. Islamic Da’wah Council of
to many persons; 2) the parties affected are so numerous that it is the Philippines, Inc.,7 we observed that an element of a class suit or
impracticable to bring them all to court; and 3) the parties bringing the representative suit is the adequacy of representation. In
class suit are sufficiently numerous or representative of the class and determining the question of fair and adequate representation of
can fully protect the interests of all concerned. members of a class, the court must consider (a) whether the interest of
In Mathay v. The Consolidated Bank and Trust Company,3 the the named party is coextensive with the interest of the other members
Court held that: of the class; (b) the proportion of those made a party, as it so bears, to
“An action does not become a class suit merely because it is designated the total membership of the class; and (c) any other factor bearing on
as such in the pleadings. Whether the suit is or is not a class suit the ability of the named party to speak for the rest of the class.
depends upon the attending facts, and the complaint, or other Previously, we held in Ibañes v. Roman Catholic Church8 that
pleading initiating the class action should allege the existence of where the interests of the plaintiffs and the other members of the class
the necessary facts, to wit, the existence of a subject matter of common they seek to represent are diametrically opposed, the class suit will not
interest, and the existence of a class and the number of persons in prosper.
the alleged class, in order that the court might be enabled to It is worth mentioning that a Manifestation of Desistance,9 to which
determine whether the members of the class are so numerous the previously mentioned Affidavit of Desistance10 was attached, was
as to make it impracticable to bring them all before the court, filed by the President of the National Printing Office Workers
to contrast the number appearing on the record with the Association (NAPOWA). The said manifestation expressed NAPOWA’s
number in the class and to determine whether claimants on opposition to the filing of the instant petition in any court. Even if we
record adequately represent the class and the subject matter take into account the contention of petitioners’ counsel that the
of general or common interest.” (Emphases ours.) NAPOWA President had no legal standing to file such manifestation,
Here, the petition failed to state the number of NPO employees who the said pleading is a clear indication that there is a divergence of
would be affected by the assailed Executive Order and who were opinions and views among the members of the class sought to be
allegedly represented by petitioners. It was the Solicitor General, as represented, and not all are in favor of filing the present suit. There is
here an apparent conflict between petitioners’ interests and those of (2) Transfer any function under the Office of the
the persons whom they claim to represent. Since it cannot be said that President to any other Department or Agency as well
petitioners sufficiently represent the interests of the entire class, the as transfer functions to the Office of the Presidentfrom
instant case cannot be properly treated as a class suit. other Departments and Agencies; and
As to the merits of the case, the petition raises two main grounds to (3) Transfer any agency under the Office of the
assail the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 378: President to any other department or agency as well as
First, it is contended that President Arroyo cannot amend or repeal transfer agencies to the Office of the President from other
Executive Order No. 285 by the mere issuance of another executive Departments or agencies.” (Emphases ours.)
order (Executive Order No. 378). Petitioners maintain that former Interpreting the foregoing provision, we held in Buklod ng
President Aquino’s Executive Order No. 285 is a legislative enactment, Kawaning EIIB, thus:
as the same was issued while President Aquino still had legislative “But of course, the list of legal basis authorizing the President to
powers under the Freedom Constitution;11 thus, only Congress through reorganize any department or agency in the executive branch does not
legislation can validly amend Executive Order No. 285. have to end here. We must not lose sight of the very source of the
Second, petitioners maintain that the issuance of Executive Order power—that which constitutes an express grant of power. Under
No. 378 would lead to the eventual abolition of the NPO and would Section 31, Book III of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise known as
violate the security of tenure of NPO employees. the Administrative Code of 1987), “the President, subject to the policy
Anent the first ground raised in the petition, we find the same in the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and
patently without merit. efficiency, shall have the continuing authority to reorganize the
It is a well-settled principle in jurisprudence that the President has administrative structure of the Office of the President.” For this
the power to reorganize the offices and agencies in the executive purpose, he may transfer the functions of other Departments or
department in line with the President’s constitutionally granted power Agencies to the Office of the President. In Canonizado v.
of control over executive offices and by virtue of previous delegation of Aguirre [323 SCRA 312 (2000)], we ruled that reorganization
the legislative power to reorganize executive offices under existing “involves the reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or
statutes. abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of
In Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB v. Zamora,12 the Court pointed out functions.” It takes place when there is an alteration of the
that Executive Order No. 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987 gives existing structure of government offices or units therein,
the President continuing authority to reorganize and redefine the including the lines of control, authority and responsibility
functions of the Office of the President. Section 31, Chapter 10, Title between them. The EIIB is a bureau attached to the Department of
III, Book III of the said Code, is explicit: Finance. It falls under the Office of the President. Hence, it is subject
“Sec. 31. Continuing Authority of the President to Reorganize his to the President’s continuing authority to reorganize.”13 (Emphasis
Office.—The President, subject to the policy in the Executive ours.)
Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and It is undisputed that the NPO, as an agency that is part of the Office
efficiency, shall have continuing authority to reorganize the of the Press Secretary (which in various times has been an agency
administrative structure of the Office of the President. For this directly attached to the Office of the Press Secretary or as an agency
purpose, he may take any of the following actions: under the Philippine Information Agency), is part of the Office of the
(1) Restructure the internal organization of the President.14
Office of the President Proper, including the immediate Pertinent to the case at bar, Section 31 of the Administrative Code
Offices, the President Special Assistants/Advisers System and of 1987 quoted above authorizes the President (a) to restructure the
the Common Staff Support System, by abolishing, internal organization of the Office of the President Proper, including
consolidating or merging units thereof or transferring the immediate Offices, the President Special Assistants/Advisers
functions from one unit to another; System and the Common Staff Support System, by abolishing,
consolidating or merging units thereof or transferring functions from offices has been consistently supported by specific provisions
one unit to another, and (b) to transfer functions or offices from the in general appropriations laws.
Office of the President to any other Department or Agency in the In the oft-cited Larin v. Executive Secretary,16 the Courtlikewise
Executive Branch, and vice versa. adverted to certain provisions of Republic Act No. 7645, the general
Concomitant to such power to abolish, merge or consolidate offices appropriations law for 1993, as among the statutory bases for the
in the Office of the President Proper and to transfer functions/offices President’s power to reorganize executive agencies, to wit:
not only among the offices in the Office of President Proper but also the “Section 48 of R.A. 7645 provides that:
rest of the Office of the President and the Executive Branch, the “Sec. 48. Scaling Down and Phase Out of Activities of
President implicitly has the power to effect less radical or less Agencies Within the Executive Branch.—The heads of
substantive changes to the functional and internal structure of the departments, bureaus and offices and agencies are hereby
Office of the President, including the modification of functions of such directed to identify their respective activities which are no
executive agencies as the exigencies of the service may require. longer essential in the delivery of public services and which may
In the case at bar, there was neither an abolition of the NPO nor a be scaled down, phased out or abolished, subject to civil [service]
removal of any of its functions to be transferred to another agency. rules and regulations. x x x. Actual scaling down, phasing out or
Under the assailed Executive Order No. 378, the NPO remains the abolition of the activities shall be effected pursuant to Circulars
main printing arm of the government for all kinds of government forms or Orders issued for the purpose by the Office of the President.”
and publications but in the interest of greater economy and Said provision clearly mentions the acts of "scaling down,
encouraging efficiency and profitability, it must now compete with the phasing out and abolition" of offices only and does not cover
private sector for certain government printing jobs, with the exception the creation of offices or transfer of functions. Nevertheless,
of election paraphernalia which remains the exclusive responsibility of the act of creating and decentralizing is included in the
the NPO, together with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, as the subsequent provision of Section 62, which provides that:
Commission on Elections may determine. At most, there was a mere “Sec. 62. Unauthorized organizational changes.—Unless
alteration of the main function of the NPO by limiting the exclusivity otherwise created by law or directed by the President of the
of its printing responsibility to election forms.15 Philippines, no organizational unit or changes in key positions
There is a view that the reorganization actions that the President in any department or agency shall be authorized in their
may take with respect to agencies in the Office of the President are respective organization structures and be funded from
strictly limited to transfer of functions and offices as seemingly appropriations by this Act.”
provided in Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987. The foregoing provision evidently shows that the President
However, Section 20, Chapter 7, Title I, Book III of the same Code is authorized to effect organizational changesincluding the
significantly provides: creation of offices in the department or agency concerned.
“Sec. 20. Residual Powers.—Unless Congress provides otherwise, The contention of petitioner that the two provisions are riders
the President shall exercise such other powers and functions deserves scant consideration. Well settled is the rule that every law
vested in the President which are provided forunder the has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. Unless and until
laws and which are not specifically enumerated above, or which are a specific provision of the law is declared invalid and unconstitutional,
not delegated by the President in accordance with law.” (Emphasis the same is valid and binding for all intents and
ours.) purposes.”17 (Emphases ours)
Pursuant to Section 20, the power of the President to reorganize the Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB v. Zamora,18 where the Court upheld as
Executive Branch under Section 31 includes such powers and functions valid then President Joseph Estrada’s Executive Order No. 191
that may be provided for under other laws. To be sure, an inclusive and “deactivating” the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau
broad interpretation of the President’s power to reorganize executive (EIIB) of the Department of Finance, hewed closely to the reasoning
in Larin. The Court, among others, also traced from the General
Appropriations Act19the President’s authority to effect organizational improvements are necessary; and implement corresponding
changes in the department or agency under the executive structure, structural, functional and operational adjustments that will
thus: result in streamlined organization and operations and
“We adhere to the precedent or ruling in Larin that this provision improved performance and productivity: PROVIDED, That
recognizes the authority of the President to effect organizational actual streamlining and productivity improvements in agency
changes in the department or agency under the executive structure. organization and operations, as authorized by the President of the
Such a ruling further finds support in Section 78 of Republic Act No. Philippines for the purpose, including the utilization of savings
8760. Under this law, the heads of departments, bureaus, offices and generated from such activities, shall be in accordance with the rules
agencies and other entities in the Executive Branch are directed (a) to and regulations to be issued by the DBM, upon consultation with the
conduct a comprehensive review of their respective mandates, Presidential Committee on Effective Governance: PROVIDED,
missions, objectives, functions, programs, projects, activities and FURTHER, That in the implementation
systems and procedures; (b) identify activities which are no longer of organizations/reorganizations, or specific changes in agency
essential in the delivery of public services and which may be scaled structure, functions and operations as a result of institutional
down, phased-out or abolished; and (c) adopt measures that will strengthening or as mandated by law, the appropriation,
result in the streamlined organization and improved overall including the functions, projects, purposes and activities of
performance of their respective agencies. Section 78 ends up with agencies concerned may be realigned as may be necessary:
the mandate that the actual streamlining and productivity PROVIDED, FINALLY, That any unexpended balances or savings in
improvement in agency organization and operation shall be effected appropriations may be made available for payment of retirement
pursuant to Circulars or Orders issued for the purpose by the Office of gratuities and separation benefits to affected personnel, as authorized
the President. x x x.”20 (Emphasis ours) under existing laws.” (Emphases and underscoring ours.)
Notably, in the present case, the 2003 General Appropriations Act, Implicitly, the aforequoted provisions in the appropriations law
which was reenacted in 2004 (the year of the issuance of Executive recognize the power of the President to reorganize even executive
Order No. 378), likewise gave the President the authority to effect a offices already funded by the said appropriations act, including the
wide variety of organizational changes in any department or agency in power to implement structural, functional, and operational
the Executive Branch. Sections 77 and 78 of said Act provides: adjustmentsin the executive bureaucracy and, in so doing, modify or
“Section 77. Organized Changes.—Unless otherwise provided realign appropriations of funds as may be necessary under such
by law or directed by the President of the Philippines, no reorganization. Thus, insofar as petitioners protest the limitation of
changes in key positions or organizational units in any department or the NPO’s appropriations to its own income under Executive Order No.
agency shall be authorized in their respective organizational 378, the same is statutorily authorized by the above provisions.
structures and funded from appropriations provided by this Act. In the 2003 case of Bagaoisan v. National Tobacco
Section 78. Institutional Strengthening and Productivity Administration,21 we upheld the “streamlining” of the National
Improvement in Agency Organization and Operations and Tobacco Administration through a reduction of its personnel and
Implementation of Organization/Reorganization Mandated by Law.— deemed the same as included in the power of the President to
The Government shall adopt institutional strengthening and reorganize executive offices granted under the laws, notwithstanding
productivity improvement measures to improve service delivery that such streamlining neither involved an abolition nor a transfer of
and enhance productivity in the government, as directed by the functions of an office. To quote the relevant portion of that decision:
President of the Philippines. The heads of departments, bureaus, “In the recent case of Rosa Ligaya C. Domingo, et al. vs. Hon.
offices, agencies, and other entities of the Executive Branch shall Ronaldo D. Zamora, in his capacity as the Executive Secretary, et
accordingly conduct a comprehensive review of their respective al., this Court has had occasion to also delve on the President’s power
mandates, missions, objectives, functions, programs, projects, to reorganize the Office of the President under Section 31(2) and (3) of
activities and systems and procedures; identify areas where
Executive Order No. 292 and the power to reorganize the Office of the bureaus and offices.” Section 31, Book III, Chapter 10 of Executive
President Proper. x x x Order No. 292, also known as the Administrative Code of 1987 reads:
xxxx SEC. 31. Continuing Authority of the President to
The first sentence of the law is an express grant to the President of Reorganize his Office.—The President, subject to the policy in
a continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy
the Office of the President. The succeeding numbered paragraphs and efficiency, shall have continuing authority to reorganize the
are not in the nature of provisos that unduly limit the aim and administrative structure of the Office of the President. For this
scope of the grant to the President of the power to reorganize purpose, he may take any of the following actions:
but are to be viewed in consonance therewith.Section 31(1) of xxxx
Executive Order No. 292 specifically refers to the President’s power to In Domingo v. Zamora [445 Phil. 7 (2003)], this Court explained the
restructure the internal organization of the Office of the rationale behind the President’s continuing authority under the
President Proper, by abolishing, consolidating or merging units hereof Administrative Code to reorganize the administrative structure of the
or transferring functions from one unit to another, while Section 31(2) Office of the President. The law grants the President the power to
and (3) concern executive offices outside the Office of the reorganize the Office of the President in recognition of the
President Proper allowing the President to transfer any function under recurring need of every President to reorganize his or her
the Office of the President to any other Department or Agency and vice- office “to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency.” To
versa, and the transfer of any agency under the Office of the President remain effective and efficient, it must be capable of being shaped and
to any other department or agency and vice-versa. reshaped by the President in the manner the Chief Executive deems fit
In the present instance, involving neither an abolition nor to carry out presidential directives and policies.
transfer of offices, the assailed action is a mere reorganization The Administrative Code provides that the Office of the President
under the general provisions of the law consisting mainly of consists of the Office of the President Proper and the agencies under it.
streamlining the NTA in the interest of simplicity, economy The agencies under the Office of the President are identified in Section
and efficiency. It is an act well within the authority of the 23, Chapter 8, Title II of the Administrative Code:
President motivated and carried out, according to the findings of the Sec. 23. The Agencies under the Office of the President.—
appellate court, in good faith, a factual assessment that this Court The agencies under the Office of the President refer to those
could only but accept.”22(Emphases and underscoring supplied.) offices placed under the chairmanship of the President, those
In the more recent case of Tondo Medical Center Employees under the supervision and control of the President, those
Association v. Court of Appeals,23 which involved a structural and under the administrative supervision of the Office of the
functional reorganization of the Department of Health under President, those attached to it for policy and program
an executive order, we reiterated the principle that the power of the coordination, and those that are not placed by law or order
President to reorganize agencies under the executive department by creating them under any specific department.
executive or administrative order is constitutionally and statutorily xxxx
recognized. We held in that case: The power of the President to reorganize the executive department
“This Court has already ruled in a number of cases that the is likewise recognized in general appropriations laws. x x x.
President may, by executive or administrative order, direct the xxxx
reorganization of government entities under the Executive Clearly, Executive Order No. 102 is well within the constitutional
Department. This is also sanctioned under the Constitution, as well power of the President to issue. The President did not usurp any
as other statutes. legislative prerogative in issuing Executive Order No. 102. It is an
Section 17, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, clearly states: exercise of the President’s constitutional power of control over
“[T]he president shall have control of all executive departments, the executive department, supported by the provisions of the
Administrative Code, recognized by other statutes, and To reiterate, we find nothing objectionable in the provision in
consistently affirmed by this Court.”24 (Emphases supplied.) Executive Order No. 378 limiting the appropriation of the NPO to its
Subsequently, we ruled in Anak Mindanao Party-List Group v. own income. Beginning with Larin and in subsequent cases, the Court
Executive Secretary25 that: has noted certain provisions in the general appropriations laws as
“The Constitution’s express grant of the power of control in the likewise reflecting the power of the President to reorganize executive
President justifies an executive action to carry out reorganization offices or agencies even to the extent of modifying and realigning
measures under a broad authority of law. appropriations for that purpose.
In enacting a statute, the legislature is presumed to have Petitioners’ contention that the issuance of Executive Order No. 378
deliberated with full knowledge of all existing laws and jurisprudence is an invalid exercise of legislative power on the part of the President
on the subject. It is thus reasonable to conclude that in passing a has no legal leg to stand on.
statute which places an agency under the Office of the President, it was In all, Executive Order No. 378, which purports to institute
in accordance with existing laws and jurisprudence on the President’s necessary reforms in government in order to improve and upgrade
power to reorganize. efficiency in the delivery of public services by redefining the functions
In establishing an executive department, bureau or office, the of the NPO and limiting its funding to its own income and to transform
legislature necessarily ordains an executive agency’s position in the it into a self-reliant agency able to compete with the private sector, is
scheme of administrative structure. Such determination is primary, well within the prerogative of President Arroyo under her continuing
but subject to the President’s continuing authority to reorganize the delegated legislative power to reorganize her own office. As pointed out
administrative structure. As far as bureaus, agencies or offices in the in the separate concurring opinion of our learned colleague, Associate
executive department are concerned, the power of control may justify Justice Antonio T. Carpio, the objective behind Executive Order No.
the President to deactivate the functions of a particular office. Or a law 378 is wholly consistent with the state policy contained in Republic Act
may expressly grant the President the broad authority to carry out No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act to encourage
reorganization measures. The Administrative Code of 1987 is one such competitiveness by extending equal opportunity to private contracting
law.”26 parties who are eligible and qualified.27
The issuance of Executive Order No. 378 by President Arroyo is an To be very clear, this delegated legislative power to reorganize
exercise of a delegated legislative power granted by the aforementioned pertains only to the Office of the President and the departments, offices
Section 31, Chapter 10, Title III, Book III of the Administrative Code and agencies of the executive branch and does not include the
of 1987, which provides for the continuing authority of the President to Judiciary, the Legislature or the constitutionally-created or mandated
reorganize the Office of the President, “in order to achieve simplicity, bodies. Moreover, it must be stressed that the exercise by the President
economy and efficiency.” This is a matter already well-entrenched in of the power to reorganize the executive department must be in
jurisprudence. The reorganization of such an office through executive accordance with the Constitution, relevant laws and prevailing
or administrative order is also recognized in the Administrative Code jurisprudence.
of 1987. Sections 2 and 3, Chapter 2, Title I, Book III of the said Code In this regard, we are mindful of the previous pronouncement of
provide: this Court in Dario v. Mison28 that:
“Sec. 2. Executive Orders.—Acts of the President providing for “Reorganizations in this jurisdiction have been regarded as
rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or valid provided they are pursued in good faith. As a general rule,
execution of constitutional or statutory powers shall be a reorganization is carried out in “good faith” if it is for the purpose of
promulgated in executive orders. economy or to make bureaucracy more efficient. In that event, no
Sec. 3. Administrative Orders.—Acts of the Presidentwhich dismissal (in case of a dismissal) or separation actually occurs because
relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance the position itself ceases to exist. And in that case, security of tenure
of his duties as administrative head shall be promulgated would not be a Chinese wall. Be that as it may, if the “abolition,” which
in administrative orders.” (Emphases supplied.) is nothing else but a separation or removal, is done for political reasons
or purposely to defeat security of tenure, or otherwise not in good faith, SO ORDERED.
no valid “abolition” takes place and whatever “abolition” is done, is
void ab initio. There is an invalid “abolition” as where there is merely
a change of nomenclature of positions, or where claims of economy are
belied by the existence of ample funds.” (Emphasis ours.)
Stated alternatively, the presidential power to reorganize agencies
and offices in the executive branch of government is subject to the
condition that such reorganization is carried out in good faith.
If the reorganization is done in good faith, the abolition of positions,
which results in loss of security of tenure of affected government
employees, would be valid. In Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB v.
Zamora,29 we even observed that there was no such thing as an
absolute right to hold office. Except those who hold constitutional
offices, which provide for special immunity as regards salary and
tenure, no one can be said to have any vested right to an office or
This brings us to the second ground raised in the petition – that
Executive Order No. 378, in allowing government agencies to secure
their printing requirements from the private sector and in limiting the
budget of the NPO to its income, will purportedly lead to the gradual
abolition of the NPO and the loss of security of tenure of its present
employees. In other words, petitioners avow that the reorganization of
the NPO under Executive Order No. 378 is tainted with bad faith. The
basic evidentiary rule is that he who asserts a fact or the affirmative of
an issue has the burden of proving it.31
A careful review of the records will show that petitioners utterly
failed to substantiate their claim. They failed to allege, much less
prove, sufficient facts to show that the limitation of the NPO’s budget
to its own income would indeed lead to the abolition of the position, or
removal from office, of any employee. Neither did petitioners present
any shred of proof of their assertion that the changes in the functions
of the NPO were for political considerations that had nothing to do with
improving the efficiency of, or encouraging operational economy in, the
said agency.
In sum, the Court finds that the petition failed to show any
constitutional infirmity or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction in President Arroyo’s issuance of Executive
Order No. 378.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED and the prayer
for a Temporary Restraining Order and/or a Writ of Preliminary
Injunction is hereby DENIED. No costs.
2 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED defendant leased [from] plaintiff a certain motor vehicle which is more
particularly described as follows—
Navarro vs. Escobido
G.R. No. 153788. November 27, 2009.*
Serial No. FK416K-51680
Motor No. 6D15-338735
Plate No. GHK-378
This is a petition for review on certiorari1 that seeks to set aside the
Court of Appeals (CA) Decision2 dated October 16, 2001 and
PURCHASE entered into by and between KARGO ENTERPRISES,
Resolution3 dated May 29, 2002 in CA-G.R. SP. No. 64701. These CA
then represented by its Manager, the aforementioned GLENN
rulings affirmed the July 26, 20004 and March 7, 20015 orders of the
O. GO, and defendant ROGER NAVARRO xxx; that in accordance with
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro City,
the provisions of the above LEASE AGREEMENT WITH OPTION TO
denying petitioner Roger V. Navarro’s (Navarro) motion to dismiss.
PURCHASE, defendant ROGER NAVARRO delivered unto plaintiff
six (6) post-dated checks each in the amount of SIXTY-SIX
Background Facts
(P66,333.33) which were supposedly in payment of the agreed rentals;
On September 12, 1998, respondent Karen T. Go filed two
that when the fifth and sixth checks, i.e. PHILIPPINE BANK OF
complaints, docketed as Civil Case Nos. 98-599 (first complaint)6 and
98-598 (second complaint),7 before the RTC for replevin and/or sum of
NOS. 017112 and 017113, respectively dated January 8, 1998 and
money with damages against Navarro. In these complaints, Karen Go
February 8, 1998, were presented for payment and/or credit, the same
prayed that the RTC issue writs of replevin for the seizure of two (2)
were dishonored and/or returned by the drawee bank for the common
motor vehicles in Navarro’s possession.
reason that the current deposit account against which the said checks
The first complaint stated:
were issued did not have sufficient funds to cover the amounts thereof;
“1. That plaintiff KAREN T. GO is a Filipino, of legal age,
that the total amount of the two (2) checks, i.e. the sum of ONE
married to GLENN O. GO, a resident of Cagayan de Oro City
and doing business under the trade name KARGO
& 66/100 PESOS (P132,666.66) therefore represents the principal
ENTERPRISES, an entity duly registered and existing under and by
liability of defendant ROGER NAVARRO unto plaintiff on the basis of
virtue of the laws of the Republic of the Philippines, which has its
the provisions of the above LEASE AGREEMENT WITH RIGHT TO
business address at Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City; that defendant
PURCHASE; that demands, written and oral, were made of
ROGER NAVARRO is a Filipino, of legal age, a resident of 62 Dolores
defendant ROGER NAVARRO to pay the amount of ONE HUNDRED
Street, Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro City, where he may be served with
summons and other processes of the Honorable Court; that defendant
PESOS (P132,666.66), or to return the subject motor vehicle as also
“JOHN DOE” whose real name and address are at present unknown to
plaintiff is hereby joined as party defendant as he may be the person
PURCHASE, but said demands were, and still are, in vain to the great
in whose possession and custody the personal property subject matter
damage and injury of herein plaintiff; xxx
of this suit may be found if the same is not in the possession of
4. That the aforedescribed motor vehicle has not been the subject
defendant ROGER NAVARRO;
of any tax assessment and/or fine pursuant to law, or seized under an
2. That KARGO ENTERPRISES is in the business of, among
execution or an attachment as against herein plaintiff;
others, buying and selling motor vehicles, including hauling trucks and
other heavy equipment;
8. That plaintiff hereby respectfully applies for an order of the
3. That for the cause of action against defendant ROGER
Honorable Court for the immediate delivery of the above-described
NAVARRO, it is hereby stated that on August 8, 1997, the said
motor vehicle from defendants unto plaintiff pending the final
determination of this case on the merits and, for that purpose, there is essentially contending that the RTC committed grave abuse of
attached hereto an affidavit duly executed and bond double the value discretion when it reconsidered the dismissal of the case and directed
of the personal property subject matter hereof to answer for damages Karen Go to amend her complaints by including her husband Glenn Go
and costs which defendants may suffer in the event that the order for as co-plaintiff. According to Navarro, a complaint which failed to state
replevin prayed for may be found out to having not been properly a cause of action could not be converted into one with a cause of action
issued.” by mere amendment or supplemental pleading.
The second complaint contained essentially the same allegations as On October 16, 2001, the CA denied Navarro’s petition and affirmed
the first complaint, except that the Lease Agreement with Option to the RTC’s order.13 The CA also denied Navarro’s motion for
Purchase involved is dated October 1, 1997 and the motor vehicle reconsideration in its resolution of May 29, 2002,14 leading to the filing
leased is described as follows: of the present petition.
Serial No. FK416K-510528 The Petition
Motor No. 6D14-423403
The second complaint also alleged that Navarro delivered three Navarro alleges that even if the lease agreements were in the name
post-dated checks, each for the amount of P100,000.00, to Karen Go in of Kargo Enterprises, since it did not have the requisite juridical
payment of the agreed rentals; however, the third check was personality to sue, the actual parties to the agreement are himself and
dishonored when presented for payment.8 Glenn Go. Since it was Karen Go who filed the complaints and not
On October 12, 19989 and October 14, 1998,10 the RTC issued writs Glenn Go, she was not a real party-in-interest and the complaints
of replevin for both cases; as a result, the Sheriff seized the two vehicles failed to state a cause of action.
and delivered them to the possession of Karen Go. Navarro posits that the RTC erred when it ordered the amendment
In his Answers, Navarro alleged as a special affirmative of the complaint to include Glenn Go as a co-plaintiff, instead of
defense that the two complaints stated no cause of action, since dismissing the complaint outright because a complaint which does not
Karen Go was not a party to the Lease Agreements with Option to state a cause of action cannot be converted into one with a cause of
Purchase (collectively, the lease agreements)—the actionable action by a mere amendment or a supplemental pleading. In effect, the
documents on which the complaints were based. lower court created a cause of action for Karen Go when there was none
On Navarro’s motion, both cases were duly consolidated on at the time she filed the complaints.
December 13, 1999. Even worse, according to Navarro, the inclusion of Glenn Go as co-
In its May 8, 2000 order, the RTC dismissed the case on the ground plaintiff drastically changed the theory of the complaints, to his great
that the complaints did not state a cause of action. prejudice. Navarro claims that the lower court gravely abused its
In response to the motion for reconsideration Karen Go filed dated discretion when it assumed that the leased vehicles are part of the
May 26, 2000,11 the RTC issued another order dated July 26, 2000 conjugal property of Glenn and Karen Go. Since Karen Go is the
setting aside the order of dismissal. Acting on the presumption that registered owner of Kargo Enterprises, the vehicles subject of the
Glenn Go’s leasing business is a conjugal property, the RTC held that complaint are her paraphernal properties and the RTC gravely erred
Karen Go had sufficient interest in his leasing business to file the when it ordered the inclusion of Glenn Go as a co-plaintiff.
action against Navarro. However, the RTC held that Karen Go should Navarro likewise faults the lower court for setting the trial of the
have included her husband, Glenn Go, in the complaint based on case in the same order that required Karen Go to amend her
Section 4, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court (Rules).12 Thus, the lower court complaints, claiming that by issuing this order, the trial court violated
ordered Karen Go to file a motion for the inclusion of Glenn Go as co- Rule 10 of the Rules.
plaintiff. Even assuming the complaints stated a cause of action against him,
When the RTC denied Navarro’s motion for reconsideration on Navarro maintains that the complaints were premature because no
March 7, 2001, Navarro filed a petition for certiorari with the CA,
prior demand was made on him to comply with the provisions of the The central factor in appreciating the issues presented in this case
lease agreements before the complaints for replevin were filed. is the business name Kargo Enterprises. The name appears in the title
Lastly, Navarro posits that since the two writs of replevin were of the Complaint where the plaintiff was identified as “KAREN T. GO
issued based on flawed complaints, the vehicles were illegally seized doing business under the name KARGO ENTERPRISES,” and this
from his possession and should be returned to him immediately. identification was repeated in the first paragraph of the Complaint.
Karen Go, on the other hand, claims that it is misleading for Paragraph 2 defined the business KARGO ENTERPRISES
Navarro to state that she has no real interest in the subject of the undertakes. Paragraph 3 continued with the allegation that the
complaint, even if the lease agreements were signed only by her defendant “leased from plaintiff a certain motor vehicle” that was
husband, Glenn Go; she is the owner of Kargo Enterprises and Glenn thereafter described. Significantly, the Complaint specifies and
Go signed the lease agreements merely as the manager of Kargo attaches as its integral part the Lease Agreement that underlies the
Enterprises. Moreover, Karen Go maintains that Navarro’s insistence transaction between the plaintiff and the defendant. Again, the name
that Kargo Enterprises is Karen Go’s paraphernal property is without KARGO ENTERPRISES entered the picture as this Lease Agreement
basis. Based on the law and jurisprudence on the matter, all property provides:
acquired during the marriage is presumed to be conjugal “This agreement, made and entered into by and between:
property. Finally, Karen Go insists that her complaints sufficiently GLENN O. GO, of legal age, married, with post office address at
established a cause of action against Navarro. Thus, when the RTC xxx, herein referred to as the LESSOR-SELLER; representing
ordered her to include her husband as co-plaintiff, this was merely to KARGO ENTERPRISES as its Manager,
comply with the rule that spouses should sue jointly, and was not xxx”
meant to cure the complaints’ lack of cause of action. thus, expressly pointing to KARGO ENTERPRISES as the
principal that Glenn O. Go represented. In other words, by the express
The Court’s Ruling terms of this Lease Agreement, Glenn Go did sign the agreement only
as the manager of Kargo Enterprises and the latter is clearly the real
We find the petition devoid of merit. party to the lease agreements.
Karen Go is the real party-in-interest As Navarro correctly points out, Kargo Enterprises is a sole
The 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure requires that every action must proprietorship, which is neither a natural person, nor a juridical
be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party-in-interest, i.e., person, as defined by Article 44 of the Civil Code:
the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the “Art. 44. The following are juridical persons:
suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit.15 (1) The State and its political subdivisions;
Interestingly, although Navarro admits that Karen Go is the (2) Other corporations, institutions and entities for public
registered owner of the business name Kargo Enterprises, he still interest or purpose, created by law; their personality begins as soon as
insists that Karen Go is not a real party-in-interest in the case. they have been constituted according to law;
According to Navarro, while the lease contracts were in Kargo (3) Corporations, partnerships and associations for private
Enterprises’ name, this was merely a trade name without a juridical interest or purpose to which the law grants a juridical personality,
personality, so the actual parties to the lease agreements were Navarro separate and distinct from that of each shareholder, partner or
and Glenn Go, to the exclusion of Karen Go. member.”
As a corollary, Navarro contends that the RTC acted with grave Thus, pursuant to Section 1, Rule 3 of the Rules,16Kargo
abuse of discretion when it ordered the inclusion of Glenn Go as co- Enterprises cannot be a party to a civil action. This legal reality leads
plaintiff, since this in effect created a cause of action for the complaints to the question: who then is the proper party to file an action based on
when in truth, there was none. a contract in the name of Kargo Enterprises?
We do not find Navarro’s arguments persuasive. We faced a similar question in Juasing Hardware v.
Mendoza,17 where we said:
“Finally, there is no law authorizing sole proprietorships like Enterprises and its properties are paraphernal or conjugal properties.
petitioner to bring suit in court. The law merely recognizes the To restate the parties’ positions, Navarro alleges that Kargo
existence of a sole proprietorship as a form of business organization Enterprises is Karen Go’s paraphernal property, emphasizing the fact
conducted for profit by a single individual, and requires the proprietor that the business is registered solely in Karen Go’s name. On the other
or owner thereof to secure licenses and permits, register the business hand, Karen Go contends that while the business is registered in her
name, and pay taxes to the national government. It does not vest name, it is in fact part of their conjugal property.
juridical or legal personality upon the sole proprietorship nor empower The registration of the trade name in the name of one person—a
it to file or defend an action in court. woman—does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the trade
Thus, the complaint in the court below should have been filed in name as a property is hers alone, particularly when the woman is
the name of the owner of Juasing Hardware. The allegation in the married. By law, all property acquired during the marriage, whether
body of the complaint would show that the suit is brought by such the acquisition appears to have been made, contracted or registered in
person as proprietor or owner of the business conducted under the name of one or both spouses, is presumed to be conjugal unless the
the name and style Juasing Hardware. The descriptive words contrary is proved.21 Our examination of the records of the case does
“doing business as Juasing Hardware” may be added to the title of the not show any proof that Kargo Enterprises and the properties or
case, as is customarily done.”18 [Emphasis supplied.] contracts in its name are conjugal. If at all, only the bare allegation of
This conclusion should be read in relation with Section 2, Rule 3 of Navarro to this effect exists in the records of the case. As we
the Rules, which states: emphasized in Castro v. Miat:22
“SEC. 2. Parties in interest.—A real party in interest is the party “Petitioners also overlook Article 160 of the New Civil Code. It
who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or provides that “all property of the marriage is presumed to be conjugal
the party entitled to the avails of the suit. Unless otherwise partnership, unless it be prove[n] that it pertains exclusively to the
authorized by law or these Rules, every action must be prosecuted or husband or to the wife.” This article does not require proof that the
defended in the name of the real party in interest.” property was acquired with funds of the partnership. The
As the registered owner of Kargo Enterprises, Karen Go is the party presumption applies even when the manner in which the property was
who will directly benefit from or be injured by a judgment in this case. acquired does not appear.”23[Emphasis supplied.]
Thus, contrary to Navarro’s contention, Karen Go is the real party-in- Thus, for purposes solely of this case and of resolving the issue of
interest, and it is legally incorrect to say that her Complaint does not whether Kargo Enterprises as a sole proprietorship is conjugal or
state a cause of action because her name did not appear in the Lease paraphernal property, we hold that it is conjugal property.
Agreement that her husband signed in behalf of Kargo Enterprises. Article 124 of the Family Code, on the administration of the
Whether Glenn Go can legally sign the Lease Agreement in his conjugal property, provides:
capacity as a manager of Kargo Enterprises, a sole proprietorship, is a “Art. 124. The administration and enjoyment of the
question we do not decide, as this is a matter for the trial court to conjugal partnership property shall belong to both spouses
consider in a trial on the merits. jointly. In case of disagreement, the husband’s decision shall prevail,
Glenn Go’s Role in the Case subject to recourse to the court by the wife for proper remedy, which
We find it significant that the business name Kargo Enterprises is must be availed of within five years from the date of the contract
in the name of Karen T. Go,19 who described herself in the Complaints implementing such decision.
to be “a Filipino, of legal age, married to GLENN O. GO, a resident of xxx”
Cagayan de Oro City, and doing business under the trade name This provision, by its terms, allows either Karen or Glenn Go to
KARGO ENTERPRISES.”20 That Glenn Go and Karen Go are married speak and act with authority in managing their conjugal property, i.e.,
to each other is a fact never brought in issue in the case. Thus, the Kargo Enterprises. No need exists, therefore, for one to obtain the
business name KARGO ENTERPRISES is registered in the name of a consent of the other before performing an act of administration or any
married woman, a fact material to the side issue of whether Kargo act that does not dispose of or encumber their conjugal property.
Under Article 108 of the Family Code, the conjugal partnership is Article 108 of the Family Code provides:
governed by the rules on the contract of partnership in all that is not “Art. 108. The conjugal partnership shall be governed by
in conflict with what is expressly determined in this Chapter or by the the rules on the contract of partnership in all that is not in
spouses in their marriage settlements. In other words, the property conflict with what is expressly determined in this Chapter or by
relations of the husband and wife shall be governed primarily by the spouses in their marriage settlements.”
Chapter 4 on Conjugal Partnership of Gains of the Family Code and, This provision is practically the same as the Civil Code provision it
suppletorily, by the spouses’ marriage settlement and by the rules on superseded:
partnership under the Civil Code. In the absence of any evidence of a “Art. 147. The conjugal partnership shall be governed by
marriage settlement between the spouses Go, we look at the Civil Code the rules on the contract of partnership in all that is not in
provision on partnership for guidance. conflict with what is expressly determined in this Chapter.”
A rule on partnership applicable to the spouses’ circumstances is “In this connection, Article 1811 of the Civil Code provides that “[a]
Article 1811 of the Civil Code, which states: partner is a co-owner with the other partners of specific partnership
“Art. 1811. A partner is a co-owner with the other partners of property.” Taken with the presumption of the conjugal nature of the
specific partnership property. funds used to finance the four checks used to pay for petitioners’ stock
The incidents of this co-ownership are such that: subscriptions, and with the presumption that the credits themselves
(1)“A partner, subject to the provisions of this Title and to any are part of conjugal funds, Article 1811 makes Quirino and Milagros de
agreement between the partners, has an equal right with his Guzman co-owners of the alleged credit.
partners to possess specific partnership property for Being co-owners of the alleged credit, Quirino and Milagros de
partnership purposes; xxx” Guzman may separately bring an action for the recovery thereof. In the
Under this provision, Glenn and Karen Go are effectively co-owners fairly recent cases of Baloloy v. Hular and Adlawan v. Adlawan, we
of Kargo Enterprises and the properties registered under this name; held that, in a co-ownership, co-owners may bring actions for
hence, both have an equal right to seek possession of these properties. the recovery of co-owned property without the necessity of
Applying Article 484 of the Civil Code, which states that “in default of joining all the other co-owners as co-plaintiffs because the suit
contracts, or special provisions, co-ownership shall be governed by the is presumed to have been filed for the benefit of his co-
provisions of this Title,” we find further support in Article 487 of the owners. In the latter case and in that of De Guia v. Court of Appeals,
Civil Code that allows any of the co-owners to bring an action in we also held that Article 487of the Civil Code, which provides that
ejectment with respect to the co-owned property.” any of the co-owners may bring an action for ejectment, covers all
While ejectment is normally associated with actions involving real kinds of action for the recovery of possession.
property, we find that this rule can be applied to the circumstances of In sum, in suits to recover properties, all co-owners are real parties
the present case, following our ruling in Carandang v. Heirs of De in interest. However, pursuant to Article 487 of the Civil Code and
Guzman.24 In this case, one spouse filed an action for the recovery of relevant jurisprudence, any one of them may bring an action, any kind
credit, a personal property considered conjugal property, without of action, for the recovery of co-owned properties. Therefore, only one
including the other spouse in the action. In resolving the issue of of the co-owners, namely the co-owner who filed the suit for the
whether the other spouse was required to be included as a co-plaintiff recovery of the co-owned property, is an indispensable party
in the action for the recovery of the credit, we said: thereto. The other co-owners are not indispensable parties. They are
“Milagros de Guzman, being presumed to be a co-owner of the not even necessary parties, for a complete relief can be accorded in the
credits allegedly extended to the spouses Carandang, seems to be suit even without their participation, since the suit is presumed to have
either an indispensable or a necessary party. If she is an indispensable been filed for the benefit of all co-owners.”25[Emphasis supplied.]
party, dismissal would be proper. If she is merely a necessary party, Under this ruling, either of the spouses Go may bring an action
dismissal is not warranted, whether or not there was an order for her against Navarro to recover possession of the Kargo Enterprises-leased
inclusion in the complaint pursuant to Section 9, Rule 3.” vehicles which they co-own. This conclusion is consistent with Article
124 of the Family Code, supporting as it does the position that either For a writ of replevin to issue, all that the applicant must do is to
spouse may act on behalf of the conjugal partnership, so long as they file an affidavit and bond, pursuant to Section 2, Rule 60 of the Rules,
do not dispose of or encumber the property in question without the which states:
other spouse’s consent. “Sec. 2. Affidavit and bond.
On this basis, we hold that since Glenn Go is not strictly an The applicant must show by his own affidavit or that of some other
indispensable party in the action to recover possession of the leased person who personally knows the facts:
vehicles, he only needs to be impleaded as a pro forma party to the suit, (a) That the applicant is the owner of the property claimed,
based on Section 4, Rule 4 of the Rules, which states: particularly describing it, or is entitled to the
“Section 4. Spouses as parties.—Husband and wife shall sue or be possessionthereof;
sued jointly, except as provided by law.” (b) That the property is wrongfully detained by the adverse
Non-joinder of indispensable parties party, alleging the cause of detention thereof according to the
not ground to dismiss action best of his knowledge, information, and belief;
Even assuming that Glenn Go is an indispensable party to the (c) That the property has not been distrained or taken for a tax
action, we have held in a number of cases26 that the misjoinder or non- assessment or a fine pursuant to law, or seized under a writ of
joinder of indispensable parties in a complaint is not a ground for execution or preliminary attachment, or otherwise placed
dismissal of action. As we stated in Macababbad v. Masirag:27 under custodia legis, or if so seized, that it is exempt from such
“Rule 3, Section 11 of the Rules of Court provides that neither seizure or custody; and
misjoinder nor nonjoinder of parties is a ground for the dismissal of an (d) The actual market value of the property.
action, thus: The applicant must also give a bond, executed to the adverse party
Sec. 11. Misjoinder and non-joinder of parties.—Neither in double the value of the property as stated in the affidavit
misjoinder nor non-joinder of parties is ground for dismissal of aforementioned, for the return of the property to the adverse party if
an action. Parties may be dropped or added by order of the court such return be adjudged, and for the payment to the adverse party of
on motion of any party or on its own initiative at any stage of the such sum as he may recover from the applicant in the action.”
action and on such terms as are just. Any claim against a We see nothing in these provisions which requires the applicant to
misjoined party may be severed and proceeded with separately. make a prior demand on the possessor of the property before he can file
In Domingo v. Scheer, this Court held that the proper remedy when an action for a writ of replevin. Thus, prior demand is not a condition
a party is left out is to implead the indispensable party at any stage of precedent to an action for a writ of replevin.
the action. The court, either motu proprio or upon the motion of a party, More importantly, Navarro is no longer in the position to claim that
may order the inclusion of the indispensable party or give the plaintiff a prior demand is necessary, as he has already admitted in his Answers
opportunity to amend his complaint in order to include indispensable that he had received the letters that Karen Go sent him, demanding
parties. If the plaintiff to whom the order to include the indispensable that he either pay his unpaid obligations or return the leased motor
party is directed refuses to comply with the order of the court, the vehicles. Navarro’s position that a demand is necessary and has not
complaint may be dismissed upon motion of the defendant or upon the been made is therefore totally unmeritorious.
court’s own motion. Only upon unjustified failure or refusal to obey the WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DENY the petition for
order to include or to amend is the action dismissed.” review for lack of merit. Costs against petitioner Roger V. Navarro.
In these lights, the RTC Order of July 26, 2000 requiring plaintiff SO ORDERED.
Karen Go to join her husband as a party plaintiff is fully in order.
Demand not required prior to filing of replevin action
In arguing that prior demand is required before an action for a writ
of replevin is filed, Navarro apparently likens a replevin action to an
unlawful detainer.
186 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED conciliation proved futile,5 prompting them to file the complaint at the
Bacalso vs. Padigos
In their Answer6 to the complaint, petitioners Rosendo and Rodrigo
G.R. No. 173192. April 18, 2008.*
claimed that their father Alipio, Sr. purchasedvia deeds of sale the
shares in the lot of Fortunata, Simplicio, Wenceslao, Geronimo, and
Felix from their respective heirs, and that Alipio, Sr. acquired the
The case at bar involves a parcel of land identified as Lot No. 3781
shares of the other co-owners of the lot by extraordinary acquisitive
(the lot) located in Inayawan, Cebu, covered by Original Certificate of
prescription through continuous, open, peaceful, and adverse
Title No. RO-2649 (0-9092)1 in the name of the following 13 co-owners,
possession thereof in the concept of an owner since 1949.7
their respective shares of which are indicated opposite their names:
By way of Reply and Answer to the Defendants’
Fortunata Padigos (Fortunata) 1/8
Felix Padigos (Felix) 1/8 Counterclaim,8 herein respondents Gaudencio, Maximo, Flaviano,
Wenceslao Padigos (Wenceslao) 1/8 Domingo, and Victoria alleged that the deeds of sale on which Rosendo
Maximiano Padigos (Maximiano) 1/8 and Rodrigo base their claim of ownership of portions of the lot are
Geronimo Padigos (Geronimo) 1/8 spurious, but assuming that they are not, laches had set in against
Macaria Padigos 1/8 Alipio, Sr.; and that the shares of the other co-owners of the lot cannot
Simplicio Padigos (Simplicio) 1/8 be acquired through laches or prescription.
Ignacio Padigos (Ignacio) 1/48 Gaudencio, Maximo, Flaviano, Domingo, and Victoria, with leave of
Matilde Padigos 1/48 court,9 filed an Amended Complaint10impleading as additional
Marcelo Padigos 1/48 defendants Alipio, Sr.’s other heirs, namely, petitioners
Rustica Padigos 1/48 Marceliana11 Doblas, Terolio Bacalso, Alipio Bacalso, Jr., Mario
Raymunda Padigos 1/48 Bacalso, William Bacalso, Alipio Bacalso III, and Christine B.
Antonino Padigos 1/48 Bañes.12 Still later, Gaudencio et al. filed a Second Amended
Maximo Padigos (Maximo), Flaviano Mabuyo (Flaviano), Complaint13with leave of court,14 impleading as additional plaintiffs
Gaudencio Padigos (Gaudencio), Domingo Padigos (Domingo), and the other heirs of registered co-owner Maximiano, namely, herein
Victoria P. Abarquez (Victoria), who are among the herein respondents, respondents Timoteo Padigos, Perfecto Padigos, Frisca15 Salarda, Flora
filed on April 17, 1995, before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu Quinto (sometimes rendered as “Guinto”), Benita Templa, Sotero
City, a Complaint,2 docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-17326, against Padigos, Andres Padigos, and Emilio Padigos.16
Rosendo Bacalso (Rosendo) and Rodrigo Bacalso (Rodrigo) who are In their Answer to the Second Amended Complaint,17petitioners
among the herein petitioners, for quieting of title, declaration of nullity contended that the Second Amended Complaint should be dismissed in
of documents, recovery of possession, and damages. view of the failure to implead other heirs of the other registered owners
The therein plaintiffs-herein respondents Maximo and Flaviano of the lot who are indispensable parties.18
claimed that they are children of the deceased co-owner Simplicio; that A Third Amended Complaint19 was thereafter filed with leave of
respondents Gaudencio and Domingo are children of the deceased co- court20 impleading as additional plaintiffs the heirs of Wenceslao,
owner Ignacio; and that respondent Victoria and respondent Lilia P. namely, herein respondents Demetrio Padigos, Jr., Wenceslao Padigos,
Gabison (Lilia) are grandchildren of the late co-owner Fortunata.3 and Nelly Padigos, and the heirs of Felix, namely, herein respondents
Respondents also alleged that the therein defendants-petitioners Expedito Padigos (Expedito), Henry Padigos, and Enrique P.
Rosendo and Rodrigo are heirs of Alipio Bacalso, Sr. (Alipio, Sr.) who, Malazarte.21
during his lifetime, secured Tax Declaration Nos. L-078-02223 and L- After trial, Branch 16 of the Cebu City RTC decided22 in favor in
078-02224 covering the lot without any legal basis; that Rosendo and the therein plaintiffs-herein respondents, disposing as follows:
Rodrigo have been leasing portions of the lot to persons who built “WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby
houses thereon, and Rosendo has been living in a house built on a rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants.
portion of the lot;4 and that demands to vacate and efforts at
1. Declaring the plaintiffs to be entitled to the ownership and are of much weight, substance and influence which, if considered
possession of the lot in litigation; carefully, undoubtedly uphold that the defendants and their
2. Declaring as null and void the Deeds of Absolute Sale in predecessors in interests, have long been in continuous, open, peaceful
question; and adverse, and notorious possession against the whole world of Lot
3. Ordering the defendants to pay plaintiffs the sum of P50,000.00 No. 3781, Cebu Cad., in concept of absolute owners for 46 years, a
as actual and compensatory damages[,] the sum of P20,000.00 as period more than sufficient to sustain or uphold the defense of
attorney’s fees, and P10,000.00 as litigation expenses. prescription, provided for in Art. 1137 of the Civil Code even without
4. Ordering the defendants to pay the costs of suit. good faith.”31 (Emphasis and underscoring in the original; italics
SO ORDERED.”23 (Emphasis in the original; italics supplied) supplied)
The defendants-herein petitioners Bacalsos appealed.24Meanwhile, Respondents admit that Teodulfo Padigos (Teodulfo), an heir of
the trial court, on respondents’ Motion for Execution Pending Simplicio, was not impleaded.32 They contend, however, that the
Appeal,25 issued a writ of execution which was implemented by, among omission did not deprive the trial court of jurisdiction because Article
other things, demolishing the houses constructed on the lot.26 487 of the Civil Code states that “[a]ny of the co-owners may bring an
By Decision27 of September 6, 2005, the Court of action in ejectment.”33
Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision. Their Motion for Respondents’ contention does not lie. The action is for quieting of
Reconsideration28 having been denied,29 petitioners filed the present title, declaration of nullity of documents, recovery of possession and
Petition for Review on Certiorari,30 faulting the Court of Appeals: ownership, and damages. Arcelona v. Court of Appeals34 defines
“. . . when it ruled that the Second Amended Complaint is valid and indispensable parties under Section 7 of Rule 3, Rules of Court as
legal, even if not all indispensable parties are impleaded or joined . . . follows:
. . . when [it] wittingly overlooked the most potent, unescapable and “[P]arties-in-interest without whom there can be no final
indubitable fact or circumstance which proved the continuous determination of an action. As such, they must be joined either as
possession of Lot No. 3781 by the defendants and their predecessors in plaintiffs or as defendants. The general rule with reference to the
interest, Alipio Bacalso [Sr.] and/or when it sanctioned impliedly the making of parties in a civil action requires, of course, the joinder of all
glaring arbitrary RTC order of the demolition of the over 40 years necessary parties where possible, and the joinder of all indispensable
old houses, situated on Lot No. 3781 Cebu Cad., belonging to the old parties under any and all conditions, their presence being a sine qua
lessees, long allowed to lease or stay thereat for many years, by Alipio non for the exercise of judicial power. It is precisely “when an
Bacalso [Sr.], father and [predecessor] in interest of the defendants, indispensable party is not before the court (that) the action should be
now the herein Petitioners. The said lessees were not even joined as dismissed.” The absence of an indispensable party renders all
parties in this case, much less were they given a chance to air their side subsequent actions of the court null and void for want of authority to
before their houses were demolished, in gross violation of the due act, not only as to the absent parties but even as to those present.
process clause provided for in Sec. 1[,] Art. III of the Constitution . . . Petitioners are co-owners of a fishpond . . . The fishpond is
. . . in upholding as gospel truth the report and conclusion of Nimrod undivided; it is impossible to pinpoint which specific portion of the
Vaño, the supposed handwriting expert[,] that signatures and thumb property is owned by Olanday, et. al. and which portion belongs to
marks appearing on all documents of sale presented by the defendants petitioners. x x x Indeed, petitioners should have been properly
are forgeries, and not mindful that Nimrod Vaño was not cross- impleaded as indispensable parties. x x x
examined thoroughly by the defense counsel as he was prevented from x x x x”35 (Italics supplied)
doing so by the trial judge, in violation of the law more particularly Sec. The absence then of an indispensable party renders all subsequent
6, Rule 132, Rules of Court and/or the accepted and usual course of actions of a court null and void for want of authority to act, not only as
judicial proceedings and is therefore not admissible in evidence. . . . to the absent party but even as to those present.36
[when it] . . . wittingly or unwittingly, again overlookedthe vital facts, Failure to implead indispensable parties aside, the resolution of the
the circumstances, the laws and rulings of the Supreme Court, which case hinges on a determination of the authenticity of the documents on
which petitioners in part anchor their claim to ownership of the lot. give more weight and credence to that which is more complete,
The questioned documents are: thorough, and scientific.43
1. Exhibit “3”—a notarized Deed of Sale executed by The Court observes that in examining the questioned signatures of
Gaudencio, Domingo, a certain Hermenegilda Padigos, and the respondent Gaudencio, petitioners’ expert witness Espina used as
heirs of Fortunata, in favor of Alipio, Sr. on June 8, 1959; standards 15 specimen signatures which have been established to be
2. Exhibit “4”—a notarized Deed of Sale executed on Gaudencio’s,44 and that after identifying similarities between the
September 9, 1957 by Gavino Padigos (Gavino), alleged son of questioned signatures and the standard signatures, he concluded that
Felix, in favor of Alipio Gadiano; the questioned signatures are genuine. On the other hand,
3. Exhibit “5”—a private deed of sale executed in June 1957 respondents’ expert witness Vaño used, as standards, the questioned
by Macaria Bongalan, Marciano Padigos, and Dominga Padigos, signatures themselves.45 He identified characteristics of the signatures
supposed heirs of Wenceslao, in favor of Alipio, Sr.; indicating that they may have been forged. Vaño’s statement of the
4. Exhibit “6”—a notarized deed of sale executed on purpose of the examination is revealing:
September 9, 1957 by Gavino and Rodulfo Padigos, heirs of “x x x [t]o x x x discover, classify and determine the authenticity of
Geronimo, in favor of Alipio Gadiano; every document that for any reason requires examination be [sic]
5. Exhibit “7”—a notarized deed of sale executed on March scrutinized in every particular that may possibly throw any light
19, 1949 by Irenea Mabuyo, Teodulfo and Maximo, heirs of upon its origin, its age or upon quality element or condition
Simplicio; that may have a bearing upons [sic] its genuineness or
6. Exhibit “8”—a private deed of sale executed on May 3, spuriousness.”46 (Emphasis supplied)
1950 by Candido Padigos, one of Simplicio’s children, in favor of The Court also notes that Vaño also analyzed the signatures of the
Alipio, Sr.; and witnesses to the questioned documents, the absence of standard
7. Exhibit “9”—a notarized deed of sale executed on May 17, specimens with which those signatures could be compared
1957 by Alipio Gadiano in favor of Alipio, Sr. notwithstanding.47 On the other hand, Espina refrained from making
Exhibits “3,” “4,” “6,” “7,” and “8,” which are notarized documents, conclusions on signatures which could not be compared with
have in their favor the presumption of regularity.”37 established genuine specimens.48
Forgery, as any other mechanism of fraud, must be proved clearly Specifically with respect to Vaño’s finding that Maximo’s
and convincingly, and the burden of proof lies on the party alleging thumbprint on Exhibit “7” is spurious, the Court is not persuaded, no
forgery.38 comparison having been made of such thumbprint with a genuine
The trial court and the Court of Appeals relied on the findings of thumbprint established to be Maximo’s.49
Nimrod Bernabe Vaño (Vaño), expert witness for respondents, that Vaño’s testimony should be received with caution, the trial court
Gaudencio’s signature on Exhibit “3” (Deed of Absolute Sale covering having abruptly cut short his cross-examination conducted by
Fortunata’s share in the lot) and Maximo’s thumbprint on Exhibit “7” petitioners’ counsel,50 thus:
(Deed of Sale covering Simplicio’s share in the lot) are COURT:
spurious.39 Vaño’s findings were presented by respondents to rebut You are just delaying the proceedings in this case if you are
those of Wilfredo Espina (Espina), expert witness for petitioners, that going to ask him about the documents one by one. Just leave it
Gaudencio’s signature and Maximo’s thumbprint are genuine.40 to the Court to determine whether or not he is a qualified expert
Expert opinions are not ordinarily conclusive. They are generally witness. The Court will just go over the Report of the witness.
regarded as purely advisory in character.41 The courts may place You do not have to ask the witness one by one on the document,51
whatever weight they choose upon and may reject them, if they find thereby depriving this Court of the opportunity to determine his
them inconsistent with the facts in the case or otherwise credibility. Espina, on the other hand, withstood thorough cross-
unreasonable.42 When faced with conflicting expert opinions, courts examination, re-direct and re-cross examination.52
The value of the opinion of a handwriting expert depends not upon 9. Base loop of “g” consistently short either a retrace, a blind loop
his mere statements of whether a writing is genuine or false, but upon or narrow space disproportionate to the top oval;
the assistance he may afford in pointing out distinguishing marks, 10. Angular top of “s” are repeated with sameness;
characteristics and discrepancies in and between genuine and false 11. Terminal ending of “s” short and heavy with blind loop or
specimens of writing which would ordinarily escape notice or detection retrace at the base.”55
from an unpracticed observer.53 While differences exist between And Espina concluded
Gaudencio’s signatures appearing on Exhibits “3”-“3-D” and his “x x x x
signatures appearing on the affidavits accompanying the pleadings in [t]hat the four (4) questioned signatures over and above the
this case,54 the gap of more than 30 years from the time he affixed his typewritten name and word GAUDENCIO PADIGOS Vendor on four
signatures on the questioned document to the time he affixed his copies of a DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE (original and carbon) dated
signatures on the pleadings in the case could explain the difference. June 8, 1959 were written, signed, and prepared by the hand who wrote
Thus Espina observed: the standard specimens Exh. “G” and other specimen materials
xxxx collected from the records of this case that were submitted or
4. Both questioned and standard signatures exhibited the same comparison; a product of one Mind and
style and form of the movement impulses in its execution; Brainhence GENUINE and AUTHENTIC.”56 (Emphasis in the
5. Personal habits of the writer were established in both original; italics supplied)
questioned and standard signatures such as misalignment of the whole Respondents brand Maximo’s thumbmark on Exhibit “7” as
structure of the signature, heavy penpressure [sic] of strokes from spurious because, so they claim, Maximo did not affix his signature
initial to the terminal, formation of the loops and ovals, poor line thru a thumbmark, he knowing how to write.57 Such conclusion is a non
quality and spacing between letters are all repeated; sequitur, however, for a person who knows how to write is not
6. Both questioned and standard signatures [show] no radical precluded from signing by thumbmark.
change in the strokes and letter formation in spite o[f] their wide In affirming the nullification by the trial court of Exhibits “3,” “4,”
difference in dates of execution considering the early writing maturity “5,” “6,” “7,” and “8,” the Court of Appeals held:
of the writer; “x x x x
7. Variations in both writings questioned and standards were First of all, facts about pedigree of the registered owners and their
considered and properly evaluated. lawful heirs were convincingly testified to by plaintiff-appellant
xxxx Gaudencio Padigos and his testimony remained uncontroverted.
Fundamental similarities are observed in the following xxxx
characteristics to wit: Giving due weight to his testimony, we find that x x x the vendors
“x x x x in the aforesaid Deeds of Sale x x x were not the legal heirs of the
SIGNATURES registered owners of the disputed land. x x x
1. Ovals of “a” either rounded or angular at the base; xxxx
2. Ovals of “d” either narrow, rounded, or angular at the base; As for Exhibit “4,” the vendor Gavino Padigos is not a legal heir of
3. Loop stems of “d” consistently tall and retraced in both the registered owner Felix Padigos. The latter’s heirs are plaintiff-
specimens questioned and standards; appellants Expedito Padigos, Henry Padigos and Enrique P.
4. Base alignment of “e” and “i” are repeated with sameness; Malazarte. Accordingly, Exhibit “4” is a patent nullity and did not vest
5. Top of “c” either with a retrace, angular formation or an eyelet; title of Felix Padigos’ share of Lot 3781 to Alipio [Gadiano].
6. Terminal ending of “o” heavy with a short tapering formation; As for Exhibit “6,” the vendors Gavino and Rodulfo Padigos are not
7. Loop stem of “P” with wide space and angular; the legal heirs of the registered owner Geronimo Padigos. Therefore,
8. Oval of “P” either rounded or multi-angular; these fictitious heirs could not validly convey ownership in favor of
Alipio [Gadiano].
xxxx to registered land in derogation of that of the registered owner shall be
As for Exhibit “8,” the vendor Candido Padigos is not a legal heir of acquired by prescription or adverse possession, it is an enshrined rule
Simplicio Padigos. Therefore, the former could not vest title of the land that even a registered owner may be barred from recovering possession
to Alipio Bacalso. of property by virtue of laches.66
As for Exhibit “3,” the vendors Gaudencio Padigos, Hermenegilda Respondents insist, however, that they only learned of the deeds of
Padigos and Domingo Padigos are not the legal heirs of registered sale in 1994, the year that Alipio, Sr. allegedly commenced possession
owner Fortunata Padigos. Hermenegilda Padigos is not a known heir of the property.67 The record shows, however, that although petitioners
of any of the other registered owners of the property. started renting out the land in 1994, they have been tilling it since the
On the other hand, plaintiffs-appellants Gaudencio and Domingo 1950s,68and Rosendo’s house was constructed in about 1985.69These
Padigos are only some of the collateral grandchildren of Fortunata acts of possession could not have escaped respondents’ notice given the
Padigos. They could not by themselves dispose of the share of following unassailed considerations, inter alia: Gaudencio testified
Fortunata Padigos. that he lived on the lot from childhood until 1985, after which he moved
xxxx to a place three kilometers away, and after he moved, a certain Vicente
As for Exhibit “5,” the vendors in Exhibit “5” are not the legal heirs Debelos lived on the lot with his permission.70 Petitioners’ witness
of Wenceslao Padigos. The children of registered owner Wenceslao Marina Alcoseba, their employee,71 testified that Gaudencio and
Padigos are: Wenceslao Padigos, Demetrio Padigos and Nelly Padigos. Domingo used to cut kumpay planted by petitioners’ tenant on the
Therefore, Exhibit “5” is null and void and could not convey the shares lot.72 The tax declarations in Alipio, Sr.’s name for the years 1967-1980
of the registered owner Wenceslao Padigos in favor of Alipio Bacalso. covering a portion of the lot indicate Fortunata’s share to be the north
As for Exhibit “9,” the Deed of Sale executed by Alipio [Gadiano] in and east boundaries of Alipio, Sr.’s;73hence, respondents could not have
favor of Alipio Bacalso is also void because the shares of the registered been unaware of the acts of possession that petitioners exercised over
owners Felix and Geronimo Padigos were not validly conveyed to the lot.
Alipio [Gadiano] because Exhibit “4” and “6”were void Upon the other hand, petitioners have been vigilant in protecting
contracts. Thus, Exhibit “9” is also null and void.”58(Italics in the their rights over the lot, which their predecessor-in-interest Alipio, Sr.
original; underscoring supplied) had declared in his name for tax purposes as early as 1960, and for
The evidence regarding the “facts of pedigree of the registered which he had been paying taxes until his death in 1994, by continuing
owners and their heirs” does not, however, satisfy this Court. Not only to pay the taxes thereon.74
is Gaudencio’s self-serving testimony uncorroborated; it contradicts Respondents having failed to establish their claim by
itself on material points. For instance, on direct examination, he preponderance of evidence, their action for quieting of title, declaration
testified that Ignacio is his father and Fortunata is his of nullity of documents, recovery of possession, and damages must fail.
grandmother.59 On cross-examination, however, he declared that his A final word. While petitioners’ attribution of error to the appellate
father Ignacio is the brother of Fortunata.60 On direct examination, he court’s “implied sanction” of the trial court’s order for the demolition
testified that his co-plaintiffs Victoria and Lilia are already dead.61 On pending appeal of the houses of their lessees is well taken, the Court
cross-examination, however, he denied knowledge whether the two are may not consider any grant of relief to them, they not being parties to
already dead.62 Also on direct examination, he identified Expedito, the case.
Henry, and Enrique as the children of Felix.63 Expedito himself WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The September 6, 2005
testified, however, that he is the son of a certain Mamerto Padigos, the decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Civil
son of a certain Apolonio Padigos who is in turn the son of Felix.64 Case No. CEB-17326 of Branch 16 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu
AT ALL EVENTS, respondents are guilty of laches—the negligence City is DISMISSED.
or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a SO ORDERED.
presumption that the party entitled to assert it has either abandoned
it or declined to assert it.65While, by express provision of law, no title
VOL. 702, NOVEMBER 24, 2009 497 agricultural tenant of the land covered by Tax Declaration 463. He
surrendered and waived in that affidavit his occupation and tenancy
Valdez-Tallorin vs. Heirs of Tarona
rights to Tallorin and the others in consideration of P29,240.00.
G.R. No. 177429. November 24, 2009.*
Tallorin also put up the affirmative defenses of non-compliance with
the requirement of conciliation proceedings and prescription.
On March 12, 1998 the RTC set Tallorin’s affirmative defenses for
This case is about a court’s annulment of a tax declaration in the
hearing5 but the Taronas sought reconsideration, pointing out that the
names of three persons, two of whom had not been impleaded in the
trial court should have instead declared Tallorin in default based on
case, for the reason that the document was illegally issued to them.
their earlier motion.6 On June 2, 1998 the RTC denied the Taronas’
motion for reconsideration7 for the reasons that it received Tallorin’s
The Facts and the Case
answer before it could issue a default order and that the Taronas failed
to show proof that Tallorin was notified of the motion three days before
On February 9, 1998 respondents Carlos, Rogelio, and Lourdes
the scheduled hearing. Although the presiding judge inhibited himself
Tarona (the Taronas) filed an action before the Regional Trial Court
from the case on motion of the Taronas, the new judge to whom the
(RTC) of Balanga, Bataan,1 against petitioner Anicia Valdez-Tallorin
case was re-raffled stood by his predecessor’s previous orders.
(Tallorin) for the cancellation of her and two other women’s tax
By a special civil action for certiorari before the Court of Appeals
declaration over a parcel of land.
(CA),8 however, the Taronas succeeded in getting the latter court to
The Taronas alleged in their complaint that, unknown to them, in
annul the RTC’s March 12 and June 2, 1998 orders.9 The CA ruled that
1981, the Assessor’s Office of Morong in Bataan cancelled Tax
the RTC gravely abused its discretion in admitting Tallorin’s late
Declaration 463 in the name of their father, Juanito Tarona (Juanito),
answer in the absence of a motion to admit it. Even if petitioner
covering 6,186 square meters of land in Morong, Bataan. The
Tallorin had already filed her late answer, said the CA, the RTC should
cancellation was said to be based on an unsigned though notarized
have heard the Taronas’ motion to declare Tallorin in default.
affidavit that Juanito allegedly executed in favor of petitioner Tallorin
Upon remand of the case, the RTC heard the Taronas’ motion to
and two others, namely, Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and
declare Tallorin in default,10 granted the same, and directed the
Dolores Valdez, who were not impleaded in the action. In place of the
Taronas to present evidence ex parte.11
cancelled one, the Assessor’s Office issued Tax Declaration 6164 in the
On January 30, 2002 the RTC rendered judgment, a) annulling the
names of the latter three persons. The old man Tarona’s affidavit had
tax declaration in the names of Tallorin, Margarita Pastelero Vda. de
been missing and no copy could be found among the records of the
Valdez, and Dolores Valdez; b) reinstating the tax declaration in the
Assessor’s Office.2
name of Juanito; and c) ordering the issuance in its place of a new tax
The Taronas further alleged that, without their father’s affidavit on
declaration in the names of Juanito’s heirs. The trial court also ruled
file, it followed that his tax declaration had been illegally cancelled and
that Juanito’s affidavit authorizing the transfer of the tax declaration
a new one illegally issued in favor of Tallorin and the others with her.
had no binding force since he did not sign it.
The unexplained disappearance of the affidavit from official files, the
Tallorin appealed the above decision to the CA,12pointing out 1) that
Taronas concluded, covered-up the falsification or forgery that caused
the land covered by the tax declaration in question was titled in her
the substitution.3 The Taronas asked the RTC to annul Tax
name and in those of her two co-owners; 2) that Juanito’s affidavit only
Declaration 6164, reinstate Tax Declaration 463, and issue a new one
dealt with the surrender of his tenancy rights and did not serve as basis
in the name of Juanito’s heirs.
for canceling Tax Declaration 463 in his name; 3) that, although
On March 6, 1998 the Taronas filed a motion to declare petitioner
Juanito did not sign the affidavit, he thumbmarked and acknowledged
Tallorin in default for failing to answer their complaint within the
the same before a notary public; and 4) that the trial court erred in not
allowed time.4 But, before the RTC could act on the motion, Tallorin
dismissing the complaint for failure to implead Margarita Pastelero
filed a belated answer, alleging among others that she held a copy of
Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez who were indispensable parties in
the supposedly missing affidavit of Juanito who was merely an
the action to annul Juanito’s affidavit and the tax declaration in their of due process. Without their presence, the judgment of the court
favor.13 cannot attain real finality.
On May 22, 2006 the CA rendered judgment, affirming the trial Judgments do not bind strangers to the suit. The absence of an
court’s decision.14 The CA rejected all of Tallorin’s arguments. Since indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the court null
she did not assign as error the order declaring her in default and since and void. Indeed, it would have no authority to act, not only as to the
she took no part at the trial, the CA pointed out that her claims were absent party, but as to those present as well. And where does the
in effect mere conjectures, not based on evidence of record.15Notably, responsibility for impleading all indispensable parties lie? It lies in the
the CA did not address the issue Tallorin raised regarding the Taronas’ plaintiff.18
failure to implead Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Here, the Taronas sought the annulment of the tax declaration in
Valdez as indispensable party-defendants, their interest in the the names of defendant Tallorin and two others, namely, Margarita
cancelled tax declarations having been affected by the RTC judgment. Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez and, in its place, the
Questions Presented reinstatement of the previous declaration in their father Juanito’s
The petition presents the following questions for resolution by this name. Further, the Taronas sought to strike down as void the affidavit
Court: in which Juanito renounced his tenancy right in favor of the same three
1. Whether or not the CA erred in failing to dismiss the persons. It is inevitable that any decision granting what the Taronas
Taronas’ complaint for not impleading Margarita Pastelero Vda. wanted would necessarily affect the rights of such persons to the
de Valdez and Dolores Valdez in whose names, like their co- property covered by the tax declaration.
owner Tallorin, the annulled tax declaration had been issued; The Court cannot discount the importance of tax declarations to the
2. Whether or not the CA erred in not ruling that the persons in whose names they are issued. Their cancellation adversely
Taronas’ complaint was barred by prescription; and affects the rights and interests of such persons over the properties that
3. Whether or not the CA erred in affirming the RTC’s the documents cover. The reason is simple: a tax declaration is a
finding that Juanito’s affidavit had no legal effect because it was primary evidence, if not the source, of the right to claim title of
unsigned; when at the hearing of the motion to declare Tallorin ownership over real property, a right enforceable against another
in default, it was shown that the affidavit bore Juanito’s person. The Court held in Uriarte v. People19 that, although not
thumbmark. conclusive, a tax declaration is a telling evidence of the declarant’s
The Court’s Rulings possession which could ripen into ownership.
The first question, whether or not the CA erred in failing to dismiss In Director of Lands v. Court of Appeals,20 the Court said that no
the Taronas’ complaint for not impleading Margarita Pastelero Vda. de one in his right mind would pay taxes for a property that he did not
Valdez and Dolores Valdez in whose names, like their co-owner have in his possession. This honest sense of obligation proves that the
Tallorin, the annulled tax declaration had been issued, is a telling holder claims title over the property against the State and other
question. persons, putting them on notice that he would eventually seek the
The rules mandate the joinder of indispensable parties. Thus: issuance of a certificate of title in his name. Further, the tax
“Sec. 7. Compulsory joinder of indispensable parties.— declaration expresses his intent to contribute needed revenues to the
Parties in interest without whom no final determination can be Government, a circumstance that strengthens his bona fide claim to
had of an action shall be joined either as plaintiffs and ownership.21
defendants.”16 Here, the RTC and the CA annulled Tax Declaration 6164 that
Indispensable parties are those with such an interest in the belonged not only to defendant Tallorin but also to Margarita Pastelero
controversy that a final decree would necessarily affect their rights, so Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez, which two persons had no
that the courts cannot proceed without their presence.17 Joining opportunity to be heard as they were never impleaded. The RTC and
indispensable parties into an action is mandatory, being a requirement the CA had no authority to annul that tax declaration without seeing
to it that all three persons were impleaded in the case.
But the Taronas’ action cannot be dismissed outright. As the Court
held in Plasabas v. Court of Appeals,22 the non-joinder of indispensable
parties is not a ground for dismissal. Section 11, Rule 3 of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure prohibits the dismissal of a suit on the ground
of non-joinder or misjoinder of parties and allows the amendment of
the complaint at any stage of the proceedings, through motion or on
order of the court on its own initiative. Only if plaintiff refuses to
implead an indispensable party, despite the order of the court, may it
dismiss the action.
There is a need, therefore, to remand the case to the RTC with an
order to implead Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores
Valdez as defendants so they may, if they so desire, be heard.
In view of the Court’s resolution of the first question, it would serve
no purpose to consider the other questions that the petition presents.
The resolution of those questions seems to depend on the complete
evidence in the case. This will not yet happen until all the
indispensable party-defendants are impleaded and heard on their
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition and SETS ASIDE
the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Balanga, Bataan in Civil
Case 6739 dated January 30, 2002 and the decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV 74762 dated May 22, 2006. The Court
REMANDS the case to the Regional Trial Court of Balanga, Bataan
which is DIRECTED to have Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and
Dolores Valdez impleaded by the plaintiffs as party-defendants and,
afterwards, to hear the case in the manner prescribed by the rules.
426 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED attained finality, they moved for execution. On June 15, 2010, a writ
was eventually issued. Acting on the same, the Branch Sheriff issued
Crisologo vs. JEWM Agro-Industrial Corporation
a notice of sale scheduling an auction on August 26, 2010. The notice
G.R. No. 196894. March 3, 2014.*
of sale included, among others, the subject properties covered by TCT
Nos. 325675 and 325676, now, in the name of JEWM.
In the same proceedings, JEWM immediately filed its Affidavit of
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules
Third Party Claim and the Urgent Motion Ad Cautelam. It prayed for
of Court challenging the May 6, 2011 Decision[1] of the Court of
the exclusion of the subject properties from the notice of sale. In an
Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. SP No. 03896-MIN, which affirmed the
order, dated August 26, 2010, however, the motion was denied. In turn,
September 27, 2010,[2]October 7, 2010[3] and November 9,
the Spouses Crisologo posted a bond in order to proceed with the
2010[4] Orders of the Regional Trial Court, Davao City, Branch
14 (RTC-Br. 14), in Civil Case No. 33,551-2010, an action for
To protect its interest, JEWM filed a separate action for
Cancellation of Lien. It is entitled “JEWM AgroIndustrial Corporation
cancellation of lien with prayer for the issuance of a preliminary
v. The Registry of Deeds for the City of Davao, Sheriff Robert Medialdea,
injunction before RTC-Br. 14, docketed as Civil Case No. 33,551-2010.
John & Jane Does, and all persons acting under their directions.”
It prayed for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to prevent
This controversy stemmed from various cases of collection for sum
the public sale of the subject properties covered in the writ of execution
of money filed against So Keng Kok, the owner of various properties
issued pursuant to the ruling of RTC-Br. 15; the cancellation of all the
including two (2) parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. 292597 and
annotations on the back of the pertinent TCTs; and the issuance of a
292600 (subject properties), which were attached by various creditors
permanent injunction order after trial on the merits. “The Register of
including the petitioners in this case. As a result, the levies were
Deeds of Davao City, Sheriff Robert Medialdea, John and Jane Does
annotated on the back of the said titles.
and all persons acting under their directions” were impleaded as
Petitioners Jesus G. Crisologo and Nanette B. Crisologo (Spouses
Crisologo) were the plaintiffs in two (2) collection cases before RTC,
At the scheduled hearing before RTC-Br. 14 on September 22, 2010,
Branch 15, Davao City (RTC-Br. 15), docketed as Civil Case Nos.
Spouses Crisologo’s counsel appeared and filed in open court their Very
26,810-98 and 26,811-98, against Robert Limso, So Keng Kok, et. al.
Urgent Manifestation questioning the authority of the said court to
Respondent JEWM Agro-Industrial Corporation (JEWM) was the
restrain the execution proceedings in RTC-Br. 15. JEWM opposed it on
successor-in-interest of one Sy Sen Ben, the plaintiff in another
the ground that Spouses Crisologo were not parties in the case.
collection case before RTC, Branch 8, Davao City (RTC-Br. 8), docketed
On September 24, 2010, Spouses Crisologo filed an Omnibus Motion
as Civil Case No. 26,513-98, against the same defendants.
praying for the denial of the application for writ or preliminary
On October 19, 1998, RTC-Br. 8 rendered its decision based on a
injuction filed by JEWM and asking for their recognition as parties. No
compromise agreement, dated October 15, 1998, between the parties
motion to intervene was, however, filed as the Spouses Crisologo
wherein the defendants in said case were directed to transfer the
believed that it was unnecessary since they were already the John and
subject properties in favor of Sy Sen Ben. The latter subsequently sold
Jane Does named in the complaint.
the subject properties to one Nilda Lam who, in turn, sold the same to
In the Order, dated September 27, 2010, RTC-Br. 14 denied
JEWM on June 1, 2000. Thereafter, TCT Nos. 325675 and 325676 were
Spouses Crisologo’s Omnibus Motion and granted JEWM’s application
eventually issued in the name of JEWM, both of which still bearing the
for a writ of preliminary injunction.
same annotations as well as the notice of lis pendens in connection with
On October 1, 2010, Spouses Crisologo filed a Very Urgent Omnibus
the other pending cases filed against So Keng Kok.
Motion before RTC-Br. 14 praying for reconsideration and the setting
A year thereafter, Spouses Crisologo prevailed in the separate
aside of its September 27, 2010 Order. This was denied in the RTC-Br.
collection case filed before RTC-Br. 15 against Robert Lim So and So
14’s October 7, 2010 Order for lack of legal standing in court
Keng Koc (defendants). Thus, on July 1, 1999, the said defendants were
considering that their counsel failed to make the written formal notice
ordered to solidarily pay the Spouses Crisologo. When this decision
of appearance. The copy of this order was received by Spouses Crisologo SO ORDERED.[8]
on October 22, 2010. It must be noted, however, that on October 27,
2010, they received another order, likewise dated October 7, 2010, Spouses Crisologo then filed their Omnibus Motion Ex Abudanti ad
giving JEWM time to comment on their Very Urgent Omnibus Motion Cautelam, asking RTC-Br. 14 to reconsider the above decision. Because
filed on October 1, 2010. In its Order, dated November 9, 2010, no motion for intervention was filed prior to the rendition of the
however, RTC-Br. 14 again denied the Very Urgent Motion previously judgment, a certificate, dated March 17, 2011, was issued declaring the
filed by Spouses Crisologo. January 10, 2011 decision final and executory.
On November 12, 2010, JEWM moved to declare the “defendants” On May 6, 2011, the CA eventually denied the Amended Petition
in default which was granted in an order given in open court on filed by Spouses Crisologo for lack of merit. It ruled that the writ of
November 19, 2010. preliminary injunction subject of the petition was already fait
Spouses Crisologo then filed their Very Urgent Manifestation, accompli and, as such, the issue of grave abuse of discretion attributed
dated November 30, 2010, arguing that they could not be deemed as to RTC-Br. 14 in granting the relief had become moot and academic. It
defaulting parties because they were not referred to in the pertinent further held that the failure of Spouses Crisologo to file their motion to
motion and order of default. intervene under Rule 19 rendered Rule 65 inapplicable as a vehicle to
On November 19, 2010, Spouses Crisologo filed with the CA a ventilate their supposed right in the case.[9]
petition for certiorari[5] under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court assailing Hence, this petition.
the RTC-Br. 14 orders, dated September 27, 2010, October 7, 2010 and
November 9, 2010, all of which denied their motion to be recognized as ISSUES
parties. They also prayed for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining I. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that the
Order (TRO) and/or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction. action for Cancellation of Annotations may
In its Resolution, dated January 6, 2011, the CA denied the proceed even without notice to and impleading
application for a TRO, but directed Spouses Crisologo to amend their the party/ies who caused the annotations, in
petition. On January 19, 2011, the Spouses Crisologo filed their clear contravention of the rule on joinder of
Amended Petition[6] with prayers for the issuance of a TRO and/or writ parties and basic due process.
of preliminary injunction, the annulment of the aforementioned orders
of RTC-Br. 14, and the issuance of an order dissolving the writ of II. The Court of Appeals erred in applying a very
preliminary injunction issued in favor of JEWM. constrictive interpretation of the rules in
Pending disposition of the Amended Petition by the CA, JEWM filed holding that a motion to intervene is the only
a motion on December 6, 2010 before RTC-Br. 14 asking for the way an otherwise real party in interest could
resolution of the case on the merits. participate.
On January 10, 2011, RTC-Br. 14 ruled in favor of JEWM, with the III. The Court of Appeals erred in denying our
dispositive portion of its Decision[7]stating as follows: application for the issuance of a temporary
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary
rendered in favor of the plaintiff as follows: injunction.
1. the preliminary writ of injunction issued on October 5, 2010 is hereby
made permanent; IV. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that the
2. directing herein defendant Registry of Deeds of Davao City where issues raised by petitioners before it [had] been
the subject lands are located, to cancel all existing liens and mooted by the January 10, 2011 decision of RTC
encumbrances on TCT Nos. T-325675 and T-325676 registered in Branch 14.[10]
the name of the plaintiff, and pay the Spouses Crisologo submit as error the CA affirmation of the RTC-
3. cost of suit. Br. 14 ruling that the action for cancellation may proceed without them
being impleaded. They allege deprivation of their right to due process to properly intervene pursuant to Rule 19; and, lastly, that the case
when they were not impleaded in the case before RTC-Br. 14 despite before RTC-Br. 14 became final and executory because Spouses
the claim that they stand, as indispensable parties, to be benefited or Crisologo did not perfect an appeal therefrom, thus, rendering the
injured by the judgment in the action for the cancellation of issues in the CA petition moot and academic.
annotations covering the subject properties. They cite Gonzales v. In their Reply,[13] Spouses Crisologo restate the applicability of
Judge Bersamin,[11] among others, as authority. In that case, the Section 108 of P.D. No. 1529 to the effect that any cancellation of
Court ruled that pursuant to Section 108 of Presidential annotation of certificates of title must be carried out by giving notice to
Decree (P.D.) No. 1529, notice must be given to all parties in interest all parties-in-interest. This they forward despite their recognition of
before the court may hear and determine the petition for the the mootness of their assertion over the subject properties, to wit:
cancellation of annotations on the certificates of title. Again, we respect JAIC’s position that “the claims of subsequent
The Spouses Crisologo also question the statement of the CA that attaching creditors (including petitioners’) have been rendered moot
their failure to file the motion to intervene under Rule 19 before RTC- and academic, and hence the entries in favor of said creditors have no
Br. 14 barred their participation in the cancellation proceedings. They more legal basis and therefore must be cancelled.” But we likewise at
put emphasis on the court’s duty to, at the very least, suspend the least ask a modicum of respect by at least being notified and heard.[14]
proceedings before it and have such indispensable parties impleaded.
As to the ruling on the denial of their application for the issuance The Ruling of the Court
of a TRO or writ of preliminary injunction, Spouses Crisologo claim The crux of this controversy is whether the CA correctly ruled that
that their adverse interest, evinced by the annotations at the back of RTC-Br. 14 acted without grave abuse of discretion in failing to
the certificates of title, warranted the issuance of a TRO or writ of recognize Spouses Crisologo as indispensable parties in the case for
preliminary injunction against JEWM’s attempt to cancel the said cancellation of lien.
annotations in violation of their fundamental right to due process. In this respect, the Court agrees with Spouses Crisologo.
Lastly, Spouses Crisologo cast doubt on the CA ruling that the In an action for the cancellation of memorandum annotated at the
issues presented in their petition were mooted by the RTC-Br. 14 back of a certificate of title, the persons considered as indispensable
Decision, dated January 10, 2011. Having been rendered without include those whose liens appear as annotations pursuant to Section
impleading indispensable parties, the said decision was void and could 108 of P.D. No. 1529,[15] to wit:
not have mooted their petition. Section 108. Amendment and alteration of certificates.—No
In their Comment,[12] JEWM asserts that Spouses Crisologo’s erasure, alteration or amendment shall be made upon the registration
failure to file a motion to intervene, pleadings-in-intervention, appeal book after the entry of a certificate of title or of a memorandum
or annulment of judgment, which were plain, speedy and adequate thereon and the attestation of the same by the Register of Deeds, except
remedies then available to them, rendered recourse to Rule 65 as by order of the proper Court of First Instance. A registered owner or
improper; that Spouses Crisologo lacked the legal standing to file a other person having an interest in registered property, or, in proper
Rule 65 petition since they were not impleaded in the proceedings cases, the Register of Deeds with the approval of the Commissioner of
before RTC-Br. 14; and that Spouses Crisologo were not indispensable Land Registration, may apply by petition to the court upon the ground
parties since their rights over the properties had been rendered that the registered interests of any description, whether vested,
ineffective by the final and executory October 19, 1998 Decision of RTC- contingent, expectant inchoate appearing on the certificate, have
Br. 8 which disposed unconditionally and absolutely the subject terminated and ceased; or that new interest not appearing upon the
properties in favor of its predecessor-in-interest. JEWM further argues certificates have arisen or been created; or that an omission or error
that, on the assumption that Section 108 of P.D. No. 1529 applies, no was made in entering a certificate or memorandum thereon, or on any
notice to Spouses Crisologo was required because they were not real duplicate certificate; x x x or upon any other reasonable ground; and
parties-in-interest in the case before RTC-Br. 14, or even if they were, the court may hear and determine the petition after notice to all parties
their non-participation in the proceedings was because of their failure in interest, and may order the entry or cancellation of a new
certificate, the entry or cancellation of a memorandum upon a failed to cause the service of proper summons upon the John and Jane
certificate, or grant any other relief upon such terms and conditions, Does impleaded in the complaint. Even when Sps. Crisologo
requiring security or bond if necessary, as it may consider proper. voluntarily appeared in court to be recognized as the John and Jane
Does, Judge Omelio refused to acknowledge their appearance and
In Southwestern University v. Laurente,[16] the Court held that the ordered the striking out of Sps. Crisologos’ pleadings. For this reason,
cancellation of the annotation of an encumbrance cannot be ordered the Investigating Justice recommended admonishing Judge Omelio for
without giving notice to the parties annotated in the certificate of title failing to recognize the Sps. Crisologo as indispensable parties in that
itself. It would, thus, be an error for a judge to contend that no notice case.
is required to be given to all the persons whose liens were annotated at xxx xxx xxx
the back of a certificate of title.
Clearly, the cancellation of the annotation of the sale without
Here, undisputed is the fact that Spouses Crisologo’s liens were
notifying the buyers, Sps. Crisologo, is a violation of the latter’s right
indeed annotated at the back of TCT Nos. 325675 and 325676. Thus,
to due process. Since this is the second time that Judge Omelio has
as persons with their liens annotated, they stand to be benefited or
issued an order which fails to notify or summon the indispensable
injured by any order relative to the cancellation of annotations in the
parties, we find Judge Omelio guilty of gross ignorance of the law, with
pertinent TCTs. In other words, they are as indispensable as JEWM
a warning that repetition of the same or similar act will merit a stiffer
itself in the final disposition of the case for cancellation, being one of
penalty in the future.
the many lien holders.
As indispensable parties, Spouses Crisologo should have been
joined as defendants in the case pursuant to Section 7, Rule 3 of the WHEREFORE, … We find Judge George E. Omelio GUILTY of
Rules of Court, to wit: four counts of the serious charge of gross ignorance of the law for the
SEC. 7. Compulsory joinder of indispensable parties.—Parties in following acts: (a) refusing to recognize Spouses Jesus G. Crisologo and
interest without whom no final determination can be had of an action Nanette B. Crisologo as indispensable parties; … in violation of the
shall be joined either as plaintiffs or defendants. [17] latter’s right to due process. Accordingly, we impose upon Judge
George E. Omelio the penalty of fine of Forty Thousand Pesos
The reason behind this compulsory joinder of indispensable parties (P40,000.00), with a warning that repetition of the same or similar acts
is the complete determination of all possible issues, not only between will be dealt with more severely.
the parties themselves but also as regards other persons who may be
affected by the judgment. [18]
In this case, RTC-Br. 14, despite repeated pleas by Spouses
Crisologo to be recognized as indispensable parties, failed to implement The trial court should have exercised prudence in denying Spouses
the mandatory import of the aforecited rule. Crisologo’s pleas to be recognized as indispensable parties. In the
In fact, in Sps. Crisologo v. Judge George E. Omelio,[19]a related words of the Court, “Judge Omelio should be penalized for failing to
administrative case, the Court found the trial judge guilty of gross recognize Sps. Crisologo as indispensable parties and for requiring
ignorance of the law when it disregarded the claims of Spouses them to file a motion to intervene, considering that a simple perusal of
Crisologo to participate. In part, the Court stated: the certificates of title would show Sps. Crisologo’s adverse rights
because their liens are annotated at the back of the titles.”[21]
This is not the first time Judge Omelio has rendered a decision This manifest disregard of the basic rules and procedures
affecting third parties’ interests, without even notifying the constitutes a grave abuse of discretion.
indispensable parties. In the first disputed case, JEWM Agro- In State Prosecutors II Comilang and Lagman v. Judge Medel
Industrial Corporation v. Register of Deeds, Sheriff Medialdea, John & Belen,[22] the Court held as inexcusable abuse of authority the trial
Jane Does and all persons acting under their directions, Judge Omelio judge’s “obstinate disregard of basic and established rule of law or
procedure.” Such level of ignorance is not a mere error of judgment. It proceeding in which their indispensability was obvious. Indeed, appeal
amounts to “evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform cannot constitute an adequate, speedy and plain remedy.
a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law,”[23] or The same is also true if recourse to Annulment of Judgment under
in essence, grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Rule 47 is made since this remedy presupposes a final judgment
Needless to say, judges are expected to exhibit more than just a already rendered by a trial court.
cursory acquaintance with statutes and procedural laws. They must At any rate, the remedy against an interlocutory order, not subject
know the laws and apply them properly in good faith as judicial of an appeal, is an appropriate special civil action under Rule 65,
competence requires no less.[24] provided that the interlocutory order is rendered without or in excess
Despite the clear existence of grave abuse of discretion on the part of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. Only then
of RTC-Br. 14, JEWM asserts technical grounds on why the CA did not is certiorari under Rule 65 allowed to be resorted to.[26]
err in dismissing the petition viaRule 65. It states that: This takes particular relevance in this case where, as previously
a) The Crisologos could have used other available remedies such as discussed, RTC-Br. 14 acted with grave abuse of discretion in not
intervention under Rule 19, an appeal of the judgment, or even an recognizing Spouses Crisologo as indispensable parties to the pertinent
annulment of judgment, which are, by all means, plain, speedy and action.
adequate remedies in the ordinary course of law; Based on the above, recourse to the CA via Rule 65 would have
b) The Crisologos lack legal standing to file the Rule 65 petition since already been proper, except for one last issue, that is, Spouses
they were not impleaded in the Branch 14 case. Crisologo’s legal standing to file the same. JEWM cites DBP v.
The rule is that a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is proper only COA[27] where the Court held:
if there is no appeal, or any plain speedy, and adequate remedy in the The petition for certiorari under Rule 65, however, is not available
ordinary course of law. to any person who feels injured by the decision of a tribunal, board or
In this case, no adequate recourse, at that time, was available to officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicialfunctions. The ‘person
Spouses Crisologo, except resorting to Rule 65. aggrieved’ under Section 1 of Rule 65 who can avail of the special civil
Although Intervention under Rule 19 could have been availed of, action of certiorari pertains only to one who was a party in the
failing to use this remedy should not prejudice Spouses Crisologo. It is proceedings before the court a quo, or in this case before the COA. To
the duty of RTC-Br. 14, following the rule on joinder of indispensable hold otherwise would open the courts to numerous and endless
parties, to simply recognize them, with or without any motion to litigations.
intervene. Through a cursory reading of the titles, the Court would
have noticed the adverse rights of Spouses Crisologo over the Under normal circumstances, JEWM would be correct in their
cancellation of any annotations in the subject TCTs. averment that the lack of legal standing on the part of Spouses
Neither will appeal prove adequate as a remedy since only the Crisologo in the case before RTC-Br. 14 prevents the latter’s
original parties to an action can appeal.[25] Here, Spouses Crisologo recourse via Rule 65.
were never impleaded. Hence, they could not have utilized appeal as This case, however, is an exception. In many instances, the Court
they never possessed the required legal standing in the first place. has ruled that technical rules of procedures should be used to promote,
And even if the Court assumes the existence of the legal standing not frustrate the cause of justice. Rules of procedure are tools designed
to appeal, it must be remembered that the questioned orders were not to thwart but to facilitate the attainment of justice; thus, their
interlocutory in character and, as such, Spouses Crisologo would have strict and rigid application may, for good and deserving reasons, have
to wait, for the review by appeal, until the rendition of the judgment to give way to, and be subordinated by, the need to aptly dispense
on the merits, which at that time may not be coming as speedy as substantial justice in the normal cause.[28]
practicable. While waiting, Spouses Crisologo would have to endure the Be it noted that the effect of their non-participation as
denial of their right, as indispensable parties, to participate in a indispensable parties is to preclude the judgment, orders and the
proceedings from attaining finality. Time and again, the Court has
ruled that 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 to those present.
Consequently, the proceedings before RTC-Br. 14 were null and void
including the assailed orders, which may be “ignored wherever and
whenever it exhibits its head.”[29]
To turn a blind eye to the said nullity and, in turn, rule as improper
the recourse to Rule 65 by the lack of legal standing is to prolong the
denial of due process to the persons whose interests are indispensable
to the final disposition of the case. It will only result in a protracted
litigation as Spouses Crisologo will be forced to rely on a petition for
the annulment of judgment before the CA (as the last remaining
remedy), which may again reach this Court. To prevent multiplicity of
suits and to expedite the swift administration of justice, the CA should
have applied liberality by striking down the assailed orders despite the
lack of legal standing on the part of Spouses Crisologo to file the Rule
65 petition before it. Besides, this lacking requirement, of which
Spouses Crisologo were not even at fault, is precisely the reason why
this controversy arose.
All told, the CA erred in dismissing the amended petition filed
before it and in not finding grave abuse of discretion on the part of
RTC-Br. 14.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The May 6, 2011
Decision of the Court of Appeals is NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. The
September 27, 2010, October 7, 2010 and November 9, 2010 Orders of
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 14, Davao City, are
likewise NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. Civil Case No. 33,551-2010 is
hereby REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings. The
respondent is ordered to implead all parties whose annotations appear
at the back of Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. 325675 and 325676.
VOL. 702, JULY 29, 2013 497 2. That on January 11, 1956, herein petitioner was born in
Mulondo, Lanao del Sur, x x x, copy of his live birth certificate is
Macawadib vs. Philippine National Police Directorate for
attached and marked as Annex “A”, for ready reference;
Personnel and Records Management 3. That when petitioner herein joined with (sic) the
G.R. No. 186610. July 29, 2013.* government service, particularly the local police force and later
PERALTA, J.: on the Integrated National Police, he honestly entered his birth
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorariunder Rule 45 date as January 11, 1946, while in his (sic) Government Service
of the Rules of Court seeking to nullify and set aside the Decision1 and Insurance System (GSIS, in short) and National Police
Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA), dated December 17, 2008 and Commission, he erroneously entered his birth date as January
February 25, 2009, respectively, in CA-G.R. SP No. 02120-MIN. The 11, 1946, which entry are honestly based on estimation, as
assailed CA judgment nullified the December 4, 2001 Decision3 of the Muslim (sic) in the south do not register their marriages and
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Marawi City, Branch 8, in Spl. Proc. No. births before;
782-01, while the questioned CA Resolution denied petitioner’s Motion 4. That herein petitioner has correctly entered his true and
for Reconsideration. correct birth date, January 11, 1956, in his Service Record at the
The factual and procedural antecedents of the case are as follows: National Headquarters, Philippine National Police, Directorate
Petitioner was a police officer with the rank of Police Senior for Personnel and Records Management, Camp Crame, Quezon
Superintendent. On July 30, 2001, pursuant to the provisions of City, copy of which is attached and marked as Annex “B”, x x x;
Section 39 of Republic Act 6975, otherwise known as the “Department 5. That herein petitioner is submitting Joint Affidavit of
of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990,” the Chief of two (2) disinterested person (sic) x x x;
Directorial Staff of the Philippine National Police (PNP) issued 6. That this petition is not intended to defraud anybody but
General Order No. 1168, enumerating the names of commissioned to establish the true and correct birth date of herein petitioner.
officers who were subject to compulsory retirement on various dates in x x x x4
the month of January 2002 by virtue of their attainment of the The petition was docketed as Spl. Proc. No. 782-01.
compulsory retirement age of 56. Among the names included in the said On December 4, 2001, the RTC rendered its Decision, disposing as
Order was that of petitioner, who was supposed to retire on January follows:
11, 2002, as the files of the PNP Records Management Division indicate WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of
that he was born on January 11, 1946. petitioner DIMAPINTO BABAI MACAWADIB, to wit:
On September 3, 2001, petitioner filed an application for late 1. Ordering the Chief, Records Management, PNP
registration of his birth with the Municipal Civil Registrar’s Office of NHQ, Camp Crame, Quezon City, to make a correction
Mulondo, Lanao del Sur. In the said application, petitioner swore upon the birth date of herein petitioner to January 11,
under oath that he was born on January 11, 1956. The application was, 1956;
subsequently, approved. 2. Ordering the Director, Personnel and Records
On October 15, 2001, petitioner filed with the RTC of Marawi City, Management Service, NAPOLCOM, Makati City, to make
Branch 8, a Petition for Correction of Entry in the Public Service correction upon the birth date of herein petitioner from
Records Regarding the Birth Date. Pertinent portions of his allegations January 11, 1946 to January 11, 1956; and
are as follows: 3. Ordering the Chief[,] Records of the Civil Service
xxxx Commission, Manila and all other offices concern (sic), to
1. That herein petitioner is 45 years old, married, Filipino make the necessary correction in the Public Records of
citizen, PNP (Police Superintendent) by occupation and resident herein petitioner to January 11, 1956.
of Camp Bagong Amai, Pakpak, Marawi City. x x x; SO ORDERED.5
Judgment6 indicating therein that its December 4, 2001 Decision in NO. 782-01.
Spl. Proc. No. 782-01 has become final and executory on March 13, 4. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT
On January 8, 2008, herein respondent filed a Petition for INSUFFICIENT IN FORM AND SUBSTANCE.11
Annulment of Judgment with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary In his first assigned error, petitioner contends that respondent is
Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction with the CA, not an indispensable party. The Court is not persuaded. On the
seeking to nullify the above-mentioned Decision of the RTC on the contrary, the Court agrees with the ruling of the CA that it is the
ground that the trial court failed to acquire jurisdiction over the PNP, integrity and correctness of the public records in the custody of the
“an unimpleaded indispensable party.”7 PNP, National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) and Civil Service
On December 17, 2008, the CA promulgated its assailed Decision Commission (CSC) which are involved and which would be affected by
with the following dispositive portion: any decision rendered in the petition for correction filed by herein
WHEREFORE, finding the instant petition impressed with petitioner. The aforementioned government agencies are, thus,
merit, the same is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Decision required to be made parties to the proceeding. They are indispensable
dated December 4, 2001 of the respondent court in Spl. Proc. No. parties, without whom no final determination of the case can be had.
782-01 is NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. Also, so as to prevent An indispensable party is defined as one who has such an interest in
further damage upon the PNP, let a permanent injunction issue the controversy or subject matter that a final adjudication cannot be
in the meantime, barring the private respondent Dimapinto made, in his absence, without injuring or affecting that interest.12 In
Babai Macawadib from continuing and prolonging his tenure the fairly recent case of Go v. Distinction Properties Development and
with the PNP beyond the mandatory retirement age of fifty-six Construction, Inc.,13 the Court had the occasion to reiterate the
(56) years. principle that:
SO ORDERED.8 Under Section 7, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, “parties in
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration,9 but the CA denied it interest without whom no final determination can be had of an
in its Resolution10 dated February 25, 2009. action shall be joined as plaintiffs or defendants.” If there is a
Hence, the instant petition with the following Assignment of failure to implead an indispensable party, any judgment
Errors: rendered would have no effectiveness. It is “precisely ‘when
1. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING an indispensable party is not before the court (that) an
THAT PNP-[DPRM] IS AN INDISPENSABLE PARTY IN SPECIAL action should be dismissed.’ The absence of an
PROCEEDING NO. 782-01 AND THAT THE RTC HAVE (sic) NOT indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the
ACQUIRED JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF THE PNP- court null and void for want of authority to act, not only
DPRM. as to the absent parties but even to those present.” The
2. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT purpose of the rules on joinder of indispensable parties is a
DISMISSING CA-G.R. SP NO. 02120-MIN DESPITE THE FACT complete determination of all issues not only between the
THAT THE ASSAILED RTC DECISION DATED DECEMBER 4, 2001 parties themselves, but also as regards other persons who may
IN SPECIAL PROCEEDING NO. 782-01 HAS LONG BECOME be affected by the judgment. A decision valid on its face cannot
FINAL AND EXECUTORY AND WAS IN FACT FULLY AND attain real finality where there is want of indispensable
THE DATE OF BIRTH OF THE PETITIONER FROM JANUARY 11, Citing previous authorities, the Court also held in the Go case that:
1946 TO JANUARY 11, 1956. The general rule with reference to the making of parties in a
3. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING civil action requires the joinder of all indispensable parties
THAT PNP-DPRM IS NOT ESTOPPED FROM ASSAILING THE under any and all conditions, their presence being a sine qua
non of the exercise of judicial power. (Borlasa v. Polistico, 47 has reiterated time and again that the absence of opposition from
Phil. 345, 348) For this reason, our Supreme Court has held that government agencies is of no controlling significance, because the State
when it appears of record that there are other persons interested cannot be estopped by the omission, mistake or error of its officials or
in the subject matter of the litigation, who are not made parties agents.18 Nor is the Republic barred from assailing the decision
to the action, it is the duty of the court to suspend the trial until granting the petition for correction of entries if, on the basis of the law
such parties are made either plaintiffs or defendants. (Pobre, et and the evidence on record, such petition has no merit.19
al. v. Blanco, 17 Phil. 156). x x x Where the petition failed to join As to the second and last assigned errors, suffice it to say that
as party defendant the person interested in sustaining the considering that the assailed decision of the RTC is null and void, the
proceeding in the court, the same should be dismissed. same could not have attained finality. Settled is the rule that a void
x x x When an indispensable party is not before the court, judgment cannot attain finality and its execution has no basis in law.20
the action should be dismissed.15 At this juncture, it may not be amiss to point out that, like the CA,
The burden of procuring the presence of all indispensable parties is on this Court cannot help but entertain serious doubts on the veracity of
the plaintiff.16 petitioner’s claim that he was indeed born in 1956. The late
In the instant case, there is a necessity to implead the PNP, registration of petitioner’s certificate of live birth on September 3, 2001
NAPOLCOM and CSC because they stand to be adversely affected by was made forty-five (45) years after his supposed birth and a mere 34
petitioner’s petition which involves substantial and controversial days after the PNP’s issuance of its Order for his compulsory
alterations in petitioner’s service records. Moreover, as correctly retirement. He had all the time to make such registration but why did
pointed out by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), if petitioner’s he do it only when he was about to retire?
service is extended by ten years, the government, through the PNP, The Court, likewise, agrees with the observation of the OSG that, if
shall be burdened by the additional salary and benefits that would petitioner was indeed born in 1956, he would have been merely 14
have to be given to petitioner during such extension. Thus, aside from years old in 1970 when he was appointed as Chief of Police of Mulondo,
the OSG, all other agencies which may be affected by the change should Lanao del Sur. This would not have been legally tenable, considering
be notified or represented as the truth is best ascertained under an that Section 9 of RA 4864, otherwise known as the Police Act of 1966,
adversary system of justice. provides, among others, that a person shall not be appointed to a local
As the above-mentioned agencies were not impleaded in this case police agency if he is less than twenty-three years of age. Moreover,
much less given notice of the proceedings, the decision of the trial court realistically speaking, it would be difficult to believe that a 14-year old
granting petitioner’s prayer for the correction of entries in his service minor would serve as a police officer, much less a chief of police.
records, is void. As mentioned above, the absence of an indispensable The Court also gives credence to the pronouncement made by the
party renders all subsequent actions of the court null and void for want CA which took judicial notice that in the several hearings of the
of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties but even as to those petition before the appellate court where the petitioner was present,
present.17 the CA observed that “in the several hearings of this petition before Us
On the question of whether or not respondent is estopped from where the private respondent was present, he does not really appear to
assailing the decision of the RTC for failure of the OSG, as government be 52 years old but his old age of 62.”21
representative, to participate in the proceedings before the trial court It can be argued that petitioner’s belatedly registered certificate of
or to file an opposition to petitioner’s petition for correction of entries live birth, as a public document, enjoys the presumption of validity.
in his service records, this Court rules that such an apparent oversight However, petitioner merely relied on such presumption without
has no bearing on the validity of the appeal which the petitioner filed presenting any other convincing or credible evidence to prove that he
before the CA. Neither can the State, as represented by the was really born in 1956. On the contrary, the specific facts attendant
government, be considered in estoppel due to the petitioner’s seeming in the case at bar, as well as the totality of the evidence presented
acquiescence to the judgment of the RTC when it initially made during the hearing of the case in the court a quo, sufficiently negate
corrections to some of petitioner’s records with the PNP. This Court
the presumption of regularity accorded to petitioner’s belatedly
registered birth certificate.
In this regard, it is also apropos to mention that, in cases of
correction or change of information based on belatedly registered birth
certificates, the CSC no longer requires a court order to warrant such
correction or change of information in its records. However, in an
apparent move to safeguard its records, the CSC imposes the
submission of additional evidence that would prove the veracity of the
entries in a belatedly registered birth certificate. Thus, the CSC, in its
Memorandum Circular No. 31, dated November 20, 2001, demands
that, aside from the said birth certificate, the person requesting the
correction or change of information must submit other authenticated
supporting documents, such as baptismal certificate, affidavits of two
disinterested witnesses, and “[o]ther employment, [p]ersonal or
[s]chool [r]ecords which would support the entry reflected in the
delayed registered birth certificate and which entry is requested to be
reflected in the records of the Commission as the true and correct
entry.” In the instant case, petitioner was only able to submit affidavits
of two witnesses, who were not really proven to be disinterested and
whose testimonies were not even tested in the crucible of cross-
examination. On the contrary, the other pieces of documentary
evidence on record, such as his marriage certificate, and his school and
service records, contradict his claims and show that he was, in fact,
born in 1946.
WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED.
The Decision dated December 17, 2008 and the Resolution dated
February 25, 2009 of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 02120-
MIN, are hereby AFFIRMED.
426 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED for their information and guidance.14Pursuant to the RTC Order,
respondent complied with the publication requirement.
Republic vs. Uy
On June 28, 2004, the RTC issued an Order in favor of respondent,
G.R. No. 198010. August 12, 2013.*
the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of
the Rules of Court are the Court of Appeals (CA)1 Decision2 dated
GINGOOG CITY, or any person acting in his behalf is directed
February 18, 2011 and Resolution3dated July 27, 2011 in CA-G.R. CV
and ordered to effect the correction or change of the entries in
No. 00238-MIN. The assailed decision dismissed the appeal filed by
the Certificate of Live Birth of petitioner’s name and citizenship
petitioner Republic of the Philippines and, consequently, affirmed in
so that the entries would be:
toto the June 28, 2004 Order4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
a) As to petitioner’s name:
Branch 27, Gingoog City in Special Proceedings No. 230-2004 granting
First Name : NORMA
the Petition for Correction of Entry of Certificate of Live Birth filed by
Middle Name : SY
respondent Dr. Norma S. Lugsanay Uy; while the assailed resolution
Last Name : LUGSANAY
denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.
b) As to petitioner’s nationality/citizenship: FILIPINO
The facts of the case are as follows:
On March 8, 2004, respondent filed a Petition for Correction of
The RTC concluded that respondent’s petition would neither
Entry in her Certificate of Live Birth.5Impleaded as respondent is the
prejudice the government nor any third party. It also held that the
Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City. She alleged that she was born on
names “Norma Sy Lugsanay” and “Anita Sy” refer to one and the same
February 8, 1952 and is the illegitimate daughter of Sy Ton and Sotera
person, especially since the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City has
Lugsanay.6 Her Certificate of Live Birth7 shows that her full name is
effected the correction. Considering that respondent has continuously
“Anita Sy” when in fact she is allegedly known to her family and friends
used and has been known since childhood as “Norma Sy Lugsanay” and
as “Norma S. Lugsanay.” She further claimed that her school records,
as a Filipino citizen, the RTC granted the petition to avoid confusion.16
Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Board of Medicine
On February 18, 2011, the CA affirmed in toto the RTC Order. The
Certificate,8 and passport9 bear the name “Norma S. Lugsanay.” She
CA held that respondent’s failure to implead other indispensable
also alleged that she is an illegitimate child considering that her
parties was cured upon the publication of the Order setting the case for
parents were never married, so she had to follow the surname of her
hearing in a newspaper of general circulation for three (3) consecutive
mother.10 She also contended that she is a Filipino citizen and not
weeks and by serving a copy of the notice to the Local Civil Registrar,
Chinese, and all her siblings bear the surname Lugsanay and are all
the OSG and the City Prosecutor’s Office.17 As to whether the petition
is a collateral attack on respondent’s filiation, the CA ruled in favor of
Respondent allegedly filed earlier a petition for correction of entries
respondent, considering that her parents were not legally married and
with the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City to effect the
that her siblings’ birth certificates uniformly state that their surname
corrections on her name and citizenship which was supposedly
is Lugsanay and their citizenship is Filipino.18 Petitioner’s motion for
granted.12However, the National Statistics Office (NSO) records did
reconsideration was denied in a Resolution dated July 27, 2011.
not bear such changes. Hence, the petition before the RTC.
Hence, the present petition on the sole ground that the petition is
On May 13, 2004, the RTC issued an Order13 finding the petition to
dismissible for failure to implead indispensable parties.
be sufficient in form and substance and setting the case for hearing,
Cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry is governed
with the directive that the said Order be published in a newspaper of
by Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, to wit:
general circulation in the City of Gingoog and the Province of Misamis
SEC. 1. Who may file petition.―Any person interested in
Oriental at least once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks at the
any act, event, order or decree concerning the civil status of
expense of respondent, and that the order and petition be furnished the
persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file a
Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the City Prosecutor’s Office
verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry In this case, respondent sought the correction of entries in her birth
relating thereto, with the Regional Trial Court of the province certificate, particularly those pertaining to her first name, surname
where the corresponding civil registry is located. and citizenship. She sought the correction allegedly to reflect the name
SEC. 2. Entries subject to cancellation or correction.―Upon which she has been known for since childhood, including her legal
good and valid grounds, the following entries in the civil register documents such as passport and school and professional records. She
may be cancelled or corrected: (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) likewise relied on the birth certificates of her full blood siblings who
deaths; (d) legal separations; (e) judgments of annulments of bear the surname “Lugsanay” instead of “Sy” and citizenship of
marriage; (f) judgments declaring marriages void from the “Filipino” instead of “Chinese.” The changes, however, are obviously
beginning; (g) legitimations; (h) adoptions; (i) acknowledgments not mere clerical as they touch on respondent’s filiation and
of natural children; (j) naturalization; (k) election, loss or citizenship. In changing her surname from “Sy” (which is the surname
recovery of citizenship; (l) civil interdiction; (m) judicial of her father) to “Lugsanay” (which is the surname of her mother), she,
determination of filiation; (n) voluntary emancipation of a in effect, changes her status from legitimate to illegitimate; and in
minor; and (o) changes of name. changing her citizenship from Chinese to Filipino, the same affects her
SEC. 3. Parties.―When cancellation or correction of rights and obligations in this country. Clearly, the changes are
an entry in the civil register is sought, the civil registrar substantial.
and all persons who have or claim any interest which It has been settled in a number of cases starting with Republic v.
would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the Valencia20 that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be
proceeding. corrected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved
SEC. 4. Notice and Publication.―Upon the filing of by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary
the petition, the court shall, by an order, fix the time and proceeding.21The pronouncement of the Court in that case is
place for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonable illuminating:
notice thereof to be given to the persons named in the It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a petition
petition. The court shall also cause the order to be is not for the correction of clerical errors of a harmless and
published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in innocuous nature, but one involving nationality or citizenship,
a newspaper of general circulation in the province. which is indisputably substantial as well as controverted,
SEC. 5. Opposition.―The civil registrar and any affirmative relief cannot be granted in a proceeding summary in
person having or claiming any interest under the entry nature. However, it is also true that a right in law may be
whose cancellation or correction is sought may, within enforced and a wrong may be remedied as long as
fifteen (15) days from notice of the petition, or from the the appropriate remedy is used. This Court adheres to the
last date of publication of such notice, file his opposition principle that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be
thereto. corrected and the true facts established provided the parties
SEC. 6. Expediting proceedings.―The court in which the aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate
proceeding is brought may make orders expediting the adversary proceeding. x x x
proceedings, and may also grant preliminary injunction for the What is meant by “appropriate adversary proceeding?”
preservation of the rights of the parties pending such Black’s Law Dictionary defines “adversary proceeding” as
proceedings. follows:
SEC. 7. Order.―After hearing, the court may either One having opposing parties; contested, as
dismiss the petition or issue an order granting the cancellation distinguished from an ex parte application, one of which
or correction prayed for. In either case, a certified copy of the the party seeking relief has given legal warning to the
judgment shall be served upon the civil registrar concerned who other party, and afforded the latter an opportunity to
shall annotate the same in his record.19 contest it. Excludes an adoption proceeding.22
In sustaining the RTC decision, the CA relied on the Court’s In this case, it was only the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City
conclusion in Republic v. Kho,23 Alba v. Court of Appeals,24 and Barco who was impleaded as respondent in the petition below. This,
v. Court of Appeals,25 that the failure to implead indispensable parties notwithstanding, the RTC granted her petition and allowed the
was cured by the publication of the notice of hearing pursuant to the correction sought by respondent, which decision was affirmed in toto by
provisions of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. In Republic v. the CA.
Kho,26 petitioner therein appealed the RTC decision granting the We do not agree with the RTC and the CA.
petition for correction of entries despite respondents’ failure to implead This is not the first time that the Court is confronted with the issue
the minor’s mother as an indispensable party. The Court, however, did involved in this case. Aside from Kho, Alba and Barco, the Court has
not strictly apply the provisions of Rule 108, because it opined that it addressed the same in Republic v. Coseteng-Magpayo,31 Ceruila v.
was highly improbable that the mother was unaware of the Delantar,32 and Labayo-Rowe v. Republic.33
proceedings to correct the entries in her children’s birth certificates In Republic v. Coseteng-Magpayo,34 claiming that his parents were
especially since the notices, orders and decision of the trial court were never legally married, respondent therein filed a petition to change his
all sent to the residence she shared with them.27 name from “Julian Edward Emerson Coseteng Magpayo,” the name
In Alba v. Court of Appeals,28 the Court found nothing wrong with appearing in his birth certificate to “Julian Edward Emerson Marquez
the trial court’s decision granting the petition for correction of entries Lim Coseteng.” The notice setting the petition for hearing was
filed by respondent although the proceedings was not actually known published and there being no opposition thereto, the trial court issued
by petitioner. In that case, petitioner’s mother and guardian was an order of general default and eventually granted respondent’s
impleaded in the petition for correction of entries, and notices were petition deleting the entry on the date and place of marriage of parties;
sent to her address appearing in the subject birth certificate. However, correcting his surname from “Magpayo” to “Coseteng”; deleting the
the notice was returned unserved, because apparently she no longer entry “Coseteng” for middle name; and deleting the entry “Fulvio
lived there. Thus, when she allegedly learned of the granting of the Miranda Magpayo, Jr.” in the space for his father. The Republic of the
petition, she sought the annulment of judgment which the Court Philippines, through the OSG, assailed the RTC decision on the
denied. Considering that the petition for correction of entries is a grounds that the corrections made on respondent’s birth certificate had
proceeding in rem, the Court held that acquisition of jurisdiction over the effect of changing the civil status from legitimate to illegitimate
the person of the petitioner is, therefore, not required and the absence and must only be effected through an appropriate adversary
of personal service was cured by the trial court’s compliance with Rule proceeding. The Court nullified the RTC decision for respondent’s
108 which requires notice by publication.29 failure to comply strictly with the procedure laid down in Rule 108 of
In Barco v. Court of Appeals,30 the Court addressed the question of the Rules of Court. Aside from the wrong remedy availed of by
whether the court acquired jurisdiction over petitioner and all other respondent as he filed a petition for Change of Name under Rule 103
indispensable parties to the petition for correction of entries despite of the Rules of Court, assuming that he filed a petition under Rule 108
the failure to implead them in said case. While recognizing that which is the appropriate remedy, the petition still failed because of
petitioner was indeed an indispensable party, the failure to implead improper venue and failure to implead the Civil Registrar of Makati
her was cured by compliance with Section 4 of Rule 108 which requires City and all affected parties as respondents in the case.
notice by publication. In so ruling, the Court pointed out that the In Ceruila v. Delantar,35 the Ceruilas filed a petition for the
petitioner in a petition for correction cannot be presumed to be aware cancellation and annulment of the birth certificate of respondent on the
of all the parties whose interests may be affected by the granting of a ground that the same was made as an instrument of the crime of
petition. It emphasized that the petitioner therein exerted earnest simulation of birth and, therefore, invalid and spurious, and it falsified
effort to comply with the provisions of Rule 108. Thus, the publication all material entries therein. The RTC issued an order setting the case
of the notice of hearing was considered to have cured the failure to for hearing with a directive that the same be published and that any
implead indispensable parties. person who is interested in the petition may interpose his comment or
opposition on or before the scheduled hearing. Summons was likewise
sent to the Civil Register of Manila. After which, the trial court granted While there may be cases where the Court held that the failure to
the petition and nullified respondent’s birth certificate. Few months implead and notify the affected or interested parties may be cured by
after, respondent filed a petition for the annulment of judgment the publication of the notice of hearing, earnest efforts were made by
claiming that she and her guardian were not notified of the petition petitioners in bringing to court all possible interested parties.40 Such
and the trial court’s decision, hence, the latter was issued without failure was likewise excused where the interested parties themselves
jurisdiction and in violation of her right to due process. The Court initiated the corrections proceedings;41 when there is no actual or
annulled the trial court’s decision for failure to comply with the presumptive awareness of the existence of the interested parties;42or
requirements of Rule 108, especially the non-impleading of respondent when a party is inadvertently left out.43
herself whose birth certificate was nullified. It is clear from the foregoing discussion that when a petition for
In Labayo-Rowe v. Republic,36 petitioner filed a petition for the cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register involves
correction of entries in the birth certificates of her children, specifically substantial and controversial alterations, including those on
to change her name from Beatriz V. Labayu/Beatriz Labayo to citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of
Emperatriz Labayo, her civil status from “married” to “single,” and the marriage, a strict compliance with the requirements of Rule 108 of the
date and place of marriage from “1953-Bulan” to “No marriage.” The Rules of Court is mandated.44 If the entries in the civil register could
Court modified the trial court’s decision by nullifying the portion be corrected or changed through mere summary proceedings and not
thereof which directs the change of petitioner’s civil status as well as through appropriate action wherein all parties who may be affected by
the filiation of her child, because it was the OSG only that was made the entries are notified or represented, the door to fraud or other
respondent and the proceedings taken was summary in nature which mischief would be set open, the consequence of which might be
is short of what is required in cases where substantial alterations are detrimental and far reaching.45
sought. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is
Respondent’s birth certificate shows that her full name is Anita Sy, hereby GRANTED. The Court of Appeals Decision dated February 18,
that she is a Chinese citizen and a legitimate child of Sy Ton and Sotera 2011 and Resolution dated July 27, 20011 in CA-G.R. CV No. 00238-
Lugsanay. In filing the petition, however, she seeks the correction of MIN, are SET ASIDE. Consequently, the June 28, 2004 Order of the
her first name and surname, her status from “legitimate” to Regional Trial Court, Branch 27, Gingoog City, in Spl. Proc. No. 230-
“illegitimate” and her citizenship from “Chinese” to “Filipino.” Thus, 2004 granting the Petition for Correction of Entry of Certificate of Live
respondent should have impleaded and notified not only the Local Civil Birth filed by respondent Dr. Norma S. Lugsanay Uy, is NULLIFIED.
Registrar but also her parents and siblings as the persons who have SO ORDERED.
interest and are affected by the changes or corrections respondent
wanted to make.
The fact that the notice of hearing was published in a newspaper of
general circulation and notice thereof was served upon the State will
not change the nature of the proceedings taken.37 A reading of Sections
4 and 5, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court shows that the Rules mandate
two sets of notices to different potential oppositors: one given to the
persons named in the petition and another given to other persons who
are not named in the petition but nonetheless may be considered
interested or affected parties.38 Summons must, therefore, be served
not for the purpose of vesting the courts with jurisdiction but to comply
with the requirements of fair play and due process to afford the person
concerned the opportunity to protect his interest if he so chooses.39
514 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Petitioners in G.R. No. 181527 are the Central Visayas Fisherfolk
Development Center (FIDEC), a non-stock, nonprofit,
Resident Marine Mammals of the Protected Seascape Tañon Strait vs.
nongovernmental organization, established for the welfare of the
Reyes marginal fisherfolk in Region VII; and Cerilo D. Engarcial (Engarcial),
G.R. No. 180771. April 21, 2015.* Ramon Yanong (Yanong) and Francisco Labid (Labid), in their
personal capacities and as representatives of the subsistence fisherfolk
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.: of the municipalities of Aloguinsan and Pinamungajan, Cebu.
Named as respondents in both petitions are the late Angelo T.
Before Us are two consolidated Petitions filed under Rule 65 of the Reyes, as then Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE); Jose L.
1997 Rules of Court, concerning Service Contract No. 46 (SC-46), Atienza, as then Secretary of the DENR; Leonardo R. Sibbaluca, as
which allowed the exploration, development, and exploitation of then DENR-Regional Director for Region VII and Chairman of the
petroleum resources within Tañon Strait, a narrow passage of water Tañon Strait Protected Seascape Management Board; Japan
situated between the islands of Negros and Cebu.2 Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd. (JAPEX), a company organized and
The Petition docketed as G.R. No. 180771 is an original Petition existing under the laws of Japan with a Philippine branch office; and
for Certiorari, Mandamus, and Injunction, which seeks to enjoin Supply Oilfield Services, Inc. (SOS), as the alleged Philippine agent of
respondents from implementing SC-46 and to have it nullified for JAPEX.
willful and gross violation of the 1987 Constitution and certain In G.R. No. 181527, the following were impleaded as additional
international and municipal laws.3 public respondents: Alan C. Arranguez (Arranguez) and Antonio
Likewise, the Petition docketed as G.R. No. 181527 is an original Labios (Labios), in their capacities as then Director of the EMB, Region
Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition, and Mandamus, which seeks to VII and then Regional Director of the DOE, Region VII, respectively.6
nullify the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued by the On June 13, 2002, the Government of the Philippines, acting
Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of through the DOE, entered into a Geophysical Survey and Exploration
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Region VII in connection Contract-102 (GSEC-102) with JAPEX. This contract involved
with SC-46; to prohibit respondents from implementing SC-46; and to geological and geophysical studies of the Tañon Strait. The studies
compel public respondents to provide petitioners access to the included surface geology, sample analysis, and reprocessing of seismic
pertinent documents involving the Tañon Strait Oil Exploration and magnetic data. JAPEX, assisted by DOE, also conducted
Project.4 geophysical and satellite surveys, as well as oil and gas sampling in
Tañon Strait.7
Antecedent Facts and Proceedings On December 21, 2004, DOE and JAPEX formally converted
GSEC-102 into SC-46 for the exploration, development, and production
Petitioners in G.R. No. 180771, collectively referred to as the of petroleum resources in a block covering approximately 2,850 square
“Resident Marine Mammals” in the petition, are the toothed whales, kilometers offshore the Tañon Strait.8
dolphins, porpoises, and other cetacean species, which inhabit the From May 9 to 18, 2005, JAPEX conducted seismic surveys in and
waters in and around the Tañon Strait. They are joined by Gloria around the Tañon Strait. A multi-channel sub-bottom profiling
Estenzo Ramos (Ramos) and Rose-Liza Eisma-Osorio (Eisma-Osorio) covering approximately 751 kilometers was also done to determine the
as their legal guardians and as friends (to be collectively known as “the area’s underwater composition.9
Stewards”) who allegedly empathize with, and seek the protection of, JAPEX committed to drill one exploration well during the second
the aforementioned marine species. Also impleaded as an unwilling co- sub-phase of the project. Since the well was to be drilled in the marine
petitioner is former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, for her waters of Aloguinsan and Pinamungajan, where the Tañon Strait was
express declaration and undertaking in the ASEAN Charter to protect declared a protected seascape in 1988,10 JAPEX agreed to comply with
the Tañon Strait, among others.5 the Environmental Impact Assessment requirements pursuant to
Presidential Decree No. 1586, entitled “Establishing An On May 26, 2008, the FIDEC manifested20 that they were
Environmental Impact Statement System, Including Other adopting in toto the Opposition to Strike with Motion to Implead filed
Environmental Management Related Measures And For Other by petitioners Resident Marine Mammals and Stewards in G.R. No.
Purposes.”11 180771.
On January 31, 2007, the Protected Area Management Board12 of On June 19, 2008, public respondents filed their
the Tañon Strait (PAMB-Tañon Strait) issued Resolution No. 2007- Manifestation21 that they were not objecting to SOS’s Motion to Strike
001,13 wherein it adopted the Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) as it was not JAPEX’s resident agent. JAPEX during all this time, did
commissioned by JAPEX, and favorably recommended the approval of not file any comment at all.
JAPEX’s application for an ECC. Thus, on February 7, 2012, this Court, in an effort to ensure that
On March 6, 2007, the EMB of DENR Region VII granted an ECC all the parties were given ample chance and opportunity to answer the
to the DOE and JAPEX for the offshore oil and gas exploration project issues herein, issued a Resolution directing the Court’s process
in Tañon Strait.14 Months later, on November 16, 2007, JAPEX began servicing unit to again serve the parties with a copy of the September
to drill an exploratory well, with a depth of 3,150 meters, near 23, 2008 Resolution of the Court, which gave due course to the petitions
Pinamungajan town in the western Cebu Province.15 This drilling in G.R. Nos. 180771 and 181527, and which required the parties to
lasted until February 8, 2008.16 submit their respective memoranda. The February 7, 2012
It was in view of the foregoing state of affairs that petitioners Resolution22 reads as follows:
applied to this Court for redress, via two separate original petitions G.R. No. 180771 (Resident Marine Mammals of the Protected
both dated December 17, 2007, wherein they commonly seek that Seascape Tañon Strait, e.g., Toothed Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises and
respondents be enjoined from implementing SC-46 for, among others, Other Cetacean Species, et al. v. Hon. Angelo Reyes, in his capacity as
violation of the 1987 Constitution. Secretary of the Department of Energy, et al.) and G.R. No.
On March 31, 2008, SOS filed a Motion to Strike17 its name as a 181527 (Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center, et al. v. Hon.
respondent on the ground that it is not the Philippine agent of JAPEX. Angelo Reyes, et al.). — The Court Resolved to direct the Process
In support of its motion, it submitted the branch office application of Servicing Unit to RESEND the resolution dated September 23, 2008
JAPEX,18wherein the latter’s resident agent was clearly identified. to the following parties and counsel, together with this resolution:
SOS claimed that it had acted as a mere logistics contractor for JAPEX
in its oil and gas exploration activities in the Philippines.
Petitioners Resident Marine Mammals and Stewards opposed
SOS’s motion on the ground that it was premature, it was pro forma,
and it was patently dilatory. They claimed that SOS admitted that “it
is in law a (sic) privy to JAPEX” since it did the drilling and other
exploration activities in Tañon Strait under the instructions of its
principal, JAPEX. They argued that it would be premature to drop SOS
This Resolution was personally served to the above parties, at the
as a party as JAPEX had not yet been joined in the case; and that it
above addresses on February 23, 2012. On March 20, 2012, JAPEX
was “convenient” for SOS to ask the Court to simply drop its name from
Philippines, Ltd. (JAPEX PH), by way of special appearance, filed a
the parties when what it should have done was to either notify or ask
Motion to Admit23 its Motion for Clarification,24 wherein JAPEX PH
JAPEX to join it in its motion to enable proper substitution. At this
requested to be clarified as to whether or not it should deem the
juncture, petitioners Resident Marine Mammals and Stewards also
February 7, 2012 Resolution as this Court’s Order of its inclusion in
asked the Court to implead JAPEX Philippines as a corespondent or as
the case, as it has not been impleaded. It also alleged that JAPEX PH
a substitute for its parent company, JAPEX.19
had already stopped exploration activities in the Tañon Strait way
On April 8, 2008, the Court resolved to consolidate G.R. No. 180771
back in 2008, rendering this case moot.
and G.R. No. 181527.
On March 22, 2012, JAPEX PH, also by special appearance, filed a any time said corporation shall cease to transact business in the
Motion for Extension of Time25 to file its Memorandum. It stated that Philippines, or shall be without any resident agent in the Philippines
since it received the February 7, 2012 Resolution on February 23, 2012, on whom any summons or other legal processes may be served, then in
it had until March 22, 2012 to file its Memorandum. JAPEX PH then any action or proceeding arising out of any business or transaction
asked for an additional thirty days, supposedly to give this Court some which occurred in the Philippines, service of any summons or other
time to consider its Motion for Clarification. legal process may be made upon the Securities and Exchange
On April 24, 2012, this Court issued a Resolution26granting JAPEX Commission and that such service shall have the same force and effect
PH’s Motion to Admit its Motion for Clarification. This Court, as if made upon the duly-authorized officers of the corporation at its
addressing JAPEX PH’s Motion for Clarification, held: home office.”
With regard to its Motion for Clarification (By Special Appearance) Whenever such service of summons or other process shall be made
dated March 19, 2012, this Court considers JAPEX Philippines, Ltd. as upon the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commission shall,
a real party-in-interest in these cases. Under Section 2, Rule 3 of the within ten (10) days thereafter, transmit by mail a copy of such
1997 Rules of Court, a real party-in-interest is the party who stands to summons or other legal process to the corporation at its home or
be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled principal office. The sending of such copy by the Commission shall be a
to the avails of the suit. Contrary to JAPEX Philippines, Ltd.’s necessary part of and shall complete such service. All expenses
allegation that it is a completely distinct corporation, which should not incurred by the Commission for such service shall be paid in advance
be confused with JAPEX Company, Ltd., JAPEX Philippines, Ltd. is a by the party at whose instance the service is made.
mere branch office, established by JAPEX Company, Ltd. for the In case of a change of address of the resident agent, it shall be his
purpose of carrying out the latter’s business transactions here in the or its duty to immediately notify in writing the Securities and
Philippines. Thus, JAPEX Philippines, Ltd., has no separate Exchange Commission of the new address.
personality from its mother foreign corporation, the party impleaded It is clear from the foregoing provision that the function of a
in this case. resident agent is to receive summons or legal processes that may be
Moreover, Section 128 of the Corporation Code provides for the served in all actions or other legal proceedings against the foreign
responsibilities and duties of a resident agent of a foreign corporation: corporation. These cases have been prosecuted in the name of JAPEX
SECTION 128. Resident agent; service of process.—The Company, Ltd., and JAPEX Philippines Ltd., as its branch office and
Securities and Exchange Commission shall require as a condition resident agent, had been receiving the various resolutions from this
precedent to the issuance of the license to transact business in the Court, as evidenced by Registry Return Cards signed by its
Philippines by any foreign corporation that such corporation file with representatives.
the Securities and Exchange Commission a written power of attorney
designating some person who must be a resident of the Philippines, on And in the interest of justice, this Court resolved to grant JAPEX
whom any summons and other legal processes may be served in all PH’s motion for extension of time to file its memorandum, and was
actions or other legal proceedings against such corporation, and given until April 21, 2012, as prayed for, within which to comply with
consenting that service upon such resident agent shall be admitted and the submission.27
held as valid as if served upon the duly authorized officers of the foreign Without filing its Memorandum, JAPEX PH, on May 14, 2012, filed
corporation at its home office. Any such foreign corporation shall a motion, asking this Court for an additional thirty days to file its
likewise execute and file with the Securities and Exchange Memorandum, to be counted from May 8, 2012. It justified its request
Commission an agreement or stipulation, executed by the proper by claiming that this Court’s April 24, 2012 Resolution was issued past
authorities of said corporation, in form and substance as follows: its requested deadline for filing, which was on April 21, 2012.28
“The (name of foreign corporation) does hereby stipulate and agree, On June 19, 2012, this Court denied JAPEX PH’s second request
in consideration of its being granted by the Securities and Exchange for additional time to file its Memorandum and dispensed with such
Commission a license to transact business in the Philippines, that if at filing.
Since petitioners had already filed their respective Public Respondents’ Counter-Allegations
memoranda,29 and public respondents had earlier filed a
Manifestation30 that they were adopting their Comment dated March Public respondents, through the Solicitor General, contend that
31, 2008 as their memorandum, this Court submitted the case for petitioners Resident Marine Mammals and Stewards have no legal
decision. standing to file the present petition; that SC-46 does not violate the
1987 Constitution and the various laws cited in the petitions; that the
Petitioners’ Allegations ECC was issued in accordance with existing laws and regulations; that
public respondents may not be compelled by mandamus to furnish
Protesting the adverse ecological impact of JAPEX’s oil exploration petitioners copies of all documents relating to SC-46; and that all the
activities in the Tañon Strait, petitioners Resident Marine Mammals petitioners failed to show that they are entitled to injunctive relief.
and Stewards aver that a study made after the seismic survey showed They further contend that the issues raised in these petitions have
that the fish catch was reduced drastically by 50 to 70 percent. They been rendered moot and academic by the fact that SC-46 had been
claim that before the seismic survey, the average harvest per day mutually terminated by the parties thereto effective June 21, 2008.36
would be from 15 to 20 kilos; but after the activity, the fisherfolk could
only catch an average of 1 to 2 kilos a day. They attribute this “reduced Issues
fish catch” to the destruction of the “payao,” also known as the “fish
aggregating device” or “artificial reef.”31 Petitioners Resident Marine The following are the issues posited by petitioners Resident Marine
Mammals and Stewards also impute the incidences of “fish Mammals and Stewards in G.R. No. 180771:
kill”32observed by some of the local fisherfolk to the seismic survey. And I. WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONERS HAVE LOCUS
they further allege that the ECC obtained by private respondent STANDI TO FILE THE INSTANT PETITION;
JAPEX is invalid because public consultations and discussions with the II. WHETHER OR NOT SERVICE CONTRACT NO. 46 IS
affected stakeholders, a prerequisite to the issuance of the ECC, were VIOLAT[IVE] OF THE 1987 PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION AND
not held prior to the ECC’s issuance. STATUTES;
In its separate petition, petitioner FIDEC confirms petitioners III. WHETHER OR NOT THE ONGOING EXPLORATION AND
Resident Marine Mammals and Stewards’ allegations of reduced fish PROPOSED EXPLOITATION FOR OIL AND NATURAL GAS AT,
catch and lack of public consultations or discussions with the fisherfolk AROUND, AND UNDERNEATH THE MARINE WATERS OF THE
and other stakeholders prior to the issuance of the ECC. Moreover, it TAÑON STRAIT PROTECTED SEASCAPE IS INCONSISTENT
alleges that during the seismic surveys and drilling, it was barred from WITH THE PHILIPPINE COMMITMENTS TO INTERNATIONAL
entering and fishing within a 7-kilometer radius from the point where ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AND INSTRUMENTS; AND
the oilrig was located, an area greater than the 1.5-kilometer radius IV. WHETHER OR NOT THE ISSUANCE OF THE
“exclusion zone” stated in the IEE.33 It also agrees in the allegation ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE (ECC) IN
that public respondents DENR and EMB abused their discretion when ENVIRONMENTALLY CRITICAL AREAS AND HABITATS OF
they issued an ECC to public respondent DOE and private respondent MARINE WILDLIFE AND ENDANGERED SPECIES IS LEGAL
JAPEX without ensuring the strict compliance with the procedural and AND PROPER.37
substantive requirements under the Environmental Impact
Assessment system, the Fisheries Code, and their implementing rules Meanwhile, in G.R. No. 181527, petitioner FIDEC presented the
and regulations.34 It further claims that despite several requests for following issues for our consideration:
copies of all the documents pertaining to the project in Tañon Strait, I. WHETHER OR NOT SERVICE CONTRACT NO. 46
only copies of the PAMB-Tañon Strait Resolution and the ECC were EXECUTED BETWEEN RESPONDENTS DOE AND JAPEX
VIOLATION OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF THE 1987 In this case, despite the termination of SC-46, this Court deems it
PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION AND APPLICABLE LAWS; necessary to resolve these consolidated petitions as almost all of the
II. WHETHER OR NOT THE OFFSHORE OIL EXPLORAT[I]ON foregoing exceptions are present in this case. Both petitioners allege
CONTEMPLATED UNDER SERVICE CONTRACT NO. 46 IS that SC-46 is violative of the Constitution, the environmental and
LEGALLY PERMISSIBLE WITHOUT A LAW BEING DULY PASSED livelihood issues raised undoubtedly affect the public’s interest, and
EXPRESSLY FOR THE PURPOSE; the respondents’ contested actions are capable of repetition.
SEASCAPE VIOLATES THE RIGHTS AND LEGAL PROTECTION Locus Standi of Petitioners Resident Marine Mammals and
APPLICABLE LAWS; The Resident Marine Mammals, through the Stewards, “claim” that
IV. WHETHER OR NOT THE ISSUANCE OF THE they have the legal standing to file this action since they stand to be
ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE (ECC) FOR benefited or injured by the judgment in this suit.40 Citing Oposa v.
SUCH AN ENVIRONMENTALLY CRITICAL PROJECT INSIDE AN Factoran, Jr.,41 they also assert their right to sue for the faithful
ENVIRONMENTALLY CRITICAL AREA SUCH AS THE TAÑON performance of international and municipal environmental laws
STRAIT PROTECTED SEASCAPE CONFORMED TO LAW AND created in their favor and for their benefit. In this regard, they
EXISTING RULES AND REGULATIONS ON THE MATTER; AND propound that they have the right to demand that they be accorded the
V. WHETHER OR NOT THE RESPONDENTS MAY BE benefits granted to them in multilateral international instruments
COMPELLED BY MANDAMUS TO FURNISH PETITIONERS WITH that the Philippine Government had signed, under the concept of
STRAIT OIL EXPLORATION PROJECT.38 For their part, the Stewards contend that there should be no
question of their right to represent the Resident Marine Mammals as
In these consolidated petitions, this Court has determined that the they have stakes in the case as forerunners of a campaign to build
various issues raised by the petitioners may be condensed into two awareness among the affected residents of Tañon Strait and as
primary issues: stewards of the environment since the primary steward, the
I. Procedural Issue: Locus Standi of the Resident Marine Mammals Government, had failed in its duty to protect the environment
and Stewards, petitioners in G.R. No. 180771; and pursuant to the public trust doctrine.43
II. Main Issue: Legality of Service Contract No. 46. Petitioners Resident Marine Mammals and Stewards also aver that
this Court may lower the benchmark in locus standi as an exercise of
Discussion epistolary jurisdiction.44
At the outset, this Court makes clear that the “‘moot and academic In opposition, public respondents argue that the Resident Marine
principle’ is not a magical formula that can automatically dissuade the Mammals have no standing because Section 1, Rule 3 of the Rules of
courts in resolving a case.” Courts have decided cases otherwise moot Court requires parties to an action to be either natural or juridical
and academic under the following exceptions: persons, viz.:
1) There is a grave violation of the Constitution;
2) The exceptional character of the situation and the paramount Section 1. Who may be parties; plaintiff and defendant.—Only
public interest is involved; natural or juridical persons, or entities authorized by law may be
3) The constitutional issue raised requires formulation of parties in a civil action. The term “plaintiff” may refer to the claiming
controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public; and party, the counter-claimant, the cross-claimant, or the third
4) The case is capable of repetition yet evading review.39 (fourth, etc.)-party plaintiff. The term “defendant” may refer to the
original defending party, the defendant in a counterclaim, the cross- So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes,
defendant, or the third (fourth, etc.)-party defendant. estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that
feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life.
The public respondents also contest the applicability of Oposa, The river, for example, is the living symbol of all the life it sustains or
pointing out that the petitioners therein were all natural persons, nourishes — fish, aquatic insects, water ouzels, otter, fisher, deer, elk,
albeit some of them were still unborn.45 bear, and all other animals, including man, who are dependent on it or
As regards the Stewards, the public respondents likewise challenge who enjoy it for its sight, its sound, or its life. The river as plaintiff
their claim of legal standing on the ground that they are representing speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it. Those people who
animals, which cannot be parties to an action. Moreover, the public have a meaningful relation to that body of water — whether it be a
respondents argue that the Stewards are not the real parties-in- fisherman, a canoeist, a zoologist, or a logger — must be able to speak
interest for their failure to show how they stand to be benefited or for the values which the river represents and which are threatened
injured by the decision in this case.46 with destruction.50 (Citations omitted)
Invoking the alter ego principle in political law, the public
respondents claim that absent any proof that former President Arroyo The primary reason animal rights advocates and environmentalists
had disapproved of their acts in entering into and implementing SC- seek to give animals and inanimate objects standing is due to the need
46, such acts remain to be her own.47 to comply with the strict requirements in bringing a suit to court. Our
The public respondents contend that since petitioners Resident own 1997 Rules of Court demand that parties to a suit be either natural
Marine Mammals and Stewards’ petition was not brought in the name or juridical persons, or entities authorized by law. It further
of a real party-in-interest, it should be dismissed for failure to state a necessitates the action to be brought in the name of the real party-in-
cause of action.48 interest, even if filed by a representative, viz.:
The issue of whether or not animals or even inanimate objects Rule 3
should be given legal standing in actions before courts of law is not new Parties to Civil Actions
in the field of animal rights and environmental law. Petitioners
Resident Marine Mammals and Stewards cited the 1972 United States Section 1. Who may be parties; plaintiff and defendant.—Only
case Sierra Club v. Rogers C.B. Morton,49 wherein Justice William O. natural or juridical persons, or entities authorized by law may be
Douglas, dissenting to the conventional thought on legal standing, parties in a civil action. The term “plaintiff” may refer to the claiming
opined: party, the counter-claimant, the cross-claimant, or the third
The critical question of “standing” would be simplified and also put (fourth, etc.)-party plaintiff. The term “defendant” may refer to the
neatly in focus if we fashioned a federal rule that allowed original defending party, the defendant in a counterclaim, the cross-
environmental issues to be litigated before federal agencies or federal defendant, or the third (fourth, etc.)-party defendant.
courts in the name of the inanimate object about to be despoiled, Sec. 2. Parties-in-interest.—A real party-in-interest is the party
defaced, or invaded by roads and bulldozers and where injury is the who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or
subject of public outrage. x x x. the party entitled to the avails of the suit. Unless otherwise authorized
Inanimate objects are sometimes parties in litigation. A ship has a by law or these Rules, every action must be prosecuted or defended in
legal personality, a fiction found useful for maritime purposes. The the name of the real party-in-interest.
corporation sole — a creature of ecclesiastical law — is an acceptable Sec. 3. Representatives as parties.—Where the action is allowed
adversary and large fortunes ride on its cases. The ordinary to be prosecuted or defended by a representative or someone acting in
corporation is a “person” for purposes of the adjudicatory processes, a fiduciary capacity, the beneficiary shall be included in the title of the
whether it represents proprietary, spiritual, aesthetic, or charitable case and shall be deemed to be the real party-in-interest. A
causes. representative may be a trustee of an express trust, a guardian, an
executor or administrator, or a party authorized by law or these Rules.
An agent acting in his own name and for the benefit of an undisclosed standing for all cases filed enforcing environmental laws and collapses
principal may sue or be sued without joining the principal except when the traditional rule on personal and direct interest, on the principle
the contract involves things belonging to the principal. that humans are stewards of nature. The terminology of the text
reflects the doctrine first enunciated in Oposa v. Factoran, insofar as it
It had been suggested by animal rights advocates and refers to minors and generations yet unborn.53 (Emphasis supplied,
environmentalists that not only natural and juridical persons should citation omitted)
be given legal standing because of the difficulty for persons, who cannot
show that they by themselves are real parties-in-interests, to bring Although this petition was filed in 2007, years before the effectivity
actions in representation of these animals or inanimate objects. For of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases, it has been
this reason, many environmental cases have been dismissed for failure consistently held that rules of procedure “may be retroactively applied
of the petitioner to show that he/she would be directly injured or to actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage and
affected by the outcome of the case. However, in our jurisdiction, locus will not violate any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely
standi in environmental cases has been given a more liberalized affected, inasmuch as there is no vested rights in rules of procedure.”54
approach. While developments in Philippine legal theory and Elucidating on this doctrine, the Court, in Systems Factors
jurisprudence have not progressed as far as Justice Douglas’s Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission55 held that:
paradigm of legal standing for inanimate objects, the current trend Remedial statutes or statutes relating to remedies or modes of
moves towards simplification of procedures and facilitating court procedure, which do not create new or take away vested rights, but only
access in environmental cases. operate in furtherance of the remedy or confirmation of rights already
Recently, the Court passed the landmark Rules of Procedure for existing, do not come within the legal conception of a retroactive law,
Environmental Cases,51 which allow for a “citizen suit,” and permit or the general rule against retroactive operation of statutes. Statutes
any Filipino citizen to file an action before our courts for violations of regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as applicable
our environmental laws: to actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage.
Procedural laws are retroactive in that sense and to that extent. x x x.
SEC. 5. Citizen suit.—Any Filipino citizen in representation Moreover, even before the Rules of Procedure for Environmental
of others, including minors or generations yet unborn, may file Cases became effective, this Court had already taken a permissive
an action to enforce rights or obligations under environmental position on the issue of locus standi in environmental cases. In Oposa,
laws. Upon the filing of a citizen suit, the court shall issue an order we allowed the suit to be brought in the name of generations yet unborn
which shall contain a brief description of the cause of action and the “based on the concept of intergenerational responsibility insofar as the
reliefs prayed for, requiring all interested parties to manifest their right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned.”56 Furthermore,
interest to intervene in the case within fifteen (15) days from notice we said that the right to a balanced and healthful ecology, a right that
thereof. The plaintiff may publish the order once in a newspaper of a does not even need to be stated in our Constitution as it is assumed to
general circulation in the Philippines or furnish all exist from the inception of humankind, carries with it the correlative
affected barangays copies of said order. duty to refrain from impairing the environment.57
Citizen suits filed under R.A. No. 8749 and R.A. No. 9003 shall be In light of the foregoing, the need to give the Resident Marine
governed by their respective provisions.52 (Emphasis ours) Mammals legal standing has been eliminated by our Rules, which
allow any Filipino citizen, as a steward of nature, to bring a suit to
Explaining the rationale for this rule, the Court, in the Annotations enforce our environmental laws. It is worth noting here that the
to the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases, commented: Stewards are joined as real parties in the Petition and not just in
Citizen suit. To further encourage the protection of the representation of the named cetacean species. The Stewards, Ramos
environment, the Rules enable litigants enforcing environmental and Eisma-Osorio, having shown in their petition that there may be
rights to file their cases as citizen suits. This provision liberalizes possible violations of laws concerning the habitat of the Resident
Marine Mammals, are therefore declared to possess the legal standing distraction, considering that being the Chief Executive of the
to file this petition. Government is a job that, aside from requiring all of the office holder’s
time, also demands undivided attention.”59
Impleading Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Therefore, former President Macapagal-Arroyo cannot be
an Unwilling Co-Petitioner impleaded as one of the petitioners in this suit. Thus, her name is
stricken off the title of this case.
Petitioners Stewards in G.R. No. 180771 impleaded as an
unwilling co-petitioner former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for Main Issue: Legality of Service Contract No. 46
the following reasons, which we quote:
Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, also of legal Service Contract No. 46 vis-à-vis Section 2, Article XII of
age, Filipino and resident of Malacañan Palace, Manila Philippines. the 1987 Constitution
Steward Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo happens to be the incumbent
President of the Philippine Islands. She is personally impleaded in this Petitioners maintain that SC-46 transgresses the Jura
suit as an unwilling co-petitioner by reason of her express declaration Regalia Provision or paragraph 1, Section 2, Article XII of the 1987
and undertaking under the recently signed ASEAN Charter to protect Constitution because JAPEX is 100% Japanese-owned.60 Furthermore,
Your Petitioners’ habitat, among others. She is meantime dominated the FIDEC asserts that SC-46 cannot be considered as a technical and
as an unwilling co-petitioner due to lack of material time in seeking financial assistance agreement validly executed under paragraph 4 of
her signature and imprimatur hereof and due to possible legal the same provision.61 The petitioners claim that La Bugal-B’laan
complications that may hereafter arise by reason of her official Tribal Association, Inc. v. Ramos62 laid down the guidelines for a valid
relations with public respondents under the alter ego principle in service contract, one of which is that there must exist a general law for
political law.58 oil exploration before a service contract may be entered into by the
This is incorrect. Government. The petitioners posit that the service contract in La
Section 10, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court provides: Bugal is presumed to have complied with the requisites of (a)
legislative enactment of a general law after the effectivity of the 1987
Sec. 10. Unwilling co-plaintiff.—If the consent of any party who Constitution (such as Republic Act No. 7942, or the Philippine Mining
should be joined as plaintiff can not be obtained, he may be made a Law of 1995, governing mining contracts) and (b) presidential
defendant and the reason therefor shall be stated in the complaint. notification. The petitioners thus allege that the ruling in La Bugal,
Under the foregoing rule, when the consent of a party who should which involved mining contracts under Republic Act No. 7942, does not
be joined as a plaintiff cannot be obtained, he or she may be made a apply in this case.63 The petitioners also argue that Presidential Decree
party defendant to the case. This will put the unwilling party under No. 87 or the Oil Exploration and Development Act of 1972 cannot
the jurisdiction of the Court, which can properly implead him or her legally justify SC-46 as it is deemed to have been repealed by the 1987
through its processes. The unwilling party’s name cannot be simply Constitution and subsequent laws, which enunciate new policies
included in a petition, without his or her knowledge and consent, as concerning the environment.64 In addition, petitioners in G.R. No.
such would be a denial of due process. 180771 claim that paragraphs 2 and 3 of Section 2, Article XII of the
Moreover, the reason cited by the petitioners Stewards for including 1987 Constitution mandate the exclusive use and enjoyment by the
former President Macapagal-Arroyo in their petition, is not sufficient Filipinos of our natural resources,65 and paragraph 4 does not speak of
to implead her as an unwilling co-petitioner. Impleading the former service contracts but of FTAAs or Financial Technical Assistance
President as an unwilling co-petitioner, for an act she made in the Agreements.66
performance of the functions of her office, is contrary to the public The public respondents again controvert the petitioners’ claims and
policy against embroiling the President in suits, “to assure the exercise asseverate that SC-46 does not violate Section 2, Article XII of the 1987
of Presidential duties and functions free from any hindrance or Constitution. They hold that SC-46 does not fall under the coverage of
paragraph 1 but instead, under paragraph 4 of Section 2, Article XII of general welfare of the country. In such agreements, the State shall
the 1987 Constitution on FTAAs. They also insist that paragraphs 2 promote the development and use of local scientific and technical
and 3, which refer to the grant of exclusive fishing right to Filipinos, resources.
are not applicable to SC-46 as the contract does not grant exclusive The President shall notify the Congress of every contract
fishing rights to JAPEX nor does it otherwise impinge on the FIDEC’s entered into in accordance with this provision, within thirty
right to preferential use of communal marine and fishing resources.67 days from its execution. (Emphases ours)

Ruling of the Court on the legality of Service Contract No. This Court has previously settled the issue of whether service
46 vis-à-vis Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution contracts are still allowed under the 1987 Constitution. In La Bugal,
we held that the deletion of the words “service contracts” in the 1987
The petitioners insist that SC-46 is null and void for having violated Constitution did not amount to a ban on them per se. In fact, in that
Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, which reads as follows: decision, we quoted in length, portions of the deliberations of the
Section 2. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, members of the Constitutional Commission (ConCom) to show that in
petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, deliberating on paragraph 4, Section 2, Article XII, they were actually
fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural referring to service contracts as understood in the 1973 Constitution,
resources are owned by the State. With the exception of agricultural albeit with safety measures to eliminate or minimize the abuses
lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated. The prevalent during the martial law regime, to wit:
exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be
under the full control and supervision of the State. The State may Summation of the ConCom Deliberations
directly undertake such activities, or it may enter into coproduction,
joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, At this point, we sum up the matters established, based on a careful
or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose reading of the ConCom deliberations, as follows:
capital is owned by such citizens. Such agreements may be for a period × In their deliberations on what was to become paragraph 4, the
not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twenty- framers used the term service contracts in referring to agreements x x x
five years, and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by involving either technical or financial assistance.
law. In cases of water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or × They spoke of service contracts as the concept was understood in
industrial uses other than the development of water power, beneficial the 1973 Constitution.
use may be the measure and limit of the grant. × It was obvious from their discussions that they were not about to
The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its ban or eradicate service contracts.
archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and × Instead, they were plainly crafting provisions to put in place
reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens. safeguards that would eliminate or minimize the abuses prevalent
The Congress may, by law, allow small-scale utilization of natural during the marital law regime. In brief, they were going to permit
resources by Filipino citizens, as well as cooperative fish farming, with service contracts with foreign corporations as contractors, but with
priority to subsistence fishermen and fishworkers in rivers, lakes, safety measures to prevent abuses, as an exception to the general norm
bays, and lagoons. established in the first paragraph of Section 2 of Article XII. This
The President may enter into agreements with foreign- provision reserves or limits to Filipino citizens — and corporations at
owned corporations involving either technical or financial least 60 percent of which is owned by such citizens — the exploration,
assistance for large-scale exploration, development, and development and utilization of natural resources.
utilization of minerals, petroleum, and other mineral oils × This provision was prompted by the perceived insufficiency of
according to the general terms and conditions provided by law, Filipino capital and the felt need for foreign investments in the EDU of
based on real contributions to the economic growth and minerals and petroleum resources.
× The framers for the most part debated about the sort of safeguards and avoid the possible insertion of terms disadvantageous to the
that would be considered adequate and reasonable. But some of them, country.
having more “radical” leanings, wanted to ban service contracts (2) The President shall be the signatory for the government
altogether; for them, the provision would permit aliens to exploit and because, supposedly before an agreement is presented to the President
benefit from the nation’s natural resources, which they felt should be for signature, it will have been vetted several times over at different
reserved only for Filipinos. levels to ensure that it conforms to law and can withstand public
× In the explanation of their votes, the individual commissioners scrutiny.
were heard by the entire body. They sounded off their individual (3) Within thirty days of the executed agreement, the President
opinions, openly enunciated their philosophies, and supported or shall report it to Congress to give that branch of government an
attacked the provisions with fervor. Everyone’s viewpoint was heard. opportunity to look over the agreement and interpose timely objections,
× In the final voting, the Article on the National Economy and if any.69
Patrimony — including paragraph 4 allowing service contracts with
foreign corporations as an exception to the general norm in paragraph Adhering to the aforementioned guidelines, this Court finds that
1 of Section 2 of the same article — was resoundingly approved by a SC-46 is indeed null and void for noncompliance with the requirements
vote of 32 to 7, with 2 abstentions. of the 1987 Constitution.

Agreements Involving Technical or Financial Assistance are 1. The General Law on Oil Exploration
Service Contracts with Safeguards The disposition, exploration, development, exploitation, and
utilization of indigenous petroleum in the Philippines are governed by
From the foregoing, we are impelled to conclude that the Presidential Decree No. 87 or the Oil Exploration and Development Act
phrase agreements involving either technical or financial assistance, of 1972. This was enacted by then President Ferdinand Marcos to
referred to in paragraph 4, are in fact service contracts. But unlike promote the discovery and production of indigenous petroleum through
those of the 1973 variety, the new ones are between foreign the utilization of government and/or local or foreign private resources
corporations acting as contractors on the one hand; and on the other, to yield the maximum benefit to the Filipino people and the revenues
the government as principal or “owner” of the works. In the new service to the Philippine Government.70
contracts, the foreign contractors provide capital, technology and Contrary to the petitioners’ argument, Presidential Decree No. 87,
technical know-how, and managerial expertise in the creation and although enacted in 1972, before the adoption of the 1987 Constitution,
operation of large-scale mining/extractive enterprises; and the remains to be a valid law unless otherwise repealed, to wit:
government, through its agencies (DENR, MGB), actively exercises ARTICLE XVIII – TRANSITORY PROVISIONS
control and supervision over the entire operation.68 Section 3. All existing laws, decrees, executive orders,
proclamations, letters of instructions, and other executive issuances
In summarizing the matters discussed in the ConCom, we not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until
established that paragraph 4, with the safeguards in place, is amended, repealed, or revoked.
the exception to paragraph 1, Section 2 of Article XII. The
following are the safeguards this Court enumerated in La Bugal: If there were any intention to repeal Presidential Decree No. 87, it
Such service contracts may be entered into only with respect to would have been done expressly by Congress. For instance, Republic
minerals, petroleum and other mineral oils. The grant thereof is Act No. 7160, more popularly known as the Local Government Code of
subject to several safeguards, among which are these requirements: 1991, expressly repealed a number of laws, including a specific
(1) The service contract shall be crafted in accordance with a provision in Presidential Decree No. 87, viz.:
general law that will set standard or uniform terms, conditions and SECTION 534. Repealing Clause.—(a) Batas Pambansa Blg.
requirements, presumably to attain a certain uniformity in provisions 337, otherwise known as the “Local Government Code,” Executive
Order No. 112 (1987), and Executive Order No. 319 (1988) are hereby should be presumed to have known the existing laws on the subject and
repealed. not have enacted conflicting statutes. Hence, all doubts must be
(b) Presidential Decree Nos. 684, 1191, 1508 and such other resolved against any implied repeal, and all efforts should be exerted
decrees, orders, instructions, memoranda and issuances related to or in order to harmonize and give effect to all laws on the subject.
concerning the barangay are hereby repealed. (Citation omitted)
(c) The provisions of Sections 2, 3, and 4 of Republic Act No. 1939 Moreover, in cases where the statute seems to be in conflict with
regarding hospital fund; Section 3, (a)(3) and (b)(2) of Republic Act No. the Constitution, but a construction that it is in harmony with the
5447 regarding the Special Education Fund; Presidential Decree No. Constitution is also possible, that construction should be
144 as amended by Presidential Decree Nos. 559 and 1741; preferred.73 This Court, in Pangandaman v. Commission on
Presidential Decree No. 231 as amended; Presidential Decree No. 436 Elections74 expounding on this point, pronounced:
as amended by Presidential Decree No. 558; and Presidential Decree It is a basic precept in statutory construction that a statute should
Nos. 381, 436, 464, 477, 526, 632, 752, and 1136 are hereby repealed be interpreted in harmony with the Constitution and that the spirit,
and rendered of no force and effect. rather than the letter of the law determines its construction; for that
(d) Presidential Decree No. 1594 is hereby repealed insofar as it reason, a statute must be read according to its spirit and intent. x x x.
governs locally-funded projects. (Citation omitted)
(e) The following provisions are hereby repealed or amended
insofar as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this Code: Consequently, we find no merit in petitioners’ contention that SC-
Sections 2, 16 and 29 of Presidential Decree No. 704; Section 12 of 46 is prohibited on the ground that there is no general law prescribing
Presidential Decree No. 87, as amended; Sections 52, 53, 66, 67, 68, the standard or uniform terms, conditions, and requirements for
69, 70, 71, 72, 73, and 74 of Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended; service contracts involving oil exploration and extraction.
and Section 16 of Presidential Decree No. 972, as amended, and But note must be made at this point that while Presidential Decree
(f) All general and special laws, acts, city charters, decrees, No. 87 may serve as the general law upon which a service contract for
executive orders, proclamations and administrative regulations, or petroleum exploration and extraction may be authorized, as will be
part or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of the provisions discussed below, the exploitation and utilization of this energy resource
of this Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. (Emphasis in the present case may be allowed only through a law passed by
supplied) Congress, since the Tañon Strait is a NIPAS75 area.

This Court could not simply assume that while Presidential Decree 2. President was not the signatory to SC-46 and the same was
No. 87 had not yet been expressly repealed, it had been impliedly not submitted to Congress
repealed. As we held in Villareña v. The Commission on
Audit,71 “[i]mplied repeals are not lightly presumed.” It is a settled rule While the Court finds that Presidential Decree No. 87 is sufficient
that when laws are in conflict with one another, every effort must be to satisfy the requirement of a general law, the absence of the two other
exerted to reconcile them. In Republic of the Philippines v. Marcopper conditions, that the President be a signatory to SC-46, and that
Mining Corporation,72 we said: Congress be notified of such contract, renders it null and void.
As SC-46 was executed in 2004, its terms should have conformed
The two laws must be absolutely incompatible, and a clear finding not only to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 87, but also to
thereof must surface, before the inference of implied repeal may be those of the 1987 Constitution. The Civil Code provides:
drawn. The rule is expressed in the maxim, interpretare et concordare ARTICLE 1306. The contracting parties may establish such
leqibus est optimus interpretendi, i.e., every statute must be so stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions as they may deem
interpreted and brought into accord with other laws as to form a convenient, provided they are not contrary to law, morals, good
uniform system of jurisprudence. The fundament is that the legislature customs, public order, or public policy. (Italics ours)
not void, if not complied with. They are requirements placed, not just
In Heirs of San Miguel v. Court of Appeals,76 this Court held that: in an ordinary statute, but in the fundamental law, the nonobservance
It is basic that the law is deemed written into every contract. of which will nullify the contract. Elucidating on the concept of a
Although a contract is the law between the parties, the provisions of “constitution,” this Court, in Manila Prince Hotel v. Government
positive law which regulate contracts are deemed written therein and Service Insurance System,79 held:
shall limit and govern the relations between the parties. x x x. A constitution is a system of fundamental laws for the governance
(Citations omitted) and administration of a nation. It is supreme, imperious, absolute and
unalterable except by the authority from which it emanates. It has
Paragraph 4, Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution been defined as the fundamental and paramount law of the nation. It
requires that the President himself enter into any service contract for prescribes the permanent framework of a system of government,
the exploration of petroleum. SC-46 appeared to have been entered into assigns to the different departments their respective powers and
and signed only by the DOE through its then Secretary, Vicente S. duties, and establishes certain fixed principles on which government is
Perez, Jr., contrary to the said constitutional requirement. Moreover, founded. The fundamental conception in other words is that it is a
public respondents have neither shown nor alleged that Congress was supreme law to which all other laws must conform and in accordance
subsequently notified of the execution of such contract. with which all private rights must be determined and all public
Public respondents’ implied argument that based on the “alter ego authority administered. Under the doctrine of constitutional
principle,” their acts are also that of then President Macapagal- supremacy, if a law or contract violates any norm of the
Arroyo’s, cannot apply in this case. In Joson v. Torres,77 we explained constitution that law or contract whether promulgated by the
the concept of the alter ego principle or the doctrine of qualified legislative or by the executive branch or entered into by
political agency and its limit in this wise: private persons for private purposes is null and void and
Under this doctrine, which recognizes the establishment of a single without any force and effect. Thus, since the Constitution is the
executive, all executive and administrative organizations are adjuncts fundamental, paramount and supreme law of the nation, it is deemed
of the Executive Department, the heads of the various executive written in every statute and contract. (Emphasis ours)
departments are assistants and agents of the Chief Executive,
and, except in cases where the Chief Executive is required by As this Court has held in La Bugal, our Constitution requires that
the Constitution or law to act in person or the exigencies of the the President himself be the signatory of service agreements with
situation demand that he act personally, the multifarious foreign-owned corporations involving the exploration, development,
executive and administrative functions of the Chief Executive are and utilization of our minerals, petroleum, and other mineral oils. This
performed by and through the executive departments, and the acts of power cannot be taken lightly.
the Secretaries of such departments, performed and promulgated in In this case, the public respondents have failed to show that the
the regular course of business, are, unless disapproved or reprobated President had any participation in SC-46. Their argument that their
by the Chief Executive presumptively the acts of the Chief Executive. acts are actually the acts of then President Macapagal-Arroyo, absent
(Emphasis ours, citation omitted) proof of her disapproval, must fail as the requirement that the
President herself enter into these kinds of contracts is embodied not
While the requirements in executing service contracts in paragraph just in any ordinary statute, but in the Constitution itself. These
4, Section 2 of Article XII of the 1987 Constitution seem like mere service contracts involving the exploitation, development, and
formalities, they, in reality, take on a much bigger role. As we have utilization of our natural resources are of paramount interest to the
explained in La Bugal, they are the safeguards put in place by the present and future generations. Hence, safeguards were put in place to
framers of the Constitution to “eliminate or minimize the abuses insure that the guidelines set by law are meticulously observed and
prevalent during the martial law regime.”78 Thus, they are not just likewise to eradicate the corruption that may easily penetrate
mere formalities, which will only render a contract unenforceable but
departments and agencies by ensuring that the President has of municipal waters, with the exception being limited only to research
authorized or approved of these service contracts herself. and survey activities.80
Even under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 87, it is The FIDEC, for its part, argues that to avail of the exceptions under
required that the Petroleum Board, now the DOE, obtain the Section 14 of the NIPAS Act, the gathering of information must be in
President’s approval for the execution of any contract under said accordance with a DENR-approved program, and the exploitation and
statute, as shown in the following provision: utilization of energy resources must be pursuant to a general law
SECTION 5. Execution of contract authorized in this Act.—Every passed by Congress expressly for that purpose. Since there is neither a
contract herein authorized shall, subject to the approval of the DENR-approved program nor a general law passed by Congress, the
President, be executed by the Petroleum Board created in this Act, seismic surveys and oil drilling operations were all done illegally.81 The
after due public notice prequalification and public bidding or concluded FIDEC likewise contends that SC-46 infringes on its right to the
through negotiations. In case bids are requested or if requested no bid preferential use of the communal fishing waters as it is denied free
is submitted or the bids submitted are rejected by the Petroleum Board access within the prohibited zone, in violation not only of the Fisheries
for being disadvantageous to the Government, the contract may be Code but also of the 1987 Constitutional provisions on subsistence
concluded through negotiation. fisherfolk and social justice.82 Furthermore, the FIDEC believes that
In opening contract areas and in selecting the best offer for the provisions in Presidential Decree No. 87, which allow offshore
petroleum operations, any of the following alternative procedures may drilling even in municipal waters, should be deemed to have been
be resorted to by the Petroleum Board, subject to prior approval of the rendered inoperative by the provisions of Republic Act No. 8550 and
President[.] Republic Act No. 7160, which reiterate the social justice provisions of
the Constitution.83
Even if we were inclined to relax the requirement in La Bugal to The public respondents invoke the rules on statutory construction
harmonize the 1987 Constitution with the aforementioned provision of and argue that Section 14 of the NIPAS Act is a more particular
Presidential Decree No. 87, it must be shown that the government provision and cannot be deemed to have been repealed by the more
agency or subordinate official has been authorized by the President to general prohibition in Section 27 of Republic Act No. 9147. They aver
enter into such service contract for the government. Otherwise, it that Section 14, under which SC-46 falls, should instead be regarded
should be at least shown that the President subsequently approved of as an exemption to Section 27.84
such contract explicitly. None of these circumstances is evident in the Addressing the claim of petitioners in G.R. No. 180771 that there
case at bar. was a violation of Section 27 of Republic Act No. 9147, the public
respondents assert that what the section prohibits is the exploration of
Service Contract No. 46 vis-à-vis Other Laws minerals, which as defined in the Philippine Mining Act of 1995,
exclude energy materials such as coal, petroleum, natural gas,
Petitioners in G.R. No. 180771 claim that SC-46 violates Section 27 radioactive materials and geothermal energy. Thus, since SC-46
of Republic Act. No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and involves oil and gas exploration, Section 27 does not apply.85
Protection Act, which bans all marine exploration and exploitation of The public respondents defend the validity of SC-46 and insist that
oil and gas deposits. They also aver that Section 14 of Republic Act No. it does not grant exclusive fishing rights to JAPEX; hence, it does not
7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992 violate the rule on preferential use of municipal waters. Moreover, they
(NIPAS Act), which allows the exploration of protected areas for the allege that JAPEX has not banned fishing in the project area, contrary
purpose of information-gathering, has been repealed by Section 27 of to the FIDEC’s claim. The public respondents also contest the
Republic Act No. 9147. The said petitioners further claim that SC-46 is attribution of the declining fish catch to the seismic surveys and aver
anathema to Republic Act No. 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of that the allegation is unfounded. They claim that according to the
1998, which protects the rights of the fisherfolk in the preferential use Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ fish catch data, the
reduced fish catch started in the 1970s due to destructive fishing natural heritage. The system encompasses outstandingly remarkable
practices.86 areas and biologically important public lands that are habitats of rare
and endangered species of plants and animals, biogeographic zones
Ruling of the Court on the legality of Service Contract No. and related ecosystems, whether terrestrial, wetland, or marine.90 It
46 vis-à-vis Other Laws classifies and administers all the designated protected areas to
maintain essential ecological processes and life-support systems, to
Although we have already established above that SC-46 is null and preserve genetic diversity, to ensure sustainable use of resources found
void for being violative of the 1987 Constitution, it is our duty to still therein, and to maintain their natural conditions to the greatest extent
rule on the legality of SC-46 vis-à-vis other pertinent laws, to serve as possible.91 The following categories of protected areas were established
a guide for the Government when executing service contracts involving under the NIPAS Act:
not only the Tañon Strait, but also other similar areas. While the
petitioners allege that SC-46 is in violation of several laws, including a. Strict nature reserve;
international ones, their arguments focus primarily on the protected b. Natural park;
status of the Tañon Strait, thus this Court will concentrate on those c. Natural monument;
laws that pertain particularly to the Tañon Strait as a protected d. Wildlife sanctuary;
seascape. e. Protected landscapes and seascapes;
The Tañon Strait is a narrow passage of water bounded by the f. Resource reserve;
islands of Cebu in the East and Negros in the West. It harbors a rich g. Natural biotic areas; and
biodiversity of marine life, including endangered species of dolphins h. Other categories established by law, conventions or international
and whales. For this reason, former President Fidel V. Ramos declared agreements which the Philippine Government is a signatory.92
the Tañon Strait as a protected seascape in 1998 by virtue of
Proclamation No. 1234 — Declaring the Tañon Strait situated in the Under Section 4 of the NIPAS Act, a protected arearefers to portions
Provinces of Cebu, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental as a of land and water, set aside due to their unique physical and biological
Protected Area pursuant to the NIPAS Act and shall be known as Tañon significance, managed to enhance biological diversity and protected
Strait Protected Seascape. During former President Joseph E. against human exploitation.
Estrada’s time, he also constituted the Tañon Strait The Tañon Strait, pursuant to Proclamation No. 1234, was set aside
Commission via Executive Order No. 76 to ensure the optimum and and declared a protected area under the category of Protected
sustained use of the resources in that area without threatening its Seascape. The NIPAS Act defines a Protected Seascape to be an area
marine life. He followed this with Executive Order No. 177,87wherein of national significance characterized by the harmonious interaction of
he included the mayor of Negros Occidental Municipality/City as a man and land while providing opportunities for public enjoyment
member of the Tañon Strait Commission, to represent the LGUs through recreation and tourism within the normal lifestyle and
concerned. This Commission, however, was subsequently abolished in economic activity of this areas;93 thus a management plan for each area
2002 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, via Executive Order must be designed to protect and enhance the permanent preservation
No. 72.88 of its natural conditions.94Consistent with this endeavor is the
True to the constitutional policy that the “State shall protect and requirement that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) be made
advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in prior to undertaking any activity outside the scope of the management
accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature,”89 Congress enacted plan. Unless an ECC under the EIA system is obtained, no activity
the NIPAS Act to secure the perpetual existence of all native plants inconsistent with the goals of the NIPAS Act shall be implemented.95
and animals through the establishment of a comprehensive system of The Environmental Impact Statement System (EISS) was
integrated protected areas. These areas possess common ecological established in 1978 under Presidential Decree No. 1586. It prohibits
values that were incorporated into a holistic plan representative of our any person, partnership or corporation from undertaking or operating
any declared environmentally critical project or areas without first We do not agree with the arguments raised by the public
securing an ECC issued by the President or his duly authorized respondents.
representative.96 Pursuant to the EISS, which called for the proper Sections 12 and 14 of the NIPAS Act read:
management of environmentally critical areas,97 Proclamation No. SECTION 12. Environmental Impact Assessment.—Proposals
214698was enacted, identifying the areas and types of projects to be for activities which are outside the scope of the management plan for
considered as environmentally critical and within the scope of the protected areas shall be subject to an environmental impact
EISS, while DENR Administrative Order No. 2003-30 provided for its assessment as required by law before they are adopted, and the results
Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). thereof shall be taken into consideration in the decision-making
DENR Administrative Order No. 2003-30 defines process.
an environmentally critical area as “an area delineated as No actual implementation of such activities shall be allowed
environmentally sensitive such that significant environmental impacts without the required Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC)
are expected if certain types of proposed projects or programs are under the Philippine Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system.
located, developed, or implemented in it”;99 thus, before a project, which In instances where such activities are allowed to be undertaken, the
is “any activity, regardless of scale or magnitude, which may have proponent shall plan and carry them out in such manner as will
significant impact on the environment,”100 is undertaken in it, such minimize any adverse effects and take preventive and remedial action
project must undergo an EIA to evaluate and predict the likely impacts when appropriate. The proponent shall be liable for any damage due to
of all its stages on the environment.101 An EIA is described in detail as lack of caution or indiscretion.
follows: SECTION 14. Survey for Energy Resources.—Consistent with
h. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) — process that the policies declared in Section 2 hereof, protected areas, except strict
involves evaluating and predicting the likely impacts of a project nature reserves and natural parks, may be subjected to exploration
(including cumulative impacts) on the environment during only for the purpose of gathering information on energy resources and
construction, commissioning, operation and abandonment. It also only if such activity is carried out with the least damage to surrounding
includes designing appropriate preventive, mitigating and areas. Surveys shall be conducted only in accordance with a program
enhancement measures addressing these consequences to protect the approved by the DENR, and the result of such surveys shall be made
environment and the community’s welfare. The process is undertaken available to the public and submitted to the President for
by, among others, the project proponent and/or EIA Consultant, EMB, recommendation to Congress. Any exploitation and utilization of
a Review Committee, affected communities and other stakeholders.102 energy resources found within NIPAS areas shall be allowed only
Under Proclamation No. 2146, the Tañon Strait is an through a law passed by Congress.
environmentally critical area, having been declared as a
protected area in 1998; therefore, any activity outside the scope It is true that the restrictions found under the NIPAS Act are not
of its management plan may only be implemented pursuant to without exceptions. However, while an exploration done for the
an ECC secured after undergoing an EIA to determine the purpose of surveying for energy resources is allowed under
effects of such activity on its ecological system. Section 14 of the NIPAS Act, this does not mean that it is
The public respondents argue that they had complied with the exempt from the requirement to undergo an EIA under Section
procedures in obtaining an ECC103 and that SC-46 falls under the 12. In Sotto v. Sotto,105 this Court explained why a statute should be
exceptions in Section 14 of the NIPAS Act, due to the following reasons: construed as a whole:
1) The Tañon Strait is not a strict nature reserve or natural park; A statute is passed as a whole and not in parts or sections and is
2) Exploration is only for the purpose of gathering information on animated by one general purpose and intent. Consequently each part
possible energy resources; and or section should be construed in connection with every other part or
3) Measures are undertaken to ensure that the exploration is section and so as to produce a harmonious whole. It is not proper to
being done with the least damage to surrounding areas.104 confine the attention to the one section to be construed. It is always an
unsafe way of construing a statute or contract to divide it by a process outstandingly remarkable areas and biologically important public
of etymological dissection, into separate words, and then apply to each, lands that are habitats of rare and endangered species of plants and
thus separated from its context, some particular definition given by animals, biogeographic zones and related ecosystems, whether
lexicographers, and then reconstruct the instrument upon the basis of terrestrial, wetland or marine, all of which shall be designated as
these definitions. An instrument must always be construed as a whole, “protected areas.”
and the particular meaning to be attached to any word or phrase is
usually to be ascertained from the context, the nature of the subject The public respondents themselves admitted that JAPEX only
treated of and the purpose or intention of the parties who executed the started to secure an ECC prior to the second sub-phase of SC-46, which
contract, or of the body which enacted or framed the statute or required the drilling of an oil exploration well. This means that when
constitution. x x x. the seismic surveys were done in the Tañon Strait, no such
environmental impact evaluation was done. Unless seismic surveys are
Surveying for energy resources under Section 14 is not an part of the management plan of the Tañon Strait, such surveys were
exemption from complying with the EIA requirement in done in violation of Section 12 of the NIPAS Act and Section 4 of
Section 12; instead, Section 14 provides Presidential Decree No. 1586, which provides:
for additional requisites before any exploration for energy Section 4. Presidential Proclamation of Environmentally
resources may be done in protected areas. Critical Areas and Projects.—The President of the Philippines may, on
The rationale for such additional requirements are incorporated in his own initiative or upon recommendation of the National
Section 2 of the NIPAS Act, to wit: Environmental Protection Council, by proclamation declare certain
SECTION 2. Declaration of Policy.—Cognizant of the profound projects, undertakings or areas in the country as environmentally
impact of man’s activities on all components of the natural critical. No person, partnership or corporation shall undertake or
environment particularly the effect of increasing population, resource operate any such declared environmentally critical project or area
exploitation and industrial advancement and recognizing the critical without first securing an Environmental Compliance Certificate issued
importance of protecting and maintaining the natural biological and by the President or his duly authorized representative. For the proper
physical diversities of the environment notably on areas with management of said critical project or area, the President may by his
biologically unique features to sustain human life and development, as proclamation reorganize such government offices, agencies,
well as plant and animal life, it is hereby declared the policy of the institutions, corporations or instrumentalities including the
State to secure for the Filipino people of present and future generations realignment of government personnel, and their specific functions and
the perpetual existence of all native plants and animals through the responsibilities.
establishment of a comprehensive system of integrated protected areas For the same purpose as above, the Ministry of Human Settlements
within the classification of national park as provided for in the shall: (a) prepare the proper land or water use pattern for said critical
Constitution. project(s) or area(s); (b) establish ambient environmental quality
It is hereby recognized that these areas, although distinct in standards; (c) develop a program of environmental enhancement or
features, possess common ecological values that may be incorporated protective measures against calamitous factors such as earthquakes,
into a holistic plan representative of our natural heritage; that effective floods, water erosion and others; and (d) perform such other functions
administration of this area is possible only through cooperation among as may be directed by the President from time to time.
national government, local government and concerned private
organizations; that the use and enjoyment of these protected areas The respondents’ subsequent compliance with the EISS for the
must be consistent with the principles of biological diversity and second sub-phase of SC-46 cannot and will not cure this violation. The
sustainable development. following penalties are provided for under Presidential Decree No.
To this end, there is hereby established a National Integrated 1586 and the NIPAS Act.
Protected Areas System (NIPAS), which shall encompass
Section 9 of Presidential Decree No. 1586 provides for the penalty quantities be found to exist in the area. While Presidential Decree
involving violations of the ECC requirement: No. 87 may serve as the general law upon which a service
Section 9. Penalty for Violation.—Any person, corporation or contract for petroleum exploration and extraction may be
partnership found violating Section 4 of this Decree, or the terms and authorized, the exploitation and utilization of this energy
conditions in the issuance of the Environmental Compliance resource in the present case may be allowed only through a law
Certificate, or of the standards, rules and regulations issued by the passed by Congress, since the Tañon Strait is a NIPAS
National Environmental Protection Council pursuant to this Decree area.106 Since there is no such law specifically allowing oil
shall be punished by the suspension or cancellation of his/its exploration and/or extraction in the Tañon Strait, no energy
certificates and/or a fine in an amount not to exceed Fifty resource exploitation and utilization may be done in said
Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) for every violation thereof, at the protected seascape.
discretion of the National Environmental Protection Council. In view of the foregoing premises and conclusions, it is no longer
(Emphasis supplied) necessary to discuss the other issues raised in these consolidated
Violations of the NIPAS Act entails the following fines and/or WHEREFORE, the Petitions in G.R. Nos. 180771 and 181527
imprisonment under Section 21: are GRANTED, Service Contract No. 46 is hereby declared NULL
SECTION 21. Penalties.—Whoever violates this Act or any rules AND VOID for violating the 1987 Constitution, Republic Act No. 7586,
and regulations issued by the Department pursuant to this Act or and Presidential Decree No. 1586.
whoever is found guilty by a competent court of justice of any of the SO ORDERED.
offenses in the preceding section shall be fined in the amount of not
less than Five thousand pesos (P5,000) nor more than Five
hundred thousand pesos (P500,000), exclusive of the value of
the thing damaged or imprisonment for not less than one (1)
year but not more than six (6) years, or both, as determined by
the court: Provided, that, if the area requires rehabilitation or
restoration as determined by the court, the offender shall be
required to restore or compensate for the restoration to the
damages: Provided, further, that court shall order the eviction of
the offender from the land and the forfeiture in favor of the
Government of all minerals, timber or any species collected or
removed including all equipment, devices and firearms used in
connection therewith, and any construction or improvement
made thereon by the offender. If the offender is an association or
corporation, the president or manager shall be directly responsible for
the act of his employees and laborers: Provided, finally, that the
DENR may impose administrative fines and penalties
consistent with this Act. (Emphases supplied)

Moreover, SC-46 was not executed for the mere purpose of

gathering information on the possible energy resources in the Tañon
Strait as it also provides for the parties’ rights and obligations relating
to extraction and petroleum production should oil in commercial
346 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED 1. The amount of [Php147,893.00] representing the obligation
with legal rate of interest from February 1, 2002 which was the
Miguel vs. Montanez
date of the loan maturity until the account is fully paid;
G.R. No. 191336. January 25, 2012.*
2. The amount of Php10,000.00 as and by way of attorney’s fees;
and the costs.
Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule
45 of the Rules of Court. Petitioner Crisanta Alcaraz Miguel (Miguel)
On appeal to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch
seeks the reversal and setting aside of the September 17, 2009
146, the respondent raised the same issues cited in his Answer. In its
Decision1 and February 11, 2010 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals
March 14, 2007 Decision,6 the RTC affirmed the MeTC Decision,
(CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 100544, entitled “Jerry D. Montanez v.
disposing as follows:
Crisanta Alcaraz Miguel.”
“WHEREFORE, finding no cogent reason to disturb the findings of
the court a quo, the appeal is hereby DISMISSED, and the DECISION
Antecedent Facts
appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED in its entirety for being in
accordance with law and evidence.
On February 1, 2001, respondent Jerry Montanez (Montanez)
secured a loan of One Hundred Forty-Three Thousand Eight Hundred
Dissatisfied, the respondent appealed to the CA raising two issues,
Sixty-Four Pesos (P143,864.00), payable in one (1) year, or until
namely, (1) whether or not venue was improperly laid, and (2) whether
February 1, 2002, from the petitioner. The respondent gave as
or not the Kasunduang Pag-aayos effectively novated the loan
collateral therefor his house and lot located at Block 39 Lot 39 Phase
agreement. On September 17, 2009, the CA rendered the assailed
3, Palmera Spring, Bagumbong, Caloocan City.
Decision, disposing as follows:
Due to the respondent’s failure to pay the loan, the petitioner filed
“WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is
a complaint against the respondent before the Lupong
hereby GRANTED. The appealed Decision dated March 14, 2007 of
Tagapamayapa of Barangay San Jose, Rodriguez, Rizal. The parties
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 146,
entered into a Kasunduang Pag-aayos wherein the respondent agreed
is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. A new judgment is entered
to pay his loan in installments in the amount of Two Thousand Pesos
dismissing respondent’s complaint for collection of sum of money,
(P2,000.00) per month, and in the event the house and lot given as
without prejudice to her right to file the necessary action to enforce
collateral is sold, the respondent would settle the balance of the loan in
the Kasunduang Pag-aayos.
full. However, the respondent still failed to pay, and on December 13,
2004, the Lupong Tagapamayapa issued a certification to file action in
Anent the issue of whether or not there is novation of the loan
court in favor of the petitioner.
contract, the CA ruled in the negative. It ratiocinated as follows:
On April 7, 2005, the petitioner filed before the Metropolitan Trial
“Judging from the terms of the Kasunduang Pag-aayos, it is clear
Court (MeTC) of Makati City, Branch 66, a complaint for Collection of
that no novation of the old obligation has taken place. Contrary to
Sum of Money. In his Answer with Counterclaim,3 the respondent
petitioner’s assertion, there was no reduction of the term or period
raised the defense of improper venue considering that the petitioner
originally stipulated. The original period in the first agreement is one
was a resident of Bagumbong, Caloocan City while he lived in San
(1) year to be counted from February 1, 2001, or until January 31, 2002.
Mateo, Rizal.After trial, on August 16, 2006, the MeTC rendered a
When the complaint was filed before the barangay on February 2003,
Decision,4 which disposes as follows:
the period of the original agreement had long expired without
“WHEREFORE, premises considered[,] judgment is hereby
compliance on the part of petitioner. Hence, there was nothing to
rendered ordering defendant Jerry D. Montanez to pay plaintiff the
reduce or extend. There was only a change in the terms of payment
which is not incompatible with the old agreement. In other words,
the Kasunduang Pag-aayos merely supplemented the old agreement.”9
The CA went on saying that since the parties entered into “A compromise has upon the parties the effect and authority of res
a Kasunduang Pag-aayos before the Lupon ng Barangay, such judicata; but there shall be no execution except in compliance with a
settlement has the force and effect of a court judgment, which may be judicial compromise.”
enforced by execution within six (6) months from the date of settlement Being a by-product of mutual concessions and good faith of the
by the Lupon ng Barangay, or by court action after the lapse of such parties, an amicable settlement has the force and effect of res
time.10Considering that more than six (6) months had elapsed from the judicata even if not judicially approved.17 It transcends being a mere
date of settlement, the CA ruled that the remedy of the petitioner was contract binding only upon the parties thereto, and is akin to a
to file an action for the execution of the Kasunduang Pag-aayos in court judgment that is subject to execution in accordance with the
and not for collection of sum of money.11 Consequently, the CA deemed Rules.18 Thus, under Section 417 of the Local Government Code,19 such
it unnecessary to resolve the issue on venue.12 amicable settlement or arbitration award may be enforced by execution
The petitioner now comes to this Court. by the Barangay Lupon within six (6) months from the date of
settlement, or by filing an action to enforce such settlement in the
Issues appropriate city or municipal court, if beyond the six-month period.
Under the first remedy, the proceedings are covered by the Local
(1) Whether or not a complaint for sum of money is the proper Government Code and the Katarungang Pambarangay Implementing
remedy for the petitioner, notwithstanding the Kasunduang Pag- Rules and Regulations. The Punong Barangay is called upon during
aayos;13 and the hearing to determine solely the fact of non-compliance of the terms
(2) Whether or not the CA should have decided the case on the of the settlement and to give the defaulting party another chance at
merits rather than remand the case for the enforcement of voluntarily complying with his obligation under the settlement. Under
the Kasunduang Pag-aayos.14 the second remedy, the proceedings are governed by the Rules of Court,
as amended. The cause of action is the amicable settlement itself,
Our Ruling which, by operation of law, has the force and effect of a final
Because the respondent failed to comply with the terms of It must be emphasized, however, that enforcement by execution of
the Kasunduang Pag-aayos, said agreement is deemed the amicable settlement, either under the first or the second remedy,
rescinded pursuant to Article 2041 of the New Civil Code and is only applicable if the contracting parties have not repudiated such
the petitioner can insist on his original demand. Perforce, the settlement within ten (10) days from the date thereof in accordance
complaint for collection of sum of money is the proper remedy. with Section 416 of the Local Government Code. If the amicable
The petitioner contends that the CA erred in ruling that she should settlement is repudiated by one party, either expressly or impliedly,
have followed the procedure for enforcement of the amicable settlement the other party has two options, namely, to enforce the compromise in
as provided in the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law, instead of accordance with the Local Government Code or Rules of Court as the
filing a collection case. The petitioner points out that the cause of action case may be, or to consider it rescinded and insist upon his original
did not arise from the Kasunduang Pag-aayos but on the respondent’s demand. This is in accord with Article 2041 of the Civil Code, which
breach of the original loan agreement.15 qualifies the broad application of Article 2037, viz.:
This Court agrees with the petitioner. “If one of the parties fails or refuses to abide by the compromise, the
It is true that an amicable settlement reached at other party may either enforce the compromise or regard it as
the barangay conciliation proceedings, like the Kasunduang Pag- rescinded and insist upon his original demand.”
aayos in this case, is binding between the contracting parties and, upon In the case of Leonor v. Sycip,21 the Supreme Court (SC) had the
its perfection, is immediately executory insofar as it is not contrary to occasion to explain this provision of law. It ruled that Article 2041 does
law, good morals, good customs, public order and public policy.16 This not require an action for rescission, and the aggrieved party, by the
is in accord with the broad precept of Article 2037 of the Civil Code, viz.:
breach of compromise agreement, may just consider it already Thus, although the “Kasunduan” executed by petitioner
rescinded, to wit: and respondent before the Office of the Barangay Captain had
It is worthy of notice, in this connection, that, unlike Article 2039 the force and effect of a final judgment of a court, petitioner’s
of the same Code, which speaks of “a cause of annulment or rescission non-compliance paved the way for the application of Art. 2041
of the compromise” and provides that “the compromise may be under which respondent may either enforce the compromise,
annulled or rescinded” for the cause therein specified, thus suggesting following the procedure laid out in the Revised Katarungang
an action for annulment or rescission, said Article 2041 confers upon Pambarangay Law, or regard it as rescinded and insist upon
the party concerned, not a “cause” for rescission, or the right to his original demand. Respondent chose the latter option when
“demand” the rescission of a compromise, but the authority, not only to he instituted Civil Case No. 5139-V-97 for recovery of
“regard it as rescinded”, but, also, to “insist upon his original unrealized profits and reimbursement of advance rentals,
demand”. The language of this Article 2041, particularly when moral and exemplary damages, and attorney’s fees. Respondent
contrasted with that of Article 2039, denotes that no action for was not limited to claiming P150,000.00 because although he agreed to
rescission is required in said Article 2041, and that the party the amount in the “Kasunduan,” it is axiomatic that a compromise
aggrieved by the breach of a compromise agreement may, if he settlement is not an admission of liability but merely a recognition that
chooses, bring the suit contemplated or involved in his original there is a dispute and an impending litigation which the parties hope
demand, as if there had never been any compromise to prevent by making reciprocal concessions, adjusting their respective
agreement, without bringing an action for rescission positions in the hope of gaining balanced by the danger of losing. Under
thereof. He need not seek a judicial declaration of rescission, the “Kasunduan,” respondent was only required to execute a waiver of
for he may “regard” the compromise agreement already all possible claims arising from the lease contract if petitioner fully
“rescinded”.22 (emphasis supplied) complies with his obligations thereunder. It is undisputed that herein
As so well stated in the case of Chavez v. Court of Appeals,23 a petitioner did not.”24(emphasis supplied and citations omitted)
party’s non-compliance with the amicable settlement paved the way for In the instant case, the respondent did not comply with the terms
the application of Article 2041 under which the other party may either and conditions of the Kasunduang Pag-aayos. Such non-compliance
enforce the compromise, following the procedure laid out in the Revised may be construed as repudiation because it denotes that the
Katarungang Pambarangay Law, or consider it as rescinded and insist respondent did not intend to be bound by the terms thereof, thereby
upon his original demand. To quote: negating the very purpose for which it was executed. Perforce, the
“In the case at bar, the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay petitioner has the option either to enforce the Kasunduang Pag-aayos,
Law provides for a two-tiered mode of enforcement of an amicable or to regard it as rescinded and insist upon his original demand, in
settlement, to wit: (a) by execution by the Punong Barangaywhich is accordance with the provision of Article 2041 of the Civil Code. Having
quasi-judicial and summary in nature on mere motion of the party instituted an action for collection of sum of money, the petitioner
entitled thereto; and (b) an action in regular form, which remedy is obviously chose to rescind the Kasunduang Pag-aayos. As such, it is
judicial. However, the mode of enforcement does not rule out the right error on the part of the CA to rule that enforcement by execution of
of rescission under Art. 2041 of the Civil Code. The availability of the said agreement is the appropriate remedy under the circumstances.
right of rescission is apparent from the wording of Sec. 417 itself which Considering that the Kasunduang Pag-aayos is deemed
provides that the amicable settlement “may” be enforced by execution rescinded by the non- compliance of the respondent of the
by the lupon within six (6) months from its date or by action in the terms thereof, remanding the case to the trial court for the
appropriate city or municipal court, if beyond that period. The use of enforcement of said agreement is clearly unwarranted.
the word “may” clearly makes the procedure provided in the Revised The petitioner avers that the CA erred in remanding the case to the
Katarungang Pambarangay Law directory or merely optional in trial court for the enforcement of the Kasunduang Pag-aayos as it
nature. prolonged the process, “thereby putting off the case in an indefinite
pendency.”25Thus, the petitioner insists that she should be allowed to
ventilate her rights before this Court and not to repeat the same
proceedings just to comply with the enforcement of the Kasunduang
Pag-aayos, in order to finally enforce her right to payment.26
The CA took off on the wrong premise that enforcement of
the Kasunduang Pag-aayos is the proper remedy, and therefore erred
in its conclusion that the case should be remanded to the trial court.
The fact that the petitioner opted to rescind the Kasunduang Pag-
aayos means that she is insisting upon the undertaking of the
respondent under the original loan contract. Thus, the CA should have
decided the case on the merits, as an appeal before it, and not prolong
the determination of the issues by remanding it to the trial court.
Pertinently, evidence abounds that the respondent has failed to comply
with his loan obligation. In fact, the Kasunduang Pag-aayos is the well
nigh incontrovertible proof of the respondent’s indebtedness with the
petitioner as it was executed precisely to give the respondent a second
chance to make good on his undertaking. And since the respondent still
reneged in paying his indebtedness, justice demands that he must be
held answerable therefor.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed decision of
the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE and the Decision of the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 146, Makati City, dated March 14, 2007 is
424 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED the parties.10 Thus, the Office of the Barangay Captain issued a
Certificate to File an Action.
Sabay vs. People
The petitioner was accordingly charged before the MTC with the
G.R. No. 192150. October 1, 2014.*
crime of Physical Injuries under two (2) Informations11 that read:
We review in this petition for review on certiorari1 the
Criminal Case No. 209934
decision2 dated October 23, 2009 and the resolution3 dated March 22,
2010 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in C.A.-G.R. CR No. 31532.
That on or about the 12th day of June 2001, in Caloocan City, Metro
The CA affirmed the April 28, 2008 decision4 of the Regional Trial
Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above
Court (RTC) of Caloocan City, Branch 126, finding petitioner Federico
named accused, without justifiable cause, did then and there willfully,
Sabay guilty beyond reasonable doubt for two (2) counts of Slight
unlawfully and feloniously hit with a bolo one JERVIE LOPEZ, thereby
Physical Injuries. The RTC decision in turn affirmed the Metropolitan
inflicting upon the latter physical injuries which required and will
Trial Court’s (MTC) judgment.
require medical attendance for not more than seven (7) days or
incapacitated or will incapacitate said victim from performing his
The Antecedent Facts
habitual work for the same period of time.
At around three o’clock to four o’clock in the afternoon of June 12,
2001, while the petitioner and his daughter Erlinda Sabay (Erlinda)
Criminal Case No. 209935
were busy laying wood and water pipes in the yard of Godofredo Lopez
(Godofredo), the latter confronted the petitioner about his (the
That on or about the 12th day of June 2001, in Caloocan City, Metro
petitioner’s) alleged intrusion into Godofredo’s property. A verbal
Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above
altercation ensued between them.
named accused, without justifiable cause, did then and there willfully,
In the course of the verbal exchange, Erlinda hit Godofredo on the
unlawfully and feloniously hit with a bolo one GODOFREDO LOPEZ,
head with a hard object. The petitioner joined in by throwing a stone
thereby inflicting upon the latter physical injuries which required and
at Godofredo’s face, breaking the latter’s eyeglasses. Godofredo claimed
will require medical attendance for not more than seven (7) days or
that as a result, he felt dizzy.5 The petitioner and Erlinda then shouted
incapacitated or will incapacitate said victim from performing his
at Godofredo and threatened to kill him.
habitual work for the same period of time.
Immediately thereafter, Jervie Lopez (Jervie) came and pacified the
three. But in the course his efforts, he was hit in the hand with a
bolo.6 The neighbors intervened not long after and pacified the parties.
The petitioner, together with his daughter Erlinda, was also
The Medico-Legal Certificates7 dated June 12, 2001 showed that
charged with Light Threats12 for allegedly uttering threatening words
Godofredo suffered a contusion on the left parietal area of his head and
against the private complainant, Godofredo.
an abrasion in his left cheek, while Jervie sustained a wound in his
When arraigned, both accused pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
right palm.
Trial on the merits thereafter ensued.
On June 13, 2001, Godofredo and Jervie filed a complaint against
At the trial, the prosecution presented the following eyewitnesses:
the petitioner before the barangay.8 The parties agreed to settle the
Rodolfo Lata, Sr. y Dolping (Rodolfo) and Dina Perez y Alapaap (Dina)
complaint based on the recommendation of the building inspector and
(who both testified on the details of the crime); Godofredo; Jervie; and
reflected their agreement in their Kasunduang Pag-
Dr. Melissa Palugod (Godofredo’s attending physician). The defense, on
aayos9(Kasunduan) dated June 20, 2001. The Kasunduan, however,
the other hand, presented the petitioner, Wilfredo Verdad and Caridad
was not implemented because the building inspector failed to make the
promised recommendation to resolve the boundary dispute between
The petitioner denied the charge and claimed that he had simply exhibit pursuant to Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules on Evidence, the
acted in self-defense. He narrated that on the date of the incident while Certification to File an Action could still be admitted against the
he was putting a monument on his lot, Godofredo suddenly hit him adverse party if, first, it has been duly identified by testimony duly
with an iron bar in his right hand, causing him injuries. Jesus Lopez recorded and second, it has been incorporated into the records of the
(Jessie), Godofredo’s son, went out of their house and with a .38 caliber case. Noting that the Certification to File an Action was identified by
gun, fired the gun at him. To defend himself, he got a stone and threw the complainants and is attached to the records of the case, the CA
it at Godofredo. ruled that an exception to Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules on Evidence
could be recognized.
The MTC’s and the RTC’s Rulings The CA also dismissed the petitioner’s plea of self-defense. The CA
ruled that self-defense is essentially a factual matter that is best
In its decision, MTC believed the prosecution’s version of the addressed by the trial court; in the absence of any showing that both
incident and found the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two the MTC and the RTC overlooked weighty and substantial facts or
(2) counts of slight physical injuries. The MTC, however, dismissed the circumstances that could alter their conclusion, the appellate court saw
light threats charged, as this offense is deemed absorbed in the crime no reason to disturb their factual ruling.
of slight physical injuries. Further, it absolved Erlinda for the crime of On March 22, 2010, the CA denied the petitioner’s motion for
light threats as there was no allegation that she uttered threatening reconsideration; hence, the present petition.
words against Godofredo.
The MTC rejected the petitioner’s claim of self-defense for lack of The Issues
clear, convincing and satisfactory supporting evidence. The MTC held On the basis of the same arguments raised before the CA, the
that the petitioner failed to prove that there had been unlawful petitioner questions: (1) the jurisdiction of the MTC over the criminal
aggression by Godofredo; he did not even present the medical cases in view of the alleged inadmissibility of the Certification to File
certificate of his injury as evidence. The dispositive part of its decision Action; and (2) the lower court’s finding of guilt, its appreciation of the
reads: evidence and its rejection of the claim of self-defense.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused Federico
Sabay yBactol is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for two (2) The Court’s Ruling
counts of Slight Physical Injuries and is meted a penalty of We find no reversible error committed by the CA and affirm the
imprisonment of Eleven (11) Days for each count as there is neither petitioner’s conviction for two counts of slight physical injuries.
mitigating nor aggravating circumstance. On the first issue, the petitioner contends that the lower courts
SO ORDERED. erred in disregarding the existence of the Kasunduan executed by the
parties before the Lupon. This existing settlement between the parties
In due course, the petitioner appealed his judgment to the RTC, rendered the Certification to File an Action without factual and legal
which fully affirmed the MTC’s decision. basis, and is hence null and void. The petitioner also contends that the
The petitioner sought recourse with the CA, arguing in this appeal CA erred in not holding that the MTC has no jurisdiction over the
that: (1) the MTC has no jurisdiction over the case in view of the criminal cases in view of the noncompliance (i.e., issuance of the
prosecution’s failure to offer the Certification to File an Action in Certification to File an Action despite the existence of an agreement)
evidence; and (2) the trial court erred in not sustaining his claim of self- with conciliation procedures under Presidential Decree No. 1508.
defense. We see no merit in these contentions.

The CA’s Ruling The Office of the Barangay Captain Cannot be Precluded From
The CA rejected the petitioner’s arguments and affirmed the RTC’s Issuing a Certification to File an Action Where No Actual
decision. The CA held that even if there had been no formal offer of
Settlement Was Reached; the Certification to File an Action
Issued by The Office of The Barangay is Valid Thus, the MTC has jurisdiction to try and hear the petitioner’s case;
the claimed irregularity in conciliation procedure, particularly in the
The present case was indisputably referred to the Barangay issuance of the Certification to File an Action, did not deprive the court
Lupon for conciliation prior to the institution of the criminal cases of its jurisdiction. If at all, the irregularity merely affected the parties’
before the MTC. The parties in fact admitted that a meeting before cause of action.17
the Lupon transpired between them, resulting in a Kasunduan. The petitioner next contends that even if there was a valid
Although they initially agreed to settle their case, Certification to File an Action, the lower courts still erred in admitting
the Kasunduan that embodied their agreement was never the Certificate into evidence as the prosecution did not formally offer
implemented; no actual settlement materialized as the building it as required by the Rules on Evidence. He emphasizes that in Fideldia
inspector failed to make his promised recommendation to settle the v. Sps. Mulato,18 the Court held that a formal offer is necessary because
dispute. The BarangayCaptain was thus compelled to issue a judges are required to base their findings solely upon evidence offered
Certification to File an Action, indicating that the disputing parties did by the parties. In the absence of a formal offer, the Certification is not
not reach any settlement. admissible pursuant to Section 412 of Republic Act No. 7160, and
The CA correctly observed and considered the situation: the cannot be considered by the court.
settlement of the case was conditioned on the recommendation of the We do not find this argument sufficiently persuasive.
building inspector; with no recommendation, no resolution of the
conflict likewise took place. The Certification to File an Action is Admissible
Furthermore, the Barangay Captain, as a public official, is
presumed to act regularly in the performance of official duty.13 Section 34 of Rule 132 of our Rules on Evidence provides that the
In the absence of contrary evidence, this presumption prevails; his court cannot consider any evidence that has not been formally
issuance of the disputed Certification to File an Action was regular and offered.19 Formal offer means that the offering party shall inform the
pursuant to law.14 Thus, the Barangay Captain properly issued the court of the purpose of introducing its exhibits into evidence, to assist
Certification to File an Action. the court in ruling on their admissibility in case the adverse party
Even granting that an irregularity had intervened in objects.20 Without a formal offer of evidence, courts cannot take notice
the Barangay Captain’s issuance of the Certification to File an Action, of this evidence even if this has been previously marked and identified.
we note that this irregularity is not a jurisdictional flaw that warrants This rule, however, admits of an exception. The Court, in the
the dismissal of the criminal cases before the MTC. As we held in Diu appropriate cases, has relaxed the formal-offer rule and allowed
v. Court of Appeals:15 evidence not formally offered to be admitted.
Also, the conciliation procedure under Presidential Decree No. 1508 The cases of People v. Napat-a,21 People v. Mate,22 and The Heirs of
is not a jurisdictional requirement and noncompliance therewith Romana Saves, et al. v. The Heirs of Escolastico Saves, et al.,23 to cite a
cannot affect the jurisdiction which the lower courts had already few, enumerated the requirements so that evidence, not previously
acquired over the subject matter and private respondents as offered, can be admitted, namely: first, the evidence must have been
defendants therein. duly identified by testimony duly recorded and second, the evidence
must have been incorporated in the records of the case.
Similarly, in Garces v. Court of Appeals,16 we stated that: In the present case, we find that the requisites for the relaxation of
In fine, we have held in the past that prior recourse to the the formal-offer rule are present. As the lower courts correctly
conciliation procedure required under P.D. 1508 is not a jurisdictional observed, Godofredo identified the Certification to File an Action
requirement, noncompliance with which would deprive a court of its during his cross-examination, to wit:24
jurisdiction either over the subject matter or over the person of the Q: And I’m referring to you this Certification from the Office of the
defendant. Brgy. docketed as 181-01, is this the one you are referring to?
A: This is with respect to the hitting of my head. strength of his own evidence to prove that the facts that the legal
Atty. Bihag: At this juncture, your Honor, we would like to avoidance requires are present; the weakness of the prosecution’s
request that this particular certification referring to the case evidence is immaterial after he admitted the commission of the act
181-01 entitled Mr. Godofredo Lopez, Mr. Jervie Lopez versus Mr. charged.31
Federico Sabay and Mrs. Erlinda Castro, be marked as Exh. “1” In this case, the petitioner admitted the acts attributed to him, and
for the defense. [TSN, Godofredo Lopez, page 119; emphasis ours] only pleads that he acted in self-defense. His case essentially rests on
the existence of unlawful aggression — that Godofredo hit him with an
Although the Certification was not formally offered in evidence, it iron bar on his right hand.
was marked as Exhibit “1” and attached to the records of the As the RTC and the CA pointed out, the petitioner failed to
case.25 Significantly, the petitioner never objected to Godofredo’s substantiate his claimed self-defense because he did not even present
testimony, particularly with the identification and marking of the any medical certificate as supporting evidence, notwithstanding his
Certification. In these lights, the Court sees no reason why the claim that he consulted a doctor. Nor did he ever present the doctor he
Certification should not be admitted. allegedly consulted.
His contention, too, that he was attacked by Godofredo and was shot
The Claim of Self-Defense with a .38 caliber gun by Jessie was refuted by the prosecution
eyewitnesses — Rodolfo and Dina — who both testified that it was the
On the claim of self-defense, we recognize that the factual findings petitioner who had attacked Godofredo.
and conclusions of the RTC, especially when affirmed by the CA as in The prosecution eyewitnesses’ testimonies were supported by the
this case, are entitled to great weight and respect and are deemed final medico-legal certificates showing that Godofredo sustained a contusion
and conclusive on this Court when supported by the evidence on on the left parietal area of his head and an abrasion on his left cheek.
record.26 These medico-legal findings are consistent with Godofredo’s claim that
In the absence of any indication that the trial and the appellate the petitioner hit him and inflicted physical injuries.
courts overlooked facts or circumstances that would result in a In sum, we are fully satisfied that the petitioner is guilty beyond
different ruling in this case, we will not disturb their factual findings.27 reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of slight physical injuries, as the
We thus uphold the rulings of the RTC and the CA which found the lower courts found. His claim of self-defense fails for lack of supporting
elements of the crime of slight physical injuries fully established evidence; he failed to present any evidence of unlawful aggression and
during the trial. The RTC and the CA correctly rejected the petitioner’s cannot thus be said to have hit Godofredo as a measure to defend
claim of self-defense because he did not substantiate it with clear and himself.
convincing proof. WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DENY the appeal
Self-defense as a justifying circumstance under Article 11 of the and AFFIRM the decision dated October 23, 2009 and the resolution
Revised Penal Code, as amended, implies the admission by the accused dated March 22, 2010 of the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. CR No.
that he committed the acts that would have been criminal in character 31532.
had it not been for the presence of circumstances whose legal SO ORDERED.
consequences negate the commission of a crime.28 The plea of self-
defense in order to exculpate the accused must be duly proven. The
most basic rule is that no self-defense can be recognized until unlawful
aggression is established.29
Since the accused alleges self-defense, he carries the burden of
evidence to prove that he satisfied the elements required by law;30 he
who alleges must prove. By admitting the commission of the act
charged and pleading avoidance based on the law, he must rely on the
436 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED DFI answered for itself and TACOR, which it claimed had been
merged with it and ceased to exist as a corporation. Denying that it had
Traveño vs. Bobongon
engaged the services of petitioners,6 DFI alleged that during the
G.R. No. 164205. September 3, 2009.*
corporate lifetime of TACOR, it had an arrangement with several
landowners in Santo Tomas, Davao Del Norte whereby TACOR was to
extend financial and technical assistance to them for the development
By the account of petitioner Oldarico Traveño and his 16 co-
of their lands into a banana plantation on the condition that the
petitioners, in 1992, respondent Timog Agricultural Corporation
bananas produced therein would be sold exclusively to TACOR; that
(TACOR) and respondent Diamond Farms, Inc. (DFI) hired them to
the landowners worked on their own farms and hired laborers to assist
work at a banana plantation at Bobongon, Santo Tomas, Davao Del
them; that the landowners themselves decided to form a cooperative in
Norte which covered lands previously planted with rice and corn but
order to better attain their business objectives; and that it was not in
whose owners had agreed to convert into a banana plantation upon
a position to state whether petitioners were working on the banana
being convinced that TACOR and DFI could provide the needed capital,
plantation of the landowners who had contracted with TACOR.7
expertise, and equipment. Petitioners helped prepare the lands for the
The Cooperative failed to file a position paper despite due notice,
planting of banana suckers and eventually carried out the planting as
prompting the Labor Arbiter to consider it to have waived its right to
adduce evidence in its defense.
Petitioners asseverated that while they worked under the direct
Nothing was heard from respondent Dole Asia Philippines.
control of supervisors assigned by TACOR and DFI, these companies
By consolidated Decision dated October 30, 2002,8 the Labor
used different schemes to make it appear that petitioners were hired
Arbiter, found respondent Cooperative guilty of illegal dismissal. It
through independent contractors, including individuals, unregistered
dropped the complaints against DFI, TACOR and Dole Asia
associations, and cooperatives; that the successive changes in the
Philippines. Thus it disposed:
names of their employers notwithstanding, they continued to perform
“WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:
the same work under the direct control of TACOR and DFI supervisors;
1. Declaring respondent Bobongon Banana Growers Multi-
and that under the last scheme adopted by these companies, the
purpose Cooperative guilty of illegal dismissal;
nominal individual contractors were required to, as they did, join a
2. Ordering respondent Bobongon Banana Growers Multi-purpose
cooperative and thus became members of respondent Bobongon
Cooperative to pay complainants full backwages from the time
Banana Growers Multi-purpose Cooperative (the Cooperative).2
of their illegal dismissal up to this promulgation, to be
Continued petitioners: Sometime in 2000, above-named
determined during the execution stage;
respondents began utilizing harassment tactics to ease them out of
3. Ordering respondent Bobongon Banana Growers Multi-purpose
their jobs. Without first seeking the approval of the Department of
Cooperative to reinstate complainants to their former positions
Labor and Employment (DOLE), they changed their compensation
without loss of seniority rights and if not possible, to pay them
package from being based on a daily rate to a pakyawan rate that
separation pay equivalent to 1/2 month pay for every year of
depended on the combined productivity of the “gangs” they had been
grouped into. Soon thereafter, they stopped paying their salaries,
4. Ordering respondent Bobongon Banana Grower Cooperative
prompting them to stop working.3
[sic] to pay 10% of the total award as Attorney’s fees;
One after another, three separate complaints for illegal dismissal
5. All other respondents are hereby dropped as party-
were filed by petitioners, individually and collectively, with the
respondentsfor lack of merit.” (Underscoring supplied)
National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) against said
In finding for petitioners, the Labor Arbiter relied heavily on the
respondents including respondent Dole Asia Philippines as it then
following Orders submitted by DFI which were issued in an earlier case
supposedly owned TACOR,4 for unpaid salaries, overtime pay, 13th
filed with the DOLE, viz.: (1) Order dated July 11, 1995 of the Director
month pay, service incentive leave pay, damages, and attorney’s fees.5
of DOLE Regional Office No. XI declaring the Cooperative as the
employer of the 341 workers in the farms of its several members; (2) It appears that respondent Cooperative had been dissolved.16
Order dated December 17, 1997 of the DOLE Secretary affirming the As respondent Dole Asia Philippines failed to file a comment, the
Order dated July 11, 1995 of the Director of DOLE Regional Office No. Court, by Resolution of November 29, 2006,17required it to (1) show
XI; and (3) Order dated June 23, 1998 of the DOLE Secretary denying cause why it should not be held in contempt for its failure to heed the
the Cooperative’s Motion for Reconsideration. Court’s directive, and (2) file the required comment, within 10 days
On partial appeal to the NLRC, petitioners questioned the Labor from notice.
Arbiter’s denial of their money claims and the dropping of their Dole Philippines, Inc. (DPI) promptly filed an Urgent
complaints against TACOR, DFI, and Dole Asia Philippines. Manifestation18 stating that, among other things, while its division
By Resolution dated July 30, 2003,9 the NLRC sustained the Labor located in Davao City received the Court’s Resolution directing Dole
Arbiter’s ruling that the employer of petitioners is the Cooperative, Asia Philippines to file a comment on the present petition, DPI did not
there being no showing that the earlier mentioned Orders of the DOLE file a comment as the directive was addressed to “Dole Asia
Secretary had been set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction. It Philippines,” an entity which is not registered at the Securities and
partially granted petitioners’ appeal, however, by ordering the Exchange Commission.
Cooperative to pay them their unpaid wages, wage differentials, Commenting on DPI’s Urgent Manifestation, petitioners contend
service incentive leave pay, and 13th month pay. It thus remanded the that DPI cannot be allowed to take advantage of their lack of
case to the Labor Arbiter for computation of those awards. knowledge as to its exact corporate name, DPI having raised the matter
Their Motion for Reconsideration having been denied by Resolution for the first time before this Court notwithstanding its receipt of all
of September 30, 2003,10 petitioners appealed to the Court of pleadings and court processes from the inception of this case.19
Appeals via certiorari.11 Upon review of the records, the Court finds that DPI never ever
By Resolution dated February 20, 2004,12 the appellate court participated in the proceedings despite due notice. Its posturing,
dismissed petitioners’ petition for certiorari on the ground that the therefore, that the court processes it received were addressed to “Dole
accompanying verification and certification against forum shopping Asia Philippines,” a non-existent entity, does not lie. That DPI is the
was defective, it having been signed by only 19 of the 22 therein named intended respondent, there is no doubt.
petitioners. Their Motion for Reconsideration having been denied by Respecting the appellate court’s dismissal of petitioners’ appeal due
Resolution of May 13, 2004,13 petitioners lodged the present Petition to the failure of some of them to sign the therein accompanying
for Review on Certiorari. verification and certification against forum-shopping, the Court’s
Petitioners posit that the appellate court erred in dismissing their guidelines for the bench and bar in Altres v. Empleo,20 which were
petition on a mere technicality as it should have, at most, dismissed culled “from jurisprudential pronouncements,” are instructive:
the petition only with respect to the non-signing petitioners. “For the guidance of the bench and bar, the Court restates in
Dwelling on the merits of the case, petitioners posit that the Labor capsule form the jurisprudential pronouncements already reflected
Arbiter and the NLRC disregarded evidence on record showing that above respecting non-compliance with the requirements on, or
while the Cooperative was their employer on paper, the other submission of defective, verification and certification against
respondents exercised control and supervision over them; that the forum shopping:
Cooperative was a labor-only contractor; and that the Orders of the 1) A distinction must be made between non-compliance with the
DOLE Secretary relied upon by the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC are requirement on or submission of defective verification, and non-
not applicable to them as the same pertained to a certification election compliance with the requirement on or submission of defective
case involving different parties and issues.14 certification against forum shopping.
DFI, commenting for itself and TACOR, maintains that, among 2) As to verification, non-compliance therewith or a defect therein
other things, it was not the employer of petitioners; and that it cannot does not necessarily render the pleading fatally defective.
comment on their money claims because no evidence was submitted in The court may order its submission or correction or act on the pleading
support thereof.15 if the attending circumstances are such that strict compliance with the
Rule may be dispensed with in order that the ends of justice may be The Labor Code and its Implementing Rules empower the Labor
served thereby. Arbiter to be the trier of facts in labor cases.22Much reliance is thus
3) Verification is deemed substantially complied with placed on the Arbiter’s findings of fact, having had the opportunity to
when one who has ample knowledge to swear to the truth of discuss with the parties and their witnesses the factual matters of the
the allegations in the complaint or petition signs the case during the conciliation phase.23 Just the same, a review of the
verification, and when matters alleged in the petition have records of the present case does not warrant a conclusion different from
been made in good faith or are true and correct. the Arbiter’s, as affirmed by the NLRC, that the Cooperative is the
4) As to certification against forum shopping, non-compliance employer of petitioners.
therewith or a defect therein, unlike in verification, is generally not To be sure, the matter of whether the Cooperative is an
curable by its subsequent submission or correction thereof, unless independent contractor or a labor-only contractor may not be used to
there is a need to relax the Rule on the ground of “substantial predicate a ruling in this case. Job contracting or subcontracting refers
compliance” or presence of “special circumstances or compelling to an arrangement whereby a principal agrees to farm out with a
reasons.” contractor or subcontractor the performance of a specific job, work or
5) The certification against forum shopping must be signed service within a definite or predetermined period, regardless of
by all the plaintiffs or petitioners in a case; otherwise, those whether such job, work or service is to be performed or completed
who did not sign will be dropped as parties to the case. Under within or outside the premises of the principal.24 The present case does
reasonable or justifiable circumstances, however, as when all the not involve such an arrangement.
plaintiffs or petitioners share a common interest and invoke a common DFI did not farm out to the Cooperative the performance of a
cause of action or defense, the signature of only one of them in the specific job, work, or service. Instead, it entered into a Banana
certification against forum shopping substantially complies with the Production and Purchase Agreement25 (Contract) with the
Rule. Cooperative, under which the Cooperative would handle and fund the
6) Finally, the certification against forum shopping must be production of bananas and operation of the plantation covering lands
executed by the party-pleader, not by his counsel. If, however, for owned by its members in consideration of DFI’s commitment to provide
reasonable or justifiable reasons, the party-pleader is unable to sign, financial and technical assistance as needed, including the supply of
he must execute a Special Power of Attorney designating his counsel of information and equipment in growing, packing, and shipping
record to sign on his behalf.” (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) bananas. The Cooperative would hire its own workers and pay their
The foregoing restated pronouncements were lost in the challenged wages and benefits, and sell exclusively to DFI all export quality
Resolutions of the appellate court. Petitioners’ contention that the bananas produced that meet the specifications agreed upon.
appellate court should have dismissed the petition only as to the non- To the Court, the Contract between the Cooperative and DFI, far
signing petitioners or merely dropped them as parties to the case is from being a job contracting arrangement, is in essence a business
thus in order. partnership that partakes of the nature of a joint venture.26 The rules
Instead of remanding the case to the appellate court, however, the on job contracting are, therefore, inapposite. The Court may not alter
Court deems it more practical to decide the substantive issue raised in the intention of the contracting parties as gleaned from their
this petition so as not to further delay the disposition of this case.21 And stipulations without violating the autonomy of contracts principle
it thus resolves to deviate as well from the general rule that factual under Article 1306 of the Civil Code which gives the contracting parties
questions are not entertained in petitions for review on certiorari of the the utmost liberality and freedom to establish such stipulations,
appellate court’s decisions in order to write finis to this protracted clauses, terms and conditions as they may deem convenient, provided
litigation. they are not contrary to law, morals, good custom, public order or
The sole issue is whether DFI (with which TACOR had been public policy.
merged) and DPI should be held solidarily liable with the Cooperative Petitioners’ claim of employment relationship with the
for petitioners’ illegal dismissal and money claims. Cooperative’s herein co-respondents must be assessed on the basis of
four standards, viz.: (a) the manner of their selection and engagement; respondents liable for their claims without any factual and legal
(b) the mode of payment of their wages; (c) the presence or absence of justification therefor. The social justice policy of labor laws and the
the power of dismissal; and (d) the presence or absence of control over Constitution is not meant to be oppressive of capital.
their conduct. Most determinative among these factors is the so-called En passant, petitioners are not precluded from pursuing any
“control test.”27 available remedies against the former members of the defunct
There is nothing in the records which indicates the presence of any Cooperative as their individual circumstances may warrant.
of the foregoing elements of an employer-employee relationship. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.
The absence of the first requisite, which refers to selection and SO ORDERED.
engagement, is shown by DFI’s total lack of knowledge on who actually
were engaged by the Cooperative to work in the banana plantation.
This is borne out by the Contract between the Cooperative and DFI,
under which the Cooperative was to hire its own workers. As TACOR
had been merged with DFI, and DPI is merely alleged to have
previously owned TACOR, this applies to them as well. Petitioners
failed to prove the contrary. No employment contract whatsoever was
submitted to substantiate how petitioners were hired and by whom.
On the second requisite, which refers to the payment of wages, it
was likewise the Cooperative that paid the same. As reflected earlier,
under the Contract, the Cooperative was to handle and fund the
production of bananas and operation of the plantation.28 The
Cooperative was also to be responsible for the proper conduct,
safety, benefits, and general welfare of its members and workers in
the plantation.29
As to the third requisite, which refers to the power of dismissal, and
the fourth requisite, which refers to the power of control, both were
retained by the Cooperative. Again, the Contract stipulated that the
Cooperative was to be responsible for the proper conduct and general
welfare of its members and workers in the plantation.
The crucial element of control refers to the authority of the
employer to control the employee not only with regard to the result of
the work to be done, but also to the means and methods by which the
work is to be accomplished.30While it suffices that the power of control
exists, albeit not actually exercised, there must be some evidence of
such power. In the present case, petitioners did not present any.
There being no employer-employee relationship between
petitioners and the Cooperative’s co-respondents, the latter are not
solidarily liable with the Cooperative for petitioners’ illegal dismissal
and money claims.
While the Court commiserates with petitioners on their loss of
employment, especially now that the Cooperative is no longer a going
concern, it cannot simply, by default, hold the Cooperative’s co-
514 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED 5.Real Estate tax/insurance and other government dues and
charges shall be borne by WG&A.
Philippine Ports Authority vs. William Gothong & Aboitiz (WG&A), Inc.
The said contract was eventually conformed to and signed by the
G.R. No. 158401. January 28, 2008.* petitioner company, through its President/Chief Executive Officer
Endika Aboitiz, Jr. Thereafter, in accordance with the stipulations
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: made in the lease agreement, PPA surrendered possession of the
Marine Slip Way in favor of the petitioner.
This resolves the Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by the However, believing that the said lease already expired on June 30,
Philippine Ports Authority (petitioner) seeking the reversal of the 2001, respondent PPA subsequently sent a letter to petitioner WG&A
Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) promulgated on October 24, dated November 12, 2001 directing the latter to vacate the contested
2002 and its Resolution dated May 15, 2003. premises not later than November 30, 2001 and to turnover the
The antecedent facts are accurately narrated by the CA as follows: improvements made therein pursuant to the terms and conditions
“Petitioner William Gothong & Aboitiz, Inc. (WG&A for brevity), is a agreed upon in the contract.
duly organized domestic corporation engaged in the shipping industry. In response, petitioner WG&A wrote PPA on November 27, 2001
Respondent Philippine Ports Authority (PPA for brevity), upon the urging the latter to reconsider its decision to eject the former. Said
other hand, is a government-owned and controlled company created request was denied by the PPA via a letter dated November 29, 2001.
and existing by virtue of the provisions of P.D. No. 87 and mandated On November 28, 2001, petitioner WG&A commenced an Injunction
under its charter to operate and administer the country’s sea port and suit before the Regional Trial Court of Manila. Petitioner claims that
port facilities. the PPA unjustly, illegally and prematurely terminated the lease
After the expiration of the lease contract of Veterans Shipping contract. It likewise prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining
Corporation over the Marine Slip Way in the North Harbor on order to arrest the evacuation. In its complaint, petitioner also sought
December 31, 2000, petitioner WG&A requested respondent PPA for it recovery of damages for breach of contract and attorney’s fees.
to be allowed to lease and operate the said facility. Thereafter, then On December 11, 2001, petitioner WG&A amended its complaint
President Estrada issued a memorandum dated December 18, 2000 for the first time. The complaint was still denominated as one for
addressed to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Injunction with prayer for TRO. In the said amended pleading, the
Communication (DOTC) and the General Manager of PPA, stating to petitioner incorporated statements to the effect that PPA is already
the effect that in its meeting held on December 13, 2000, the Economic estopped from denying that the correct period of lease is “until such
Coordinating Council (ECC) has approved the request of petitioner time that the North Harbor Modernization Project has been bidded out
WG&A to lease the Marine Slip Way from January 1 to June 30, 2001 to and operations turned over to the winning bidder. It likewise
or until such time that respondent PPA turns over its operations to the included, as its third cause of action, the additional relief in its prayer,
winning bidder for the North Harbor Modernization Project. that should the petitioner be forced to vacate the said facility, it should
Pursuant to the said Memorandum, a Contract of Lease was be deemed as entitled to be refunded of the value of the improvements
prepared by respondent PPA containing the following terms: it introduced in the leased property.
1.The lease of the area shall take effect on January 1 to June 30, Following the first amendment in the petitioner’s complaint,
2001 or until such time that PPA turns over its operation to the respondent PPA submitted its answer on January 23, 2002.
winning bidder for the North Harbor modernization; Meanwhile, the TRO sought by the former was denied by the trial court
2.You shall pay a monthly rental rate of P12.15 per square meter by way of an order dated January 16, 2002.
or an aggregate monthly rental amount of P886,950.00; Petitioner later moved for the reconsideration of the said Order on
3.All structures/improvements introduced in the leased premises February 11, 2002. Shortly thereafter, petitioner filed a Motion to
shall be turned over to PPA; Admit Attached Second Amended Complaint. This time, however, the
4.Water, electricity, telephone and other utility expenses shall be complaint was already captioned as one for Injunction with Prayer for
for the account of William, Gothong & Aboitiz, Inc.;
Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction “SECTION 3. Amendments by leave of court.—Except as provided in
and damages and/or for Reformation of Contract. Also, it included as the next preceding section, substantial amendments may be made
its fourth cause of action and additional relief in its prayer, the only upon leave of court. But such leave may be refused if it
reformation of the contract as it failed to express or embody the true appears to the court that the motion was made with intent to
intent of the contracting parties. delay. Orders of the court upon the matters provided in this section
The admission of the second amended complaint met strong shall be made upon motion filed in court, and after notice to the adverse
opposition from the respondent PPA. It postulated that the reformation party, and an opportunity to be heard.”
sought for by the petitioner constituted substantial amendment, which The Court has emphasized the import of Section 3, Rule 10 of the 1997
if granted, will substantially alter the latter’s cause of action and Rules of Civil Procedure in Valenzuela v. Court of Appeals,3 thus:
theory of the case. “Interestingly, Section 3, Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
On March 22, 2002, the respondent judge issued an Order denying amended the former rule in such manner that the phrase “or that the
the Admission of the Second Amended Complaint. Petitioner filed a cause of action or defense is substantially altered” was stricken-off and
motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid order but the same was not retained in the new rules. The clear import of such amendment
again denied in an order dated April 26, 2002.”2 in Section 3, Rule 10 is that under the new rules, “the
Herein respondent WG&A then filed a petition for certiorari with the amendment may (now) substantially alter the cause of action
CA seeking the nullification of the aforementioned RTC orders. or defense.” This should only be true, however, when despite a
In its Decision dated October 24, 2002, the CA granted respondent’s substantial change or alteration in the cause of action or defense, the
petition, thereby setting aside the RTC orders and directing the RTC amendments sought to be made shall serve the higher interests of
to admit respondent’s second amended complaint pursuant to Section substantial justice, and prevent delay and equally promote the
3, Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Petitioner moved for laudable objective of the rules which is to secure a “just, speedy and
reconsideration but the same was denied per Resolution dated May 15, inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding.”4
2003. The application of the old Rules by the RTC almost five years after its
Hence, the present petition where the only issue raised is whether amendment by the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure patently constitutes
the CA erred in ruling that the RTC committed grave abuse of grave abuse of discretion.
discretion when it denied the admission of the second amended WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The
complaint. Decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on October 24, 2002 and
The Court finds the petition without merit. its Resolution dated May 15, 2003 are hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
The CA did not err in finding that the RTC committed grave abuse SO ORDERED.
of discretion in issuing the Order dated March 22, 2002 denying the
admission of respondent’s second amended complaint.
The RTC applied the old Section 3, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court:
“Section 3. Amendments by leave of court.—after the case is set for
hearing, substantial amendments may be made only upon leave of
court. But such leave may be refused if it appears to the court that the
motion was made with intent to delay the action or that the cause of
action or defense is substantially altered. Orders of the court upon the
matters provided in this section shall be made upon motion filed in
court, and after notice to the adverse party, and an opportunity to be
instead of the provisions of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure,
amending Section 3, Rule 10, to wit: