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RULE 14

A. What is a Summons (Sections 2 and 5)


B. Who issues (Section 1)
C. Who serves (Sections 3 and 4)
D. Kinds of Summons
a. Service in person (Section 6)
b. Substituted (Section 7)
c. Extraterritorial (Section 15)
i. Personal
ii. Publication
iii. Any mode
d. Publication

Is service of summons thru the DFA upon persons outside the country valid?

E. On whom served
a. On Corporations
i. Public (Section 13)
ii. Private
1. Domestic (Section 11)
2. Foreign (Section 12)
b. On Natural Persons
i. Prisoners (Section 9)
ii. Minor and Incompetent (Section 10)
iii. Unknown Identity and Whereabouts (Section 14)
c. On Entities without Judicial Personality (Section 8)

F. Proof of Service (Sections 18 and 19)

Cases:
1. Valmonte vs. CA, G.R. No. 108538

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 108538. January 22, 1996.]

LOURDES A. VALMONTE and ALFREDO D.


VALMONTE, petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS, THIRD DIVISION and ROSITA
DIMALANTA, respondents. cdasia
Alfredo D. Valmonte and Cirilo E. Doronia, for petitioners.
Balgos & Perez, for private respondent.

SYLLABUS

1. REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; SUMMONS; SERVICE REQUIRED IN


ACTION IN PERSONAM. — In an action in personam, personal service of
summons or, if this is not possible and he cannot be personally served,
substituted service, as provided in Rule 14, § 7-8 is essential for the acquisition
by the court of jurisdiction over the person of a defendant who does not
voluntarily submit himself to the authority of the court. If defendant cannot be
served with summons because he is temporarily abroad, but otherwise he is a
Philippine resident, service of summons may, by leave of court, be made by
publication. Otherwise stated, a resident defendant in an action in personam,
who cannot be personally served with summons, may be summoned either by
means of substituted service in accordance with Rule 14, § 8 or by publication as
provided in § 17 and 18 of the same Rule.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; DEFENDANT MUST BE RESIDENT OF PHILIPPINES. — In
all of these cases, it should be noted, defendant must be a resident of the
Philippines, otherwise an action in personam cannot be brought because
jurisdiction over his person is essential to make a binding decision.
3. ID.; ID.; ACTION IN REM; NON-RESIDENT DEFENDANT MAY BE SERVED
WITH SUMMONS EXTERRITORIALLY. — On the other hand, if the action is in
rem or quasi in rem, jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is not essential
for giving the court jurisdiction so long as the court acquires jurisdiction over
the res. If the defendant is a nonresident and he is not found in the country,
summons may be served exterritorially in accordance with Rule 14, § 17. In such
cases, what gives the court jurisdiction in an action in rem or quasi in rem is that
it has jurisdiction over the res, i.e. the personal status of the plaintiff who is
domiciled in the Philippines or the property litigated or attached.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PURPOSE. — Service of summons in the manner provided in
§ 17 is not for the purpose of vesting it with jurisdiction but for complying with the
requirements of fair play or due process, so that he will be informed of the
pendency of the action against him and the possibility that property in the
Philippines belonging to him or in which he has an interest may be subjected to a
judgment in favor of the plaintiff and he can thereby take steps to protect his
interest if he is so minded.
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; MODES. — As petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte is a
nonresident who is not found in the Philippines, service of summons on her must
be in accordance with Rule 14, § 17. Such service, to be effective outside the
Philippines, must be made either (1) by personal service; (2) by publication in a
newspaper of general circulation in such places and for such time as the court
may order, in which case a copy of the summons and order of the court should
be sent by registered mail to the last known address of the defendant; or (3) in
any other manner which the court may deem sufficient.
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SERVICE OF SUMMONS ON DEFENDANT'S
HUSBAND AND COUNSEL IN PHILIPPINES, NOT VALID. — Since in the case
at bar, the service of summons upon petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte was not
done by means of any of the first two modes, the question is whether the service
on her attorney, petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte, can be justified under the third
mode, namely, "in any . . . manner the court may deem sufficient." We hold it
cannot. This mode of service, like the first two, must be made outside the
Philippines, such as through the Philippine Embassy in the foreign country where
the defendant resides. Moreover, there are several reasons why the service of
summons on Atty. Alfredo A. Valmonte cannot be considered a valid service of
summons on petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte. In the first place, service of
summons on petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte was not made upon the order of the
court as required by Rule 14, § 17 and certainly was not a mode deemed
sufficient by the court which in fact refused to consider the service to be valid and
on that basis declare petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte in default for her failure to
file an answer. In the second place, service in the attempted manner on
petitioner was not made upon prior leave of the trial court as required also in
Rule 14, § 17. As provided in § 19, such leave must be applied for by motion in
writing, supported by affidavit of the plaintiff or some person on his behalf and
setting forth the grounds for the application.

DECISION

MENDOZA, J : p

Petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte is a foreign resident. The question is whether in


an action for partition filed against her and her husband, who is also her attorney,
summons intended for her may be served on her husband, who has a law office
in the Philippines. The Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 48, said no and
refused to declare Lourdes A. Valmonte in default, but the Court of Appeals said
yes. Hence this petition for review on certiorari.
The facts of the case are as follows:
Petitioners Lourdes A. Valmonte and Alfredo D. Valmonte are husband and wife.
They are both residents of 90222 Carkeek Drive South Seattle, Washington,
U.S.A. Petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte, who is a member of the Philippine bar,
however, practices his profession in the Philippines, commuting for this purpose
between his residence in the state of Washington and Manila, where he holds
office at S-304 Gedisco Centre, 1564 A. Mabini, Ermita, Manila. cdasia

On March 9, 1992, private respondent Rosita Dimalanta, who is the sister of


petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte, filed a complaint for partition of real property and
accounting of rentals against petitioners Lourdes A. Valmonte and Alfredo D.
Valmonte before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 48. The subject of
the action is a three-door apartment located in Paco, Manila.
In her Complaint, private respondent alleged:
The plaintiff is of legal age, a widow and is at present a resident of
14823 Conway Road, Chesterfield, Missouri, U.S.A., while the
defendants are spouses, of legal age and at present residents of 90222
Carkeek Drive, South Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., but, for purposes of
this complaint may be served with summons at Gedisco Center, Unit
304, 1564 A. Mabini St., Ermita, Manila where defendant Alfredo D.
Valmonte as defendant Lourdes Arreola Valmonte's spouse holds office
and where he can be found. cdtai

Apparently, the foregoing averments were made on the basis of a letter


previously sent by petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte to private respondent's
counsel in which, in regard to the partition of the property in question, she
referred private respondent's counsel to her husband as the party to whom all
communications intended for her should be sent. The letter reads:
July 4, 1991
Dear Atty. Balgos:
This is in response to your letter, dated 20 June 1991, which I received
on 3 July 1991. Please address all communications to my lawyer, Atty.
Alfredo D. Valmonte, whose address, telephone and fax numbers
appear below. cdasia

c/o Prime Marine


Gedisco Center, Unit 304
1564 A. Mabini, Ermita
Metro Manila
Telephone: 521-1736
Fax: 521-2095
Service of summons was then made upon petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte, who at
the time, was at his office in Manila. Petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte accepted the
summons, insofar as he was concerned, but refused to accept the summons for
his wife, Lourdes A. Valmonte, on the ground that he was not authorized to
accept the process on her behalf. Accordingly the process server left without
leaving a copy of the summons and complaint for petitioner Lourdes A.
Valmonte.
Petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte thereafter filed his Answer with Counterclaim.
Petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte, however, did not file her Answer. For this reason
private respondent moved to declare her in default. Petitioner Alfredo D.
Valmonte entered a special appearance in behalf of his wife and opposed the
private respondent's motion. cdtai

In its Order dated July 3, 1992, the trial court, denied private respondent's motion
to declare petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte in default. A motion for reconsideration
was similarly denied on September 23, 1992. Whereupon, private respondent
filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with the Court of Appeals.
On December 29, 1992, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision granting the
petition and declaring Lourdes A. Valmonte in default. A copy of the appellate
court's decision was received by petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte on January 15,
1993 at his Manila office and on January 21, 1993 in Seattle, Washington.
Hence, this petition.
The issue at bar is whether in light of the facts set forth above, petitioner Lourdes
A. Valmonte was validly served with summons. In holding that she had been, the
Court of Appeals stated: 1 cdt

[I]n her above-quoted reply, Mrs. Valmonte clearly and unequivocally


directed the aforementioned counsel of Dimalanta to address all
communications (evidently referring to her controversy with her sister
Mrs. Dimalanta over the Paco property, now the subject of the instant
case) to her lawyer who happens also to be her husband. Such directive
was made without any qualification just as was her choice/designation of
her husband Atty. Valmonte as her lawyer likewise made without any
qualification or reservation. Any disclaimer therefore on the part of Atty.
Valmonte as to his being his wife's attorney (at least with regard to the
dispute vis-a-vis (sic) the Paco property) would appear to be feeble or
trifling, if not incredible.
This view is bolstered by Atty. Valmonte's subsequent alleged special
appearance made on behalf of his wife. Whereas Mrs. Valmonte had
manifestly authorized her husband to serve as her lawyer relative to her
dispute with her sister over the Paco property and to receive all
communications regarding the same and subsequently to appear on her
behalf by way of a so-called special appearance, she would nonetheless
now insist that the same husband would nonetheless had absolutely no
authority to receive summons on her behalf. In effect, she is asserting
that representation by her lawyer (who is also her husband) as far as the
Paco property controversy is concerned, should only be made by him
when such representation would be favorable to her but not otherwise. It
would obviously be inequitable for this Court to allow private respondent
Lourdes A. Valmonte to hold that her husband has the authority to
represent her when an advantage is to be obtained by her and to deny
such authority when it would turn out to be her disadvantage. If this be
allowed, Our Rules of Court, instead of being an instrument to promote
justice would be made use of to thwart or frustrate the same.

xxx xxx xxx


Turning to another point, it would not do for Us to overlook the fact that
the disputed summons was served not upon just an ordinary lawyer of
private respondent Lourdes A. Valmonte, but upon her lawyer husband.
But that is not all, the same lawyer/husband happens to be also her co-
defendant in the instant case which involves real property which,
according to her lawyer/husband/co-defendant, belongs to the conjugal
partnership of the defendants (the spouses Valmonte). It is highly
inconceivable and certainly it would be contrary to human nature for the
lawyer/husband/co-defendant to keep to himself the fact that they (the
spouses Valmonte) had been sued with regard to a property which he
claims to be conjugal. Parenthetically, there is nothing in the records of
the case before Us regarding any manifestation by private respondent
Lourdes A. Valmonte about her lack of knowledge about the case
instituted against her and her lawyer/husband/co-defendant by her sister
Rosita. . . .
aisadc

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the instant petition for certiorari, prohibition


and mandamus is given due course. This Court hereby Resolves to
nullify the orders of the courta quo dated July 3, 1992 and September
23, 1992 and further declares private respondent Lourdes Arreola
Valmonte as having been properly served with summons.
Petitioners assail the aforequoted decision, alleging that the Court of Appeals
erred (1) in refusing to apply the provisions of Rule 14, § 17 of the Revised Rules
of Court and applying instead Rule 14, § 8 when the fact is that petitioner
Lourdes A. Valmonte is a nonresident defendant; and (2) because even if Rule
14, § 8 is the applicable provision, there was no valid substituted service as there
was no strict compliance with the requirement by leaving a copy of the summons
and complaint with petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte. Private respondent, upon the
other hand, asserts that petitioners are invoking a technicality and that strict
adherence to the rules would only result in a useless ceremony.
We hold that there was no valid service of process on Lourdes A. Valmonte.
To provide perspective, it will be helpful to determine first the nature of the action
filed against petitioners Lourdes A. Valmonte and Alfredo D. Valmonte by private
respondent, whether it is an action in personam, in rem or quasi in rem. This is
because the rules on service of summons embodied in Rule 14 apply according
to whether an action is one or the other of these actions. cdta

In an action in personam, personal service of summons or, if this is not possible


and he cannot be personally served, substituted service, as provided in Rule 14,
§ 7-8 2 is essential for the acquisition by the court of jurisdiction over the person
of a defendant who does not voluntarily submit himself to the authority of the
court. 3 If defendant cannot be served with summons because he is temporarily
abroad, but otherwise he is a Philippine resident, service of summons may, by
leave of court, be made by publication. 4 Otherwise stated, a resident defendant
in an action in personam, who cannot be personally served with summons, may
be summoned either by means of substituted service in accordance with Rule 14,
§ 8 or by publication as provided in § 17 and 18 of the same Rule. 5
In all of these cases, it should be noted, defendant must be a resident of the
Philippines, otherwise an action in personam cannot be brought because
jurisdiction over his person is essential to make a binding decision.
On the other hand, if the action is in rem or quasi in rem, jurisdiction over the
person of the defendant is not essential for giving the court jurisdiction so long as
the court acquires jurisdiction over the res. If the defendant is a nonresident and
he is not found in the country, summons may be served extraterritorially in
accordance with Rule 14, § 17, which provides: cdasia

§ 17. Extraterritorial service. — When the defendant does not reside and
is not found in the Philippines and the action affects the personal status
of the plaintiff or relates to, or the subject of which is, property within the
Philippines, in which the defendant has or claims a lien or interest, actual
or contingent, or in which the relief demanded consists, wholly or in part,
in excluding the defendant from any interest therein, or the property of
the defendant has been attached within the Philippines, service may, by
leave of court, be effected out of the Philippines by personal service as
under Section 7; or by publication in a newspaper of general circulation
in such places and for such time as the court may order, in which case a
copy of the summons and order of the court shall be sent by registered
mail to the last known address of the defendant, or in any other manner
the court may deem sufficient. Any order granting such leave shall
specify a reasonable time, which shall not be less than sixty (60) days
after notice, within which the defendant must answer.
In such cases, what gives the court jurisdiction in an action in rem or quasi in
rem is that it has jurisdiction over the res, i.e. the personal status of the plaintiff
who is domiciled in the Philippines or the property litigated or attached.
Service of summons in the manner provided in § 17 is not for the purpose of
vesting it with jurisdiction but for complying with the requirements of fair play or
due process, so that he will be informed of the pendency of the action against
him and the possibility that property in the Philippines belonging to him or in
which he has an interest may be subjected to a judgment in favor of the plaintiff
and he can thereby take steps to protect his interest if he is so minded. 6 cdtai

Applying the foregoing rules to the case at bar, private respondent's action, which
is for partition and accounting under Rule 69, is in the nature of an action quasi in
rem. Such an action is essentially for the purpose of affecting the defendant's
interest in a specific property and not to render a judgment against him. As
explained in the leading case of Banco Español Filipino v. Palanca: 7
[An action quasi in rem is] an action which while not strictly speaking an
action in rem partakes of that nature and is substantially such. . . . The
action quasi in remdiffers from the true action in rem in the circumstance
that in the former an individual is named as defendant and the purpose
of the proceeding is to subject his interest therein to the obligation or lien
burdening the property. All proceedings having for their sole object the
sale or other disposition of the property of the defendant, whether by
attachment, foreclosure, or other form of remedy, are in a general way
thus designated. The judgment entered in these proceedings is
conclusive only between the parties.
As petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte is a nonresident who is not found in the
Philippines, service of summons on her must be in accordance with Rule 14,
§17. Such service, to be effective outside the Philippines, must be made either
(1) by personal service; (2) by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in
such places and for such time as the court may order, in which case a copy of
the summons and order of the court should be sent by registered mail to the last
known address of the defendant; or (3) in any other manner which the court may
deem sufficient. cdtai

Since in the case at bar, the service of summons upon petitioner Lourdes A.
Valmonte was not done by means of any of the first two modes, the question is
whether the service on her attorney, petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte, can be
justified under the third mode, namely, "in any . . . manner the court may deem
sufficient."
We hold it cannot. This mode of service, like the first two, must be made outside
the Philippines, such as through the Philippine Embassy in the foreign country
where the defendant resides. 8 Moreover, there are several reasons why the
service of summons on Atty. Alfredo D. Valmonte cannot be considered a valid
service of summons on petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte. In the first place, service
of summons on petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte was not made upon the order of
the court as required by Rule 14, § 17 and certainly was not a mode deemed
sufficient by the court which in fact refused to consider the service to be valid and
on that basis declare petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte in default for her failure to
file an answer.
In the second place, service in the attempted manner on petitioner was not made
upon prior leave of the trial court as required also in Rule 14, § 17. As provided
in § 19, such leave must be applied for by motion in writing, supported by
affidavit of the plaintiff or some person on his behalf and setting forth the grounds
for the application.cdt

Finally, and most importantly, because there was no order granting such leave,
petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte was not given ample time to file her Answer
which, according to the rules, shall be not less than sixty (60) days after notice. It
must be noted that the period to file an Answer in an action against a resident
defendant differs from the period given in an action filed against a nonresident
defendant who is not found in the Philippines. In the former, the period is fifteen
(15) days from service of summons, while in the latter, it is at least sixty (60) days
from notice.
Strict compliance with these requirements alone can assure observance of due
process. That is why in one case, 9 although the Court considered publication in
the Philippines of the summons (against the contention that it should be made in
the foreign state where defendant was residing) sufficient, nonetheless the
service was considered insufficient because no copy of the summons was sent to
the last known correct address in the Philippines.
Private respondent cites the ruling in De Leon v. Hontanosas, 67 SCRA 458,
462-463 (1975), in which it was held that service of summons upon the
defendant's husband was binding on her. But the ruling in that case is justified
because summons were served upon defendant's husband in their conjugal
home in Cebu City and the wife was only temporarily absent, having gone to
Dumaguete City for a vacation. The action was for collection of a sum of money.
In accordance with Rule 14, § 8, substituted service could be made on any
person of sufficient discretion in the dwelling place of the defendant, and certainly
defendant's husband, who was there, was competent to receive the summons on
her behalf. In any event, it appears that defendant in that case submitted to the
jurisdiction of the court by instructing her husband to move for the dissolution of
the writ of attachment issued in that case. aisadc

On the other hand, in the case of Gemperle v. Schenker, 10 it was held that
service on the wife of a nonresident defendant was found sufficient because the
defendant had appointed his wife as his attorney-in-fact. It was held that although
defendant Paul Schenker was a Swiss citizen and resident of Switzerland,
service of summons upon his wife Helen Schenker who was in the Philippines
was sufficient because she was her husband's representative and attorney-in-
fact in a civil case, which he had earlier filed against William Gemperle. In fact
Gemperle's action was for damages arising from allegedly derogatory statements
contained in the complaint filed in the first case. As this Court said, "[i]n other
words, Mrs. Schenker had authority to sue, and had actually sued, on behalf of
her husband, so that she was, also, empowered to represent him in suits filed
against him, particularly in a case, like the one at bar, which is a consequence of
the action brought by her on his behalf." 11 Indeed, if instead of filing an
independent action Gemperle filed a counterclaim in the action brought by Mr.
Schenker against him, there would have been no doubt that the trial court could
have acquired jurisdiction over Mr. Schenker through his agent and attorney-in-
fact, Mrs. Schenker.
In contrast, in the case at bar, petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte did not appoint her
husband as her attorney-in-fact. Although she wrote private respondent's
attorney that "all communications" intended for her should be addressed to her
husband who is also her lawyer at the latter's address in Manila, no power of
attorney to receive summons for her can be inferred therefrom. In fact the letter
was written seven months before the filing of this case below, and it appears that
it was written in connection with the negotiations between her and her sister,
respondent Rosita Dimalanta, concerning the partition of the property in question.
As is usual in negotiations of this kind, the exchange of correspondence was
carried on by counsel for the parties. But the authority given to petitioner's
husband in these negotiations certainly cannot be construed as also including an
authority to represent her in any litigation.
For the foregoing reasons, we hold that there was no valid service on petitioner
Lourdes A. Valmonte in this case. cdta

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is REVERSED and the orders dated
July 3, 1992 and September 23, 1992 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
Branch 48 are REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.
(Spouses Valmonte v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 108538, [January 22,
|||

1996], 322 PHIL 96-111)

2. Millenium Ind. Com. Corp vs. Tan, G.R. No. 131724

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 131724. February 28, 2000.]


MILLENNIUM INDUSTRIAL COMMERCIAL
CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. JACKSON TAN, respondent.

A. S. Dy & Associates for petitioner.


Fernan Mercado Cordero De La Torre & Bael for private respondent.

SYNOPSIS

Petitioner Millennium Industrial Commercial Corporation executed a


Deed of Real Estate Mortgage over its real property covered by TCT No.
24069 in favor of Jackson Tan to secure petitioner's indebtedness to
respondent in the amount of P2 million. When the loan was not paid at
maturity, petitioner filed a complaint for foreclosure of mortgage in the trial
court, Branch 6, Cebu City. Summons and a copy of the complaint were
served upon petitioner through a certain Lynverd Cinches. Petitioner moved
for the dismissal on the ground that there was no valid service of summons
upon it, as a result of which the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over it.
Petitioner invoked Rule 14, Section 13 of the 1964 Rules of Court, and
contended that service on Lynverd Cinches as alleged in the sheriff's return,
was invalid as he is not one of the authorized persons on whom summons
may be served and that, in fact, he was not even an employee. The trial court
denied petitioner's motion to dismiss. Petitioner moved for reconsideration but
its motion was denied by the trial court. Petitioner then filed a petition
for certiorariin the Court of Appeals, assailing the aforesaid orders of the trial
court. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition. The appellate court ruled
that although petitioner denied Lynverd Cinches' authority to receive
summons for it, its actual receipt of the summons could be inferred from its
filing of a motion to dismiss. Hence, the present petition. AaSIET

The Supreme Court found petitioner's contention meritorious. The Court


ruled that not even the substantial compliance doctrine found application in
the present case. The most important requisite of the doctrine, i.e., "there
must be actual receipt of the summons by the corporation through the person
on whom the summons was actually served," is not present in this case
because there is no direct proof that Lynverd Cinches actually turned over the
summons to any of the officers of the corporation. The Court stressed that for
there to be substantial compliance, actual receipt of the summons by the
corporation must be shown and where a corporation only learns of the service
of the summons and the filing of complaint against it through some person or
means other than the person actually served, the service of summons
becomes meaningless.
SYLLABUS

1. REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; SUMMONS; WHERE A


CORPORATION ONLY LEARNS OF THE SERVICE OF THE SUMMONS
AND FILING OF COMPLAINT AGAINST IT THROUGH SOME PERSON OR
MEANS OTHER THAN THE PERSON ACTUALLY SERVED, THE SERVICE
OF SUMMONS BECOMES MEANINGLESS. — In Porac Trucking, Inc. v.
Court of Appeals, this Court enumerated the requisites for the application of
the doctrine of substantial compliance, to wit: (a) there must be actual receipt
of the summons by the person served, i.e., transferring possession of the
copy of the summons from the Sheriff to the person served; (b) the person
served must sign a receipt or the sheriff's return; and (c) there must be actual
receipt of the summons by the corporation through the person on whom the
summons was actually served. The third requisite is the most important for it
is through such receipt that the purpose of the rule on service of summons is
attained. In this case, there is no dispute that the first and second requisites
were fulfilled. With respect to the third, the appellate court held that
petitioner's filing of a motion to dismiss the foreclosure suit is proof that it
received the copy of the summons and the complaint. There is, however, no
direct proof of this or that Lynverd Cinches actually turned over the summons
to any of the officers of the corporation. In contrast, in our cases applying the
substantial compliance rule, there was direct evidence, such as the admission
of the corporation's officers, of receipt of summons by the corporation through
the person upon whom it was actually served. The question is whether it is
allowable to merely infer actual receipt of summons by the corporation
through the person on whom summons was served. We hold that it cannot be
allowed. For there to be substantial compliance, actual receipt of summons by
the corporation through the person served must be shown. Where a
corporation only learns of the service of summons and the filing of the
complaint against it through some person or means other than the person
actually served, the service of summons becomes meaningless. This is
particularly true in the present case where there is serious doubt if Lynverd
Cinches, the person on whom service of summons was effected, is in fact an
employee of the corporation. Except for the sheriff's return, there is nothing to
show that Lynverd Cinches was really a draftsman employed by the
corporation.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; RECEIPT BY PETITIONER OF THE SUMMONS AND
COMPLAINT CANNOT BE INFERRED FROM THE FACT THAT IT FILED A
MOTION TO DISMISS. — Respondent casts doubt on petitioner's claim that it
came to know about the summons and the complaint against it only after it
learned that there was a pending foreclosure of its mortgage. There is nothing
improbable about this claim. Petitioner was in default in the payment of its
loan. It had received demand letters from respondent. Thus, it had reason to
believe that a foreclosure suit would be filed against it. The appellate court
was, therefore, in error in giving weight to respondent's claims. Receipt by
petitioner of the summons and complaint cannot be inferred from the fact that
it filed a Motion to Dismiss the case.
3. ID.; JURISDICTION; DOCTRINE OF ESTOPPEL BY JURISDICTION
MUST BE UNEQUIVOCAL AND INTENTIONAL. — Both the trial court and
the Court of Appeals held that by raising the affirmative defense of payment
and by praying for other reliefs in its Motion to Dismiss, petitioner in effect
waived its objection to the trial court's jurisdiction over it. We think this is error.
Our decision in La Naval Drug Corporation v. Court of Appeals settled this
question. The rule prior to La Naval was that if a defendant, in a motion to
dismiss, alleges grounds for dismissing the action other than lack of
jurisdiction, he would be deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction
of the court. This rule no longer holds true. Noting that the doctrine of estoppel
by jurisdiction must be unequivocal and intentional, we ruled in La Naval:
Jurisdiction over the person must be seasonably raised, i.e., that it is pleaded
in a motion to dismiss or by way of an affirmative defense. Voluntary
appearance shall be deemed a waiver of this defense. The assertion,
however, of affirmative defenses shall not be construed as an estoppel or as a
waiver of such defense.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; IT WOULD BE ABSURD TO HOLD THAT DEFENDANT
UNEQUIVOCALLY AND INTENTIONALLY SUBMITTED ITSELF TO THE
JURISDICTION OF THE COURT BY SEEKING OTHER RELIEFS TO
WHICH IT MIGHT BE ENTITLED WHEN THE ONLY RELIEF THAT IT CAN
PROPERLY ASK FROM THE TRIAL COURT IS THE DISMISSAL OF THE
COMPLAINT. — Finally, we turn to the effect of petitioner's prayer for "other
reliefs" in its Motion to Dismiss. In De Midgely v. Fernandos, it was held that,
in a motion to dismiss, the allegation of grounds other than lack of jurisdiction
over the person of the defendant, including a prayer "for such other reliefs as"
may be deemed "appropriate and proper" amounted to voluntary appearance.
This, however, must be deemed superseded by the ruling in La Naval that
estoppel by jurisdiction must be unequivocal and intentional. It would be
absurd to hold that petitioner unequivocally and intentionally submitted itself to
the jurisdiction of the court by seeking other reliefs to which it might be entitled
when the only relief that it can properly ask from the trial court is the dismissal
of the complaint against it.

DECISION
MENDOZA, J : p

In December 1994, Millennium Industrial Commercial Corporation,


petitioner herein, executed a Deed of Real Estate Mortgage 1 over its real
property covered by TCT No. 24069 in favor of respondent Jackson Tan. The
mortgage was executed to secure payment of petitioner's indebtedness to
respondent in the amount of P2 million, without monthly interest, but which, at
maturity date on June 10, 1995, was payable in the amount of P4 million. LLjur

On November 9, 1995, respondent filed against petitioner a complaint


for foreclosure of mortgage in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 6, Cebu City.
On November 21, 1995, summons and a copy of the complaint were served
upon petitioner trough a certain Lynverd Cinches, described in the sheriff's
return, dated November 23, 1995, as "a Draftsman, a person of sufficient age
and (discretion) working therein, he is the highest ranking officer or Officer-in-
Charge of defendant's Corporation, to receive processes of the Court." 2
Petitioner moved for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that
there was no valid service of summons upon it, as a result of which the trial
court did not acquire jurisdiction over it. Petitioner invoked Rule 14, §13 of the
1964 Rules of Court and contended that service on Lynverd Cinches, as
alleged in the sheriff's return, was invalid as he is not one of the authorized
persons on whom summons may be served and that, in fact, he was not even
its employee. 3
Petitioner also sought the dismissal of the complaint against it on the
ground that it had satisfied its obligation to respondent when the latter opted
to be paid in shares of stock under the following stipulation in the mortgage
contract:LibLex

That in the remote possibility of failure on the part of the mortgagor to


pay the mortgage obligation and interest in cash, the MORTGAGEE at
his option may demand that payment be made in the form of shares of
stock of Millennium Industrial Commercial Corporation totaling at least
4,000,000 shares. 4
Petitioner further prayed for "other reliefs just and equitable under the
premises." 5
On December 15, 1995, the trial court denied petitioner's Motion to
Dismiss. Its order stated:
This refers to the Motion to Dismiss, dated December 4, 1995, by
defendant anchored on the following grounds:
1. That the Court had not acquired jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant corporation because summons was served upon a person
who is not known to or an employee of the defendant corporation.
2. That the obligation sought to be collected was already paid and
extinguished.
By interposing the second ground, the defendant has availed of an
affirmative defense on the basis of which the Court has to hear and
receive evidence. For the Court to validly decide the said plea of the
defendant it necessarily had to acquire jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant. Thus, defendant is considered to have then abandoned its
first ground and is deemed to have voluntarily submitted itself to
the jurisdiction of the Court. It is a legal truism that voluntary appearance
cures the defect of the summons, if any. The defendant's filing of the
motion to dismiss by pleading therein the second ground amounts to
voluntary appearance and it indeed cured the defect. LibLex

Wherefore, Motion to Dismiss is hereby denied for lack of merit. 6

Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but its notion was denied by the
trial court in its order, dated January 16, 1996, for failure of petitioner to raise
any new ground. Petitioner then filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of
Appeals, assailing the aforesaid orders of the trial court.
On September 18, 1997, the Court of Appeals dismissed the
petition. 7 The appellate court ruled that although petitioner denied Lynverd
Cinches' authority to receive summons for it, its actual receipt of the summons
could be inferred from its filing of a motion to dismiss, hence, the purpose for
issuing summons had been substantially achieved. Moreover, it was held, by
including the affirmative defense that it had already paid its obligation and
praying for other reliefs in its Motion to Dismiss, petitioner voluntarily
submitted to the jurisdiction of the court. 8
Hence, this petition for review. Petitioner raises the following issues:
I. WHETHER OR NOT SERVICE OF SUMMONS UPON A MERE
DRAFTSMAN WHO IS NOT OF THOSE UPON WHOM
SUMMONS MAY BE SERVED IN CASE OF A DEFENDANT
CORPORATION AS MENTIONED IN THE RULES IS VALID.
II. WHETHER OR NOT THE INCLUSION OF ANOTHER AFFIRMATIVE
RELIEF IN A MOTION TO DISMISS ABANDONS AND WAIVES
THE GROUND OF LACK OF JURISDICTION OVER THE
PERSON OF THE DEFENDANT THEREIN ALSO PLEADED
UNDER PREVAILING LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE. cda

III. WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS A LEGAL GROUND TO GRANT


PETITIONER'S MOTION TO DISMISS THE COMPLAINT
BELOW.
First. Petitioner objects to the application of the doctrine of substantial
compliance in the service of summons for two reasons: (1) the enumeration of
persons on whom service of summons on a corporation may be effected in
Rule 14, §13, is exclusive and mandatory; and (2) even assuming that
substantial compliance is based on an unfounded speculation because there
is nothing in the records to show that Lynverd Cinches actually turned over
the summons to any of the officers of the corporation. 9 Petitioner contends
that it was able to file a motion to dismiss only because of its timely discovery
of the foreclosure suit against it when it checked the records of the case in the
trial court.
The contention is meritorious.
Summons is the means by which the defendant in a case is notified of
the existence of an action against him and, thereby, the court is conferred
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. 10 If the defendant is a
corporation, Rule 14, §13 requires that service of summons be made upon the
corporation's president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent, or any of its
directors. 11 The rationale of the rule is that service must be made on a
representative so integrated with the corporation sued as to make it
a priori presumable that he will realize his responsibilities and know what he
should do with any legal papers received by him. 12
Petitioner contends that the enumeration in Rule 14, §13 is exclusive
and that service of summons upon one who is not enumerated therein is
invalid. This is the general rule. 13 However, it is settled that substantial
compliance by serving summons on persons other than those mentioned in
the above rule may be justified. In G & G Trading Corporation v. Court of
Appeals, 14 we ruled that although the service of summons was made on a
person not enumerated in Rule 14, §13, if it appears that the summons and
complaint were in fact received by the corporation, there is substantial
compliance with the rule as its purpose has been attained. LLpr

In Porac Trucking, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 15 this Court enumerated


the requisites for the application of the doctrine of substantial compliance, to
wit: (a) there must be actual receipt of the summons by the person
served, i.e., transferring possession of the copy of the summons from the
Sheriff to the person served; (b) the person served must sign a receipt or the
sheriff's return; and (c) there must be actual receipt of the summons by the
corporation through the person on whom the summons was actually
served. 16 The third requisite is the most important for it is through such
receipt that the purpose of the rule on service of summons is attained.
In this case, there is no dispute that the first and second requisites were
fulfilled. With respect to the third, the appellate court held that petitioner's filing
of a motion to dismiss the foreclosure suit is proof that it received the copy of
the summons and the complaint. There is, however, no direct proof of this or
that Lynverd Cinches actually turned over the summons to any of the officers
of the corporation. In contrast, in our cases applying the substantial
compliance rule, 17 there was direct evidence, such as the admission of the
corporation's officers, of receipt of summons by the corporation through the
person upon whom it was actually served. The question is whether it is
allowable to merely infer actual receipt of summons by the corporation
through the person on whom summons was served. We hold that it can not be
allowed. For there to be substantial compliance, actual receipt of summons by
the corporation through the person served must be shown. Where a
corporation only learns of the service of summons and the filing of the
complaint against it through some person or means other than the person
actually served, the service of summons becomes meaningless. This is
particularly true in the present case where there is serious doubt if Lynverd
Cinches, the person on whom service of summons was effected, is in fact an
employee of the corporation. Except for the sheriff's return, there is nothing to
show that Lynverd Cinches was really a draftsman employed by the
corporation. cdasia

Respondent casts doubt on petitioner's claim that it came to know about


the summons and the complaint against it only after it learned that there was
a pending foreclosure of its mortgage. There is nothing improbable about this
claim. Petitioner was in default in the payment of its loan. It had received
demand letters from respondent. Thus, it had reason to believe that a
foreclosure suit would be filed against it. The appellate court was, therefore, in
error in giving weight to respondent's claims. Receipt by petitioner of the
summons and complaint cannot be inferred from the fact that it filed a Motion
to Dismiss the case. cdll

Second. We now turn to the issue of jurisdiction by estoppel. Both the


trial court and the Court of Appeals held that by raising the affirmative defense
of payment and by praying for other reliefs in its Motion to Dismiss, petitioner
in effect waived its objection to the trial court's jurisdiction over it. We think this
is error.
Our decision in La Naval Drug Corporation v. Court of
Appeals 18 settled this question. The rule prior to La Naval was that if a
defendant, in a motion to dismiss, alleges grounds for dismissing the action
other than lack of jurisdiction, he would be deemed to have submitted himself
to the jurisdiction of the court. 19This rule no longer holds true. Noting that the
doctrine of estoppel by jurisdiction must be unequivocal and intentional, we
ruled in La Naval: cdll

Jurisdiction over the person must be seasonably raised, i.e., that it is


pleaded in a motion to dismiss or by way of an affirmative defense.
Voluntary appearance shall be deemed a waiver of this defense. The
assertion, however, of affirmative defenses shall not be construed as an
estoppel or as a waiver of such defense. 20
Third. Finally, we turn to the effect of petitioner's prayer for "other
reliefs" in its Motion to Dismiss. In De Midgely v. Fernandos, 21 it was held
that, in a motion to dismiss, the allegation of grounds other than lack of
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, including a prayer "for such
other reliefs as" may be deemed "appropriate and proper" amounted to
voluntary appearance. This, however, must be deemed superseded by the
ruling in La Naval that estoppel by jurisdiction must be unequivocal and
intentional. It would be absurd to hold that petitioner unequivocally and
intentionally submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the court by seeking other
reliefs to which it might be entitled when the only relief that it can properly ask
from the trial court is the dismissal of the complaint against it.cdtai

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and


the complaint against petitioner is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
(Millennium Industrial Commercial Corp. v. Tan, G.R. No. 131724, [February
|||

28, 2000], 383 PHIL 468-479)

3. EB Villarosa vs. Benito, G.R. No. 136426

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 136426. August 6, 1999.]

E.B. VILLAROSA & PARTNER CO., LTD., petitioner, vs. HON.


HERMINIO I. BENITO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, RTC,
Branch 132, Makati City and IMPERIAL DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION, respondent.

Capuyan Quimpo & Salazar for petitioner.


Ermitaño Sangco Manzano & Associates for private respondent.

SYNOPSIS

In this instant petition, E.B. Villarosa and Partner Co., Ltd. contended that the trial
court did not acquire jurisdiction over its person because the summons intended
for it was improperly served on its Branch Manager.
The Court agreed with petitioner. Designation of persons or officers who are
authorized to accept summons for a domestic corporation or partnership is now
limited and more clearly specified in the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The rule
must be strictly observed, service must be made to one named in the statute.
Petitioner's filing of a motion to dismiss, precisely objecting to the jurisdiction of
the court over the person of the defendant, can by no means be deemed a
submission to the jurisdiction of the court.

SYLLABUS

1. REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; SUMMONS; "AGENTS" NO LONGER


AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE SUMMONS FOR CORPORATION. — Earlier
cases have uphold service of summons upon a construction project manager; a
corporation's assistant manager; ordinary clerk of a corporation; private secretary
of corporate executives; retained counsel; officials who had charge or control of
the operations of the corporation, like the assistant general manager; or the
corporations Chief Finance and Administrative Officer. In these cases, these
persons were considered as "agent" within the contemplation of the old rule.
Notably, under the new Rules, service of summons upon an agent of the
corporation is no longer authorized.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; DESIGNATION OF PERSONS OR OFFICERS AUTHORIZED TO
RECEIVE SUMMONS FOR DOMESTIC CORPORATIONS, LIMITED. — The
designation of persons or officers who are authorized to accept summons for a
domestic corporation or partnership is now limited and more clearly specified in
Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The rule now states
"general manager" instead of only "manager"; "corporate secretary" instead of
"secretary"; and "treasurer" instead of "cashier." The phrase "agent, or any of its
directors" is conspicuously deleted in the new rule, . . . It should be noted that
even prior to the effectivity of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, strict compliance
with the rules has been enjoined. (Delta Motor Sales Corporation vs. Mangosing,
70 SCRA 598 [1976])
3. ID.. ID.; ID.; JURISDICTION NOT ACQUIRED WHERE SERVICE OF
SUMMONS WAS MADE ON BRANCH MANAGER. — Accordingly, we rule that
the service of summons upon the branch manager of petitioner at its branch
office at Cagayan de Oro, instead of upon the general manager at its principal
office at Davao City is improper. Consequently, the trial court did not acquire
jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; INEFFECTIVE SERVICE OF SUMMONS; FILING OF MOTION
TO DISMISS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE VOLUNTARY APPEARANCE. — The
fact that defendant filed a belated motion to dismiss did not operate to confer
jurisdiction upon its person. There is no question that the defendant's voluntary
appearance in the action is equivalent to service of summons. Before, the rule
was that a party may challenge the jurisdiction of the court over his person by
making a special appearance through a motion to dismiss and if in the same
motion, the movant raised other grounds or invoked affirmative relief which
necessarily involves the exercise of the jurisdiction of the court, the party is
deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. This doctrine
has been abandoned in the case of La Naval Drug Corporation vs. Court of
Appeals, et al.; which became the basis of the adoption of a new provision in the
former Section 23, which is now Section 20 of Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules, Section
20 now provides that "the inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other grounds aside
from lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant shall not be deemed a
voluntary appearance." The emplacement of this rule clearly underscores the
purpose to enforce strict enforcement of the rules on summons. Accordingly, the
filing of a motion to dismiss, whether or not belatedly filed by the defendant, his
authorized agent or attorney, precisely objecting to the jurisdiction of the court
over the person of the defendant can by no means be deemed a submission to
the jurisdiction of the court. There being no proper service of summons, the trial
court cannot take cognizance of a case for lack of jurisdiction over the person of
the defendant. Any proceeding undertaken by the trial court will consequently be
null and void.

DECISION

GONZAGA-REYES, J : p

Before this Court is a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the
issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction
seeking to annul and set aside the Orders dated August 5, 1998 and November
20, 1998 of the public respondent Judge Herminio I. Benito of the Regional Trial
Court of Makati City, Branch 132 and praying that the public respondent court be
ordered to desist from further proceeding with Civil Case No. 98-824. LLjur

Petitioner E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd. is a limited partnership with principal
office address at 102 Juan Luna St., Davao City and with branch offices at 2492
Bay View Drive, Tambo, Parañaque, Metro Manila and Kolambog, Lapasan,
Cagayan de Oro City. Petitioner and private respondent executed a Deed of Sale
with Development Agreement wherein the former agreed to develop certain
parcels of land located at Barrio Carmen, Cagayan de Oro belonging to the latter
into a housing subdivision for the construction of low cost housing units. They
further agreed that in case of litigation regarding any dispute arising therefrom,
the venue shall be in the proper courts of Makati.
On April 3, 1998, private respondent, as plaintiff, filed a Complaint for Breach of
Contract and Damages against petitioner, as defendant, before the Regional
Trial Court of Makati allegedly for failure of the latter to comply with its
contractual obligation in that, other than a few unfinished low cost houses, there
were no substantial developments therein. 1
Summons, together with the complaint, were served upon the defendant, through
its Branch Manager Engr. Wendell Sabulbero at the stated address at Kolambog,
Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City 2 but the Sheriff's Return of Service 3 stated that
the summons was duly served "upon defendant E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd.
thru its Branch Manager Engr. WENDELL SABULBERO on May 5, 1998 at their
new office Villa Gonzalo, Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro City, and evidenced by the
signature on the face of the original copy of the summons."
On June 9, 1998, defendant filed a Special Appearance with Motion to
Dismiss 4 alleging that on May 6, 1998, "summons intended for defendant" was
served upon Engr. Wendell Sabulbero, an employee of defendant at its branch
office at Cagayan de Oro City. Defendant prayed for the dismissal of the
complaint on the ground of improper service of summons and for lack of
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. Defendant contends that the trial
court did not acquire jurisdiction over its person since the summons was
improperly served upon its employee in its branch office at Cagayan de Oro City
who is not one of those persons named in Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules
of Civil Procedure upon whom service of summons may be made.
Meanwhile, on June 10, 1998, plaintiff filed a Motion to Declare Defendant in
Default 5 alleging that defendant has failed to file an Answer despite its receipt
allegedly on May 5, 1998 of the summons and the complaint, as shown in the
Sheriff's Return.
On June 22, 1998, plaintiff filed an Opposition to Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss 6 alleging that the records show that defendant, through its branch
manager, Engr. Wendell Sabulbero actually received the summons and the
complaint on May 8, 1998 as evidenced by the signature appearing on the copy
of the summons and not on May 5, 1998 as stated in the Sheriff's Return nor on
May 6, 1998 as stated in the motion to dismiss; that defendant has transferred its
office from Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro to its new office address at
Villa Gonzalo, Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro; and that the purpose of the rule is to
bring home to the corporation notice of the filing of the action.
On August 5, 1998, the trial court issued an Order 7 denying defendant's Motion
to Dismiss as well as plaintiff's Motion to Declare Defendant in Default.
Defendant was given ten (10) days within which to file a responsive pleading.
The trial court stated that since the summons and copy of the complaint were in
fact received by the corporation through its branch manager Wendell Sabulbero,
there was substantial compliance with the rule on service of summons and
consequently, it validly acquired jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. cdasia

On August 19, 1998, defendant, by Special Appearance, filed a Motion for


Reconsideration 8 alleging that Section 11, Rule 14 of the new Rules did not
liberalize but, on the contrary, restricted the service of summons on persons
enumerated therein; and that the new provision is very specific and clear in that
the word "manager" was changed to "general manager", "secretary" to "corporate
secretary", and excluding therefrom agent and director.
On August 27, 1998, plaintiff filed an Opposition to defendant's Motion for
Reconsideration 9 alleging that defendant's branch manager "did bring home" to
the defendant-corporation the notice of the filing of the action and by virtue of
which a motion to dismiss was filed; and that it was one (1) month after receipt of
the summons and the complaint that defendant chose to file a motion to dismiss.

On September 4, 1998, defendant, by Special Appearance, filed a


Reply 10 contending that the changes in the new rules are substantial and not just
general semantics.
Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration was denied in the Order dated
November 20, 1998. 11
Hence, the present petition alleging that respondent court gravely abused its
discretion tantamount to lack or in excess of jurisdiction in denying petitioner's
motions to dismiss and for reconsideration, despite the fact that the trial court did
not acquire jurisdiction over the person of petitioner because the summons
intended for it was improperly served. Petitioner invokes Section 11 of Rule 14 of
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
Private respondent filed its Comment to the petition citing the cases of Kanlaon
Construction Enterprises Co., Inc. vs. NLRC 12 wherein it was held that service
upon a construction project manager is valid and in Gesulgon vs. NLRC 13 which
held that a corporation is bound by the service of summons upon its assistant
manager.
The only issue for resolution is whether or not the trial court acquired jurisdiction
over the person of petitioner upon service of summons on its Branch Manager.
When the complaint was filed by Petitioner on April 3, 1998, the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure was already in force. 14
Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that:
"When the defendant is a corporation, partnership or association
organized under the laws of the Philippines with a juridical personality,
service may be made on the president, managing partner, general
manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house counsel."
(underscoring supplied).
This provision revised the former Section 13, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court which
provided that:
"SECTION 13. Service upon private domestic corporation or partnership.
— If the defendant is a corporation organized under the laws of the
Philippines or a partnership duly registered, service may be made on the
president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent, or any of its directors."
(underscoring supplied).
Petitioner contends that the enumeration of persons to whom summons may be
served is "restricted, limited and exclusive" following the rule on statutory
construction expressio unios est exclusio alterius and argues that if the Rules of
Court Revision Committee intended to liberalize the rule on service of summons,
it could have easily done so by clear and concise language.
We agree with petitioner.
Earlier cases have uphold service of summons upon a construction project
manager 15 ; a corporation's assistant manager 16 ; ordinary clerk of a
corporation 17 ; private secretary of corporate executives 18 ; retained counsel 19 ;
officials who had charge or control of the operations of the corporation, like the
assistant general manager 20; or the corporation's Chief Finance and
Administrative Officer 21 . In these cases, these persons were considered as
"agent" within the contemplation of the old rule. 22Notably, under the new Rules,
service of summons upon an agent of the corporation is no longer authorized. cdrep

The cases cited by private respondent are therefore not in point.


In the Kanlaon case, this Court ruled that under the NLRC Rules of Procedure,
summons on the respondent shall be served personally or by registered mail on
the party himself; if the party is represented by counsel or any other authorized
representative or agent, summons shall be served on such person. In said case,
summons was served on one Engr. Estacio who managed and supervised the
construction project in Iligan City (although the principal address of the
corporation is in Quezon City) and supervised the work of the employees. It was
held that as manager, he had sufficient responsibility and discretion to realize the
importance of the legal papers served on him and to relay the same to the
president or other responsible officer of petitioner such that summons for
petitioner was validly served on him as agent and authorized representative of
petitioner. Also in the Gesulgon case cited by private respondent, the summons
was received by the clerk in the office of the Assistant Manager (at principal
office address) and under Section 13 of Rule 14 (old rule), summons may be
made upon the clerk who is regarded as agent within the contemplation of the
rule.
The designation of persons or officers who are authorized to accept summons for
a domestic corporation or partnership is now limited and more clearly specified in
Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The rule now states
"general manager" instead of only "manager"; "corporate secretary" instead of
"secretary"; and "treasurer" instead of "cashier." The phrase "agent, or any of its
directors" is conspicuously deleted in the new rule.
The particular revision under Section 11 of Rule 14 was explained by retired
Supreme Court Justice Florenz Regalado, thus: 23
". . . the then Sec. 13 of this Rule allowed service upon a defendant
corporation to 'be made on the president, manager, secretary, cashier,
agent or any of its directors.'The aforesaid terms were obviously
ambiguous and susceptible of broad and sometimes illogical
interpretations, especially the word 'agent' of the corporation. The Filoil
case, involving the litigation lawyer of the corporation who precisely
appeared to challenge the validity of service of summons but whose very
appearance for that purpose was seized upon to validate the defective
service is an illustration of the need for this revised section with limited
scope and specific terminology. Thus the absurd result in the Filoil case
necessitated the amendment permitting service only on the in-house
counsel of the corporation who is in effect an employee of the
corporation, as distinguished from an independent practitioner."
(underscoring supplied)
Retired Justice Oscar Herrera, who is also a consultant of the Rules of Court
Revision Committee, stated that "(T)he rule must be strictly observed. Service
must be made to one named in (the) statute . . .". 24
It should be noted that even prior to the effectivity of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, strict compliance with the rules has been enjoined. In the case
of Delta Motor Sales Corporation vs. Mangosing, 25 the Court held:
"A strict compliance with the mode of service is necessary to confer
jurisdiction of the court over a corporation. The officer upon whom
service is made must be one who is named in the statute; otherwise the
service is insufficient. . . . .
The purpose is to render it reasonably certain that the corporation will
receive prompt and proper notice in an action against it or to insure that
the summons be served on a representative so integrated with the
corporation that such person will know what to do with the legal papers
served on him. In other words, 'to bring home to the corporation notice of
the filing of the action.' . . . .
The liberal construction rule cannot be invoked and utilized as a
substitute for the plain legal requirements as to the manner in which
summons should be served on a domestic corporation. . . . ."
(underscoring supplied).
Service of summons upon persons other than those mentioned in Section 13 of
Rule 14 (old rule) has been held as improper. 26 Even under the old rule, service
upon a general manager of a firm's branch office has been held as improper as
summons should have been served at the firm's principal office. In First
Integrated Bonding & Ins. Co., Inc. vs. Dizon, 27 it was held that the service of
summons on the general manager of the insurance firm's Cebu branch was
improper; default order could have been obviated had the summons been served
at the firm's principal office.
And in the case of Solar Team Entertainment, Inc. vs. Hon. Helen Bautista
Ricafort, et al. 28 the Court succinctly clarified that, for the guidance of the Bench
and Bar, "strictest" compliance with Section 11 of Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure (on Priorities in modes of service and filing) is mandated and the
Court cannot rule otherwise, lest we allow circumvention of the innovation by the
1997 Rules in order to obviate delay in the administration of justice. cdtai

Accordingly, we rule that the service of summons upon the branch manager of
petitioner at its branch office at Cagayan de Oro, instead of upon the general
manager at its principal office at Davao City is improper. Consequently, the trial
court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner.
The fact that defendant filed a belated motion to dismiss did not operate to confer
jurisdiction upon its person. There is no question that the defendant's voluntary
appearance in the action is equivalent to service of summons. 29 Before, the rule
was that a party may challenge the jurisdiction of the court over his person by
making a special appearance through a motion to dismiss and if in the same
motion, the movant raised other grounds or invoked affirmative relief which
necessarily involves the exercise of the jurisdiction of the court, the party is
deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. 30 This doctrine
has been abandoned in the case of La Naval Drug Corporation vs. Court of
Appeals, et al., 31 which became the basis of the adoption of a new provision in
the former Section 23, which is now Section 20 of Rule 14 of the 1997
Rules. Section 20 now provides that "the inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other
grounds aside from lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant shall not
be deemed a voluntary appearance." The emplacement of this rule clearly
underscores the purpose to enforce strict enforcement of the rules on summons.
Accordingly, the filing of a motion to dismiss, whether or not belatedly filed by the
defendant, his authorized agent or attorney, precisely objecting to the jurisdiction
of the court over the person of the defendant can by no means be deemed a
submission to the jurisdiction of the court. There being no proper service of
summons, the trial court cannot take cognizance of a case for lack of jurisdiction
over the person of the defendant. Any proceeding undertaken by the trial court
will consequently be null and void. 32

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Orders of the


public respondent trial court are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The public
respondent Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 132 is declared without
jurisdiction to take cognizance of Civil Case No. 98-824, and all its orders and
issuances in connection therewith are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.
(E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd. v. Benito, G.R. No. 136426, [August 6,
|||

1999], 370 PHIL 921-932)

4. Santos vs. PNOC Exp, G.R. No. 170943

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 170943. September 23, 2008.]

PEDRO T. SANTOS, JR., petitioner, vs. PNOC EXPLORATION


CORPORATION, respondent.

DECISION

CORONA, J : p

This is a petition for review 1 of the September 22, 2005 decision 2 and
December 29, 2005 resolution 3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
82482. HDCTAc

On December 23, 2002, respondent PNOC Exploration Corporation


filed a complaint for a sum of money against petitioner Pedro T. Santos, Jr. in
the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 167. The complaint, docketed
as Civil Case No. 69262, sought to collect the amount of P698,502.10
representing petitioner's unpaid balance of the car loan 4 advanced to him by
respondent when he was still a member of its board of directors.
Personal service of summons to petitioner failed because he could not
be located in his last known address despite earnest efforts to do so.
Subsequently, on respondent's motion, the trial court allowed service of
summons by publication.
Respondent caused the publication of the summons in Remate, a
newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines, on May 20, 2003.
Thereafter, respondent submitted the affidavit of publication of the advertising
manager of Remate 5 and an affidavit of service of respondent's employee 6 to
the effect that he sent a copy of the summons by registered mail to petitioner's
last known address.
When petitioner failed to file his answer within the prescribed period,
respondent moved that the case be set for the reception of its evidence ex
parte. The trial court granted the motion in an order dated September 11,
2003.
Respondent proceeded with the ex parte presentation and formal offer
of its evidence. Thereafter, the case was deemed submitted for decision on
October 15, 2003.
On October 28, 2003, petitioner filed an "Omnibus Motion for
Reconsideration and to Admit Attached Answer". He sought reconsideration
of the September 11, 2003 order, alleging that the affidavit of service
submitted by respondent failed to comply with Section 19, Rule 14 of the
Rules of Court as it was not executed by the clerk of court. He also claimed
that he was denied due process as he was not notified of the September 11,
2003 order. He prayed that respondent's evidence ex parte be stricken off the
records and that his answer be admitted.
Respondent naturally opposed the motion. It insisted that it complied
with the rules on service by publication. Moreover, pursuant to the September
11, 2003 order, petitioner was already deemed in default for failure to file an
answer within the prescribed period.
In an order dated February 6, 2004, the trial court denied petitioner's
motion for reconsideration of the September 11, 2003 order. It held that the
rules did not require the affidavit of complementary service by registered mail
to be executed by the clerk of court. It also ruled that due process was
observed as a copy of the September 11, 2003 order was actually mailed to
petitioner at his last known address. It also denied the motion to admit
petitioner's answer because the same was filed way beyond the reglementary
period.
Aggrieved, petitioner assailed the September 11, 2003 and February 6,
2004 orders of the trial court in the Court of Appeals via a petition for
certiorari. He contended that the orders were issued with grave abuse of
discretion. He imputed the following errors to the trial court: taking cognizance
of the case despite lack of jurisdiction due to improper service of summons;
failing to furnish him with copies of its orders and processes, particularly the
September 11, 2003 order, and upholding technicality over equity and justice.
During the pendency of the petition in the Court of Appeals, the trial
court rendered its decision in Civil Case No. 69262. It ordered petitioner to
pay P698,502.10 plus legal interest and costs of suit. 7
Meanwhile, on September 22, 2005, the Court of Appeals rendered its
decision 8 sustaining the September 11, 2003 and February 6, 2004 orders of
the trial court and dismissing the petition. It denied reconsideration. 9 Thus,
this petition.
Petitioner essentially reiterates the grounds he raised in the Court of
Appeals, namely, lack of jurisdiction over his person due to improper service
of summons, failure of the trial court to furnish him with copies of its orders
and processes including the September 11, 2003 order and preference for
technicality rather than justice and equity. In particular, he claims that the rule
on service by publication under Section 14, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court
applies only to actions in rem, not actions in personam like a complaint for a
sum of money. He also contends that the affidavit of service of a copy of the
summons should have been prepared by the clerk of court, not respondent's
messenger.
The petition lacks merit.
PROPRIETY OF
SERVICE BY PUBLICATION
Section 14, Rule 14 (on Summons) of the Rules of Court provides:
SEC. 14. Service upon defendant whose identity or
whereabouts are unknown. — In any action where the defendant is
designated as an unknown owner, or the like, or whenever his
whereabouts are unknown and cannot be ascertained by diligent
inquiry, service may, by leave of court, be effected upon him by
publication in a newspaper of general circulation and in such
places and for such times as the court may order. (emphasis
supplied) STcEIC

Since petitioner could not be personally served with summons despite


diligent efforts to locate his whereabouts, respondent sought and was granted
leave of court to effect service of summons upon him by publication in a
newspaper of general circulation. Thus, petitioner was properly served with
summons by publication.
Petitioner invokes the distinction between an action in rem and an
action in personam and claims that substituted service may be availed of only
in an actionin rem. Petitioner is wrong. The in rem/in personam distinction was
significant under the old rule because it was silent as to the kind of action to
which the rule was applicable. 10 Because of this silence, the Court limited the
application of the old rule to in rem actions only. 11
This has been changed. The present rule expressly states that it
applies "[i]n any action where the defendant is designated as an unknown
owner, or the like, or whenever his whereabouts are unknown and cannot be
ascertained by diligent inquiry." Thus, it now applies to any action, whether in
personam, in rem or quasi in rem. 12
Regarding the matter of the affidavit of service, the relevant portion of
Section 19, 13 Rule 14 of the Rules of Court simply speaks of the following:
. . . an affidavit showing the deposit of a copy of the summons
and order for publication in the post office, postage prepaid, directed to
the defendant by registered mail to his last known address.
Service of summons by publication is proved by the affidavit of the
printer, his foreman or principal clerk, or of the editor, business or advertising
manager of the newspaper which published the summons. The service of
summons by publication is complemented by service of summons
by registered mail to the defendant's last known address. This complementary
service is evidenced by an affidavit "showing the deposit of a copy of the
summons and order for publication in the post office, postage prepaid,
directed to the defendant by registered mail to his last known address."
The rules, however, do not require that the affidavit of complementary
service be executed by the clerk of court. While the trial court ordinarily does
the mailing of copies of its orders and processes, the duty to make the
complementary service by registered mail is imposed on the party who resorts
to service by publication.
Moreover, even assuming that the service of summons was
defective, the trial court acquired jurisdiction over the person of
petitioner by his own voluntary appearance in the action against him. In
this connection, Section 20, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court states:
SEC. 20. Voluntary appearance. — The defendant's voluntary
appearance in the action shall be equivalent to service of
summons. The inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other grounds aside
from lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant shall not be
deemed a voluntary appearance. (emphasis supplied)
Petitioner voluntarily appeared in the action when he filed the "Omnibus
Motion for Reconsideration and to Admit Attached Answer". 14 This was
equivalent to service of summons and vested the trial court with jurisdiction
over the person of petitioner.
ENTITLEMENT TO
NOTICE OF PROCEEDINGS
The trial court allowed respondent to present its evidence ex parte on
account of petitioner's failure to file his answer within the prescribed period.
Petitioner assails this action on the part of the trial court as well as the said
court's failure to furnish him with copies of orders and processes issued in the
course of the proceedings.
The effects of a defendant's failure to file an answer within the time
allowed therefor are governed by Sections 3 and 4, Rule 9 (on Effect of
Failure to Plead) of the Rules of Court:
SEC. 3. Default; declaration of. — If the defending party fails
to answer within the time allowed therefor, the court shall, upon
motion of the claiming party with notice to the defending party,
and proof of such failure, declare the defending party in
default. Thereupon, the court shall proceed to render judgment
granting the claimant such relief as his pleading may warrant, unless
the court in its discretion requires the claimant to submit evidence.
Such reception of evidence may be delegated to the clerk of court.
SEC. 4. Effect of order of default. — A party in default shall be
entitled to notice of subsequent proceedings but not to take part in
the trial. (emphasis supplied)
If the defendant fails to file his answer on time, he may be declared in
default upon motion of the plaintiff with notice to the said defendant. In case
he is declared in default, the court shall proceed to render judgment granting
the plaintiff such relief as his pleading may warrant, unless the court in its
discretion requires the plaintiff to submit evidence. The defaulting defendant
may not take part in the trial but shall be entitled to notice of subsequent
proceedings.
In this case, even petitioner himself does not dispute that he failed to
file his answer on time. That was in fact why he had to file an "Omnibus
Motion for Reconsideration and to Admit Attached Answer". But respondent
moved only for the ex parte presentation of evidence, not for the declaration
of petitioner in default. In its February 6, 2004 order, the trial court stated: ADSTCa

The disputed Order of September 11, 2003 allowing the


presentation of evidence ex-parte precisely ordered that "despite and
notwithstanding service of summons by publication, no answer has
been filed with the Court within the required period and/or
forthcoming.["] Effectively[,] that was a finding that the defendant
[that is, herein petitioner] was in default for failure to file an
answer or any responsive pleading within the period fixed in the
publication as precisely the defendant [could not] be found and for
which reason, service of summons by publication was ordered. It is
simply illogical to notify the defendant of the Order of September 11,
2003 simply on account of the reality that he was no longer residing
and/or found on his last known address and his whereabouts unknown
— thus the publication of the summons. In other words, it was
reasonable to expect that the defendant will not receive any notice or
order in his last known address. Hence, [it was] impractical to send any
notice or order to him. Nonetheless, the record[s] will bear out that
a copy of the order of September 11, 2003 was mailed to the
defendant at his last known address but it was not claimed.
(emphasis supplied)
As is readily apparent, the September 11, 2003 order did not limit itself
to permitting respondent to present its evidence ex parte but in effect issued
an order of default. But the trial court could not validly do that as an order of
default can be made only upon motion of the claiming party. 15 Since no
motion to declare petitioner in default was filed, no default order should have
been issued.
To pursue the matter to its logical conclusion, if a party declared in
default is entitled to notice of subsequent proceedings, all the more should a
party who has not been declared in default be entitled to such notice. But
what happens if the residence or whereabouts of the defending party is not
known or he cannot be located? In such a case, there is obviously no way
notice can be sent to him and the notice requirement cannot apply to him. The
law does not require that the impossible be done. 16 Nemo tenetur ad
impossibile. The law obliges no one to perform an impossibility. 17 Laws and
rules must be interpreted in a way that they are in accordance with logic,
common sense, reason and practicality. 18
Hence, even if petitioner was not validly declared in default, he could
not reasonably demand that copies of orders and processes be furnished him.
Be that as it may, a copy of the September 11, 2003 order was nonetheless
still mailed to petitioner at his last known address but it was unclaimed.
CORRECTNESS OF
NON-ADMISSION OF ANSWER
Petitioner failed to file his answer within the required period. Indeed, he
would not have moved for the admission of his answer had he filed it on time.
Considering that the answer was belatedly filed, the trial court did not abuse
its discretion in denying its admission.
Petitioner's plea for equity must fail in the face of the clear and express
language of the rules of procedure and of the September 11, 2003 order
regarding the period for filing the answer. Equity is available only in the
absence of law, not as its replacement. 19 Equity may be applied only in the
absence of rules of procedure, never in contravention thereof.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.
Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
(Santos, Jr. v. PNOC Exploration Corp. , G.R. No. 170943, [September 23,
|||

2008], 587 PHIL 713-724)

5. Mason vs. CA, G.R. No. 144662

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 144662. October 13, 2003.]

SPOUSES EFREN MASON and DIGNA MASON, petitioners, vs.


THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and COLUMBUS
PHILIPPINES BUS CORPORATION, respondents.

Gramata & Sarte Law Firm for petitioners.


Romulo, Mabanta, Buenaventura, Sayoc & Delos Angeles for respondent.

SYNOPSIS

Petitioners entered into a lease agreement with private respondent. As private


respondent failed to comply with its obligation under the contract, petitioners
initiated a complaint for rescission of contract with damages before the Regional
Trial Court of Pasay City. Summons was thereafter served upon private
respondent through its filing clerk. However, private respondent failed to file its
answer. Hence, the trial court, on motion of the petitioners, declared private
respondent in default. Thereafter, the trial court rendered judgment by default in
favor of petitioners. Private respondent moved to lift the order of default, but it
was denied by the trial court. Its subsequent motion to lift the writ of execution
was likewise denied. On appeal, the Court of Appeals set aside the decision of
the trial court, ruling that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over private
respondent because it was not properly served with summons. Hence, this
petition for review where petitioners maintained that there was a valid service of
summons conformably with the substantial compliance rule. ACcEHI

The Supreme Court ruled that service of summons upon private respondent
through its filing clerk cannot be considered valid. Consequently, all the
subsequent proceedings held before it, including the order of default was null and
void because the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over private respondent.
According to the Court, notice to enable the other party to be heard and to
present evidence is not a mere technicality or a trivial matter in any
administrative or judicial proceedings. The service of summons is a vital and
indispensable ingredient of due process. The Court will deprive private
respondent of its right to present its defense in this multi-million peso suit, if it
disregards compliance with the rules on service of summons. Thus, the petition
was denied. AaSTIH

SYLLABUS

1. REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; SUMMONS; SERVICE OF


SUMMONS; VITAL AND INDISPENSABLE INGREDIENT OF DUE PROCESS.
— Neither can herein petitioners invoke our ruling in Millennium to support their
position for said case is not on all fours with the instant case. We must stress
that Millennium was decided when the 1964 Rules of Court were still in force and
effect, unlike the instant case which falls under the new rule. Hence, the cases
cited by petitioners where we upheld the doctrine of substantial compliance must
be deemed overturned by Villarosa, which is the later case. At this juncture, it is
worth emphasizing that notice to enable the other party to be heard and to
present evidence is not a mere technicality or a trivial matter in any
administrative or judicial proceedings. The service of summons is a vital and
indispensable ingredient of due process. We will deprive private respondent of its
right to present its defense in this multi-million peso suit, if we disregard
compliance with the rules on service of summons. SCaTAc

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; SERVICE OF SUMMONS UPON CORPORATION THROUGH


ITS FILING CLERK NOT VALID; EFFECT. — Since we have ruled that service
of summons upon private respondent through its filing clerk cannot be
considered valid, it necessarily follows therefore that the Regional Trial Court of
Pasay City did not acquire jurisdiction over private respondent. Consequently, all
the subsequent proceedings held before it, including the order of default, are null
and void. As private respondent points out, the second issue has become moot
and academic. CTHaSD

DECISION

QUISUMBING, J : p
This petition for review assails the decision, 1 dated May 12, 2000, of the Court of
Appeals and its resolution 2 dated August 25, 2000 in CA-G.R. SP No. 54649
denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration. The decision set aside the
decision 3 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 112, in Civil Case
No. 98-1567 and directed said court to conduct further proceedings on the
complaint for rescission of lease contract.
The antecedent facts of the case, as found by the Court of Appeals, are as
follows:
Petitioners spouses Efren and Digna Mason owned two parcels of land located
along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue in Pasay City. On March 30, 1993,
petitioners and private respondent Columbus Philippines Bus Corporation
(hereafter Columbus) entered into a lease contract, under which Columbus
undertook to construct a building worth ten million pesos (P10,000,000) at the
end of the third year of the lease. Because private respondent failed to comply
with this stipulation, the petitioners on November 13, 1998, filed a complaint for
rescission of contract with damages against private respondent before the
Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, docketed as Civil Case No. 98-1567.
Summons was served upon private respondent through a certain Ayreen
Rejalde. While the receiving copy of the summons described Rejalde as a
secretary of Columbus, the sheriff's return described Rejalde as a secretary to
the corporate president, duly authorized to receive legal processes.
Private respondent failed to file its answer or other responsive pleading, hence
petitioners filed a motion to declare private respondent in default. The motion
was granted and petitioners were allowed to present evidence ex parte.
Thereafter, the case was submitted for decision.
On April 22, 1999, the trial court rendered its decision whose dispositive portion
reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in
favor of the plaintiffs and against defendant declaring the contract of
lease rescinded, terminated and cancelled, and ordering defendant:
1. To pay plaintiffs the amount of P10 Million which is the value of the
building which defendant failed to construct on the leased properties, as
and by way [of] actual damages;
2. To pay plaintiffs the amount of P63,862.57 beginning November 1998
until defendant and the sub-lessee vacate the leased property by way of
reasonable compensation for the use of the properties;
3. and all other persons and entities claiming rights under it, to surrender
possession to plaintiffs and to vacate the leased premises;
4. to pay plaintiffs the amount of P300,000.00 as and by way of moral
damages;
5. to pay plaintiffs the amount of P100,000.00 as and by way of
exemplary damages;
6. to pay plaintiffs attorney's fees in the amount of P100,000.00; and
7. to pay the cost of suit.
SO ORDERED. 4
That decision became final on May 12, 1999. The following day, private
respondent filed a motion to lift order of default, which was opposed by
petitioners. The trial court ordered the parties to submit their respective
memoranda. However, without waiting for the same, the trial court on May 26,
1999, denied the motion to lift order of default, thus:
It appearing that the decision rendered by this Court on April 27, 1999
became final and executory on May 12, 1999, defendant's Motion to Lift
Order of Default is hereby DENIED. Concomitant thereto, plaintiffs'
Motion for Execution is hereby GRANTED.
The Order of this Court on May 21, 1999 allowing the parties to file their
respective memoranda within ten (10) days from May 21, 1999 is hereby
revoked and set aside, since the incidents can be resolved based on the
records.
WHEREFORE, let a writ of execution issue to enforce and implement
the final and executory decision rendered by this Court on April 7, 1999.
SO ORDERED. 5
Private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied.
Undaunted, private respondent filed a manifestation and motion to lift the writ of
execution. It suffered the same fate as the motion for reconsideration for being
dilatory. The branch sheriff was directed to proceed with the enforcement of the
decision.
Private respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals, which ruled in its favor,
thus:
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED; the decision in Civil Case No.
98-1567 and all the proceedings therein, including the order of default
and writ of execution, are SET ASIDE. The court a quo is ORDERED to
require petitioner to file its answer and thereafter to conduct further
appropriate proceedings with reasonable dispatch.
SO ORDERED. 6
The Court of Appeals held that the trial court erred when it denied private
respondent's motion to lift order of default. The appellate court pointed out that
private respondent was not properly served with summons, thus it cannot be
faulted if it failed to file an Answer. Section 11, 7 Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure requires that service of summons upon domestic private juridical
entity shall be made through its president, managing partner, general manager,
corporate secretary, treasurer or in-house counsel. Since service upon private
respondent was made through a certain Ayreen Rejalde, a mere filing clerk in
private respondent's office, as evidenced by the latter's employment record, such
service cannot be considered valid. Consequently, the subsequent proceedings,
including the order of default, judgment by default and its execution, were also
invalid because the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over private respondent.
Besides judgments by default are not favored, especially so when there is
a prima facie showing that the defaulting party has a meritorious defense, which
in this case was grounded on the contract of lease sued upon, said the Court of
Appeals.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but to no avail. Hence, this petition
for review averring that the Court of Appeals erred in:
I. . . . HOLDING THAT THERE WAS NO VALID SERVICE OF
SUMMONS UPON PRIVATE RESPONDENT COLUMBUS
PHILIPPINES BUS CORPORATION
II. . . . NOT HOLDING THAT THERE WAS VALID SERVICE OF
SUMMONS CONFORMABLY WITH THE SUBSTANTIAL
COMPLIANCE RULE.

III. . . . HOLDING THAT WITH THE ADOPTION OF SECTION 11,


RULE 14 OF THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE,
THE SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE RULE NO LONGER
APPLIES.
IV. . . . NOT HOLDING THAT JURISDICTION WAS ACQUIRED
OVER PRIVATE RESPONDENT COLUMBUS
PHILIPPINES BUS CORPORATION AND THAT ITS
MOTION TO LIFT ORDER OF DEFAULT LACKS MERIT. 8
The issues in this case may be succinctly stated as follows:
a. Whether there was valid service of summons on private
respondent for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction, and
b. Whether private respondent's motion to lift order of default was
in order.
On the first issue, petitioners contend that while Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure clearly specifies the persons authorized to receive
summons on behalf of a private juridical entity, said provision did not abandon or
render inapplicable the substantial compliance rule. Petitioners cite Millennium
Industrial Commercial Corporation v. Tan, 9 and maintain that this Court, by
referring to E.B Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd. v. Judge Benito, 10 effectively ruled
that said provision is the statement of the general rule on service of summons
upon corporation and the substantial compliance rule is the exception. Petitioners
claim that this Court, in an array of cases, upheld the substantial compliance rule
when it allowed the validity of the service of summons on the corporation's
employee other than those mentioned in the Rule where said summons and
complaint were in fact seasonably received by the corporation from said
employee. Petitioners insist that technicality must not defeat speedy justice.
Petitioners stress that even though the summons was received by a mere filing
clerk in private respondent's corporation, there was substantial compliance with
Section 11, Rule 14 because the summons actually reached private respondent.
This can be gleaned from private respondent's motion to lift order of default
where private respondent did not question the validity of the service of summons
but explained in paragraph three thereof that its failure to answer the complaint
was due to its impression that the case would not be pursued by petitioners
because the corporation already made payments to them. 11
From said averment, according to petitioners, private respondent in effect
admitted that it received the summons. Notwithstanding this, private respondent
did not file its answer to the complaint, said the petitioners. This is tantamount to
negligence which the court cannot tolerate, petitioners conclude. There being
valid service of summons, the Regional Trial Court acquired jurisdiction over
private respondent, according to petitioners.
Petitioners further contend that the Court of Appeals' reliance on E.B Villarosa &
Partner Co., Ltd. v. Judge Benito, 12 in denying their motion for reconsideration
was misplaced, because the factual milieu in said case was different from that in
the instant case. In Villarosa, according to them, there was no showing of actual
receipt by the defendant corporation of the summons while in this case, private
respondent actually received the summons.
Private respondent counters that nowhere in the Millennium case did this Court
expressly state or remotely imply that we have not abandoned the doctrine of
substantial compliance. Private respondent claims that petitioners misquoted the
portion of the Millennium decision where this Court cited the Villarosa case, to
make it appear that the Villarosa ruling, which provides an interpretation of
Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, states the general rule
on the service of summons upon corporations where the substantial compliance
rule is the exception. Private respondent avers that what this Court discussed in
the Millennium case was the rule on service of summons under the old Rules of
Court prior to the promulgation and effectivity of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure. The Millennium case held that as a general rule, service upon one
who is not enumerated in Section 13, 13 Rule 14 of the then Rules of Court is
invalid, according to private respondent. An exception is when the summons is
actually received by the corporation, which means that there was substantial
compliance with the rule. Private respondent stresses that since the exception
referred to the old rule, it cannot be made to apply to the new rule, which clearly
specifies and limits the persons authorized to receive the summons in behalf of
the corporation.
Neither can petitioners rely on Millennium to justify their theory, adds private
respondent, because at the time the complaint in this case was filed with the trial
court, the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure were already in effect. The case law
applicable in the instant case, contends private respondent, is Villarosa which
squarely provides for the proper interpretation of the new rule on the service of
summons upon domestic corporation, thus:
The designation of persons or officers who are authorized to accept
summons for a domestic corporation or partnership is now limited and
more clearly specified in Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure. The rule now states "general manager" instead of only
"manager"; "corporate secretary" instead of "secretary"; and "treasurer"
instead of "cashier." The phrase "agent, or any of its directors" is
conspicuously deleted in the new rule. 14
According to private respondent, service through Ayreen Rejalde, a mere filing
clerk of private respondent and not one of those enumerated above, is invalid.
We find private respondent's submission on this issue meritorious.
The question of whether the substantial compliance rule is still applicable under
Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure has been settled
in Villarosawhich applies squarely to the instant case. In the said case,
petitioner E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co. Ltd. (hereafter Villarosa) with principal
office address at 102 Juan Luna St., Davao City and with branches at 2492 Bay
View Drive, Tambo, Parañaque, Metro Manila and Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan
de Oro City, entered into a sale with development agreement with private
respondent Imperial Development Corporation. As Villarosa failed to comply with
its contractual obligation, private respondent initiated a suit for breach of contract
and damages at the Regional Trial Court of Makati. Summons, together with the
complaint, was served upon Villarosa through its branch manager at Kolambog,
Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City. Villarosa filed a Special Appearance with Motion
to Dismiss on the ground of improper service of summons and lack of jurisdiction.
The trial court denied the motion and ruled that there was substantial compliance
with the rule, thus, it acquired jurisdiction over Villarosa. The latter questioned the
denial before us in its petition for certiorari. We decided in Villarosa's favor and
declared the trial court without jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case. We
held that there was no valid service of summons on Villarosa as service was
made through a person not included in the enumeration in Section 11, Rule 14 of
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which revised the Section 13, Rule 14 of the
1964 Rules of Court. We discarded the trial court's basis for denying the motion
to dismiss, namely, private respondent's substantial compliance with the rule on
service of summons, and fully agreed with petitioner's assertions that the
enumeration under the new rule is restricted, limited and exclusive, following the
rule in statutory construction that expressio unios est exclusio alterius. Had the
Rules of Court Revision Committee intended to liberalize the rule on service of
summons, we said, it could have easily done so by clear and concise language.
Absent a manifest intent to liberalize the rule, we stressed strict compliance with
Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
Neither can herein petitioners invoke our ruling in Millennium to support their
position for said case is not on all fours with the instant case. We must stress
thatMillennium was decided when the 1964 Rules of Court were still in force and
effect, unlike the instant case which falls under the new rule. Hence, the
cases 15 cited by petitioners where we upheld the doctrine of substantial
compliance must be deemed overturned by Villarosa, which is the later case.
At this juncture, it is worth emphasizing that notice to enable the other party to be
heard and to present evidence is not a mere technicality or a trivial matter in any
administrative or judicial proceedings. The service of summons is a vital and
indispensable ingredient of due process. 16 We will deprive private respondent of
its right to present its defense in this multi-million peso suit, if we disregard
compliance with the rules on service of summons.
On the second issue,petitioners claim that private respondent's motion to lift
order of default was not in order for it was filed late, contrary to the provision
in sub-paragraph (b), Section 3, 17 Rule 9 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure,
which requires filing of the motion after notice but before judgment. Also, the
motion was (a) not under oath; (b) did not show the fraud, accident, mistake or
excusable neglect that caused private respondent's failure to answer; and (c) did
not show private respondent's meritorious defense.
Private respondent, in turn, argues that since service upon it was invalid, the trial
court did not acquire jurisdiction over it. Hence, all the subsequent proceedings in
the trial court are null and void, including the order of default. This renders the
second issue now moot and academic.
We find merit in private respondent's submissions. Since we have ruled that
service of summons upon private respondent through its filing clerk cannot be
considered valid, it necessarily follows therefore that the Regional Trial Court of
Pasay City did not acquire jurisdiction over private respondent. 18 Consequently,
all the subsequent proceedings held before it, including the order of default, are
null and void. 19 As private respondent points out, the second issue has become
moot and academic.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The questioned decision, as well


as the resolution, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 54649 are
AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners. TcSHaD

SO ORDERED.
(Spouses Mason v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 144662, [October 13, 2003],
|||

459 PHIL 689-700)

6. Jose vs. Boyon, G.R. No. 147369

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 147369. October 23, 2003.]

Spouses PATRICK JOSE and RAFAELA JOSE, petitioners, vs.


Spouses HELEN BOYON and ROMEO BOYON, respondents.

SYNOPSIS

In the complaint for specific performance filed by petitioners Spouses Patrick and
Rafaela Jose against respondents Spouses Helen and Romeo Boyon, the
summons was effected through substituted service and by publication because
the process server alleged that he cannot serve it personally. Consequently,
respondents failed to file their answer, were declared in default by the trial court,
and after the ex parte presentation of evidence, a resolution in favor of petitioners
was issued. Upon learning of the resolution, respondent Helen Boyon, who was
then residing in the United States, filed an Ad Cautelam motion questioning the
validity of service of summons. However, the motion was denied by the trial court
on the ground that by respondents' default they loss their standing in court. Thus,
she filed a petition forcertiorari with the Court of Appeals which ruled that the trial
court never acquired jurisdiction over respondents because of the invalid service
of summons. Hence, this petition.
In denying the petition, the Court ruled that the Return of Summons showed that
no effort was actually exerted and no positive step was taken by either the
process server or petitioners to locate and serve the summons personally on
respondents. Certainly, without specifying the details of the attendant
circumstances or of the efforts exerted to serve the summons, a general
statement that such efforts were made will not suffice for purposes of complying
with the rules of substituted service of summons.
It must also be noted that extraterritorial service of summons or summons by
publication applies only when the action is in rem or quasi in rem. In the instant
case, what was filed before the trial court was an action for specific performance
directed against respondents. While the suit incidentally involved a piece of land,
the ownership or possession thereof was not put in issue, since they did not
assert any interest or right over it. Moreover, this Court has consistently declared
that an action for specific performance is an action in personam. Having failed to
serve the summons on respondents properly, the RTC did not validly acquire
jurisdiction over their persons. Consequently, due process demands that all the
proceedings conducted subsequent thereto should be deemed null and void.

SYLLABUS

1. REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; SUMMONS; SERVICE THEREOF


MAY BE DONE BY PERSONAL OR SUBSTITUTION SERVICE WHERE THE
ACTION IS IN PERSONAM AND THE DEFENDANT IS IN THE COUNTRY. —
In general, trial court acquire jurisdiction over the person of the defendant by the
service of summons. Where the action is in personam and the defendant is in the
Philippines, such service may be done by personal or substituted service,
following the procedures laid out in Sections 6 and 7 of Rule 14 of the Revised
Rules of Court.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; SUBSTITUTED SERVICE; CAN BE RESORTED TO ONLY IF
THE PERSONAL SERVICE CANNOT BE MADE PROMPTLY. — [P]ersonal
service of summons is prefer to substituted service. Only if the former cannot be
made promptly can the process server resort to the latter. Moreover, the proof of
service of summons must (a) indicate the impossibility of service of summons
within a reasonable time (b) specify the efforts exerted to locate the defendant;
and (c) state that the summons was served upon a person of sufficient age and
discretion who is in residing in the address, or who i charge of the office or
regular place of business, of defendant. It is likewise required that the pertinent
facts proving these circumstances be stated in the proof of service or in the
officer's return. The failure to comply faithfully, strictly and fully with all the
foregoing requirements of substituted service renders the service of summons
ineffective.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; GENERAL STATEMENT THAT EFFORTS WHO MADE WILL
NOT SUFFICE FOR PURPOSES COMPLYING WITH THE RULES THEREOF.
— In the instant case, it appears that the process server hastily and capriciously
resorted to substituted service of summons without actually exerting any genuine
effort to locate respondents. A review of the records reveals that the only effort
he exerted was to go to No. 32 Ariza Drive, Camella Homes, Alabang on July 22,
1998, to try to serve the summons personally on respondents. While the Return
of Summons states that efforts to do so were ineffectual and unavailing because
Helen Boyon was in the United States and Romeo Boyon was in Bicol, it did not
mention exactly what efforts - if any - were undertaken to find respondents.
Furthermore, it did not specify where or from whom the process server obtained
the information on their whereabouts. . . . The Return of Summons shows that no
effort was actually exerted and no positive step taken by either the process
server or petitioners to locate and serve the summons personally on
respondents. At best, the Return merely states the alleged whereabouts of
respondents without indicating that such information was verified from a person
who had knowledge thereof. Certainly, without specifying the details of the
attendant circumstances or of the efforts exerted to serve the summons, a
general statement that such efforts were made will not suffice for purposes of
complying with the rules of substituted service of summons.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PERTINENT FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES ATTENDANT
TO THE SERVICE OF SUMMONS MUST BE STATED IN THE PROOF OF
SERVICE OR OFFICER'S RETURN. — The necessity of stating in the process
server's Return or Proof of Service the material facts and circumstances
sustaining the validity of substituted service was explained by this Court
in Hamilton v. Levy, from which we quote: ". . . The pertinent facts and
circumstances attendant to the service of summons must be stated in the proof
of service or Officer's Return; otherwise, any substituted service made in lieu of
personal service cannot be upheld. This is necessary because substituted
service is in derogation of the usual method of service. It is a method
extraordinary in character and hence may be used only as prescribed and in the
circumstances authorized by statute. Here, no such explanation was made.
Failure to faithfully, strictly, and fully comply with the requirements of substituted
service renders said service ineffective."
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; FAILURE TO COMPLY THEREWITH WOULD
INVALIDATE ALL SUBSEQUENT PROCEEDINGS. — The requirements of
substituted service of summons and the effect of noncompliance with the
subsequent proceedings therefor were discussed in Madrigal v. Court of
Appeals as follows: "In a long line of cases, this Court held that the impossibility
of personal service justifying availment of substituted service should be explained
in the proof of service why efforts exerted towards personal service failed. The
pertinent facts and circumstances attendant to the service of summons must be
stated in the proof of service or Officer's Return; otherwise, the substituted
service cannot be upheld It bears stressing that since service of summons,
especially, for actions in personam, is essential for the acquisition o jurisdiction
over the person of the defendant, the resort to substituted service must be duly
justified. Failure to do so would invalidate all subsequent proceedings on
jurisdictional grounds."
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; EXTRA-TERRITORIAL SERVICE OF SUMMONS OR
SUMMONS BY PUBLICATION APPLIES ONLY WHET THE ACTION IS IN REM
OR QUASI IN REM. — It must be noted that extraterritorial service of summons
or summons by publication applies only when the action is in rem or quasi in rem.
The first is an action against the thing itself instead of against the defendant's
person; in the latter, an individual is named as defendant, and the purpose is to
subject that individual's interest in a piece of property to the obligation of loan
burdening it.
7. ID.; ID.; ID.; SERVICE BY PUBLICATION; NOT PROPER IN AN ACTION IN
PERSONAM; CASE AT BAR. — In the instant case, what was filed before the
trial court was an action for specific performance directed against respondents.
While the suit incidentally involved a piece of land, the ownership or possession
thereof was not put in issue, since they did not assert any interest or right over it.
Moreover, this Court has consistently declared that an action for specific
performance is an action in personam. Having failed to serve the summons on
respondents properly, the RTC did not validly acquire jurisdiction over their
persons. Consequently, due process: demands that all the proceedings
conducted subsequent thereto should be deemed null and void.

DECISION

PANGANIBAN, J : p

In general, substituted service can be availed of only after a clear showing that
personal service of summons was not legally possible. Also, service by
publication is applicable in actions in rem and quasi in rem, but not in personal
suits such as the present one which is for specific performance.
The Case
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari 1 under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court, assailing the February 26, 2001 Decision 2 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-GR SP No. 60888. The dispositive portion of the CA
Decision is worded as follows:
"WHEREFORE, on the basis of what prescinds, the assailed resolution
and orders issued by the public respondent are perforce ANNULLED
and SET ASIDE. This pronouncement is nonetheless rendered without
prejudice to the refiling of the same case by the private respondents with
the court a quo." 3
The Facts
The factual antecedents of the case are narrated by the CA in this wise:
"On July 2, 1998, [petitioners] Patrick and Rafaela Jose lodged a
complaint for specific performance against [respondents] Helen and
Romeo Boyon to compel them to facilitate the transfer of ownership of a
parcel of land subject of a controverted sale. The action was lodged
before the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa which is presided by
herein public respondent Judge N.C. Perello. On July 21, 1998,
respondent judge, through the acting Branch Clerk of Court of Branch
276 of the RTC of Muntinlupa City, issued summons to the
[respondents]. As per return of the summons, substituted service was
resorted to by the process server allegedly because efforts to serve the
summons personally to the [respondents] failed. On December 9, 1998,
[petitioners] filed before the trial court an Ex-parte Motion for Leave of
Court to Effect Summons by Publication. On December 28, 1998, public
respondent issued an Order granting the Ex-parte Motion for Leave of
Court to Effect Summons by Publication. On July 30, 1999, the
respondent judge, sans a written motion, issued an Order declaring
herein [respondent] in default for failure to file their respective answers.
As a consequence of the declaration of default, [petitioners] were
allowed to submit their evidence ex-parte. Ultimately, on December 7,
1999, respondent judge issued the assailed resolution, the dispositive
portion of which reads as follows:

'. . . Therefore, Spouses Helen and Romeo Boyon are directed to


execute the necessary document with the effect of withdrawing
the Affidavit of Loss they filed and annotated with the Register of
Deeds of Makati City so that title 'to the parcel of land subject of
the Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of the Plaintiffs be transferred
in their names. Thereafter the Register of Deeds of Makati City or
Muntinlupa City may cancel Transfer of Certificate of Title No.
149635 of the Defendants and issue another to Plaintiff under the
deed of sale, clean and free of any reported encumbrance.
'Defendants are also directed to pay Plaintiffs actual expenses in
the amount of P20,000 and attorney's fees of P20,000 including
costs of this suit.'
xxx xxx xxx
"On January 5, 2000, [respondent] Helen Boyon, who was then residing
in the United States of America, was surprised to learn from her sister
Elizabeth Boyon, of the resolution issued by the respondent court. On
January 18, 2000, [respondents] filed an Ad Cautelam motion
questioning, among others, the validity of the service of summons
effected by the court a quo. On March 17, 2000, the public respondent
issued an Order denying the said motion on the basis of the defaulted
[respondents'] supposed loss of standing in court. On March 29, 2000,
the [respondents] once again raised the issue of jurisdiction of the trial
court via a motion for reconsideration. On June 22, 2000, however, an
Order was issued by the public respondent denying the said motion. The
[petitioners] moved for the execution of the controverted judgment which
the respondent judge ultimately granted." 4
Thereafter, respondents filed before the CA a Petition for certiorari under Rule 65
of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, questioning the jurisdiction of the
regional trial court (RTC).
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
The CA held that the trial court had no authority to issue the questioned
Resolution and Orders. According to the appellate court, the RTC never acquired
jurisdiction over respondents because of the invalid service of summons upon
them. First, the sheriff failed to comply with the requirements of substituted
service of summons, because he did not specify in the Return of Summons the
prior efforts he had made to locate them and the impossibility of promptly serving
the summons upon them by personal service. Second, the subsequent summons
by publication was equally infirm, because the Complaint was a suit for specific
performance and therefore an action in personam. Consequently, the Resolution
and the Orders were null and void, since the RTC had never acquired jurisdiction
over respondents.
Hence, this Petition. 5
Issues
In their Memorandum, petitioners raise the following issues for our
consideration: ITADaE

"A. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in not holding that the
assailed Resolution dated December 7, 1999 was already final and
executory
"B. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in giving due course to the
Petition for Certiorari of private respondents despite the pendency of an
appeal earlier filed
"C. The Honorable Court erred in not holding that the Petition for
Certiorari was time barred
"D. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in holding that the
proceedings in the lower court are null and void due to invalid and
defective service of summons and the court did not acquire jurisdiction
over the person of the respondents." 6
In sum, the main issue revolves around the validity of the service of summons on
respondents.
The Court's Ruling
The Petition has no merit.
Main Issue:
Validity of the Service of Summons
Petitioners aver that the CA erred in ruling that the service of summons on
respondents was invalid. They submit that although the case filed before the trial
court was denominated as an action for specific performance, it was actually an
action quasi in rem, because it involved a piece of real property located in the
Philippines. They further argue that in actions quasi in rem involving ownership of
a parcel of land, it is sufficient that the trial court acquire jurisdiction over the res.
Thus, the summons by publication, which they effected subsequent to the
substituted service of summons, was allegedly sufficient.
On the other hand, respondents maintain that the proceedings in the trial court
were null and void because of the invalid and defective service of summons.
According to them, the Return of Summons issued by the process server of the
RTC failed to state that he had exerted earnest efforts to effect the service of
summons. He allegedly tried to serve it personally on them on July 22, 1998 at
No. 32 Ariza Drive, Camella Homes, Alabang. He, however, resorted to
substituted service on that same day, supposedly because he could not find
respondents in the above address. They further allege that the person to whom
he gave the summons was not even a resident of that address.
Respondents contend that when summons is served by substituted service, the
return must show that it was impossible to serve the summons personally, and
that efforts had been exerted toward that end. They add that noncompliance with
the rule on substituted service renders invalid all proceedings relative thereto.
As to the summons by publication subsequently effected by petitioners,
respondents argue that the case filed before the trial court was an action for
specific performance and, therefore, an action in personam. As such, the
summons by publication was insufficient to enable the trial court to acquire
jurisdiction over the persons of respondents.
Respondents conclude that even granting that the service of summons by
publication was permissible under the circumstances, it would still be defective
and invalid because of the failure of petitioners to observe the requirements of
law, like an Affidavit attesting that the latter deposited in the post office a copy of
the summons and of the order of publication, paid the postage, and sent the
documents by registered mail to the former's last known address.
We agree with respondents. In general, trial courts acquire jurisdiction over the
person of the defendant by the service of summons. Where the action is in
personamand the defendant is in the Philippines, such service may be done by
personal or substituted service, following the procedures laid out in Sections 6
and 7 of Rule 14 of the Revised Rules of Court, which read:
"Section 6. Service in person on defendant. — Whenever practicable,
the summons shall be served by handing a copy thereof to the
defendant in person, or, if he refuses to receive and sign for it, by
tendering it to him.
"Section 7. Substituted service. — If, for justifiable causes, the defendant
cannot be served within a reasonable time as provided in the preceding
section, service may be effected (a) by leaving copies of the summons at
the defendant's residence with some person of suitable age and
discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving the copies at
defendant's office or regular place of business with some competent
person in charge thereof."
As can be gleaned from the above-quoted Sections, personal service of
summons is preferred to substituted service. Only if the former cannot be made
promptly can the process server resort to the latter. Moreover, the proof of
service of summons must (a) indicate the impossibility of service of summons
within a reasonably time; (b) specify the efforts exerted to locate the defendant;
and (c) state that the summons was served upon a person of sufficient age and
discretion who is residing in the address, or who is in charge of the office or
regular place of business, of the defendant. 7 It is likewise required that the
pertinent facts proving these circumstances be stated in the proof of service or in
the officer's return. The failure to comply faithfully, strictly and fully with all the
foregoing requirements of substituted service renders the service of summons
ineffective. 8
Defective Personal Service of Summons
In the instant case, it appears that the process server hastily and capriciously
resorted to substituted service of summons without actually exerting any genuine
effort to locate respondents. A review of the records 9 reveals that the only effort
he exerted was to go to No. 32 Ariza Drive, Camella Homes, Alabang on July 22,
1998, to try to serve the summons personally on respondents. While the Return
of Summons states that efforts to do so were ineffectual and unavailing because
Helen Boyon was in the United States and Romeo Boyon was in Bicol, it did not
mention exactly what efforts — if any — were undertaken to find respondents.
Furthermore, it did not specify where or from whom the process server obtained
the information on their whereabouts. The pertinent portion of the Return of
Summons is reproduced as follows:
"That efforts to serve the said Summons personally upon defendants
Sps. Helen and Romeo Boyon were made but the same were ineffectual
and unavailing for the reason that defendant Helen Boyon is somewhere
in the United States of America and defendant Romeo Boyon is in Bicol
thus substituted service was made in accordance with Section 7, Rule
14, of the Revised Rules of Court." 10
The Return of Summons shows that no effort was actually exerted and no
positive step taken by either the process server or petitioners to locate and serve
the summons personally on respondents. At best, the Return merely states the
alleged whereabouts of respondents without indicating that such information was
verified from a person who had knowledge thereof. Certainly, without specifying
the details of the attendant circumstances or of the efforts exerted to serve the
summons, a general statement that such efforts were made will not suffice for
purposes of complying with the rules of substituted service of summons.
The necessity of stating in the process server's Return or Proof of Service the
material facts and circumstances sustaining the validity of substituted service
was explained by this Court in Hamilton v. Levy, 11 from which we quote:

". . . The pertinent facts and circumstances attendant to the service of


summons must be stated in the proof of service or Officer's Return;
otherwise, any substituted service made in lieu of personal service
cannot be upheld. This is necessary because substituted service is in
derogation of the usual method of service. It is a method extraordinary in
character and hence may be used only as prescribed and in the
circumstances authorized by statute. Here, no such explanation was
made. Failure to faithfully, strictly, and fully comply with the requirements
of substituted service renders said service ineffective." 12
Moreover, the requirements of substituted service of summons and the effect of
noncompliance with the subsequent proceedings therefor were discussed
in Madrigal v. Court of Appeals 13 as follows:
"In a long line of cases, this Court held that the impossibility of personal
service justifying availment of substituted service should be explained in
the proof of service; why efforts exerted towards personal service failed.
The pertinent facts and circumstances attendant to the service of
summons must be stated in the proof of service or Officer's Return;
otherwise, the substituted service cannot be upheld. It bears stressing
that since service of summons, especially for actions in personam, is
essential for the acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant, the resort to a substituted service must be duly justified.
Failure to do so would invalidate all subsequent proceedings on
jurisdictional grounds." 14
Summons by Publication Improper
It must be noted that extraterritorial service of summons or summons by
publication applies only when the action is in rem or quasi in rem. The first is an
action against the thing itself instead of against the defendant's person; in the
latter, an individual is named as defendant, and the purpose is to subject that
individual's interest in a piece of property to the obligation or loan burdening it. 15
In the instant case, what was filed before the trial court was an action for specific
performance directed against respondents. While the suit incidentally involved a
piece of land, the ownership or possession thereof was not put in issue, since
they did not assert any interest or right over it. Moreover, this Court has
consistently declared that an action for specific performance is an action in
personam. 16
Having failed to serve the summons on respondents properly, the RTC did not
validly acquire jurisdiction over their persons. Consequently, due process
demands that all the proceedings conducted subsequent thereto should be
deemed null and void. 17
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision and Resolution
AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED
(Spouses Jose v. Spouses Boyon, G.R. No. 147369, [October 23, 2003], 460
|||

PHIL 354-366)

7. Manotoc vs. CA, G.R. No. 130974

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 130974. August 16, 2006.]

MA. IMELDA M. MANOTOC, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE


COURT OF APPEALS and AGAPITA TRAJANO on behalf of
the Estate of ARCHIMEDES TRAJANO, respondents.

DECISION
VELASCO, JR., J : p

The court's jurisdiction over a defendant is founded on a valid service of


summons. Without a valid service, the court cannot acquire jurisdiction over the
defendant, unless the defendant voluntarily submits to it. The defendant must be
properly apprised of a pending action against him and assured of the opportunity
to present his defenses to the suit. Proper service of summons is used to protect
one's right to due process.
The Case
This Petition for Review on Certiorari 1 under Rule 45 presents the core
issue whether there was a valid substituted service of summons on petitioner for
the trial court to acquire jurisdiction. Petitioner Manotoc claims the court a
quoshould have annulled the proceedings in the trial court for want of jurisdiction
due to irregular and ineffective service of summons.
The Facts
Petitioner is the defendant in Civil Case No. 63337 entitled Agapita
Trajano, pro se, and on behalf of the Estate of Archimedes Trajano v. Imelda
'Imee' R. Marcos-Manotoc 2 for Filing, Recognition and/or Enforcement of
Foreign Judgment. Respondent Trajano seeks the enforcement of a foreign
court's judgment rendered on May 1, 1991 by the United States District Court of
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America, in a case entitled Agapita Trajano, et
al. v. Imee Marcos-Manotoc a.k.a. Imee Marcos, Civil Case No. 86-0207 for
wrongful death of deceased Archimedes Trajano committed by military
intelligence officials of the Philippines allegedly under the command, direction,
authority, supervision, tolerance, sufferance and/or influence of defendant
Manotoc, pursuant to the provisions of Rule 39 of the then RevisedRules of
Court.
Based on paragraph two of the Complaint, the trial court issued a
Summons 3 on July 6, 1993 addressed to petitioner at Alexandra Condominium
Corporation or Alexandra Homes, E2 Room 104, at No. 29 Meralco Avenue,
Pasig City.
On July 15, 1993, the Summons and a copy of the Complaint were
allegedly served upon (Mr.) Macky de la Cruz, an alleged caretaker of petitioner
at the condominium unit mentioned earlier. 4 When petitioner failed to file her
Answer, the trial court declared her in default through an Order 5 dated October
13, 1993. AICTcE

On October 19, 1993, petitioner, by special appearance of counsel, filed a


Motion to Dismiss 6 on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the trial court over her
person due to an invalid substituted service of summons. The grounds to support
the motion were: (1) the address of defendant indicated in the Complaint
(Alexandra Homes) was not her dwelling, residence, or regular place of business
as provided in Section 8, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court; (2) the party (de la Cruz),
who was found in the unit, was neither a representative, employee, nor a resident
of the place; (3) the procedure prescribed by the Rules on personal and
substituted service of summons was ignored; (4) defendant was a resident of
Singapore; and (5) whatever judgment rendered in this case would be ineffective
and futile.
During the hearing on the Motion to Dismiss, petitioner Manotoc presented
Carlos Gonzales, who testified that he saw defendant Manotoc as a visitor in
Alexandra Homes only two times. He also identified the Certification of Renato A.
de Leon, which stated that Unit E-2104 was owned by Queens Park Realty, Inc.;
and at the time the Certification was issued, the unit was not being leased by
anyone. Petitioner also presented her Philippine passport and the
Disembarkation/Embarkation Card 7 issued by the Immigration Service of
Singapore to show that she was a resident of Singapore. She claimed that the
person referred to in plaintiff's Exhibits "A" to "EEEE" as "Mrs. Manotoc" may not
even be her, but the mother of Tommy Manotoc, and granting that she was the
one referred to in said exhibits, only 27 out of 109 entries referred to Mrs.
Manotoc. Hence, the infrequent number of times she allegedly entered Alexandra
Homes did not at all establish plaintiff's position that she was a resident of said
place.
On the other hand, Agapita Trajano, for plaintiffs' estate, presented Robert
Swift, lead counsel for plaintiffs in the Estate of Ferdinand Marcos Human Rights
Litigation, who testified that he participated in the deposition taking of Ferdinand
R. Marcos, Jr.; and he confirmed that Mr. Marcos, Jr. testified that petitioner's
residence was at the Alexandra Apartment, Greenhills. 8 In addition, the
entries 9 in the logbook of Alexandra Homes from August 4, 1992 to August 2,
1993, listing the name of petitioner Manotoc and the Sheriff's Return, 10 were
adduced in evidence.
On October 11, 1994, the trial court rejected Manotoc's Motion to Dismiss
on the strength of its findings that her residence, for purposes of the Complaint,
was Alexandra Homes, Unit E-2104, No. 29 Meralco Avenue, Pasig, Metro
Manila, based on the documentary evidence of respondent Trajano. The trial
court relied on the presumption that the sheriff's substituted service was made in
the regular performance of official duty, and such presumption stood in the
absence of proof to the contrary. 11
On December 21, 1994, the trial court discarded Manotoc's plea for
reconsideration for lack of merit. 12
Undaunted, Manotoc filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition 13 before
the Court of Appeals (CA) on January 20, 1995, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No.
36214 seeking the annulment of the October 11, 1994 and December 21, 1994
Orders of Judge Aurelio C. Trampe.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
On March 17, 1997, the CA rendered the assailed Decision, 14 dismissing
the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition. The court a quo adopted the findings of
the trial court that petitioner's residence was at Alexandra Homes, Unit E-2104,
at No. 29 Meralco Avenue, Pasig, Metro Manila, which was also the residence of
her husband, as shown by the testimony of Atty. Robert Swift and the Returns of
the registered mails sent to petitioner. It ruled that the
Disembarkation/Embarkation Card and the Certification dated September 17,
1993 issued by Renato A. De Leon, Assistant Property Administrator of
Alexandra Homes, were hearsay, and that said Certification did not refer to July
1993 — the month when the substituted service was effected.
In the same Decision, the CA also rejected petitioner's Philippine passport
as proof of her residency in Singapore as it merely showed the dates of her
departure from and arrival in the Philippines without presenting the boilerplate's
last two (2) inside pages where petitioner's residence was indicated. The CA
considered the withholding of those pages as suppression of evidence. Thus,
according to the CA, the trial court had acquired jurisdiction over petitioner as
there was a valid substituted service pursuant to Section 8, Rule 14 of the old
Revised Rules of Court. IaEACT

On April 2, 1997, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration 15 which was


denied by the CA in its Resolution 16 dated October 8, 1997.
Hence, petitioner has come before the Court for review on certiorari.
The Issues
Petitioner raises the following assignment of errors for the Court's
consideration:
I. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED [A] SERIOUS
ERROR IN RENDERING THE DECISION AND RESOLUTION IN
QUESTION (ANNEXES A AND B) IN DEFIANCE OF LAW AND
JURISPRUDENCE IN RULING THAT THE TRIAL COURT ACQUIRED
JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF THE PETITIONER
THROUGH A SUBSTITUTED SERVICE OF SUMMONS IN
ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 8, RULE 14 OF THE
REVISED RULES OF COURT.
II. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED [A] SERIOUS
ERROR WHEN IT RULED THAT THERE WAS A VALID SERVICE OF
SUMMONS ON AN ALLEGED CARETAKER OF PETITIONER'S
RESIDENCE IN COMPLETE DEFIANCE OF THE RULING
IN CASTILLO VS. CFI OF BULACAN, BR. IV, G.R. NO. L-55869,
FEBRUARY 20, 1984, 127 SCRA 632 WHICH DEFINES THE
PROPRIETY OF SUCH SERVICE UPON MERE OVERSEERS OF
PREMISES WHERE A PARTY SUPPOSEDLY RESIDES.
III. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED [A] SERIOUS
ERROR IN CONCLUDING THAT THE RESIDENCE OF THE
HUSBAND IS ALSO THE RESIDENCE OF HIS WIFE CONTRARY TO
THE RULING IN THE BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS VS. DE
COSTER, G.R. NO. 23181, MARCH 16, 1925, 47 PHIL. 594.
IV. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED [A] SERIOUS
ERROR IN FAILING TO APPLY THE RULE ON EXTRA-TERRITORIAL
SERVICE OF SUMMONS UNDER SECTIONS 17 AND 18, RULE 14 OF
THE REVISED RULES OF COURT. 17
The assigned errors bring to the fore the crux of the disagreement — the
validity of the substituted service of summons for the trial court to acquire
jurisdiction over petitioner.
The Court's Ruling
We GRANT the petition.
Acquisition of Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction over the defendant is acquired either upon a valid service of
summons or the defendant's voluntary appearance in court. When the defendant
does not voluntarily submit to the court's jurisdiction or when there is no valid
service of summons, "any judgment of the court which has no jurisdiction over
the person of the defendant is null and void." 18 In an action strictly in personam,
personal service on the defendant is the preferred mode of service, that is, by
handing a copy of the summons to the defendant in person. If defendant, for
excusable reasons, cannot be served with the summons within a reasonable
period, then substituted service can be resorted to. While substituted service of
summons is permitted, "it is extraordinary in character and in derogation of the
usual method of service." 19 Hence, it must faithfully and strictly comply with the
prescribed requirements and circumstances authorized by the rules. Indeed,
"compliance with the rules regarding the service of summons is as much
important as the issue of due process as of jurisdiction." 20

Requirements for Substituted Service


Section 8 of Rule 14 of the old Revised Rules of Court which applies to this
case provides:
SEC. 8. 21 Substituted service. — If the defendant cannot be
served within a reasonable time as provided in the preceding section
[personal service on defendant], service may be effected (a) by leaving
copies of the summons at the defendant's residence with some person
of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving the
copies at defendant's office or regular place of business with some
competent person in charge thereof. IDAESH

We can break down this section into the following requirements to effect a
valid substituted service:
(1) Impossibility of Prompt Personal Service
The party relying on substituted service or the sheriff must show that
defendant cannot be served promptly or there is impossibility of prompt
service. 22 Section 8, Rule 14 provides that the plaintiff or the sheriff is given a
"reasonable time" to serve the summons to the defendant in person, but no
specific time frame is mentioned. "Reasonable time" is defined as "so much time
as is necessary under the circumstances for a reasonably prudent and diligent
man to do, conveniently, what the contract or duty requires that should be done,
having a regard for the rights and possibility of loss, if any[,] to the other
party." 23 Under the Rules, the service of summons has no set period. However,
when the court, clerk of court, or the plaintiff asks the sheriff to make the return of
the summons and the latter submits the return of summons, then the validity of
the summons lapses. The plaintiff may then ask for an alias summons if the
service of summons has failed. 24 What then is a reasonable time for the sheriff
to effect a personal service in order to demonstrate impossibility of prompt
service? To the plaintiff, "reasonable time" means no more than seven (7) days
since an expeditious processing of a complaint is what a plaintiff wants. To the
sheriff, "reasonable time" means 15 to 30 days because at the end of the month,
it is a practice for the branch clerk of court to require the sheriff to submit a return
of the summons assigned to the sheriff for service. The Sheriff's Return provides
data to the Clerk of Court, which the clerk uses in the Monthly Report of Cases to
be submitted to the Office of the Court Administrator within the first ten (10) days
of the succeeding month. Thus, one month from the issuance of summons can
be considered "reasonable time" with regard to personal service on the
defendant.
Sheriffs are asked to discharge their duties on the service of summons
with due care, utmost diligence, and reasonable promptness and speed so as not
to prejudice the expeditious dispensation of justice. Thus, they are enjoined to try
their best efforts to accomplish personal service on defendant. On the other
hand, since the defendant is expected to try to avoid and evade service of
summons, the sheriff must be resourceful, persevering, canny, and diligent in
serving the process on the defendant. For substituted service of summons to be
available, there must be several attempts by the sheriff to personally serve the
summons within a reasonable period [of one month] which eventually resulted in
failure to prove impossibility of prompt service. "Several attempts" means at least
three (3) tries, preferably on at least two different dates. In addition, the sheriff
must cite why such efforts were unsuccessful. It is only then that impossibility of
service can be confirmed or accepted.
(2) Specific Details in the Return
The sheriff must describe in the Return of Summons the facts and
circumstances surrounding the attempted personal service. 25 The efforts made
to find the defendant and the reasons behind the failure must be clearly narrated
in detail in the Return. The date and time of the attempts on personal service, the
inquiries made to locate the defendant, the name/s of the occupants of the
alleged residence or house of defendant and all other acts done, though futile, to
serve the summons on defendant must be specified in the Return to justify
substituted service. The form on Sheriff's Return of Summons on Substituted
Service prescribed in the Handbook for Sheriffs published by the Philippine
Judicial Academy requires a narration of the efforts made to find the defendant
personally and the fact of failure.26 Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 5
dated November 9, 1989 requires that "impossibility of prompt service should be
shown by stating the efforts made to find the defendant personally and the failure
of such efforts," which should be made in the proof of service. TIEHSA

(3) A Person of Suitable Age and Discretion


If the substituted service will be effected at defendant's house or
residence, it should be left with a person of "suitable age and discretion then
residing therein."27 A person of suitable age and discretion is one who has
attained the age of full legal capacity (18 years old) and is considered to have
enough discernment to understand the importance of a summons. "Discretion" is
defined as "the ability to make decisions which represent a responsible choice
and for which an understanding of what is lawful, right or wise may be
presupposed". 28 Thus, to be of sufficient discretion, such person must know how
to read and understand English to comprehend the import of the summons, and
fully realize the need to deliver the summons and complaint to the defendant at
the earliest possible time for the person to take appropriate action. Thus, the
person must have the "relation of confidence" to the defendant, ensuring that the
latter would receive or at least be notified of the receipt of the summons. The
sheriff must therefore determine if the person found in the alleged dwelling or
residence of defendant is of legal age, what the recipient's relationship with the
defendant is, and whether said person comprehends the significance of the
receipt of the summons and his duty to immediately deliver it to the defendant or
at least notify the defendant of said receipt of summons. These matters must be
clearly and specifically described in the Return of Summons.
(4) A Competent Person in Charge
If the substituted service will be done at defendant's office or regular place
of business, then it should be served on a competent person in charge of the
place. Thus, the person on whom the substituted service will be made must be
the one managing the office or business of defendant, such as the president or
manager; and such individual must have sufficient knowledge to understand the
obligation of the defendant in the summons, its importance, and the prejudicial
effects arising from inaction on the summons. Again, these details must be
contained in the Return.
Invalid Substituted Service in the Case at Bar
Let us examine the full text of the Sheriff's Return, which reads:
THIS IS TO CERTIFY that on many occasions several
attempts were made to serve the summons with complaint and annexes
issued by this Honorable Court in the above entitled case, personally
upon the defendant IMELDA 'IMEE' MARCOS-MANOTOC located
at Alexandra Condominium Corporation [sic] or Alexandra Homes
E-2 Room 104 No. 29 Meralco [sic] Ave., Pasig, Metro-Manila at
reasonable hours of the day but to no avail for the reason that said
defendant is usually out of her place and/or residence or premises. That
on the 15th day of July, 1993, substituted service of summons was
resorted to in accordance with the Rules of Court in the Philippines
leaving copy of said summons with complaint and annexes thru [sic] (Mr)
Macky de la Cruz, caretaker of the said defendant, according to (Ms)
Lyn Jacinto, Receptionist and Telephone Operator of the said building, a
person of suitable age and discretion, living with the said defendant at
the given address who acknowledged the receipt thereof of said
processes but he refused to sign (emphases supplied).
WHEREFORE, said summons is hereby returned to this
Honorable Court of origin, duly served for its record and information.
Pasig, Metro-Manila July 15, 1993. 29
A meticulous scrutiny of the aforementioned Return readily reveals the
absence of material data on the serious efforts to serve the Summons on
petitioner Manotoc in person. There is no clear valid reason cited in the Return
why those efforts proved inadequate, to reach the conclusion that personal
service has become impossible or unattainable outside the generally couched
phrases of "on many occasions several attempts were made to serve the
summons . . . personally," "at reasonable hours during the day," and "to no avail
for the reason that the said defendant is usually out of her place and/or residence
or premises." Wanting in detailed information, the Return deviates from the ruling
— in Domagas v. Jensen 30 and other related cases 31 — that the pertinent facts
and circumstances on the efforts exerted to serve the summons personally must
be narrated in the Return. It cannot be determined how many times, on what
specific dates, and at what hours of the day the attempts were made. Given the
fact that the substituted service of summons may be assailed, as in the present
case, by a Motion to Dismiss, it is imperative that the pertinent facts and
circumstances surrounding the service of summons be described with more
particularity in the Return or Certificate of Service.
ESTCDA

Besides, apart from the allegation of petitioner's address in the Complaint,


it has not been shown that respondent Trajano or Sheriff Cañelas, who served
such summons, exerted extraordinary efforts to locate petitioner. Certainly, the
second paragraph of the Complaint only states that respondents were "informed,
and so [they] allege" about the address and whereabouts of petitioner. Before
resorting to substituted service, a plaintiff must demonstrate an effort in good
faith to locate the defendant through more direct means. 32 More so, in the case
in hand, when the alleged petitioner's residence or house is doubtful or has not
been clearly ascertained, it would have been better for personal service to have
been pursued persistently.

In the case Umandap v. Sabio, Jr., 33 it may be true that the Court held that
a Sheriff's Return, which states that "despite efforts exerted to serve said process
personally upon the defendant on several occasions the same proved futile,"
conforms to the requirements of valid substituted service. However, in view of the
numerous claims of irregularities in substituted service which have spawned the
filing of a great number of unnecessary special civil actions of certiorari and
appeals to higher courts, resulting in prolonged litigation and wasteful legal
expenses, the Court rules in the case at bar that the narration of the efforts made
to find the defendant and the fact of failure written in broad and imprecise words
will not suffice. The facts and circumstances should be stated with more
particularity and detail on the number of attempts made at personal service,
dates and times of the attempts, inquiries to locate defendant, names of
occupants of the alleged residence, and the reasons for failure should be
included in the Return to satisfactorily show the efforts undertaken. That such
efforts were made to personally serve summons on defendant, and those
resulted in failure, would prove impossibility of prompt personal service.
Moreover, to allow sheriffs to describe the facts and circumstances in
inexact terms would encourage routine performance of their precise duties
relating to substituted service — for it would be quite easy to shroud or conceal
carelessness or laxity in such broad terms. Lastly, considering that monies and
properties worth millions may be lost by a defendant because of an irregular or
void substituted service, it is but only fair that the Sheriff's Return should clearly
and convincingly show the impracticability or hopelessness of personal service.
Granting that such a general description be considered adequate, there is
still a serious nonconformity from the requirement that the summons must be left
with a "person of suitable age and discretion" residing in defendant's house or
residence. Thus, there are two (2) requirements under the Rules: (1) recipient
must be a person of suitable age and discretion; and (2) recipient must reside in
the house or residence of defendant. Both requirements were not met. In this
case, the Sheriff's Return lacks information as to residence, age, and discretion
of Mr. Macky de la Cruz, aside from the sheriff's general assertion that de la Cruz
is the "resident caretaker" of petitioner as pointed out by a certain Ms. Lyn
Jacinto, alleged receptionist and telephone operator of Alexandra Homes. It is
doubtful if Mr. de la Cruz is residing with petitioner Manotoc in the condominium
unit considering that a married woman of her stature in society would unlikely
hire a male caretaker to reside in her dwelling. With the petitioner's allegation that
Macky de la Cruz is not her employee, servant, or representative, it is necessary
to have additional information in the Return of Summons. Besides, Mr. Macky de
la Cruz's refusal to sign the Receipt for the summons is a strong indication that
he did not have the necessary "relation of confidence" with petitioner. To protect
petitioner's right to due process by being accorded proper notice of a case
against her, the substituted service of summons must be shown to clearly comply
with the rules.
It has been stated and restated that substituted service of summons must
faithfully and strictly comply with the prescribed requirements and in the
circumstances authorized by the rules. 34
Even American case law likewise stresses the principle of strict
compliance with statute or rule on substituted service, thus:
The procedure prescribed by a statute or rule for substituted or
constructive service must be strictly pursued. 35 There must be strict
compliance with the requirements of statutes authorizing substituted or
constructive service. 36
Where, by the local law, substituted or constructive service is in
certain situations authorized in the place of personal service when the
latter is inconvenient or impossible, a strict and literal compliance with
the provisions of the law must be shown in order to support the judgment
based on such substituted or constructive service. 37 Jurisdiction is not
to be assumed and exercised on the general ground that the subject
matter of the suit is within the power of the court. The inquiry must be as
to whether the requisites of the statute have been complied with, and
such compliance must appear on the record. 38 The fact that the
defendant had actual knowledge of attempted service does not render
the service effectual if in fact the process was not served in accordance
with the requirements of the statute. 39
Based on the above principles, respondent Trajano failed to demonstrate
that there was strict compliance with the requirements of the then Section 8, Rule
14 (now Section 7, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure). cSCTEH

Due to non-compliance with the prerequisites for valid substituted


service, the proceedings held before the trial court perforce must be
annulled.
The court a quo heavily relied on the presumption of regularity in the
performance of official duty. It reasons out that "[t]he certificate of service by the
proper officer is prima facie evidence of the facts set out herein, and to overcome
the presumption arising from said certificate, the evidence must be clear and
convincing." 40
The Court acknowledges that this ruling is still a valid doctrine. However,
for the presumption to apply, the Sheriff's Return must show that serious efforts
or attempts were exerted to personally serve the summons and that said efforts
failed. These facts must be specifically narrated in the Return. To reiterate, it
must clearly show that the substituted service must be made on a person of
suitable age and discretion living in the dwelling or residence of defendant.
Otherwise, the Return is flawed and the presumption cannot be availed of. As
previously explained, the Return of Sheriff Cañelas did not comply with the
stringent requirements of Rule 14, Section 8 on substituted service.
In the case of Venturanza v. Court of Appeals, 41 it was held that ". . .
the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions by the
sheriff is not applicable in this case where it is patent that the sheriff's
return is defective (emphasis supplied)." While the Sheriff's Return in the
Venturanza case had no statement on the effort or attempt to personally serve
the summons, the Return of Sheriff Cañelas in the case at bar merely described
the efforts or attempts in general terms lacking in details as required by the ruling
in the case of Domagas v. Jensen and other cases. It is as if Cañelas' Return did
not mention any effort to accomplish personal service. Thus, the substituted
service is void.
On the issue whether petitioner Manotoc is a resident of Alexandra
Homes, Unit E-2104, at No. 29 Meralco Avenue, Pasig City, our findings that the
substituted service is void has rendered the matter moot and academic. Even
assuming that Alexandra Homes Room 104 is her actual residence, such fact
would not make an irregular and void substituted service valid and effective.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this Petition for Review is hereby
GRANTED and the assailed March 17, 1997 Decision and October 8, 1997
Resolution of the Court of Appeals and the October 11, 1994 and December 21,
1994 Orders of the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Pasig
City, Branch 163 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. No costs. EHSITc
SO ORDERED.
(Manotoc v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 130974, [August 16, 2006], 530
|||

PHIL 454-477)

8. Ong v Co February 25, 2015

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 206653. February 25, 2015.]

YUK LING ONG, petitioner, vs. BENJAMIN T. CO, respondent.

DECISION

MENDOZA, J : p

In court proceedings, there is no right more cherished than the right of every
litigant to be given an opportunity to be heard. This right begins at the very
moment that summons is served on the defendant. The Rules of Court places
utmost importance in ensuring that the defendant personally grasp the weight of
responsibility that will befall him. Thus, it is only in exceptional circumstances that
constructive notification, or substituted service of summons, is allowed. If the
server falls short of the rigorous requirements for substituted service of
summons, then the Court has no other option but to strike down a void judgment,
regardless of the consequences.
This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse and set aside the
June 27, 2012 Decision 1 and the March 26, 2013 Resolution 2 of the Court of
Appeals (CA)in CA-G.R. SP No. 106271, which denied the petition for annulment
of judgment.
The Facts
Petitioner Yuk Ling Ong (petitioner), a British-Hong Kong national, and
respondent Benjamin Co (respondent), a Filipino citizen, were married on
October 3, 1982 at Ellinwood-Malate Church. 3
Sometime in November 2008, petitioner received a subpoena from the Bureau of
Immigration and Deportation (BID) directing her to appear before the said agency
because her permanent residence visa was being subjected to cancellation
proceedings. Reportedly, her marriage with respondent was nullified by the court.
When petitioner appeared before the BID, she was furnished with the copies of
the following documents: (1) petition for declaration of nullity of marriage filed as
Civil Case No. CV-01-0177; (2) petition for declaration of nullity of marriage
docketed as Civil Case No. 02-0306; (3) Decision, 4 dated December 11, 2002, in
Civil Case No. 02-0306 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 260 (RTC),
Parañaque City, declaring the marriage between petitioner and respondent as
void ab initio; and (4) their marriage contract 5 with the subject decision
annotated thereon. Petitioner was perplexed that her marriage with respondent
had been declared void ab initio.
The above documents showed that on April 26, 2001, respondent filed a petition
for declaration of nullity 6 on the ground of psychological incapacity before the
RTC, which was docketed as Civil Case No. CV-01-0177. Respondent stated
that petitioner's address was 600 Elcano St., Binondo, Manila. There was no
showing of its status, whether pending, withdrawn or terminated.
On July 19, 2002, respondent filed another petition for declaration of nullity 7 on
the ground of psychological incapacity before the RTC, docketed as Civil Case
No. 02-0306. Respondent indicated that petitioner's address was 23 Sta. Rosa
Street, Unit B-2 Manresa Garden Homes, Quezon City. On July 29, 2002, the
RTC issued summons. 8 In his Server's Return, 9 process server Rodolfo Torres,
Jr. stated that, on August 1, 2002, substituted service of summons with the copy
of the petition was effected after several futile attempts to serve the same
personally on petitioner. The said documents were received by Mr. Roly
Espinosa, a security officer.
On December 11, 2002, the RTC rendered a decision 10 in Civil Case No. 02-
0306 finding respondent's marriage with petitioner as void ab initio on the ground
of psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. It stated that
summons was served on petitioner on August 1, 2002, but she failed to file her
responsive pleading within the reglementary period. The public prosecutor also
stated that there were no indicative facts to manifest collusion. Thus, the RTC
concluded that petitioner was psychologically incapacitated to perform her
essential marital obligations.
Consequently, petitioner filed a petition for annulment of judgment 11 under Rule
47 of the Rules of Court before the CA on November 24, 2008, claiming that she
was never notified of the cases filed against her. She prayed that the RTC
decision, dated December 11, 2002, in Civil Case No. 02-0306, be nullified on
the grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction.
Petitioner alleged that first, respondent committed extrinsic fraud because, as
seen in Civil Case No. CV-01-0177, he deliberately indicated a wrong address to
prevent her from participating in the trial; second, jurisdiction over her person
was not acquired in Civil Case No. 02-0306 because of an invalid substituted
service of summons as no sufficient explanation, showing impossibility of
personal service, was stated before resorting to substituted service of
summons; third, the alleged substituted service was made on a security guard of
their townhouse and not on a member of her household; and fourth, she was not
psychologically incapacitated to perform her marital obligations. 12
acITSD

Ruling of the Court of Appeals


On June 27, 2012, the CA rendered the assailed decision finding the petition for
annulment of judgment to be devoid of merit. It held that there was no sufficient
proof to establish that respondent employed fraud to insure petitioner's non-
participation in the trial of Civil Case No. CV-01-0177.
Relying on Robinson v. Miralles, 13 the CA further ruled that the substituted
service of summons in Civil Case No. 02-0306 was valid. It found that there was
a customary practice in petitioner's townhouse that the security guard would first
entertain any visitors and receive any communication in behalf of the
homeowners. With this set-up, it was obviously impossible for the process server
to personally serve the summons upon petitioner. It also declared that the
process server's return carries with it the presumption of regularity in the
discharge of a public officer's duties and functions.
Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but her motion was denied by the CA in its
Resolution, 14 dated March 26, 2013.
Hence, this petition, anchored on the following
ISSUES
1. Whether or not the Trial Court in Civil Case No. 02-0306 validly
acquired jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner.
2. Whether or not the facts proven by the petitioner constitute
extrinsic fraud within the purview of Rule 47 of the Rules of
Court. 15
Petitioner argues that there was an invalid substituted service of summons. The
process server's return only contained a general statement that substituted
service was resorted to "after several futile attempts to serve the same
personally," 16 without stating the dates and reasons of the failed attempts.
Petitioner also reiterates her argument that extrinsic fraud was employed.
In his Comment, 17 filed on July 9, 2014, respondent contended that the server's
return satisfactorily stated the reason for the resort to a substituted service of
summons on August 1, 2002; and it was improbable that petitioner failed to
receive the summons because it was sent to the same address which she
declared in this present petition.
Petitioner filed her Reply 18 on October 8, 2014 reiterating her previous
arguments.
The Court's Ruling
The Court finds merit in the petition.
Annulment of judgment is a recourse equitable in character, allowed only in
exceptional cases as where there is no available or other adequate remedy. Rule
47 of the1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, governs actions for
annulment of judgments or final orders and resolutions, and Section 2 thereof
explicitly provides only two grounds for annulment of judgment, that is, extrinsic
fraud and lack of jurisdiction. 19 Annulment of judgment is an equitable principle
not because it allows a party-litigant another opportunity to reopen a judgment
that has long lapsed into finality but because it enables him to be discharged
from the burden of being bound to a judgment that is an absolute nullity to begin
with. 20
Petitioner raises two grounds to support her claim for annulment of judgment: (1)
extrinsic fraud and (2) lack of jurisdiction. Her contention on the existence of
extrinsic fraud, however, is too unsubstantial to warrant consideration. The
discussion shall then focus on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.
Lack of jurisdiction on the part of the trial court in rendering the judgment or final
order is either lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of the action,
or lack of jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner. The former is a matter of
substantive law because statutory law defines the jurisdiction of the courts over
the subject matter or nature of the action. The latter is a matter of procedural law,
for it involves the service of summons or other processes on the petitioner. 21
In the present case, petitioner contends that there was lack of jurisdiction over
her person because there was an invalid substituted service of summons.
Jurisdiction over the defendant is acquired either upon a valid service of
summons or the defendant's voluntary appearance in court. 22 If the defendant
does not voluntarily appear in court, jurisdiction can be acquired by personal or
substituted service of summons as laid out under Sections 6 and 7 of Rule 14 of
the Rules of Court,which state:
Sec. 6. Service in person on defendant. — Whenever practicable, the
summons shall be served by handing a copy thereof to the defendant in
person, or, if he refuses to receive and sign for it, by tendering it to
him. TDCaSE

Sec. 7. Substituted Service. — If, for justifiable causes, the defendant


cannot be served within a reasonable time as provided in the preceding
section, service may be effected (a) by leaving copies of the summons at
the defendant's residence with some person of suitable age and
discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving the copies at
defendant's office or regular place of business with some competent
person in charge thereof.
The landmark case of Manotoc v. CA (Manotoc) 23 thoroughly discussed the
rigorous requirements of a substituted service of summons, to wit: . . .
(1) Impossibility of Prompt Personal Service
xxx xxx xxx
For substituted service of summons to be available, there must be
several attempts by the sheriff to personally serve the summons within a
reasonable period of one month which eventually resulted in failure to
prove impossibility of prompt service. "Several attempts" means at
least three (3) tries, preferably on at least two different dates. In
addition, the sheriff must cite why such efforts were unsuccessful.
It is only then that impossibility of service can be confirmed or accepted.
(2) Specific Details in the Return
The sheriff must describe in the Return of Summons the facts and
circumstances surrounding the attempted personal service. The efforts
made to find the defendant and the reasons behind the failure must be
clearly narrated in detail in the Return. The date and time of the
attempts on personal service, the inquiries made to locate the
defendant, the name/s of the occupants of the alleged residence or
house of defendant and all other acts done, though futile, to serve
the summons on defendant must be specified in the Return to
justify substituted service.
(3) A Person of Suitable Age and Discretion
xxx xxx xxx
The sheriff must therefore determine if the person found in the alleged
dwelling or residence of defendant is of legal age, what the recipient's
relationship with the defendant is, and whether said person
comprehends the significance of the receipt of the summons and his
duty to immediately deliver it to the defendant or at least notify the
defendant of said receipt of summons. These matters must be clearly
and specifically described in the Return of Summons. (Emphases
and underscoring supplied)
The pronouncements of the Court in Manotoc have been applied to several
succeeding cases. In Pascual v. Pascual, 24 the return of summons did not show
or indicate the actual exertion or positive steps taken by the officer or process
server in serving the summons personally to the defendant. Similarly, in Spouses
Afdal v. Carlos, 25the process server's indorsements therein failed to state that
the personal service on the defendants was rendered impossible and that efforts
were made to find them personally. In both those cases, the Court ruled that the
meticulous requirements for substituted service of summons were not met.
There are cases, however, in which Manotoc was applied, but, nevertheless, it
was ruled that there was no lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant.
InSagana v. Francisco, 26 the diligent efforts exerted by the sheriff to locate the
respondent were determined, not only based on the sheriff's return, but also on
the process server's notation and case records. In the case of Wong v. Factor-
Koyama, 27 on the other hand, even if the sheriff performed an invalid substituted
service of summons, jurisdiction over the person of defendant was obtained
because the latter had actively participated in trial, amounting to a voluntary
appearance under Section 20 of Rule 14. 28
In the case at bench, the summons in Civil Case No. 02-0306 29 was issued on
July 29, 2002. In his server's return, 30 the process server resorted to substituted
service of summons on August 1, 2002. Surprisingly, the process server
immediately opted for substituted service of summons after only two (2) days
from the issuance of the summons. The server's return stated the following:
SERVER'S RETURN
THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT on August 1, 2002, substituted service of
summons with copy of petition, were effected to respondent, Yuk Ling
H. Ong, at the Unit B-2, No. 23 Sta. Rosa St., Manresa Garden Homes,
Manresa Garden City, Quezon City, after several futile attempts to
serve the same personally. The said documents were received by Mr.
Roly Espinosa of sufficient age and discretion, the Security Officer
thereat.
Therefore, respectfully returning to Court, original copy of summons,
Duly Served, this 2nd day of August, 2002.
RODOLFO P. TORRES, JR.
Process Server
(Emphasis supplied)
The server's return utterly lacks sufficient detail of the attempts undertaken by the
process server to personally serve the summons on petitioner. The server simply
made a general statement that summons was effected after several futile
attempts to serve the same personally. The server did not state the specific
number of attempts made to perform the personal service of summons; the dates
and the corresponding time the attempts were made; and the underlying reason
for each unsuccessful service. He did not explain either if there were inquiries
made to locate the petitioner, who was the defendant in the case. These
important acts to serve the summons on petitioner, though futile, must be
specified in the return to justify substituted service.
AacCIT
The server's return did not describe in detail the person who received the
summons, on behalf of petitioner. It simply stated that the summons was
received "by Mr. Roly Espinosa of sufficient age and discretion, the Security
Officer thereat." It did not expound on the competence of the security officer to
receive the summons.
Also, aside from the server's return, respondent failed to indicate any portion of
the records which would describe the specific attempts to personally serve the
summons. Respondent did not even claim that petitioner made any voluntary
appearance and actively participated in Civil Case No. 02-0306.
The case of Robinson v. Miralles, cited by the CA, is not applicable. In that case,
the return described in thorough detail how the security guard refused the
sheriff's entry despite several attempts. The defendant in the said case
specifically instructed the guard to prevent anybody to proceed to her residence.
In the present case, the attempts made by the process server were stated in a
broad and ambiguous statement.
The CA likewise erred in ruling that the presumption of regularity in the
performance of official duty could be applied in the case at bench. This
presumption of regularity, however, was never intended to be applied even in
cases where there are no showing of substantial compliance with the
requirements of the rules of procedure. Such presumption does not apply where
it is patent that the sheriff's or server's return is defective. 31 As earlier explained,
the server's return did not comply with the stringent requirements of substituted
service of summons.
Given that the meticulous requirements in Manotoc were not met, the Court is not
inclined to uphold the CA's denial of the petition for annulment of judgment for
lack of jurisdiction over the person of petitioner because there was an invalid
substituted service of summons. Accordingly, the decision in Civil Case No. 02-
0306 must be declared null and void.
The stricter rule in substituted service of summons was meant to address "[t]he
numerous claims of irregularities in substituted service which have spawned the
filing of a great number of unnecessary special civil actions of certiorari and
appeals to higher courts, resulting in prolonged litigation and wasteful legal
expenses." 32 IDCScA

Although the decision in Civil Case No. 02-0306 was promulgated as early as
December 11, 2002, the Court must strike it down for lack of jurisdiction over the
person of petitioner. The favorable judgment enjoyed by respondent cannot be
categorized as a genuine victory because it was fought against an adversary,
who was ignorant of the existing dispute. Whatever prize bestowed upon the
victor in such a void decision must also be undone. Respondent, if he wishes to
pursue, must start from scratch and institute his action for declaration of nullity
again; this time with petitioner fully aware and ready for litigation.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The June 27, 2012 Decision and the
March 26, 2013 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 106271
are herebyREVERSED and SET ASIDE. The December 11, 2002 Decision of
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 260, Parañaque City is hereby declared VOID.
SO ORDERED.
||| (Yuk Ling Ong v. Co, G.R. No. 206653, [February 25, 2015])

9. Domagas v Jensen 448 SCRA 663

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 158407. January 17, 2005.]

FILOMENA DOMAGAS, petitioner, vs. VIVIAN LAYNO


JENSEN, respondent.

DECISION

CALLEJO, SR., J : p

This is a petition for review on certiorari, under Rule 45 of the Rules of


Court, of the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 73995,
which affirmed the Decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City,
Branch 44, in Civil Case No. 2000-0244-D, which declared null and void the
decision of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Calasiao, Pangasinan in Civil Case
No. 879. 3
The antecedent facts follow.
On February 19, 1999, petitioner Filomena Domagas filed a complaint for
forcible entry against respondent Vivian Jensen before the MTC of Calasiao,
Pangasinan. The petitioner alleged in her complaint that she was the registered
owner of a parcel of land covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P-
30980, situated in Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan, and with an area of
827 square meters. On January 9, 1999 the respondent, by means of force,
strategy and stealth, gained entry into the petitioner's property by excavating a
portion thereof and thereafter constructing a fence thereon. As such, the
petitioner was deprived of a 68-square meter portion of her property along the
boundary line. The petitioner prayed that, after due proceedings, judgment be
rendered in her favor, thus:
3. And, after trial, judgment be rendered:
a) DECLARING the writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction and
Writ of Preliminary Injunction permanent; acCTSE

b) ORDERING defendant, his representatives, agents and


persons acting under her, to vacate the portion of the
property of the plaintiff occupied by them and to desist from
entering, excavating and constructing in the said property
of the plaintiff described in paragraph 2 hereof and/or from
disturbing the peaceful ownership and possession of the
plaintiff over the said land, pending the final resolution of
the instant action;
c) ORDERING defendant to pay reasonable rental at FIVE
THOUSAND (P5,000.00) PESOS per month from January
9, 1999 up to the time she finally vacates and removes all
constructions made by her in the property of the plaintiff
and up to the time she finally restores the said property in
the condition before her illegal entry, excavation and
construction in the property of the plaintiff;
d) ORDERING defendant to pay actual damages in the amount of
TWENTY THOUSAND (P20,000.00) PESOS; moral
damages in the amount of TWENTY THOUSAND
(P20,000.00) PESOS; attorney's fees of THIRTY
THOUSAND (P30,000.00) PESOS in retainer's fee and
ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED (P1,500.00) PESOS
per court appearance fee; exemplary damages in the
amount of TWENTY THOUSAND (P20,000.00) PESOS,
and, costs.
Plaintiff further prays for other reliefs and remedies just and
equitable in the premises. 4
The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 879. The summons and the
complaint were not served on the respondent because the latter was apparently
out of the country. This was relayed to the Sheriff by her (the respondent's)
brother, Oscar Layno, who was then in the respondent's house at No. 572
Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan. The Sheriff left the summons and
complaint with Oscar Layno, who received the same. 5
Nonetheless, on May 17, 1999, the court rendered judgment ordering the
respondent and all persons occupying the property for and in the latter's behalf to
vacate the disputed area and to pay monthly rentals therefor, including actual
damages, attorney's fees, and exemplary damages. The fallo of the decision
reads:
1) Ordering the defendant, her representatives, agents and persons
acting under her, to vacate the 68-square meters which she
encroached upon;
2) Ordering the defendant to pay a monthly rental of P1,000.00 to the
plaintiff;
HaTAEc

3) To pay plaintiff actual damages of P20,000.00; attorney's fees of


P15,000.00 and exemplary damages in the amount of P20,000.00
plus the costs.
SO ORDERED. 6
The respondent failed to appeal the decision. Consequently, a writ of
execution was issued on September 27, 1999.
On August 16, 2000, the respondent filed a complaint against the petitioner
before the RTC of Dagupan City for the annulment of the decision of the MTC in
Civil Case No. 879, on the ground that due to the Sheriff's failure to serve the
complaint and summons on her because she was in Oslo, Norway, the MTC
never acquired jurisdiction over her person. The respondent alleged therein that
the service of the complaint and summons through substituted service on her
brother, Oscar Layno, was improper because of the following: (a) when the
complaint in Civil Case No. 879 was filed, she was not a resident of Barangay
Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan, but of Oslo, Norway, and although she owned
the house where Oscar Layno received the summons and the complaint, she had
then leased it to Eduardo Gonzales; (b) she was in Oslo, Norway, at the time the
summons and the complaint were served; (c) her brother, Oscar Layno, was
merely visiting her house in Barangay Buenlag and was not a resident nor an
occupant thereof when he received the complaint and summons; and (d) Oscar
Layno was never authorized to receive the summons and the complaint for and
in her behalf. 7
The respondent further alleged that the MTC had no jurisdiction over the
subject matter of the complaint in Civil Case No. 879 because the petitioner, the
plaintiff therein, failed to show prior possession of the property. She further
claimed that the alleged forcible entry was simply based on the result of the
survey conducted by Geodetic Engineer Leonardo de Vera showing that the
property of the respondent encroached on that of the petitioner.
The respondent filed a Manifestation dated August 31, 2000, and
appended thereto the following: (a) a copy 8 of her passport showing that she left
the country on February 17, 1999; (b) a copy 9 of the Contract of Lease dated
November 24, 1997, executed by her and Eduardo D. Gonzales over her house
for a period of three (3) years or until November 24, 2000; (c) her
affidavit 10 stating, inter alia, that she owned the house at Barangay Buenlag,
Calasiao, Pangasinan, which she leased to Eduardo Gonzales; that she was
married to Jarl Jensen, a citizen of Norway, on August 23, 1987 and had resided
in Norway with her husband since 1993; that she arrived in the Philippines on
December 31, 1998, but left on February 17, 1999; she returned to the
Philippines on July 30, 2000 and learned, only then, of the complaint against her
and the decision of the MTC in Civil Case No. 879; her brother Oscar Layno was
not a resident of the house at Barangay Buenlag; and that she never received
the complaint and summons in said case; (d) the affidavit 11 of Oscar Layno
declaring that sometime in April 1999, he was in the respondent's house to
collect rentals from Eduardo Gonzales; that the Sheriff arrived and served him
with a copy of the summons and the complaint in Civil Case No. 879; and that he
never informed the respondent of his receipt of the said summons and complaint;
(e) an affidavit 12 of Eduardo Gonzales stating that he leased the house of the
respondent and resided thereat; the respondent was not a resident of the said
house although he (Gonzales) allowed the respondent to occupy a room therein
whenever she returned to the Philippines as a balikbayan; and that Oscar Layno
was not residing therein but only collected the rentals.
In her answer to the complaint, the petitioner alleged that the respondent
was a resident of Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan and was the owner
of the subject premises where Oscar Layno was when the Sheriff served the
summons and complaint; that the service of the complaint and summons by
substituted service on the respondent, the defendant in Civil Case No. 879, was
proper since her brother Oscar Layno, a resident and registered voter of
Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan, received the complaint and summons
for and in her behalf.
CTEDSI

The petitioner appended the following to her answer: (a) a copy 13 of the
Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Jose Layno in her favor, dated August 26,
1992, showing that the respondent was a resident of Barangay Buenlag,
Calasiao, Pangasinan; (b) a Real Estate Mortgage 14 executed by the
respondent, dated February 9, 1999 showing that she was a resident of
Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan; (c) the Joint Affidavit 15 of Vicenta
Peralta and Orlando Macalanda, both residents of Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao,
Pangasinan, declaring that the respondent and her brother Oscar Layno were
their neighbors; that the respondent and her brother had been residents of
Barangay Buenlag since their childhood; that although the respondent left the
country on several occasions, she returned to the Philippines and resided in her
house at No. 572 located in the said barangay; and (d) the Voter's Registration
Record 16 of Oscar Layno, approved on June 15, 1997.
After due proceedings, the trial court rendered a decision in favor of the
respondent. The dispositive portion reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered in favor of plaintiff Vivian
Layno Jensen and against defendant Filomena Domagas, as follows:
1. The Decision of the Municipal Trial Court of Calasiao, Pangasinan in
Civil Case No. 879, entitled Filomena Domagas versus Vivian
Layno Jensen is declared null and void, for lack of jurisdiction
over the person of the plaintiff and the subject matter.
2. Defendant Filomena Domagas is ordered to pay plaintiff, the following:
a.) Actual damages, representing litigation expenses in the
amount of P50,000.00;
b.) Attorney's fees in the amount of P50,000.00;
c.) Moral Damages in the amount of P50,000.00;
d.) Exemplary Damages in the amount of P50,000.00; and
e.) Costs of suit. HTacDS

SO ORDERED. 17
The trial court declared that there was no valid service of the complaint
and summons on the respondent, the defendant in Civil Case No. 879,
considering that she left the Philippines on February 17, 1999 for Oslo, Norway,
and her brother Oscar Layno was never authorized to receive the said complaint
and summons for and in her behalf.

The petitioner appealed the decision to the CA which, on May 6, 2003,


rendered judgment affirming the appealed decision with modifications. The CA
ruled that the complaint in Civil Case No. 879 was one for ejectment, which is an
action quasi in rem. The appellate court ruled that since the defendant therein
was temporarily out of the country, the summons and the complaint should have
been served via extraterritorial service under Section 15 in relation to Section 16,
Rule 14 of the Rules of Court, which likewise requires prior leave of court.
Considering that there was no prior leave of court and none of the modes of
service prescribed by the Rules of Court was followed by the petitioner, the CA
concluded that there was really no valid service of summons and complaint upon
the respondent, the defendant in Civil Case No. 879.
Hence, the present petition.
The petitioner assails the decision of the CA, alleging that the appellate
court erred in holding that the respondent's complaint for ejectment is an
action quasi in rem. The petitioner insists that the complaint for forcible entry is
an action in personam; therefore, substituted service of the summons and
complaint on the respondent, in accordance with Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules
of Court, is valid. The petitioner, likewise, asserts that Oscar Layno is a resident
and a registered voter of Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan; hence, the
service of the complaint and summons on the respondent through him is valid.
The respondent, on the other hand, asserts that the action for forcible entry
filed against her was an action quasi in rem, and that the applicable provision of
the Rules of Court is Section 15 of Rule 14, which calls for extraterritorial service
of summons.
The sole issue is whether or not there was a valid service of the summons
and complaint in Civil Case No. 879 on the respondent herein who was the
defendant in the said case. The resolution of the matter is anchored on the issue
of whether or not the action of the petitioner in the MTC against the respondent
herein is an action in personam or quasi in rem. DAHCaI

The ruling of the CA that the petitioner's complaint for forcible entry of the
petitioner against the respondent in Civil Case No. 879 is an action quasi in rem,
is erroneous. The action of the petitioner for forcible entry is a real action and
one in personam.
The settled rule is that the aim and object of an action determine its
character. 18 Whether a proceeding is in rem, or in personam, or quasi in rem for
that matter, is determined by its nature and purpose, and by these only. 19 A
proceeding in personam is a proceeding to enforce personal rights and
obligations brought against the person and is based on the jurisdiction of the
person, although it may involve his right to, or the exercise of ownership of,
specific property, or seek to compel him to control or dispose of it in accordance
with the mandate of the court. 20 The purpose of a proceeding in personam is to
impose, through the judgment of a court, some responsibility or liability directly
upon the person of the defendant. 21 Of this character are suits to compel a
defendant to specifically perform some act or actions to fasten a pecuniary
liability on him. 22 An action in personam is said to be one which has for its object
a judgment against the person, as distinguished from a judgment against the
propriety to determine its state. It has been held that an action in personam is a
proceeding to enforce personal rights or obligations; such action is brought
against the person. As far as suits for injunctive relief are concerned, it is well-
settled that it is an injunctive act in personam. 23 In Combs v. Combs, 24 the
appellate court held that proceedings to enforce personal rights and obligations
and in which personal judgments are rendered adjusting the rights and
obligations between the affected parties is in personam. Actions for recovery of
real property are in personam. 25
On the other hand, a proceeding quasi in rem is one brought against
persons seeking to subject the property of such persons to the discharge of the
claims assailed. 26 In an action quasi in rem, an individual is named as defendant
and the purpose of the proceeding is to subject his interests therein to the
obligation or loan burdening the property. 27 Actions quasi in rem deal with the
status, ownership or liability of a particular property but which are intended to
operate on these questions only as between the particular parties to the
proceedings and not to ascertain or cut off the rights or interests of all possible
claimants. The judgments therein are binding only upon the parties who joined in
the action. 28
Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court provides:
Section 1. Who may institute proceedings, and when. — Subject
to the provisions of the next succeeding section, a person deprived of
the possession of any land or building in force, intimidation, threat,
strategy, or stealth, or a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person against
whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after
the expiration or termination of the right to hold possession by virtue of
any contract, express or implied, or the legal representatives or assigns
of any such lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person, may, at any time
within one (1) year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of
possession, bring an action in the proper Municipal Trial Court against
the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession,
or any person or persons claiming under them, for the restitution of such
possession, together with damages and costs.
Under Section 15, Rule 70 of the said Rule, the plaintiff may be granted a
writ of preliminary prohibition or mandatory injunction:
Sec. 15. Preliminary Injunction. — The court may grant
preliminary injunction, in accordance with the provisions of Rule 58
hereof, to prevent the defendant from committing further acts of
dispossession against the plaintiff.
CIHTac

A possessor deprived of his possession through forcible entry or


unlawful detainer may, within five (5) days from the filing of the
complaint, present a motion in the action for forcible entry or unlawful
detainer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction to
restore him in his possession. The court shall decide the motion within
thirty (30) days from the filing thereof.
If, after proceedings, the trial court finds for the plaintiff, it shall then render
judgment in his or her favor, thus:
Sec. 17. Judgment. — If, after trial, the court finds that the
allegations of the complaint are true, it shall render judgment in favor of
the plaintiff for the restitution of the premises, the sum justly due as
arrears of rent or as reasonable compensation for the use and
occupation of the premises, attorney's fees and costs. If it finds that said
allegations are not true, it shall render judgment for the defendant to
recover his costs. If a counterclaim is established, the court shall render
judgment for the sum found in arrears from either party and award costs
as justice requires.
From the aforementioned provisions of the Rules of Court and by its very
nature and purpose, an action for unlawful detainer or forcible entry is a real
action and in personam because the plaintiff seeks to enforce a personal
obligation or liability on the defendant under Article 539 of the New Civil
Code, 29 for the latter to vacate the property subject of the action, restore
physical possession thereof to the plaintiff, and pay actual damages by way of
reasonable compensation for his use or occupation of the property. 30
As gleaned from the averments of the petitioner's complaint in the MTC,
she sought a writ of a preliminary injunction from the MTC and prayed that the
said writ be made permanent. Under its decision, the MTC ordered the defendant
therein (the respondent in this case), to vacate the property and pay a "monthly
rental" of P1,000.00 to the plaintiff therein (the petitioner in this case).
On the issue of whether the respondent was validly served with the
summons and complaint by the Sheriff on April 5, 1999, the petitioner asserts
that since her action of forcible entry against the respondent in Civil Case No.
879 was in personam, summons may be served on the respondent, by
substituted service, through her brother, Oscar Layno, in accordance with
Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court. The petitioner avers that Oscar Layno,
a person of suitable age and discretion, was residing in the house of the
respondent on April 5, 1999. She avers that the fact that the house was leased to
and occupied by Eduardo Gonzales was of no moment. Moreover, the Sheriff is
presumed to have performed his duty of properly serving the summons on the
respondent by substituted service. aCASEH

The contention of the petitioner has no merit.


In Asiavest Limited v. Court of Appeals, 31 the Court had the occasion to
state:
In an action in personam, jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant is necessary for the court to validly try and decide the case.
Jurisdiction over the person of a resident defendant who does not
voluntarily appear in court can be acquired by personal service of
summons as provided under Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court. If
he cannot be personally served with summons within a reasonable time,
substituted service may be made in accordance with Section 8 of said
Rule. If he is temporarily out of the country, any of the following modes
of service may be resorted to: (a) substituted service set forth in Section
8; (2) personal service outside the country, with leave of court; (3)
service by publication, also with leave of court; or (4) any other manner
the court may deem sufficient. 32
Thus, any judgment of the court which has no jurisdiction over the person
of the defendant is null and void. 33

In the present case, the records show that the respondent, before and after
his marriage to Jarl Jensen on August 23, 1987, remained a resident of
Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan. This can be gleaned from the Deed of
Absolute Sale dated August 26, 1992 in which she declared that she was a
resident of said barangay. Moreover, in the Real Estate Mortgage Contract dated
February 9, 1999, ten days before the complaint in Civil Case No. 879 was filed,
the petitioner categorically stated that she was a Filipino and a resident of
Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan. Considering that the respondent was
in Oslo, Norway, having left the Philippines on February 17, 1999, the summons
and complaint in Civil Case No. 879 may only be validly served on her through
substituted service under Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court, which reads:
SEC. 7. Substituted service. — If, for justifiable causes, the
defendant cannot be served within a reasonable time as provided in the
preceding section, service may be effected (a) by leaving copies of the
summons at the defendant's residence with some person of suitable age
and discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving the copies at
defendant's office or regular place of business with some competent
person in charge thereof.
Strict compliance with the mode of service is required in order that the
court may acquire jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. 34 The statutory
requirement of substituted service must be followed faithfully and strictly and any
substituted service other than that authorized by the statute is rendered
ineffective.35 As the Court held in Hamilton v. Levy: 36
. . . The pertinent facts and circumstances attendant to the service
of summons must be stated in the proof of service or Officer's Return;
otherwise, any substituted service made in lieu of personal service
cannot be upheld. This is necessary because substituted service is in
derogation of the usual method of service. It is a method extraordinary in
character and hence may be used only as prescribed and in the
circumstances authorized by statute. Here, no such explanation was
made. Failure to faithfully, strictly, and fully comply with the requirements
of substituted service renders said service ineffective. 37
In Keister v. Narcereo, 38 the Court held that the term "dwelling house" or
"residence" are generally held to refer to the time of service; hence, it is not
sufficient to leave the summons at the former's dwelling house, residence or
place of abode, as the case may be. Dwelling house or residence refers to the
place where the person named in the summons is living at the time when the
service is made, even though he may be temporarily out of the country at the
time. It is, thus, the service of the summons intended for the defendant that must
be left with the person of suitable age and discretion residing in the house of the
defendant. Compliance with the rules regarding the service of summons is as
much important as the issue of due process as of jurisdiction. 39
The Return of Service filed by Sheriff Eduardo J. Abulencia on the service
of summons reads: ECISAD

Respectfully returned to the court of origin the herein summons


and enclosures in the above-entitled case, the undersigned caused the
service on April 5, 1999.
Defendant Vivian Layno Jensen is out of the country as per
information from her brother Oscar Layno, however, copy of summons
and enclosures was received by her brother Oscar Layno on April 5,
1999 as evidenced by his signature appearing in the original summons.
Calasiao, Pangasinan, April 6, 1999.
(Sgd.)
EDUARDO J. ABULENCIA
Junior Process Server 40
As gleaned from the said return, there is no showing that as of April 5,
1999, the house where the Sheriff found Oscar Layno was the latter's residence
or that of the respondent herein. Neither is there any showing that the Sheriff
tried to ascertain where the residence of the respondent was on the said date. It
turned out that the occupant of the house was a lessor, Eduardo Gonzales, and
that Oscar Layno was in the premises only to collect the rentals from him. The
service of the summons on a person at a place where he was a visitor is not
considered to have been left at the residence or place or abode, where he has
another place at which he ordinarily stays and to which he intends to return. 41
The Voter's Registration Record of Oscar Layno dated June 15, 1997
wherein he declared that he was a resident of No. 572 Barangay Buenlag,
Calasiao, Pangasinan, as well as the Joint Affidavit of Vicenta Peralta and
Orlando Macasalda cannot prevail over the Contract of Lease the respondent
had executed in favor of Eduardo Gonzales showing that the latter had resided
and occupied the house of the respondent as lessee since November 24, 1997,
and the affidavit of Eduardo Gonzales that Oscar Layno was not residing in the
said house on April 5, 1999.
In sum, then, the respondent was not validly served with summons and the
complaint in Civil Case No. 879 on April 5, 1999, by substituted service. Hence,
the MTC failed to acquire jurisdiction over the person of the respondent; as such,
the decision of the MTC in Civil Case No. 879 is null and void.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED for lack of
merit. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
(Domagas v. Jensen, G.R. No. 158407, [January 17, 2005], 489 PHIL 631-
|||

648)

10. DOLE Phil vs Quilala, G.R. No. 168723

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 168723. July 9, 2008.]

DOLE PHILIPPINES, INC. (TROPIFRESH


DIVISION), petitioner, vs. HON. REINATO G. QUILALA in his
capacity as pairing judge of Branch 150, RTC-Makati City, and
ALL SEASON FARM, CORP., respondents.

DECISION

QUISUMBING, J : p

This petition for review assails the Decision 1 dated May 20, 2005 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 87723 and its Resolution 2 dated June
28, 2005, denying the motion for reconsideration. The appellate court had
affirmed the Order 3 dated February 6, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
of Makati City, Branch 150, in Civil Case No. 03-093 and its Order 4 dated
September 16, 2004 denying the motion for partial reconsideration. acCETD

The factual antecedents of this case are as follows.


In a complaint filed with the RTC of Makati City, presided over by
Pairing Judge Reinato Quilala, private respondent All Season Farm
Corporation ("All Season") sought the recovery of a sum of money,
accounting and damages from petitioner Dole Philippines, Inc. (Tropifresh
Division) ("Dole") and several of its officers. According to Dole, an alias
summons was served upon it through a certain Marifa Dela Cruz, a legal
assistant employed by Dole Pacific General Services, Ltd., which is an entity
separate from Dole. ADcSHC

On May 20, 2003, Dole filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the
following grounds: (a) the RTC lacked jurisdiction over the person of Dole due
to improper service of summons; (b) the complaint failed to state a cause of
action; (c) All Season was not the real party in interest; and (d) the officers of
Dole cannot be sued in their personal capacities for alleged acts performed in
their official capacities as corporate officers of Dole. 5 In its Order dated
February 6, 2004, the RTC denied said motion. Dole moved for partial
reconsideration raising the same issues but its motion was denied.
Thereafter, Dole filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals
contending that the alias summons was not properly served. The appellate
court, however, ruled otherwise. It reasoned that Dole's president had known
of the service of the alias summons although he did not personally receive
and sign it. It also held that in today's corporate setup, documents addressed
to corporate officers are received in their behalf by their staff. 6 Dole sought
reconsideration, but its motion was likewise denied.
Hence, this petition where petitioner raises the lone issue:
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED AN
ERROR OF LAW WHEN IT ALLOWED SUBSTITUTED SERVICE ON A
PRIVATE CORPORATION WHEN IT HELD THAT DOLE WAS
VALIDLY SERVED WITH SUMMONS IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT
SUMMONS WAS NOT SERVED ON ITS PRESIDENT, MANAGING
PARTNER, GENERAL MANAGER, CORPORATE SECRETARY,
TREASURER OR IN-HOUSE COUNSEL THEREBY IGNORING THE
RULE ON SERVICE OF SUMMONS ON PRIVATE DOMESTIC
CORPORATIONS. 7 cTCEIS

Simply stated, the issue in this case is whether there was a valid
service of summons on petitioner for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction over
the person of the corporate defendant below, now the petitioner herein.
Petitioner contends that for the court to validly acquire jurisdiction over
a domestic corporation, summons must be served only on the corporate
officers enumerated in Section 11, 8 Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure. Petitioner maintains that the alias summons was not validly served
on it since the alias summons was served on Marifa Dela Cruz, an employee
of Dole Pacific General Services, Ltd., which is an entity separate and distinct
from petitioner. It further avers that even if she were an employee of the
petitioner, she is not one of the officers enumerated under Section 11, Rule
14. Thus, the RTC, without proper service of summons, lacks jurisdiction over
petitioner as defendant below. IDATCE
Private respondent All Season, for its part, contends that the trial court
had acquired jurisdiction over petitioner, since petitioner received the alias
summons through its president on April 23, 2003. According to private
respondent, there was full compliance with Section 11, Rule 14, when Marifa
Dela Cruz received the summons upon instruction of petitioner's president as
indicated in the Officer's Return. 9 More so, petitioner had admitted that it
received the alias summons in its Entry of Appearance with Motion for
Time 10 filed on May 5, 2003.
Well-settled is the rule that service of summons on a domestic
corporation is restricted, limited and exclusive to the persons enumerated in
Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, following the rule in
statutory construction that expressio unios est exclusio alterius. 11 Service
must therefore be made on the president, managing partner, general
manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house counsel. IcAaEH

In this case, it appears that on April 23, 2003, Marifa Dela Cruz, a legal
assistant, received the alias summons. 12 Contrary to private respondent's
claim that it was received upon instruction of the president of the corporation
as indicated in the Officer's Return, such fact does not appear in the receiving
copy of the alias summons which Marifa Dela Cruz signed. There was no
evidence that she was authorized to receive court processes in behalf of the
president. Considering that the service of summons was made on a legal
assistant, not employed by herein petitioner and who is not one of the
designated persons under Section 11, Rule 14, the trial court did not validly
acquire jurisdiction over petitioner.
However, under Section 20 of the same Rule, a defendant's voluntary
appearance in the action is equivalent to service of summons. 13 As held
previously by this Court, the filing of motions seeking affirmative relief, such
as, to admit answer, for additional time to file answer, for reconsideration of a
default judgment, and to lift order of default with motion for reconsideration,
are considered voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the court. 14 aTAEHc

Note that on May 5, 2003, petitioner filed an Entry of Appearance with


Motion for Time. It was not a conditional appearance entered to question the
regularity of the service of summons, but an appearance submitting to the
jurisdiction of the court by acknowledging the receipt of the alias summons
and praying for additional time to file responsive pleading. 15 Consequently,
petitioner having acknowledged the receipt of the summons and also having
invoked the jurisdiction of the RTC to secure affirmative relief in its motion for
additional time, petitioner effectively submitted voluntarily to the jurisdiction of
the RTC. It is estopped now from asserting otherwise, even before this
Court. 16 The RTC therefore properly took cognizance of the case against
Dole Philippines, Inc., and we agree that the trial and the appellate courts
committed no error of law when Dole's contentions were overruled.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision
dated May 20, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 87723 and its
Resolution dated June 28, 2005 are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
(Dole Philippines, Inc. v. Quilala, G.R. No. 168723, [July 9, 2008], 579 PHIL
|||

700-706)

11. Green Star Express v Nissin Universal Robina Corp. 761 SCRA

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 181517. July 6, 2015.]

GREEN STAR EXPRESS, INC. and FRUTO SAYSON,


JR., petitioners, vs. NISSIN-UNIVERSAL ROBINA
CORPORATION, respondent.

DECISION

PERALTA, ** J : p

For resolution is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of


Court which petitioners Green Star Express, Inc. and Fruto Sayson, Jr.
brought before the Court, assailing the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals
(CA) dated September 17, 2007 and its Resolution 2 dated January 22, 2008
in CA-G.R. SP No. 86824. The CA nullified the Resolution dated May 5, 2004
of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Pedro, Laguna, Branch 31, in Civil
Case No. SPL-0969, and dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction.
The following are the antecedents of the case:
On February 25, 2003, a Mitsubishi L-300 van which Universal Robina
Corporation (URC) owned figured in a vehicular accident with petitioner Green
Star Express, Inc.'s (Green Star) passenger bus, resulting in the death of the
van's driver. Thus, the bus driver, petitioner Fruto Sayson, Jr., was charged
with the crime of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
Thereafter, Green Star sent a demand letter to respondent Nissin-
Universal Robina Corporation (NURC) for the repair of its passenger bus
amounting to P567,070.68. NURC denied any liability therefor and argued
that the criminal case shall determine the ultimate liabilities of the parties.
Thereafter, the criminal case was dismissed without prejudice, due to
insufficiency of evidence.
Sayson and Green Star then filed a complaint for damages against
NURC before the RTC of San Pedro, Laguna. Francis Tinio, one of NURC's
employees, was the one who received the summons. On February 6, 2004,
NURC filed a Motion to Dismiss claiming lack of jurisdiction due to improper
service.
On May 5, 2004, the RTC issued a Resolution denying NURC's motion
to dismiss. It ruled that there was substantial compliance because there was
actual receipt of the summons by NURC. The dispositive portion of said
Resolution thus reads: TCAScE

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, defendant's "Motion to


Dismiss" is hereby DENIED. 3
Since its Motion for Reconsideration was denied, NURC elevated the
case to the CA via a Petition for Certiorari. On September 17, 2007, the CA
reversed the RTC ruling, hence:
WHEREFORE, the instant Petition for Certiorari is GRANTED.
The assailed Resolutions, dated May 5, 2004 and dated July 26, 2004,
of the Regional Trial Court of San Pedro, Laguna, Branch 31, in Civil
Case No. SPL-0969, are hereby NULLIFIED and a new one rendered
granting Petitioner's Motion to Dismiss, dated February 3, 2004.
Private Respondents' Amended Complaint for Damages filed against
Petitioner Nissin-Universal Robina Corporation is
accordingly dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
SO ORDERED. 4
Aggrieved, Green Star and Sayson moved for reconsideration, but the
same was denied. Hence, this petition.
The lone issue is whether or not the summons was properly served on
NURC, vesting the trial court with jurisdiction.
The petition is bereft of merit.
It is a well-established rule that the rules on service of summons upon a
domestic private juridical entity must be strictly complied with. Otherwise, the
court cannot be said to have acquired jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant. 5
NURC maintains that the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over it as the
summons was received by its cost accountant, Francis Tinio. It argues that
under Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Court, which provides the rule
on service of summons upon a juridical entity, in cases where the defendant is
a domestic corporation like NURC, summons may be served only through its
officers. 6 Thus:
Section 11. Service upon domestic private juridical entity. —
When the defendant is a corporation, partnership or association
organized under the laws of the Philippines with a juridical personality,
service may be made on the president, managing partner, general
manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house counsel. 7
This provision replaced the former Section 13, Rule 14 of the 1964
Rules of Court which read:
Section 13. Service upon private domestic corporation or
partnership. — If the defendant is a corporation organized under the
laws of the Philippines or a partnership duly registered, service may be
made on the president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent, or any
of its directors. 8
In the past, the Court upheld service of summons upon a construction
project manager, a corporation's assistant manager, ordinary clerk of a
corporation, private secretary of corporate executives, retained counsel, and
officials who had control over the operations of the corporation like the
assistant general manager or the corporation's Chief Finance and
Administrative Officer. The Court then considered said persons as "agent"
within the contemplation of the old rule. Notably, under the new Rules, service
of summons upon an agent of the corporation is no longer authorized. 9 The
rule now likewise states "general manager" instead of "manager"; "corporate
secretary" instead of merely "secretary"; and "treasurer" instead of
"cashier." 10 It has now become restricted, limited, and exclusive only to the
persons enumerated in the aforementioned provision, following the rule in
statutory construction that the express mention of one person excludes all
others, orexpressio unios est exclusio alterius. Service must, therefore, be
made only on the persons expressly listed in the rules. 11 If the revision
committee intended to liberalize the rule on service of summons, it could have
easily done so by clear and concise language. 12 cTDaEH

Here, Tinio, a member of NURC's accounting staff, received the


summons on January 22, 2004. Green Star claims that it was received upon
instruction of Junadette Avedillo, the general manager of the corporation.
Such fact, however, does not appear in the Sheriff's Return. 13 The Return did
not even state whether Avedillo was present at the time the summons was
received by Tinio, the supposed assistant manager. Green Star further avers
that the sheriff tendered the summons, but Avedillo simply refused to sign and
receive the same. She then allegedly instructed Tinio to just receive it in her
behalf. However, Green Star never presented said sheriff as witness during
the hearing of NURC's motion to dismiss to attest to said claim. And while the
sheriff executed an affidavit which appears to support such allegation, the
same was likewise not presented as evidence. It was only when the case was
already before the CA that said affidavit first surfaced. Since the service of
summons was made on a cost accountant, which is not one of the designated
persons under Section 11 of Rule 14, the trial court did not validly acquire
jurisdiction over NURC, 14 although the corporation may have actually
received the summons. 15 To rule otherwise will be an outright circumvention
of the rules, aggravating further the delay in the administration of justice. 16
At this juncture, it is worth emphasizing that notice to enable the other
party to be heard and to present evidence is not a mere technicality or a trivial
matter in any administrative or judicial proceedings. The service of summons
is a vital and indispensable ingredient of due process. Corporations would be
easily deprived of their right to present their defense in a multi-million peso
suit, if the Court would disregard the mandate of the Rules on the service of
summons. 17
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals Decision
dated September 17, 2007 and Resolution dated January 22, 2008 in CA-
G.R. SP No. 86824 are hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
(Green Star Express, Inc. v. Nissin-Universal Robina Corp., G.R. No.
|||

181517, [July 6, 2015])

12. Guy v Gacott 780 SCRA 579 (January 13, 2016)

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 206147. January 13, 2016.]

MICHAEL C. GUY, petitioner, vs. ATTY. GLENN


C. GACOTT, respondent.

DECISION
MENDOZA, J : p

Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of


the Rules of Court filed by petitioner Michael C. Guy (Guy), assailing the June
25, 2012 Decision 1 and the March 5, 2013 Resolution 2 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 94816, which affirmed the June 28,
2009 3 and February 19, 2010 4Orders of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 52,
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan (RTC), in Civil Case No. 3108, a case for
damages. The assailed RTC orders denied Guy's Motion to Lift Attachment
Upon Personalty 5 on the ground that he was not a judgment debtor.
The Facts
It appears from the records that on March 3, 1997, Atty.
Glenn Gacott (Gacott) from Palawan purchased two (2) brand new
transreceivers from Quantech Systems Corporation (QSC) in Manila through
its employee Rey Medestomas (Medestomas), amounting to a total of
P18,000.00. On May 10, 1997, due to major defects, Gacott personally
returned the transreceivers to QSC and requested that they be replaced.
Medestomas received the returned transreceivers and promised to send him
the replacement units within two (2) weeks from May 10, 1997.
Time passed and Gacott did not receive the replacement units as
promised. QSC informed him that there were no available units and that it
could not refund the purchased price. Despite several demands, both oral and
written, Gacott was never given a replacement or a refund. The demands
caused Gacott to incur expenses in the total amount of P40,936.44.
Thus, Gacott filed a complaint for damages. Summons was served upon QSC
and Medestomas, afterwhich they filed their Answer, verified by Medestomas
himself and a certain Elton Ong (Ong). QSC and Medestomas did not present
any evidence during the trial. 6
In a Decision, 7 dated March 16, 2007, the RTC found that the two (2)
transreceivers were defective and that QSC and Medestomas failed to
replace the same or return Gacott's money. The dispositive portion of the
decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the
plaintiff, ordering the defendants to jointly and severally pay plaintiff the
following:
1. Purchase price plus 6% per annum from
March 3, 1997 up to and until fully paid P18,000.00
2. Actual Damages 40,936.44
3. Moral Damages 75,000.00
4. Corrective Damages 100,000.00
5. Attorney's Fees 60,000.00
6. Costs.

SO ORDERED.
The decision became final as QSC and Medestomas did not interpose
an appeal. Gacott then secured a Writ of Execution, 8 dated September 26,
2007.
During the execution stage, Gacott learned that QSC was not a
corporation, but was in fact a general partnership registered with the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the articles of
partnership, 9 Guy was appointed as General Manager of QSC.
To execute the judgment, Branch Sheriff Ronnie L. Felizarte (Sheriff
Felizarte) went to the main office of the Department of Transportation and
Communications, Land Transportation Office (DOTC-LTO), Quezon City, and
verified whether Medestomas, QSC and Guy had personal properties
registered therein.10 Upon learning that Guy had vehicles registered in his
name, Gacott instructed the sheriff to proceed with the attachment of one of
the motor vehicles of Guy based on the certification issued by the DOTC-
LTO. 11 CAIHTE

On March 3, 2009, Sheriff Felizarte attached Guy's vehicle by virtue of


the Notice of Attachment/Levy upon Personalty 12 served upon the record
custodian of the DOTC-LTO of Mandaluyong City. A similar notice was served
to Guy through his housemaid at his residence.
Thereafter, Guy filed his Motion to Lift Attachment Upon Personalty,
arguing that he was not a judgment debtor and, therefore, his vehicle could
not be attached. 13 Gacott filed an opposition to the motion.
The RTC Order
On June 28, 2009, the RTC issued an order denying Guy's motion. It
explained that considering QSC was not a corporation, but a registered
partnership, Guy should be treated as a general partner pursuant to Section
21 of the Corporation Code, and he may be held jointly and severally liable
with QSC and Medestomas. The trial court wrote:
All persons who assume to act as a corporation knowing it to be
without authority to do so shall be liable as general partners for all
debts, liabilities and damages incurred or arising as a result thereof . . .
. Where, by any wrongful act or omission of any partner acting in the
ordinary course of the business of the partnership . . ., loss or injury is
caused to any person, not being a partner in the partnership, or any
penalty is incurred, the partnership is liable therefore to the same
extent as the partner so acting or omitting to act. All partners are liable
solidarily with the partnership for everything chargeable to the
partnership under Article 1822 and 1823. 14
Accordingly, it disposed:
WHEREFORE, with the ample discussion of the matter, this
Court finds and so holds that the property of movant Michael Guy may
be validly attached in satisfaction of the liabilities adjudged by this
Court against Quantech Co., the latter being an ostensible Corporation
and the movant being considered by this Court as a general partner
therein in accordance with the order of this court impressed in its
decision to this case imposing joint and several liability to the
defendants. The Motion to Lift Attachment Upon Personalty submitted
by the movant is therefore DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED. 15
Not satisfied, Guy moved for reconsideration of the denial of his motion.
He argued that he was neither impleaded as a defendant nor validly served
with summons and, thus, the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over his
person; that under Article 1824 of the Civil Code,the partners were only
solidarily liable for the partnership liability under exceptional circumstances;
and that in order for a partner to be liable for the debts of the partnership, it
must be shown that all partnership assets had first been exhausted. 16
On February 19, 2010, the RTC issued an order 17 denying his motion.
The denial prompted Guy to seek relief before the CA.
The CA Ruling
On June 25, 2012, the CA rendered the assailed decision dismissing
Guy's appeal for the same reasons given by the trial court. In addition thereto,
the appellate court stated:
We hold that Michael Guy, being listed as a general partner of
QSC during that time, cannot feign ignorance of the existence of the
court summons. The verified Answer filed by one of the partners, Elton
Ong, binds him as a partner because the Rules of Court does not
require that summons be served on all the partners. It is sufficient that
service be made on the "president, managing partner, general
manager, corporate secretary, treasurer or in-house counsel." To Our
mind, it is immaterial whether the summons to QSC was served on the
theory that it was a corporation. What is important is that the summons
was served on QSC's authorized officer . . . . 18
The CA stressed that Guy, being a partner in QSC, was bound by the
summons served upon QSC based on Article 1821 of the Civil Code.The CA
further opined that the law did not require a partner to be actually involved in a
suit in order for him to be made liable. He remained "solidarily liable whether
he participated or not, whether he ratified it or not, or whether he had
knowledge of the act or omission." 19
Aggrieved, Guy filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied by
the CA in its assailed resolution, dated March 5, 2013.
Hence, the present petition raising the following:
ISSUE
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED
REVERSIBLE ERROR IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER GUY IS
SOLIDARILY LIABLE WITH THE PARTNERSHIP FOR DAMAGES
ARISING FROM THE BREACH OF THE CONTRACT OF SALE WITH
RESPONDENT GACOTT. 20
Guy argues that he is not solidarily liable with the partnership because
the solidary liability of the partners under Articles 1822, 1823 and 1824 of
the Civil Codeonly applies when it stemmed from the act of a partner. In this
case, the alleged lapses were not attributable to any of the partners. Guy
further invokes Article 1816 of the Civil Code which states that the liability of
the partners to the partnership is merely joint and subsidiary in nature. DETACa

In his Comment, 21 Gacott countered, among others, that because Guy


was a general and managing partner of QSC, he could not feign ignorance of
the transactions undertaken by QSC. Gacott insisted that notice to one
partner must be considered as notice to the whole partnership, which included
the pendency of the civil suit against it.
In his Reply, 22 Guy contended that jurisdiction over the person of the
partnership was not acquired because the summons was never served upon it
or through any of its authorized office. He also reiterated that a partner's
liability was joint and subsidiary, and not solidary.
The Court's Ruling
The petition is meritorious.
The service of summons was
flawed; voluntary appearance
cured the defect
Jurisdiction over the person, or jurisdiction in personam — the power of
the court to render a personal judgment or to subject the parties in a particular
action to the judgment and other rulings rendered in the action — is an
element of due process that is essential in all actions, civil as well as criminal,
except in actions in rem or quasi in rem. 23 Jurisdiction over the person of the
plaintiff is acquired by the mere filing of the complaint in court. As the initiating
party, the plaintiff in a civil action voluntarily submits himself to the jurisdiction
of the court. As to the defendant, the court acquires jurisdiction over his
person either by the proper service of the summons, or by his voluntary
appearance in the action. 24
Under Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil
Procedure, when the defendant is a corporation, partnership or association
organized under the laws of the Philippines with a juridical personality, the
service of summons may be made on the president, managing partner,
general manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house counsel.
Jurisprudence is replete with pronouncements that such provision provides
an exclusive enumeration of the persons authorized to receive summons for
juridical entities. 25
The records of this case reveal that QSC was never shown to have
been served with the summons through any of the enumerated authorized
persons to receive such, namely: president, managing partner, general
manager, corporate secretary, treasurer or in-house counsel. Service of
summons upon persons other than those officers enumerated in Section
11 is invalid. Even substantial compliance is not sufficient service of
summons. 26 The CA was obviously mistaken when it opined that it was
immaterial whether the summons to QSC was served on the theory that it was
a corporation. 27
Nevertheless, while proper service of summons is necessary to vest the
court jurisdiction over the defendant, the same is merely procedural in nature
and the lack of or defect in the service of summons may be cured by the
defendant's subsequent voluntary submission to the court's jurisdiction
through his filing a responsive pleading such as an answer. In this case, it is
not disputed that QSC filed its Answer despite the defective summons. Thus,
jurisdiction over its person was acquired through voluntary appearance.
A partner must be separately
and distinctly impleaded before
he can be bound by a judgment
The next question posed is whether the trial court's jurisdiction over
QSC extended to the person of Guy insofar as holding him solidarily liable
with the partnership. After a thorough study of the relevant laws and
jurisprudence, the Court answers in the negative.
Although a partnership is based on delectus personae or mutual
agency, whereby any partner can generally represent the partnership in its
business affairs, it is non sequitur that a suit against the partnership is
necessarily a suit impleading each and every partner. It must be remembered
that a partnership is a juridical entity that has a distinct and separate
personality from the persons composing it. 28
In relation to the rules of civil procedure, it is elementary that a
judgment of a court is conclusive and binding only upon the parties and their
successors-in-interest after the commencement of the action in court. 29 A
decision rendered on a complaint in a civil action or proceeding does not bind
or prejudice a person not impleaded therein, for no person shall be adversely
affected by the outcome of a civil action or proceeding in which he is not a
party. 30 The principle that a person cannot be prejudiced by a ruling rendered
in an action or proceeding in which he has not been made a party conforms to
the constitutional guarantee of due process of law. 31
In Muñoz v. Yabut, Jr., 32 the Court declared that a person not
impleaded and given the opportunity to take part in the proceedings was not
bound by the decision declaring as null and void the title from which his title to
the property had been derived. The effect of a judgment could not be
extended to non-parties by simply issuing an alias writ of execution against
them, for no man should be prejudiced by any proceeding to which he was a
stranger. aDSIHc

In Aguila v. Court of Appeals, 33 the complainant had a cause of action


against the partnership. Nevertheless, it was the partners themselves that
were impleaded in the complaint. The Court dismissed the complaint and held
that it was the partnership, not its partners, officers or agents, which should be
impleaded for a cause of action against the partnership itself. The Court
added that the partners could not be held liable for the obligations of the
partnership unless it was shown that the legal fiction of a different juridical
personality was being used for fraudulent, unfair, or illegal purposes. 34
Here, Guy was never made a party to the case. He did not have any
participation in the entire proceeding until his vehicle was levied upon and he
suddenly became QSC's "co-defendant debtor" during the judgment execution
stage. It is a basic principle of law that money judgments are enforceable only
against the property incontrovertibly belonging to the judgment
debtor. 35 Indeed, the power of the court in executing judgments extends only
to properties unquestionably belonging to the judgment debtor alone. An
execution can be issued only against a party and not against one who did not
have his day in court. The duty of the sheriff is to levy the property of the
judgment debtor not that of a third person. For, as the saying goes, one man's
goods shall not be sold for another man's debts.36
In the spirit of fair play, it is a better rule that a partner must first be
impleaded before he could be prejudiced by the judgment against the
partnership. As will be discussed later, a partner may raise several defenses
during the trial to avoid or mitigate his obligation to the partnership liability.
Necessarily, before he could present evidence during the trial, he must first be
impleaded and informed of the case against him. It would be the height of
injustice to rob an innocent partner of his hard-earned personal belongings
without giving him an opportunity to be heard. Without any showing that Guy
himself acted maliciously on behalf of the company, causing damage or injury
to the complainant, then he and his personal properties cannot be made
directly and solely accountable for the liability of QSC, the judgment debtor,
because he was not a party to the case.
Further, Article 1821 of the Civil Code does not state that there is no
need to implead a partner in order to be bound by the partnership liability. It
provides that:
Notice to any partner of any matter relating to partnership
affairs, and the knowledge of the partner acting in the particular
matter, acquired while a partner or then present to his mind, and the
knowledge of any other partner who reasonably could and should have
communicated it to the acting partner,operate as notice to or
knowledge of the partnership, except in the case of fraud on the
partnership, committed by or with the consent of that partner.
[Emphases and Underscoring Supplied]
A careful reading of the provision shows that notice to any partner,
under certain circumstances, operates as notice to or knowledge to the
partnership only. Evidently, it does not provide for the reverse situation, or that
notice to the partnership is notice to the partners. Unless there is an
unequivocal law which states that a partner is automatically charged in a
complaint against the partnership, the constitutional right to due process takes
precedence and a partner must first be impleaded before he can be
considered as a judgment debtor. To rule otherwise would be a dangerous
precedent, harping in favor of the deprivation of property without ample notice
and hearing, which the Court certainly cannot countenance.
Partners' liability is subsidiary
and generally joint; immediate
levy upon the property of a
partner cannot be made
Granting that Guy was properly impleaded in the complaint, the
execution of judgment would be improper. Article 1816 of the Civil
Code governs the liability of the partners to third persons, which states that:
Article 1816. All partners, including industrial ones, shall be
liable pro rata with all their property and after all the partnership
assets have been exhausted, for the contracts which may be entered
into in the name and for the account of the partnership, under its
signature and by a person authorized to act for the partnership.
However, any partner may enter into a separate obligation to perform a
partnership contract.
[Emphasis Supplied]
This provision clearly states that, first, the partners' obligation with
respect to the partnership liabilities is subsidiary in nature. It provides that the
partners shall only be liable with their property after all the partnership assets
have been exhausted. To say that one's liability is subsidiary means that it
merely becomes secondary and only arises if the one primarily liable fails to
sufficiently satisfy the obligation. Resort to the properties of a partner may be
made only after efforts in exhausting partnership assets have failed or that
such partnership assets are insufficient to cover the entire obligation. The
subsidiary nature of the partners' liability with the partnership is one of the
valid defenses against a premature execution of judgment directed to a
partner. ETHIDa

In this case, had he been properly impleaded, Guy's liability would only
arise after the properties of QSC would have been exhausted. The records,
however, miserably failed to show that the partnership's properties were
exhausted. The report 37 of the sheriff showed that the latter went to the main
office of the DOTC-LTO in Quezon City and verified whether Medestomas,
QSC and Guy had personal properties registered therein. Gacott then
instructed the sheriff to proceed with the attachment of one of the motor
vehicles of Guy. 38 The sheriff then served the Notice of Attachment/Levy
upon Personalty to the record custodian of the DOTC-LTO of Mandaluyong
City. A similar notice was served to Guy through his housemaid at his
residence.
Clearly, no genuine efforts were made to locate the properties of QSC
that could have been attached to satisfy the judgment — contrary to the clear
mandate of Article 1816. Being subsidiarily liable, Guy could only be held
personally liable if properly impleaded and after all partnership assets had
been exhausted.
Second, Article 1816 provides that the partners' obligation to third
persons with respect to the partnership liability is pro rata or joint. Liability
is joint when a debtor is liable only for the payment of only a proportionate
part of the debt. In contrast, a solidary liability makes a debtor liable for the
payment of the entire debt. In the same vein, Article 1207 does not presume
solidary liability unless: 1) the obligation expressly so states; or 2)
the law or nature requires solidarity. With regard to partnerships, ordinarily,
the liability of the partners is not solidary. 39 The joint liability of the partners is
a defense that can be raised by a partner impleaded in a complaint against
the partnership.
In other words, only in exceptional circumstances shall the partners'
liability be solidary in nature. Articles 1822, 1823 and 1824 of the Civil
Code provide for these exceptional conditions, to wit:
Article 1822. Where, by any wrongful act or omission of any
partner acting in the ordinary course of the business of the partnership
or with the authority of his co-partners, loss or injury is caused to any
person, not being a partner in the partnership, or any penalty is
incurred, the partnership is liable therefor to the same extent as the
partner so acting or omitting to act.
Article 1823. The partnership is bound to make good the loss:
(1) Where one partner acting within the scope of his apparent
authority receives money or property of a third person and misapplies
it; and
(2) Where the partnership in the course of its business receives
money or property of a third person and the money or property so
received is misapplied by any partner while it is in the custody of the
partnership.
Article 1824. All partners are liable solidarily with the
partnership for everything chargeable to the partnership under
Articles 1822 and 1823.
[Emphases Supplied]
In essence, these provisions articulate that it is the act of a
partner which caused loss or injury to a third person that makes all other
partners solidarily liable with the partnership because of the words "any
wrongful act or omission of any partner acting in the ordinary course of the
business," "one partner acting within the scope of his apparent
authority" and "misapplied by any partner while it is in the custody of the
partnership." The obligation is solidary because the law protects the third
person, who in good faith relied upon the authority of a partner, whether such
authority is real or apparent. 40
In the case at bench, it was not shown that Guy or the other partners
did a wrongful act or misapplied the money or property he or the partnership
received from Gacott. A third person who transacted with said partnership can
hold the partners solidarily liable for the whole obligation if the case of the
third person falls under Articles 1822 or 1823. 41 Gacott's claim stemmed
from the alleged defective transreceivers he bought from QSC, through the
latter's employee, Medestomas. It was for a breach of warranty in a
contractual obligation entered into in the name and for the account of QSC,
not due to the acts of any of the partners. For said reason, it is the general
rule under Article 1816 that governs the joint liability of such breach, and not
the exceptions under Articles 1822 to 1824. Thus, it was improper to hold Guy
solidarily liable for the obligation of the partnership.
Finally, Section 21 of the Corporation Code, 42 as invoked by the RTC,
cannot be applied to sustain Guy's liability. The said provision states that a
general partner shall be liable for all debts, liabilities and damages incurred by
an ostensible corporation. It must be read, however, in conjunction with Article
1816 of theCivil Code,which governs the liabilities of partners against third
persons. Accordingly, whether QSC was an alleged ostensible corporation or
a duly registered partnership, the liability of Guy, if any, would remain to be
joint and subsidiary because, as previously stated, all partners shall be
liable pro rata with all their property and after all the partnership assets have
been exhausted for the contracts which may be entered into in the name and
for the account of the partnership.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The June 25, 2012 Decision
and the March 5, 2013 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
94816 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 52, Puerto Princesa City, is ORDERED TO
RELEASE Michael C. Guy's Suzuki Grand Vitara subject of the Notice of
Levy/Attachment upon Personalty.
SO ORDERED.
||| (Guy v. Gacott, G.R. No. 206147, [January 13, 2016])

13. Nation Petroleum Gas, Inc. v RCBC 766 SCRA 653

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 183370. August 17, 2015.]

NATION PETROLEUM GAS, INCORPORATED, NENA ANG,


MARIO ANG, ALISON A. SY, GUILLERMO G. SY, NELSON
ANG, LUISA ANG, RENATO C. ANG, PAULINE T. ANG, RICKY
C. ANG, 1 and MELINDA ANG, petitioners, vs. RIZAL
COMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION, substituted by
PHILIPPINE ASSET GROWTH ONE, INC., respondent.

DECISION

PERALTA, J : p

This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Revised
Rules of Civil Procedure (Rules) seeks to reverse and set aside the
December 12, 2007 Decision 2 and June 17, 2008 Resolution 3 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 98787, which affirmed the March 29, 2007
Order 4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 66, Makati City, in Civil
Case No. 06-882, denying petitioners' Special Appearance with Motion to
Dismiss for alleged improper service of summons.
On October 16, 2006, respondent Rizal Commercial Banking
Corporation filed against petitioner corporation and its directors/officers a
Complaint 5 for civil damages arising from estafa in relation to violations of the
Trust Receipts Law. On October 26, 2006, after an ex parte hearing was
conducted, respondent's prayer for a writ of preliminary attachment was
granted and the corresponding writ was issued. 6 Thereafter, Sheriff Leodel N.
Roxas served upon petitioners a copy of the summons, complaint, application
for attachment, respondent's affidavit and bond, and the order and writ of
attachment. The Sheriff's Report dated November 13, 2006 narrated:
The undersigned sheriff respectfully submits the following report
to wit:
On 26 October 2006, [a] copy of Writ of Attachment dated 26
October 2006, issued by the Court in the above-entitled case was
received by the undersigned for service and implementation.
On even date, the undersigned served the Summons, copy of
[the] Complaint, application for attachment, the plaintiffs affidavit and
bond, and the Order and Writ of Attachment, on the defendants Nation
Petroleum Gas et al., at BPI Building, Rizal Street, Candelaria,
Quezon. Said summons and all pertinent papers, upon telephone
instruction of defendant Melinda Ang, were received by Claudia
Abante, [defendants'] [Liaison] Officer, as evidenced by her signature
at the original copy of Summons and Writ. I also served copies to other
defendants at their given addresses, but they refused to acknowledge
receipt thereof. EATCcI

On the same day, at the instance of the plaintiff's counsel and


representative, the undersigned levied the real properties of the
defendants at the Register of Deeds of Lucena City, Makati City, Pasig
City, Quezon City and the Register of Deeds of Manila. I also levied a
property (plant equipment) in NPGI plant in Sariaya, Quezon. Copies
of the notices of levy on attachment are hereto attached.
WHEREFORE, the original copies of the Summonses, Order,
Writ of Attachment and all pertinent papers are hereby returned to the
Court of origin for record and information. 7
Petitioners filed through counsel a Special Appearance with Motion to
Dismiss 8 on November 15, 2006. They asserted that the trial court did not
acquire jurisdiction over the corporation since the summons was improperly
served upon Claudia Abante (Abante), who is a mere liaison officer and not
one of the corporate officers specifically enumerated in Section 11, Rule 14 of
the Rules. Likewise, the individual petitioners argued that the sheriff and/or
process server did not personally approach them at their respective address
as stated in the Complaint. Neither did he resort to substituted service of
summons, and that, even if he did, there was no strict compliance with
Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules. The Court's pronouncements in Spouses
Mason v. Court of Appeals, 9 E. B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd. v. Judge
Benito, 10 Laus v. Court of Appeals, 11 and Samartino v. Raon 12 were invoked
in praying for the dismissal of the complaint and the discharge of the writ of
attachment.
Respondent countered in its Opposition with Motion to Declare
Defendants in Default 13 that there was valid service of summons upon
petitioners. With respect to the corporation, Abante received the summons
upon the express authority and instruction of the corporate secretary,
petitioner Melinda Ang (Ang). As regards the individual petitioners, the
Sheriff's Report reflects that they were served "at their given addresses, but
they refused to acknowledge receipt thereof."Respondent stressed that said
Report is prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein and that the sheriff
enjoys the presumption of regularity in the performance of his official
functions. In any case, it averred that, according to Oaminal v.
Castillo, 14 petitioners already voluntarily submitted to the court's jurisdiction
when they prayed for the discharge of the writ of attachment, which is an
affirmative relief apart from the dismissal of the case.
A Reply with Comment/Opposition (to the motion to declare defendants
in default) 15 was then filed by petitioners. In support of their contention that
the court lacks jurisdiction over their persons, they submitted their Joint
Affidavit 16 and the Affidavit 17 of Abante, claiming, among others, that they
neither personally met the sheriff and/or the process server nor were handed
a copy of the court documents; that Ang did not give Abante telephone
instructions to receive the same; and that Abante did not receive any
instruction from Ang. Petitioners further held that Oaminal finds no application
in the instant case since they only filed one motion and that the additional
relief prayed for, which is the discharge of the writ, is complementary to and a
necessary consequence of a finding that the court has no jurisdiction over
their persons. Instead, Our ruling in Avon Insurance PLC v. Court of
Appeals 18 was relied upon.
In its Rejoinder with Motion to Strike, 19 respondent stood firm in
defending the court's jurisdiction. The denials of Ang and Abante were viewed
as self-serving and could not prevail over the presumption of regularity which
the sheriff enjoys as an officer of the court. Even assuming that the Sheriff's
Return does not state in detail the fact that the summons was served upon the
individual petitioners through substituted service, respondent asserted that
this does not conclusively prove that such service is invalid because it may
still be shown through extraneous evidence similar to the case of BPI v.
Spouses Evangelista. 20
On March 29, 2007, the RTC denied petitioners' motion to dismiss and
respondent's motion to declare them in default. In upholding the jurisdiction of
the court over the persons of petitioners and requiring them to file an Answer,
the Order ratiocinated:
The very essence of service of summons is for the defendants
to be aware of an existing suit against them and for them to file an
answer or responsive pleading thereto. When corporate and individual
defendants were served with summons through the [liaison] officer who
received the same for and in their behalf as per instruction of
defendant Melinda Ang, and when defendants filed a responsive
pleading in the form of a Motion to Dismiss, the essence of service of
summons was met and defendants are deemed to have ultimately
received the summons despite their protestations. There is no reason
for the Court to doubt the regularity of the Sheriff's service of summons
as in fact its regularity is presumed. It bears stressing that defendants
did not per se deny having received summonses. Perforce, they are
challenging the manner of service of the same. Having ultimately
received the summonses upon them and considering the rules on
service of the same was substantially complied with, the Court finds no
reason to deny the instant Motion to Dismiss. 21
Petitioners elevated the jurisdictional issue to the CA via petition
for certiorari and prohibition. 22 As afore-stated, the appellate court later
dismissed the petition and denied the motion for reconsideration; hence, this
petition raising the following issues for resolution: DHITCc

I.
WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT ACQUIRED JURISDICTION
OVER THE PERSON OF THE DEFENDANT CORPORATION BY
SERVICE OF SUMMONS UPON ITS MERE EMPLOYEE.
II.
WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT ACQUIRED JURISDICTION
OVER THE PERSONS OF THE INDIVIDUAL DEFENDANTS BY
RESORTING TO SUBSTITUTED SERVICE OF SUMMONS DESPITE
ABSENCE OF EARNEST EFFORTS ON THE PART OF THE
SERVING OFFICER TO SERVE SUMMONS PERSONALLY. 23
We deny.
Summons is a writ by which the defendant is notified of the action
brought against him or her. 24 Its purpose is two-fold: to acquire jurisdiction
over the person of the defendant and to notify the defendant that an action
has been commenced so that he may be given an opportunity to be heard on
the claim against him. 25 "[C]ompliance with the rules regarding the service of
summons is as much an issue of due process as of jurisdiction. The essence
of due process is to be found in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and
submit any evidence one may have in support of his defense. It is elementary
that before a person can be deprived of his property, he should first be
informed of the claim against him and the theory on which such claim is
premised." 26
Service of summons on domestic corporation, partnership or other
juridical entity is governed by Section 11, Rule 14 of the Rules, which states:
SECTION 11. Service upon domestic private juridical entity. —
When the defendant is a corporation, partnership or association
organized under the laws of the Philippines with a juridical personality,
service may be made on the president, managing partner, general
manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house counsel.
When the defendant is a domestic corporation like herein petitioner,
service of summons may be made only upon the persons enumerated in
Section 11, Rule 14 of the Rules. 27 The enumeration of persons to whom
summons may be served is restricted, limited and exclusive following the rule
on statutory constructionexpressio unios est exclusio alterius. 28 Substantial
compliance cannot be invoked. 29 Service of summons upon persons other
than those officers specifically mentioned in Section 11, Rule 14 is void,
defective and not binding to said corporation. 30
Basic is the rule that a strict compliance with the mode of
service is necessary to confer jurisdiction of the court over a
corporation. The officer upon whom service is made must be one who
is named in the statute; otherwise, the service is insufficient. The
purpose is to render it reasonably certain that the corporation will
receive prompt and proper notice in an action against it or to insure
that the summons be served on a representative so integrated with the
corporation that such person will know what to do with the legal papers
served on him. 31
As correctly argued by petitioners, Sps. Mason already resolved that
substantial compliance on service of summons upon a domestic corporation is
no longer an excuse. Thus:
The question of whether the substantial compliance rule is still
applicable under Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure has been settled inVillarosa which applies squarely to the
instant case. In the said case, petitioner E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co.
Ltd. (hereafter Villarosa) with principal office address at 102 Juan Luna
St., Davao City and with branches at 2492 Bay View Drive, Tambo,
Parañaque, Metro Manila and Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro
City, entered into a sale with development agreement with private
respondent Imperial Development Corporation. As Villarosa failed to
comply with its contractual obligation, private respondent initiated a suit
for breach of contract and damages at the Regional Trial Court of
Makati. Summons, together with the complaint, was served upon
Villarosa through its branch manager at Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan
de Oro City. Villarosa filed a Special Appearance with Motion to
Dismiss on the ground of improper service of summons and lack of
jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion and ruled that there was
substantial compliance with the rule, thus, it acquired jurisdiction over
Villarosa. The latter questioned the denial before us in its petition
for certiorari. We decided in Villarosa's favor and declared the trial
court without jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case. We held that
there was no valid service of summons on Villarosa as service was
made through a person not included in the enumeration in Section 11,
Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which revised the
Section 13, Rule 14 of the 1964 Rules of Court. We discarded the trial
court's basis for denying the motion to dismiss, namely, private
respondent's substantial compliance with the rule on service of
summons, and fully agreed with petitioner's assertions that the
enumeration under the new rule is restricted, limited and exclusive,
following the rule in statutory construction thatexpressio unios est
exclusio alterius. Had the Rules of Court Revision Committee intended
to liberalize the rule on service of summons, we said, it could have
easily done so by clear and concise language. Absent a manifest intent
to liberalize the rule, we stressed strict compliance with Section 11,
Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
Neither can herein petitioners invoke our ruling in Millennium to
support their position for said case is not on all fours with the instant
case. We must stress that Millennium was decided when the
1964 Rules of Court were still in force and effect, unlike the instant
case which falls under the new rule. Hence, the cases cited by
petitioners where we upheld the doctrine of substantial compliance
must be deemed overturned by Villarosa, which is the later case. cEaSHC

At this juncture, it is worth emphasizing that notice to enable the


other party to be heard and to present evidence is not a mere
technicality or a trivial matter in any administrative or judicial
proceedings. The service of summons is a vital and indispensable
ingredient of due process. . . . 32
The foregoing notwithstanding, We agree with the CA that there was a
valid and effective service of summons upon petitioner corporation through its
liaison officer who acted as the agent of the corporate secretary. It ruled:
Petitioner corporation asserts that based on the said rule
[Section 11, Rule 14 of the Rules], the service of summons made by
the sheriff upon its liaison officer, Claudia Abante, was defective for the
reason that a liaison officer is not one of the corporate officers
enumerated therein upon whom service of summons is authorized to
be made. It contends that there having been no valid service, the trial
court consequently did not acquire jurisdiction to hear the complaint a
quo.
The contention deserves full credence only if it is to be assumed
that Claudia Abante received the summons in her official capacity as
petitioner corporation's liaison officer. However, this is not true in the
instant case, since according to the sheriff, Abante proceeded to
receive the summons and accompanying documents only after
receiving instructions to do so from Melinda Ang, an individual
petitioner herein and the petitioner corporation's corporate secretary. It
is clear, therefore, that Abante, in so receiving the summons, did so in
representation of Ang who, as corporate secretary, is one of the
officers competent under the Rules of Court to receive summons on
behalf of a private juridical person. Thus, while it may be true that there
was no direct, physical handing of the summons to Ang, the latter
could at least be charged with having constructively received the
same, which in Our view, amounts to a valid service of summons.
Having herself instructed Abante to receive the summons, Ang,
and for that matter, petitioner corporation, is thus now precluded from
impugning the jurisdiction of the trial court on the ground of invalid
service of summons. In point in this regard is the principle of estoppel
which, under our remedial laws, is an effective bar against any claim of
lack of jurisdiction. Under said doctrine, an admission or representation
is rendered conclusive upon the person making it and cannot be
denied or disproved as against the person relying thereon.
Thus, despite the assertions of Ang and Abante that, as
between them, no such instruction had been relayed and received, the
sheriff's statement belying the allegations should be accorded weight.
The sheriff's report is further bolstered by the presumption of
regularity in the performance of public duty as the same is provided for
in Rule 131 of the Rules of Court. The presumption applies so long as
it is shown that the officer, in performing his duties, is not inspired by
any improper motive, a fact that is true with the sheriff in the case at
bar. And, if the presumption may be made to apply to public officers in
general, with more reason should its benefit be accorded to the sheriff,
who is an officer of the court.
True, the presumption is disputable, but to overcome the same,
more concrete evidence than the affidavit of Abante is required. As
correctly pointed out by the respondent, in line with the ruling of the
Supreme Court in R. Transport Corporation vs. Court of
Appeals and Talsan Enterprises, Inc. vs. Baliwag, Abante's affidavit is
self-serving in nature, and being so, is not sufficient to overturn the
said presumption.
On this aspect, petitioners score the respondent, asserting that
the two above-cited cases are not applicable to the case at hand
inasmuch as these were decided before the advent of the 1997
Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, adding likewise that the cited cases
and the instant case differ in their respective factual milieus. We are
not persuaded. Under either the former or the present rules, it is clear
that Abante's denial that she received instructions from Ang is
evidence that would pale in comparison to the declaration of an officer
of the court indisputably performing his duty objectively and free from
any malicious and ill motives. 33
Petitioner corporation cannot conveniently rely on the sworn statements
of the individual petitioners and Abante. Upon examination, Ang's denial of
having spoken with any process server to give instruction to serve the
summons and other pertinent papers to Abante 34 is not incompatible with the
Sheriff's Report stating that "[s]aid summons and all pertinent papers, upon
telephone instruction of defendant Melinda Ang, were received by Claudia
Abante, [defendants'] [Liaison] Officer, as evidenced by her signature at the
original copy of Summons and Writ." While it may be true that Ang had not
talked to the sheriff or process server, it still does not rule out the possibility
that she in fact spoke to Abante and instructed the latter to receive the
documents in her behalf. As to the Affidavit of Abante, her disavowal of having
spoken to Ang or receiving telephone instructions from her is truly self-
serving. Evidence as simple as a telephone billing statement or an affidavit of
a disinterested third person, among others, could have been presented to
refute the sheriff's claim, but there was none. Likewise, no substantial proofs
were credibly shown to support Abante's allegation that the sheriff insisted on
having the court processes received and that she was "intimidated by the
presence of a court personnel who was quite earnest in accomplishing his
task." 35
It is well to note that the certificate of service of the process server
is prima facie evidence of the facts as set out therein. This is fortified by the
presumption of the regularity of performance of official duty. To overcome the
presumption of regularity of official functions in favor of such sheriff's return,
the evidence against it must be clear and convincing. Sans the requisite
quantum of proof to the contrary, the presumption stands deserving of faith
and credit. 36CTIEac

The same conclusion, however, could not be said with respect to the
service of summons upon the individual petitioners.
Section 7, in relation to Section 6, Rule 14 of the Rules, provides for
substituted service of summons:
Section 6. Service in person on defendant. — Whenever
practicable, the summons shall be served by handling a copy thereof
to the defendant in person, or, if he refuses to receive and sign for it,
by tendering it to him.
Section 7. Substituted service. — If, for justifiable causes, the
defendant cannot be served within a reasonable time as provided in
the preceding section, service may be effected (a) by leaving copies of
the summons at the defendant's residence with some person of
suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving the
copies at defendant's office or regular place of business with some
competent person in charge thereof.
Sections 6 and 7 of the Rules cannot be construed to apply
simultaneously and do not provide for alternative modes of service of
summons which can either be resorted to on the mere basis of convenience
to the parties for, under our procedural rules, service of summons in the
persons of the defendants is generally preferred over substituted
service. 37 Resort to the latter is permitted when the summons cannot be
promptly served on the defendant in person and after stringent formal and
substantive requirements have been complied with. 38 The failure to comply
faithfully, strictly and fully with all the requirements of substituted service
renders the service of summons ineffective. 39
Manotoc v. Court of Appeals 40 painstakingly elucidated the
requirements of the Rules as follows:
We can break down this section into the following requirements
to effect a valid substituted service:
(1) Impossibility of Prompt Personal Service
The party relying on substituted service or the sheriff must show
that defendant cannot be served promptly or there is impossibility of
prompt service. Section 8, Rule 14 provides that the plaintiff or the
sheriff is given a "reasonable time" to serve the summons to the
defendant in person, but no specific time frame is mentioned.
"Reasonable time" is defined as "so much time as is necessary under
the circumstances for a reasonably prudent and diligent man to do,
conveniently, what the contract or duty requires that should be done,
having a regard for the rights and possibility of loss, if any[,] to the
other party." Under the Rules, the service of summons has no set
period. However, when the court, clerk of court, or the plaintiff asks the
sheriff to make the return of the summons and the latter submits the
return of summons, then the validity of the summons lapses. The
plaintiff may then ask for an alias summons if the service of summons
has failed. What then is a reasonable time for the sheriff to effect a
personal service in order to demonstrate impossibility of prompt
service? To the plaintiff, "reasonable time" means no more than seven
(7) days since an expeditious processing of a complaint is what a
plaintiff wants. To the sheriff, "reasonable time" means 15 to 30 days
because at the end of the month, it is a practice for the branch clerk of
court to require the sheriff to submit a return of the summons assigned
to the sheriff for service. The Sheriff's Return provides data to the Clerk
of Court, which the clerk uses in the Monthly Report of Cases to be
submitted to the Office of the Court Administrator within the first ten
(10) days of the succeeding month. Thus, one month from the
issuance of summons can be considered "reasonable time" with regard
to personal service on the defendant.
Sheriffs are asked to discharge their duties on the service of
summons with due care, utmost diligence, and reasonable promptness
and speed so as not to prejudice the expeditious dispensation of
justice. Thus, they are enjoined to try their best efforts to accomplish
personal service on defendant. On the other hand, since the defendant
is expected to try to avoid and evade service of summons, the sheriff
must be resourceful, persevering, canny, and diligent in serving the
process on the defendant. For substituted service of summons to be
available, there must be several attempts by the sheriff to personally
serve the summons within a reasonable period [of one month] which
eventually resulted in failure to prove impossibility of prompt service.
"Several attempts" means at least three (3) tries, preferably on at least
two different dates. In addition, the sheriff must cite why such efforts
were unsuccessful. It is only then that impossibility of service can be
confirmed or accepted.
(2) Specific Details in the Return
The sheriff must describe in the Return of Summons the facts
and circumstances surrounding the attempted personal service. The
efforts made to find the defendant and the reasons behind the failure
must be clearly narrated in detail in the Return. The date and time of
the attempts on personal service, the inquiries made to locate the
defendant, the name/s of the occupants of the alleged residence or
house of defendant and all other acts done, though futile, to serve the
summons on defendant must be specified in the Return to justify
substituted service. The form on Sheriff's Return of Summons on
Substituted Service prescribed in the Handbook for Sheriffs published
by the Philippine Judicial Academy requires a narration of the efforts
made to find the defendant personally and the fact of failure. Supreme
Court Administrative Circular No. 5 dated November 9, 1989 requires
that "impossibility of prompt service should be shown by stating the
efforts made to find the defendant personally and the failure of such
efforts," which should be made in the proof of service. SaCIDT

(3) A Person of Suitable Age and Discretion


If the substituted service will be effected at defendant's house or
residence, it should be left with a person of "suitable age and discretion
then residing therein." A person of suitable age and discretion is one
who has attained the age of full legal capacity (18 years old) and is
considered to have enough discernment to understand the importance
of a summons. "Discretion" is defined as "the ability to make decisions
which represent a responsible choice and for which an understanding
of what is lawful, right or wise may be presupposed". Thus, to be of
sufficient discretion, such person must know how to read and
understand English to comprehend the import of the summons, and
fully realize the need to deliver the summons and complaint to the
defendant at the earliest possible time for the person to take
appropriate action. Thus, the person must have the "relation of
confidence" to the defendant, ensuring that the latter would receive or
at least be notified of the receipt of the summons. The sheriff must
therefore determine if the person found in the alleged dwelling or
residence of defendant is of legal age, what the recipient's relationship
with the defendant is, and whether said person comprehends the
significance of the receipt of the summons and his duty to immediately
deliver it to the defendant or at least notify the defendant of said receipt
of summons. These matters must be clearly and specifically described
in the Return of Summons.
(4) A Competent Person in Charge
If the substituted service will be done at defendant's office or
regular place of business, then it should be served on a competent
person in charge of the place. Thus, the person on whom the
substituted service will be made must be the one managing the office
or business of defendant, such as the president or manager; and such
individual must have sufficient knowledge to understand the obligation
of the defendant in the summons, its importance, and the prejudicial
effects arising from inaction on the summons. Again, these details
must be contained in the Return. 41
In resorting to the substituted service, the sheriff in this case pithily
declared in his Report that he "also served copies to other defendants at their
given addresses, but they refused to acknowledge receipt thereof." Obviously,
the Sheriff's Report dated November 13, 2006 does not particularize why
substituted service was resorted to and the precise manner by which the
summons was served upon the individual petitioners. The disputable
presumption that an official duty has been regularly performed will not apply
where it is patent from the sheriff's or server's return that it is defective. 42
To avail themselves of substituted service of summons, courts must rely
on a detailed enumeration of the sheriff's actions and a showing that the
defendant cannot be served despite diligent and reasonable efforts. 43 The
Court requires that the Sheriff's Return clearly and convincingly show the
impracticability or hopelessness of personal service. 44 The impossibility of
personal service justifying availment of substituted service should be
explained in the proof of service; why efforts exerted towards personal service
failed. The pertinent facts and circumstances attendant to the service of
summons must be stated in the proof of service or Officer's Return; otherwise,
the substituted service cannot be upheld. 45
Under exceptional terms, the circumstances warranting substituted
service of summons may be proved by evidence aliunde. 46 Substituted
service will still be considered as regular if other evidence of the efforts to
serve summons was presented. 47 BPI v. Spouses Evangelista 48 teaches Us
that a defect in the service of summons, which is apparent on the face of the
return, does not necessarily constitute conclusive proof that the actual service
has in fact been improperly made. In the interest of speedy justice, the trial
court has to immediately ascertain whether the patent defect is real and, if so,
to fully determine whether prior attempts at personal service have in fact been
done and resort to the substituted service was justified. Should the returns not
show compliance with the Rules on substituted service, actual and correct
service may still be proven by evidence extraneous to it. If substituted service
is indeed improper, the trial court must issue new summons and serve it in
accordance with the Rules.
In the present case, while no actual hearing was conducted to verify the
validity of the grounds for substituted service of summons, the parties
exchanged pleadings in support of their respective positions. To justify,
respondent contends:
34. In the instant case, representatives of the undersigned
counsel and plaintiff RCBC personally observed the service of
summons on the defendants. Based on their account, the following
facts and circumstances transpired:
a. On [October 26, 2006], the Sheriff served
summons on defendant NPGI at the G/F BPI Building,
Rizal Street, Candelaria, Quezon, the reported office
address of defendant NPGI in the latter's General
Information Sheet submitted with the Securities and
Exchange Commission.
a.1. In the said address, the Sheriff met a
person who introduced herself as Ms. Claudia
Abante, the Liaison [Officer] of defendant NPGI.
a.2. Upon inquiry, the Sheriff was informed
that defendants NPGI Officers were all not around
to receive the summons for defendant NPGI
considering that, according to Ms. Abante, the
defendant NPGI Directors do not hold office at
said address.
a.3. However, Ms. Abante volunteered to
call defendant Melinda Ang on the phone to inform
her that summons was beings served upon
defendant NPGI. cHECAS

a.4. Subsequently, Ms. Abante informed the


Sheriff that defendant Melinda Ang authorized her
to receive the summons for defendant NPGI.
a.5. Considering that she claimed to be
authorized by defendant Melinda Ang, who is the
Corporate Secretary of defendant NPGI, to receive
the summons on behalf of defendant NPGI, the
Sheriff entrusted the same to her, as well as
the Complaint and the Writ of Attachment, among
others, and Ms. Abante voluntarily signed the
receiving copy thereof.
a.6. The Sheriff did not intimidate Ms.
Abante into receiving the summons. In fact, she
volunteered to receive the same.
b. Copies of the Complaint, summons and Writ of
Attachment, among others, were likewise served to
defendant NPGI at its office located at 39th Floor,
Yuchengco Tower, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue,
corner Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City, Metro Manila
('RCBC Plaza Office').
b.1. The personnel from said office also
stated that all the defendant NPGI Directors were
not around and were probably at home. As such, a
copy of the Complaint, summons and Writ of
Attachment, among others, were left with said
office.
c. Thereafter, summons on the individual
defendants were served at the following addresses:
c.1. Renato Ang, Nena Ang, Melinda Ang,
Pauline Ang — 1348 Palm Avenue, Dasmariñas
Village, Makati City;
c.2. Guillermo Sy and Alison Sy — 1320
Glorioso Streets, Dasmariñas Village, Makati City;
c.3. Nelson Ang, Luisa Ang — 19 Swallow
Drive, Greenmeadows, Quezon City;
c.4. Mario Ang — Diamond Furniture,
Cabunyag Street, Candelaria, Quezon; and
c.5. Ricky Ang — Rizal Street, Candelaria,
Quezon.
d. Upon service of the summons upon them, it
became apparent that the individual defendants were
evading service of summons considering that the sheriff
was being given a runaround.
d.1. In their respective residences, their
house helpers stated that the individual
defendants were not at home but in the RCBC
Plaza Office.
d.2. However, considering that the Sheriff
had already been to the RCBC Plaza Office and
the personnel at said office previously stated that
all the defendants were not at said office, it
became apparent that all the defendants were
trying to evade service of summons.
d.3. Given the obvious attempt of
defendants to evade service of summons, it was
futile for the Sheriff to go back to the RCBC Plaza
Office.
d.4. Hence, summons were served to the
individual defendants through substituted service
by entrusting the same to their house helpers
residing at the respective addresses, all of whom
are of suitable age and discretion.
xxx xxx xxx
36. Indeed, in the instant case, contrary to the allegations
contained in the Motion to Dismiss, the summons were properly served
to the individual defendants through substituted service considering
that there were justifiable causes existing which prevented personal
service upon all the individual defendants within a reasonable time.
36.1. It should be noted that aside from defendant
NPGI, there are ten (10) other individual defendants in
the instant case who are residing in addresses which are
far apart (i.e., Makati City, Pasig City, City of Manila and
Quezon Province).
36.2. Summons were attempted to be served to all
defendant NPGI Directors, Luisa Ang, Guillermo Sy and
Pauline Ang on the following addresses:
1. Renato Ang, Nena Ang, Melinda Ang, Pauline Ang — 1348
Palm Avenue, Dasmariñas Village, Makati City;
2. Guillermo Sy and Alison Sy — 1320 Glorioso Streets,
Dasmariñas Village, Makati City;
3. Nelson Ang, Luisa Ang — 19 Swallow Drive, Greenmeadows,
Quezon City;
4. Mario Ang — Diamond Furniture, Cabunyag Street, Candelaria,
Quezon; and AHDacC

5. Ricky Ang — Rizal Street, Candelaria, Quezon.


36.3. To require the sheriff to return several times
at the residences of the ten (10) defendants as
suggested by the defendants, despite the apparent
intention of the defendants to evade service of summons,
and the considerable distances between all their
residences (i.e., Makati City, Pasig City, City of Manila
and Quezon Province), would clearly be unreasonable. 49
According to respondent's version, copies of the complaint, summons
and writ of attachment, among others, were served to petitioner corporation at
its offices in Candelaria, Quezon and RCBC Plaza. In the Quezon office, the
sheriff was informed that the individual petitioners were all not around to
receive the summons for the corporation considering that they do not hold
office at said address. Likewise, a staff from the RCBC Plaza office stated that
all them were not around and were probably at home. Thereafter, summons
was served on the individual petitioners at their respective addresses in
Makati City, Quezon City, and Candelaria, Quezon. Their house helpers told
that they were not at home but were in the RCBC Plaza office. Considering
that the sheriff already went there and its personnel said that they were not at
said office, it became apparent on the sheriff that the individual petitioners
were trying to evade service of summons. Thus, given this predicament, it
was futile for him to go back to the RCBC Plaza office.
It is argued that the summons was properly served to the individual
petitioners through substituted service because there were justifiable causes
existing which prevented personal service within a reasonable period of time.
Respondent asserts that requiring the sheriff to return several times at the
residences of the ten (10) individual petitioners despite their intention to evade
service of summons and the considerable distances of their residences would
clearly be unreasonable.
Respondent's explanations do not suffice.
In the instant case, it appears that the sheriff hastily and capriciously
resorted to substituted service of summons without actually exerting any
genuine effort to locate the individual petitioners. The "reasonable time" within
which to personally serve the summons — 7 days for the plaintiff or 15-30
days for the sheriff as stated in Manotoc — has not yet elapsed at the time the
substituted service was opted to. Remarkably, based on the Sheriff's Report
and the narration of petitioners, the personal service of summons upon the
corporation and the individual petitioners as well as the levy of their personal
and real properties were all done in just one day. Manotoc stresses that for
substituted service of summons to be available, there must be several
attempts by the sheriff to personally serve the summons within a reasonable
period which eventually resulted in failure in order to prove impossibility of
prompt service. To reiterate, "several attempts" means at least three (3) tries,
preferably on at least two different dates.
Further, except for the Quezon Province, there is, in fact, no
considerable distance between the residences of the individual petitioners
since the cities of Makati and Quezon are part of the National Capital Region;
hence, accessible either by private or public modes of transportation.
Assuming that there is, the distance would not have been insurmountable had
respondent took its time and not unnecessarily rushed to accomplish personal
service in just a single day.
Finally, respondent alleges that the summons was served to the
individual petitioners through substituted service by entrusting the same to
their house helpers, all of whom are of suitable age and discretion. It did not,
however, elaborate that these persons know how to read and understand
English to comprehend the import of the summons, and fully realize the need
to deliver the summons and complaint to the individual petitioners at the
earliest possible time for them to take appropriate action. There is no way for
Us to conclusively ascertain that the sheriff ensured, among others, that the
persons found in the alleged dwelling or residence comprehend the
significance of the receipt of the summons and the duty to immediately deliver
it to the individual petitioners or at least notify them of said receipt of
summons.
The foregoing considered, it can be deduced that since there were no
actual efforts exerted and no positive steps undertaken to earnestly locate the
individual petitioners, there is no basis to convincingly say that they evaded
the personal service of summons and merely gave the sheriff a run-around,
thus, justifying substituted service upon them.
Despite improper service of summons upon their persons, the individual
petitioners are deemed to have submitted to the jurisdiction of the court
through their voluntary appearance. The second sentence of Section
20, 50 Rule 14 of the Rules that "[t]he inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other
grounds aside from lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant shall
not be deemed a voluntary appearance" clearly refers to affirmative
defenses, not affirmative reliefs. 51
In the present case, the individual petitioners prayed, among others, for
the following: (1) discharge of the writ of attachment on their properties; (2)
denial of the motion to declare them in default; (3) admission of the
Comment/Opposition (to the motion to declare them in default) filed on
December 19, 2006; and (4) denial of respondent's motion to strike off from
the records (their opposition to the motion to declare them in default). By
seeking affirmative reliefs from the trial court, the individual petitioners are
deemed to have voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of said court. A party
cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief against his
opponent and after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or
question that same jurisdiction. 52 Therefore, the CA cannot be considered to
have erred in affirming the trial court's denial of the Special Appearance with
Motion to Dismiss for alleged improper service of summons. IDSEAH

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The


December 12, 2007 Decision and June 17, 2008 Resolution of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 98787, which sustained the March 29, 2007
Order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, Makati City, in Civil Case No.
06-882, are hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
(Nation Petroleum Gas, Inc. v. Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., G.R. No.
|||

183370 , [August 17, 2015])

G. Voluntary Appearance (Section 20, Rule 14)

Case: Sunrise Garden Corp. CA 771 SCRA 616

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 158836. September 30, 2015.]

SUNRISE GARDEN CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. COURT OF


APPEALS and FIRST ALLIANCE REAL ESTATE
DEVELOPMENT, INC., respondents.

[G.R. No. 158967. September 30, 2015.]


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by ANTIPOLO
CITY, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and FIRST
ALLIANCE REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT, INC., respondents.

[G.R. No. 160726. September 30, 2015.]

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by Antipolo


City, petitioner, vs. FIRST ALLIANCE REAL ESTATE
DEVELOPMENT, INC., respondent.

[G.R. No. 160778. September 30, 2015.]

SUNRISE GARDEN CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. FIRST


ALLIANCE REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT, INC., respondent.

DECISION

LEONEN, J : p

A person who is not a party in the main action cannot be the subject of
the ancillary writ of preliminary injunction. These consolidated petitions arose
out of a pending case between Sunrise Garden Corporation and Hardrock
Aggregates, Inc. First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was not a party
to that case. IDaEHC

In 1998, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Antipolo City passed City


Ordinance No. 08-98 1 entitled "An Ordinance Creating a Technical
Committee to Conduct a Feasibility Study, Preliminary and Parcellary Survey
for the Proposed Construction of a City Road Connecting Four (4) Barangays
in Antipolo City (Barangay Cupang, Mayamot, Mabugan and Munting Dilao)
Starting from the Boundary of Cupang and Rancho Estate Subdivision in
Marikina City Traversing Marcos Highway and Sumulong Highway Up to
Barangay Munting Dilao, Antipolo City Exiting or Egressing to Imelda Avenue,
Cainta, Rizal and Appropriating the Amount of Five Million (P5,000,000.00)
Pesos Therefore." 2
In 1999, the Sangguniang Barangay of Cupang requested the
Sangguniang Panlungsod of Antipolo City to construct a city road to connect
Barangay Cupang and Marcos Highway. 3 The request was approved through
the enactment of Resolusyon Blg. 027-99. 4
The Technical Committee created by City Ordinance No. 08-98 posted
notices to property owners that would be affected by the construction of the
city road. 5The notices stated:
NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC
PURSUANT TO CITY ORDINANCE NO. 08-98 DATED:
NOVEMBER 11, 1998 AND BARANGAY RESOLUTION NO. 027-99
OF CUPANG BARANGAY COUNCIL, DATED SEPTEMBER 10, 1999,
CITY ROAD (PHASE I), THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS HEREBY
NOTIFIED THAT THE CITY GOVERNMENT OF ANTIPOLO IS
GOING TO CONSTRUCT THE 20.00 METERS WIDE CITY ROAD,
LINKING MARCOS HIGHWAY TO ANTIPOLO-SAN MATEO
NATIONAL ROAD (C-6), ALL PROPERTY OWNERS AFFECTED
ARE ENJOINED TO SEE THE PLANNING OFFICER OF ANTIPOLO
CITY FOR DETAILS OF THE PROGRAM. 6
In 2002, Engr. Eligio Cruz, Project Coordinator, submitted a report 7 to
the City Mayor, 8 a portion of which states:
3. Pilot Road had been determined and property owners had
been appraised [sic] like M[r]. Armando Carpio who owns majority of
the affected lots[,] Mr. Alonzo Espanola of Hard Rock, Heavens Gate,
Josefina Santos through Mr. Manuel Santos, Jr., Heirs of Crispulo
Zapanta through Vice Mayor Lorenzo Zapanta, Gaudencio Caluma,
RCR Realty, Maxima Matias, Heirs of Gabriel Martinez through Sec.
Martinez an[d] several actual occupants in the course traversed by the
Pilot Road[.] 9
Sunrise Garden Corporation was an affected landowner. Its property
was located in Barangay Cupang, which Sunrise Garden Corporation planned
to develop into a memorial park. 10
Sunrise Garden Corporation, through Cesar T. Guy, Chair of the Board
of Directors, executed an Undertaking 11 where Sunrise Garden Corporation
would construct the city road at its own expense, subject to reimbursement
through tax credits. 12 A portion of the Undertaking states:
That I am the owner in fee simple of several parcels of land
situated at Cupang, Antipolo, Rizal with a consolidated area of 116
Hectares, more or less;
xxx xxx xxx
That I have applied for the development of the aforestated
consolidated lots into a memorial park known as "SUNRISE
GARDEN["];
That setting aside of and/or providing a 6 hectares City Park is
among the conditions set forth by the Antipolo, [sic] City council in the
approval of the said project;
xxx xxx xxx
That I am willing to undertake and finance development of the
City Park and City Road connecting Marcos Highway to Marikina —
San Mateo — Antipolo National Highway which cost shall be applied to
our [t]axes and other fees payable to the City Government;
That I am willing to sign and execute all legal instrument
necessary to transfer ownership of the same to the City
government[.] 13
The city road project, thus, became a joint project of the Sangguniang
Panlungsod of Antipolo, Barangay Cupang, Barangay Mayamot, and Sunrise
Garden Corporation. 14 DTCSHA

Sunrise Garden Corporation's contractor 15 began to position its


construction equipment. 16 However, armed guards, 17 allegedly hired by
Hardrock Aggregates, Inc., prevented Sunrise Garden Corporation's
contractor from using an access road to move the construction equipment. 18
On January 24, 2002, Sunrise Garden Corporation filed a
Complaint 19 for damages with prayer for temporary restraining order and writ
of preliminary injunction against Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. 20
Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. filed its Answer to the Complaint. 21
The trial court issued a temporary restraining order on February 15,
2002, "directing Hardrock to cease and desist from preventing/blocking the
contractor in moving its equipment to the site of the proposed city road." 22
Undaunted by the temporary restraining order, Hardrock Aggregates,
Inc. continued to block the movement of the construction equipment. 23
On March 19, 2002, the trial court ordered the issuance of a Writ of
Preliminary Injunction, subject to the posting of a bond by Sunrise Garden
Corporation. 24On March 22, 2002, the Writ of Preliminary Injunction was
issued. 25
While the Complaint was pending, informal settlers started to encroach
on the area of the proposed city road. 26
Sunrise Garden Corporation, thus, filed a Motion and Manifestation on
May 16, 2002, 27 praying for the amendment of the Writ of Preliminary
Injunction "to include any and all persons or group of persons from interfering,
preventing or obstructing all of petitioner's contractors, equipment personnel
and representatives in proceeding with the construction of the city road as
authorized by Ordinance No. 08-98 of Antipolo City. 28
The trial court granted Sunrise Garden Corporation's Motion and
Manifestation and issued an Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction 29 on
May 22, 2002, 30stating:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED by the undersigned Judge of this
Court, that, until further orders, you, the said defendant and all your
attorneys, representatives, agents and any other persons assisting you
including any and all persons or groups of persons from interfering,
preventing or obstructing all of plaintiff's contractors, equipment
personnel and representatives in proceeding with the construction of a
new access road as authorized by the Antipolo City Government and
Barangay Cupang, leading to its memorial project site. As necessary,
the services of Deputy Sheriff Rolando P. Palmares can be sought to
enforce this Writ.
Antipolo City, this 22nd day of May 2002. 31
In compliance with the Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction, the
informal settlers allowed the construction equipment passage to the city road
project. The construction of the city road then continued. 32
Thereafter, armed guards of K-9 Security Agency, allegedly hired by
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc., 33 blocked Sunrise Garden
Corporation's contractor's employees and prevented them from proceeding
with the construction. 34
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc., through its representative
Mr. Boy Pineda, requested to have a dialogue with Sunrise Garden
Corporation. 35 It was agreed that the meeting would be between the
representatives of First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. and Sunrise
Garden Corporation. 36 A meeting was scheduled on October 8, 2002 to be
held at the Office of the City Planning. 37 On the day of the meeting, First
Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s representative, however, did not
arrive. 38
A verification with the Business Permit, License and Franchising Office
of the City Mayor 39 revealed that First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.
had no business record, and K-9 Security Agency had no permit to post
guards. 40
A Motion to cite K-9 Security Agency in contempt was filed on October
11, 2002 41 by Sunrise Garden Corporation. 42 CScTED

On November 11, 2002, K-9 Security Agency, joined by First Alliance


Real Estate Development, Inc. and represented by the same
counsel, 43 opposed the Motion to cite them in contempt, raising the defense
of lack of jurisdiction over their persons, since they were not bound by the
Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction. 44 The Opposition 45 stated that:
1.3 The purpose of the Writ of Injunction is to preserve the
relation between the parties during the pendency of the suit. This
cannot be applied to K-9 and the Security Guards who are not parties
in the case. Neither did they claim authority from the defendant, for
which reason this Honorable Court did not acquire jurisdiction over
them and could not validly enforce the Amended Writ of Injunction
against them. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
1.5 Moreover, insofar as the K-9 and the Security Guards are
concerned, the amended Writ of Injunction is void, for lack of notice to
them, in accordance with Sec. 5, Rule 58, Rules of Civil
Procedure quoted in part as follows:
"Section 5. Preliminary Injunction not granted
without notice; exception. — no preliminary injunction
shall be granted without hearing and prior notice to the
party or person sought to be enjoined . . . ." 46 (Emphasis
supplied, citation omitted)
It was further alleged in the Opposition that Sunrise Garden Corporation
was intruding into First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s titled
properties. 47
On November 15, 2002, Sunrise Garden Corporation filed an Ex-
parte Motion to require K-9 Security Agency and First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. to comply with the May 22, 2002 Amended Writ of
Preliminary Injunction. 48
The trial court granted Sunrise Garden Corporation's Motion and issued
an Order dated November 22, 2002 requiring K-9 Security Agency to comply
with the Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction. 49
Despite the issuance of the Order to comply, security guards dressed in
civilian clothes still allegedly prevented the workers from proceeding to the
construction site on November 28, 2002. 50
Engr. Eligio Cruz, the Project Coordinator, spoke to the guards of K-9
Security Agency on the site and showed them a copy of the Order issued by
the trial court. 51 A copy of the Order shown to the guards was allegedly
already served by Sheriff Roland Palmares and received by K-9 Security
Agency's Bagong Nayon Office and First Alliance Real Estate Development,
Inc. 52 However, the guards replied that they were under Forefront Security
Agency, not K-9 Security Agency. 53 The guards informed Engr. Eligio Cruz
that First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. ordered them not to allow
the city road construction. 54
On November 29, 2002, Engr. Eligio Cruz wrote a letter-report 55 to
Hon. Mauricio M. Rivera, Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of
Antipolo City, 56 as follows:
Relative to the Order dated November 22, 2002, I wish to inform
this Honorable Court that on November 28, 2002 at about 1:30 P.M.
several K-9 Security Guards dressed in civilian clothes armed with
shotguns, scattered and deployed in ambush position on the mountain
slope of the property of Armando Carpio, blocked the buldozer [sic]
clearing the City Road which had barely began [sic].
The undersigned explained to the four guards who approached
the contents of the Order and showed to the team leader (who refused
to give his name) the copy served by Sheriff Roland Palmares and
received by their Bagong Nayon Office as well as their principal First
Alliance Realty Corp.
That the aforestated team leader answered back that they are
now under FOREFRONT SECURITY AGENCY and have nothing to do
with K-9 SECURITY subject of the order. Further the same guards are
under the control of Officer-in-Charge ROLAND TOMINES, and have
instructions from their principal FIRST ALLIANCE REALTY not to allow
the construction of the City Road. cDCEIA

IN VIEW of the foregoing incident, which constitute [sic] a clear


defiance of the order, I am constrained to report the matters to this
Honorable Court for disposition. 57
On November 29, 2002, Sunrise Garden Corporation filed a Motion to
cite Forefront Security Agency and First Alliance Real Estate Development,
Inc. in contempt. 58 Sunrise Garden Corporation alleged that First Alliance
Real Estate Development, Inc. was notified and voluntarily submitted to the
jurisdiction of the court. 59 Sunrise Garden Corporation also alleged that First
Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. adopted K-9 Security Agency's
Opposition. 60
On December 4, 2002, K-9 Security Agency filed a Motion for
Reconsideration of the November 22, 2002 Order. 61 Allegedly attached to the
Motion were photocopies of TCT Nos. 342073-76 and 337784 to show that
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was the registered owner of the
parcel of land where the pieces of construction equipment were being
placed. 62
Apparently, to resolve the issue of ownership raised by First Alliance
Real Estate Development, Inc., the trial court ordered on December 9, 2002
the City Planning and Development Office to conduct a table survey of the
affected properties. 63 The Order 64 states:
When this case was called for hearing today, counsel for First
Alliance Realty Corporation submitted the xerox copies of titles of the
Property which according to him are inside the area being built as city
road. Plaintiff's counsel also argued that the tiles [sic] of First Alliance
are outside the area where the road will traverse. . . .
Now, each of the parties are authorized to send a representative
for the purpose of table survey and whatever the result of the table
survey, City Planning and Development Office shall submit a report
before this Court within five (5) days from the termination of table
survey. The table survey would contain the signatures of each
representative, the representative of the [sic] Sunrise and the
representative of First Alliance. 65
On December 27, 2002, P/Supt. Jose Fenix Dayao of Antipolo City
dispatched SPO4 Conrado Abren Soza and other police officers to inspect the
construction site. 66 Upon arrival, the police officers were fired at by the
security guards of Forefront Security Agency. 67
On January 15, 2003, the City Planning and Development Office,
through Edgardo T. Cruz, reported 68 to the court that it could not accomplish
the table survey, as required by the trial court in its Order dated December 9,
2002, because the Register of Deeds could not provide copies of First
Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s transfer certificates of
title. 69 Attached to the City Planning and Development Office's report was a
letter 70 from the Register of Deeds of Marikina City, stating that a certain Atty.
Benjamin A. Flestado had filed a similar request in 2001, which request was
forwarded to the Land Registration Authority. 71 Allegedly, the existing request
for verification shows that First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. could
not acquire a favorable report from the Land Registration Authority proving
ownership over the property. 72
On January 29, 2003, the trial court issued an Order stating that since
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. could not prove ownership over
the properties, then First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. or any of its
hired security agencies must comply with the Amended Writ of Preliminary
Injunction. 73Portions of the January 29, 2003 Order 74 read:
Considering the fact that the First Alliance Realty Corporation
could not prove that the titles of their land will be traversed or affected
in the road construction being made by Sunrise Garden Corporation[,]
it is incumbent [upon] the former to produce the certified copies of the
Certificate of Titles of the First Alliance Realty Corporation to this Court
so that the same will be sent to the CPDC of Antipolo City for the
compliance of the Court order to make a table survey. As it is now, the
First Alliance Realty Corporation is bound to comply with the amended
injunction order of this Court dated November 22, 2002 wherein it is
ordered that "IT IS HEREBY ORDERED by the undersigned Judge of
this Court, that, until further orders, you, the said defendant and all
your attorneys, representatives, agents and any other persons
assisting you including any and all persons or groups of persons from
interfering, preventing or obstructing all plaintiff's contractors,
equipment personnel and representatives in proceeding with the
construction of a new access road as authorized by the Antipolo City
Government and Barangay Cupang, leading to its memorial project
site. . . .
WHEREFORE, the First Alliance Realty Corporation or any of
its Security Agencies acting as guard assigned in the Land must
comply with the amended writ of preliminary injunction, as above
mentioned. 75
K-9 Security Agency and First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.
filed a Motion for Reconsideration 76 reiterating their arguments that since the
trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over them, the Writ of Preliminary
Injunction could not be enforced against them. 77 First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. and K-9 Security Agency's Motion for Reconsideration was
denied. 78 DHESca

First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. thus filed a Petition


for Certiorari with prayer for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining
order before the Court of Appeals. 79 This was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No.
75758. 80
In a Resolution dated March 7, 2003, the Court of Appeals issued ex-
parte a temporary restraining order valid for 60 days. 81
In the same Resolution, the Court of Appeals required the Office of the
Solicitor General to comment on the Petition for Certiorari. 82 The Office of the
Solicitor General then entered its appearance and filed its Comment. 83
The Court of Appeals held two hearings with regard to the prayer for the
issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction. 84 During the hearing on April 24,
2003, Justice Sabio requested counsels 85 of the parties to maintain the status
quo even after the lapse of the effectivity of the temporary restraining order,
as follows: 86
J. SABIO:
If we can have a word of honor among gentlemen that until the case
would be decided there should be no, [sic] if we maintain the
status quo. A gentleman's agreement. With the assurance that
the court will resolve the incident at the earliest possible time. 87
On June 20, 2003, the Court of Appeals issued a Writ of Preliminary
Injunction. 88 The Resolution 89 stated:
It will be recalled that in the hearing of the prayer for injunctive
relief sought in this case last April 24, 2003, there was a gentleman's
agreement among counsels of parties that status quo be maintained
until such time that the main case will be resolved by this Court.
Petitioner, however, through a motion informed this Court that
private respondents are threatening to bulldoze the property subject
matter of this litigation. Petitioner further stated that such act of private
respondent will render judgment hereon moot and academic. Under
such circumstances, we are left with no choice but to issue the
injunctive relief sought, considering further that the issuance thereof is
warranted.
WHEREFORE, let a writ of Preliminary Injunction be issued
conditioned upon petitioner's posting of a cash or surety bond in the
amount of P200,000.00 to answer for the damages which may be
sustained by private respondent by reason of this injunction or if the
court should finally decide that the applicant is not entitled thereto.
After which, the Division Clerk of Court is directed to issue the writ of
preliminary injunction enjoining respondents, its agents or
representatives from implementing public respondent's amended writ
of injunction dated May 22, 2002, January 29, 2003 and February 24,
2003 Orders. 90 (Citation omitted)
Sunrise Garden Corporation and the Republic of the Philippines,
through the Office of the Solicitor General, separately filed Petitions
for Certiorari and Prohibition, with prayer for temporary restraining order and
writ of preliminary injunction assailing the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued
by the Court of Appeals. Sunrise Garden Corporation's Petition 91 was
docketed as G.R. No. 158836, and the Republic of the Philippines'
Petition 92 was docketed as G.R. No. 158967.
Sunrise Garden Corporation offered 93 to post a bond as provided under
Rule 58, Section 6 94 of the Rules of Court and prayed that this court issue a
temporary restraining order to prevent the Court of Appeals from
implementing the Writ of Preliminary Injunction. 95
Republic of the Philippines subsequently filed a Supplemental
Petition 96 for Certiorari on August 21, 2003 informing this court that the Court
of Appeals allegedly issued a second Writ of Preliminary Injunction dated
August 13, 2003, which states:
WHEREAS, in the Resolution promulgated August 13, 2003, the
Division Clerk of Court is directed to issue the Writ of Preliminary
Injunction pursuant to the June 20, 2003 Resolution of this Court.
NOW, THEREFORE, YOU RESPONDENT JUDGE OF THE
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ANTIPOLO CITY, BRANCH 73, YOUR
AGENTS, EMPLOYEES, REPRESENTATIVES OR SUCH OTHER
PERSON OR PERSONS ACTING IN YOUR BEHALF ARE
ENJOINED FROM IMPLEMENTING THE AMENDED WRIT OF
INJUNCTION DATED MAY 22, 2002, JANUARY 29, 2003 AND
FEBRUARY 24, 2003 ORDERS. TEHIaD

GIVEN BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE HONORABLE COURT


OF APPEALS, Mme. Justice BENNIE ADEFUN-DE LA CRUZ [sic],
Chairman, Mr. Justice JOSE L. SABIO, JR. and Mr. Justice HAKIM S.
ABDULWAHID, Members, this 13th day of August 2003, Manila,
Philippines. 97
Republic of the Philippines prayed that the second Writ of Preliminary
Injunction dated August 13, 2003 be dissolved. 98
While the Petitions for Certiorari and Prohibition were pending before
this court, the Court of Appeals, on November 5, 2003, granted First Alliance
Real Estate Development, Inc.'s Petition for Certiorari and annulled the
Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued by the trial court, 99 reasoning
as follows:
Indeed, public respondent court acted with grave abuse of
discretion and without jurisdiction when it sought the enforcement of its
amended writ of preliminary injunction against petitioner, who was
never a party to the pending case. Worse, it threatened petitioner with
contempt of court for not following an unlawful order.
Sec. 5, Rule 58, 1st sentence provides, thus: "No preliminary
injunction shall be granted without hearing and prior notice to the
party or person sought to be enjoined" (underscoring for emphasis). In
the case at bench, petitioner was not only not impleaded as party to
the case, but that it was never given prior notice regarding the writ of
injunction.
Public respondents' assertion that notice was already made to
Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. is specious. There is no showing at all as to
the relationship between Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. and petitioner.
Since there is nothing to prove and establish that Hardrock, Inc. and
petitioner are one and the same, then they should be treated as
separate and distinct personalities.
xxx xxx xxx
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the petition
having merit, in fact and in law is hereby GIVEN DUE
COURSE. Resultantly, the assailed ordered [sic]are
hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE for having been issued with
grave abuse of discretion and without jurisdiction. No costs.
SO ORDERED. 100 (Emphasis and underscoring in the original)
Republic of the Philippines then questioned the Court of Appeals'
Decision and filed a Petition for Review 101 on Certiorari before this court. The
Petition was docketed as G.R. No. 160726. 102 Sunrise Garden Corporation
also filed a separate Petition for Review on Certiorari 103 before this court,
docketed as G.R. No. 160778. 104
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. then filed its
Comment 105 on the Petition for Certiorari filed by Sunrise Garden and a
Consolidated Comment, 106addressing the issues raised in the Office of the
Solicitor General's Petition for Certiorari and Supplemental Petition
for Certiorari.
In a Resolution 107 dated January 28, 2004, this court consolidated G.R.
Nos. 158836, 158967, 160726, and 160778.
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. filed an Omnibus
Motion, 108 praying that its Consolidated Comment in G.R. No. 158967 "be
adopted as its Comment [for] G.R. No. 160726." 109 First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. subsequently filed a Manifestation, 110 praying that the
Comment it filed in G.R. Nos. 158967 and 158836 be adopted as its
Comment in G.R. No. 160778. 111
Sunrise Garden Corporation and Republic of the Philippines argue that
the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion in not dismissing
the Petition outright due to insufficiency of form and substance. 112 Sunrise
Garden Corporation argues that First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.
failed to prove its ownership over the properties in dispute. 113 Thus, it did not
establish any right that would entitle it to the reliefs prayed for. 114 Also, no
evidence was presented before the trial court and the Court of Appeals that
would prove First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s claim that its
property would be affected by the city road project. 115 DETACa

Sunrise Garden Corporation points out that First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. still failed to attach a certified true copy of its alleged titles
to the properties affected by the city road project. 116 Sunrise Garden
Corporation also manifests that the alleged properties of First Alliance Real
Estate Development, Inc. will not be affected by the city road project based on
an alleged study conducted by the Antipolo City Planning and Development
Office. 117
Further, Sunrise Garden Corporation and Republic of the Philippines
argue that the Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion when it issued
the Writ of Preliminary Injunction because the Writ violated Presidential
Decree No. 1818. 118
Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1818 provides:
Section 1. No court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue
any restraining order, preliminary injunction, or preliminary mandatory
injunction in any case, dispute, or controversy involving an
infrastructure project, or a mining, fishery, forest or other natural
resource development project of the government, or any public utility
operated by the government, including among others public utilities for
the transport of the goods or commodities, stevedoring and arrastre
contracts, to prohibit any person or persons, entity or governmental
official from proceeding with, or continuing the execution or
implementation of any such project, or the operation of such public
utility, or pursuing any lawful activity necessary for such execution,
implementation or operation.
Sunrise Garden Corporation and Republic of the Philippines 119 posit
that the term "infrastructure project" includes the construction of
roads. 120 Also, the construction of the city road is a capital investment on the
part of government because payment to Sunrise Garden Corporation shall be
through tax credits. 121
Republic of the Philippines adds that Presidential Decree No. 1818 is
applicable because it does not distinguish between local government projects
and national government projects. 122 Further, the city road project is intended
to benefit not only the residents of several barangay that it will traverse, but
also the students of the barangay school. 123 Once the city road project is
completed, the travel time of the students will be lessened from two hours to
just 30 minutes. 124
Sunrise Garden Corporation admits that the Writ of Preliminary
Injunction was not issued against First Alliance Real Estate Development,
Inc. 125 Nevertheless, the nullification of the trial court's Orders effectively
hampered the city road project. 126 The argument of First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. that "its property is being taken without just
compensation" 127 proves that the injury to First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. is quantifiable.
Sunrise Garden Corporation and Republic of the Philippines argue that
the Writ of Preliminary Injunction did not state the law and facts on which it
was based.128 The Court of Appeals did not state what clear legal right was
being protected. 129 It merely stated that "private respondents are threatening
to bulldoze the property subject matter of [the] litigation." 130
As to the alleged "gentlemen's agreement" stated in the Order of the
Court of Appeals, Sunrise Garden Corporation points out that as per the
transcript of stenographic notes, the "gentlemen's agreement" was merely a
suggestion of the court, but the parties themselves never came to an
agreement. 131
Sunrise Garden Corporation and Republic of the Philippines argue that
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was not denied due process
when the trial court issued the Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction
because it was afforded several opportunities to be heard. 132
Republic of the Philippines acknowledges that the complaint for
damages filed by Sunrise Garden Corporation was only against Hardrock
Aggregates, Inc. because it was the entity that initially blocked the movement
of the construction equipment of Sunrise Garden Corporation's contractor.
However, First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was given several
opportunities to air its side. The first opportunity was the meeting scheduled
on October 8, 2002 between First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.,
and Sunrise Garden Corporation. However, First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. did not appear despite being the requesting party. 133 TaDCEc

Further, First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was duly notified
when it allegedly received a copy of Sunrise Garden Corporation's Motion to
cite for contempt and filed an Opposition to the Motion. 134 Sunrise Garden
Corporation points out that First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.
appeared in court to argue why it should not be cited in contempt. 135
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was given another chance
to be heard when it filed a Motion for Reconsideration on February 6, 2003
before the trial court. 136 Thus, First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.
cannot claim that it was denied due process. 137
In any case, Republic of the Philippines argues that the issuance of a
Writ of Preliminary Injunction does not require a trial-type hearing under Rule
58, Section 5 of the Rules of Court. 138
Sunrise Garden Corporation argues that the trial court had jurisdiction
to issue the Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction and enforce it against
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. 139 Assuming that the trial court
did not have jurisdiction over the person of First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc., this was cured when the latter voluntarily appeared in
court. 140 First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. even filed pleadings
such as an Opposition and a Motion for Reconsideration. 141 Other than filing
pleadings, First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. argued that its
properties will be affected by the city road project. 142This issue was then
submitted for resolution before the trial court. 143
Sunrise Garden Corporation further argues that First Alliance Real
Estate Development, Inc. had a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy, which
was to present its title to the property. 144
On the other hand, First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.
counters that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over its person as it
was not impleaded as a party-litigant in the Complaint for damages filed by
Sunrise Garden Corporation against Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. 145 Sunrise
Garden Corporation does not deny that First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. was not included in the Complaint. 146
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was not involved in the
Complaint for damages before the trial court. 147 Nonetheless, Sunrise
Garden Corporation sought to enforce the Amended Writ of Injunction against
it even though the Amended Writ was addressed to Hardrock Aggregates,
Inc. 148 First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. alleges that it has no
business relations with Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. 149 Thus, the Amended Writ
of Preliminary Injunction is not binding on First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc., and it cannot be held in contempt. 150
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. argues that the Amended
Writ of Preliminary Injunction dated May 22, 2002 was void as to First Alliance
Real Estate Development, Inc. since it was never notified of the
hearing. 151 Further, to implement the Amended Writ against First Alliance
Real Estate Development, Inc. was equivalent to deprivation of property
without due process. 152 First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc., or its
properties, was not involved in Civil Case No. 02-6396 and yet Sunrise
Garden insists on including First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s
properties in the city road project. 153
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. argues that the Amended
Writ of Preliminary Injunction will allow Sunrise Garden Corporation to take
possession and control of First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s
property without due process of law. 154 First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. cites Buayan Cattle Co., Inc. v. Hon. Quintillan, etc., et
al. 155 where this court held that "[i]njunctions are not available to take
property out of the possession or control of one party and place it into that of
another whose title was not clearly, been [sic] established." 156
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. claims that the
construction of the city road has the effect of appropriating and taking First
Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s private property for public
use. 157 First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. questions the lack of
authority of Sunrise Garden Corporation to take the property considering that
the Office of the Solicitor General admitted before the Court of Appeals that
there was no expropriation ordinance, as follows: 158 cDEHIC

J. Sabio:
. . . could you show this Court an Ordinance authorizing the
expropriation of that property? . . .
Sol. Saludares:
There is no expropriation Ordinance.
J. Sabio:
How can you enter a property without any authority,[sic] it [sic] is basic
that you can enter the property only upon a Court Order.
xxx xxx xxx
Sol. Saludares:
We have here a copy of the Ordinance, your honor.
J. Sabio:
What does it say?
Sol. Saludares:
An Ordinance creating a technical committee to conduct . . .
J. Sabio:
That is not expropriation. I have read that. That is not
expropriation. 159 (Emphasis supplied, citations omitted)
Further, the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction
issued by the Court of Appeals is not violative of Presidential Decree No.
1818. 160 First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. argues that the cases
relied upon by Sunrise Garden Corporation and Republic of the
Philippines, Gov. Garcia v. Hon. Burgos161 and Republic v. Silerio, 162 are not
applicable because in these cases, biddings were conducted. 163 No bidding
was conducted for the city road project as shown by Sunrise Garden
Corporation's admission that it had an agreement with the City Government of
Antipolo. 164 "There was no bidding conducted and the agreement between
the Petitioner [Sunrise Garden Corporation] and the City Government of
Antipolo City relative to [the] construction of the access road and payment by
way of tax credit can still be questioned, for being illegal." 165
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. also alleges that Sunrise
Garden Corporation disregarded the Court of Appeals' advice or their
"gentlemen's agreement" to maintain the status quo when Sunrise Garden
Corporation sought an Order from the trial court to enforce the Amended Writ
of Injunction. 166
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. also questions the
standing of Republic of the Philippines and the City Government of Antipolo
because they were not impleaded as parties in CA-G.R. SP No. 75758 and
Civil Case No. 02-6396. 167 Since they were not parties during the
proceedings in the lower courts, they were not affected by the Writ of
Preliminary Injunction. 168
Also, the Petitions filed by Republic of the Philippines through the Office
of the Solicitor General and before this court do not indicate the authority of
the City Government of Antipolo to "represent the Republic" 169 and sign the
certification of non-forum shopping. 170
With regard to Republic of the Philippines' claim that a second Writ of
Preliminary Injunction was issued by the Court of Appeals on August 13,
2003, First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. explains that this alleged
second Writ of Preliminary Injunction was actually the Writ issued by the Court
of Appeals in its Resolution dated June 20, 2003. 171 It is not a second Writ of
Preliminary Injunction.
On the arguments raised by First Alliance Real Estate Development,
Inc., Republic of the Philippines counters that First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. cannot claim denial of due process due to the lack of
expropriation proceeding. 172
Republic of the Philippines argues that expropriation and eminent
domain are different, citing Section 19 173 of Republic Act No.
7160. 174 Republic of the Philippines explained that if compensation for the
property is accepted, then there is no need for an expropriation
proceeding. 175 In addition, First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. is not
an affected landowner. 176 ISCDEA

As to the allegation that there was no public bidding, Republic of the


Philippines discussed that the City Government of Antipolo had no funds for
the road project, thus, it could not bid out the project. 177 However, due to the
urgent need for the construction of the city road, the local government had to
negotiate with a party "who [could] advance its realty taxes." 178 Sunrise
Garden Corporation offered to do so, and the local government found the offer
favorable. 179
The resolution of this case involves the following issues:
First, whether the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion
when it issued a Writ of Preliminary Injunction, contrary to the provisions
ofPresidential Decree No. 1818;
Second, whether respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development,
Inc. was denied due process when the trial court issued its January 29, 2003
Order requiring respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. to
comply with the Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction.
Finally, whether the trial court acquired jurisdiction over respondent
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.
I
At the outset, G.R. Nos. 158836 and 158967 were rendered moot and
academic when the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision in CA-G.R. SP
No. 75758 on November 5, 2003.
A case that is moot and academic has been defined as follows:
A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable
controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that a declaration
thereon would be of no practical use or value. 180 (Citation omitted)
In Philippine Savings Bank (PSBANK) v. Senate Impeachment
Court, 181 this court stated:
It is well-settled that courts will not determine questions that
have become moot and academic because there is no longer any
justiciable controversy to speak of. The judgment will not serve any
useful purpose or have any practical legal effect because, in the nature
of things, it cannot be enforced. 182 (Citation omitted)
While the Petitions for Certiorari are moot and academic, we clarify
that Presidential Decree No. 1818, cited by the parties, has been repealed
by Republic Act No. 8975. 183 The repealing clause of this law provides for an
express repeal, thus:
SEC. 9. Repealing Clause. — All laws, decrees, including
Presidential Decree Nos. 605, 1818 and Republic Act No. 7160, as
amended, orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent
with this Act are hereby repealed or amended accordingly.
This court has held that implied repeals are not favored, and "the failure
to add a specific repealing clause indicates that the intent was not to repeal
any existing law[.]" 184 The express repeal of Presidential Decree No.
1818 clearly indicates Congress' intent to replace Presidential Decree No.
1818 with Republic Act No. 8975.
Republic Act No. 8975 was approved on November 7, 2000 and was
published in the Malaya and the Manila Bulletin on November 11, 2000. It was
also published in the Official Gazette on May 7, 2001. 185 When this case was
filed, Republic Act No. 8975 was already effective.
Section 3 of Republic Act No. 8975 provides:
SEC. 3. Prohibition on the Issuance of Temporary Restraining
Orders, Preliminary Injunctions and Preliminary Mandatory Injunctions.
— No court, except the Supreme Court, shall issue any temporary
restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory
injunction against the government, or any of its subdivisions, officials or
any person or entity, whether public or private, acting under the
government's direction, to restrain, prohibit or compel the following
acts:EDCTIa

(a) Acquisition, clearance and development of the right-of-way


and/or site or location of any national government project;
(b) Bidding or awarding of contract/project of the national
government as defined under Section 2 hereof[.] (Emphasis supplied)
In the recent decision of this court in Dynamic Builders v. Hon.
Presbitero, Jr., 186 we clarified that Republic Act No. 8975 is applicable to
national government infrastructure projects. 187 It also discussed the remedies
available to aggrieved parties in cases involving local government
infrastructure projects as follows:
Republic Act No. 8975 does not sanction splitting a cause of
action in order for a party to avail itself of the ancillary remedy of a
temporary restraining order from this court. Also, this law covers only
national government infrastructure projects. This case involves a local
government infrastructure project.
For local government infrastructure projects, Regional Trial
Courts may issue provisional injunctive reliefs against government
infrastructure projects only when (1) there are compelling and
substantial constitutional violations; (2) there clearly exists a right in
esse; (3) there is a need to prevent grave and irreparable injuries; (4)
there is a demonstrable urgency to the issuance of the injunctive relief;
and (5) when there are public interest[s] at stake in restraining or
enjoining the project while the action is pending that far outweigh (a)
the inconvenience or costs to the party to whom the project is awarded
and (b) the public benefits that will result from the completion of the
project. The time periods for the validity of temporary restraining orders
issued by trial courts should be strictly followed. No preliminary
injunction should issue unless the evidence to support the injunctive
relief is clear and convincing. 188 (Emphasis supplied)
In this case, the notice to the public states that "the City Government of
Antipolo is going to construct the 20.00 meters wide city road[.]" 189 Also, the
funds for the project would come from the Sangguniang Panlungsod of
Antipolo City. There is nothing on record to show that the city road project is a
national government project. Hence, the prohibition on the issuance of
restraining orders or injunctions against national government projects does
not apply.
II
Due process requires that a party be given the chance to be heard. The
general rule is that "no man shall be affected by any proceeding to which he is
a stranger, and strangers to a case are not bound by a judgment rendered by
the court." 190 Corollarily, an ancillary writ of remedy cannot affect non-parties
to a case.
Fernandez v. Court of Appeals 191 involved an Administrative Complaint
against three Court of Appeals Justices. 192 One of the acts complained of
was the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction, enjoining the
implementation of an Order of the trial court. 193 This court dismissed the
Complaint on the ground that an Administrative Complaint is not a substitute
for a lost appeal. 194 This court also held that in any case, complainants did
not have the personality to question the Writ of Preliminary Injunction since
they were not the aggrieved parties. 195 Complainants had the option to
intervene in the Petitions filed but did not do so. 196 This court discussed that:
Section 1 of Rule 19 of the Rules of Court provides that a
person who has a legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the
success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, or is so
situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other
disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer
thereof may, with leave of court, be allowed to intervene in the
action. Conversely, a person who is not a party in the main suit cannot
be bound by an ancillary writ, such as a preliminary injunction. Indeed,
he cannot be affected by any proceeding to which he is a
stranger. 197 (Emphasis supplied, citation omitted) ADCIca

In Mabayo Farms, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 198 a Writ of Preliminary


Injunction was issued against Juanito Infante, Domingo Infante, Lito
Mangalidan, Jaime Aquino, John Doe, Peter Doe, and Richard Doe. 199 A
certain Antonio Santos, who claimed ownership over the parcel of land, filed a
Petition for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals, arguing that to enforce the
Writ of Preliminary Injunction against him would be grave abuse of discretion
since the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over his person. 200 Mabayo
Farms countered that Antonio Santos was covered by the Writ because it was
issued against three Does, and these Does include Antonio Santos. 201 Also,
since Santos received a copy of the Writ of Preliminary Injunction, he cannot
claim lack of due process, and it was his duty to intervene in the case. 202 The
Court of Appeals granted the Petition for Certiorari and enjoined the trial court
from enforcing the Writ of Preliminary Injunction against Santos. 203 This court
affirmed 204 the Decision of the Court of Appeals and held that:
A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an
action prior to final judgment, requiring a person to refrain from a
particular act. As an ancillary or preventive remedy, a writ of
preliminary injunction may therefore be resorted to by a party to protect
or preserve his rights and for no other purpose during the pendency of
the principal action. Its object is to preserve the status quo until the
merits of the case can be heard. It is not a cause of action in itself but
merely a provisional remedy, an adjunct to a main suit. Thus, a person
who is not a party in the main suit, like private respondent in the instant
case, cannot be bound by an ancillary writ, such as the writ of
preliminary injunction issued against the defendants in Civil Case No.
6695. He cannot be affected by any proceeding to which he is a
stranger. 205 (Emphasis supplied, citations omitted)
Regarding Mabayo Farms' argument that Santos should have
intervened, this court discussed that:
First, private respondent had no duty to intervene in the proceedings in
Civil Case No. 6695. Intervention in an action is neither compulsory nor
mandatory but only optional and permissive. Second, to warrant
intervention, two requisites must concur: (a) the movant has a legal
interest in the matter in litigation, and (b) intervention must not unduly
delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the parties nor
should the claim of the intervenor be capable of being properly decided
in a separate proceeding. The interest, which entitles a person to
intervene in a suit, must involve the matter in litigation and of such
direct and immediate character that the intervenor will either gain or
lose by the direct legal operation and effect of the judgment. Civil Case
No. 6695 was an action for permanent injunction and damages. As a
stranger to the case, private respondent had neither legal interest in a
permanent injunction nor an interest on the damages to be imposed, if
any, in Civil Case No. 6695. To allow him to intervene would have
unnecessarily complicated and prolonged the case. 206 (Citations
omitted)
It may be argued that respondent First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. should have intervened in the case filed before the trial
court. However, respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s
interests, or its properties, were not part of the issues raised in petitioner
Sunrise Garden Corporation's Complaint. That Complaint was against
Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. and not respondent First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. or its properties.
III
We rule that the Court of Appeals did not err when it annulled and set
aside the trial court's Orders dated January 29, 2003, and February 24, 2002.
The Court of Appeals discussed that:
Indeed public respondent court acted with grave abuse of
discretion and without jurisdiction when it sought the enforcement of its
amended writ of preliminary injunction against petitioner, who was
never a party to the pending case. Worse, it threatened petitioner with
contempt of court for not following an unlawful order.
Sec. 5, Rule 58, 1st sentence provides, thus: "No preliminary
injunction shall be granted without hearing and prior notice to the party
or person sought to be enjoined. . . ." In the case at bench, petitioner
was not only not impleaded as party to the case, but that it was never
given prior notice regarding the writ of injunction.
Public respondents' [referring to the Republic] assertion that
notice was already made to Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. is specious.
There is no showing at all as to the relationship between Hardrock
Aggregates, Inc. and petitioner. Since there is nothing to prove and
establish that Hardrock, Inc. and petitioners are one and the same,
then they should be treated as separate and distinct
personalities. 207ACTIHa
Respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. argues that
CA-G.R. SP No. 75758 is related to Civil Case No. 02-6396 where it was not
included as a party litigant. 208 Respondent First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. reiterates that it is not liable for contempt because the trial
court never acquired jurisdiction over it and, hence, it is not bound by the
Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction. 209
Rule 58, Section 5 of the Rules of Court requires that the party to be
enjoined must be notified and heard. The rule provides:
RULE 58
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
xxx xxx xxx
SEC. 5. Preliminary injunction not granted without notice; exception. —
No preliminary injunction shall be granted without hearing and prior
notice to the party or person sought to be enjoined. If it shall appear
from facts shown by affidavits or by the verified application that great
or irreparable injury would result to the applicant before the matter can
be heard on notice, the court to which the application for preliminary
injunction was made, may issue ex parte a temporary restraining order
to be effective only for a period of twenty (20) days from service on the
party or person sought to be enjoined, except as herein provided.
Within the said twenty-day period, the court must order said party or
person to show cause, at a specified time and place, why the injunction
should not be granted, determine within the same period whether or
not the preliminary injunction shall be granted, and accordingly issue
the corresponding order. (Emphasis supplied)
In this case, petitioners Republic of the Philippines and Sunrise Garden
Corporation did not refute that respondent First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. was never a party to the case. During the hearings before
the Court of Appeals, counsel for petitioner Sunrise Garden Corporation
placed much emphasis on its argument that respondent First Alliance Real
Estate Development, Inc. did not prove ownership over the property but did
not refute the primary issue of lack of jurisdiction over respondent First
Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. This is an admission that the trial
court did not acquire jurisdiction over respondent First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc.
J. SABIO:
It is fundamental that an order of a court cannot be enforced against a
person who is not a party to a case.
ATTY. GALIT:
[counsel for petitioner Sunrise Garden Corporation]:
As I said, Your Honor, that is on my supposition. Earlier, Your Honor,
both my good Companeros here have intelligently and clearly
ventilated, open the eyes of the Honorable Court that this
particular person is claiming, Your Honor, a right which is not
existing. A right which is not existing, Your Honor. Why take
refuge from an allegation that according to him this is not the
proper forum. This is now the proper forum for the petitioner to
prove his right because he is being challenged.
J. SABIO:
He does not have to prove anything. He has the title in his possession.
ATTY. GALIT:
Mere title, Your Honor, without any specification to be attested by a
competent person such as the expert witness, a geodetic
engineer, a licensed geodetic engineer . . .
J. SABIO:
That is not the issue in this case. As we said if you try to question the
validity of the title of the petitioner[,] do it in a proper forum. This is
not the proper forum. The issue here is not that. The issue is
whether a writ of injunction can be enforced against a person who
is not a party to the case. That is the pure and simple issue in this
petition.
ATTY. GALIT:
We have made clear, Your Honor, as to the procedural aspect of the
case and as to the substantive aspect of the case. As to the
substantive aspect of the case the petitioner, despite several
challenges against them they failed and they continued to fail to
present any iota of evidence that would prove clear and
unmistakable right to warrant the . . . HCSAIa

J. SABIO:
That is not the issue where he has to defend his title. Because his title is
not the one, the subject matter of the case in the court below.
ATTY. GALIT:
Your Honor, guided by the Supreme Court decision, a mere photocopy,
a mere xerox copy of any public document, alleged public
documents cannot be said to be a basis of any right. This is a
mere xerox copy to be treated as a mere scrap of paper.
J. SABIO:
Then you challenge it in a proper forum[,] not this forum. That is not the
issue here. That is beyond us to decide. The issue is whether he
[sic] injunction issued by the lower court should be enforced
[against] petitioner who is not a party to the case.
xxx xxx xxx
ATTY. GALIT:
To be clear, Your Honor, and with all due respect to this Honorable
Court. We take a parallel stand and we absolutely submit to the
pronouncement of this Honorable Court that a party who is not a
party litigant in the case below will never be affected by any
issuance of an injunction. That is precisely correct and we do not
dispute that, your Honor.
xxx xxx xxx
ATTY. SAAVEDRA [co-counsel for petitioner Sunrise Garden
Corporation]:
As a matter of fact insofar as we are concerned, Your Honor, whether
the lower court has jurisdiction over their person because they
were not impleaded is immaterial. Because they are in the nature
or category of strangers who refused to obey the writ of injunction
which was addressed to the squatters. Since they have no right to
be protected, they have not shown that they own any portion of
the land to be traversed what right do they have to be protected
for.
J. SABIO:
Again let us not go back to that issue so that we will not be misled, we
do not becloud the real issue. The issue here is basic and
fundamental. Whether petitioner [w]ho has not been a party to the
case because he has not been impleaded can be cited for
contempt for refusal to obey or comply with the amended writ of
preliminary injunction? That is all. 210
Petitioner Sunrise Garden Corporation additionally argues that the trial
court acquired jurisdiction because respondent First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. voluntarily appeared in court to argue why it should not be
cited in contempt. 211
While Rule 14, Section 20 212 of the Rules of Court provides that
voluntary appearance is equivalent to service of summons, the same rule also
provides that "[t]he inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other grounds aside
from lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant shall not be deemed
a voluntary appearance." 213
In Philippine Commercial International Bank v. Spouses Dy Hong Pi, et
al., 214 this court discussed that voluntary appearance in court may not always
result in submission to the jurisdiction of a court.
Preliminarily, jurisdiction over the defendant in a civil case is
acquired either by the coercive power of legal processes exerted over
his person, or his voluntary appearance in court. As a general
proposition, one who seeks an affirmative relief is deemed to have
submitted to the jurisdiction of the court. It is by reason of this rule that
we have had occasion to declare that the filing of motions to admit
answer, for additional time to file answer, for reconsideration of a
default judgment, and to lift order of default with motion for
reconsideration, is considered voluntary submission to the court's
jurisdiction. This, however, is tempered by the concept of conditional
appearance, such that a party who makes a special appearance to
challenge, among others, the court's jurisdiction over his person cannot
be considered to have submitted to its authority. CaSAcH

Prescinding from the foregoing, it is thus clear that:


(1) Special appearance operates as an exception to the general
rule on voluntary appearance;
(2) Accordingly, objections to the jurisdiction of the court over the
person of the defendant must be explicitly made, i.e., set
forth in an unequivocal manner; and
(3) Failure to do so constitutes voluntary submission to the
jurisdiction of the court, especially in instances where a
pleading or motion seeking affirmative relief is filed and
submitted to the court for resolution. 215 (Citations omitted)
The appearance of respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development,
Inc. and K-9 Security Agency should not be deemed as a voluntary
appearance because it was for the purpose of questioning the jurisdiction of
the trial court. The records of this case show that the defense of lack of
jurisdiction was raised at the first instance and repeatedly argued by K-9
Security Agency and respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.
in their pleadings. 216
Petitioner Sunrise Garden Corporation posits that a third-party claim
would have been the proper remedy for respondent First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc., and not a petition for certiorari before the Court of
Appeals. 217 Petitioner Sunrise Garden Corporation cited Ciudad Real &
Development Corporation v. Court of Appeals 218 where this court allegedly
ruled that it is grave abuse of discretion to allow a "petitioner who is not a
party litigant in the proceedings below [to file a petition] for certiorari." 219
Counsel for respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.
countered that:
With respect to the comment of counsel for the respondent, Your
Honor. [sic] We [sic] have personality to challenge that because the
writ of injunction, the order citing us for contempt are [sic] addressed to
us, Your Honor. And we have the personality to ask for the nullity of
that order, Your Honor. 220
The case cited by petitioner Sunrise Garden Corporation is not
applicable. In Ciudad Real, the trial court denied the Motion to intervene filed
by Magdiwang Realty Corporation. 221 Magdiwang Realty Corporation did not
question the trial court's Order, and it became final and executory. 222 When
the case was brought before the Court of Appeals, the court recognized
Magdiwang Realty Corporation's standing. 223 This court held that:
Despite the finality of the order denying Magdiwang's intervention way
back in 1989, the respondent court in its Decision of August 20, 1992
recognized the standing of Magdiwang to assail in the appellate court
the Compromise Agreement. Again, this ruling constitutes grave abuse
of discretion for Magdiwang was not a party in interest in Civil Case
No. Q-35393. 224
Considering that the trial court gravely abused its discretion when it
sought to enforce the Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction against
respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc., the Court of Appeals
did not err in granting the Petition for Certiorari filed by respondent First
Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petitions in G.R. Nos. 158836
and 158967 are DISMISSED for being moot and academic.
The Petitions in G.R. Nos. 160726 and 160778 are DENIED, and the
Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 75758 is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED
(Sunrise Garden Corp. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 158836, 158967, 160726
|||

& 160778, [September 30, 2015])