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CIVPRO – RULE 47 – WHERE APPLICABLE The People filed an Answer14 opposing the Petition.

G.R. NO. 159222 June 26, 2007 The CA granted the Petition for Annulment of Judgment in the March 31, 2003 Decision assailed
herein, the decretal portion of which reads:
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and the HON. BRICIO YGANA, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court,
Branch 153, Pasig City, Petitioners, WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing considerations, the petition is hereby GRANTED.
vs. Accordingly, the decision of the Regional Trial Court in Muntinlupa City, Branch 153 being tainted
RAFAEL BITANGA, Respondent. with circumstances constitutive of extrinsic fraud which deprived the petitioner herein of his day in
court is SET ASIDE. Resultantly, Criminal Case No. 103677 is remanded to the court of origin for
DECISION further proceedings to give herein petitioner opportunity to present his evidence in said case and
for the trial court to render judgment in accordance with the evidence adduced. Corollarily, the
petitioner may be released and allowed to be on bail unless there are other valid and legal reasons
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
for his continued detention.

The Petition for Review on Certiorari1 before this Court assails the March 31, 2003 Decision2 and
SO ORDERED.15
July 18, 2003 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 68797,4 which granted a
Petition for Annulment of Judgment under Rule 47 of the February 29, 2000 Decision 5 of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 153, Pasig City, in Criminal Case No. 103677. and denied the People's Motion for Reconsideration in its Resolution16 of July 18, 2003.

The facts are not disputed. The foregoing CA Decision and Resolution are now being questioned by the People (petitioner) on
these grounds:
On the basis of a complaint lodged by Traders Royal Bank (TRB),6 an information for estafa was filed
against Rafael M. Bitanga (Bitanga) before the RTC and docketed as Criminal Case No. 103677. I
Bitanga pleaded "not guilty" to the offense charged. He was allowed to post bail.
The two previous counsels were not negligent in defending respondent.

During trial on the merits, the People presented the testimonies of three TRB employees on how II
Bitanga duped the bank into accepting three foreign checks for deposit and encashment, which
were however returned to TRB by reason of "unlocated accounts."7 Assuming without admitting the existence of negligence on the part of the previous counsels, the
same does not constitute extrinsic fraud.

When it was time for the defense to present his case, however, Bitanga and his counsel failed to III
appear and adduce evidence.8 Upon motion of the public prosecutor, a warrant of arrest was issued
against respondent and his right to adduce evidence was deemed waived.9 The Court of Appeals did not accord the previous counsels their right to procedural due process of
law.
On February 29, 2000, the RTC promulgated in absentia a Decision finding Bitanga guilty as charged, IV
thus:
Jumping bail, respondent waived his right to present his evidence.17
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered convicting accused Rafael M. Bitanga of the crime of
estafa defined and penalized under Article 315, par. 2 (a) of the Revised Penal Code and hereby The Petition for Review is meritorious.
sentences him to suffer imprisonment of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional
as minimum to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal as maximum with the necessary penalties Section 1, Rule 47 of the Rules of Court, limits the scope of the remedy of annulment of judgment
provided by law and to indemnify private complainant Traders Royal Bank the amount of to the following:
₱742,884.00 and to pay the cost.
Section 1. Coverage.— This Rule shall govern the annulment by the Court of Appeals of judgments
SO ORDERED.10 or final orders and resolutions in civil actions of Regional Trial Courts for which the ordinary
remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer
On January 28, 2002, Bitanga filed with the CA a Petition for Annulment of Judgment with Prayer available through no fault of the petitioner.
for Other Reliefs11 on the ground that extrinsic fraud was allegedly perpetuated upon him by his
counsel of record, Atty. Benjamin Razon.12 He alleged that he received copy of the February 29,
2000 RTC Decision only on December 13, 2001.13
The remedy cannot be resorted to when the RTC judgment being questioned was rendered in a 1. Atty. Benjamin Razon failed to inform his client of the scheduled hearings for the receptioon of
criminal case. The 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure itself does not permit such recourse, defense evidence. This resulted in depriving herein petitioner of a chance to prove his innocence by
for it excluded Rule 47 from the enumeration of the provisions of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil presenting a valid defense;
Procedure which have suppletory application to criminal cases. Section 18, Rule 124 thereof,
provides: 2. He failed to attend the scheduled hearing for reception of petitioners' evidence for which reason
the case was deemed submitted for decision without his evidence;
Sec. 18. Application of certain rules in civil procedure to criminal cases. – The provisions of Rules 42,
44 to 46 and 48 to 56 relating to procedure in the Court of Appeals and in the Supreme Court in 3. He never bother to verify what transpired at the hearing he failed to attend, and thus, was not
original and appealed civil cases shall be applied to criminal cases insofar as they are applicable and able to file the necessary pleadings to lift the order considering the case submitted for decision
not inconsistent with the provisions of this Rule. without petitioners' evidence;

There is no basis in law or the rules, therefore, to extend the scope of Rule 47 to criminal cases. As 4. He withdrew his appearance as counsel for the petitioner without getting the express conformity
we explained in Macalalag v. Ombudsman,18 when there is no law or rule providing for this remedy, of his client. Thus, the court appointed a counsel de officio from the Public Attorney’s Office;
recourse to it cannot be allowed, viz.:
5. The counsel de officio, however, exerted no effort in contacting the petitioner to prepare him for
Parenthetically, R.A. 6770 is silent on the remedy of annulment of judgments or final orders and defense evidence. He simply submitted the case for decision and waived the presentation of
resolutions of the Ombudsman in administrative cases. In Tirol, Jr. v. Del Rosario , the Court has held Defense evidence;
that since The Ombudsman Act specifically deals with the remedy of an aggrieved party from orders,
directives and decisions of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases only, the right to
6. After receiving the court a quo's adverse decision, convicting herein petitioner, he did not notify
appeal is not to be considered granted to parties aggrieved by orders and decisions of the
or inform his clients, herein petitioners; and
Ombudsman in criminal or non-administrative cases. The right to appeal is a mere statutory
privilege and may be exercised only in the manner prescribed by, and in accordance with, the
provisions of law. There must then be a law expressly granting such right. This legal axiom is also 7. He did not appeal the case to the Court of Appeals; or avail themselves of other remedies under
applicable and even more true in actions for annulment of judgments which is an exception to the the law.25
rule on finality of judgments.19
The CA equated the foregoing behavior of said counsels to extrinsic fraud in that it impaired
The Petition for Annulment of Judgment of the February 29, 2000 Decision of the RTC in Criminal Bitanga's right to due process and rendered the proceedings in Criminal Case No. 103677 a farce.
Case No. 103677 was therefore an erroneous remedy. It should not have been entertained, much Citing a ruling of the appellate court in Sps. Carlos and Erlinda Ong v. Nieves Jacinto, et al.,26 the CA
less granted, by the CA. held:

Even on substantive grounds, the Petition for Annulment of Judgment does not pass muster. While it is true that neglect or failure of counsel to inform his client of an adverse judgment resulting
in the loss of his right to appeal will not justify setting aside a judgment that is valid and regular on
its face, this rule is not unbending and admits of exceptions as where reckless or gross negligence
A petition for annulment of judgment is a remedy in equity so exceptional in nature that it may be
of counsel deprives the client of due process. This Court believes, and so holds, that the enumerated
availed of only when other remedies are wanting,20 and only if the judgment sought to be annulled
deplorable acts and omissions of petitioner's counsel on record, finding no abatement either later
was rendered by a court lacking jurisdiction or through proceedings attended by extrinsic fraud.21
from his court-appointed lawyer, taken together, more than suffice to paint a clear picture of
delinquency, gross negligence and recklessness constitutive of extrinsic fraud.27
When the ground invoked is extrinsic fraud, annulment of judgment must be sought within four
years from discovery of the fraud, which fact should be alleged and proven.22 In addition, the
Bitanga defends the foregoing view of the CA as consistent with a basic rule in criminal procedure
particular acts or omissions constituting extrinsic fraud must be clearly established.23
that every leeway must be given an accused person to defend himself, lest he be wrongfully
deprived of liberty.28
Extrinsic or collateral fraud is trickery practiced by the prevailing party upon the unsuccessful party,
which prevents the latter from fully proving his case. It affects not the judgment itself but the
Disagreeing with the CA, the People maintain that the acts and omissions imputed to said counsels
manner in which said judgment is obtained. 24
amounted to mere professional negligence which cannot be equated with extrinsic fraud in the
absence of allegation and evidence of malice.29 The People point out that it was Bitanga's own act
In the present case, respondent Bitanga complained that his own counsel perpetrated fraud upon of jumping bail which did him in, for had he showed up in court when summoned, he would not
him by abandoning his cause. He attributed the following acts and omissions to them: have lost the right to present his defense.30

The People's arguments are tenable.


Extrinsic fraud is that perpetrated by the prevailing party, not by the unsuccessful party's own premises leaving no forwarding address where he can be located or contacted. It is now June and
counsel.31 As a general rule, counsel’s ineptitude is not a ground to annul judgment, for the latter's still accused never contacted counsel so that counsel is left without alternative but to withdraw
management of the case binds his client.32 The rationale behind this rule is that, once retained, from the case.41 (Emphasis added)
counsel holds the implied authority to do all acts which are necessary or, at least, incidental to the
prosecution and management of the suit in behalf of his client, and any act performed by said The RTC accepted the foregoing explanation of Atty. Razon and allowed him to withdraw his
counsel within the scope of such authority is, in the eyes of the law, regarded as the act of the client appearance as counsel even without the conformity of Bitanga whose whereabouts could not be
himself.33 traced.42 Moreover, the RTC ordered the arrest of Bitanga and the forfeiture of his cash bond
because of his continued non-appearance. The RTC also considered his right to present evidence
There is an exception to the foregoing rule, and that is when the negligence of counsel had been so waived.43
egregious that it prejudiced his client’s interest and denied him his day in court. 34 For this exception
to apply, however, the gross negligence of counsel should not be accompanied by his client’s own It is apparent that Bitanga left Atty. Razon in the dark. While said counsel exerted effort to contact
negligence or malice.35 Clients have the duty to be vigilant of their interests by keeping themselves Bitanga, the latter made himself completely scarce: he vacated his old business address without
up to date on the status of their case. 36 Failing in this duty, they suffer whatever adverse judgment leaving a forwarding address or informing Atty. Razon about the change; worse, after moving to a
is rendered against them. As we held in Tan v. Court of Appeals: 37 different address, Bitanga did not bother to resume communication with Atty. Razon. Even if said
counsel could have appeared in court without his client, his presence would not have salvaged the
Moreover, annulment of judgment may either be based on the ground that the judgment is void for case for he had no witness to present or evidence to submit.
want of jurisdiction or that the judgment was obtained by extrinsic fraud. By no stretch of the
imagination can we equate the negligence of the petitioner and his former counsel to extrinsic fraud There was therefore no factual or legal basis to the conclusion of the CA that extrinsic fraud
as contemplated in the cited rules. Extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the prevailing party prejudiced the right of Bitanga to present his defense. He has only himself to blame for jumping bail
in the litigation which is committed outside of the trial of the case, whereby the unsuccessful party and leaving his case in disarray.
has been prevented from exhibiting fully his case, by fraud or deception practiced on him by his
opponent. The fraud or deceit cannot be of the losing party’s own doing, nor must it contribute to
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The March 31, 2003 Decision and July 18, 2003 Resolution
it. The extrinsic fraud must be employed against it by the adverse party, who, because of some trick,
of the Court of Appeals are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.
artifice, or device, naturally prevails in the suit. This Court notes that no such fraud or deceit was
properly proved against the private respondent. Indeed, the petitioner has no reason to protest his
own negligence.38 (Emphasis supplied) Upon finality of herein Decision, let the Regional Trial Court, Branch 153, Pasig City be furnished a
copy hereof for execution of its final Decision dated February 29, 2000 in Criminal Case No. 103677.
In the present case, the acts and omissions attributed to counsel amounted to negligence only,
which cannot be considered extrinsic fraud. Moreover, said counsel’s negligence was caused by SO ORDERED.
Bitanga's act of jumping bail.

There appears to be no issue about how Atty. Razon represented Bitanga during the presentation
of the evidence of the prosecution. The CA itself noted that during said period, Atty. Razon
conducted the cross-examination and re-cross-examination of the witnesses for the prosecution.39

Problems arose only when it was Bitanga’s turn to present his defense. As noted by the CA, Atty.
Razon failed to attend the hearings scheduled on December 10, 1998, February 18, 1999, April 20,
1999, and May 25, 1999.40 His absences, however, appear to be justified. When he was required by
the RTC to submit an explanation for his absences, Atty. Razon clarified:

2. That on May 25, 1999 from 7:00AM to 9:30AM counsel waited for the accused to pick him up at
his residence in order both counsel and accused can go to court together, it being the defense
evidence of the accused, counsel was not even feeling well that morning on account of his swollen
leg;

3. That the accused never showed up putting counsel in a quandary whether he has been relieved
as counsel for the accused or not. The accused likewise never contacted counsel nor showed up in
person x x x counsel in his residence or office or called up by telephone x x x counsel made inquiry
at the accused place of business but was informed that the accused had already vacated the
CIVPRO – RULE 47 – WHERE APPLICABLE serving but also for being irrelevant to the issue at bar. The same allegations and arguments have
been raised or asserted merely to resist the demands of the plaintiffs particularly on their ejectment
G.R. NO. 150207 February 23, 2007 from the questioned landholding especially that all the evidence submitted by the plaintiffs have
never been effectively refuted by the defendants.
VALENTIN P. FRAGINAL, TOMAS P. FRAGINAL and ANGELINA FRAGINAL-QUINO, Petitioners,
vs. xxxx
THE HEIRS OF TORIBIA BELMONTE PARAÑAL, represented by PEDRO PARAÑAL, FELISA
PARAÑAL, ABRAHAM PARAÑAL, IRENEA ACABADO and JOSEFA ESTOY, Respondents. WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:

DECISION 1) Ordering the termination of the Agricultural Leasehold Contract (Contrata sa Pag-Arquila nin
Dagang Agricultural) dated January 7, 1997 entered into by and between herein parties;
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
2) Ordering all the defendants, their heirs and assigns to vacate the premises immediately upon
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the April receipt of this decision;
24, 2001 and September 3, 2001 Resolutions1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 64174.2
3) Ordering the defendants to pay plaintiffs the total of 54 cavans of palay at 46 kls. per cavan
The material facts follow. representing the arrear rentals for the entire year of 1997 until the filing of this case on June 26,
1998, including succeeding lease rentals as it falls due until they finally vacate the premises; and
The heirs of Toribia Belmonte Parañal namely: Felisa Parañal, Abraham Parañal, Pedro Parañal,
Irenea Acabado and Josefa Estoy (Heirs of Toribia Parañal), filed with the Office of the Provincial 4) Ordering the defendants to desist from further disturbing [the] herein plaintiffs in their
Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board peaceful possession and cultivation of their landholdings subject of the instant action.
(DARAB), Camarines Sur, a Complaint for Termination of Tenancy Relationship, Ejectment, and
Collection of Arrear Rentals and Damages,3 docketed as PARAD Case No. R-0503-306-‘98, against SO ORDERED.5
Valentin Fraginal, Tomas P. Fraginal and Angelina Fraginal-Quino (Fraginal, et al.).
On April 5, 2001, two years from issuance of the PARAD Decision, Fraginal, et al. filed with the CA a
Fraginal, et al. filed an Answer questioning the jurisdiction of the PARAD on the ground that they Petition for Annulment of Judgment with Prayer for Issuance of Preliminary Injunction and/or
are not tenants of the Heirs of Toribia Parañal, for the land they are tilling is a 1.1408-hectare public Restraining Order.6 They insisted that the PARAD Decision is void as it was issued without
agricultural land within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Department of Environment and Natural jurisdiction.
Resources.4
Unimpressed, the CA dismissed the Petition in its April 24, 2001 Resolution,7 thus:
The PARAD issued a Decision on October 8, 1998 ordering the ejectment of Fraginal, et al., thus:
A petition for annulment of judgment under Rule 47 of the Revised Rules of Court may be availed
xxxx of to have judgments or final orders and resolutions in civil actions of Regional Trial Courts annulled.
Also, Rule 47 requires that recourse thereto may be had only when the ordinary remedies of new
Our perusal of [the] records shows that the defendants so-called documentary evidence as proof trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no
that the landholding cultivated by them is classified as public land contrary to the claims of herein fault of the petitioner.
plaintiffs is a mere scrap of paper. First, although it states that a certain area situated at Pili,
Camarines Sur is declared as alienable and disposable for cropland and other purposes, yet, it does The petitioners ratiocinated [sic] this instant recourse for their failure to avail of the remedy
not specifically state through technical description or whatever the exact area of coverage, its provided for under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court, without fault (Rollo, p. 4). However, the
location as well as the boundaries, hence, we cannot be sure or we have no way of knowing whether petition fails to offer any explanation as to how it lost that remedy except for its claim that they
the subject property is part and parcel of that covered area. Second, it states that the list of failed to avail of Rule 65 without any fault on their part. And even if We are to grant it arguendo,
occupants or claimants therein is attached to said document, however, a close scrutiny of the same Rule 47 being exclusive to judgments and final orders and resolution in civil actions of Regional Trial
reveals that it contains only one page without any attachment particularly the alleged list of Courts is not available to the petitioners.
claimants. Therefore, there is no proof that defendants are indeed one of the claimants listed
therein. From here it can be inferred that such document was presented merely to confuse the WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the instant petition is hereby DENIED DUE
Board in their attempt to gain favorable judgment. Moreover, we are far from convinced that COURSE and ordered DISMISSED.8
defendants’ other allegations are tenable not only because they are self-
The CA also denied the Motion for Reconsideration9 of Fraginal, et al. in the assailed Resolution10 First, it sought the annulment of the PARAD Decision when Section 1 of Rule 47 clearly limits the
dated September 3, 2001. subject matter of petitions for annulment to final judgments and orders rendered by Regional Trial
Courts in civil actions.17 Final judgments or orders of quasi-judicial tribunals or administrative bodies
Hence, the herein Petition. such as the National Labor Relations Commission,18 the Ombudsman,19 the Civil Service
Commission,20 the Office of the President,21 and, in this case, the PARAD, are not susceptible to
petitions for annulment under Rule 47.
We dismiss the petition for lack of merit.

Speaking through Justice Jose C. Vitug, the Court, in Macalalag v. Ombudsman, ratiocinated:
Petitioners Fraginal, et al. raised these issues:

Rule 47, entitled "Annulment of Judgments or Final Orders and Resolutions," is a new provision
I.
under the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure albeit the remedy has long been given imprimatur by the
courts. The rule covers "annulment by the Court of Appeals of judgments or final orders and
Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the petition filed before it for resolutions in civil actions of Regional Trial Courts for which the ordinary remedies of new trial,
annulment of judgment of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) that appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies could no longer be availed of through no
has no jurisdiction over the subject matter as the land is a public agricultural land. fault of the petitioner."An action for annulment of judgment is a remedy in law independent of the
case where the judgment sought to be annulled is rendered. The concern that the remedy could so
II. easily be resorted to as an instrument to delay a final and executory judgment, has prompted
safeguards to be put in place in order to avoid an abuse of the rule. Thus, the annulment of judgment
Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals erred in holding that Rule 47 of the Rules of Court may be based only on the grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction, and the remedy may
pertains only to judgment or final orders and resolutions in civil actions of the Regional Trial not be invoked (1) where the party has availed himself of the remedy of new trial, appeal, petition
Court.11 for relief or other appropriate remedy and lost therefrom, or (2) where he has failed to avail himself
of those remedies through his own fault or negligence.

It is only the second issue which is pivotal.


xxxx

No doctrine is more sacrosanct than that judgments of courts or awards of quasi-judicial bodies,
even if erroneous, must become final at a definite time appointed by law.12 This doctrine of finality x x x The right to appeal is a mere statutory privilege and may be exercised only in the manner
of judgments is the bedrock of every stable judicial system.13 prescribed by, and in accordance with, the provisions of law. There must then be a law expressly
granting such right. This legal axiom is also applicable and even more true in actions for annulment
of judgments which is an exception to the rule on finality of judgments. 22 (Emphasis ours)
However, the doctrine of finality of judgments permits certain equitable remedies; 14 and one of
them is a petition for annulment under Rule 47 of the Rules of Court.15
Second, Section 1, Rule 47 does not allow a direct recourse to a petition for annulment of judgment
if other appropriate remedies are available, such as a petition for new trial, and a petition for relief
The remedy of annulment of judgment is extraordinary in character,16 and will not so easily and from judgment or an appeal.23
readily lend itself to abuse by parties aggrieved by final judgments. Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 47
impose strict conditions for recourse to it, viz.:
The 1994 DARAB New Rules of Procedures, which was applicable at the time the PARAD Decision
was issued, provided for the following mode of appeal:
Section 1. Coverage.- This Rule shall govern the annulment by the Court of Appeals of judgments or
final orders and resolutions in civil actions of Regional Trial Courts for which the ordinary remedies
of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through Rule XIII
no fault of the petitioner.
Section 1. Appeal to the Board. a) An appeal may be taken from an order, resolution or decision of
Section 2. Grounds for annulment. – The annulment may be based only on the grounds of extrinsic the Adjudicator to the Board by either of the parties or both, orally or in writing, within a period of
fraud and lack of jurisdiction. fifteen (15) days from receipt of the order, resolution or decsion appealed from, and serving a
copy thereof on the adverse party, if the appeal is in writing.

Extrinsic fraud shall not be a valid ground if it was availed of, or could have been availed of, in a
motion for new trial or petition for relief. b) An oral appeal shall be reduced into writing by the Adjudicator to be signed by the appellant, and
a copy thereof shall be served upon the adverse party within ten (10) days from the taking of the
oral appeal.
The Petition for Annulment of Judgment filed by Fraginal, et al. before the CA failed to meet the
foregoing conditions.1awphi1.net
It does not allow for a petition for annnulment of a final PARAD Decision.
While the DARAB Rules provide for an appeal to the DARAB from a decision of the PARAD, Fraginal,
et al. did not avail of this remedy. However, they justified their omission, thus:

9. Prior to the filing of this instant action, the petitioners, without fault, failed to avail of the remedy
provided under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, appeal the questioned decision and to file the
corresponding petition for relief from judgment, due to time constraint and want of sources as to
when the questioned decision be appropriately done as they were not assisted by counself from the
very beginning of the proceedings.24

Such pretext is unacceptable.

Fraginal, et al., could have appealed to the DARAB even without resources or counsel. They could
have asked for exemption from payment of the appeal fee, as allowed under Section 5, Rule XIII. 25
They could have also requested for counsel de oficio from among DAR lawyers and legal officers, as
provided under Section 3, Rule VII.26 They appear not to have needed one, considering that they
seem to have adequately fended for themselves as shown by the Answer they prepared, which
raised a well-thought out legal defense.27 As it were, they neglected to exercise any of these rights
and chose to fritter away the remedy still available to them at that time. Their direct recourse to
the CA through a petition for annulment of the PARAD Decision was therefore ill-fated.

Moreover, there is nothing in Rule XIII that allows a petition for annulment of a final PARAD
Decision. As held in Macalalag, there must be a law granting such right, in the absence of which,
Fraginals’ petition for annulment of judgment was correctly denied due course by the CA.

With the foregoing disquisition, we find no need to treat the first issue.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.
CIVPRO – RULE 47 – WHERE APPLICABLE applies only to petitions for the nullification of judgments rendered by regional trial courts filed with
the Court of Appeals. It does not pertain to the nullification of decisions of the Court of Appeals.
G.R. No. 148456 September 15, 2006
Petitioners argue that although Rule 47 is a newly-established rule, the procedure of annulment of
PIO C. GRANDE, RUFINO C. GRANDE, AIDA C. GRANDE, FLORENCIA GRANDE-SANTOS, TERESITA judgments has long been recognized in this jurisdiction. That may be so, but this Court has no
GRANDE-VIOLA, JOSEPHINE GRANDE DOMINGO (representing the heirs of Crisanta Grande- authority to take cognizance of an original action for annulment of judgment of any lower court.
Domingo), and ESTANISLAO QUIBAL (representing the heirs of Rosita Grande-Quibal),* The only original cases cognizable before this Court are "petitions for certiorari, prohibition,
petitioners, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus, disciplinary proceedings against members of the judiciary
vs. and attorneys, and cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls."7 Petitions for
UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent. annulment of judgment are not among the cases originally cognizable by this Court.

DECISION Moreover, if what is desired is an appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals, which petitioners
could have been entitled to under ordinary circumstances, the only mode of appeal cognizable by
this Court is "a petition for review on certiorari." 8 That is governed by and disposed of in accordance
TINGA, J.:
with the applicable provisions of the Constitution, laws, Rules 45; 48; Sections 1, 2, and 5 to 11 of
Rules 51; 52; and 56.9 Notably, Rule 47 on annulment of judgments has nothing to do with the
This treats of the "Petition for Annulment of Judgment" that seeks the annulment of the Decision provisions which govern petitions for review on certiorari. Thus, it is totally inappropriate to extend
of the Court of Appeals in CA- G.R. CV No. 44411 promulgated on 14 December 1999 and the Rule 47 to the review of decisions of the Court of Appeals. Then too, appeals by certiorari to this
Resolution issued on 24 February 2000 denying petitioners’ motion for reconsideration. Court must be filed within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment or the final order or
resolution appealed from.10 Even if we were to treat the petition for annulment of judgment as an
The Court of Appeals in its Decision1 dismissed the appeal interposed by petitioners from the appeal by certiorari, the same could not be given due course as it had been filed several months
decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City dismissing their complaint for recovery of after the Court of Appeals decision had already lapsed to finality.
ownership and reconveyance of the subject property on the ground of lack of cause of action. The
RTC Decision2 concluded that the subject property was covered by a Torrens title as early as 1914 Admittedly, this Court has discretionary power to take cognizance of a petition over which it
and it was only in 1984, or 70 years after the issuance of the title, that petitioners filed their action ordinarily has no jurisdiction "if compelling reasons, or the nature and importance of the issues
for recovery of ownership and reconveyance. During the interregnum, ownership of the property raised, warrant the immediate exercise of its jurisdiction."11 Hence, in Del Mar v. Phil. Amusement
was acquired by respondent University of the Philippines as an innocent purchaser for value, so the and Gaming Corp.,12 the Court took cognizance of an original petition for injunction after
RTC found and the appellate court upheld. determining that the allegations therein revealed that it was actually one for prohibition. We,
however, cannot adopt that tack for purposes of this case. Ostensibly, even if the averments in the
Petitioners, through their former counsel, received a copy of the Court of Appeals’ Decision on 28 present petition sufficiently present the existence of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
December 1998, and a copy of the Resolution denying their motion for reconsideration on 17 March excess of jurisdiction and on that basis it could be treated as a special civil action for certiorari under
2000. However, petitioners failed to elevate the rulings of the Court of Appeals to this Court. They Rule 65, still it could not be given due course since it was filed way beyond the period for filing such
claim that their former counsel had neglected to inform them of the receipt of the Resolution special civil action. Moreover, certiorari can only lie if there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy and
denying their motion for reconsideration.3 As a result, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
14 December 1999 became final and executory as of 12 April 2000, with the corresponding entry of
judgment duly issued.4 Our ruling in Alabanzas v. Intermediate Appellate Court13 bears citation. Counsel for private
respondent therein failed to file the appellant’s brief with the Court of Appeals. The lapse led to the
It was only on 29 June 2001, more than a year after the appellate court’s rulings had become final, dismissal of the appeal and the subsequent finality of the lower court judgment. Disallowing the
that petitioners filed with this Court the present "Petition for Annulment of Judgment," seeking the annulment of judgment sought by private respondent on the ground of negligence of her lawyer,
nullification of the rulings. Respondent points out that the procedure undertaken by petitioners this Court held:
finds no sanction under the Rules of Court.
It is well-settled that once a decision becomes final and executory, it is removed from the power
We agree, and add more. Accordingly, we dismiss the petition. or jurisdiction of the Court which rendered it to further amend, much less revoke it (Turquieza v.
Hernando, 97 SCRA 483 [1980]; Heirs of Patriaca v. CA, 124 SCRA 410 [1983]; Javier v. Madamba,
The annulment of judgments, as a recourse, is equitable in character, allowed only in exceptional Jr., 174 SCRA 495 [1989]; Galindez v. Rural Bank of Llanera, Inc., 175 SCRA 132 [1989]; Olympia
cases, as where there is no available or other adequate remedy.5 It is generally governed by Rule 47 International, Inc. v. CA, 180 SCRA 353 [1989]). Decisions which have long become final and
of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Section 1 thereof expressly states that the Rule "shall govern executory cannot be annulled by courts (United CMC Textile Workers Union v. Labor Arbiter, 149
the annulment by the Court of Appeals of judgments or final orders and resolutions in civil action of SCRA 424 [1987]) and the appellate court is deprived of jurisdiction to alter the trial court's final
Regional Trial Courts for which the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other judgment (Carbonel v. CA, 147 SCRA 656 [1987]; Republic v. Reyes, 155 SCRA 313 [1987]).
appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the petitioner." 6 Clearly, Rule 47
The doctrine of finality of judgment is grounded on fundamental considerations of public and against petitioners, any inquiry into the contingent fee agreement has become a purely theoretical
sound practice that at the risk of occasional error, the judgments of the courts must become final exercise.
at some definite date set by law (Turquieza v. Hernando, supra; H[e]irs of Patriaca v. CA, supra;
Edra v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 179 SCRA 344 [1989]). Reopening of a case which has WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. Costs against petitioners.
become final and executory is disallowed (Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. v. Arciaga, 148 SCRA,
[sic] 433 [1987]; Edra v. Intermediate Court, supra.). The subsequent filing of a motion for
SO ORDERED.
reconsideration cannot disturb the finality of a judgment and restore jurisdiction which had
already been lost (Pfleider v. Victorino, 98 SCRA 491 [1980]; Heirs of Patriaca v. CA, supra).

After the judgment has become final, no addition can be made thereto and nothing can be done
therewith except its execution; otherwise, there can be no end to litigation, thus setting at naught
the main role of Courts of Justice, which is to assist in the enforcement of the rule of law and the
maintenance of peace and order, by settling justiciable controversies with finality (Farescal Vda.
de Emnas v. Emnas, 95 SCRA 470 [1980]; Heirs of Patriaca v. CA, supra).

Moreover, it is an equally well-settled rule that the client is bound by his counsel's conduct,
negligence and mistake in handling the case, and the client cannot be heard to complain that the
result might have been different had his lawyer proceeded differently (Vivero v. Santos, 52 O.G.
1424; Tupas v. CA, 193 SCRA 597).

It is only in case of gross or palpable negligence of counsel when the courts must step in and
accord relief to a client who suffered thereby. (Legarda v. CA, 195 SCRA 418). In the present case,
the private respondents have not shown such carelessness or negligence in their lawyer's
discharge of his duties to them as to justify a deviation from the rule that "clients should be bound
by the acts of their counsel, including his mistakes."14

Petitioners cite quite a few cases in support of their claim that the purported negligence of their
former counsel sufficiently justifies the annulment of the judgment of the Court of Appeals. We are
not impressed. Only Apex Mining, Inc. v. Court of Appeals15 involved a petition for annulment of
judgment but the petition therein was regular and in order, assailing as it did a decision of the
Regional Trial Court before the Court of Appeals. Unlike in Apex, the present petition is bereft of
mooring under procedural law. Hence, Apex is not a governing precedent in this case.

It is also worthy of note that the challenge to the decisions of the Court of Appeals and the RTC
ultimately involve questions of fact, even necessitating an examination of the boundaries of the
subject property. Both the RTC and the Court of Appeals arrived at common findings on all decisive
factual issues, and the Court is not wont to engage in another factual review. The original complaint
was filed in 1984 and the judgment dismissing the complaint became final and executory in 2001.
There is a need to lay the matter to rest once and for all. Entertaining the present petition, which
bears no approbation under the Rules of Court in the first place, defeats the ends of justice and the
principle of finality of judgment.

A last note. Since the filing of the petition, a collateral issue has arisen between the counsel who
originally filed the petition in behalf of petitioners and the new counsel who subsequently entered
his appearance allegedly in behalf of all petitioners. The former counsel had sought to record a
contingent contract she had earlier forged with petitioners, assuring her of around one-third (1/3)
of the value of the "recovery by petitioners in this case" as her contingent fee. This motion was
opposed by the new counsel. No action need be taken on the motion, it having been mooted by this
Decision. With the dismissal of the petition and reaffirmance of the final and executory judgment
CIVPRO – RULE 47 – GROUNDS Paz G. Villamil-Estrada, to private respondent under the compromise agreement. Thus on 25
January 1993 respondent filed a complaint to revive the judgment, docketed as Civil Case No. D-
G.R. No. 114311 November 29, 1996 10459. 5

COSMIC LUMBER CORPORATION, petitioner, Petitioner asserts that it was only when the summons in Civil Case No. D-10459 for the revival of
vs. judgment was served upon it that it came to know of the compromise agreement entered into
COURT OF APPEAL and ISIDRO PEREZ, respondents. between Paz G. Villamil-Estrada and respondent Isidro Perez upon which the trial court based its
decision of 26 July 1993 in Civil Case No. D-7750. Forthwith, upon learning of the fraudulent
transaction, petitioner sought annulment of the decision of the trial court before respondent Court
BELLOSILLO, J.:
of Appeals on the ground that the compromise agreement was void because: (a) the attorney-in-
fact did not have the authority to dispose of, sell, encumber or divest the plaintiff of its ownership
COSMIC LUMBER CORPORATION through its General Manager executed on 28 January 1985 a over its real property or any portion thereof; (b) the authority of the attorney-in-fact was confined
Special Power of Attorney appointing Paz G. Villamil-Estrada as attorney-in-fact — to the institution and filing of an ejectment case against third persons/squatters on the property of
the plaintiff, and to cause their eviction therefrom; (c) while the special power of attorney made
. . . to initiate, institute and file any court action for the ejectment of third persons and/or mention of an authority to enter into a compromise agreement, such authority was in connection
squatters of the entire lot 9127 and 443 and covered by TCT Nos. 37648 and 37649, for the with, and limited to, the eviction of third persons/squatters thereat, in order that "the corporation
said squatters to remove their houses and vacate the premises in order that the corporation may take material possession of the entire lot;" (d) the amount of P26,640.00 alluded to as alleged
may take material possession of the entire lot, and for this purpose, to appear at the pre-trial consideration of said agreement was never received by the plaintiff; (e) the private defendant acted
conference and enter into any stipulation of facts and/or compromise agreement so far as it in bad faith in. the execution of said agreement knowing fully well the want of authority of the
shall protect the rights and interest of the corporation in the aforementioned lots. 1 attorney-in-fact to sell, encumber or dispose of the real property of plaintiff; and, (f) the disposal of
a corporate property indispensably requires a Board Resolution of its Directors, a fact which is
On 11 March 1985 Paz G. Villamil-Estrada, by virtue of her power of attorney, instituted an action wanting in said Civil Case No. D-7750, and the General Manager is not the proper officer to
for the ejectment of private respondent Isidro Perez and recover the possession of a portion of Lot encumber a corporate property. 6
No. 443 before the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan, docketed as Civil Case No. D-7750. 2
On 29 October 1993 respondent court dismissed the complaint on the basis of its finding that not
On 25 November 1985 Villamil-Estrada entered into a Compromise Agreement with respondent one of the grounds for annulment, namely, lack of jurisdiction, fraud or illegality was shown to exist.
7 It also denied the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner, discoursing that the alleged nullity
Perez, the terms of which follow:
of the compromise judgment on the ground that petitioner's attorney-in-fact Villamil-Estrada was
not authorized to sell the subject propety may be raised as a defense in the execution of the
1. That as per relocation sketch plan dated June 5, 1985 prepared by Engineer Rodolfo dela compromise judgment as it does not bind petitioner, but not as a ground for annulment of judgment
Cruz the area at present occupied by defendant wherein his house is located is 333 square because it does not affect the jurisdiction of the trial court over the action nor does it amount to
meters on the easternmost part of lot 443 and which portion has been occupied by defendant extrinsic fraud. 8
for several years now;

Petitioner challenges this verdict. It argues that the decision of the trial court is void because the
2. That to buy peace said defendant pays unto the plaintiff through herein attorney-in-fact the compromise agreement upon which it was based is void. Attorney-in-fact Villamil-Estrada did not
sum of P26,640.00 computed at P80.00/square meter; possess the authority to sell or was she armed with a Board Resolution authorizing the sale of its
property. She was merely empowered to enter into a compromise agreement in the recovery suit
3. That plaintiff hereby recognizes ownership and possession of the defendant by virtue of this she was authorized to file against persons squatting on Lot No. 443, such authority being expressly
compromise agreement over said portion of 333 square m. of lot 443 which portion will be confined to the "ejectment of third persons or squatters of . . . lot . . . (No.) 443 . . . for the said
located on the easternmost part as indicated in the sketch as annex A; squatters to remove their houses and vacate the premises in order that the corporation may take
material possession of the entire lot . . ."
4. Whatever expenses of subdivision, registration, and other incidental expenses shall be
shouldered by the defendant. 3 We agree with petitioner. The authority granted Villamil-Estrada under the special power of
attorney was explicit and exclusionary: for her to institute any action in court to eject all persons
On 27 November 1985 the "Compromise Agreement" was approved by the trial court and judgment found on Lots Nos. 9127 and 443 so that petitioner could take material possession thereof, and for
was rendered in accordance therewith. 4 this purpose, to appear at the pre-trial and enter into any stipulation of facts and/or compromise
agreement but only insofar as this was protective of the rights and interests of petitioner in the
property. Nowhere in this authorization was Villamil-Estrada granted expressly or impliedly any
Although the decision became final and executory it was not executed within the 5-year period from
power to sell the subject property nor a portion thereof. Neither can a conferment of the power to
date of its finality allegedly due to the failure of petitioner to produce the owner's duplicate copy
sell be validly inferred from the specific authority "to enter into a compromise agreement" because
of Title No. 37649 needed to segregate from Lot No. 443 the portion sold by the attorney-in-fact,
of the explicit limitation fixed by the grantor that the compromise entered into shall only be "so far he was not a party to the compromise. Thus it would appear that the obiter of the appellate court
as it shall protect the rights and interest of the corporation in the aforementioned lots." In the that the alleged nullity of the compromise agreement should be raised as a defense against its
context of the specific investiture of powers to Villamil-Estrada, alienation by sale of an immovable enforcement is not legally feasible. Petitioner could not be in a position to question the compromise
certainly cannot be deemed protective of the right of petitioner to physically possess the same, agreement in the action to revive the compromise judgment since it was never privy to such
more so when the land was being sold for a price of P80.00 per square meter, very much less than agreement. Villamil-Estrada who signed the compromise agreement may have been the attorney-
its assessed value of P250.00 per square meter, and considering further that petitioner never in-fact but she could not legally bind petitioner thereto as she was not entrusted with a special
received the proceeds of the sale. authority to sell the land, as required in Art. 1878, par. (5), of the Civil Code.

When the sale of a piece of land or any interest thereon is through an agent, the authority of the Under authority of Sec. 9, par. (2), of B.P. Blg. 129, a party may now petition the Court of Appeals
latter shall be in writing; otherwise, the sale shall be void. 9 Thus the authority of an agent to execute to annul and set aside judgments of Regional Trial Courts. 16 "Thus, the Intermediate Appellant Court
a contract for the sale of real estate must be conferred in writing and must give him specific (now Court of Appeals) shall exercise . . . (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over action for annulment
authority, either to conduct the general business of the principal or to execute a binding contract of judgments of the Regional Trial Courts . . ." However, certain requisites must first be established
containing terms and conditions which are in the contract he did execute. 10 A special power of before a final and executory judgment can be the subject of an action for annulment. It must either
attorney is necessary to enter into any contract by which the ownership of an immovable is be void for want of jurisdiction or for lack of due process of law, or it has been obtained by fraud. 17
transmitted or acquired either gratuitously or for a valuable consideration. 11 The express mandate
required by law to enable an appointee of an agency (couched) in general terms to sell must be one Conformably with law and the above-cited authorities, the petition to annul the decision of the trial
that expressly mentions a sale or that includes a sale as a necessary ingredient of the act mentioned. court in Civil Case No. D-7750 before the Court of Appeals was proper. Emanating as it did from a
12 For the principal to confer the right upon an agent to sell real estate, a power of attorney must
void compromise agreement, the trial court had no jurisdiction to render a judgment based thereon.
so express the powers of the agent in clear and unmistakable language. When there is any 18
reasonable doubt that the language so used conveys such power, no such construction shall be
given the document. 13
It would also appear, and quite contrary to the finding of the appellate court, that the highly
reprehensible conduct of attorney-in-fact Villamil-Estrada in Civil Case No. 7750 constituted an
It is therefore clear that by selling to respondent Perez a portion of petitioner's land through a extrinsic or collateral fraud by reason of which the judgment rendered thereon should have been
compromise agreement, Villamil-Estrada acted without or in obvious authority. The sale ipso jure is struck down. Not all the legal semantics in the world can becloud the unassailable fact that
consequently void. So is the compromise agreement. This being the case, the judgment based petitioner was deceived and betrayed by its attorney-in-fact, Villamil-Estrada deliberately concealed
thereon is necessarily void. Antipodal to the opinion expressed by respondent court in resolving from petitioner, her principal, that a compromise agreement had been forged with the end-result
petitioner's motion for reconsideration, the nullity of the settlement between Villamil-Estrada and that a portion of petitioner's property was sold to the deforciant, literally for a song. Thus
Perez impaired the jurisdiction of the trial court to render its decision based on the compromise completely kept unaware of its agent's artifice, petitioner was not accorded even a fighting chance
agreement. In Alviar v. Court of First Instance of La Union, 14 the Court held — to repudiate the settlement so much so that the judgment based thereon became final and
executory.
. . . this court does not hesitate to hold that the judgment in question is null and void ab initio.
It is not binding upon and cannot be executed against the petitioners. It is evident that the For sure, the Court of Appeals restricted the concept of fraudulent acts within too narrow limits.
compromise upon which the judgment was based was not subscribed by them . . . Neither Fraud may assume different shapes and be committed in as many different ways and here lies the
could Attorney Ortega bind them validly in the compromise because he had no special danger of attempting to define fraud. For man in his ingenuity and fertile imagination will always
authority . . . contrive new schemes to fool the unwary.

As the judgment in question is null and void ab initio, it is evident that the court acquired no There is extrinsic fraud within the meaning of Sec. 9, par. (2), of B.P. Blg. 129, where it is one the
jurisdiction to render it, much less to order the execution thereof . . . effect of which prevents a party from hearing a trial, or real contest, or from presenting all of his
case to the court, or where it operates upon matters, not pertaining to the judgment itself, but to
. . . A judgment, which is null and void ab initio, rendered by a court without jurisdiction to do the manner in which it was procured so that there is not a fair submission of the controversy. In
so, is without legal efficacy and may properly be impugned in any proceeding by the party other words, extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the prevailing party in the litigation which
against whom it is sought to be enforced . . . is committed outside of the trial of the case, whereby the defeated party has been prevented from
exhibiting fully his side of the case by fraud or deception practiced on him by his opponent. 19 Fraud
This ruling was adopted in Jacinto v. Montesa,15 by Mr. Justice J. B.L. Reyes, a much-respected is extrinsic where the unsuccessful party has been prevented from exhibiting fully his case, by fraud
authority on civil law, where the Court declared that a judgment based on a compromise entered or deception practiced on him by his opponent, as by keeping him away from court, a false promise
into by an attorney without specific authority from the client is void. Such judgment may be of a compromise; or where the defendant never had knowledge of the suit, being kept in ignorance
impugned and its execution restrained in any proceeding by the party against whom it is sought to by the acts of the plaintiff; or where an attorney fraudulently or without authority connives at his
be enforced. The Court also observed that a defendant against whom a judgment based on a defeat; these and similar cases which show that there has never been a real contest in the trial or
compromise is sought to be enforced may file a petition for certiorari to quash the execution. He hearing of the case are reasons for which a new suit may be sustained to set aside and annul the
could not move to have the compromise set aside and then appeal from the order of denial since former judgment and open the case for a new and fair hearing. 20
It may be argued that petitioner knew of the compromise agreement since the principal is
chargeable with and bound by the knowledge of or notice to his agent received while the agent was
acting as such. But the general rule is intended to protect those who exercise good faith and not as
a shield for unfair dealing. Hence there is a well-established exception to the general rule as where
the conduct and dealings of the agent are such as to raise a clear presumption that he will not
communicate to the principal the facts in controversy. 21 The logical reason for this exception is that
where the agent is committing a fraud, it would be contrary to common sense to presume or to
expect that he would communicate the facts to the principal. Verily, when an agent is engaged in
the perpetration of a fraud upon his principal for his own exclusive benefit, he is not really acting
for the principal but is really acting for himself, entirely outside the scope of his agency. 22 Indeed,
the basic tenets of agency rest on the highest considerations of justice, equity and fair play, and an
agent will not be permitted to pervert his authority to his own personal advantage, and his act in
secret hostility to the interests of his principal transcends the power afforded him. 23

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision and resolution of respondent Court of Appeals
dated 29 October 1993 and 10 March 1994, respectively, as well as the decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Dagupan City in Civil Case No. D-7750 dated 27 November 1985, are NULLIFIED and SET
ASIDE. The "Compromise Agreement" entered into between Attorney-in-fact Paz G. Villamil-Estrada
and respondent Isidro Perez is declared VOID. This is without prejudice to the right of petitioner to
pursue its complaint against private respondent Isidro Perez in Civil Case No. D-7750 for the
recovery of possession of a portion of Lot No. 443.

SO ORDERED.
CIVPRO – RULE 47 – LACHES Their main arguments are: (1) that the Court of Appeals erred in finding them guilty of laches for
failure to assert their rights to the property for over fifty (50) years and (2) it exceeded its jurisdiction
G. R. No. 94422 June 26, 1992 in issuing the order of dismissal without a trial on the merits of the case, in violation of their right
to due process.
GUILLERMO MARCELINO, CONRADO ANTONIO, JR. and CONNIE ANTONIO, both minors,
represented by their grandfather co-petitioner, petitioner, The petition is unmeritorious —
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, SEVERINA LACTAOEN, CONCHITA L. MARCELINO, Spouses SIMON Laches in a general sense, means the failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length
MADRIAGA and CRISPINA MARCELINO, and PEPING CANSINO, respondents. of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier. It is
negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting the presumption that
GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.: the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned or declined to assert it (Solomon vs.
Intermediate Appellate Court, 185 SCRA 352).
The annulment of the decision dated May 11, 1990 of the Court of Appeals which affirmed the Order
of the Regional Trial Court of Tarlac Branch 68 dismissing the petitioners' complaint for recovery of In the case at bar, the petitioners admitted in their complaint, that the private respondents had
possession. surrender of titles and damages. is sought in this petition for review on certiorari. been occupying the parcels of land in question even before World War II, and that they (private
respondents) have in their possession the titles thereof. For almost 50 years, or until June 20, 1988
no action had been taken by the petitioners, or their predecessors-in-interest, to recover possession
The petitioners, Guillermo Marcelino and the late Luciana Marcelino, now represented by their
of the land and the titles thereof.
grandchildren the minors, Conrado Antonio, Jr. and Connie Antonio, are the only heirs of the late
Silvestre Marcelino and Genoveva Patricio, registered owners of three (3) parcels of land covered
by Original Certificates of Title Nos. 16547, 16829 and 16933, all of the Property Registry of Tarlac. There is no doubt, therefore, that the petitioner's long inaction in asserting their right to the
contested lots bars them from recovering the same (Galloy vs. Court of Appeals. 173 SCRA 26). The
law serves those who are vigilant and diligent and not those who sleep when the law requires them
Even before World War II, the private respondents had been, and still are, in possession of these
to act (Vda. de Alberto vs. Court of Appeals. 173 SCRA 436).
parcels of land and the certificates of title thereof.

Although the parcels of land in question are registered under the Torrens System, it is nevertheless
When the spouses Guillermo Marcelino and Luciana Marcelino were still alive, they demanded the
settled in this jurisdiction that the ownership of registered land may be lost through laches (Tambot
restitution to them of the physical possession and the Torrens titles of the property by the private
vs. Court of Appeals. 181 SCRA 202). The doctrine of laches or of "stale demands" is based on
respondents, but the latter refused to give up the same.
grounds of public policy which requires, for the peace of society, the discouragement of stale claims.
Unlike the statute of limitations, laches is not a mere question of time but is principally a question
In their answer with special and affirmative defenses, the private respondents averred that they are of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a stale right or claim to be enforced or asserted (Bergado
the lawful occupants and possessors of the parcels of land in question; that the action of the vs. Court of Appeals, 173 SCRA 497).
petitioners to recover the ownership and possession thereof has already prescribed; that said
parcels of land were inherited by them from their parents. Silvino Marcelino and Fermina Arrocena,
The individual elements of laches were sufficiently and thoroughly discussed by the appellate court
who bought them in 1935 from Pedro Marcelino, as evidenced by an Absolute Sale of Real Estates,
in its decision. We find no need to make any further disquisition on the matter.
dated May 14. 1935; and that Pedro Marcelino had purchased these parcels of land from Genoveva
Patricio per Doc. No. 16, Page No. 36, Book No, 11, Series of 1930 of the Notarial Register of Notary
Public Feliciano Bachini of Camiling, Tarlac. Petitioners' allegation that they were denied due process when the Regional Trial Court dismissed
the complaint without a trial on the merits, is not well taken for we have ruled more than once that
a decision based on the pleadings and position papers meets the requirements of a fair and open
On September 14, 1988, the Regional Trial Court of Tarlac dismissed the case on the ground of
hearing (St. Mary's College-Tagum, Davao vs. NLRC. 181 SCRA 73). A hearing does not necessarily
laches.
mean verbal arguments in open court. One may be heard also through pleadings (Mutuc vs. Court
of Appeals, 190 SCRA 43). A motion for reconsideration or an appeal may cure an alleged denial of
The order of dismissal was appealed by the petitioners (then plaintiffs) to the Court of Appeals (CA- due process (Rosales vs. Court of Appeals, 165 SCRA 344).
GR. CV No. 19447).
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED for lack of merit. The impugned decision of the Court
In a decision dated May 11, 1990, the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's Order. of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.

After the denial of their motion for reconsideration. the petitioners filed this petition for review SO ORDERED.
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
CIVPRO – RULE 47 – AVAILABLE EVEN IF JUDGMENT HAS BEEN EXECUTED (1) on December 20,1953 Jesus Amado Araneta purchased the 4,754 sq.m. parcel of land located
in Cubao from the Spouses Garcia and since then he and his family have always been in possession
G.R. No. 80892 September 29, 1989 thereof;

ISLAMIC DA'WAH COUNCIL OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, (2) for some reason known only to Araneta and Fred Da Silva,an employee of the former, title to
vs. the property was placed in the latter's name as evidenced by TCT No. 30461 although from the
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and THE HEIRS of JESUS AMADO ARANETA, respondents. time of its issuance the owner's duplicate copy of said TCT has always been in the possession of
Araneta,
CORTES, J.:
(3) on January 31, 1963, the parties decided to terminate the trust that had been created over
the property, thus, Da Silva executed a deed of sale over the same parcel of land in favor of
Petitioner impugns the resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated November 10 and December 2
Araneta but no consideration was given by the latter to the former for said sale and any recital of
and 3, 1987 which, in effect, gave due course to private respondents' petition for annulment of
consideration appearing in the deed is purely fictitious;
judgment.

(4) the Register of Deeds, however, refused to register the deed of sale because the title is in the
The antecedents of this case are as follows:
name of "Fred Da Silva married to Leocadia Da Silva" and is thus presumed conjugal and the
conjugal partnership should first be liquidated as the wife had already died;
On February 15,1984 Freddie and Marconi Da Silva, as mortgagors, and Islamic Da'Wah Council of
the Philippines (Council for brevity), as mortgagee, executed a real estate mortgage over a 4,754 sq.
(5) alleging that their copy was lost and/or destroyed, on February 1, 1984 Freddie and Marconi
m. parcel of land located in Cubao, Quezon City and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT)
Da Silva, two of the three surviving children of Fred Da Silva who died in 1963, filed a petition,
No. 30461 as security for the payment of a one million peso promissory note in favor of the
docketed as LRC record Case No. Q-2772, for the issuance of a new copy of the owner's duplicate
mortgagee. The mortgagors were unable to pay their obligation, hence, the Council instituted
copy of TCT No. 30461. The petition was granted by Judge Vera on March 24,1984:
foreclosure proceedings with the Regional Trial Court, docketed as Civil Case No. Q-43746. On
February 5, 1985 the parties submitted a compromise agreement wherein it was stipulated that
because of the Da Silvas' inability to pay their debt to the Council, and for the additional (6) Araneta learned about this and immediately filed a motion to re-open the proceedings stating
consideration of P 500,000.00, they jointly agree to cede, transfer and convey to the Council the that he has in his possession the ,- owner's duplicate copy of TCT No. 30461 and explaining the
land they mortgaged to the latter. On February 12, 1985, the Regional Trial Court approved the reasons for such possession;
compromise agreement. Thereafter, TCT No. 328021 was issued in the name of the Council by the
Register of Deeds of Quezon City. (7) the motion was granted and on December 7,1984 the land registration court ordered the Da
Silvas to (a) return to the Register of the second owner's duplicate copy of the title and (b) neither
Subsequent thereto, on August 8,1985, Jesus Amado Araneta filed with the Register of Deeds a enter into any transaction concerning said second owner's duplicate copy nor utilize the title for
notice of lis pendens in connection with Civil Case No. Q-47989 entitled "Islamic Da'Wah Council of any purpose other than to return the same to the Register of Deeds;
the Philippines v. Jesus Amado Araneta" for ejectment. The complaint was converted into an action
for collection of rentals with damages but was later on withdrawn by the Council. On August 13, (8) on November 11, 1985, the Da Silvas manifested before the land registration court that the
1985 Araneta also filed with the same Register of Deeds an affidavit of adverse claim in connection title to the property was transferred to the Council based on a compromise agreement in Civil
with Civil Case No. Q-43469 entitled "Marconi Da Silva, et al. v. Jesus Amado Araneta, et al." for Case No. Q43746 for foreclosure; and
recovery of possession. The notice of lis pendens and adverse claim were annotated at the back of
TCT No. 328021 by the Register of Deeds. (9) on motion of the heirs of Araneta, who substituted him upon his death in 1985, Judge Vera
consolidated Civil Cases Nos. Q- 2772 and Q-43469, both of which were raffled to his sala, with
On October 9, 1985 the Council filed in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City a complaint for Civil Case No. Q-46196 but the judge hearing the latter case would not heed the order of
Quieting of Title, Recovery of Possession and Damages with Preliminary Mandatory Injunction consolidation.
against Araneta praying, inter alia, for the cancellation of all the annotations at the back of TCT No.
328021. The case is docketed as Civil Case No. Q-46196. (10) and then set out their case for annulment of judgment alleging that the Da Silvas, with the
connivance of the Council, executed a purported promissory note secured by a real estate
While this case was pending, on July 6, 1987, the heirs of Jesus Amado Araneta, private respondents mortgage the terms and conditions of which were made very onerous as to pave the way for the
herein, filed with the Court of Appeals a petition to annul the judgment in Civil Case No. Q-43746 foreclosure of the property by virtue of a confession of judgment; and, the Council had always
for foreclosure. In support of their petition the heirs of Araneta narrated the following events: known of the Araneta's claim of ownership over the land because the former's executive officer
and secretary general is the lawyer of the Da Silvas in the cases they filed against the Araneta's.
The heirs of Araneta in their petition prayed, inter alia, that (1) the judgment in Civil Case No. Q-
43746 be annulled and set aside and (2) a restraining order be issued to enjoin the proceedings Blg. 129 introduced a new provision conferring on the Court of Appeals exclusive original jurisdiction
in Civil Case No. Q-46196 [Petition, Annex "A"]. over actions for annulment of judgments of Regional Trial Courts. Sec. 9(2) of Batas Pambansa Blg.
129 expressly provides that:
In a resolution dated November 10, 1987 the Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order
enjoining the trial judge from hearing Civil Case No. Q-46196 until further orders from the court. In Sec. 9. Jurisdiction. -The Court of Appeals shall exercise: ...
the same resolution the parties were ordered to appear for a pre- trial conference. The Council filed
a motion for reconsideration of this resolution. Later on the Council filed a Supplement to Motion (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of Regional Trial Courts;
for Reconsideration with Motion to Dismiss questioning the Court of Appeals' jurisdiction to hear Thus, it is beyond dispute that it is only the Court of Appeals that can take cognizance of the
the petition for annulment of a judgment that had already been fully executed. The Council also annulment of judgment in Civil Case No. Q-43746 rendered by the Regional Trial Court.
invoked the additional grounds of lack of cause of action because the Aranetas are not valid
claimants of the property; lack of legal capacity to sue because the Aranetas were not parties to the
The next issue raised in this petition deals with the question of who may properly institute a petition
foreclosure case; litis pendentia because of the pendency of the quieting of title case between the
for annulment of judgment. It is petitioner's contention that the remedy is available only to one
same parties; and, abandonment, waiver and unenforceability under the Statute of Frauds [Petition,
who is a party to the case where the judgment sought to be annulled is rendered. Private
Annex "H"]. On December 2, 1987 the Court of Appeals denied the Council's motion for
respondents, on the other hand, allege that "there are sufficient facts and circumstances sufficient
reconsideration for lack of merit. In the hearing conducted on December 3, 1987 the Council
to show prima facie that [they] have a substantial interest in the ownership of the property which
reiterated the grounds it raised in its Supplemental Motion and Motion to Dismiss but the same
had been foreclosed without their knowledge and consent" [Rollo, p. 90]. In fine, the question deals
were summarily denied by the Court of Appeals. Hence, this petition for certiorari.
with whether or not the heirs of Araneta have a cause of action against the Council.

Petitioner contends the following: first, that the Court of Appeals should not continue to hear the
In Militante v. Edrosolano [G.R. No. L-27940, June 10, 1971, 39 SCRA 4731, an action for annulment
petition for annulment of judgment since it is already fully executed and the purpose for which the
of judgment in Civil Case No. 6216 between Edrosolano and Belosillo was filed by Militante. The
case for annulment was filed will no longer be served, the parties having already complied with the
petition stemmed from a complaint instituted by Militante on September 6, 1965 against
decision; second, private respondents have no right to question the validity or legality of the
Edrosolano for damages arising from a breach of contract of carriage. On January 18,1966 Militante
decision rendered foreclosing the mortgage since they are foreign to the transaction of mortgage
obtained an order of preliminary attachment on the property of Edrosolano. Alleging that he
between petitioner and Freddie and Marconi Da Silva; lastly, petitioner claims that private
purchased all of Edrosolano's TPU equipment on February 28, 1966, Belosillo filed a third-party
respondents have another remedy in law and that is in Civil Case No. Q-46196 for Quieting of Title
claim. It appears that on February 25, 1963 Belosillo obtained a judgment by default against
where the question of ownership may be passed upon.
Edrosolano in Civil Case No. 6216 for collection of amount of P45,000.00, the value of the
promissory note executed by the latter on February 1, 1960. After a recital of these antecedent
At the outset it must be clarified that the instant petition is one for certiorari under Rule 65 of the facts, Militante, in his petition for annulment of judgment contended, inter alia, that (1) Civil Case
Rules of Court. Thus, the inquiry this Court should address itself is limited to error of jurisdiction or No. 6216 "was based on a fictitious cause of action because [the] promissory note was without
grave abuse of discretion committed by the Court, of Appeals, in particular, whether or not lawful consideration whatsoever" [at 476]; (2) Edrosolano did not file any answer to Belosillo's
respondent court acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in giving due course complaint and allowed the latter to obtain a judgment by default which judgment attained finality
to the petition for annulment of judgment. This clarification is rendered necessary because the without the former appealing therefrom; and, (3) while judgment in Civil Case No. 6216 was
parties themselves, in their pleadings, have gone beyond this issue and have discussed the merits promulgated iii 1963 it was "only on January 19, 1966 when . . . Belosillo caused the execution
of the annulment of judgment case now pending decision with the Court of Appeals. thereof after [Militante] had already instituted his civil case for damages against ... Edrosolano and
an order for issuance of preliminary attachment issued" [at 477]. The trial court however dismissed
In its Petition, the Council contends that a Regional Trial Court has the authority and jurisdiction to Militante's action for annulment on finding that it did not state a cause of action. Thereafter,
annul a judgment of another Regional Trial Court, a coordinate or co-equal court Specifically, Militante filed an appeal to this Tribunal and in setting aside the trial court's order of dismissal', the
petitioner alleges that the filing of a separate action for annulment of judgment is unnecessary Court, speaking through then Mr. Associate Justice Enrique Fernando, stated that:
because the Regional Trial Court hearing Civil Case No. Q-43469 for Quieting of Title can annul the
judgment in Civil Case No. Q-43746 for Foreclosure rendered by another Regional Trial Court [Rollo, xxx xxx xxx
pp. 15-16). In its Memorandum, however, the Council admitted that the Court of Appeals has the
exclusive jurisdiction to annul the decision of the Regional Trial Court [Rollo, pp. 152-1531.
2. More specifically, the view entertained by the lower court in its order of dismissal that an action
for annulment of judgment can be availed of only by those principally or secondarily bound is
Annulment of judgment is a remedy in law independent of the case where the judgment sought to contrary to what had been so clearly declared by this Court in the leading case of Anuran v.
be annulled was rendered. The judgment may be annulled on the ground of extrinsic or collateral Aquino t38 Phil. 291, decided in 1918. It was emphatically announced therein: "There can be no
fraud [Canlas v. Hon- Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 77691, August 8,19881. Jurisdiction over actions for question as to the right of any persons adversely affected by a judgement to maintain an action
annulment of Regional Trial Court judgment has been clarified by Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 to enjoin its enforcement and to have it declared a nullity on the ground of fraud and collusion
(otherwise known as The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980). Prior to the enactment of this law, practiced in the very matter of obtaining the judgment when such fraud is extrinsic or collateral
different views had been entertained regarding the issue of whether or not a branch of a Regional to the matters involved in the issues raised at the trial which resulted in such judgment. x x x." [at
Trial Court may annul a judgment of another branch of the same court. * However, Batas Pambansa 3233.] Such a principle was further fortified by an observation made by this Court through Justice
Ozaeta in Garchitorena v. Sotelo [74 Phil. 25 (,1942)j'. These are his words: "The collusive conduct
of the parties in the foreclosure suit constituted an extrinsic or collateral fraud by reason of which
the judgment rendered therein may be annulled in this separate action [citing also the case of
Anuran]. Aside from the Anuran-Aquino case, innumerable authorities from other jurisdictions
may be cited 'in support of the annulment. But were there not any precedent to guide us, reason
and justice would compel us to lay down such doctrine for the first time." [at 481-482-, Italics
supplied.]

It is therefore clear from the foregoing that a person need not be a party to the judgment sought to
be annulled. What is essential is that he can prove his allegation that the judgment was obtained by
the use of fraud and collusion and he would be adversely affected thereby.

In this present case it is true that the heirs of Araneta are not parties to the foreclosure case. Neither
are they principally nor secondarily bound by the judgment rendered therein. However. their
petition filed with the Court of Appeals they alleged fraud and connivance perpetuated by and
between the Da Silvas and the Council as would adversely affect them. This allegation, if fully
substantiated by preponderance of evidence, could be the basis for the annulment of Civil Case No.
Q-43476.

Finally, the Council asserts that the remedy of annulment of judgment applies only to final and
executory judgment and not to that which had already been fully executed or implemented.It is the
Council's contention that as the judgment in the foreclosure case had already been executed
evidenced by the fact that title to the property in question had been transferred in its name the
judgment can no longer be annulled. The Council's contention is devoid of merit. In Garchitorena u.
Sotelo, supra, the Court affirmed the trial court's annulment of the judgment on foreclosure
notwithstanding the fact that ownership of the house and lot subject of the mortgage had passed
from the mortgagee who foreclosed the mortgage and purchased the property at public auction to
a person who bought the same and finally to another individual in whose name the Torrens
certificate of title stood by the time the case reached this Tribunal.

In view of the foregoing the Court finds that the Court of Appeals neither acted without jurisdiction
nor committed grave abuse of discretion in giving due course to the petition for annulment of
judgment as would warrant the issuance of the extraordinary writ of certiorari in this case.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED and the orders of the Court of Appeals dated
November 10 and December 2 and 3,1987 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.