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Pinga vs Heirs of Santiago

RULE MAKING POWER OF THE SUPREME COURT; Revising the Rules of Court, Abandoning doctrines.

Facts:

Petitioner Pinga was a co-defendant in a complaint for injunction filed by respondent Santiago in
1998 because the former had been unlawfully entering the latter’s coco land, cutting wood and bamboo,
and harvesting coconut fruits therein. Respondent Santiago prayed that petitioner be enjoined from doing
these acts plus damages.
In their counterclaim, petitioner dispute that they owned the land since 1930s; that respondents
have been ordered ejected after a complaint for forcible entry by petitioners’ predecessors; that, further,
respondent’s free patent application was rejected in 1971. Petitioner prayed they be awarded P2.1M
damages due to the irresponsible filing of the case and forcible re-entry to the property.
The RTC ordered the dismissal of the case on October 2004 due to postponements by respondent
Santiago’s counsel, but this order was reconsidered by the RTC after Santiago’s counsel assured that he
would give priority to this case.
In the next hearing, July 2005, Santiago’s counsel failed to appear and instead sent a
representative and sought its’ postponement. Pinga’s counsel opposed it and moved for the dismissal of
the case. The RTC, then, dismissed the complaint since it was obvious that Santiago’s counsel failed to
prosecute, and allowed petitioners to present evidence ex-parte.
Respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration praying that the entire action be dismissed and
petitioner be not allowed to present evidence ex-parte being not in accord with established
jurisprudence. The RTC granted this motion and dismissed the counterclaim on the ground of absence of
opposition to Respondent’s motion. Petitioner, in turn, filed a motion for reconsideration for the dismissal
of their counterclaim but was denied.

Issue:
Whether the dismissal of the complaint, upon motion of the defendant, on the ground of the
failure to prosecute on plaintiffs part precipitates or carries with it the dismissal of the pending
counterclaims?

Ruling:
No. Under Sec. 3, Rule 17 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the dismissal of the complaint due to
the fault of plaintiff does not necessarily carry with it the dismissal of the counterclaim, compulsory or
otherwise. In fact, the dismissal of the complaint is without prejudice to the right of defendants to
prosecute the counterclaim.

According to Justice Regalado and Narvasa, Section 3 contemplates a dismissal not procured by
plaintiff, albeit justified by causes imputable to him and which, in the present case, was petitioner's
failure to appear at the pre-trial. This situation is also covered by Section 3, as extended by judicial
interpretation, and is ordered upon motion of defendant or motu proprio by the court. Here, the issue of
whether defendant has a pending counterclaim, permissive or compulsory, is not of determinative
significance. The dismissal of plaintiff's complaint is evidently a confirmation of the failure of evidence
to prove his cause of action outlined therein, hence the dismissal is considered, as a matter of evidence,
an adjudication on the merits. This does not, however, mean that there is likewise such absence of
evidence to prove defendant's counterclaim although the same arises out of the subject matter of the
complaint which was merely terminated for lack of proof. To hold otherwise would not only work
injustice to defendant but would be reading a further provision into Section 3 and wresting a meaning
therefrom although neither exists even by mere implication. Thus understood, the complaint can
accordingly be dismissed, but relief can nevertheless be granted as a matter of course to defendant on his
counterclaim as alleged and proved, with or without any reservation therefor on his part, unless from his
conduct, express or implied, he has virtually consented to the concomitant dismissal of his counterclaim.

As a general rule, the allegations that form the counterclaim are rooted in an act or omission of the
plaintiff other than the plaintiffs very act of filing the complaint. Moreover, such acts or omissions
imputed to the plaintiff are often claimed to have occurred prior to the filing of the complaint itself. The
only apparent exception to this circumstance is if it is alleged in the counterclaim that the very act of the
plaintiff in filing the complaint precisely causes the violation of the defendants rights.

To be certain, when the Court promulgated the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, including the amended Rule
17, those previous jural doctrines that were inconsistent with the new rules incorporated in the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure were implicitly abandoned insofar as incidents arising after the effectivity of the
new procedural rules on 1 July 1997. BA Finance, or even the doctrine that a counterclaim may be
necessarily dismissed along with the complaint, clearly conflicts with the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
The abandonment of BA Finance as doctrine extends as far back as 1997, when the Court adopted the
new Rules of Civil Procedure. If, since then, such abandonment has not been affirmed in jurisprudence,
it is only because no proper case has arisen that would warrant express confirmation of the new rule.
That opportunity is here and now, and we thus rule that the dismissal of a complaint due to fault of the
plaintiff is without prejudice to the right of the defendant to prosecute any pending counterclaims of
whatever nature in the same or separate action. We confirm that all previous rulings of the Court that
are inconsistent with this present holding are now abandoned.

The primordial purpose of procedural rules is to provide the means for the vindication of rights. A party
with a valid cause of action against another party cannot be denied the right to relief simply because the
opposing side had the good fortune of filing the case first. Yet this in effect was what had happened under
the old procedural rule and correspondent doctrine, which under their final permutation, prescribed the
automatic dismissal of the compulsory counterclaim upon the dismissal of the complaint, whether upon
the initiative of the plaintiff or of the defendant.

The present rule embodied in Sections 2 and 3 of Rule 17 ordains a more equitable disposition of the
counterclaims by ensuring that any judgment thereon is based on the merit of the counterclaim itself
and not on the survival of the main complaint. Certainly, if the counterclaim is palpably without merit or
suffers jurisdictional flaws which stand independent of the complaint, the trial court is not precluded from
dismissing it under the amended rules, provided that the judgment or order dismissing the counterclaim
is premised on those defects. At the same time, if the counterclaim is justified, the amended rules now
unequivocally protect such counterclaim from peremptory dismissal by reason of the dismissal of the
complaint.
Paloma vs Mora

Facts:

Petitioner Paloma was appointed General Manager of Palompon Water District by its board of
directors in 1993 and later terminated by virtue of Resolution No. 8-95 dated December 29,1995 which
was passed by the same board. Paloma then filed a petition for Mandamus praying for preliminary
injunction with damages and to restore his appointment on the ground that the resolution was capricious,
arbitrary, a travesty of justice and a denial of due process; that Civil Service Rules and Regulations provide
that no officer or employee in the Civil Service shall be suspended, separated or dismissed except for
cause and after due process.

The RTC dismissed the petition for being a premature cause of action which was later affirmed by
the CA.

Paloma also filed a complaint with the CSC against same respondents for alleged violation of the
same Rules and Regulations which was also dismissed for lack of prima facie case.

Issue:
Whether or not the mandamus will lie to compel the Board of Directors to reinstate Paloma? Does
the CSC have primary jurisdiction over this case of illegal dismissal?

Ruling:

Mandamus lies to compel the performance, when refused, of a ministerial duty, but not to
compel the performance of a discretionary duty. Mandamus will not issue to control or review the
exercise of discretion of a public officer where the law imposes upon said public officer the right and
duty to exercise his judgment in reference to any matter in which he is required to act. It is his judgment
that is to be exercised and not that of the court.

Section 23 of PD. 198 aka The Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1978 provides that the general
manager shall serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors. Therefore, Mandamus does not lie to
compel the Board of Directors of the Palompon, Leyte Water District to reinstate petitioner because the
Board has the discretionary power to remove him under Section 23 of P.D. No. 198, as amended by P.D.
No. 768. An appointment held at the pleasure of the appointing power is in essence temporary in nature.
It is co-extensive with the desire of the Board of Directors. Hence, when the Board opts to replace the
incumbent, technically there is no removal but only an expiration of term and in an expiration of term,
there is no need of prior notice, due hearing or sufficient grounds before the incumbent can be
separated from office.

Although Sec. 23 of PD 198 was amended by RA 9286, such amendment is silent as to its
retroactivity. As a general rule in an amendatory act, every case of doubt must be resolved against its
retroactivity, unless the purpose and intention of the legislature to give them a retrospective effect is
expressly declared or is necessarily implied from the language used.

Next Issue. Underlying the rulings of the trial and appellate courts in the case at bar is the doctrine
of primary jurisdiction; i.e., courts cannot and will not resolve a controversy involving a question which
is within the jurisdiction of an administrative tribunal, especially where the question demands the
exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience and services of
the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact. In cases where the
doctrine of primary jurisdiction is clearly applicable, the court cannot arrogate unto itself the authority to
resolve a controversy, the jurisdiction over which is initially lodged with an administrative body of special
competence. Quasi-judicial bodies like the CSC are better-equipped in handling cases involving the
employment status of employees as those in the Civil Service since it is within the field of their expertise.
Catipon vs Japson,
DOCTRINE OF EXHAUSTION OF ADMIN. REMEDIES, Doctrine of Primary Jurisdiction

Facts:

Catipon was included in the graduation ceremonies and is a holder of a degree in Commerce
though he lacked 1.5 units in Military Science pursuant to school policies. Due to his deficiency, he was
not yet a ‘graduate’ although he took part in the ceremonies. He completed the 1.5 units October of 1995.
In October 1993, he took the Career Service Professional Examination and had a rating of 80.52%.

March 2003, Respondent Japson filed a letter-complaint with the Civil Service Commission-CAR
Regional Director, alleging that petitioner made deliberate false entries in his CSPE application,
specifically, that he obtained his college degree in 1993 when actually he graduated in 1995 only; that
petitioner was not qualified to take the CSPE examination in 1993 since he was not yet then a graduate of
a four-year college course, contrary to the entry in his application form.

He was then charged, and later exonerated, with Dishonesty, Falsification of Official documents,
Grave Misconduct, and found guilty of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service by the CSC-
CAR. His penalty was suspension of 6 months without pay, revocation of his CSPE results. He filed a motion
for reconsideration with the CSC-CAR but was denied. He then filed an instant petition for Review with
the CA. The CA denied on the ground of violation of the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies.

Issues:

Whether or not the CA erred when it applied the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative
remedies to this case. Whether the CA erred when it failed to realize that due to the suspension imposed
upon petitioner, he was justified in seeking judicial recourse with the CA.

Ruling:

Sections 2 and 3, Article IX-B of the Constitution state that “The civil service embraces all branches,
subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies of the Government, including government-owned or
controlled corporations with original charters”, and that it is the ‘central personnel agency of the
Government’. As such, the CSC has jurisdiction over disputes involving the removal and separation of all
employees of government branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies, including government-
owned or controlled corporations with original charters. Simply put, it is the sole arbiter of controversies
relating to the civil service. In line with the provision of the Constitution, Section 4 of Memorandum
Circular #19 provides that “The Civil Service Commission shall hear and decide administrative cases
instituted by, or brought before it, directly or on appeal, including contested appointments, and shall
review decisions and actions of its offices and of the agencies attached to it.”

Except as otherwise provided by the Constitution or by law, the Civil Service Commission shall
have the final authority to pass upon the removal, separation and suspension of all officers and employees
in the civil service and upon all matters relating to the conduct, discipline and efficiency of such officers
and employees. It is only the decision of the Commission Proper that may be brought to the CA on
petition for review.

The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies requires that "before a party is allowed
to seek the intervention of the court, he or she should have availed himself or herself of all the means
of administrative processes afforded him or her. Hence, if resort to a remedy within the administrative
machinery can still be made by giving the administrative officer concerned every opportunity to decide
on a matter that comes within his or her jurisdiction, then such remedy should be exhausted first before
the court's judicial power can be sought. The premature invocation of the intervention of the court is
fatal to one’s cause of action.

The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is based on practical and legal reasons.
The availment of administrative remedy entails lesser expenses and provides for a speedier disposition of
controversies. Furthermore, the courts of justice, for reasons of comity and convenience, will shy away
from a dispute until the system of administrative redress has been completed and complied with, so as to
give the administrative agency concerned every opportunity to correct its error and dispose of the case.

The doctrine of primary jurisdiction does not warrant a court to arrogate unto itself the
authority to resolve a controversy the jurisdiction over which is initially lodged with an administrative
body of special competence—in this case the CSC is in the best position to resolve the matter.
Dipad vs Olivan
Proper Remedy. Rule 45 or 65.

Facts:
Due to a car collision between the car of the parties and subsequent non-use of his car to his buy-
and-sell business, Dipad filed a civil action for damages in the MTC, sala of Judge Clavecilla. The latter
asked for a copy of Dipad’s ITR to which he vehemently objected on the ground of confidentiality,
incriminatory and nature of fishing expedition of the request. After submitting his basis for invoking
confidentiality, the MTC Judge required petitioner still to produce a copy of his ITRs.

Because of this, they filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 with the RTC. The RTC dismissed
the petition for being an inappropriate remedy; Judge Clavecilla committed mere errors of judgment
which can be remedied by ordinary appeal.

Issue:
Did the RTC correctly denied the petition for being an inappropriate remedy?

Ruling:
Yes. The RTC is correct; it is in keeping with the proper conduct of litigation and prompt
administration of justice. Dipad’s petition lacks merit. The provision and jurisprudence used to support
their contention was out of context. Section 71 of the NIRC, which Dipad’s counsel used, is the exception
to the rule on unlawful divulgence of trade secrets.

The Court reminded petitioner’s counsels of their duty of candor, fairness and good faith when
they face the court. Canon 10.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility instructs that a lawyer shall
not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contents of a paper; the language or the argument of
opposing counsel, or the text of a decision or authority, or knowingly cite as law a provision already
rendered inoperative by repeal or amendment; or assert as a fact that which has not been proved.

As to the RTC’s dismissal of their Rule 65 petitions, it is basic in our jurisdiction that a petition for
certiorari under Rule 65 is not a mode of appeal. The remedy, which is narrow in scope, only corrects
errors of jurisdiction. Thus, if the issue involves an error of judgment, the error is correctible by an appeal
via Rule 45.

Errors of jurisdiction occur when the court exercises jurisdiction not conferred upon it by law.
They may also occur when the court or tribunal, although it has jurisdiction, acts in excess of it or with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. On the contrary, errors of judgment are those
that the court may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction. They include errors of procedure or mistakes
in the court’s findings based on a mistake of law or of fact.

In this case, Petitioners do not question whether the MTC has jurisdiction or authority to resolve
the issue of confidentiality of ITRs. Rather, they assail the wisdom of the MTC’s very judgment and
appreciation of the ITR as not confidential. Agreeing with the RTC, the Court said that ‘if there is an error
to speak, the error relates only to a mistake in the application of law, and not of jurisdiction or grave abuse
of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction.

If every error committed by the trial court is subject to certiorari, trial would never come to an
end and the docket will be clogged ad infinitum.
Neypes vs CA