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SECOND DIVISION that the estimation of the proper amount of filing fees was PHP

472,000,000.00 and was not been paid by the petitioners.

[G.R. No. 139325. April 12, 2005.] Petitioners then filed a motion for reconsideration with Makati RTC
to which Ranada denied.
NARCISCO, SR. MARIANI DIMARANAN, SFIC, and JOEL C. It is in this light that the petitioners filed a petition for certoriari
LAMANGAN, in their behalf and on behalf of the Class with the SC, under Rule 65, assailing the twin orders of Ranada.
Plaintiffs in Class Action No. MDL 840, United States District
Court of Hawaii, petitioners, vs. HON. SANTIAGO JAVIER Issue/s:
RANADA, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch 137,
Regional Trial Court, Makati City, and the ESTATE OF Whether or not the action for the enforcement of a foreign
FERDINAND E. MARCOS, through its court appointed legal judgement is capable of pecuniary estimation.
representatives in Class Action MDL 840, United States
District Court of Hawaii, namely: Imelda R. Marcos and Ruling:
Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., respondents.
Petition is GRANTED. Makati RTC’s orders are NULLIFIED and SET
Facts: ASIDE.

The petitioners stand together as victims of human rights violation Under Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, Ranada’s computation
during the Marcos regime. In 1991, they filed a complaint with the ignored the letter of the law when he concluded that the filing fee
United States (US) District Court in the District of Hawaii against the be computed based on the total sum claimed or the stated value of
estate of former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos (Marcos). the property in litigation. In dismissing the complaint, the
Invoking the Alien Tort Act as basis for their jurisdiction over the respondent judge relied on Section 7(a), Rule 141 as basis for the
case, the court then rendered a verdict and awarded the plaintiffs a computation of the filing fee of over P472 Million which covers
total of One Billion Nine Hundred Sixty Four Million Five Thousand ordinary actions, permissive counterclaims, third-party, etc.
Eight Hundred Fifty Nine Dollars and Ninety Cents (USD complaints and complaints-in-interventions, and on the other hand,
1,964,005,859.90), as a Final Judgement. money claims against estates which are not based on judgment.
Thus, the relevant question for purposes of the present petition is
In 1997, the present petitioners filed a complaint with the Makati whether the action filed with the lower court is a "money claim
City Regional Trial Court (RTC) for the enforcement of the US court’s against an estate not based on judgment." Petitioners' complaint
Final Judgement, and argued that since the Marcos Estate failed to may have been lodged against an estate, but it is clearly based on
file a petition for certoriari, the US courts have affirmed its Final a judgment, the Final Judgment of the US District Court. The
Judgement. Pursuant to this, the Marcos Estate filed a motion to provision does not make any distinction between a local judgment
dismiss on the grounds of non-payment of the correct filing fees, and a foreign judgment, and where the law does not distinguish, we
alleging that the petitioners only paid PHP 410.00 as docket and shall not distinguish. A reading of Section 7 in its entirety reveals
filing fees, notwithstanding the fact that they sought to enforce a several instances wherein the ling fee is computed on the basis of
monetary amount of damages in the amount of over USD 2.25 the amount of the relief sought, or on the value of the property in
Billion, further citing Supreme Court (SC) Circular No. 7 regarding litigation. Hence, Ranada was in error when he computed based on
the proper computation and payment of a docket fees. Petitioners Rule 141, section 7(a).
in response claimed that the action for the enforcement of a foreign
judgement is not capable of pecuniary estimation, hence the fee The rules of comity, utility and convenience of nations have
that they initially paid was proper, also citing Rule 141, section 7(c). established a usage among civilized states by which final
Respondent Judge Santiago Javier Ranada (Ranada) of the Makati judgments of foreign courts of competent jurisdiction are
RTC then issued the subject order dismissing the complaint without reciprocally respected and rendered valid under certain conditions
prejudice, and opined that contrary to the petitioners’ submission, per country. In the Philippines’s case, the condition is found in
the complaint was capable of pecuniary estimation, also stating Section 311 of the Code of Civil Procedure. There is an evident
distinction between a foreign judgment in an action in rem and one
in personam. For an action in rem, the foreign judgment is deemed
conclusive upon the title to the thing, while in an action in
personam, the foreign judgment is presumptive, and not
conclusive, of a right as between the parties and their successors in
interest by a subsequent title. Hence, the party aggrieved by the
foreign judgment is entitled to defend against the enforcement of
such decision in the local forum. The SC ruled that there must be
an opportunity to challenge the foreign judgment, in order for the
court in this jurisdiction to properly determine its efficacy. In turn,
the party attacking a foreign judgment has the burden of
overcoming the presumption of its validity.

The SC’s ruling, however, only decides the question on the filing of
fees. The verdict on the enforceability of the US court’s Final
Judgement still lies for the competent court to decide.