a collections of case digests and laws that can help aspiring law students to become a lawyer
CLARITA CARBONELL VS. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
G.R. NO. 187689
Petitioner Clarita J. Carbonel was an employee of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Makati City. She was formally charged with Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Falsification of Official Documents by the Civil Service Commission Regional Office No. IV (CSCRO IV).
May 21, 1999, Carbonell went to CSC Regional Office IV to secure a copy of her Career Service Professional Examination given on March 14, 1999, because she lost the original copy of her Career Service Professional Certificate of Rating. The Examination and Placement Division that the appearance of Carbonell is different from the person’s picture attached on the seat plan of the application, also the signature affixed was also different. Held the issue was directed to the Legal Affairs Division.
The petitioner confessed that she paid Bettina Navarro to take the exam for her so she can obtain a Career Service Professional Eligibility in exchange of P 10,000 pesos, where she fully paid Navarro only after passing the exam. Hence the formal charges against Carbonell.
On March 25, 2002, the CSCRO IV rendered its decision, finding Carbonell, guilty of dishonesty, grave misconduct, and falsification of official documents. Petitioner, appealed to CSC only on November 5,2007, but it was dismissed, for having been filed almost three years from receipt of the CSCRO IV decision. Unsatisfied, she also raised her appeal to CA, but it also affirmed the decision of the CSC. Hence this petition.
Whether or not a serious grave abuse of discretion was committed by the CA.
Whether or not petitioner’s right to due process was violated because she was not afforded the right to counsel.
The Court ruled that the petition has no merit. It says that the appeal of the petitioner has already passed its reglementary period when the decision is already been final and executory. The perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period prescribed by law is mandatory. Failure to conform to the rules regarding appeal will render the judgment final and executory and beyond the power of the Court’s review. Jurisprudence mandates that when a decision becomes final and executory, it becomes valid and binding upon the parties and their successors-in-interest. Such decision or order can no longer be disturbed or re-opened no matter how erroneous it may have been.
Another issue that the Petitioner raised in this case is her right to due process was violated because she was not afforded the right to counsel when her statement was taken. Considering that the Carbonell’s statement was used by the CSCRO IV, CSC, CA as a basis for finding her liable, it cleared by the Supreme Court that, it must be remembered that the right to counsel under Section 12 of the Bill of Rights is meant to protect a suspect during custodial investigation. Thus, the exclusionary rule under paragraph (2), Section 12 of the Bill of Rights applies only to admissions made in a criminal investigation but not to those made in an administrative investigation. While investigations conducted by an administrative body may at times be akin to a criminal proceeding, the fact remains that, under existing laws, a party in an administrative inquiry may or may not be assisted by counsel, irrespective of the nature of the charges and of petitioner’s capacity to represent herself, and no duty rests on such body to furnish the person being investigated with counsel. The right to counsel is not always imperative in administrative investigations because such inquiries are conducted merely to determine whether there are facts that merit the imposition of disciplinary measures against erring public officers and employees, with the purpose of maintaining the dignity of government service.
Suntay vs. People
G.R. No. L-9430
June 29, 1957
On 26 June 1954, Dr. Antonio Nubla, father of Alicia Nubla, a minor of 16 years, filed a verified complaint against Emilio Suntay who took Alicia Nubla from St. Paul’s Colleges in Quezon City with lewd design and took her to somewhere near the U.P. compound in Diliman, Quezon City and was then able to have carnal knowledge of her. Alicia Nubla is a minor of 16 years. after an investigation, an Assistant City Attorney recommended to the City Attorney of Quezon City that the complaint be dismissed for lack of merit. On 23 December 1954 attorney for the complainant addressed a letter to the City Attorney of Quezon City wherein he took exception to the recommendation of the Assistant City Attorney referred to and urged that a complaint for seduction be filed against the herein petitioner. the petitioner applied for and was granted a passport by the Department of Foreign Affairs and left the Philippines for San Francisco, California, U.S.A., where he is at present enrolled in school. The offended girl subscribed and swore to a complaint charging the petitioner with seduction which was filed in the Court of First Instance of Quezon City after preliminary investigation had been conducted. the private prosecutor filed a motion praying the Court to issue an order “directing such government agencies as may be concerned, particularly the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Foreign Affairs, for the purpose of having the accused brought back to the Philippines so that he may be dealt with in accordance with law. The respondent Secretary cabled the Ambassador to the United States instructing him to order the Consul General in San Francisco to cancel the passport issued to the petitioner and to compel him to return to the Philippines to answer the criminal charges against him. The counsel for the petitioner wrote to the respondent Secretary requesting that the action taken by him be reconsidered, and filed in the criminal case a motion praying that the respondent Court reconsider its order which the respondent Secretary denied. Hence this petition.
Whether or not petitioner should have been granted a quasi-judicial hearing by the respondent Secretary before withdrawing or cancelling the passport issued to him.
No, Hearing would have been proper and necessary if the reason for the withdrawal or cancellation of the passport were not clear but doubtful. But where the holder of a passport is facing a criminal a charge in our courts and left the country to evade criminal prosecution, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in the exercise of his discretion to revoke a passport already issued, cannot be held to have acted whimsically or capriciously in withdrawing and cancelling such passport. Due process does not necessarily mean or require a hearing. When discretion is exercised by an officer vested with it upon an undisputed fact, such as the filing of a serious criminal charge against the passport holder, hearing maybe dispensed with by such officer as a prerequisite to the cancellation of his passport; lack of such hearing does not violate the due process of law clause of the Constitution; and the exercise of the discretion vested in him cannot be deemed whimsical and capricious of because of the absence of such hearing. If hearing should always be held in order to comply with the due process of clause of the Constitution, then a writ of preliminary injunction issued ex parte would be violative of the said clause.
When discretion is exercised by an officer vested with it upon an undisputed fact, such as the filing of a serious criminal charge against the passport holder, hearing maybe dispensed with by such officer as a prerequisite to the cancellation of his passport; lack of such hearing does not violate the due process of law clause of the Constitution; and the exercise of the discretion vested in him cannot be deemed whimsical and capricious of because of the absence of such hearing. If hearing should always be held in order to comply with the due process of clause of the Constitution, then a writ of preliminary injunction issued ex parte would be violative of the said clause.
GMA Network vs COMELEC
G.R. No. 205357
Assailed in these petitions are certain regulations promulgated by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) relative to the conduct of the 2013 national and local elections dealing with political advertisements. Specifically, the petitions question the constitutionality of the limitations placed on aggregate airtime allowed to candidates and political parties, as well as the requirements incident thereto, such as the need to report the same, and the sanctions imposed for violations. The five (5) petitions before the Court put in issue the alleged unconstitutionality of Section 9 (a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 9615 (Resolution) limiting the broadcast and radio advertisements of candidates and political parties for national election positions to an aggregate total of one hundred twenty (120) minutes and one hundred eighty (180) minutes, respectively. They contend that such restrictive regulation on allowable broadcast time violates freedom of the press, impairs the people’s right to suffrage as well as their right to information relative to the exercise of their right to choose who to elect during the forth coming elections.
During the previous elections of May 14, 2007 and May 10, 2010, COMELEC issued Resolutions implementing and interpreting Section 6 of R.A. No. 9006, regarding airtime limitations, to mean that a candidate is entitled to the aforestated number of minutes "per station." For the May 2013 elections, however, respondent COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 9615 dated January 15, 2013, changing the interpretation of said candidates' and political parties' airtime limitation for political campaigns or advertisements from a "per station" basis, to a "total aggregate" basis.
Whether or not the Comelec resolution is valid.
No. COMELEC Resolution No. 9615 introduced a radical departure from the previous COMELEC resolutions relative to the airtime limitations on political advertisements. This essentially consists in computing the airtime on an aggregate basis involving all the media of broadcast communications compared to the past where it was done on a per station basis. Thus, it becomes immediately obvious that there was effected a drastic reduction of the allowable minutes within which candidates and political parties would be able to campaign through the air. The question is accordingly whether this is within the power of the COMELEC to do or not. The Court holds that it is not within the power of the COMELEC to do so.
COMELEC, despite its role as the implementing arm of the Government in the enforcement and administration of all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, has neither the authority nor the license to expand, extend, or add anything to the law it seeks to implement thereby. The IRRs the COMELEC issued for that purpose should always be in accord with the law to be implemented, and should not override, supplant, or modify the law. It is basic that the IRRs should remain consistent with the law they intend to carry out.
Rullan vs. Valdez
G.R. No. L-20031
On November 24, 1961, Bernardo O. Valdez filed with the Bureau of Mines an application for the lease of certain public mineral lands comprising the amended locations of the SILICA and SELECTA Placer Mining Claims which was ordered published according to law. During the period of the publication, Magdalena Rullan filed with the Bureau of Mines an opposition in the form of adverse claim to the application alleging, sometime in February, 1958, Bernardo O. Valdez and his associates executed certain documents stating that they are the members of the Baguio-Loakan Placer Mining Association the whole interest of which is divided into 10,000 units and each unit being valued at P5.00. The interest of Valdez is only 4,000 units. Sometime in 1957, the Association located two placer mining claims, namely, MORNING GLORY containing an area of 45 hectares, and SILICA containing an area of 8 hectares. Then, sometime in January or February, 1959, Magdalena Rullan bought 1,000 units of the Association, thereby becoming members thereof. After some associates had sold their participation in the Association to third persons, Valdez, without the knowledge or consent of his associates, reduced the area comprising the SILICA PLACER Mining Claim from 8 to 6.1284 hectares by excluding therefrom the southeastern portion having an area of 1.8716 hectares which he added to the original area of 4 hectares that comprises the SELECTA Placer Mining Claim which he located and the lease of which he applied for with the Bureau of Mines.
Pending consideration of their adverse claims filed with the Bureau of Mines, Magdalena Rullan commenced the present action before the Court of First Instance of Baguio setting forth the foregoing facts and praying that their rights and interests as co-lessees of the 8 hectares of public mineral land originally comprising the SILICA Placer Mining Claim be declared and recognized irrespective of the amended location made by defendant insofar as the SELECTA Placer Mining Claim is concerned. Defendant Valdez filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that not having alleged that they are locators, holders or owners of the mining claims in question, plaintiffs cannot be considered adverse claimants within the purview of Section 73 of Commonwealth Act No. 137, as amended.
To this motion plaintiffs filed their opposition, the court a quo denied the motion to dismiss. On February 21, 1962, defendant filed a motion for reconsideration alleging that the court a quo had not acquired jurisdiction over the case inasmuch as the Director of Mines had not given due course to the adverse claim of plaintiffs for which reason they filed a motion for reconsideration which at that time has not yet been acted upon. And on February 26, 1962, the court a quo issued an order declaring itself without jurisdiction considering that the Director of Mines had not yet acted on the motion for reconsideration filed by the plaintiffs. And when their motion for reconsideration was denied, plaintiffs interposed the present appeal.
Whether the court has jurisdiction to act on the case considering that action on the adverse claim herein involved is still pending in the Office of the Bureau of Mines.
Yes, the law is specific that the question of ownership affecting an adverse claim must first be determined by the competent court before administrative action could proceed to its termination. It is, therefore, error for the court a quo to dismiss the complaint on the ground that plaintiffs have not exhausted their administrative remedies before coming to court.
EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES NOT REQUIRED BEFORE COURT ACTION. — The law is specific that the question of ownership affecting an adverse claim must first be determined by the competent court before administrative action could proceed to its termination. It is, therefore, error for the court a quo to dismiss the complaint on the ground that plaintiffs have not exhausted their administrative remedies before coming to court.
Padua vs Ranada G.R. No. 141949
On November 9, 2001, the Toll Regulatory Board (RTB) issued Resolution No. 2001-89
authorizing provisional toll rate adjustments at the Metro Manila Skyway, effective January 1, 2002.
For its implementation starting January 1, 2002 after its publication once a week for three (3)
consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation and that said Provisional Toll Rate
Increase shall remain in effect until such time that the TRB Board has determined otherwise:
On December 17, 24 and 31, 2001, the above Resolution approving provisional toll rate adjustments
was published in the newspapers of general circulation.
Tracing back the events that led to the issuance of the said Resolution, it appears that on February
27, 2001 the Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corporation (CITRA) filed with the TRB an application for an
interim adjustment of the toll rates at the Metro Manila Skyway Project – Stage 1. CITRA moored its
petition on the provisions of the "Supplemental Toll Operation Agreement" (STOA), authorizing it, as
the investor, to apply for and if warranted, to be granted an interim adjustment of toll rates in the event
of a "significant currency devaluation."
Claiming that the peso exchange rate to a U.S. dollar had devaluated from P26.1671 in 1995 to P48.00
in 2000, CITRA alleged that there was a compelling need for the increase of the toll rates to meet the
loan obligations of the Project and the substantial increase in debt-service burden.
On October 30, 2001, CITRA moved to withdraw its "Urgent Motion for Provisional Approval" without
prejudice to its right to seek or be granted provisional relief under the above-quoted provisions of the
TRB Rules of Procedure, obviously, referring to the power of the Board to act on its own initiative.
On November 9, 2001, TRB granted CITRA’s motion to withdraw the Urgent Motion for Provisional
Approval and, at the same time, issued Resolution No. 2001-89, earlier quoted.
Hence, petitioners Ceferino Padua and Eduardo Zialcita assail before this Court the validity and
legality of TRB Resolution No. 2001-89.
Whether or not Resolution No. 2001-89 issued by the Toll Regulatory Board valid.
For one, it is not true that the provisional toll rate adjustments were not published prior to its
implementation on January 1, 2002. Records show that they were published on December 17, 24 and
31, 2001 in three newspapers of general circulation, particularly the Philippine Star, Philippine Daily
Inquirer and The Manila Bulletin. Surely, such publications sufficiently complied with Section 5 of P.D.
No. 1112 which mandates that "no new rates shall be collected unless published in a newspaper of
general publication at least once a week for three consecutive weeks." At any rate, it must be pointed
out that under Letter of Instruction No. 1334-A, the TRB may grant and issue ex-parte to any petitioner,
without need of notice, publication or hearing, provisional authority to collect, pending hearing and
decision on the merits of the petition, the increase in rates prayed for or such lesser amount as the
TRB may in its discretion provisionally grant. That LOI No. 1334-A has the force and effect of law finds
support in a catena of cases decreeing that "all proclamations, orders, decrees, instructions, and acts
promulgated, issued, or done by the former President (Ferdinand E. Marcos) are part of the law of the
land, and shall remain valid, legal, binding, and effective, unless modified, revoked or superseded by
subsequent proclamations, orders, decrees, instructions, or other acts of the President.
It may be recalled that Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos promulgated P.D. No. 1112 creating
the TRB on March 31, 1977. The end in view was to authorize the collection of toll fees for the use of
certain public improvements in order to attract private sector investment in the government
infrastructure projects. The TRB was tasked to supervise the collection of toll fees and the operation
of toll facilities. One of its powers is to "issue, modify and promulgate from time to time the rates of toll
that will be charged the direct users of toll facilities and upon notice and hearing, to approve or
disapprove petitions for the increase thereof.
To clarify the intent of P.D. No. 1112 as to the extent of the TRB’s power, Former President Marcos
further issued LOI No. 1334-A expressly allowing the TRB to grant ex-parte provisional or temporary
increase in toll rates
Dacudao vs. Gonzales G.R No. 188056
Petitioners’ residents of Bacaca Road, Davao City - were among the investors whom Celso G. Delos
Angeles, Jr. and his associates in the Legacy Group of Companies (Legacy Group) allegedly defrauded
through the Legacy Group's "buy back agreement" that earned them check payments that were dishonored.
After their written demands for the return of their investments went unheeded, they initiated a number of
charges for syndicated estafa against Delos Angeles, Jr., et al. in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Davao
City on February 6, 2009. On March 18, 2009, the Secretary of Justice issued Department of Justice (DOJ)
Order No. 182 (DO No. 182), directing all Regional State Prosecutors, Provincial Prosecutors, and City
Prosecutors to forward all cases already filed against Delos Angeles, Jr., et al. to the Secretariat of the DOJ
Special Panel in Manila for appropriate action. Pursuant to DO No. 182, the complaints of petitioners were
forwarded by the Office of the City Prosecutor of Davao City to the Secretariat of the Special Panel of the
DOJ. Aggrieved by such turn of events, petitioners have directly come to the Court via petition for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus, ascribing to respondent Secretary of Justice grave abuse of discretion in issuing
DO No. 182. They claim that DO No. 182 violated their right to due process, their right to the equal protection
of the laws, and their right to the speedy disposition of cases. They insist that DO No. 182 was an
obstruction of justice and a violation of the rule against enactment of laws with retroactive effect.
Whether or not respondent Secretary of Justice committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing DO
No. For a special civil action for certiorari to prosper, the following requisites must concur, namely: (a) it
must be directed against a tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (b) the
tribunal, board, or officer must have acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (c) there is no appeal nor any plain, speedy, and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
Yet, petitioners have not shown a compliance with the requisites. To start with, they merely alleged that the
Secretary of Justice had acted without or in excess of his jurisdiction. Also, the petition did not show that
the Secretary of Justice was an officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions. Instead, the Secretary
of Justice would appear to be not exercising any judicial or quasi-judicial functions because his questioned
issuances were ostensibly intended to ensure his subordinates’ efficiency and economy in the
conduct of the preliminary investigation of all the cases involving the Legacy Group. The function
involved was purely executive or administrative. The fact that the DOJ is the primary prosecution arm
of the Government does not make it a quasi-judicial office or agency. Its preliminary investigation of cases
is not a quasi-judicial proceeding. Nor does the DOJ exercise a quasi-judicial function when it reviews the
findings of a public prosecutor on the finding of probable cause in any case. The prosecutor in a preliminary
investigation does not determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. He does not exercise adjudication
nor rule-making functions. Preliminary investigation is merely inquisitorial, and is often the only means of
discovering the persons who may be reasonably charged with a crime and to enable the fiscal to prepare
his complaint or information. It is not a trial of the case on the merits and has no purpose except that of
determining whether a crime has been committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that the
accused is guilty thereof. While the fiscal makes that determination, he cannot be said to be acting as a
quasi-court, for it is the courts, ultimately, that pass judgment on the accused, not the fiscal.
Dario v. Mison G.R No. 81954
In 1986, Cory Aquino promulgated Proclamation No. 3, which is the mandate of the people to
Completely reorganize the government.
Two years later, President Aquino promulgated EO 127, which provides for the reorganization of
the Ministry of Finance and along with it the reorganization of the Bureau of Customs and
prescribes a new staffing pattern for the abovementioned office.
Following the adoption of the new Constitution, On january 1988 the incumbent Commissioner of
Customs Salvador Mison issued a memorandum “Guidelines on the Implementation of
Reorganization Executive Orders which prescribe the procedure in personnel placement. Such
memorandum provides that by February of 1988, all of the employees covered by EO 127 shall
be informed of their re-appointment and also offered another position in the same department or
agency and to be informed of their termination.
Mison addressed several notices to various Customs officials stating that they shall continue to
perform their respective duties and responsibilities in a hold-over capacity, and that those
incumbents whose positions are not carried in the new reorganization pattern, or who are not reappointed, shall be deemed separated from the service. A total of 394 officials and employees of
the Bureau of Customs were given individual notices of separation. They filed appeals with the
On June 1988, the CSC promulgated its ruling ordering the reinstatement of the 279 employees,
the 279 private respondents in G.R. No. 85310. Commissioner Mison, represented by the Solicitor
General, filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied. Commissioner Mison instituted
On June 10, 1988, Republic Act No. 6656, was signed into law and according to the provisions of
the aforementioned Act, the process in which terminated employees in violation of RA 6656 shall
be reinstated or reappointed.
On June 23, 1988, Benedicto Amasa and William Dionisio, customs examiners appointed by
Commissioner Mison pursuant to the ostensible reorganization subject of this controversy,
petitioned the Court to contest the validity of the statute. On October 21, 1988, thirty-five more
Customs officials whom the Civil Service Commission had ordered reinstated by its June 30, 1988
Resolution filed their own petition to compel the Commissioner of Customs to comply with the
Cesar Dario was one of the Deputy Commissioners of the Bureau of Customs until his relief on
orders of Commissioner Mison on January 26, 1988. In essence, he questions the legality of his
dismissal, which he alleges was upon the authority of Section 59 of E.O. No. 127 He contends
that neither the E.O. nor the staffing pattern proposed by the Secretary of Finance abolished the
office of Deputy Commissioner of Customs, but, rather, increased it to three. Nor can it be said,
so he further maintains, that he had not been "reappointed" because "reappointment therein
presupposes that the position to which it refers is a new one in lieu of that which has been
abolished or although an existing one, has absorbed that which has been abolished." Lastly, he
claims, that under the Provisional Constitution, the power to dismiss public officials without cause
ended on February 25, 1987, and that thereafter, public officials enjoyed security of tenure under
the provisions of the 1987 Constitution. Vicente Feria asserts his security of tenure and that he cannot be said to be covered by Section
59 of E.O. No. 127, having been appointed on April 22, 1986 - during the effectivity of the
Provisional Constitution. He adds that under E.O. No. 39, the Commissioner of Customs has the
power "to appoint all Bureau personnel, except those appointed by the President," and that his
position, which is that of a Presidential appointee, is beyond the control of Commissioner Mison
for purposes of reorganization.
Provisions of Section 16, Article XVIII explicitly authorize the removal of career civil service
employees "not for cause but as a result of the reorganization pursuant to Proclamation No. 3
dated March 25, 1986 and the reorganization following the ratification of this Constitution. For this
reason, Mison posits, claims of violation of security of tenure are allegedly no defense. That
contrary to the employees' argument, Section 59 of E.O.no. 127 is applicable, in the sense that
retention in the Bureau, under the E.O., depends on either retention of the position in the new
staffing pattern or reappointment of the incumbent, and since the dismissed employees had not
been reappointed, they had been considered legally separated. Moreover, Mison proffers that
under Section 59 incumbents are considered on holdover status, "which means that all those
positions were considered vacant."
Whether or not Section 16 of Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution is a grant of a license upon the
Government to remove career public officials it could have validly done under an "automatic"-
vacancy-authority and to remove them without rhyme or reason.
No. The Court held that the State can still carry out reorganizations provided that it is done in
good faith. Removal of career officials without cause cannot be done after the passing of the 1987
The above is a mere recognition of the right of the Government to reorganize its offices, bureaus,
and instrumentalities. Under Section 4, Article XVI, of the 1935 Constitution. Transition periods
are characterized by provisions for "automatic" vacancies. They are dictated by the need to hasten
the passage from the old to the new Constitution free from the "fetters" of due process and security
Since 1935, transition periods have been characterized by provisions for "automatic" vacancies.
We take the silence of the 1987 Constitution on this matter as a restraint upon the Government
to dismiss public servants at a moment's notice. If the present Charter envisioned an "automatic"
vacancy, it should have said so in clearer terms. Plainly the concern of Section 16 is to ensure
compensation for "victims" of constitutional revamps - whether under the Freedom or existing
Constitution - and only secondarily and impliedly, to allow reorganization.
In order to be entitled to the benefits granted under Section 16 of Article XVIII of the Constitution
of 1987, two requisites, one negative and the other positive, must concur, to wit:
1. The separation
must not be for cause, and 2. The separation must be due to any of the three situations mentioned.
By its terms, the authority to remove public officials under the Provisional Constitution ended on
February 25, 1987, advanced by jurisprudence to February 2, 1987. It can only mean, then, that
whatever reorganization is taking place is upon the authority of the present Charter, and
necessarily, upon the mantle of its provisions and safeguards. Hence, it cannot be legitimately
stated that we are merely continuing what the revolutionary Constitution of the Revolutionary
Government had started. We are through with reorganization under the Freedom Constitution -
the first stage. We are on the second stage - that inferred from the provisions of Section 16 of
Article XVIII of the permanent basic document.
After February 2, 1987, incumbent officials and employees have acquired security of tenure.
The present organic act requires that removals "not for cause" must be as a result of
reorganization. As we observed, the Constitution does not provide for "automatic" vacancies. It
must also pass the test of good faith. As a general rule, a reorganization is carried out in "good
faith" if it is for the purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy more efficient. In that event, no
dismissal (in case of a dismissal) or separation actually occurs because the position itself ceases
to exist. And in that case, security of tenure would not be a Chinese wall. Be that as it may, if the
"abolition," which is nothing else but a separation or removal, is done for political reasons or
purposely to defeat security of tenure, or otherwise not in good faith, no valid "abolition" takes
place and whatever "abolition" is done, is void ab initio. There is an invalid "abolition" as where
there is merely change of nomenclature of positions, or where claims of economy are belied by
the existence of ample funds.
The Court finds that Commissioner Mison did not act in good faith since after February 2, 1987
no perceptible restructuring of the Customs hierarchy - except for the change of personnel - has
occurred, which would have justified (all things being equal) the contested dismissals. There is
also no showing that legitimate structural changes have been made - or a reorganization actually
undertaken, for that matter - at the Bureau since Commissioner Mison assumed office, which
would have validly prompted him to hire and fire employees.
With respect to E.O. No. 127, Commissioner Mison submits that under Section 59 thereof, "Those
incumbents whose positions are not included therein or who are not reappointed shall be deemed
separated from the service." He submits that because the 394 removed personnel have not been
"reappointed," they are considered terminated. To begin with, the Commissioner's appointing
power is subject to the provisions of Executive Order No. 39. Under E.O. No. 39, the
Commissioner of Customs may "appoint all Bureau personnels except those appointed by the
President." Thus, with respect to Deputy Commissioners Cesar Dario and Vicente Feria, Jr.,
Commissioner Mison could not have validly terminated them, they being Presidential appointees.
That Customs employees, under Section 59 of E.O. No. 127 had been on a mere holdover status
cannot mean that the positions held by them had become vacant. The occupancy of a position in
a holdover capacity was conceived to facilitate reorganization and would have lapsed on 25
February 1987 (under the Provisional Constitution), but advanced to February 2, 1987 when the
1987 Constitution became effective. After the said date the provisions of the latter on security of
Hence the petition of the employees was granted while the petition of Mison was dismissed. The
court ordered the reinstatement of the Employees of the Bureau of Customs
Crisostomo v. CA
G.R. No. 106296
Petitioner Isabelo Crisostomo was President of the Philippine College of Commerce (PCC),
having been appointed to that position by the President of the Philippines on July 17, 1974.
During his tenure as president of the PCC, two administrative cases were filed against petitioner
for illegal use of government vehicles, misappropriation of construction materials belonging to the
college, oppression and harassment, grave misconduct, nepotism and dishonesty. The
administrative cases, which were filed with the Office of the President, were subsequently referred
to the Office of the Solicitor General for investigation.
Charges of violations of R.A. No. 3019 and R.A. No. 992, 20-21 and R.A. No. 733, were likewise filed against him with the Office of Tanodbayan. On June 14, 1976, three (3) informations for violation of Sec. 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019, as amended) were filed against him. The informations alleged that he appropriated for himself a bahay kubo, which was intended for the College, and construction materials worth P250,000.00, more or less. Petitioner was also accused of using a driver of the College as his personal and family driver.
On October 22, 1976, petitioner was preventively suspended from office pursuant to R.A. No.
3019, §13, as amended. In his place Dr. Pablo T. Mateo, Jr. was designated as officer-in-charge
on November 10, 1976, and then as Acting President on May 13, 1977.
On April 1, 1978, P.D. No. 1341 was issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos,
CONVERTING THE PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF COMMERCE INTO A POLYTECHNIC
UNIVERSITY, DEFINING ITS OBJECTIVES, ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND
FUNCTIONS, AND EXPANDING ITS CURRICULAR OFFERINGS.
Mateo continued as the head of the new University. On April 3, 1979, he was appointed Acting
President and on March 28, 1980, as President for a term of six (6) years.
Whether or not the Philippine College of Commerce was abolished by the Polytechnic University
of the Philippines in virtue of P.D. No. 1341.
P.D. No. 1341 did not abolish, but only changed, the former Philippine College of Commerce into
what is now the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, in the same way that earlier in 1952,
R.A. No. 778 had converted what was then the Philippine School of Commerce into the Philippine
College of Commerce. What took place was a change in academic status of the educational
institution, not in its corporate life. Hence the change in its name, the expansion of its curricular
offerings, and the changes in its structure and organization.
As petitioner correctly points out, when the purpose is to abolish a department or an office or an
organization and to replace it with another one, the lawmaking authority say so.
The law does not state that the lands, buildings, and equipment owned by the PCC were being
"transferred" to the PUP but only that they "stand transferred" to it. "Stand transferred" simply
means, for example, that lands transferred to the PCC were to be understood as transferred to
the PUP as the new name of the institution.
In this case, Dr. Pablo T. Mateo Jr., who had been acting president of the university since April 3,
1979, was appointed president of PUP for a term of six (6) years on March 28, 1980, with the
result that petitioner's term was cut short. Therefore, petitioner became entitled only to retirement benefits or the payment of separation pay. Petitioner must have recognized this fact, that is why in 1992 he asked then President Aquino to consider him for appointment to the same position after it had become vacant in consequence of the retirement of Dr. Prudente.
The decision of the Court of Appeals is MODIFIED by SETTING ASIDE the questioned orders of
the Regional Trial Court directing the reinstatement of the petitioner Isabelo T. Crisostomo to the
position of president of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and the payment to him of
salaries and benefits which he failed to receive during his suspension in so far as such payment
would include salaries accruing after March 28, 1980, when petitioner Crisostomo's term was
terminated. Further proceedings in accordance with this decision may be taken by the trial court
to determine the amount due and payable to petitioner by the university up to March 28, 1980.
MIDLAND INSURANCE CORPORATION
vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT
G.R. No. 71905 August 13, 1986
On October 1, 1984, a judgment was rendered by the Insurance Commission in favor of complaintappellee, Sisenando Villareal, and against herein petitioner Midland Insurance Corporation. Petitioner received a copy of the decision on October 5, 1984 and it filed a motion for reconsideration of said judgment on October 17, 1984. This motion was denied in an Order dated October 26, 1984.
On November 7, 1984, petitioner filed with the Insurance Commission its notice of appeal from the
subject decision to respondent Intermediate Appellate Court (IAC).
Petitioner's appeal was initially accepted by the IAC as can be gleaned from the letter-advice dated
February 8, 1985, notifying petitioner's counsel to file appellant's brief. However, a Motion to Dismiss
appeal dated March 1, 1985 was filed by the complainant-appellee on the ground that the petitioner
herein, as the appellant failed to perfect its appeal within the reglementary period. Despite the
opposition thereto interposed by petitioner Midland Insurance Corporation, the Respondent IAC, on
August 14, 1985 granted the stated Motion to Dismiss on the ground that by said court's computation
of the elapsed period from the date of receipt by herein petitioner of the decision of the Insurance
Commission to the time the notice of appeal was filed before said Commission and notice of appeal
and manifestation submitted to the IAC on December 5, 1984, it would appear that petitioner's appeal
was belatedly made.
Whether or not the petitioner filed its motion with the period prescribed by law.
Petitioner herein is correct in maintaining that its appeal was timely filed. Petitioner's motion for
reconsideration was denied by the Insurance Commission and advice of such denial was received by
petitioner on October 30, 1984. As petitioner would then have ten (10) days from October 30, 1984 or
until November 9, 1984, its appeal was well within the ten day period within which an appeal can be
made to the respondent Intermediate Appellate Court.
Respondent IAC fell into error because it failed to consider and apply the pivotal Section 2 of R.A.
5434, which recites that "in case a motion for reconsideration is filed within that period of fifteen (15)
days, then within ten (10) days from Notice or publication, when required by law, of the resolution
denying the motion for reconsideration ." Respondent's court's failure to do so led to its erroneous
Section 39 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, in conjunction with Section 19(a) of the Interim Rules, fixes a uniform fifteen (15) day period for appeal from notice of the final order, resolution, award, judgment or decision of any court Section 22(c) of the Interim Rules, however, applies in particular to appeals to the
Intermediate Appellate Court from quasi-judicial bodies. Said Section 22(c) explicitly refers to the
provisions of R.A. 5434, of which Section 2 thereof, had already been above cited. There is no
inconsistency between said section and B.P. 129 or its implementing guidelines. B.P. 129 may not be
said to have repealed said provision of R.A. 5434 for the Interim Rules even expressly refer to said
Section 2 of R.A. 5434. Said Section 2 should, therefore, be applied.
Section 2 of R.A. No. 5434 which allows an additional ten (10) days from notice of the denial of the
motion for reconsideration does not extend the period for appeal but merely furnishes an automatic
ten-day allowance in the event that a motion for reconsideration is interposed within the appeal period.
In other words, this particular provision becomes operative only if a motion for reconsideration is filed
during the fifteen-day period. The period for appeal remains untouched by Section 2 of R.A. 5434.
CARBONEL vs CSC
GR No. 187689
September 07, 2010
Petitioner Clarita Carbonel was an employee of BJMP Makati. She lost the original copy of her Career Service Professional Certificate of Rating. Hence she was directed to accomplish a verification slip. However the CSC noticed that Carbonel's personal and physical appearance was entirely different from the picture of the examinee attached to the application form and the picture seat plan. It was also discovered that the signature affixed on the application form was different from that appearing on the verification slip.
She was formally charged with Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Falsification of Official
Documents by the Civil Service Commission Regional Office No. IV. Carbonel admitted to the accusation
by stating that she paid a fixer for her to obtain the career certificate.
The penalty of dismissal from the service, with all its accessory penalties, was imposed on her.
Petitioner appealed, but the CSC dismissed the same for having been filed almost three years from receipt
of the CSCRO IV decision. The CSC did not give credence to petitioner's explanation that she failed to
timely appeal the case because of the death of her counsel.
Petitioner faults the CSC's finding because it was based solely on her uncounseled
admission taken during the investigation by the CSCRO IV. She claims that her right to due process
was violated because she was not afforded the right to counsel when her statement was taken.
Whether or not CSC violated petitioner’s right to due process because she was not afforded the right to
counsel when her statement was taken.
NO. It is true that the CSCRO IV, the CSC, and the CA gave credence to petitioner's uncounseled
statements and, partly on the basis thereof, uniformly found petitioner liable for the charge of dishonesty, grave misconduct, and falsification of official document.
However, it must be remembered that the right to counsel under Section 12 of the Bill of Rights is
meant to protect a suspect during custodial investigation. Thus, the exclusionary rule under paragraph
(2), Section 12 of the Bill of Rights applies only to admissions made in a criminal investigation but
not to those made in an administrative investigation.While investigations conducted by an administrative body may at times be similar to a criminal proceeding, the fact remains that, under existing laws, a party in an administrative inquiry may or may not be assisted by counsel, irrespective of the nature of the charges and of petitioner's capacity to represent herself, and no duty rests on such body to furnish the person being investigated with counsel.
The right to counsel is not always imperative in administrative investigations because such inquiries are
conducted merely to determine whether there are facts that merit the imposition of disciplinary measures against erring public officers and employees, with the purpose of maintaining the dignity of government
Lui Enterprises, Inc. vs. Zuellig Pharma Corp.
[G.R. No. 193494, March 12, 2014]
Petitioner Lui Enterprises, Inc. and respondent Zuellig Pharma Corporation entered into a 10-year lease contract over a parcel of land located in Barrio Tigatto, Buhangin, Davao City. During the pendency of the lease, respondent Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCOM) contacted Zuellig to inform them that it was the new owner of the property, and asked the latter to pay rent directly to it. Zuellig subsequently informed petitioner of PBCOM’s letter, and petitioner insisted on its right to collect rent. As a result of this, Zuellig Pharma filed a complaint for interpleader with the Makati Regional Trial Court of Makati, consigned its current (P604,024.35) and future rental payments to the court, and prayed to for Zui Enterprises and PBCOM be ordered to litigate their conflicting claims. Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss, stating that it had a pending nullification of deed of dation in payment case with the Regional Trial Court of Davao, which barred the filing of the current interpleader case as the dation case involved the proper that Zuelling was leasing. Zuellig responded that the pendency of the nullification case did not bar the filing of the interpleader, as it (Zuellig) was not a party to the nullification case.
Petitioner had also filed its motion to dismiss beyond the 15-day period to file an answer, and Zuellig subsequently moved that petitioner be declared in default. In its subsequent motion to set aside the order of default – filed one year after being declared in default - Lui invoked the ground of excusable negligence, alleging that its failure to file a motion to dismiss on time "was caused by the negligence of its former counsel”. For meritorious defense, petitioner alleged that the earlier filed nullification of deed of dation in payment case (Davao RTC) barred the filing of the interpleader case (Makati RTC). The two actions allegedly involved the same parties and the same issue of which corporation had the better right over the rental payments (aka, Litis Pendentia).
The Makati RTC ruled that Lui Enterprises was "barred from any claim in respect of the rental payments" since it was declared in default, awarded the rental fees to PBCOM, and ordered the petitioner to pay Zuellig Pharma P50,000.00 in attorney’s fees. Petitioner appealed the RTC ruling to the Court of Appeals, which on the matter of the motion to set aside the order of default found that petitioner failed to show the excusable negligence that prevented it from filing its motion to dismiss on time. The CA further ruled that the nullification of deed of dation in payment case did not bar the filing of the interpleader case, since Zuellig was not a party to the aforementioned case. In its subsequent petition before the SC, petitioner argued that the pending nullification of deed of dation in payment case barred the filing of the interpleader case. The nullification of deed of dation in payment case and the interpleader case allegedly involved the same issue of which corporation had the better right to the rent.
Whether or not the annulment of deed of dation in payment pending in Davao RTC barred the subsequent filing of the interpleader case in the Regional Trial Court of Makati on grounds of litis pendentia.
No. Petition denied, CA ruling affirmed with modification.
Litis pendentia is Latin for "a pending suit." It exists when "another action is pending between the same parties for the same cause of action The subsequent action is "unnecessary and vexatious" and is instituted to "harass the respondent [in the subsequent action]." The requisites of litis pendentia are:
In the current case, there is no litis pendentia since there is no identity of parties in the nullification of deed of dation in payment case and the interpleader case. Zuellig is not a party to the nullification case filed in the Davao trial court. There is also no identity of rights asserted and reliefs prayed for. Petitioner filed the first case to nullify the deed of dation in payment it executed in favor of PBCOM. Zuellig subsequently filed the interpleader case to consign in court the rental payments and extinguish its obligation as lessee. The interpleader case was necessary and was not instituted to harass either Lui Enterprises or PBCOM.
Blay vs Bana
[G.R. No. 232189, March 7, 2018]
Petitioner Alex Raul Blay filed before the Pasay City RTC a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage, on the grounds of his psychological incapacity pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code. Respondent Cynthia B. Bana subsequently filed her Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim dated.
Later, petitioner filed a Motion to Withdraw the complaint, and in her comment/opposition to the same, respondent invoked Section 2, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court, praying that her counterclaims be declared as remaining for the court's independent adjudication. Petitioner filed his reply, claiming that respondent's counterclaims are barred from being prosecuted in the same action due to her failure to file a manifestation therefor within fifteen (15) days from notice of the Motion to Withdraw; petitioner alleged that respondent had received the Motion on March 11, 2015, but only filed their opposition on March 30 or 19 days later.
The RTC granted the Motion to Withdraw petition, and granted the respondent’s counterclaim "as remaining for independent adjudication," and later denied the petitioner’s filed motion for reconsideration against the decision to let the counterclaim remain. Petitioner then filed a petition for certiorari before the CA, which denied the said petition and subsequent motion for reconsideration. The CA ruled that it found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC, holding that under Section 2, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court, if a counterclaim has been filed by the defendant before the service upon him of the petitioner’s motion for dismissal, the dismissal shall be limited to the complaint. Hence the current petition before the SC.
Whether or not the CA erred in upholding the RTC Orders declaring respondent's counterclaim for independent adjudication before the same trial court.
Yes. CA ruling reversed and set aside, new ruling entered solely granting petitioner’s Motion to Withdraw Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage.
Under Section 2, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court “if a counterclaim has been pleaded by the defendant prior to the service upon him of the plaintiff's motion for the dismissal - as in this case - the rule is that the dismissal shall be limited to the complaint.” A dismissal of an action is different from a mere dismissal of the complaint. For this reason, since only the complaint and not the action is dismissed, the defendant inspite of said dismissal may still prosecute his counterclaim in the same action. However, the third sentence of Section 2, Rule 17, further adds that “if the defendant desires to prosecute his counterclaim in the same action, he is required to file a manifestation within fifteen (15) days from notice of the motion. Otherwise, his counterclaim may be prosecuted in a separate action”
In the current case, the CA confined the application of Section 2, Rule 17 to the second sentence which states that "dismissal shall be limited to the complaint." However, the CA ignored the third sentence, require the defendant to manifest his preference to prosecute the counterclaim in the same action within 15 days from the notice of the motion.
Ching vs. Cheng
[G.R. No. 175507, October 8, 2014]
Petitioner Ramon Ching is the adopted son of Antonio Ching, via the latter’s common-law wife Lucina Santos. Meanwhile, respondents Joseph Cheng and Jaime Cheng were Antonio’s illegitimate children with his housemaid, Mercedes Igne. Antonio Ching owned several businesses and properties worth 380 million, including Po Wing Properties, of which Ramon was a primary stockholder. Antonio was later murdered and Ramon was the primary suspect.
First case: After Antonio’s death, Joseph, Jaime, and Mercedes filed a complaint before the Manila RTC Branch 6 for declaration of nullity of titles against petitioner; The complaint was later amended, with leave of court, to include Po Wing Properties, and for "Annulment of Agreement, Waiver, Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate and the Certificates of Title Issued by Virtue of Said Documents with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction." Lucina later joined the respondents after successfully filing a motion for intervention. Petitioner company (defendant) later successfully had the case dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction, and respondents failed to respond with proper pleadings after 15 days.
Second Case: Respondents later filed the same list of complaints against petitioner, which was raffled off to RTC Manila Branch 20, which later transferred the case to Branch 6 (same court as First Case), on the grounds that the case involved substantially the same parties and causes of action. Respondents then filed for a motion to have the case dismissed without prejudice, which was granted by Manila RTC Branch 6, as summons had not yet been served on petitioners, nor was a responsive pleading filed.
Third Case: During the pendency of a motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner against the dismissal of the second case, respondents filed a complaint for "Disinheritance and Declaration of Nullity of Agreement and Waiver, Affidavit of Extra judicial Agreement, Deed of Absolute Sale, and Transfer Certificates of Title with Prayer for TRO and Writ of Preliminary Injunction" against petitioners, which was subsequently docketed with RTC Manila Branch 6.
Petitioners then filed a motion to dismiss the third case on the ground of res judicata, litis pendencia, forum-shopping, and failure of the complaint to state a cause of action. RTC Manila Branch 6 subsequently denied both the motion for reconsideration (for 2nd case) and the motion to dismiss, holding that the dismissal of the second case was without prejudice and, hence, would not bar the filing of the third case.
Petitioners then filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals, assailing the RTC order upholding dismissal of the second case. The CA dismissed the petition, ruling that petitioners’ reliance on the "two-dismissal rule" was misplaced since the rule involves two motions for dismissals filed by the plaintiff only. In this case the dismissal of the first case was upon the motion of the defendants, while the dismissal of the second case was at the instance of the plaintiffs. Hence the current petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.
Whether or not RTC’s dismissal of the second case operated as a bar to the filing of a third case, asper the "two-dismissal rule".
No. Petition denied, Manila RTC Branch 6 ordered to proceed with Civil Case No. 02-105251 with due and deliberate dispatch.
Dismissals of actions are governed by Rule 17 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. Section 1 contemplates a situation where motion to dismiss is filed before any responsive pleadings have been filed, while Section two contemplates a situation where a counterclaim has been pleaded by the defendant, before he can be served a copy of the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss. Section 3 contemplates dismissal due to plaintiff’s fault, such as failure to prosecute. The first two are dismissals without prejudice unless otherwise declared by the court, while the third is with prejudice. In all instances, Rule 17 governs dismissals at the instance of the plaintiff, not of the defendant. Dismissals upon the instance of the defendant are generally governed by Rule 16, which covers motions to dismiss.
In the current case, the facts show that the first case the dismissal was done at instance of the defendants under Rule 16, Section 1(b) (lack of jurisdiction). Meanwhile, the second dismissal was requested by respondents before the service of any responsive pleadings. Such dismissal at this instance is a matter of right that is not subject to the trial court’s discretion, and was granted specifically without prejudice.
Furthermore, the third case filed by respondents cannot be deemed as forum shopping. As the SC ruled in Yap vs Chua, the test for determining forum shopping is whether in the two (or more) cases pending, there is identity of parties, rights or causes of action, and reliefs sought.
In this case, however, the dismissal of the first case became final and executory upon the failure of respondents’ counsel to file the appropriate pleading. They filed the correct pleading the second time around but eventually sought its dismissal as they"[suspected] that their counsel is not amply protecting their interests as the case is not moving for almost three (3) years." The filing of the third case, therefore, was not precisely for the purpose of obtaining a favorable result but only to get the case moving, in an attempt to protect their rights.
Divinagracia v. Parilla, et al.
[G.R. No. 196750, March 11, 2015]
Conrado Nobleza, Sr. (Conrado, Sr.) owned a 313-square meter parcel of land located at Cor. Fuentes-Delgado Streets, Iloilo City. During his lifetime, Conrado Sr. was legally married twice, first to Lolita Palermom, and later to Eusela Niangar, with whom he had the following children
Whether or not the CA correctly: (a) ruled that Felcon’s siblings and Cebeleo, Sr. and Maude’s children are indispensable parties to Santiago’s complaint for judicial partition; and (b) dismissed Santiago’s complaint for his failure to implead said omitted heirs.
Petition partly granted.
An indispensable party is one whose interest will be affected by the court’s action in the litigation, and without whom no final determination of the case can be had. The party’s interest in the subject matter of the suit and in the relief sought are so inextricably intertwined with the other parties’ that his legal presence as a party to the proceeding is an absolute necessity. In his absence, there cannot be a resolution of the dispute of the parties before the court which is effective, complete, or equitable. Thus, the absence of an indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the court null and void, for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties but even as to those present.
In actions for partition, the court cannot properly issue an order to divide the property, unless it first makes a determination as to the existence of co-ownership. The court must initially settle the issue of ownership, which is the first stage in an action for partition. Until and unless this issue of co-ownership is resolved, it would be premature to effect a partition of the disputed properties.
In the current case, while Santiago bought the interests of majority of the heirs of Conrado, Sr., as a vendee, he merely steps into the shoes of the vendors-heirs. Since his interest over the subject land is merely derived from that of the vendors-heirs, the latter should first be determined as co-owners thereof, thus necessitating the joinder of all those who have vested interests in such land, i.e., the aforesaid heirs of Conrado, Sr., in Santiago’s complaint. The absence of the aforementioned indispensable parties in the instant complaint for judicial partition renders all subsequent actions of the RTC null and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties, but even as to those present.
However, the CA erred in ordering the dismissal of the complaint on account of Santiago’s failure to implead all the indispensable parties in his complaint. The non-joinder of indispensable parties is not a ground for the dismissal of an action. At any stage of a judicial proceeding and/or at such times as are just, parties may be added on the motion of a party or on the initiative of the tribunal concerned. If the plaintiff refuses to implead an indispensable party despite the order of the court, that court may dismiss the complaint for the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the order. The remedy is to implead the non-party claimed to be indispensable.
Briones vs. CA
[G.R. No. 204444. January 14, 2015]
Facts: Petitioner Virgilo Briones discovered that on December 6, 2007, he allegedly mortgaged real estate property he owned in Manila (TCT No. 160689) to secure a loan with respondent Cash Asia worth P3,500,000.00. As a result, the property had been foreclosed and a writ of possession had already been issued in favor of respondent company Cash Asia. In his complaint filed to the Manila RTC to nullify the mortgage, petitioner claimed that he never contracted any loans from Cash Asia as he has been living and working in Vietnam since October 31, 2007. He further claimed that he only went back to the Philippines from December 28, 2007 to January 3, 2008 for the holidays, and that during this duration nobody informed him of any loan agreement entered into with Cash Asia. Essentially, Briones assailed the validity of the foregoing contracts claiming his signature to be forged. Respondent company filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that petitioner had filed his complaint in the Manila RTC, but the venue stipulation in the contracts state that all legal actions arising out the Real Estate Mortgage shall only be brought in or submitted to the jurisdiction of the proper court of Makati City. After the Manila RTC denied respondent’s motion, the respondent filed a petition for certiorari before the CA. The court held that the RTC gravely abused its discretion in denying Cash Asia’s motion to dismiss, and reiterated the contracts clause that provided that actions arising therefrom should be exclusively filed before the courts of Makati City only. The CA annulled the RTC Orders, and dismissed Briones’s complaint without prejudice to the filing of the same before the proper court in Makati. After the CA denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration, the latter appealed to the current court.
Issue: W/N the CA was correct to dismiss petitioner’s complaint ground due to improper venue.
Held: No. Petition granted, CA ruling annulled. Under Rule 4 of the Rules of Court, the venue of 1) real actions is the court which has jurisdiction over the area wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated (Sec. 1); 2) while the venue of personal actions is the court which has jurisdiction where the plaintiff or the defendant resides, at the election of the plaintiff (Sec 2). As an exception, jurisprudence in Legaspi v. Rep. of the Phils. instructs that the parties, thru a written instrument, may either introduce another venue where actions arising from such instrument may be filed, or restrict the filing of said actions in a certain exclusive venue.
As regards restrictive stipulations on venue, it must be shown that such stipulation is exclusive through the use of qualifying or restrictive words, such as "exclusively," "waiving for this purpose any other venue," "shall only" preceding the designation of venue, "to the exclusion of the other courts," or words of similar import. The lack of such words would render the stipulation as merely an agreement on an additional forum, not as limiting venue to the specified place. Where the complaint assails only the terms, conditions, and/or coverage of a written instrument and not its validity, the exclusive venue stipulation is still be binding on the parties, and a complaint may be properly dismissed on the ground of improper venue. A complaint directly assailing the validity of the written instrument itself should not be bound by the exclusive venue stipulation contained therein and should be filed in accordance with the general rules on venue.
In the current case, while the the venue stipulation in the subject contracts is restrictive in nature, considering that it effectively limits the venue of the actions arising therefrom to the courts of Makati City, petitioner’s complaint is that his signature was forged, and thus directly assails the validity of the subject contracts. Thus, Briones cannot be expected to comply with the aforesaid venue stipulation, as his compliance therewith would mean an implicit recognition of their validity. Hence, pursuant to the general rules on venue, Briones properly filed his complaint before a court in the City of Manila where the subject property is located
Velasquez vs Lisondra Land Inc.
[G.R. No. 231290, August 27, 2020]
In 1998, petitioner Perfecto Velasquez, Jr. and respondent company Lisondra Land Incorporated entered into a joint venture agreement to develop a 7,200-square meter parcel of land into a memorial park. However, due to numerous issues surrounding the project, including Lisondra Land’s failing to acquire an HLURB on time, failing to provide insurance coverage and to pay its share in the realty taxes, and receiving kickbacks from contractors and agents, Perfecto filed a complaint for breach of contract before the Regional Trial Court (RTC);
RTC: Lisondra claimed that RTC had no jurisdiction, as the violations involved real estate trade and business practices which are within the HLURB exclusive authority; Lisondra later appeals to CA via special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65
CA: Appeal granted. RTC committed grave abuse of discretion, as complaint is regarding unsound real estate business practices, which fall under HLURB jurisdiction (Section 1, PD 1344); Petitioner files new complaint at HLURB for unsound real estate business practices vs respondent
HLURB: Lisondra LaZe parties, and orders respondent to pay fines, damages and attorney's fees. Respondent appeals to HLURB BoC, alleging that HLURB lacks jurisdiction since dispute is between joint venture partners and is an intra-corporate controversy, thus jurisdiction falls under RTC.
HLURB BoC: Dismissed prior ruling due to lack of jurisdiction… *BUT* reverses ruling again after petitioner motions for reconsideration; Lisandro appeals case to Office of the President…
OP: Affirms HLURB ruling; Lisandro files petition for review with CA, alleging that that HLURB has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case.
CA: Sets aside OP decision. Petitioner’s complaint dismissed on grounds that HLURB authority is limited only to cases filed by the buyers or owners of subdivision lots and condominium units.
In his current petition before the SC, Perfecto argued that Lisandro Land is now estopped from assailing the HLURB's jurisdiction. It is not allowed to make a complete mockery of the judicial system resulting in two conflicting appellate court Decisions.
Whether or not respondent is estopped from assailing HLURB for lack of jurisdiction.
Yes. CA ruling reversed, OP ruling reinstated with modification.
In People v. Casiano: The operation of the principle of estoppel on the question of jurisdiction seemingly depends upon whether the lower court actually had jurisdiction or not. If it had no jurisdiction, but the case was tried and decided upon the theory that it had jurisdiction, the parties are not barred, on appeal, from assailing such jurisdiction, for the same "must exist as a matter of law, and may not be conferred by consent of the parties or by estoppel". However, if the lower court had jurisdiction, and the case was heard and decided upon a given theory, such, for instance, as that the court had no jurisdiction, the party who induced it to adopt such theory will not be permitted, on appeal, to assume an inconsistent position - that the lower court had jurisdiction. Here, the principle of estoppel applies. The rule that jurisdiction is conferred by law, and does not depend upon the will of the duties, has no bearing thereon.
In the current case, Perfecto originally filed his complaint before the RTC which, has jurisdiction over the controversy between the parties. Lisondra Land claimed that the case is within the HLURB's exclusive authority. It maintained this theory before the CA which eventually ordered the dismissal of the complaint. Perfecto relied on the final decision of the appellate court and refiled the action against Lisondra Land with the HLURB. Lisondra Land actively participated in the proceedings before the HLURB. After receiving an adverse decision, Lisondra Land questioned the jurisdiction of the HLURB and claimed that the RTC has the authority to hear the case. This is where estoppel operates and bars Lisondra Land from assailing the HLURB's jurisdiction. The Court cannot countenance Lisondra Land's act of adopting inconsistent postures - first, by attacking the jurisdiction of the trial court and, subsequently, the authority of the HLURB. Otherwise, the consequence is revolting as Lisondra Land would be allowed to make a complete mockery of the judicial system.
Tijam vs Sibonghanoy
[G.R. No. L-21450. April 15, 1968]
Facts: On July 19, 1948 petitioners Serafin Tijam and Felicitas Tagalog commenced a civil case in the Court of First Instance of Cebu against the spouses Magdaleno Sibonghanoy and Lucia Baguioto to recover the sum of P1,908.00, plus legal interests and additional costs. Later, respondent company Manila Surety and Fidelity Co., Inc. was referred to by the spouses Sibonghanoy as their surety. About a month prior to the filing of the complaint, the Judiciary Act of 1948 took effect, depriving the Court of First Instance of original jurisdiction over cases in which the demand, exclusive of interest, is not more than P2,000.00. (Secs. 44[c] and 86[b], R.A. No. 296.). Despite the enactment of RA 296, throughout the resolution of the case over the next fifteen years in the Cebu CFI and later the court of appeals, respondent Surety did not dispute the jurisdiction of the courts, whether directly or indirectly. Later, in January 1963 receiving the decision of the CA affirming the CFI’s writ of execution, respondent filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the petitioner’s action was filed just one month after the enactment of date RA 296, and that Section 88 of said Act placed within the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts all civil actions where the value of the subject-matter or the amount of the demand does not exceed P2,000.00, exclusive of interest and costs; that the CFI therefore had no jurisdiction to try and decide the case.
Issue: W/N Surety is correct in asserting that CFI had no jurisdiction over the case due to the enactment of RA 296?
No. CA ruling upheld. A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways and for different reasons. Estoppel is divided into either estoppel in pais, or estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches. Laches, in a general sense is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length 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 a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. A party cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a court to sure affirmative relief against his opponent and, after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that same jurisdiction. In the current case, from the time the Surety became a quasi-party on July 31, 1948, it could have raised the question of the lack of jurisdiction of the CFI since the sum of money involved which, according to the law then in force, was within the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts. It failed to do so. Instead, at several stages of the proceedings in the court a quo as well as in the Court of Appeals, it invoked the jurisdiction of said courts to obtain affirmative relief and submitted its case for a final adjudication on the merits. It was only after an adverse decision was rendered by the Court of Appeals that it finally raised the question of jurisdiction.
Iniego vs Purganan
March 24, 2006. G.R. No. 166876
Private respondent Fokker Santos filed a complaint for quasi-delict and damages against Jimmy T. Pinion and petitioner Artemio Iniego, stemming from a vehicular accident wherein Pinion was the driver of a freight truck that hit respondent’s jitney, while petitioner was the owner of the truck and employer of Pinion. Later, after private respondent filed a motion to declare petitioner in default for his failure to answer the complaint, the latter filed a Motion to Admit and a Motion to Dismiss the complaint on the grounds that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the cause of action of the case. Subsequently respondent Judge Guillermo G. Purganan of the Manila RTC denied petitioner’s motion to Dismiss, ruling that the main cause of action is not the claim for damages but quasi-delict. Damages are claimed only as a result of the alleged fault or negligence of the petitioner under Article 2180 of the Civil Code. Since quasi-delicts could not be the subject of pecuniary estimation, the RTC has exclusive jurisdiction. After his motion for reconsideration was denied by the RTC, the petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with the CA, which was denied due to lack of merit. In his current petition for review, petitioner contends that actions for damages based on quasi-delict are capable of pecuniary estimation; hence, jurisdiction falls upon either the municipal courts, or the RTCs, depending on the value of the damages claimed.
Whether or not actions for damages based on quasi-delict is capable of pecuniary estimation.
Yes. Petition for Certiorari denied for lack of merit. Fault or negligence is not actionable by itself, and must be a resulting damage to a third person. The relief available to the offended party in such cases is for the reparation, restitution, or payment of such damage. The fault or negligence of the defendant, is inextricably intertwined with the claim for damages, and there can be no action based on quasi-delict without a claim for damages. The subject matter of actions for damages based on quasi-delict is capable of pecuniary estimation. In the current case, the total amount of damages claimed by the private respondent still exceeds the jurisdictional limit of P400,000.00, and thus remains under the jurisdiction of the RTC. Furthermore, Rule 2, Section 5 allows a party to assert as many causes of action as he may have against the opposing party, while subsection (d) provides that where the claims in all such joined causes of action are principally for recovery of money, the aggregate amount claimed shall be the test of jurisdiction. Whether or not the different claims for damages are based on a single cause of action or different causes of action, it is the total amount thereof which shall govern.
Roldan vs Sps. Barrios
G.R. No. 214803. April 23, 2018
On October 13, 2008, defendants (respondents) mortgaged a 478-sq. meter parcel of land in Aklan with an assessed worth of P13,380 in favor of plaintiff (respondent), in order to secure a P250,000 loan from the latter, payable within one (1) year from date the loan was issued, with an interest thereon at the rate of 5% per month. After the respondents failed to pay the principal obligation and interest due starting from February 2011, petitioner filed a complaint with the Aklan RTC to compel the respondents to pay the aforementioned loan with interests, plus an additional sum of P25,000.00 for attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs. The RTC subsequently dismissed the case (Civil Case No. 9811) for lack for jurisdiction as the assessed value of the property mortgaged is below P20,000.00 (P13,380), and is thus the jurisdiction of the first level. After petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was also dismissed by the RTC, they an submitted instant petition for certiorari alleging grave abuse of discretion committed by the RTC. Petitioner argues that the foreclosure of mortgage is an action incapable of pecuniary estimation which is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the RTC.
Whether or not RTC has jurisdiction over the case.
No. Petition for certiorari dismissed under Section 19 and Section 33 of Batas Pambansa Big. (BP) 129 as amended by Republic Act No. (RA) 7691, the RTC exercises exclusive original jurisdiction in civil actions where the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation. It also has jurisdiction in civil cases involving title to, or possession of, real property or any interest in it where the assessed value of the property involved exceeds P20,000.00, and if it is below P20,000.00, it is the first level court which has jurisdiction. An action "involving title to real property" means that the plaintiffs cause of action is based on a claim that he owns such property or that he has the legal right to have exclusive control, possession, enjoyment, or disposition of the same. In the current case, the foreclosure suit is a real action so far as it is against property, and seeks the judicial recognition of a property debt, and an order for the sale of the res. Petitioner also failed to convince the SC by citing Russell v. Vestill to show that action for foreclosure of mortgage is an action incapable of pecuniary estimation and, therefore, within the jurisdiction of the RTC. In the same case, the court explained that while civil actions which involve title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein, are also incapable of pecuniary estimation as it is not for recovery of money, the court's jurisdiction will be determined by the assessed value of the property involved. In the current case, since the mortgaged property has an assessed value of P13,380, the proper jurisdiction falls to the first level courts.
First Sarmiento Properly Holdings, Inc. vs Philippine Bank of Communications
G.R. No. 202836. June 19, 2018
Petitioner First Sarmiento obtained from respondent bank Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCOM) a P40,000,000.00 loan, secured by a real estate mortgage over 1,076 parcels of land. The loan was later increased to an amount of P51.2, and finally P100 million. Respondent later filed a Petition for Extrajudicial Foreclosure of Real Estate Mortgage, claiming that petitioner failed to pay the principal amount and accrued interest on the loan. Petitioner attempted to file a Complaint for annulment of real estate mortgage with the Bulacan RTC on the grounds that they had yet to receive the loan proceeds from the respondent, but the complaint was refused by the clerk of court due to the absence of the mortgaged properties' tax declarations, Soon after, the court ruled that First Sarmiento's action for annulment of real estate mortgage was incapable of pecuniary estimation. The RTC subsequently dismissed the case due to lack of jurisdiction, as the petitioner failed to pay the appropriate filing fees. In the petition for review to the SC, petitioner insists that its Complaint for the annulment of real estate mortgage was incapable of pecuniary estimation, and that this was acknowledged by the RTC Executive Judge and Vice-Executive Judges.
Whether or not Complaint for annulment of real estate mortgage has a subject incapable of pecuniary estimation because it was not intended to recover ownership or possession of the mortgaged properties sold to respondent during the auction sale.
Yes. Petition granted and set aside.
To determine the nature of an action, whether or not its subject matter is capable or incapable of pecuniary estimation, the nature of the principal action or relief sought must be ascertained. If the principal relief is for the recovery of a sum of money or real property, then the action is capable of pecuniary estimation. However, if the principal relief sought is not for the recovery of sum of money or real property, even if a claim over a sum of money or real property results as a consequence of the principal relief, the action is incapable of pecuniary estimation.
In the current case, the petitioner never prayed for the reconveyance of the properties foreclosed during the auction sale, or that it ever asserted its ownership or possession over them. Rather, it assailed the validity of the loan contract because it supposedly never received the proceeds of the loan agreement. Furthermore, even if the properties had already been foreclosed when the Complaint was filed, their ownership and possession remained with petitioner since the certificate of sale was not registered with the Registry of Deeds since the Ex-Officio Sheriff was restrained from doing so and the certificate of sale was only issued to respondent after the Complaint for annulment of real estate mortgage was filed. This supports petitioner's claim that it never asked for the reconveyance of or asserted its ownership over the mortgaged properties when it filed its Complaint since it still enjoyed ownership and possession over them.
Sablas vs Sablas
G.R. No. 144568. July 3, 2007
Respondents Esterlita S. Sablas and Rodulfo S. Sablas filed a complaint for judicial partition, inventory and accounting against petitioner spouses Pascual Lumanas and Guillerma S. Sablas in the Leyte RTC. Petitioners successfully requested an extension of time to answer the complaint, and their new deadline was set on November 5, 1999; However, they filed their answer on November 8, which was still admitted by the court as there was no motion to declare petitioners in default. The following day, November 9, 1999, respondents filed a motion to declare petitioner spouses in default, which was denied by the court. After their motion for reconsideration was also denied, the respondents appealed the case to the CA, which ruled that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion because, pursuant to Section 3, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court, the trial court had no recourse but to declare petitioner spouses in default when they failed to file their answer on or before November 5, 1999. Petitioners then filed current petition for review on certiorari, contending that the CA decision was not in accord with the rules of procedure as it misconstrued Section 3, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court and was in contravention of jurisprudence.
Whether or not CA was correct in ruling that the RTC had no recourse but to declare petitioners in default even if respondents had not filed notice of default on November 5.
CA ruling reversed. The SC explained that there are three requirements that must be fulfilled before the court can declare the defending party in default: (1) the claiming party must file a motion asking the court to declare the defending party in default; (2) the defending party must be notified of the motion to declare him in default and (3) the claiming party must prove that the defending party has failed to answer within the period provided by the Rules of Court. The trial court cannot motu proprio declare a defendant in default as the rules leave it up to the claiming party to protect his or its interests. The Rules of Court provides for discretion on the part of the trial court not only to extend the time for filing an answer but also to allow an answer to be filed after the reglementary period. Where the answer is filed beyond the reglementary period but before the defendant is declared in default and there is no showing that defendant intends to delay the case, the answer should be admitted. Therefore, the trial court correctly admitted the answer of petitioner spouses even if it was filed out of time because, at the time of its filing, they were not yet declared in default nor was a motion to declare them in default ever filed. Neither was there a showing that petitioner spouses intended to delay the case.
Tan vs Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 136368. January 16, 2002
Petitioner (Tan Sr.) executed a deed of absolute sale with respondents (Jose and Estrella Magdangal) for a plot of land in Davao. Later, Tan's heirs (Tan Jr.) filed before the Davao RTC a civil complaint alleging that the real intention of the agreement between Tan Sr. and respondents was for an equitable mortgage, rather than a deed of absolute sale. On June 4, 1991, the Davao RTC held that 1) the contract between the parties is an equitable mortgage; and 2) petitioner should pay to the respondents Magdangal "within 120 days after the finality of this decision P59,200.00 plus interest." The respondent court affirmed the RTC ruling in on September 28, 1995.
Both parties received the decision of the appellate court on October 5, 1995; however, the CA ruling was entered by the clerk of court in the Book of Entries of Judgement much later on March 13, 1996. The trial court allowed petitioner to redeem the lot, ruling that the 120-day redemption period should be reckoned from the date of Entry of Judgment in the appellate court, or from March 13; petitioners deposited the redemption price on April 17, 1996. The respondent court on the other hand, cited section 1, Rule 39 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, and alleges that the 120-day redemption period of the petitioner had expired as the period began 15 days after October 5, 1995.
Wether or not the CA was correct in using the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure to determine redemption period for petitioner.
No. Decision annulled and set aside. Section 1, Rule 39 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Procedure should not be given retroactive effect in this case as it would result in great injustice to the petitioner. Petitioner has the right to redeem the subject lot and this right is a substantive right. Petitioner followed the procedural rule then existing as well as the decisions of the courts governing the reckoning date of the period of redemption when he redeemed the subject lot. Unfortunately for petitioner, the rule was changed by the 1997 Revised Rules of Procedure which if applied retroactively would result in his losing the right to redeem the subject lot. It is difficult to reconcile the retroactive application of this procedural rule with the rule of fairness. Petitioner cannot be penalized with the loss of the subject lot when he faithfully followed the laws and the rule on the period of redemption when he made the redemption.