ISSUE: Whether or not Mamiscal had validly effected a divorce from his wife is a matter that must first be addressed by the Shari'a Circuit Court which, under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (Muslim Code),enjoys exclusive original jurisdiction
FACTS: Mamiscal and Adelaidah decided to have divorce repudiated Adelaidahs (talaq) embodied in an agreement (kapasadan) but later on they reconciled. Despite such, Adelaidah still filed the Certificate of Divorce (COD) with the office of Abdullah for registration. Albeit the same was not signed by Mamiscal it was annotated in the certificate that it was executed in the presence of two witnesses and in accordance with Islamic Law. Abdullah then issued the Certificate of Registration of Divorce finalizing the same.
DECISION: WHEREFORE, the administrative matter against Macalinog S. Abdullah, Clerk of Court II, Shari'a Circuit Court, Marawi City, for partiality, violation of due process, dishonesty, and conduct unbecoming a court employee is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction, without prejudice. The complaint of Baguan M. Mamiscal against Macalinog S. Abdullah is hereby REFERRED to the Office of the Mayor, Marawi City and the Civil Service Commission for appropriate action.
RATIO DECIDENDI: The Court ruled that they do not have jurisdiction to impose the proper disciplinary action against civil registrars. Shari’a Circuit Court which, under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (Muslim Code) enjoys exclusive original jurisdiction to resolve disputes relating to divorce. The civil registrar is the person charged by law for the recording of vital events and other documents affecting the civil status of persons. The Civil Registry Law embraces all acts of civil life affecting the status of persons and is applicable to all persons residing in the Philippines. The test of jurisdiction is the nature of the offense and not the personality of the offender. The fact that the complaint charges Abdullah for "conduct unbecoming of a court employee" is of no moment. Well-settled is the rule that what controls is not the designation of the offense but the actual facts recited in the complaint. Unless jurisdiction has been conferred by some legislative act, no court or tribunal can act on a matter submitted to it.