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ORIGINAL DEVELOPMENT AND CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION v.

CA GR 94677 October 15, 1991 DOCTRINE: For the court to acquire jurisdiction over a case, the complainant must specify the amount of damages and pay the corresponding docket fees therefor. FACTS: Original Development and Construction Corporation (ODECOR) filed a complaint for breach of contract and damages against Home Insurance and Guaranty Corporation (HIGC). Simultaneous with the filing of the complaint, ODECOR paid several amounts based on the one numerical figure appearing in the complaint as P2,272,193.10 for alleged loan take out proceeds which the other defendant National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation allegedly failed to remit. The rest appears to be an unspecified amount of damages which the trial court could not assess. HIGC filed a motion to dismiss for non-payment of docket fees, which the court denied and directed the Clerk of Court to issue the Certificate of Reassessment of the proper docket fee to include the deficiency, if any. Pursuant to the order, the Clerk of Court filed an ex-parte motion stating that she has issued the certificate of reassessment but the deficiency could not be included therein because the claim for attorneys fee manifested in the body of the complaint was not reiterated in the prayer. Hence, the docket fees paid by ODECOR did not include the demand for attorneys fee. The Clerk of Court then moved that the complaint be amended accordingly, which prompted HIGC to move for a reconsideration, praying that the complaint be dismissed or amended to reflect the specific amount of damages both in the body as well as in the prayer. The same was denied. ODECOR then filed its amended complaint containing substantially all its allegations in the first complaint except that it specified its claim for attorneys fees as equivalent to 25% of the total monthly liability and other expenses for litigation and costs of the suit. The appellate court then ruled that the lower court did not acquire jurisdiction over the case. ISSUE: Whether the court acquires jurisdiction over a case even if the complaint does not specify the amount of damages. HELD: No. ODECORs first complaint as well as its amended complaint vaguely asserted its claim for actual, consequential, exemplary and moral damages, the amount of which will be proved at the trial and the demand for attorneys fees as equivalent to 25% of the total monetary liability and other expenses of litigation and costs of this suit. Such terms are certainly not definite enough to support the computation of the docket fees. While it is not required that the exact amounts be stated, the plaintiff must ascertain, in his estimation, the sums he wants and the sums required to determine the amount of such docket and other fees. Thus, it is evident that the complaint did not state enough facts and sums to enable the Clerk of Court of the lower court to compute the docket fees payable and left to the judge mere guesswork as to these amounts, which is fatal. What has been revised is the rule that subsequent amendment of the complaint or similar pleading will not vest jurisdiction on the Court, much less the payment of the docket fee based on the amount sought in the amended pleading. The trial court is now authorized to allow payment of the fee within a reasonable time but in no case beyond the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period. In the case at bar, the trial court allowed the amendment of the complaint for the determination of the proper fees, but such amendment did not in anyway help in specifying the amount of damages claimed. At most, the demand for attorneys fees was stated as 25% of the total monetary liability, another unspecified amount which cannot be the basis of computation.

PHILIPPINE PRYCE ASSURANCE CORPORATION v. CA and GEGROCO, INC. GR 107062 February 21, 1994 DOCTRINE: The rule regarding the payment of docket fees is applicable to permissive counterclaims, third-party claims and similar pleadings, which shall not be considered filed until and unless the filing fee prescribed therefor is paid. FACTS: Respondent Gegroco filed a complaint for collection of sum of money against Interworld Assurance Corporation (now Philippine Pryce Assurance) based on two surety bonds issued by petitioner in behalf of its principal Sagum General Merchandise. This petition raises two questions of procedure: nonappearance during pre-trial despite notice and non-payment of docket fees upon filing of its third-party complaint. ISSUE: Whether the Court of Appeals properly considered the third-party complaint as a mere scrap of paper due to petitioners failure to pay the required docket fees. HELD: Yes. A third-party complaint is one of the pleadings for which Clerks of Court of Regional Trial Courts are mandated to collect docket fees pursuant to Section 5, Rule 141 of the Rules of Court. Unless and until the corresponding docket fees are paid, the trial court would not acquire jurisdiction over the third-party complaint. The third-party complaint was thus reduced to a mere scrap of paper not worthy of the trial courts attention.

ALICIA T. KAW v. JUDGE CASIANO P. ANUNCIACION, JR. AM No. MTJ-93-811 March 1, 1995 DOCTRINE: The amount of damages in the form of rentals alleged in complaints of unlawful detainer cases is immaterial in determining the docket fees because the fee is a straight fee of P100. FACTS: This case stems from an ejectment suit filed by Italy Marketing Corporation (IMC) against complainants husband, it appearing that the latter leased a building for more than 20 years as a bakery, which IMC eventually acquired. As Kaw refused to leave, IMC filed an ejectment suit and prayed that Kaw be ordered to pay reasonable rents from the period covering April, 1989 to the present, attorneys fees in the amount of P5,000 plus P500 every hearing; and the cost of suit. The summons was served on Kaw, ordering him to file an answer within a non-extendible period of 10 days. Kaw nonetheless filed two motions for extension successively. Respondent judge did not act on said motions. He rendered a decision ordering Kaw to vacate the premises and to pay IMC P1,500 a month beginning April 1989 until Kaw had actually vacated the premises; P5,000 attorneys fees; and costs. Such decision was affirmed by the RTC. Complainant alleges that they were served a copy of the writ of execution by respondent sheriff and evicted from the premises the day following the decision and that their personal properties, consisting of tools and equipment used in business, were levied upon and later sold at an auction sale. Complainant also contends that the issuance of the writ of execution was improper because the decision of the MeTC was still appealable and that respondent sheriff was not authorized to enforce the writ. She also alleges that respondent judge gravely abused his discretion by unilaterally fixing the monthly rentals at P1,500 despite the fact that IMC failed to specify the amount of damages in the form of reasonable rentals in its complaint. She claimed that the amount involved was less than P20,000 and thereby bring the case within the Rule on Summary Procedure and enable IMC to evade payment of the proper amount of docket fees. ISSUE: Whether respondent judge gravely abused his discretion in fixing the rentals despite failure of IMC to specify the amount of damages. HELD: No. This question has already been decided by the Court of Appeals and should now be considered closed. IMC, as the new owner, had no lease contract with Kaw and had no means of ascertaining the amount of rent in arrears since IMC took over as owner. Hence, IMC left the determination of reasonable rent to the discretion of the trial judge. The MTC fixed the rent at P1,500. The complaint demanded the ejectment of defendant and payment of rent eleven months in arrears or a total of P19,500. The Rules on Summary Procedure in unlawful detainer cases is applicable to cases where the unpaid rentals sought to be recovered does not exceed P20,000. Neither is there merit in the allegation that the amount of the monthly rental was also fixed at P1,500 to enable the IMC to evade payment of the proper docket fees. The amount of damages in the form of rentals alleged in complaints of unlawful detainer cases is immaterial in determining the docket fees because the fee is a straight fee of P100.

DELIA MANUEL v. JUDGE DAVID ALFECHE, JR GR 115683 July 26, 1996

DOCTRINE: The applicable rule in civil actions that are deemed impliedly instituted with the criminal in accordance with Section 1, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court: When the 'amount of damages, other than actual, is alleged in the complaint or information' filed in court, then the corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the offended party upon the filing thereof in Court for trial. FACTS: A libel case was filed against private respondents for publishing an article Local Shabu Peddler Now a Millionaire in Panay News, alleging that Delia is the shabu queen of Western Visayas for which she suffered actual, moral and exemplary damages in the amount of P10M. Respondent judge convicted three of the four accused but the civil indemnity by way of moral damages was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction on the ground that petitioner did not pay the filing fees therefor. Petitioner now seeks to overturn said dismissal via the instant petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. ISSUE: Whether the filing fees, when moral, nominal, temperate or exemplary damages are claimed in a criminal case, shall constitute a first lien on the judgment, and thus need not be paid upon the filing of the information. HELD: No. In the present case, the civil action had been actually (not just impliedly) instituted with the prosecution, as shown by the fact that petitioner took an active part in the prosecution of the criminal case. When a civil action is deemed impliedly instituted with the criminal in accordance with Section 1, Rule 111 of the Rules of Courtbecause the offended party has NOT waived the civil action, or reserved the right to institute it separately, or instituted the civil action prior to the criminal actionthe rule is as follows: 1) when the 'amount of damages, other than actual, is alleged in the complaint or information' filed in court, then 'the corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the offended party upon the filing thereof in Court for trial; 2) in any other case, however - i.e., when the amount of damages is not so alleged in the complaint or information filed in court, the corresponding filing fees need not be paid and shall simply 'constitute a first lien on the judgment, except in an award for actual damages. The General ruling, especially the last subparagraph above-quoted, was actually intended to apply to a situation wherein either (i) the judgment awards a claim not specified in the pleading, or (ii) the complainant expressly claims moral, exemplary, temperate and/or nominal damages but has not specified ANY amount at all, leaving the quantification thereof entirely to the trial court's discretion, and NOT to a situation where the litigant specifies some amounts or parameters for the awards being sought, even though the different types of damages sought be not separately or individually quantified.

PLANTERS PRODUCTS, INC. v. FERTIPHIL CORPORATION GR 156278 March 29, 2004 DOCTRINE: Retrospective application is allowed if no vested rights are impaired. FACTS: On the strength of a Letter of Instruction issued by then President Marcos, Fertiphil and other domestic corporations engaged in the fertilizer business paid P10 for every bag of fertilizer sold in the country for Planters Products, Inc.s (PPI) rehabilitation. After EDSA 1 revolution, the imposition was stopped and Fertiphil demanded refund from PPI. PPI refused so Fertiphil filed a collection and damage suit against Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority and PPI. The RTC declared the LOI void and unconstitutional, and ordered PPI to return the amount Fertiphil paid thereunder with 12% interest. PPI filed an appeal, which Fertiphil moved to dismiss for non-payment of the appellate docket fee and alleged PPIs failure to prosecute the appeal within a reasonable time. The trial court denied the motion ruling that the payment of the appellate docket fee within the period for taking an appeal is a new requirement under the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure which was not yet applicable when PPI filed its appeal in 1992. Moreover, the court found that there was no failure to prosecute. Fertiphil filed a special civil action for certiorari with the Court of Appeals imputing grave abuse of discretion. The CA ruled that although PPI filed its appeal in 1992, the 1997 Rules of Procedure should nevertheless be followed since it applies to actions pending and undetermined at the time of its passage. The CA further ruled that due to PPIs failure to pay the docket fee for 3 years from the time the 1997 Rules ofur Civil Procedure took effect until Fertiphil moved to dismiss the appeal in 2001, the trial courts decision became final and executory. ISSUE: Whether the new rule on the payment of appellate docket fee should retroactively apply to PPI. HELD: No. As a general rule, rules of procedure apply to actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage, hence, retrospective in nature. However, the general rule is not without an exception. Retrospective application is allowed if no vested rights are impaired. In the instant case, at the time PPI filed its appeal in 1992, all that the rules required for the perfection of its appeal was the filing of a notice of appeal. PPIs appeal was therefore already perfected at that time. Thus, the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which took effect on July 1, 1997 and which required that appellate docket and other lawful fees should be paid within the same period for taking an appeal, can not affect PPIs appeal which was already perfected in 1992. While the right to appeal is statutory, the mode or manner by which this right may be exercised is a question of procedure which may be altered and modified only when vested rights are not impaired. Thus, failure to pay the appellate docket fee when the 1997 Rules of Procedure took effect cannot operate to deprive PPI of its right, already perfected in 1992, to have its case reviewed on appeal. This is not all. We have also previously ruled that failure to pay the appellate docket fee does not automatically result in the dismissal of an appeal, dismissal being discretionary on the part of the appellate court.

LA SALETTE COLLEGE v. VICTOR C. PILOTIN GR 149227 December 11, 2003 DOCTRINE: The right to appeal is not a natural right or a part of due process. It is purely a statutory privilege, and may be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provisions of the law. Wellrooted is the principle that perfection of an appeal within the statutory or reglementary period is not only mandatory but also jurisdictional and failure to do so renders the questioned decision final and executory, and deprives the appellate court of jurisdiction to alter the final judgment much less to entertain the appeal. FACTS: Respondent Pilotin, a bonafide student of petitioner who was denied re-enrollment, filed a complaint and asked for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction to compel petitioner to readmit him. An Order was issued directing La Salette to admit him for the second semester but still La Salette refused to re-admit him. Because of this refusal, respondent amended his complaint and concentrated on damages, hence, this case. On its defense, La Salette contended that respondent never enrolled. The trial court ruled in favor of respondent and La Salette filed a notice of appeal. Respondent moved to dismiss the appeal for failure to pay the docket fees. The CA dismissed the appeal but reconsidered upon motion in the interest of substantial justice and considering that La Salette already paid the docket fees. After reexamining the records of the case, the CA dismissed the appeal filed by petitioners, because the docket fees were only paid after one (1) year and eleven (11) months from the filing of the notice of appeal. It deemed it imperative to reverse its earlier resolution to conform with the law and long settled jurisprudence the matter. ISSUE: Whether the appeal was seasonably filed. HELD: No. In order to perfect an appeal from a decision rendered by the RTC in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, the following requirements must be complied with. First, within 15 days, a notice of appeal must be filed with the court that rendered the judgment or final order sought to be appealed; second, such notice must be served on the adverse party; and third, within the same 15-day period, the full amount of appellate court docket and other legal fees must be paid to the clerk of the court that rendered the judgment or final order. A review of the records shows that they paid these only after almost seven (7) months from the mandated last day for payment. Clearly, RTC Decision, which petitioners sought to appeal, had long become final and executory. Notwithstanding the mandatory nature of the requirement of payment of appellate docket fees, we also recognize that its strict application is qualified by the following: first, failure to pay those fees within the reglementary period allows only discretionary, not automatic, dismissal; second, such power should be used by the court in conjunction with its exercise of sound discretion in accordance with the tenets of justice and fair play, as well as with a great deal of circumspection in consideration of all attendant circumstances. In the present case, petitioners have not shown any satisfactory reason to warrant the relaxation of the Rules. The present case calls for the adjudication of whether petitioners paid the docket fees on time. Hence, it is essential that they specify the exact dates when they filed their notice of appeal and paid the corresponding docket fees. But nowhere in their pleadings did they do so. All they said was that the appeal had been seasonably filed. Assuming arguendo that the period of appeal was interrupted by respondents motion for reconsideration of the RTCs approval of petitioners notice of appeal, the required docket fees for the latter were still not paid on time.