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FIRST DIVISION G.R. No.

L-69854 June 30, 1987 MILAGROS ROSAURO, ROLANDO EBLAMO SALVADOR SARSONAS, BASILIA ARABI, JOHNNY MEJIA, AURORA POLISTICO, EDGARDO PONCE, FLORENCIO YJAN FEDERICO LAGAR, ANTONIO AGNAS, REMEDIOS YJAN and LUCIANO ROSAURO, petitioners vs. MAYOR PABLO CUNETA, Respondents.

GANCAYCO, J.: In a petition for prohibition, injunction with prayer for preliminary injunction/restraining order petitioners who are officers and members of "Pargal Samahang Magkakapitbahay Inc.," allege that they have been in possession for almost 10 to 15 years of Lot 12, Cad., 259, Pasay Cadastre having constructed their houses thereon; that the same is patrimonial property as evidenced by the investigation report of Romero T. Salbado dated December 18, 1984 of the Bureau of Lands and the technical description signed by Felipe Venezuela, Chief Technical and Service Section of same Bureau; 1that they filed their application with the Bureau of Lands for its allocation to them through their association aforesaid, which application was duly published; that said lot is not owned by any private individual, more particularly by respondent Hon. Pablo Cuneta or the Pasay City Government; 2that on December 18, 1984 Salbado recommended allocation of said lot to petitioners; 3 that respondent Mayor Cuneta accompanied by several armed men, suddenly entered said lot accompanied by the demolition squad from the engineering's office of the city government, and without due process and legal basis, respondent partially caused the demolition of some of the houses of petitioners; that respondent is set in forcibly dispossessing petitioners of said lot, and if unrestrained will continue in said unlawful act in grave abuse of discretion which will cause irreparable injury to petitioners; and that they have no appeal or any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. Hence petitioners pray among others that a restraining order issue to restrain respondent from performing any act tending to dispossess petitioners of the lot in question; after hearing issue a writ of preliminary injunction; that judgment be rendered prohibiting permanently respondent mayor from so dispossessing petitioners of the said lot and further pray for any relief or remedy deemed just and equitable under the law. In a resolution of February 18, 1985 the Court required respondent to comment on the petition within ten (10) days from notice and issued a temporary restraining order enjoining respondent from committing, doing or performing any act as well as to cause the commission, doing and/or performing of any act which may tend to dispossess petitioners of the lot in question. In the comment filed by respondent he asserted that he is the owner of said lot having purchased the same on September 12, 1984 from its registered owner Bombay Merchant Association Inc., covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3454 (32057) 4 that under said title its Spanish technical description is Lot No. 18, but the same has been certified to be same as the technical description of Lot 12, Cad. - 259 by Mr. Felipe R. Venezuela, Chief of Technical Services Section of the Bureau of Lands 5 and the certification of Mr. Isaias S. Cepe, Acting Chief, Surveys Division of the Bureau 6 so that the investigation report of Mr. Salbado is without basis and cannot defeat the property rights of respondent; respondent denies the alleged possession of petitioners of 10 to 15 years of the lot the truth being it is the predecessor of respondent who had been in possession thereof and it was only recently when petitioners who had residential houses located at the adjoining lot and outside the perimeter of the fence of the said lot of respondent forcibly and illegally constructed several shanties thereon; that said anomalous act of petitioners cannot render nugatory the title of respondent to said private property; that when respondent learned petitioners have destroyed the perimeter fence of his property and were making illegal constructions thereon he immediately referred the matter to the City Engineer's Office for appropriate action so said office acted to prevent such illegal construction7 by demolishing said shanties in accordance with Letter of Instruction No. 19; that petitioners in the guise of being harassed by respondent proposed to deprive respondent of his private property whereon they squatted; that petitioners are facing two (2) charges for violation of P.D. 77 (AntiSquatting Law) and of malicious mischief; and that the issuance of a restraining order, injunction or prohibition will not be in consonance with the supreme interest of Justice as in fact it is petitioners who should be enjoined to respect the proprietary rights of respondent. Thus respondent prays for the dismissal of the petition and for such other reliefs or remedies that maybe in consonance with equity and justice. 1 |Page

In the reply to respondent's comment petitioners reiterate that Lot 18 is not Lot 12 of Cad. 259; that while they do not dispute that respondent is the vendee of the property covered by TCT 3454 (32057) the same refers to Lot 18 and not Lot 12; that petitioners refer to the report of Salbado that "8 or more families" belonging to their association "were able to enter the property wherein they have established their respective abodes;" that they filed a criminal case, against respondent at the Tanodbayan and an administrative case with the Metro Manila Commission; that the criminal case respondent filed against them in the City Fiscal's Office is a mere leverage; that they deny destroying the perimeter fence of the lot; and that they are not land grabbers. In a rejoinder to petitioners' reply and an urgent motion to submit additional documentary evidence, etc., respondent traversed the allegations of petitioners and submitted the letter of the Director of the Bureau of Lands of 23 May 1985 that a cadastral map verification show Lot 18 of TCT No. 3454 (32057) appear more or less the same as Lot 12, Cad 259" but that "an actual verification is necessary in order to confirm the Identity of the land." Petitioners filed their memorandum attaching thereto among others a blue print map of Pasay Cadastre No. 259 approved by then Director Jose P. Dans to show that Lot 12 is distinct from Lot 18. 9 On the other hand, respondent through his Manifestation and Compliance submitted the result of the verification survey of Acting Chief Isaias S. Cepe of August 26, 1985 showing that Lot 12 is Identical to Lot 18; 10 the affidavit of Mr. Ferdinand (Naki) Hiranand, ranking officer of the vendor Bombay Association that at the time of the sale of the property to respondent there was no occupant thereon nor any shanty built;" 11 and the copy of the resolution of the Tanodbayan clearing respondent. A writ of prohibition is directed against any tribunal, corporation, board, or person, whether exercising functions judicial or ministerial, whose proceedings are without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion., and there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. 12It is intended to prevent the oppressive exercise of legal authority. 13 An injunction is a writ framed according to the circumstances of the case commanding an act which the Court regards as essential to justice, or restraining an act it deems contrary to equity and good conscience. 14 It is a judicial process whereby a person is required to do or refrain from doing a particular thing. 15 In order that a preliminary injunction may be granted at any time after the commencement of the action and before judgment, it must be established. SEC. 3. x x x x (a) That the plaintiff is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the acts complained of, or in the performance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually; (b) That the commission or continuance of some act complained of during the litigation or the non-performance thereof would probably work injustice to the plaintiff; or (c) That the defendant is doing, threatens, or is about to do, or is procuring or suffering to be done, some act probably in violation of the plaintiff's rights respecting the subject of the action, and tending to render the judgment ineffectual. There are two requisites for the issuance of an injunction namely, (1) that the right to be protected exists; and (2) that the acts against which the injunction is to be directed are violative of said right. The existence of a right violated is a prerequisite to the granting of an injunction. An injunction will not issue to protect a right not in esse and which may never arise. 18 Failure to establish either the existence of a clear and positive right which should be judicially protected through the writ of injunction, or that the defendant has committed or attempts to commit any act which has endangered or tends to endanger the existence of said right, is a sufficient ground for denying the injunction. 19 In this case the petitioners claim that they are entitled to the possession of the property in question and have filed an application for the allocation of the same to them by the Bureau of Lands being a patrimonial property. On the other hand, respondent contends that he is the true owner of said lot being private property which he purchased from the Bombay Merchant Association, Inc. as the titled owner thereof and that petitioners entered the property only after 2 |Page

his acquisition of the same. Respondent further presented documents to show that Lot 12 as claimed by petitioners is Identical to Lot 18 which is the titled property of respondent. Documents to show the contrary are also presented by the petitioners. This Court is not a trier of facts. The parties must litigate the issue of Identity of the property and ownership before the proper courts if they have not as yet done so. Petitioners by this time must have pursued to its termination their application with the Bureau of Lands to determine the merit of their claim thereto. As it is, petitioners have not established a clear and positive right to the property in question. Thus the restraining order that this Court issued cannot be maintained any longer as there is no lawful justification therefor. The parties are advised to take the proper administrative or legal steps to protect their interests and establish their conflicting claims. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and the restraining order the Court issued is dissolved. No costs. SO ORDERRED. Yap (Chairman), Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Feliciano and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.

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G.R. No. 86683 January 21, 1993 PHILIP S. YU, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, THE HONORABLE PRESIDING JUDGE, RTC OF MANILA, BRANCH XXXIV (34) and UNISIA MERCHANDISING CO., INC., respondents. Oscar M. Manahan for petitioner. Ruben L. Pasamonte collaborating counsel for petitioner. Alfredo G. De Guzman for private respondent.

MELO, J.: Petitioner, the exclusive distributor of the House of Mayfair wallcovering products in the Philippines, cried foul when his former dealer of the same goods, herein private respondent, purchased the merchandise from the House of Mayfair in England through FNF Trading in West Germany and sold said merchandise in the Philippines. Both the court of origin and the appellate court rejected petitioner's thesis that private respondent was engaged in a sinister form of unfair competition within the context of Article 28 of the New Civil Code (pp. 23 and 64, Rollo). Hence, the petition at bar. There is no dispute that petitioner has had an exclusive sales agency agreement with the House of Mayfair since 1987 to promote and procure orders for Mayfair wallcovering products from customers in the Philippines (Annex "B", Petition; p. 30, Rollo). Even as petitioner was such exclusive distributor, private respondent, which was then petitioner's dealer, imported the some goods via the FNF Trading which eventually sold the merchandise in the domestic market (TSN, September 20, 1988, p. 9; p. 117, Rollo). In the suit for injunction which petitioner filed before the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region stationed at Manila, petitioner pressed the idea that he was practically by-passed and that private respondent acted in concert with the FNF Trading in misleading Mayfair into believing that the goods ordered by the trading firm were intended for shipment to Nigeria although they were actually shipped to and sold in the Philippines (Paragraph 5, Complaint: p. 34, Rollo). Private respondent professed ignorance of the exclusive contract in favor of petitioner. Even then, private respondent responded by asserting that petitioner's understanding with Mayfair is binding only between the parties thereto (Paragraph 5, Answer; p. 50, Rollo). In the course of hearing the arguments for and against the issuance of the requested writ of preliminary injunction, petitioner impressed before the lower court that he is seeking to enjoin the sale and distribution by private respondent of the same goods in the market (TSN, September 20, 1988, p. 35; p. 142, Rollo) but the Honorable Cesar V. Alejandria, Presiding Judge of Branch 34 was unperturbed, thusly: Resolving plaintiff's motion embodied in the complaint for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction after hearing, but without prejudging the merits of the case, and finding from the evidences adduced by the plaintiff, that the terms and conditions of the agency agreement, Exhibit "A-inj." between the plaintiff and The House of Mayfair of England for the exclusive distributorship by the plaintiff of the latter's goods, apertain to them; that there is no privity of contract between the plaintiff and the defendant; that the controversy in this case arose from a breach of contract by the FNF Trading of Germany, for having shipped goods it had purchased from The House of Mayfair to the Philippines: that as shown in Exh. "J-inj.", the House of Mayfair was demanding payment of 4,500.00 from the FNF Trading for restitution of plaintiff's alleged loss on account of the shipment of the goods in question here in the Philippines and now in the possession of the defendant; it appears to the Court that to restrain the defendant from selling the goods it has ordered from the FNF Trading of Germany, would be without legal justification. WHEREFORE, the motion for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain the defendant from selling the goods it has ordered from the FNF Trading of Germany is hereby DENIED. (p. 64,Rollo.) The indifference of the trial court towards petitioner's supplication occasioned the filing of a petition for review oncertiorari with the Court of Appeals but Justice Ordoez-Benitez, with whom Justices Bellosillo and Kalalo concurred, reacted in the same nonchalant fashion. According to the 4 |Page

appellate court, petitioner was not able to demonstrate the unequivocal right which he sought to protect and that private respondent is a complete strangervis-a-vis the covenant between petitioner and Mayfair. Apart from these considerations, the reviewing authority noted that petitioner could be fully compensated for the prejudice he suffered judging from the tenor of Mayfair's correspondence to FNF Trading wherein Mayfair took the cudgels for petitioner in seeking compensation for the latter's loss as a consequence of private respondent's scheme (p. 79, Rollo; pp. 23-29, Rollo). In the petition at hand, petitioner anchors his plea for redress on his perception that private respondent has distributed and continues to sell Mayfair covering products in contravention of petitioner's exclusive right conferred by the covenant with the House of Mayfair. On March 13, 1989, a temporary restraining order was issued to last until further notice from this Court directed against private respondent (p. 188, Rollo). Notwithstanding such proscription, private respondent persisted in the distribution and sole (p. 208; 228-229, Rollo), triggering petitioner's motion to cite private respondent's manager in contempt of court (p. 223, Rollo). Considering that private respondent's manager, Frank Sia, admitted the acts complained of, a fine of P500.00 was imposed on him but he failed to pay the same within the five-day period provided in Our Resolution of June 21, 1989 (p. 236, Rollo). Did respondent appellate court correctly agree with the lower court in disallowing the writ solicited by herein petitioner? That the exclusive sales contract which links petitioner and the House of Mayfair is solely the concern of the privies thereto and cannot thus extend its chain as to bind private respondent herein is, We believe, beside the point. Verily, injunction is the appropriate remedy to prevent a wrongful interference with contracts by strangers to such contracts where the legal remedy is insufficient and the resulting injury is irreparable (Gilchrist vs. Cuddy, 29 Phil. 542 [1915]; 4A Padilla, Civil Code Annotated, 1988 Ed., p. 90). The liability of private respondent, if any, does not emanate from the four corners of the contract for undoubtedly, Unisia Merchandising Co., Inc. is not a party thereto but its accountability is "an independent act generative of civil liability" (Daywalt vs. Corporacion de PP. Agustinos Recoletos, 39 Phil. 587 [1919]; 4 Paras, Civil Code of the Philippines Annotated, 1981 10th Ed., p. 439; 4 Tolentino, Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the Civil Code, 1986 Ed., p. 439). These observations, however, do not in the least convey the message that We have placed the cart ahead of the horse, so to speak, by pronouncing private respondent's liability at this stage in view of the pendency of the main suit for injunction below. We are simply rectifying certain misperceptions entertained by the appellate court as regards the feasibility of requesting a preliminary injunction to enjoin a stranger to an agreement. To Our mind, the right to perform an exclusive distributorship agreement and to reap the profits resulting from such performance are proprietary rights which a party may protect (30 Am. Jur. Section 19, pp. 71-72: Jurado, Comments and Jurisprudence on Obligations and Contracts, 1983 8th Rev. Ed., p. 336) which may otherwise not be diminished, nay, rendered illusory by the expedient act of utilizing or interposing a person or firm to obtain goods from the supplier to defeat the very purpose for which the exclusive distributorship was conceptualized, at the expense of the sole authorized distributor (43 C.J.S. 597). Another circumstance which respondent court overlooked was petitioner's suggestion, which was not disputed by herein private respondent in its comment, that the House of Mayfair in England was duped into believing that the goods ordered through the FNF Trading were to be shipped to Nigeria only, but the goods were actually sent to and sold in the Philippines. A ploy of this character is akin to the scenario of a third person who induces a party to renege on or violate his undertaking under a contract, thereby entitling the other contracting party to relief therefrom (Article 1314, New Civil Code). The breach caused by private respondent was even aggravated by the consequent diversion of trade from the business of petitioner to that of private respondent caused by the latter's species of unfair competition as demonstrated no less by the sales effected inspite of this Court's restraining order. This brings Us to the irreparable mischief which respondent court misappreciated when it refused to grant the relief simply because of the observation that petitioner can be fully compensated for the damage. A contrario, the injury is irreparable where it is continuous and repeated since from its constant and frequent recurrence, no fair and reasonable redress can be had therefor by petitioner insofar as his goodwill and 5 |Page

business reputation as sole distributor are concerned. Withal, to expect petitioner to file a complaint for every sale effected by private respondent will certainly court multiplicity of suits (3 Francisco, Revised Rules of Court, 1985 Edition, p. 261). WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The decision of the Court of Appeals dated January 13, 1989 in CA-G.R. SP No. 16019 and the Order dated October 16, 1988 issued by the magistrate at the court of origin are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Let this case be remanded to the court of origin for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction upon petitioner's posting of a bond in the sum of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos to be approved by said court, to remain effective during the trial on the merits until final determination of the case. The manager of private respondent. Frank Sia, is hereby ordered to pay to the Clerk of Court within five (5) days from notice hereof the fine of P500.00, as previously imposed on him, with a warning that failure to do so will be dealt with more severely. Upon issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction, the restraining order issued on March 13, 1989 by this Court shall be deemed automatically lifted. SO ORDERED.

SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. L-29736 October 31, 1974

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PHILIPPINE VIRGINIA TOBACCO ADMINISTRATION (PVTA), Petitioner, vs. HON. WALFRIDO DE LOS ANGELES as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Quezon City, Branch IV), and ABRA AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATION, INC., (Bangued, Abra), Respondents. Gov't. Corp. Counsel Leopoldo M. Abellera, Asst. Gov't. Corp. Counsel Romualdo Valera and Trial Atty. Eduardo G. Rosario for petitioner. Benito P. Fabie for respondents.

ANTONIO, J.: Petition for certiorari with mandamus to annul the order of respondent Court in Civil Case No. Q11728 (Abra Agricultural Association, Inc. vs Philippine Virginia Tobacco Administration and Farmers' Virginia Redriers, Inc.), dated October 16, 1968, dismissing the appeal of petitioner for its failure to file the record on appeal within the reglementary period and to compel said Court to give due course to the appeal. We find the petition unmeritorious. In dismissing this petition, this Court reaffirms the rule that the filing of a motion for extension of the period for the filing of a record on appeal does not suspend the running of the period for appeal, since the only purpose of such motion is to ask the court to grant an enlargement of the time fixed by law. 1 Evidently, the movant has no right to assume that his motion would be granted and should check with the court as to the outcome of his motion, so that if the same is denied, he can still perfect his appeal within the remaining period. 2 Thus, if the motion for extension filed within the reglementary period is not acted upon by the court and the extension period asked for lapses without the record on appeal having been filed, the motion does not suspend the period to appeal and the right to appeal is lost. 3 It is true that in Berkenkotter, We said that if the motion is granted, the extension requested is tacked to the original period, even if the favorable order is issued after the expiration of the latter. 4 In the case at bar, the motions for extension were never granted. Thus, petitioner, through the Corporate Counsel, received notice of the judgment of the trial court on June 22, 1968. On July 19, 1968, petitioner filed with the court a quo an appeal bond and notice of appeal to the effect that it was appealing the judgment to the Supreme Court. On the same date petitioner also filed a "Motion for Extension of Time to File Record on Appeal," alleging that due to the voluminous records that had to be copied and included in the record on appeal, it may not be able to file the same on time, and asking for extension of fifteen (15) days counted from July 22, 1968. The respondent Court did not act on this motion for extension. Instead of verifying from the Court whether or not its motion for extension was favorably acted upon, petitioner through inaction permitted the original period of thirty (30) days to lapse on July 22, 1968. On July 31, 1968, or nine (9) days after the expiry of the reglementary period, petitioner filed a second "Motion for Extension of Time to File Record on Appeal." In the aforementioned pleading, petitioner alleged that on July 20, 1968, the other defendant, Farmers' Virginia Tobacco Redriers, Inc. (FVTR) filed a motion for reconsideration of the trial court's decision, and the said motion, together with the Court's resolution thereon, would necessarily form part of the petitioner's record on appeal, hence, the said record on appeal could not possibly be completed and filed before the resolution of FVTRs motion. The petitioner prayed in its second motion that its period for filing the record on appeal be extended until such time as the FVTRs motion for reconsideration shall have been resolved finally, and that it be given ten (10) days from its receipt of the Court's resolution within which to file its record on appeal. This was opposed by private respondent on September 11, 1968, said party alleging that the second motion for extension filed by the PVTA was not meritorious as whatever action the Court may take on FVTRs motion for reconsideration would not be material to the appeal of petitioner, since the said motion for reconsideration referred only to the portion of the decision ordering FVTR to reimburse the PVTA whatever amount the latter had been adjudged to pay private respondent. Private respondent likewise alleged that the filing of the motion was purely dilatory. After the petitioner filed its reply to private respondent's motion of September 19, 1968, the trial court issued an order on October 16, 1968, which, among others, reads as follows: ... It will be noted that the opposition of the plaintiff for the extension of the period to file the record on appeal by the said defendant PVTA was centered on the second motion for extension which prayed for an indefinite period. In the opposition filed by the plaintiff against the said extensions of time, it was likewise prayed that the appeal interposed by the defendant PVTA be 7 |Page

now dismissed on the ground that the period to appeal has already elapsed and that the same is purely for purposes of delay and dilatory tactics. Subsequently, plaintiff presented a supplemental allegations and/or arguments to support the motion to dismiss appeal. Plaintiff alleged in the said supplemental pleading that the evidence on record strongly and firmly support the claim of the plaintiff, consisting as they do, mainly of testimonies and documents originating from defendant PVTA itself, such as (a) the testimony of Mr. Quirico T. Samonte, head of the PVTA Trading Department, favorable to plaintiff's claim coupled with his certification dated March 18, 1965 (Exh. R) attesting to the tobacco shipments subject of the claim; (b) the letter of Mr. Federico B. Moreno, PVTA Officer-in-Charge, to the Auditor General dated January 9, 1968 (Exh. DD) stating that the tobacco shipments in question come under the original allocation of defendant FVTR (Exh-DD-1) and (c) Resolution No. 241 of the PVTA Board of Directors, dated August 28, 1964 (Exh. CC), requiring the PVTA to pay tobacco shipments beyond the original two million kilo allocation; that even the Government Corporate Counsel himself, as counsel for the defendant PVTA in his letter dated July 2, 1968 to the Officer-in-Charge of said defendant stated as follows: "In the light of the evidence presented in the case, including ours, as well as the circumstances obtaining in the instant case, we feel that an appeal from the decision rendered in this case would not prosper and would only entail waste of time and effort and at considerable expense considering that interest will continue to run on the principal amount due until the same is paid and considering that it will take at least two or three years before the appeal would be resolved." The appeal therefore being taken now by the same counsel for the PVTA could be considered as manifestly and palpably frivolous and dilatory. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the appeal interposed by the defendant PVTA is hereby ordered dismissed for failure to file the record on appeal within the reglementary period. The second motion for extension of time praying for an indefinite suspension of the period to file the record on appeal could not be considered by the Court, the running of the period within which to perfect an appeal could not be suspended by the Court, hence the period within which defendant PVTA must perfect its appeal has already expired; and, even assuming that defendant PVTA was able to perfect the appeal within the period, yet the same must necessarily be dismissed for being patently frivolous and a dilatory tactic to delay the termination of this case. Petitioner claims that respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction in dismissing its appeal because (a) it had seasonably filed the motion for extension of time to file its record on appeal based on valid grounds, which motion respondent judge failed to resolve; (b) respondent judge is empowered to grant extensions of time to file records on appeal in meritorious cases, as in this case, where the completion of the record on appeal must necessarily await resolution of the FVTR's motion for reconsideration, the inclusion of which in the record on appeal is necessary so as to avoid multiplicity of suit; and (c) appeal of the petitioner cannot be considered as frivolous and dilatory. As already stated, petitioner's second motion for extension was filed nine (9) days after the expiry of the reglementary period granted by Section 3 of Rule 41 of the Revised Rules of Court. It is true petitioner filed a "Motion for Extension of Time to File a Record on Appeal" on July 19, 1968, but it had no right to assume that the same could be granted. It was petitioner's duty to take steps to verify from the Court whether or not its motion for extension had been granted, considering that its time was running out. Petitioner contends that it was erroneous on the part of the trial court to hold that its second motion for extension of time to file the record on appeal, which in effect was a motion to suspend the running of said period until the motion for reconsideration of the other defendant shall have been acted upon, was late because "the period within which defendant PVTA must perfect its appeal has already expired," because no action had been actually taken by the court on its first motion for extension one way or the other. In this connection, it will be recalled that inBerkenkotter, supra, this Court held that the approval by the trial judge of the record on appeal, even if made after the period for the appeal has already expired, is tantamount to a valid order granting the extension prayed for by appellant, if any such motion has been filed. We now hold that conversely, the dismissal of the appeal by the judge constitutes a denial of the extension, in which eventuality, the only question that can arise is as to whether or not the trial judge has gravely abused his discretion in denying such extension. In the circumstances of the present case, it has not been sufficiently shown that there was a grave abuse of discretion. 8 |Page

We have always emphasized that Section 3, Rule 41, of the Rules, "requires that the notice of appeal, the appeal bond, and the record on appeal be all filed in court, and served on the adverse party, within thirty (30) days from notice of judgment, deducting the time when a motion for reconsideration is pending; and compliance with this period for appeal is considered absolutely indispensable for the prevention of needless delays and to the orderly and speedy discharge of judicial business (Altavas Conlu v. C.A., L-14027, January 29, 1960), so that if said period is not complied with, the judgment becomes final and executory and the appellate Court does not acquire jurisdiction over the appeal (Layda v. Legaspi, 38 Phil., 83; Pamplona v. Suiza, 12 Phil., 99; Caisip v. Cabangon, L-14684, Aug. 26, 1960)." WHEREFORE, the petition is dismissed, with costs against petitioner.

G.R. No. 149493

June 22, 2006

RAFAELITO M. GARAYBLAS, Petitioner, vs. JOSE L. ATIENZA, JR., Mayor of the City of Manila, ATTY. EMMANUEL SISON, Secretary to the Mayor, Manila; Chairman and Members of the Board of Regents, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), namely: DR. ALEJANDRO ROCES, ATTY. RAUL I. GOCO, MR. ALFREDO G. GABOT, ATTY. AGUINALDO L. MIRAVALLES and PARALUMAN R. GIRON, ATTY. MARITES BARRIOS, Legal Officer V and concurrently Secretary of the University and to the Board of Regents, PLM; MS. ANGELITA SOLIS, Vice-President for Finance, PLM and Resident Auditor, PLM, Respondents. DECISION 9 |Page

CALLEJO, SR., J.: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court for the nullification of the Order of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 76, in SCA No. Q-00-39944, dismissing the Petition for Injunction filed by petitioner Rafaelito M. Garayblas for lack of jurisdiction, as well as the Order dated May 28, 2001, dismissing the petition for being moot and academic. The Antecedents Rafaelito M. Garayblas was a part-time Professorial Lecturer in the College of Law of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) since November 17, 1992. Raul I. Goco had been appointed by then Manila City Mayor Alfredo S. Lim as a member of the Board of Regents representing the PLM faculty, whose term was to expire on August 13, 1998. His appointment was confirmed by the City Council on November 12, 1992.1 In 1996, however, Goco was appointed Philippine Ambassador to Canada. Thus, on September 30, 1996, Mayor Lim appointed petitioner as representative of the PLM Faculty to the Board of Regents "effective September 24, 1996 up to August 13, 1998 representing the unexpired term of xxx Goco."2 On January 5, 1998, Mayor Lim extended petitioners appointment up to August 13, 2004.3 Meantime, then Vice-Mayor Jose L. Atienza, Jr. was elected as City Mayor of Manila. On April 26, 1999, Mayor Atienza appointed Goco as member of the Board of Regents to represent the PLM faculty for a term of six (6) years effective April 26, 1999 to April 25, 2005.4 However, based on the records of the Office of the Secretary, the representative of the PLM faculty to the Board was petitioner as his appointment was to expire on August 13, 2004.5 When apprised of Gocos appointment to the position, petitioner, through counsel, sent a letter6 to Manila Vice-Mayor Danilo V. Lacuna requesting that "the appointment of Atty. Goco to the questioned position be not confirmed by the City Council," considering that petitioner had been rightfully appointed thereto. The matter was referred to the Office of the City Mayor for appropriate action, pursuant to Section 454(d) of Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code.7 Petitioner, through counsel, thereafter sent a letter8 addressed to Mayor Atienza dated October 5, 1999, inquiring on the action taken relative to the confirmation of Gocos appointment to the Board. On December 15, 1999, Mayor Atienza issued a Special Order9 temporarily designating his Secretary, Atty. Emmanuel R. Sison, as Acting PLM President. In a special meeting held on January 17, 2000, the Board of Regents approved Resolution No. 223310 confirming the designation of Atty. Sison as Acting PLM President. Thereafter, in its regular meeting on January 28, 2000, the Board, by a majority vote, resolved to recognize Goco as board member of the Board of Regents. On February 10, 2000, petitioner filed a Petition11 for Injunction with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order with Damages against Mayor Atienza; Atty. Sison, the Chairman; as well as the Members of the Board of Regents; and PLM officers as respondents. Petitioner alleged that: 15) The act of respondent Atienza in appointing respondent Raul I. Goco as a Member of the Board of Regents of PLM is illegal, arbitrary, whimsical, capricious and oppressive amounting to grave abuse of discretion. It is null and void, and patently illegal because: a) Petitioner, by explicit and clear mandate of law, enjoys a fixed term of office beginning August 14, 1998 up to August 13, 2004. Thus, respondent Atienza cannot legally abbreviate or shorten the term of office of the petitioner as the same is fixed by law. Respondent Atienzas shortcircuiting petitioners term as a Member of the Board of Regents is despotic, tyrannical and in total disregard of due process. b) Petitioner has still the absolute right to remain as Member of the Board of Regents of PLM because the word "term" connotes entitlement to hold the office as a matter of right. xxx 10 | P a g e

c) Respondent Atienzas act of appointing respondent Goco as Member of the Board of Regents is null and void because there is no vacant position to which he may be appointed. Petitioner is still the rightful and legitimate occupant of the position as a Member of the Board of Regents representing the faculty up to 2004. xxx Since the position of Member of the Board of Regents representing the faculty is currently occupied by petitioner, the same cannot be considered vacant, hence, no valid appointment can be made thereto. It is, therefore, a superfluity to state that the appointment of respondent Goco as Member of the Board of Regents of PLM representing the faculty is invalid, irregular, ineffective and void from the very beginning. 16) Even assuming that there is a vacant position in the membership of the Board of Regents representing the faculty, still respondent Goco may not be validly appointed thereto because he has not assumed the position of a faculty since 1993 or thereabouts up to the present. 16.1) R.A. 4196 explicitly provides that one member must come from the faculty and, respondent Goco, not being an active member of the PLM faculty, is not qualified to become a member of the Board of Regents representing the faculty. Admittedly, the appointment of respondent Goco runs counter to the clear command of R.A. 4196. Board of Regents devoid of authority to oust or remove petitioner 17) The Board of Regents is without authority to remove or oust petitioner as Member of the Board of Regents representing the faculty because vacancy occurs: "x x x by reason of resignation, death or other incapacity of one or more of its members, such vacancy shall be filled by appointment by the Mayor of the City of Manila, x x x." (Section 4, R.A. 4196)(Underscoring ours) 17.1) Republic Act 4196 categorically states that vacancy in the membership of the Board of Regents occur only when a member thereof resigns, dies or otherwise becomes incapacitated to perform the duties and functions of the office. 17.2) Thus, the petitioner, not having voluntarily relinquished his position as Member of the Board of Regents nor is he incapacitated to discharge the duties thereof, thus he may not be validly removed or ousted by the Board of Regents. 17.3) So also, the Board of Regents is not clothed with the authority to oust or remove a Member thereof. Section 6 of R.A. 4196 enumerates the powers and functions of the Board of Regents and the authority to oust or remove a member of the Board is not included therein. 17.4) The removal or ouster of the petitioner is highly irregular because the PLM Charter provides three (3) valid causes for the removal or ouster from the Boards membership resignation, death or incapacity. Petitioner, therefore, may not be validly removed by the majority votes of the Members of the Board of Regents as it [is] not one of the grounds enumerated in the law creating the PLM.12 Petitioner anchored his action for damages on the following allegations: 18) Because respondents acted in evident bad faith with deliberate intention to ridicule, humiliate, dishonor, embarrass and place petitioner in a shameful predicament, sustained untold sufferings, sleepless nights, serious anxiety, wounded feelings and tarnished reputation as a member of the academe of good standing. 18.1) The net effect of respondents scheming act of removing petitioner without cause and in serious violation of law, is contrary to law, morals, good customs and public policy for which petitioner is entitled to recover damages from respondents, their agents and representatives, jointly and severally, as follows: a) Exemplary damages in the amount of one million pesos (P1,000,000.00), by way of example against persons, respondents included, who in their personal and public capacities exceeded or abused their authority coupled with grave disregard of human and property rights;

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b) Moral damages in the amount of one million pesos (P1,000,000.00) arising from the embarrassment, humiliation, sleepless nights, anxiety and besmirched reputation as a consequence of [respondents] illegal and tortious acts, all in violation of petitioners rights. c) Attorneys fees in the amount of one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00); and d) Cost of litigation and other incidental expenses.13 Petitioner prayed, likewise, that he be granted the following reliefs: 1) to issue upon receipt of this petition a temporary restraining order directing the respondents, agents and/or representatives to cease, desist and/or refrain from implementing the resolution of the Board of Regents ousting or removing the petitioner as Member thereof and from implementing the appointment of Mr. Raul I. Goco as Member of the Board of Regents until the merits of this case shall have been finally and judicially resolved; 2) to maintain the status quo by declaring petitioner to continue discharging his functions and duties as Member of the Board of Regents until the case is finally adjudicated; and 3) after due hearing, judgment be issued: a) to declare the appointment of petitioner still valid and subsisting until its expiration in 2004 and that the resolution ousting petitioner be declared null and void having been made without legal authority; b) to declare the appointment of Mr. Raul I. Goco as null and void ab initio. 4) to order the respondents to pay, jointly and severally, to the petitioner: a) Exemplary damages - P1,000,000.00 b) Moral damages - P1,000,000.00 c) Attorneys fees - P 100,000.00 which will be duly proved during the trial in the amounts particularly specified herein. 5) to make the preliminary injunction heretofore issued final and permanent. Such other reliefs which this Honorable Court may deem just and equitable.14 Respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss15 the petition on the following grounds: (1) the RTC had no jurisdiction to issue a writ of injunction to enjoin the acts complained of, considering that the jurisdiction of regional trial courts is limited to acts committed within the territorial boundaries of their respective provinces and districts; (b) the allegations in the petition make out a case for quo warranto; hence, petitioner has no cause of action for injunction; and (c) the petition had been rendered moot and academic by the lapse of petitioners six-year term. On February 29, 2000, the RTC issued an Order16 granting petitioners plea for a temporary restraining order. Respondents filed a Supplement to Motion to Dismiss17 where they averred that (a) the petitioners appointment was a mere "extension of services," which is beyond the power of the City Mayor to issue; (b) petitioners appointment as member of the Board of Regents is invalid because the same was not confirmed by the City Council; and (c) petitioner forfeited his office as member of the Board of Regents upon his appointment as Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary because he is barred from simultaneously holding two offices. Petitioner opposed the motions, contending that (1) his petition for injunction was the proper remedy; (2) the court had jurisdiction to issue a writ of injunction within the National Capital Region; (3) he was not barred from holding the two positions as they are not incompatible offices; and (3) contrary to the allegation of respondents, the extension of his appointment as member of the Board of Regents had been confirmed by the City Council. Respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration18 of the trial courts Order issuing the TRO dated February 29, 2000. They stressed that Mayor Lim had appointed Goco as member of the Board of Regents to represent the PLM faculty for a six-year term, to expire in 1998, and that his appointment was confirmed by the City Council on November 12, 1992. Mayor Lim appointed 12 | P a g e

petitioner on September 30, 1996, even prior to the expiration of Gocos term as Board Member. The motion was, likewise, opposed by petitioner. The parties adduced testimonial and documentary evidence during the hearing of the petition for a writ of preliminary injunction. On March 21, 2000, respondents filed an Urgent Motion to Resolve [the Motion to Dismiss],19 reiterating that the petition had been mooted by the appointment of the petitioner as DILG Undersecretary. On March 22, 2000, the court issued an Order20 granting petitioners Prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction on a bond of P200,000.00. Petitioner posted the required bond, upon which a writ of preliminary injunction was issued on March 28, 2000.21 Respondents filed a motion for reconsideration. On October 24, 2000, the court issued an Order22 granting the Motion to Dismiss and the Supplement filed by respondents. The RTC ruled that under Presidential Decree No. 902-A, it is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that has exclusive jurisdiction over the petition, thus: It bears emphasis that matters on appointment of the members of the Board of Regents, their term of office, the grounds for loss thereof and the meetings of the board are covered or provided for in the Code of PLM, the by-laws of the said educational institution, which appears to have been violated. The Board of Regents is the governing body of the PLM, exercising powers and duties enumerated in the Code, the general powers set out in Section 13 of Act 1459 (Corporation Law) and such other functions which are necessary to carry out the purposes of the corporation and administration of the university. Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila is a nonstock, non-profit corporation created for education purpose by R.A. No. 4196. Suffice it to state that the above controversy can be resolved through reference to the charter and by-laws of the PLM. Evidently, the prayers for injunction and damages are predicated on corporate matters.23 Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration,24 alleging that the SEC had no jurisdiction over the case because the PLM is a chartered institution and not a private corporation. Respondents opposed the motion and alleged in their Rejoinder25 dated February 8, 2001 that since petitioner had not been reappointed as Professorial Lecturer in the PLM College of Law, he was no longer qualified to become a member of the Board of Regents; consequently, the case had become moot and academic. In his Sur-Rejoinder,26 petitioner alleged that the non-renewal of his appointment was a devious tactic of respondents to effectively oust him from his membership in the Board of Regents. He insisted that he remained a Board Member despite the non-renewal of his appointment, especially since the RTC had issued a writ of preliminary injunction in his favor. On May 28, 2001, the court issued an Order27 denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration and its supplements, as well as respondents opposition and their supplements. The court ruled that the petition for injunction had become moot and academic since petitioners appointment as PLM faculty member had not been renewed. The court concluded that he was not qualified to remain a member of the Board of Regents representing the PLM faculty. Petitioner thus filed the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in which he raises the following issues: 1) Whether or not the petitioner is entitled to his position as Member of the Board of Regents representing the faculty until the expiration of his term on August 13, 2004. Corollarily, may respondent Goco be validly appointed to a position which is not vacant? 2) Whether or not respondent Mayor Atienza committed grave abuse of authority in appointing respondent Goco as Member of the Board of Regents representing the faculty knowing that the position is presently occupied by the petitioner. 3) Whether or not respondent Chairman and Members of the Board of Regents is clothed with authority to oust or remove petitioner as Member of the Board of Regents.28 The threshold issues before the Court are whether the present recourse of petitioner under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court is proper, and whether the court a quo erred in dismissing his petition for injunction on the sole ground that it had been mooted by the non-renewal of his appointment as a Professorial Lecturer at the PLM College of Law. 13 | P a g e

Petitioner admits that his appointment as professor in the College of Law had not been renewed. Nevertheless, he avers, this did not automatically discharge him as member of the Board of Regents representing the PLM faculty because under Section 4 of R.A. No. 4196, one need not remain to be a member of the faculty after his appointment to the Board of Regents. What the law requires is membership in the faculty roster at the time of appointment and the term of said member being fixed for six (6) years. Petitioner further claims that the non-renewal of his appointment as professorial lecturer was a devious ploy of PLM officials to oust him from the Board. Petitioner insists that his petition for injunction has not been mooted, as he has the right to pursue and regain the position from which he was ousted, and that the case remained justiciable and proper for judicial action. Moreover, there was a continuing violation of his right to security of tenure as a member of the Board of Regents. He reminds the Court that the RTC had issued a Temporary Restraining Order, as well as a writ of preliminary injunction. Furthermore, the court had yet to reconsider his claims for moral and exemplary damages, and attorneys fees which he had yet to prove during trial. Petitioner cites the ruling of this Court in Ticzon v. Video Post Manila, Inc.,29to buttress his contention. For their part, respondents aver that petitioners recourse is inappropriate because he raised factual issues in his petition. They insist that petitioner should have appealed, by writ of error, to the Court of Appeals instead of filing the instant petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. On the merits of the petition, respondents assert that, under the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, there is no rule governing injunction as a cause of action. They aver that injunction is merely an ancillary remedy to a principal action, and that the proper remedy of the petitioner in the RTC was to file a petition for quo warranto. Thus, the issue of whether he is entitled to damages has, likewise, become moot and academic. Respondents further contend that petitioner cannot rely on the ruling of this Court in Ticzon because the cause of action in that case was for damages with a plea for injunctive relief as an ancillary remedy. While petitioner contends that he was illegally ousted as member of the Board of Regents and thus entitled to injunctive relief, respondents insist that the petition had been rendered moot and academic by the non-renewal of petitioners appointment as professor in the PLM College of Law. The petition is meritorious. We agree with respondents contention that the May 28, 2001 Order of the trial court dismissing the petition for injunction for being moot and academic is a final order. The Order finally disposed of the case so that nothing more can be done with it in the trial court. In fine, the Order ended the litigation.30 As a rule, the remedy from a final order is by writ of error to the Court of Appeals or a petition for review on certiorari to this Court under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court where only questions of law are raised or involved.31 The test of whether a question is one of law or of fact is not the appellation given to such question by the party raising the same; rather, it is whether the appellate court can determine the issue raised without reviewing or evaluating the evidence, in which case, it is a question of law; otherwise, it is a question of fact.32 Applying the test to this case, it is clear that the issue raised by petitioner is one of law: whether the trial court erred in dismissing the petitioners complaint for being moot and academic merely because he had not been reappointed as Professorial Lecturer at the PLM College of Law. Thus, the Court needs only to review the records, more particularly, the material allegations of the petition and the pleadings of the parties, to determine whether the issues had become moot and academic necessitating its dismissal solely on that ground. The Court has ruled that an issue becomes moot and academic when it ceases to present a justiciable controversy so that a declaration on the issue would be of no practical use or value. In such cases, there is no actual substantial relief to which the plaintiff would be entitled to and which would be negated by the dismissal of the complaint.33 However, a case should not be dismissed simply because one of the issues raised therein had become moot and academic by the onset of a supervening event, whether intended or incidental, if there are other causes which need to be resolved after trial. When a case is dismissed without the other substantive issues in the case having been resolved would be tantamount to a denial of the right of the plaintiff to due process. It must be stressed that the material allegations in the complaint and the character of the relief sought determine the nature of an action. The designation of the nature of an action, or its title, is not meaningless or of no effect in the determination of its purpose and object.34 14 | P a g e

A review of the allegations in the petition for injunction and the reliefs prayed for therein will readily show that petitioner had two causes of action: (1) for injunction; and (2) for moral and exemplary damages, and attorneys fees. Injunction is a judicial writ, process or proceeding whereby a party is ordered to do or refrain from doing a certain act. It may be the main action or merely a provisional remedy for and as an incident in the main action.35 The Court has distinguished the main action for injunction from the provisional or ancillary remedy of preliminary injunction, thus: The main action for injunction is distinct from the provisional or ancillary remedy of preliminary injunction which cannot exist except only as part or an incident of an independent action or proceeding. As a matter of course, in an action for injunction, the auxiliary remedy of preliminary injunction, whether prohibitory or mandatory, may issue. Under the law, the main action for injunction seeks a judgment embodying a final injunction which is distinct from, and should not be confused with, the provisional remedy of preliminary injunction, the sole object of which is to preserve the status quo until the merits can be heard. A preliminary injunction is granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or final order. It persists until it is dissolved or until the termination of the action without the court issuing a final injunction.36 By praying for injunctive relief, petitioner did not intend to correct a wrong of the past, for redress of injury already sustained, but to prevent his ouster from membership in the Board. By his action for injunction, petitioner sought to preserve the status quo of things, to prevent actual or threatened acts which would violate the rules of equity and good conscience as would consequently afford him a cause of action resulting from the failure of the law to provide for an adequate or complete relief.37 Petitioner sought to enjoin the respondents from enforcing the appointment of respondent Goco as member of the Board of Regents representing the PLM faculty. He claimed that he was the lawfully appointed member of the Board, and that respondent Goco should not be allowed to assume the post and perform the duties and responsibilities appurtenant thereto. Petitioner prayed that after hearing, the RTC render judgment declaring respondent Gocos appointment as null and void, and declaring his (petitioner) appointment as valid and subsisting until its expiration in 2004. As petitioner claimed in his petition, respondent Mayor Atienzas appointment of respondent Goco as member of the Board was illegal, and that respondents acted "with evident bad faith, with deliberate intention to ridicule, humiliate, dishonor, embarrass and place him in a pitiful predicament causing him untold sufferings, sleepless nights, serious anxiety, wounded feelings and tarnished reputation as a member of the academe of good moral standing, for which he is entitled to moral and exemplary damages." Petitioners cause of action for moral and exemplary damages was for redress for injury allegedly caused by respondents acts. It must be stressed that the non-renewal of the petitioners appointment as Professional Lecturer at the PLM College of Law in the year 2001 did not render the petition in the RTC and the issues raised therein moot and academic. For one thing, petitioner alleged that the yearly reappointment of professional lecturers in the PLM was a matter of policy. Moreover, petitioner had yet to adduce evidence to prove his claim that the non-renewal by respondent Mayor Atienza was a devious ploy to oust him from his membership in the Board of Regents and to violate the then still effective writ of preliminary injunction issued against respondents. The issue of whether respondents acted contrary to law and in evident bad faith in appointing respondent Goco as member of the Board of Regents representing the PLM faculty despite the absence of any vacancy in the office, and the issue of whether the respondents Chairman and members of the Board acted in evident bad faith in recognizing respondent Goco as the lawful member of the Board of Regents during its January 28, 2000 meeting are valid issues which the court a quo should have resolved. Also not to be ignored is petitioners claim that respondent Goco had not taught at the PLM College of Law while serving as Philippine Ambassador to Canada, and yet was appointed by respondent Mayor Atienza to the position occupied by petitioner. It may be alleged by respondents that the issue of the validity of petitioners appointment has become moot and academic considering that petitioners appointment as member of the Board of Regents expired on August 13, 2004. However, another issue has not been so mooted, that is, the issue of whether petitioner is entitled to moral, exemplary damages, and attorneys fees because of his alleged illegal ouster as member of the Board of Regents. This is a substantial issue that needs to be resolved by the trial court after trial. 15 | P a g e

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The Order of the RTC dated May 28, 2001 is SET ASIDE. The records of the instant case are hereby REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings, conformably with the Courts ruling. No costs. SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 157494. December 10, 2004] BACOLOD CITY WATER DISTRICT, petitioner, vs. THE HON. EMMA C. LABAYEN, Presiding Judge, RTC of Bacolod City, Br. 46 and the City of Bacolod, respondents. DECISION PUNO, J.: First, the chronology of facts. Petitioner Bacolod City Water District (BACIWA) is a water district established pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 198 as a government-owned and controlled corporation with original charter. It is in the business of providing safe and potable water to Bacolod City. Public respondent City of Bacolod is a municipal corporation created by Commonwealth Act No. 326, otherwise known as the Charter of Bacolod. On March 26, 1999, respondent City filed a case for Injunction With a Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order And/Or Preliminary Mandatory Injunction against petitioner in the sala of public respondent judge. The petition stated that on January 15, 1999, BACIWA published in the Visayan Daily Star,[1] a local paper of general circulation, a Schedule of Automatic Water Rates Adjustments for the years 1999, 2000 and 2001. The rates were supposed to take effect seven (7) days after its posting in the local papers or on January 22, 1999. The increase was aborted after petitioner unilaterally suspended the January 22, 1999 scheduled implementation. On 16 | P a g e

March 15, 1999, however, petitioner announced that the rate hike will be implemented on April 1, 1999.[2] Respondent City opposed. It alleged that the proposed water rates would violate due process as they were to be imposed without the public hearing required under Letter of Instructions No. 700[3] and Presidential Decree No. 1479.[4] Hence, it prayed that before the hearing of the main case, a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction be issued.[5] On March 30, 1999, the court a quo issued an Order[6] summoning the parties with their counsels to attend the preliminary hearing for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or preliminary mandatory injunction. On April 8, 1999, it required the parties to simultaneously submit their respective memoranda on whether it had jurisdiction over the case and whether a public hearing was conducted re the proposed increase in water rates.[7] Petitioner filed its Position Paper dated April 15, 1999. It attached documents evidencing the conduct of extensive and lengthy public hearings in fifty-eight (58) of the sixty-one (61) barangays of Bacolod City. It opined that original jurisdiction over cases on rate review is vested in the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA); appellate jurisdiction is vested in the National Water Resources [Board] (NWRB) whose decisions shall be appealable to the Office of the President.[8] On May 5, 1999, petitioner also filed a Motion to Dismiss. In an Order[9] dated May 7, 1999, the court directed respondent City to file its Opposition to petitioners Motion to Dismiss within fifteen (15) days. On June 17, 1999, respondent City filed a Motion to Set [for] Hearing[10] its application for a temporary restraining order or preliminary mandatory injunction. It alleged that the parties had already submitted their respective memoranda and it has already submitted its Opposition to petitioners Motion to Dismiss. It also alleged that petitioner had already effected the water rates increase and collection, hence, causing irreparable injury to the public. Petitioner opposed the Motion. On July 20, 1999, respondent City filed its Reply to Opposition and reiterated that the application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or preliminary mandatory injunction be heard since petitioner continued to violate the right of the public to due process and it might take time before the case would be finally resolved.[11] On the same date, petitioner filed a Manifestation and Motion[12] stating that the hearing may no longer be necessary as the respective positions of both parties have already been presented and amplified in their pleadings and memoranda. On July 22, 1999, respondent trial court issued an Order[13] stating that there was no more need to hear the case on the merits[14] as both parties have already submitted their position papers and documents to prove their respective allegations. On July 23, 1999, petitioner filed its Reply[15] to respondent Citys Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss reiterating that petitioner failed to exhaust administrative remedies provided by law hence the petition be dismissed for utter lack of merit. After a hiatus of nearly seven (7) months, or on February 18, 2000, respondent City filed an Urgent Motion for the Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order And[/]Or Writ of Preliminary Injunction[16] praying that the case be set for hearing on February 24, 2000. On the same date requested, respondent court heard respondents application for temporary restraining order and issued an Order[17] commanding petitioner to stop, desist and refrain from implementing the proposed water rates for the year 2000 which were then supposed to take effect on March 1, 2000. On March 7, 2000, petitioner filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and Dissolution of the Temporary Restraining Order.[18] Respondent court a quo issued on March 10, 2000 an Order[19] directing respondent City to file an Opposition to the Urgent Motion. In its Opposition, respondent City[20] contended that the temporary restraining order issued was not infirmed with procedural and substantive defects. It also averred that respondent court has jurisdiction over the case since the sole question of the lack of public hearing does not require the special knowledge or expertise of an administrative agency and may be resolved by respondent court, hence the doctrine of primary jurisdiction does not apply.

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Respondent court continued with the proceedings by receiving the evidence of petitioner in support of its Motion for Reconsideration and Dissolution of Temporary Restraining Order. It further issued Orders dated March 17, 2000[21] and March 20, 2000.[22] On April 6, 2000, respondent court issued an Order[23] finding petitioners Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and Dissolution of Temporary Restraining Order moot and academic considering petitioners compliance of said temporary restraining order. Four (4) days after, in an Order[24] dated April 10, 2000, it denied petitioners Motion to Dismiss for lack of merit. On April 19, 2000, respondent City filed a Manifestation praying that respondent trial court issue a writ of preliminary injunction against petitioner, stating thus: A Temporary Restraining Order was issued against the respondents which, however, expired before the parties were able to finish the presentation of their respective witnesses and evidences; The instant case was submitted for resolution and decision of this Honorable Court during the last week of March but while awaiting the decision of this Honorable Court, several complaints had reached the petitioner that the respondents had already reflected in the water billings for the month of April the new water rates for the year 2000; x x x [25]

Petitioner, for its part, filed a Motion for Reconsideration[26] of respondent trial courts Order denying its Motion to Dismiss. Respondent City filed an Opposition to [the] Motion for Reconsideration[27] on June 1, 2000. Respondent court did not act upon petitioners Motion for Reconsideration until respondent City filed an [Ex Parte] Motion for Speedy Resolution[28] of the case on October 6, 2000 praying that the case be resolved before the year 2000 ends in order to prevent the implementation of the water rates increase for the year 2001 which was to be imposed allegedly without the benefit of a public hearing. On December 21, 2000, respondent court issued the assailed Decision[29] granting the final injunction which allegedly confirmed the previous preliminary injunction. Petitioner filed its Motion for Reconsideration[30] of the assailed Decision on January 11, 2001 asserting, among others, that the case was not yet ripe for decision when the court granted the final injunction, the petitioner having had no opportunity to file its answer, avail of the mandatory pre-trial conference and have the case tried on the merits. Respondent court denied the Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit in an Order[31] dated January 24, 2001. Petitioner then filed a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 in the Court of Appeals. It alleged that public respondent judge acted without or in excess of jurisdiction and/or with grave and patent abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when she issued the final injunction in disregard of petitioners basic right to due process.[32] The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for review on certiorari, ratiocinating thus: In the case at bar, the [O]rder of public respondent dated 24 February 2000, though termed by BACIWA as a temporary restraining order, is in fact a preliminary injunction. The period of the restraint was not limited. By its wordings, it can be safely inferred that the increased water rates must not be effected until final disposition of the main case. This note of semi-permanence simply cannot issue from a mere temporary restraining order. It must be further noted that the temporary restraining order has been elevated to the same level as the preliminary injunction in the procedure, grounds and requirements of its obtention by S[ection] 4, Rule 58. Thus, to set [a] distinction, the present practice is to categorically refer to it as a temporary restraining order. In which case, the omission by the public respondent in referring to the 24 February 2000 order as a temporary restraining order could not have been a mere oversight but deliberate.[33] Resorting to this Court, petitioner raises the following issues: I 18 | P a g e

THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT FAILED AND REFUSED TO RULE THAT RESPONDENT COURT HAD ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION AND/OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION FOR ARBITRARILY AND CAPRICIOUSLY RENDERING A DECISION PURPORTING TO ISSUE A FINAL INJUNCTION AND CONFIRMING ITS ALLEGED PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION, DESPITE THE FACT THAT: A. NO PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION HAD BEEN ISSUED; B. THE RESPONDENT LOWER COURT DID NOT RESOLVE HEREIN PETITIONERS MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE ORDER DENYING PETITIONERS MOTION TO DISMISS; C. THE HEREIN PETITIONER HAD NOT YET FILED ITS ANSWER TO THE PETITION; D. THERE WAS STILL NO JOINDER OF THE ISSUES SINCE NO ANSWER HAD YET BEEN FILED; E. THE MANDATORY PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE WAS NOT YET CONDUCTED; F. THERE WAS NO TRIAL ON THE MERITS FOR THE MAIN CASE. II THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT INSISTED THAT THE 24 FEBRUARY 2000 ORDER (ANNEX R) ISSUED BY THE TRIAL COURT WAS A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION WHEN THE RECORDS CLEARLY AND INDUBITABLY SHOW THAT IT WAS A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (TRO). III BY DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI, THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT EFFECTIVELY PREVENTED PETITIONER FROM FULLY VENTILATING ITS CASE IN THE MAIN ACTION DUE TO THE IRREGULAR AND CONFUSED PROCEEDINGS CONDUCTED BY THE RESPONDENT COURT.[34] We rule in favor of petitioner. The initial issue is the proper characterization of the Order dated February 24, 2000. The sequence of events and the proceedings that transpired in the trial court make a clear conclusion that the Order issued was a temporary restraining order and not a preliminary injunction. First. We quote the pertinent parts of the questioned Order: x x x

When this motion was called for hearing wherein both parties have argued exhaustedly their respective sides, this court denied the ten (10) days extension for further amplification of the arguments of the respondent to oppose the said motion for issuance of a temporary restraining order. It appearing therefore, that the acts of the defendant will actually affect the plaintiff before the decision of this court can be rendered and in order to afford the court to pass on the issues without the same becoming moot and academic and considering the urgency of the matter that immediate action should be taken, and pursuant to Administrative Circular No. 6, Paragraph 4 and sub-paragraph 15 and The Interim Rules and Guidelines [set forth] by the Rules of Court, this court hereby orders the respondent[,] its agents, representatives or any person acting in his behalf to stop, desist and refrain from implementing in their billings the new water rate increase which will start on March 1, 2000. The Deputy Provincial Sheriff of this court is hereby ordered to furnish copy of this order to the respondent Bacolod City Water District as well as to its agents or representatives acting [o]n his behalf. x x x [35] (emphases supplied)

It can be gleaned from the afore-quoted Order that what the trial court issued was a temporary restraining order and not a preliminary injunction. The trial court has always referred to it as a temporary restraining order in the succeeding Orders it issued on March 10, 2000[36] and April 6, 2000.[37] 19 | P a g e

The parties, in their succeeding pleadings,[38] also referred to the assailed Order as a temporary restraining order. The petitioner filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and Dissolution ofTemporary Restraining Order (TRO)[39] on March 1, 2000. This was opposed by respondent City itself in its Opposition to Motion for Reconsideration and Dissolution of Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)[40] dated March 14, 2000. Further, respondent City, in its Manifestation dated April 19, 2000 stated, viz: x x x

A Temporary Restraining Order was issued against the respondents which, however, expired before the parties were able to finish the presentation of their respective witnesses and evidences; x x x

WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that while waiting for the decision and order of the Honorable Court, a preliminary injunction as prayed for in the petition be issued against the respondents. x x x[41] (emphases supplied)

It can be gleaned from the foregoing that both parties and respondent trial court have consistently referred to the directive as a temporary restraining order. It was only in the respondent courts assailed Decision that the Order was referred to as a preliminary injunction, viz: x x x

This Court therefore grants the final injunction prayed for restraining the respondent from the commission of the act complained of for the year 2001 and hereby confirming the preliminary injunction previously ordered. x x x [42] (emphasis supplied)

Again, it was only when petitioner expressed its vehement objection on the ruling that the final injunction confirmed the preliminary injunction previously issued, when the respondent City and the respondent trial court started to insist that the questioned Order was a preliminary injunction. Given the previous undeviating references to it as a temporary restraining order, respondents cannot now consider it as a preliminary injunction to justify the validity of the assailed Decision. The attendant facts and circumstances clearly show that the respondent trial court issued a temporary restraining order. Second. Injunction is a judicial writ, process or proceeding whereby a party is ordered to do or refrain from doing a certain act. It may be the main action or merely a provisional remedy for and as an incident in the main action.[43] The main action for injunction is distinct from the provisional or ancillary remedy of preliminary injunction which cannot exist except only as part or an incident of an independent action or proceeding. As a matter of course, in an action for injunction, the auxiliary remedy of preliminary injunction, whether prohibitory or mandatory, may issue. Under the law, the main action for injunction seeks a judgment embodying a final injunction which is distinct from, and should not be confused with, the provisional remedy of preliminary injunction, the sole object of which is to preserve the status quo until the merits can be heard.[44] A preliminary injunction is granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or final order. It persists until it is dissolved or until the termination of the action without the court issuing a final injunction.[45] A restraining order, on the other hand, is issued to preserve the status quo until the hearing of the application for preliminary injunction which cannot be issued ex parte. Under Rule 58[46] of the Rules of Court, a judge may issue a temporary restraining order with a limited life of twenty (20) days from date of issue. If before the expiration of the twenty (20)-day period the application for preliminary injunction is denied, the temporary restraining order would be deemed automatically vacated. If no action is taken by the judge on the application for preliminary injunction within the said twenty (20) days, the temporary restraining order would automatically expire on the 20th day by the sheer force of law, no judicial declaration to that effect being necessary.[47] 20 | P a g e

Hence, in the case at bar, since no preliminary injunction was issued, the temporary restraining order granted automatically expired after twenty (20) days under the Rules. The fact that respondent court merely ordered the respondent[,] its agents, representatives or any person acting in his behalf to stop, desist and refrain from implementing in their billings the new water rate increase which will start on March 1, 2000[48] without stating the period for the restraint does not convert the temporary restraining order to a preliminary injunction. The rule against the non-extendibility of the twenty (20)-day limited period of effectivity of a temporary restraining order is absolute if issued by a regional trial court. The failure of respondent court to fix a period for the ordered restraint did not lend the temporary restraining order a breath of semi-permanence which can only be characteristic of a preliminary injunction. The twenty (20)-day period provided by the Rules of Court should be deemed incorporated in the Order where there is an omission to do so. It is because of this rule on non-extendibility that respondent City was prompted to move that hearings be set for its application of a preliminary injunction. Respondent City cannot take advantage of this omission by respondent trial court. Third. Even if we assume that the issued Order was a preliminary injunction, petitioner is correct in contending that the assailed Decision is premature. The records reveal that respondent court did not resolve petitioners Motion for Reconsideration of the Order denying its Motion to Dismiss before it issued the assailed Decision. Consequently, there was no answer filed by petitioner, no joinder of issues, no mandatory pre-trial conference, and no trial on the merits, yet, a Decision was handed down by the respondent trial court. The short circuiting of the procedural process denied the petitioner due process of law. It was not able to allege its defenses in an answer and prove them in a hearing. The convoluted procedure allowed by the respondent trial court and the pleadings filed by the parties which are not models of clarity certainly created confusion. But this confusion should not be seized as a reason to deny a party the constitutional right to due process. Over and above every desideratum in litigation is fairness. All doubts should be resolved in favor of fairness. IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated November 27, 2002 and February 28, 2003, respectively, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The case is REMANDED to the court a quo for further proceedings. SO ORDERED.

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