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[G.R. No. 133657. May 29, 2002] REMINGTON INDUSTRIAL SALES CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. T E COURT O!

APPEALS a"# $RITIS STEEL %ASIA&, LTD.,respondents. FACTS: petitioner filed a complaint [3] for sum of money and damages arising from breach of contract, docketed as Civil Case No. 96 !96!", before the sala of #udge $arino $. %e la Cru& of the 'egional (rial Court of $anila, )ranch **. +mpleaded as principal defendant therein ,as +ndustrial -teels, .td. /+-.0, ,ith 1erro (rading 2$)3 /1erro0 and respondent )ritish -teel as alternative defendants. +-. and respondent )ritish -teel separately moved for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that it failed to state a cause of action against them. '(C denied the motions to dismiss,as ,ell as the ensuing motion for reconsideration. +-. then filed its ans,er to the complaint. respondent )ritish -teel filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition before the Court of 4ppeals and claimed therein that the complaint did not contain a single averment that respondent committed any act or is guilty of any omission in violation of petitioner5s legal rights. 4part from the allegation in the complaint5s 6#urisdictional 1acts7 that8 %efendants )ritish -teel /4sia0 .td. and 1erro (rading 2mbh, ,hile understood by the plaintiff as mere suppliers of goods for defendant +-., are impleaded as party defendants pursuant to -ection 93, 'ule 3 of the 'evised 'ules of Court. petitioner sought to amend its complaint by incorporating therein additional factual allegations constitutive of its cause of action against respondent. :ursuant to -ection *, 'ule 9;[9] of the 'ules of Court, petitioner maintained that it can amend the complaint as a matter of right because respondent has not yet filed a responsive pleading thereto. -ubse<uently, petitioner filed a $anifestation and $otion[99] in C4 2.'. -: No. ""=*9 stating that it had filed a $otion to 4dmit 4mended Complaint together ,ith said 4mended Complaint before the trial court. 3ence, petitioner prayed that the proceedings in the special civil action be suspended. the trial court ruled on petitioner5s $otion to 4dmit 4mended Complaint Court of 4ppeals rendered the assailed decision in C4 2.'. -: No. ""=*9 grants the ,rit of certiorari and orders the respondent >udge to dismiss ,ithout pre>udice the Complaint in Civil Case No. 96 !96!" against petitioner )ritish -teel /4sia0 .td. Costs against private respondent. :etitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the appellate court5s decision, ,hich ,as denied ISSUE' (3? 3@N. C@A'( @1 4::?4.- ?''?% +N @'%?'+N2 (3? %+-$+--4. @1 (3? C@$:.4+N( 424+N-( (3? :'+B4(? '?-:@N%?N( 1@' .4CC @1 C4A-? @1 4C(+@N AN%?' (3? @'+2+N4. C@$:.4+N( ?B?N 4- -4+% C@$:.4+N( D4- 4.'?4%E 4$?N%?% 4- 4 $4((?' @1 '+23( 4N% -A11+C+?N( C4A-?- @1 4C(+@N 4'? 4B?''?% +N (3? 4$?N%?% C@$:.4+N(, +N 2'@-- B+@.4(+@N @1 -?C. *, 'A.? 9; @1 (3? 999! 'A.?- @1 C+B+. :'@C?%A'?. RULING' (he basic issue in this case is ,hether or not the Court of 4ppeals, by granting the eFtraordinary ,rit of certiorari, correctly ordered the dismissal of the complaint for failure to state a cause of action, despite the fact that petitioner eFercised its right to amend the defective complaint under -ection *, 'ule 9; of the 'ules of Court. -tated differently, the <uery posed before us is8 can a complaint still be amended as a matter of right before an ans,er has been filed, even if there ,as a pending proceeding for its dismissal before the higher courtG -ection *, 'ule 9;[96] of the 'evised 'ules of Court eFplicitly states that a pleading may be amended as a matter of right before a responsive pleading is served. (his only means that prior to the filing of an ans,er, the plaintiff has the absolute right to amend the complaint ,hether a ne, cause of action or change in theory is introduced. [9!] (he reason for this rule is implied in the subse<uent -ection 3 of 'ule 9; [9H]. Ander this provision, substantial amendment of the complaint is not allo,ed ,ithout leave of court after an ans,er has been served, because any material change in the allegations contained in the complaint could pre>udice the rights of the defendant ,ho has already set up his defense in the ans,er.

Conversely, it cannot be said that the defendant5s rights have been violated by changes made in the complaint if he has yet to file an ans,er thereto. +n such an event, the defendant has not presented any defense that can be altered [99] or affected by the amendment of the complaint in accordance ,ith -ection * of 'ule 9;. (he defendant still retains the un<ualified opportunity to address the allegations against him by properly setting up his defense in the ans,er. Considerable lee,ay is thus given to the plaintiff to amend his complaint once, as a matter of right, prior to the filing of an ans,er by the defendant. (he right granted to the plaintiff under procedural la, to amend the complaint before an ans,er has been served is not precluded by the filing of a motion to dismiss [*;] or any other proceeding contesting its sufficiency. Dere ,e to conclude other,ise, the right to amend a pleading under -ection *, 'ule 9; ,ill be rendered nugatory and ineffectual, since all that a defendant has to do to foreclose this remedial right is to challenge the ade<uacy of the complaint before he files an ans,er. $oreover, amendment of pleadings is favored and should be liberally allo,ed in the furtherance of >ustice in order to determine every case as far as possible on its merits ,ithout regard to technicalities. (his principle is generally recogni&ed to speed up trial and save party litigants from incurring unnecessary eFpense, so that a full hearing on the merits of every case may be had and multiplicity of suits avoided.[*9] +n this case, the remedy espoused by the appellate court in its assailed >udgment ,ill precisely result in multiple suits, involving the same set of facts and to ,hich the defendants ,ould likely raise the same or, at least, related defenses. :lainly stated, ,e find no practical advantage in ordering the dismissal of the complaint against respondent and for petitioner to re file the same, ,hen the latter can still clearly amend the complaint as a matter of right. (he amendment of the complaint ,ould not pre>udice respondents or delay the action, as this ,ould, in fact, simplify the case and eFpedite its disposition. (he fact that the other defendants belo, has filed their ans,ers to the complaint does not bar petitioner5s right to amend the complaint as against respondent. +ndeed, ,here some but not all the defendants have ans,ered, the plaintiff may still amend its complaint once, as a matter of right, in respect to claims asserted solely against the non ans,ering defendant, but not as to claims asserted against the other defendants.[**] 1urthermore, ,e do not agree ,ith respondent5s claim that it ,ill be pre>udiced by the admission of the 4mended Complaint because it had spent time, money and effort to file its petition before the appellate court. [*3] De cannot see ho, the result could be any different for respondent, if petitioner merely re filed the complaint instead of being allo,ed to amend it. 4s adverted to earlier, amendment ,ould even ,ork to respondent5s advantage since it ,ill undoubtedly speed up the proceedings before the trial court. Conse<uently, the amendment should be allo,ed in the case at bar as a matter of right in accordance ,ith the rules. the petition is 2'4N(?%. [G.R. No. 10(53(. )a"*a+y 22, 1996] LOURDES A. ,ALMONTE a"# AL!REDO D. ,ALMONTE, petitioners, vs. T E ONORA$LE COURT O! APPEALS, T IRD DI,ISION a"# ROSITA DIMALANTA, respondents.D E C I S I O N !ACTS' :etitioners .ourdes 4. Balmonte and 4lfredo %. Balmonte are husband and ,ife. (hey are both residents of 9;*** Carkeek %rive -outh -eattle, Dashington, A.-.4. :etitioner 4lfredo %. Balmonte, ,ho is a member of the :hilippine bar, ho,ever, practices his profession in the :hilippines, commuting for this purpose bet,een his residence in the state of Dashington and $anila, ,here he holds office at - 3;" 2edisco Centre, 9=6" 4. $abini, ?rmita, $anila. private respondent 'osita %imalanta, ,ho is the sister of petitioner .ourdes 4. Balmonte, filed a complaint for partition of real property and accounting of rentals against petitioners .ourdes 4. Balmonte and 4lfredo %. Balmonte before the 'egional (rial Court of $anila, )ranch "H. (he sub>ect of the action is a three door apartment located in :aco, $anila. private respondent alleged (he plaintiff is of legal age, a ,ido, and is at present a resident of 9"H*3 Con,ay 'oad, Chesterfield, $issouri, A.-.4., ,hile the defendants are spouses, of legal age and at present residents of 9;*** Carkeek %rive, -outh -eattle, Dashington, A.-.4., but, for purposes of this complaint may be served ,ith summons at 2edisco Center, Anit 3;", 9=6" 4. $abini -t., ?rmita, $anila ,here defendant 4lfredo %. Balmonte as defendant .ourdes 4rreola Balmonte5s spouse holds office and ,here he can be found. -ervice of summons ,as then made upon petitioner 4lfredo %. Balmonte, ,ho at the time, ,as at his office in $anila. :etitioner 4lfredo %. Balmonte accepted the summons, insofar as he ,as concerned, but refused to accept the summons for his ,ife, .ourdes 4. Balmonte, on the ground that he ,as not authori&ed to accept the process on her behalf. 4ccordingly the

process server left ,ithout leaving a copy of the summons and complaint for petitioner .ourdes 4. Balmonte. alfredo filed his 4ns,er ,ith Counterclaim, .ourdes 4. Balmonte, ho,ever, did not file her 4ns,er. 1or this reason private respondent moved to declare her in default. 4lfredo %. Balmonte entered a special appearance in behalf of his ,ife and opposed the private respondent5s motion. the trial court, denied private respondent5s motion to declare petitioner .ourdes 4. Balmonte in default. 4 motion for reconsideration ,as similarly denied. private respondent filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus ,ith the Court of 4ppeals. Court of 4ppeals rendered a decision granting the petition and declaring .ourdes 4. Balmonte in default. ISSUE' (he issue at bar is ,hether oe not there ,as a valid service of summonsG RULING' De hold that there ,as no valid service of process on .ourdes 4. Balmonte. (o provide perspective, it ,ill be helpful to determine first the nature of the action filed against petitioners .ourdes 4. Balmonte and 4lfredo %. Balmonte by private respondent, ,hether it is an action in personam, in rem or quasi in rem. (his is because the rules on service of summons embodied in 'ule 9" apply according to ,hether an action is one or the other of these actions. +n an action in personam, personal service of summons or, if this is not possible and he cannot be personally served, substituted service, as provided in 'ule 9", I ! H [*] is essential for the ac<uisition by the court of >urisdiction over the person of a defendant ,ho does not voluntarily submit himself to the authority of the court. [3] +f defendant cannot be served ,ith summons because he is temporarily abroad, but other,ise he is a :hilippine resident, service of summons may, by leave of court, be made by publication.["]@ther,ise stated, a resident defendant in an action in personam, ,ho cannot be personally served ,ith summons, may be summoned either by means of substituted service in accordance ,ith 'ule 9", I H or by publication as provided in I 9! and 9H of the same 'ule.[=] +n all of these cases, it should be noted, defendant must be a resident of the :hilippines, other,ise an action in personam cannot be brought because >urisdiction over his person is essential to make a binding decision. @n the other hand, if the action is in rem or quasi in rem, >urisdiction over the person of the defendant is not essential for giving the court >urisdiction so long as the court ac<uires >urisdiction over the res. +f the defendant is a nonresident and he is not found in the country, summons may be served eFtraterritorially in accordance ,ith 'ule 9", I 9!, ,hich provides8 I 9!. Extraterritorial service. Dhen the defendant does not reside and is not found in the :hilippines and the action affects the personal status of the plaintiff or relates to, or the sub>ect of ,hich is, property ,ithin the :hilippines, in ,hich the defendant has or claims a lien or interest, actual or contingent, or in ,hich the relief demanded consists, ,holly or in part, in eFcluding the defendant from any interest therein, or the property of the defendant has been attached ,ithin the :hilippines, service may, by leave of court, be effected out of the :hilippines by personal service as under -ection !J or by publication in a ne,spaper of general circulation in such places and for such time as the court may order, in ,hich case a copy of the summons and order of the court shall be sent by registered mail to the last kno,n address of the defendant, or in any other manner the court may deem sufficient. 4ny order granting such leave shall specify a reasonable time, ,hich shall not be less than siFty /6;0 days after notice, ,ithin ,hich the defendant must ans,er. +n such cases, ,hat gives the court >urisdiction in an action in rem or quasi in rem is that it has >urisdiction over the res, i.e. the personal status of the plaintiff ,ho is domiciled in the :hilippines or the property litigated or attached. -ervice of summons in the manner provided in I 9! is not for the purpose of vesting it ,ith >urisdiction but for complying ,ith the re<uirements of fair play or due process, so that he ,ill be informed of the pendency of the action against him and the possibility that property in the :hilippines belonging to him or in ,hich he has an interest may be sub>ected to a >udgment in favor of the plaintiff and he can thereby take steps to protect his interest if he is so minded. [6]

4pplying the foregoing rules to the case at bar, private respondent5s action, ,hich is for partition and accounting under 'ule 69, is in the nature of an action <uasi in rem.-uch an action is essentially for the purpose of affecting the defendant5s interest in a specific property and not to render a >udgment against him. 4s eFplained in the leading case of Banco Espaol Filipino v. Palanca :[7] [4n action quasi in rem is] an action ,hich ,hile not strictly speaking an action in rem partakes of that nature and is substantially such. . . . (he action quasi in rem differs from the true action in remin the circumstance that in the former an individual is named as defendant and the purpose of the proceeding is to sub>ect his interest therein to the obligation or lien burdening the property. 4ll proceedings having for their sole ob>ect the sale or other disposition of the property of the defendant, ,hether by attachment, foreclosure, or other form of remedy, are in a general ,ay thus designated. (he >udgment entered in these proceedings is conclusive only bet,een the parties. 4s petitioner .ourdes 4. Balmonte is a nonresident ,ho is not found in the :hilippines, service of summons on her must be in accordance ,ith 'ule 9", I 9!. -uch service, to be effective outside the :hilippines, must be made either /90 by personal serviceJ /*0 by publication in a ne,spaper of general circulation in such places and for such time as the court may order, in ,hich case a copy of the summons and order of the court should be sent by registered mail to the last kno,n address of the defendantJ or /30 in any other manner ,hich the court may deem sufficient. -ince in the case at bar, the service of summons upon petitioner .ourdes 4. Balmonte ,as not done by means of any of the first t,o modes, the <uestion is ,hether the service on her attorney, petitioner 4lfredo %. Balmonte, can be >ustified under the third mode, namely, 6in any . . . manner the court may deem sufficient.7 De hold it cannot. (his mode of service, like the first t,o, must be made outside the :hilippines, such as through the :hilippine ?mbassy in the foreign country ,here the defendant resides. [H] $oreover, there are several reasons ,hy the service of summons on 4tty. 4lfredo %. Balmonte cannot be considered a valid service of summons on petitioner .ourdes 4. Balmonte. +n the first place, service of summons on petitioner 4lfredo %. Balmonte ,as not made upon the order of the court as re<uired by 'ule 9", I 9! and certainly ,as not a mode deemed sufficient by the court ,hich in fact refused to consider the service to be valid and on that basis declare petitioner .ourdes 4. Balmonte in default for her failure to file an ans,er. +n the second place, service in the attempted manner on petitioner ,as not made upon prior leave of the trial court as re<uired also in 'ule 9", I 9!. 4s provided in I 99, such leave must be applied for by motion in ,riting, supported by affidavit of the plaintiff or some person on his behalf and setting forth the grounds for the application. 1inally, and most importantly, because there ,as no order granting such leave, petitioner .ourdes 4. Balmonte ,as not given ample time to file her 4ns,er ,hich, according to the rules, shall be not less than siFty /6;0 days after notice. +t must be noted that the period to file an 4ns,er in an action against a resident defendant differs from the period given in an action filed against a nonresident defendant ,ho is not found in the :hilippines. +n the former, the period is fifteen (15) days from service of summons, ,hile in the latter, it is at least siFty /6;0 days from notice. in the case at bar, petitioner .ourdes 4. Balmonte did not appoint her husband as her attorney in fact. 4lthough she ,rote private respondent5 s attorney that 6all communications7 intended for her should be addressed to her husband ,ho is also her la,yer at the latter5s address in $anila, no po,er of attorney to receive summons for her can be inferred therefrom. +n fact the letter ,as ,ritten seven months before the filing of this case belo,, and it appears that it ,as ,ritten in connection ,ith the negotiations bet,een her and her sister, respondent 'osita %imalanta, concerning the partition of the property in <uestion. 4s is usual in negotiations of this kind, the eFchange of correspondence ,as carried on by counsel for the parties. )ut the authority given to petitioner5s husband in these negotiations certainly cannot be construed as also including an authority to represent her in any litigation. 1or the foregoing reasons, ,e hold that there ,as no valid service on petitioner .ourdes 4. Balmonte in this case.

[G.R. No. 13172-. !./+*a+y 2(, 2000] MILLENIUM INDUSTRIAL COMMERCIAL CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. )AC0SON TAN, respondent. #>>uris

!ACTS'

$illenium +ndustrial Commercial Corporation, petitioner herein, eFecuted a %eed of 'eal ?state $ortgage [9] over its real property covered by (C( No. *";69 in favor of respondent #ackson (an. (he mortgage ,as eFecuted to secure payment of petitionerKs indebtedness to respondent in the amount of :* million, ,ithout monthly interest, but ,hich, at maturity date on #une 9;, 999=, ,as payable in the amount of :" million. respondent filed against petitioner a complaint for foreclosure of mortgage in the 'egional (rial Court, )ranch 6, Cebu City. @n November *9, 999=, summons and a copy of the complaint ,ere served upon petitioner through a certain .ynverd Cinches, described in the sheriffKs return, dated November *3, 999= , as La %raftsman, a person of sufficient age and /discretion0 ,orking therein, he is the highest ranking officer or @fficer in Charge of defendantKs Corporation, to receive processes of the Court :etitioner moved for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that there ,as no valid service of summons upon it, as a result of ,hich the trial court did not ac<uire >urisdiction over it. that service on .ynverd Cinches, as alleged in the sheriffKs return, ,as invalid as he is not one of the authori&ed persons on ,hom summons may be served and that, in fact, he ,as not even its employee. :etitioner also sought the dismissal of the complaint against it on the ground that it had satisfied its obligation to respondent ,hen the latter opted to be paid in shares of stock under the follo,ing stipulation in the mortgage contract. :etitioner further prayed for Lother reliefs >ust and e<uitable under the premises. the trial court denied petitionerKs $otion to %ismiss. :etitioner moved for reconsideration, but its motion ,as denied by the trial court, for failure of petitioner to raise any ne, ground. :etitioner then filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of 4ppeals, assailing the aforesaid orders of the trial court. the Court of 4ppeals dismissed the petition, 3ence, this petition for revie,. ISSUE' D3?(3?' @' N@( -?'B+C? @1 -A$$@N- A:@N 4 $?'? %'41(-$4N D3@ +- N@( @N? @1 (3@-? A:@N D3@$ -A$$@N- $4E )? -?'B?% +N C4-? @1 4 %?1?N%4N( C@':@'4(+@N 4- $?N(+@N?% +N (3? 'A.?- +- B4.+%. RULING' First. :etitioner ob>ects to the application of the doctrine of substantial compliance in the service of summons for t,o reasons8 /90 the enumeration of persons on ,hom service of summons on a corporation may be effected in 'ule 9" I93, is eFclusive and mandatoryJ and /*0 even assuming that substantial compliance is allo,ed, its alleged actual receipt of the summons is based on an unfounded speculation because there is nothing in the records to sho, that .ynverd Cinches actually turned over the summons to any of the officers of the corporation.[9] :etitioner contends that it ,as able to file a motion to dismiss only because of its timely discovery of the foreclosure suit against it ,hen it checked the records of the case in the trial court. (he contention is meritorious. -ummons is the means by ,hich the defendant in a case is notified of the eFistence of an action against him and, thereby, the court is conferred >urisdiction over the person of the defendant. [9;] +f the defendant is corporation, 'ule 9", I93 re<uires that service of summons be made upon the corporation5s president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent, or any of its directors. [99] (he rationale of the rule is that service must be made on a representative so integrated ,ith the corporation sued as to make it a priori presumable that he ,ill reali&e his responsibilities and kno, ,hat he should do ,ith any legal papers received by him. [9*] ?smsoM :etitioner contends that the enumeration in 'ule 9", I93 is eFclusive and that service of summons upon one ,ho is not enumerated therein is invalid. (his is the general rule. [93]3o,ever, it is settled that substantial compliance by serving summons on persons other than those mentioned in the above rule may be >ustified. +n G G !ra"ing #orporation v. #ourt o$ %ppeals,[9"] ,e ruled that although the service of summons ,as made on a person not enumerated in 'ule 9", I93, if it appears that the summons and complaint ,ere in fact received by the corporation, there is substantial compliance ,ith the rule as its purpose has been attained. +n Porac !ruc&ing, 'nc. v. #ourt o$ %ppeals,[9=] this Court enumerated the re<uisites for the application of the doctrine of substantial compliance, to ,it8 /a0 there must be actual receipt of the summons by the person served, i.e., transferring possession

of the copy of the summons from the -heriff to the person servedJ /b0 the person served must sign a receipt or the sheriffKs returnJ and /c0 there must be actual receipt of the summons by the corporation through the person on ,hom the summons ,as actually served.[96] (he third re<uisite is the most important for it is through such receipt that the purpose of the rule on service of summons is attained. +n this case, there is no dispute that the first and second re<uisites ,ere fulfilled. Dith respect to the third, the appellate court held that petitionerKs filing of a motion to dismiss the foreclosure suit is proof that it received the copy of the summons and the complaint. (here is, ho,ever, no direct proof of this or that .ynverd Cinches actually turned over the summons to any of the officers of the corporation. +n contrast, in our cases applying the substantial compliance rule, [9!] there ,as direct evidence, such as the admission of the corporationKs officers, of receipt of summons by the corporation through the person upon ,hom it ,as actually served. (he <uestion is ,hether it is allo,able to merely infer actual receipt of summons by the corporation through the person on ,hom summons ,as served. De hold that it cannot be allo,ed. 1or there to be substantial compliance, actual receipt of summons by the corporation through the person served must be sho,n. Dhere a corporation only learns of the service of summons and the filing of the complaint against it through some person or means other than the person actually served, the service of summons becomes meaningless. (his is particularly true in the present case ,here there is serious doubt if .ynverd Cinches, the person on ,hom service of summons ,as effected, is in fact an employee of the corporation. ?Fcept for the sheriffKs return, there is nothing to sho, that .ynverd Cinches ,as really a draftsman employed by the corporation. $seN sm 'espondent casts doubt on petitionerKs claim that it came to kno, about the summons and the complaint against it only after it learned that there ,as a pending foreclosure of its mortgage. (here is nothing improbable about this claim. :etitioner ,as in default in the payment of its loan. +t had received demand letters from respondent. (hus, it had reason to believe that a foreclosure suit ,ould be filed against it. (he appellate court ,as, therefore, in error in giving ,eight to respondentKs claims. 'eceipt by petitioner of the summons and complaint cannot be inferred from the fact that it filed a $otion to %ismiss the case. (econ". De no, turn to the issue of >urisdiction by estoppel. )oth the trial court and the Court of 4ppeals held that by raising the affirmative defense of payment and by praying for other reliefs in its $otion to %ismiss, petitioner in effect ,aived its ob>ection to the trial courtKs >urisdiction over it. De think this is error. @ur decision in )a *aval +rug #orporation v. #ourt o$ %ppeals[9H] settled this <uestion. (he rule prior to )a *aval ,as that if a defendant, in a motion to dismiss, alleges grounds for dismissing the action other than lack of >urisdiction, he ,ould be deemed to have submitted himself to the >urisdiction of the court. [99] (his rule no longer holds true. Noting that the doctrine of estoppel by >urisdiction must be une<uivocal and intentional, ,e ruled in )a *aval: #urisdiction over the person must be seasonably raised, i.e., that it is pleaded in a motion to dismiss or by ,ay of an affirmative defense. Boluntary appearance shall be deemed a ,aiver of this defense. (he assertion, ho,ever, of affirmative defenses shall not be construed as an estoppel or as a ,aiver of such defense. [*;] !,ir". 1inally, ,e turn to the effect of petitionerKs prayer for Lother reliefsL in its $otion to %ismiss. +n +e -i"gel. v. Fernan"os,[*9] it ,as held that, in a motion to dismiss, the allegation of grounds other than lack of >urisdiction over the person of the defendant, including a prayer Lfor such other reliefs asL may be deemed Lappropriate and properL amounted to voluntary appearance. (his, ho,ever, must be deemed superseded by the ruling in )a *aval that estoppel by >urisdiction must be une<uivocal and intentional. +t ,ould be absurd to hold that petitioner une<uivocally and intentionally submitted itself to the >urisdiction of the court by seeking other reliefs to ,hich it might be entitled ,hen the only relief that it can properly ask from the trial court is the dismissal of the complaint against it. G.R. No. 136-26 A*1*23 6, 1999

E. $. ,ILLAROSA 4 PARTNER CO., LTD., petitioner, vs. ON. ERMINIO I. $ENITO, 5" 652 7a8a753y a2 P+.25#5"1 )*#1., RTC, $+a"76 132, Ma9a35 C53y a"# IMPERIAL DE,ELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondent. !ACTS' :etitioner ?.). Billarosa O :artner Co., .td. is a limited partnership ,ith principal office address at 9;* #uan .una -t., %avao City and ,ith branch offices at *"9* )ay Bie, %rive, (ambo, :araPa<ue, $etro $anila and Colambog, .apasan, Cagayan de @ro City. :etitioner and private respondent eFecuted a %eed of -ale ,ith %evelopment 4greement ,herein the former agreed to develop certain parcels of land located at )arrio Carmen, Cagayan de @ro belonging to the latter into a housing subdivision for the construction of lo, cost housing units. (hey further agreed that in case of litigation regarding any dispute arising therefrom, the venue shall be in the proper courts of $akati.

private respondent, as plaintiff, filed a Complaint for )reach of Contract and %amages against petitioner, as defendant, before the 'egional (rial Court of $akati allegedly for failure of the latter to comply ,ith its contractual obligation in that, other than a fe, unfinished lo, cost houses, there ,ere no substantial developments therein. -ummons, together ,ith the complaint, ,ere served upon the defendant, through its )ranch $anager ?ngr. Dendell -abulbero at the stated address at Colambog, .apasan, Cagayan de @ro City * but the -heriffKs 'eturn of -ervice 3 stated that the summons ,as duly served Lupon defendant ?.). Billarosa O :artner Co., .td. thru its )ranch $anager ?ngr. D?N%?.. -4.)A.)?'@. defendant filed a -pecial 4ppearance ,ith $otion to %ismiss " alleging that on $ay 6, 999H, Lsummons intended for defendantL ,as served upon ?ngr. Dendell -abulbero, an employee of defendant at its branch office at Cagayan de @ro City. %efendant prayed for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of improper service of summons and for lack of >urisdiction over the person of the defendant. plaintiff filed a $otion to %eclare %efendant in %efault = alleging that defendant has failed to file an 4ns,er despite its receipt allegedly on $ay =, 999H of the summons and the complaint, as sho,n in the -heriffs 'eturn. the trial court issued an @rder! denying defendantKs $otion to %ismiss as ,ell as plaintiffs $otion to %eclare %efendant in %efault. %efendant ,as given ten /9;0 days ,ithin ,hich to file a responsive pleading. (he trial court stated that since the summons and copy of the complaint ,ere in fact received by the corporation through its branch manager Dendell -abulbero, there ,as substantial compliance ,ith the rule on service of summons and conse<uently, it validly ac<uired >urisdiction over the person of the defendant. defendant, by -pecial 4ppearance, filed a $otion for 'econsideration H alleging that -ection 99, 'ule 9" of the ne, 'ules did not liberali&e but, on the contrary, restricted the service of summons on persons enumerated thereinJ and that the ne, provision is very specific and clear in that the ,ord LmanagerL ,as changed to Lgeneral managerL, LsecretaryL to Lcorporate secretaryL, and eFcluding therefrom agent and director. plaintiff filed an @pposition to defendantKs $otion for 'econsideration. defendant, by -pecial 4ppearance, filed a 'eply9; contending that the changes in the ne, rules are substantial and not >ust general semantics. %efendantKs $otion for 'econsideration ,as denied. hence this petition. ISSUE' (he only issue for resolution is ,hether or not the trial court ac<uired >urisdiction over the person of petitioner upon service of summons on its )ranch $anager. RULING' Dhen the complaint ,as filed by :etitioner on 4pril 3, 999H, the 999! 'ules of Civil :rocedure ,as already in force. 9" -ec. 99, 'ule 9" of the 999! 'ules of Civil :rocedure provides that8 Dhen the defendant is a corporation, partnership or association organi&ed under the la,s of the :hilippines ,ith a >uridical personality, service may be made on the president, managing partner, general manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in house counsel. /emphasis supplied0. (his provision revised the former -ection 93, 'ule 9" of the 'ules of Court ,hich provided that8 -ec. 93. (ervice upon private "omestic corporation or partners,ip. Q +f the defendant is a corporation organi&ed under the la,s of the :hilippines or a partnership duly registered, service may be made on the president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent, or any of its directors. /emphasis supplied0. :etitioner contends that the enumeration of persons to ,hom summons may be served is Lrestricted, limited and eFclusiveL follo,ing the rule on statutory construction expressio unios est exclusio alterius and argues that if the 'ules of Court 'evision Committee intended to liberali&e the rule on service of summons, it could have easily done so by clear and concise language. De agree ,ith petitioner.

?arlier cases have uphold service of summons upon a construction pro>ect manager 9=J a corporationKs assistant manager 96J ordinary clerk of a corporation9!J private secretary of corporate eFecutives 9HJ retained counsel99J officials ,ho had charge or control of the operations of the corporation, like the assistant general manager *;J or the corporationKs Chief 1inance and 4dministrative @fficer*9. +n these cases, these persons ,ere considered as LagentL ,ithin the contemplation of the old rule.** Notably, under the ne, 'ules, service of summons upon an agent of the corporation is no longer authori&ed. (he cases cited by private respondent are therefore not in point. +n the Canlaon case, this Court ruled that under the N.'C 'ules of :rocedure, summons on the respondent shall be served personally or by registered mail on the party himselfJ if the party is represented by counsel or any other authori&ed representative or agent, summons shall be served on such person. +n said case, summons ,as served on one ?ngr. ?stacio ,ho managed and supervised the construction pro>ect in +ligan City /although the principal address of the corporation is in Rue&on City0 and supervised the ,ork of the employees. +t ,as held that as manager, he had sufficient responsibility and discretion to reali&e the importance of the legal papers served on him and to relay the same to the president or other responsible officer of petitioner such that summons for petitioner ,as validly served on him as agent and authori&ed representative of petitioner. 4lso in the 2esulgon case cited by private respondent, the summons ,as received by the clerk in the office of the 4ssistant $anager /at principal office address0 and under -ection 93 of 'ule 9" /old rule0, summons may be made upon the clerk ,ho is regarded as agent ,ithin the contemplation of the rule. (he designation of persons or officers ,ho are authori&ed to accept summons for a domestic corporation or partnership is no, limited and more clearly specified in -ection 99, 'ule 9" of the 999! 'ules of Civil :rocedure. (he rule no, states Lgeneral managerL instead of only LmanagerLJ Lcorporate secretaryL instead of LsecretaryLJ and LtreasurerL instead of Lcashier.L (he phrase Lagent, or any of its directorsL is conspicuously deleted in the ne, rule. (he particular revision under -ection 99 of 'ule 9" ,as eFplained by retired -upreme Court #ustice 1loren& 'egalado, thus8 *3 . . . the then -ec. 93 of this 'ule allo,ed service upon a defendant corporation to Lbe made on the president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent or any of its directors.L !,e a$oresai" terms /ere o0viousl. am0iguous an" suscepti0le o$ 0roa" an" sometimes illogical interpretations, especially the ,ord LagentL of the corporation. (he 1iloil case, involving the litigation la,yer of the corporation ,ho precisely appeared to challenge the validity of service of summons but ,hose very appearance for that purpose ,as sei&ed upon to validate the defective service, is an illustration o$ t,e nee" $or t,is revise" section /it, limite" scope an" speci$ic terminolog. . (hus the absurd result in the 1iloil case necessitated the amendment permitting service only on the in house counsel of the corporation ,ho is in effect an employee of the corporation, as distinguished from an independent practitioner. /emphasis supplied0. 'etired #ustice @scar 3errera, ,ho is also a consultant of the 'ules of Court 'evision Committee, stated that L/(0he rule must be strictly observed. -ervice must be made to one named in /the0 statute . . . . *" +t should be noted that even prior to the effectivity of the 999! 'ules of Civil :rocedure, strict compliance ,ith the rules has been en>oined. +n the case of +elta -otor (ales #orporation vs. -angosing,*= the Court held8 4 strict compliance ,ith the mode of service is necessary to confer >urisdiction of the court over a corporation. (he officer upon ,hom service is made must be one ,ho is named in the statuteJ other,ise the service is insufficient. . . . (he purpose is to render it reasonably certain that the corporation ,ill receive prompt and proper notice in an action against it or to insure that the summons be served on a representative so integrated ,ith the corporation that such person ,ill kno, ,hat to do ,ith the legal papers served on him. +n other ,ords, Lto bring home to the corporation notice of the filing of the action.L . . . . !,e li0eral construction rule cannot 0e invo&e" an" utili1e" as a su0stitute $or t,e plain legal requirements as to t,e manner in /,ic, summons s,oul" 0e serve" on a "omestic corporation. . . . . /emphasis supplied0. -ervice of summons upon persons other than those mentioned in -ection 93 of 'ule 9" /old rule0 has been held as improper.*6 ?ven under the old rule, service upon a general manager of a firmKs branch office has been held as improper as summons should have been served at the firmKs principal office. +n First 'ntegrate" Bon"ing 'nc.#o., 'nc. vs. +i1on,*! it ,as held that the service of summons on the general manager of the insurance firmKs Cebu branch ,as improperJ default order could have been obviated had the summons been served at the firmKs principal office. 4ccordingly, ,e rule that the service of summons upon the branch manager of petitioner at its branch office at Cagayan de @ro, instead of upon the general manager at its principal office at %avao City is improper. Conse<uently, the trial court did not ac<uire >urisdiction over the person of the petitioner. (he fact that defendant filed a belated motion to dismiss did not operate to confer >urisdiction upon its person. (here is no

<uestion that the defendantKs voluntary appearance in the action is e<uivalent to service of summons. *9 )efore, the rule ,as that a party may challenge the >urisdiction of the court over his person by making a special appearance through a motion to dismiss and if in the same motion, the movant raised other grounds or invoked affirmative relief ,hich necessarily involves the eFercise of the >urisdiction of the court.3; (his doctrine has been abandoned in the case of )a *aval +rug #orporation vs. #ourt o$ %ppeals, et al.,39 ,hich became the basis of the adoption of a ne, provision in the former -ection *3, ,hich is no, -ection *; of 'ule 9" of the 999! 'ules. -ection *; no, provides that Lthe inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other grounds aside from lack of >urisdiction over the person of the defendant shall not be deemed a voluntary appearance.L (he emplacement of this rule clearly underscores the purpose to enforce strict enforcement of the rules on summons. 4ccordingly, the filing of a motion to dismiss, ,hether or not belatedly filed by the defendant, his authori&ed agent or attorney, precisely ob>ecting to the >urisdiction of the court over the person of the defendant can by no means be deemed a submission to the >urisdiction of the court. (here being no proper service of summons, the trial court cannot take cogni&ance of a case for lack of >urisdiction over the person of the defendant. 4ny proceeding undertaken by the trial court ,ill conse<uently be null and void. the petition is hereby 2'4N(?%. SOLEDAD C ANLIONGCO RAMOS, !RANCISCO D. C ANLIONGCO, ADEL$ERTO D. C ANLIONGCO, ARMANDO D. C ANLIONGCO a"# !LORENCIO D. C ANLIONGCO, petitioners, vs. TERESITA D. RAMOS, S8o*2.2 TERESITA a"# EDMUNDO S. MU:OT, S8o*2.2 ,EDASTA a"# !LORENCIO M. DATO, LORETO MU:OT, S8o*2.2 TERESITA a"# ELMER SOLIS, LICERIA TORRES, S8o*2.2 CORA;ON a"# ,ICENTE MACATUNGAL, S8o*2.2 PRECILLA a"# CRISOSTOMO MU:OT, a"# S8o*2.2 CARIDAD a"# SAL,ADOR PINGOL, respondents. Dell settled is the rule that a final >udgment is immutable and unalterable. (he only eFceptions to this rule are /90 the correction of clerical errors, /*0 the so called nunc pro tunc entries ,hich cause no pre>udice to any party, and /30 void >udgments.

FACTS:
:etitioners are children of the late :aulino B. Chanliongco #r., ,ho ,as the co o,ner of a parcel of land kno,n as .ot No. * 2 of -ubdivision :lan -D@ No. !3;H. -ituated in (ondo, $anila, it ,as co o,ned by him, his sister Narcisa, and his brothers $ario and 4ntonio. )y virtue of a -pecial :o,er of 4ttorney eFecuted by the co o,ners in favor of Narcisa, her daughter 4doracion C. $endo&a had sold the lot to herein respondents on different days in -eptember 99H6. )ecause of conflict among the heirs of the co o,ners as to the validity of the sale, respondents filed ,ith the 'egional (rial Court /'(C0 [=] a Complaint[6] for interpleader to resolve the various o,nership claims. (he '(C upheld the sale insofar as the share of Narcisa ,as concerned. +t ruled that 4doracion had no authority to sell the shares of the other co o,ners, because the -pecial :o,er of 4ttorney had been eFecuted in favor only of her mother, Narcisa. C4 modified the ruling of the '(C. +t held that ,hile there ,as no -pecial :o,er of 4ttorney in favor of 4doracion, the sale ,as nonetheless valid, because she had been authori&ed by her mother to be the latter5s sub agent. (here ,as thus no need to eFecute another special po,er of attorney in her favor as sub agent. (his C4 %ecision ,as not appealed, became final and ,as entered in favor of respondents. petitioners filed ,ith the C4 a $otion to -et 4side the %ecision. (hey contended that they had not been served a copy of either the Complaint or the summons. Neither had they been impleaded as parties to the case in the '(C.they argued, the C4 %ecision should be set aside because it adversely affected their respective shares in the property ,ithout due process. +n denying the $otion of petitioners, the C4 cited the grounds raised in respondents5 @pposition8 /a0 the $otion ,as not allo,ed as a remedy under the 999! 'ules of Civil :rocedureJ /b0 the %ecision sought to be set aside had long become final and eFecutoryJ /c0 the movants did not have any legal standingJ and /d0 the $otion ,as purely dilatory and ,ithout merit. 3ence, this :etition. ISSUE' ,hether the Court of 4ppeals erred in denying petitioners5 $otion and allo,ing its %ecision dated -eptember *=, 999= to take its course, inspite of its kno,ledge that the lo,er court did not ac<uire >urisdiction over the person of petitioners and passing petitioners property in favor of respondents, hence ,ithout due process of la,. RULING'

+t is ,ell settled that a decision that has ac<uired finality becomes immutable and unalterable. 4 final >udgment may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact or la,J [99] and ,hether it ,ill be made by the court that rendered it or by the highest court in the land. [9*] (he only eFceptions to this rule are the correction of /90 clerical errors, /*0 the so called nunc pro tunc entries ,hich cause no pre>udice to any party, and /30 void >udgments.[93] (o determine ,hether the C4 %ecision of -eptember *H, 999= is void, the failure to implead and to serve summons upon petitioners ,ill no, be addressed. 4n action in personam is lodged against a person based on personal liabilityJ an action in rem is directed against the thing itself instead of the personJ[9=] ,hile an actionquasi in rem names a person as defendant, but its ob>ect is to sub>ect that person5s interest in a property to a corresponding lien or obligation. (he Complaint filed by respondents ,ith the '(C called for an interpleader to determine the o,nership of the real property in <uestion.[9!] -pecifically, it forced persons claiming an interest in the land to settle the dispute among themselves as to ,hich of them o,ned the property. ?ssentially, it sought to resolve the o,nership of the land and ,as not directed against the personal liability of any particular person. +t ,as therefore a real action, because it affected title to or possession of real property. [9H] 4s such, the Complaint ,as brought against the deceased registered co o,ners8 Narcisa, $ario, :aulino and 4ntonio Chanliongco, as represented by their respective estates. Clearly, petitioners ,ere not the registered o,ners of the land, but represented merely an inchoate interest thereto as heirs of :aulino. (hey had no standing in court ,ith respect to actions over a property of the estate, because the latter ,as represented by an eFecutor or administrator. [99] (hus, there ,as no need to implead them as defendants in the case, inasmuch as the estates of the deceased co o,ners had already been made parties. 1urthermore, at the time the Complaint ,as filed, the 996" 'ules of Court ,ere still in effect. Ander the old 'ules, specifically -ection 3 of 'ule 3,[*;] an eFecutor or administrator may sue or be sued ,ithout >oining the party for ,hose benefit the action is prosecuted or defended. [*9] (he present rule,[**] ho,ever, re<uires the >oinder of the beneficiary or the party for ,hose benefit the action is brought. Ander the former 'ules, an eFecutor or administrator is allo,ed to either sue or be sued alone in that capacity. +n the present case, it ,as the estate of petitioners5 father :aulino Chanliongco, as represented by -ebrio (an Ruiming and 4ssociates, that ,as included as defendant [*3] and served summons.[*"] 4s it ,as, there ,as no need to include petitioners as defendants. Not being parties, they ,ere not entitled to be served summons. :etitioner 1lorencio %. Chanliongco, on the other hand, ,as impleaded in the Complaint, but not served summons. 3o,ever, the service of summons upon the estate of his deceased father ,as sufficient, as the estate appeared for and on behalf of all the beneficiaries and the heirs of :aulino Chanliongco, including 1lorencio. De also note that the counsel of petitioners, 4tty. 1elino B. Ruiming #r., is a partner of the la, firm that represented the estate of the deceased father. 3ence, it can reasonably be eFpected that the service upon the la, firm ,as sufficient notice to all the beneficiaries of the estate, including :etitioner 1lorencio %. Chanliongco. :etition is hereby +E*'E+. [G.R. No. 1-703(. A8+5< 2-, 2003] RIC ARD TE , petitioner, vs. T E ONORA$LE COURT O! APPEALS, ON. AL!REDO C. !LORES, P+.25#5"1 )*#1., R.15o"a< T+5a< Co*+3 o= Pa251 C53y, $+a"76 167, EIM INTERNATIONAL SALES, INC., respondents. !ACTS' respondent ?+$ +nternational -ales, +nc. filed in the 'egional (rial Court /'(C0 of :asig City a Complaint for collection of sum of money ,ith prayer for issuance of preliminary attachment against Dood )ased :anels, +nc., -inrimco. +nc., $anfred .uig and petitioner. (he case ,as docketed as Civil Case No. 669!" and raffled to )ranch 96! of the '(C of :asig City. :etitioner ,as impleaded in the case because he ,as the :resident of both Dood )ased :anels, +nc. and -inrimco, +nc. summons ,ere served upon the t,o corporations and .uig /defendants0. (he sheriff failed to serve the summons intended for the petitioner because the former could not locate the petitioner5s address as indicated in the complaint. defendants filed a motion to dismiss, but the same ,as denied by the trial court. (hereafter, they filed their respective ans,ers to the complaint. (he respondent then filed a motion to set the case for pre trial, and the court granted the same and set the pre trial on @ctober 99, 9999. 4 notice of pre trial ,as sent by the '(C to the defendants, including the petitioner.

petitioner filed a $otion to %ismiss the complaint on the ground that the trial court had not ac<uired >urisdiction over his person because he had not been served ,ith summons. (he trial court ordered the cancellation of the pre trial and the resetting, like,ise, ordered the respondent to submit a reply or opposition to petitioner5s motion to dismiss ,ithin five days. the respondent filed a Comment eFplaining that summons had not been served on the petitioner because, according to the sheriff, the petitioner5s address indicated in the complaint, 693H $aria Clara -treet, -ta. $esa, $anila,7 could not be located. trial court issued an @mnibus @rder dated November 9!, 9999 denying petitioner5s motion to dismiss and directing that an alias summons be issued against the petitioner to be served upon him at 93H $aria Clara -treet, -ta. $esa, $anila. (he respondent thereafter filed a manifestation and motion, informing the court that the address of the petitioner as indicated in the complaint ,as erroneous, and that summons should instead be served upon him at 693H $aria Clara -treet, -ta. $esa 3eights, Rue&on City,7 ,hich ,as his correct address.

the petitioner filed a $otion for 'econsideration of the trial court5s omnibus order. trial court deniying petitioner motion for reconsideration. the petitioner filed ,ith the Court of 4ppeals a :etition for Certiorari and :rohibition <uestioning the trial court5s @rder denying his motion for reconsideration. C4 dismissing the petition for failure to attach certified true copies of relevant documents referred to in the petition. (he petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but ,as denied. hence this petition. ISSUE' (he petitioner asseverates that the trial court should have dismissed the case because it in fact admitted that summons had not yet been served on him, and that such failure to serve summons amounts to a failure on the respondent5s part to prosecute. RULING'

(here is no merit in the petition. (he Court of 4ppeals ,as not re<uired to look into the merits of the petition for certiorari before issuing its $arch 9", *;;; 'esolution because it ruled in good faith that the petition ,as defective in form. Ander 'ule 6=, -ection 6 of the 999! 'ules of Civil :rocedure, a petition for certiorari may be dismissed outright if it is insufficient in form, that is, it fails to comply ,ith the re<uirements in -ection 9 of the same 'ule. Dhen the appellate court studied the petitioner5s motion for reconsideration and found that the contention therein ,as correct, it proceeded to look into the merits of the petition. 3o,ever, it found that the same should be dismissed for lack of merit because it found that the trial court5s order assailed by the petitioner therein ,as an order denying a motion to dismiss. )ased on the factual circumstances of the case, the appellate court ruled that the order sought to be reversed ,as an interlocutory order ,hich is beyond the scope of a petition for certiorari, and that the trial court did not commit abuse of discretion ,hen it denied the motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of >urisdiction over the person of the petitioner and ordered the issuance of an alias summons to the latter. (he Court agrees ,ith the appellate court5s ruling that there ,as no abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court ,hen the latter denied the petitioner5s motion to dismiss the complaint and ordered the issuance of an alias summons to be served upon him. 4lthough the respondent should have resorted to other means to determine the correct address of the petitioner ,hen it ,as informed by the sheriff that he failed to serve the summons on the petitioner, the respondent is not entirely to blame for such failure because the petitioner5s address as indicated by Dood )ased :anels, +nc., and -inrimco, +nc. on their respective 2eneral +nformation -heets, ,as incorrect. $oreover, the trial court ,as merely eFercising its discretion under 'ule 96, -ection 3 of the 999! 'ules of Civil :rocedure ,hen it denied the petitioner5s motion to dismiss. Ander said rule, after hearing the motion, a >udge may dismiss the action, deny the motion to dismiss or order the amendment of the pleading. (he trial court denied the motion to dismiss based on its finding that the issues alleged by the respondent in its complaint could not be resolved fully in the absence of the petitioner. +n its desire

to resolve completely the issues brought before it, the trial court deemed it fitting to properly ac<uire >urisdiction over the person of the petitioner by ordering the issuance of alias summons on the petitioner. ?vidently, the trial court acted ,ell ,ithin its discretion. (he Court of 4ppeals did not, therefore, err in dismissing the petition for certiorari filed before it.