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Supreme Court Decisions on Remedial Law

Jurisdiction; appeal in case involving Sharia law. Prefatorily, the Court acknowledges the fact that decades after the enactment in 1989 of the law creating the Sharia Appellate Court and after the Court, per Resolution of June 8, 1999, authorized its creation, the Sharia Appellate Court has yet to be organized with the appointment of a Presiding Justice and two Associate Justices. Until such time that the Sharia Appellate Court shall have been organized, however, appeals or petitions from final orders or decisions of the [Sharia District Court] filed with the CA shall be referred to a Special Division to be organized in any of the CA stations preferably composed of Muslim CA Justices. For cases where only errors or questions of law are raised or involved, the appeal shall be to this Court by a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court pursuant to Art. VIII, Sec. 5 of the Constitution and Sec. 2 of Rule 41 of the Rules. To be sure, the Court has, on several occasions, passed upon and resolved petitions and cases emanating from Sharia courts. Among t hese was one involving the issue of whether or not grave abuse of discretion attended the denial of a motion to implement a writ of execution. Still another involved the Sharia courts jurisdiction in custody and guardianship proceedings, nullity of marriage and divorce when the parties were b oth married in civil and Muslim rites, and settlement of estate proceedings where the deceased was alleged to be not a Muslim, or where the estate covered properties situated in different provinces. The instant petition, involving only a question of law on the jurisdiction of the SDC over a complaint for quieting of title, was properly instituted before the Court. Sultan Yahya Jerry M. Tomawis vs. Hon Rasad G. Balindong, et al., G.R. No. 182434, March 5, 2010

Jurisdiction; concurrent jurisdiction of Shariaa court and regional trial court in certain cases. As things stood prior to the effectivity date of BP 129, the SDC had, by virtue of PD 1083, original jurisdiction, concurrently with the RTCs and MTCs, over all personal and real actions outside the purview of Art. 143(1)(d) of PD 1083, in which the parties involved were Muslims, except those for ejectment. Personal action is one that is founded on privity of contracts between the parties; and in which the plaintiff usually seeks the recovery of personal property, the enforcement of a contract, or recovery of damages. Real action, on the other hand, is one anchored on the privity of real estate, where the plaintiff seeks the recovery of ownership or possession of real property or interest in it. On the other hand, BP 129, as amended, vests the RTC or the municipal trial court with exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions that involve the title to or possession of real property, or any interest in it, and the value of the property subject of the case or the jurisdictional amount, determining whether the case comes within the jurisdictional competence of the RTC or the MTC. Orbeta vs. Orbeta differentiated personal action from real action in the following wise: A real action, under Sec. 1, Rule 4 of the Rules of Court, is one that affects title to or possession of real property, or an interest therein. Such actions should be commenced and tried in the proper court which has jurisdiction over the area wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated. All other actions are personal and may be commenced and tried where the plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides, or where the defendant or any of the principal defendants resides, or in the case of a non-resident defendant where he may be found, at the election of the plaintiff.

Civil Case No. 102-97, judging from the averments in the underlying complaint, is basically a suit for recovery of possession and eventual reconveyance of real property which, under BP 129, as amended, falls within the original jurisdiction of either the RTC or MTC. In an action for reconveyance, all that must be alleged in the complaint are two facts that, admitting them to be true, would entitle the plaintiff to recover title to the disputed land, namely: (1) that the plaintiff is the owner of the land or has possessed the land in the concept of owner; and (2) that the defendant has illegally dispossessed the plaintiff of the land. A cursory perusal of private respondents complaint readily shows that that these requisites have been met: they alleged absolute ownership of the subject parcel of land, and they were illegally dispossessed of their land by petitioner. The allegations in the complaint, thus, make a case for an action for reconveyance. Given the above perspective, the question that comes to the fore is whether the jurisdiction of the RTC or MTC is to the exclusion of the SDC. Petitioners version of the law would effectively remove the concurrent original jurisdiction granted by Art. 143, par. 2(b) of PD 1083 to civil courts and Sharia courts over, among others:

All other personal and real actions not mentioned in paragraph 1 (d) wherein the parties involved are Muslims except those for forcible entry and unlawful detainer, which shall fall under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Municipal Circuit Court. x x x

Petitioners interpretation of the law cannot be given serious thought. One must bear in mind that even if Sharia courts are considered regular courts, these are courts of limited jurisdiction. As we have observed in Rulona-Al Awadhi vs. Astih, the Code of Muslim Personal Laws creating said courts was promulgated to fulfill the aspiration of the Filipino Muslims to have their system of laws enforced in their communities. It is a special law intended for Filipino Muslims, as clearly stated in the purpose of PD 1083: ARTICLE 2. Purpose of Code. Pursuant to Section 11 of Article XV of the Constitution of the Philippines, which provides that The State shall consider th e customs, traditions, beliefs and interests of national cultural communities in the formulation and implementation of state po licies, this Code:

(a)

Recognizes the legal system of the Muslims in the Philippines as part of the law of the land and seeks to make Islamic institutions more effective;

(b)

Codifies Muslim personal laws; and

(c)

Provides for an effective administration and enforcement of Muslim personal laws among Muslims.

A reading of the pertinent provisions of BP 129 and PD 1083 shows that the former, a law of general application to civil courts, has no application to, and does not repeal, the provisions found in PD 1083, a special law, which only refers to Sharia courts. A look at the scope of BP 129 clearly shows that Sharia courts were not included in the reorganization of courts that were formerly organized under RA 296 . The pertinent provision in BP 129 states: SECTION 2. Scope. The reorganization herein provided shall include the Court of Appeals, the Court of First Instance, the Circuit Criminal Courts, the

Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts, the Courts of Agrarian Relations, the City Courts, the Municipal Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Courts.

As correctly pointed out by private respondents in their Comment, BP 129 was enacted to reorganize only existing civil courts and is a law of general application to the judiciary. In contrast, PD 1083 is a special law that only applies to Sharia courts.

In order to give effect to both laws at hand, we must continue to recognize the concurrent jurisdiction enjoyed by SDCs with that of RTCs under PD 1083. . . . . While we recognize the concurrent jurisdiction of the SDCs and the RTCs with respect to cases involving only Muslims, the SDC has exclusive original jurisdiction over all actions arising from contracts customary to Muslims to the exclusion of the RTCs, as the exception under PD 1083, while both courts have concurrent original jurisdiction over all other personal actions. Said jurisdictional conferment, found in Art. 143 of PD 1083, is applicable solely when both parties are Muslims and shall not be construed to operate to the prejudice of a non-Muslim, who may be the opposing party against a Muslim. Sultan Yahya Jerry M. Tomawis vs. Hon Rasad G. Balindong, et al., G.R. No. 182434, March 5, 2010 Jurisdiction; Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) without jurisdiction to resolve issues involving identification and selection of farmerbeneficiaries under CARP. Petitioners argue that the DARAB is not clothed with the power or authority to resolve the issue involving the identification and selection of qualified farmer-beneficiaries since the same is an Agrarian Law Implementation case, thus, an administrative function falling within the jurisdiction of the DAR Secretary. Petitioners argument is well taken. In Lercana vs. Jalandoni, this Court was categorical in ruling that the identification and selection of CARP beneficiaries are matters involving strictly the administrative implementation of the CARP, a matter exclusively cognizable by the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform, and beyond the jurisdiction of the DARAB. Romanita Concha, et al. vs. Paulino Rubio, et al., G.R. No. 162446, March 29, 2010

Jurisdiction; determined by allegations in complaint. Moreover, the jurisdiction of the court below cannot be made to depend upon defenses set up in the answer, in a motion to dismiss, or in a motion for reconsideration, but only upon the allegations of the complaint. Jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is determined from the allegations of the complaint and the character of the relief sought. In the instant case, private respondents petition in Civil Case No. 10297 sufficiently alleged the concurrent original jurisdiction of the SDC. Sultan Yahya Jerry M. Tomawis vs. Hon Rasad G. Balindong, et al., G.R. No. 182434, March 5, 2010 Jurisdiction; jurisdiction of Special Agrarian Court over just compensation cases under CARL.Jurisdiction is the courts authority to hear and determine a case. The courts jurisdiction over the nature and subject matter of an action is conferred by law. In this case, the law that confers jurisdiction on Special Agrarian Courts designated by the Supreme Court in every province is Republic Act (R.A.) 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988. Sections 56 and 57 are the relevant provisions: SEC. 56. Special Agrarian Court. The Supreme Court shall designate at least one (1) branch of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) within each province to act as a Special Agrarian Court. The Supreme Court may designate more branches to constitute such additional Special Agrarian Courts as may be necessary to cope with the number of agrarian cases in each province. In the designation, the Supreme Court shall give preference to the Regional Trial Courts which have been assigned to handle agrarian cases or whose presiding judges were former judges of the defunct Court of Agrarian Relations. The Regional Trial Court (RTC) judges assigned to said courts shall exercise said special jurisdiction in addition to the regular jurisdiction of their respective courts. SEC. 57. Special Jurisdiction. The Special Agrarian Courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners, and the prosecution of all criminal offenses under this Act. The Rules of Court shall apply to all proceedings before the Special Agrarian Courts unless modified by this Act. The Special Agrarian Courts shall decide all appropriate cases under their special jurisdiction within thirty (30) days from submission of the case for decision. The law is clear. A branch of an RTC designated as a Special Agrarian Court for a province has the original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation in that province. In Republic v. Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court ruled that Special Agrarian Courts have original and exclusive jurisdiction over two categories of cases: (1) all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners, and (2) the prosecution of all criminal offenses under R.A. 6657. By special jurisdiction, Special Agrarian Courts exercise power in addition to or over and above the ordinary jurisdiction of the RTC, such as taking cognizance of suits involving agricultural lands located outside their regular territorial jurisdiction, so long as they are within the province where they sit as Special Agrarian Courts. R.A. 6657 requires the designation by the Supreme Court before an RTC Branch can function as a Special Agrarian Court. The Supreme Court has not designated the single sala courts of RTC, Branch 64 of Guihulngan City and RTC, Branch 63 of Bayawan City as Special Agrarian Courts. Consequently, they cannot hear just compensation cases just because the lands subject of such cases happen to be within their territorial jurisdiction. Since RTC, Branch 32 of Dumaguete City is the designated Special Agrarian Court for the province of Negros Oriental, it has jurisdiction over all cases for determination of just compensation involving agricultural lands within that province, regardless of whether or not those properties are outside its regular territorial jurisdiction. Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Corazon M. Villegas/Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Heirs of Catalino V. Noel, et al., G.R. No. 180384/G.R. No. 180891, March 26, 2010 Jurisdiction; Sandiganbayan has exclusive jurisdiction to determine validity of writs of sequestration issued by PCGG. The task of ascertaining the validity of writs of sequestration issued by the PCGG, when called into question, is the sole province of the Sandiganbayan, the issues involved therein being factual in nature. It is well settled that the Sandiganbayan has full authority to decide any and all incidents pertaining to an ill-gotten [wealth] case, including the propriety of the issuance

of the writs of sequestration. Thus, any question on the correctness of the lifting of the sequestration writ against Heacock upon its motion, either in Civil Case No. 0002 - had Heacock been allowed to intervene - or in Civil Case No. 0101, hardly merits further discussion. The Sandiganbayans questioned resolutions lifting the sequestration writ could be, as it correctly was, decided independently of what petitioner claims to be the exist ence of other controverted issues that require trial on the merits before the reliefs prayed for . . . may be granted. Presidential Commission on Good Government vs. H.E. Heacock, Inc. et al., G.R. No. 165878, March 30, 2010 Pleadings; certification of non-forum shopping; lack of authority to sign not fatal in Petition for Issuance of Writ of Possession. Petitioners further claim that the lack of authority to sign the certificate on non-forum shopping attached to the Petition for the Issuance of the Writ of Possession rendered the same worthless and should be deemed as non-existent. MBTC asserts otherwise, citing Spouses Arquiza vs. Court of Appeals where we held that an application for a writ of possession is a mere incident in the registration proceeding which is in substance merely a motion, and therefore does not require such a certification. Petitioners contention lacks basis. In Green Asia Construction and Development Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, where the issue of validity of the Certificate of Non-Forum Shopping was questioned in an application for the issuance of a Writ of Possession, we held that: x x x it bears stressing that a certification on non-forum shopping is required only in a complaint or a petition which is an initiatory pleading. In this case, the subject petition for the issuance of a writ of possession filed by private respondent is not an initiatory pleading. Although private respondent denominated its pleading as a petition, it is more properly a motion. What distinguishes a motion from a petition or other pleading is not its form or the title given by the party executing it, but its purpose. The purpose of a motion is not to initiate litigation, but to bring up a matter arising in the progress of the case where the motion is filed. (Emphasis supplied) It is not necessary to initiate an original action in order for the purchaser at an extrajudicial foreclosure of real property to acquire possession. Even if the application for the writ of possession was denominated as a petition, it was in substance m erely a motion. Indeed, any insignificant lapse in the certification on non-forum shopping filed by the MBTC did not render the writ irregular. After all, no verification and certification on non-forum shopping need be attached to the motion. Hence, it is immaterial that the certification on non-forum shopping in the MBTCs petition was signed by its branch head. Such inconsequential oversight did not render the said petition defective in form. The Parents-Teachers Association [PTA] of St. Matthew Academy, et al. vs. The Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company, G.R. No. 176518, March 2, 2010 Pleadings; certification of non-forum shopping; requirement of proof of authority to execute (CSC).With regard, however, to the certification of non-forum shopping, the established rule is that it must be executed by the plaintiff or any of the principal parties and not by counsel. In this case, Atty. Tiu failed to show that he was specifically authorized by the Chairman to sign the certification of non-forum shopping, much less file the petition in his behalf. There is nothing on record to prove such authority. Atty. Tiu did not even bother to controvert Palers allegation of his lack of authority. This renders the petition dismissible. Commission on Appointments, represented herein by its Secretary Hon. Arturo L. Tiu vs. Celso M. Paler, G.R. No. 172623. March 3, 2010 Pleadings; verification (CSC). First, we tackle Atty. Tius authority to file the petition and sign the verification and certification of non-forum shopping. The petitioner in this case is the Commission on Appointments, a government entity created by the Constitution, and headed by its Chairman. There was no need for the Chairman himself to sign the verification. Its representative, lawyer or any person who personally knew the truth of the facts alleged in the petition could sign the verification. Commission on Appointments, represented herein by its Secretary Hon. Arturo L. Tiu vs. Celso M. Paler, G.R. No. 172623. March 3, 2010 Procedural rules; election cases. In Hofer vs. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, a case that is closely analogous to the instant petition, the Court emphasized that [p]rocedural rules in election cases are designed to achieve not only a correct but also an expeditious determination of the popular will of the electorate. Thus, the time limit set by the rules is not something to be taken lightly, for it was stressed in the same case that the ob servance of the HRET Rules in conjunction with our own Rules of Court, must be taken seriously. Quoting Baltazar vs. Commission of Elections, The Court reiterated in Hofer that:

By their very nature and given the public interest involved in the determination of the results of an election, the controversies arising from the canvass must be resolved speedily, otherwise the will of the electorate would be frustrated. And the delay brought about by the tactics resorted to by petitioner is precisely the very evil sought to be prevented by election statutes and controlling case law on the matter. From the foregoing, it is quite clear that the Tribunal acted in the best interest of the electorate, ensuring the determinat ion of the latters will within a reasonable time. In sum, there is absolutely nothing in this case that would justify a finding that the HRET gravely abused its discretion by not granting petitioner an extension of time to present additional evidence and formally offer the same. Representative Alvin S. Sandoval vs. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, Josephine Veronique R. Lacson-Noel and Hon. Speaker Prospero Nograles, G.R. No. 190067, March 9, 2010 Procedural rules; relaxation of period for appeal (CSC). Section 72 of CSC Memorandum Circular No. 19, s. 1999, provides for the period of appeal for nondisciplinary actions, to wit: Section 72. When and Where to File. A decision or ruling of a department or agency may be appealed within fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof by the party adversely affected to the Civil Service Regional Office and finally, to the Commission Proper within the same period. Palers son received the letter from the Commission Chairman denying Palers motion for reconsideration on March 18, 2 004. Thus, Palers had until April 2, 2004 within which to file his appeal with the CSC. It was filed, however, only on April 5, 2004. Nevertheless, the CSC entertained the appeal in the interest of substantial justice. We agree with the CSC. We uphold its decision to relax the procedural rules because Palers appeal was meritorious. This is not the first time that the Court has upheld such exercise of discretion. In Rosales, Jr. v. Mijares involving Section 49(a) of the CSC Revised Rules of Procedure, the Court ruled: On the contention of the petitioner that the appeal of the respondent to the CSC was made beyond the period therefor under Section 49(a) of the CSC Revised Rules of Procedure, the CSC correctly ruled that:

Movant claims that Mijares appeal was filed way beyond the reglementary period for filing appeals. He, thus, contends that the Commission should not have given due course to said appeal.

The Commission need not delve much on the dates when Mijares was separated from the service and when he assailed his separation. Suffice it to state that the Commission found his appeal meritorious. This being the case, procedural rules need not be strictly observed. This principle was explained by in the case of Mauna vs. CSC, 232 SCRA 388, where the Supreme Court ruled, to wit: Assuming for the sake of argument that the petitioners appeal was filed out of time, it is within the power of this Court to temper rigid rules in favor of substantial justice. While it is desirable that the Rules of Court be faithfully and even meticulously observed, courts should not be so strict about procedural lapses that do not really impair the proper administration of justice. If the rules are intended to ensure the orderly conduct of litigation, it is because of the higher objective they seek which is the protection of substantive rights of the parties. As held by the Court in a number of cases: xxx

It bears stressing that the case before the CSC involves the security of tenure of a public officer sacrosanctly protected by the Constitution. Public interest requires a resolution of the merits of the appeal instead of dismissing the same based on a strained and inordinate application of Section 49(a) of the CSC Revised Rules of Procedure. (Emphasis supplied)

Constantino-David vs. Pangandaman-Gania likewise sustained the CSC when it modified an otherwise final and executory resolution and awarded backwages to the respondent, in the interest of justice and fair play. The Court stated

No doubt, the Civil Service Commission was in the legitimate exercise of its mandate under Sec. 3, Rule I, of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service that [a]dministrative investigations shall be conducted without necessarily adhering strictly to the technical rules of procedure and evidence applicable to judicial proceedings. This authority is consistent with its powers and functions to [p]rescribe, amend and en force rules and regulations for carrying into effect the provisions of the Civil Service Law and other pertinent laws being the central personnel agency of the Government. Furthermore, there are special circumstances in accordance with the tenets of justice and fair play that warrant such liberal attitude on the part of the CSC and a compassionate like-minded discernment by this Court. x x x

When substantial justice dictates it, procedural rules may be relaxed in order to arrive at a just disposition of a case. The purpose behind limiting the period of appeal is to avoid unreasonable delay in the administration of justice and to put an end to controversies. A one-day delay, as in this case, does not justify denial of the appeal where there is absolutely no indication of intent to delay justice on the part of Paler and the pleading is meritorious on its face. Commission onAppointments, represented herein by its Secretary Hon. Arturo L. Tiu vs. Celso M. Paler, G.R. No. 172623. March 3, 2010 Writ of possession; nature. The order for a writ of possession issues as a matter of course upon the filing of the proper motion and the approval of the corresponding bond if the redemption period has not yet lapsed. If the redemption period has expired, then the filing of the bond is no longer necessary. Any and all questions regarding the regularity and validity of the sale is left to be determined in a subsequent proceeding and such questions may not be raised as a justification for opposing the issuance of a writ of possession. In Santiago vs. Merchants Rural Bank of Talavera, Inc., we defined the nature of a petition for a writ of possession: The proceeding in a petition for a writ of possession is ex parte and summary in nature. It is a judicial proceeding brought for the benefit of one party only and without notice by the court to any person adverse of interest. It is a proceeding wherein relief is granted without giving the person against whom the relief is sought an opportunity to be heard. By its very nature, an ex parte petition for issuance of a writ of possession is a non-litigious proceeding. It is a judicial proceeding for the enforcement of ones right of possession as purchaser in a foreclosure sale. It is not an ordinary suit filed in court, by which one party sues another for the enforcement of a wrong or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong. Gregorio Espinoza, in his own personal capacity and as surviving spouse, and Jo Anne G. Espinoza, herein represented by their attorney-in-fact, Ban Sangil, G.R. No. 175380, March 22, 2010 Writ of possession; nature of proceedings for issuance. The petitioners argue that the court below did not conduct trial for the presentation of evidence to support its conclusion that the intervention would have no bearing on the issuance and implementation of the writ of possession, thereby depriving them of due process. Petitioners contention is without merit. It is settled that the issuance of a writ of possession is a ministerial duty of the court. The purchaser of the foreclosed property, upon ex parte application and the posting of the required bond, has the right to acquire possession of the foreclosed property during the 12-month redemption period. This ex partepetition for the issuance of a writ of possession under Section 7 of Act No. 3135 is not, strictly speaking, a judicial process as contemplated in Article 433 of the Civil Code. As a judicial proceeding for the enforcement of ones right of possession as purchaser in a foreclosure sale, it is not an ordinary suit by which one party sues another for the enforcement of a wrong or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong. In Idolor vs. Court of Appeals, we described the nature of the ex parte petition for issuance of possessory writ under Act No. 3135 to be a non-litigious proceeding and summary in nature. As an ex parte proceeding, it is brought for the benefit of one party only, and without notice to, or consent by any person adversely interested. It is a proceeding where the relief is granted without requiring an opportunity for the person against whom the relief is sought to be heard. It does not matter even if the herein petitioners were not specifically named in the writ of possession nor notified of such proceedings. In Sagarbarria vs. Philippine Business Bank, we rejected therein petitioners contention that he was denied due process when the trial court issued th e writ of possession without notice. Here in the present case, we similarly reject petitioners contention that the trial court should have conducted a trial prior to issuing the Order den ying their motion to intervene. As it is, the law does not require that a petition for a writ of possession may be granted only after documentary and testimonial evidence shall have been offered to and

admitted by the court. As long as a verified petition states the facts sufficient to entitle the petitioner to the relief requested, the court shall issue the writ prayed for. There is no need for petitioners to offer any documentary or testimonial evidence for the court to grant the petition. The Parents-Teachers Association [PTA] of St. Matthew Academy, et al. vs. TheMetropolitan Bank & Trust Company, G.R. No. 176518, March 2, 2010 Writ of possession; when exception to issuance does not apply. In this case, we find that petitioners cannot be considered as third parties because they are not claiming a right adverse to the judgment debtor. Petitioner-teachers and students did not claim ownership of the properties, but merely averred actual physical possession of the subject school premises. Petitioner-teachers possession of the said premises was based on the employment contracts they have with the school. As regards the petitioner-students, Alcuaz vs. Philippine School of Business Administrationand Non vs. Dames II characterized the school-student relationship as contractual in nature. As such, it would be specious to conclude that the teachers and students hold the subject premises independent of or adverse to SMCA. In fact, their interest over the school premises is necessarily inferior to that of the school. Besides, their contracts are with the school and do not attach to the school premises. Moreover, the foreclosure of the current school premises does not prevent the SMCA from continuing its operations elsewhere. At this point, it is relevant to note that in the Joint Decision dated August 16, 2005, the trial court found that SMCA was not a third party and was therefore bound by the said writ of possession. Consequently, it affirmed the issuance of the writ of possession. MBTC thus correctly argued that petitioners did not have superior rights to that of SMCA over the subject property because their supposed possession of the same emanated only from the latter. Since petitioners possession of the subject school premises stemmed from their employment or enrollment contracts with the school, as the case may be, necessarily, their right to possess the subject school premises cannot be adverse to that of the school and of its owners. As such, the petitioners cannot be deemed third parties as contemplated in Act No. 3135, as amended. The Parents-Teachers Association [PTA] of St. Matthew Academy, et al. vs. The Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company, G.R. No. 176518, March 2, 2010 Writ of possession; when issued; period of redemption. As a rule, it is ministerial upon the court to issue a writ of possession after the foreclosure sale and during the period of redemption. Section 7 of Act No. 3135 explicitly authorizes the purchaser in a foreclosure sale to apply for a writ of possession during the redemption period by filing an ex parte motion under oath for that purpose in the registration or cadastral proceedings if the property is registered, or in special proceedings in the case of property registered under the Mortgage Law with the Regional Trial Court of the province or place where the real property or any part thereof is situated, in the case of mortgages duly registered with the Registry of Deeds. Upon filing of such motion and the approval of the corresponding bond, the law also directs in express terms the said court to issue the order for a writ of possession. However, this rule is not without exception. In Barican vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, we held that the obligation of a court to issue an ex parte writ of possession in favor of the purchaser in an extrajudicial foreclosure sale ceases to be ministerial once it appears that there is a third party in possession of the property who is claiming a right adverse to that of the debtor/mortgagor. This ruling was reiterated in Policarpio vs. Active Bank where we held that: Ordinarily, a purchaser of property in an extrajudicial foreclosure sale is entitled to possession of the property. Thus, whenever the purchaser prays for a writ of possession, the trial court has to issue it as a matter of course. However, the obligation of the trial court to issue a writ of possession ceases to be ministerial once it appears that there is a third party in possession of the propertyclaiming a right adverse to that of the debtor/mortgagor. Where such third party exists, the trial court should conduct a hearing to determine the nature of his adverse possession. (Emphasis supplied) The Parents-Teachers Association [PTA] of St. Matthew Academy, et al. vs. The Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company, G.R. No. 176518, March 2, 2010 Writ of possession; remedy to challenge; appeal. Petitioners assert that Section 8 of Act No. 3135 specifically refers to the debtor as the party who is required to file a petition for the cancellation of the writ of possession in the same proceeding in which possession was requested. As they are not the debtors referred to in the said law, petitioners argue that the filing of a petition for the cancellation of the writ of possession in the same proceeding in which possession was requested, does not apply to them. Hence, they allege that it was improper for the CA to conclude that the Petition for Certiorari was the wrong remedy in the case where the writ of possession was issued. Respondent, on the other hand, avers that certiorari is available only when there is grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. In the instant case, the respondent argues

that the court merely granted the Writ of Possession in accordance with settled jurisprudence and that the remedy of certiorari does not lie because there is an available remedy which is an appeal. We hold that the CA correctly held that the proper remedy is a separate, distinct and independent suit provided for in Section 8 of Act No. 3135 viz: SEC. 8. The debtor may, in the proceedings in which possession was requested, but not later than thirty days after the purchaser was given possession, petition that the sale be set aside and the writ of possession canceled, specifying the damages suffered by him, because the mortgage was not violated or the sale was not made in accordance with the provisions hereof, and the court shall take cognizance of this petition in accordance with the summary procedure provided for in section one hundred and twelve of Act Numbered Four hundred and ninety-six; and if it finds the complaint of the debtor justified, it shall dispose in his favor of all or part of the bond furnished by the person who obtained possession. Either of the parties may appeal from the order of the judge in accordance with section fourteen of Act Numbered Four hundred and ninety-six; but the order of possession shall continue in effect during the pendency of the appeal.

In De Gracia vs. San Jose, we held that: x x x the order for a writ of possession issues as a matter of course upon the filing of the proper motion and the approval of the corresponding bond. No discretion is left to the court. And any question regarding the regularity and validity of the sale (and the consequent cancellation of the writ) is left to be determined in a subsequent proceeding as outlined in section 8. Such question is not to be raised as a justification for opposing the issuance of the writ of possession, since, under the Act, the proceeding for this is ex parte.(Emphasis supplied) Since the writ of possession had already been issued in LRC Case No. 6438 per Order dated November 29, 2005, the proper remedy is an appeal and not a petition for certiorari, in accordance with our ruling in Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company vs. Tan and Government Service Insurance System vs. Court of Appeals. As long as the court acts within its jurisdiction, any alleged errors committed in the exercise of its discretion will amount to nothing more than mere errors of judgment, correctable by an appeal if the aggrieved party raised factual and legal issues; or a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court if only questions of law are involved. TheParents-Teachers Association [PTA] of St. Matthew Academy, et al. vs. The Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company, G.R. No. 176518, March 2, 2010 Evidence Documentary evidence and oral evidence; weight accorded. Furthermore, petitioners failed to adduce any evidence to show that the real and personal properties acquired and registered in the names of Elfledo and respondent formed part of the estate of Jose, having been derived from Joses alleged partnership with Jimmy and Norberto. They failed to refute respondents claim that Elfledo and respondent engaged in other businesses. Edison even admitted that Elfledo also sold Interwood lumber as a sideline. Petitioners could not offer any credible evidence other than their bare assertions. Thus, we apply the basic rule of evidence that between documentary and oral evidence, the former carries more weight. Heirs of Jose Lim, represented by Elenito Lim vs. Juliet Villa Lim, G.R. No. 172690, March 3, 2010 Evidence of existence of partnership. At this juncture, our ruling in Heirs of Tan Eng Kee vs. Court of Appeals is enlightening. Therein, we cited Article 1769 of the Civil Code, which provides: Art. 1769. In determining whether a partnership exists, these rules shall apply:

(1)

Except as provided by Article 1825, persons who are not partners as to each other are not partners as to third persons;

(2)

Co-ownership or co-possession does not of itself establish a partnership, whether such co-owners or co-possessors do or do not share any profits

made by the use of the property;

(3)

The sharing of gross returns does not of itself establish a partnership, whether or not the persons sharing them have a joint or common right or interest

in any property from which the returns are derived;

(4)

The receipt by a person of a share of the profits of a business is a prima facie evidence that he is a partner in the business, but no such inference shall

be drawn if such profits were received in payment:

(a)

As a debt by installments or otherwise;

(b)

As wages of an employee or rent to a landlord;

(c)

As an annuity to a widow or representative of a deceased partner;

(d)

As interest on a loan, though the amount of payment vary with the profits of the business;

(e)

As the consideration for the sale of a goodwill of a business or other property by installments or otherwise.

Applying the legal provision to the facts of this case, the following circumstances tend to prove that Elfledo was himself the partner of Jimmy and Norberto: 1) Cresencia testified that Jose gave Elfledo P50,000.00, as share in the partnership, on a date that coincided with the payment of the initial capital in the partnership; (2) Elfledo ran the affairs of the partnership, wielding absolute control, power and authority, without any intervention or opposition whatsoever from any of petitioners herein; (3) all of the properties, particularly the nine trucks of the partnership, were registered in the name of Elfledo; (4) Jimmy testified that Elfledo did not receive wages or salaries from the partnership, indicating that what he actually received were shares of the profits of the business; and (5) none of the petitioners, as heirs of Jose, the alleged partner, demanded periodic accounting from Elfledo during his lifetime. As repeatedly stressed in Heirs of Tan Eng Kee, a demand for periodic accounting is evidence of a partnership. Heirs of Jose Lim, represented by Elenito Lim vs. Juliet Villa Lim, G.R. No. 172690, March 3, 2010 Evidence of ownership of real property. We agree with petitioners that respondents failed to present any evidence to show that they owned parts of the property in dispute. First, in the stipulation of facts during the pre-trial conference before the MCTC, respondents admitted that the land was owned by Adriano. While both Juanito and Ronald claimed that Adriano donated to them their respective portions of the property when they got married in 1978 and 1987, respectively, they did not present any deed of donation. As the MCTC stated in its 19 November 2003 Decision, the transfers cannot be by donation because the law requires that for donation to be effective, it must be in a public instrument and in this case there is none. Second, the tax declaration offered by respondents as evidence only mentioned Adriano as the owner of the whole property. While tax declarations are not conclusive evidence of ownership, they constitute proof of claim of ownership. Respondents did not present any credible explanation why the tax declaration was only under the name of Adriano. Third, contrary to Ronalds claim, the June 1994 deed of mortgageid not clearly show that he was the owner of the property and that petitioners recognized him as such. While Ronalds name appeared in the body of the deed, the designation as owner of the property under his name was crossed-out. It was Adriano who signed the deed of mortgage and the designation as owner of the property appeared under his name. Fourth, Ronald was present when the deed of sale was executed on 22 September 1994 and he even signed as one of the witnesses. We find it hard to believe that Ronald and Adriano did not understand the contents of the deed when it was written in their local dialect. Moreover, it took respondents more than seven years to question Adrianos sale of the whole property to petitioners. Lastly, respondents claim ownership of the property based on OCT No. AO-7236. However, a certificate of title is not equivalent to title. In Lee Tek Sheng vs. Court of Appeals, we explained:

By title, the law refers to ownership which is represented by that document [the Original Certificate of Title or the Transfer Certificate of Title]. Petitioner apparently confuses certificate with title. Placing a parcel of land under the mantle of the Torrens system does not mean that ownership thereof can no longer be disputed. Ownership is different from a certificate of title. The TCT is only the best proof of ownership of a piece of land. Besides, the certificate cannot always be considered as conclusive evidence of ownership. Mere issuance of the certificate of title in the name of any person does not foreclose the possibility that the real property may be under co-ownership with persons not named in the certificate or that the registrant may only be a trustee or that other parties may have acquired interest subsequent to the issuance of the certificate of title. To repeat, registration is not the equivalent of title, but is only the best evidence thereof. Title as a concept of ownership should not be confused with the certificate of title as evidence of such ownership although both are interchangeable. (Emphasis supplied) Spouses Melchor, et al. vs. Ronald B. Bernal, et al., G.R. No. 169336, March 18, 2010 Preponderance of evidence. In civil cases, the party having the burden of proof must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence. Preponderance of evidence is the weight, credit, and value of the aggregate evidence on either side, and is usually considered to be synonymous with the term greater weight of the evidence or greater weight of the credible evidence. Preponderance of evidence is a phrase that means, in the last analysis, probability of the truth. It is evidence that is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto. Lim successfully discharged his burden of proof as the plaintiff. He established by preponderant evidence that he had a superior right and title to the property. In contrast, the petitioners did not present any proof of their better title other than their copy of the reconstituted certificate of title. Such proof was not enough, because the registration of a piece of land under the Torrens system did not create or vest title, such registration not being a mode of acquiring ownership. The petitioners need to be reminded that a certificate of title is merely an evidence of ownership or title over the particular property described therein. Its issuance in favor of a particular person does not foreclose the possibility that the real property may be co-owned with persons not named in the certificate, or that it may be held in trust for another person by the registered owner. Teofisto Oo, et al. vs. Vicente N. Lim, G.R. No. 154270, March 9, 2010 Preponderance of evidence; how determined. Petitioners heavily rely on Jimmys testimony. But that testimony is just one piece of evidence against respondent. It must be considered and weighed along with petitioners other evidence vis--vis respondents contrary evidence. In civil cases, the party having the burden of proof must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence. Preponderance of evidence is the weight, credit, and value of the a ggregate evidence on either side and is usually considered synonymous with the term greater weight of the evidence or greater weight of the credible evidence. Preponderance of evidence is a phrase that, in the last analysis, means probability of the truth. It is evidence that is more convincing to t he court as worthy of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto. Rule 133, Section 1 of the Rules of Court provides the guidelines in determining preponderance of evidence, thus: SECTION I. Preponderance of evidence, how determined. In civil cases, the party having burden of proof must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence. In determining where the preponderance or superior weight of evidence on the issues involved lies, the court may consider all the facts and circumstances of the case, the witnesses manner of testifying, their intelligence, their means and opportunity of knowing the facts to which they are testifying, the nature of the facts to which they testify, the probability or improbability of their testimony, their interest or want of interest, and also their personal credibility so far as the same may legitimately appear upon the trial. The court may also consider the number of witnesses, though the preponderance is not necessarily with the greater number. Heirs of Jose Lim, represented by Elenito Lim vs. Juliet Villa Lim, G.R. No. 172690, March 3, 2010 Presumptions; entries in public record. The memorandum of the DOJ special committee also cited only the affidavits of Soliman and Peralta and then concluded that the evidence presented before the Senate Committees had overcome the presumption that the entries in the certificate of live birth of Quintos are prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. We agree with the Court of Appeals that while the affidavits of Soliman and Peralta might have cast doubt on the validity of Quintos certificate of live birth, such certificate remains valid unless declared invalid by competent authority. The rule stands that (d)ocuments consisting of entries in public records made in the performance of a duty by a public officer are prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. x x

x. We further sustain the Court of Appeals that there could be reasons why the Quintoses and Tomedas were not included in the census, such as they could have been mere transients in the place. As for their absence in the masters list of voters, they could have failed to register themselves as voters. The late registration of Quintos certificate of live birth was made 10 years after her birth and not anytime near the filing of respondents petition for recognition as Filipino citizen. As such, it could not be presumed that the certificates late filing was meant to use it fraudulently. Finally, the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs itself attested that as of 14 July 1999, Quintos has not been granted Australian citizenship. Respondent submitted a certified true copy of Quintos Australian certificate of registration of alien, indicating her nationality as Filipino. These pieces of evidence should prevail over the affidavits submitted by Soliman and Peralta to the Senate Committees. Department of Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez, et al. vs. Michael Alfio Pennisi, G.R. No. 169958, March 5, 2010 Presumptions; presumption of authenticity and due execution of notarial document overcome by clear and convincing evidnce. It is true that a notarial document is considered evidence of the facts expressed therein. A notarized document enjoys a prima facie presumption of authenticity and due execution and only clear and convincing evidence will overcome such legal presumption. However, such clear and convincing evidence is present here. While it is true that the SPA was notarized, it is no less true that there were defects in the notarization which mitigate against a finding that the SPA was either genuine or duly executed. Curiously, the details of Manuels Community Tax Certificate are conspicuously absent, yet Marthas are complete. The absence of Manuels data supports his claim that he did not execute the same and that his signature thereon is a forgery. Moreover, we have Manuels positive testimony that he n ever signed the SPA, in addition to the expert testimony that the signature appearing on the SPA was not Manuels true signature. Titan Construction Corporation vs. Manuel A. David, Sr. and Martha S. David, G.R. No. 169548, March 15, 2010 Presumptions; regularity in performance of official function. The key to resolving the petitions lies in the validity of the Pagadian case execution sale. The presumption of regularity in the performance of official function here applies. Conformably, any party alleging irregularities vitiating an auction sale must come forward with clear and convincing proof. In G.R. No. 176123, FPC has not discharged its burden of proof. Apart from its bare allegations, it has not come forward with any evidence, let alone a clear and convincing one, of non-compliance with the requirement of a minimum of five days prior notice of sale of property on execution. Hence, in the absence of contrary evidence, the presumption prevails that the sheriff performed his official duty of posting the notices of sale within the reglementary period. In finding otherwise, the Manila RTC placed the burden of proof on the sheriff without jurisprudential basis. Jose Cabaral Tiu vs. First Plywood Corporation/Jose Cabaral Tiu vs. Timber Exports, Inc. Angel Domingo, Country Bankers Ins. Corp., Perfecto Mondarte, Jr. and Cesar Dacal, G.R. No. 176123/G.R. No. 185265, March 10, 2010 Presumptions; regularity of notarized documents. Notarized documents, like the deed in question [i.e., Sale and Transfer of Rights over a Portion of a Parcel of Land], enjoy the presumption of regularity which can be overturned only by clear, convincing and more than merely preponderant evidence. This petitioner failed to discharge. Flordeliza Emilio vs. Bilma Rapal, G.R. No. 181855, March 30, 2010, G.R. No. 181855, March 30, 2010 Presumption; regularity of tax declaration indicating assessed value of property. Significantly, the Technical Report on Verification Survey by Engineer Robert C. Pangyarihan, which was attached to and formed part of the records, contained a tax declaration indicating that the subject property has an assessed value of P110,220.00. It is basic that the tax declaration indicating the assessed value of the property enjoys the presumption of regularity as it has been issued by the proper government agency. Honorio Bernardo vs. Heirs of Eusebio Villegas, G.R. No. 183357, March 15, 2010 G.R. No. 183357, March 15, 2010

Here are select February 2013 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on remedial law:

Civil Procedure

Actions; cause of action; elements; failure to state a cause of action is ground for dismissal. A complaint states a cause of action if it avers the existence of the three essential elements of a cause of action, namely: (a) The legal right of the plaintiff;

(b)

The correlative obligation of the defendant and

(c)

The act or omission of the defendant in violation of said legal right.

If the allegations in the complaint do not aver the concurrence of these elements, the complaint becomes vulnerable to a motion to dismiss on the ground of failure to state a cause of. A perusal of the Amended Complaint in the present case would show that there is, indeed, no allegation of any act or omission on the part of respondents which supposedly violated the legal rights of petitioners. Thus, the CA is correct in dismissing the complaint on the ground of failure to state a cause of action. Padilla Mercado, Zulueta Mercado, et al. v. Spouses Aguedo Espina and Lourdes Espina; G.R. No. 173987. February 25, 2013 Actions; moot and academic principle. Verily, in Gancho-on v. Secreatry of Labor and Employment,the Court emphatically stated that: It is a rule of universal application, almost, that courts of justice constituted to pass upon substantial rights will not consider questions in which no actual interests are involved; they decline jurisdiction of moot cases. And where the issue has become moot and academic, there is no justiciable controversy, so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value. There is no actual substantial relief to which petitioners would be entitled and which would be negated by the dismissal of the petition.

Applying the above pronouncement, there was no justiciable controversy anymore in the instant petition in view of the expiration of the Compromise Agreement sought to be enforced. There was no longer any purpose in determining whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the RTC Orders dated October 31, 2001 and April 10, 2002 since any declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value. By the very admission of PLDT, it can no longer be compelled to undo its act of blocking the telecommunication calls and data from the Philippines to Hong Kong passing through the REACH-ETPI circuits since, effectively, there were no more circuits to speak of.

Clearly, any decision of this Court on the present petition, whether it be an affirmance or a reversal of the Amended Decision of the Court of Appeals, would be equivalent in effect to an affirmance or an invalidation of the challenged Orders of the RTC. But as can be gleaned from the above discussion, and as succinctly put by PLDT in its Memorandum, there is nothing more for the RTC to enforce and/or act upon. As such, any discussion on the matter would be a mere surplusage.Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, Inc. v. Eastern Telecom Philippines; G.R. No. 163037. February 6, 2013 Actions; moot and academic principle; nature and exceptions. A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value. Although the controversy could have ceased due to the intervening appointment of and assumption by Cadiz as the Solicitor General during the pendency of this suit, and such cessation of the controversy seemingly rendered moot and academic the resolution of the issue of the constitutionality of the concurrent holding of the two positions by Agra, the Court should still go forwards and resolve the issue and not abstain from exercising its power of judicial review because this case comes under several of the well-recognized exceptions obtained, namely: (1) there was a grave violation of the Constitution; (2) the case involved a situation of exceptional character and was of paramount public interest; (3) the constitutional issue raised required the formulation of controlling principles to guide the Bench, the Bar and the public; (4) the case was capable of repetition, yet evading review. It is the same here. The constitutionality of the concurrent holding by Agra of the two positions in the Cabinet, albeit in acting capacities, was as issue that comes under all the recognized exceptions. The issue involves a probable violation of the Constitution, and relates to a situation of exceptional character and of

paramount public interest by reason of its transcendental importance to the people. The resolution of the issue will also be of the greatest value to the Bench and the Bar in view of the broad powers wielded through said positions. The situation further calls for the review because the situation is capable of repetition, yet evading review. In other words, many important and practical benefits are still to be gained were the Court to proceed the ultimate resolution of the constitutional issue posed. Dennis A.B. Funa v. Acting Secretary of Justice Alberto C. Agra, etc., et al.; G.R. No. 191644. February 19, 2013 Actions; separate trials; exception to the general rule; rationale. The rule on separate trials in civil actions is found in Section 2, Rule 31 of the Rules of Court, which reads: Section 2. Separate trials. The court, in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice, may order a separate trial of any claim, cross-claim, counterclaim, or third-party complaint, or of any separate issue or of any number of claims, cross-claims, counterclaims, third-party complaints or issues.

The text of the rule grants to the trial court the discretion to determine if a separate trial of any claim, cross-claim, counterclaim, or third-party complaint, or of any separate issue or of any number of claims, cross-claims, counterclaims, third-party complaints or issues should be held, provided that the exercise of such discretion is in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice to any party.

The rule is almost identical with Rule 42(b) of the United States Federal Rules of Civil Procedure(Federal Rules), a provision that governs separate trials in the United States Federal Courts (US Federal Courts), x x x.

The US Federal Courts have applied Rule 42(b) by using several principles and parameters whose application in this jurisdiction may be warranted because our rule on separate trials has been patterned after the original version of Rule 42(b). There is no obstacle to adopting such principles and parameters as guides in the application of our own rule on separate trials. This is because, generally speaking, the Court has randomly accepted the practices in the US Courts in the elucidation and application of our own rules of procedure that have themselves originated form or been inspired by the practice and procedure in the Federal Courts and the various US State Courts.

xxx

Bearing in mind the foregoing principles and parameters defined by the relevant US case law, we conclude that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of its discretion in ordering a separate trial as to Asian Bank (Metrobank) on the ground that the issue against Asian Bank was distinct and separate from that against the original defendants. Thereby, the Sandiganbayan veered away from the general rule of having all the issues in every case tried at one time, unreasonably shunting aside the dictum in Corrigan, supra, that a single trial will generally lessen the delay, expense, and inconvenience to the parties and the courts.

Exceptions to the general rule are permitted only when there are extraordinary grounds for conducting separate trials on different issues raised in the same case, or when separate trials of the issues will avoid prejudice, or when separate trials of the issues will further convenience, or when separate trials of the issues will promote justice, or when separate trials of the issues will give a fair trial to all parties. Otherwise, the general rule must apply. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, as successor-in-interest of Asian Bank Corporation v. Hon. Edilberto G. Sandoval, et al.; G.R. No. 169677. February 18, 2013 Appeals; issues raised for first time on appeal and not raised in proceedings in lower court are barred by estoppel. As to the first issue, there is no dispute that the issue of timeliness of respondents Motion to Dismiss petitioners Amended Complaint was not raised by petitioners before the RTC. Neither was this issue raised in their Comment to respondents petition forcertiorari filed with the CA. It was only in their Motion for Reconsideration of the CA Decision that this matter was raised. It is well established that issues raised for the first time on appeal and not raised in the proceedings in the lower court are barred by estoppel. Points of law, theories, issues and arguments not brought to the attention of the trial court ought not to be considered by a reviewing court, as these cannot be raised for the first

time on appeal. Basic considerations of due process impel the adoption of this rule. Padilla Mercado, Zulueta Mercado, et al. v. Spouses Aguedo Espina and Lourdes Espina; G.R. No. 173987. February 25, 2013 Contempt; distinction between criminal and civil contempt. In People v. Godoy, this Court made a distinction between criminal and civil contempt. The Court declared: A criminal contempt is conduct that is directed against the dignity and authority of the court or judge acting judicially; it is an act obstructing the administration of justice which tends to bring the court into disrepute or disrespect. On the other hand, civil contempt consists in failing to do something ordered to be done by a court in a civil action for the benefit of the opposing party therein and is, therefore, an offense against the party in whose behalf the violated order is made.

A criminal contempt, being directed against the dignity and authority of the court, is an offense against organized society and, in addition, is also held to be an offense against public justice which raises an issue between the public and the accused, and the proceedings to punish it are punitive. On the other hand, the proceedings to punish a civil contempt are remedial and for the purpose of the preservation of the right of private persons. It has been held that civil contempt is neither a felony nor a misdemeanor, but a power of the court.

It has further been stated that intent is a necessary element in criminal contempt, and that no one can be punished for a criminal contempt unless the evidence makes it cleat that he intended to commit it. On the contrary, there is authority indicating that since the purpose of civil contempt proceedings is remedial, the defendants intent in committing the contempt is immaterial. Hence, good faith or the absence of intent to violate the courts order is not a defense in civil contempt.Philip Sigrid A. Fortun v. Prima Jesusa B. Quinsayas, et al.; G.R. No. 194578. February 13, 2013 Contempt; contempt akin to libel and principle of privileged communication may be invoked in contempt proceeding. In People v. Castelo, the Court ruled that contempt is akin to libel and that the principle of privileged communication may be invoked in a contempt proceeding. The Court ruled: While the present case involves an incident of contempt the same is akin to a case of libel for both constitute limitations upon freedom of the press or freedom of expression guaranteed by our Constitution. So what is considered a privilege in one may likewise be considered in the other. The same safeguard should be extended to one whether anchored in freedom of the press or freedom of expression. Therefore, this principle regarding privileged communications can also be invoked in favor of the appellant.

Philip Sigrid A. Fortun v. Prima Jesusa B. Quinsayas, et al.; G.R. No. 194578. February 13, 2013 Execution; execution pending appeal; not a bar the continuance of the appeal on the merits. First of all, as held in Legaspi v. Ong, [e]xecution pending appeal does not bar the continuance of the appeal on the merits, for the Rules of Court precisely provides for restitution according to equity in case the executed judgment is reversed on appeal. O. Ventanilla Enterprises Corporation v. Adelina S. Tan and Sheriff Reynante G. Velasquez, Presiding Judge; G.R. No. 180325. February 20, 2013 Execution; execution of RTC judgment does not automatically mean that issues on appeal have become moot and academic; Moot and academic principle. Moreover, even assuming that the writ of execution in the instant case were not void, the execution of the RTC judgment cannot be considered as a supervening event that would automatically moot the issues in the appealed case for accion publiciana, which is pending before the CA. otherwise, there would be no use appealing a judgment, once a writ of execution is issued and satisfied. That situation would be absurd. On the contrary, the Rules of Court in fact provides for cases of reversal or annulment of an executed judgment. Section 5 of Rule 39 provides that in those cases, there should be restitution or reparation as warranted by justice and equity. Therefore, barring any supervening event, there is still the possibility of the appellate co urts reversal of the appealed decision even if already executed and, consequently, of a restitution or a reparation.

In any case, the issues in the appealed case for accion publiciana cannot, in any way, be characterized as moot and academic. In Osmena III v. Social Security System of the Philippines, we defined a moot and academic case or issue as follows:

A case or issue is considered not and academic when it ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that an adjudication of the case or adeclaration on the issue would be of no practical value or use. In such instance, there is no actual substantial relief which a petitioner would be entitled to, and which would be negated by the dismissal of the petition. Courts generally decline jurisdiction over such case or dismiss it on the ground of mootness save when, among others, a compelling constitutional issue raised requires the formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public; or when the case is capable of repetition yet evading judicial review.

Applying the above definition to the instant case, it is obvious that there remains an unresolved justiciable controversy in the appealed case for accion publiciana. In particular, did respondent-spouses Oria really encroach on the land of the petitioner? If they did, does he have the right to recover possession of the property? Furthermore, without preempting the disposition of the case for accion publiciana pending before the CA, we note that if the respondents built structures on the subject land, and if they were builders in good faith they would be entitled to appropriate rights under the Civil Code. This Court merely points out that there are still issues that the CA needs to resolve in the appealed case before it. Macario Diaz Carpio v. Court of Appeals, spouses Gelacio G. Gloria and Marcelina Pre Oria; G.R. No. 183102. February 27, 2013 Execution; effects of void writ of execution; requirement of good reason in execution pending appeal. In any case, proceed to rule that because the writ of execution was void, all actions and proceedings conducted pursuant to it were also void and of no legal effect. To recall, this Court affirmed the Decision of the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 84632, annulling the RTCs Omnibus Order granting the Motion for Immediate Execution pending appeal. We affirmed the CA Decision because of the RTCs failure to state any reason, much less good reason, for the issuance thereof as required under Section 2 , Rule 39. In the exercise by the trial court of its discretionary power to issue a writ of execution pending appeal, we emphasize the need for strict compliance with the requirement for the statement of good reason, because execution pending appeal is the exception rather than the rule. Since the writ of execution was manifestly void for having been issued without compliance with the rules, it is without any legal effect. In other words, it is as if no writ was issued at all. Consequently, all actions taken pursuant to the void writ of execution must be deemed to have not been taken and to have had no effect. Otherwise, the Court would be sanctioning a violation of the right of due process of the judgment debtors respondent-spouses herein. Macario Diaz Carpio v. Court of Appeals, spouses Gelacio G. Gloria and Marcelina Pre Oria; G.R. No. 183102. February 27, 2013 Hierarchy of courts; exceptions. Second, while the principle of hierarchy of courts does indeed require that recourse should be made to the lower courts before they are made to the higher courts, this principle is not an absolute rule and admits of certain exceptions under well-defined circumstances. In several cases, we have allowed direct invocation of this Courts original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari on the ground of special and important reasons clearly stated in the petition; when dictated by public welfare and the advancement of public policy; when demanded by the broader interest of justice; when the challenged orders were patent nullities; or when analogous exceptional and compelling circumstances called for and justified our immediate and direct handling of the case. Republic of the Philippines v. Hon. Ramon S. Caguioa, etc., et al.;G.R. No. 174385. February 20, 2013 Judgments; immutability of judgments. The issue on the nullity of Maniegos title had already been foreclosed when this Court denied Maniegos petition for review in the Resolution dated 13 July 2011, which became final and executory on 19 January 2012. It is settled that a decision that has acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable and may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact or law and whether it will be made by the court that rendered it or by the highest court of the land. This is without prejudice, however, to the right of Maniego to recover from Poblete what he paid to Kapantay for the account of Poblete, otherwise there will be unjust enrichment by Poblete. Land Bank of the Philippines v. Barbara Sampaga Poblete; G.R. No. 196577. February 25, 2013

Judgments; pro hac vice; nature. Petitioners point out that this Court has had occasion to grant a motion for new trial after the judgment of conviction had become final and executory. In People v. Licayan, all the accused were convicted of the crime of kidnapping for ransom and sentenced to death by the trial court. More than two years after their conviction became final and executory, the accused Lara and Licayan filed an Urgent Motion to Re-Open the Case with Leave of Court. They attached thereto the Sinumpaang Salaysay executed by two of their co-accused in the case, to the effect that Lara and Licayan had not participated in the commission of the crime. Since the OSG also recommended the opening of the case, this Court remanded the case to the trial court for the reception of newly discovered evidence. It is worth pointing that the motion in Licayan was granted pro hac vice, which is a Latin term used by courts to refer to rulings rendered for this one partic ular occasion. A ruling expressly qualified as such cannot be relied upon as a precedent to govern other cases. Reynante Tadeja, et al. v. People of the Philippines; G.R. No. 145336. February 20, 2013 Judgments; void judgment; nature and effect; may be resisted in any action or proceeding. A void judgment or order has no legal and binding effect, force or efficacy for any purpose. In contemplation of law, it is non-existent. Such judgment or order may be resisted in any action or proceeding whenever it is involved. It is not even necessary to take any steps to vacate or avoid a void judgment or final order; it may simply be ignored. xxx

Accordingly, a void judgment is no judgment at all. It cannot be the source of any right nor of any obligation. All acts performed pursuant to it and all claims emanating from it have no legal effect. Hence, it can never become final, and any writ of execution based on it is void: x x x it may be said to be a lawless thing which can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever it exhibits its head. Land Bank of the Philippines v. Spouses Placido and Clara Dy Orilla; G.R. No. 194168. February 13, 2013 Liberal construction of the rules. In many instances, the Court adopted a policy of liberally construing its rules in order to promote a just, speedy, and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding. The rules can be suspended on the following grounds: (1) matters of life, liberty, honor or property, (2) the existence of special or compelling circumstances, (3) the merits of the case, (4) a cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of the rules, (5) a lack of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory, and (6) the other party will not be unjustly prejudiced thereby. Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Director Nonnatus R. Rojas and Deputy Director Reynaldo O. Esmeralda v. Magtanggol B. Gatdula; G.R. No. 204528. February 19, 2013 Motions; notice and hearing requirements; effect of non-compliance; notice requirement in the issuance of preliminary injunction. A motion for intervention, like any other motion, has to comply with the mandatory requirements of notice and hearing, as well as proof of its service, save only for those that the courts can act upon without prejudice to the rights of the other parties. A motion which fails to comply with these requirements is a worthless piece of paper that cannot and should not be acted upon. xxx

The notice requirement is even more mandatory when the movant asks for the issuance of a preliminary injunction and/or a TRO. Under Section 5, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court, no preliminary injunction shall be granted without a hearing and without prior notice to the party sought to be enjoined, the prior notice under this requirement is as important as the hearing, as no hearing can meaningfully take place, with both parties present or represented, unless a prior notice of the hearing is given. Republic of the Philippines v. Hon. Ramon S. Caguioa, etc., et al.; G.R. No. 174385. February 20, 2013 Motions; motion to dismiss; defenses and objections not pleaded either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer are deemed waived; exceptions. Under Section 1, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court, defenses and objections not pleaded in the answer are deemed waived, with the following exceptions: (1) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter; (2) litis pendentia; (3) res judicata; and (4) prescription of the action. Clearly, petitioner cannot change its defense after the termination of the period

of testimony and after the exhibits of both parties have already been admitted by the court. The non-inclusion of this belated defense in the pre-trial order barred its consideration during the trial. To rule otherwise would put the adverse party at a disadvantage since he could no longer offer evidence to rebut the new theory. Indeed, parties are bound by the delimitation of issues during the pre-trial. Licomcen, Inc. v. Engr. Salvador Abainza, etc.; G.R. No. 199781. February 18, 2013 New trial; newly-discovered evidence; requisites. Petitioners premise their motion for a new trial on the ground of newly-discovered evidence, i.e. Plaridels extrajudicial confession, executed with the assistance of Atty. Cirilo Tejoso, Jr., and the spot report of the police on Plaridels apprehension. Newly discovered evidence refers to that which (a) is discovered after trial; (b) could not have been discovered and produced at the trial even with the exercise of reasonable diligence; (c) is material, not merely cumulative, corroborative or impeaching; and (d) is of such weight that it would probably change the judgment if admitted.

The most important requisite is that the evidence could not have been discovered and produced at the trial even with reasonable diligence; hence, the term newlydiscovered. The confession of Plaridel does not meet this requisite. He participated in the trial before the RTC and even ga ve testimony as to his defense. It was only after he and petitioners had been convicted by the trial court that he absconded. Thus, the contention that his confession could not have been obtained during trial does not hold water. Reynante Tadeja, et al. v. People of the Philippines; G.R. No. 145336. February 20, 2013] Parties; duty of party to inform court of counsels death. The Court strikes down the argument that the CA Decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 58817 did not attain finality because petitioners counsel, who died while the case was pending before the CA, was unable to receive a copy thereof. The CA was correct in ruling that there is no extraordinary circumstance in this case that would merit a recall of the entry of judgment to reopen the case. The reason given by petitioner, that its former counsel had died before the CA Decision was promulgated, hence, it was not properly notified of the judgment, is too tenuous to be given serious consideration. In Mojar, et al. v. Agro Commercial Security Service Agency, Inc., the Court explained that it is the partys duty to inform the court of its counsels demise, and failure to apprise the court of such fact shall be considered negligence on the part of said party. Expounding further, the Court stated: x x x It is not the duty of the courts to inquire, during the progress of a case, whether the law firm or partnership representing one of the litigants continues to exist lawfully, whether the partners are still alive, or whether its associates are still connected with the firm.

x x x They cannot pass the blame to the court, which is not tasked to monitor the changes in the circumstances of the parties and their counsel. x x x x

In Ampo v. Court of Appeals, this Court explained the vigilance that must be exercise by a party:

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Litigants who are represented by counsel should not expect that all they need to do is sit back, relax and await the outcome of their cases. Relief will not be granted to a party who seeks avoidance from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy at law was due to his own negligence. The circumstances of this case plainly show that petitioner only has himself to blame. Neither can he invoke due process. The essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard. Due process is satisfied when the parties are afforded a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their respective sides of the controversy. Where a party, such as petitioner, was afforded this opportunity to participate but failed to do so, he cannot complain of deprivation of due process. If said opportunity is not availed of, it is deemed waived or forfeited without violating the constitutional guarantee.

Thus, for failure of petitioner to notify the CA if the death of its counsel of record and have said counsel substituted, then service of the CA Decision at the places or law office designated by its counsel of record as his address, is sufficient notice. The case then became final and executory when no motion for reconsideration

was filed within the reglementary period therefor. O. Ventanilla Enterprises Corporation v. Adelina S. Tan and Sheriff Reynante G. Velasquez, Presiding Judge; G.R. No. 180325. February 20, 2013 Partition; stages; requisites. The first stage in an action for partition is the settlement of the issue of ownership. Such an addition will not lie if the claimant has no rightful interest in the subject property. In fact, the parties filing the action are required by the Rules of Court to set forth in their complaint the nature and the extent of their title to the property. It would be premature to effect a partition until and unless the question of ownership is first definitely resolved. Carolina (Carlina) Vda. De Figuracion, et al. v. Emilia Figuracion-Gerilla; G.R. No. 151334. February 13, 2013] Petition for review on certiorari (Rule 45); issues not raised before the courts a quo cannot be raised for the first time on appeal; rationale for the rule; exceptions. The inconsistent postures taken by the petitioners breach the basic procedural tenet that a party cannot change his theory on appeal as expressly adopted in Rule 44, Section 15 of the Rules of Court, which reads: Sec 15. Questions that may be raised on appeal. whether or not the appellant has filed a motion for new trial in the court below, he may include in his assignment of errors any question of law or fact that has been raised in the court below and which is within the issues framed by the parties.

Fortifying the rule, the Court had repeatedly emphasized that defenses not pleaded in the answer may not be raised for the first time on appeal. When a party deliberately adopts a certain theory and the case is decided upon that theory in the court below, he will not be permitted to change the same on appeal, because to permit to do so would be unfair to the adverse party. The Court had likewise, in numerous times, affirmed that points of law, theories, issues and arguments not brought to the attention of the lower court need not be, and ordinarily will not be, considered by a reviewing court, as these cannot be raised for the first time at such late stage. Basic considerations of due process underlie this rule. It would be unfair to the adverse party who would have no opportunity to present further evidence material to the new theory, which it could have done had it been aware of it at the time of the hearing before the trial court.

While a party may change his theory on appeal when the factual bases thereof would not require presentation of any further evidence by the adverse party in order to enable it to properly meet the issue raised in the new theory, this exception does not, however, obtain in the case at hand.Carolina (Carlina) Vda. De Figuracion, et al. v. Emilia Figuracion-Gerilla; G.R. No. 151334. February 13, 2013 Petition for review on certiorari (Rule 45); questions of fact generally not reviewable; exceptions; difference between question of fact and question of law. We note that the matters raised by petitioner ATI involve questions of fact which are generally not reviewable in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, as the Court is not a trier of facts. Section 1 thereof provides that [t]he petition x x x shall raise only questions of law, which must be distinctly set forth. A question of law exists when the doubt or controversy concerns the correct application of law or jurisprudence to a certain set of facts; or when the issued does not call for an examination of the probative value of evidence presented, the truth or falsehood of facts being admitted. A question of fact exists when the doubt or difference arises as to the truth or falsehood of facts or when the query invites calibration of the whole evidence considering mainly the credibility of the witnesses, the existence and relevancy of specific surrounding circumstances as well as their relation to each other and to the whole, and the probability of the situation.

The well-entrenched rule in our jurisdiction is that only questions of law may be entertained by this Court in a petition for review on certiorari. This rule, however, is not ironclad and admits certain exceptions, such as when (1) the conclusion is grounded on speculations, surmises, or conjectures; (2) the inference is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) there is no citation of specific evidence on which the factual findings are based; 7) the findings of absence of facts are contradicted by the presence of evidence on record; (8) the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court; (9) the findings of the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant and undisputed facts that, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion; (10) the findings of the Court of Appeals are beyond the

issues of the case; and (11) such findings are contrary to the admissions of both parties. Asian Terminals, Inc. v. Simon Enterprises, Inc.; G.R. No. 177116. February 27, 2013 Petition for review on certiorari (Rule 45); only questions of law may be raised. A petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court specifically provides that only questions of law may be raised, subject to exceptional circumstances which are not present in this case. Hence, factual findings of the trial court, especially if affirmed by the CA, are binding on us. In this case, both the RTC and the CA found that the signatures of Poblete and her deceased husband in the Deed dated 11 August 2000 were forged by Maniego. In addition, the evidence is preponderant that Maniego did not pay the consideration for the sale. Since the issue on the genuineness of the Deed dated 11 August 2000 is essentially a question of fact, we are not duty-bound to analyze and weigh the evidence again. Land Bank of the Philippines v. Barbara Sampaga Poblete; G.R. No. 196577. February 25, 2013 Petition for review on certiorari (Rule 45); resolves only questions of law, not questions of fact. We stress the settled rule that a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court resolves only questions of law, not questions of fact. A question, to be one of law, must not examine the probative value of the evidence presented by the parties; otherwise, the question is one of fact. Whether an express trust exists in this case is a question of fact whose resolution is not proper in a petition under Rule 45. Joseph Goyanko, Jr., as administrator of the Estate of Joseph Goyanko, Sr. v. United Coconut Planters Bank, Mango Avenue Branch; G.R. No. 179096. February 6, 2013 Petition for review on certiorari (Rule 45); change of theory on appeal generally not allowed.Second, we find that the petitioner changed the theory of his case. The petitioner argued before the lower courts that an express trust exists between PALII as the trustee and the HEIRS as the trustor-beneficiary. The petitioner now asserts that the express trust exists between PALII as the trustor and UCPB as the trustee, with the HEIRS as the beneficiaries. At this stage of the case, such change of theory is simply not allowed as it violates basic rules of fair play, justice and due process. Our rulings are clear a party who deliberately adopts a certain theory upon which the case was decided by the lower court will not be permitted to change [it] on appeal, otherwise, the lower courts will effectively be deprived of the opportunity to decide on the merits of the case fairly. Besides, courts of justice are devoid of jurisdiction to resolve a question not in issue. Joseph Goyanko, Jr., as administrator of the Estate of Joseph Goyanko, Sr. v. United Coconut Planters Bank, Mango Avenue Branch; G.R. No. 179096. February 6, 2013 Pleadings; amended complaint; nature. Moreover, respondents filing of their Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint may not be considered as a circumvention of the rules of procedure. Under Section 8, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court, an amended complaint supersedes an original one. As a consequence, the original complaint is deemed withdrawn and no longer considered part of the record. In the present case, the Amended Complaint is, thus, treated as an entirely new complaint. As such, respondents had every right to move for the dismissal of the said Amended Complaint. Were it not for the filing of the said Motion, respondents would not have been able to file a petition for certiorari before the CA which, in turn, rendered the presently assailed judgment in their favor. Padilla Mercado, Zulueta Mercado, et al. v. Spouses Aguedo Espina and Lourdes Espina; G.R. No. 173987. February 25, 2013 Service of Pleadings; petition should be served on counsel of party; effect of service on party represented by counsel of record; exceptions. Lastly, under our rules of procedure, service of the petition on a party, when the party is represented by a counsel of record, is a patent nullity and is not binding upon the party wrongfully served. This rule, however, is a procedural standard that may admit of exceptions when faced with compelling reasons of substantive justice manifest in the petition and in the surrounding circumstances of the case. Procedural rules can bow to substantive considerations through a liberal construction aimed at promoting their objective of securing a just, speedy, and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding. Republic of the Philippines v. Hon. Ramon S. Caguioa, etc., et al.; G.R. No. 174385. February 20, 2013 Special civil action for certiorari (Rule 65); reglementary period. First, we find that the present petition was filed within the reglementary period. Contrary to the private respondents position, the 60-day period within which to file the petition for certiorari is counted from the Republics receipt of the July 5, 2006 order denying the latters motion for reconsideration. Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is clear on this point In case a motion for reconsideration or new trial is timely filed, whether such motion is required or not, the sixty (60) day period shall be counted from notice of the denial of said motion. Republic of the Philippines v. Hon. Ramon S. Caguioa, etc., et al.; G.R. No. 174385. February 20, 2013

Special civil action for certiorari (Rule 65); requisites. The following requisites must concur for a Petition for Certiorari to prosper, namely: (a) The writ is directed against a tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions;

(b) Such tribunal, board, or officer has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and

(c) There is no appeal or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.Salvacion Villanueva, et al. v. Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, etc., et al.; G.R. No. 178347. February 25, 2013 Special Proceedings

Writ of amparo; nature; special proceeding. The remedy of the Writ of Amparo is an equitable and extraordinary remedy to safeguard the right of the people to life, liberty and security as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. The Rule on the Writ of Amparo was issued as an exercise of the Supreme Courts power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights. It aims to address concerns such as, among others, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. xxx

It is clear from this rule that this type of summary procedure only applies to MTC/MTCC/MCTCs. It is mind-boggling how this rule could possibly apply to proceedings in an RTC. Aside from that, this Court limited the application of summary procedure to certain civil and criminal cases. A writ ofAmparo is a special proceeding. It is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right or particular fact. It is not a civil nor a criminal action, hence, the application of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure is seriously misplaced. Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Director Nonnatus R. Rojas and Deputy Director Reynaldo O. Esmeralda v. Magtanggol B. Gatdula; G.R. No. 204528. February 19, 2013 Writ of amparo; procedure. Due to the delicate and urgent nature of these controversies, the procedure was devised to afford swift but decisive relief. It is initiated through a petition to be filed in a Regional Trial Court, Sandiganbayan, the Court of Appeals, or the Supreme Court. The judge or justice then makes an immediate evaluation of the facts as alleged in the petition and the affidavits submitted with the attendant circumstances detailed. After evaluation, the judge has the option to issue the Writ of Amparo or immediately dismiss the case. Dismissal is proper if the petition and the supporting affidavits do not show that the petitioners right to lie liberty or security is under threat or the acts complained of ar e not unlawful. On the other hand, the issuance of the writ itself sets in motion presumptive judicial protection for the petitioner. The court compels the respondents to appear before a court of law to show whether the grounds for more permanent protection and interim relies are necessary. The respondents are required to file a Return after the issuance of the writ through the clerk of court. The Return serves as the responsive pleading to the petition. Unlike an Answer, the Return has other purposes aside form identifying the issues in the case, Respondents are also required to detail the actions they had taken to determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party.

If the respondents are public officials or employees, they are also required to state the actions they had taken to: (i) verify the identity of the aggrieved party; (ii) recover and preserve evidence related to the death or disappearance of the person identified in the petition; (iii) identify witnesses and obtain statements concerning the death or disappearance; (iv) determine the cause, manner, location, and time of death or disappearance as well as any patter or practice that may have brought about the death or disappearance; and (v) bring the suspected offenders before a competent court. Clearly these matters are important to the judge so that s/he can calibrate the means and methods that will be required to further the protections, if any, that will be due to the petitioner.

There will be a summary hearing only after the Return is filed to determine the merits of the petition and whether interim reliefs are warranted. If the Return is not filed, the hearing will be done ex parte. After the hearing, the court will render the judgment within ten (10) days from the time the petition is submitted for decision.

If the allegations are proven with substantial evidence, the court shall grant the privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper ans appropriate. The judgment should contain measures which the judge views as essential for the continued protection of the petitioner in the Amparo case. These measures must be detailed enough o that the judge may be able to verify and monitor the actions taken by the respondents. It is this judgment that could be subject to appeal to the Supreme Court via Rule 45. After the measures have served their purpose, the judgment will be satisfied. In Amparo cases, this is when the threats to the petitioners life, liberty and security cease to exist as evaluated by the court that renders the judgment. Parenthetically, the case may also be terminated through consolidation should a subsequent case be filed either criminal or civil. Until the full satisfaction of the judgment, the extraordinary remedy of Amparo allows vigilant judicial monitoring to ensure the protection of constitutional rights. Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Director Nonnatus R. Rojas and Deputy Director Reynaldo O. Esmeralda v. Magtanggol B. Gatdula; G.R. No. 204528. February 19, 2013 Writ of Amparo; writ is an interlocutory order. The Decision dated 20 March 2012 assailed by the petitioners could not be the judgment or final order that is appealable under Section 19 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. x x x This Decision pertained to the issuance of the writ under Section 6 of the Rule on the Writ ofAmparo, not the judgment under Section 18. The Decision is thus an interlocutory order, as suggested by the fact that temporary protection, production and inspection orders were given together with the decision. The temporary protection, production and inspection orders are interim reliefs that may be granted by the court upon filing of the petition but before final judgment is rendered. Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Director Nonnatus R. Rojas and Deputy Director Reynaldo O. Esmeralda v. Magtanggol B. Gatdula; G.R. No. 204528. February 19, 2013 Writ of Amparo; the Return is the proper responsive pleading; memorandum is a prohibited pleading. First the insistence on filing an Answer was inappropriate. It is the Return that serves as the responsive pleading for petitions for the issuance of Writs of Amparo. The requirement to file an Answer is contrary to the intention of the Court to provide a speedy remedy to those whose right to life, liberty and security are violated or are threatened to be violated. In utter disregard of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, Judge Pampilo insisted on issuing summons and requiring an Answer. xxx

The Return in Amparo cases allows the respondents to frame the issues subject to a hearing. Hence, it should be done prior to the hearing, not after. A memorandum, on the other hand, is a synthesis of the claims of the party litigants and is a final pleading usually required before the case is submitted for decision. One cannot substitute for the other since these submissions have different functions in facilitating the suit.

More importantly, a memorandum is a prohibited pleading under the Rule on the writ of Amparo.Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Director Nonnatus R. Rojas and Deputy Director Reynaldo O. Esmeralda v. Magtanggol B. Gatdula; G.R. No. 204528. February 19, 2013 Writ of Amparo; difference between the privilege of the Writ of Amparo and the actual order called the Writ of Amparo. The privilege of the Writ of Amparo should be distinguished from the actual order called the Writ of Amparo. The privilege includes the availment of the entire procedure outlined in A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC, the rule on the Writ of Amparo. After examining the petition and its attached affidavits, the Return and the evidence presented in the summary hearing, the judgment should detail the required acts from the respondent that will mitigate, if not totally eradicate, the v iolation of or threat to the petitioners life, liberty or security.

A judgment which simply grants the privilege of the writ cannot be executed. It is tantamount to a failure of the judge to intervene and grant judicial succor to the petitioner. Petitions filed to avail of the privilege of the Writ of Amparo arise out of very real and concrete circumstances. Judicial responses cannot be as tragically symbolic or ritualistic as granting the privilege of the Writ of Amparo. Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Director Nonnatus R. Rojas and Deputy Director Reynaldo O. Esmeralda v. Magtanggol B. Gatdula; G.R. No. 204528. February 19, 2013 Evidence

Administrative proceedings; quantum of proof; substantial evidence. It is well-entrenched that in an administrative proceeding, the quantum of proof required for a finding of guilt is only substantial evidence or such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion and not proof beyond reasonable doubt which requires moral certainty to justify affirmative findings. Office of the Ombudsman v. Rodrigo v. Mapoy and Don Emmanuel R. Regalario; G.R. No. 197299. February 13, 2013] Civil cases; quantum of proof; preponderance of evidence; evidence of fraud. In civil cases, basic is the rule that the party making allegations has the burden of proving them by a preponderance of evidence. Moreover, parties must rely on the strength of their own evidence, not upon the weakness of the defense offered by their proponent. This principle equally holds true, even if the defendant had not been given the opportunity to present evidence because of a default order. The extent of the relief that may be granted can only be as much as has been alleged and proved with preponderant evidence required under Section 1 of Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of Evidence. Preponderance of evidence is the weight, credit and value of the aggregate evidence on either side and is usually considered to be synonymous with the term greater weight of the evidence or greater weight of the credible evidence. Preponderance of evidence is a phrase which, in the last analysis, means probability of the truth. It is evidence which is more convincing to the court as worthier of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto.

As to fraud, the rule is that he who alleges fraud or mistake affecting a transaction must substantiate his allegation, since it is presumed that a person takes ordinary care of his concerns and that private transactions have been fair and regular. The Court has stressed time and again that allegations must be proven by sufficient evidence because mere allegation is definitely not evidence. Moreover, fraud is not presumed it must be proved by clear and convincing evidence.Spouses Nilo Ramos and Eliadora Ramos v. Raul Obispo and Far East Bank and Trust Co.; G.R. No. 193804. February 27, 2013

Here are select January 2013 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on remedial law:

Civil Procedure

Annulment of Judgment; exception to final judgment rule; lack of due process as additional ground. A petition for Annulment of Judgment under Rule 47 of the Rules of Court is a remedy granted only under exceptional circumstances where a party, without fault on his part, has failed to avail of the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies. Said rule explicitly provides that it is not available as a substitute for a remedy which was lost due to the partys own neglect in promptly availing of the same. The underlying reason is traceable to the notion that annulling final judgments goes against the grain of finality of judgment, litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is essential to an affective administration of justice that once a judgment has become final, the issue or cause involved therein should be laid to rest. While under Section 2, Rule 47 of the Rules of Court a Petition for Annulment of Judgment may be based only on the grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction, jurisprudence recognizes lack of due process as additional ground to annul a judgment. In Arcelona v. Court of Appeals, this Court declared that a final and executory judgment may still be set aside if, upon mere inspection thereof, its patent nullity can be shown for having been issued without jurisdiction or for lack

of due process of law. Leticia Diona, represented by her Attorney-in-fact, Marcelina Diona v. Romeo Balangue, Sonny Balangue, Reynaldo Balangue, and Esteban Balangue, Jr.; G.R. No. 173559. January 7, 2013 Appeal; filing of motion for extension of time to file motion for reconsideration in CA does not toll fifteen-day period to appeal; rule suspended in exceptional cases to serve substantial justice. The assailed CA resolution upheld the general rule that the filing of a motion for reconsideration in the CA does not toll the fifteen-day period to appeal, citing Habaluyas Enterprises, Inc. v. Japson.However, in previous cases we suspended this rule in order to serve substantial justice. In Barnes v. Padilla, we exempted from the operation of the general rule the petitioner whose motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration was denied by the CA. In the Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration of our Decision dated September 30, 2004, we held that:

A suspension of the Rules is warranted in this case since the procedural infirmity was not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence o f the petitioner. Petitioners counsel was understandably confused with the absence of an explicit prohibition in the 2002 Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals (IRCA) that the period of filing a motion for reconsideration is non-extendible, which was expressly stated in the Revised Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals that was in effect prior to the IRCA. The lawyers negligence without any participatory negligence on the part of the petitioner is a sufficient reason to set aside the resolution of the CA.

More significantly, a careful study of the merits of the case and the lack of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory, dictated the setting aside of the resolutions of the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 69573 and Branch 215 in Civil Case NO. Q-99-37219, as both are patently erroneous. x x x

Furthermore, the private respondents will not be unjustly prejudiced by the suspension of the rules. What is subject of the appeal is only a question of law, involving the issue of forum shopping, and not a factual matter involving the merits of each partys respective claims and de fenses relating to the enforcement of the MOA, wherein petitioner was given an option to purchase the subject property. Litigations should, as much as possible, be decided on their merits and not on mere technicalities. Every party-litigant should be afforded the amplest opportunity for the proper and just disposition of his cause, freed from the constraint of technicalities.

After a conscientious view, we hold that a suspension of the Rules is warranted in this case since the delay of one week and two days in the filing of the motion for reconsideration was not occasioned by negligence on the part of petitioners lawyer in charge of the case, the latter having a valid excuse to immediately take leave of absence in view of her fathers sudden demise. There is likewise no showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory. Winston F. Garcia, in his capacity as President and General Manager of the GSIS v. Court of Appeals and Rudy C. Tesoro;G.R. No. 169005. January 28, 2013 Certification against forum shopping; SPA designating counsel to sign must be executed if party-pleader cannot sign. The need to abide by the Rules of Court and the procedural requirements it imposes has been constantly underscored by this Court. One of these procedural requirements is the certificate of non-forum shopping which, time and again, has been declared as basic, necessary and mandatory for procedural orderliness. In Vda. De Formoso v. Philippine National Bank, the Court reiterated the guidelines respecting non-compliance with or submission of a defective certificate of nonforum shopping, the relevant portions of which are as follows:

4) As to certification against forum shopping, non-compliance therewith or a defect therein, xxx, is generally not curable by its subsequent submission or correction thereof, unless there is a need to relax the Rule on the ground of substantial compliance or presence of special circumstances or compelling reasons.

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6) Finally, the certification against forum shopping must be executed by the party pleader, not by his counsel. If, however, for reasonable or justifiable reasons, the party-pleader is unable to sign, he must execute a Special Power of Attorney designating his counsel of record to sign on his behalf.

The requirement that it is the petitioner, not her counsel, who should sign the certificate of non-forum shopping is due to the fact that a certification is a peculiar personal representation on the part of the principal party, an assurance given to the court or other tribunal that there are no pending cases involving basically the same parties, issues and causes of action. Obviously, it is the petitioner, and not always the counsel whose professional services have been retained for a particular case, who is in the best position to know whether [she] actually filed or caused the filing of a petition in that case . Per the above guidelines, however, if a petitioner is unable to sign a certification for reasonable or justifiable reasons, she must execute an SPA designating her counsel of record to sign on her behalf. A certification which had been signed by counsel without the proper authorization is defective and constitutes a valid cause for dismissal of the petition. Mary Louise Anderson v. Enrique Ho, G.R. No. 172590. January 7, 2013 Certification against forum shopping; non-compliance is not curable by subsequent submission unless there is substantial compliance or special circumstance. In this light, the Court finds that the CA correctly dismissed Andersons Petition for Review on the ground that the certificate of non-forum shopping attached thereto was signed by Atty. Oliva on her behalf sans any authority to do so. While the Court notes that Anderson tried to correct this error by later submitting an SPA and by explaining her failure to execute one prior to the filing of the petition, this does not automatically denote substantial compliance. It must be remembered that a defective certification is generally not curable by its subsequent correction, and while it is true that in some cases the Court considered such a belated submission as substantial compliance, it did so only on sufficient and justifiable grounds that compelled a liberal approach while avoiding the effective negation of the intent of the rule on non-forum shopping. Mary Louise Anderson v. Enrique Ho, G.R. No. 172590. January 7, 2013 Certification against forum shopping and Verification; ratification by the Board of Directors. A closer look into the SPA and the Corporate Secretarys Certificate submitted by BPI reveals that, at the time the subject complaint was filed on January 26, 1999, Ramos did not have the express authority to file and sign the verification and certification against forum shopping attached to BPIs complaint. The SPA, which appointed Ramos and/or Atty. Mateo G. Delegencia as BPIs attorneys-in-fact in the case against the petitioners, was executed only on July 8, 2008. Even the Corporate Secretarys Certificate that named the officers authorized by the BPIs Executive Committee to grant and extend a SPA to other officers of the bank was executed only on February 21, 2007. The Executive Committee is part of the banks permanent organization and, in between meetings of BPIs Board of Directors, possesses and ex ercises all the powers of the board in the management and direction of the banks affairs. BPIs subsequent execution of the SPA, however, constituted a ratification of Ramos unauthorized representation in the colle ction case filed against the petitioners. A corporation can act only through natural persons duly authorized for the purpose or by a specific act of its board of directors, and can also ratify the unauthorized acts of its corporate officers. The act of ratification is confirmation of what its agent or delegate has done without or with insufficient authority.

In PNCC Skyway Traffic Management and Security Division Workers Organization (PSTMSDWO) v. PNCC Skyway Corporation, we considered the subsequent execution of a board resolution authorizing the Union President to represent the union in a petition filed against PNCC Skyway Corporation as an act of ratification by the union that cured the defect in the petitions verification and certification against forum shopping. We held that assuming that Mr. Soriano (PSTMSDWOs President) has no authority to file the petition on February 27, 2006, the passing on June 30, 2006 of a Board Resolution authorizing him to represent the union is deemed a ratification of his prior execution, on February 27, 2006, of the verification and certificate of non-forum shopping, thus curing any defects thereof. Sps. Eugene L. Lim and Constancia Lim v. The Court of Appeals-Mindanao Station, et al.; G.R. No. 192615, January 30, 2013 Certification against forum shopping and Verification; requirements not jurisdictional. In any case, it is settled that the requirements of verification and certification against forum shopping are not jurisdictional. Verification is required to secure an assurance that the allegations in the petition have been made in good faith or are true and correct, and not merely speculative. Non-compliance with the verification requirement does not necessarily render the pleading fatally defective, and is

substantially complied with when signed by one who has ample knowledge of the truth of the allegations in the complaint or petition, and when matters alleged in the petition have been made in good faith or are true ad correct. On the other hand, the certification against forum shopping us required based on the principle that a party litigant should not be allowed to pursue simultaneous remedies in different fora. While the certification requirement is obligatory, non-compliance or a defect in the certificate could be cured by its subsequent correction or submission under special circumstances or compelling reasons or on the ground of substantial compliance. Sps. Eugene L. Lim and Constancia Lim v. The Court of Appeals-Mindanao Station, et al.; G.R. No. 192615, January 30, 2013 Contempt of Court; definition. Contempt of court is defined as a disobedience to the court by acting in opposition to its authority, justice and dignity, and signifies not only a willful disregard of the courts order, but such conduct which tends to bring the authority of the court and the a dministration of law into disrepute or, in some manner, to impede the due administration of justice. To be considered contemptuous, an act must be clearly contrary to or prohibited by the order of the court. Thus, a person cannot be punished for contempt for disobedience of an order of the Court, unless the act which is forbidden or required to be done is clearly and exactly defined, so that there can be no reasonable doubt or uncertainty as to what specific act or thing is forbidden or required. Rivulet Agro-Industrial Corporation v. Anthony Parungao, Narciso B. Nieto, in their capacity as Undersecretaries of Legal Affairs and Field Operations of the Department of Agrarian Reform, et al., G.R. No. 197507. January 14, 2013 Ejectment; possession de facto; distinction between forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases. At the outset, it bears to reiterate the settled rule that the only question that the courts resolve in ejectment proceedings is: who is entitled to the physical possession of the premises, that is, to the possession de facto and not to the possession de jure. It does not even matter if a partys title to the property is questionable. In an unlawful detaine r case, the sole issue for resolution is the physical or material possession of the property involved, independent of any claim of ownership by any of the party litigants. Where the issue of ownership is raised by any of the parties, the courts may pass upon the same in order to determine who has the right to possess the property. The adjudication is, however, merely provisional and would not bar or prejudice an action between the same parties involving title to the property. Juanita Ermitao, represented by her Attorneyin-fact, Isabelo Ermitao v. Lailanie M. Paglas; G.R. No. 174436. January 23, 2013 Execution; issuance of writ is trial courts ministerial duty once decision is final; writ of execution must conform to dispositive portion of judgment; order of execution which varies tenor of judgment is void. In the present case, the Court finds meritorious grounds to admit the petition and absolve the petitioners from their procedural lapse. It is undisputed that the CA Decision dated September 29, 2006 is already final and executory. As a rule, once a judgment becomes final and executory, all that remains is the execution of the decision which is a matter of right. The prevailing party is entitled to a writ of execution, the issuance of which is the trial courts ministerial duty. The writ of execution, however, must conform substantially to every essential particular of the judgment promulgated. It must conform, more particularly, to that ordained or decreed in the dispositive portion of the decision.

Clearly, the RTC exceeded its authority when it insisted on applying its own construal of the dispositive portion of the CA Decision when its terms are explicit and need no further interpretation. It would also be inequitable for the petitioners to pay and for the respondents, who did not appeal the CA decision or questioned the deletion of the 12% per annum interest, to receive more than what was awarded by the CA. The assailed RTC order of execution dated December 21, 2009 and the alias writ of execution dated May 17, 2010 are, therefore, void. Time and again, it has been ruled that an order of execution which varies the tenor of the judgment, or for that matter, exceeds the terms thereof is a nullity. Spouses Ricardo and Elena Golez v. Spouses Carlos and Amelita Navarro; G.R. No. 192532. January 30, 2013 Forcible entry; when proper; when issue of ownership can be material and relevant in resolving the issue of possession. Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court provides when an action for forcible entry, and unlawful detainer, is proper: SECTION 1. Who may institute proceedings, and when. Subject to the provisions of the next succeeding section, a person deprived of the possession of any land or building by force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth, or a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person against whom the possession of any land or building

is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to hold possession, by virtue of any contract, express or implied, or the legal representatives or assigns of any such lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person may at any time within one (1) year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession, bring an action in the proper Municipal Trial Court against the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession, or any person or persons claiming under them, for the restitution of such possession, together with damages and costs. [emphasis ours; italics supplied]

Under this provision, for a forcible entry suit to prosper, the plaintiff must allege and prove: (1) prior physical possession of the property; and (2) unlawful deprivation of it by the defendant through force, intimidation, strategy, threat or stealth. As in any civil case, the burden of proof lies with the complainants (the respondents in this case) who must establish their case by preponderance of evidence. In the present case, the respondents sufficiently alleged and proved the required elements.

We agree, too, as we have indicated in passing above, that the issue of ownership can be material and relevant in resolving the issue of possession.

The Rules in fact expressly allow this: Section 16, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court provides that the issue of ownership shall be resolved in deciding the issue of possession if the question of possession is intertwined with the issue of ownership. But this provision is only an exception and is allowed only in this limited instance to determine the issue of possession and only if the question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the issue of ownership. Save for this instance, evidence of ownership is not at all material, as in the present case. Nenita Quality Foods Corporation v. Crisostomo Galabo, et al.; G.R. No. 174191, January 30, 2013 Forum Shopping; definition and nature. Forum shopping is defined as an act of a party, against whom an adverse judgment or order has been rendered in one forum, of seeking and possibly getting a favorable opinion in another forum, other than by appeal or special civil action forcertiorari. It may also be the institution of two or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause on the supposition that one or the other court would make a favorable decision. x x x It is expressly prohibited xxx because it trifles with and abuses court processes, degrades the administration of justice, and congest our court dockets. A willful and deliberate violation of the rule against forum shopping is a ground for summary dismissal of the case, and may also constitute direct contempt. Estrellla Aduan Orpiano v. Spouses Antonio C. Tomas and Myrna U. Tomas; G.R. No. 178611. January 14, 2013 Grave abuse of discretion; proper ground in a petition for certiorari but not in a petition for review on certiorari. It is to be noted that the above issues raised by petitioner alleged grave abuse of discretion committed by the CA, which is proper in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, but not in the present petition for review on certiorariunder Rule 45. Heirs of Faustino C. Ignacio v. Home Bankers Savings and Trust Company, et al., G.R. No. 177783. January 23, 2013 Hierarchy of courts; concurrence of jurisdiction; non-observance results in dismissal. We emphasize that the concurrence of jurisdiction among the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Courts to issue the writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction did not give petitioners the unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum. An undue disregard of this policy against direct resort to the Court will cause the dismissal of the recourse. In Banez, Jr. v. Concepcion, we explained why, to wit: The court must enjoin the observance of the policy on the hierarchy of courts, and now affirms that the policy is not to be ignored without serious consequences, the strictness of the policy is designed to shield the Court from having to deal with causes that are also well within the competence of the lower courts, and thus leave time to the Court to deal with the more fundamental and more essential tasks that the Constitution has assigned to it, the Court may act on petitions for the extraordinary writs of certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus only when absolutely necessary or when serious and important reasons justify an exception to the policy. xxx

Accordingly, every litigant must remember that the Court is not the only judicial forum from which to seek and obtain effective redress of his or her grievances. As a rule, the Court is a court of last resort, not a court of first instance. Hence, every litigant who brings petitions for the extraordinary writs of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus should ever be mindful of the policy on the hierarchy of courts, the observance of which is explicitly defined and enjoined in Section 4 of Rule 65.Spouses Augusto Dacudao and Ofelia Dacudao v. Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzales of the Department of Justice, G.R. No. 188056. January 8, 2013 Interlocutory and Final orders; distinction. This Court has laid down the distinction between interlocutory and final orders, as follows: xxx A final judgment or order is one that finally disposes of a case, leaving nothing more to be done by the Court in respect thereto, e.g., an adjudication on the merits which, on the basis of the evidence presented at the trial, declares categorically what the rights and obligations of the parties are and which party is in the right; or a judgment or order that dismisses an action on the ground, for instance, of res judicata or prescription. Once rendered, the task of the court is ended, as far as deciding the controversy or determining the rights and liabilities of the litigants is concerned. Nothing more remains to be done by the court except to await the parties next move (which among others, may consist of the filing of a motion for new trial or reconsideration, or the taking of an appeal) and ultimately, of course, to cause the execution of the judgment once it becomes final or, to use the established and more distinctive term, final and executory.

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Conversely, an order that does not finally dispose of the case, and does not end the Courts task of adjudicating the parties contentions and determining their rights and liabilities as regards each other, but obviously indicates that other things remain to be done by the court is interlocutory e.g., an order denying a motion to dismiss under Rule 16 of the Rules, or granting a motion for extension of time to file a pleading, or authorizing amendment thereof, or granting or denying applications for postponement, or production or inspection of documents or things, etc. unlike a final judgment or order, w hich is appealable. As above pointed out, an interlocutory order may not be questioned on appeal except only as part of an appeal that may eventually be taken from the final judgment rendered in the case. Ma. Carmina Calderon represented by her Attorney-in-fact, Marycris V. Baldevia v. Jose Antonio Roxas and Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 185595. January 9, 2013 Interlocutory and Final orders; application to provisional remedies especially to support pendente lite. The assailed orders relative to the incident of support pendent lite and support in arrears, as the term suggests, were issued pending the rendition of the decision on the main action for declaration of nullity of marriage and are therefore interlocutory. They did not finally dispose of the case nor did they consist of a final adjudication of the merits of petitioners claims as to the ground of psychological incapacity and other incidents as child custody, support, and conjugal assets. Ma. Carmina Calderon represented by her Attorney-infact, Marycris V. Baldevia v. Jose Antonio Roxas and Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 185595. January 9, 2013 Interlocutory and Final orders; remedy against interlocutory order is not appeal. The remedy against an interlocutory order not subject of an appeal is an appropriate special civil action under Rule 65 provided that the interlocutory order is rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. Having chosen the wrong remedy in questioning the subject interlocutory orders of the RTC, petitioners appeal was correctly dismissed by the CA. Ma. Carmina Calderon represented by her Attorney-in-fact, Marycris V. Baldevia v. Jose Antonio Roxas and Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 185595. January 9, 2013 Judgment; compromise agreement. There is no question that the foregoing Agreement was a compromise that the parties freely and voluntarily entered into for the purpose of finally settling their dispute in this case. Under Article 2028 of the Civil Code, a compromise is a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid a litigation or put an end to one already commenced. Accordingly, a compromise is either judicial, if the objective is to put an end to a pending litigation, or extrajudicial, if the objective is to avoid a litigation. As a contract, a compromise is perfected by mutual consent. However, a judicial compromise, while immediately binding between the parties upon its execution, is not executory until it is approved by the court and reduced to a judgment. The validity of a compromise is dependent upon its compliance with the requisites and principles of contracts dictated by law. Also, the terms and conditions of a compromise must

not be contrary to law, morals, good customs, public policy and public order. Land Bank of the Philippines v. Heirs of Spouses Jorja Rigor Soriano and Magin Soriano, G.R. No. 178312. January 30, 2013 Jurisdiction; personal jurisdiction in civil cases; voluntary appearance. In civil cases, jurisdiction over the person of the defendant may be acquired either by service of summons or by the defendants voluntary appearance in court and submission to its authority. In this case, the MeTC acquired jurisdiction over the person of respondent Hertz by reason of the latters voluntary appearan ce in court. In Philippine Commercial International Bank v. Spouses Dy,we had occasion to state:

Preliminarily, jurisdiction over the defendant in a civil case is acquired either by the coercive power of legal processes exerted over his person, or his voluntary appearance in court. As a general proposition, one who seeks an affirmative relief is deemed to have submitted to the jurisdiction of the court. It is by reason of this rule that we have had occasion to declare that the filing of motions to admit answer, for additional time to file answer, for reconsideration of a default judgment, and to lift order of default with motion for reconsideration, is considered voluntary submission to the courts jurisdiction. Thi s, however, is tempered by the concept of conditional appearance, such that a party who m akes a special appearance to challenge, among others, the courts jurisdiction over his person cannot be considered to have submitted to its authority.

Prescinding from the foregoing, it is thus clear that: (1) special appearance operates as an exception to the general rule on voluntary appearance; (2) Accordingly, objections to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the defendant must be explicitly made, i.e., set forth in an unequivocal manner; (3) Failure to do so constitutes voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the court, especially in instances where a pleading or motion seeking affirmative relief is filed and submitted to the court for resolution. Optima Realty Corporation v. Hertz Phil. Exclusive Cars, Inc., G.R. No. 183035. January 9, 2013 Litis pendentia; elements. Litis pendentia requires the concurrence of the following elements: (1) identity of parties, or at least their representation of the same interests in both actions; (2) identity of rights asserted and reliefs prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and (3) identity with respect to the two preceding particulars in the two cases, such that any judgment that may be rendered in the pending case, regardless of which party is successful, would amount to res judicata in the other case. Optima Realty Corporation v. Hertz Phil. Exclusive Cars, Inc., G.R. No. 183035. January 9, 2013 Motion to dismiss; remedy against denial is not appeal; denial may be assailed through a petition for certiorari. The denial of a motion to dismiss, as an interlocutory order, cannot be the subject of an appeal until a final judgment or order is rendered in the main case. An aggrieved party, however, may assail an interlocutory order through a petition for certiorari but only when it is shown that the court acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion.Sps. Eugene L. Lim and Constancia Lim v. The Court of Appeals-Mindanao Station, et al.; G.R. No. 192615. January 30, 2013 Parties; authority of private counsel to represent local officials in suit. The present case stemmed from Special Civil Action 2002-0019 for mandamus and damages. The damages sought therein could have resulted in personal liability, hence petitioner cannot be deemed to have been improperly represented by private counsel. In Alinsug v. RTC Br. 58, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, the Court ruled that in instances like the present case where personal liability on the part of local government officials is sought, they may properly secure the services of private counsel, explaining: it can happen that a government official, ostensibly acting in his official capacity, is later held to have exceeded his authority. On the one hand, his defense would have then been underwritten by the peoples money which ordinarily should have been his personal expense. On the other hand, personal liability can attach to him without, however, his having had the benefit of assistance of a counsel of his own choice. In Correa v. CFI, the Court held that in the discharge of governmental functions, municipal corporations are responsible for the acts of its officers, except if and when, and only to the extent that, they have acted by authority of the law, and in conformity with the requirements thereof.

In such instance, this Court has sanctioned the representation by private counsel. In one case, We held that where rigid acceptance to the law on representation of local affairs in court actions could deprive a party of his right to redress for a valid grievance, the hiring of a private counsel would be proper. And in Alburra v. Torres, this Court also said that a provincial governor sued in his official capacity may engage the services of private counsel when the complaint contains other allegations and a prayer for moral damages, which, if due from the defendants, must be satisfied by them in their private capacity. Romeo Gontang, in his official capacity as Mayor of Gainza, Camarines Sur v. Engr. Cecilia Alayan; G.R. No. 191691. January 16, 2013 Parties; dropping of parties; remedies for joinder or misjoinder. Under the Rules, parties may be dropped or added by order of the court on motion of any party or on its own initiative at any stage of the action and on such terms as are just. Indeed, it would have been just for the collection court to have allowed Estrella to prosecute her annulment case by dropping her as a party plaintiff in the collection case, not only so that she could protect her conjugal share, but also to prevent the interests of her co-plaintiffs from being adversely affected by their conflicting actions in the same case. By seeking to be dropped from the collection case, Estrella was foregoing collection of her share in the amount that may be due and owing from the sale. It does not imply a waiver in any manner that affects the rights of the other heirs. While Estrella correctly made use of the remedies available to her amending the complaint and filing a motion to drop her as a party she committed a mistake in proceeding to file the annulment case directly after these remedies were denied her by the collection court without first questioning or addressing the propriety of these denials. While she may have been frustrated by the collection courts repeated rejection of her motions and its apparent inability to appreciate her plight, her proper recourse nevertheless should have been to file a petition for certiorari or otherwise question the trial courts denial of her motion to be dropped as plaintiff, citing just reasons which call for a ruling to the contrary. Issues arising from joinder or misjoinder of parties are the proper subject of certiorari. Estrella Aduan Orpiano v. Spouses Antonio C. Tomas and Myrna U. Tomas, G.R. No. 178611. January 14, 2013 Petition for review on certiorari (Rule 45); contents; not an absolute rule that will lead to dismissal; liberal construction. The court significantly pointed out in F.A.T Kee Computer Systems, Inc. v. Online Networks International, Inc. that the requirement in Section 4, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is not meant to be an absolute rule whose violation would automatically lead to the petitions dismissal. The Rules of Court has not been intended to be totally rigid. In fact, the Rules of Court provides that the Supreme Court may require or allow the filing of the such pleadings, briefs, memoranda, or documents, as i t may deem necessary within such periods and under such conditions as it may consider appropriate; and [i]f the petition is given due course, the Supreme Co urt may require the elevation of the complete record of the case or specified parts thereof within fifteen (15) days from notice. These provisions are in keeping with the overriding standard that procedural rules should be liberally construed to promote their objective and to assist the parties in obtaining a just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action or proceeding.Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company v. Absolute Management Corporation, G.R. No. 170498. January 9, 2013 Petition for review on certiorari (Rule 45); only questions of law may be raised; exceptions. It is a settled rule, indeed, that in the exercise of our power of review, the Court is not a trier of facts and does not normally undertake the re-examination of the evidence presented by the contending parties during the trial of the case. The Court relies on the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals or of the trial court, and accepts such findings as conclusively and binding unless any of the following exceptions, obtains, namely: (a) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises, or conjectures; (b) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (c) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (d) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (e) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (f) when in making its findings the Court of Appeals or the trial court went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee; (g) when the findings are contrary to the trial court; (h) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (i) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitio ners main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent; (j) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record; and (k) when the Court of Appeals or the trial court manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion. However, none of the aforementioned exception applies herein. Special People, Inc. Foundation, represented by its Chairman, Roberto P. Cericos v. Nestor M. Canda, et al., G.R. No. 160932. January 14, 2013

Petition for review on certiorari (Rule 45); only questions of law may be raised; exceptions. It is well settled that in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, only questions of law may be raised. This Court, in numerous instances, has had the occasion to explain that it is not its function to analyze or weigh evidence all over again. As a rule, the Court respects the factual findings of the CA and of quasi-judicial agencies like the DAR, giving them a certain measure of finality. There are, however, recognized exceptions to this rule, one of which is when the findings of fact are conflicting. Heirs of Luis A. Luna and Remegio A. Luna, et al. v. Ruben S. Afable, et al., G.R. No. 188299. January 23, 2013 Petition for review on certiorari (Rule 45); only questions of law may be raised; exceptions. We first address the procedural issue raised. Resolving the contentions raised necessarily requires us to delve into factual issues, a course not proper in a petition for review on certiorari, for a Rule 45 petition resolves only questions of law, not questions of fact. This rule is read with the equally settled dictum that factual findings of the CA are generally conclusive on the parties and are therefore not reviewable by this Court. By way of exception, we resolve factual issues when, as here, conflict attended the findings of the MTCC and of the RTC, on one hand, and of the CA, on the other. Of minor note, but which we deem important to point, the petition needlessly impleaded the CA, in breach of Section 4, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Nenita Quality Foods Corporation v. Crisostomo Galabo, et al.; G.R. No. 174191. January 30, 2013 Petition for review on certiorari (Rule 45); only questions of law may be raised; applicable to expropriation cases. This Court is not a trier of facts. Questions of fact may not be raised in a petition brought under Rule 45, as such petition may only raise questions of law. This rule applies in expropriation cases. Moreover, factual findings of the trial court, when affirmed by the CA, are generally binding on this Court. An evaluation of the case and the issues presented leads the Court to the conclusion that it is unnecessary to deviate from the findings of fact of the trial and appellate courts. Under Section 8 of Rule 67 of the Rules of Court, the trial court sitting as an expropriation court may, after hearing, accep t the commissioners report and render judgment in accordance therewith. This is what the trial court did in this case. The CA affirmed the trial courts pronouncement in toto. Given these facts, the trial court and the CAs identical findings of fact concerning the issue of just compensation should be accorded the greatest respe ct, and are binding on the Court absent proof that they committed error in establishing the facts and in drawing conclusions from them. There being no showing that the trial court and the CA committed any error, we thus accord due respect to their findings. Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Department of Public Works and Highways v. Heirs of Spouses Pedro Bautista and Valentina Malabanan, G.R. No. 181218. January 28, 2013 Petition for review on certiorari (Rule 45); review errors of judgment; orders granting execution are interlocutory and should be subject of petition for certiorari under Rule 65; exceptions. The petition filed in this case is one for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Petitions filed under this rule bring up for review errors of judgment. It is an ordinary appeal and the petition must only raise questions of law which must be distinctly set forth and discussed. The present petition, however, assails the RTC Order of execution dated December 21, 2009 and alias writ of execution dated May 27, 2010. It is a settled rule that orders granting execution are interlocutory orders; hence the petitioners should have filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. This is categorically provided in Rule 41, viz: Section 1. Subject of appeal. An appeal may be taken from a judgment or final order that completely disposes of the case, or of a particular matter therein when declared by these Rules to be applicable.

No appeal may be taken from:

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(f) An order of execution;

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In all the above instances where the judgment or final order is not appealable, the aggrieved party may file an appropriate special civil action under Rule 65.

Nevertheless, there are exceptions to this rule, one of which is when the writ of execution varies the judgment. Thus, in Shugo Noda & Co., Ltd. V. Court of Appeals the Court acknowledged that, in the past, it considered an appeal to be a proper remedy when it is perceived that the order varies, or may not be in consonance with, the essence of the judgment. Other exceptions include: (1) There has been a change in the situation of the parties making execution inequitable or unjust; (2) Execution is sought to be enforced against property exempt from execution; (3) It appears that the controversy has been submitted to the judgment of the court; (4) The terms of the judgment are not clear enough and there remains room for interpretation thereof; or (5) It appears that the writ of execution has been improvidently issued, or that it is defective in substance, or issued against the wrong party, or that the judgment debt has been paid or otherwise satisfied, or the writ issued without authority.

In such case, considerations of justice and equity dictate that there be some remedy available to the aggrieved party. Likewise, the Court, in the interest of equity or when justice demands, may interchangeably treat an appeal as a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court, and vice versa.

In the present case, the Court finds meritorious grounds to admit the petition and absolve the petitioners from their procedural lapse. Spouses Ricardo and Elena Golez v. Spouses Carlos and Amelita Navarro, G.R. No. 192532. January 30, 2013 Pleadings; relief. It is settled that courts cannot grant a relief not prayed for in the pleadings or in excess of what is being sought by the party. They cannot also grant a relief without first ascertaining the evidence presented in court. In Development Bank of the Philippines v. Tecson,this Court expounded that: Due process considerations justify this requirement, it is improper to enter an order which exceeds the scope of relief sought by the pleadings, absent notice, which affords the opposing party an opportunity to be heard with respect to the proposed relief. The fundamental purpose of the requirement that allegations of the complaint must provide the measure of recovery is to prevent surprise to the defendant.

Notably, the Rules is even more strict in safeguarding the right to due process of a defendant who was declared in default than of a defendant who participated in trial. For instance, amendment to conform to the evidence presented during trial is allowed the parties under the Rules. But the same is not feasible when the defendant is declared in default because Section 3(d), Rule 9 of the Rules of Court comes into play and limits the relief that may be granted by the courts to what has been prayed for in the complaint. xxx The raison detre in limiting the extent of relief that may be granted is that it cannot be presumed that the defendant would not file an Answer and allow himself to be declared in default had he know that the plaintiff will be accorded a relief greater than or different in kind from that sought in the Complaint. No doubt, the reason behind Section 3(d), Rule 9 of the Rules of Court is to safeguard defendants r ight to due process against unforeseen and arbitrarily issued judgment. This, to the mind of the Court, is akin to the very essence of due process. It embodies the sporting idea of fair play and forbids the grant of relief on matters where the defendant was not given the opportunity to be heard thereon. Leticia Diona, represented by her Attorney-infact, Marcelina Diona v. Romeo Balangue, Sonny Balangue, Reynaldo Balangue, and Esteban Balangue, Jr.; G.R. No. 173559. January 7, 2013 Preliminary injunction; abuse of discretion if writ issued despite absence of clear legal right. The issuance of a preliminary injunction rests entirely within the discretion if the court taking cognizance of the case and is generally not interfered with except in cases of manifest abuse. For the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction to be proper, it must be shown that the invasion of the right sought to be protected is material and substantial, that the right of complainant is clear and unmistakable, and that there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. In the absence of a clear legal right, the issuance of a writ of injunction constitutes grave abuse of discretion. TML Gasket Industries, Inc. v. BPI Family Savings Bank, Inc., G.R. No. 188768. January 7, 2013

Preliminary injunction; injunctive relief not issued for self-inflicted losses which are damnum absque injuria. In arriving at a contrary conclusion, the Court of Appeals dwelt on the grave and irremediable financial losses respondent was poised to sustain as a result of EO 156s enfor cement, finding such prejudice inequitable. No doubt, by importing used vehicles in contravention of the ban under EO 156, respondent risked sustaining losses. Such risk, however, was selfimposed. Having miscalculated its chances, respondent cannot look to courts for an injunctive relief against self-inflicted losses which are in the nature of damnum absque injuria.Injunction will not issue on the mere possibility that a litigant will sustain damage, without proof of a clear legal right entitling the litigant to protection. Executive Secretary, Secretary of Finance, Commissioner of Customs, District Collector of Customs, Port of Aparri, Cagayan, District Collector of Customs, Port of San Fernando La Union, and Head of the Land Transportation Office v. Forerunner Multi Resources, Inc., G.R. No. 199324. January 7, 2013 Preliminary injunction; requirement of actual and existing right. Petitioners argument fails to impress. The CA did not nullify the October 15, 2004 Order merely because of the interchanged pages. Instead, the CA determined that the applicant, Vitaliano, was not able to show that he had an actual and existing right that had to be protected by a preliminary injunction. The most that Vitaliano was able to prove was a future right based on his victory in the suit. Contrasting this future right of Vitaliano with respondents existing right under the GIS, the CA determined that the trial court should not have disturbed the status quo. Vitaliano Aguirre II and Fidel Aguirre v. FQB+7, Inc., Nathaniel Bocobo, Priscila Bocobo, and Antonio De Villa, G.R. No. 170770. January 9, 2013 Preliminary injunction; requirement of clear legal right. It is a deeply ingrained doctrine in Philippine remedial law that a preliminary injunctive relief under Rule 58 issues only upon a showing of the applicants clear legal right being violated or under threat of violation by the defendant. Clear legal right, within the meaning of Rule 58, contemplates a right clearly founded in or granted by law. Any hint of doubt or dispute on the asserted legal right precludes the grant of preliminary injunctive relief. For suits attacking the validity of laws or issuances with the force and effect of law, as here, the applicant for preliminary injunctive relief bears the added burden of overcoming the presumption of validity inhering in such laws or issuances. These procedural barriers to the issuance of a preliminary injunctive writ are rooted on the equitable nature of such relief, preserving the status quo while, at the same time, restricting the course of action of the defendants even before adverse judgment is rendered against them. Executive Secretary, Secretary of Finance, Commissioner of Customs, District collector of customs, Port of Aparri, Cagayan, District Collector of Customs, Port of San Fernando La Union, and Head of the Land Transportation Office v. Forerunner Multi Resources, Inc., G.R. No. 199324. January 7, 2013 Preliminary injunction; requisites. Section 3, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court lists the grounds for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction: Sec.3. Grounds for the issuance of preliminary injunction. A preliminary injunction may be granted when it is established:

(a)

that the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief consists un restraining the commission or continuance of the act or

acts complained of, or in requiring the performance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually;

(b)

that the commission, continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant; or

(c)

that a party, court, agency, or a person doing, threatening, or is attempting to do, or is procuring or suffering to be done, some act or acts probably in

violation of the right of the applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding, and tending to render the judgment ineffectual

As such, a writ of preliminary injunction may be issued only upon clear showing of an existing legal right to be protected during the pendency of the principal action. The requisites of a valid injunction are the existence of a right and its actual or threatened violations. Thus, to be entitled to an injunctive writ, the right to be protected and the violation against that right must be shown. TML Gasket Industries, Inc. v. BPI Family Savings Bank, Inc., G.R. No. 188768. January 7, 2013 Res judicata; conclusiveness of judgment. A perusal of the allegations in the present case evidently shows that the petitioner broaches the issues similarly raised and already resolved in G.R. No. 172942.

Under the principle of conclusiveness of judgment, when a right or fact has been judicially tried and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, or when an opportunity for such trial has been given, the judgment of the court, as long as it remains unreversed, should be conclusive upon the parties and those in privity with them. Stated differently, conclusiveness of judgment bars the re-litigation in a second case of a fact or question already settled in a previous case.

The adjudication in G.R. No. 172942 has become binding and conclusive on the petitioner who can no longer question the respon dents entitlement to the 12% legal interest awarded by the CA. The Courts determination in G.R. No. 172942 on the reckoning point of the 12% legal interest is likewise binding on the petitioner who cannot re-litigate the said matter anew through the present recourse.

Thus, the judgment in G.R. No. 172942 bars the present case as the relief sought in the latter is inextricably related to the ruling in the former. City of Cebu v. Apolonio M. Dedamo, Jr.; G.R. No. 172852. January 30, 2013 Res judicata; elements. In Heirs of Maximino Derla v. Heirs of Catalina Derla Vda. de Hipolito, we enumerated the following as the elements of res judicata: a) The former judgment or order must be final;

b) It must be a judgment or order on the merits, that is, it was rendered after a consideration of the evidence or stipulations submitted by the parties at the trial of the case;

c) It must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; and

d) There must be, between the first and second actions, identity of parties, of subject matter and of cause of action. This requisite is satisfied if the two (2) actions are substantially between the same parties.

In the case at bar, the validity of the subject mortgage between PALI and PNB was the primary issue raised by the parties and resolved by the RTC after the conclusion of a full-blown trial. On September 10, 2004, the issue was finally laid to rest. A final and executory judgment, no matter how erroneous, cannot be changed even by this Court. Inevitably, res judicata operates to bar PALI and PNB from raising the same issue lest there will be no end to litigation. Philippine National Bank, substituted by Tranche 1 (SPV-AMC), Inc. v. Rina Parayno Lim and Puerto Azul Land, Inc., G.R. No. 171677. January 30, 2013 Res judicata; effect of minute resolutions. In Alonso, we declared that a minute resolution may amount to a final action on the case but it is not a precedent. However, we continued to state that it can not bind non-parties to the action. Corollary thereto, we can conclude that a minute resolution, while not a precedent relative to strangers to an action, nonetheless binds the parties therein, and calls for res judicatas application. Nationwide Security and Allied Services, Inc. v. Valderama is instructive anent the effects of the issuance of a minute resolution, viz:

It is true that, although contained in a minute resolution, our dismissal of the petition was a disposition of the merits of the case. When we dismissed the petition, we effectively affirmed the CA ruling being questioned. As a result, our ruling in that case has already become final. x x x With respect to the same subject matter and the same issues concerning the same parties, it constitutes res judicata. However, if other parties or another subject matter (even with the same parties and issues) is involved, the minute resolution is not binding precedent. x x x (Underlining ours) It is therefore clear from the above that for purposes of the application of res judicata, minute resolutions issued by this Court are as much precedents as promulgated decisions, hence, binding upon the parties to the action Philippine National Bank, substituted by Tranche 1 (SPV-AMC), Inc. v. Rina Parayno Lim and Puerto Azul Land, Inc., G.R. No. 171677. January 30, 2013

Special Civil Action for Certiorari (Rule 65); nature; distinction between excess of jurisdiction, acts without jurisdiction and grave abuse of discretion. A certiorari proceeding is limited in scope and narrow in character. The special civil action for certiorari lies only to correct acts rendered without jurisdiction, in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion. Certiorari will issue only to correct errors of jurisdiction, not errors of procedure or mistakes in the findings or conclusions of the lower court. As long as the court acts within its jurisdiction, any alleged errors committed in the exercise of its discretion will amount to nothing more than mere errors of judgment, correctible by an appeal or a petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court, and not a petition for certiorari. In a petition for certiorari, the public respondent acts without jurisdiction if it does not have the legal power to determine the case; there is excess of jurisdiction where the respondent, being clothed with the power to determine the case, oversteps its authority as determined by law. There is grave abuse of discretion where the public respondent acts in a capricious, whimsical, arbitrary or despotic manner in the exercise of its judgment as to be said to be equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. Mere abuse of discretion is not enough.

Excess of jurisdiction, as distinguished from absence of jurisdiction means that an act, though within the general power of a tribunal, board or officer is not authorized, and invalid with respect to the particular proceeding, because the conditions which alone authorize the exercise of the general power in respect of it are wanting. The supervisory jurisdiction of the court to issue a certiorari writ cannot be exercised in order to review the judgment of the lower court as to intrinsic correctness, either upon the law or the facts of the case. In the absence of a showing that there is a reason for the court to annul the decision of the concerned tribunal or to substitute its own judgment, it is not the office of the Court in a petition for certiorari to inquire into the correctness of the assailed decision or resolution. Winston F. Garcia, in his capacity as President and General Manager of the GSIS v. Court of Appeals and Rudy C. Tesoro, G.R. No. 169005. January 28, 2013 Special Civil Action for Certiorari (Rule 65); nature; an extraordinary remedy; judicial and quasi-judicial functions. The decision on whether or not to accept a petition for certiorari as well as to grant due course thereto, is addressed to the sound discretion of the court. A petition for certiorari being an extraordinary remedy, the party seeking to avail of the same must strictly observe the procedural rules laid down by law, and non-observance thereof may not be brushed aside as mere technicality. As provided in Section 1, Rule 65, a writ of certiorari is directed against a tribunal exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions. Judicial functions are exercised by a body or officer clothed with authority to determine what the law is and what the legal rights of the parties are with respect to the matter in controversy. Quasijudicial function is a term that applies to the action or discretion of public administrative officers or bodies given the authority to investigate facts or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings, and draw conclusions from them as a basis for their official action using discretion of a judicial nature.

The Central Bank Monetary Board (now BSP-MB) was created to perform executive functions with respect to the establishment, operation or liquidation of banking and credit institutions, and branches and agencies thereof. It does not perform judicial or quasi-judicial functions. Certainly, the issuance of CB Circular No. 905 was done in the exercise of an executive function. Certiorari will not lie in the instant case. Advocates for Truth in Lending, Inc. & Eduardo B. Olaguer v. Bangko Sentral Monetary Board, Represented by its Chairman, Governor Armando M. Tetangco, Jr., etc., G.R. No. 192986. January 15, 2013 Special Civil Action for Certiorari (Rule 65); requisites; burden of proof For a special civil action of certiorari to prosper, therefore, the following requisites must concur, namely: (a) it must be directed against a tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (b) the tribunal, board or officer, must have acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (c) there is no appeal nor any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. The burden of proof lies on petitioners to demonstrate that the assailed order was issued without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Spouses Augusto Dacudao and Ofelia Dacudao v. Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzales of the Department of Justice, G.R. No. 188056. January 8, 2013

Special Civil Action for Certiorari (Rule 65); when available. The writ of certiorari is available only when any tribunal, board or officer, exercising judicial or quasijudicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, nor any plain speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. The sole office of the writ of certiorari, acco rding to Delos Santos v. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company: xxx is the correction of errors of jurisdiction, which includes the commission of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. In this regard, mere abuse of discretion is not enough to warrant the issuance of the writ. The abuse of discretion must be grave which means either that the judicial or quasi-judicial power was exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, or that the respondent judge, tribunal or board evaded a positive duty, or virtually refused to perform the duty enjoined or to act in contemplation of law, such as when such judge, tribunal or board exercising judicial or quasijudicial powers acted in a capricious or whimsical manner as to be equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.

Spouses Augusto Dacudao and Ofelia Dacudao v. Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzales of the Department of Justice, G.R. No. 188056. January 8, 2013 Special Civil Action for Certiorari under Rule 64; proper mode of review of COMELEC en bancResolutions not relating to pre-proclamation controversies. Section 7, Article IX of the 1987 Constitution in part substantially provides that any decision, order or ruling of any of the Constitutional Commissions may be brought for review to the Supreme Court on certiorari within 30 days from receipt of a copy thereof. The orders, ruling and decisions rendered or issued by the COMELEC en banc must be final and made in the exercise of its adjudicatory or quasi-judicial power. Further, Section 1, Rule 64 of the Rules of Court states that it shall govern the review of final judgments and orders or resolutions of the COMELEC and the Commission on Audit. In the case at bar, the now assailed Resolutions dated December 22, 2009 and May 6, 2010 were issued with finality by the COMELEC en banc. Under the Constitution and the Rules of Court, the said Resolutions can be reviewed by way of filing before us a petition for certiorari. Besides, the issues raised do not at all relate to alleged irregularities in the preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of the election returns or to the composition and the proceedings of the board of canvassers. What the instant petition challenges is the authority of the MBOC to suspend Ibrahims proclamati on and of the COMELEC en banc to issue the assailed resolutions. The crux of the instant Petition does not qualify as one which can be raised as a pre-proclamation controversy.Kamarudin K. Ibrahim v. Commission on Elections and Rolan G. Buagas, G.R. No.192289. January 8, 2013 Special Civil Action for Mandamus; exhaustion of administrative remedies. It is axiomatic, to begin with, that a party who seeks the intervention of a court of law upon an administrative concern should first avail himself of all the remedies afforded by administrative processes. The issues that an administrative agency is authorized to decide should not be summarily taken away from it and submitted to a court of law without first giving the agency the opportunity to dispose of the issues upon due deliberation. The court of law must allow the administrative agency to carry out its functions and discharge its responsibilities within the specialized areas of its competence. This rests on the theory that the administrative authority is in a better position to resolve questions addressed to its particular expertise, and that errors committed by subordinates in their resolution may be rectified by their superiors if given a chance to do so. Special People, Inc. Foundation, represented by its Chairman, Roberto P. Cericos v. Nestor M. Canda, et al., G.R. No. 160932. January 14, 2013 Special Civil Action for Mandamus; nature; when available. Similarly, the petition could not be one for mandamus, which is a remedy available only when any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court. The main objective of mandamus is to compel the performance of a ministerial duty on the part of the respondent. Plainly enough, the writ of mandamus does not issue to control or review the exercise of discretion or to compel a course of conduct, which, it quickly seems to us, was what petitioners would have the Secretary of Justice do in their favor. Consequently, their petition has not indicated how and where the Secre tary of Justices assailed issuances excluded them from the use and enjoyment

of a right or office to which they were unquestionably entitled. Spouses Augusto Dacudao and Ofelia Dacudao v. Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzales of the Department of Justice, G.R. No. 188056. January 8, 2013 Special Civil Action for Mandamus; nature; compels performance of ministerial duties. A key principle to be observed in dealing with petitions for mandamus is that such extraordinary remedy lies to compel the performance of duties that are purely ministerial in nature, not those that are discretionary. A purely ministerial act or duty is one that an officer or tribunal performs in a given state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of a legal authority, without regard to or the exercise of its own judgment upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done. The duty is ministerial only when its discharge requires neither the exercise of official discretion or judgment. Special People, Inc. Foundation, represented by its Chairman, Roberti P. Cericos v. Nestor M. Canda, et al., G.R. No. 160932. January 14, 2013 Unlawful detainer; nature. Going to the main issue in the instant petition, it is settled that in unlawful detainer, one unlawfully withholds possession thereof after the expiration or termination of his right to hold possession under any contract, express or implied. In such case, the possession was originally lawful but became unlawful by the expiration or termination of the right to possess; hence the issue of rightful possession is decisive for, in such action, the defendant is in actual possession and the plaintiffs cause of action is the termination of the defendants right to continue in possession. Juanita Ermitao, represented by her Attorneyin-fact, Isabelo Ermitao v. Lailanie M. Paglas, G.R. No. 174436. January 23, 2013 Unlawful detainer; failure to pay rentals and expiration of lease as grounds. We find that the RTCs ruling upholding the ejectment of Hertz from the building premises was proper. First, respondent failed to pay rental arrearages and utility bills to Optima; and second, the Contract of lease expired without any request from Hertz for a renegotiation thereof at least 90 days prior to its expiration. Optima Realty Corporation v. Hertz Phil. Exclusive Cars, Inc., G.R. No. 183035. January 9, 2013 Unlawful detainer; award of monthly compensation and attorneys fees. As to the award of monthly compensation, we find that Hertz should pay adequate compensation to Optima, since the former continued to occupy the leased premises even after the expiration of the lease contract. Finally we uphold the award of attorneys fees in the amount of P30, 000 and judicial costs in the light of Hertz unjustifiable and unlawful retention of the leased premises, thus forcing Optima to file the instant case in order to protect its rights and interest. Optima Realty Corporation v. Hertz Phil. Exclusive Cars, Inc., G.R. No. 183035. January 9, 2013 Special Proceedings

Settlement of Estate; claims include quasi-contract and contingent claims; In Maclan v. Garcia,Maclan filed a civil case to recover from Ruben Garcia the necessary expenses he spent as possessor of a piece of land. Garcia acquired the land as an heir of its previous owner, he set up the defense that this claim should have been filed in the special proceedings to settle the estate of his predecessor. Maclan, on the other hand, contended that his claim arises from law and not from contract, express or implied. Thus, it need not be filed in the settlement of the estate of Garcias predecessor, as mandated by Section 5, Rule 87 of the Rules of Court (now Section 5, Rule 86). The court held under these facts that a claim for necessary expenses spent as previous possessor of the land is a kind of quasi-contract. Citing Leung Ben v OBrien, it explained that the term implied contracts, as used in our remedial law, originated from the common law where obligations derived from quasi -contracts and from law are both considered as implied contracts. Thus, the term quasi-contract is included in the concept implied contracts as used in the Rules of Court. Accordingly, the liabilities of the deceased arising from quasi-contracts should be filed as claims in the settlement of his estate, as provided in Section 5, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court.

A distinctive character of Metrobanks fourth-party complaint is its contingent nature the claim depends on the possibility that Metrobank would be adjudged liable to AMC, a future event that may or may not happen. This characteristic unmistakably marks the complaint as a contingent one that must be included in the claims

falling under the terms of Section 5, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court. Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company v. Absolute Management Corporation, G.R. No. 170498. January 9, 2013 Settlement of Estate; specific rules on settlement prevail over general rules. We read with approval the CAs use of statutory construction principle of lex specialis derogate generali, leading to the conclusion that the specific provisions of Section 5, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court should prevail over the general provisions of Section 11, Rule 6 of the Rules of Court; the settlement of the estate of deceased persons (where claims against the deceased should be filed) is primarily governed by the rules on special proceedings, while the rules provided for ordinary claims, including Section 11, Rule 6 of the Rules of Court, merely apply suppletorily. Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company v. Absolute Management Corporation, G.R. No. 170498. January 9, 2013 Other Proceedings

Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC) jurisdiction; requisites. Based on Section 4 of E.O. No. 1008, in order for the CIAC to acquire jurisdiction, two requisites must concur: first, the dispute must somehow be related to a construction contract; and second, the parties must have agreed to submit the dispute to arbitration proceedings. The Manila Insurance Company, Inc. v. Spouses Roberto and Aida Amurao, G.R. No. 179628. January 16, 2013 Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC) jurisdiction; monetary claims under a construction contract. In William Golangco Construction Corporation v. Ray Burton Development Corporation, we declared that monetary claims under a construction contract are disputes arising from differences in interpretation of th e contract because the matter of ascertaining the duties and obligations of the parties under their contract all involve interpretation of the prov isions of the contract. Following our reasoning in that case, we find that the issue of whether respondent-spouses are entitled to collect on the performance bond issued by petitioner is a dispute arising in the course of the execution and performance of [the CCA] by reason of difference in the interpretation of the contract documents. The Manila Insurance Company, Inc. v. Spouses Roberto and Aida Amurao, G.R. No. 179628. January 16, 2013 Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC) jurisdiction; performance bond. A careful reading of the Performance Bond reveals that the bond is coterminous with the final acceptance of the project. Thus, the fact that it was issued prior to the execution of the Constr uction Contract Agreement does not affect its validity or effectivity. In fact, in Prudential Guarantee and Assurance, Inc. v. Anscor Land, Inc., we rejected the argument that the jurisdiction of CIAC is limited to the construction industry, and thus cannot be extended to surety contracts. In that case, we declared that although not the construc tion contract itself, the performance bond is deemed as an associate of the main construction contract that it cannot be separated or severed from its principal. The Performance Bond is significantly and substantially connected to the construction contract that there can be no doubt it is the CIAC which has jurisdiction over any dispute arising from or connected with it. The Manila Insurance Company, Inc. v. Spouses Roberto and Aida Amurao, G.R. No. 179628. January 16, 2013 Election Cases; review extends only to final decisions or resolutions of COMELEC en banc and not to interlocutory orders issued by a division. The petitioners resort to the extraordinary remedy ofcertiorari to assail and interlocutory order issued by the COMELEC First Division is amiss. A party aggrieved by an interlocutory order issued by a Division of the COMELEC in an election protest may not directly assail the ordr in this Court through a special civil action for certiorari. The remedy is to seek the review of the interlocutory order during the appeal of the decision of the Division in due course. xxx

Thus, exceptionally, this Court may take cognizance of a certiorari action directed against an interlocutory order issued by a Division of the COMELEC when the following circumstances are present: first, the order was issued without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and second, under the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, the subject of the controversy is a matter which (1) the COMELEC en banc may not sit and consider or (2) a Division is not authorized to act or (3) the members of the Division unanimously vote to refer to the COMELEC en banc. Governor

Sadikul A. Sahali and Vice-Governor Ruby M. Sahali v. Commission on Elections (First Division), Rashidin H. Matba and Jilkasi J. Usman, G.R. No. 201796. January 15, 2013 Financial Rehabilitation and Insolvency Act; prospective application of the law. Sec. 146 of the FRIA, which makes it applicable to all further proceedings in insolvency, suspension of payments and rehabilitation cases xxx except to the extent that in the opinion of the court, their application would not be feasible or would work injustice, still presupposes a prospective application. The wording of the law clearly shows that it is applicabl e to all further proceedings. In no way could it be made retrospectively applicable to the Stay Order issued by the rehabilitation court back in 2002. Situs Dev. Corporation, et al., v. Asiatrust Bank, et al., G.R. No. 180036. January 16, 2013 HLURB; jurisdiction; annulment of mortgage; ruling of HLURB affects only the lot subject of the buyers complaint. The jurisdiction of the HLURB to regulate the real estate trade is broad enough to include jurisdiction over complaints for annulment of mortgage. This is pursuant to the intent of P.D. No. 957 to protect hapless buyers from the unjust practices of unscrupulous developers which may constitute mortgages over condominium projects sans the knowledge of the former and the consent of the HLURB. In Far East Bank, we held that:

Acts executed against the provisions of mandatory or prohibitory laws shall be void. Hence, the mortgage over the lot is null and void insofar as private respondent is concerned. The remedy granted by the HLURB and sustained by the Office of the President is proper only insofar as it refers to the lot of respondent. In short, the mortgage contract is void as against him. Since there is no law stating the specifics of what should be done under the circumstances, that which is in accord with equity should be ordered. The remedy granted by the HLURB in the first and the second paragraphs of the dispositive portion of its Decision insofar as it referred to respondents lot is in accord with equity. The HLURB, however, went overboard in its disposition in paragraphs 3 and 4, which pertained not only to the lot but to the entire parcel of land mortgaged. Such ruling was improper. The subject of this litigation is limited only to the lot that respondent is buying, not to the entire parcel of land. He has no personality or standing to bring suit on the whole property, as he has actionable interest over the subject lot only. (Citations omitted and underlining ours) In Far East Bank, we sustained the HLURB when it declared the mortgage entered into between the subdivision developer and the bank as unenforceable against the lot buyer. However, we were categorical that the HLURB acted beyond bounds when it nullified the mortgage covering the entire parcel of land, of which the lot subject of the buyers complaint is merely a part.

In the case now before us, while it is within Lims right to file a complaint before the HLURB to protect her right as a cond ominium unit buyer, she has no standing to seek for the complete nullification of the subject mortgage. She has an actionable interest only over Unit 48C of Cluster Dominiko of Vista de Loro, no more and no less. Philippine National Bank, substituted by Tranche 1 (SPV-AMC), Inc. v. Rina Parayno Lim and Puerto Azul Land, Inc., G.R. No. 171677. January 30, 2013 HLURB; jurisdiction; annulment of mortgages of condominium or subdivision units. Section 1 of PD No. 957 limits the HLURBs jurisdiction to three kinds of cases: (a) unsound real estate business practices; (b) claims involving refund and any other claims filed by subdivision lot or condominium unit buyers against the project owner, developer, dealer, broker or salesman; and (c) cases involving specific performance of contractual and statutory obligations filed by buyers of subdivision lots or condominium units against the owner, developer, dealer, broker or salesman. While paragraphs (b) and (c) limit the HLURB cases to those between the buyer and the subdivision or condominium owner, developer, dealer, broker, or salesman, (a) is broad enough to include third parties to the sales contract. Jurisprudence consistently recognizes the rationale behind the enactment of PD No. 957 to protect innocent lot buyers from scheming developers. For this reason, the Court has broadly construed the jurisdiction of the HLURB to include complaints for annulment of mortgages of condominium or subdivision units.

Indeed, in Manila Banking Corporation v. Spouses Rabina, even if the mortgagee bank was under receivership/liquidation, the Court declared that the HLURB retains jurisdiction over an action for the annulment of the mortgage:

The jurisdiction of the HLURB to regulate the real estate trade is broad enough to include jurisdiction over complaints for annulment of mortgage. To disassociate the issue of nullity of mortgage and lodge it separately with the liquidation court would only cause inconvenience to the parties and would not serve the ends of speedy and inexpensive administration of justice as mandated by the laws vesting quasi-judicial powers in the agency. Philippine Bank of Communications v. Pridisons Realty Corporation, Antonio Gonzales, Bormacheco, Inc., Nazario Santos, Teresita Chua Tek, Charito Ong Lee, and Ernesto Sibal, G.R. No. 155113. January 9, 2013 Intra-corporate disputes; elements. Thus, to be considered as an intra-corporate dispute, the case: (a) must arise out of intra-corporate or partnership relations; and (b) the nature of the question subject of the controversy must be such that it is intrinsically connected with the regulation of the corporation or the enforcement of the parties rights and obligations under the Corporation Code and the internal rules of the corporation. So long as these two criteria are satisfied, the dispute is intra-corporate and the RTC, acting as a special commercial court, has jurisdiction over it. Vitaliano Aguirre II and Fidel Aguirre v. FQB+7, Inc., Nathaniel Bocobo, Priscila Bocobo, and Antonio De Villa,G.R. No. 170770. January 9, 2013 Intra-corporate disputes; application to dissolved corporations. It bears reiterating that Section 145 of the Corporation Code protects, among others, the rights and remedies of corporate actors against other corporate actors. The statutory provision assures an aggrieved party tha t the corporations dissolution will not impair, much less remove, his/her rights or remedies against the corporation, its stockholders, directors and officers. It also states that corporate dissolution will not extinguish any liability already incurred by the corporation, its stockholders, directors or officers. In short, Section 145 preserves a corporate actors cause of action and remedy against another corporate actor. In so doing, Section 145 also preserves the nature of the controversy between the parties as an intra-corporate dispute. The dissolution of the corporation simply prohibits it from continuing its business. However, despite such dissolution, the parties involved in the litigation are still corporate actors. The dissolution does not automatically convert the parties into total strangers or change their intra-corporate relationships. Neither does it change or terminate existing causes of action, which arose because of the corporate ties between the parties. Thus, a cause of action involving an intra-corporate controversy remains and must be filed as an intra-corporate dispute despite the subsequent dissolution of the corporation. Vitaliano Aguirre II and Fidel Aguirre v. FQB+7, Inc., Nathaniel Bocobo, Priscila Bocobo, and Antonio De Villa, G.R. No. 170770. January 9, 2013 Just compensation; compromise agreement. There is no question that the foregoing Agreementwas a compromise that the parties freely and voluntarily entered into for the purpose of finally settling their dispute in this case. Under Article 2028 of the Civil Code, a compromise is a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid a litigation or put an end to one already commenced. Accordingly, a compromise is either judicial, if the objective is to put an end to a pending litigation, or extrajudicial, if the objective is to avoid a litigation. As a contract, a compromise is perfected by mutual consent. However, a judicial compromise, while immediately binding between the parties upon its execution, is not executory until it is approved by the court and reduced to a judgment. The validity of a compromise is dependent upon its compliance with the requisites and principles of contracts dictated by law. Also, the terms and conditions of a compromise must not be contrary to law, morals, good customs, public policy and public order. Land Bank of the Philippines v. Heirs of Spouses Jorja Rigor Soriano and Magin Soriano, G.R. No. 178312. January 30, 2013 Evidence

Evidence; conclusive presumptions; estoppel against tenants. The conclusive presumption found in Section 2 (b), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, known as estoppel against tenants, provides as follows: Sec. 2.Conclusive presumptions. The following are instances of conclusive presumptions:

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(b) the tenant is not permitted to deny the title of his landlord at the time of the commencement of the relation of landlord and tenant between them. (Emphasis supplied)

It is clear from the above-quoted provision that what a tenant is estopped from denying is the title of his landlord at the time of the commencement of the landlordtenant relation. If the title asserted is one that is alleged to have been acquired subsequent to the commencement of that relation, the presumption will not apply. Hence, the tenant may show that the landlords title has expired or been conveyed to another or himself; and he is not estopped to deny a claim for rent, if he has been ousted or evicted by title paramount. In the present case, what respondent is claiming is her supposed title to the subject property which she acquired subsequent to the commencement of the landlord-tenant relation between her and petitioner. Hence, the presumption under Section 2 (b), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court does not apply. Juanita Ermitao, represented by her Attorney-in-fact, Isabelo Ermitao vs. Lailanie M. Paglas; G.R. No. 174436. January 23, 2013 Evidence; disputable presumptions; presumption of regularity. The court is inclined to give more evidentiary weight to the certification of the zoning administrator being the officer having jurisdiction over the area where the land in question is situated and is, therefore, more familiar with the property in issue. Besides, this certification carried the presumption of regularity in its issuance and respondents have the burden of overcoming this presumption. Respondents, however, failed to present any evidence to rebut that presumption. Heirs of Luis A. Luna, et al. v. Ruben S. Afable, et al.; G.R. No. 188299. January 23, 2013.

Here are selected March 2011 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on remedial law:

CIVIL PROCEDURE Writ of execution; instances where writ may be appealed. It is true that Danilo should have brought to the Courts attention the date he actually left the subject premises at an earlier time. The RTC is also correct in ruling that the judgment involved was already final and executory. However, it would be inequitable to order him to pay monthly rentals until he actually vacates when it has not been determined when he actually vacated the ground floor of Simeons house. He would be paying monthly rentals indefinitely. The RTC should have determined via hearing if Danilos allegation were true and accordingly modified the period Danilo is to be held accountable for monthly rentals. Unjustified delay in the enforcement of a judgment sets at naught the role of courts in disposing justiciable controversies with finality. Once a judgment becomes final and executory, all the issues between the parties are deemed resolved and laid to rest. All that remains is the execution of the decision which is a matter of right. Banaga v. Majaducon, however, enumerates the instances where a writ of execution may be appealed: 1) the writ of execution varies the judgment;

2)

there has been a change in the situation of the parties making execution inequitable or unjust;

3)

execution is sought to be enforced against property exempt from execution;

4)

it appears that the controversy has never been subject to the judgment of the court;

5)

the terms of the judgment are not clear enough and there remains room for interpretation thereof; or

6)

it appears that the writ of execution has been improvidently issued, or that it is defective in substance, or is issued against the wrong party, or that the

judgment debt has been paid or otherwise satisfied, or the writ was issued without authority;

In these exceptional circumstances, considerations of justice and equity dictate that there be some mode available to the party aggrieved of elevating the question to a higher court. That mode of elevation may be either by appeal (writ of error or certiorari), or by a special civil action of certiorari, prohibition, or mandamus.

The instant case falls under one of the exceptions cited above. The fact that Danilo has left the property under dispute is a change in the situation of the parties that would make execution inequitable or unjust. Danilo L. Parel v. Heirs of Simeon Prudencio, G.R. No. 192217, March 2, 2011.

OTHER PROCEEDINGS Expropriation; commissioners to report on just compensation; nature of commissioners duties and functions. Cecilios last source of authority to collect payment from the proceeds of the expropriation is the SPA executed on 18 October 1996 by the Hernandezes in favor of Cecilio as their true and lawful attorney with respect to the expropriation of the Hernandez property. At the outset, it must be underscored that the SPA did not specify the compensation of Cecilio as attorneyin-fact of the Hernandezes. The SPA, however, must be appreciated in the light of the fact that Cecilio was appointed and acted as appraisal commissioner in the expropriation case under the provisions of Section 5, Rule 67 of the Rules of Court, which provides:

SEC. 5. Ascertainment of compensation. Upon the rendition of the order of expropriation,the court shall appoint not more than three (3) competent and disinterested persons as commissioners to ascertain and report to the court the just compensation for the property sought to be taken. The order of appointment shall designate the time and place of the first session of the hearing to be held by the commissioners and specify the time within which their report shall be submitted to the court. (Emphasis ours). The commissioner to be appointed is specifically required to be disinterested. As defined, such person must be free from bias, prejudice or partiality. The record of performance by Cecilio of his duties as commissioner shows: (1) Order dated 13 September 1996 appointing Cecilio and three others as court commissioners; (2) Agreement on the course of action of the commissioners appointed 13 September 1996 whereby respondent Cecilio signed as a court commissioner; (3) Appraisal Commission Report dated 10 January 1997 signed by respondent and his fellow court commissioners; (4) Dissenting Opinion on the Lone Minority Report dated 14 February 1997 signed by respondent and two other court commissioners; and (5) Decision dated 7 February 1997 which sets the fees of the court commissioners. When Cecilio accepted the position as commissioner and proceeded to perform the duties of such commissioner until the completion of his mandate as such, he created a barrier that prevented his performance of his duties under the SPA. Due to the nature of his duties and functions as commissioner, Cecilio became an officer of the court. As stated in Section 5, Rule 67 of the Rules of Court, the commissioners duty is to ascertain and report to the court the just compensation for the property to be taken. The undertaking of a commissioner is further stated under the rules, to wit: SEC. 6. Proceedings by commissioners.Before entering upon the performance of their duties, the commissioners shall take and subscribe an oath that they will faithfully perform their duties as commissioners, which oath shall be filed in court with the other proceedings in the case. Evidence may be introduced by either party before the commissioners who are authorized to administer oaths on hearings before them, and the commissioners shall, unless the parties consent to the contrary, after due notice to the parties to attend, view and examine the property sought to be expropriated and its surroundings, and may measure the same, after which either party may, by himself or counsel, argue the case. The commissioners shall assess the consequential damages to

the property not taken and deduct from such consequential damages the consequential benefits to be derived by the owner from the public use or purpose of the property taken, the operation of its franchise by the corporation or the carrying on of the business of the corporation or person taking the property. But in no case shall the consequential benefits assessed exceed the consequential damages assessed, or the owner be deprived of the actual value of his property so taken. Cecilio acted for the expropriation court. He cannot be allowed to consider such action as an act for or in behalf of the defendant in the same case. Cecilio could not have been a hearing officer and a defendant at the same time. Indeed, Cecilio foisted fraud on both the Court and the Hernandezes when, after his appointment as commissioner, he accepted the appointment by the Hernandezes to represent and sue for them. Cornelia M. Hernandez, substituted by Lourdes H. Castillo v. Cecilio F. Hernandez, G.R. No. 158576, March 9, 2011. Extra-judicial foreclosure of mortgage; special power of attorney. Moreover, the availability of extra-judicial foreclosure to a mortgagee depends upon the agreement of the contracting parties. Section 1 of Act No. 3135 provides: Section 1. When a sale is made under a special power inserted in or attached to any real-estate mortgage hereafter made as security for the payment of money or the fulfillment of any other obligation, the provisions of the following sections shall govern as to the manner in which the sale and redemption shall be effected, whether or not provision for the same is made in the power. (Emphasis supplied.) In the case at bar, paragraph (c) of the parties REM granted Veterans Bank the special power as attorney -in-fact of the petitioners to perform all acts necessary for the purpose of extrajudicial foreclosure under Act No. 3135. Thus, there is no obstacle preventing Veterans Bank from availing itself of the remedy of extrajudicial foreclosure. Spouses Fernando and Angelina Edralin v. Philippine Veterans Bank, G.R. No. 168523, March 9, 2011. Writ of possession; non-prescription of purchasers right. Petitioners assail the CAs ruling that the issuance of a writ of possession does not prescribe. They maintain that Articles 1139, 1149, and 1150 of the Civil Code regarding prescriptive periods cover all kinds of action, which necessarily include the issuance of a writ of possession. Petitioners posit that, for purposes of the latter, it is the five-year prescriptive period provided in Article 1149 of the Civil Code which applies because Act No. 3135 itself did not provide for its prescriptive period. Thus, Veterans Bank had only five years from September 12, 1983, the date when the Certificate of Sale was issued in its favor, to move for the issuance of a writ of possession. Respondent argues that jurisprudence has consistently held that a registered owner of the land, such as the buyer in an auction sale, is entitled to a writ of possession at any time after the consolidation of ownership. We cannot accept petitioners contention. We have held before that the purchasers right to request for the issuance of the writ of possession of the land never prescribes. The right to possess a property merely follows the right of ownership, and it would be illogical to hold that a person having ownershi p of a parcel of land is barred from seeking possession thereof. In Calacala v. Republic of the Philippines, the Republic was the highest bidder in the public auction but failed for a long period of time to execute an Affidavit of Consolidation and to seek a writ of possession. Calacala insisted that, by such inaction, the Republics right over the land had prescribed, been abandoned or waived. The Courts language in rejecting Calacalas theory is illuminating: [T]he Republics failure to execute the acts referred to by the petitioners within ten (10) years from the registration of th e Certificate of Sale cannot, in any way, operate to restore whatever rights petitioners predecessors -in-interest had over the same. For sure, petitioners have yet to cite any provision of law or rule of jurisprudence, and we are not aware of any, to the effect that the failure of a buyer in a foreclosure sale to secure a Certificate of Final Sale, execute an Affidavit of Consolidation of Ownership and obtain a writ of possession over the property thus acquired, within ten (10) years from the registration of the Certificate of Sale will operate to bring ownership back to him whose property has been previously foreclosed and sold. x x x

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Moreover, with the rule that the expiration of the 1-year redemption period forecloses the obligors right to redeem and that the sale thereby becomes absolute, t he issuance thereafter of a final deed of sale is at best a mere formality and mere confirmation of the title that is already vested in the purchaser. x x x

Moreover, the provisions cited by petitioners refer to prescription of actions. An action is defined as an ordinary suit in a court of justice, by which one party prosecutes another for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong. On the other hand [a] petition for the issuance of the writ, under Section 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended, is not an ordinary actionfiled in court, by which one party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right, or prevention or redress of a wrong. It is in the nature of an ex parte motion [in] which the court hears only one side. It is taken or granted at the instance and for the benefit of one party, and without notice to or consent by any party adversely affected. Accordingly, upon the filing of a proper motion by the purchaser in a foreclosure sale, and the approval of the corresponding bond, the writ of possession issues as a matter of course and the trial court has no discretion on this matter. Spouses Fernando and Angelina Edralin v. Philippine Veterans Bank, G.R. No. 168523, March 9, 2011. EVIDENCE Documentary evidence; interpretation of documents according to circumstances. Section 13, Rule 130, Rules of Court on interpretation of an instrument provides: SEC. 13. Interpretation according to circumstances For the proper construction of an instrument, the circumstances under which it was made, including the situation of the subject thereof and of the parties to it, may be shown so that the judge may be placed in the position of those whose language he is to interpret. (underscoring supplied) A consideration of the circumstances under which Aragons letter-certifications were issued is thus in order.

Amarnanis letter-request of August 21, 2000 for a conditional certification from Aragon was granted two days later when Aragon issued the letter-certification addressed to respondent. Within that period, it could not have been possible for petitioner to even process the application, given that Amarnani had not even complied with the requirements as he, himself, indicated in his letter-request to Aragon to please tell [him] the requirements for the credit line so [he] c[ould] apply. The Distributorship Agreement between respondent and Keraj was forged on October 2, 2000 or 39 days after the issuance of the letter-certification, long enough for respondent to verify if indeed a bank guaranty was, to its impression, granted. By respondents finance manager Leonora Armi Salvadors testimony, upon receipt of the two letter-certifications, she concluded that they were bank guarantees considering their similarity with other bank guarantees in favor of respondent by other distributors; and she made inquiries with petitioner only after Keraj defaulted in the payment of its obligation to respondent. In light of the foregoing circumstances, petitioner could not have conveyed that it was issuing a bank guaranty in favor of Amarnani.

Respondents reliance on Aragons use of a check writer, a machine used to input a numerical or written value impression in the payment amount field of a check that is very difficult to alter, on the left side of each letter- certification, was misplaced, what prevails being the wordings of the letter-certifications. Bank of Commerce v. Goodman Fielder International Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 191561, March 7, 2011. Res gestae; nature and admissibility. Further, the Court considers a res gestae Amalias recital of what she heard Alice utter when she came and rescued her. Res gestae refers to statements made by the participants or the victims of, or the spectators to, a crime immediately before, during, or after its commission. These statements are a spontaneous reaction or utterance inspired by the excitement of the occasion, without any opportunity for the declarant to fabricate a false statement. An important consideration is whether there intervened, between the occurrence and the statement, any circumstance calculated to divert the mind and thus restore the mental balance of the declarant; and afford an opportunity for deliberation. For spontaneous statements to be admitted in evidence, the following must concur: 1) the principal act, the res gestae, is a startling occurrence; 2) the statements were made before the declarant had time to contrive or devise; and 3) the statements concerned the occurrence in question and its immediately attending circumstances. Here, Fallones act of forcing himself into Alice is a startling event. And Amalia happened to be just outside his house when she heard Alice cry out tama na, tama na! When Fallones opened the door upon Amalias incessant knocking, Alice came out from behind him, uttering Amalia, may napkin na binigay si Romy

o. The admissibility of Alices spontaneous statements rests on the valid assumption that they were spoken under circumstances w here there had been no chance to contrive. It is difficult to lie in an excited state and the impulsiveness of the expression is a guaranty of trustworthiness. People of the Philippines v. Romy Fallones y Labana, G.R. No. 190341, March 16, 2011.

Other Proceedings Intra-corporate dispute; jurisdiction of Special Commercial Courts. In addition to being conferred by law, it bears emphasizing that the jurisdiction of a court or tribunal over the case is determined by the allegations in the complaint and the character of the relief sought, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover all or some of the claims asserted therein. Moreover, pursuant to Section 5.2 of Republic Act No. 8799, otherwise known as the Securities Regulation Code, the jurisdiction of the SEC over all cases enumerated under Section 5 of Presidential Decree No. 902-A has been transferred to RTCs designated by this Court as SCCs pursuant to A.M. No. 00-11-03-SC promulgated on 21 November 2000. Thus, Section 1(a), Rule 1 of the Interim Rules of Procedure Governing Intra-Corporate Controversies (Interim Rules) provides as follows: SECTION 1. (1) (a) Cases covered. These Rules shall govern the procedure to be observed in civil cases involving the following:

Devices or schemes employed by, or any act of, the board of directors, business associates, officers or partners, amounting to fraud or misrepresentation

which may be detrimental to the interest of the public and/or of the stockholders, partners, or members of any corporation, partnership, or association; (2) Controversies arising out of intra-corporate, partnership, or association relations, between and among stockholders, members, or associates; and between,

any or all of them and the corporation, partnership, or association of which they are stockholders, members, or associates, respectively; (3) (4) (5) Controversies in the election or appointment of directors, trustees, officers, or managers of corporations, partnerships, or associations; Derivative suits; and Inspection of corporate books. (Italics supplied)

In upholding the RTCs pronouncement that venue was improperly laid, the CA ruled that STRADECs first and second causes of action were not intra-corporate disputes because the issues pertaining thereto were civil in nature. In support of the foregoing conclusion, the CA cited Speed Distributing Corporation vs. Court of Appealswhere this Court essentially ruled out the existence of an intra-corporate dispute from an action instituted by the wife for the nullification of the transfer of a property between corporations of which her deceased husband was a stockholder. The CA also relied on this Courts pronouncement in Nautica Canning Corporation vs. Yumulto the effect, among others, that an action to determine the validity of the transfer of shares from one stockholder to another is civil in nature and is, therefore, cognizable by regular courts and not the SEC. In addition to the fact that the first case involved a civil action instituted against corporations by one who was not a stockholder thereof, however, STRADEC correctly points out that, unlike the second case, the limited jurisdiction of the SEC is not in issue in the case at bench. Even prescinding from the different factual and legal milieus of said cases, the CA also failed to take into consideration the fact that, unlike the SEC which is a tribunal of limited jurisdiction, SCCs like the RTC are still competent to tackle civil law issues incidental to intra-corporate disputes filed before them. In G.D. Express Worldwide N.V. vs. Court of Appeals, this Court ruled as follows: It should be noted that the SCCs are still considered courts of general jurisdiction. Section 5.2 of R.A. No. 8799 directs merely the Supreme Courts designation of RTC branches that shall exercise jurisdiction over intra-corporate disputes. Nothing in the language of the law suggests the diminution of jurisdiction of those RTCs to be designated as SCCs. The assignment of intra-corporate disputes to SCCs is only for the purpose of streamlining the workload of the RTCs so that certain branches thereof like the SCCs can focus only on a particular subject matter. The designation of certain RTC branches to handle specific cases is nothing new. For instance, pursuant to the provisions of R.A. No. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, the Supreme Court has assigned certain RTC branches to hear and decide cases under Sections 56 and 57 of R.A. No. 6657.

The RTC exercising jurisdiction over an intra-corporate dispute can be likened to an RTC exercising its probate jurisdiction or sitting as a special agrarian court. The designation of the SCCs as such has not in any way limited their jurisdiction to hear and decide cases of all nature, whether civil, criminal or special proceedings. Strategic Alliance Development Corporation vs. Star Infrastructure Development Corporation Corporation, BEDE S. Tabalingcos, et al., G.R. No. 187872. November 17, 2010. Intra-corporate dispute; relationship test and nature of the controversy test. An intra-corporate dispute is understood as a suit arising from intra-corporate relations or between or among stockholders or between any or all of them and the corporation. Applying what has come to be known as the relationship test, it has been held that the types of actions embraced by the foregoing definition include the following suits: (a) between the corporation, partnership or association and the public; (b) between the corporation, partnership or association and its stockholders, partners, members, or officers; (c) between the corporation, partnership or association and the State insofar as its franchise, permit or license to operate is concerned; and, (d) among the stockholders, partners or associates themselves. As the definition is broad enough to cover all kinds of controversies between stockholders and corporations, the traditional interpretation was to the effect that the relationship test brooked no distinction, qualification or any exemption whatsoever. However, the unqualified application of the relationship test has been modified on the ground that the same effectively divests regular courts of jurisdiction over cases for the sole reason that the suit is between the corporation and/or its corporators. It was held that the better policy in determining which body has jurisdiction over a case would be to consider not only the status or relationship of the parties but also the nature of the question that is the subject of their controversy. Under the nature of the controversy test, the dispute must not only be rooted in the existence of an intra-corporate relationship, but must also refer to the enforcement of the parties correlative rights and obligations under the Corporation Code as well as the internal and intra-corporate regulatory rules of the corporation. The combined application of the relationship test and the nature of the controversy test has, consequently, become the norm in determining whether a case is an intracorporate controversy or is purely civil in character. In the case at bench, STRADECs first and second causes of action seek the nullification of the loan and pledge over its SIDC shareholding contracted by respondents Yujuico, Sumbilla and Wong as well the avoidance of the notarial sale of said shares conducted by respondent Caraos. STRADECs 31 July 2006 amended petition significantly set forth the following allegations common to its main causes of action, to wit: XXX XXX XXX

Applying the relationship test, we find that STRADECs first and second causes of action qualify as intra-corporate disputes since said corporation and respondent Wong are incorporators and/or stockholders of SIDC. Having acquired STRADECs shares thru the impugned notarial sale conducted by respondent Caraos, respondent Wong appears to have further transferred said shares in favor of CTCII, a corporation he allegedly formed with members of his own family. By reason of said transfer, CTCII became a stockholder of SIDC and was, in fact, alleged to have been recognized as such by the latter and its corporate officers. To our mind, these relationships were erroneously disregarded by the RTC when it ruled that venue was improperly laid for STRADECs first and second causes of action which, applying Section 2, Rule 4 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, should have been filed either at the place where it maintained its principal place of business or where respondents Yujuico, Sumbilla and Wong resided. Considering that they fundamentally relate to STRADECs status as a stockholder and the alleged fraudulent divestment of its stockholding in SIDC, the same causes of action also qualify as intra-corporate disputes under the nature of the controversy test. As part of the fraud which attended the transfer of its shares, STRADEC distinctly averred, among other matters, that respondents Yujuico and Sumbilla had no authority to contract a loan with respondent Wong; that the pledge executed by respondent Yujuico was simulated since it did not receive the proceeds of the loan for which its shares in SIDC were set up as security; that irregularities attended the notarial sale conducted by respondent Caraos who sold said shares to respondent Wong; that the latter unlawfully transferred the same shares in favor of CTCII; and, that SIDC and its officers recognized and validated said transfers despite being alerted about their defects. Ultimately, the foregoing circumstances were alleged to have combined to rid STRADEC of its shares in SIDC and its right as a stockholder to participate in the latters corporate

affairs. Strategic Alliance Development Corporation vs. Star Infrastructure Development Corporation Corporation, BEDE S. Tabalingcos, et al., G.R. No. 187872, November 17, 2010. Intra-corporate dispute; rules of procedure. The rule is settled that rules of procedure ought not to be applied in a very rigid, technical sense, for they have been adopted to help secure not override substantial justice. Considering that litigation is not a game of technicalities courts have been exhorted, time and again, to afford every litigant the amplest opportunity for the proper and just determination of his case free from the constraints of technicalities. Since rules of procedure are mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice, it is well recognized that courts are empowered to suspend its rules, when the rigid application thereof tends to frustrate rather than promote the ends of justice. No less than Section 3, Rule 1 of the Interim Rules provides that the provisions thereof are to be liberally construed in order to promote their objective of securing a just, summary, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action or proceeding. Strategic Alliance Development Corporation vs. Star Infrastructure Development Corporation Corporation, BEDE S. Tabalingcos, et al., G.R. No. 187872, November 17, 2010. Intra-corporate dispute; venue. Viewed in the foregoing light and the intra-corporate nature of STRADECs first and second causes of action, the CA clearly erred in upholding the RTCs finding that venue therefor was improperly laid. Given that the question of venue is decidedly not jurisdictional and may, in fact, be waived, said error was further compounded when the RTC handed down its first 30 August 2006 order even before respondents were able to file pleadings squarely raising objections to the venue for said causes of action. Pursuant to Section 5, Rule 1 of the Interim Rules, at any rate, it cannot be gainsaid that STRADEC correctly commenced its petition before the RTC exercising jurisdiction over SIDCs principal place of business which was alleged to ha ve been transferred from Bayambang, Pangasinan to Lipa, Batangas. It matters little that STRADEC, as pointed out by respondents, also questions the validity of the 30 July 2005 SIDC stockholders annual meeting where the aforesaid change in the address of its principal place of business was all egedly approved. Said matter should be properly threshed out in the proceedings before the RTC alongside such issues as the validity of the transfers of STRADECs shares to respondents Wong and CTCII, the propriety of the recording of said transfers in SIDCs books, STRADECs status as a stockholder of SIDC, the legality of the 20 July 2006 SIDC stockholders special meeting or, for that matter, Cezar T. Quiambaos authority to represent STRADEC in the case at bench. Strategic Alliance Development Corporation vs. Star Infrastructure Development Corporation Corporation, BEDE S. Tabalingcos, et al., G.R. No. 187872, November 17, 2010. Judgment; finality. Finally, it must be emphasized that the decision of the HLURB in HLURB Case No. REM-091699-10646, has already become final and executory due to the failure of the petitioner to elevate the dismissal of his appeal by the Office of the President to the Court of Appeals. It is axiomatic that final and executory judgments can no longer be attacked by any of the parties or be modified, directly or indirectly, even by the highest court of the land. Romulo R. Peralta vs. Hon. Raul E. De Leon, et al., G.R. No. 187978, November 24, 2010. Jurisdiction; Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). Assiduous, petitioner is now before this Court viathe present recourse raising the single issue of whether or not the Court of Appeals is correct in affirming the lack of jurisdiction of the RTC to enjoin the implementation of the HLURB decision that was allegedly rendered contrary to Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1344. We affirm the Court of Appeals. Generally, the extent to which an administrative agency may exercise its powers depends largely, if not wholly, on the provisions of the statute creating or empowering such agency. Presidential Decree No. 1344, Empowering the National Housing Authority to Issue Writ of Execution in the Enforcement of its Decision under Presidential Decree No. 957, clarifies and spells out the quasi-judicial dimensions of the grant of jurisdiction to the HLURB in the following specific terms: Sec 1. In the exercise of its functions to regulate real estate trade and business and in addition to its powers provided for in Presidential Decree No. 957, the National Housing Authority shall have the exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide cases of the following nature. A. Unsound real estate business practices; B. Claims involving refund and any other claims filed by subdivision lot or condominium unit buyer against the project owner, developer, dealer, broker or salesman; and

C. Cases involving specific performance of contractual and statutory obligations filed by buyers of subdivision lots or condominium units against the owner, developer, broker or salesman. It is noteworthy that the HLURB in HLURB Case No. REM-091699-10646, rendered a decision against petitioner ordering him to pay CSDI the unpaid amount due from his purchase of a condominium unit or in the alternative, the rescission of contract with forfeiture of payments made by petitioner. A writ of execution was issued against petitioner and his appeal was dismissed by the Office of the President. Petitioner no longer assailed this dismissal, thus the same became final and executory. Unable to obtain relief before the Office of the President, petitioner filed Civil Case No. 07-0141 before the RTC of Paraaque City. As adverted to earlier, the RTC concluded that the jurisdiction over petitioners complaint falls on the HLURB. This was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. It is a settled rule that the jurisdiction of the HLURB to hear and decide cases is determined by the nature of the cause of action, the subject matter or property involved and the parties. In Civil Case No. 07-0141, petitioner prayed for the issuance of temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to restrain respondent CSDI from cancelling the Contract to Sell, forfeiting the amortization payment, foreclosing petitioners condominium units, and garnishing his bank deposits. Specifically, petitioner asked that the RTC, Branch 258: 1. Immediately upon receipt of this petition, a temporary restraining Order be issued and/or a Preliminary Injunction, pending the determination of the merits of the case, by way of restraining defendants from forfeiting the amortization payments, foreclosure of plaintiffs condominium unit, its break opening, and garnishment of plaintiffs bank deposits at Bank of Philippine Islands, Forbes Park branch, Makati City. 2. To order the final and permanent injunction. 3. And to order defendant-developer to pay plaintiff the actual damages of his hospitalization amounting to Php 60,000.00 including the interest until fully paid, caused by the unlawful and damaging acts of defendants as above shown; 4. To order defendant developer to pay P300,000.00 as moral damages to plaintiff; 5. Another payment of P300,000.00 as exemplary damages to plaintiff; 6. To pay Attorneys fees of P50,000.00 and costs of suit; 7. Ordering defendants to adhere to the License to Sell and all its strict compliance thereto imposed on defendant developer. We have to agree with the trial court and the Court of Appeals that jurisdiction over the complaint filed by the petitioner is with the HLURB. Maria Luisa Park Association, Inc. v. Almendras, finds application in this case. The Court ruled: The provisions of P.D. No. 957 were intended to encompass all questions regarding subdivisions and condominiums. The intention was aimed at providing for an appropriate government agency, the HLURB, to which all parties aggrieved in the implementation of provisions and the enforcement of contractual rights with respect to said category of real estate may take recourse. The business of developing subdivisions and corporations being imbued with public interest and welfare, any question arising from the exercise of that prerogative should be brought to the HLURB which has the technical know-how on the matter. In the exercise of its powers, the HLURB must commonly interpret and apply contracts and determine the rights of private parties under such contracts. This ancillary power is no longer a uniquely judicial function, exercisable only by the regular courts. This Court was equally explicit in Chua v. Ang, when it pronounced that: x x x The law recognized, too, that subdivision and condominium development involves public interest and welfare and should be brought to a body, like the HLURB, that has technical expertise. In the exercise of its powers, the HLURB, on the other hand, is empowered to interpret and apply contracts, and determine the rights of private parties under these contracts. This ancillary power, generally judicial, is now no longer with the regular courts to the extent that the pertinent HLURB laws provide. Viewed from this perspective, the HLURBs jurisdiction over contractual rights and obligations of parties under subdivision and condominium contracts comes out very clearly.

We are in accord with the RTC when it held: First: On the matter of lack of jurisdiction of this Court over this case This Court is fully aware of the cited decisions of respondents particularly those which pertain to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) as provided for under pertinent laws to the exclusion of the regular courts and this is one of them. It cannot be gainsaid that while [plaintiff] harps on Arts. 20 and 21 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines to be the basis of his cause of action for damages before this Court, the issue of his claiming damages against respondent Concepts & Systems Devt. Inc. (CSDI), has already been resolved in HLURB Case No. REM-091699-10646 in favor of CSDI and against him to which a Writ of Execution has been issued, partially implemented by corespondent Sheriff Lucas Eloso Eje and to which [plaintiff] is asking this Court to issue a temporary restraining order in order to suspend the full implementation of said writ. While [plaintiff] claims that his cause of action is one of damages, the truth is his main objective is to have this Court enjoin the enforcement of the writ of execution issued by the HLURB. Such subterfuge is easily discernible in view of the amount of damages [plaintiff] is only claiming in this case against that which respondent CSDI is entitled to if the writ of execution is fully satisfied. This cannot be done for it is tantamount to undue interference with the decision of a quasijudicial body which, as above-stated, is vested by law and jurisprudence with exclusive authority to hear and decide cases between sellers and buyers of subdivision lots and condominium units, among others. The Court, therefore, hereby adopts by reference the arguments of respondent CSDI relative to this Courts lack of jurisdiction to hear and decide this case which need no longer be repeated herein as it will not serve any useful purpose. As observed in C.T. Torres Enterprises, Inc. v. Hibionada: The argument that only courts of justice can adjudicate claims resoluble under the provisions of the Civil Code is out of step with the fast-changing times. There are hundreds of administrative bodies now performing this function by virtue of a valid authorization from the legislature. This quasi-judicial function, as it is called, is exercised by them as an incident of the principal power entrusted to them of regulating certain activities falling under their particular expertise. Romulo R. Peralta vs. Hon. Raul E. De Leon, et al., G.R. No. 187978, November 24, 2010. Jurisdiction; HLURB. In the main, petitioners assail the jurisdiction of the HLURB, inviting attention to Rule II of the Disputes triable by HIGC/Nature of Proceedings: Section 1. Types of Disputes. The HIGC or any person, officer, body, board or committee duly designated or created by it shall have jurisdiction to hear and decide cases involving the following: xxxx (9) Controversies arising out of intra-corporate relations between and among members of the association of which they are members; and between such association and the state/general public or other entity insofar as it concerns its right to exist as a corporate entity. (underscoring supplied) Petitioners argue that the HLURB does not have jurisdiction over the case as it does not fall under the category of an intra-corporate controversy, their being nonmembers having been established and acknowledged by respondent. Likewise, they argue that the case cannot be deemed a controversy between the association and the general public since the main issue does not pertain to respondents juridical personality. Petitioners add that Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, vests exclusive jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer on first level courts, such as the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. The petition is bereft of merit. Upon conferment of quasi-judicial functions to an administrative agency, all controversies relating to the subject matter which pertain to its specialization are deemed included within its jurisdiction. Since the HLURB is vested by law with jurisdiction to regulate and supervise homeowner associations, respondent correctly lodged their complaint with the HLURB. Republic Act No. 8763 provides: Section 26. Powers over Homeowners Associations. The powers authorities and responsibilities vested in the Corporation (formerly Home Insurance Guaranty Corporation) with respect to homeowners association under Republic Act No. 580, as amended by executive Order No. 535is hereby transferred to the Housing and Land use Regulatory Board (HLURB). (underscoring supplied)

Petitioners in fact, in their reply to the complaint, acknowledged the HLURBs jurisdiction when they challenged respondents right to exist as a corporate entity, viz: (5) That complainants statements from number 6-12 in reference to that of the respondents are already terminated and non members and non program beneficiaries of the CMP would not hold water. At this point, respondent in this instance, would like to emphasize that they are not opposing the implementation of the Community Mortgage Program. They are only questioning the legitimacy and the illegal activities of Erlinda Manalo, highlighted hereunder, to wit: a. Complainant have been collecting money since year 2000 from actual occupants and occupants not covered by the Community Mortgage Program. This is

illegal for the simple reason that she has no juridical personality in the absence of a SEC registration. Please take note of their half hazard (sic) registration with HLURB dated only September 25, 2003 (please refer to the receipts of collection marked as Annex B) b. c. No election to legitimize her presidency. Non-consultation of the majority actual occupants on which she used the names in her intent of registering with HLURB the so called Sta. Monica Riverside

Homeowners Association. d. Harassment of the child (child abuse) of one of the actual occupant who was deleted from the beneficiaries. (please refer to the medical certificate marked as

Annex C) e. Majority of the names of officers and members as submitted to HLURB are not the actual occupants (please refer to the master list submitted to the City

Government Planning Office marked as Annex D) (underscoring supplied) If petitioners refuse to recognize respondents legitimacy, respondent will not be able to fulfill its obligation to collect and account for the monthly amortizations with SHFC. Individual titling would not thus be completed and the laudable objectives of the CMP [Community Mortgage Program] would not be fully attained. Undoubtedly, the case is within the competence of HLURB to decide. While the SHFC is the main government agency tasked to administer the CMP, its authority pertains only to the administrative and financing aspects of the States social housing program schemes, i.e., evaluation of the community association and originator based on the submitted documents, site inspection, releasing of funds for land acquisition, site development and housing assistance, collection of monthly amortizations from community associations and foreclosure of mortgages. While a complaint for ejectment, which raises the issue of who has a better right of possession, falls within the exclusive and original jurisdiction of first level courts, the right of possession in the present case is, however, necessarily intertwined with a determination of rights and privileges under a distinctive social housing concept such as CMP, which falls within the expertise of the HLURB. The foregoing discussions leave it unnecessary to delve on petitioners assigned error respecting their extrajudicial and summary eviction from the lots they occupy. It is settled that eviction is a necessary consequence of petitioners exclusion from the benefits of the CMP. Edna Eugenio, et al. vs. Sta. Monica Riverside Homeowners Association, G.R. No. 187751, November 22, 2010. Writ of possession; matter of right after consolidation of title in name of buyer in extra-judicial foreclosure. It is a time-honored legal precept that after the consolidation of titles in the buyers name, for failure of the mortgagor to redeem, entitlement to a writ of possession becomes a matter of right. As the confirmed owner, the purchasers right to possession becomes absolute. There is even no need for him to post a bond, and it is the ministerial duty of the courts to issue the same upon proper application and proof of title. To accentuate the writs ministerial character, the Court has consistently disallowed injunction to prohibit its issuance despite a pending action for annulment of mortgage or the foreclosure itself. The nature of an ex parte petition for issuance of the possessory writ under Act No. 3135 has been described as a non-litigious proceeding and summary in nature. As an ex parte proceeding, it is brought for the benefit of one party only, and without notice to or consent by any person adversely interested. Subsequent proceedings in the appellate courts would merely involve a reiteration of the foregoing settled doctrines. The issue involved in the assailed RTC issuances is conclusively determined by the above cited legal dictum, and it would be unnecessarily vexatious and unjust to allow the present controversy to undergo protracted litigation. AUBs right of possession is founded on its right of ownership over the property which it purchased at the auction sale. Upon

expiration of the redemption period and consolidation of the title to the property, its possessory rights over the same became absolute. We quote with approval the pronouncement of the RTC, viz.: As the purchaser of the property in the foreclosure sale to which new title has already been issued, petitioners right over the property has become absolute, vesting upon it the right of possession and enjoyment of the property which this Court must aid in effecting its delivery. Under the circumstances, and following established doctrine, the issuance of a writ of possession is a ministerial function whereby the court exercises neither discretion nor judgment x x x. Said writ of possession must be enforced without delay x x x. The law does not require that a petition for a writ of possession be granted only after documentary and testimonial evidence shall have been offered to and admitted by the court. As long as a verified petition states the facts sufficient to entitle petitioner to the relief requested, the court shall issue the writ prayed for. Asia United Bank vs. Goodland Company, Inc., G.R. No. 188051, November 22, 2010. Writ of possession; writ issued in relation to extra-judicial foreclosure of mortgage is not covered by rule on execution by motion or by independent action (Rule 39, sec. 6). The petitioners finally submit that the writ of possession, issued by the RTC on February 16, 1984, may no longer be enforced by a mere motion, but by a separate action, considering that more than five years had elapsed from its issuance, pursuant to Section 6, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, which states: Sec. 6. Execution by motion or by independent action. A final and executory judgment or order may be executed on motion within five (5) years from the date of its entry. After the lapse of such time, and before it is barred by the statute of limitations, a judgment may be enforced by action. The revived judgment may also be enforced by motion within five (5) years from the date of its entry and thereafter by action before it is barred by the statute of limitations. In rejecting a similar argument, the Court held in Paderes v. Court of Appeals that Section 6, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court finds application only to civil actions and not to special proceedings. Citing Sta. Ana v. Menla, which extensively discussed the rationale behind the rule, the Court held: In a later case [Sta. Ana v. Menla, 111 Phil. 947 (1961)], the Court also ruled that the provision in the Rules of Court to the effect that judgment may be enforced within five years by motion, and after five years but within ten years by an action (Section 6, Rule 39) refers to civil actions and is not applicable to special proceedings, such as land registration cases. x x x x We fail to understand the arguments of the appellant in support of the above assignment, except in so far as it supports his theory that after a decision in a land registration case has become final, it may not be enforced after the lapse of a period of 10 years, except by another proceeding to enforce the judgment or decision. Authority for this theory is the provision in the Rules of Court to the effect that judgment may be enforced within 5 years by motion, and after five years but within 10 years, by an action (Sec. 6, Rule 39). This provision of the Rules refers to civil actions and is not applicable to special proceedings, such as a land registration case. This is so because a party in a civil action must immediately enforce a judgment that is secured as against the adverse party, and his failure to act to enforce the same within a reasonable time as provided in the Rules makes the decision unenforceable against the losing party. In special proceedings the purpose is to establish a status, condition or fact; in land registration proceedings, the ownership by a person of a parcel of land is sought to be established. After the ownership has been proved and confirmed by judicial declaration, no further proceeding to enforce said ownership is necessary, except when the adverse or losing party had been in possession of the land and the winning party desires to oust him therefrom. Subsequently, the Court, in Republic v. Nillas, affirmed the dictum in Sta. Ana and clarified that Rule 39 x x x applies only to ordinary civil actions, not to other or extraordinary proceedings not expressly governed by the Rules of Civil Procedure but by some other specific law or legal modality, viz: Rule 39, as invoked by the Republic, applies only to ordinary civil actions, not to other or extraordinary proceedings not expressly governed by the Rules of Civil Procedure but by some other specific law or legal modality such as land registration cases. Unlike in ordinary civil actions governed by the Rules of Civil Procedure, the intent of land registration proceedings is to establish ownership by a person of a parcel of land, consistent with the purpose of such extraordinary proceedings to declare by judicial fiat a status, condition or fact. Hence, upon the finality of a decision adjudicating such ownership, no further step is required to

effectuate the decision and a ministerial duty exists alike on the part of the land registration court to order the issuance of, and the LRA to issue, the decree of registration. In the present case, Section 6, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court is not applicable to an ex parte petition for the issuance of the writ of possession as it is not in the nature of a civil action governed by the Rules of Civil Procedure but a judicial proceeding governed separately by Section 7 of Act No. 3135 which regulates the methods of effecting an extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage. The provision states: Section 7. Possession during redemption period. In any sale made under the provisions of this Act, the purchaser may petition the [Regional Trial Court] where the property or any part thereof is situated, to give him possession thereof during the redemption period, furnishing bond in an amount equivalent to the use of the property for a period of twelve months, to indemnify the debtor in case it be shown that the sale was made without violating the mortgage or without complying with the requirements of this Act. Such petition shall be made under oath and filed in form of an ex parte motion in the registration or cadastral proceedings if the property is registered, or in special proceedings in the case of property registered under the Mortgage Law or under section one hundred and ninety-four of the Administrative Code, or of any other real property encumbered with a mortgage duly registered in the office of any register of deeds in accordance with any existing law, and in each case the clerk of the court shall, upon the filing of such petition, collect the fees specified in paragraph eleven of section one hundred and fourteen of Act Numbered Four hundred and ninety-six, as amended by Act Numbered Twenty-eight hundred and sixty-six, and the court shall, upon approval of the bond, order that a writ of possession issue, addressed to the sheriff of the province in which the property is situated, who shall execute said order immediately. The above-cited provision lays down the procedure that commences from the filing of a motion for the issuance of a writ of possession, to the issuance of the writ of possession by the Court, and finally to the execution of the order by the sheriff of the province in which the property is located. Based on the text of the law, we have also consistently ruled that the duty of the trial court to grant a writ of possession is ministerial; the writ issues as a matter of course upon the filing of the proper motion and the approval of the corresponding bond. In fact, the issuance and the immediate implementation of the writ are declared ministerial and mandatory under the law. Thus, in Philippine National Bank v. Adil, we emphatically ruled that once the writ of possession has been issued, the trial court has no alternative but to enforce the writ without delay. The issuance of a writ of possession to a purchaser in an extrajudicial foreclosure is summary and ministerial in nature as such proceeding is merely an incident in the transfer of title. The trial court does not exercise discretion in the issuance thereof; it must grant the issuance of the writ upon compliance with the requirements set forth by law, and the provincial sheriff is likewise mandated to implement the writ immediately. Clearly, the exacting procedure provided in Act No. 3135, from the moment of the issuance of the writ of possession, leaves no room for the application of Section 6, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which we consistently ruled, as early as 1961 in Sta. Ana, to be applicable only to civil actions. From another perspective, the judgment or the order does not have to be executed by motion or enforced by action within the purview of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. Spouses Ernesto and Vicenta Topacio vs. Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank, G.R. No. 157644, November 17, 2010. Evidence Admission. In the first issue raised, petitioner argues that respondents exclusive right to monopolize the subject matter of the patent exists only within the term of the patent. Petitioner claims that since respondents patent expired on July 16, 2004, the latter no longer possess any right of monopoly and, as such, there is no more basis for the issuance of a restraining order or injunction against petitioner insofar as the disputed patent is concerned. The Court agrees. Section 37 of Republic Act No. (RA) 165, which was the governing law at the time of the issuance of respondents patent, provides: Section 37. Rights of patentees. A patentee shall have the exclusive right to make, use and sell the patented machine, article or product, and to use the patented process for the purpose of industry or commerce, throughout the territory of the Philippines for the term of the patent; and such making, using, or selling by any person without the authorization of the patentee constitutes infringement of the patent.

It is clear from the above-quoted provision of law that the exclusive right of a patentee to make, use and sell a patented product, article or process exists only during the term of the patent. In the instant case, Philippine Letters Patent No. 21116, which was the basis of respondents in filing their complaint with the BLAIPO, was issued on July 16, 1987. This fact was admitted by respondents themselves in their complaint. They also admitted that the validity of the said patent is until July 16, 2004, which is in conformity with Section 21 of RA 165, providing that the term of a patent shall be seventeen (17) years from the date of issuance thereof. Section 4, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court provides that an admission, verbal or written, made by a party in the course of the proceedings in the same case, does not require proof and that the admission may be contradicted only by showing that it was made through palpable mistake or that no such admission was made. In the present case, there is no dispute as to respondents admission that the term of their patent expired on July 16, 2004. Neither is there evidence to show that their admission was made through palpable mistake. Hence, contrary to the pronouncement of the CA, there is no longer any need to present evidence on the issue of expiration of respondents patent.

On the basis of the foregoing, the Court agrees with petitioner that after July 16, 2004, respondents no longer possess the exclusive right to make, use and sell the articles or products covered by Philippine Letters Patent No. 21116. Phil Pharmawealth, Inc. vs. Pfizer, Inc and Pfizer (Phil.) Inc., G.R. No. 167715, November 17, 2010. Affidavits; hearsay if affiants not presented at trial for cross-examination. To support her assertion that the property belongs to the conjugal partnership, petitioner submitted the Affidavit of Crisanto Origen, attesting that petitioner and her husband were the vendees of the subject property, and the photocopies of the checks allegedly issued by Sina Imani as payment for the subject property. Unfortunately for petitioner, the said Affidavit can hardly be considered sufficient evidence to prove her claim that the property is conjugal. As correctly pointed out by Metrobank, the said Affidavit has no evidentiary weight because Crisanto Origen was not presented in the RTC to affirm the veracity of his Affidavit: The basic rule of evidence is that unless the affiants themselves are placed on the witness stand to testify on their affidavits, such affidavits must be rejected for being hearsay. Stated differently, the declarants of written statements pertaining to disputed facts must be presented at the trial for cross-examination. Evangeline D. Imani vs. Metroplitan Bank and Trust Company, G.R. No. 187023, November 17, 2010. Best Evidence Rule. In the same vein, the photocopies of the checks cannot be given any probative value. InConcepcion v. Atty. Fandio, Jr. and Intestate Estate of the Late Don Mariano San Pedro y Esteban v. Court of Appeals, we held that a photocopy of a document has no probative value and is inadmissible in evidence. Thus, the CA was correct in disregarding the said pieces of evidence. Evangeline D. Imani vs. Metroplitan Bank and Trust Company, G.R. No. 187023, November 17, 2010. Burden of proof; affirmative defense; payment. It is worth noting that both Vitarich and Losin failed to make a proper recording and documentation of their transactions making it difficult to reconcile the evidence presented by the parties to establish their respective claims. As a general rule, one who pleads payment has the burden of proving it. In Jimenez v. NLRC, the Court ruled that the burden rests on the debtor to prove payment, rather than on the creditor to prove nonpayment. The debtor has the burden of showing with legal certainty that the obligation has been discharged by payment. True, the law requires in civil cases that the party who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it. Section 1, Rule 131 of the Rules of Court provides that the burden of proof is the duty of a party to prove the truth of his claim or defense, or any fact in issue by the amount of evidence required by law. In this case, however, the burden of proof is on Losin because she alleges an affirmative defense, namely, payment. Losin failed to discharge that burden. After examination of the evidence presented, this Court is of the opinion that Losin failed to present a single official receipt to prove payment. This is contrary to the well-settled rule that a receipt, which is a written and signed acknowledgment that money and goods have been delivered, is the best evidence of the fact of payment although not exclusive. All she presented were copies of the list of checks allegedly issued to Vitarich through its agent Directo, a Statement of Payments Made to Vitarich, and apparently copies of the pertinent history of her checking account with Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC). At best,

these may only serve as documentary records of her business dealings with Vitarich to keep track of the payments made but these are not enough to prove payment. Article 1249, paragraph 2 of the Civil Code provides: The delivery of promissory notes payable to order, or bills of exchange or other mercantile documents shallproduce the effect of payment only when they have been cashed, or when through the fault of the creditor they have been impaired. [Emphasis supplied] In the case at bar, no cash payment was proved. It was neither confirmed that the checks issued by Losin were actually encashed by Vitarich. Thus, the Court cannot consider that payment, much less overpayment, made by Losin. Vitarich Corporation vs. Chona Losin, G.R. No. 181560, November 15, 2010. Burden of proof; allegation of forgery. Instead of just discrediting the PNP Crime Labs findings, Nacu should have channeled her efforts into providing her own proof that the signatures appearing on the questioned SOS were forgeries. After all, whoever alleges forgery has the burden of proving the same by clear and convincing evidence. Nacu could not simply depend on the alleged weakness of the complainants evidence without offering stronger evidence to contradict the former. Irene K. Nacu, etc. vs. Civil Service Commission, et al., G.R. No. 187752, November 23, 2010. Damages for loss of earning capacity; documentary evidence. The award of damages for loss of earning capacity is concerned with the determination of losses or damages sustained by respondents, as dependents and intestate heirs of the deceased. This consists not of the full amount of his earnings, but of the support which they received or would have received from him had he not died as a consequence of the negligent act. Thus, the amount recoverable is not the loss of the victims entire earnings, but rather the loss of that portion of the earnings which the beneficiary would have received. Indemnity for loss of earning capacity is determined by computing the net earning capacity of the victim. The CA correctly modified the RTCs computation. The RTC had misapplied the formula generally used by the courts to determine net earning capacity, which is, to wit: Net Earning Capacity = life expectancy x (gross annual income reasonable and necessary living expenses). Life expectancy shall be computed by applying the formula (2/3 x [80 - age at death]) adopted from the American Expectancy Table of Mortality or the Actuarial of Combined Experience Table of Mortality. Hence, the RTC erred in modifying the formula and using the retirement age of the members of the PNP instead of 80. On the other hand, gross annual income requires the presentation of documentary evidence for the purpose of proving the victims annual income. The victims heirs presented in evidence Seoras pay slip from the PNP, showing him to have had a gross monthly salary of P12,754.00. Meanwhile, the victims net income was correctly pegged at 50% of his gross income in the absence of proof as regards the victims living expenses. Consequently, the Court sustains the award of P1,887,847.00 as damages for loss of earning capacity. All other aspects of the assailed Decision are affirmed. Constancia G. Tamayo, et al. vs. Rosalia Abad Seora, et al., G.R. No. 176946, November 15, 2010. Opinion; opinion of ordinary witness on signature/handwriting. In any case, the CA did not rely solely on the PNP Crime Lab report in concluding that the signatures appearing on the ten SOS were Nacus. Margallo, a co-employee who holds the same position as Nacu, also identified the latters signatures on the SOS. Such testimony deserves credence. It has been held that an ordinary witness may testify on a signature he is familiar with. Anyone who is familiar with a persons writing from having seen him write, from carrying on a correspondence with him, or from having become familiar with his writing through handling documents and papers known to have been signed by him may give his opinion as to the genuineness of that persons purported signature when it becomes material in the case. Irene K. Nacu, etc. vs. Civil Service Commission, et al.,G.R. No. 187752, November 23, 2010. Preponderance of evidence. At any rate, the Court is convinced that the decision of the courts below are supported by a preponderance of evidence. Section 1, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of Evidence provides how preponderance of evidence is determined: Section 1. Preponderance of evidence, how determined. In civil cases, the party having the burden of proof must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence. In determining where the preponderance or superior weight of evidence on the issues involved lies, the court may consider all the facts and circumstance of the case, the witnesses manner of testifying, their intelligence, their means and opportunity of knowing the facts to which they are testifying, the

nature of the facts to which they testify, the probability of their testimony, their interest or want of interest, and also their personal credibility so far as the same may legitimately appear upon the trial. The court may also consider the number of witnesses, though the preponderance is not necessarily with the greater number. Preponderance of evidence is the weight, credit, and value of the aggregate evidence on either side and is usually considered to be synonymous with the term greater weight of the evidence or greater weight of the credible evidence. Preponderance of evidence is a phrase which, in the last analysis, means probability of the truth. It is evidence which is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto. If plaintiff claims a right granted or created by law, he must prove his claim by competent evidence. He must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not upon the weakness of that of his opponent. Applying said principle in the case at bench, the factual circumstances established by the Villareals through their testimonial and documentary evidences are sufficient and convincing enough to prove that they are entitled to an award of damages for the death of Jose Villareal compared to the bare allegations to the contrary of the Sevillas. These circumstances, which were earlier enumerated, have successfully swayed this Court to believe that indeed the Sevillas are liable for the death of the victim to the exclusion of others except their henchmen. Furthermore, the Court notes that in the course of their appeal with the CA, the factual conclusions of the RTC were never assailed by the Sevillas. Instead of questioning the facts that would garner them a favorable judgment, what they filed were an urgent motion to resolve one issue that will make all other issues moot and a motion for reconsideration on the sole issue of the extent of the award of unliquidated damages. Consequently, with the filing of these motions, the factual findings of the lower court were deemed admitted. Sps. Eliseo Sevilla and Erna Sevilla vs. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 150284, November 22, 2010. Proof of private documents. At any rate, the CA ruling is in accordance with the rules and prevailing jurisprudence. Section 20 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Evidence provides: SEC. 20. Proof of private document. Before any private document offered as authentic is received in evidence, its due execution and authenticity must be proved either:

(a)

By anyone who saw the document executed or written; or

(b)

By evidence of the genuineness of the signature or handwriting of the maker.

Any other private document need only be identified as what it is claimed to be.

Truly, the best evidence of the cancellation of a contract is the original of the deed. The testimony of Brosas alone, without any supporting documentation, is insufficient to prove that the sales to the Buyers had indeed been withdrawn or cancelled.

In Harris Sy Chua v. Court of Appeals and State Financing Center, Inc., it was held that before private documents can be received in evidence, proof of their due execution and authenticity must be presented. This may require the presentation and examination of witnesses to testify as to the due execution and authenticity of such private documents. When there is no proof as to the authenticity of the writers signature appearing in a private document, such private documen t may be excluded. Failure to comply with this rule on authentication of private documents resulted in the exclusion of the document sought to be admitted.

In this case, the disbursement vouchers referred to by Brosas were never presented and authenticated. Without satisfactory proof that the buyers withdrew or cancelled their purchases, the said sales are deemed current, binding and consummated. Therefore, WSIRI is entitled to recover from Ledesco the corresponding

ten percent (10%) commission on these sales. Ledesco Development Corp. vs. Worldwide Standard International Realty, Inc.,G.R. No. 173339, November 24, 2010. Substantial evidence. Substantial evidence, the quantum of evidence required in administrative proceedings, means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. The standard of substantial evidence is satisfied when there is reasonable ground to believe that a person is responsible for the misconduct complained of, even if such evidence might not be overwhelming or even preponderant. Overall, the testimonies of the witnesses, the statements made by Ligan during the preliminary investigation, and the findings of the PNP Crime Lab on its examination of the signatures on the SOS, amounted to substantial evidence that adequately supported the conclusion that Nacu was guilty of the acts complained of. Petitioners allegations of unreliability, irregularities, and inconsistencies of the evidence neither discredited nor weakened the case against Nacu. Irene K. Nacu, etc. vs. Civil Service Commission, et al., G.R. No. 187752, November 23, 2010. Testimony; credibility. More specifically, petitioner-spouses contention, i.e., that the subject property really belonged to Romans first spouse Flavia as her paraphernal property, cannot be sustained. This position was anchored from the testimony of Josefina that the lot was actually bought by her maternal grandfather and given to her mother Flavia. Josefinas declarations before the RTC do not deserve merit and weight, particularly in light of her statement that she was told so by her elders way back in 1923, when at that time she was only around three (3) years of age. Besides, such a pronouncement was not supported by any proof, save for the lame excuse that the deed of sale showing the said transaction was allegedly lost and destroyed by a typhoon at a time when she was already married, claiming that she was then the custodian of the supposed document. Evidence, to be worthy of credit, must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but must be credible in itself. In other words, it must be natural, reasonable, and probable to warrant belief. The standard as to the truth of human testimony is its conformity to human knowledge, observation, and experience; the courts cannot heed otherwise. Regretfully, petitioner-spouses allegations do not measure up to the yardstick of verity. Sps. Mariano and Emma Bolaos vs. Roscef Zuga Bernarte, et al., G.R. No. 180997, November 17, 2010. Testimony; credibility. The Court holds that the RTC and the CA correctly found Polloso negligent. To be credible, testimonial evidence should not only come from the mouth of a credible witness but it should also be credible, reasonable, and in accord with human experience. It should be positive and probable such that it is difficult for a rational mind not to find it credible. If, as Pascual testified, the truck stopped when the tricycle bumped the motorcycle from behind, then there would have been no accident. Even if the motorcycle was nudged into the path of the truck, as she claimed, there would have been no impact if the truck itself was not moving, and certainly not an impact that would pin the motorcycles driver under the truck and throw the motorcycle a few meters away. Constancia G. Tamayo, et al. vs. Rosalia Abad Seora, et al., G.R. No. 176946, November 15, 2010.