Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 31

G.R. No.

169129
March 28, 2007
SPS. VIRGILIO F. SANTOS & ESPERANZA LATI SANTOS, SPS.VICTORINO F. SANTOS, &
LAGRIMAS SANTOS, ERNESTO F. SANTOS, and TADEO F. SANTOS, Petitioners,
vs.
SPS. JOSE LUMBAO and PROSERFINA LUMBAO, Respondents.
Herein petitioners Virgilio, Victorino, Ernesto and Tadeo, all surnamed Santos, are the legitimate and
surviving heirs of the late Rita Catoc Santos (Rita), who died on 20 October 1985. The other petitioners
Esperanza Lati and Lagrimas Santos are the daughters-in-law of Rita.
Herein respondents Spouses Jose Lumbao and Proserfina Lumbao are the alleged owners of the 107-
square meter lot (subject property), which they purportedly bought from Rita during her lifetime.
Facts:
1. On two separate occasions during her lifetime, Rita sold to respondents Spouses Lumbao the subject
property which is a part of her share in the estate of her deceased mother, Maria Catoc (Maria), who died
intestate.
2. On the first occasion, Rita sold 100 square meters of her inchoate share in her mothers estate through
a document denominated as "Bilihan ng Lupa," Respondents Spouses Lumbao claimed the execution of
the aforesaid document was witnessed by petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo as shown by their signatures
affixed therein.
3. On the second occasion, an additional seven square meters was added to the land as evidenced by a
document
4. Spouses Lumbao erected thereon a house which they have been occupying as exclusive owners up to
the present. As the exclusive owners, respondents Spouses Lumbao made several verbal demands
upon Rita for them to execute the necessary documents to effect the issuance of a separate title in favor
of respondents Spouses Lumbao insofar as the subject property is concerned.
5. Respondents Spouses Lumbao alleged that prior to her (Rita) death, Rita informed respondent
Lumbao she could not deliver the title to the subject property because the entire property inherited by her
and her co-heirs from Maria had not yet been partitioned.
6. Spouses Lumbao claimed that petitioners, acting fraudulently and in conspirac, executed a Deed of
Extrajudicial Settlement,

partitioning among themselves and the other heirs, the estate left by Maria,
which included the subject property already sold to respondents Spouses Lumbao
7. Petitioners refused to reconvey the subject property despite formal demand letter.
8. Petitioners denied the allegation that the subject property had been sold to the respondents. They
likewise denied that the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement had been fraudulently executed because the
same was duly published as required by law.
9. On the contrary, they prayed for the dismissal of the Complaint for lack of cause of action because
respondents Spouses Lumbao failed to first resort to barangay conciliation (the Revised Katarungang
Pambarangay Law).
10. Respondents, with leave of court, amended their Complaint because they discovered without their
knowledge, petitioners executed a Deed of Real Estate Mortgage in favor of Julieta S. Esplana. Also, in
answer to the allegation of the petitioners that they failed to comply with the mandate of the Revised
Katarungang Pambarangay Law, respondents Spouses Lumbao said that the Complaint was filed
directly in court in order that prescription or the Statute of Limitations may not set in.
11. During the trial, respondents Spouses Lumbao presented Proserfina Lumbao and Carolina Morales as
their witnesses, while the petitioners presented only the testimony of petitioner Virgilio.
TC: Ruled in favor of petitioners. Resps. pay pets. CA REVERSED TC. Pets reconvey lands to resps.
Petitioners filed MFR. DENIED. Hence, this petition.
12. Petitioners ask this Court to scrutinize the evidence presented in this case, because they claim that the
factual findings of the trial court and the appellate court are conflicting. They allege that the findings of
fact by the trial court revealed that petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo did not witness the execution of the
documents known as "Bilihan ng Lupa"; hence, this finding runs counter to the conclusion made by the
appellate court.
13. And even assuming that they were witnesses to the aforesaid documents, still, respondents Spouses
Lumbao were not entitled to the reconveyance of the subject property because they were guilty of laches
for their failure to assert their rights for an unreasonable length of time. (12 years reckoned from the date
of execution of the second "Bilihan ng Lupa,")
14. Petitioners allege they are in good faith in executing the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement because
even respondents Spouses Lumbaos witness, Carolina Morales, testified that neither petitioner Virgilio
nor petitioner Tadeo was present during the execution of the "Bilihan ng Lupa"
15. Petitioners affirm that the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement was published in a newspaper of general
circulation and no claimant interposed a claim.
16. Petitioners also contend that they are not bound by the documents denominated as "Bilihan ng Lupa"
because the same were null and void for the following reasons: 1) for being falsified documents because
one of those documents made it appear that petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo were witnesses to its
execution and that they appeared personally before the notary public, when in truth and in fact they did
not; 2) the identities of the properties in the "Bilihan ng Lupa," dated 17 August 1979 and 9 January 1981
in relation to the subject property in litigation were not established by the evidence presented by the
respondents Spouses Lumbao; 3) the right of the respondents Spouses Lumbao to lay their claim over
the subject property had already been barred through estoppel by laches; and 4) the respondents
Spouses Lumbaos claim over the subject property had already prescribed.
17. Finally, petitioners claim that the Complaint for Reconveyance with Damages filed by respondents
Spouses Lumbao was dismissible because they failed to comply with the mandate Republic Act No.
7160, particularly Section 412 of Republic Act No. 7160.
Issues:
I. Whether or not the Complaint for Reconveyance with Damages filed by respondents spouses Lumbao
is dismissible for their failure to comply with the mandate of the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law
under R.A. No. 7160. NO.
II. Whether or not the documents known as "Bilihan ng Lupa" are valid and enforceable, thus, they can
be the bases of the respondents spouses Lumbaos action for reconveyance with damages.
III. Whether or not herein petitioners are legally bound to comply with the "Bilihan ng Lupa" dated 17
August 1979 and 9 January 1981 and consequently, reconvey the subject property to herein respondents
spouses Lumbao.
Held.
1
st
issue
18. No. Non-compliance with the said condition precedent could affect the sufficiency of the plaintiffs
cause of action and make his complaint vulnerable to dismissal on ground of lack of cause of action or
prematurity; but the same would not prevent a court of competent jurisdiction from exercising its power of
adjudication over the case before it, where the defendants failed to object to such exercise of jurisdiction.
(SC is not a trier of facts, but when the findings of the appellate court are contrary to those of the trial
court, the Court can try facts.
19. In this case, however, respondents Spouses Lumbaos non-compliance with the aforesaid condition
precedent cannot be considered fatal. Although petitioners alleged in their answer that the Complaint for
Reconveyance with Damages filed by respondents spouses Lumbao should be dismissed for their failure
to comply with the condition precedent, which in effect, made the complaint prematurely instituted and
the trial court acquired no jurisdiction to hear the case, yet, they did not file a Motion to Dismiss the said
complaint.
20. Instead of filing MTD, they invoked the very same jurisdiction by filing an answer seeking an affirmative
relief from it. Worse, petitioners actively participated in the trial of the case by presenting their own
witness and by cross-examining the witnesses presented by the respondents Spouses Lumbao. It is
elementary that the active participation of a party in a case pending against him before a court is
tantamount to recognition of that courts jurisdiction and a willingness to abide by the resolution of the
case which will bar said party from later on impugning the courts jurisdiction.
2
nd
issue:
21. No. Upon examination of the aforesaid documents, this Court finds that in the "Bilihan ng Lupa," dated
17 August 1979, the signatures of petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo appeared thereon. Moreover, in
petitioners Answer and Amended Answer to the Complaint for Reconveyance with Damages, both
petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo made an admission that indeed they acted as witnesses in the execution of
the "Bilihan ng Lupa,"
22. However, in order to avoid their obligations in the said "Bilihan ng Lupa," petitioner Virgilio, in his cross-
examination, denied having knowledge of the sale transaction and claimed that he could not remember
the same as well as his appearance before the notary public due to the length of time that had passed.
Noticeably, petitioner Virgilio did not categorically deny having signed the "Bilihan ng Lupa (As shown in
his testimony)
23. As a general rule, facts alleged in a partys pleading are deemed admissions of that party and are
binding upon him, but this is not an absolute and inflexible rule. An answer is a mere statement of fact
which the party filing it expects to prove, but it is not evidence. And in spite of the presence of judicial
admissions in a partys pleading, the trial court is still given leeway to consider other evidence presented.
24. However, in the case at bar, as the CA mentioned in its Decision, "[herein petitioners] had not
adduced any other evidence to override the admission made in their [A]nswer that [petitioners Virgilio
and Tadeo] actually signed the [Bilihan ng Lupa dated 17 August 1979] except that they were just misled
as to the purpose of the document, Virgilios answers were unsure and quibbled. Hence, the general rule
that the admissions made by a party in a pleading are binding and conclusive upon him applies in this
case.
25. If the statement of Carolina Morales is calibrated it its entirety, it shows that her subsequent statement
that the [petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo] were not with them during the transaction does not automatically
imply that [petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo] did not at any time sign as witnesses as to the deed of sale
attesting to their mothers voluntary act of selling a portion of her share in her deceased mothers
property.
26. Furthermore, both "Bilihan ng Lupa" documents dated 17 August 1979 and 9 January 1981 were duly
notarized before a notary public. It is well-settled that a document acknowledged before a notary public is
a public document
25
that enjoys the presumption of regularity. It is a prima facie evidence of the truth of
the facts stated therein and a conclusive presumption of its existence and due execution. This they failed
to do.
27. In the case at bar, the right of the respondents Spouses Lumbao to seek reconveyance does not
prescribe because the latter have been and are still in actual possession and occupation as owners of
the property sought to be reconveyed, which fact has not been refuted nor denied by the petitioners.
28. Furthermore, respondents Spouses Lumbao cannot be held guilty of laches because from the very
start that they bought the 107-square meter lot from the mother of the petitioners, they have constantly
asked for the transfer of the certificate of title into their names but Rita, during her lifetime, and the
petitioners, after the death of Rita, failed to do so on the flimsy excuse that the lot had not been
partitioned yet.
29. The failure of respondents Spouses Lumbao to have the said documents registered does not affect its
validity and enforceability. It must be remembered that registration is not a requirement for validity of the
contract as between the parties, for the effect of registration serves chiefly to bind third persons.
3
rd
issue:
30. Yes, Finally, the general rule that heirs are bound by contracts entered into by their predecessors-in-
interest applies in the present case. Article 1311
32
of the NCC is the basis of this rule. It is clear from the
said provision that whatever rights and obligations the decedent have over the property were transmitted
to the heirs by way of succession, a mode of acquiring the property, rights and obligations of the
decedent to the extent of the value of the inheritance of the heirs. The death of a party does not excuse
nonperformance of a contract which involves a property right and the rights and obligations thereunder
pass to the personal representatives of the deceased. Similarly, nonperformance is not excused by the
death of the party when the other party has a property interest in the subject matter of the contract.
31. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision and
Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated 8 June 2005 and 29 July 2005, respectively, are hereby
AFFIRMED. Herein petitioners are ordered to reconvey to respondents Spouses Lumbao the subject
property and to pay the latter attorneys fees and litigation expenses. Costs against petitioners.
RUBY H. GARDNER and FRANK GARDNER, JR., petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, DEOGRACIAS R. NATIVIDAD and JUANITA A. SANCHEZ, respondents.
Facts:
On November 27, 1961, the GARDNERS and the spouses Ariosto C. SANTOS and Cirila Serrano (the
SANTOSES) entered into an agreement for the subdivision of the two parcels, with the SANTOSES
binding themselves to advance to the GARDNERS the amount of P93,000.00 in installments. For the
protection of both parties they executed the following documents all on the same date and referring to
the same parcels of land: (1) Absolute Deed of Sale in favor of the SANTOSES (the First Transfer,
considering the nature of the document); (2) Subdivision Joint Venture Agreement; and (3)
Supplemental Agreement. Despite the "sale,", the GARDNERS were still denominated in the
Subdivision Joint Venture Agreement and in the Supplemental Agreement as "owners" and Ariosto
SANTOS merely as "broker". It appears from the evidence that the sale to the SANTOSES was one "in
trust" for the protection of the SANTOSES who had obligated themselves to give cash advances to the
GARDNERS from time to time. On December 5, 1961, new titles were issued in favor of the
SANTOSES.
Unknown to the GARDNERS, on June 10, 1964, the SANTOSES transferred Lot No. 1426-New to
Jose Cuenca, married to Amanda Relova (the JOSE CUENCAS), and on June 15, 1964, Lot No. 4748-
New to Juan Cuenca, married to Soledad Advincula (the JUAN CUENCAS) (jointly, the Second
Transfer). Titles were thereafter issued in their respective names.
Upon learning of the Transfer of the properties to the CUENCAS, petitioner 'Ruby GARDNER, caused
the inscription of an Adverse Claim on the titles of the CUENCAS with the Register of Deeds of Laguna
on December 2, 1965
In their Answer, the SANTOSES claimed, in brief, that the sale to them was conditional in the sense
that the properties were to be considered as the investment of the GARDNERS in the subdivision
venture and that in the event that this did not materialize they were to reconvey the lots to the
GARDNERS upon reimbursement by the latter of all sums advanced to them; and that the deed of sale
was to be registered for the protection of the SANTOSES considering the moneys that the latter would
be advancing.
Issue:
WON the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the testimonies of Ariosto Santos under oath on the
witness stand cannot prevail over the allegations in Santos' answer (not verified and only signed by
Ariosto Santos' counsel) and, regarding which there is no substantial conflict or variance.
Decision:
In its Resolution reversing the original Decision, respondent Court discredited the testimony of Ariosto
SANTOS for being at variance with the allegations in his Answer. The fact, however, that the
allegations made by Ariosto SANTOS in his pleadings and in his declarations in open Court differed wi;
not militate against the findings herein made nor support the reversal by respondent Court.
As a general rule, facts alleged in a party's pleading are deemed admissions of that party and binding
upon it, but this is not an absolute and inflexible rule.
An Answer is a mere statement of fact which the party filing it expects to prove, but it is not evidence.
As Ariosto SANTOS himself, in open Court, had repudiated the defenses he had raised in his Answer
and against his own interest, his testimony is deserving of weight and credence.
Both the Trial Court and the Appellate Court believed in his credibility and we find no reason to
overturn their findings thereon.
CAMILO P. CABILI and THE HON. MANUEL ESTIPONA, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of
Lanao del Norte, petitioners,
vs. MARIANO LL. BADELLES and HON. COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
Valerio V. Rovira for petitioners.
San Juan, Benedicto & Africa for respondents.
SYLLABUS
1. ELECTIONS; RULES OF COURT APPLICABLE TO ELECTION CASES IN A
SUPPLETORY CHARACTER; SERVICE OF DECISIONS TO COUNSEL OF RECORD
MANDATORY. The Rules of Court apply to election cases in a suppletory character
whenever practicable and convenient. As there is no provision in the Election Law
regarding the manner in which parties should be notified of the proceedings, pleadings or
decisions in election cases, Section 2, Rule 27 of the Rules of Court, under which service
of decisions should be made to the lawyers on record, and not to parties, should be
applied.
Facts:
In the elections of November 10, 1959, Mariano Ll. Badelles and Camilo P. Cabili were rival candidates
for the office of city mayor of Iligan City. Cabili was proclaimed elected and thereafter assumed office,
succeeding Badelles, then the incumbent. Badelles filed before the Court of First Instance of Lanao del
Norte Election Case No. 288, for quo warranto, questioning Cabili's right to hold the office (of City
Mayor of Iligan City) on the ground that he was not a resident of the city for at least one year prior to
his election.
Badelles was also represented by several other lawyers but the senior counsel was Attorney
Jose L. Africa of the above- mentioned law office, who, in the initial hearing, explained that he
is the one in charge of the case, and, therefore, requested that all pleadings, notices, orders
and other papers be served at his office at 480 Padre Faura St., Manila. In order to avoid any
confusion in the service of pleadings and orders, he made of record that only service at the
given address will be considered as service on petitioner Badelles and counsel. The court took
note of said request of Attorney Africa.
It appears however that, in the interim, i.e. on December 28, 1959, Badelles, who was then in
Iligan City, requested the judge for a copy of the decision. Badelles was given a copy but
refused to sign a receipt therefor. The judge ordered his court interpreter to record the fact of
said delivery of a copy to Badelles. This order was complied with. The judge also telegraphed
the law office of Atty. Africa in Manila on December 28, 1959 that a copy of the decision was
sent to them on December 24, 1959 and that petitioner Badelles personally was furnished a
copy also on that same day. The telegram was received by Atty. Africa on December 29, 1959.
The Court of Appeals held that the receipt by the petitioner of a copy of the decision which was
given to the party himself, who in his curiosity desired to be informed in advance of the
decision of his case, should not be considered as service under the rules. It also held that
neither could the telegram received by the attorneys for Badelles be considered as a service of
the decision because the contents of the latter were not contained in the telegram. The Court
further held that the participation of petitioner in the course of the trial and in the proceedings
was in his capacity as a party litigant and not as a lawyer. Accordingly, it held that the five-day
period within which to appeal was to begin when copy of the decision was received by the
attorneys for Badelles on January 4, 1960, and not from December 28, 1959.
Issue:
WON the CA committed an error for not considering the receipt by him (Badelles) of a copy of the
decision as a receipt by the aggrieved party himself, who under Section 178 of the Revised Election
Code, is authorized to appeal from a decision.
Decision:
The decision of the Court of Appeals appealed from should be, as it is hereby, affirmed, with
costs against the petitioner.
It is to be noted that while the Rules of Court are not applicable in election cases, in general,
they are of a suppletory character whenever practicable and convenient. As there is no
provision in the Election Law about the manner in which the parties should be notified of the
proceedings or pleadings or decisions in election cases, the Rules of Court should be followed
in such matters.
In accordance with the provisions of Rule 27, Section 2, service of decisions should be made
to the lawyers on record and not to parties. In a long line of decisions We have held that when
a party appears by an attorney who makes of record his appearance, service of pleadings is
required to be made upon said attorney and not upon the party; that a notice given to the client
and not to his attorney is not a notice in law; that service upon a party who has an attorney of
record is not a compliance with Rule 27, Sec. 2, which makes service upon counsel
mandatory; and that personal information by a party of the rendition of a decision does not
satisfy the right of counsel to receive a copy of the decision rendered.
Title: Venturanza v. CA
Issue: WON the summons was served to Venturanza
Facts:
Plaintiff Nieves Y. Senoran (now private respondent) filed a complaint against spouses Violeta S.
Venturanza and Romy Venturanza (now petitioners) with MTC for collection of sums of money for
loans evidenced by promissory notes and due to non-payment became demandable. Hence the
summons.
The problem arose when the sheriff served the summons in the last known address of the Venturanza
in 3412 B.A. Tan, Bo. Obrero Tondo, Manila. The summons was served on the petitioners through the
father who refused to sign the receipt. Due to petitioner failure to file an Answer, the court rendered a
decision ordering petitioners to pay. However, the said decision could not be served to petitioners
address since they were no longer residing there; hence it was served in the Office of Violeta at ADB.
The MTC ruled in favor of Senoran ordering Venturanza to pay her debt. Hence the case.
The petitioners filed a "Motion to Set Aside Decision and to Declare Past Proceedings Null and Void for
Lack of Jurisdiction," alleging that there was no proper and valid service of summons upon them in
accordance with either Section 7 or Section 8 of Rule 14 of the Rules of Court and that the court a quo
never acquired jurisdiction over the person of the petitioners, since the address where the summons
was served is the residence of Violeta S. Venturanza's father, and not on her address.
The MTC which was affirmed by the RTC ruled on the matter based on the sheriffs affidavit, stating
that he did his earnest efforts to locate Venturanza. He served the summons in her residence proving
the address is the same as what she has provided in the company telephone book.
Held:
The service of summons was not properly served.
Ratio:
There is no question that the case at bar which is an action for collection of sum of money, an action in
personam thereby requiring personal service of summons on the defendants. It is only when a
defendant can not be personally served with summons within a reasonable time that a substituted
service may be availed of. For a substituted service to be valid, summons served at the defendant's
residence must be served at his residence at the time of such service and not at his former place of
residence.
It is further required by law that an effort or attempt should first be made to personally serve the
summons and after this has failed, a substituted service may be caused upon the defendant, and the
same must be reflected in the proof of service. Upon examination of the sheriff 's Return in this case,
no statement was made that an effort or attempt was exerted to personally serve the summons on the
defendants and that the same had failed. In fact, said Return did not indicate the address of the
defendants to whom summons was supposed to have been served. The presumption of regularity in
the performance of official functions by the sheriff is not applicable in this case where it is patent that
the sheriff's return is defective. CA decision reversed and set aside.
Notes: Heres all of the important matters of the cause
Under Rule 14 of the Rules of Court, there are three (3) methods of service of summons in civil
actions, namely: 1) personal service (See. 7); 2) substituted service (Sec. 8); and 3) service by
publication. 16 Strict compliance with these modes of service is required in order that the court may
require jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. 17 Service of summons upon the defendant is the
means by which the court acquires jurisdiction over his person. This process is for the benefit of the
defendant, and is intended to afford the latter an opportunity to be heard on the claim against
him. 18 In the absence of valid waiver trial and judgment, without such service, are null and void.
There is no question that the case at bar which is an action for collection of sum of money is an action
in personam thereby requiring personal service of summons on the defendants.
In an action strictly in personam, personal sevice of summons within the forum is essential to the
acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant who does not voluntarily submit himself to
the authority of the court. (Pantaleon vs. Asuncion, 105 Phil. 761; Sequito vs. Letrondo 10 Phil. 1139),
It is only when a defendant can not be personally served with summons within a reasonable time that a
substituted service may be availed of, the same to be effected in the following manner: a) by leaving
copies of the summons at the defendants' dwelling house or residence, with some person of suitable
age and discretion then residing therein, or b) by leaving the copies at defendant's office or regular
place of business, with some competent person in charge thereof. 19 For a substituted service to be
valid, summons served at the defendant's residence must be served at his residence at the time of
such service and not at his former place of residence.
The terms "dwelling house" or "residence" are generally held to refer to the time of service, hence it is
not sufficient "to leave the copy at defendant's former dwelling house, residence, or place of abode, as
the case may be, after his removal therefrom." They refer to the place where the person named in the
summons is living at the time when the service is made, even though he may be temporarily out of the
country at the time. (Keister v. Navarro, 77 SCRA 209, May 31, 1977)
It is further required by law that an effort or attempt should first be made to personally serve the
summons and after this has failed, a substituted service may be caused upon the defendant, and the
same must be reflected in the proof of service.
20
The substituted service should be availed of only when the defendant cannot be served promptly in
person. Impossibility of prompt service should be shown by stating the efforts made to find the
defendant personally and the failure of such efforts. The statement should be made in the proof of
service. This is necessary because substituted service is in derogation of the usual method of service.
It has been held that it is a method extraordinary in character, and hence may be used only as
prescribed in the circumstances authorized by statute. Thus, the statutory requirements of substituted
service must be followed strictly, faithfully, and any substituted service other than that authorized by
the statute is considered ineffective ... (Arevalo vs. Quitalon 166 SCRA 707)
Title: Samartino v. Raon
Issue: The substitute summons by the sheriff
Facts:
Respondents Leonor Bernardo-Raon and Agustin G. Crisostomo are the surviving sister and spouse,
respectively, of the late Filomena Bernardo-Crisostomo, who passed away on May 17, 1994. Among
the properties left by the deceased was her one-half share in a parcel of land in Noveleta, Cavite,
registered under in the name of co-owners Lido Beach Corporation and Filomena Bernardo.
In 1996, respondents instituted a complaint for ejectment against petitioner Regalado P. Samartino a
complaint for ejectment alleging that during the lifetime of Filomena, she leased her share to petitioner
for a period of five years counted from 1986; that the said lease expired and was not extended
thereafter; and that petitioner refused to vacate the property despite demands therefor.
Summons was served on Roberto Samartino, brother of petitioner. At the time of service, he was not at
home as he was then confined at the NBI rehab center since January 19, 1996, where he was
undergoing treatment and rehabilitation for drug dependency. Thus, on February 2, 1996, a liaison
officer of the NBI-TRC appeared before the trial court with a certification that petitioner will be unable to
comply with the directive to answer the complaint within the reglementary period, inasmuch as it will
take six months for him to complete the rehabilitation program and before he can be recommended for
discharge by the Rehabilitation Committee.]
The trial court, despite the written certification from NBI-TRC, declared petitioner in default and ordered
them to present evidence ex-parte. On March 21, 1996, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of
respondents. Counsel of respondent filed a motion to set aside judgement at the RTC, RTC affirmed
lower court decision. This decision became final, the property was sold in an auction to the
respondents, Petitioner filed petition for relief from judgement alleging that the parcel of land from
which he was being evicted had been sold to him by Filomena Bernardo-Crisostomo, as evidenced by
the Deed of Absolute Sale dated December 13, 1988. Petition was dismissed by RTC. Petitioner filed
petition for certiorari before CA which was also dismissed, including his MR, hence this petition for
review.
Held:
The Supreme Court reversed and set aside the validity of the summons ruled by the lower
courts.
Ratio:
The summon was ineffective. There being no valid substituted service of summons, the trial court did
not acquire jurisdiction over the person of petitioner. In actions in personam, summons on the
defendant must be served by handing a copy thereof to the defendant in person, or, if he refuses to
receive it, by tendering it to him. If efforts to serve the summons personally to defendant is impossible,
service may be effected by leaving copies of the summons at the defendants dwelling house or
residence with some person of suitable age and discretion residing therein, or by leaving the copies at
the defendants office or regular place of business with some competent person in charge thereof.
It was likewise not proven in the affidavit of the sheriff the reasons for the failure to serve the summons
personally.
Notes:
Part 1: Actions in personam
In actions in personam, summons on the defendant must be served by handing a copy thereof to the
defendant in person, or, if he refuses to receive it, by tendering it to him. If efforts to serve the
summons personally to defendant is impossible, service may be effected by leaving copies of the
summons at the defendants dwelling house or residence with some person of suitable age and
discretion residing therein, or by leaving the copies at the defendants office or regular place of
business with some competent person in charge thereof. Otherwise stated, service of summons upon
the defendant shall be by personal service first and only when the defendant cannot be promptly
served in person will substituted service be availed of.
Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure clearly provides:
Sec. 6. Service in person on defendant. - Whenever practicable, the summons shall be
served by handing a copy thereof to the defendant in person, or, if he refuses to receive
and sign for it, by tendering it to him.
Sec. 7. Substituted service. - If, for justifiable causes, the defendant cannot be served
within a reasonable time as provided in the preceding section, service may be effected
(a) by leaving copies of the summons at the defendants residence with some person of
suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving the copies at
defendants office or regular place of business with some competent person in charge
thereof.
We have long held that the impossibility of personal service justifying availment of substituted service
should be explained in the proof of service; why efforts exerted towards personal service failed. The
pertinent facts and circumstances attendant to the service of summons must be stated in the proof of
service or Officers Return; otherwise, the substituted service cannot be upheld. It is only under
exceptional terms that the circumstances warranting substituted service of summons may be proved
by evidence aliunde. It bears stressing that since service of summons, especially for actions in
personam, is essential for the acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, the resort to
a substituted service must be duly justified. Failure to do so would invalidate all subsequent
proceedings on jurisdictional grounds.
In this connection, Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 59 was issued on November 19, 1989 to
stress the importance of strict compliance with the requisites for a valid substituted service, to wit:
Delays in court proceedings have been caused by faulty and erroneous implementation of Section 8,
Rule 14, Rules of Court on Substituted Service of Summons.
The Trial Judges of all lower courts, as well as the Clerks of Court in their capacity as Ex-Officio
Sheriffs together with the Deputy Sheriffs are reminded of the provision of Section 8, Rule 14, Rules of
Court on substituted service as follows:
xxx xxx xxx
The manner of effecting substituted service as prescribed in Venturanza vs. Court of Appeals,
156 SCRA 305, must be strictly complied with, thus:
The substituted service should be availed only when the defendant cannot be served promptly in
person. Impossibility of prompt service should be shown by stating the efforts made to find the
defendant personally and the failure of such efforts. The statement should be made in the proof of
service. This is necessary because substituted service is in derogation of the usual method of service.
Substituted service is a method extraordinary in character, and hence may be used only as prescribed
in the circumstances authorized by statute. Thus, the statutory requirements of substituted service
must be followed strictly, faithfully and any substituted service other than authorized by the statute is
considered ineffective.
Part 2:
The affidavit needed for the substitute summons must state the valid reason why it was not
served. Absence of summons would be contrary to the due process rule; the notice and hearing.
Valmonte v. CA
G.R. No. 108538 January 22, 1996
Service of Summons
SYLLABUS
REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; SUMMONS; SERVICE REQUIRED IN ACTION IN
PERSONAM. In an action in personam, personal service of summons or, if this is not possible and
he cannot be personally served, substituted service, as provided in Rule 14, 7-8 is essential for the
acquisition by the court of jurisdiction over the person of a defendant who does not voluntarily submit
himself to the authority of the court. If defendant cannot be served with summons because he is
temporarily abroad, but otherwise he is a Philippine resident, service of summons may, by leave of
court, be made by publication. Otherwise stated, a resident defendant in an action in personam, who
cannot be personally served with summons, may be summoned either by means of substituted service
in accordance with Rule 14, 8 or by publication as provided in 17 and 18 of the same Rule.
DEFENDANT MUST BE RESIDENT OF PHILIPPINES. In all of these cases, it should be noted,
defendant must be a resident of the Philippines, otherwise an action in personam cannot be brought
because jurisdiction over his person is essential to make a binding decision.
ACTION IN REM; NON-RESIDENT DEFENDANT MAY BE SERVED WITH SUMMONS
EXTERRITORIALLY. On the other hand, if the action is in rem or quasi in rem, jurisdiction over the
person of the defendant is not essential for giving the court jurisdiction so long as the court acquires
jurisdiction over the res. If the defendant is a nonresident and he is not found in the country, summons
may be served exterritorially in accordance with Rule 14, 17. In such cases, what gives the court
jurisdiction in an action in rem or quasi in rem is that it has jurisdiction over the res, i.e. the personal
status of the plaintiff who is domiciled in the Philippines or the property litigated or attached.
PURPOSE. Service of summons in the manner provided in 17 is not for the purpose of vesting it
with jurisdiction but for complying with the requirements of fair play or due process, so that he will be
informed of the pendency of the action against him and the possibility that property in the Philippines
belonging to him or in which he has an interest may be subjected to a judgment in favor of the plaintiff
and he can thereby take steps to protect his interest if he is so minded.
MODES. As petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte is a nonresident who is not found in the Philippines,
service of summons on her must be in accordance with Rule 14, 17. Such service, to be effective
outside the Philippines, must be made either (1) by personal service; (2) by publication in a newspaper
of general circulation in such places and for such time as the court may order, in which case a copy of
the summons and order of the court should be sent by registered mail to the last known address of the
defendant; or (3) in any other manner which the court may deem sufficient.
SERVICE OF SUMMONS ON DEFENDANT'S HUSBAND AND COUNSEL IN PHILIPPINES, NOT
VALID. Since in the case at bar, the service of summons upon petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte was
not done by means of any of the first two modes, the question is whether the service on her attorney,
petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte, can be justified under the third mode, namely, "in any . . . manner the
court may deem sufficient." We hold it cannot. This mode of service, like the first two, must be made
outside the Philippines, such as through the Philippine Embassy in the foreign country where the
defendant resides. Moreover, there are several reasons why the service of summons on Atty. Alfredo
A. Valmonte cannot be considered a valid service of summons on petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte. In
the first place, service of summons on petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte was not made upon the order of
the court as required by Rule 14, 17 and certainly was not a mode deemed sufficient by the court
which in fact refused to consider the service to be valid and on that basis declare petitioner Lourdes A.
Valmonte in default for her failure to file an answer. In the second place, service in the attempted
manner on petitioner was not made upon prior leave of the trial court as required also in Rule 14, 17.
As provided in 19, such leave must be applied for by motion in writing, supported by affidavit of the
plaintiff or some person on his behalf and setting forth the grounds for the application.
Facts:
1. Petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte is a foreign resident. Petitioners Lourdes and Alfredo are
husband and wife both residents of 90222 Carkeek Drive South Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
Petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte, who is a member of the Philippine bar, however, practices his
profession in the Philippines, commuting for this purpose between his residence in the state of
Washington and Manila, where he holds office at S-304 Gedisco Centre, 1564 A. Mabini,
Ermita, Manila.
2. Private respondent Rosita Dimalanta, who is the sister of petitioner filed an action for partition
against former and her husband. She alleged that, the plaintiff is of legal age, a widow and is
at present a resident of 14823 Conway Road, Chesterfield, Missouri, U.S.A., while the
defendants are spouses but, for purposes of this complaint may be served with summons at
Gedisco Center, Unit 304, 1564 A. Mabini St., Ermita, Manila where defendant Alfredo D.
Valmonte as defendant Lourdes Arreola Valmontes spouse holds office and where he can be
found.He husband was also her counsel, who has a law office in the Philippines. The
summons were served on her husband.
3. Petitioner in a letter, referred private respondents counsel to her husband as the party to
whom all communications intended for her should be sent. Service of summons was then
made upon petitioner Alfredo at his office in Manila. Alfredo D. Valmonte accepted his
summons, but not the one for Lourdes, on the ground that he was not authorized to accept the
process on her behalf. Accordingly the process server left without leaving a copy of the
summons and complaint for petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte.
4. Petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte thereafter filed his Answer with Counterclaim. Petitioner
Lourdes A. Valmonte, however, did not file her Answer. For this reason private respondent
moved to declare her in default. Petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte entered a special appearance
in behalf of his wife and opposed the private respondents motion. RTC denied the MR of
respondents. CA declared petitioner Lourdes in default. Said decision was received by Alfredo
hence this petition.
Issue: Whether or not petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte was validly served with summons.
Held:
NO.
There was no valid service of summons on Lourdes.
1. The action herein is in the nature of an action quasi in rem. Such an action is essentially for the
purpose of affecting the defendants interest in a specific property and not to render a judgment against
him. As petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte is a nonresident who is not found in the Philippines, service of
summons on her must be in accordance with Rule 14, 17. Such service, to be effective outside the
Philippines, must be made either (1) by personal service; (2) by publication in a newspaper of general
circulation in such places and for such time as the court may order, in which case a copy of the
summons and order of the court should be sent by registered mail to the last known address of the
defendant; or (3) in any other manner which the court may deem sufficient.
2. In the case at bar, the service of summons upon petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte was not done
by means of any of the first two modes. This mode of service, like the first two, must be made outside
the Philippines, such as through the Philippine Embassy in the foreign country where the defendant
resides. The service of summons on petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte was not made upon the order of
the court as required by Rule 14, 17 and certainly was not a mode deemed sufficient by the court
which in fact refused to consider the service to be valid and on that basis declare petitioner Lourdes A.
Valmonte in default for her failure to file an answer.
3. Secondly, the service in the attempted manner on petitioner was not made upon prior leave of
the trial court as required also in Rule 14, 17. As provided in 19, such leave must be applied for by
motion in writing, supported by affidavit of the plaintiff or some person on his behalf and setting forth
the grounds for the application.
4. Finally, and most importantly, because there was no order granting such leave, petitioner
Lourdes was not given ample time to file her Answer which, according to the rules, shall be not less
than sixty (60) days after notice.
ASIAVEST LIMITED, petitioner,
vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and ANTONIO HERAS, respondents.
G.R. No. 128803
September 25, 1998
SYLLABUS
REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; PRESUMPTIONS; VALIDITY OF FOREIGN JUDGMENTS. Under
paragraph (b) of Section 50, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, which was the governing law at the time
this case was decided by the trial court and respondent Court of Appeals, a foreign judgment against a
person rendered by a court having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment is presumptive evidence of a
right as between the parties and their successors in interest by the subsequent title. However, the
judgment may be repelled by evidence of want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion,
fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. Also, Section 3(n) of Rule 131 of the New Rules of Evidence
provides that in the absence of proof to the contrary, a court, or judge acting as such, whether in the
Philippines or elsewhere, is presumed to have acted in the lawful exercise of jurisdiction. Hence, once
the authenticity of the foreign judgment is proved, the burden to repel it on grounds provided for in
paragraph (b) of Section 50, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court is on the party challenging the foreign
judgment. EACTSH
CASE AT BAR. At the pre-trial conference, HERAS admitted the existence of the Hong Kong
judgment. On the other hand, ASIAVEST presented evidence to prove rendition, existence, and
authentication of the judgment by the proper officials. The judgment is thus presumed to be valid and
binding in the country from which it comes, until the contrary is shown. Consequently, the first ground
relied upon by ASIAVEST has merit. The presumption of validity accorded foreign judgment would be
rendered meaningless were the party seeking to enforce it be required to first establish its validity.
ACTIONS; ACTION IN PERSONAM, IN REM AND QUASI IN REM; DISTINGUISHED. An action in
personam is an action against a person on the basis of his personal liability. An action in rem is an
action against the thing itself instead of against the person. An action quasi in rem is one wherein an
individual is named as defendant and the purpose of the proceeding is to subject his interest therein to
the obligation or lien burdening the property.
ACTION IN PERSONAM; JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF THE DEFENDANT,
NECESSARY. In an action in personam, jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is necessary
for the court to validly try and decide the case. Jurisdiction over the person of a resident defendant who
does not voluntarily appear in court can be acquired by personal service of summons as provided
under Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court. If he cannot be personally served with summons within
a reasonable time, substituted service may be made in accordance with Section 8 of said Rule. If he is
temporarily out of the country, any of the following modes of service may be resorted to: (1) substituted
service set forth in Section 8; (2) personal service outside the country, with leave of court (3) service by
publication, also with leave of court; or (4) any other manner the court may deem sufficient. However,
in an action in personam wherein the defendant is a non-resident who does not voluntarily submit
himself to the authority of the court, personal service of summons within the state is essential to the
acquisition of jurisdiction over her person. This method of service is possible if such defendant is
physically present in the country. If he is not found therein, the court cannot acquire jurisdiction over
his person and therefore cannot validly try and decide the case against him. An exception was laid
down in Gemperle v. Schenker wherein a non-resident was served with summons through his wife,
who was a resident of the Philippines and who was his representative and attorney-in-fact in prior civil
case filed by him; moreover, the second case was a mere offshoot of the first case.
ACTION IN REM; JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF DEFENDANT, NOT A PREREQUISITE;
SUMMONS MUST BE SERVED UPON DEFENDANT TO SATISFY DUE PROCESS
REQUIREMENT. In a proceeding in rem or quasi in rem, jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant is not a prerequisite to confer jurisdiction on the court provided that the court acquires
jurisdiction over the res. Nonetheless, summons must be served upon the defendant not for the
purpose of vesting the court with jurisdiction but merely for satisfying the due process requirements.
Thus, where the defendant is a non-resident who is not found in the Philippines and (1) the action
affects the personal status of the plaintiff; (2) the action relates to, or the subject matter of which is
property in the Philippines in which the defendant has or claims a lien or interest; (3) the action seeks
the exclusion of the defendant from any interest in the property located in the Philippines; or (4) the
property of the defendant has been attached in the Philippines service of summons may be effected
by (a) personal service out of the country, with leave of court; (b) publication, also with leave of court;
or (c) any other manner the court may deem sufficient.
ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN JUDGMENT; SUMMONS MUST BE SERVED ON DEFENDANT IN
FOREIGN LAND; CASE AT BAR. In the pre-trial conference, the parties came up with stipulations
of facts, among which was that "the residence of defendant, Antonio Heras, is New Manila, Quezon
City." We note that the residence of HERAS insofar as the action for the enforcement of the Hong
Kong court judgment is concerned, was never in issue. He never challenged the service of summons
on him through a security guard in his Quezon City residence and through a lawyer in his office in that
city. In his Motion to Dismiss, he did not question the jurisdiction of the Philippine court over his person
on the ground of invalid service of summons. What was in issue was his residence as far as the Hong
Kong suit was concerned. We therefore conclude that the stipulated fact that HERAS "is a resident of
New Manila, Quezon City, Philippines" refers to his residence at the time jurisdiction over his person
was being sought by the Hong Kong court. With that stipulation of fact, ASIAVEST cannot now claim
that HERAS was a resident of Hong Kong at the time. Accordingly, since HERAS was not a resident of
Hong Kong and the action against him was, indisputably, one in personam, summons should have
been personally served on him in Hong Kong. The extraterritorial service in the Philippines was
therefore invalid and did not confer on the Hong Kong court jurisdiction over his person. It follows that
the Hong Kong court judgment cannot be given force and effect here in the Philippines for having been
rendered without jurisdiction. Even assuming that HERAS was formerly as resident of Hong Kong, he
was no longer so in November 1984 when the extraterritorial service of summons was attempted to be
made on him; As declared by his secretary, which statement was not disputed by ASIAVEST, HERAS
left Hong Kong in October 1984 "for good." His absence in Hong Kong must have been the reason why
summons was not served on him therein; thus, ASIAVEST was constrained to apply for leave to effect
service in the Philippines, and upon obtaining a favorable action on the matter, it commissioned the
Sycip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan law firm to serve the summons here in the Philippines. HERAS,
who was also an absentee, should have been served with summons in the same manner as a non-
resident not found in Hong Kong. Section 17, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court providing for extraterritorial
service will not apply because of the suit against him was in personam. Neither can we apply Section
18, which allows extraterritorial service on a resident defendant who is temporarily absent from the
country, because even if HERAS be considered as a resident of Hong Kong, the undisputed fact
remains that he left Hong Kong not only "temporarily" but "for good."
Facts:
1. The plaintiff Asiavest Limited filed a complaint against the defendant Antonio Heras praying
that said defendant be ordered to pay to the plaintiff the amounts awarded by the Hong Kong
Court Judgment. The action filed in Hong Kong against Heras was in personam, since it was
based on his personal guarantee of the obligation of the principal debtor.
2. The trial court concluded that the Hong Kong court judgment should be recognized and given
effect in this jurisdiction for failure of HERAS to overcome the legal presumption in favor of the
foreign judgment.
3. Asiavest moved for the reconsideration of the decision. It sought an award of judicial costs and
an increase in attorney's fees with interest until full payment of the said obligations. On the
other hand, Heras no longer opposed the motion and instead appealed the decision to CA.
4. The Court of Appeals (CA) agreed with Heras that notice sent outside the state to a non-
resident is unavailing to give jurisdiction in an action against him personally for money
recovery. Summons should have been personally served on Heras in Hong Kong,
Issue:
Whether or not the judgment of the Hong Kong Court has been repelled by evidence of want of
jurisdiction due to improper notice to the party
Held: YES.
1. Asiavest cannot now claim that Heras was a resident of Hong Kong at the time since the
stipulated fact that Heras "is a resident of New Manila, Quezon City, Philippines" refers to his
residence at the time jurisdiction over his person was being sought by the Hong Kong
court. Accordingly, since Heras was not a resident of Hong Kong and the action against him
was, ne in personam, summons should have been personally served on him in Hong Kong.
The extraterritorial service in the Philippines was therefore invalid and did not confer on the
Hong Kong court jurisdiction over his person. It follows that the Hong Kong court judgment
cannot be given force and effect here in the Philippines for having been rendered without
jurisdiction.
2. On the same note, Heras was also an absentee,hence, he should have been served with
summons in the same manner as a non-resident not found in Hong Kong. Section 17, Rule 14
of the Rules of Court providing for extraterritorial service will not apply because the suit against
him was in personam. Neither can we apply Section 18, which allows extraterritorial service on
a resident defendant who is temporarily absent from the country, because even if Heras be
considered as a resident of Hong Kong, the undisputed fact remains that he left Hong Kong
not only temporarily but for good.
THE PHILIPPINE AMERICAN LIFE & GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, petitioner, vs.HON.
AUGUSTO V. BREVA, in his capacit as P!"si#in$ %&#$", R"$i'na( T!ia( C'&!t, )a*a' Cit,
B!anch +,, an# MILAGROS P. MORALES, respondents.
G.R. N'. +-./0. 1 N'*"23"! ++, 4,,-
NATURE5 Before us is a petition for review of the Decision
1
of the Court of Appeals (CA), dated
October 24, 2, dis!issin" the special civil action for certiorari and prohibition filed b# the petitioner,
$he %hilippine A!erican &ife ' (eneral )nsurance Co!pan#, and the *esolution dated April 2+, 21,
den#in" the petitioner,s !otion for reconsideration.
FACTS5
$he petitioner is a do!estic corporation dul# or"ani-ed under %hilippine laws with principal address at
the %hila!life Buildin", .nited /ations Avenue, 0r!ita, 1anila, and with a re"ional office in Davao
Cit#.
On 2epte!ber 22, 1333, respondent 1ila"ros %. 1orales filed a Co!plaint
2
for da!a"es and
rei!burse!ent of insurance pre!iu!s a"ainst the petitioner with the *e"ional $rial Court (*$C) of
Davao Cit#, Branch 1, doc4eted as Civil Case /o. 25++4633. $he c'2p(aint sp"ci6ica(( stat"# that
the petitioner could be served with su!!ons and other court processes throu"h its 1ana"er at its
branch office located at *i-al 2t., Davao Cit#.
$hereafter, 2u!!ons
7
dated 2epte!ber 23, 1333, to"ether with the co!plaint, was served upon the
petitioner,s Davao re"ional office, and was received b# its )nsurance 2ervice Officer, *uthie Babael, on
/ove!ber 13, 1333.
4
On Dece!ber 8, 1333, the petitioner filed a 1otion to Dis!iss
+
the co!plaint on the "round of lac4 of
9urisdiction over its person due to i!proper service of su!!ons. )t contended that su!!ons was
i!properl# served upon its e!plo#ee in its re"ional office at Davao Cit#, and that the said e!plo#ee
was not a!on" those na!ed in 2ection 11,
:
*ule 14 of the 1335 *ules of Civil %rocedure upon who!
service of su!!ons !a# be properl# !ade.
On Dece!ber 3, 1333, the respondent filed an A!ended Co!plaint,
5
alle"in" that su!!ons and other
court processes could also be served at its principal office at the %hila!life Buildin", ../. Avenue,
0r!ita, 1anila, throu"h the president or an# of its officers authori-ed to receive su!!ons.
On Dece!ber 1, 1333, the *$C issued an Order
8
den#in" the petitioner,s !otion to dis!iss and
directin" the issuance of an alias su!!ons to be served at its !ain office in 1anila.
3
$he *$C held that the i!proper service of su!!ons on the petitioner is not a "round for dis!issal of
the co!plaint considerin" that the case was still in its initial sta"e. )t ruled that the re!ed# was to issue
an alias su!!ons to be served at the principal office of the petitioner. )t also held that the
9urisprudence cited b# the petitioner was inapplicable, as it involved a case alread# decided b# a court
which did not have 9urisdiction over the defendant therein due to i!proper service of su!!ons.
On ;anuar# 12, 2, the petitioner filed a 1otion for *econsideration
1
of the said order. )n the
!eanti!e, on Dece!ber 14, 1333, the petitioner received an Alias 2u!!ons
11
to"ether with a cop# of
the a!ended co!plaint.
On ;anuar# 14, 2, the *$C issued an Order
12
den#in" the petitioner,s !otion for reconsideration
and supple!ental oral !otion to stri4e out the a!ended co!plaint. $he *$C reiterated that it would be
i!proper to dis!iss the case at its earl# sta"e because the re!ed# would be to issue an alias
su!!ons. Anent the !otion to stri4e out the a!ended co!plaint, the *$C held that the co!plaint !a#
be a!ended without leave of court considerin" that the respondent had not #et filed an answer thereto.
On 1arch 2, 2, the petitioner filed with the CA a special action for certiorari and prohibition under
*ule :+, with application for a writ of preli!inar# in9unction and<or te!porar# restrainin" order,
assailin" the Orders dated Dece!ber 1, 1333 and ;anuar# 14, 2.
On October 24, 2, the CA dis!issed the petition and affir!ed the assailed orders of the *$C.
=ence, this petition for review.
ISSUES5
(1) whether the trial court co!!itted "rave abuse of discretion in den#in" the !otion to
dis!iss on the "round of lac4 of 9urisdiction over the person of the petitioner due to
i!proper service of su!!ons, and
(2) whether the trial court ac>uired 9urisdiction over the person of the petitioner as the
defendant therein.
HEL)5 NO. Th" p"titi'n is 7ith'&t 2"!it.
$he trial court did not co!!it "rave abuse of discretion when it denied the !otion to dis!iss filed b#
the petitioner due to lac4 of 9urisdiction over its person. )n den#in" the !otion to dis!iss, the CA
correctl# relied on the rulin" in Lin$n"! & Fish"! GMBH *s. Int"!2"#iat" App"((at" C'&!t,
15
thus?
@A case should not be dis!issed si!pl# because an ori"inal su!!ons was wron"full# served. )t should
be difficult to conceive, for eAa!ple, that when a defendant personall# appears before a Court
co!plainin" that he had not been validl# su!!oned, that the case filed a"ainst hi! should be
dis!issed. An alias su!!ons can be actuall# served on said defendant.
18B
Ce note, however, that in the case at bar, the co!plaint was a!ended after the petitioner filed the
!otion to dis!iss. $he trial court even ac4nowled"ed this when it rendered its order den#in" the
!otion to dis!iss and ordered the issuance of an alias su!!ons. $he *ules on Civil %rocedure
provide that the a!ended co!plaint supersedes the co!plaint that it a!ends.
21

)n the instant case, since at the ti!e the co!plaint was a!ended no su!!ons had been properl#
served on the petitioner and it had not #et appeared in court, new su!!ons should have been issued
on the a!ended co!plaint.
27
=ence, the CA was correct when it held that, technicall#, th" t!ia( c'&!t
sh'&(# ha*" '!#"!"# th" iss&anc" '6 an '!i$ina( s&22'ns, n't an a(ias s&22'ns.
4-
After all, an
alias su!!ons is !erel# a continuation of the ori"inal su!!ons. In this cas", h'7"*"!, th"!" 7as
n' s"ns" in iss&in$ an a(ias s&22'ns 'n th" '!i$ina( c'2p(aint sinc" th" c'2p(aint ha#
a(!"a# 3""n a2"n#"#. Th" t!ia( c'&!t sh'&(# ha*" inst"a# iss&"# a n"7 s&22'ns 'n th"
a2"n#"# c'2p(aint.
$he CA held that it would be a "reat in9ustice to the respondent if the co!plaint would be dis!issed
9ust because what was issued and served was an alias su!!onsD that she would be !ade to file a
new co!plaint and thus, incur further !onetar# burden.
2+
8" a$!"" 7ith th" CA. It is n't p"!tin"nt 7h"th"! th" s&22'ns is #"si$nat"# as an 9'!i$ina(9 '!
an 9a(ias9 s&22'ns as ('n$ as it has a#":&at"( s"!*"# its p&!p's". Chat is essential is that the
su!!ons co!plies with the re>uire!ents under the *ules of Court and it has been dul# served on the
defendant to"ether with the prevailin" co!plaint. )n this case, the alias su!!ons satisfies the
re>uire!ents under the *ules, both as to its content and the !anner of service. )t contains all the
infor!ation re>uired under the rules, and it was served on the persons authori-ed to receive the
su!!ons on behalf of the petitioner at its principal office in 1anila. 1oreover, the second su!!ons
was technicall# not an alias su!!ons but !ore of a new su!!ons on the a!ended co!plaint. )t was
not a continuation of the first su!!ons considerin" that it particularl# referred to the a!ended
co!plaint and not to the ori"inal co!plaint.
BPI v Santiago
G.R. No. 169116
March 28, 2007
FACTS:
1. Centrogen, through its President, Edwin Santiago, son of respondents Spouses Ireneo M.
Santiago and Liwanag P. Santiago, obtained loans from the Far East Bank and Trust
Company (FEBTC), the total of which reached the sum P4,650,000.00, as evidenced by
promissory notes executed by Edwin Santiago.
2. As a security for a fraction of the loan obligation, Ireneo M. Santiago executed a Real Estate
Mortgage over a parcel of land registered under his name and located at Sta Cruz, Laguna,
with an area of 2,166 square meters. The mortgage secured the principal loan in the amount
ofP490,000.00. Later on, the same property secured another loan obligation in the amount
of P1,504,280.00.
3. Subsequently, however, Centrogen incurred default and therefore the loan obligation became
due and demandable.
4. Meanwhile, FEBTC merged with the BPI with the latter as the surviving corporation. As a
result, BPI assumed all the rights, privileges and obligations of FEBTC.
5. On 13 December 2002, BPI filed an Extra-Judicial Foreclosure of Real Estate Mortgage over
the subject property before the RTC of Sta. Cruz, Laguna. In order to validly effect the
foreclosure, a Notice of Sale was issued by the Provincial Sheriff on 21 January 2003. On the
same day, the Spouses Santiago were served with the copy of the Notice of Sale.
6. The Spouses Santiago and Centrogen filed a Complaint seeking the issuance of a Temporary
Restraining Order and Preliminary and Final Injunction and in the alternative, for the annulment
of the Real Estate Mortgage with BPI.
7. They allege that the initial loan obligation in the amount of P490,000.00, including interest was
fully paid as evidenced by Union Bank Check in the amount ofP648,521.51 with BPI as payee.
However, the amount was still included in the amount of computation of the arrears as shown
by the document of Extra-Judicial Foreclosure of Real Estate Mortgage filed by the latter.
8. On 27 February 2003, BPI was summoned to file and serve its Answer to the Complaint filed
by Spouses Santiago and Centrogen. On the same day, the Sheriff served a copy of the
summons to the Branch Manager of BPI Sta. Cruz, Laguna Branch, as evidenced by the
Sheriffs Return.
9. Instead of filing an Answer, BPI filed a Motion to Dismiss
8
the complaint on the ground of lack
of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant and other procedural infirmities attendant to the
filing of the complaint. In its Motion to Dismiss, BPI claimed that the Branch Manager of its Sta.
Cruz, Laguna Branch, was not one of those authorized by Section 11, Rule 14 of the Revised
Rules of Court
9
to receive summons on behalf of the corporation.
10. The summons served upon its Branch Manager, therefore, did not bind the corporation. In
addition, it was alleged that the complaint filed by the Spouses Santiago and Centrogen lacked
a Certificate of Non-Forum Shopping and was therefore dismissible . Finally, BPI underscored
that the person who verified the complaint was not duly authorized by Centrogens Board of
Directors to institute the present action as required by Section 23 of the Corporation Code.
11. The RTC denied the Motion to Dismiss and emphasized that the nature of the case merited its
removal from the purview of Section 11, Rule 14 of the Revised Rules of Court. Based on the
provisions of Section 5, Rule 58 of the Revised Rules of Court,
13
the RTC declared that the
instant Order is still valid and binding despite non-compliance with the provisions of Section
11, Rule 14 of the same Rules
12. After summary hearing on the Spouses Santiago and Centrogens application for Temporary
Restraining Order, the RTC, on 28 February 2003, issued an Order enjoining the Provincial
Sheriff from proceeding with the extra-judicial foreclosure sale of the subject property until the
propriety of granting a preliminary injunction is ascertained.
13. On 6 March 2003, the RTC ordered the service of new summons to BPI in accordance
with the provisions of the Revised Rules of Court. The aforesaid Order reads:
To avoid further argument as regards the proper service of summons to Defendant Bank, the
Branch Clerk of Court is hereby directed to issue another summons and serve copy of the
same together with the complaint and its annexes to any of the officers of the Defendant Bank
as provided by the rules of civil procedure.
13. In compliance with the aforesaid Order, the Branch Clerk of Court caused the issuance of a
new summons on 7 March 2003, a copy of which was served upon the Office of the Corporate
Secretary of the BPI on 11 March 2003
14. On 20 March 2003, the RTC issued an Order granting the application for the issuance of a Writ
of Preliminary Injunction filed by the Spouses Santiago and Centrogen
15. The Court of Appeals rendered a Decision
18
affirming the assailed Orders of the RTC and
dismissing the Petition for Certiorari filed by BPI. The Court of Appeals declared that
jurisdiction was acquired upon the service of new summons. Before the assailed Orders were
therefore issued, the RTC properly acquired jurisdiction over the person of BPI.
ISSUE:
Whether the RTC acquired jurisdiction over the person of BPI when the original summons was served
upon the Branch Manager of its Sta. Cruz, Laguna branch, thus the order enjoining the foreclosure
sale is void.
HELD: The RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of BPI when the original summons
was served to the branch manager, but the order is valid.
The pertinent provision of the Revised Rules of Court provides:
Sec. 11, Rule 14. Service upon domestic private juridical entity When the defendant is a
corporation, partnership or association organized under the laws of the Philippines with a
juridical personality service may be made on the president, managing partner, general
manager, corporate secretary, treasurer or in-house counsel.
Basic is the rule that a strict compliance with the mode of service is necessary to confer jurisdiction of
the court over a corporation. The officer upon whom service is made must be one who is named in the
statute; otherwise, the service is insufficient.
19
The purpose is to render it reasonably certain that the
corporation will receive prompt and proper notice in an action against it or to insure that the summons
be served on a representative so integrated with the corporation that such person will know what to do
with the legal papers served on him.
Applying the aforestated principle in the case at bar, we rule that the service of summons on BPIs
Branch Manager did not bind the corporation for the branch manager is not included in the
enumeration of the statute of the persons upon whom service of summons can be validly made in
behalf of the corporation. Such service is therefore void and ineffectual.
However, upon the issuance and the proper service of new summons on 11 March 2003, before
the Writ of Preliminary Injunction was issued on 20 March 2003, whatever defect attended the
service of the original summons, was promptly and accordingly cured.
The subsequent service of summons was neither disputed nor was it mentioned by BPI except in a
fleeting narration of facts and therefore enjoys the presumption that official duty has been regularly
performed. The Process Servers Certificate of Service of Summons is a prima facie evidence of facts
set out in that certificate.
Inarguably, before the Order granting the application for Writ of Preliminary Injunction was
issued, the RTC already acquired jurisdiction over the person of BPI by virtue of the new
summons validly served on the Corporate Secretary. The fact that the original summons was
invalidly served is of no moment since jurisdiction over BPI was subsequently acquired by the service
of a new summons.
In the case of The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company v. Brevea, we ruled:
A case should not be dismissed simply because an original summons was wrongfully served. It
should be difficult to conceive, for example, that when a defendant personally appears before a Court
complaining that he had not been validly summoned, that the case against him should be
dismissed. An alias summons can be actually served on said defendant .
x x x x
x x x It is not pertinent whether the summons is designated as an "original" or an "alias"
summons as long as it has adequately served its purpose. What is essential is that the
summons complies with the requirements under the Rules of Court and it has been duly served
on the defendant together with the prevailing complaint. x x x Moreover, the second summons
was technically not an alias summons but more of a new summons on the amended complaint. It was
not a continuation of the first summons considering that it particularly referred to the amended
complaint and not to the original complaint.
BPIs lamentation, at every turn, on the invalidity of the service of summons made on the Branch
Manager and its deliberate neglect to acknowledge the fact that a new summons was accordingly
served on its Corporate Secretary, is an attempt in futility to mislead this Court into believing that the
court a quo never acquired jurisdiction over the case and thus the issuance of the Writ of Preliminary
Injunction was invalid.
In explaining the test on the validity of service of summons, Justice Florenz Regalado stressed that
substantial justice must take precedence over technicality and thus stated:
The ultimate test on the validity and sufficiency on service of summons is whether the same and the
attachments thereto where ultimately received by the corporation under such circumstances that no
undue prejudice is sustained by it from the procedural lapse and it was afforded full opportunity to
present its responsive pleadings. This is but in accord with the entrenched rule that the ends of
substantial justice should not be subordinated to technicalities and, for which purpose, each case
should be examined within the factual milieu peculiar to it.
Prescinding from the above, we deem it best to underscore that there is no hard and fast rule
pertaining to the manner of service of summons. Rather, substantial justice demands that every case
should be viewed in light of the peculiar circumstances attendant to each.
In any event, as it is glaringly evident from the records of the case that jurisdiction over the person of
the defendant was validly acquired by the court by the valid service of a new summons before the writ
of preliminary injunction was issued and guided by jurisprudential pronouncements heretofore adverted
to, we hold that the proceedings attendant to the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction were
regular.
NOTES:
Issue number 2: whether RTC gravely abused its discretion in granting the Spouses Santiago and
Centrogens application for the Writ of Preliminary Injunction in the absence of showing that the latter
have a clear legal right sought to be protected
An injunction is a preservative remedy for the protection of ones substantive right or interest; it is not a
cause of action by itself but merely a provisional remedy, an adjunct to the main suit.
25
The purpose of
injunction is to prevent threatened or continuous irremediable injury to some of the parties before their
claims can be thoroughly studied and educated. Its sole aim is to preserve the status quo until the
merits of the case is heard fully.
The issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction as an ancillary or preventive remedy to secure the
rights of a party in a pending case is entirely within the discretion of the court taking cognizance of the
case, the only limitation being that the discretion should be exercised based upon the grounds and in a
manner provided by law.
Before a writ of preliminary injunction may be issued, the following requisites must be complied with:
(1) a right in esse or a clear or unmistakable right to be protected; (2) violation of that right; and (3) that
there is an urgent and permanent act and urgent necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage.
Verily, the aforestated requisites for the issuance of the Writ of Preliminary Injunction have been fully
complied with. The right of Spouses Santiago over the property clearly exists since they are the
registered owners thereof, and the existence of a Real Estate Mortgage does not undermine the right
of the absolute owner over the property. The violation of such right is manifest in the threatened
foreclosure proceedings commenced by BPI amidst the claim that the principal obligation has been
fully paid.
Finally, to allow the foreclosure of the subject property without first calibrating the evidence of opposing
parties pertaining to the action for the annulment of mortgage would cause irreparable damage to the
registered owner.
The right of BPI to foreclose the subject property is under dispute upon the claim interposed by the
Spouses Santiago and Centrogen that payments for the loan secured by the property subject to the
threatened foreclosure proceedings were already made. To support their assertions, Spouses
Santiago and Centrogen presented as evidence Union Bank Check No. 0363020895 dated 20
December 2001 in the amount of P648,521.51, with BPI as payee.
From this, we can deduce that the right of BPI to foreclose the subject property is questionable. We
cannot therefore allow the foreclosure of the Real Estate Mortgage to proceed without first setting the
main case for hearing so that based on the evidence presented by the parties, the trial court can
determine who between them has the better right over the subject property. To rule otherwise would
cause a grave irreparable damage to the Spouses Santiago and Centrogen.
LOLITA AMIGO and ESTELITA VDA. DE SALINAS, petitioners,
vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, HONORABLE AUGUSTO V. BREVA, as Judge, RTC
of Davao, Branch X, THE SHERIFF OF THE RTC represented by Alfonso M. Zamora, Deputy Sheriff
of Branch X, and JESUS WEE ENG, respondents.
G.R. No. 102833 February 9, 1996
REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT MATTER;
JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF THE DEFENDANT; DISCUSSION AND APPLICATION IN
CASE AT BAR. Jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is conferred by law and determined
by the allegations of the complaint. It should hardly be of any consequence that the merits of the case
are later found to veer away from the claims asseverated by the plaintiff. The suit below is aimed at
recovering real property, an action clearly well within the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court.
Jurisdiction over the person of the defendant in a civil action is acquired either by his voluntary
appearance in court and his submission to its authority or by service of summons. In this case, by their
filing of an answer and later an amended answer, petitioners must be deemed to have formally and
effectively appeared before the lower court. Unlike the question of jurisdiction over the subject matter
which may be invoked at any stage of the proceedings (even on appeal), the issue of jurisdiction over
the person of the defendant, however, as has been so held lately in La Naval Drug Corporation v.
Court of Appeals, must be seasonably raised, and it can well be pleaded in a motion to dismiss or by
way of an affirmative defense in an answer. The records bear out the fact that petitioners have allowed
the issue of jurisdiction to pass unquestioned until the rendition of the judgment. It is now too late in the
day for petitioners to assail the jurisdiction of the lower court over their person, a somersault that
neither law nor policy will sanction.
D E C I S I O N
Challenged in the petition for review on certiorari is the decision of the Court of Appeals rendered on
12 November 1991 1 dismissing the petition to annul the writs of execution and demolition issued by
the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 10, 2 in the implementation of its final judgment of
eviction against herein petitioners in Civil Case No. 10363.
Petitioners Lolita Amigo and Estelita vda. de Salinas leased in 1961 from Mercedes Inigo, a parcel of
land, also known as Lot 502-C-9, Psd-10752, located along Leon Garcia St., Agdao District, Davao
City, registered in the lessor's name under TCT No. T-5454. Petitioners constructed their houses on
the lot. Mercedes Inigo later sold and transferred her ownership of the land to Juan Bosquit and herein
private respondent Jesus Wee Eng. TCT No. T-5454 was cancelled and another title, TCT No. 13659,
was issued on 28 May 1964 jointly in the names of the two vendees.
On 17 December 1966, Bosquit and Wee entered into a deed of exchange with the City Government of
Davao. Bosquit and Wee exchanged a portion of their Lot 502-C-9 for also a portion of Lot No. 502-C-
11 under TCT No. T-5788 in the name of the city. The transaction was authorized and approved by the
City Council of Davao. 3
In order to delineate the portion of Lot 502-C-9 ceded to the city government, Bosquit and Wee caused
the preparation of plan Psd-11-000258 subdividing the property into Lot 502-C-9-A and Lot 502-C-9-B.
For its part, the city government caused the subdivision of Lot 502-C-11 into Lot 502-C-11-A and Lot
502-C-11-B. In consonance with the agreement, TCT No. T-13659 held by Bosquit and Wee was
cancelled and in lieu thereof, two separate certificates of title were issued: TCT No. 46656 in the name
of the City Government of Davao covering Lot 502-C-9-A, and TCT No. 46657 in the names of Bosquit
and Wee corresponding to Lot 502-C-9- B. In turn, TCT No. T-5788 in the name of the city
government, was cancelled and two separate titles were issued: TCT No. T-51826 in the names of
Bosquit and Wee for Lot 502-C-11-A and TCT No. T-51827 in the name of the city government over
Lot 502-C-11-B.
On 01 October 1969, Bosquit and Wee instituted an action for unlawful detainer against petitioners
before the City Court of Davao (Civil Case No. 1561-A). After almost seven years, or on 19 July 1976,
the city court finally dismissed the action on the technicality that the plaintiffs did not observe the
required 15-day period from the sending of the letter of demand before filing the action, the letter
having been sent instead on 19 September 1969 or only twelve days before the filing of the action. 4
On 25 October 1976, Bosquit sold his rights and interests over Lots 502-C-9-B and 502-C-11-A to
Wee. The titles over the property were thereupon cancelled and TCT No. T-53041 and TCT No. T-
53042 were issued solely in the name of Wee.
On 22 July 1977, Wee, herein private respondent, filed a complaint (docketed Civil Case No. 10363)
against petitioners in the then Court of First Instance of Davao, Branch III, for recovery of the real
property in question. On 08 September 1978, after the petitioners had filed their answer, the court
appointed Orville O. Bueno, a duly licensed geodetic engineer, its commissioner to conduct a
relocation survey of the boundaries of the land. In his report, dated 27 November 1978, Bueno stated
that
". . . portions of about two-thirds (2/3) of the houses of Lolita Amigo and that of Estelita Vda. de Salinas
is inside of Lot 502-C-9-B, Psd-11-000258, covered by TCT No. T-53041, issued in the name of Jesus
Wee Eng; the remaining one-third of it lies on the road widening and the creek respectively." 5
Whereupon, private respondent sought an amendment of his complaint which was allowed by the
lower court on 13 November 1979. 6 As so amended, the complaint prayed not only for the recovery of
real property and damages but also for an abatement of nuisance 7 over the portion of the
improvements introduced by petitioners that encroached on the sidewalk of Leon Garcia Street.
In their amended answer, petitioners denied the material allegations of the amended complaint.
Petitioners stressed that their houses stood neither on private respondent's land nor on the sidewalk or
shoulders of Leon Garcia Street but along the banks of the Agdao Creek.
Parenthetically, in 1982, during the pendency of Civil Case No. 10363, petitioners Amigo and Salinas
were designated census-beneficiaries of their respective areas (Tag No. 82-A-0342 and Tag No. 82-A-
0341) 8 under a so-called City of Davao RCDP-NHA Agreement.
After a full reception of the evidence, the trial court, on 23 September 1983, rendered its decision
which held:
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff:
"UNDER THE FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION
"1. Ordering the defendants to vacate the portions of land occupied by them as appearing in the
Commissioner's Report (Exhibits 'C' and 'D') and to deliver the same to the plaintiff; and
"2. To pay the plaintiff the amount of THIRTY (P30.00) PESOS each per month for the use of
plaintiff's land, to be reckoned from the date of judicial demand on July 22, 1977 until defendants shall
have vacated the premises in question.
"UNDER THE SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION
"1. The defendants are hereby ordered to demolish the portions of their houses constructed on the
road widening of Leon Garcia Street which constitute a nuisance per se;
"2. To pay plaintiff the amount of TWO THOUSAND (P2,000.00) PESOS for and as attorney's
fees; and
"3. To pay costs.
"All other claims and counterclaims are hereby DISMISSED.
"SO ORDERED." 9
Petitioners appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals (AC-G.R. CV No. 02405). In its resolution of
29 November 1984, however, the appellate court dismissed the appeal for the failure of petitioners to
file an appeal brief. 10 A petition for relief from the order of dismissal was denied by the appellate
court, in a resolution of 09 July 1985, for having been filed beyond the reglementary period." 11
In due time, private respondent moved for execution of the judgment. The lower court, in its order of 28
October 1988, granted the motion and ordered the issuance of the corresponding writ. 12 An omnibus
motion to quash the writ of execution 13 filed by petitioners was denied by said court on 27 January
1989. 14 Private respondent, forthwith moved for a special order of demolition which the court granted
on 13 March 1989. 15
Meanwhile, on 02 March 1989, petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals an action (docketed CA-G.R.
SP No. 16979) for the annulment of the trial court's decision of 23 September 1983, as well as all
orders and proceedings subsequent thereto, including the various writs of execution and demolition. 16
Petitioners contended that the judgment rendered by the lower court was void for want of jurisdiction.
On 08 March 1989, the Court of Appeals granted petitioners' prayer for a temporary restraining order.
17 The restraining order was lifted when, on 12 November 1991, the appellate court ultimately
dismissed the petition. 18
Petitioners instituted the instant petition for review on certiorari raising several questions:
1. Whether or not the court a quo acquired jurisdiction over the subject matter and their person in
the case at bench;
2. Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred when it failed to consider the badges of fraud in the
exchange of lots between private respondent and the City Government of Davao;
3. Whether or not their status as lessees in the disputed lot was affected by the said swapping or
exchange of lots; and
4. Whether or not they are entitled to the so-called "right of first refusal" under Section 6 of P.D.
No. 1417 and as such cannot be evicted from the disputed lot.
We deny the petition.
The Court must remind the parties that the case brought up to the Court of Appeals is an extraordinary
action that has sought to annul the writs of execution and demolition issued under and by virtue of a
final judgment that is alleged to be void for want of jurisdiction. The petition should not thus be used as
a stratagem to once again reopen the entire controversy, and make a complete farce of a duly
promulgated decision that has long become final and executory, such as by allowing matters outside
the question of jurisdiction to be here litigated anew. Accordingly, this ponencia must and shall only
deal with the first of the above-enumerated issues raised in the instant petition.
Petitioners maintain that the judgment of the trial court is void for being coram non judice. Jurisdiction
over the subject matter of a case is conferred by law 19 and determined by the allegations of the
complaint. It should hardly be of any consequence that the merits of the case are later found to veer
away from the claims asseverated by the plaintiff. The suit below is aimed at recovering real property,
an action clearly well within the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court. 20 Incidentally, petitioners'
assertion that the litigated lots belong in ownership to the city government and not to private
respondent is not borne out by the evidence on record. On the contrary, it appears that private
respondent has been, and still is, the registered owner of both Lot 502-C-9-B and Lot 502-C-11-A,
respectively, under TCT No. T-53041 and TCT No. T-53042. 21
Neither may petitioners feign absence of jurisdiction over their persons. Jurisdiction over the person of
the defendant in a civil action is acquired either by his voluntary appearance in court and his
submission to its authority or by service of summons. 22 In this case, by their filing of an answer and
later an amended answer, petitioners must be deemed to have formally and effectively appeared
before the lower court. As early as 1918, the essence of voluntary appearance has been explained by
this Court; thus, in Flores v. Zurbito, 23 we have said:
"A voluntary appearance is a waiver of the necessity of a formal notice. An appearance in whatever
form, without expressly objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person, is a submission to the
jurisdiction of the court over the person. While the formal method of entering an appearance in a cause
pending in the courts is to deliver to the clerk a written direction ordering him to enter the appearance
of the person who subscribes it, an appearance may be made by simply filing a formal motion, or plea
or answer. This formal method of appearance is not necessary." (Emphasis supplied.)
Unlike the question of jurisdiction over the subject matter which may be invoked at any stage of the
proceedings (even on appeal), the issue of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, however, as
has been so held lately in La Naval Drug Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 24 must be seasonably
raised, and it can well be pleaded in a motion to dismiss or by way of an affirmative defense in an
answer. The records bear out the fact that petitioners have allowed the issue of jurisdiction to pass
unquestioned until the rendition of the judgment. It is now too late in the day for petitioners to assail the
jurisdiction of the lower court over their person, a somersault that neither law nor policy will sanction.
25
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED for lack of merit and the
questioned decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners. SDML
SO ORDERED.
Padilla, Bellosillo, Kapunan, and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.