Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 22

ROGER V.

NAVARRO, Petitioner,
vs.
HON. JOSE L. ESCOBIDO, Presiding Judge, RTC Branch 37,
Cagayan de Oro City, and KAREN T. GO, doing business under
the name KARGO ENTERPRISES, Respondents.
DECISION
BRION, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari1 that seeks to set aside the
Court of Appeals (CA) Decision2 dated October 16, 2001 and
Resolution3 dated May 29, 2002 in CA-G.R. SP. No. 64701. These
CA rulings affirmed the July 26, 2000 4 and March 7, 2001 5 orders of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro
City, denying petitioner Roger V. Navarros (Navarro) motion to
dismiss.
BACKGROUND FACTS
On September 12, 1998, respondent Karen T. Go filed two
complaints, docketed as Civil Case Nos. 98-599 (first complaint) 6 and
98-598 (second complaint),7 before the RTC for replevin and/or sum
of money with damages against Navarro. In these complaints, Karen
Go prayed that the RTC issue writs of replevin for the seizure of two
(2) motor vehicles in Navarros possession.
The first complaint stated:
1. That plaintiff KAREN T. GO is a Filipino, of legal age, married to
GLENN O. GO, a resident of Cagayan de Oro City and doing
business under the trade name KARGO ENTERPRISES, an entity
duly registered and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the
Republic of the Philippines, which has its business address at Bulua,
Cagayan de Oro City; that defendant ROGER NAVARRO is a
Filipino, of legal age, a resident of 62 Dolores Street, Nazareth,
Cagayan de Oro City, where he may be served with summons and
other processes of the Honorable Court; that defendant "JOHN DOE"
whose real name and address are at present unknown to plaintiff is
hereby joined as party defendant as he may be the person in whose
possession and custody the personal property subject matter of this
suit may be found if the same is not in the possession of defendant
ROGER NAVARRO;
2. That KARGO ENTERPRISES is in the business of, among others,
buying and selling motor vehicles, including hauling trucks and other

heavy equipment;
3. That for the cause of action against defendant ROGER
NAVARRO, it is hereby stated that on August 8, 1997, the said
defendant leased [from] plaintiff a certain motor vehicle which is
more particularly described as follows
Make/Type FUSO WITH MOUNTED CRANE
Serial No. FK416K-51680
Motor No. 6D15-338735
Plate No. GHK-378
as evidenced by a LEASE AGREEMENT WITH OPTION TO
PURCHASE entered into by and between KARGO ENTERPRISES,
then represented by its Manager, the aforementioned GLENN O.
GO, and defendant ROGER NAVARRO xxx; that in accordance with
the provisions of the above LEASE AGREEMENT WITH OPTION TO
PURCHASE, defendant ROGER NAVARRO delivered unto plaintiff
six (6) post-dated checks each in the amount of SIXTY-SIX
THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED THIRTY-THREE & 33/100 PESOS
(P66,333.33) which were supposedly in payment of the agreed
rentals; that when the fifth and sixth checks, i.e. PHILIPPINE BANK
OF COMMUNICATIONS CAGAYAN DE ORO BRANCH CHECKS
NOS. 017112 and 017113, respectively dated January 8, 1998 and
February 8, 1998, were presented for payment and/or credit, the
same were dishonored and/or returned by the drawee bank for the
common reason that the current deposit account against which the
said checks were issued did not have sufficient funds to cover the
amounts thereof; that the total amount of the two (2) checks, i.e. the
sum of ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-TWO THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED
SIXTY-SIX & 66/100 PESOS (P132,666.66) therefore represents the
principal liability of defendant ROGER NAVARRO unto plaintiff on the
basis of the provisions of the above LEASE AGREEMENT WITH
RIGHT TO PURCHASE; that demands, written and oral, were made
of defendant ROGER NAVARRO to pay the amount of ONE
HUNDRED THIRTY-TWO THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SIXTY-SIX &
66/100 PESOS (P132,666.66), or to return the subject motor vehicle
as also provided for in the LEASE AGREEMENT WITH RIGHT TO
PURCHASE, but said demands were, and still are, in vain to the
great damage and injury of herein plaintiff; xxx
4. That the aforedescribed motor vehicle has not been the subject of
any tax assessment and/or fine pursuant to law, or seized under an
execution or an attachment as against herein plaintiff;

xxx
8. That plaintiff hereby respectfully applies for an order of the
Honorable Court for the immediate delivery of the above-described
motor vehicle from defendants unto plaintiff pending the final
determination of this case on the merits and, for that purpose, there
is attached hereto an affidavit duly executed and bond double the
value of the personal property subject matter hereof to answer for
damages and costs which defendants may suffer in the event that
the order for replevin prayed for may be found out to having not been
properly issued.
The second complaint contained essentially the same allegations as
the first complaint, except that the Lease Agreement with Option to
Purchase involved is dated October 1, 1997 and the motor vehicle
leased is described as follows:
Make/Type FUSO WITH MOUNTED CRANE
Serial No. FK416K-510528
Motor No. 6D14-423403
The second complaint also alleged that Navarro delivered three postdated checks, each for the amount of P100,000.00, to Karen Go in
payment of the agreed rentals; however, the third check was
dishonored when presented for payment.8
On October 12, 19989 and October 14, 1998,10 the RTC issued writs
of replevin for both cases; as a result, the Sheriff seized the two
vehicles and delivered them to the possession of Karen Go.
In his Answers, Navarro alleged as a special affirmative defense that
the two complaints stated no cause of action, since Karen Go was
not a party to the Lease Agreements with Option to Purchase
(collectively, the lease agreements) the actionable documents on
which the complaints were based.
On Navarros motion, both cases were duly consolidated on
December 13, 1999.
In its May 8, 2000 order, the RTC dismissed the case on the ground
that the complaints did not state a cause of action.
In response to the motion for reconsideration Karen Go filed dated
May 26, 2000,11 the RTC issued another order dated July 26, 2000
setting aside the order of dismissal. Acting on the presumption that
Glenn Gos leasing business is a conjugal property, the RTC held
that Karen Go had sufficient interest in his leasing business to file the
action against Navarro. However, the RTC held that Karen Go should
have included her husband, Glenn Go, in the complaint based on

Section 4, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court (Rules). 12 Thus, the lower


court ordered Karen Go to file a motion for the inclusion of Glenn Go
as co-plaintiff.1avvphi1
When the RTC denied Navarros motion for reconsideration on
March 7, 2001, Navarro filed a petition for certiorari with the CA,
essentially contending that the RTC committed grave abuse of
discretion when it reconsidered the dismissal of the case and
directed Karen Go to amend her complaints by including her
husband Glenn Go as co-plaintiff. According to Navarro, a complaint
which failed to state a cause of action could not be converted into
one with a cause of action by mere amendment or supplemental
pleading.
On October 16, 2001, the CA denied Navarros petition and affirmed
the RTCs order.13 The CA also denied Navarros motion for
reconsideration in its resolution of May 29, 2002, 14 leading to the
filing of the present petition.
THE PETITION
Navarro alleges that even if the lease agreements were in the name
of Kargo Enterprises, since it did not have the requisite juridical
personality to sue, the actual parties to the agreement are himself
and Glenn Go. Since it was Karen Go who filed the complaints and
not Glenn Go, she was not a real party-in-interest and the complaints
failed to state a cause of action.
Navarro posits that the RTC erred when it ordered the amendment of
the complaint to include Glenn Go as a co-plaintiff, instead of
dismissing the complaint outright because a complaint which does
not state a cause of action cannot be converted into one with a
cause of action by a mere amendment or a supplemental pleading.
In effect, the lower court created a cause of action for Karen Go
when there was none at the time she filed the complaints.
Even worse, according to Navarro, the inclusion of Glenn Go as coplaintiff drastically changed the theory of the complaints, to his great
prejudice. Navarro claims that the lower court gravely abused its
discretion when it assumed that the leased vehicles are part of the
conjugal property of Glenn and Karen Go. Since Karen Go is the
registered owner of Kargo Enterprises, the vehicles subject of the
complaint are her paraphernal properties and the RTC gravely erred
when it ordered the inclusion of Glenn Go as a co-plaintiff.
Navarro likewise faults the lower court for setting the trial of the case
in the same order that required Karen Go to amend her complaints,

claiming that by issuing this order, the trial court violated Rule 10 of
the Rules.
Even assuming the complaints stated a cause of action against him,
Navarro maintains that the complaints were premature because no
prior demand was made on him to comply with the provisions of the
lease agreements before the complaints for replevin were filed.
Lastly, Navarro posits that since the two writs of replevin were issued
based on flawed complaints, the vehicles were illegally seized from
his possession and should be returned to him immediately.
Karen Go, on the other hand, claims that it is misleading for Navarro
to state that she has no real interest in the subject of the complaint,
even if the lease agreements were signed only by her husband,
Glenn Go; she is the owner of Kargo Enterprises and Glenn Go
signed the lease agreements merely as the manager of Kargo
Enterprises. Moreover, Karen Go maintains that Navarros insistence
that Kargo Enterprises is Karen Gos paraphernal property is without
basis. Based on the law and jurisprudence on the matter, all property
acquired during the marriage is presumed to be conjugal property.
Finally, Karen Go insists that her complaints sufficiently established a
cause of action against Navarro. Thus, when the RTC ordered her to
include her husband as co-plaintiff, this was merely to comply with
the rule that spouses should sue jointly, and was not meant to cure
the complaints lack of cause of action.
THE COURTS RULING
We find the petition devoid of merit.
Karen Go is the real party-in-interest
The 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure requires that every action must be
prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party-in-interest, i.e.,
the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in
the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. 15
Interestingly, although Navarro admits that Karen Go is the
registered owner of the business name Kargo Enterprises, he still
insists that Karen Go is not a real party-in-interest in the case.
According to Navarro, while the lease contracts were in Kargo
Enterprises name, this was merely a trade name without a juridical
personality, so the actual parties to the lease agreements were
Navarro and Glenn Go, to the exclusion of Karen Go.
As a corollary, Navarro contends that the RTC acted with grave
abuse of discretion when it ordered the inclusion of Glenn Go as coplaintiff, since this in effect created a cause of action for the

complaints when in truth, there was none.


We do not find Navarros arguments persuasive.
The central factor in appreciating the issues presented in this case is
the business name Kargo Enterprises. The name appears in the title
of the Complaint where the plaintiff was identified as "KAREN T. GO
doing business under the name KARGO ENTERPRISES," and this
identification was repeated in the first paragraph of the Complaint.
Paragraph 2 defined the business KARGO ENTERPRISES
undertakes. Paragraph 3 continued with the allegation that the
defendant "leased from plaintiff a certain motor vehicle" that was
thereafter described. Significantly, the Complaint specifies and
attaches as its integral part the Lease Agreement that underlies the
transaction between the plaintiff and the defendant. Again, the name
KARGO ENTERPRISES entered the picture as this Lease
Agreement provides:
This agreement, made and entered into by and between:
GLENN O. GO, of legal age, married, with post office address at xxx,
herein referred to as the LESSOR-SELLER; representing KARGO
ENTERPRISES as its Manager,
xxx
thus, expressly pointing to KARGO ENTERPRISES as the principal
that Glenn O. Go represented. In other words, by the express terms
of this Lease Agreement, Glenn Go did sign the agreement only as
the manager of Kargo Enterprises and the latter is clearly the real
party to the lease agreements.
As Navarro correctly points out, Kargo Enterprises is a sole
proprietorship, which is neither a natural person, nor a juridical
person, as defined by Article 44 of the Civil Code:
Art. 44. The following are juridical persons:
(1) The State and its political subdivisions;
(2) Other corporations, institutions and entities for public interest or
purpose, created by law; their personality begins as soon as they
have been constituted according to law;
(3) Corporations, partnerships and associations for private interest or
purpose to which the law grants a juridical personality, separate and
distinct from that of each shareholder, partner or member.
Thus, pursuant to Section 1, Rule 3 of the Rules, 16 Kargo Enterprises
cannot be a party to a civil action. This legal reality leads to the
question: who then is the proper party to file an action based on a
contract in the name of Kargo Enterprises?

We faced a similar question in Juasing Hardware v. Mendoza, 17


where we said:
Finally, there is no law authorizing sole proprietorships like petitioner
to bring suit in court. The law merely recognizes the existence of a
sole proprietorship as a form of business organization conducted for
profit by a single individual, and requires the proprietor or owner
thereof to secure licenses and permits, register the business name,
and pay taxes to the national government. It does not vest juridical or
legal personality upon the sole proprietorship nor empower it to file or
defend an action in court.
Thus, the complaint in the court below should have been filed in the
name of the owner of Juasing Hardware. The allegation in the body
of the complaint would show that the suit is brought by such person
as proprietor or owner of the business conducted under the name
and style Juasing Hardware. The descriptive words "doing business
as Juasing Hardware" may be added to the title of the case, as is
customarily done.18 [Emphasis supplied.]
This conclusion should be read in relation with Section 2, Rule 3 of
the Rules, which states:
SEC. 2. Parties in interest. A real party in interest is the party who
stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the
party entitled to the avails of the suit. Unless otherwise authorized by
law or these Rules, every action must be prosecuted or defended in
the name of the real party in interest.
As the registered owner of Kargo Enterprises, Karen Go is the party
who will directly benefit from or be injured by a judgment in this case.
Thus, contrary to Navarros contention, Karen Go is the real party-ininterest, and it is legally incorrect to say that her Complaint does not
state a cause of action because her name did not appear in the
Lease Agreement that her husband signed in behalf of Kargo
Enterprises. Whether Glenn Go can legally sign the Lease
Agreement in his capacity as a manager of Kargo Enterprises, a sole
proprietorship, is a question we do not decide, as this is a matter for
the trial court to consider in a trial on the merits.
Glenn Gos Role in the Case
We find it significant that the business name Kargo Enterprises is in
the name of Karen T. Go,19 who described herself in the Complaints
to be "a Filipino, of legal age, married to GLENN O. GO, a resident of
Cagayan de Oro City, and doing business under the trade name
KARGO ENTERPRISES."20 That Glenn Go and Karen Go are

married to each other is a fact never brought in issue in the case.


Thus, the business name KARGO ENTERPRISES is registered in
the name of a married woman, a fact material to the side issue of
whether Kargo Enterprises and its properties are paraphernal or
conjugal properties. To restate the parties positions, Navarro alleges
that Kargo Enterprises is Karen Gos paraphernal property,
emphasizing the fact that the business is registered solely in Karen
Gos name. On the other hand, Karen Go contends that while the
business is registered in her name, it is in fact part of their conjugal
property.
The registration of the trade name in the name of one person a
woman does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the trade
name as a property is hers alone, particularly when the woman is
married. By law, all property acquired during the marriage, whether
the acquisition appears to have been made, contracted or registered
in the name of one or both spouses, is presumed to be conjugal
unless the contrary is proved. 21 Our examination of the records of the
case does not show any proof that Kargo Enterprises and the
properties or contracts in its name are conjugal. If at all, only the bare
allegation of Navarro to this effect exists in the records of the case.
As we emphasized in Castro v. Miat:22
Petitioners also overlook Article 160 of the New Civil Code. It
provides that "all property of the marriage is presumed to be conjugal
partnership, unless it be prove[n] that it pertains exclusively to the
husband or to the wife." This article does not require proof that the
property was acquired with funds of the partnership. The
presumption applies even when the manner in which the property
was acquired does not appear.23 [Emphasis supplied.]
Thus, for purposes solely of this case and of resolving the issue of
whether Kargo Enterprises as a sole proprietorship is conjugal or
paraphernal property, we hold that it is conjugal property.
Article 124 of the Family Code, on the administration of the conjugal
property, provides:
Art. 124. The administration and enjoyment of the conjugal
partnership property shall belong to both spouses jointly. In
case of disagreement, the husbands decision shall prevail, subject
to recourse to the court by the wife for proper remedy, which must be
availed of within five years from the date of the contract
implementing such decision.
xxx

This provision, by its terms, allows either Karen or Glenn Go to


speak and act with authority in managing their conjugal property, i.e.,
Kargo Enterprises. No need exists, therefore, for one to obtain the
consent of the other before performing an act of administration or
any act that does not dispose of or encumber their conjugal property.
Under Article 108 of the Family Code, the conjugal partnership is
governed by the rules on the contract of partnership in all that is not
in conflict with what is expressly determined in this Chapter or by the
spouses in their marriage settlements. In other words, the property
relations of the husband and wife shall be governed primarily by
Chapter 4 on Conjugal Partnership of Gains of the Family Code and,
suppletorily, by the spouses marriage settlement and by the rules on
partnership under the Civil Code. In the absence of any evidence of
a marriage settlement between the spouses Go, we look at the Civil
Code provision on partnership for guidance.
A rule on partnership applicable to the spouses circumstances is
Article 1811 of the Civil Code, which states:
Art. 1811. A partner is a co-owner with the other partners of specific
partnership property.
The incidents of this co-ownership are such that:
(1) A partner, subject to the provisions of this Title and to any
agreement between the partners, has an equal right with his
partners to possess specific partnership property for partnership
purposes; xxx
Under this provision, Glenn and Karen Go are effectively co-owners
of Kargo Enterprises and the properties registered under this name;
hence, both have an equal right to seek possession of these
properties. Applying Article 484 of the Civil Code, which states that
"in default of contracts, or special provisions, co-ownership shall be
governed by the provisions of this Title," we find further support in
Article 487 of the Civil Code that allows any of the co-owners to bring
an action in ejectment with respect to the co-owned property.
While ejectment is normally associated with actions involving real
property, we find that this rule can be applied to the circumstances of
the present case, following our ruling in Carandang v. Heirs of De
Guzman.24 In this case, one spouse filed an action for the recovery of
credit, a personal property considered conjugal property, without
including the other spouse in the action. In resolving the issue of
whether the other spouse was required to be included as a coplaintiff in the action for the recovery of the credit, we said:

Milagros de Guzman, being presumed to be a co-owner of the


credits allegedly extended to the spouses Carandang, seems to be
either an indispensable or a necessary party. If she is an
indispensable party, dismissal would be proper. If she is merely a
necessary party, dismissal is not warranted, whether or not there was
an order for her inclusion in the complaint pursuant to Section 9,
Rule 3.
Article 108 of the Family Code provides:
Art. 108. The conjugal partnership shall be governed by the rules on
the contract of partnership in all that is not in conflict with what is
expressly determined in this Chapter or by the spouses in their
marriage settlements.
This provision is practically the same as the Civil Code provision it
superseded:
Art. 147. The conjugal partnership shall be governed by the rules on
the contract of partnership in all that is not in conflict with what is
expressly determined in this Chapter.
In this connection, Article 1811 of the Civil Code provides that "[a]
partner is a co-owner with the other partners of specific partnership
property." Taken with the presumption of the conjugal nature of the
funds used to finance the four checks used to pay for petitioners
stock subscriptions, and with the presumption that the credits
themselves are part of conjugal funds, Article 1811 makes Quirino
and Milagros de Guzman co-owners of the alleged credit.
Being co-owners of the alleged credit, Quirino and Milagros de
Guzman may separately bring an action for the recovery thereof. In
the fairly recent cases of Baloloy v. Hular and Adlawan v. Adlawan,
we held that, in a co-ownership, co-owners may bring actions for the
recovery of co-owned property without the necessity of joining all the
other co-owners as co-plaintiffs because the suit is presumed to
have been filed for the benefit of his co-owners. In the latter case and
in that of De Guia v. Court of Appeals, we also held that Article 487 of
the Civil Code, which provides that any of the co-owners may bring
an action for ejectment, covers all kinds of action for the recovery of
possession.
In sum, in suits to recover properties, all co-owners are real parties in
interest. However, pursuant to Article 487 of the Civil Code and
relevant jurisprudence, any one of them may bring an action, any
kind of action, for the recovery of co-owned properties. Therefore,
only one of the co-owners, namely the co-owner who filed the suit for

the recovery of the co-owned property, is an indispensable party


thereto. The other co-owners are not indispensable parties. They are
not even necessary parties, for a complete relief can be accorded in
the suit even without their participation, since the suit is presumed to
have been filed for the benefit of all co-owners. 25 [Emphasis
supplied.]
Under this ruling, either of the spouses Go may bring an action
against Navarro to recover possession of the Kargo Enterprisesleased vehicles which they co-own. This conclusion is consistent with
Article 124 of the Family Code, supporting as it does the position that
either spouse may act on behalf of the conjugal partnership, so long
as they do not dispose of or encumber the property in question
without the other spouses consent.
On this basis, we hold that since Glenn Go is not strictly an
indispensable party in the action to recover possession of the leased
vehicles, he only needs to be impleaded as a pro-forma party to the
suit, based on Section 4, Rule 4 of the Rules, which states:
Section 4. Spouses as parties. Husband and wife shall sue or be
sued jointly, except as provided by law.
Non-joinder of indispensable parties not ground to dismiss action
Even assuming that Glenn Go is an indispensable party to the action,
we have held in a number of cases26 that the misjoinder or nonjoinder of indispensable parties in a complaint is not a ground for
dismissal of action. As we stated in Macababbad v. Masirag: 27
Rule 3, Section 11 of the Rules of Court provides that neither
misjoinder nor nonjoinder of parties is a ground for the dismissal of
an action, thus:
Sec. 11. Misjoinder and non-joinder of parties. Neither misjoinder nor
non-joinder of parties is ground for dismissal of an action. 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. Any claim against a misjoined party may be
severed and proceeded with separately.
In Domingo v. Scheer, this Court held that the proper remedy when a
party is left out is to implead the indispensable party at any stage of
the action. The court, either motu proprio or upon the motion of a
party, may order the inclusion of the indispensable party or give the
plaintiff opportunity to amend his complaint in order to include
indispensable parties. If the plaintiff to whom the order to include the
indispensable party is directed refuses to comply with the order of

the court, the complaint may be dismissed upon motion of the


defendant or upon the court's own motion. Only upon unjustified
failure or refusal to obey the order to include or to amend is the
action dismissed.
In these lights, the RTC Order of July 26, 2000 requiring plaintiff
Karen Go to join her husband as a party plaintiff is fully in order.
Demand not required prior
to filing of replevin action
In arguing that prior demand is required before an action for a writ of
replevin is filed, Navarro apparently likens a replevin action to an
unlawful detainer.
For a writ of replevin to issue, all that the applicant must do is to file
an affidavit and bond, pursuant to Section 2, Rule 60 of the Rules,
which states:
Sec. 2. Affidavit and bond.
The applicant must show by his own affidavit or that of some other
person who personally knows the facts:
(a) That the applicant is the owner of the property claimed,
particularly describing it, or is entitled to the possession thereof;
(b) That the property is wrongfully detained by the adverse party,
alleging the cause of detention thereof according to the best of his
knowledge, information, and belief;
(c) That the property has not been distrained or taken for a tax
assessment or a fine pursuant to law, or seized under a writ of
execution or preliminary attachment, or otherwise placed under
custodia legis, or if so seized, that it is exempt from such seizure or
custody; and
(d) The actual market value of the property.
The applicant must also give a bond, executed to the adverse party
in double the value of the property as stated in the affidavit
aforementioned, for the return of the property to the adverse party if
such return be adjudged, and for the payment to the adverse party of
such sum as he may recover from the applicant in the action.
We see nothing in these provisions which requires the applicant to
make a prior demand on the possessor of the property before he can
file an action for a writ of replevin. Thus, prior demand is not a
condition precedent to an action for a writ of replevin.
More importantly, Navarro is no longer in the position to claim that a
prior demand is necessary, as he has already admitted in his
Answers that he had received the letters that Karen Go sent him,

demanding that he either pay his unpaid obligations or return the


leased motor vehicles. Navarros position that a demand is
necessary and has not been made is therefore totally unmeritorious.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DENY the petition for
review for lack of merit. Costs against petitioner Roger V. Navarro.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 177429
November 24, 2009
ANICIA VALDEZ-TALLORIN, Petitioner,
vs.
HEIRS OF JUANITO TARONA, Represented by CARLOS
TARONA, ROGELIO TARONA and LOURDES TARONA,
Respondents.
DECISION
ABAD, J.:
This case is about a courts annulment of a tax declaration in the
names of three persons, two of whom had not been impleaded in the
case, for the reason that the document was illegally issued to them.
The Facts and the Case
On February 9, 1998 respondents Carlos, Rogelio, and Lourdes
Tarona (the Taronas) filed an action before the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Balanga, Bataan,1 against petitioner Anicia Valdez-Tallorin
(Tallorin) for the cancellation of her and two other womens tax
declaration over a parcel of land.
The Taronas alleged in their complaint that, unknown to them, in
1981, the Assessors Office of Morong in Bataan cancelled Tax
Declaration 463 in the name of their father, Juanito Tarona (Juanito),
covering 6,186 square meters of land in Morong, Bataan. The
cancellation was said to be based on an unsigned though notarized
affidavit that Juanito allegedly executed in favor of petitioner Tallorin
and two others, namely, Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and
Dolores Valdez, who were not impleaded in the action. In place of the
cancelled one, the Assessors Office issued Tax Declaration 6164 in
the names of the latter three persons. The old man Taronas affidavit
had been missing and no copy could be found among the records of
the Assessors Office.2
The Taronas further alleged that, without their fathers affidavit on file,
it followed that his tax declaration had been illegally cancelled and a
new one illegally issued in favor of Tallorin and the others with her.
The unexplained disappearance of the affidavit from official files, the
Taronas concluded, covered-up the falsification or forgery that

caused the substitution.3 The Taronas asked the RTC to annul Tax
Declaration 6164, reinstate Tax Declaration 463, and issue a new
one in the name of Juanitos heirs.
On March 6, 1998 the Taronas filed a motion to declare petitioner
Tallorin in default for failing to answer their complaint within the
allowed time.4 But, before the RTC could act on the motion, Tallorin
filed a belated answer, alleging among others that she held a copy of
the supposedly missing affidavit of Juanito who was merely an
agricultural tenant of the land covered by Tax Declaration 463. He
surrendered and waived in that affidavit his occupation and tenancy
rights to Tallorin and the others in consideration of P29,240.00.
Tallorin also put up the affirmative defenses of non-compliance with
the requirement of conciliation proceedings and prescription.
On March 12, 1998 the RTC set Tallorins affirmative defenses for
hearing5 but the Taronas sought reconsideration, pointing out that the
trial court should have instead declared Tallorin in default based on
their earlier motion.6 On June 2, 1998 the RTC denied the Taronas
motion for reconsideration7 for the reasons that it received Tallorins
answer before it could issue a default order and that the Taronas
failed to show proof that Tallorin was notified of the motion three days
before the scheduled hearing. Although the presiding judge inhibited
himself from the case on motion of the Taronas, the new judge to
whom the case was re-raffled stood by his predecessors previous
orders.
By a special civil action for certiorari before the Court of Appeals
(CA),8 however, the Taronas succeeded in getting the latter court to
annul the RTCs March 12 and June 2, 1998 orders. 9 The CA ruled
that the RTC gravely abused its discretion in admitting Tallorins late
answer in the absence of a motion to admit it. Even if petitioner
Tallorin had already filed her late answer, said the CA, the RTC
should have heard the Taronas motion to declare Tallorin in default.
Upon remand of the case, the RTC heard the Taronas motion to
declare Tallorin in default,10 granted the same, and directed the
Taronas to present evidence ex parte.11
On January 30, 2002 the RTC rendered judgment, a) annulling the
tax declaration in the names of Tallorin, Margarita Pastelero Vda. de
Valdez, and Dolores Valdez; b) reinstating the tax declaration in the
name of Juanito; and c) ordering the issuance in its place of a new
tax declaration in the names of Juanitos heirs. The trial court also
ruled that Juanitos affidavit authorizing the transfer of the tax

declaration had no binding force since he did not sign it.1avvphi1


Tallorin appealed the above decision to the CA, 12 pointing out 1) that
the land covered by the tax declaration in question was titled in her
name and in those of her two co-owners; 2) that Juanitos affidavit
only dealt with the surrender of his tenancy rights and did not serve
as basis for canceling Tax Declaration 463 in his name; 3) that,
although Juanito did not sign the affidavit, he thumbmarked and
acknowledged the same before a notary public; and 4) that the trial
court erred in not dismissing the complaint for failure to implead
Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez who were
indispensable parties in the action to annul Juanitos affidavit and the
tax declaration in their favor.13
On May 22, 2006 the CA rendered judgment, affirming the trial
courts decision.14 The CA rejected all of Tallorins arguments. Since
she did not assign as error the order declaring her in default and
since she took no part at the trial, the CA pointed out that her claims
were in effect mere conjectures, not based on evidence of record. 15
Notably, the CA did not address the issue Tallorin raised regarding
the Taronas failure to implead Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez
and Dolores Valdez as indispensable party-defendants, their interest
in the cancelled tax declarations having been affected by the RTC
judgment.
Questions Presented
The petition presents the following questions for resolution by this
Court:
1. Whether or not the CA erred in failing to dismiss the Taronas
complaint for not impleading Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and
Dolores Valdez in whose names, like their co-owner Tallorin, the
annulled tax declaration had been issued;
2. Whether or not the CA erred in not ruling that the Taronas
complaint was barred by prescription; and
3. Whether or not the CA erred in affirming the RTCs finding that
Juanitos affidavit had no legal effect because it was unsigned; when
at the hearing of the motion to declare Tallorin in default, it was
shown that the affidavit bore Juanitos thumbmark.
The Courts Rulings
The first question, whether or not the CA erred in failing to dismiss
the Taronas complaint for not impleading Margarita Pastelero Vda.
de Valdez and Dolores Valdez in whose names, like their co-owner
Tallorin, the annulled tax declaration had been issued, is a telling

question.
The rules mandate the joinder of indispensable parties. Thus:
Sec. 7. Compulsory joinder of indispensable parties. Parties in
interest without whom no final determination can be had of an action
shall be joined either as plaintiffs and defendants.16
Indispensable parties are those with such an interest in the
controversy that a final decree would necessarily affect their rights,
so that the courts cannot proceed without their presence. 17 Joining
indispensable parties into an action is mandatory, being a
requirement of due process. Without their presence, the judgment of
the court cannot attain real finality.
Judgments do not bind strangers to the suit. The absence of an
indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the court null
and void. Indeed, it would have no authority to act, not only as to the
absent party, but as to those present as well. And where does the
responsibility for impleading all indispensable parties lie? It lies in the
plaintiff.18
Here, the Taronas sought the annulment of the tax declaration in the
names of defendant Tallorin and two others, namely, Margarita
Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez and, in its place, the
reinstatement of the previous declaration in their father Juanitos
name. Further, the Taronas sought to strike down as void the affidavit
in which Juanito renounced his tenancy right in favor of the same
three persons. It is inevitable that any decision granting what the
Taronas wanted would necessarily affect the rights of such persons
to the property covered by the tax declaration.
The Court cannot discount the importance of tax declarations to the
persons in whose names they are issued. Their cancellation
adversely affects the rights and interests of such persons over the
properties that the documents cover. The reason is simple: a tax
declaration is a primary evidence, if not the source, of the right to
claim title of ownership over real property, a right enforceable against
another person. The Court held in Uriarte v. People 19 that, although
not conclusive, a tax declaration is a telling evidence of the
declarants possession which could ripen into ownership.
In Director of Lands v. Court of Appeals, 20 the Court said that no one
in his right mind would pay taxes for a property that he did not have
in his possession. This honest sense of obligation proves that the
holder claims title over the property against the State and other
persons, putting them on notice that he would eventually seek the

issuance of a certificate of title in his name. Further, the tax


declaration expresses his intent to contribute needed revenues to the
Government, a circumstance that strengthens his bona fide claim to
ownership.21
Here, the RTC and the CA annulled Tax Declaration 6164 that
belonged not only to defendant Tallorin but also to Margarita
Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez, which two persons
had no opportunity to be heard as they were never impleaded. The
RTC and the CA had no authority to annul that tax declaration
without seeing to it that all three persons were impleaded in the case.
But the Taronas action cannot be dismissed outright. As the Court
held in Plasabas v. Court of Appeals,22 the non-joinder of
indispensable parties is not a ground for dismissal. Section 11, Rule
3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure prohibits the dismissal of a
suit on the ground of non-joinder or misjoinder of parties and allows
the amendment of the complaint at any stage of the proceedings,
through motion or on order of the court on its own initiative. Only if
plaintiff refuses to implead an indispensable party, despite the order
of the court, may it dismiss the action.
There is a need, therefore, to remand the case to the RTC with an
order to implead Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores
Valdez as defendants so they may, if they so desire, be heard.
In view of the Courts resolution of the first question, it would serve
no purpose to consider the other questions that the petition presents.
The resolution of those questions seems to depend on the complete
evidence in the case. This will not yet happen until all the
indispensable party-defendants are impleaded and heard on their
evidence.
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition and SETS ASIDE the
decision of the Regional Trial Court of Balanga, Bataan in Civil Case
6739 dated January 30, 2002 and the decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV 74762 dated May 22, 2006. The Court
REMANDS the case to the Regional Trial Court of Balanga, Bataan
which is DIRECTED to have Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and
Dolores Valdez impleaded by the plaintiffs as party-defendants and,
afterwards, to hear the case in the manner prescribed by the rules.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 196894
March 3, 2014
JESUS G. CRISOLOGO and NANETTE

B.

CRISOLOGO,

Petitioners,
vs.
JEWM AGRO-INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION, Respondent.
DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules
of Court challenging the May 6, 2011 Decision 1 of the Court of
Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. SP No. 03896-MIN, which affirmed the
September 27, 2010,2 October 7, 20103 and November 9, 20104
Orders of the Regional Trial Court, Davao City, Branch 14 (RTC-Br.
14), in Civil Case No. 33,551-2010, an action for Cancellation of
Lien. It is entitled "JEWM Agro-Industrial Corporation v. The Registry
of Deeds for the City of Davao. Sheriff Robert Medialdea. John &
Jane Does. and all persons acting under their directions.
This controversy stemmed from various cases of collection for sum
of money filed against So Keng Kok, the owner of various properties
including two (2) parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. 292597 and
292600 (subject properties), which were attached by various
creditors including the petitioners in this case. As a result, the levies
were annotated on the back of the said titles.
Petitioners Jesus G. Crisologo and Nannette B. Crisologo (Spouses
Crisologo) were the plaintiffs in two (2) collection cases before RTC,
Branch 15, Davao City (RTC-Br. 15), docketed as Civil Case Nos.
26,810-98 and 26,811-98, against Robert Limso, So Keng Koc, et al.
Respondent JEWM Agro-Industrial Corporation (JEWM) was the
successor-in-interest of one Sy Sen Ben, the plaintiff in another
collection case before RTC, Branch 8, Davao City (RTC-Br. 8),
docketed as Civil Case No. 26,513-98, against the same defendants.
On October 19, 1998, RTC-Br. 8 rendered its decision based on a
compromise agreement, dated October 15, 1998, between the
parties wherein the defendants in said case were directed to transfer
the subject properties in favor of Sy Sen Ben. The latter
subsequently sold the subject properties to one Nilda Lam who, in
turn, sold the same to JEWM on June 1, 2000. Thereafter, TCT Nos.
325675 and 325676 were eventually issued in the name of JEWM,
both of which still bearing the same annotations as well as the notice
of lis pendens in connection with the other pending cases filed
against So Keng Kok.
A year thereafter, Spouses Crisologo prevailed in the separate
collection case filed before RTC-Br. 15 against Robert Lim So and

So Keng Koc (defendants). Thus, on July 1, 1999, the said


defendants were ordered to solidarily pay the Spouses Crisologo.
When this decision attained finality, they moved for execution. On
June 15, 2010, a writ was eventually issued.
Acting on the same, the Branch Sheriff issued a notice of sale
scheduling an auction on August 26, 2010. The notice of sale
included, among others, the subject properties covered by TCT Nos.
325675 and 325676, now, in the name of JEWM.
In the same proceedings, JEWM immediately filed its Affidavit of
Third Party Claim and the Urgent Motion Ad Cautelam. It prayed for
the exclusion of the subject properties from the notice of sale. In an
order, dated August 26, 2010, however, the motion was denied. In
turn, the Spouses Crisologo posted a bond in order to proceed with
the execution.
To protect its interest, JEWM filed a separate action for cancellation
of lien with prayer for the issuance of a preliminary injunction before
RTC-Br. 14, docketed as Civil Case No. 33,551-2010. It prayed for
the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to prevent the public
sale of the subject properties covered in the writ of execution issued
pursuant to the ruling of RTC-Br. 15; the cancellation of all the
annotations on the back of the pertinent TCTs; and the issuance of a
permanent injunction order after trial on the merits. "The Register of
Deeds of Davao City, Sheriff Robert Medialdea, John and Jane Does
and all persons acting under their direction" were impleaded as
defendants.
At the scheduled hearing before RTC-Br. 14 on September 22, 2010,
Spouses Crisologos counsel appeared and filed in open court their
Very Urgent Manifestation questioning the authority of the said court
to restrain the execution proceedings in RTC-Br. 15. JEWM opposed
it on the ground that Spouses Crisologo were not parties in the case.
On September 24, 2010, Spouses Crisologo filed an Omnibus
Motion praying for the denial of the application for writ or preliminary
injuction filed by JEWM and asking for their recognition as parties.
No motion to intervene was, however, filed as the Spouses Crisologo
believed that it was unnecessary since they were already the John
and Jane Does named in the complaint.
In the Order, dated September 27, 2010, RTC-Br. 14 denied
Spouses Crisologos Omnibus Motion and granted JEWMs
application for a writ of preliminary injunction.
On October 1, 2010, Spouses Crisologo filed a Very Urgent Omnibus

Motion before RTC-Br. 14 praying for reconsideration and the setting


aside of its September 27, 2010 Order. This was denied in the RTC
Br.-14s October 7, 2010 Order for lack of legal standing in court
considering that their counsel failed to make the written formal notice
of appearance. The copy of this order was received by Spouses
Crisologo on October 22, 2010. It must be noted, however, that on
October 27, 2010, they received another order, likewise dated
October 7, 2010, giving JEWM time to comment on their Very Urgent
Omnibus Motion filed on October 1, 2010. In its Order, dated
November 9, 2010, however, RTC-Br. 14 again denied the Very
Urgent Motion previously filed by Spouses Crisologo.
On November 12, 2010, JEWM moved to declare the "defendants" in
default which was granted in an order given in open court on
November 19, 2010.
Spouses Crisologo then filed their Very Urgent Manifestation, dated
November 30, 2010, arguing that they could not be deemed as
defaulting parties because they were not referred to in the pertinent
motion and order of default.
On November 19, 2010, Spouses Crisologo filed with the CA a
petition for certiorari5 under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court assailing
the RTC-Br. 14 orders, dated September 27, 2010, October 7, 2010
and November 9, 2010, all of which denied their motion to be
recognized as parties. They also prayed for the issuance of a
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or a Writ of Preliminary
Injunction.
In its Resolution, dated January 6, 2011, the CA denied the
application for a TRO, but directed Spouses Crisologo to amend their
petition. On January 19, 2011, the Spouses Crisologo filed their
Amended Petition6 with prayers for the issuance of a TRO and/or writ
of preliminary injunction, the annulment of the aforementioned orders
of RTC Br. 14, and the issuance of an order dissolving the writ of
preliminary injunction issued in favor of JEWM.
Pending disposition of the Amended Petition by the CA, JEWM filed
a motion on December 6, 2010 before RTC-Br. 14 asking for the
resolution of the case on the merits.
On January 10, 2011, RTC-Br. 14 ruled in favor of JEWM, with the
dispositive portion of its Decision7 stating as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby
rendered in favor of the plaintiff as follows:
1. the preliminary writ of injunction issued on October 5, 2010 is

hereby made permanent;


2. directing herein defendant Registry of Deeds of Davao City where
the subject lands are located, to cancel all existing liens and
encumbrances on TCT No. T-325675 and T-325676 registered in the
name of the plaintiff, and pay the
3. cost of suit.
SO ORDERED.8
Spouses Crisologo then filed their Omnibus Motion Ex Abudanti ad
Cautelam, asking RTC- Br. 14 to reconsider the above decision.
Because no motion for intervention was filed prior to the rendition of
the judgment, a certificate, dated March 17, 2011, was issued
declaring the January 10, 2011 decision final and executory.
On May 6, 2011, the CA eventually denied the Amended Petition filed
by Spouses Crisologo for lack of merit. It ruled that the writ of
preliminary injunction subject of the petition was already fait accompli
and, as such, the issue of grave abuse of discretion attributed to
RTC-Br. 14 in granting the relief had become moot and academic. It
further held that the failure of Spouses Crisologo to file their motion
to intervene under Rule 19 rendered Rule 65 inapplicable as a
vehicle to ventilate their supposed right in the case. 9
Hence, this petition.
ISSUES
I. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that the action for
Cancellation of Annotations may proceed even without notice to and
impleading the party/ies who caused the annotations, in clear
contravention of the rule on joinder of parties and basic due process.
II. The Court of Appeals erred in applying a very constrictive
interpretation of the rules in holding that a motion to intervene is the
only way an otherwise real party in interest could participate.
III. The Court of Appeals erred in denying our application for the
issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary
injunction.
IV. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that the issues raised by
petitioners before it [had] been mooted by the January 10, 2011
decision of RTC Branch 14.10
Spouses Crisologo submit as error the CA affirmation of the RTC- Br.
14 ruling that the action for cancellation may proceed without them
being impleaded. They allege deprivation of their right to due process
when they were not impleaded in the case before RTC-Br. 14 despite
the claim that they stand, as indispensable parties, to be benefited or

injured by the judgment in the action for the cancellation of


annotations covering the subject properties. They cite Gonzales v.
Judge Bersamin,11 among others, as authority. In that case, the Court
ruled that pursuant to Section 108 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No.
1529, notice must be given to all parties in interest before the court
may hear and determine the petition for the cancellation of
annotations on the certificates of title.
The Spouses Crisologo also question the statement of the CA that
their failure to file the motion to intervene under Rule 19 before RTCBr. 14 barred their participation in the cancellation proceedings. They
put emphasis on the courts duty to, at the very least, suspend the
proceedings before it and have such indispensable parties
impleaded.
As to the ruling on the denial of their application for the issuance of a
TRO or writ of preliminary injunction, Spouses Crisologo claim that
their adverse interest, evinced by the annotations at the back of the
certificates of title, warranted the issuance of a TRO or writ of
preliminary injunction against JEWMs attempt to cancel the said
annotations in violation of their fundamental right to due process.
Lastly, Spouses Crisologo cast doubt on the CA ruling that the issues
presented in their petition were mooted by the RTC-Br. 14 Decision,
dated January 10, 2011. Having been rendered without impleading
indispensable parties, the said decision was void and could not have
mooted their petition.
In their Comment,12 JEWM asserts that Spouses Crisologos failure
to file a motion to intervene, pleadings-in-intervention, appeal or
annulment of judgment, which were plain, speedy and adequate
remedies then available to them, rendered recourse to Rule 65 as
improper; that Spouses Crisologo lacked the legal standing to file a
Rule 65 petition since they were not impleaded in the proceedings
before RTC-Br. 14; and that Spouses Crisologo were not
indispensable parties since their rights over the properties had been
rendered ineffective by the final and executory October 19, 1998
Decision of RTC-Br. 8 which disposed unconditionally and absolutely
the subject properties in favor of its predecessor-in-interest.
JEWM further argues that, on the assumption that Section 108 of
P.D. No. 1529 applies, no notice to Spouses Crisologo was required
because they were not real parties-in-interest in the case before
RTC-Br. 14, or even if they were, their non-participation in the
proceedings was because of their failure to properly intervene

pursuant to Rule 19; and, lastly, that the case before RTC-Br. 14
became final and executory because Spouses Crisologos did not
perfect an appeal therefrom, thus, rendering the issues in the CA
petition moot and academic.
In their Reply,13 Spouses Crisologo restate the applicability of Section
108 of P.D. No. 1529 to the effect that any cancellation of annotation
of certificates of title must be carried out by giving notice to all
parties-in-interest. This they forward despite their recognition of the
mootness of their assertion over the subject properties, to wit:
Again, we respect JAICs position that "the claims of subsequent
attaching creditors (including petitioners) have been rendered moot
and academic, and hence the entries in favor of said creditors have
no more legal basis and therefore must be cancelled." But we
likewise at least ask a modicum of respect by at least being notified
and heard.14
The Ruling of the Court
The crux of this controversy is whether the CA correctly ruled that
RTC-Br. 14 acted without grave abuse of discretion in failing to
recognize Spouses Crisologo as indispensable parties in the case for
cancellation of lien.
In this respect, the Court agrees with Spouses Crisologo.
In an action for the cancellation of memorandum annotated at the
back of a certificate of title, the persons considered as indispensable
include those whose liens appear as annotations pursuant to Section
108 of P.D. No. 1529,15 to wit:
Section 108. Amendment and alteration of certificates. -No erasure,
alteration or amendment shall be made upon the registration book
after the entry of a certificate of title or of a memorandum thereon
and the attestation of the same by the Register of Deeds, except by
order of the proper Court of First Instance. A registered owner or
other person having an interest in registered property, or, in proper
cases, the Register of Deeds with the approval of the Commissioner
of Land Registration, may apply by petition to the court upon the
ground that the registered interests of any description, whether
vested, contingent, expectant inchoate appearing on the certificate,
have terminated and ceased; or that new interest not appearing upon
the certificates have arisen or been created; or that an omission or
error was made in entering a certificate or memorandum thereon, or
on any duplicate certificate; x x x or upon any other reasonable
ground; and the court may hear and determine the petition after

notice to all parties in interest, and may order the entry or


cancellation of a new certificate, the entry or cancellation of a
memorandum upon a certificate, or grant any other relief upon such
terms and conditions, requiring security or bond if necessary, as it
may consider proper.
In Southwestern University v. Laurente, 16 the Court held that the
cancellation of the annotation of an encumbrance cannot be ordered
without giving notice to the parties annotated in the certificate of title
itself. It would, thus, be an error for a judge to contend that no notice
is required to be given to all the persons whose liens were annotated
at the back of a certificate of title.
Here, undisputed is the fact that Spouses Crisologos liens were
indeed annotated at the back of TCT Nos. 325675 and 325676.
Thus, as persons with their liens annotated, they stand to be
benefited or injured by any order relative to the cancellation of
annotations in the pertinent TCTs. In other words, they are as
indispensable as JEWM itself in the final disposition of the case for
cancellation, being one of the many lien holders.
As indispensable parties, Spouses Crisologo should have been
joined as defendants in the case pursuant to Section 7, Rule 3 of the
Rules of Court, to wit:
SEC. 7. Compulsory joinder of indispensable parties. Parties in
interest without whom no final determination can be had of an action
shall be joined either as plaintiffs or defendants.17
The reason behind this compulsory joinder of indispensable parties is
the complete determination of all possible issues, not only between
the parties themselves but also as regards other persons who may
be affected by the judgment.18
In this case, RTC-Br. 14, despite repeated pleas by Spouses
Crisologo to be recognized as indispensable parties, failed to
implement the mandatory import of the aforecited rule.
In fact, in Sps. Crisologo v. Judge George E. Omelio, 19 a related
administrative case, the Court found the trial judge guilty of gross
ignorance of the law when it disregarded the claims of Spouses
Crisologo to participate. In part, the Court stated:
This is not the first time Judge Omelio has rendered a decision
affecting third parties interests, without even notifying the
indispensable parties. In the first disputed case, JEWM AgroIndustrial Corporation v. Register of Deeds, Sheriff Medialdea, John
& Jane Does and all persons acting under their directions, Judge

Omelio failed to cause the service of proper summons upon the John
and Jane Does impleaded in the complaint. Even when Sps.
Crisologo voluntarily appeared in court to be recognized as the John
and Jane Does, Judge Omelio refused to acknowledge their
appearance and ordered the striking out of Sps. Crisologos'
pleadings. For this reason, the Investigating Justice recommended
admonishing Judge Omelio for failing to recognize the Sps.Crisologo
as indispensable parties in that case.
xxx
xxx
xxx
Clearly, the cancellation of the annotation of the sale without notifying
the buyers, Sps. Crisologo, is a violation of the latters right to due
process. Since this is the second time that Judge Omelio has issued
an order which fails to notify or summon the indispensable parties,
we find Judge Omelio guilty of gross ignorance of the law, with a
warning that repetition of the same or similar act will merit a stiffer
penalty in the future.
xxx
WHEREFORE, We find Judge George E. Omelio GUILTY of four
counts of the serious charge of gross ignorance of the law for the
following acts: (a) refusing to recognize Spouses Jesus G. Crisologo
and Nannette B. Crisologo as indispensable parties; in violation of
the latter's right to due process. Accordingly, we impose upon Judge
George E. Omelio the penalty of fine of Forty Thousand Pesos
(P40,000.00), with a warning that repetition of the same or similar
acts will be dealt with more severely.
SO ORDERED.20
The trial court should have exercised prudence in denying Spouses
Crisologos pleas to be recognized as indispensable parties. In the
words of the Court, "Judge Omelio should be penalized for failing to
recognize Sps. Crisologo as indispensable parties and for requiring
them to file a motion to intervene, considering that a simple perusal
of the certificates of title would show Sps. Crisologos adverse rights
because their liens are annotated at the back of the titles." 21
This manifest disregard of the basic rules and procedures constitutes
a grave abuse of discretion.
In State Prosecutors II Comilang and Lagman v. Judge Medel
Belen,22 the Court held as inexcusable abuse of authority the trial
judges "obstinate disregard of basic and established rule of law or
procedure." Such level of ignorance is not a mere error of judgment.
It amounts to "evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to

perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of


law,"23 or in essence, grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction.
Needless to say, judges are expected to exhibit more than just a
cursory acquaintance with statutes and procedural laws. They must
know the laws and apply them properly in good faith as judicial
competence requires no less.24
Despite the clear existence of grave abuse of discretion on the part
of RTC-Br. 14, JEWM asserts technical grounds on why the CA did
not err in dismissing the petition via Rule 65. It states that:
a) The Crisologos could have used other available remedies such as
intervention under Rule 19, an appeal of the judgment, or even an
annulment of judgment, which are, by all means, plain, speedy and
adequate remedies in the ordinary course of law;
b) The Crisologos lack legal standing to file the Rule 65 petition since
they were not impleaded in the Branch 14 case.
The rule is that a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is proper only if
there is no appeal, or any plain speedy, and adequate remedy in the
ordinary course of law.
In this case, no adequate recourse, at that time, was available to
Spouses Crisologo, except resorting to Rule 65.
Although Intervention under Rule 19 could have been availed of,
failing to use this remedy should not prejudice Spouses Crisologo. It
is the duty of RTC-Br. 14, following the rule on joinder of
indispensable parties, to simply recognize them, with or without any
motion to intervene. Through a cursory reading of the titles, the Court
would have noticed the adverse rights of Spouses Crisologo over the
cancellation of any annotations in the subject TCTs.
Neither will appeal prove adequate as a remedy since only the
original parties to an action can appeal. 25 Here, Spouses Crisologo
were never impleaded. Hence, they could not have utilized appeal as
they never possessed the required legal standing in the first place.
And even if the Court assumes the existence of the legal standing to
appeal, it must be remembered that the questioned orders were
interlocutory in character and, as such, Spouses Crisologo would
have to wait, for the review by appeal, until the rendition of the
judgment on the merits, which at that time may not be coming as
speedy as practicable. While waiting, Spouses Crisologo would have
to endure the denial of their right, as indispensable parties, to
participate in a proceeding in which their indispensability was

obvious. Indeed, appeal cannot constitute an adequate, speedy and


plain remedy.
The same is also true if recourse to Annulment of Judgment under
Rule 47 is made since this remedy presupposes a final judgment
already rendered by a trial court.
At any rate, 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. Only then is certiorari
under Rule 65 allowed to be resorted to.26
This takes particular relevance in this case where, as previously
discussed, RTC-Br. 14 acted with grave abuse of discretion in not
recognizing Spouses Crisologo as indispensable parties to the
pertinent action.
Based on the above, recourse to the CA via Rule 65 would have
already been proper, except for one last issue, that is, Spouses
Crisologos legal standing to file the same. JEWM cites DBP v.
COA27 where the Court held:
The petition for certiorari under Rule 65, however, is not available to
any person who feels injured by the decision of a tribunal, board or
officer exercising judicial or quasi judicial functions. The person
aggrieved under Section 1 of Rule 65 who can avail of the special
civil action of certiorari pertains only to one who was a party in the
proceedings before the court a quo, or in this case before the COA.
To hold otherwise would open the courts to numerous and endless
litigations.
Under normal circumstances, JEWM would be correct in their
averment that the lack of legal standing on the part of Spouses
Crisologo in the case before RTC-Br. 14 prevents the latters
recourse via Rule 65.
This case, however, is an exception. In many instances, the Court
has ruled that technical rules of procedures should be used to
promote, not frustrate the cause of justice. Rules of procedure are
tools designed not to thwart but to facilitate the attainment of justice;
thus, their strict and rigid application may, for good and deserving
reasons, have to give way to, and be subordinated by, the need to
aptly dispense substantial justice in the normal cause. 28
Be it noted that the effect of their non-participation as indispensable
parties is to preclude the judgment, orders and the proceedings from
attaining finality. Time and again, the Court has ruled that the

absence of an indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of


the court null and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the
absent parties but even to those present. Consequently, the
proceedings before RTC-Br. 14 were null and void including the
assailed orders, which may be "ignored wherever and whenever it
exhibits its head."29
To turn a blind eye to the said nullity and, in turn, rule as improper the
recourse to Rule 65 by the lack of legal standing is to prolong the
denial of due process to the persons whose interests are
indispensible to the final disposition of the case. It will only result in a
protracted litigation as Spouses Crisologo will be forced to rely on a
petition for the annulment of judgment before the CA (as the last
remaining remedy), which may again reach this Court.1wphi1 To
prevent multiplicity of suits and to expedite the swift administration of
justice, the CA should have applied liberality by striking down the
assailed orders despite the lack of legal standing on the part of
Spouses Crisologo to file the Rule 65 petition before it. Besides, this
lacking requirement, of which Spouses Crisologo were not even at
fault, is precisely the reason why this controversy arose.
All told, the CA erred in dismissing the amended petition filed before
it and in not finding grave abuse of discretion on the part of RTC-Br.
14.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The May 6, 2011 Decision
of the Court of Appeals is NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. The
September 27, 2010, October 7, 2010 and November 9, 2010 Orders
of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 14, Davao City, are likewise
NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. Civil Case No. 33,551-2010 is hereby
REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings. The
respondent is ordered to implead all parties whose annotations
appear at the back of Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. 325675 and
325676.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 186610
July 29, 2013
POLICE SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT DIMAPINTO MACAWADIB,
Petitioner,
vs.
THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE DIRECTORATE FOR
PERSONNEL AND RECORDS MANAGEMENT, Respondent.
DECISION

PERALTA, J.:
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of
the Rules of Court seeking to nullify and set aside the Decision 1 and
Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA), dated December 17, 2008
and February 25, 2009, respectively, in CA-G.R. SP No. 02120-MIN.
The assailed CA judgment nullified the December 4, 2001 Decision 3
of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Marawi City, Branch 8, in Spl.
Proc. No. 782-01, while the questioned CA Resolution denied
petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration.
The factual and procedural antecedents of the case are as follows:
Petitioner was a police officer with the rank of Police Senior
Superintendent. On July 30, 2001, pursuant to the provisions of
Section 39 of Republic Act 6975, otherwise known as the
"Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990," the
Chief of Directorial Staff of the Philippine National Police (PNP)
issued General Order No. 1168, enumerating the names of
commissioned officers who were subject to compulsory retirement on
various dates in the month of January 2002 by virtue of their
attainment of the compulsory retirement age of 56. Among the
names included in the said Order was that of petitioner, who was
supposed to retire on January 11, 2002, as the files of the PNP
Records Management Division indicate that he was born on January
11, 1946.
On September 3, 2001, petitioner filed an application for late
registration of his birth with the Municipal Civil Registrar's Office of
Mulondo, Lanao del Sur. In the said application, petitioner swore
under oath that he was born on January 11, 1956. The application
was, subsequently, approved.
On October 15, 2001, petitioner filed with the RTC of Marawi City,
Branch 8, a Petition for Correction of Entry in the Public Service
Records Regarding the Birth Date. Pertinent portions of his
allegations are as follows:
xxxx
1. That herein petitioner is 45 years old, married, Filipino citizen,
PNP (Police Superintendent) by occupation and resident of Camp
Bagong Amai, Pakpak, Marawi City. x x x;
2. That on January 11, 1956, herein petitioner was born in Mulondo,
Lanao del Sur, x x x, copy of his live birth certificate is attached and
marked as Annex "A", for ready reference;
3. That when petitioner herein joined with (sic) the government

service, particularly the local police force and later on the Integrated
National Police, he honestly entered his birth date as January 11,
1946, while in his (sic) Government Service Insurance System
(GSIS, in short) and National Police Commission, he erroneously
entered his birth date as January 11, 1946, which entry are honestly
based on estimation, as Muslim (sic) in the south do not register their
marriages and births before;
4. That herein petitioner has correctly entered his true and correct
birth date, January 11, 1956, in his Service Record at the National
Headquarters, Philippine National Police, Directorate for Personnel
and Records Management, Camp Crame, Quezon City, copy of
which is attached and marked as Annex "B", x x x;
5. That herein petitioner is submitting Joint Affidavit of two (2)
disinterested person (sic) x x x;
6. That this petition is not intended to defraud anybody but to
establish the true and correct birth date of herein petitioner.
x x x x4
The petition was docketed as Spl. Proc. No. 782-01.
On December 4, 2001, the RTC rendered its Decision, disposing as
follows:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of petitioner
DIMAPINTO BABAI MACAWADIB, to wit:
1. Ordering the Chief, Records Management, PNP NHQ, Camp
Crame, Quezon City, to make a correction upon the birth date of
herein petitioner to January 11, 1956;
2. Ordering the Director, Personnel and Records Management
Service, NAPOLCOM, Makati City, to make correction upon the birth
date of herein petitioner from January 11, 1946 to January 11, 1956;
and
3. Ordering the Chief, Records of the Civil Service Commission,
Manila and all other offices concern (sic), to make the necessary
correction in the Public Records of herein petitioner to January 11,
1956.
SO ORDERED.5
Subsequently, the RTC issued an Entry of Final Judgment 6 indicating
therein that its December 4, 2001 Decision in Spl. Proc. No. 782-01
has become final and executory on March 13, 2002.
On January 8, 2008, herein respondent filed a Petition for Annulment
of Judgment with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining
Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction with the CA, seeking to

nullify the above-mentioned Decision of the RTC on the ground that


the trial court failed to acquire jurisdiction over the PNP, "an
unimpleaded indispensable party."7
On December 17, 2008, the CA promulgated its assailed Decision
with the following dispositive portion:
WHEREFORE, finding the instant petition impressed with merit, the
same is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Decision dated December
4, 2001 of the respondent court in Spl. Proc. No. 782-01 is
NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. Also, so as to prevent further damage
upon the PNP, let a permanent injunction issue in the meantime,
barring the private respondent Dimapinto Babai Macawadib from
continuing and prolonging his tenure with the PNP beyond the
mandatory retirement age of fifty-six (56) years.
SO ORDERED.8
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, 9 but the CA denied it in
its Resolution10 dated February 25, 2009.
Hence, the instant petition with the following Assignment of Errors:
1. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING
THAT PNP-DPRM IS AN INDISPENSABLE PARTY IN SPECIAL
PROCEEDING NO. 782-01 AND THAT THE RTC HAVE (sic) NOT
ACQUIRED JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF THE
PNPDPRM.
2. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT
DISMISSING CA-G.R. SP NO. 02120-MIN DESPITE THE FACT
THAT THE ASSAILED RTC DECISION DATED DECEMBER 4, 2001
IN SPECIAL PROCEEDING NO. 782-01 HAS LONG BECOME
FINAL AND EXECUTORY AND WAS IN FACT FULLY AND
COMPLETELY EXECUTED AFTER THE PNP-DPRM CORRECTED
THE DATE OF BIRTH OF THE PETITIONER FROM JANUARY 11,
1946 TO JANUARY 11, 1956.
3. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING
THAT PNP-DPRM IS NOT ESTOPPED FROM ASSAILING THE
VALIDITY OF THE RTC DECISION IN SPECIAL PROCEEDING NO.
782-01.
4. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT
DISMISSING CA-G.R. SP NO. 02120-MIN FOR BEING
INSUFFICIENT IN FORM AND SUBSTANCE.11
In his first assigned error, petitioner contends that respondent is not
an indispensable party.1wphi1 The Court is not persuaded. On the
contrary, the Court agrees with the ruling of the CA that it is the

integrity and correctness of the public records in the custody of the


PNP, National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) and Civil Service
Commission (CSC) which are involved and which would be affected
by any decision rendered in the petition for correction filed by herein
petitioner. The aforementioned government agencies are, thus,
required to be made parties to the proceeding. They are
indispensable parties, without whom no final determination of the
case can be had. An indispensable party is defined as one who has
such an interest in the controversy or subject matter that a final
adjudication cannot be made, in his absence, without injuring or
affecting that interest.12 In the fairly recent case of Go v. Distinction
Properties Development and Construction, Inc., 13 the Court had the
occasion to reiterate the principle that:
Under Section 7, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, "parties in interest
without whom no final determination can be had of an action shall be
joined as plaintiffs or defendants." If there is a failure to implead an
indispensable party, any judgment rendered would have no
effectiveness.
It is "precisely when an indispensable party is not before the court
(that) an action should be dismissed. The absence of an
indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the court null
and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties
but even to those present." The purpose of the rules on joinder of
indispensable parties is a complete determination of all issues not
only between the parties themselves, but also as regards other
persons who may be affected by the judgment. A decision valid on its
face cannot attain real finality where there is want of indispensable
parties.14
Citing previous authorities, the Court also held in the Go case that:
The general rule with reference to the making of parties in a civil
action requires the joinder of all indispensable parties under any and
all conditions, their presence being a sine qua non of the exercise of
judicial power. (Borlasa v. Polistico, 47 Phil. 345, 348) For this
reason, our Supreme Court has held that when it appears of record
that there are other persons interested in the subject matter of the
litigation, who are not made parties to the action, it is the duty of the
court to suspend the trial until such parties are made either plaintiffs
or defendants. (Pobre, et al. v. Blanco, 17 Phil. 156). x x x Where the
petition failed to join as party defendant the person interested in
sustaining the proceeding in the court, the same should be

dismissed. x x x When an indispensable party is not before the court,


the action should be dismissed.15
The burden of procuring the presence of all indispensable parties is
on the plaintiff.16
In the instant case, there is a necessity to implead the PNP,
NAPOLCOM and CSC because they stand to be adversely affected
by petitioner's petition which involves substantial and controversial
alterations in petitioner's service records. Moreover, as correctly
pointed out by the
Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), if petitioner's service is
extended by ten years, the government, through the PNP, shall be
burdened by the additional salary and benefits that would have to be
given to petitioner during such extension. Thus, aside from the OSG,
all other agencies which may be affected by the change should be
notified or represented as the truth is best ascertained under an
adversary system of justice.
As the above-mentioned agencies were not impleaded in this case
much less given notice of the proceedings, the decision of the trial
court granting petitioner's prayer for the correction of entries in his
service records, is void. As mentioned above, the absence of an
indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the court null
and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties
but even as to those present.17
On the question of whether or not respondent is estopped from
assailing the decision of the RTC for failure of the OSG, as
government representative, to participate in the proceedings before
the trial court or to file an opposition to petitioner's petition for
correction of entries in his service records, this Court rules that such
an apparent oversight has no bearing on the validity of the appeal
which the petitioner filed before the CA. Neither can the State, as
represented by the government, be considered in estoppel due to the
petitioner's seeming acquiescence to the judgment of the RTC when
it initially made corrections to some of petitioner's records with the
PNP. This Court has reiterated time and again that the absence of
opposition from government agencies is of no controlling
significance, because the State cannot be estopped by the omission,
mistake or error of its officials or agents. 18 Nor is the Republic barred
from assailing the decision granting the petition for correction of
entries if, on the basis of the law and the evidence on record, such
petition has no merit.19

As to the second and last assigned errors, suffice it to say that


considering that the assailed decision of the RTC is null and void, the
same could not have attained finality. Settled is the rule that a void
judgment cannot attain finality and its execution has no basis in law.20
At this juncture, it may not be amiss to point out that, like the CA, this
Court cannot help but entertain serious doubts on the veracity of
petitioner's claim that he was indeed born in 1956. The late
registration of petitioner's certificate of live birth on September 3,
2001 was made forty-five (45) years after his supposed birth and a
mere 34 days after the PNP's issuance of its Order for his
compulsory retirement. He had all the time to make such registration
but why did he do it only when he was about to retire?
The Court, likewise, agrees with the observation of the OSG that, if
petitioner was indeed born in 1956, he would have been merely 14
years old in 1970 when he was appointed as Chief of Police of
Mulondo, Lanao del Sur. This would not have been legally tenable,
considering that Section 9 of RA 4864, otherwise known as the
Police Act of 1966, provides, among others, that a person shall not
be appointed to a local police agency if he is less than twenty-three
years of age. Moreover, realistically speaking, it would be difficult to
believe that a 14-year old minor would serve as a police officer, much
less a chief of police.
The Court also gives credence to the pronouncement made by the
CA which took judicial notice that in the several hearings of the
petition before the appellate court where the petitioner was present,
the CA observed that "in the several hearings of this petition before
Us where the private respondent was present, he does not really
appear to be 52 years old but his old age of 62." 21
It can be argued that petitioner's belatedly registered certificate of
live birth, as a public document, enjoys the presumption of validity.
However, petitioner merely relied on such presumption without
presenting any other convincing or credible evidence to prove that he
was really born in 1956. On the contrary, the specific facts attendant
in the case at bar, as well as the totality of the evidence presented
during the hearing of the case in the court a quo, sufficiently negate
the presumption of regularity accorded to petitioner's belatedly
registered birth certificate.
In this regard, it is also apropos to mention that, in cases of
correction or change of information based on belatedly registered
birth certificates, the CSC no longer requires a court order to warrant

such correction or change of information in its records. However, in


an apparent move to safeguard its records, the CSC imposes the
submission of additional evidence that would prove the veracity of
the entries in a belatedly registered birth certificate. Thus, the CSC,
in its Memorandum Circular No. 31, dated November 20, 2001,
demands that, aside from the said birth certificate, the person
requesting the correction or change of information must submit other
authenticated supporting documents, such as baptismal certificate,
affidavits of two disinterested witnesses, and "other employment,
personal or school records which would support the entry reflected in
the delayed registered birth certificate and which entry is requested
to be reflected in the records of the Commission as the true and
correct entry." In the instant case, petitioner was only able to submit
affidavits of two witnesses, who were not really proven to be
disinterested and whose testimonies were not even tested in the
crucible of cross-examination. On the contrary, the other pieces of
documentary evidence on record, such as his marriage certificate,
and his school and service records, contradict his claims and show
that he was, in fact, born in 1946.
WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED. The
Decision dated December 17, 2008 and the Resolution dated
February 25, 2009 of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No.
02120-MIN, are hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 198010
August 12, 2013
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, PETITIONER,
vs.
DR. NORMA S. LUGSANAY UY, RESPONDENT.
DECISION
PERALTA, J.:
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court are the Court of Appeals (CA) 1 Decision2 dated
February 18, 2011 and Resolution 3 dated July 27, 2011 in CA-G.R.
CV No. 00238-MIN. The assailed decision dismissed the appeal filed
by petitioner Republic of the Philippines and, consequently, affirmed
in toto the June 28, 2004 Order4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 27, Gingoog City in Special Proceedings No. 230-2004
granting the Petition for Correction of Entry of Certificate of Live Birth
filed by respondent Dr. Norma S. Lugsanay Uy; while the assailed

resolution denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration.


The facts of the case are as follows:
On March 8, 2004, respondent filed a Petition for Correction of Entry
in her Certificate of Live Birth. 5 Impleaded as respondent is the Local
Civil Registrar of Gingoog City. She alleged that she was born on
February 8, 1952 and is the illegitimate daughter of Sy Ton and
Sotera Lugsanay6 Her Certificate of Live Birth 7 shows that her full
name is "Anita Sy" when in fact she is allegedly known to her family
and friends as "Norma S. Lugsanay." She further claimed that her
school records, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Board of
Medicine Certificate,8 and passport9 bear the name "Norma S.
Lugsanay." She also alleged that she is an illegitimate child
considering that her parents were never married, so she had to
follow the surname of her mother.10 She also contended that she is a
Filipino citizen and not Chinese, and all her siblings bear the
surname Lugsanay and are all Filipinos.11
Respondent allegedly filed earlier a petition for correction of entries
with the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City to effect
the corrections on her name and citizenship which was supposedly
granted.12 However, the National Statistics Office (NSO) records did
not bear such changes. Hence, the petition before the RTC.
On May 13, 2004, the RTC issued an Order 13 finding the petition to
be sufficient in form and substance and setting the case for hearing,
with the directive that the said Order be published in a newspaper of
general circulation in the City of Gingoog and the Province of
Misamis Oriental at least once a week for three (3) consecutive
weeks at the expense of respondent, and that the order and petition
be furnished the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the City
Prosecutors Office for their information and guidance. 14 Pursuant to
the RTC Order, respondent complied with the publication
requirement.
On June 28, 2004, the RTC issued an Order in favor of respondent,
the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby
GRANTED. THE CITY CIVIL REGISTRAR OF GINGOOG CITY, or
any person acting in his behalf is directed and ordered to effect the
correction or change of the entries in the Certificate of Live Birth of
petitioners name and citizenship so that the entries would be:
a As to petitioners name :

) First Name

: NORMA

Middle Name

: SY

Last Name

: LUGSANAY

b As to petitioners nationality/citizenship :
) : FILIPINO
SO ORDERED.15
The RTC concluded that respondents petition would neither
prejudice the government nor any third party. It also held that the
names "Norma Sy Lugsanay" and "Anita Sy" refer to one and the
same person, especially since the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog
City has effected the correction. Considering that respondent has
continuously used and has been known since childhood as "Norma
Sy Lugsanay" and as a Filipino citizen, the RTC granted the petition
to avoid confusion.16
On February 18, 2011, the CA affirmed in toto the RTC Order. The
CA held that respondents failure to implead other indispensable
parties was cured upon the publication of the Order setting the case
for hearing in a newspaper of general circulation for three (3)
consecutive weeks and by serving a copy of the notice to the Local
Civil Registrar, the OSG and the City Prosecutors Office. 17 As to
whether the petition is a collateral attack on respondents filiation, the
CA ruled in favor of respondent, considering that her parents were
not legally married and that her siblings birth certificates uniformly
state that their surname is Lugsanay and their citizenship is Filipino. 18
Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied in a Resolution
dated July 27, 2011.
Hence, the present petition on the sole ground that the petition is
dismissible for failure to implead indispensable parties.
Cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry is governed
by Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, to wit:
SEC. 1. Who may file petition. Any person interested in any act,
event, order or decree concerning the civil status of persons which
has been recorded in the civil register, may file a verified petition for
the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto, with the
Regional Trial Court of the province where the corresponding civil
registry is located.
SEC. 2. Entries subject to cancellation or correction. Upon good

and valid grounds, the following entries in the civil register may be
cancelled or corrected: (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal
separations; (e) judgments of annulments of marriage; (f) judgments
declaring marriages void from the beginning; (g) legitimations; (h)
adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural children; (j) naturalization;
(k) election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) civil interdiction; (m)
judicial determination of filiation; (n) voluntary emancipation of a
minor; and (o) changes of name.
SEC. 3. Parties. When cancellation or correction of an entry in the
civil register is sought, the civil registrar and all persons who have or
claim any interest which would be affected thereby shall be made
parties to the proceeding.
SEC. 4. Notice and Publication. Upon the filing of the petition, the
court shall, by an order, fix the time and place for the hearing of the
same, and cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the
persons named in the petition. The court shall also cause the order
to be published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a
newspaper of general circulation in the province.
SEC. 5. Opposition. The civil registrar and any person having or
claiming any interest under the entry whose cancellation or
correction is sought may, within fifteen (15) days from notice of the
petition, or from the last date of publication of such notice, file his
opposition thereto.
SEC. 6. Expediting proceedings. The court in which the proceeding
is brought may make orders expediting the proceedings, and may
also grant preliminary injunction for the preservation of the rights of
the parties pending such proceedings.
SEC. 7. Order. After hearing, the court may either dismiss the
petition or issue an order granting the cancellation or correction
prayed for. In either case, a certified copy of the judgment shall be
served upon the civil registrar concerned who shall annotate the
same in his record.19
In this case, respondent sought the correction of entries in her birth
certificate, particularly those pertaining to her first name, surname
and citizenship. She sought the correction allegedly to reflect the
name which she has been known for since childhood, including her
legal documents such as passport and school and professional
records. She likewise relied on the birth certificates of her full blood
siblings who bear the surname "Lugsanay" instead of "Sy" and
citizenship of "Filipino" instead of "Chinese." The changes, however,

are obviously not mere clerical as they touch on respondents filiation


and citizenship. In changing her surname from "Sy" (which is the
surname of her father) to "Lugsanay" (which is the surname of her
mother), she, in effect, changes her status from legitimate to
illegitimate; and in changing her citizenship from Chinese to Filipino,
the same affects her rights and obligations in this country. Clearly,
the changes are substantial.
It has been settled in a number of cases starting with Republic v.
Valencia20 that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be
corrected and the true facts established provided the parties
aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary
proceeding.21 The pronouncement of the Court in that case is
illuminating:
It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a petition is not for
the correction of clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature,
but one involving nationality or citizenship, which is indisputably
substantial as well as controverted, affirmative relief cannot be
granted in a proceeding summary in nature. However, it is also true
that a right in law may be enforced and a wrong may be remedied as
long as the appropriate remedy is used. This Court adheres to the
principle that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be
corrected and the true facts established provided the parties
aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary
proceeding. x x x
What is meant by "appropriate adversary proceeding?" Blacks Law
Dictionary defines "adversary proceeding" as follows:
One having opposing parties; contested, as distinguished from an ex
parte application, one of which the party seeking relief has given
legal warning to the other party, and afforded the latter an opportunity
to contest it. Excludes an adoption proceeding. 22
In sustaining the RTC decision, the CA relied on the Courts
conclusion in Republic v. Kho, 23 Alba v. Court of Appeals, 24 and Barco
v. Court of Appeals,25 that the failure to implead indispensable parties
was cured by the publication of the notice of hearing pursuant to the
provisions of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. In Republic v. Kho, 26
petitioner therein appealed the RTC decision granting the petition for
correction of entries despite respondents failure to implead the
minors mother as an indispensable party. The Court, however, did
not strictly apply the provisions of Rule 108, because it opined that it
was highly improbable that the mother was unaware of the

proceedings to correct the entries in her childrens birth certificates


especially since the notices, orders and decision of the trial court
were all sent to the residence she shared with them. 27
In Alba v. Court of Appeals,28 the Court found nothing wrong with the
trial courts decision granting the petition for correction of entries filed
by respondent although the proceedings was not actually known by
petitioner. In that case, petitioners mother and guardian was
impleaded in the petition for correction of entries, and notices were
sent to her address appearing in the subject birth certificate.
However, the notice was returned unserved, because apparently she
no longer lived there. Thus, when she allegedly learned of the
granting of the petition, she sought the annulment of judgment which
the Court denied. Considering that the petition for correction of
entries is a proceeding in rem, the Court held that acquisition of
jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner is, therefore, not required
and the absence of personal service was cured by the trial courts
compliance with Rule 108 which requires notice by publication. 29
In Barco v. Court of Appeals,30 the Court addressed the question of
whether the court acquired jurisdiction over petitioner and all other
indispensable parties to the petition for correction of entries despite
the failure to implead them in said case. While recognizing that
petitioner was indeed an indispensable party, the failure to implead
her was cured by compliance with Section 4 of Rule 108 which
requires notice by publication. In so ruling, the Court pointed out that
the petitioner in a petition for correction cannot be presumed to be
aware of all the parties whose interests may be affected by the
granting of a petition. It emphasized that the petitioner therein
exerted earnest effort to comply with the provisions of Rule 108.
Thus, the publication of the notice of hearing was considered to have
cured the failure to implead indispensable parties.
In this case, it was only the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City who
was impleaded as respondent in the petition below. This,
notwithstanding, the RTC granted her petition and allowed the
correction sought by respondent, which decision was affirmed in toto
by the CA.
We do not agree with the RTC and the CA.
This is not the first time that the Court is confronted with the issue
involved in this case. Aside from Kho, Alba and Barco, the Court has
addressed the same in Republic v. Coseteng-Magpayo, 31 Ceruila v.
Delantar,32 and Labayo-Rowe v. Republic.33

In Republic v. Coseteng-Magpayo,34 claiming that his parents were


never legally married, respondent therein filed a petition to change
his name from "Julian Edward Emerson Coseteng Magpayo," the
name appearing in his birth certificate to "Julian Edward Emerson
Marquez Lim Coseteng." The notice setting the petition for hearing
was published and there being no opposition thereto, the trial court
issued an order of general default and eventually granted
respondents petition deleting the entry on the date and place of
marriage of parties; correcting his surname from "Magpayo" to
"Coseteng"; deleting the entry "Coseteng" for middle name; and
deleting the entry "Fulvio Miranda Magpayo, Jr." in the space for his
father. The Republic of the Philippines, through the OSG, assailed
the RTC decision on the grounds that the corrections made on
respondents birth certificate had the effect of changing the civil
status from legitimate to illegitimate and must only be effected
through an appropriate adversary proceeding. The Court nullified the
RTC decision for respondents failure to comply strictly with the
procedure laid down in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Aside from
the wrong remedy availed of by respondent as he filed a petition for
Change of Name under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court, assuming
that he filed a petition under Rule 108 which is the appropriate
remedy, the petition still failed because of improper venue and failure
to implead the Civil Registrar of Makati City and all affected parties
as respondents in the case.
In Ceruila v. Delantar,35 the Ceruilas filed a petition for the
cancellation and annulment of the birth certificate of respondent on
the ground that the same was made as an instrument of the crime of
simulation of birth and, therefore, invalid and spurious, and it falsified
all material entries therein. The RTC issued an order setting the case
for hearing with a directive that the same be published and that any
person who is interested in the petition may interpose his comment
or opposition on or before the scheduled hearing. Summons was
likewise sent to the Civil Register of Manila. After which, the trial
court granted the petition and nullified respondents birth certificate.
Few months after, respondent filed a petition for the annulment of
judgment claiming that she and her guardian were not notified of the
petition and the trial courts decision, hence, the latter was issued
without jurisdiction and in violation of her right to due process. The
Court annulled the trial courts decision for failure to comply with the
requirements of Rule 108, especially the non-impleading of

respondent herself whose birth certificate was nullified.1wphi1


In Labayo-Rowe v. Republic,36 petitioner filed a petition for the
correction of entries in the birth certificates of her children,
specifically to change her name from Beatriz V. Labayu/Beatriz
Labayo to Emperatriz Labayo, her civil status from "married" to
"single," and the date and place of marriage from "1953-Bulan" to
"No marriage." The Court modified the trial courts decision by
nullifying the portion thereof which directs the change of petitioners
civil status as well as the filiation of her child, because it was the
OSG only that was made respondent and the proceedings taken was
summary in nature which is short of what is required in cases where
substantial alterations are sought.
Respondents birth certificate shows that her full name is Anita Sy,
that she is a Chinese citizen and a legitimate child of Sy Ton and
Sotera Lugsanay. In filing the petition, however, she seeks the
correction of her first name and surname, her status from "legitimate"
to "illegitimate" and her citizenship from "Chinese" to "Filipino." Thus,
respondent should have impleaded and notified not only the Local
Civil Registrar but also her parents and siblings as the persons who
have interest and are affected by the changes or corrections
respondent wanted to make.
The fact that the notice of hearing was published in a newspaper of
general circulation and notice thereof was served upon the State will
not change the nature of the proceedings taken. 37 A reading of
Sections 4 and 5, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court shows that the
Rules mandate two sets of notices to different potential oppositors:
one given to the persons named in the petition and another given to
other persons who are not named in the petition but nonetheless
may be considered interested or affected parties. 38 Summons must,
therefore, be served not for the purpose of vesting the courts with
jurisdiction but to comply with the requirements of fair play and due
process to afford the person concerned the opportunity to protect his
interest if he so chooses.39
While there may be cases where the Court held that the failure to
implead and notify the affected or interested parties may be cured by
the publication of the notice of hearing, earnest efforts were made by
petitioners in bringing to court all possible interested parties. 40 Such
failure was likewise excused where the interested parties themselves
initiated the corrections proceedings;41 when there is no actual or
presumptive awareness of the existence of the interested parties; 42

or when a party is inadvertently left out.43


It is clear from the foregoing discussion that when a petition for
cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register involves
substantial and controversial alterations, including those on
citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of
marriage, a strict compliance with the requirements of Rule 108 ofthe
Rules of Court is mandated.44 If the entries in the civil register could
be corrected or changed through mere summary proceedings and
not through appropriate action wherein all parties who may be
affected by the entries are notified or represented, the door to fraud

or other mischief would be set open, the consequence of which might


be detrimental and far reaching.45
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby
GRANTED. The Court of Appeals Decision dated February 18, 2011
and Resolution dated July 27, 20011 in CA-G.R. CV No. 00238-MIN,
are SET ASIDE. Consequently, the June 28, 2004 Order of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 27, Gingoog City, in Spl. Proc. No. 2302004 granting the Petition for Correction of Entry of Certificate of Live
Birth filed by respondent Dr. Norma S. Lugsanay Uy, is NULLIFIED.
SO ORDERED.