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A CADEMICUS REVIEW CENTER

Dean Ferdinand A. Tan


REMEDIAL LAW CASES (2012-2016)


J. BERSAMIN

CIVIL PROCEDURE
Douglas Cagas vs. Commission on Elections and Claude Bautista
G.R. No. 194139, January 24, 2012
BERSAMIN, J.:
A party aggrieved by an interlocutory order issued by a Division of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
in an election protest may not directly assail the order in this Court through a special civil action
for certiorari. The remedy is to seek the review of the interlocutory order during the appeal of the decision of
the Division in due course.
FACTS:
The petitioner and respondent Claude P. Bautista contested the position of Governor of the Province of Davao
del Sur in the May 10, 2010 automated national and local elections. The fast transmission of the results led to
the completion by May 14, 2010 of the canvassing of votes cast for Governor of Davao del Sur, and the
petitioner was proclaimed the winner (with 163,440 votes), with Bautista garnering 159,527 votes. Alleging
fraud, anomalies, irregularities, vote-buying and violations of election laws, rules and resolutions, Bautista filed
an electoral protest. The petitioner averred as his special affirmative defenses that Bautista did not make the
requisite cash deposit on time; and that Bautista did not render a detailed specification of the acts or omissions
complained of. COMELEC First Division issued the first assailed order denying the special affirmative
defenses of the petitioner. COMELEC First Division issued its second assailed order, denying the petitioners
motion for reconsideration for failing to show that the first order was contrary to law.

ISSUE: Whether the Court can take cognizance of the petition for certiorari.

RULING: No
The governing provision is Section 7, Article IX of the 1987 Constitution. This provision, although it confers
on the Court the power to review any decision, order or ruling of the COMELEC, limits such power to
a final decision or resolution of the COMELEC en banc, and does not extend to an interlocutory order issued
by a Division of the COMELEC. Otherwise stated, the Court has no power to review on certiorari an
interlocutory order or even a final resolution issued by a Division of the COMELEC.
There is no question, therefore, that the Court has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the petition
for certiorari assailing the denial by the COMELEC First Division of the special affirmative defenses of the
petitioner. The proper remedy is for the petitioner to wait for the COMELEC First Division to first decide the
protest on its merits, and if the result should aggrieve him, to appeal the denial of his special affirmative
defenses to the COMELEC en banc along with the other errors committed by the Division upon the merits.
It is true that there may be an exception to the general rule, as the Court conceded in Kho v.
Commission on Elections. In that case, the protestant assailed the order of the COMELEC First Division
admitting an answer with counter-protest belatedly filed in an election protest by filing a petition
for certiorari directly in this Court on the ground that the order constituted grave abuse of discretion on the part
of the COMELEC First Division. Under the exception, therefore, the Court may take cognizance of a petition
for certiorari under Rule 64 to review an interlocutory order issued by a Division of the COMELEC on the
ground of the issuance being made without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it does not appear to be specifically provided under
the COMELEC Rules of Procedure that the matter is one that the COMELEC en banc may sit and consider, or
a Division is not authorized to act, or the members of the Division unanimously vote to refer to the
COMELEC en banc. Of necessity, the aggrieved party can directly resort to the Court because the
COMELEC en banc is not the proper forum in which the matter concerning the assailed interlocutory order can
be reviewed.

However, the Kho v. Commission on Elections exception has no application herein, because the
COMELEC First Division had the competence to determine the lack of detailed specifications of the acts or
omissions complained of as required by Rule 6, Section 7 of COMELEC Resolution No. 8804, and whether
such lack called for the outright dismissal of the protest. For sure, the 1987 Constitution vested in the
COMELEC broad powers involving not only the enforcement and administration of all laws and regulations
relative to the conduct of elections but also the resolution and determination of election controversies. The
breadth of such powers encompasses the authority to determine the sufficiency of allegations contained in
every election protest and to decide based on such allegations whether to admit the protest and proceed with the
hearing or to outrightly dismiss the protest in accordance with Section 9, Rule 6 of COMELEC Resolution No.
8804.

Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. vs. Antonino Tobias III


G.R. No. 177780, January 25, 2012
BERSAMIN, J.:
Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the courts have no right to directly decide matters over which full
discretionary authority has been delegated to the Executive Branch of the Government, or to substitute their
own judgments for that of the Executive Branch, represented in this case by the Department of Justice. The
settled policy is that the courts will not interfere with the executive determination of probable cause for the
purpose of filing an information, in the absence of grave abuse of discretion.
FACTS:
In 1997, Rosella A. Santiago, then the OIC-Branch Head of Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company
(METROBANK) in Valero Street, Makati City, was introduced to respondent Antonino O. Tobias III by one
Jose Eduardo Gonzales, a valued client of METROBANK. Subsequently, Tobias opened a savings/current
account for and in the name of Adam Merchandising, his frozen meat business. Six months later, Tobias
applied for a loan from METROBANK, which in due course conducted trade and credit verification of Tobias
that resulted in negative findings. METROBANK next proceeded to appraise the property Tobias offered as
collateral by asking him for a photocopy of the title and other related documents. Based on the financial
statements submitted by Tobias, METROBANK approved a credit line for P40,000,000.00. On August 15,
1997, Joselito Bermeo Moreno, Lead Internal Affairs Investigator of METROBANK, proceeded to the Registry
of Deeds of Malabon to cause the annotation of the deed of real estate mortgage.
Thereafter, Tobias initially availed himself of P20,000,000, but took out the balance within six months. He paid
the interest on the loan for about a year before defaulting. His loan was restructured to 5-years upon his request.
Yet, after two months, he again defaulted. Thus, the mortgage was foreclosed, and the property was sold to
METROBANK as the lone bidder.
When the certificate of sale was presented for registration to the Registry of Deeds of Malabon, no
corresponding original copy of TCT No. M-16751 was found in the registry vault. Atty. Sarah Principe-Bido,
Deputy Register of Deeds of Malabon, went on to verify TCT No. M-16751 and learned that Serial No.
4348590 appearing therein had been issued for TCT No. M-15363 in the name of one Alberto Cruz; while TCT
No. 16751 (now TCT No. 390146) appeared to have been issued in the name of Eugenio S. Cruz and Co. for a
parcel of land located in Navotas. Given such findings, METROBANK requested the Presidential Anti-
Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) to investigate. In its report, PAOCTF concluded that TCT No. M-
16751 and the tax declarations submitted by Tobias were fictitious. PAOCTF recommended the filing against
Tobias of a criminal complaint for estafa through falsification of public documents under paragraph 2 (a) of
Article 315, in relation to Articles 172(1) and 171(7) of the Revised Penal Code.

The Office of the City Prosecutor of Malabon ultimately charged Tobias with estafa through falsification of
public documents. the City Prosecutor of Malabon still found probable cause against Tobias, and recommended
his being charged with estafa through falsification of public document. Tobias appealed to the Department of
Justice (DOJ). Then Acting Secretary of Justice Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez issued a resolution directing the
withdrawal of the information filed against Tobias. CA promulgated its decision, dismissing METROBANKs
petition for certiorari by holding that the presumption of authorship might be disputed through a satisfactory
explanation.

ISSUE: Whether or not CA erred in denying Metrobanks petition for certiorari

RULING:
Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the courts have no right to directly decide matters over which full
discretionary authority has been delegated to the Executive Branch of the Government, or to substitute their
own judgments for that of the Executive Branch, represented in this case by the Department of Justice. The
settled policy is that the courts will not interfere with the executive determination of probable cause for the
purpose of filing an information, in the absence of grave abuse of discretion. That abuse of discretion must be
so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined
by law or to act at all in contemplation of law, such as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic
manner by reason of passion or hostility.
In this regard, we stress that a preliminary investigation for the purpose of determining the existence of
probable cause is not part of a trial. At a preliminary investigation, the investigating prosecutor or the Secretary
of Justice only determines whether the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense charged. Probable
cause refers to facts and circumstances that engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed
and that the respondent is probably guilty thereof. There is no definitive standard by which probable cause is
determined except to consider the attendant conditions; the existence of probable cause depends upon the
finding of the public prosecutor conducting the examination, who is called upon not to disregard the facts
presented, and to ensure that his finding should not run counter to the clear dictates of reason.

Tobias was charged with estafa through falsification of public document the elements of which are: (a) the
accused uses a fictitious name, or falsely pretends to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit,
agency, business or imaginary transactions, or employs other similar deceits; (b) such false pretense, fraudulent
act or fraudulent means must be made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud;
(c) the offended party must have relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means, that is, he was
induced to part with his money or property because of the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means;
and (d) as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage. It is required that the false statement or
fraudulent representation constitutes the very cause or the only motive that induced the complainant to part
with the thing.

Firstly, a presumption affects the burden of proof that is normally lodged in the State. The effect is to create the
need of presenting evidence to overcome the prima facie case that shall prevail in the absence of proof to the
contrary. As such, a presumption of law is material during the actual trial of the criminal case where in the
establishment thereof the party against whom the inference is made should adduce evidence to rebut the
presumption and demolish the prima facie case. This is not so in a preliminary investigation, where the
investigating prosecutor only determines the existence of a prima facie case that warrants the prosecution of a
criminal case in court.

Secondly, the presumption of authorship, being disputable, may be accepted and acted upon where no evidence
upholds the contention for which it stands. It is not correct to say, consequently, that the investigating
prosecutor will try to determine the existence of the presumption during preliminary investigation, and then to
disregard the evidence offered by the respondent. The fact that the finding of probable cause during a
preliminary investigation is an executive function does not excuse the investigating prosecutor or the Secretary
of Justice from discharging the duty to weigh the evidence submitted by the parties. Towards that end, the
investigating prosecutor, and, ultimately, the Secretary of Justice have ample discretion to determine the
existence of probable cause, a discretion that must be used to file only a criminal charge that the evidence and
inferences can properly warrant.

We do not lose sight of the fact that METROBANK, a commercial bank dealing in real property, had the duty
to observe due diligence to ascertain the existence and condition of the realty as well as the validity and
integrity of the documents bearing on the realty. Its duty included the responsibility of dispatching its
competent and experience representatives to the realty to assess its actual location and condition, and of
investigating who was its real owner. Yet, it is evident that METROBANK did not diligently perform a
thorough check on Tobias and the circumstances surrounding the realty he had offered as collateral. As such, it
had no one to blame but itself. Verily, banks are expected to exercise greater care and prudence than others in
their dealings because their business is impressed with public interest. Their failure to do so constitutes
negligence on its part.

Priscilla Alma Jose vs. Ramon Javellana et al


G.R. No. 158239, January 25, 2012
BERSAMIN, J.:
The denial of a motion for reconsideration of an order granting the defending partys motion to dismiss
is not an interlocutory but a final order because it puts an end to the particular matter involved, or settles
definitely the matter therein disposed of, as to leave nothing for the trial court to do other than to execute the
order. Accordingly, the claiming party has a fresh period of 15 days from notice of the denial within which to
appeal the denial.
FACTS:
Margarita Marquez Alma Jose sold for consideration of P160,000.00 to respondent Ramon Javellana
by deed of conditional sale two parcels of land with areas of 3,675 and 20,936 square meters located in
Barangay Mallis, Guiguinto, Bulacan. They agreed that Javellana would pay P80,000.00 upon the execution of
the deed and the balance of P80,000.00 upon the registration of the parcels of land under the Torrens System
(the registration being undertaken by Margarita within a reasonable period of time); and that should Margarita
become incapacitated, her son and attorney-in-fact, Juvenal M. Alma Jose (Juvenal), and her daughter,
petitioner Priscilla M. Alma Jose, would receive the payment of the balance and proceed with the application
for registration. After Margarita died and with Juvenal having predeceased Margarita without issue, the vendors
undertaking fell on the shoulders of Priscilla, being Margaritas sole surviving heir. However, Priscilla did not
comply with the undertaking to cause the registration of the properties under the Torrens System, and, instead,
began to improve the properties by dumping filling materials therein with the intention of converting the
parcels of land into a residential or industrial subdivision. Faced with Priscillas refusal to comply, Javellana
commenced on February 10, 1997 an action for specific performance, injunction, and damages against her in
the Regional Trial Court.

ISSUE: Whether or not CA erred in not outrightly dismissing Javellanas appeal because (a) the June 21, 2000
RTC order was not appealable; (b) the notice of appeal had been filed belatedly by three days

RULING:
Denial of the motion for reconsideration of the order of dismissal was a final order and appealable
First of all, the denial of Javellanas motion for reconsideration left nothing more to be done by the RTC
because it confirmed the dismissal of Civil Case No. 79-M-97. It was clearly a final order, not an interlocutory
one. And, secondly, whether an order is final or interlocutory determines whether appeal is the correct remedy
or not. A final order is appealable, to accord with the final judgment rule enunciated in Section 1, Rule 41 of
the Rules of Court to the effect that appeal may be taken from a judgment or final order that completely
disposes of the case, or of a particular matter therein when declared by these Rules to be appealable; but the
remedy from an interlocutory one is not an appeal but a special civil action for certiorari. Indeed, the Court has
held that an appeal from an order denying a motion for reconsideration of a final order or judgment is
effectively an appeal from the final order or judgment itself; and has expressly clarified
that the prohibition against appealing an order denying a motion for reconsideration referred only to a denial of
a motion for reconsideration of an interlocutory order.

Appeal was made on time pursuant to Neypes v. CA


Under Section 3 of Rule 41 of the Rules of Court, Javellana had only the balance of three days from
July 13, 2000, or until July 16, 2000, within which to perfect an appeal due to the timely filing of his motion for
reconsideration interrupting the running of the period of appeal. As such, his filing of the notice of appeal only
on July 19, 2000 did not perfect his appeal on time, as Priscilla insists. The seemingly correct insistence of
Priscilla cannot be upheld, however, considering that the Court meanwhile adopted the fresh period
rule in Neypes v. Court of Appeals, by which an aggrieved party desirous of appealing an adverse judgment or
final order is allowed a fresh period of 15 days within which to file the notice of appeal in the RTC reckoned
from receipt of the order denying a motion for a new trial or motion for reconsideration. The fresh period
rule may be applied to this case, for the Court has already retroactively extended the fresh period
rule to actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage and this will not violate any right of a
person who may feel that he is adversely affected, inasmuch as there are no vested rights in rules of procedure.

Rolando Sofio and Rufio Sofio vs. Alberto Valenzuela et al


G.R. No. 157810, February 15, 2012
BERSAMIN, J.:
The Court will not override the finality and immutability of a judgment based only on the negligence of a
partys counsel in timely taking all the proper recourses from the judgment. To justify an override, the counsels
negligence must not only be gross but must also be shown to have deprived the party the right to due process.
FACTS:
Respondents Alberto, Gloria, Remedios, and Cesar, all surnamed Valenzuela, are brothers and sisters.
They are the co-owners of a parcel of agricultural land designated as Lot No. 970-B and located in Barangay
Ayungon, Valladolid, Negros Occidental. Alberto had been planting sugarcane in the entire property, but poor
drainage had led him to abandon his cultivation in 1978 of an .80-hectare portion of the property. Unknown to
the respondents, petitioner Rolando Sofio, a son of their tenant in another lot, had obtained permission to farm
the abandoned area for free from Socorro Valenzuela, the respondents mother who was then still managing the
property. She had acceded to the request on condition that Rolando would return the portion once the owners
needed it. In succeeding years, Alberto had also left other portions of the property uncultivated because of the
low price of sugar. Apparently, Rolando had also taken over the vacated portions to plant palay. He shared the
cultivation with his brother, co-petitioner Rufio Sofio.
In 1985, respondent Gloria learned for the first time that Rolando had been permitted by her mother to
cultivate the .80 hectare portion without paying any rentals; and that the petitioners had actually expanded their
cultivation to a total area of 1.8 hectares. After the petitioners refused her demand for the return of the 1.8
hectares, she lodged a complaint against Rolando with the Barangay Chairman of Ayungon, Valladolid, Negros
Occidental, and the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO). The parties did not reach an amicable
settlement.
The petitioners, along with Wilma Sofio, their sister who had succeeded their father as the tenant of
respondents other property, informed Gloria that, being the identified tenants under Presidential Decree No. 27,
they had already paid the rentals on the portions they were cultivating, and that they would be paying
subsequent rentals to the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP). Emancipation patents (EPs) were issued to
Rolando and Rufio covering their respective areas of tillage.
Respondents brought in the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) a
complaint against the petitioners, seeking the cancellation of the EPs, recovery of possession, and damages,
alleging that the petitioners cultivation of their land had been illegal because they had not consented to it.
Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) of Negros Occidental, ordered the cancellation of
petitioners EPs. DARAB reversed the ruling of the PARAD. The respondents elevated the DARABs decision
to the CA. CA granted the petition for review. The decision of May 27, 1998 became final and executory on
October 27, 1998 after the petitioners neither moved for reconsideration nor appealed by certiorari to the
Court. The writ of execution was issued on January 23, 2002. The petitioners, represented by new counsel, filed
in the PARAD a motion for relief from judgment, motion for reconsideration of the order dated November 27,
2001, and motion to recall writ of execution dated January 23, 2002.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petition must be denied

RULING: Yes
The Court finds no cause to disturb the decision of the and cannot undo the decision upon the grounds
cited by the petitioners, especially as the decision had long become final and executory.
A decision that has acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable and may no longer
be modified in any respect even if the modification is intended to correct erroneous conclusions of fact or law
and whether it will be made by the court that rendered it or by the highest court of the land. This doctrine
of finality and immutability of judgments is grounded on fundamental considerations of public policy and
sound practice to the effect that, at the risk of occasional error, the judgments of the courts must become final at
some definite date set by law. The reason is that litigations must end and terminate sometime and somewhere;
and it is essential for the effective and efficient administration of justice that once a judgment has become final
the winning party should not be deprived of the fruits of the verdict.

Given this doctrine, courts must guard against any scheme calculated to bring about that result, and
must frown upon any attempt to prolong controversies. The only exceptions to the general rule are: (a) the
correction of clerical errors; (b) the so-called nunc pro tunc entries that cause no prejudice to any party; (c) void

judgments; and (d) whenever circumstances transpire after the finality of the judgments rendering execution
unjust and inequitable. None of the exceptions obtains here.

The petitioners claim that their former counsel was guilty of gross negligence for letting the CA decision
lapse into finality by not filing a motion for reconsideration or by not appealing in due course to the
Court.
Although the petitioners former counsel was blameworthy for the track their case had taken, there is no
question that any act performed by the counsel within the scope of his general or implied authority is still
regarded as an act of the client. In view of this, even the negligence of the former counsel should bind them as
his clients. To hold otherwise would result to the untenable situation in which every defeated party, in order to
salvage his cause, would simply claim neglect or mistake on the part of his counsel as a ground for reversing
the adverse judgment. There would then be no end to litigation, for every shortcoming of the counsel could
become the subject of challenge by his client through another counsel who, if he should also be found wanting,
would similarly be disowned by the same client through yet another counsel, and so on ad infinitum.
Nonetheless, the gross negligence of counsel alone would not even warrant a deviation from the
principle of finality of judgment, for the client must have to show that such negligence resulted in the denial of
due process to the client. When the counsels mistake is so great and so serious that the client is prejudiced and
is denied his day in court, or when the counsel is guilty of gross negligence resulting in the clients deprivation
of his property without due process of law, the client is not concluded by his counsels mistakes and the case can
be reopened in order to give the client another chance to present his case. As such, the test herein is whether
their former counsels negligence deprived the petitioners of due process of law.
For one to properly claim gross negligence on the part of his counsel, he must show that the counsel
was guilty of nothing short of a clear abandonment of the clients cause. Considering that the Court has held that
the failure to file the appellants brief can qualify as simple negligence but cannot amount to gross negligence
that justifies the annulment of the proceedings, the failure to file an appellees brief may be similarly treated.
The petitioners were able to participate in the proceedings before the PARAD and the DARAB, and, in fact,
obtained a favorable judgment from the DARAB. They also had a similar opportunity to ventilate their cause in
the CA. That they had not been able to avail themselves of all the remedies open to them did not give them the
justification to complain of a denial of due process. They could not complain because they were given the
opportunity to defend their interest in due course, for it was such opportunity to be heard that was the essence
of due process.

Nerwin Industries Corp. vs. PNOC-Energy Development Corp.


G.R. No. 167057, April 11, 2012
BERSAMIN, J.:
Republic Act No. 8975 expressly prohibits any court, except the Supreme Court, from issuing any temporary
restraining order (TRO), preliminary injunction, or preliminary mandatory injunction to restrain, prohibit or
compel the Government, or any of its subdivisions or officials, or any person or entity, whether public or
private, acting under the Governments direction, from: (a) acquiring, clearing, and developing the right-of-
way, site or location of any National Government project; (b) bidding or awarding of a contract or project of
the National Government; (c) commencing, prosecuting, executing, implementing, or operating any such
contract or project; (d) terminating or rescinding any such contract or project; and (e) undertaking or
authorizing any other lawful activity necessary for such contract or project.
Accordingly, a Regional Trial Court (RTC) that ignores the statutory prohibition and issues a TRO or
a writ of preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction against a government contract or project
acts contrary to law.
FACTS:
In 1999, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) published an invitation to pre-qualify and to
bid for a contract, otherwise known as IPB No. 80, for the supply and delivery of about 60,000 pieces of
woodpoles and 20,000 pieces of cross-arms needed in the countrys Rural Electrification Project. bidders, such
as private respondent, were required to submit their application for eligibility together with their technical
proposals. Following a thorough review of the bidders qualifications and eligibility, only four (4) bidders,
including private respondent, qualified to participate in the bidding for the IPB-80 contract. Private respondent
emerged as the lowest bidder for all schedules/components of the contract. NEA then conducted a pre-award
inspection of private respondents manufacturing plants and facilities to determine its capability to supply and

deliver NEAs requirements. NEA administrator Conrado M. Estrella III recommended to NEAs Board of
Directors the approval of award to private respondent.
However, NEAs Board of Directors passed Resolution No. 32 reducing by 50% the material
requirements for IBP No. 80 given the time limitations for the delivery of the materials, and with the loan
closing date of October 2001 fast approaching. In turn, it resolved to award the 4 schedules of IBP No. 80 at a
reduced number to private respondent. Private respondent protested the said 50% reduction, alleging that the
same was a ploy to accommodate a losing bidder. NEA allegedly held negotiations with other bidders relative
to the IPB-80 contract, prompting private respondent to file a complaint for specific performance with prayer
for the issuance of an injunction, which injunctive application was granted. Nerwin another filed a civil action
in the RTC in Manila alleging that Requisition No. FGJ 30904R1 (an invitation to pre-qualify and to bid for
wooden poles needed for its Samar Rural Electrification Project) was an attempt to subject a portion of the
items covered by IPB No. 80 to another bidding; and praying that a TRO issue to enjoin respondents proposed
bidding for the wooden poles. RTC issued preliminary injunction enjoining the defendant PNOC-EDC and its
Chairman of Bids and Awards Committee Esther R. Guerzon from continuing the holding of the subject
bidding.
Respondents commenced in the CA a special civil action for certiorari, alleging that the RTC had
thereby committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in holding that Nerwin
had been entitled to the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction despite the express prohibition from the
law and from the Supreme Court; in issuing the TRO in blatant violation of the Rules of Court and established
jurisprudence.

ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in dismissing the case on the basis of Rep. Act 8975 prohibiting the
issuance of temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, except if issued by the Supreme Court, on
government projects.

RULING: No

The RTC gravely abused its discretion, firstly, when it entertained the complaint of Nerwin against
respondents notwithstanding that Nerwin was thereby contravening the express provisions of Section 3 and
Section 4 of Republic Act No. 8975 for its seeking to enjoin the bidding out by respondents of the O-ILAW
Project; and, secondly, when it issued the TRO and the writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction.
Section 3. Prohibition on the Issuance of Temporary Restraining Orders, Preliminary Injunctions and
Preliminary Mandatory Injunctions. No court, except the Supreme Court, shall issue any temporary restraining
order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction against the government, or any of its
subdivisions, officials or any person or entity, whether public or private, acting under the governments
direction, to restrain, prohibit or compel the following acts:
(b) Bidding or awarding of contract/project of the national government as defined under Section 2
hereof;
Section 4. Nullity of Writs and Orders. - Any temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction or
preliminary mandatory injunction issued in violation of Section 3 hereof is void and of no force and
effect.

A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the
judgment or final order, requiring a party or a court, agency or person, to refrain from a particular act or acts. It
is an ancillary or preventive remedy resorted to by a litigant to protect or preserve his rights or interests during
the pendency of the case. As such, it is issued only when it is established that:
(a) The applicant is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief consists in restraining the
commission or continuance of the act or acts complained of, or in requiring the performance of an act or acts,
either for a limited period or perpetually; or
(b) The commission, continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of during the litigation would
probably work injustice to the applicant; or
(c) A party, court, agency or a person is doing, threatening, or is attempting to do, or is procuring or suffering to be
done, some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of the applicant respecting the subject of the action or
proceeding, and tending to render the judgment ineffectual.

In this regard, the Rules of Court grants a broad latitude to the trial courts considering that conflicting claims in
an application for a provisional writ more often than not involve and require a factual determination that is not
the function of the appellate courts. Nonetheless, the exercise of such discretion must be sound, that is, the
issuance of the writ, though discretionary, should be upon the grounds and in the manner provided by
law. When that is done, the exercise of sound discretion by the issuing court in injunctive matters must not be
interfered with except when there is manifest abuse.

Philippine Overseas Telecommunications Corp. and PhilcomSat vs. Victor Africa


G.R. No. 184622, July 3, 2013
BERSAMIN:
In intra-corporate dispute involving a corporation under sequestration of the Presidential Commission on
Good Government (PCGG) falls under the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), not the
Sandiganbayan.
FACTS:
The ownership structure of POTC, PHILCOMSTAT and PHC implies that whoever had control of POTC
necessarily held 100% control of PHILCOMSAT, and in turn whoever controlled PHILCOMSAT wielded 81%
majority control of PHC. Records reveal that POTC has been owned by seven families through their
individual members or their corporations, namely: (a) the Ilusorio Family; (b) the Nieto Family; (c) the
Poblador Family; (d) the Africa Family; (e) the Benedicto Family; (f) the Ponce Enrile Family; and (g) the
Elizalde Family. Atty. Potenciano Ilusorio, the patriarch of the Ilusorio Family, owned shares of stock in
POTC. A block consisting of 5,400 POTC shares of stock has become the bone of contention in a prolonged
controversy among the parties. Atty. Ilusorio claimed that he had incurred the ire of Imelda Marcos during the
regime of President Marcos, leading to the Marcos spouses grabbing from him the POTC shares of stock
through threats and intimidation and without any valuable consideration, and placing such shares under the
names of their alter egos, namely: 3,644 shares in the name of Independent Realty Corporation (IRC); 1,755
shares in the name of MidPasig Land Development (Mid-Pasig); and one share in the name of Ferdinand
Marcos, Jr.
EDSA People Power Revolution deposed President Marcos from power and forced him and his family to flee
the country. On February 28, 1986, newly-installed President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order No. 1
to create the PCGG whose task was to assist the President in the recovery of all ill-gotten wealth amassed by
President Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates, whether located in the
Philippines or abroad, through the takeover or sequestration of all business enterprises and entities owned or
controlled by them during President Marcos administration, directly or through nominees, by taking undue
advantage of their public office and/or using their powers, authority, influence, connections or relationships.
With 39.92% of the POTC shareholdings under its control, the PCGG obtained three out of the seven seats in
the POTC Board of Directors. At the time, Manuel Nieto, Jr. was the President of both POTC and
PHILCOMSAT. However, Nieto, Jr. had a falling out with other stockholders. To keep control of the POTC
and PHILCOMSAT, Nieto, Jr. aligned with the PCGG nominees to enable him to wrest four out of seven seats
in the POTC Board of Directors and five out of the nine seats in the PHILCOMSAT Board of Directors. Thus,
Nieto, Jr. remained as the President of POTC and PHILCOMSAT.7
Government, represented by the PCGG, filed in the Sandiganbayan a Complaint for reconveyance, reversion,
accounting, restitution and damages against Jose L. Africa, Manuel H. Nieto, Jr., President Marcos, Imelda R.
Marcos, Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Roberto S. Benedicto, Juan Ponce Enrile and Atty. Potenciano Ilusorio.8
The Complaint, docketed as SB Civil Case No. 009, alleged that the defendants acted in collaboration with
each other as dummies, nominees and/or agents of defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda R. Marcos and
Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. in several corporations, such as the Mid-Pasig Land Development Corporation and the
Independent Realty Corporation which, through manipulations by said defendants, appropriated a substantial
portion of the shareholdings in Philippine Overseas Telecommunications Corporation and Philippine
Communications Satellite Corporation held by the late Honorio Poblador, Jr., Jose Valdez and Francisco
Reyes, thereby further advancing defendants scheme to monopolize the telecommunications industry; that
through their illegal acts, they acquired ill-gotten wealth; that their acts constituted breach of public trust and
the law, abuse of rights and power, and unjust enrichment; and that their illgotten wealth, real and personal,
are deemed to have been acquired (by them) for the benefit of the plaintiff (Republic) and are, therefore,
impressed with constructive trust in favor of (the latter) and the Filipino people.

The Ilusorio Familys shareholding became 18.12%, while that of the PCGG (through IRC and Mid-Pasig) was
reduced to 34.94%. With its reduced shareholdings, the PCGGs number of seats in the POTC Board settled at
only two. The Ilusorio Family continued its alliance with the Africa, Poblador, Benedicto and Ponce Enrile
Families. In effect, the compromise agreement tilted the control in POTC, PHILCOMSAT and PHC, such that
the alliance between the Nieto Family and the PCGG, theretofore dominant, became the minority.
After a decade of litigation, the Republic, IRC and Mid-Pasig, and the PCGG (acting through PCGG
Commissioner Hermilo Rosal) entered into a compromise agreement with Atty. Ilusorio, whereby Atty.
Ilusorio recognized the ownership of the Republic over 4,727 of the POTC shares of stock in the names of IRC
and Mid-Pasig, and, in turn, the Republic acknowledged his ownership of 673 of the POTC shares of stock and
undertook to dismiss Civil Case No. 009 as against him. President Ramos approved the compromise agreement,
and directed its submission to the Sandiganbayan for approval through his marginal note dated October 5,
1996. Mid-Pasig, represented by Salonga, filed in the Sandiganbayan in Civil Case No. 009 a Motion to Vacate
the order dated June 8, 1998 approving the compromise agreement. Following the enactment of Republic Act
No. 8799 (Securities Regulation Code),26 SEC Case No. 09-98-6086 was transferred to the RTC in Makati
City, which re-docketed it as Civil Case No. 01-840 and raffled it to Branch 138. The Sandiganbayan
promulgated a resolution in SB Civil Case No. 009 denying IRC and Mid-Pasigs motions to vacate the order
approving the compromise agreement

ISSUE: Whether RTC or Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the case

RULING:
RTC (Branch 138) had jurisdiction over the election contest between the Ilusorio-Africa Groups and
Nieto-Locsin Groups
SB Civil Case No. 0198 of the Sandiganbayan involved intra-corporate controversies among the stockholders
and officers of the corporations. It is settled that there is an intra-corporate controversy when the dispute
involves any of the following relationships, to wit: (a) between the corporation, partnership or association and
the public; (b) between the corporation, partnership or association and the State in so far as its franchise, permit
or license to operate is concerned; (c) between the corporation, partnership or association and its stockholders,
partners, members or officers; and (d) among the stockholders, partners or associates themselves.
Consequently, we agree with the CAs consolidated decision promulgated on September 30, 2008 that the RTC
(Branch 138), not the Sandiganbayan, had jurisdiction because Civil Case No. 04-1049 did not involve a
sequestration-related incident but an intra-corporate controversy.
Originally, Section 5 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 902-A vested the original and exclusive jurisdiction
over cases in the SEC. Upon the enactment of Republic Act No. 8799 (The Securities Regulation Code),
effective on August 8, 2000, the jurisdiction of the SEC over intra-corporate controversies and the other cases
enumerated in Section 5 of P.D. No. 902-A was transferred to the Regional Trial Court pursuant to Section 5.2
of the law. Conformably with Republic Act No. 8799, and with the ensuing resolutions of the Court on the
implementation of the transfer of jurisdiction to the Regional Trial Court, the RTC (Branch 138) in Makati had
the authority to hear and decide the election contest between the parties herein. There should be no
disagreement that jurisdiction over the subject matter of an action, being conferred by law, could neither be
altered nor conveniently set aside by the courts and the parties. Moreover, the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan
has been held not to extend even to a case involving a sequestered company notwithstanding that the majority
of the members of the board of directors were PCGG nominees.

Lack of pre-trial was not fatal in intra-corporate election contests


Under Section 4 of Rule 6 (Election Contests) of the Interim Rules of Procedure for Intra-Corporate
Controversies, which took effect on April 1, 2001 (A.M. No. 01-2-04-SC), issued pursuant to Republic Act No.
8799, the trial court, within two days from the filing of the complaint, may outrightly dismiss the complaint
upon a consideration of the allegations thereof if the complaint is not sufficient in form and substance, or, if the
complaint is sufficient, may order the issuance of summons which shall be served, together with a copy of the
complaint, on the defendant within two days from its issuance. Should it find the need to hold a hearing to
clarify specific factual matters, the trial court shall set the case for hearing, and the hearing shall be completed
not later than 15 days from the date of the first hearing. The trial court is mandated to render a decision within
15 days from receipt of the last pleading, or from the date of the last hearing, as the case may be.
The CA correctly pointed out that Rule 6 nowhere required that the RTC acting as a special commercial court
should first conduct a pre-trial conference before it could render its judgment in a corporate election contest.
Hence, the RTC (Branch 138) in Makati properly heard the case of annulment of the election with dispatch in

accordance with the guidelines set in the resolution in A.M. No. 01-2-04-SC. With the requirements of due
process having been served, no defect infirmed the RTCs ruling to set aside the election, and to oust those
illegally elected.

Proper mode of appeal in intra-corporate cases is by petition for review under Rule 43
The rule providing that a petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court is the proper mode of appeal
in intra-corporate controversies, as embodied in A. M. No. 04-9-07-SC, has been in effect since October 15,
2004. Hence, the filing by POTC and PHC (Nieto Group) of the petition for certiorari on March 21, 2007
(C.A.-G.R. SP No. 98399) was inexcusably improper and ineffectual. By virtue of its being an extraordinary
remedy, certiorari could neither replace nor substitute an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, like
appeal in due course.149 Indeed, the appeal under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court would have been adequate to
review and correct even the grave abuse of discretion imputed to the RTC. As a consequence of the impropriety
and ineffectuality of the remedy chosen by POTC and PHC (Nieto Group), the TRO and the WPI initially
issued by the CA in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 98399 did not prevent the immediately executory character of the
decision in Civil Case No. 04-1049.

Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc. vs. Tomas Cuenca, Marcelina Cuenca et al


G.R. No. 173297, March 6, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
The personality of a corporation is distinct and separate from the personalities of its stockholders. Hence, its
stockholders are not themselves the real parties in interest to claim and recover compensation for the damages
arising from the wrongful attachment of its assets. Only the corporation is the real party in interest for that
purpose.

FACTS:
Maraon filed a complaint in the RTC against the Cuencas for the collection of a sum of money and damages.
His complaint included an application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment. the RTC granted the
application for the issuance of the writ of preliminary attachment conditioned upon the posting of a bond of
P1,000,000.00 executed in favor of the Cuencas. Less than a month later, Maraon amended the complaint to
implead Tayactac as a defendant. Maraon posted SICI Bond No. 68427 JCL (4) No. 02370 in the amount of
P1,000,000.00 issued by Stronghold Insurance. Two days later, the RTC issued the writ of preliminary
attachment. The sheriff served the writ, the summons and a copy of the complaint on the Cuencas on the same
day. Enforcing the writ of preliminary attachment, the sheriff levied upon the equipment, supplies, materials
and various other personal property belonging to Arc Cuisine, Inc. that were found in the leased corporate
office-cum-commissary or kitchen of the corporation. RTC denied the Motion to Dismiss and to Quash Writ of
Preliminary Attachment, stating that the action, being one for the recovery of a sum of money and damages,
was within its jurisdiction. CA remanded to the RTC for hearing and resolution of the Cuencas and Tayactacs
claim for the damages sustained from the enforcement of the writ of preliminary attachment. Cuencas and
Tayactac filed a Motion to Require Sheriff to Deliver Attached Properties and to Set Case for Hearing. RTC
commanded Maraon to surrender all the attached properties to the RTC through the sheriff within 10 days
from notice. RTC rendered its judgment on April 28, 2003, holding Maraon and Stronghold Insurance jointly
and solidarily liable for damages to the Cuencas and Tayactac

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondents are real parties in interest

RULING: No
To ensure the observance of the mandate of the Constitution, Section 2, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court requires
that unless otherwise authorized by law or the Rules of Court every action must be prosecuted or defended in
the name of the real party in interest. Under the same rule, a real party in interest is one who stands to be
benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or one who is entitled to the avails of the suit. Accordingly, a
person , to be a real party in interest in whose name an action must be prosecuted, should appear to be the
present real owner of the right sought to be enforced, that is, his interest must be a present substantial interest,
not a mere expectancy, or a future, contingent, subordinate, or consequential interest. Where the plaintiff is not
the real party in interest, the ground for the motion to dismiss is lack of cause of action. The reason for this is
that the courts ought not to pass upon questions not derived from any actual controversy. Truly, a person

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having no material interest to protect cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the court as the plaintiff in an action. Nor
does a court acquire jurisdiction over a case where the real party in interest is not present or impleaded.
The purposes of the requirement for the real party in interest prosecuting or defending an action at law are: (a)
to prevent the prosecution of actions by persons without any right, title or interest in the case; (b) to require that
the actual party entitled to legal relief be the one to prosecute the action; (c) to avoid a multiplicity of suits; and
(d) to discourage litigation and keep it within certain bounds, pursuant to sound public policy. Indeed,
considering that all civil actions must be based on a cause of action, defined as the act or omission by which a
party violates the right of another, the former as the defendant must be allowed to insist upon being opposed by
the real party in interest so that he is protected from further suits regarding the same claim. Under this rationale,
the requirement benefits the defendant because the defendant can insist upon a plaintiff who will afford him a
setup providing good res judicata protection if the struggle is carried through on the merits to the end.
The rule on real party in interest ensures, therefore, that the party with the legal right to sue brings the action,
and this interest ends when a judgment involving the nominal plaintiff will protect the defendant from a
subsequent identical action. Such a rule is intended to bring before the court the party rightfully interested in
the litigation so that only real controversies will be presented and the judgment, when entered, will be binding
and conclusive and the defendant will be saved from further harassment and vexation at the hands of other
claimants to the same demand.
There is no dispute that the properties subject to the levy on attachment belonged to Arc Cuisine, Inc. alone, not
to the Cuencas and Tayactac in their own right. They were only stockholders of Arc Cuisine, Inc., which had a
personality distinct and separate from that of any or all of them. The damages occasioned to the properties by
the levy on attachment, wrongful or not, prejudiced Arc Cuisine, Inc., not them. As such, only Arc Cuisine, Inc.
had the right under the substantive law to claim and recover such damages. This right could not also be asserted
by the Cuencas and Tayactac unless they did so in the name of the corporation itself. But that did not happen
herein, because Arc Cuisine, Inc. was not even joined in the action either as an original party or as an
intervenor.
The Cuencas and Tayactac were clearly not vested with any direct interest in the personal properties coming
under the levy on attachment by virtue alone of their being stockholders in Arc Cuisine, Inc. Their
stockholdings represented only their proportionate or aliquot interest in the properties of the corporation, but
did not vest in them any legal right or title to any specific properties of the corporation. Without doubt, Arc
Cuisine, Inc. remained the owner as a distinct legal person.
Given the separate and distinct legal personality of Arc Cuisine, Inc., the Cuencas and Tayactac lacked the legal
personality to claim the damages sustained from the levy of the formers properties. According to Asset
Privatization Trust v. Court of Appeals, even when the foreclosure on the assets of the corporation was
wrongful and done in bad faith the stockholders had no standing to recover for themselves moral damages;
otherwise, they would be appropriating and distributing part of the corporations assets prior to the dissolution
of the corporation and the liquidation of its debts and liabilities.

Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company vs. Hon. Edilberto Sandoval


G. R. No. 169677, February 18, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
The court, in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice, may order a separate trial of any claim, cross-
claim, counterclaim, or third-party complaint, or of any separate issue or of any number of claims, cross-
claims, counterclaims, third-party complaints or issues. But a separate trial may be denied if a party is thereby
deprived of his right to be heard upon an issue dealt with and determined in the main trial.
FACTS:
The Republic brought a complaint for reversion, reconveyance, restitution, accounting and damages in the
Sandiganbayan against Andres V. Genito, Jr., Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda R. Marcos and other defendants.
The action was obviously to recover allegedly ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses, their nominees, dummies and
agents. Among the properties subject of the action were two parcels of commercial land located in Tandang
Sora, Quezon City, covered by TCT No. 2664234 and TCT No. 2665885 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon
City registered in the names of Spouses Andres V. Genito, Jr. and Ludivina L. Genito. Republic moved for the
amendment of the complaint in order to implead Asian Bank as an additional defendant. The Sandiganbayan
granted the motion. It appears that Asian Bank claimed ownership of the two parcels of land as the registered
owner. Asian Bank was also in possession of the properties by virtue of the writ of possession issued by the
RTC in Quezon City. When the Republic was about to terminate its presentation of evidence against the
original defendants, it moved to hold a separate trial against Asian Bank. Commenting on the motion, Asian

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Bank sought the deferment of any action on the motion until it was first given the opportunity to test and assail
the testimonial and documentary evidence the Republic had already presented against the original defendants,
and contended that it would be deprived of its day in court if a separate trial were to be held against it. Republic
maintained that a separate trial for Asian Bank was proper because its cause of action against Asian Bank was
entirely distinct and independent from its cause of action against the original defendants.

ISSUE: Whether or not Sandiganbayan erred in ruling that the Republic was entitled to a separate trial against
Asian Bank

RULING: Yes
The text of Section 2, Rule 31 of the Rules of Court grants to the trial court the discretion to determine if a
separate trial of any claim, cross-claim, counterclaim, or third-party complaint, or of any separate issue or of
any number of claims, cross-claims, counterclaims, third-party complaints or issues should be held, provided
that the exercise of such discretion is in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice to any party.
Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of its discretion in ordering a separate trial as to Asian Bank
(Metrobank) on the ground that the issue against Asian Bank was distinct and separate from that against the
original defendants. Thereby, the Sandiganbayan veered away from the general rule of having all the issues in
every case tried at one time, unreasonably shunting aside the dictum in Corrigan case that a single trial will
generally lessen the delay, expense, and inconvenience to the parties and the courts.
Exceptions to the general rule are permitted only when there are extraordinary grounds for conducting separate
trials on different issues raised in the same case, or when separate trials of the issues will avoid prejudice, or
when separate trials of the issues will further convenience, or when separate trials of the issues will promote
justice, or when separate trials of the issues will give a fair trial to all parties. Otherwise, the general rule must
apply. However, the justification of the Sandiganbayan for allowing the separate trial did not constitute a
special or compelling reason like any of the exceptions. To begin with, the issue relevant to Asian Bank was
not complicated. In that context, the separate trial would not be in furtherance of convenience. And, secondly,
the cause of action against Asian Bank was necessarily connected with the cause of action against the original
defendants. Should the Sandiganbayan resolve the issue against Spouses Genito in a separate trial on the basis
of the evidence adduced against the original defendants, the properties would be thereby adjudged as ill-gotten
and liable to forfeiture in favor of the Republic without Metrobank being given the opportunity to rebut or
explain its side. The outcome would surely be prejudicial towards Metrobank. Only a joint trial with the
original defendants could afford to Metrobank the equal and efficient opportunity to confront and to contest all
the evidence bearing on its ownership of the properties. Hence, the disadvantages that a separate trial would
cause to Metrobank would far outweigh any good or benefit that the Republic would seemingly stand to gain
from the separation of trials.

Allen Macasaet et al vs. Francisco Co, Jr.


G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
To warrant the substituted service of the summons and copy of the complaint, the serving officer must first
attempt to effect the same upon the defendant in person. Only after the attempt at personal service has become
futile or impossible within a reasonable time may the officer resort to substituted service.
FACTS:
Respondent, a retired police officer assigned at the Western Police District in Manila, sued AbanteTonite, a
daily tabloid of general circulation; its Publisher Allen A. Macasaet; its Managing Director Nicolas V. Quijano;
ts Circulation Manager Isaias Albano; its Editors Janet Bay, Jesus R. Galang and Randy Hagos; and its
Columnist/Reporter Lily Reyes (petitioners), claiming damages because of an allegedly libelous article
petitioners published in the June 6, 2000 issue of AbanteTonite. The suit was raffled to Branch 51 of the RTC,
which in due course issued summons to be served on each defendant, including AbanteTonite, at their business
address. RTC Sheriff Raul Medina proceeded to the stated address to effect the personal service of the
summons on the defendants. But his efforts to personally serve each defendant in the address were futile
because the defendants were then out of the office and unavailable. He returned in the afternoon of that day to
make a second attempt at serving the summons, but he was informed that petitioners were still out of the office.
He decided to resort to substituted service of the summons, and explained why in his sheriffs return.
Petitioners moved for the dismissal of the complaint through counsels special appearance in their behalf,
alleging lack of jurisdiction over their persons because of the invalid and ineffectual substituted service of

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summons. They contended that the sheriff had made no prior attempt to serve the summons personally on each
of them in accordance with Section 6 and Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court. They further moved to drop
AbanteTonite as a defendant by virtue of its being neither a natural nor a juridical person that could be
impleaded as a party in a civil action.

ISSUE: Whether or not the summons was properly served

RULING: Yes
Jurisdiction over the person, or jurisdiction in personam the power of the court to render a personal judgment
or to subject the parties in a particular action to the judgment and other rulings rendered in the action is an
element of due process that is essential in all actions, civil as well as criminal, except in actions in rem or quasi
in rem. Jurisdiction over the defendant in an action in rem or quasi in rem is not required, and the court acquires
jurisdiction over an action as long as it acquires jurisdiction over the res that is the subject matter of the action.
The purpose of summons in such action is not the acquisition of jurisdiction over the defendant but mainly to
satisfy the constitutional requirement of due process. The distinctions need to be perceived between an action in
personam, on the one hand, and an action in rem or quasi in rem, on the other hand.
As a rule, Philippine courts cannot try any case against a defendant who does not reside and is not found in the
Philippines because of the impossibility of acquiring jurisdiction over his person unless he voluntarily appears
in court; but when the case is an actionin rem or quasi in rem enumerated in Section 15, Rule 14 of the Rules of
Court, Philippine courts have jurisdiction to hear and decide the case because they have jurisdiction over the
res, and jurisdiction over the person of the non-resident defendant is not essential.In the latter instance,
extraterritorial service of summons can be made upon the defendant, and such extraterritorial service of
summons is not for the purpose of vesting the court with jurisdiction, but for the purpose of complying with the
requirements of fair play or due process, so that the defendant will be informed of the pendency of the action
against him and the possibility that property in the Philippines belonging to him or in which he has an interest
may be subjected to a judgment in favor of the plaintiff, and he can thereby take steps to protect his interest if
he is so minded. On the other hand, when the defendant in an action in personam does not reside and is not
found in the Philippines, our courts cannot try the case against him because of the impossibility of acquiring
jurisdiction over his person unless he voluntarily appears in court.
As the initiating party, the plaintiff in a civil action voluntarily submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court
by the act of filing the initiatory pleading. As to the defendant, the court acquires jurisdiction over his person
either by the proper service of the summons, or by a voluntary appearance in the action. Upon the filing of the
complaint and the payment of the requisite legal fees, the clerk of court forthwith issues the corresponding
summons to the defendant. The summons is directed to the defendant and signed by the clerk of court under
seal. It contains the name of the court and the names of the parties to the action; a direction that the defendant
answers within the time fixed by the Rules of Court; and a notice that unless the defendant so answers, the
plaintiff will take judgment by default and may be granted the relief applied for. To be attached to the original
copy of the summons and all copies thereof is a copy of the complaint (and its attachments, if any) and the
order, if any, for the appointment of a guardian ad litem.
The significance of the proper service of the summons on the defendant in an action in personam cannot be
overemphasized. The service of the summons fulfills two fundamental objectives, namely: (a) to vest in the
court jurisdiction over the person of the defendant; and(b) to afford to the defendant the opportunity to be heard
on the claim brought against him. As to the former, when jurisdiction in personam is not acquired in a civil
action through the proper service of the summons or upon a valid waiver of such proper service, the ensuing
trial and judgment are void. If the defendant knowingly does an act inconsistent with the right to object to the
lack of personal jurisdiction as to him, like voluntarily appearing in the action, he is deemed to have submitted
himself to the jurisdiction of the court. As to the latter, the essence of due process lies in the reasonable
opportunity to be heard and to submit any evidence the defendant may have in support of his defense. With the
proper service of the summons being intended to afford to him the opportunity to be heard on the claim against
him, he may also waive the process. In other words, compliance with the rules regarding the service of the
summons is as much an issue of due process as it is of jurisdiction.
Under the Rules of Court, the service of the summons should firstly be effected on the defendant himself
whenever practicable. Such personal service consists either in handing a copy of the summons to the defendant
in person, or, if the defendant refuses to receive and sign for it, in tendering it to him.The rule on personal
service is to be rigidly enforced in order to ensure the realization of the two fundamental objectives earlier
mentioned. If, for justifiable reasons, the defendant cannot be served in person within a reasonable time, the
service of the summons may then be effected either (a) by leaving a copy of the summons at his residence with

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some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving the copy at his office or
regular place of business with some competent person in charge thereof. The latter mode of service is known as
substituted service because the service of the summons on the defendant is made through his substitute.
It is no longer debatable that the statutory requirements of substituted service must be followed strictly,
faithfully and fully, and any substituted service other than that authorized by statute is considered ineffective.
This is because substituted service, being in derogation of the usual method of service, is extraordinary in
character and may be used only as prescribed and in the circumstances authorized by statute. Only when the
defendant cannot be served personally within a reasonable time may substituted service be resorted to. Hence,
the impossibility of prompt personal service should be shown by stating the efforts made to find the defendant
himself and the fact that such efforts failed, which statement should be found in the proof of service or sheriffs
return. Nonetheless, the requisite showing of the impossibility of prompt personal service as basis for resorting
to substituted service may be waived by the defendant either expressly or impliedly.
There is no question that Sheriff Medina twice attempted to serve the summons upon each of petitioners in
person at their office address, the first in the morning of September 18, 2000 and the second in the afternoon of
the same date. Each attempt failed because Macasaet and Quijano were always out and not available and the
other petitioners were always roving outside and gathering news. The circumstances fully warranted his
conclusion. He was not expected or required as the serving officer to effect personal service by all means and at
all times, considering that he was expressly authorized to resort to substituted service should he be unable to
effect the personal service within a reasonable time. In that regard, what was a reasonable time was dependent
on the circumstances obtaining. While we are strict in insisting on personal service on the defendant, we do not
cling to such strictness should the circumstances already justify substituted service instead. It is the spirit of the
procedural rules, not their letter, that governs. In reality, petitioners insistence on personal service by the
serving officer was demonstrably superfluous. They had actually received the summonses served through their
substitutes, as borne out by their filing of several pleadings in the RTC, including an answer with compulsory
counterclaim ad cautelam and a pre-trial brief ad cautelam.

Heirs of Marcelo Sotto vs. Matilde Palicte


G.R. No. 159691, June 13, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
Res judicata exists when as between the action sought to be dismissed and the other action these elements are
present, namely; (1) the former judgment must be final; (2) the former judgment must have been rendered by a
court having jurisdiction of the subject matter and the parties; (3) the former judgment must be a judgment on
the merits; and (4) there must be between the first and subsequent actions (i) identity of parties or at least such
as representing the same interest in both actions; (ii) identity of subject matter, or of the rights asserted and
relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and, (iii) identity of causes of action in both
actions such that any judgment that may be rendered in the other action will, regardless of which party is
successful, amount to res judicata in the action under consideration.
FACTS:
Filemon had four children, namely: Marcelo Sotto (Marcelo), Pascuala Sotto-Pahang (Pascuala), Miguel
Barcelona (Miguel), and Matilde. In June 1967, Pilar Teves (Pilar) and other heirs of Carmen Rallos (Carmen),
the deceased wife of Filemon, filed in the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Cebu City a complaint against the
Estate of Sotto (Civil Case No. R-10027) seeking to recover certain properties that Filemon had inherited from
Carmen, and damages. The CFI rendered judgment awarding to Pilar and other heirs of Carmen damages of
P233,963.65, among other reliefs. To satisfy the monetary part of the judgment, levy on execution was
effected against six parcels of land and two residential houses belonging to the Estate of Sotto. The levied
assets were sold at a public auction. Later on, Matilde redeemed four of the parcels of land in her own name
(i.e., Lots No. 1049, No. 1051, No. 1052 and No. 2179-C), while her sister Pascuala redeemed one of the two
houses because her family was residing there. On July 9, 1980, the Deputy Provincial Sheriff of Cebu executed
a deed of redemption in favor of Matilde, which the Clerk of Court approved.
Matilde filed in Civil Case No. R-10027 a motion to transfer to her name the title to the four properties.
However, the CFI denied her motion, and instead declared the deed of redemption issued in her favor null and
void, holding that Matilde, although declared in Special Proceedings No. 2706-R as one of the heirs of
Filemon, did not qualify as a successor-in-interest with the right to redeem the four properties. Matilde directly
appealed the adverse ruling to the Court via petition for review, and on September 21, 1987, the Court,
reversing the CFIs ruling, granted Matildes petition for review but allowed her co-heirs the opportunity to join

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Matilde as co-redemptioners for a period of six months before the probate court (i.e., RTC of Cebu City,
Branch 16) would grant her motion to transfer the title to her name. On September 10, 1999, the heirs of
Marcelo, specifically: Lolibeth Sotto Noble, Danilo C. Sotto, Cristina C. Sotto, Emmanuel C. Sotto, Filemon C.
Sotto, and Marcela C. Sotto; and the heirs of Miguel, namely: Alberto, Arturo and Salvacion, all surnamed
Barcelona (herein petitioners), instituted the present action for partition against Matilde in the RTC of Cebu
City, Branch 20 (Civil Case No. CEB-24293). the Estate of Sotto, through the administrator, moved in the
probate court (Special Proceedings No. 2706-R) to require Matilde to account for and turn over the four
properties that allegedly belonged to the estate, presenting documentary evidence showing that Matilde had
effected the redemption of the four properties with the funds of the estate in accordance with the express
authorization of Marcelo. The probate court granted the motion, but subsequently reversed itself upon
Matildes motion for reconsideration.

ISSUE: Whether or not the judgment was barred by res judicata

RULING: Yes
For this the fifth case to reach us, we still rule that res judicata was applicable to bar petitioners action for
partition of the four properties. Res judicata exists when as between the action sought to be dismissed and the
other action these elements are present, namely; (1) the former judgment must be final; (2) the former judgment
must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction of the subject matter and the parties; (3) the former
judgment must be a judgment on the merits; and (4) there must be between the first and subsequent actions (i)
identity of parties or at least such as representing the same interest in both actions; (ii) identity of subject
matter, or of the rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and, (iii)
identity of causes of action in both actions such that any judgment that may be rendered in the other action will,
regardless of which party is successful, amount to res judicata in the action under consideration.
The first three elements were present. The decision of the Court in G.R. No. 55076 (the first case), the decision
of the Court in G.R. No. 131722 (the second case), the order dated October 5, 1989 of the RTC in Civil Case
No. R-10027 as upheld by the Court in G.R. No. 154585 (the third case), and the decision in G.R. No. 158642
(the fourth case) all of which dealt with Matildes right to the four properties had upheld Matildes right to
the four properties and had all become final. Such rulings were rendered in the exercise of the respective
courts jurisdiction over the subject matter, and were adjudications on the merits of the cases. Civil Case No.
CEB-24293 was no different from the previous cases as far as parties, subject matter, causes of action and
issues were concerned. In other words, Civil Case No. CEB-24293 was an undisguised relitigation of the same
settled matter concerning Matildes ownership of the four properties. In all the five cases (Civil Case No. CEB-
24293 included), an identity of parties existed because the parties were the same, or there was privity among
them, or some of the parties were successors-in-interest litigating for the same thing and under the same title
and in the same capacity. The subject matter of all the actions (Civil Case No. CEB24293 included), was the
same, that is, Matildes right to the four properties.

Simplicia Abrigo and Demetrio Abrigo vs. Jimmy Flores et al


G.R. No. 160786, June 17, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
Once a judgment becomes immutable and unalterable by virtue of its finality, its execution should follow as a
matter of course. A supervening event, to be sufficient to stay or stop the execution, must alter or modify the
situation of the parties under the decision as to render the execution inequitable, impossible, or unfair. The
supervening event cannot rest on unproved or uncertain facts.
FACTS:
Involved in the suit is a lot with an area of 402 square meters situated in the Municipality of Alaminos, Laguna
and inherited by both Francisco (Faylona) and Gaudencia (Faylona) from their deceased parents. The lot is
declared for taxation purposes under Tax Declaration No. 7378 which Gaudencia managed to secure in her
name alone to the exclusion of Francisco and the latters widow and children. It appears that after Franciscos
death, his widow and Gaudencia entered into an extrajudicial partition whereby the western half of the same lot
was assigned to Franciscos heirs while the eastern half thereof to Gaudencia. There was, however, no actual
ground partition of the lot up to and after Gaudencias death. It thus result that both the heirs of Francisco and
Gaudencia owned in common the land in dispute, which co-ownership was recognized by Gaudencia herself
during her lifetime, whose heirs, being in actual possession of the entire area, encroached and built

15

improvements on portions of the western half. In the case of the petitioners, a small portion of their residence,
their garage and poultry pens extended to the western half.
Such was the state of things when, on July 22 1988, in the Regional Trial Court at San Pablo City, the heirs and
successors-in-interest of Francisco Faylona, among whom are the private respondents, desiring to terminate
their co-ownership with the heirs of Gaudencia, filed their complaint for judicial partition in this case, which
complaint was docketed a quo as Civil Case No. SP-3048.
In a decision dated November 20, 1989, the trial court rendered judgment for the private respondents by
ordering the partition of the land in dispute in such a way that the western half thereof shall pertain to the heirs
of Francisco while the eastern half, to the heirs of Gaudencia whose heirs were further required to pay rentals to
the plaintiffs for their use and occupancy of portions on the western half. With no further appellate proceedings
having been taken by the petitioners and their other co-heirs, an Entry of Judgment was issued by this Court on
June 3, 1996.

ISSUE: Whether or not the sale by respondent Jimmy Flores of his 1/4 share in the western portion of the 402-
square meter lot constituted a supervening event that rendered the execution of the final judgment against
petitioners inequitable.

RULING: No
Although it is true that there are recognized exceptions to the execution as a matter of right of a final and
immutable judgment, one of which is a supervening event, such circumstance did not obtain herein. To accept
their contention would be to reopen the final and immutable judgment in order to further partition the western
portion thereby adjudicated to the heirs and successors-in-interest of Francisco Faylona for the purpose of
segregating the portion supposedly subject of the sale by Jimmy Flores. The reopening would be legally
impermissible, considering that the November 20, 1989 decision, as modified by the CA, could no longer be
altered, amended or modified, even if the alteration, amendment or modification was meant to correct what was
perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or of law and regardless of what court, be it the highest Court
of the land, rendered it.8 This is pursuant to the doctrine of immutability of a final judgment, which may be
relaxed only to serve the ends of substantial justice in order to consider certain circumstances like: (a) matters
of life, liberty, honor or property; (b) the existence of special or compelling circumstances; (c) the merits of the
case; (d) the cause not being entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the
suspension of the doctrine; (e) the lack of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory;
or (f) the other party will not be unjustly prejudiced by the suspension.9
Verily, petitioners could not import into the action for partition of the property in litis their demand for the
segregration of the share of Jimmy Flores. Instead, their correct course of action was to initiate in the proper
court a proceeding for partition of the western portion based on the supposed sale to them by Jimmy Flores.
We deem it highly relevant to point out that a supervening event is an exception to the execution as a matter of
right of a final and immutable judgment rule, only if it directly affects the matter already litigated and settled,
or substantially changes the rights or relations of the parties therein as to render the execution unjust,
impossible or inequitable.10 A supervening event consists of facts that transpire after the judgment became
final and executory, or of new circumstances that develop after the judgment attained finality, including matters
that the parties were not aware of prior to or during the trial because such matters were not yet in existence at
that time.11 In that event, the interested party may properly seek the stay of execution or the quashal of the
writ of execution,12 or he may move the court to modify or alter the judgment in order to harmonize it with
justice and the supervening event.13 The party who alleges a supervening event to stay the execution should
necessarily establish the facts by competent evidence; otherwise, it would become all too easy to frustrate the
conclusive effects of a final and immutable judgment. Here, however, the sale by Jimmy Flores of his supposed
share in the western portion of the property in litis, assuming it to be true, did not modify or alter the
judgment regarding the partition of the property in litis.

Segundina Galvez vs. Court of Appeals


G.R. No. 157445, April 3, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
The mere failure to attach copies of pleadings and other material portions of the record as would support the
allegations should not cause. The outright dismissal of a petition for review. The allegations of the petition
must be examined to determine the sufficiency of the attachments appended thereto.
FACTS:

16

The case involves a parcel of land (property) located in Barangay District II, Babatngon, Leyte, which used to
be owned by Spouses Eustacio and Segundina Galvez. After their marital relationship turned sour, Eustacio and
Segundina separated and cohabited with other partners. On January 6, 1981, Eustacio sold the property to their
daughter Jovita without the knowledge or consent of Segundina. After the sale, Jovita constituted a mortgage
on the property on March 9, 1981 to secure her loan from the Philippine National Bank (PNB). Jovita failed to
pay her obligation. Hence, PNB had the property extrajudicially foreclosed. In the ensuing foreclosure sale,
PNB was the highest bidder. There being no redemption, the property became PNBs acquired asset. On June
10, 1992, respondents Spouses Honorio and Susana Montao purchased the property from PNB. Thereafter, the
Montaos tried to get the actual possession of the property, but Segundina refused to vacate. Accordingly, the
Montaos sued Segundina for recovery of ownership and possession, and damages in the Municipal Trial Court
of Babatngon, Leyte (MTC). Segundina countered that the sale of the property by Eustacio to Jovita was null
and void for having been done without her knowledge and consent; that the sale to PNB as well as to the
Montaos were consequently void; and that the Montaos were also buyers in bad faith. MTC ruled in favor of
the Montaos, holding that the sale by Eustacio to Jovita was merely voidable, not null and void; that because
Segundina had not brought an action for the annulment of the sale within 10 years from the date of the
transaction, as provided in Article 173 of the Civil Code, the sale remained valid; that Segundina did not
establish that the foreclosure proceedings, auction sale, and the acquisition of the property by the Montaos
were void; and that in view of the valid acquisition of the property by PNB during the foreclosure sale, the
subsequent sale to the Montaos was also valid. Segundina appealed to the CA by petition for review, which
was dismissed. CA ruled that Aacursory perusal of the instant petition for review shows that no copies of
pleadings and other material portions of the record as would support the allegations thereof were attached as
annexes in violation of Section 2, Rule 42 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.

ISSUE: Whether or not CA erred in dismissing the complaint

RULING: Yes
The dismissal of Segundinas petition for review upon the ground stated in the assailed resolutions was based
on Section 3, Rule 42 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. It is settled that the petitioners failure to append
the pleadings and pertinent documents to the petition can be rectified by the subsequent filing of a motion for
reconsideration to which is attached the omitted pleadings and documents as required by the CA. The foregoing
rulings show that the mere failure to attach copies of the pleadings and other material portions of the record as
would support the allegations of the petition for review is not necessarily fatal as to warrant the outright denial
of due course when the clearly legible duplicate originals or true copies of the judgments or final orders of both
lower courts, certified correct by the clerk of court of the RTC, and other attachments of the petition
sufficiently substantiate the allegations. The Court considers the attachments of Segundinas petition for
review (i.e., the certified true copies of the MTC decision dated February 4, 2000, the RTC decision dated
November 29, 2000, and the RTC order dated April 22, 2002) already sufficient to enable the CA to pass upon
her assigned errors and to resolve her appeal even without the pleadings and other portions of the records. To
still deny due course to her petition for not attaching the complaint and the answer despite the MTC decision
having substantially summarized their contents was to ignore the spirit and purpose of the requirement to give
sufficient information to the CA.

Roberto Bordomeo, Jayme Sarmiento and Gregorio Barredo vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 161596, February 20, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
As an extraordinary remedy, certiorari cannot replace or supplant an adequate remedy in the ordinary course
of law, like an appeal in due course. It is the inadequacy of a remedy in the ordinary course of law that
determines whether certiorari can be a proper alternative remedy.
FACTS:
IPI Employees Union-Associated Labor Union, representing the workers, had a bargaining deadlock with the
IPI management. This deadlock resulted in the Union staging a strike and IPI ordering a lockout. After
assuming jurisdiction over the dispute, DOLE Secretary Ruben D. Torres rendered a decision dismissing the
Unions complaint against the Company for unfair labor practice through refusal to bargain. Resolving the
parties ensuing respective motions for reconsideration or clarification, Secretary Torres rendered another
ruling ordering the International Pharmaceutical Inc. to reinstate to their former positions with full backwages

17

reckoned from 8 December 1989 until actually reinstated without loss of seniority rights and other benefits the
affected workers. IPI assailed the issuances of Secretary Torres directly in this Court through a petition for
certiorari, but the Court dismissed its petition on the ground that no grave abuse of discretion had attended the
issuance of the assailed decision.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner availed of the proper remedy (2) Whether or not the employees were
entitled to separation pay

RULING: No
An appeal by petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, to be taken to this Court
within 15 days from notice of the judgment or final order raising only questions of law, was the proper remedy
available to the petitioners. Hence, their filing of the petition for certiorari was improper. The averment therein
that the CA gravely abused its discretion did not warrant the filing of the petition for certiorari, unless the
petition further showed how an appeal in due course under Rule 45 was not an adequate remedy for them. By
virtue of its being an extraordinary remedy, certiorari cannot replace or substitute an adequate remedy in the
ordinary course of law, like an appeal in due course. It is the adequacy of a remedy in the ordinary course of
law that determines whether a special civil action for certiorari can be a proper alternative remedy.
Even so, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court still requires the petition for certiorari to comply with the following
requisites, namely: (1) the writ of certiorari is directed against a tribunal, a board, or an officer exercising
judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (2) such tribunal, board, or officer has acted without or in excess of
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (3) there is no
appeal or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
Jurisprudence recognizes certain situations when the extraordinary remedy of certiorari may be deemed proper,
such as: (a) when it is necessary to prevent irreparable damages and injury to a party; (b) where the trial judge
capriciously and whimsically exercised his judgment; (c) where there may be danger of a failure of justice; (d)
where an appeal would be slow, inadequate, and insufficient; (e) where the issue raised is one purely of law; (f)
where public interest is involved; and (g) in case of urgency. Yet, a reading of the petition for certiorari and its
annexes reveals that the petition does not come under any of the situation.
In a special civil action for certiorari brought against a court with jurisdiction over a case, the petitioner carries
the burden to prove that the respondent tribunal committed not a merely reversible error but a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the impugned order. Under the circumstances,
the CA committed no abuse of discretion, least of all grave, because its justifications were supported by the
history of the dispute and borne out by the applicable laws and jurisprudence.

The demand lacked legal basis. Although the decision of the DOLE Secretary dated December 5, 1991 had
required IPI to reinstate the affected workers to their former positions with full backwages reckoned from
December 8, 1989 until actually reinstated without loss of seniority rights and other benefits, the reinstatement
thus decreed was no longer possible. Hence, separation pay was instead paid to them. This alternative was
sustained in law and jurisprudence, for separation pay may avail in lieu of reinstatement if reinstatement is no
longer practical or in the best interest of the parties. Separation pay in lieu of reinstatement may likewise be
awarded if the employee decides not to be reinstated.
Under the circumstances, the employment of the 15 employees or the possibility of their reinstatement
terminated by March 15, 1995. Thereafter, their claim for separation pay and backwages beyond March 15,
1995 would be unwarranted. The computation of separation pay and backwages due to illegally dismissed
employees should not go beyond the date when they were deemed to have been actually separated from their
employment, or beyond the date when their reinstatement was rendered impossible.

Special People, Inc. Foundation vs. Nestor Canda et al


G.R. No. 160932, January 14, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
The peremptory writ of mandamus is an extraordinary remedy that is issued only in extreme necessity, and the
ordinary course of procedure is powerless to afford an adequate and speedy relief to one who has a clear legal
right to the performance of the act to be compelled.
FACTS:

18

The petitioner was a proponent of a water-resource development and utilization project in Barangay Jimilia-an
in the Municipality of Loboc, Bohol that would involve the tapping and purifying of water from the Loboc
River, and the distribution of the purified water to the residents of Loboc and six other municipalities. The
petitioner applied for a Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC) with the Environmental Management Bureau
(EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Region 7, seeking to be exempt
from the requirement of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) under Section 4 of Presidential
Decree No. 1586. Upon evaluating the nature and magnitude of the environmental impact of the project,
respondent Nestor M. Canda, then Chief of EMB in Bohol, rendered his findings that Initial Environmental
Examination is required. RD Lipayon required the petitioner to submit the following documents to enable the
EMB to determine whether the project was within an environmentally critical area or not. The petitioner failed
to secure a certification from the Regional Office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (RO-MGB) to the
effect that the project area was not located along a fault line/fault zone or a critical slope because RO-MGB did
not have the data and expertise to render such finding. According to PHIVOLCS, the project site was
approximately 18 kilometers west of the East Bohol Fault. RD Lipayons letter declared that the project was
within an environmentally critical area, and that the petitioner was not entitled to the CNC. Petitioner filed a
petition for mandamus and damages in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Loay, Bohol.

ISSUE: (1) whether the appeal directly to this Court from the RTC was proper; (2) whether the petition for
mandamus was the correct recourse.

RULING:
Petitioners appeal is improper under Rule 45, Rules of Court
This appeal by certiorari is being taken under Rule 45, Rules of Court, whose Section 1 expressly requires that
the petition shall raise only questions of law which must be distinctly set forth. Yet, the petitioner hereby raises
a question of fact whose resolution is decisive in this appeal. That issue of fact concerns whether or not the
petitioner established that its project was not located in an environmentally critical area. For this reason, the
Court is constrained to deny due course to the petition for review.

Mandamus was an improper remedy for petitioner


We dismiss the present recourse because the petitioner failed to exhaust the available administrative remedies,
and because it failed to show that it was legally entitled to demand the performance of the act by the
respondents. It is axiomatic, to begin with, that a party who seeks the intervention of a court of law upon an
administrative concern should first avail himself of all the remedies afforded by administrative processes. The
issues that an administrative agency is authorized to decide should not be summarily taken away from it and
submitted to a court of law without first giving the agency the opportunity to dispose of the issues upon due
deliberation. The court of law must allow the administrative agency to carry out its functions and discharge its
responsibilities within the specialized areas of its competence. The records show that the petitioner failed to
exhaust the available administrative remedies. At the time RD Lipayon denied the petitioners application for
the CNC, Administrative Order No. 42 had just vested the authority to grant or deny applications for the ECC
in the Director and Regional Directors of the EMB. Notwithstanding the lack of a specific implementing
guideline to what office the ruling of the EMB Regional Director was to be appealed, the petitioner could have
been easily guided in that regard by the Administrative Code of 1987, which provides that the Director of a line
bureau, such as the EMB, shall have supervision and control over all division and other units, including
regional offices, under the bureau. Verily, supervision and control include the power to review, approve,
reverse or modify acts and decisions of subordinate officials or units. Accordingly, the petitioner should have
appealed the EMB Regional Directors decision to the EMB Director, who exercised supervision and control
over the former.
Another reason for denying due course to this review is that the petitioner did not establish that the grant of its
application for the CNC was a purely ministerial in nature on the part of RD Lipayon. Hence, mandamus was
not a proper remedy. The CNC is a certification issued by the EMB certifying that a project is not covered by
the Environmental Impact Statement System (EIS System) and that the project proponent is not required to
secure an ECC. P.D. No. 1586 exempted from the requirement of an EIS the projects and areas not declared by
the President of the Philippines as environmentally critical. The foregoing considerations indicate that the grant
or denial of an application for ECC/CNC is not an act that is purely ministerial in nature, but one that involves
the exercise of judgment and discretion by the EMB Director or Regional Director, who must determine
whether the project or project area is classified as critical to the environment based on the documents to be

19

submitted by the applicant. There is no sufficient showing that the petitioner satisfactorily complied with the
requirement to submit the needed certifications.

Sps. Augusto Dacudao and Ofelia Dacudao


G.R. No. 188056, January 8, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
For a special civil action for certiorari to prosper, therefore, the following requisites must concur, namely: (a)
it must be directed against a tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (b) the
tribunal, board, or officer must have acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (c) there is no appeal nor any plain, speedy, and adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law. The burden of proof lies on petitioners to demonstrate that the assailed
order was issued without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction.
FACTS:
Petitioners - residents of Bacaca Road, Davao City - were among the investors whom Celso G. Delos Angeles,
Jr. and his associates in the Legacy Group of Companies allegedly defrauded through the Legacy Group's "buy
back agreement" that earned them check payments that were dishonored. After their written demands for the
return of their investments went unheeded, they initiated a number of charges for syndicated estafa against
Delos Angeles, Jr., et al. in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Davao City. Secretary of Justice issued
Department of Justice (DOJ) Order No. 182 (DO No. 182), directing all Regional State Prosecutors, Provincial
Prosecutors, and City Prosecutors to forward all cases already filed against Delos Angeles, Jr., et al. to the
Secretariat of the DOJ Special Panel in Manila for appropriate action. Aggrieved by such turn of events,
petitioners have directly come to the Court via petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, ascribing to
respondent Secretary of Justice grave abuse of discretion in issuing DO No. 182. They claim that DO No. 182
violated their right to due process, their right to the equal protection of the laws, and their right to the speedy
disposition of cases. They insist that DO No. 182 was an obstruction of justice and a violation of the rule
against enactment of laws with retroactive effect.

ISSUES: (1) Did petitioners properly bring their petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus directly to
the Court? (2) Did respondent Secretary of Justice commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing DO No. 182? (3)
Did DO No. 182 and DOJ Memorandum dated March 2, 2009 violate petitioners constitutionally guaranteed
rights?

RULING: (1) No (2) No (3) No


Petitioners have unduly disregarded the hierarchy of courts by coming directly to the Court with their petition
for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus without tendering therein any special, important or compelling reason
to justify the direct filing of the petition. We emphasize that the concurrence of jurisdiction among the Supreme
Court, Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Courts to issue the writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus,
quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction did not give petitioners the unrestricted freedom of choice of court
forum. An undue disregard of this policy against direct resort to the Court will cause the dismissal of the
recourse. Hence, every litigant who brings the petitions for the extraordinary writs of certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus should ever be mindful of the policy on the hierarchy of courts.

For a special civil action for certiorari to prosper, therefore, the following requisites must concur, namely: (a) it
must be directed against a tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (b) the
tribunal, board, or officer must have acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (c) there is no appeal nor any plain, speedy, and adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law. The burden of proof lies on petitioners to demonstrate that the assailed
order was issued without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction. Yet, petitioners have not shown a compliance with the requisites.
Instead, the Secretary of Justice would appear to be not exercising any judicial or quasi-judicial functions
because his questioned issuances were ostensibly intended to ensure his subordinates efficiency and economy
in the conduct of the preliminary investigation of all the cases involving the Legacy Group. The function
involved was purely executive or administrative.

20

There is no question that DO No. 182 enjoyed a strong presumption of its validity. In ABAKADA Guro Party
List v. Purisima, the Court has extended the presumption of validity to legislative issuances as well as to rules
and regulations issued by administrative agencies. To overcome this strong presumption of validity of the
questioned issuances, it became incumbent upon petitioners to prove their unconstitutionality and invalidity,
either by showing that the Administrative Code of 1987 did not authorize the Secretary of Justice to issue DO
No. 182, or by demonstrating that DO No. 182 exceeded the bounds of the Administrative Code of 1987 and
other pertinent laws. They did not do so.

The consolidation of the cases against Delos Angeles, Jr., et al. was ordered obviously to obtain expeditious
justice for the parties with the least cost and vexation to them. Inasmuch as the cases filed involved similar or
related questions to be dealt with during the preliminary investigation, the Secretary of Justice rightly found the
consolidation of the cases to be the most feasible means of promoting the efficient use of public resources and
of having a comprehensive investigation of the cases.
On the other hand, we do not ignore the possibility that there would be more cases reaching the DOJ in addition
to those already brought by petitioners and other parties. Yet, any delays in petitioners cases occasioned by
such other and subsequent cases should not warrant the invalidation of DO No. 182. The Constitution prohibits
only the delays that are unreasonable, arbitrary and oppressive, and tend to render rights nugatory. In fine, we
see neither undue delays, nor any violation of the right of petitioners to the speedy disposition of their cases.

Datu Ampatuan, Jr. vs. Sec. Leila de Lima


G.R. No. 197291, April 3, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
In matters involving the exercise of judgment and discretion, mandamus cannot be used to direct the manner or
the particular way the judgment and discretion are to be exercised. Consequently, the Secretary of Justice may
be compelled by writ of mandamus to act on a letter-request or a motion to include a person in the information,
but may not be compelled by writ of mandamus to act in a certain way, i.e., to grant or deny such letter-request
or motion.
FACTS:
History will never forget the atrocities perpetrated on November 23, 2009, when 57 innocent civilians were
massacred in Sitio Masalay, Municipality of Ampatuan, Maguindanao Province. Among the principal suspects
was petitioner, then the Mayor of the Municipality of Datu Unsay, Maguindanao Province. Inquest proceedings
were conducted against petitioner. Department of Justice (DOJ) resolved to file the corresponding informations
for murder against petitioner, and to issue subpoenae to several persons. 41 informations for murder were also
filed against petitioner. Secretary of Justice Devanadera transmitted her letter to Chief Justice Puno requesting
the transfer of the venue of the trial of the Maguindanao massacre from Cotabato City to Metro Manila, either
in Quezon City or in Manila, to prevent a miscarriage of justice. The Court granted the request for the transfer
of venue. Dalandag was admitted into the Witness Protection Program of the DOJ. QC RTC issued its amended
pre-trial order, wherein Dalandag was listed as one of the Prosecution witnesses. petitioner, through counsel,
wrote to respondent Secretary of Justice Leila De Lima and Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Richard Fadullon
to request the inclusion of Dalandag in the informations for murder considering that Dalandag had already
confessed his participation in the massacre through his two sworn declarations.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner may compel the respondents through mandamus to prosecute Dalandag

RULING: No
The prosecution of crimes pertains to the Executive Department of the Government whose principal power and
responsibility are to see to it that our laws are faithfully executed.
The two modes by which a participant in the commission of a crime may become a state witness are, namely:
(a) by discharge from the criminal case pursuant to Section 17 of Rule 119 of the Rules of Court; and (b) by the
approval of his application for admission into the Witness Protection Program of the DOJ in accordance with
Republic Act No. 6981 (The Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act).39 These modes are intended to
encourage a person who has witnessed a crime or who has knowledge of its commission to come forward and
testify in court or quasi-judicial body, or before an investigating authority, by protecting him from reprisals,
and shielding him from economic dislocation.
The admission of Dalandag into the Witness Protection Program of the Government as a state witness since
August 13, 2010 was warranted by the absolute necessity of his testimony to the successful prosecution of the

21

criminal charges. Apparently, all the conditions prescribed by Republic Act No. 6981 were met in his case.
That he admitted his participation in the commission of the Maguindanao massacre was no hindrance to his
admission into the Witness Protection Program as a state witness, for all that was necessary was for him to
appear not the most guilty. Accordingly, he could not anymore be charged for his participation in the
Maguindanao massacre, as to which his admission operated as an acquittal, unless he later on refuses or fails to
testify in accordance with the sworn statement that became the basis for his discharge against those now
charged for the crimes.
Mandamus shall issue when any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglects the
performance of an act that the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station. It is
proper when the act against which it is directed is one addressed to the discretion of the tribunal or officer. In
matters involving the exercise of judgment and discretion, mandamus may only be resorted to in order to
compel respondent tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person to take action, but it cannot be used to direct
the manner or the particular way discretion is to be exercised, or to compel the retraction or reversal of an
action already taken in the exercise of judgment or discretion.
As such, respondent Secretary of Justice may be compelled to act on the letter-request of petitioner, but may
not be compelled to act in a certain way, i.e., to grant or deny such letter-request. Considering that respondent
Secretary of Justice already denied the letter-request, mandamus was no longer available as petitioner's
recourse.

Republic of the Philippines vs. Manila Electric Company


G.R. No. 201715, December 11, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
The intervening rendition by the trial court of a decision on the merits of the case renders moot and academic
the resolution of any issue raised on certiorari against interlocutory orders setting the pre-trial and declaring
the petitioner to have waived its right to present its evidence. The resolution of the issue, having been pre-
empted by the decision in the main action, ceased to have any practical value.
FACTS:
MERALCO and NAPOCOR had entered into the contract for the sale of electricity (CSE) on November 21,
1994. The CSE would be effective for 10 years starting from January 1, 1995. Under the CSE, NAPOCOR was
obliged to supply and MERALCO was obliged to purchase a minimum volume of electric power and energy
from 1995 until 2004 at the rates approved by the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB), now the Energy Regulatory
Commission (ERC). A provision of the CSE required MERALCO to pay minimum monthly charges even if the
actual volume of the power and energy drawn from NAPOCOR fell below the stated minimum quantities. In
the years 2002, 2003 and 2004, due to circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the parties, MERALCO
drew from NAPOCOR electric power and energy less than the minimum quantities stipulated in the CSE for
those years. MERALCO did not pay the minimum monthly charges but only the charges for the electric power
and energy actually taken. Thus, NAPOCOR served on MERALCO a claim for the contracted but undrawn
electric power and energy starting the billing month of January 2002. MERALCO objected to the claim of
NAPOCOR, and served its notice of termination of the CSE. MERALCO submitted its own claim to
NAPOCOR for, among others: (a) losses suffered due to the delay in the construction of NAPOCORs
transmission lines, which prevented it from fully dispatching the electricity contracted with independent power
producers (IPPs) at their respective minimum energy quantities; and (b) unrealized revenues owing to
NAPOCORs continuing to supply electricity to directly-connected customers within MERALCOs franchise
area in violation of the MERALCO franchise and the CSE.
Recognizing that any delays in the resolution of their dispute was inimical to public interest, MERALCO and
NAPOCOR agreed to submit their dispute to mediation. The mediation resulted in the execution on July 15,
2003 of a settlement. The Settlement Agreement covered the charges being imposed by NAPOCOR and the
National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO) under Section 2.1 (Contract Demand and Contract Energy of
MERALCO) in relation to Section 5.2 (Transmission Service) and Section 7 (Direct Connection within
MERALCOs franchise area), all of the CSE. MERALCO therein agreed to pay to NAPOCOR
P27,515,000,000.00 (i.e., the equivalent of 18,222 gigawatt hours valued at P1.51 per kilowatt hour), which
amount represented the value of the difference between the aggregate contracted energy for the years 2002,
2203 and 2004, on the one hand, and the total amount of energy MERALCO actually purchased from
NAPOCOR from January 2002 until April 30, 2003 and the amount of energy MERALCO was scheduled to
purchase thereafter and until December 31, 2004, on the other. NAPOCOR reciprocated by agreeing to give
credit to MERALCO for the delayed completion of the transmission facilities as well as for the energy

22

corresponding to NAPOCORs sales to directly-connected customers located within MERALCOs franchise


area. The credit, valued at P7,465,000,000.00, reduced the net amount payable by MERALCO to NAPOCOR
under the Settlement Agreement to P20,050,000,000.00.
on May 13, 2008, or almost two years after the case was submitted for resolution, the OSG, representing herein
petitioner, filed in the ERC a motion for leave to intervene with motion to admit its attached opposition.
Considering the opposition by the OSG to the validity of the Settlement Agreement, the ERC suspended the
proceedings and deferred the approval of the joint application. This prompted MERALCO to initiate on
November 23, 2009 in the RTC in Pasig an action for declaratory relief. On November 4, 2010, the pre-trial
was held, but the Presiding Judge of Branch 71 of the RTC ultimately reset it through the second assailed order
due to the non-appearance of the representative of the OSG.
Petitioner brought in the CA a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus (C.A.-G.R. SP No. 116863),
with an application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and writ of preliminary injunction (WPI), alleging
that respondent RTC Judge had committed grave abuse of discretion: (a) in refusing to inhibit himself; (b) in
refusing to order respondents MERALCO and NAPOCOR to resolve their dispute by arbitration; (c) in
proceeding with the pre-trial of the case; and (d) in declaring the petitioner in default and at the same time
deeming the petitioner to have waived its right to participate and present evidence

ISSUE: Whether or not the decision has been moot and academic and whether or not RTC committed grave
abuse of discretion

RULING:
RTCs intervening rendition of the decision on the merits has rendered this appeal moot
With the intervening rendition of the decision on the merits, the challenge against the interlocutory orders of
the RTC designed to prevent the RTC from proceeding with the pre-trial and the trial on the merits was
rendered moot and academic. In other words, any determination of the issue on the interlocutory orders was left
without any practical value. A case that is moot and academic because of supervening events ceases to present
any justiciable controversy. The courts of law will not determine moot and academic questions, for they should
not engage in academic declarations and determine moot questions.

CA correctly ruled that RTC Judge did not commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed
orders
The RTCs proceeding with the pre-trial set on November 24, 2010 was entirely in accord with the Rules of
Court. While it is true that the OSG had filed on November 22, 2010 the petition for certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus, the CA did not restrain the RTC from thus proceeding. Absent any TRO or WPI stopping the RTC
from proceeding, the mere filing or pendency of the special civil actions for certiorari, mandamus and
prohibition did not interrupt the due course of the proceedings in the main case. This is quite clear from the
revised Section 7, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which mandated that the petition shall not interrupt the course
of the principal case. For the RTC not to proceed with the pre-trial on its scheduled date of November 24, 2010
despite the absence of any TRO or WPI enjoining it from doing so could have subjected its Presiding Judge to
an administrative charge.
RTCs deeming of the petitioners right to participate in the pre-trial and its right to present evidence as waived
was reasonable under the circumstances. Thus, it did not act arbitrarily, whimsically, or capriciously. The
dismissal of the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus was correct and justified, for grave abuse of
discretion on the part of the RTC was not persuasively demonstrated by the petitioner. Grave abuse of
discretion means either that the judicial or quasi-judicial power was exercised in an arbitrary or despotic
manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, or that the respondent judge, tribunal or board evaded a
positive duty, or virtually refused to perform the duty enjoined or to act in contemplation of law, such as when
such judge, tribunal or board exercising judicial or quasi-judicial powers acted in a capricious or whimsical
manner as to be equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.

Teodoro Reyes vs. Ettore Rossi


G.R. No. 159823, February 18, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
The rescission of a contract of sale is not a prejudicial question that will warrant the suspension of the criminal
proceedings commenced to prosecute the buyer for violations of the Bouncing Checks Law (Batas Pam bans a
Blg. 22) arising from the dishonor of the checks the buyer issued in connection with the sale.

23

FACTS:
Petitioner Teodoro A. Reyes (Reyes) and Advanced Foundation Construction Systems Corporation (Advanced
Foundation), represented by its Executive Project Director, respondent Ettore Rossi (Rossi), executed a deed
of conditional sale involving the purchase by Reyes of equipment consisting of a Warman Dredging Pump HY
300A worth P10,000,000.00. The parties agreed therein that Reyes would pay the sum of P3,000,000.00 as
downpayment, and the balance of P7,000,000.00 through four post-dated checks. Reyes complied, but in
January 1998, he requested the restructuring of his obligation under the deed of conditional sale by replacing
the four post-dated checks with nine post, dated checks that would include interest at the rate of
P25,000.00/month. Reyes issued and delivered the following nine post-dated checks in the aggregate sum of
P7,125,000.00 drawn against the United Coconut Planters Bank. Two of the checks were denied payment
ostensibly upon Reyes instructions to stop their payment, while the third was dishonored for insufficiency of
funds. Reyes commenced an action for rescission of contract and damages in the RTC, sought judgment
declaring the deed of conditional sale rescinded and of no further force and effect, and ordering Advanced
Foundation to return the P3,000,000.00 downpayment. Rossi charged Reyes with five counts of estafa and five
counts of violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati for the dishonor of
Checks. Reyes argued that the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati should suspend the proceedings because
of the pendency in the RTC of the civil action for rescission of contract that posed a prejudicial question as to
the criminal proceedings.

ISSUE: Whether or not the civil action for rescission of the contract of sale raised a prejudicial question that
required the suspension of the criminal prosecution for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22

RULING: No
A prejudicial question generally comes into play in a situation where a civil action and a criminal action are
both pending, and there exists in the former an issue that must first be determined before the latter may
proceed, because howsoever the issue raised in the civil action is resolved would be determinative juris et de
jure of the guilt or innocence of the accused in the criminal case. The rationale for the suspension on the ground
of a prejudicial question is to avoid conflicting decisions.
To properly appreciate if there is a prejudicial question to warrant the suspension of the criminal actions,
reference is made to the elements of the crimes charged. The violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 requires the
concurrence of the following elements, namely: (1) the making, drawing, and issuance of any check to apply
for account or for value; (2) the knowledge of the maker, drawer, or issuer that at the time of issue he does not
have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon its
presentment; and (3) the subsequent dishonor of the check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or
credit or dishonor for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid cause, ordered the bank to stop
payment. The issue in the criminal actions upon the violations of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 is, therefore,
whether or not Reyes issued the dishonoured checks knowing them to be without funds upon presentment. On
the other hand, the issue in the civil action for rescission is whether or not the breach in the fulfilment of
Advanced Foundations obligation warranted the rescission of the conditional sale. If, after trial on the merits in
the civil action, Advanced Foundation would be found to have committed material breach as to warrant the
rescission of the contract, such result would not necessarily mean that Reyes would be absolved of the criminal
responsibility for issuing the dishonored checks because, as the aforementioned elements show, he already
committed the violations upon the dishonor of the checks that he had issued at a time when the conditional sale
was still fully binding upon the parties. His obligation to fund the checks or to make arrangements for them
with the drawee bank should not be tied up to the future event of extinguishment of the obligation under the
contract of sale through rescission. Indeed, under Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, the mere issuance of a worthless
check was already the offense in itself. Under such circumstances, the criminal proceedings for the violation of
Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 could proceed despite the pendency of the civil action for rescission of the conditional
sale.
Civil action for the rescission of contract was not determinative of the guilt or innocence of Reyes. In this light,
it is clear that the pendency of the civil case does not bar the continuation of the proceedings in the preliminary
investigation on the ground that it poses a prejudicial question. Considering that the contracts are deemed to be
valid until rescinded, the consideration and obligatory effect thereof are also deemed to have been validly
made, thus demandable. Consequently, there was no failure of consideration at the time when the subject
checks were dishonoured.

24

Rafael Consing Jr. vs. People of the Philippines


G.R. No. 161075, July 15, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
An independent civil action based on fraud initiated by the defrauded party does not raise a prejudicial
question to stop the proceedings in a pending criminal prosecution of the defendant for estafa through
falsification. This is because the result of the independent civil action is irrelevant to the issue of guilt or
innocence of the accused.
FACTS:
Petitioner negotiated with and obtained for himself and his mother, Cecilia de la Cruz (de la Cruz) various
loans totaling P18,000,000.00 from Unicapital Inc. (Unicapital). The loans were secured by a real estate
mortgage constituted on a parcel of land (property) covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-
687599 of the Registry of Deeds for the Province of Cavite registered under the name of de la Cruz. In
accordance with its option to purchase the mortgaged property, Unicapital agreed to purchase one-half of the
property for a total consideration of P21,221,500.00. Payment was effected by off-setting the amounts due to
Unicapital under the promissory notes of de la Cruz and Consing in the amount of P18,000,000.00 and paying
an additional amount of P3,145,946.50. The other half of the property was purchased by Plus Builders, Inc.
(Plus Builders), a joint venture partner of Unicapital.
Before Unicapital and Plus Builders could develop the property, they learned that the title to the property was
really TCT No. 114708 in the names of Po Willie Yu and Juanito Tan Teng, the parties from whom the
property had been allegedly acquired by de la Cruz. TCT No. 687599 held by De la Cruz appeared to be
spurious. On its part, Unicapital demanded the return of the total amount of P41,377,851.48 as of April 19,
1999 that had been paid to and received by de la Cruz and Consing, but the latter ignored the demands. On July
22, 1999, Consing filed Civil Case No. 1759 in the Pasig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) (Pasig civil case) for
injunctive relief, thereby seeking to enjoin Unicapital from proceeding against him for the collection of the
P41,377,851.48 on the ground that he had acted as a mere agent of his mother. On the same date, Unicapital
initiated a criminal complaint for estafa through falsification of public document against Consing and de la
Cruz in the Makati City Prosecutors Office.

ISSUE: Whether or not there is a prejudicial question between the two cases

RULING:
Consing has hereby deliberately chosen to ignore the firm holding in the ruling in G.R. No. 148193 to the effect
that the proceedings in Criminal Case No. 00-120 could not be suspended because the Makati civil case was an
independent civil action, while the Pasig civil case raised no prejudicial question. That was wrong for him to do
considering that the ruling fully applied to him due to the similarity between his case with Plus Builders and his
case with Unicapital. A perusal of Unicapitals complaint in the Makati civil case reveals that the action was
predicated on fraud. This was apparent from the allegations of Unicapital in its complaint to the effect that
Consing and de la Cruz had acted in a wanton, fraudulent, oppressive, or malevolent manner in offering as
security and later object of sale, a property which they do not own, and foisting to the public a spurious title.
As such, the action was one that could proceed independently of Criminal Case No. 00-120 pursuant to Article
33 of the Civil Code.
It is well settled that a civil action based on defamation, fraud and physical injuries may be independently
instituted pursuant to Article 33 of the Civil Code, and does not operate as a prejudicial question that will
justify the suspension of a criminal case.
Contrary to Consings stance, it was not improper for the CA to apply the ruling in G.R. No. 148193 to his case
with Unicapital, for, although the Manila and Makati civil cases involved different complainants (i.e., Plus
Builders and Unicapital), the civil actions Plus Builders and Unicapital had separately instituted against him
were undeniably of similar mold, i.e., they were both based on fraud, and were thus covered by Article 33 of
the Civil Code. Clearly, the Makati criminal case could not be suspended pending the resolution of the Makati
civil case that Unicapital had filed.

Bank of the Philippine Islands vs. Hon. Judge Agaputo Hontanosas Jr,
G.R. No. 157163, June 25, 2014
BERSAMIN, J.:

25

Injunction should not issue except upon a clear showing that the applicant has a right in esse to be protected,
and that the acts sought to be enjoined are violative of such right. A preliminary injunction should not
determine the merits of a case, or decide controverted facts, for, being a preventive remedy, it only seeks to
prevent threatened wrong, further injury, and irreparable harm or injustice until the rights of the parties can
be settled.
FACTS:
Respondents commenced Civil Case No. CEB-26468 against petitioner alleging that the respondents
had obtained a loan from the petitioner, and had executed promissory notes binding themselves, jointly and
severally, to pay the sum borrowed; that as security for the payment of the loan, they had constituted real estate
mortgages on several parcels of land in favor of the petitioner; and that they had been made to sign a continuing
surety agreement and a chattel mortgage on their Mitsubishi Pajero.
The respondents obligation to the petitioner had reached P17,983,191.49, but they had only been able
to pay P13 Million because they had been adversely affected by the economic turmoil in Asia in 1997. The
petitioner required them to issue postdated checks to cover the loan under threat of foreclosing on the
mortgages. Thus, the complaint sought a TRO or a writ of preliminary injunction to stay the threatened
foreclosure.
On June 6, 2001, the petitioner filed its answer with affirmative defenses and counterclaim, as well as
its opposition to the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction. Also on June 6, 2001 the petitioner filed
a motion to dismiss reiterating its affirmative defenses.
The RTC denied the petitioners motion to dismiss for being unmeritorious, but granted the
respondents application for preliminary injunction. Dissatisfied, the petitioner assailed the orders of the RTC
by petition for certiorari in the CA. The CA rendered the adverse decision under review affirming the decision
rendered by the RTC. Hence, this appeal.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not Civil Case No. CEB-26468 should be dismissed for improper venue.
2. Whether or not the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction against the petitioner, its agents and
representatives, was in order.

RULING:
Civil Case No. CEB-26468 was a personal action; hence, venue was properly laid
The CA and the RTC held that Civil Case No. CEB-26468, being for the declaration of the nullity of a
contract of loan and its accompanying continuing surety agreement, and the real estate and chattel mortgages,
was a personal action; hence, its filing in Cebu City, the place of business of one of the plaintiffs, was correct
under Section 2, Rule 4 of the Rules of Court. We sustain the lower courts holdings.
According to Section 1, Rule 4 of the Rules of Court, a real action is one that affects title to or
possession of real property, or an interest therein. Such action is to be commenced and tried in the proper court
having jurisdiction over the area wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated, which
explains why the action is also referred to as a local action. In contrast, the Rules of Court declares all other
actions as personal actions. The venue of a personal action is the place where the plaintiff or any of the
principal plaintiffs resides, or where the defendant or any of the principal defendants resides, or in the case of a
non-resident defendant where he may be found, at the election of the plaintiff, for which reason the action is
considered a transitory one.
Based on the aforequoted allegations of the complaint, the respondents seek the nullification of the
promissory notes, continuing surety agreement, checks and mortgage agreements for being executed against
their will and vitiated by irregularities, not the recovery of the possession or title to the properties burdened by
the mortgages. There was no allegation that the possession of the properties under the mortgages had already
been transferred to the petitioner in the meantime. Applying the determinants, Civil Case No. CEB-26468 was
unquestionably a personal action. Being a personal action, therefore, Civil Case was properly brought in the
RTC in Cebu City, where respondent XM Facultad and Development Corporation, a principal plaintiff, had its
address. Upon the same consideration, the petitioners contention that the filing and docket fees for
the complaint should be based on the assessed values of the mortgaged real properties due to Civil Case No.
CEB-26468 being a real action cannot be upheld for lack of factual and legal bases.

Respondents were not entitled to the writ of preliminary injunction

26

Injunction should not issue except upon a clear showing that the applicant has a right in esse to be
protected, and that the acts sought to be enjoined are violative of such right. A preliminary injunction should
not determine the merits of a case, or decide controverted facts, for, being a preventive remedy, it only
seeks to prevent threatened wrong, further injury, and irreparable harm or injustice until the rights of the
parties can be settled.
As mentioned, the RTC issued the writ of preliminary injunction on July 16, 2001 based on the foregoing
allegations of the respondents application, and the CA upheld the issuance in its assailed July 9, 2002 decision.
The petitioner submits that the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction constituted a violation of
Administrative Circular (AC) No. 07-99 dated June 25, 1999. AC No. 07-99 was issued as a guideline for
lower court judges in the issuance of TROs and writs of preliminary injunctions to prevent the implementation
of infrastructure projects, or the seizure and forfeiture proceedings by the Bureau of Customs. AC No. 07-99
was irrelevant herein, however, because Civil Case No. CEB-26468 did not involve the implementation of
infrastructure projects, or the seizure and forfeiture proceedings by the Bureau of Customs. Consequently, the
petitioners urging that respondent Judge be held administratively liable for violating AC No. 07-99 was
misplaced.
However, the RTCs issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin the petitioner from
proceeding with the foreclosure of the mortgages was plainly erroneous and unwarranted.
A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an action prior to the judgment or final
order requiring a party or a court, agency or a person to refrain from a particular act or acts. It is the strong arm
of equity, an extraordinary peremptory remedy that must be used with extreme caution, affecting as it does the
respective rights of the parties.
As with all equitable remedies, injunction must be issued only at the instance of a party who possesses
sufficient interest in or title to the right or the property sought to be protected. It is proper only when the
applicant appears to be entitled to the relief demanded in the complaint, which must aver the existence of the
right and the violation of the right, or whose averments must in the minimum constitute a prima facie showing
of a right to the final relief sought. Accordingly, the conditions for the issuance of the injunctive writ are: (a)
that the right to be protected exists prima facie; (b) that the act sought to be enjoined is violative of that right;
and (c) that there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. An injunction
will not issue to protect a right not in esse, or a right which is merely contingent and may never arise; or to
restrain an act which does not give rise to a cause of action; or to prevent the perpetration of an act prohibited
by statute. Indeed, a right, to be protected by injunction, means a right clearly founded on or granted by law or
is enforceable as a matter of law.
Under the circumstances averred in the complaint in Civil Case No. CEB-26468, the issuance of the
writ of preliminary injunction upon the application of the respondents was improper. They had admittedly
constituted the real estate and chattel mortgages to secure the performance of their loan obligation to the
petitioner, and, as such, they were fully aware of the consequences on their rights in the properties given as
collaterals should the loan secured be unpaid. The foreclosure of the mortgages would be the remedy provided
by law for the mortgagee to exact payment.30 In fact, they did not dispute the petitioners allegations that they
had not fully paid their obligation, and that Civil Case No. CEB-26468 was precisely brought by them in order
to stave off the impending foreclosure of the mortgages based on their claim that they had been compelled to
sign pre-printed standard bank loan forms and mortgage agreements
Thus, to be entitled to the writ of preliminary injunction, the private respondent needs only to show that
it has the ostensible right to the final relief prayed for in its complaint.
It is also basic that the power to issue a writ of injunction is to be exercised only where the reason and
necessity therefor are clearly established, and only in cases reasonably free from doubt. For, truly, a
preliminary injunction should not determine the merits of a case,or decide controverted facts. As a preventive
remedy, injunction only seeks to prevent threatened wrong, further injury, and irreparable harm or
injustice until the rights of the parties can be settled. As an ancillary and preventive remedy, it may be resorted
to by a party to protect or preserve his rights during the pendency of the principal action, and for no other
purpose. Such relief will accordingly protect the ability of the court to render a meaningful decision; it will
further serve to guard against a change of circumstances that will hamper or prevent the granting of proper
relief after a trial on the merits. Verily, its essential function is to preserve the status quo between the parties
until the merits of the case can be heard.
The injury being feared by the herein respondents is not of such nature. Ultimately, the amount to
which the mortgagee-bank shall be entitled will be determined by the disposition of the trial court in the main
issue of the case.

27

As a general rule, the courts will not issue writs of prohibition or injunction whether preliminary or
final in order to enjoin or restrain any criminal prosecution.48 But there are extreme cases in which exceptions
to the general rule have been recognized.However, the respondents did not sufficiently show that Civil Case
No. CEB-26468 came under any of the foregoing exceptions. Hence, the issuance by the RTC of the writ of
preliminary injunction to enjoin the petitioner from instituting criminal complaints for violation of BP No. 22
against the respondents was unwarranted.
Every court should remember that an injunction should not be granted lightly or precipitately because it
is a limitation upon the freedom of the defendants action. It should be granted only when the court is fully
satisfied that the law permits it and the emergency demands it, for no power exists whose exercise is more
delicate, which requires greater caution and deliberation, or is more dangerous in a doubtful case, than the
issuance of an injunction.
In view of the foregoing, the CA grossly erred in not declaring that the RTC committed grave abuse of
discretion in granting the application of the respondents as the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. CEB-26468. The
RTC apparently disregarded the aforecited well-known norms and guidelines governing the issuance of the writ
of injunction. Thereby, the RTC acted capriciously and arbitrarily.

Heirs of Marcelo Sotto vs. Matilde Palicte


G.R. No. 159691, February 17, 2014
BERSAMIN, J.:
For the ground to be effective, the insufficiency of the complaint must appear on the face of the complaint, and
nowhere else. It will be unfair to the plaintiff, indeed, to determine the sufficiency of his cause of action from
facts outside of those pleaded in the complaint.
FACTS:
This case is the fifth suit to reach the Court dividing the several heirs of the late Don Filemon Y. Sotto
respecting four real properties that had belonged to Filemons estate.
The first case (Matilde S. Palicte v. Hon. Jose O. Ramolete, et al., No. L55076, September 21, 1987,
154 SCRA 132) held that herein respondent Matilde S. Palicte (Matilde), one of four declared heirs of Filemon,
had validly redeemed the four properties pursuant to the assailed deed of redemption, and was entitled to have
the title over the four properties transferred to her name.
The second was the civil case filed by Pascuala against Matilde (Civil Case No. CEB19338) to annul
the formers waiver of rights, and to restore her as a coredemptioner of Matilde with respect to the four
properties (G.R. No. 131722, February 4, 1998).
The third was an incident in Civil Case No. R10027 (that is, the suit brought by the heirs of Carmen
Rallos against the Estate of Sotto) wherein the heirs of Miguel belatedly filed in November 1998 a motion for
reconsideration praying that the order issued on October 5, 1989 be set aside, and that they be still included as
Matildes coredemptioners. After the trial court denied their motion for reconsideration for its lack of merit,
the heirs of Miguel elevated the denial to the CA on certiorari and prohibition, but the CA dismissed their
petition. Thence, the heirs of Miguel came to the Court on certiorari (G.R. No. 154585), but the Court
dismissed their petition for being filed out of time and for lack of merit.
The fourth was The Estate of Don Filemon Y. Sotto, represented by its duly designated Administrator,
Sixto Sotto Pahang, Jr. v. Matilde S. Palicte, et al. (G.R. No. 158642, September 22, 2008, 566 SCRA 142),
whereby the Court expressly affirmed the ruling rendered by the probate court in Cebu City in Special
Proceedings No. 2706R entitled Intestate Estate of the Deceased Don Filemon Sotto denying the
administrators motion to require Matilde to turn over the four real properties to the Estate of Sotto.
The fifth is this case. It seems that the disposition by the Court of the previous cases did not yet satisfy
herein petitioners despite their being the successorsininterest of two of the declared heirs of Filemon who
had been parties in the previous cases either directly or in privity. They now pray that the Court undo the
decision promulgated on November 29, 2002, whereby the CA declared their action for the partition of the four
properties as already barred by the judgments previously rendered, and the resolution denying their motion for
reconsideration.

28

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioners and their counsel are guilty of forum shopping.

RULING: YES.
What we have seen here is a clear demonstration of unmitigated forum shopping on the part of
petitioners and their counsel. It should not be enough for us to just express our alarm at petitioners disregard of
the doctrine of res judicata.
First of all, Atty. Mahinay claims that he could not be deemed guilty of forum shopping because the
previous cases did not involve the issues raised in Civil Case No. CEB24293; hence, res judicata would not
apply. He maintains that Civil Case No. CEB24293 was based on the agreement between Palicte and Marcelo
Sotto (the then Administrator of the Estate). To establish the agreement between Palicte and Marcelo Sotto,
Atty. Mahinay cites Palictes filing of a motion to dismiss in Civil Case No. CEB24293 on the ground, among
others, of the complaint failing to state a cause of action whereby Palicte hypothetically admitted the
complaints averment of the agreement. Atty. Mahinays reliance on Palictes hypothetical admission of her
agreement with Marcelo Sotto to buttress his explanation here is unjustified. Such hypothetical admission is
only for the purpose of resolving the merits of the ground of insufficiency of the complaint.
For the ground to be effective, the insufficiency of the complaint must appear on the face of the
complaint, and nowhere else. It will be unfair to the plaintiff, indeed, to determine the sufficiency of his cause
of action from facts outside of those pleaded in the complaint. Clearly, Atty. Mahinay cannot bind Palicte to her
hypothetical admission of the agreement between her and Marcelo Sotto as the Administrator of the Estate.
Secondly, Atty. Mahinay asserts good faith in the filing Civil Case No. CEB24293. It is axiomatic
that a lawyer shall not handle any legal matter without adequate preparation. Moreover, laying the blame on the
associate lawyer is not plausible. Any client who employs a law firm undeniably engages the entire law firm,
not a particular member of it. Even assuming that Atty. Mahinay did not himself prepare the complaint, it
remains that he subsequently personally handled the case. In so doing, he had sufficient time to still become
fully acquainted with the previous cases and their incidents.
Thirdly, Atty. Mahinay states that his filing of the Motion To Refer Or Consolidate The Instant Case
With The Proceedings In The Intestate Estate Of Filemon Sotto Before RTC Branch XVI In SP Proc. No. 2706
R disproved deliberate forum shopping on his part. The Court disagrees. Atty. Mahinays filing of the Motion
To Refer Or Consolidate The Instant Case With The Proceedings In The Intestate Estate Of Filemon Sotto
Before RTC Branch XVI indicated that he relentlessly pursued the goal of taking away the properties from
Palicte in disregard of the rulings in the earlier cases. We note that the dismissal of the complaint in Civil Case
No. CEB24293 on November 15, 1999 prompted Atty. Mahinay to file a motion for reconsideration. But he
did not await the resolution of the motion for reconsideration, and instead filed the Motion To Refer Or
Consolidate The Instant Case With The Proceedings In The Intestate Estate Of Filemon Sotto Before RTC
Branch XVI obviously to preempt the trial courts denial of the motion. His actuations did not manifest good
faith on his part.
And, lastly, Atty. Mahinay argues that his assisting the Administrator of the Estate in filing the Motion
to Require Matilde Palicte To Turn Over And/or Account Properties Owned by the Estate in Her Possession,
wherein he disclosed the commencement of Civil Case No. CEB24293, and extensively quoted the allegations
of the complaint, disproved any forum shopping. The insistence cannot command belief. The disclosure alone
of the pendency of a similar case does not negate actual forum shopping. Had Atty. Mahinay been sincere, the
least he could have done was to cause the dismissal of the action that replicated those already ruled against his
clients. The records show otherwise.
The acts of a party or his counsel clearly constituting willful and deliberate forum shopping shall be
ground for the summary dismissal of the case with prejudice, and shall constitute direct contempt, as well as be
a cause for administrative sanctions against the lawyer. If the forum shopping is not willful and deliberate, the
subsequent cases shall be dismissed without prejudice on one of the two grounds mentioned above. But if the
forum shopping is willful and deliberate, both (or all, if there are more than two) actions shall be dismissed
with prejudice. In view of the foregoing, Atty. Mahinay was guilty of forum shopping.

Herminia Acbang vs. Hon. Jimmy Luczon, Jr,


G.R. No. 164246, January 15, 2014

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BERSAMIN, J.:
To stay the immediate execution of the judgment in an ejectment case, the defendant must perfect an appeal,
file a supersedeas bond, and periodically deposit the rentals becoming due during the pendency of the appeal.
Otherwise, the writ of execution will issue upon motion of the plaintiff.
FACTS:
Respondent Spouses Spouses Lopez commenced an ejectment suit against the petitioner, her son
Benjamin Acbang, Jr. and his wife Jean (Acbangs) in the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Alcala (Civil Case
No. 6302). The defendants did not file an answer; hence, the MTC rendered its decision on in favor of Spouses
Lopez.
The petitioner appealed to the RTC. Spouses Lopez moved for the execution of the decision pending
appeal in the RTC, alleging that the defendants had not filed a supersedeas bond to stay the execution. The
Acbangs opposed the motion insisting that the failure of the Spouses Lopez to move for the execution in the
MTC constituted a waiver of their right to the immediate execution. Judge Luczon granted the motion for
immediate execution.
The opposition of spouses Lopez on the appeal taken by the Acbangs is hereby denied because under
the rules the losing party may appeal the case even if they did not post their supercedeas bond. The petitioner
moved for reconsideration which was denied by the RTC. The petitioner then brought the petition for
prohibition directly in this Court, submitting that Judge Luczon thereby committed grave error in granting the
motion for immediate execution of the Spouses Lopez without first fixing the supersedeas bond as prayed for
by the Acbangs.
It appears that the RTC rendered its decision in Civil Case No. 6302 on July 30, 2004, finding that the
petitioner had not received the summons, that the non-service of the summons on her resulted in the MTC not
acquiring jurisdiction over her; and that the MTCs decision in Civil Case No. 64 dated January 14, 2004 was
void as far as she was concerned. The MTC of Alcala is Ordered to reopen the case and served the summons to
Herminia Acbang and conduct the proceedings without any delay.
In the petition, the petitioner insists that the Spouses Lopezs motion for execution pending appeal
should be filed before she posted a supersedeas bond.

ISSUE: Whether or not under the circumstances, the writ of execution will issue upon motion of the plaintiff.

RULING: YES.
To stay the immediate execution of the judgment in an ejectment case, the defendant must perfect an
appeal, file a supersedeas bond, and periodically deposit the rentals becoming due during the pendency of
the appeal. Otherwise, the writ of execution will issue upon motion of the plaintiff.
As a general rule, a judgment in favor of the plaintiff in an ejectment suit is immediately executory, in
order to prevent further damage to him arising from the loss of possession of the property in question. To stay
the immediate execution of the said judgment while the appeal is pending the law requires that the following
requisites must concur: (1) the defendant perfects his appeal; (2) he files a supersedeas bond; and (3) he
periodically deposits the rentals which become due during the pendency of the appeal. The failure of the
defendant to comply with any of the conditions is a ground for the outright execution of the judgment, the duty
of the court in this respect being "ministerial and imperative. Conversely, the filing of a supersedeas bond will
not stay the execution of the judgment if the appeal is not perfected. Necessarily then, the supersedeas bond
should be filed within the period for the perfection of the appeal.
Although the petitioner correctly states that the Spouses Lopez should file a motion for execution
pending appeal before the court may issue an order for the immediate execution of the judgment, the spouses
Lopez are equally correct in pointing out that they were entitled to the immediate execution of the judgment in
view of the Acbangs failure to comply with all of the three abovementioned requisites for staying the
immediate execution. The filing of the notice of appeal alone perfected the appeal but did not suffice to stay the
immediate execution without the filing of the sufficient supersedes bond and the deposit of the accruing rentals.
The foregoing notwithstanding, the decision of the R TC favored the petitioner because it declared the
judgment of the MTC void as far as she was concerned for lack of jurisdiction over her person. The

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supervening declaration of the nullity of the judgment being sought to be executed against her has rendered
moot and academic the issue in this special civil action as far as she was concerned.

Thelma Aranas vs. Teresita Mercado et al


G.R. No. 156407, January 15, 2014
BERSAMIN, J.:
The propriety of the special civil action for certiorari as a remedy depended on whether the assailed orders of
the RTC were final or interlocutory in nature. The test to ascertain whether or not an order or a judgment is
interlocutory or final is: does the order or judgment leave something to be done in the trial court with respect
to the merits of the case? If it does, the order or judgment is interlocutory; otherwise, it is final. 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. Then is certiorari under Rule 65 allowed to be resorted to.
FACTS:
Emigdio S. Mercado died intestate survived by his second wife, Teresita V. Mercado and their five
children; and his two children by his first marriage, namely: respondent Franklin L. Mercado and petitioner
Thelma M. Aranas (Thelma). The RTC in Cebu City granted Thelmas application for the appointment of
Teresita as the administrator of Emigdios estate. Teresita submitted an inventory of the estate of Emigdio for
the consideration and approval by the RTC. She indicated in the inventory that at the time of his death, Emigdio
had left no real properties but only personal properties. Claiming that Emigdio had owned other properties that
were excluded from the inventory, Thelma moved that the RTC direct Teresita to amend the inventory, and to
be examined regarding it which was granted by the RTC. Teresita filed a compliance with the order of January
8, 1993.
The RTC issued an order expressing the need for the parties to present evidence and for Teresita to be
examined to enable the court to resolve the motion for approval of the inventory. Thelma opposed the approval
of the inventory, and asked leave of court to examine Teresita on the inventory. The RTC issued an order
holding that the inventory submitted by Teresita had excluded properties that should be included; hence, it
denied the administratrixs motion for approval of inventory. Teresita, timely sought the reconsideration of the
said order on the ground that one of the real properties affected, had already been sold to Mervir Realty, the
RTC denied the motion for reconsideration.
Hence, Teresita, joined by her four children and her stepson Franklin, assailed the adverse orders of the
RTC promulgated on March 14, 2001 and May 18, 2001 by petition for certiorari before the CA.

ISSUES:
Whether or not certiorari was the proper recourse to assail the questioned orders of the RTC.
Whether or not the RTC commit grave abuse of discretion in directing the inclusion of the propertiesin the
estate of the decedent.

RULING:
The propriety of the special civil action for certiorari as a remedy depended on whether the assailed
orders of the RTC were final or interlocutory in nature. The test to ascertain whether or not an order or a
judgment is interlocutory or final is: does the order or judgment leave something to be done in the trial court
with respect to the merits of the case? If it does, the order or judgment is interlocutory; otherwise, it is final.
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. Then is certiorari under Rule 65 allowed to be resorted to.
The assailed order of March 14, 2001 denying Teresitas motion for the approval of the inventory and
the order dated May 18, 2001 denying her motion for reconsideration were interlocutory. This is because the
inclusion of the properties in the inventory was not yet a final determination of their ownership. Hence, the

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approval of the inventory and the concomitant determination of the ownership as basis for inclusion or
exclusion from the inventory were provisional and subject to revision at any time during the course of the
administration proceedings.

Rule 83 of the Rules of Court provides that;


Section 1. Inventory and appraisal to be returned within three months. Within three (3) months after his
appointment every executor or administrator shall return to the court a true inventory and appraisal of all the
real and personal estate of the deceased which has come into his possession or knowledge. In the appraisement
of such estate, the court may order one or more of the inheritance tax appraisers to give his or their assistance.
The usage of the word all in Section 1, supra, demands the inclusion of all the real and personal
properties of the decedent in the inventory. Section 1 allows no exception, for the phrase true inventory implies
that no properties appearing to belong to the decedent can be excluded from the inventory, regardless of their
being in the possession of another person or entity.
The general rule is that the jurisdiction of the trial court, either as a probate court or an intestate court,
relates only to matters having to do with the probate of the will and/or settlement of the estate of deceased
persons, but does not extend to the determination of questions of ownership that arise during the proceedings.
The patent rationale for this rule is that such court merely exercises special and limited jurisdiction. However,
this general rule is subject to exceptions as justified by expediency and convenience.
First, the probate court may provisionally pass upon in an intestate or a testate proceeding the question
of inclusion in, or exclusion from, the inventory of a piece of property without prejudice to final determination
of ownership in a separate action. Second, if the interested parties are all heirs to the estate, or the question is
one of collation or advancement, or the parties consent to the assumption of jurisdiction by the probate court
and the rights of third parties are not impaired, then the probate court is competent to resolve issues on
ownership. Verily, its jurisdiction extends to matters incidental or collateral to the settlement and distribution of
the estate, such as the determination of the status of each heir and whether the property in the inventory is
conjugal or exclusive property of the deceased spouse.
Thereby, the RTC strictly followed the directives of the Rules of Court and the jurisprudence relevant
to the procedure for preparing the inventory by the administrator. The aforequoted explanations indicated that
the directive to include the properties in question in the inventory rested on good and valid reasons, and thus
was far from whimsical, or arbitrary, or capricious. As long as the RTC commits no patent grave abuse of
discretion, its orders must be respected as part of the regular performance of its judicial duty.

Isabelita Vinuya et al vs. Honorable Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo et al


G.R. No. 162230, August 12, 2014
BERSAMIN, J.:
The right to file a special civil action of certiorari is neither a natural right nor an essential element of due
process; a writ of certiorari is a prerogative writ, never demandable as a matter of right, and never issued
except in the exercise of judicial discretion. Hence, he who seeks a writ of certiorari must apply for it only in
the manner and strictly in accordance with the provisions of the law and the Rules.
FACTS:
Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration and a Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration, praying
that the Court reverse its decision of April 28, 2010, and grant their petition for certiorari. Petitioners argue that
our constitutional and jurisprudential histories have rejected the Courts ruling that the foreign policy
prerogatives of the Executive Branch are unlimited; that under the relevant jurisprudence and constitutional
provisions, such prerogatives are proscribed by international human rights and international conventions of
which the Philippines is a party; that the Court, in holding that the Chief Executive has the prerogative whether
to bring petitioners claims against Japan, has read the foreign policy powers of the Office of the President in
isolation from the rest of the constitutional protections that expressly textualize international human rights; that
the foreign policy prerogatives are subject to obligations to promote international humanitarian law as
incorporated into the laws of the land through the Incorporation Clause.
The petitioners added that the status and applicability of the generally accepted principles of
international law within the Philippine jurisdiction would be uncertain without the Incorporation Clause, and
that the clause implied that the general international law forms part of Philippine law only insofar as they are
expressly adopted; that in its rulings in The Holy See, v. Rosario, Jr. and U.S. v. Guinto the Court has said that

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international law is deemed part of the Philippine law as a consequence of Statehood; that by virtue of the
Incorporation Clause, the Philippines is bound to abide by the erga omnes obligations arising from the jus
cogens norms embodied in the laws of war and humanity that include the principle of the imprescriptibility of
war crimes; that the crimes committed against petitioners are proscribed under international human rights law
as there were undeniable violations of jus cogens norms; that the need to punish crimes against the laws of
humanity has long become jus cogens norms, and that international legal obligations prevail over national legal
norms; that the Courts invocation of the political doctrine in the instant case is misplaced; and that the Chief
Executive has the constitutional duty to afford redress and to give justice to the victims of the comfort women
system in the Philippines.
Petitioners pray that the Court reconsider its April 28, 2010 decision, and declare: (1) that the rapes,
sexual slavery, torture and other forms of sexual violence committed against the Filipina comfort women are
crimes against humanity and war crimes under customary international law; (2) that the Philippines is not
bound by the Treaty of Peace with Japan, insofar as the waiver of the claims of the Filipina comfort women
against Japan is concerned; (3) that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Executive Secretary committed
grave abuse of discretion in refusing to espouse the claims of Filipina comfort women; and (4) that petitioners
are entitled to the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the respondents. Petitioners also pray that
the Court order the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Executive Secretary to espouse the claims of Filipina
comfort women for an official apology, legal compensation and other forms of reparation from Japan.
In their Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration, petitioners stress that it was highly improper for the
April 28, 2010 decision to lift commentaries from at least three sources without proper attribution an article
published in 2009 in the Yale Law Journal of International Law; a book published by the Cambridge University
Press in 2005; and an article published in 2006 in the Western Reserve Journal of International Law and make
it appear that such commentaries supported its arguments for dismissing the petition, when in truth the
plagiarized sources even made a strong case in favour of petitioners claims.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Motion for Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration should
be granted.

RULING: NO

Petitioners did not show that their resort was timely under the Rules of Court.

Petitioners did not show that their bringing of the special civil action for certiorari was timely, i.e.,
within the 60-day period provided in Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. There are three essential dates
that must be stated in a petition for certiorari brought under Rule 65. First, the date when notice of the
judgment or final order or resolution was received; second, when a motion for new trial or reconsideration was
filed; and third, when notice of the denial thereof was received. Failure of petitioner to comply with this
requirement shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. Substantial compliance will not suffice
in a matter involving strict observance with the Rules.
The petition mentions the year 1998 only as the time when petitioners approached the Department of
Justice for assistance, but does not specifically state when they received the denial of their request for
assistance by the Executive Department of the Government. This alone warranted the outright dismissal of the
petition. Even assuming that petitioners received the notice of the denial of their request for assistance in 1998,
their filing of the petition only on March 8, 2004 was still way beyond the 60-day period. Only the most
compelling reasons could justify the Courts acts of disregarding and lifting the strictures of the rule on the
period.
As we have repeatedly stressed, the right to file a special civil action of certiorari is neither a natural
right nor an essential element of due process; a writ of certiorari is a prerogative writ, never demandable as a
matter of right, and never issued except in the exercise of judicial discretion. Hence, he who seeks a writ
of certiorari must apply for it only in the manner and strictly in accordance with the provisions of the law and
the Rules. Herein petitioners have not shown any compelling reason for us to relax the rule and the
requirements under current jurisprudence.

Petitioners did not show that the assailed act was either judicial or quasi-judicial on the part of
respondents.

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Petitioners were required to show in their petition for certiorari that the assailed act was either judicial
or quasi-judicial in character. Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court requires such showing.
The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment, order, or resolution subject
thereof, copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto, and a sworn certification of non-
forum shopping as provided in the third paragraph of Section 3, Rule 46. However, petitioners did not make
such a showing.

Petitioners were not entitled to the injunction.


The Court cannot grant petitioners prayer for the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction.
Preliminary injunction is merely a provisional remedy that is adjunct to the main case, and is subject to the
latters outcome. It is not a cause of action itself.22 It is provisional because it constitutes a temporary measure
availed of during the pendency of the action; and it is ancillary because it is a mere incident in and is dependent
upon the result of the main action. Following the dismissal of the petition for certiorari, there is no more legal
basis to issue the writ of injunction sought. As an auxiliary remedy, the writ of preliminary mandatory
injunction cannot be issued independently of the principal action.
It is basic that the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is addressed to the sound discretion of
the trial court, conditioned on the existence of a clear and positive right of the applicant which should be
protected. It is an extraordinary, peremptory remedy available only on the grounds expressly provided by law,
specifically Section 3, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court. Moreover, extreme caution must be observed in the
exercise of such discretion. It should be granted only when the court is fully satisfied that the law permits it and
the emergency demands it.
Here, the Constitution has entrusted to the Executive Department the conduct of foreign relations for
the Philippines. Whether or not to espouse petitioners claim against the Government of Japan is left to the
exclusive determination and judgment of the Executive Department. The Court cannot interfere with or
question the wisdom of the conduct of foreign relations by the Executive Department. Accordingly, we cannot
direct the Executive Department, either by writ of certiorari or injunction, to conduct our foreign relations with
Japan in a certain manner.

Juanito Magsino vs. Elena De Ocampo and Ramon Guico


G.R. No. 166944, August 18, 2014
BERSAMIN, J.:
FACTS:
The petitioner filed against the respondents a complaint for forcible entry with prayer for preliminary
mandatory injunction and/or temporary restraining order in the Metropolitan Trial Court in Antipolo City
alleging that he was the owner in fee simple of a parcel of agricultural land situated in Sapinit, San Juan,
Antipolo City; that on February 5, 2000, the respondents, through force, intimidation, threats and strategy and
with the aid of armed men, had unlawfully bulldozed the eastern and northern portions of his land, cutting
lengthwise through the land, destroying ornamental plants and fruit-bearing trees that he had himself planted
several years before, thereby illegally depriving him of the possession of the land.
The petitioner filed a motion for preliminary mandatory injunction but the Municipal Trial Court in
Taytay, Rizal (MTC) issued only a writ of preliminary injunction. Respondent Elena De Ocampo countered
that she had held a registered title in the land by virtue of the original certificate of title issued to her mother,
Cecilia De Ocampo; and that the petitioner was a squatter on the land with no possessory rights.
The MTC rendered its judgment in favor of the respondents. Dissatisfied, the petitioner appealed to the
CA by petition for review. However, the CA promulgated its first assailed resolution dismissing the petition for
review as the petition is not accompanied by copies of the pleadings and other material portions as would
support the allegations of the petition. Hence, this appeal.

ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in dismissing the petition for review on the ground that the petitioner did
not comply with Section 2, Rule 42 of the Rules of Court.

RULING: NO
As earlier mentioned, the CA issued the first assailed resolution dismissing the petition for review
because the petitioner did not attach to his petition the complaint, the answer, and the motion to dismiss, all

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filed in the MTC; and the copies of the parties memoranda on appeal presented in the RTC. Such dismissal
was pursuant to Section 3, Rule 42 of the Rules of Court.
We begin by reminding the petitioner that the right to appeal is not a natural right and is not part of due
process, but merely a statutory privilege to be exercised only in accordance with the law. Being the party who
sought to appeal, he must comply with the requirements of the relevant rules; otherwise, he would lose the
statutory right to appeal. Whether or not the dismissal of the petition for review was warranted depended on
whether or not there remained sufficient materials in the records to still enable the CA to act on the appeal
despite the omissions.
The Court recognized three guideposts for the CA to consider in determining whether or not the rules
of procedures should be relaxed, as follows:
First, not all pleadings and parts of case records are required to be attached to the petition. Only those
which are relevant and pertinent must accompany it.

Second, even if a document is relevant and pertinent to the petition, it need not be appended if it is
shown that the contents thereof can also (sic) found in another document already attached to the
petition.

Third, a petition lacking an essential pleading or part of the case record may still be given due course
or reinstated (if earlier dismissed) upon showing that petitioner later submitted the documents required,
or that it will serve the higher interest of justice that the case be decided on the merits.

The guideposts, which equally apply to a petition for review filed in the CA under Rule 42, reflect that
the significant determinant of the sufficiency of the attached documents is whether the accompanying
documents support the allegations of the petition.
Under the first guidepost recognized in Galvez, only the relevant pleadings and parts of the case
records needed to be attached to the petition for review. Hence, not every pleading or document filed or
submitted in the lower courts had to be attached to the petition. The test of relevancy is whether the document
in question would support the material allegations of the petition. Accordingly, we turn to what were omitted
by the petitioner.
The first omitted document was the complaint in Civil Case No. 4141. Being the initiatory pleading,
the complaint included all the material facts and dates necessary to support the petitioners cause of action for
forcible entry, specifically: (1) his prior physical possession of the property; (2) his being deprived of the
physical possession either by force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth; and (3) his filing of the action
within one year from the time he or his representative learned of the deprivation of physical possession of the
land or building.
The next omitted pleading was the answer of the respondents. As with the complaint, the answer was
relevant in the appeal in the CA, for the respondents as the defendants had set forth their defenses therein.
The third omitted document was the motion to dismiss. Although the motion to dismiss would appear
to be less relevant in view of the filing of the answer by the respondents, the CA could have had good reasons
for noting its omission as a ground to dismiss the petition for review.
The memoranda on appeal the parties respectively filed in the RTC were the fourth kind of omitted
documents. In respect of the petitioner, his memorandum, which was due to be filed within 15 days from the
filing of his notice of appeal as required by Section 7, Rule 40 of the Rules of Court, would have specified and
supported the errors he imputed to the MTC. Such filing in the RTC could not be dispensed with, for the RTC
would consider only the errors specifically assigned and argued in his memorandum, except errors affecting
jurisdiction over the subject matter as well as plain and clerical errors. If the memorandum was not filed, the
appeal could be dismissed. Unless his memorandum was part of his petition for review, therefore, the CA
would likely find his appeal frivolous, or even consider it dismissible pursuant to Section 3, Rule 42. Based on
the foregoing considerations, the petitioner entirely bypassed the first guidepost recognized in Galvez.
The second guidepost which stipulates that a document, although relevant to the petition for review,
need not be appended if it is shown that its contents could be found in or could be drawn from another
document already attached to the petition refers to a process whereby the CA derives the contents of the
omitted relevant document from another attached to the petition for review filed in the CA.
The petitioner posited in his motion for reconsideration that the copy of the MTC decision was a
sufficient basis to resolve the issues he was raising in his petition for review. Even with the copy of the MTC
judgment being actually attached to the petition for review, however, the second guidepost could not be
complied with because the copy was hopelessly illegible. Moreover, the MTC judgment did not contain the

35

statement of the issues relied upon by the petitioner in his appeal in the CA, for such statement was made only
in his memorandum on appeal.
The mere fact that a petition for review is filed does not call for the elevation of the record, which
means that until this Court finds that the elevation of the record is necessary, such record should remain with
the trial court during the pendency of the appeal in accordance with Section 2 of Rule 39, let alone the fact that
in ejectment cases the decision of the RTC is immediately executory pursuant to Section 21 of the Revised
Rule on Summary Procedure. Thus, more often than not, this Court has resolved petitions for review under
Rule 42 without unnecessary movement of the original record of the case which could entail not only undue
delay but also the possibility of the record being lost in transit.
Instead of manifesting that he would submit the additional documentary evidence, the petitioner
remained obstinate in his stand not to submit the additional pleadings and other material portions of the record.
He maintained that what he has submitted based on his discretion, are all that are necessary to support his
allegations in his petition. Instead, the petitioner stubbornly chose to insist that this Court direct the elevation of
the records of the case if we deem that the relevant documents were not appended to the petition. In this case,
the insufficiency of the supporting documents coupled with the unjustified refusal of the petitioner to even
attempt to substantially comply with the attachment requirement justified the dismissal of his petition.
The petitioners plea for the application of the principles of substantial justice in their favor deserves
scant consideration. While the petitioners adverted to several jurisprudential rulings of this Court which set
aside procedural rules, it is noted that there were underlying considerations in those cases which warranted a
disregard of procedural technicalities to favor substantial justice. Here, there exists no such consideration. The
petitioners ought to be reminded that the bare invocation of the interest of substantial justice is not a magic
wand that will automatically compel this Court to suspend procedural rules. Procedural rules are not to be
belittled or dismissed simply because their non-observance may have resulted in prejudice to a partys
substantive rights.
The petitioner did not deserve the liberal application of the rules of procedure that he was seeking.
Indeed, the dismissal of his petition for review was in full accord with the following pronouncement upon a
similar provision in the Rules of Court made in Atillo v. Bombay, as follows: The mandatory tenor of Section
2(d), Rule 42 with respect to the requirement of attaching clearly legible duplicate originals or true copies of
the judgments or final orders of both lower courts is discernible and well settled. In this case, the mandatory or
directory nature of the requirement with respect to the attachment of pleadings and other material portions of
the record is put in question.

Saint Mary Crusade to Alleviate Poverty of Brethen Foundation Inc. vs. Hon. Teodoro Riel
G.R. No. 176508, January 12, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
A petition for the judicial reconstitution of a Torrens title must strictly comply with the requirements prescribed
in Republic Act No. 26; otherwise, the petition should be dismissed.
FACTS:
Petitioner claimed in its petition for reconstitution that the original copy of OCT No. 1609 had been burnt and
lost in the fire that gutted the Quezon City Register of Deeds in the late 80s. Initially, respondent Judge gave
due course to the petition, but after the preliminary hearing, he dismissed the petition for reconstitution through
the first assailed order. Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the dismissal. RTC denied the motion for
reconsideration for lack of any cogent or justifiable ground to reconsider.

ISSUE: Whether or not the RTC gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack or excess of its jurisdiction in
dismissing its petition for reconstitution on the basis of the recommendation of the LRA and the opposition of
the Republic and the UP despite having initially given due course to the petition for reconstitution.

RULING: No
The petition for certiorari and mandamus did not show how respondent Judge could have been guilty of lacking
or exceeding his jurisdiction, or could have gravely abused his discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction.
Firstly, Under Section 12 of Republic Act No. 26, the law on the judicial reconstitution of a Torrens title, the
Regional Trial Court (as the successor of the Court of First Instance) had the original and exclusive jurisdiction
to act on the petition for judicial reconstitution of title. Hence, the RTC neither lacked nor exceeded its

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authority in acting on and dismissing the petition. Nor did respondent Judge gravely abuse his discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction considering that the petition for reconstitution involved land already
registered in the name of the UP, as confirmed by the LRA. Instead, it would have been contrary to law had
respondent Judge dealt with and granted the petition for judicial reconstitution of title of the petitioner.
Secondly, the petitioner did not present the duplicate or certified copy of OCT No. 1609. Thereby, it disobeyed
Section 2 and Section 3 of Republic Act No. 26, the provisions that expressly listed the acceptable bases for
judicial reconstitution of an existing Torrens title.
Thirdly, the questioned orders of the RTC having finally disposed of the application for judicial reconstitution,
nothing more was left for the RTC to do in the case.
As of then, therefore, the correct recourse for the petitioner was to appeal to the Court of Appeals by notice of
appeal within 15 days from notice of the denial of its motion for reconsideration. By allowing the period of
appeal to elapse without taking action, it squandered its right to appeal. Its present resort to certiorari is
impermissible, for an extraordinary remedy like certiorari cannot be a substitute for a lost appeal.
Fourthly, the filing of the instant special civil action directly to the Supreme Court is in disregard of the
doctrine of hierarchy of courts. Although the Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of Appeals in
issuing the writ of certiorari, direct resort is allowed only when there are special, extraordinary or compelling
reasons that justify the same. The Court enforces the observance of the hierarchy of courts in order to free itself
from unnecessary, frivolous and impertinent cases and thus afford time for it to deal with the more fundamental
and more essential tasks that the Constitution has assigned to it. There being no special, important or
compelling reason, the petitioner thereby violated the observance of the hierarchy of courts, warranting the
dismissal of the petition for certiorari.
Finally, the land covered by the petition for judicial reconstitution related to the same area that formed the UP
campus. The UPs registered ownership of the land comprising its campus has long been settled under the law.
Accordingly, the dismissal of the petition for judicial reconstitution by respondent Judge only safeguarded the
UPs registered ownership.

Republic of the Philippines vs. Heirs of Saturnino Borbon and Court of Appeals
G.R. No.165354, January 12, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
The expropriator who has taken possession of the property subject of expropriation is obliged to pay
reasonable compensation to the landowner for the period of such possession although the proceedings had
been discontinued on the ground that the public purpose for the expropriation had meanwhile ceased.
FACTS:
NAPOCOR entered a property located in Barangay San Isidro, Batangas City in order to construct and maintain
transmission lines for the 230 KV Mahabang Parang-Pinamucan Power Transmission Project. Respondents
heirs of Saturnino Q. Borbon owned the property, with a total area of 14,257 square meters, which was
registered under Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-9696 of the Registry of Deeds of Batangas. NAPOCOR
filed a complaint for expropriation in the Regional Trial Court in Batangas City (RTC), seeking the acquisition
of an easement of right of way over a portion of the property involving an area of only 6,326 square meters,
more or less, alleging that it had negotiated with the respondents for the acquisition of the easement but they
had failed to reach any agreement; and that, nonetheless, it was willing to deposit the amount of P9,790.00
representing the assessed value of the portion sought to be expropriated.6 It prayed for the issuance of a writ of
possession upon deposit to enable it to enter and take possession and control of the affected portion of the
property; to demolish all improvements existing thereon; and to commence construction of the transmission
line project. It likewise prayed for the appointment of three commissioners to determine the just compensation
to be paid.
The respondents filed a motion to dismiss averred that NAPOCOR had not negotiated with them before
entering the property and that the entry was done without their consent in the process, nonetheless, they
tendered no objection to NAPOCORs entry provided it would pay just compensation not only for the portion
sought to be expropriated but for the entire property whose potential was greatly diminished, if not totally lost,
due to the project. In the pre-trial conference, the RTC directed the parties to submit the names of their
nominees to sit in the panel of commissioners within 10 days from the date of the pre-trial. The RTC
constituted the panel of three commissioners. The parties then submitted their respective objections to the
reports. The RTC adopted the recommendation contained in the joint report and ordered NAPOCOR to pay the
respondents just compensation for the whole area. The CA AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that
NAPOCOR shall pay only for the occupied 6,326 square meters of the subject real property at the rate of

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P550.00 per square meter and to pay legal interest therefrom until fully paid. Hence, appeal by NAPOCOR to
the SC. During the pendency of the appeal, NAPOCOR filed a Motion to Defer Proceedings stating that
negotiations between the parties were going on with a view to the amicable settlement of the case. However,
On January 3, 2014, NAPOCOR filed a Manifestation and Motion to Discontinue Expropriation Proceedings,
informing that the parties failed to reach an amicable agreement and that the dismissal or discontinuance of the
expropriation proceedings was in accordance with Section 4, Rule 67 of the Rules of Court.

ISSUE: Whether or not the expropriation proceedings should be discontinued or dismissed pending appeal.

RULING:
The dismissal of the proceedings for expropriation at the instance of NAPOCOR is proper, but, conformably
with Section 4, Rule 67 of the Rules of Court, the dismissal or discontinuance of the proceedings must be upon
such terms as the court deems just and equitable.
The right of eminent domain is "the ultimate right of the sovereign power to appropriate, not only the public but
the private property of all citizens within the territorial sovereignty, to public purpose." To be valid, the taking
must be for public use. The meaning of the term "public use" has evolved over time in response to changing
public needs and exigencies. "Public use" has now been RULING to be synonymous with "public interest,"
"public benefit," and "public convenience."
Therefore, it is essential that the element of public use of the property be maintained throughout the
proceedings for expropriation. The expropriator should commit to use the property pursuant to the purpose
stated in the petition for expropriation filed, failing which, it should file another petition for the new purpose. If
not, it is then incumbent upon the expropriator to return the said property to its private owner, if the latter
desires to reacquire the same. Otherwise, the judgment of expropriation suffers an intrinsic flaw, as it would
lack one indispensable element for the proper exercise of the power of eminent domain, namely, the particular
public purpose for which the property will be devoted.
Indeed, public use is the fundamental basis for the action for expropriation; hence, NAPOCORs motion to
discontinue the proceedings is warranted and should be granted. NAPOCOR seeks to discontinue the
expropriation proceedings on the ground that the transmission lines constructed on the respondents property
had already been retired. Verily, the retirement of the transmission lines necessarily stripped the expropriation
proceedings of the element of public use. To continue with the expropriation proceedings despite the definite
cessation of the public purpose of the project would result in the rendition of an invalid judgment in favor of
the expropriator due to the absence of the essential element of public use.

Yinlu Bicol Mining Corporation vs. Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corporation
G.R. No. 207942, January 12, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
Rights pertaining to mining patents issued pursuant to the Philippine Bill of 1902 and existing prior to
November 15, 1935 are vested rights that cannot be impaired.
FACTS:
This case involves 13 mining claims over the area located in Barrio Larap, Municipality of Jose Panganiban,
Camarines Norte, a portion of which was owned and mined by Philippine Iron Mines, Inc. (PIMI), which
ceased operations in 1975 due to financial losses. PIMI's portion (known as the PIMI Larap Mines) was sold in
a foreclosure sale to the Manila Banking Corporation (MBC) and Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank
(PCIB, later Banco De Oro, or BD0).
In 1976, the Gold Mining Development Project Team, Mining Technology Division, The Mining Group of the
Bureau of Mines prepared a so-called Technical Feasibility Study on the Possible Re-Opening of the CPMI
Project of PIM (Mining Aspect) and the Exploration Program (Uranium Project) at Larap, Jose Panganiban,
Camarines Norte, discussed an evaluation of the ore reserve and a plan of operation to restore the mine to
normal commercial mining production and budgetary estimate should the Bureau of Mines take over and run
the PIMI Larap Mines. The Government then opened the area for exploration. In November 1978, the Benguet
Corporation-Getty Oil Consortium began exploration for uranium under an Exploration Permit of the area, but
withdrew in 1982 after four years of sustained and earnest exploration.2
Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corporation (Trans-Asia) then explored the area from 1986 onwards.
In 1996, it entered into an operating agreement with Philex Mining Corporation over the area, their agreement
being duly registered by the Mining Recorder Section of Regional Office No. V of the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). In 1997, Trans-Asia filed an application for the approval of

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Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA)3 over the area in that Regional Office of the DENR, through
the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), in Daraga, Albay. The application, which was amended in 1999,
was granted on July28, 2007 under MPSA No. 252-2007-V, by which Trans-Asia was given the exclusive right
to explore, develop and utilize the mineral deposits in the portion of the mineral lands.
On August 31, 2007, Yinlu Bicol Mining Corporation (Yinlu) informed the DENR by letter that it had acquired
the mining patents of PIMI from MBC/BDO by way of a deed of absolute sale, stating that the areas covered by
its mining patents were within the areas of Trans-Asias MPSA. Based on the documents submitted by Yinlu,
four of the six transfer certificates of title (TCTs) it RULING covered four mining claims under Patent Nos. 15,
16, 17 and 18 respectively named as Busser, Superior, Bussamer and Rescue Placer Claims, with an aggregate
area of 192 hectares. The areas covered occupied more than half of the MPSA area of Trans-Asia.
On September 14, 2007, Trans-Asia informed Yinlu by letter that it would commence exploration works in
Yinlus areas pursuant to the MPSA, and requested Yinlu to allow its personnel to access the areas for the
works to be undertaken. On September 23, 2007, Yinlu replied that Trans-Asia could proceed with its
exploration works on its own private property in the Calambayungan area, not in the areas covered by its
(Yinlu) mining patents.6 This response of Yinlu compelled Trans-Asia to seek the assistance of the MGB
Regional Office V in resolving the issues between the parties. It was at that point that Trans-Asia learned that
the registration of its MPSA had been put on hold because of Yinlus request to register the deed of absolute
sale in its favor.

ISSUE: Whether the appeal was taken beyond the required period.

RULING:
Tardiness of Trans-Asias Appeal
Yinlu contends that the CA should have outrightly dismissed TransAsias appeal for being taken beyond the
required period for appealing; and that Trans-Asias filing of the second motion for reconsideration was
improper inasmuch as the motion did not cite any exceptional circumstances or reasons as required by Section
7 of the OPs Administrative Order No. 18 Series of 1987.26
The contention of Yinlu is correct.
Section 1,27 Rule 43 of the Rules of Court provides that a judgment rendered by the OP in the exercise of its
quasi-judicial function is appealable to the CA. Section 428 of the Rule states that the appeal must be taken
within 15 days "from notice of the award, judgment, final order or resolution, or from the date of its
lastpublication, if publication is required by law for its effectivity, or of the denial of petitioners motion for
new trial or reconsideration x x x."
Trans-Asia received a copy of the OP resolution dated June 29, 2010 denying the first motion for
reconsideration on July 14, 2010.29 Hence, it had until July 29, 2010 to appeal to the CA by petition for
review. However, it filed the petition for review only on May 11, 2011,30 or nearly 10 months from its receipt
of the denial. Under the circumstances, its petition for review was filed way beyond the prescribed 15-day
period.

Fortune Life Insurance Company Inc. vs. Commission on Audit


January 27, 2015 | G.R. No. 213525
BERSAMIN, J.:
The reglementary periods under Rule 42 and Rule 64 are different. In the former, the aggrieved party is
allowed 15 days to file the petition for review from receipt of the assailed decision or final order, or from
receipt of the denial of a motion for new trial or reconsideration. In the latter, the petition is filed within 30
days from notice of the judgment or final order or resolution sought to be reviewed.
FACTS:
Respondent Provincial Government of Antique and the petitioner executed a memorandum of agreement
concerning the life insurance coverage of qualified barangay secretaries, treasurers and tanod, the former
obligating P4,393,593.60 for the premium payment, and subsequently submitting the corresponding
disbursement voucher to COA-Antique for pre-audit. The latter office disallowed the payment for lack of legal
basis under Republic Act No. 7160 (Local Government Code). Respondent LGU appealed but its appeal was
denied. Consequently, the petitioner filed its petition for money claim in the COA. On November 15, 2012, the
COA issued its decision denying the petition. The petitioner received a copy of the COA decision on December
14, 2012, and filed its motion for reconsideration on January 14, 2013. However, the COA denied the motion,
the denial being received by the petitioner on July 14, 2014.

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ISSUE: Whether or not Fresh period under Neypes applies to petition for certiorari under Rule 64

RULING: No
Fresh Period Rule under Neypes did not apply to the petition for certiorari under Rule 64 of the Rules of
Court
The petitioner posits that the fresh period rule applies because its Rule 64 petition is akin to a petition for
review brought under Rule 42 of the Rules of Court; hence, conformably with the fresh period rule, the period
to file a Rule 64 petition should also be reckoned from the receipt of the order denying the motion for
reconsideration or the motion for new trial. The petitioners position cannot be sustained. There is no parity
between the petition for review under Rule 42 and the petition for certiorari under Rule 64.
As to the nature of the procedures, Rule 42 governs an appeal from the judgment or final order rendered by the
Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. Such appeal is on a question of fact, or of law,
or of mixed question of fact and law, and is given due course only upon a prima facie showing that the
Regional Trial Court committed an error of fact or law warranting the reversal or modification of the
challenged judgment or final order. In contrast, the petition for certiorari under Rule 64 is similar to the petition
for certiorari under Rule 65, and assails a judgment or final order of the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC), or the Commission on Audit (COA). The petition is not designed to correct only errors of
jurisdiction, not errors of judgment. Questions of fact cannot be raised except to determine whether the
COMELEC or the COA were guilty of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
The reglementary periods under Rule 42 and Rule 64 are different. In the former, the aggrieved party is allowed
15 days to file the petition for review from receipt of the assailed decision or final order, or from receipt of the
denial of a motion for new trial or reconsideration. In the latter, the petition is filed within 30 days from notice
of the judgment or final order or resolution sought to be reviewed. The filing of a motion for new trial or
reconsideration, if allowed under the procedural rules of the Commission concerned, interrupts the period;
hence, should the motion be denied, the aggrieved party may file the petition within the remaining period,
which shall not be less than five days in any event, reckoned from the notice of denial.
The petitioner filed its motion for reconsideration on January 14, 2013, which was 31 days after receiving the
assailed decision of the COA on December 14, 2012. Pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 64, it had only five days
from receipt of the denial of its motion for reconsideration to file the petition. Considering that it received the
notice of the denial on July 14, 2014, it had only until July 19, 2014 to file the petition. However, it filed the
petition on August 13, 2014, which was 25 days too late. The belated filing of the petition for certiorari under
Rule 64 on the belief that the fresh period rule should apply was fatal to the recourse. As such, the petitioner
herein should suffer the same fate for having wrongly assumed that the fresh period rule under Neypes applied.
Rules of procedure may be relaxed only to relieve a litigant of an injustice that is not commensurate with the
degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying with the prescribed procedure. Absent this reason for liberality,
the petition cannot be allowed to prosper.

Berlinda Oribello vs. Court of Appeals and Remedios Oribello


August 5, 2015 | G.R. No. 163504
BERSAMIN, J.:
To accord with the nature of the remedy of judicial partition, there are two stages defined under Rule 69 of the
Rules of Court. The first relates to the determination of the rights of the parties to the property held in common.
The second concerns the physical segregation of each party's just share in the property held in common. The
second stage need not be gone into should the parties agree on the physical partition.
FACTS:
Before RTC of La Union was an action for partition and damages involving twelve parcels of land. Eight was
in the name of Toribio Oribello, two in the names of Toribio and Rosenda Oribello, one in the names of Toribio
and and Berlinda Padilla Oribello, and one in the names of Toribio and Ma. Emilia Oribello. Toribio was twice
married. His first wife was Emilia. Toribio's marriage to Emilia was dissolved pursuant to the decision of the
Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento, U.S.A. Toribio married appellee before the municipal
mayor of Agoo, La Union. He died intestate on August 18, 1993. Instituted on May 27, 1997 by Remedios
Oribello, represented by her natural father Alfredo Selga, against appellee, the action was anchored on the
theory that appellant is an adopted daughter of Toribio. Denying that appellant is an adopted daughter of

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Toribio, appellee averred in her answer that the decree of adoption was fraudulently secured by Alfredo. RTC
rendered its Judgment after trial. CA vacated and remanded the case to the lower court.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent was able to prove that she was entitled to partition

RULING:
The respondent did not discharge her burden of proof as the plaintiff to show that she was entitled to the
partition
RTC correctly ruled against the right of respondent Remedios Oribello to demand the partition of the real
property belonging to the late Tomas Oribello on the ground that she had not substantiated her right to the
partition by preponderance of evidence. The proceeding under Rule 69 of the Rules of Court is a judicial
controversy between persons who, being co-owners or coparceners of common property, seek to secure a
division or partition thereof among themselves, giving to each one of them the part corresponding to him. The
object of partition is to enable those who own property as joint tenants, or co-owners, or tenants in common to
put an end to the joint tenancy so as to vest in each a sole estate in specific property or an allotment in the lands
or tenements.
To accord with the nature of the remedy of judicial partition, there are two stages defined under Rule 69 of the
Rules of Court. The first relates to the determination of the rights of the parties to the property held in common.
The second concerns the physical segregation of each party's just share in the property held in common. The
second stage need not be gone into should the parties agree on the physical partition.
The first stage of an action for judicial partition and/or accounting is concerned with the determination of
whether or not a co-ownership in fact exists and a partition is proper, that is, it is not otherwise legally
proscribed and may be made by voluntary agreement of all the parties interested in the property. This phase
may end in a declaration that plaintiff is not entitled to the desired partition either because a co-ownership does
not exist or a partition is legally prohibited. It may also end, on the other hand, with an adjudgment that a co-
ownership does in truth exist, that partition is proper in the premises, and that an accounting of rents and profits
received by the defendant from the real estate in question is in order. In the latter case, "the parties may, if they
are able to agree, make partition among themselves by proper instruments of conveyance, and the court shall
confirm the partition so agreed upon by all the parties." In either case, whether the action is dismissed or
partition and/or accounting is decreed, the order is a final one and may be appealed by any party aggrieved
thereby.
The second stage commences when the parties are unable to agree upon the partition ordered by the court. In
that event, partition shall be effected for the parties by the court with the assistance of not more than three (3)
commissioners. This second phase may also deal with the rendition of the accounting itself and its approval by
the Court after the parties have been accorded the opportunity to be heard thereon, and an award for the
recovery by the party or parties thereto entitled of their just shares in the rents and profits of the real estate in
question. Such an order is, to be sure, also final and appealable.
In this case, the declaration of the CA in favor of Remedios Oribello was factually unwarranted. As the
plaintiff, she had the burden of proof, as the party demanding the partition of property, to establish her right to a
share in the property by preponderance of evidence, but she failed to provide the factual basis of her right to the
partition warranted the dismissal of her claim for judicial partition. RTC correctly found that Remedios
Oribello did not satisfactorily establish her co-ownership of the properties left by the late Toribio Oribello.

The City of Iloilo, represented by Hon. Mayor Jerry Treas vs. Hon. Judge Rene Honrado, Presiding
Judge of RTC Branch 29 Iloilo City and JPV Motor Vehicle Emission Testing and Car Care Center
December 9, 2015 | G.R. No. 160399
BERSAMIN, J.:
A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or
final order requiring a party or a court, an agency, or a person to refrain from a particular act or acts. Its
essential role is preservative of the rights of the parties in order to protect the ability of the court to render a
meaningful decision, or in order to guard against a change of circumstances that will hamper or prevent the
granting of the proper relief after the trial on the merits.
FACTS:
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) issued Department Order No. 2002-31 with
the subject "AUTHORIZATION OF PRIVATE EMISSION TESTING CENTERS". Item No. 2 of Department
Order No. 2002-31 stated that To ensure that "cut throat" or "ruinous" competition, that may result to the

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degradation of level of service of the project is avoided, authorization of PETC should strictly be rationalized
taking into consideration the vehicle population expected to be serviced in the area. As basis, one (1) PETC
lane shall be authorized for every 15,000 registered vehicles in an LTO Registering District
JPV Motor Vehicle Emission Testing and Car Care Center (JPV), a partnership authorized to operate a PETC
in Iloilo City, was granted a capacity of four lanes that could cater to 15,000 motor vehicles per lane for the
total capacity of 60,000 motor vehicles. At the time JPV filed the complaint to prevent the petitioner from
acting on the pending application for the operation of another Private Emission Testing Center (PETC) in Iloilo
City. Accordingly, JPV averred in its complaint that there was no need for another PETC because it already had
the capability to serve all the registered motor vehicles in Iloilo City pursuant to Department Order No. 2002-
31. Through its answer, the petitioner contested the injunctive relief being sought by JPV, insisting that such
relief, if issued, would result into a monopoly on the part of JPV in the operation of a PETC; that the writ of
injunction would prevent the exercise by the City Mayor of his discretionary power to issue or not to issue
business permits; and that JPV did not establish the existence of its right in esse to be protected by the writ of
injunction.
Grahar Emission Testing Center (Grahar), another PETC operator with a pending application for a
business/mayor's permit to operate its own PETC in Iloilo City, sought leave of court to intervene. Although it
allowed the intervention of Grahar on June 24, 2003, the RTC nonetheless issued the assailed order granting the
application of JPV for the writ of preliminary injunction.

ISSUE: Whether or not RTC erred in granting the application of the writ of preliminary injunction

RULING: Yes
A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or
final order requiring a party or a court, an agency, or a person to refrain from a particular act or acts. Its
essential role is preservative of the rights of the parties in order to protect the ability of the court to render a
meaningful decision, or in order to guard against a change of circumstances that will hamper or prevent the
granting of the proper relief after the trial on the merits. Another essential role is preventive of the threats to
cause irreparable harm or injury to a party before the litigation could be resolved. Generally, injunction, being a
preservative remedy for the protection of substantive rights or interests, is not a cause of action in itself but
merely a provisional remedy, an adjunct to a main suit.
Section 3, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court set the guidelines for when the issuance of a writ of preliminary
injunction is justified, namely: (a) when the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part
of such relief consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the act or acts complained of, or in
requiring the performance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually; or (b) when the
commission, continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of during the litigation would
probably work injustice to the applicant; or (c) when a party, court, agency or a person is doing, threatening, or
is attempting to do, or is procuring or suffering to be done, some act or acts probably in violation of the rights
of the applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding, and tending to render the judgment
ineffectual. The prevailing rule is that courts should avoid issuing a writ of preliminary injunction which would
in effect dispose of the main case without trial.
Such granting of JPV's application already amounted to the virtual acceptance of JPV's alleged entitlement to
preventing the petitioner from considering and passing upon the applications of other parties to operate their
own PETC in Iloilo City based on JPV's still controversial capability to serve all the registered motor vehicles
in Iloilo City pursuant to Department Order No. 2002-31. The granting amounted to the prejudgment of the
merits of the case, something the RTC could not validly do. It apparently forgot that the function of the writ of
preliminary injunction was not to determine the merits of the case, or to decide controverted tacts, because an
interlocutory injunction was but a preliminary and preparatory order that still looked to a future final hearing,
and, although contemplating what the result of that hearing would be, it should not settle what the result should
be.
Thus, the RTC did not exercise its broad discretion soundly because it blatantly violated the right to be heard of
the petitioner, whose right to substantiate its defense of the power to regulate businesses within its territorial
jurisdiction should be fully recognized. It also violated the right to be heard of the intervenor Grahar, whose
intervention in the suit was granted only on the same date of June 24, 2003. To stress yet again, the main relief
could not be resolved without receiving the evidence of all the parties that would settle the contested facts.

Jose Sanico vs. People of the Philippines

42

G.R. No. 198753, March 25, 2015


BERSAMIN, J.:
The failure to file the memorandum on appeal is a ground for the RTC to dismiss the appeal ONLY in civil
cases. The same rule does not apply in criminal cases, because Section 9(c) Rule 122, imposes on the RTC the
duty to decide the appeal on the basis of the entire record of the case and of such memoranda or briefs as may
have been filed upon the submission of the appellate memoranda or briefs, or upon the expiration of the
period to file the same.
FACTS:
Petitioner Sanican and Batiquin were convicted for Violation of Section 103 of Republic Act No. 7942
otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. The two were criminally charged for trespassing and
theft of minerals before the MTC-CarmenSogod- Cebu. However, the accused were declared not guilty for
failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Consequently, Sanicos counsel filed a
notice of appeal in the MCTC. Then, RTC ordered Sanico to file his memorandum on appeal. Sanico did not
comply; hence, the RTC dismissed the appeal on the ground of failure to file a memorandum on appeal with
prejudice. Atty. Caete, another lawyer acting for Sanico, filed a MR vis--vis the dismissal of the appeal,
stating that Sanico had not filed the memorandum on appeal because he had been beset with problems due to
his wifes debilitating illness, as well as his first counsel, Atty. Barings own medical condition which caused
her to forget how she got this case and whom to contact as principal counsel hereof. RTC denied the MR. CA:
Affirmed. In the meantime, respondent filed an Ex Parte Motion for Entry of Judgment, which the RTC
authorized the issuance. Sanico filed an omnibus motion to recall the order and to quash the entry of judgment,
but the RTC denied. The entry of judgment was issued; the writ of execution; and that execution sales covering
several personal properties of the petitioner were made, and the certificates of sale were issued in favor of
Tenio.

ISSUE: Whether CA committed reversible error in not nullifying the RTCs order dismissing the appeal for
failure to file a memorandum

RULING:
Both RTC and CA were guilty of the prejudicial error of misapplying the Rules of Court in its dismissal of the
appeal timely made by the petitioner. In dismissing the appeal for the sole reason that he did not file the
memorandum on appeal, the RTC wrongly relied on Section 7, Rule 40 of the Rules of Court, which authorizes
the dismissal of the appeal once the appellant fails to file the memorandum on appeal. While, CA erroneously
upheld the RTC.
The failure to file the memorandum on appeal is a ground for the RTC to dismiss the appeal ONLY in civil
cases. The same rule does not apply in criminal cases, because Section 9(c) Rule 122, imposes on the RTC the
duty to decide the appeal on the basis of the entire record of the case and of such memoranda or briefs as may
have been filed upon the submission of the appellate memoranda or briefs, or upon the expiration of the period
to file the same. Hence, the dismissal of the petitioners appeal cannot be properly premised on the failure to
file the memorandum on appeal. Having timely perfected his appeal by filing the notice of appeal in the
MCTC, the petitioner was entitled to expect that the RTC would resolve his appeal in due course, whether he
filed his memorandum on appeal or not. The unwarranted dismissal of the appeal by the RTC was, therefore, an
outright denial of due process to him in a manner that occasioned severe prejudice because his conviction was
not reviewed despite his first-time appeal being a matter of right, and because his conviction was then declared
to have attained finality, causing the execution of the decision as to its civil aspect.

Sps. Benito Baysa and Victoria Baysa vs. Sps. Fidel Plantilla and Susan Plantilla
G.R. No. 159271, July 13, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
FACTS:
Plaintiffs-spouses executed a real estate mortgage involving their parcel of land in Cubao, Quezon City in favor
of the defendants-spouses to secure the payment of their of their indebtedness in the principal sum of
Php2,300,000. Based on the terms of the REM, the plaintiffs agreed to pay interest on the principal amount at
the rate of 2.5%/month, or P57,500.00/month. This parcel of land including the improvements is worth P15
million. They suffered business reverses and difficulty in collection so they became irregular in the monthly
payment of the agreed interest and for late payment they were charged 8% interest per month. Upon the default

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of the petitioners, the respondent spouses commenced the extrajudicial foreclosure of the REM to recover from
the petitioners the total liability of P3,579, 100.00 (inclusive of the principal and the unpaid interest).
The plaintiffs sued the respondent spouses in RTC Quezon City to annul the extrajudicial foreclosure of the
REM and the public auction conducted pursuant to the extrajudicial foredosure. They alleged that all the
proceedings relevant to the extrajudicial foreclosure were null and void, pointing out that there had been no
power or authority to sell inserted in the REM or attached thereto as required by Section 1 Act No. 3135.
The RTC dismissed the case. It explained that the deed of real estate mortgage expressly states the consent of
the mortgagors to the extra-judicial foreclosure of the mortgaged property in the event of non-payment.
Aggrieved, the plaintiffs appealed. The CA promulgated the assailed judgment, affirming the validity of the
foreclosure proceedings. It was explained that the extrajudicial foreclosure was not visited with vice for failure
of the mortgagor in the mortgage deed to grant special power to sell the property in favor of the mortgagee. It
suffices that the mortgage document empowers the mortgagee to extrajudicially foreclose the property. Such
authority carries with it the grant of power to sell the property at a public auction.

ISSUE: Whether the extrajudicial foreclosure was valid despite the lack of provision in the mortgage deed
granting special power to sell to the mortgagee?

RULING:
The CA is in error when it affirms the decision of the RTC that the extra judicial foreclosure as valid under
Section 1 of Act No. 3135. Accordingly, to enable the extra judicial foreclosure of the REM of the petitioners,
the special power to sell should have been either inserted in the REM itself or embodied in a separate
instrument attached to the REM. But it is not disputed that no special power to sell was either inserted in the
REM or attached to the REM. Hence, the respondent spouses must resort to judicial foreclosure pursuant to the
procedure set forth in Rule 68 of the Rules of Court.
CAs decision was based on paragraph 13 of REM, in the event of non-payment of the entire principal and
accrued interest due under the conditions described in this paragraph, the mortgagors expressly and specifically
agree to the extra-judicial foreclosure of the mortgaged property.
The petitioners evidently agreed only to the holding of the extrajudicial foreclosure should they default in their
obligations. Their agreement was a mere expression of their amenability to extrajudicial foreclosure as the
means of foreclosing the mortgage, and did not constitute the special power or authority to sell the mortgaged
property to enable the mortgagees to recover the unpaid obligations. What was necessary was the special power
or authority to sell that authorized the respondent spouses to sell in the public auction their mortgaged property.
Since the sale of the property by virtue of the extrajudicial foreclosure would be made through the sheriff, there
must be a written authority, otherwise, the sale would be void. And pursuant to Article 1878, (5), of the Civil
Code, a special power of attorney was necessary for entering "into any contract by which the ownership of an
immovable is transmitted or acquired either gratuitously or for a valuable consideration," the written authority
must be a special power of attorney to sell.

Heirs of Arturo Garcia I vs. Municipality of Iba, Zambales


G. R. No. 162217, July 22, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
An appeal brings up for review any error of judgment committed by a court with jurisdiction over the subject of
the suit and over the persons of the parties, or any error committed by the court in the exercise of its
jurisdiction amounting to nothing more than an error of judgment.
FACTS:
The late Melecio R. Bueno was the tenant-farmer beneficiary of an agricultural land located in Poblacion, Iba,
Zambales. On October 18, 1999, he brought an ejectment suit in the MTC of Iba against the Municipality of
Iba, Province of Zambales, claiming that in 1983, the Municipality of Iba had constructed the public market on
a substantial portion of his land without his consent; and that his repeated demands for the Municipality of Iba
to vacate the property had remained unheeded. After due proceedings, the MTC ruled in favor of Bueno.
Thence, the Municipality of Iba filed its notice of appeal, but the MTC denied due course to the notice of
appeal. Thus, the Municipality of Iba filed its petition for certiorari in the RTC in Iba, Zambales to assail the
denial of due course by the MTC. The case was assigned to Branch 69 which ultimately granted the petition for
certiorari. The petitioners, who meanwhile substituted Bueno upon his death, moved for the reconsideration of
the judgment granting the petition for certiorari, but the RTC denied their motion for reconsideration.
Aggrieved, the petitioners appealed to the CA by petition for review under Rule 42 of the Rules of Court.

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ISSUE: Whether the dismissal is proper for being not the proper mode of appeal

RULING:
An appeal brings up for review any error of judgment committed by a court with jurisdiction over the subject of
the suit and over the persons of the parties, or any error committed by the court in the exercise of its jurisdiction
amounting to nothing more than an error of judgment. It is very crucial to be cognizant of the different modes
of appeal. Pursuant to Section 2, Rule 41 of the Rules of Court which states that xxx the appeal to the Court of
Appeals in cases decided by the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction shall be taken by
filing a notice of appeal xxxin conjunction with Section 3 and Section 4 of Rule 41, the petitioners should
have filed a notice of appeal in the RTC within the period of 15 days from their notice of the judgment of the
RTC, and within the same period should have paid to the clerk of the RTC the full amount of the appellate
court docket and other lawful fees. The filing of the notice of appeal within the period allowed by the Rules sets
in motion the remedy of ordinary appeal because the appeal is deemed perfected. It is upon the perfection of the
appeal filed in due time, and the expiration of the time to appeal of the other parties that the RTC shall lose
jurisdiction over the case. On the other hand, the non-payment of the appellate court docket fee within the
reglementary period as required by Section 4, is both mandatory and jurisdictional, the non compliance with
which is fatal to the appeal, and is a ground to dismiss the appeal under Section 1, ( c), Rule 50 of the Rules of
Court. The compliance with these requirements was the only way by which they could have perfected their
appeal from the adverse judgment of the RTC. In contrast, an appeal filed under Rule 42 is deemed perfected as
to the petitioner upon the timely filing of the petition for review before the CA, while the RTC shall lose
jurisdiction upon perfection thereof and the expiration of the time to appeal of the other parties.
The appeal by notice of appeal under Rule 41 is a matter or right, but the appeal by petition for review under
Rule 42 is a matter of discretion. The procedure taken after the perfection of an appeal under Rule 41 also
significantly differs from that taken under Rule 42. Under Section 10 of Rule 41, the clerk of court of the RTC
is burdened to immediately undertake the transmittal of the records by verifying the correctness and
completeness of the records of the case; the transmittal to the CA must be made within 30 days from the
perfection of the appeal. This requirement of transmittal of the records does not arise under Rule 42, except
upon order of the CA when deemed necessary. As borne out in the foregoing, the petitioners' resort to the
petition for review under Rule 42 was wrong. Hence, the CA did not err in denying due course to the petition
for review. The plea for liberality is unworthy of any sympathy from the Court. As the parties invoking the
privilege, the petitioners should have faithfully complied with the requirements of the Rules of Court. Their
failure to do so forfeited their privilege to appeal.

Bpi Family Savings Bank vs. Sps. Benedicto & Teresita Yujuico
G.R. No. 175796, July 22, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
An action to recover the deficiency after extrajudicial foreclosure of a real property mortgage is a personal
action because it does not affect title to or possession of real property, or any interest therein.
FACTS:
City of Manila filed a complaint against the respondents for the expropriation of five parcels of land located in
Tondo, Manila and registered in the name of respondent Teresita Yujuico. Two of the parcels of land, covered
by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 261331 and TCT No. 261332, were previously mortgaged to
Citytrust Banking Corporation, the petitioners predecessor-in-interest, under a First Real Estate Mortgage
Contract. Regional Trial Court in Manila (Manila RTC) rendered its judgment declaring the five parcels of land
expropriated for public use. The judgment became final and executory on January 28, 2001 and was entered in
the book of entries of judgment. The petitioner subsequently filed a Motion to Intervene in Execution with
Partial Opposition to Defendants Request to Release, but the RTC denied the motion for having been filed
out of time. Hence, the petitioner decided to extrajudicially foreclose the mortgage constituted on the two
parcels of land subject of the respondents loan. After holding the public auction, the sheriff awarded the two
lots to the petitioner as the highest bidder at P10,000,000.00. Claiming a deficiency amounting to
P18,522.155.42, the petitioner sued the respondents to recover such deficiency in the Makati RTC (Civil Case
No. 03-450). The respondents moved to dismiss the complaint on several grounds, namely: that the suit was
barred by res judicata; that the complaint stated no cause of action; and that the plaintiffs claim had been
waived, abandoned, or extinguished.

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ISSUE: Whether or not CA erred when it ruled the case filed by BPI should be dismissed on the ground of
improper venue

RULING:
It is basic that the venue of an action depends on whether it is a real or a personal action. According to Section
1, Rule 4 of the Rules of Court, a real action is one that affects title to or possession of real property, or an
interest therein. The real action is to be commenced and tried in the proper court having jurisdiction over the
area wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated. In contrast, the Rules of Court declares
all other actions as personal actions. The venue of a personal action is the place where the plaintiff or any of the
principal plaintiffs resides, or where the defendant or any of the principal defendants resides, or in the case of a
nonresident defendant where he may be found, at the election of the plaintiff.
Based on the distinctions between real and personal actions, an action to recover the deficiency after the
extrajudicial foreclosure of the real property mortgage is a personal action, for it does not affect title to or
possession of real property, or any interest therein.
Given the foregoing, the petitioner correctly brought the case in the Makati RTC because Makati was the place
where the main office of the petitioner was located.
Moreover the Court agreed with the RTC that it would be improper to dismiss the case on the ground of
improper venue, assuming that the venue had been improperly laid, considering that the respondents had not
raised such ground in their Motion to Dismiss. We underscore that in civil proceedings, venue is procedural,
not jurisdictional, and may be waived by the defendant if not seasonably raised either in a motion to dismiss or
in the answer. Section 1, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court thus expressly stipulates that defenses and objections not
pleaded either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer are deemed waived.

Grace Insigne et al vs. Abra Valley Colleges Inc.


G.R. No. 204089, July 29, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
In civil cases, the party having the burden of proof must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence.
Thus, the party, whether the plaintiff or the defendant, who asserts the affirmative of an issue bears the onus to
prove his assertion in order to obtain a favorable judgment. From the plaintiff the burden to prove his positive
assertions never parts.
FACTS:
Petitioners Grace Borgoa Insigne, Diosdado Borgoa, Osbourne Borgoa, Imelda Borgoa Rivera, Aristotle
Borgoa are siblings of the full blood. Respondent Francis Borgoa (Francis) is their older half-blood brother.
The petitioners are the children of the late Pedro Borgoa (Pedro) by his second wife, Teresita Valeros, while
Francis was Pedros son by his first wife, Humvelina Avila. In his lifetime, Pedro was the founder, president
and majority stockholder of respondent Abra Valley Colleges, Inc. (Abra Valley), a stock corporation. After
Pedros death, Francis succeeded him as the president of Abra Valley. On March 26, 2002, the petitioners,
along with their brother Romulo Borgoa and Elmer Reyes, filed a complaint (with application for preliminary
injunction) and damages in the RTC against Abra Valley praying, among others, that the RTC direct Abra
Valley to allow them to inspect its corporate books and records, and the minutes of meetings, and to provide
them with its financial statements. Due to Abra Valleys failure to file its responsive pleading within the
reglementary period provided in the Interim Rules of Procedure Governing Intra-Corporate Controversies, the
RTC rendered judgment in favor of the petitioners.

ISSUE: Whether the Court is correct when it ruled that the burden of proving the stock ownership lies with the
petitioners? Whether the lower court properly dismissed the case on the ground of the petitioners failure to
comply with the order issued by the RTC to produce stock certificates?

RULING:
In civil cases, the party having the burden of proof must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence.
Thus, the party, whether the plaintiff or the defendant, who asserts the affirmative of an issue bears the onus to
prove his assertion in order to obtain a favorable judgment. From the plaintiff the burden to prove his positive
assertions never parts. Yet, for the defendant, an affirmative defense is one that is not a denial of an essential
ingredient in the plaintiffs cause of action, but rather one that, if established, will be a good defense i.e., an
"avoidance" of the claim. Being the parties who filed the Motion for Preliminary Hearing of Special and
Affirmative Defenses, the respondents bore the burden of proof to establish that the petitioners were not

46

stockholders of Abra Valley. The respondents assertion therein, albeit negative, partook of a good defense that,
if established, would result to their avoidance of the claim.
To establish their stock ownership, the petitioners actually turned over to the trial court through their
Compliance and Manifestation submitted various documents showing their ownership of Abra Valleys shares,
specifically: the official receipts of their payments for their subscriptions of the shares of Abra Valley; and the
copies duly certified by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stating that Abra Valley had issued
shares in favor of the petitioners, such as the issuance of part of authorized and unissued capital stock; the
secretarys certificate; and the general information sheet. They were able to show that the respondents had
allowed the petitioners to become members of the Board of Directors according to the Minutes of the Annual
Meeting of Directors and Stockholders of the Abra Valley College of January 29, 1989. Section 23 of the
Corporation Code requires every director to be the holder of at least one share of capital stock of the
corporation of which he is a director, the respondents would not have then allowed any of the petitioners to be
elected to sit in the Board of Directors as members unless they believed that the petitioners so elected were not
disqualified for lack of stock ownership.
Under the circumstances, the dismissal of the case on the basis that "the documents presented are not Stock
Certificates as boldly announced by the plaintiffs counsel, hence, plaintiffs failed to comply with the order of
the Court dated March 8, 2010" was unwarranted and unreasonable. Although Section 3, Rule 17 of the Rules
of Court expressly empowers the trial court to dismiss the complaint motu proprio or upon motion of the
defendant if, for no justifiable cause, the plaintiff fails to comply with any order of the court, the power to
dismiss is not to wielded indiscriminately, but only when the non-compliance constitutes a willful violation of
an order of consequence to the action. As we have seen, however, the dismissal of the case by virtue of Section
3, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court should be undone because the petitioners production of the stock certificates
was rendered superfluous by their submission of other competent means of establishing their shareholdings in
Abra Valley.

Nilo Chiongian vs. Victoria Benitez-Lirio et al


G.R. No. 162692, August 26, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
Pursuant to Sec. 2(a), Rule 41, the proper mode of appealing a judgment or final order in special proceedings
is by notice of appeal and record on appeal. Under Section 3 of Rule 41, a party who wants to appeal a
judgment or final order in special proceedings has 30 days from notice of the judgment or final order within
which to perfect an appeal because he will be filing not only a notice of appeal but also a record on appeal that
will require the approval of the trial court with notice to the adverse party. The period of appeal shall be
interrupted by a timely motion for new trial or reconsideration.
FACTS:
The late Vicente Benitez was married to Isabel Chipongian, the petitioner's sister. Isabel had predeceased
Vicente, who died on November 13, 1989. The couple had no offspring. On July 20, 1982, after the death of
Isabel, Vicente and the petitioner had executed a deed of extrajudicial settlement respecting the estate of Isabel,
whereby the latter waived all his rights to the estate of Isabel in favor of Vicente. According to the petitioner,
however, Vicente executed an affidavit on the same date whereby he affirmed that the waiver did not extend to
the paraphernal properties of Isabel. Upon the death of Vicente, Victoria Benitez Lirio (Victoria), a sister of
Vicente, and Feodor Benitez Aguilar (Feodor), a nephew of Vicente, initiated proceedings for the settlement of
the estate of Vicente in RTC. RTC appointed Feodor the administrator of Vicentes estate and issued the letters
of administration to Feodor. The petitioner intervened in Special Proceedings No. SP-797. Feodor countered
with the request that he be allowed to continue to administer all the properties left by Vicente, including the
paraphernal properties of Isabel. Petitioner specifically moved for the exclusion of the paraphernal properties of
Isabel from Vicentes estate. However, he withdrew the motion even before the RTC could rule on it. Instead,
he filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene and to Admit Complaint-in-Intervention.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner timely filed his appeal

RULING:
First, Section 1 of Rule 41 enunciates the final judgment rule by providing that an appeal "may be taken from a
judgment or final order that completely disposes of the case or of a particular matter therein when declared by
these Rules to be appealable." In the context of the final judgment rule, Section 1 of Rule 109 does not limit the
appealable orders and judgments in special proceedings to the final order or judgment rendered in the main

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case, but extends the remedy of appeal to other orders or dispositions that completely determine a particular
matter in the case, such as when it allows or disallows, in whole or in part, any claim against the estate of a
deceased person, or any claim presented on behalf of the estate in offset to a claim against it; and when it
constitutes, in proceedings relating to the settlement of the estate of a deceased person, or the administration of
a trustee or guardian, a final determination in the lower court of the rights of the party appealing, except that no
appeal shall be allowed from the appointment of a special administrator. In the case at bar, when the petitioner
intervened in the Special Proceedings, his complaint-in-intervention, once admitted by the RTC, became part of
the main case, rendering any final disposition thereof subject to the rules specifically applicable to special
proceedings, including Rule 109 of the Rules of Court. The dismissal of the petitioner's intervention constituted
"a final determination in the lower court of the rights of the party appealing," that is, his right in the paraphernal
properties of his deceased sister. As such, it fell under Section 1 or Rule 109, because it had the effect of
disallowing his claim against the estate of Vicente, and because it was a final determination in the trial court of
his intervention. Conformably, the dismissal was the proper subject of an appeal in due course by virtue of its
nature of completely disposing of his intervention.
Further, pursuant to Sec. 2(a), Rule 41, the proper mode of appealing a judgment or final order in special
proceedings is by notice of appeal and record on appeal. Under Section 3 of Rule 41, a party who wants to
appeal a judgment or final order in special proceedings has 30 days from notice of the judgment or final order
within which to perfect an appeal because he will be filing not only a notice of appeal but also a record on
appeal that will require the approval of the trial court with notice to the adverse party. The period of appeal
shall be interrupted by a timely motion for new trial or reconsideration. In this case, for the petitioner,
therefore, the period for perfecting the appeal by record on appeal was 30 days from notice of the final order
dismissing the intervention. The start of the period of 30 days happened on September 18, 1998, the date when
his counsel received the decision dismissing his intervention. However, the entire time from the filing of his
Motion for Reconsideration on October 2, 1998 until his receipt of the denial of the Motion for Reconsideration
on March 18, 1999 should be deducted from the reckoning of the period to perfect his appeal. Considering that
the petitioner did not submit a record on appeal in accordance with Section 3 of Rule 41, he did not perfect his
appeal of the judgment dismissing his intervention. As a result, the dismissal became final and immutable.

Rogelio Baronda vs. Court of Appeals


G.R. No. 161006, October 14, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
The reinstatement aspect of the Voluntary Arbitrator's award or decision is immediately executory from its
receipt by the parties.
FACTS:
Respondent Hideco Sugar Milling Co., Inc. (HIDECO) employed the petitioner as a mud press truck driver
with a daily salary of P281.00. He hit HIDECOs transmission lines while operating a dump truck, causing a
total factory blackout from 9:00 pm until 2:00 am of the next day. Power was eventually restored but the
restoration cost HIDECO damages totaling P26,481.11. Following the incident, HIDECO served a notice of
offense requiring him to explain the incident within three days from notice. He complied. Thereafter, the
management conducted its investigation, and, finding him guilty of negligence, recommended his dismissal.
Resident manager served a termination letter and informed him of the decision to terminate his employment
effective at the close of office hours of that day. Hence, HIDECO no longer allowed him to report to work on
the next day. Petitioner, along with another employee also dismissed by HIDECO, filed in the Office of the
Voluntary Arbitrator of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board in Tacloban City a complaint for illegal
dismissal against HIDECO. Voluntary Arbitrator Antonio C. Lopez, Jr. handled the case and eventually
rendered his decision by finding the petitioners dismissal illegal, and ordering his reinstatement. Petitioner
filed his manifestation with motion for the issuance of the writ of execution in the Office of the Voluntary
Arbitrator, praying for the execution of the decision, and insisting on being entitled to backwages and other
benefits. HIDECO opposed the petitioners motion for execution and simultaneously presented its own motion
for execution to enforce the decision of the Voluntary Arbitrator directing the petitioner to pay the actual
damages amounting to P26, 484.41. The Voluntary Arbitrator dismissed petitioners motion and granted
HIDECOs motion for execution. Petitioner filed another motion for execution praying that a writ of execution
requiring HIDECO to pay to him unpaid waged, 13th month pay and bonuses; which was granted by the
Voluntary Arbitrator. HIDECO instituted a special civil action for certiorari in the Court of Appeals averring
that the Voluntary Arbitrator had acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction.

48

ISSUE: Whether or not petition for certiorari was the proper remedy.

RULING:
HIDECOs proper recourse was to appeal by petition for review and not petition for certiorari. Even if the error
sought to be reviewed concerned grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Voluntary Arbitrator, the remedy
was an appeal in due course by filing the petition for review within 10 days from notice of the award or
decision. This is because certiorari, as an extraordinary remedy, was available only when there was no appeal
or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary, course of law. The justification for HIDECOs
resort to the extraordinary equitable remedy of certiorari did not exist due to the availability of appeal, or other
ordinary remedies in law to which HIDECO as the aggrieved party could resort.
Although it is true that certiorari cannot be substitute for a lost appeal, and that either remedy was not an
alternative of the other, we have at times permitted the resort to certiorari despite availability of appeal or of
any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law in exceptional situations, such as: 1. When
the remedy of certiorari is necessary to prevent irreparable damages and injury to a party; 2. Where the trial
judge capriciously and whimsically exercised his judgment; 3. Where there may be danger of a failure of
justice; 4. Where appeal would be slow, inadequate and insufficient; 5. Where the issue raised is one purely of
law; 6. Where public interest is involved; and 7. In case of urgency. In this case, HIDECO did not establish
that its case came within any of the aforestated exceptional situations.

National Housing Authority vs. Ernesto Roxas


G.R. No. 171953, October 21, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
The National Housing Authority (NHA), a government-owned and controlled corporation created and existing
under Presidential Decree No. 757,1 may sue and be sued. However, no court should issue a writ of execution
upon any mo'netary judgment rendered against the NHA unless such monetary judgment is first submitted to
and passed upon by the Commission on Audit (COA).
FACTS:
The NHA is charged, among others, with the development of the Dagat-dagatan Development Project in
Navotas, Manila. Roxas applied for commercial lots in the said project with an area of 176 sq. m. for the use of
his business of buying and selling gravel, sand and cement products. The NHA approved his application and
issued the order or payment respecting the lots. Later on, NHA issued the notice of award for the lots in favor
of Roxas. The latter completed his payment for the subject lots on December 20, 1991. NHA conducted a final
subdivision project survey, causing the increase in the area of the subject lots from 176 to 320 sq. m. The NHA
informed Roxas about the increase in the area of the subject lots, and approved the award of additional area of
144 sq. m. to him at P3,500.00/sq. m. Although Roxas desired to purchase the increased area, the purchase
must be in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in the order of payment and notice of award
issued to him.
After NHA rejected his appeal, Roxas commenced an action for specific performance and damages, with prayer
for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. He amended the complaint to compel the NHA to comply
with the terms and conditions of the order of payment and the notice of award.
NHA countered that Roxas prayer to include in the original contract the increase in lot measurement of 144 sq.
m. was contrary to its existing rules and regulation and at the very least, his right in the additional area was
limited only to first refusal. The RTC ruled against NHA. Roxas filed his motion for the issuance of the writ of
execution which was granted by the RTC. NHA filed its petition for certiorari. It contends that the money
judgment awarded to Roxas could not be covered by motion for execution but should have been first filed in
the COA.The CA dismissed NHAs petition and ruled that NHA was a governmentowned and controlled
corporation whose funds were not exempt from garnishment or execution; and ruled that Roxas did not need to
first file his claim in the COA.

ISSUE: Whether or not the money judgment awarded in favor of Roxas should be first filed before the COA.

RULING:
The audit jurisdiction of the CIA extends to all government-owned or controlled corporations, their
subsidiaries and other self-governing boards, commission or agencies of the Government, as well as to all non-
governmental entities subsidized by the Government, or funded by donations through the Government, or

49

required to pay levies or government share, or for which the Government has put up a counterpart fund, or
those of partly funded by the Government.
There is no question that the NHA could sue and be sued, and thus could be held liable under the judgment
rendered against it. But the universal rule remains to be that the State, although it gives its consent to be sued
either by general or special law, may limit the claimants action only up to the completion of proceedings
anterior to the stage of execution.
Government funds and property may not be seized pursuant to writs of execution or writs of garnishment to
satisfy judgments of the court. The functions and public services of the State cannot be allowed to be paralyzed
or disrupted by the diversion of public fund from their legitimate and specific objects, and as appropriated by
law. The disbursements of public funds must be covered by the corresponding appropriation as required by law.

Fernando Medical Enterprises Inc. vs. Wesleyan University Philippines


G.R. No. 207970, January 20, 2016
BERSAMIN, J.
The trial court may render a judgment on the pleadings upon motion of the claiming party when the defending
party's answer fails to tender an issue, or otherwise admits the material allegations of the adverse party's
pleading. For that purpose, only the pleadings of the parties in the action are considered. It is error for the
trial court to deny the motion for judgment on the pleadings because the defending party's pleading in another
case supposedly tendered an issue of fact.
FACTS:
The petitioner, a domestic corporation dealing with medical equipment and supplies, delivered to and installed
medical equipment and supplies at the respondents hospital.Tthe respondent paid only P67,357,683.23 of its
total obligation of P123,901,650.00, leaving unpaid the sum of P54,654,195.54. However, on February 11,
2009, the petitioner and the respondent, respectively represented by Rafael P. Fernando and Guillermo T.
Maglaya, Sr., entered into an agreement, whereby the former agreed to reduce its claim to only P50,400,000.00,
and allowed the latter to pay the adjusted obligation on installment basis within 36 months. Respondent notified
the petitioner that its new administration had reviewed their contracts and had found the contracts defective and
rescissible due to economic prejudice or lesion; and that it was consequently declining to recognize the
February 11, 2009 agreement because of the lack of approval by its Board of Trustees. Due to the respondents
failure to pay as demanded, the petitioner filed its complaint for sum of money in the RTC. The respondent
moved to dismiss the complaint upon the following grounds, namely: (a) lack of jurisdiction over the person of
the defendant; (b) improper venue; (c) litis pendentia; and (d) forum shopping, which was denied. Petitioner
filed its Motion for Judgment Based on the Pleadings, stating that the respondent had admitted the material
allegations of its complaint and thus did not tender any issue as to such allegations. The respondent opposed the
Motion for Judgment Based on the Pleadings, arguing that it had specifically denied the material allegations in
the complaint. RTC issued the order denying the Motion for Judgment Based on the Pleadings of the petitioner.
CA affirmed.

ISSUE: Did the CA commit reversible error in affirming the RTCs denial of the petitioners motion for
judgment on the pleadings?

RULING:
The rule on judgment based on the pleadings is Section 1, Rule 34 of the Rules of Court. The essential query in
resolving a motion for judgment on the pleadings is whether or not there are issues of fact generated by the
pleadings. Whether issues of fact exist in a case or not depends on how the defending partys answer has dealt
with the ultimate facts alleged in the complaint. The defending partys answer either admits or denies the
allegations of ultimate facts in the complaint or other initiatory pleading. The allegations of ultimate facts the
answer admit, being undisputed, will not require evidence to establish the truth of such facts, but the allegations
of ultimate facts the answer properly denies, being disputed, will require evidence. The answer admits the
material allegations of ultimate facts of the adverse partys pleadings not only when it expressly confesses the
truth of such allegations but also when it omits to deal with them at all. The controversion of the ultimate facts
must only be by specific denial. Section 10, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court recognizes only three modes by which
the denial in the answer raises an issue of fact. The first is by the defending party specifying each material
allegation of fact the truth of which he does not admit and, whenever practicable, setting forth the substance of
the matters upon which he relies to support his denial. The second applies to the defending party who desires to
deny only a part of an averment, and the denial is done by the defending party specifying so much of the

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material allegation of ultimate facts as is true and material and denying only the remainder. The third is done by
the defending party who is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of a
material averment made in the complaint by stating so in the answer. Any material averment in the complaint
not so specifically denied are deemed admitted except an averment of the amount of unliquidated damages.
In the case of a written instrument or document upon which an action or defense is based, which is also known
as the actionable document, the pleader of such document is required either to set forth the substance of such
instrument or document in the pleading, and to attach the original or a copy thereof to the pleading as an
exhibit, which shall then be deemed to be a part of the pleading, or to set forth a copy in the pleading. The
adverse party is deemed to admit the genuineness and due execution of the actionable document unless he
specifically denies them under oath, and sets forth what he claims to be the facts, but the requirement of an oath
does not apply when the adverse party does not appear to be a party to the instrument or when compliance with
an order for an inspection of the original instrument is refused.
In Civil Case No. 09-122116, the respondent expressly admitted paragraphs no. 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 10 of the
complaint. The admission related to the petitioners allegations on: (a) the four transactions for the delivery and
installation of various hospital equipment; (b) the total liability of the respondent; (c) the payments made by the
respondents; (d) the balance still due to the petitioner; and (e) the execution of the February 11, 2009
agreement. The complaint properly alleged the substance of the February 11, 2009 agreement, and contained a
copy thereof as an annex. Upon the express admission of the genuineness and due execution of the February
11, 2009 agreement, judgment on the pleadings became proper.
The respondent denied paragraphs no. 6, 7 and 8 of the complaint for lack of knowledge or information
sufficient to form a belief as to the truth or falsity thereof, inasmuch as the alleged transactions were undertaken
during the term of office of the past officers of defendant Wesleyan University Philippines. Was the manner of
denial effective as a specific denial? No. It is settled that denials based on lack of knowledge or information of
matters clearly known to the pleader, or ought to be known to it, or could have easily been known by it are
insufficient, and constitute ineffective or sham denials. Lastly, we should emphasize that in order to resolve the
petitioners Motion for Judgment Based on the Pleadings, the trial court could rely only on the answer of the
respondent filed in Civil Case No. 09-122116. Under Section 1, Rule 34 of the Rules of Court, the answer was
the sole basis for ascertaining whether the complaints material allegations were admitted or properly denied.

Tung Hui Chung and Tong Hong Chung vs. Shih Chi Huang
G.R. No. 170679, March 9, 2016
BERSAMIN, J.:
A compromise agreement has the effect and authority of res judicata between the parties, and is immediately
final and executory, unless rescinded upon grounds that vitiate consent. Once stamped with judicial
imprimatur, it is more than a mere contract between the parties. Any effort to annul the judgment based on
compromise on the ground of extrinsic fraud must proceed in accordance with Rule 47 of the Rules of Court.
FACTS:
On September 6, 2001, the petitioners, both Australian citizens, filed in the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 49, in Manila an amended complaint6 to recover from the respondent a sum of money and damages
(with prayer for a writ of attachment). The suit, docketed as Civil Case No. 01-101260, involved the contract to
sell dated October 30, 2000, whereby the respondent, as the vendor, undertook to deliver to the petitioners, as
the vendees, shares of stock worth P10,606,266.00 in Island Information and Technology, Inc. (the
corporation), a publicly listed corporation. The petitioners alleged that under the provisions of the contract to
sell, the equivalent shares of stock in the corporation should be their value as of February 22, 2001, the date
corresponding to the five-day period prior to the end of the fourth month after October 30, 2000, the date of the
signing of the contract to sell; that according to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSEI), the shares of the
corporation, which stood at P0.05 for the open, high, low and closing prices on February 22, 2001, had the
equivalent of 177,925,320 shares of stock; and that the respondent failed to deliver the shares of stock
corresponding to the agreed amount on the date fixed by the contract. RTC issued an amended order granting
the petitioners application for the writ of preliminary attachment. Later on, the parties filed their Joint Motion
for Approval of a Compromise Agreement. The compromise agreement, which was signed by the respondent
and by Eduard Alcordo, as the attorney-in-fact of the petitioners, with the assistance of their respective
counsels, stipulating that the parties agreed to settle their respective claims and counterclaims, and the
respondent acknowledged therein his obligation, was filed and granted by the Court. But the respondent did not
pay the second installment despite demand. Instead, he filed in the CA a petition for annulment of judgment

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thereby seeking to nullify the amended order granting the application for the writ of attachment, and the order
approving the compromise agreement.

ISSUE: Whether or not judicial compromise agreement could no longer be assailed through certiorari

RULING:
Compromise agreement is a contract whereby the parties make reciprocal concessions to avoid litigation or to
put an end to one already commenced. It attains the authority and effect of res judicata upon the parties upon its
execution, and becomes immediately final and executory, unless rescinded by grounds which vitiate consent.
Once stamped with judicial imprimatur, it ceases to be a mere contract between the parties, and becomes a
judgment of the court, to be enforced through writ of execution. The CA did not recognize that what it was
asked to annul and set aside was no longer the compromise agreement of the parties but already the judgment
based on the compromise agreement. The failure to recognize led the CA into granting the unprecedented relief
of annulling the compromise agreement on the ground of fraud and lack of consent. In so doing, the CA acted
without jurisdiction. First of all, the action before the CA was a special civil action for certiorari that had been
brought on March 7, 2005, which was way beyond the period of 60 days from the rendition of the judgment
based on the compromise agreement on October 20, 2003. With this stamp of judicial approval, the
compromise agreement became more than a mere contract of the parties. The judicially approved agreement
was thereby turned into a final judgment, immutable and unalterable, regardless of whether or not it rested on
erroneous conclusions of fact and law, and regardless of whether the change would be by the court that
rendered it or the highest court of the land.

If the ground of the respondent to assail the judgment based on the compromise agreement was extrinsic fraud,
his action should be brought under Rule 47 of the Rules of Court. Under Section 2 of Rule 47, the original
action for annulment may be based only on extrinsic fraud or lack of jurisdiction, but extrinsic fraud, to be valid
ground, should not have been availed of, or could not have been availed of in a motion for new trial or petition
for relief. If the ground relied up is extrinsic fraud, the action must be filed within four years from the discovery
of the extrinsic fraud; if the ground is lack of jurisdiction, the action must be brought before it is barred by
laches or estoppels. Regardless of the ground for the action, the remedy under Rule 47 is to be availed of only
if the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer
available through no fault of the petitioner. Ostensibly, the respondent could have availed himself of the
petition for relief from judgment under Rule 38 of the Rules of Court. Hence, his failure to resort to such
remedy precluded him from availing himself of the remedy to annul the judgment based on the compromise
agreement.

Andrew Fyfe et al vs. Philippine Airlines, Inc


G.R . NO. 160071, June 6, 2016
BERSAMIN, J.
There was sufficient compliance with the rule on verification and certification against forum shopping. The
SPAs individually signed by the petitioners vested in their counsel the authority, among others, "to do and
perform on my behalf any act and deed relating to the case, which it could legally do and perform, including
any appeals or further legal proceedings."
FACTS:
In 1998, the respondent underwent rehabilitation proceedings in the Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC), which issued an order dated July 1, 1998 decreeing, among others, the suspension of all claims for
payment against the respondent. To convince its creditors to approve the rehabilitation plan, the respondent
decided to hire technical advisers with recognized experience in the airline industry. This led the respondent
through its then Director Luis Juan K. Virata to consult with people in the industry, and in due course came to
meet Peter W. Foster, formerly of Cathay Pacific Airlines. Foster, along with Michael R. Scantlebury,
negotiated with the respondent on the details of a proposed technical services agreement. Foster and
Scantlebury subsequently organized Regent Star Services Ltd. (Regent Star) under the laws of the British
Virgin Islands. Petitioner and respondent entered into Technical Service Agreement (TSA) wherein under its
terms, penalties shall be payable by the terminating party. Respondent sent notice to petitioner terminating the
TSA for lack of confidence and wants to offset the penalty from its advance payment. Petitioner denied the
refund and claim for offset and proposed to submit the issue to arbitration pursuant to their TSA. The

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Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. rendered judgment in favor to the petitioner. Respondent filed an
Application to Vacate Arbitral Award in RTC Makati in view of the SEC Order that respondent is under a state
of suspension of payment. The petitioner filed MTD on the ground that (a) lack of jurisdiction over the persons
of the petitioners due to the improper service of summons; (b) the application did not state a cause of action;
and (c) the application was an improper remedy because the respondent should have filed an appeal in the CA
pursuant to Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. RTC granted the application to vacate arbitral award. Petitioner
appealed to CA by notice of appeal. Respondent moved to dismiss the appeal on the ground that Section 29 of
arbitration law limited appeals to a review on certiorari upon questions of law. CA rendered judgment in favor
of respondent. Hence this appeal by the petitioners.

ISSUE: whether or not the petition for review should be dismissed for containing a defective
verification/certification;
whether or not the CA erred in dismissing the appeal of the petitioners for being an inappropriate remedy.

RULING:
There was sufficient compliance with the rule on verification and certification against forum shopping. The
SPAs individually signed by the petitioners vested in their counsel the authority, among others, "to do and
perform on my behalf any act and deed relating to the case, which it could legally do and perform, including
any appeals or further legal proceedings." The authority was sufficiently broad to expressly and specially
authorize their counsel, Atty. Ida Maureen V. Chao-Kho, to sign the verification/certification on their behalf.
The purpose of the verification is to ensure that the allegations contained in the verified pleading are true and
correct, and are not the product of the imagination or a matter of speculation; and that the pleading is filed in
good faith. This purpose was met by the verification/certification made by Atty. Chao-Kho in behalf of the
petitioners.

Appealing the RTC order vacating an arbitral award


CA correctly dismissed the appeal of the petitioners because pursuant to Section 2, Rule 41 of the Rules of
Court an appeal of questions of law arising in the courts in the first instance is by petition for review on
certiorari under Rule 45. On February 4, 2004. Republic Act No. 9285 (Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of
2004) was passed by Congress, and was approved by the President on April 2, 2004. Pursuant to Republic Act
No. 9285, the Court promulgated on September 1, 2009 in A.M. No. 07-11-08-SC the Special Rules of Court
on Alternative Dispute Resolution, which are now the present rules of procedure governing arbitration. Among
others, the Special Rules of Court on Alternative Dispute Resolution requires an appeal by petition for review
to the CA of the final order of the R TC confirming, vacating, correcting or modifying a domestic arbitral
award. Although the Special Rules of Court on Alternative Dispute Resolution provides that the appropriate
remedy from an order of the RTC vacating a domestic arbitral award is an appeal by petition for review in the
CA, not an ordinary appeal under Rule 41 of the Rules of Court, the Court cannot set aside and reverse the
assailed decision on that basis because the decision was in full accord with the law or rule in force at the time
of its promulgation.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
Anna Patula vs. People of the Philippines
G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012
BERSAMIN, J.:
An accused cannot be convicted of an offense that is not clearly charged in the complaint or information. To
convict him of an offense other than that charged in the complaint or information would be violative of the
Constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation.
FACTS:
Petitioner was charged with estafa in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Dumaguete City. The said accused,
being then a saleswoman of Footluckers Chain of Stores, Inc., Dumaguete City, having collected and received
the total sum of P131,286.97 from several customers of said company under the express obligation to account
for the proceeds of the sales and deliver the collection to the said company, but far from complying with her
obligation and after a reasonable period of time despite repeated demands therefore, and she failed to deliver

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the said collection to the said company but instead, misappropriated the proceeds of the sale to her own use and
benefit.
Go had requested the store auditor to audit petitioner after some customers had told him that they had already
paid their accounts but the office ledger had still reflected outstanding balances for them. She discovered in the
course of her audit that the amounts appearing on the original copies of receipts in the possession of around 50
customers varied from the amounts written on the duplicate copies of the receipts petitioner submitted to the
office.

ISSUE: Whether or not the failure of the information for estafa to allege the falsification of the duplicate
receipts issued by petitioner to her customersviolated petitioners right to be informed of the nature and cause of
the accusation;

RULING:
Failure of information to allege falsification did not violate petitioners right to be informed of the nature
and cause of the accusation

The Bill of Rights guarantees some rights to every person accused of a crime, among them the right to
be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation. Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Court, the rule then in
effect when the information was filed in the RTC, contained the following provisions on the proper manner of
alleging the nature and cause of the accusation in the information. An accused cannot be convicted of an
offense that is not clearly charged in the complaint or information. To convict him of an offense other than that
charged in the complaint or information would be violative of the Constitutional right to be informed of the
nature and cause of the accusation. Indeed, the accused cannot be convicted of a crime, even if duly proven,
unless the crime is alleged or necessarily included in the information filed against him.
The elements of the offense charged were as follows:

(a) That the offender received money, goods or other personal property in trust, or on commission, or
for administration, or under any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of, or to
return, the same;

(b) That the offender misappropriated or converted such money, goods or other personal property, or
denied his part in its receipt;

(c) That the misappropriation or conversion or denial was to the prejudice of another; and

(d) That the offended party made a demand on the offender for the delivery or return of such money,
goods or other personal property

We consider it inevitable to conclude that the information herein completely pleaded the estafa defined
and penalized under Article 315, paragraph 1 (b), Revised Penal Code within the context of the substantive law
and the rules. Verily, there was no necessity for the information to allege the acts of falsification by petitioner
because falsification was not an element of the estafa charged. Distinction should be made as to when the
crimes of Estafa and Falsification will constitute as one complex crime and when they are considered as
two separate offenses. The complex crime of Estafa Through Falsification of Documents is committed
when one has to falsify certain documents to be able to obtain money or goods from another person. In
other words, the falsification is a necessary means of committing estafa. However, if the falsification is
committed to conceal the misappropriation, two separate offenses of estafa and falsification are
committed.

Testimonial and documentary evidence, being hearsay, did not prove petitioners guilt beyond reasonable
doubt
Go essentially described for the trial court the various duties of petitioner as Footluckers sales
representative. On her part, Guivencan conceded having no personal knowledge of the amounts actually
received by petitioner from the customers or remitted by petitioner to Footluckers. This means that persons
other than Guivencan prepared Exhibits B to YY and their derivatives, inclusive, and that Guivencan based her
testimony on the entries found in the receipts supposedly issued by petitioner and in the ledgers held by
Footluckers corresponding to each customer, as well as on the unsworn statements of some of the customers.

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Accordingly, her being the only witness who testified on the entries effectively deprived the RTC of the
reasonable opportunity to validate and test the veracity and reliability of the entries as evidence of petitioners
misappropriation or conversion through cross-examination by petitioner. The denial of that
opportunity rendered the entire proof of misappropriation or conversion hearsay, and thus unreliable and
untrustworthy for purposes of determining the guilt or innocence of the accused.

Section 36 of Rule 130, Rules of Court states that a witness can testify only to those facts that she
knows of her personal knowledge; that is, which are derived from her own perception, except as otherwise
provided in the Rules of Court. In case a witness is permitted to testify based on what she has heard another
person say about the facts in dispute, the person from whom the witness derived the information on the facts in
dispute is not in court and under oath to be examined and cross-examined. The weight of such testimony then
depends not upon the veracity of the witness but upon the veracity of the other person giving the information to
the witness without oath. The information cannot be tested because the declarant is not standing in court as a
witness and cannot, therefore, be cross-examined. Thus, the rule against hearsay testimony rests mainly on the
ground that there was no opportunity to cross-examine the declarant.
The rule excluding hearsay as evidence is based upon serious concerns about the trustworthiness
and reliability of hearsay evidence due to its not being given under oath or solemn affirmation and due to its not
being subjected to cross-examination by the opposing counsel to test the perception, memory, veracity and
articulateness of the out-of-court declarant or actor upon whose reliability the worth of the out-of-court
statement depends. Based on the foregoing considerations, Guivencans testimony as well as Exhibits B to YY,
and their derivatives, inclusive, must be entirely rejected as proof of petitioners misappropriation or conversion.

Ray Vivo vs. PAGCOR


G.R. No. 187854, November 12, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
The essence of due process is to be heard, and, as applied to administrative proceedings, this means a fair and
reasonable opportunity to explain ones side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or
ruling complained of. Administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial
sense, for in the former a formal or trial-type hearing is not always necessary, and technical rules of procedure
are not strictly applied.
FACTS:
The petitioner was employed by respondent Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) on
September 9, 1986, and was PAGCORs Managing Head of its Gaming Department at the time of his dismissal
from office. On February 21, 2002, he received a letter from Teresita S. Ela, the Senior Managing Head of
PAGCORs Human Resources Department, advising that he was being administratively charged with gross
misconduct, rumor-mongering, conduct prejudicial to the interest of the company, and loss of trust and
confidence; that he should submit a written explanation of the charges; and that he was at the same time being
placed under preventive suspension. On February 26, 2002, the petitioners counsel, replying to Elas letter,
assailed the propriety of the show-cause memorandum as well as the basis for placing the petitioner under
preventive suspension. On March 14, 2002, the petitioner received the summons for him to attend an
administrative inquiry, instructing him to appear before PAGCORs Corporate Investigation Unit (CIU) on
March 15, 2002.8 At the petitioners request, however, the inquiry was conducted at his residence on said date.
His statement was taken in a question-and-answer format. He was also furnished the memorandum of charges
that recited the accusations against him and indicated the acts and omissions constituting his alleged offenses.
The memorandum of charges was based on the statements of PAGCOR personnel who had personal knowledge
of the accusations against him. However, when his counsel requested to be furnished copies of the statements,
PAGCOR rejected the request on the ground that he had already been afforded the sufficient opportunity to
confront, hear, and answer the charges against him during the administrative inquiry. The petitioner was then
allowed to submit his answer on March 26, 2002. The petitioner received the letter dated May 15, 2002 from
Ela informing him of the resolution of the PAGCOR Board of Directors in its May 14, 2002 meeting to the
effect that he was being dismissed from the service. After the petitioners motion for reconsideration vis--vis
the resolution of the PAGCOR Board of Directors dismissing him from the service was denied, he appealed his
dismissal to the CSC. CSC ruled that PAGCOR violated his right to due process.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner was deprived of due process

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RULING: No
The observance of fairness in the conduct of any investigation is at the very heart of procedural due process.
The essence of due process is to be heard, and, as applied to administrative proceedings, this means a fair and
reasonable opportunity to explain ones side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling
complained of. Administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial sense,
for in the former a formal or trial-type hearing is not always necessary, and technical rules of procedure are not
strictly applied. The petitioner actively participated in the entire course of the investigation and hearings
conducted by PAGCOR. He received the letter from Ela apprising him of his being administratively charged
for several offenses, and directing him to submit an explanation in writing. He was later on properly
summoned to appear before the CIU, which conducted its proceedings in his own residence upon his request.
During the administrative inquiry, the CIU served him a copy of the memorandum of charges, which detailed
the accusations against him and specified the acts and omissions constituting his alleged offenses. He was also
given the opportunity to appear before the Adjudication Committee to answer clarificatory questions. Lastly,
he was informed through a memorandum of the decision of the Board of Directors dismissing him from the
service.
Petitioners pleadings explicitly admitted that his dismissal had been effected through board resolutions. That
he was not furnished copies of the board resolutions did not negate the existence of the resolutions, and did not
invalidate the contents of the board resolutions. It is beyond question that he was duly informed of the subject-
matter of the board resolutions. Consequently, the CSCs conclusion that his dismissal had been unauthorized
was unfounded. In any case, even assuming for the sake of argument that there was no board resolution
approving his dismissal, the lapse did not render his dismissal illegal but unauthorized. However, as the CA
succinctly put it, an unauthorized act could be the subject of ratification. In any event, any procedural defect in
the proceedings taken against the petitioner was cured by his filing of the motion for reconsideration and by his
appealing the adverse result to the CSC. The petitioner was not denied due process of law, for he was afforded
the fair and reasonable opportunity to explain his side.

Marie Callo-Claridad vs. Philip Esteban and Teodora Esteban


G.R. No. 191567, March 20, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
The determination of probable cause to file a criminal complaint or information in court is exclusively within
the competence of the Executive Department, through the Secretary of Justice. The courts cannot interfere in
such determination, except upon a clear showing that the Secretary of Justice committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
FACTS:
The petitioner is the mother of the late Cheasare Armani Chase Callo Claridad, whose lifeless but bloodied
body was discovered in the evening of February 27, 2007 between vehicles parked at the carport of a residential
house located at No.10 Cedar Place, Ferndale Homes, Quezon City. Allegedly, Chase had been last seen alive
with respondent Philip Ronald P. Esteban (Philip) less than an hour before the discovery of his lifeless body.
The Office of the City Prosecutor (OCP) of Quezon City dismissed the complaint. The OCP observed that there
was lack of evidence, motive, and circumstantial evidence sufficient to charge Philip with homicide, much less
murder; that the circumstantial evidence could not link Philip to the crime; that several possibilities would
discount Philips presence at the time of the crime, including the possibility that there were more than one
suspect in the fatal stabbing of Chase; that Philip was not shown to have any motive to kill Chase; that their
common friends attested that the two had no ill-feelings towards each other; that no sufficient evidence existed
to charge Teodora with the crime, whether as principal, accomplice, or accessory; and that the allegation that
Teodora could have been the female person engaged in a discussion with a male person inside the car with plate
JTG 333 was unreliable being mere hearsay. Secretary of Justice affirmed the dismissal of the complaint.

ISSUE: Whether the CA committed a reversible error in upholding the decision of the Secretary of Justice
finding that there was no probable cause to charge Philip and Teodora with murder for the killing of Chase.

RULING: No
The filing of a petition for review under Rule 43 to review the Secretary of Justices resolution on the
determination of probable cause was an improper remedy.11 Indeed, the CA had no appellate jurisdiction vis--
vis the Secretary of Justice. A petition for review under Rule 43 is a mode of appeal to be taken only to review

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the decisions, resolutions or awards by the quasi-judicial officers, agencies or bodies, particularly those
specified in Section 1 of Rule 43. In the matter before us, however, the Secretary of Justice was not an officer
performing a quasi-judicial function. In reviewing the findings of the OCP of Quezon City on the matter of
probable cause, the Secretary of Justice performed an essentially executive function to determine whether the
crime alleged against the respondents was committed, and whether there was probable cause to believe that the
respondents were guilty thereof.
On the other hand, the courts could intervene in the Secretary of Justices determination of probable cause only
through a special civil action for certiorari. That happens when the Secretary of Justice acts in a limited sense
like a quasi-judicial officer of the executive department exercising powers akin to those of a court of law. But
the requirement for such intervention was still for the petitioner to demonstrate clearly that the Secretary of
Justice committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Unless such a clear
demonstration is made, the intervention is disallowed in deference to the doctrine of separation of powers.
A preliminary investigation, according to Section 1, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, is an inquiry or
proceeding to determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has
been committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. The investigation
is advisedly called preliminary, because it is yet to be followed by the trial proper in a court of law. The
occasion is not for the full and exhaustive display of the parties evidence but for the presentation only of such
evidence as may engender a well-founded belief that an offense has been committed and that the accused is
probably guilty of the offense. The role and object of preliminary investigation were to secure the innocent
against hasty, malicious, and oppressive prosecutions, and to protect him from open and public accusation of
crime, from the trouble, expenses and anxiety of a public trial, and also to protect the State from useless and
expensive prosecutions.
The determination of the existence of probable cause lies within the discretion of the public prosecutor after
conducting a preliminary investigation upon the complaint of an offended party. A public prosecutor alone
determines the sufficiency of evidence that establishes the probable cause justifying the filing of a criminal
information against the respondent because the determination of existence of a probable cause is the function of
the public prosecutor. Under the circumstances presented, we conclude to be correct the CAs determination
that no prima facie evidence existed that sufficiently indicated the respondents involvement in the commission
of the crime. It is clear that there was no eyewitness of the actual killing of Chase; or that there was no evidence
showing how Chase had been killed, how many persons had killed him, and who had been the perpetrator or
perpetrators of his killing. There was also nothing that directly incriminated the respondents in the commission
of either homicide or murder.

San Miguel Properties, Inc. vs. Sec. Hernando Perez


G.R. No. 166836, September 4, 2013
BERSAMIN, J:
The pendency of an administrative ease for specific performance brought by the buyer of residential
subdivision lots in the Housing and Land Use Regulatory .Board (IILURH) to compel the seller to deliver the
transfer certificate of title (TCTs) of the fully paid Jots is properly considered a ground to suspend a criminal
prosecution for violation of Sectio11 25 of Presidential Decree NL). 9571 on tile ground of a prejudicial
question. The administrative determination is a logical antecedent of the resolution of the criminal charges
based on non-delivery of the TCTs.
FACTS:
Petitioner San Miguel Properties Inc. (San Miguel Properties), a domestic corporation engaged in the real estate
business, purchased in 1992, 1993 and April 1993 from B.F. Homes, Inc. (BF Homes), then represented by
Atty. Florencio B. Orendain as its duly authorized rehabilitation receiver appointed by the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC), 130 residential lots situated in its subdivision BF Homes Paraaque, containing
a total area of 44,345 square meters for the aggregate price of P106,248,000.00. The transactions were
embodied in three separate deeds of sale. The TCTs covering the lots bought under the first and second deeds
were fully delivered to San Miguel Properties, but 20 TCTs covering 20 of the 41 parcels of land with a total
area of 15,565 square meters purchased under the third deed of sale, executed in April 1993 and for which San
Miguel Properties paid the full price of P39,122,627.00, were not delivered to San Miguel Properties. On its
part, BF Homes claimed that it withheld the delivery of the 20 TCTs for parcels of land purchased under the
third deed of sale because Atty. Orendain had ceased to be its rehabilitation receiver at the time of the
transactions after being meanwhile replaced as receiver by FBO Network Management, Inc. on May 17, 1989
pursuant to an order from the SEC. BF Homes refused to deliver the 20 TCTs despite demands. Thus, San

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Miguel Properties filed a complaint-affidavit in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Las Pias City charging
respondent directors and officers of BF Homes with non-delivery of titles in violation of Section 25, in relation
to Section 39, both of Presidential Decree No. 957. At the same time, San Miguel Properties sued BF Homes
for specific performance in the HLURB (HLURB Case No. REM-082400-11183), praying to compel BF
Homes to release the 20 TCTs in its favor.

ISSUE: Whether the HLURB administrative case brought to compel the delivery of the TCTs could be a
reason to suspend the proceedings on the criminal complaint for the violation of Section 25 of Presidential
Decree No. 957 on the ground of a prejudicial question.

RULING:
Action for specific performance, even if pending in the HLURB, an administrative agency, raises a
prejudicial question
The determination of whether the proceedings ought to be suspended because of a prejudicial question rested
on whether the facts and issues raised in the pleadings in the specific performance case were so related with the
issues raised in the criminal complaint for the violation of Presidential Decree No. 957, such that the resolution
of the issues in the former would be determinative of the question of guilt in the criminal case. An examination
of the nature of the two cases involved is thus necessary. An action for specific performance is the remedy to
demand the exact performance of a contract in the specific form in which it was made, or according to the
precise terms agreed upon by a party bound to fulfill it. Evidently, before the remedy of specific performance is
availed of, there must first be a breach of the contract. Accordingly, the injured party may choose between
specific performance or rescission with damages. On the other hand, Presidential Decree No. 957 is a law that
regulates the sale of subdivision lots and condominiums in view of the increasing number of incidents wherein
real estate subdivision owners, developers, operators, and/or sellers have reneged on their representations and
obligations to provide and maintain properly the basic requirements and amenities, as well as of reports of
alarming magnitude of swindling and fraudulent manipulations perpetrated by unscrupulous subdivision and
condominium sellers and operators, such as failure to deliver titles to the buyers or titles free from liens and
encumbrances. Presidential Decree No. 957 authorizes the suspension and revocation of the registration and
license of the real estate subdivision owners, developers, operators, and/or sellers in certain instances, as well
as provides the procedure to be observed in such instances; it prescribes administrative fines and other penalties
in case of violation of, or non-compliance with its provisions.
Conformably with the foregoing, the action for specific performance in the HLURB would determine whether
or not San Miguel Properties was legally entitled to demand the delivery of the remaining 20 TCTs, while the
criminal action would decide whether or not BF Homes directors and officers were criminally liable for
withholding the 20 TCTs. The resolution of the former must obviously precede that of the latter, for should the
HLURB hold San Miguel Properties to be not entitled to the delivery of the 20 TCTs because Atty. Orendain
did not have the authority to represent BF Homes in the sale due to his receivership having been terminated by
the SEC, the basis for the criminal liability for the violation of Section 25 of Presidential Decree No. 957 would
evaporate, thereby negating the need to proceed with the criminal case.

People of the Philippines vs. Alberto Gonzales


G.R. No. 182417, April 3, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
The State, and no other party, has the responsibility to explain the lapses in the procedures taken to preserve
the chain of custody of the dangerous drugs. Without the explanation by the State, the evidence of the corpus
delicti is unreliable, and the acquittal of the accused should follow on the ground that his guilt has not been
shown beyond reasonable doubt.
FACTS:
An informant reported to the Provincial Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) based in Camp General Alejo
Santos, Malolos, Bulacan, that Gonzales was engaging in illegal drug pushing. On June 13, 2003, Police Chief
Inspector Celedonio I. Morales planned to mount a buybust operation against Gonzales, and designated PO1
Eduardo B. Dimla, Jr. to act as the poseur buyer and PO2 Roel S. Chan to serve as the backup/arresting officer.
PO1 Dimla marked with his own initials ED each of the two P100.00 bills to be used as the buy-bust money,
and then recorded the marked bills in the police blotter. At noontime of that same day, PO1 Dimla and PO2
Chan met with the informant at Krus na Daan, San Rafael, Bulacan, and the three of them proceeded to Banca-
Banca, San Rafael, Bulacan, where the house of Gonzales was located. After PO2 Chan posted himself beyond

58

possible view of the suspect, PO1 Dimla and the informant approached Gonzales, with the informant
introducing PO1 Dimla to Gonzales as a buyer of shabu worth P200.00. Gonzales handed to PO1 Dimla a
plastic sachet containing white substances, and in turn PO1 Dimla handed the two marked P100.00 bills to
Gonzales. At that point, PO1 Dimla removed his cap, the pre-arranged signal, in reaction to which PO2 Chan
then rushed forward and arrested Gonzales. PO1 Dimla then immediately marked the plastic sachet with his
initials ED. The Bulacan Provincial Crime Laboratory Office certified that the contents the plastic sachet
were 0.194 gram of shabu. RTC convicted Gonzales of the crime charged.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Prosecution was able to prove his guilt for violation of Section 5, Article II of
Republic Act No. 9165 beyond reasonable doubt.

RULING:
To secure a conviction of the accused charged with the illegal sale of dangerous drugs as defined and punished
by Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, the State must establish the concurrence of the following
elements, namely: (a) that the transaction or sale took place between the accused and the poseur buyer; and (b)
that the dangerous drugs subject of the transaction or sale is presented in court as evidence of the corpus delicti.
Anent the second element, it is indispensable for the State to establish that the dangerous drugs subject of the
transaction or sale and subsequently examined in the laboratory are the same dangerous drugs presented in
court as evidence. The identity of the dangerous drugs is essential to proving the corpus delicti. To achieve that
end, Section 21 of Republic Act No. 9165 and Section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of
Republic Act No. 9165 (IRR) define the procedures to be followed by the apprehending officers in the seizure
and custody of the dangerous drugs.
These provisions obviously demand strict compliance, for only by such strict compliance may be eliminated the
grave mischiefs of planting or substitution of evidence and the unlawful and malicious prosecution of the weak
and unwary that they are intended to prevent. Such strict compliance is also consistent with the doctrine that
penal laws shall be construed strictly against the Government and liberally in favor of the accused.
The first stage in the chain of custody is the marking of the dangerous drugs or related items. Marking, which is
the affixing on the dangerous drugs or related items by the apprehending officer or the poseur-buyer of his
initials or signature or other identifying signs, should be made in the presence of the apprehended violator
immediately upon arrest. The importance of the prompt marking cannot be denied, because succeeding handlers
of the dangerous drugs or related items will use the marking as reference. Also, the marking operates to set
apart as evidence the dangerous drugs or related items from other material from the moment they are
confiscated until they are disposed of at the close of the criminal proceedings, thereby forestalling switching,
planting, or contamination of evidence. Although PO1 Dimla, the States lone witness, testified that he had
marked the sachet of shabu with his own initials of ED following Gonzales arrest, he did not explain, either
in his court testimony or in the joint affidavit of arrest, whether his marking had been done in the presence of
Gonzales, or done immediately upon the arrest of Gonzales. Nor did he show by testimony or otherwise who
had taken custody of the sachet of shabu after he had done his marking, and who had subsequently brought the
sachet of shabu to the police station, and, still later on, to the laboratory. Given the possibility of just anyone
bringing any quantity of shabu to the laboratory for examination, there is now no assurance that the quantity
presented here as evidence was the same article that had been the subject of the sale by Gonzales. The
indeterminateness of the identities of the individuals who could have handled the sachet of shabu after PO1
Dimlas marking broke the chain of custody, and tainted the integrity of the shabu ultimately presented as
evidence to the trial court. We hardly need to reiterate that the chain of custody demands such record of
movements and custody of seized items to include the identities and signatures of the persons who held
temporary custody of the seized item, the dates and times when such transfers of custody were made in the
course of safekeeping and use in court as evidence, and the final disposition. PO1 Dimla and PO2 Chua did not
mention any inventory and photographing. The omission can only mean that no such inventory and
photographing were done by them. The omission of the inventory and photographing exposed another
weakness of the evidence of guilt, considering that the inventory and photographing to be made in the presence
of the accused or his representative, or within the presence of any representative from the media, Department of
Justice or any elected official, who must sign the inventory, or be given a copy of the inventory, were really
significant stages of the procedures outlined by the law and its IRR.

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People of the Philippines vs. Arnold Tapere


G.R No. 178065, February 20, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
An accused arrested during a valid entrapment operation is not entitled to an acquittal on the ground that his
arrest resulted from instigation.
FACTS:
Arnold P. Tapere was charged with, tried for and found guilty of illegally selling shabu in violation of Section
5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) by the RTC which
sentenced him to suffer life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P500,000.00. At around 7:30 p.m. on September
2, 2002, elements of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) arrested Tapere for selling shabu to a
poseur buyer during a buy-bust operation conducted against him in Purok San Antonio, Iligan City. Prior to the
buy-bust operation, Tapere was already included in the PDEAs drug watch list as a drug pusher based on the
frequent complaints made against him by residents of Purok San Antonio, Iligan City. In order to determine the
veracity of the report of Salgado, PDEA agents conducted an investigation and surveillance of the activities of
Tapere on August 30, August 31, and September 1, 2002, during which a test buy confirmed the veracity of the
report. With the positive result of the test buy, the agents decided to conduct a buy-bust operation against
Tapere on September 2, 2002. Consonant with their standard procedure, the agents first secured a certification
from the Office of the City Prosecutor regarding the buy-bust money to be used during the buy-bust operation.
The team posted themselves within view of the target place. With each agent being strategically posted,
Salgado was signalled to approach Tapere according to the plan. Salgado went towards Tapere. The agents saw
the two conversing for a brief while before Salgado handed money to Tapere. In turn, Tapere took a small heat-
sealed plastic sachet from his pocket and gave it to Salgado. After accepting the sachet, Salgado made the pre-
arranged signal of scratching his head to signify the consummation of the transaction. The agents rushed
towards Tapere, introduced themselves as PDEA agents, and placed him in custody. They searched him and
recovered the P100.00 bill from his right pocket. At that point, he voluntarily produced three more sachets of
shabu from his pocket and handed them to SPO2 Bastatas. RTC rendered judgment convicting Tapere as
charged.

ISSUE: Whether or not his apprehension was the product of an instigation, not entrapment; and that he should
consequently be acquitted because instigation was an absolutory cause.

RULING: No
The State conclusively established the concurrence of the foregoing elements of illegal sale of dangerous drugs.
Firstly, the members of the buybust team identified Tapere as the person with whom Salgado had contracted on
the purchase of the shabu. Secondly, the subject of the sale was one plastic sachet of shabu that the PNP Crime
Laboratory later on confirmed in due course to contain methamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. It
is of no consequence that three other sachets of shabu recovered from Taperes possession at the time of his
arrest were also presented as evidence during the trial, or that the Prosecution failed to specify which of the
four sachets was the sachet involved in the transaction between him and Salgado, because what is decisive is
that one of the four sachets was definitely the subject of the transaction between Tapere and the poseur buyer.
Thirdly, the consideration of the sale was P100.00, and the actual payment of that amount through the P100.00
bill covered by the public prosecutors certification ensured the identification of it as the consideration. And,
fourthly, the Prosecutions witnesses fully described the details of the consummated sale of shabu between
Tapere as seller and Salgado as buyer.
Instigation takes place when a peace officer induces a person to commit a crime. Without the inducement, the
crime would not be committed. Hence, it is exempting by reason of public policy; otherwise, the peace officer
would be a co-principal. It follows that the person instigating must not be a private person, because he will be
liable as a principal by inducement. On the other hand, entrapment signifies the ways and means devised by a
peace officer to entrap or apprehend a person who has committed a crime. With or without the entrapment, the
crime has been committed already. Hence, entrapment is not mitigating. Although entrapment is sanctioned by
law, instigation is not. The difference between the two lies in the origin of the criminal intent in entrapment,
the mens rea originates from the mind of the criminal, but in instigation, the law officer conceives the
commission of the crime and suggests it to the accused, who adopts the idea and carries it into execution. In
light of the foregoing differentiation between instigation and entrapment, the Court rejects the contention of
Tapere for its being contrary to the established facts. Tapere was caught in flagrante delicto committing the
illegal sale of shabu during the buy-bust operation.

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People of the Philippines vs. Noel Bartolome


G.R. No. 191726, February 6, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
A buy-bust operation has been recognized in this jurisdiction as a legitimate form of entrapment of the culprit.
It is distinct from instigation, in that the accused who is otherwise not predisposed to commit the crime is
enticed or lured or talked into committing the crime. While entrapment is legal, instigation is not.
FACTS:
On August 10, 2003, at around 1:00 a.m., an informant went to the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Unit
(ADSOU) in Caloocan City to report the illicit drug dealings of the accused on Reparo Street, Bagong Barrio,
Caloocan City. During the pre-operation briefing, the buybust team designated PO1 Borban Paras as the
poseur-buyer. Paras was given a P100.00 bill that he marked with his initials BP. It was agreed that the
informant would drop a cigarette butt in front of the suspect to identify him to Paras; and that Paras would
scratch his head to signal to the buy-bust team that the transaction with the suspect had been consummated.
Paras went towards the suspect and said to him: Pre pa-iskor nga. The suspect responded: Pre, piso na lang tong
hawak magkano ba kukunin mo? Paras replied: Ayos na yan, piso lang naman talaga ang kukunin ko, after
which he handed the marked 100.00 bill to the suspect, who in turn drew out a plastic sachet containing white
substances from his pocket and gave the sachet to Paras. With that, Paras scratched his head to signal the
consummation of the sale. As the other members of the team were approaching, Paras grabbed the suspect.
RTC convicted Bartolome of the crime of illegal sale of methampethamine hydrochloride or shabu in violation
of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).

ISSUE: Whether or not the accused must be acquitted

RULING: No
The accused was not arrested following an instigation for him to commit the crime. Instead, he was caught in
flagrante delicto during an entrapment through buy-bust. In a buy-bust operation, the pusher sells the
contraband to another posing as a buyer; once the transaction is consummated, the pusher is validly arrested
because he is committing or has just committed a crime in the presence of the buyer. Here, Paras asked the
accused if he could buy shabu, and the latter, in turn, quickly transacted with the former, receiving the marked
bill from Paras and turning over the sachet of shabu he took from his pocket. The accused was shown to have
been ready to sell the shabu without much prodding from Paras. There is no question that the idea to commit
the crime originated from the mind of the accused.
We have held that prior surveillance is not necessary to render a buy-bust operation legitimate, especially when
the buy-bust team is accompanied to the target area by the informant. That was what precisely happened here.
Similarly, the presentation of an informant as a witness is not regarded as indispensable to the success of a
prosecution of a drug-dealing accused. As a rule, the informant is not presented in court for security reasons, in
view of the need to protect the informant from the retaliation of the culprit arrested through his efforts.
Thereby, the confidentiality of the informants identity is protected in deference to his invaluable services to
law enforcement. Only when the testimony of the informant is considered absolutely essential in obtaining the
conviction of the culprit should the need to protect his security be disregarded. Here, however, the informants
testimony as a witness against the accused would only be corroborative of the sufficient testimony of Paras as
the poseur-buyer; hence, such testimony was unnecessary.
Although it appears that the buy-bust team did not literally observe all the requirements, like photographing the
confiscated drugs in the presence of the accused, of a representative from the media and from the Department
of Justice, and of any elected public official who should be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be
given a copy of it, whatever justification the members of the buy-bust team had to render in order to explain
their non-observance of all the requirements would remain unrevealed because the accused did not assail such
non-compliance during the trial. He raised the matter for the first time only in the CA. As such, the Court
cannot now dwell on the matter because to do so would be against the tenets of fair play and equity. We point
out that the non-adherence to Section 21, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 was not a serious flaw that would
make the arrest of the accused illegal or that would render the shabu subject of the sale by him inadmissible as
evidence against him. What was crucial was the proper preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of
the seized shabu, inasmuch as that would be significant in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the
accused. The State showed here that the chain of custody of the shabu was firm and unbroken.

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People of the Philippines vs. PO2 Eduardo Valdez and Edwin Valdez
G.R. No. 175602, February 13, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
Edwin cannot be barred from seeking the application to him of the downgrading of the crimes committed (and
the resultant lighter penalties) despite the finality of his convictions for three counts of murder due to his
withdrawal of his appeal. The downgrading of the crimes committed would definitely be favorable to him.
Worth pointing out is that to deny to him the benefit of the lessened criminal responsibilities would be highly
unfair, considering that this Court had found the two accused to have acted in concert in their deadly assault
against the victims, warranting their equal liability under the principle of conspiracy.
FACTS:
The two accused were tried for three counts of murder by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 86, in
Quezon City. On January 20, 2005, after trial, the RTC convicted them as charged, prescribed on each of them
the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count, and ordered them to pay to the heirs of each victim P93,000.00
as actual damages, P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, and P50,000.00 as moral damages. The CA upheld the RTC,
subject to the modification that each of the accused pay to the heirs of each victim P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages, P25,000.00 as temperate damages, and P25,000.00 as exemplary
damages, plus costs of suit. The two accused then came to the Court on final appeal, but on May 9, 2007,
Edwin Valdez filed a motion to withdraw appeal, which the Court granted, thereby deeming Edwins appeal
closed and terminated. Court promulgated its judgment on the appeal of PO2 Eduardo Valdez, finding him
guilty of three counts of homicide, instead of three counts of murder, and meting on him for each count of
homicide the indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years of reclusion
temporal as maximum. Edwin sent to the Court Administrator a letter, where he pleaded for the application to
him of the judgment promulgated on the ground that the judgment would be beneficial to him as an accused.

ISSUE: Whether or not the judgment promulgated may be granted to Edwin

RULING: Yes
The final judgment downgraded the crimes committed by Eduardo from three counts of murder to three counts
of homicide, and consequently prescribed lighter penalties in the form of indeterminate sentences. As a result,
Eduardo would serve only an indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years of
reclusion temporal as maximum, under which he can qualify for parole in due course by virtue of the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, instead of suffering the indivisible penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count.
On his part, Edwin cannot be barred from seeking the application to him of the downgrading of the crimes
committed (and the resultant lighter penalties) despite the finality of his convictions for three counts of murder
due to his withdrawal of his appeal. The downgrading of the crimes committed would definitely be favorable to
him. Worth pointing out is that to deny to him the benefit of the lessened criminal responsibilities would be
highly unfair, considering that this Court had found the two accused to have acted in concert in their deadly
assault against the victims, warranting their equal liability under the principle of conspiracy. We grant Edwins
plea based on Section 11(a), Rule 122 of the Rules of Court , which relevantly provides:
Section 11. Effect of appeal by any of several accused. (a) An appeal taken by one or more of several accused
shall not affect those who did not appeal, except insofar as the judgment of the appellate court is favorable and
applicable to the latter.

Herminio Disini vs. Sandiganbayan


G.R. Nos. 169823-24, September 11, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
The Sandiganbayan has exclusive original jurisdiction over the criminal action involving petitioner
notwithstanding that he is a private individual considering that his criminal prosecution is intimately related to
the recovery of ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses, their immediate family, subordinates and close associates.
FACTS:
The Office of the Ombudsman filed two informations dated June 30, 2004 charging Disini in the
Sandiganbayan with corruption of public officials, penalized under Article 212 in relation to Article 210 of the
Revised Penal Code (Criminal Case No. 28001), and with a violation of Section 4(a) of Republic Act 3019
(R.A. No. 3019), also known as the AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act (Criminal Case No. 28002). Disini
filed a motion to quash, alleging that the criminal actions had been extinguished by prescription, and that the

62

informations did not conform to the prescribed form. The Prosecution opposed the motion to quash. Disini
voluntarily submitted himself for arraignment to obtain the Sandiganbayans favorable action on his motion for
permission to travel abroad. He then entered a plea of not guilty to both informations. Sandiganbayan (First
Division) promulgated its assailed resolution denying the motion to quash.

ISSUE: Whether or not Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the case

RULING:
Sandiganbayan has exclusive and original jurisdiction over the offenses charged
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1606 was the law that established the Sandiganbayan and defined its
jurisdiction. The law was amended by R.A. No. 7975 and R.A. No. 8249. Under Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249,
the Sandiganbayan was vested with original and exclusive jurisdiction over all cases involving Civil and
criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in
1986.
That Disini was a private individual did not remove the offenses charged from the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan. Section 2 of E.O. No. 1, which tasked the PCGG with assisting the President in [t]he
recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family,
relatives, subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines or abroad, including the takeover
or sequestration of all business enterprises and entities owned or controlled by them, during his administration,
directly or through nominees, by taking undue advantage of their public office and/or using their powers,
authority, influence, connections or relationship, expressly granted the authority of the PCGG to recover ill-
gotten wealth covered President Marcos immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates,
without distinction as to their private or public status.
Contrary to Disinis argument, too, the qualifying clause found in Section 4 of R.A. No. 824922 applied only
to the cases listed in Subsection 4a and Subsection 4b of R.A. No. 8249. Unquestionably, public officials
occupying positions classified as Grade 27 or higher are mentioned only in Subsection 4a and Subsection 4b,
signifying the plain legislative intent of limiting the qualifying clause to such public officials. To include within
the ambit of the qualifying clause the persons covered by Subsection 4c would contravene the exclusive
mandate of the PCGG to bring the civil and criminal cases pursuant to and in connection with E.O. Nos. 1, 2,
14 and 14-A. In view of this, the Sandiganbayan properly took cognizance of Criminal Case No. 28001 and
Criminal Case No. 28002 despite Disinis being a private individual, and despite the lack of any allegation of
his being the co-principal, accomplice or accessory of a public official in the commission of the offenses
charged.

The offenses charged in the informations have not yet prescribed


The crime of corruption of public officials charged in Criminal Case No. 28001 is punished by Article 212 of
the Revised Penal Code with the same penalties imposed upon the officer corrupted.25 Under the second
paragraph of Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code (direct bribery),26 if the gift was accepted by the officer in
consideration of the execution of an act that does not constitute a crime, and the officer executes the act, he
shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its medium and minimum periods and a fine of not less than three
times the value of the gift. Conformably with Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code, the period of prescription
for this specie of corruption of public officials charged against Disini is 15 years. As for Criminal Case No.
28002, Disini was charged with a violation of Section 4(a) of R.A. No. 3019. By express provision of Section
11 of R.A. No. 3019, as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 195, the offenses committed under R.A. No. 3019
shall prescribe in 15 years.
The prevailing rule is, therefore, that irrespective of whether the offense charged is punishable by the Revised
Penal Code or by a special law, it is the filing of the complaint or information in the office of the public
prosecutor for purposes of the preliminary investigation that interrupts the period of prescription. Consequently,
prescription did not yet set in because only five years elapsed from 1986, the time of the discovery of the
offenses charged, up to April 1991, the time of the filing of the criminal complaints in the Office of the
Ombudsman.

The informations were sufficient in form and substance


It is axiomatic that a complaint or information must state every single fact necessary to constitute the offense
charged; otherwise, a motion to dismiss or to quash on the ground that the complaint or information charges no
offense may be properly sustained. The fundamental test in determining whether a motion to quash may be
sustained based on this ground is whether the facts alleged, if hypothetically admitted, will establish the

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essential elements of the offense as defined in the law.37 Extrinsic matters or evidence aliunde are not
considered.38 The test does not require absolute certainty as to the presence of the elements of the offense;
otherwise, there would no longer be any need for the Prosecution to proceed to trial.
The informations in Criminal Case No. 28001 (corruption of public officials) and Criminal Case No. 28002
(violation of Section 4(a) of RA No. 3019) have sufficiently complied with the requirements of Section 6, Rule
110 of the Rules of Court. The allegations in the information for corruption of public officials, if hypothetically
admitted, would establish the essential elements of the crime. The information stated that: (1) Disini made an
offer and promise, and gave gifts to President Marcos, a public officer; and (2) in consideration of the offers,
promises and gifts, President Marcos, in causing the award of the contracts to Burns & Roe and Westinghouse
by taking advantage of his position and in committing said act in relation to his office, was placed under
circumstances that would make him liable for direct bribery.39 The second element of corruption of public
officers simply required the public officer to be placed under circumstances, not absolute certainty, that would
make him liable for direct or indirect bribery. Thus, even without alleging that President Marcos received or
accepted Disinis offers, promises and gifts an essential element in direct bribery the allegation that
President Marcos caused the award of the contracts to Burns & Roe and Westinghouse sufficed to place him
under circumstances of being liable for direct bribery.

People of the Philippines vs. Rudy Nuyok


G.R. No. 195424, June 15, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
Rape can be committed in a cramped dwelling despite the probable presence of other occupants because
seclusion is not an element of the crime. Its commission can be established by circumstantial evidence even if
the victim, being the sole witness, was rendered unconscious during its commission.
FACTS:
AAA, having been born on May 5, 1992 to the Spouses ABC and DEF as evidenced by her certificate of live
birth, was 13 years old when the accused committed the rapes in June, July, August and September of 2005. At
the time, she resided in the house of her grandmother, BBB, in Babac, Poblacion, Malalag, Davao del Sur. The
accused, her paternal uncle, also lived in the same house. At 9:00 oclock in the evening of June 25, 2005, as
AAA was about to sleep, the accused laid down beside her. Sensing fear, she tried to escape, but he pulled her
by the hair, slapped her, and punched her in the stomach, rendering her unconscious. Upon regaining
consciousness, she noticed that her sando was already raised up to her neck, and her panties had blood. She felt
pain in her vagina. She saw the accused putting on his pants. He warned her not to reveal the incident to
anyone, threatening to kill her and her family if she did so. Despite her fear she related the incident to BBB and
her elder sister CCC, but her report fell on deaf ears. He raped her again in July 2005. On that occasion, she
was sleeping in BBBs house when he crept up to her side, pulled her hair, took off her panties, laid on top of
her and inserted his penis into her. She resisted, and tried to kick him away but missed. He overpowered her
and succeeded in gratifying his lust. The accused committed the third rape in August 2005. On that occasion, he
punched AAA in the stomach and in the forehead, and then had carnal knowledge of her. AAA again told BBB
and CCC about the rape immediately afterwards, but BBB and CCC did not do anything except to promise to
AAA that they would be more wary of him from then on. On her part, AAA just waited for them to help her,
but that help never came. The fourth rape took place one evening in September 2005. The accused roused AAA
from sleep and threatened her with a scythe. He removed her shorts and panties, and had carnal knowledge of
her.

ISSUE: Whether or not the accused is guilty of the first rape.

RULING:
Despite the lack of testimony on how the accused had carnal knowledge of his victim on June 25, 2005, his
guilt was nonetheless shown beyond reasonable doubt. A conviction for rape may rest on direct as well as
circumstantial evidence. Thus, an accused like him can be declared guilty of rape even if the sole witness
against him was the victim who had been rendered unconscious at the time of the consummation of carnal
knowledge provided sufficient circumstantial evidence existed showing that the victim was violated, and that it
was the accused and no other who had committed the violation. To disallow such showing is to obstruct the
successful prosecution of a rapist who renders his victim unconscious before the consummation.
Circumstantial evidence, also known as indirect or presumptive evidence, onsists of proof of collateral facts
and circumstances from which the existence of the main fact may be inferred according to reason and common

64

experience. It is sufficient to sustain a conviction if: (a) there is more than one circumstance; ( b) the facts from
which the inferences were derived have been established; and ( c) the combination of all circumstances is such
as to warrant a finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. All the circumstances must be consistent with each
other, consistent with the hypothesis that the accused is guilty and at the same time inconsistent with the
hypothesis that he is innocent, and with every other rational hypothesis except that of guilt. In other words, a
judgment of conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be sustained when the circumstances proved form
an unbroken chain that results in a fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to the exclusion of
all others, as the perpetrator.
The Prosecution successfully established the following facts and circumstances that, when taken together, very
well constituted evidence of the accused's guilt beyond reasonable doubt, to wit: (a) he and AAA lived in the
same house; (b) while AAA was sleeping at 9:00 o'clock in the evening of June 25, 2005 in the same house, he
crawled up and laid down beside her; (c) AAA tried to escape; (d) he then pulled AAA's hair, slapped her and
punched her in the stomach; (e) AAA was rendered unconscious; (j) when AAA regained consciousness, she
found blood in her panties, and her sando was already raised up to her neck; (g) AAA felt pain in her vagina;
(h) AAA saw him in the act of putting on his pants; (i) he threatened to kill AAA if she would reveal the
incident to anyone else; and (j) AAA sustained hymenal laceration. These circumstances, coupled with AAA' s
positive testimony that was corroborated by the examining physician's physical findings on her, lead to the
inescapable conclusion that he raped AAA against her will on that occasion.

Bernardo Mesina vs. People of the Philippines


G.R. No. 162489, June 17, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
Under the law, the civil liability of the petitioner may involve restitution, reparation of the damage caused, and
indemnification for consequential damages.
FACTS:
An information was filed in the RTC charging the petitioner with qualified theft. Upon his motion, he was
granted a reinvestigation. On September 17, 1998, after the reinvestigation, an amended information was filed
charging him instead with malversation of public funds. RTC found the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of malversation. CA affirmed the RTCs decision, with modification as to the amount of fine
imposed.

ISSUE: Whether or not both RTC and CA is correct in not making the accused liable for the restitution of the
misappropriated amount.

RULING:
Both RTC and CA is incorrect. Although correct in finding the accused guilty of malversation the Court notes
that both lower courts did not require the petitioner to pay the amount of P37,876.98 subject of the
malversation. That omission was plain error that we should now likewise correct as a matter of course, for there
is no denying that pursuant to Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, every person criminally liable for a
felony is also civilly liable. The omission, if unchecked and unrevised, would permanently deprive the City of
Caloocan of the misappropriated amount. Such prejudice to the public coffers should be avoided.
One more omission by the CA and the RTC concerned a matter of law. This refers to their failure to decree in
favor of the Government the return of the amounts criminally misappropriated by the accused. That he was
already sentenced to pay the fine in each count was an element of the penalties imposed under the Revised
Penal Code, and was not the same thing as finding him civilly liable for restitution, which the RTC and the CA
should have included in the judgment. Indeed, as the Court emphasized in Bacolod v. People, it was
"imperative that the courts prescribe the proper penalties when convicting the accused, and determine the civil
liability to be imposed on the accused, unless there has been a reservation of the action to recover civil liability
or a waiver of its recovery.
It is not amiss to stress that both the RTC and the CA disregarded their express mandate under Section 2, Rule
120 of the Rules of Court to have the judgment, if it was of conviction, state: "(1) the legal qualification of the
offense constituted by the acts committed by the accused and the aggravating or mitigating circumstances
which attended its commission; (2) the participation of the accused in the offense, whether as principal,
accomplice, or accessory after the fact; (3) the penalty imposed upon the accused; and (4) the civil liability or
damages caused by his wrongful act or omission to be recovered from the accused by the offended party, if

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there is any, unless the enforcement of the civil liability by a separate civil action has been reserved or waived."
Their disregard compels us to act as we now do lest the Court be unreasonably seen as tolerant of their
omission.
We also pointedly remind all trial and appellate courts to avoid omitting reliefs that the parties are properly
entitled to by law or in equity under the established facts. Their judgments will not be worthy of the name
unless they thereby fully determine the rights and obligations of the litigants. It cannot be otherwise, for only
by a full determination of such rights and obligations would they be true to the judicial office of administering
justice and equity for all. Courts should then be alert and cautious in their rendition of judgments of conviction
in criminal cases. They should prescribe the legal penalties, which is what the Constitution and the law require
and expect them to do. Their prescription of the wrong penalties will be invalid and ineffectual for being done
without jurisdiction or in manifest grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. They should also
determine and set the civil liability ex delicto of the accused, in order to do justice to the complaining victims
who are always entitled to them. The Rules of Court mandates them to do so unless the enforcement of the civil
liability by separate actions has been reserved or waived.
Under the law, the civil liability of the petitioner may involve restitution, reparation of the damage caused, and
indemnification for consequential damages. Given that his obligation requires the payment of the amount
misappropriated to the City of Caloocan, the indemnification for damages is through legal interest of 6% per
annum on the amount malversed, reckoned from the finality of this decision until full payment.21
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on July 24, 2003 finding petitioner
BERNARDO U. MESINA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of malversation of public funds subject to the
MODIFICATIONS that: (a) he shall suffer the indeterminate penalty of 12 years and one day of reclusion
temporal, as minimum, to 18 years, eight months and one day of reclusion temporal, as maximum, and pay a
fine of P37,876.98; and (b) he shall further pay to the City of Caloocan the amount of P37,876.98, plus interest
thereon at the rate of 6% per annum, reckoned from the finality of this decision until the amount is fully paid.

People of the Philippines vs. Alvin Esugon


G.R. No. 195244, June 22, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
Every child is presumed qualified to be a witness. The party challenging the child's competency as a witness
has the burden of substantiating his challenge.
FACTS:
The information charged the appellant with robbery with homicide. Carl or Muymoy, 5-year old son of the
victim, testified that on the night of the incident, he, his younger sister Cheche, and his mother and father, were
sleeping on the ground floor of their house. He saw appellant, whom he calls Nonoy, enter their house and
stab her mother with a knife, while he (Carl) peeped through a chair. Although there was no light at the ground
floor, there was light upstairs. After his mother got stabbed, his father chased the appellant. Carl saw blood
come out of his mothers lower chest. His father then brought her to the hospital. Carl positively identified the
appellant, a neighbor who often goes to their house, as the one who stabbed his mother. On cross-examination,
he related that the assailant took money from his fathers pocket. He likewise admitted that he did not see very
well the perpetrator because there was no light. Upon being asked by the trial court, Carl stated that although
there was no light when his mother was stabbed, he was sure of what he saw since there was light at their
second floor, which illumined the ground floor through the stairway.

ISSUE: Whether or not the identification of the appellant as the perpetrator of the robbery with homicide was
credible and competent

RULING:
SC affirmed both lower courts. The qualification of a person to testify rests on the ability to relate to others the
acts and events witnessed. Towards that end, Section 20 and 21 Rule 130 of the Rules of Court makes clear
who may and may not be witnesses in judicial proceedings. Religious or political belief, interest in the outcome
of the case, or conviction of a crime unless otherwise provided by law, shall not be a ground for
disqualification. As the rules show, anyone who is sensible and aware of a relevant event or incident, and can
communicate such awareness, experience, or observation to others can be a witness. Age, religion, ethnicity,
gender, educational attainment, or social stat us are not necessary to qualify a person to be a witness, so long as
he does not possess any of the disqualifications as listed the rules. The generosity with which the Rules of

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Court allows people to testify is apparent, for religious beliefs, interest in the outcome of a case, and conviction
of a crime unless otherwise provided by law are not grounds for disqualification.
The appellant points to inconsistencies supposedly incurred by Carl. That is apparently not disputed. However,
it seems clear that whatever inconsistencies the child incurred in his testimony did not concern the principal
occurrence or the elements of the composite crime charged but related only to minor and peripheral matters. As
such, their effect on his testimony was negligible, if not nil, because the inconsistencies did not negate the
positive identification of the appellant as the perpetrator. Also, that Carl did not shout to seek help upon
witnessing how the appellant had stabbed his mother to death did not destroy his credibility. For sure, he could
not be expected to act and to react to what happened like an adult. Although children have different levels of
intelligence and different degrees of perception, the determination of their capacity to perceive and of their
ability to communicate their perception to the courts still pertained to the trial court, because it concerned a
factual issue and should not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of a strong showing of mistake or
misappreciation on the part of the trial court.

Horacio Salvador vs. Lisa Chua


G.R. No. 212865, July 15, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
The accused who fails to appear at the promulgation of the judgment of conviction loses the remedies available
under the Rules of Court against the judgment, specifically: (a) the filing of a motion for new trial or for
reconsideration (Rule 121), and (b) an appeal from the judgment of conviction (Rule 122).
FACTS:
The petitioner and his wife Marine! Salvador were charged in the RTC with estafa penalized under Article 315
(a) of the Revised Penal Code docketed as Criminal Case No. R-PSY-08-04689-CR.3 On March 30, 2011, the
date scheduled for the promulgation of the judgment, their counsel moved for the deferment of the
promulgation inasmuch as the petitioner was then suffering from hypertension. RTC then issued a warrant for
the petitioners arrest. He was apprehended on April 7, 2011, or eight days from the promulgation of the
judgment finding him guilty. The petitioner filed his Motion for Leave to file Notice of Appeal dated April 13,
2011, and attached thereto the medical certificate dated March 30, 2011 purportedly issued by Dr. Paulo
Miguel A. David, certifying that the petitioner had submitted himself to a medical consultation at the Rizal
Medical Center on March 30, 2011 and had been found to be suffering from hypertension. In his order dated
July 1, 2011, RTC Judge Eugenio G. Dela Cruz initially denied the petitioners Motion for Leave to file Notice
of Appeal on the ground of non-compliance with Section 6, Rule 120 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure.
Thereafter, the respondent, who was the complainant in Criminal Case No. R-PSY-08-04689-CR, filed her
Motion for Execution dated July 29, 2011 praying for the issuance of the writ of execution on the civil aspect.
The petitioner opposed it and prayed that he be allowed to post bail pending appeal. Meanwhile, the case was
re-raffled to Judge Francisco G. Mendiola, In his order, Judge Mendiola denied the Prosecution's Motion for
Reconsideration, and fixed bail of F80,000.00 for the provisional liberty of the petitioner. Consequently, the
respondent commenced a special civil action for certiorari in the CA to nullify the order giving due course to
the petitioner's which was granted.

ISSUE: Whether the petitioner had lost his standing in court for his failure to appear at the promulgation of his
conviction?

RULING:
Section 6, Rule 120 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure expressly indicates, the promulgation of the judgment
of conviction may be done in absentia. The accused in such case is allowed a period of 15 days from notice of
the judgment to him or his counsel within which to appeal; otherwise, the decision becomes final. The accused
who fails to appear at the promulgation of the judgment of conviction loses the remedies available under the
Rules of Court against the judgment, specifically: (a) the filing of a motion for new trial or for reconsideration
(Rule 121), and (b) an appeal from the judgment of conviction (Rule 122). However, the Rules of Court permits
him to regain his standing in court in order to avail himself of these remedies within 15 days from the date of
promulgation of the judgment conditioned upon: (a) his surrender; and (b) his filing of a motion for leave of
court to avail himself of the remedies, stating therein the reason for his absence. Should the trial court find that
his absence was for a justifiable cause, he should .be allowed to avail himself of the remedies within 15 days
from notice of the order finding his absence justified and allowing him the available remedies from the
judgment of conviction.

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Under Section 6, the personal presence of the petitioner at the promulgation of the was mandatory because the
offense of which he was found guilty was not a light felony or offense. He was charged with and actually found
guilty of estafa. The petitioner had only until April 14, 2011 within which to meet the mandatory requirements
under Section 6 (the promulgation of judgment was March 30, 2011).
In the attempt to regain his right to avail himself of the remedies,the petitioner filed a Motion for Leave to File
a Notice of Appeal, and attached thereto the medical certificate issued by Dr. Paulo Miguel David but he failed
to establish that his absence had been for a justifiable cause because the purported issuer, Dr. Paolo Miguel A.
David, directly impugned the credibility of this certificate.
Even assuming that he had suffered hypertension, which could have validly excused his absence from the
promulgation, the petitioner did not fulfill the other requirement of Section 6, to surrender himself to the trial
court. The term surrender used in the rule visibly necessitated his physical and voluntary submission to the
jurisdiction of the court to suffer any consequences of the verdict against him.

Charlie Te vs. Hon. Augusto Breva


G.R. No. 164974, August 5, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
As provided under Section 3, Rule 46 of the Rules of Court, the petition shall contain the full names and
actual addresses of all the petitioners and respondents and the failure of the petitioner to comply with any of
the foregoing requirements shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. Also, under Section 1,
Rule 126, a search warrant is an order in writing issued in the name of the People of the Philippines, signed
by a judge and directed to a peace officer, commanding him to search for personal property described therein
and bring it before the court.
FACTS:
It appears that respondent Presiding Judge issued a search warrant against the petitioner upon the application of
respondent Special Investigator U R. Bahinting of the Saranggani District Office of the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI SARDO) on the basis of his finding of probable cause for a violation of Section 2(b) of
Batas Pambansa Blg. 33, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1865, for hoarding large quantities of
liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in steel cylinders belonging to respondent Pryce Gases, Inc. (Pryce Gases). The
application for the search warrant was filed at the instance of Pryce Gases through its letter dated September
28, 2003 to the NBI SARDO complaining about the collection and hoarding by the petitioner of embossed or
name-plated Pryce Gases LPG cylinders in violation of Sections 155, 156, 168 and 169 of Republic Act No.
8293 (Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines).
On October 14, 2003, the petitioner presented his Omnibus Motion to Quash Warrant and/or Suppress
Evidence and to Order Return of Seized Items, raising therein the lack of probable cause, failure to specify the
single offense committed, illegality of the nighttime search, improper application of the plain view doctrine,
and inclusion of other offenses, which was denied.

ISSUE: whether the People of the Philippines should be impleaded as respondents in the petition for certiorari
filed in the Court of Appeals (CA) to annul and set aside the order of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) denying
the petitioner's motion to quash the search warrant issued against him.

RULING:
As provided under Section 3, Rule 46 of the Rules of Court, the petition shall contain the full names and
actual addresses of all the petitioners and respondents and the failure of the petitioner to comply with any of
the foregoing requirements shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. Also, under Section 1,
Rule 126, a search warrant is an order in writing issued in the name of the People of the Philippines, signed by
a judge and directed to a peace officer, commanding him to search for personal property described therein and
bring it before the court. In this case, it is admitted that the application for the search warrant was not a
criminal action and the application for the search warrant was not of the same form as that of a criminal action.
Verily, the search warrant is not similar to a criminal action but is rather a legal process that may be likened to
a writ of discovery employed by no less than the State to procure relevant evidence of a crime. In that respect, it
is an instrument or tool, issued under the State's police power and this is the reason why it must issue in the
name of the People of the Philippines. Impleading the People of the Philippines in the petition for certiorari did
not depend on whether or not an actual criminal action had already been commenced in court against the
petitioner. It cannot be denied that the search warrant in question had been issued in the name of the People of
the Philippines, and that fact rendered the People of the Philippines indispensable parties in the special civil

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action for certiorari brought to nullify the questioned orders of respondent Presiding Judge. Therefore, the CA
did not abuse its discretion when it denied petitioners petition for certiorari.

Mayor Anwar Berua vs. Court of Appeals


G.R. No. 177600, October 19, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
The issuance by the trial court of the warrant of arrest upon filing of the information and supporting papers
implies the determination of probable cause for the offense charged. It is then superfluous for the accused to
seek the judicial determination of probable cause on the pretext that the trial court should still act and proceed
independently of the executive determination of probable cause to charge the proper offense.
FACTS:
Before us are the consolidated cases of G.R. No. 177600 and G.R. No. 178684. G.R. No. 177600 involves the
appeal by petition for review on certiorari of Mayor Anwar Berua Balindong, Lt. Col. Jalandoni Cota, Mayor
Amer Oden Balindong, and Ali Balindong (Balindong, et al.) to assail the Decision promulgated on April 24,
2007 by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 97121.1 G.R. No. 178684 relates to the Petition (To
Show Cause Why Respondent Should Not Be Held in Contempt of Court) brought by Zenaida M. Limbona
(Limbona), the private complainant in the criminal cases instituted against Balindong, et al., charging Presiding
Judge Alexander S. Balut of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 76, in Quezon City with contempt of
court for issuing the order suspending the proceedings in the criminal cases involving Balindong, et al. out of
judicial courtesy.

ISSUE: Whether or not judicial determination of probable cause is proper

RULING:
The language and meaning of the Decision promulgated in G.R. No. 159962, that the proper criminal charges
against Balindong, et al. were two counts of murder with attempted murder, two counts of frustrated murder,
and one count of attempted murder, were clear and forthright enough to require elaboration. Accordingly, the
Court, by thereby ordering the RTC to implement its Resolution relative to the issuance of warrants of arrest
against all the accused, did not need to dwell specifically on the judicial determination of probable cause
independently of the executive determination. We should remind that the trial judge, by issuing the warrants of
arrest, already found the existence of probable cause against Balindong, et al. Indeed, the act of issuing the
warrant of arrest upon filing of the information and supporting papers implied that the judge has determined the
existence of probable cause for the offenses charged. It is then superfluous for the accused to seek the judicial
determination of probable cause on the pretext that the trial court should still act and proceed independently of
the executive determination of probable cause to charge the proper offense. Balindong, et al. could not
reasonably support their position that they could still have the trial court determine the existence of probable
cause in their criminal cases independently of the executive determination of probable cause by the DOJ by
relying on Section 14, Rule 110, in relation to Section 19, Rule 119, both of the Rules of Cout. Ostensibly,
Section 14, supra, applies only to a situation in which there has been a mistake on the part of public prosecutor
in charging the proper offense.

There was no mistake in charging the proper offenses. Balindong, et al. fully exhausted the procedure to
determine the proper offenses to be charged against them by going all the way up to the Secretary of Justice.
Their quest was ultimately settled with finality by the Secretary of Justice denying their second motion for
reconsideration and declaring that such offenses were two counts of murder with attempted murder, two counts
of frustrated murder, and one count of attempted murder. They thereafter attempted to undo such final
determination by filing a third motion for reconsideration in the DOJ, and they initially succeeded because
Secretary Perez directed the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Lanao del Sur to cause the filing of the
amended information for double homicide with multiple frustrated homicide against Mayor Anwar Berua
Balindong, Lt. Col. Jalandoni Cota and PO1 Kennedy Balindong, and dropped Amer Oden Balindong and Ali
S. Balindong from the informations. But their success was overturned by the CA, whose nullification of
Secretary Perezs favorable action on their third motion for reconsideration was affirmed in G.R. No. 159962.
Thus, this Court even issued its judicial imprimatur on the probable cause for two counts of murder with
attempted murder, two counts of frustrated murder, and one count of attempted murder. For Balindong, et al. to

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rely on Section 14, supra, as basis for the RTC to still reach a determination of probable cause different from
those sanctioned in G.R. No. 159962 would be untenable.

SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS
Anita Mangila vs. Judge Heriberto Pangilinan
G.R. No. 160739, July 17, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
Restraint that is lawful and pursuant to a court process cannot be inquired into through habeas corpus.
FACTS:
On June 16, 2003, seven criminal complaints charging petitiOner Anita Mangila and four others with
syndicated estafa in violation of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Presidential Decree No.
1689, and with violations of Section 7(b) of Republic Act No. 8042 (Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino
Act of 1995) were filed in the Municipal Trial Court in Cities in Puerto Princesa City (MTCC). The complaints
arose from the recruiting and promising of employment by Mangila and the others to the private complainants
as overseas contract workers in Toronto, Canada, and from the collection of visa processing fees, membership
fees and on-line application the private complainants without lawful authority from the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration (POEA). Judge Heriberto M. Pangilinan, Presiding Judge of the MTCC,
conducted a preliminary investigation on the complaints. After examining Miguel Aaron Palayon, one of the
complainants, Judge Pangilinan issued a warrant for the arrest of Mangila and her cohorts without bail. On the
next day, the entire records of the cases, including the warrant of arrest, were transmitted to the City Prosecutor
of Puerto Princesa City for further proceedings and appropriate action in accordance with the prevailing rules.
As a consequence, Mangila was arrested on June 18, 2003 and detained at the headquarters on Taft Avenue,
Manila of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Claiming that Judge Pangilinan did not have the
authority to conduct the preliminary investigation; that the preliminary investigation he conducted was not yet
completed when he issued the warrant of arrest; and that the issuance of the warrant of arrest was without
sufficient justification or without a prior finding of probable cause, Mangila filed in the Court of Appeals
(CA)a petition for habeas corpus to obtain her release from detention.

ISSUE: Whether or not the writ of habeas corpus is proper

RULING: No
The object of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into the legality of the detention, and, if the detention is
found to be illegal, to require the release of the detainee. Equally well-settled however, is that the writ will not
issue where the person in whose behalf the writ is sought is out on bail, or is in the custody of an officer under
process issued by a court or judge with jurisdiction or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record.
There is no question that when the criminal complaints were lodged against Mangila and her cohorts on June
16, 2003,Judge Pangilinan, as the Presiding Judge of the MTCC, was empowered to conduct preliminary
investigations involving all crimes cognizable by the proper court in their respective territorial jurisdictions.
His authority was expressly provided in Section 2, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Under Section 6(b) of Rule 112of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the investigating judge could issue
a warrant of arrest during the preliminary investigation even without awaiting its conclusion should he find
after an examination in writing and under oath of the complainant and the witnesses in the form of searching
questions and answers that a probable cause existed, and that there was a necessity of placing the respondent
under immediate custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice.In the context of this rule, Judge
Pangilinan issued the warrant of arrest against Mangila and her cohorts. Consequently, the CA properly denied
Mangilas petition for habeas corpus because she had been arrested and detained by virtue of the warrant issued
for her arrest by Judge Pangilinan, a judicial officer undeniably possessing the legal authority to do so.
It is relevant to point out at this juncture that the authority of the MTC and MTCC judges to conduct
preliminary investigations was removed only effective on October 3, 2005 pursuant to A.M. No. 05-8-26-SC.
With Mangilas arrestand ensuing detention being by virtue of the order lawfully issued by Judge Pangilinan,
the writ of habeas corpuswas not an appropriate remedy to relieve her from the restraint on her liberty. This is
because the restraint, being lawful and pursuant to a court process, could not be inquired into through habeas
corpus.

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EVIDENCE
People of the Philippines vs. Rodrigo Salafranca
G.R. No. 173476, February 22, 2012
BERSAMIN, J.:
An ante-mortem declaration of a victim of murder, homicide, or parricide that meets the conditions of
admissibility under the Rules of Court and pertinent jurisprudence is admissible either as a dying declaration
or as a part of the res gestae, or both.
FACTS:
Rodrigo Salafranca y Bello was charged with and tried for murder for the fatal stabbing of Johnny
Bolanon, and was ultimately found guilty of the felony by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, in Manila. On
appeal, his conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA). CA affirmed the findings and conclusions of
the RTC, citing the dying declaration made to his uncle pointing to Salafranca as his assailant, and Salafrancas
positive identification as the culprit by Mendoza. It stressed that Salafrancas denial and his alibi of being in his
home during the incident did not overcome the positive identification, especially as his unexplained flight after
the stabbing, leaving his home and employment, constituted a circumstance highly indicative of his guilt.
Salafranca has come to the Court on a final appeal, continuing to challenge the credibility of the witnesses who
had incriminated him.

ISSUE: Whether or not the testimony of the witnesses is admissible to prove the accused guilt

RULING: Yes
The RTC and the CA correctly concluded that Mendoza and Estao were credible and reliable. The
determination of the competence and credibility of witnesses at trial rested primarily with the RTC as the trial
court due to its unique and unequalled position of observing their deportment during
testimony, and of assessing their credibility and appreciating their truthfulness, honesty and candor. Absent a
substantial reason to justify the reversal of the assessment made and conclusions reached by the RTC, the CA
as the reviewing court was bound by such assessment and conclusions. Salafranca did not persuasively show a
misappreciation or omission by the RTC. Hence, the Court, in this appeal, is in no position to undo or to
contradict the findings of the RTC and the CA, which were entitled to great weight and respect.
Salafrancas denial and alibi were worthless in the face of his positive identification by Mendoza as the
assailant of Bolanon. The lower courts properly accorded full faith to such incrimination by Mendoza
considering that Salafranca did not even project any ill motive that could have impelled Mendoza to testify
against him unless it was upon the truth. Based on Mendozas account, Salafranca had attacked Bolanon from
behind and had encircled his left arm over the neck (of Bolanon) and delivered the stabbing blow using the
right(hand) and coming from wnnt (sic) up right sideways and another one encircling the blow towards below
the left nipple. Relying on Mendozas recollection of how Salafranca had attacked Bolanon, the RTC found
treachery to be attendant in the killing. This finding the CA concurred with. Mendozas eyewitness account of
the manner of attack remained uncontested by Salafranca who merely insisted on his alibi.
The Court further notes Estaos testimony on the utterance by Bolanon of statements identifying
Salafranca as his assailant right after the stabbing incident. Bolanon had gone to the residence of Estao, his
uncle, to seek help right after being stabbed by Salafranca; that on the way to the hospital, Estao had asked
Bolanon who had stabbed him, and the latter had told Estao that his assailant had been Salafranca; and that
about ten minutes after his admission at the emergency ward of the hospital, Bolanon had expired and had been
pronounced dead. Such circumstances qualified the utterance of Bolanon as both a dying declaration and as part
of the res gestae, considering that the Court has recognized that the statement of the victim an hour before his
death and right after the hacking incident bore all the earmarks either of a dying declaration or part of the res
gestae either of which was an exception to the hearsay rule.
A dying declaration, although generally inadmissible as evidence due to its hearsay character, may
nonetheless be admitted when the following requisites concur, namely: (a) that the declaration must concern
the cause and surrounding circumstances of the declarants death; (b) that at the time the declaration is made, the
declarant is under a consciousness of an impending death; (c) that the declarant is competent as a
witness; and (d) that the declaration is offered in a criminal case for homicide, murder, or parricide, in which
the declarant is a victim. All the requisites were met herein.
A declaration or an utterance is deemed as part of the res gestae and thus admissible in evidence as an
exception to the hearsay rule when the following requisites concur, to wit: (a) the principal act, the res gestae,
is a startling occurrence; (b) the statements are made before the declarant had time to contrive or devise; and (c)

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the statements must concern the occurrence in question and its immediately attending circumstances. The
requisites for admissibility of a declaration as part of the res gestae concur herein.

Heirs of Margarita Prodon vs. Heirs of Maximo Alvarez


G.R. No. 170604, September 2, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
The Best Evidence Rule applies only when the terms of a written document are the subject of the inquiry. In an
action for quieting of title based on the inexistence of a deed of sale with right to repurchase that purportedly
cast a cloud on the title of a property, therefore, the Best Evidence Rule does not apply, and the defendant is
not precluded from presenting evidence other than the original document.
FACTS:
In their complaint for quieting of title and damages against Margarita Prodon, the respondents averred as the
plaintiffs that their parents, the late spouses Maximo S. Alvarez, Sr. and Valentina Clave, were the registered
owners of that parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 84797 of the Register of Deeds
of Manila; that their parents had been in possession of the property during their lifetime; that upon their
parents deaths, they had continued the possession of the property as heirs, paying the real property taxes due
thereon; that they could not locate the owners duplicate copy of TCT No. 84797, but the original copy of TCT
No. 84797 on file with the Register of Deeds of Manila was intact; that the original copy contained an entry
stating that the property had been sold to defendant Prodon subject to the right of repurchase; and that the entry
had been maliciously done by Prodon because the deed of sale with right to repurchase covering the property
did not exist. Consequently, they prayed that the entry be cancelled, and that Prodon be adjudged liable for
damages. Prodon claimed that the late Maximo Alvarez, Sr.had executed on September 9, 1975 the deed of
sale with right to repurchase; that the deed had been registered with the Register of Deeds and duly annotated
on the title.
During trial, the custodian of the records of the property attested that the copy of the deed of sale with right to
repurchase could not be found in the files of the Register of Deeds of Manila. RTC rendered judgment, finding
untenable the plaintiffs contention that the deed of sale with right to repurchase did not exist. It opined that
although the deed itself could not be presented as evidence in court, its contents could nevertheless be proved
by secondary evidence in accordance with Section 5, Rule 130 of the Rules ofCourt, upon proof of its
execution or existence and of the cause of its unavailability being without bad faith. Itfound that the defendant
had established the execution and existence of the deed.

ISSUE: whether the pre-requisites for the admission of secondary evidence had been complied with

RULING:
Best Evidence Rule was not applicable herein
The Best Evidence Rule stipulates that in proving the terms of a written document the original of the document
must be produced in court. The rule excludes any evidence other than the original writing to prove the contents
thereof, unless the offeror proves: (a) the existence or due execution of the original; (b) the loss and destruction
of the original, or the reason for its non-production in court; and (c) the absence of bad faith on the part of the
offeror to which the unavailability of the original can be attributed. The primary purpose of the Best Evidence
Rule is to ensure that the exact contents of a writing are brought before the court, considering that (a) the
precision in presenting to the court the exact words of the writing is of more than average importance,
particularly as respects operative or dispositive instruments, such as deeds, wills and contracts, because a slight
variation in words may mean a great difference in rights; (b) there is a substantial hazard of inaccuracy in the
human process of making a copy by handwriting or typewriting; and (c) as respects oral testimony purporting
to give from memory the terms of a writing, there is a special risk of error, greater than in the case of attempts
at describing other situations generally. The rule further acts as an insurance against fraud. Verily, if a party is
in the possession of the best evidence and withholds it, and seeks to substitute inferior evidence in its place, the
presumption naturally arises that the better evidence is withheld for fraudulent purposes that its production
would expose and defeat. Lastly, the rule protects against misleading inferences resulting from the intentional
or unintentional introduction of selected portions of a larger set of writings. But the evils of mistransmission of
critical facts, fraud, and misleading inferences arise only when the issue relates to the terms of the writing.
Hence, the Best Evidence Rule applies only when the terms of a writing are in issue. When the evidence sought
to be introduced concerns external facts, such as the existence, execution or delivery of the writing, without

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reference to its terms, the Best Evidence Rule cannot be invoked. In such a case, secondary evidence may be
admitted even without accounting for the original.
This case involves an action for quieting of title, a common-law remedy for the removal of any cloud or doubt
or uncertainty on the title to real property by reason of any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance, or
proceeding that is apparently valid or effective, but is, in truth and in fact, invalid, ineffective, voidable, or
unenforceable, and may be prejudicial to said title. In such an action, the competent court is tasked to determine
the respective rights of the complainant and other claimants to place things in their proper place and to make
the one who has no rights to said immovable respect and not disturb the other. The action is for the benefit of
both, so that he who has the right would see every cloud of doubt over the property dissipated, and he can
thereafter fearlessly introduce any desired improvements, as well as use, and even abuse the property. For an
action to quiet title to prosper, two indispensable requisites must concur, namely: (a) the plaintiff or
complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property subject of the action; and (b) the
deed, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding claimed to be casting cloud on his title must be shown to be in fact
invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy.
The action for quieting of title may be based on the fact that a deed is invalid, ineffective, voidable, or
unenforceable. The terms of the writing may or may not be material to an action for quieting of title, depending
on the ground alleged by the plaintiff. For instance, when an action for quieting of title is based on the
unenforceability of a contract for not complying with the Statute of Frauds, Article 1403 of the Civil Code
specifically provides that evidence of the agreement cannot be received without the writing, or a secondary
evidence of its contents. There is then no doubt that the Best Evidence Rule will come into play. the Best
Evidence Rule was not applicable because the terms of the deed of sale with right to repurchase were not the
issue.

Prodon did not preponderantly establish the existence and due execution of the deed of sale with right to
repurchase
The medical history showingthe number of very serious ailmentsthe late Maximo Alvarez, Sr. had been
suffering from rendered it highly improbable for him to travel from Manila all the way to Meycauayan,
Bulacan, where Prodon and Camilon were then residing in order only to negotiate and consummate the sale of
the property. This high improbability was fully confirmed by his son, Maximo, Jr., who attested that his father
had been seriously ill, and had been in and out of the hospital in 1975. The medical records revealed, too, that
on September 12, 1975, or three days prior to his final admission to the hospital, the late Maximo Alvarez, Sr.
had suffered from [h]igh grade fever, accompanied by chills, vomiting and cough productive of whitish sticky
sputum;had been observed to be conscious but weak and bedridden with his heart having faint
sounds, irregular rhythm, but no murmurs; and his left upper extremity and left lower extremity had suffered
90% motor loss. Truly, Prodons allegation that the deed of sale with right to repurchase had been executed on
September 9, 1975 could not command belief. The second is that the annotation on TCT No. 84797of the deed
of sale with right to repurchase and the entry in the primary entry book of the Register of Deeds did not
themselves establish the existence of the deed. The third is that the respondents remaining in the peaceful
possession of the property was further convincing evidence demonstrating that the late Maximo Alvarez, Sr.
did not execute the deed of sale with right to repurchase.

Far East Bank & Trust Company vs. Robert Mar Chante
G.R. No. 170598, October 9, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:
FACTS:
Robert Mar Chante, also known as Robert Mar G. Chan (Chan), was a current account depositor of petitioner
Far East Bank & Trust Co. (FEBTC) at its Ongpin Branch. FEBTC issued to him Far East Card No. 05-01120-
5-0 with July 1993 as the expiry date. The card, known as a Do-It-All card to handle credit card and ATM
transactions, was tagged in his current account. As a security feature, a personal identification number (PIN),
known only to Chan as the depositor, was required in order to gain access to the account. Upon the cards
issuance, FEBTC required him as the depositor to key in the six-digit PIN. Thus, with the use of his card and
the PIN, he could then deposit and withdraw funds from his current account from any FEBTC ATM facility,
including the MEGALINK facilities of other member banks that included the Philippine National Bank (PNB).
Civil Case sprang from the complaint brought by petitioner Far East Bank & Trust Co. (FEBTC) in the RTC, to
recover from Chan the principal sum of P770,488.30 representing the unpaid balance of the amount

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fraudulently withdrawn from Chans Current Account. FEBTC alleged that Chan had used Far East Card to
withdraw funds totaling P967,000.00 from the PNB-MEGALINK ATM facility at the Manila Pavilion Hotel in
Manila; that the withdrawals were done in a series of 242 transactions with the use of the same machine. The
transactions were processed and recorded by the respective computer systems of PNB and MEGALINK despite
the following circumstances, namely: (a) the offline status of the branch of account (FEBTC Ongpin Branch);
(b) Chans account balance being only P198,511.70 at the time, as shown in the bank statement; (c) the
maximum withdrawal limit of the ATM facility being P50,000.00/day; and (d) his withdrawal transactions not
being reflected in his account, and no debits or deductions from his current account with the FEBTC Ongpin
Branch being recorded. FEBTC added that at the time of the ATM withdrawal transactions, there was an error
in its computer system known as system bug whose nature had allowed Chan to successfully withdraw funds
in excess of his current credit balance of P198,511.70; and that Chan had taken advantage of the system bug to
do the withdrawal transactions. RTC rendered judgment in favor of FEBTC.

ISSUE: Whether or not Chan can be held liable for the withdrawals made from his account

RULING:
Although there was no question that Chan had the physical possession of Far East Card No. 05-01120-5-0 at
the time of the withdrawals, the exclusive possession of the card alone did not suffice to preponderantly
establish that he had himself made the withdrawals, or that he had caused the withdrawals to be made. In his
answer, he denied using the card to withdraw funds from his account on the dates in question, and averred that
the withdrawals had been an inside job. His denial effectively traversed FEBTCs claim of his direct and
personal liability for the withdrawals, that it would lose the case unless it competently and sufficiently
established that he had personally made the withdrawals himself, or that he had caused the withdrawals. The
party who alleges an affirmative fact has the burden of proving it because mere allegation of the fact is not
evidence of it. Verily, the party who asserts, not he who denies, must prove. In civil cases, the burden of proof
is on the party who would be defeated if no evidence is given on either side. This is because our system frees
the trier of facts from the responsibility of investigating and presenting the facts and arguments, placing that
responsibility entirely upon the respective parties. The burden of proof, which may either be on the plaintiff or
the defendant, is on the plaintiff if the defendant denies the factual allegations of the complaint in the manner
required by the Rules of Court; or on the defendant if he admits expressly or impliedly the essential allegations
but raises an affirmative defense or defenses, that, if proved, would exculpate him from liability. Section 1,
Rule 133 of the Rules of Court sets the quantum of evidence for civil actions, and delineates how
preponderance of evidence is determined.
Edgar Munarriz, FEBTCs very own Systems Analyst, admitted that the bug infecting the banks computer
system had facilitated the fraudulent withdrawals. This admission impelled the CA to thoroughly dissect the
situation in order to determine the consequences of the intervention of the system bug in FEBTCs computer
system. Chan might have also honestly believed that he still had the sufficient funds in his current account, as
borne out by his issuance of a check instead after the capture of the card so as not for him to undermine any
financial obligation then becoming due. Nor should his opting to withdraw funds from his account at the ATM
facility in Ermita in less than two days after the questioned withdrawals manifest responsibility on his part, for
he could also be properly presumed to be then still unaware of the situation involving his account. Thirdly, the
RTC ignored the likelihood that somebody other than Chan familiar with the bug infection of FEBTCs
computer system at the time of the withdrawals and adept with the workings of the computer system had
committed the fraud. Fourthly, FEBTC failed to establish that the PNB-MEGALINKs ATM facility at the
Manila Pavilion Hotel had actually dispensed cash in the very significantly large amount alleged during the
series of questioned withdrawals. Chans allegation of an inside job accounting for the anomalous
withdrawals should not be quickly dismissed as unworthy of credence or weight. FEBTC employee Manuel
Del Castillo, another witness for FEBTC, revealed that FEBTC had previously encountered problems of bank
accounts being debited despite the absence of any withdrawal transactions by their owners.
In view of the foregoing, FEBTC did not present preponderant evidence proving Chans liability for the
supposedly fraudulent withdrawals. It thus failed in discharging its burden of persuasion.

Republic of the Philippines vs. Luz Reyes Bakunawa et al


G.R. No. 180418, August 28, 2013
BERSAMIN, J.:

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Assets or properties, to be considered as ill-gotten wealth, must be shown to have originated from the
Government itself, and should have been taken by former President Marcos, the members of his immediate
family, relatives, close subordinates and close associates by illegal means. That one served as a government
official or employee during the Marcos administration did not immediately make her a close subordinate or
close associate of former President Marcos.
FACTS:
Civil Case No. 0023 is an action for reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution and damages brought by
the Republic against respondents Luz Reyes-Bakunawa, Manuel Bakunawa, Jr., Manuel Bakunawa III,
President Marcos and First Lady Imelda R. Marcos for having allegedly acquired and accumulated ill-gotten
wealth consisting of funds and other property in unlawful concert with one another and in flagrant breach of
trust and of their fiduciary obligations as public officers, with grave abuse of right and power and in brazen
violation of the Constitution and laws of the Republic of the Philippines, thus resulting in their unjust
enrichment. The complaint alleged that respondent Luz Reyes-Bakunawa had served as Imelda Marcos Social
Secretary during the Marcos administration; that it was during that period of her incumbency in that position
that Luz Bakunawa and her husband Manuel Bakunawa had acquired assets, funds and other property grossly
and manifestly disproportionate to her salaries and their other lawful income; and that Luz Bakunawa, by
herself and/or in unlawful concert with Defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos, taking undue
advantage of her position, influence and connection with the latter Defendant spouses, for their benefit and
unjust enrichment and in order to prevent disclosure and recovery of assets illegally obtained, engaged in
devices, schemes and stratagems. The Republic prayed for reconveyance to itself of all funds and other
property acquired by respondents abuse of rights and powers.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondents acquisitition of ill-gotten wealth was proved

RULING:
Preponderance of evidence is required in actions brought to recover ill-gotten wealth
The Republic correctly submits that only a preponderance of evidence was needed to prove its demand for
reconveyance or recovery of ill-gotten wealth. Under the rule on preponderance of evidence, the court is
instructed to find for and to dismiss the case against the defendant should the scales hang in equipoise and there
is nothing in the evidence that tilts the scales to one or the other side. The plaintiff who had the burden of proof
has failed to establish its case, and the parties are no better off than before they proceeded upon their litigation.
In that situation, the court should leave the parties as they are. Moreover, although the evidence of the plaintiff
may be stronger than that of the defendant, there is no preponderance of evidence on the plaintiffs side if its
evidence alone is insufficient to establish its cause of action. Similarly, when only one side is able to present
its evidence, and the other side demurs to the evidence, a preponderance of evidence can result only if the
plaintiffs evidence is sufficient to establish the cause of action. For this purpose, the sheer volume of the
evidence presented by one party cannot tip the scales in its favor. Quality, not quantity, is the primordial
consideration in evaluating evidence.

The evidence of the Republic did not preponderantly establish the ill-gotten nature of the Bakunawas
wealth
Evidentiary substantiation of the allegations of how the wealth was illegally acquired and by whom was
necessary. For that purpose, the mere holding of a position in the Marcos administration did not necessarily
make the holder a close associate within the context of E.O. No.1. According to Republic v. Migrio, the term
subordinate as used in E.O. No. 136 and E.O. No. 237 referred to a person who enjoyed a close association
with President Marcos and/or his wife similar to that of an immediate family member, relative, and close
associate, or to that of a close relative, business associate, dummy, agent, or nominee. Indeed, a prima facie
showing must be made to show that one unlawfully accumulated wealth by virtue of a close association or
relation with President Marcos and/or his wife. It would not suffice, then, that one served during the
administration of President Marcos as a government official or employee. Sandiganbayan correctly ruled that
the evidence of the Republic was able to establish, at best, that Luz Bakunawa had been an employee in
Malacaang Palace during the Marcos administration, and did not establish her having a close relationship with
the Marcoses, or her having abused her position or employment in order to amass the assets subject of this case.
Consequently, Luz Bakunawa could not be considered a close associate or subordinate of the Marcoses within
the context of E.O. No. 1 and E.O. No. 2.

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Ruben Manalang et al vs. Bienvenido and Mercedes Bacani


G.R. No. 156995, January 12, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
FACTS:
Petitioners Ruben Manalang, Amado Manalang, Carlos Manalang, Concepcion M. Gonzales, Ladislao
Manalang and Luis Manalang were the co-owners of Lot No 4236 with an area of 914 square meters of the
Guagua Cadastre, and declared for taxation purposes in the name of Tomasa B. Garcia. The land was covered
by approved survey plan Ap-03-004154. Adjacent to Lot 4236 was the respondents Lot No. 4235 covered by
Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. N-216701. In 1997, the petitioners caused the relocation and
verification survey of Lot 4236 and the adjoining lots, and the result showed that the respondents had
encroached on Lot No. 4236 to the extent of 405 square meters. A preliminary relocation survey conducted by
the Lands Management Section of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) confirmed
the result on the encroachment. When the respondents refused to vacate the encroached portion and to
surrender peaceful possession thereof despite demands, the petitioners commenced this action for unlawful
detainer on April 21, 1997 in the MTC of Guagua (Civil Case No. 3309), and the casewas assigned to Branch 2
of that court.
On September 17, 1998, the MTC (Branch 2) dismissed Civil Case No. 3309 for lack of jurisdiction based on
its finding that the action involved an essentially boundary dispute that should be properly resolved in an accion
reivindicatoria. On appeal, however, the RTC reversed the MTC (Branch 2), and remanded the case for further
proceedings,5holding that because there was an apparent withholding of possession of the property and the
action was brought within one year from such withholding of possession the proper action was ejectment which
was within the jurisdiction of the MTC. Upon remand, the MTC, Branch 1, ultimately dismissed the complaint
and counterclaim for lack of merit through the decision rendered on August 31, 2000. Once more, the
petitioners appealed to the RTC. At that point, the RTC ordered the petitioners to conduct a relocation survey to
determine their allegation of encroachment, and also heard the testimony of the surveyor. On September 19,
2001, the RTC rendered its judgment whereby it reversed and set aside the MTCs decision of August 31, 2000.

ISSUE: Whether the RTC had authority to receive additional evidence on appeal in an ejectment case

RULING:
RTC, in an appeal of the judgment in an ejectment case, shall not conduct a rehearing or trial de novo. In this
connection, Section 18, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court clearly provides:
Sec. 18. Judgment conclusive only on possession; not conclusive in actions involving title or ownership. x x
x. x x x x
The judgment or final order shall be appealable to the appropriate Regional Trial Court which shall decide the
same on the basis of the entire record of the proceedings had in the court of origin and such memoranda and/or
briefs as may be submitted by the parties or required by the Regional Trial Court.
Hence, the RTC violated the foregoing rule by ordering the conduct of the relocation and verification survey
"in aid of its appellate jurisdiction" and by hearing the testimony of the surveyor, for its doing so was
tantamount to its holding of a trial de novo. The violation was accented by the fact that the RTC ultimately
decided the appeal based on the survey and the surveyors testimony instead of the record of the proceedings
had in the court of origin. Secondly, on whether or not Civil Case No. 3309 was an ejectment case within the
original and exclusive jurisdiction of the MTC, decisive are the allegations of the complaint.

Romeo Caluzor vs. Deogracias Llanillo and Heirs of Lorenzo Llanillo


G.R. No. 155580, July 1, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
Agricultural tenancy is not presumed. It is established only by adducing evidence showing that all the essential
requisites of the tenancy relationship concur, namely: (a) the parties are the landowner and the tenant or
agricultural lessee; (b) the subject matter of the relationship is an agricultural land; ( c) there is consent
between the parties to the relationship; ( d) the purpose of the relationship is to bring about agricultural
production; ( e) there is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee; and (f) the harvest
is shared between the landowner and tenant or agricultural lessee.
FACTS:

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Lorenzo Llanillo (Lorenzo) owned the parcel of land (land) wi.th an area of 90, 101 square meters, more or
less, known as Lot 4196 and situated in Loma de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan. The land was covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 25864 of the Registry of Deeds of Bulacan. The petitioner averred that Lorenzo took
him into the land as a tenant in 1970, giving to him a sketch that indicated the boundaries of the portion he
would be cultivating. To effectively till the land, the petitioner and his family were allowed to build a makeshift
shanty thereon. Even after the death of Lorenzo, the petitioner continued giving a share of his produce to the
family of Lorenzo through Ricardo Martin (Ricardo), Lorenzos overseer. In 1990, respondent Deogracias
Lanillo (Deogracias), the son of Lorenzo, offered to pay the petitioner P17,000.00/hectare of the cultivated land
in exchange for turning his tillage over to Deogracias. In the end, Deogracias did not pay the petitioner. Instead,
on August 5, 1994, Deogracias and persons acting under his orders forcibly ejected the petitioner and his family
by levelling their shanty and plantation with the use of a bulldozer. The efforts of the Barangay Agrarian
Reform Council to conciliate failed; hence, the authority to file a case was issued to the petitioner.
The petitioner instituted this case against Deogracias in the Office of the Provincial Agrarian Reform
Adjudicator (PARAD) in Malolos, Bulacan, demanding the payment of disturbance compensation. He amended
his complaint to implead Moldex Realty Corporation (Moldex) as an additional defendant upon discovering
that the latter had entered the land to develop it into a residential subdivision. He prayed for the restoration of
his possession of the tilled land, and the payment of disturbance compensation. Meanwhile, on April 12, 1995,
the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) granted the application for the conversion of the
land from agricultural to residential and commercial uses filed by Deogarcias, through Moldex as his attorney-
in-fact.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner resorted to the wrong remedy of a special civil action for certiorari and
should be dismissed

RULING:
It is clear that the CA promulgated the assailed decision in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction to review
and pass upon the DARABs adjudication by of the petitioners appeal of the PARADs ruling. As such, his
only proper recourse from such decision of the CA was to further appeal to the Court by petition for review on
certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Despite his allegation of grave abuse of discretion against the
CA, he could not come to the Court by special civil action for certiorari. The remedies of appeal and certiorari
were mutually exclusive, for the special civil action for certiorari, being an extraordinary remedy, is available
only if there is no appeal, or other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. In
certiorari, only errors of jurisdiction are to be addressed by the higher court, such that a review of the facts and
evidence is not done; but, in appeal, the superior court corrects errors of judgment, and in so doing reviews
issues of fact and law to cure errors in the appreciation and evaluation of the evidence. Based on such
distinctions, certiorari cannot be a substitute for a lost appeal.
It is obvious that all that the petitioner wants the Court to do is to revisit and review the facts and records
supposedly substantiating his claim of tenancy and his demand for consequential disturbance compensation. He
has not thereby raised any jurisdictional error by the CA, and has not shown how the CA capriciously or
whimsically exercised its judgment as to be guilty of gravely abusing its discretion.

Alejandra Arado Heirs vs. Anacleto Alcoran and Elenette Sunjaco


G .R. No. 163362, July 8, 2015
BERSAMIN, J.:
The burden of proof to establish the averments of the complaint by preponderance of evidence pertained to the
petitioners as the plaintiffs. "Preponderance of evidence" is the weight, credit, and value of the aggregate
evidence on either side and is usually considered to be synonymous with the term "greater weight of the
evidence" or "greater weight of the credible evidence."
FACTS:
Raymundo Alcoran and Joaquina Arado were married and had a son named Nicolas Alcoran. In turn, Nicolas
married Florencia Limpahan, but their union had no offspring. During their marriage, however, Nicolas had an
extramarital affair with Francisca Sarita who gave birth to Anacleto who married Elenette.
Upon death, Joaquinas siblings filed in the RTC a complaint for recovery of property and damages against
Anacleto and Elenette.Eight of the subjects properties belonged to Raymundo and the last two had been the
paraphemal properties of Joaquina. It was contended by the petitioners that Anacleto was not entitled to be
Nicholas heir and Joaquinas heir as the will was void for not having been executed according to the

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formalities of the law, and the same did not reflect the true intention of Joaquina and that they were the rightful
heirs to the properties. The defendants countered that Anacleto was expressly recognized by Nicolas as the
latter's son, a fact evidenced by the certificate of birth of Anacleto.
RTC dismissed the complaint and ruled that he was really the acknowledged illegitimate son of Nicolas. It cited
the certificate of birth of Anacleto, which proved that Nicolas had himself caused the registration of Anacleto' s
birth. It observed that the name of Nicolas appeared under the column "Remarks" in the register of births,
which was the space provided for the name of the informant. They failed to refute such entry and became
conclusive with respect to the facts contained therein. Further, baptismal certificate, a picture taken during the
wake of Nicolas showing the young Anacleto being carried by Joaquina, and also Nicolas' wife, Florencia, his
school records, and Joaquinas consent to marriage, and Joaquinas will bequeathing the subject properties to
Anacleto were sufficient basis. The CA affirmed the decision of RTC.

ISSUE: Whether the petitioners were able prove that Anacleto was not an acknowledged illegitimate son of
Nicolas

RULING:
The burden of proof to establish the averments of the complaint by preponderance of evidence pertained to the
petitioners as the plaintiffs. "Preponderance of evidence" is the weight, credit, and value of the aggregate
evidence on either side and is usually considered to be synonymous with the term "greater weight of the
evidence" or "greater weight of the credible evidence." Preponderance of evidence is a phrase which, in the last
analysis, means probability of the truth. It is evidence which is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief
than that which is offered in opposition thereto.
The petitioners did not discharge their burden of proof. The plaintiffs did not rebut the filiation of Anacleto by
contrary evidence.
The birth certificate of Anacleto appearing in the Register of Births of the Municipality of Bacong, Negros
Oriental showed that Nicolas had himself caused the registration of the birth of Anacleto. The showing was by
means of the name of Nicolas appearing in the column "Remarks", the space provided for the name of the
informant of the live birth to be registered. Considering that Nicolas, the putative father, had a direct hand in
the preparation of the birth certificate, reliance on the birth certificate of Anacleto as evidence of his paternity
was fully warranted.
However, Anacleto's baptismal certificate was of no consequence in determining his filiation. As it was ruled
that "while a baptismal certificate may be considered a public document, it can only serve as evidence of the
administration of the sacrament on the date specified but not the veracity of the entries with respect to the
child's paternity." Further, he weight accorded by the R TC and the CA to the picture depicting the young
Anacleto in the arms of Joaquina as she stood beside the coffin of the departed Nicolas was also undeserved. At
best, the picture merely manifested that it was Joaquina who had acknowledged her filiation with Anacleto. The
school records of Anacleto, which evinced that Joaquina was the guardian of Anacleto in his grade school
years, and the marriage contract between Anacleto and Elenette, which indicated that Joaquina had given
consent to Anacleto's marriage, did not have the evidentiary value accorded by the RTC and the CA. Joaquina's
apparent recognition of Anacleto mattered little, for the recognition "must be made personally by the parent
himself or herself, not by any brother, sister or relative; after all, the concept of recognition speaks of a
voluntary declaration by the parent, of if the parent refuses, by judicial authority, to establish the paternity or
maternity of children born outside wedlock."
The lack of probative value of the respondents' aforecited corroborative evidence notwithstanding, Anacleto 's
recognition as Nicolas' illegitimate child remained beyond question in view of the showing that Nicolas had
personally and directly acknowledged Anacleto as his illegitimate son.

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