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ROBINSON v. MIRALLES YES. Although the SC have ruled that the statutory requirements
FACTS: of substituted service must be followed strictly, faithfully, and fully and
Respondent Celita Miralles filed a complaint for collection of any substituted service other than that authorized by the Rules is
sum of money against petitioner Remelita Robinson, alleging that considered ineffective, the Court frowns upon an overly strict
$20,054 was borrowed by Robinson, as shown in the MOA they both application of the Rules. It is the spirit, rather than the letter of the
executed. procedural rules, that governs.
Obviously, it was impossible for the sheriff to effect personal or
Summons was served on Robinson at her given address. substituted service of summons upon petitioner. We note that she failed
However, per return of service of the Sheriif, petitioner no longer resides to controvert the sheriffs declaration. Nor did she deny having received
there. Thus, the trial court issued an alias summons to be served at the summons through the security guard. Considering her strict
Muntinlupa City, petitioners new address. instruction to the security guard, she must bear its consequences. Thus,
we agree with the trial court that summons has been properly
Again, the Sheriff reported twice thereafter that the summons served upon petitioner and that it has acquired jurisdiction over
could not be served on petitioner. Sheriff Pontente, who was to serve her.
the summons interposed that he was stopped by the Security Guard of
Alabang Hills Village because they were allegedly told by Robinson Where the action is in personam and the defendant is in the
not to let anyone proceed to her house if she is not around. Despite Philippines, the service of summons may be made through personal or
the explanations of the Sheriff, the guards didnt let him in. Thereafter, substituted service in the manner provided for in Sections 6 and 7, Rule
the Sheriff just left a copy of the complaint to A.H. GEROCHE (THE 14 of the 1997 Rules of Procedure, as amended.
SECURITY GUARD), who refused to affix his signature on the original
copy, so he will be the one to give the summons to petitioner Robinson.
Eventually, petitioner Robinson was declared in default for her SEC. 6. Service in person on defendant. Whenever practicable,
failure to file an answer seasonably despite service of summons. The the summons shall be served by handing a copy thereof to the
trial court rendered its decision in favor of Miralles ordering Robinson defendant in person, or if he refuses to receive and sign for it, by
to pay her obligations plus cost of damages. A copy of the court Order tendering it to him.
was sent to petitioner by registered mail at her new address and a writ
of execution was also issued. SEC. 7. Substituted service. If, for justifiable causes, the
Robinson filed a petition for relief from the judgment by default. defendant cannot be served within a reasonable time as provided
She claimed that summons was improperly served upon her, thus, the in the preceding section, service may be effected (a) by leaving
trial court never acquired jurisdiction over her and that all its copies of the summons at the defendants residence with some
proceedings are void. Petitioner Robinson contends that the service person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein; or (b)
of the summons upon the subdivision guard is not in compliance by leaving the copies at the defendants office or regular place
with Section 7, Rule 14 since he is not related to her or staying at of business with some competent person in charge thereof.
her residence, as required by the rule.
Under our procedural rules, personal service is generally
ISSUE: whether the trial court correctly ruled that a substituted service preferred over substituted service, the latter mode of service being a
of summons upon petitioner has been validly effected? method extraordinary in character. For substituted service to be
justified, the following circumstances must be clearly established:
(a) personal service of summons within a reasonable time was
(b) efforts were exerted to locate the party; and
(c) the summons was served upon a person of sufficient age and
discretion residing at the partys residence or upon a competent person
in charge of the partys office or place of business.
Failure to do so would invalidate all subsequent proceedings on
jurisdictional grounds.