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CA 394 SCRA 472

Facts: Sps Gonzaga purchased a parcel of land from private respondent Lucky Homes, Inc.,
situated in Iloilo. Said lot was specifically denominated as Lot No. 19 under a TCT and was
mortgaged to the Social Security System (SSS) as security for their housing loan.Petitioners then
started the construction of their house, not on Lot No. 19 but on Lot No. 18, as Lucky Homes Inc
mistakenly identified Lot No. 18 as Lot No. 19. Upon realizing its error, private respondent
informed petitioners of such mistake but the latter offered to buy Lot No. 18 in order to widen
their premises.

However, petitioners defaulted in the payment of their housing loan from SSS. Consequently, Lot
No. 19 was foreclosed by SSS . Gonzaga then offered to swap Lot Nos. 18 and 19 and demanded
from Lucky Homes that their contract of sale be reformed and another deed of sale be executed
with respect to Lot No. 18, considering that their house was built therein. However, private
respondent refused. This prompted petitioners to file an action for reformation of contract and
damages with the RTC.

RTC ruled in favor of the defendant and a writ of execution was issued. The petitioners filed a
motion to recall said writ on the ground that the RTC lack jurisdiction as pursuant to PD 957 (The
Subdivision and Condominium Buyers Protective Decree), it was vested in the Housing and Land
Use Regulatory Board. Consequently, Sps. Gonzaga filed a new complaint with the HLURB, and
also a petition for annulment of judgment with the CA, on the ground of lack of jurisdiction

ISSUE: W/N the Sps Gonzaga are estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the RTC to try
the case

Ruling: Yes. The SC held that the doctrine in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy, as reiterated in numerous
cases, is still controlling. In explaining the concept of jurisdiction by estoppel, the Court quoted
its decision in said case, to wit: It has been held that a party cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a
court to secure affirm a relief against his opponent and, after obtaining or failing to obtain such
relief, repudiate, or question that same jurisdiction. The question whether the court had
jurisdiction either of the subject matter of the action or of the parties was not important in such
cases because the party is barred from such conduct not because the judgment or order of the
court is valid and conclusive as an adjudication, but for the reason that such a practice cannot be
tolerated obviously for reasons of public policy."

The Court said that it was petitioners themselves who invoked the jurisdiction of the court a quo
by instituting an action for reformation of contract against private respondents. It must be noted
that in the proceedings before the trial court, petitioners vigorously asserted their cause from
start to finish. Not even once did petitioners ever raise the issue of the courts jurisdiction during
the entire proceedings which lasted for two years. It was only after the trial court rendered its
decision and issued a writ of execution against them in 1998 did petitioners first raise the issue
of jurisdiction and it was only because said decision was unfavorable to them. Petitioners thus
effectively waived their right to question the courts jurisdiction over the case they themselves


Facts:Armando V. Gatmaitan obtained a series of loans from petitioner Eduardo S. Mercado

totaling P850,000, to renovate and repair two houses located at 1827 Santan St., Dasmarias
Village, Makati City. Said houses were the conjugal properties of Armando and Concepcion

Sometime in 1989, Eduardo learned that Concepcion had filed a Complaint docketed as Civil
Case No. 89-4506 against Armando for the separation and liquidation of their conjugal
properties before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 149.[3] Eduardo
immediately filed a Motion for Leave to File Complaint in Intervention, claiming that he had an
interest as a creditor in the unpaid loans he extended to Armando for the renovation of the
conjugal properties subject of said civil case.

For failure to file his Answer, Armando was declared in default and Concepcion was allowed to
present evidence ex parte. Petitioner then filed a Manifestation and Motion praying that the trial
court hold in abeyance the resolution of the case pending resolution of his Motion for Leave to
File Complaint in Intervention.

In September 27, 1999, Branch 140, denied Eduardos motion for want of merit, pointing out
that his Motion for Leave to File Complaint in Intervention had been dismissed previously by
Branch 149 in its Order dated February 19, 1990, Eduardo moved for reconsideration but this
was denied on October 27, 1999. He then filed a Petition for Relief dated January 30, 2000,
raising denial of due process and fraud as his grounds since he allegedly never received a copy of
the Order of September 19, 1990

Petitioner then filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, which was dismissed for
lack of jurisdiction due to late payment of docket fees.

Issue: W/N the rule on payment of docket fee can be liberally applied ?

Rule : No, The court will not tolerate wanton disregrad of the procedural rules under the quise of
liberal construction. The appellate court found that while Eduardo filed his petition for certiorari
by registered mail on January 16, 2001, the sixtieth (60th) day from the receipt of the Order of
Denial of Motion for Reconsideration, the docket and other lawful fees were paid only on
January 17, 2001, one day after the expiration of the reglementary period for filing his petition.
The Court of Appeals applied Rule 46, Section 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure[7] which
allows payment of docket fees within a reasonable time if it was not paid during the filing of the
initiatory pleading, but in no case beyond the applicable prescriptive period. It held that while
the rule on the payment of docket fees may be liberally construed if only to secure a just and
speedy disposition of every action and proceeding, nonetheless, it should not be ignored or
belittled, lest it scathes and prejudices the other partys substantive rights.


Facts: In 1985, Rosa Elsa Jonas authorized her mother Andrea Serrano thru SPA, to sell a
property located in Davao City the property was mortgaged to Mindanao Development
Bank(MDB). In 1996 Cipriano Serrano (brother of Elsa Jonas, son of Andrea) offered to Spouses
Bitte. In the same year, Jonas revoked the SPA, Afetr final negotiation,Elsa Jonas withdra from
the transaction. Spouses Bitte filed a complaint for Specific Performance against Jonas, Andrea
and Cirpriano to transfer the title over the property. In 1998, while the case is pending, Andrea
executed a deed of absolute sale in favor of Spouses Bitte . MBD foreclosed the property for
failure to pay the loan. Spouses Bitte were able to redeem the property, then sold the same to
Spouses Ya. In 1999, Spouses Jonas also filed a complaint for Annulment of Deed of Absolute
Sale against Spouses Bitte.

The two case were consolidated in 2001. Sps Bitte failed to appear in pre-trial and were thus
declaed non-suited by the RTC. Jonas then presented her evidence ex parte.

ISSUE; W/N the Spouses Bitte have already lost the legal personality to resort to this petition
before this court, as they were declared in default by the RTC?

RULING: No, the rule is that "right to appeal from the judgment by default is not lost and can be
done on grounds that the amount of judment is excessive or is different in kind from that prayed
for, or that the plaintiff failed to prove the material allegations of his complaint, or that the
decision is contrary to law". If a party who has been declared in default on the basis of the
decision having been issued against the evidence or the law, that person cannot be denied the
remedy and opportunity to assail the judgment in the appellate court" Despite being burdened
by the circumstances of default, the petitioners may still use all other remedies availabe to
question not only the judgment of default but also the judgment on appeal. Those remedies
necessarily include an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45.