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NATIONAL PETROLEUM GAS INC., Nena Ang, Mario NP filed Rule 45 with SC.

Ang, Alison Sy, Guillermo Sy, Nelson Ang, Luisa Ang, GR No. 183370 SC: Agreed with the CA that there was a valid and effective service of
Renato Ang, Pauline Ang, Ricky Ang, Melinda Ang summons upon NP through its liaison officer, who acted as the agent of the
v. RCBC, substituted by Philippine Asset Growth One, Inc. corporate secretary.
August 17, 2015 Peralta, J.
TOPIC: Summons (Rule 14) FACTS
SUMMARY: Resp. RCBC filed complaint against Pet. NP for civil damages 1. Respondent RCBC filed against Petitioner National Petroleum (NP) a
arising from estafa in re: violation of the Trust Receipts Law. NP filed a special Complaint for civil damages arising from estafa in relation to violations of
appearance with motion to dismiss (MTD) on the ground of improper service of the Trust Receipts Law with the RTC.
summons. RTC denied NP's MTD, ruled that there was valid service of 2. RCBC's prayer for a writ of preliminary attachment was granted and issued
summons through Abante (liaison officer of NP) bec. she was given the after the ex parte hearing.
instruction to do so by Ang (corp. sec. of NP). CA affirmed RTC. SC affirmed Sheriff served upon NP a copy of the summons, complaint, and
CA, but only as to the service of summons on NP as a corporation. The service application for attachment, NP's affidavit and bond, and the order of
of summons to the individual petitioners (officers and employees) of NP are writ and attachment.
invalid because the sheriff's substituted service of summons were not compliant Sheriff's report stated that the Summons were served to NP at BPI
with the rules laid down in the Manotoc case. HOWEVER, in the end, the SC Building, Rizal Street, Candelaria, Quezon. Summons were received by
still said that the RTC had jurisdiction over the individual petitioners because Claudia Abante, the Liaison Officer of NP as evidenced by her
they voluntarily submitted to the RTC's jurisdiction by seeking affirmative signature. Sheriff served copies to other defendants at their addresses,
reliefs from the RTC. but they refused to acknowledge the receipt.
DOCTRINES: Sheriff levied the real properties of NP.
As to service of summons on corp. - Summons may only be made upon the 3. NP field a Special Appearance with Motion to Dismiss stating that the RTC
exclusive list in Rule 14, Sec. 11. Substantial compliance CANNOT be invoked. did not acquire jurisdiction over the corporation since summons were improperly
Service of summons upon persons other than those officers in the Rule is void, served upon Claudia Abante, who was a mere liaison officer and not one of the
defective, and NOT binding to the corporation. corporate officers enumerated in Rule 14, Sec. 11.
As to service of summons on individual pets. - Manotoc case (see Ratio #6) Sheriff did not personally approach them at their respective address as
clearly stresses that for substituted service of summons to be available, there stated in the Complaint; he did not resort to substituted services of
must be several attempts by the sheriff to personally serve summons within a summons and even if he did, there was no strict compliance with Rule
reasonable period. (at least 3 tries, preferrably on 2 diff. dates) 14, Sec. 7.
As to voluntary submission to court's jurisdiction - By seeking affirmative 4. RCBC countered in its Opposition with Motion to Declare Defendants in
reliefs from the trial court, the individual petitioners are deemed to have Default: There WAS valid service of summons upon NP.
voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of said court. A party cannot invoke the As to the Corporation: Abante received summons upon express
jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief against his opponent and after authority and instruction of Corp. Secretary Melinda Ang.
obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that same As to individual petitioners: Sheriff's Report said that they were served
jurisdiction. "at their given addresses, but they refused to acknowledge receipt
How the case reached the SC thereof."
RTC: Denied National Petroleum's (NP) special appearance with motion to Sheriff's Report = prima facie evidence of facts stated and sheriff enjoys
dismiss because of improper service of summons, held that court had presumption of regularity in the performance of his official functions.
jurisdiction over the case. (However in the same ruling, RTC also denied Oaminal v. Castillo: NP already submitted to court's jurisdiction
RCBC's motion to declare NP in default.) voluntarily when they prayed for the discharge of the writ of attachment,
NP filed Rule 65 with CA. which is an affirmative relief apart from the dismissal to the case.
CA: Affirmed RTC. Denied NP's MR. 4. NP filed Reply with Comment/Opposition.

Submitted Joint Affidavit and Abante's Affidavit claiming that they under the Rules to receive summons on behalf of a private juridical
neither personally met with the Sheriff nor were they handed a copy of person.
court documents; Ang did not give Abante any instructions to receive While it may be true that there was no direct, physical handling of the
the summons; Abante did not receive instructions from Ang = Hence summons to Ang, it could be interpreted that Ang constructively
court lacks jurisdiction. received the summons [through Abante's receipt of it]. This is a valid
Oaminal case finds no application since in the present case, they only service of summons. Hence Ang is now prevented from impugning the
filed one motion + the additional relief prayed for (discharge of the writ) RTC's jurisdiction on the ground of invalid service of summons.
is complementary to and a necessary consequence of a finding that the Estoppel is an effective bar against any claim of lack of jurisdiction.
court has no jurisdiction over their persons. CA gave weight to Sheriff's statement that Ang gave instructions to
5. RCBC filed Rejoinder with Motion to Strike. Abante despite their assertion otherwise.
Defended court's jurisdiction; Ang and Abante's denials are self-serving Presumption of regularity (Rule 131) was favored by CA. To overcome
Assuming arguendo that the Sheriff's Return does not state in detail that it, there should be more concrete evidence other than Abante's affidavit,
the summons were served upon individual petitioners through which is self-serving and insufficient to overturn the presumption.
substituted service, this DOES NOT conclusively prove that such
service is invalid because it may still be shown through extraneous
evidence. ISSUES:
6. RTC RULING: Denied NP's motion to dismiss, also denied RCBC's motion 1. W/N RTC acquired jurisdiction over NP by service of summons upon its mere
to declare NP in default. employee (Abante)? YES.
Upheld that it had jurisdiction over the persons of NP, required them to 2. W/N RTC acquired jurisdiction over individual petitioners by resorting to
file an Answer substituted service of summons despite absence of earnest efforts on the part of
Very essence of service of summons is for the defendants to be aware the serving officer to serve summons personally? NO.
of an existing suit against them and for them to file an answer or
responsive pleading thereto. HELD: NP's petition is DENIED. CA resolution sustaining RTC's Order is
When NP and individual petitioners were served with summons AFFIRMED.
through Abante who received the same for and in their behalf as per
Ang's instruction, and when NP filed a responsive pleading in the form RATIO:
of a Motion to Dismiss = they are deemed to have ultimately received 1st Issue: W/N RTC acquired jurisdiction over NP by service of summons upon
the summons. its mere employee (Abante)? YES. There is a valid and effective service of
No reason to doubt Sheriff's presumption of regularity; NP did not per summons upon National Petroleum Corporation, Inc., through its liaison officer
se deny having received the summonses, they are only challenging the who acted as the agent of the corporate secretary.
manner it was served. Hence they ultimately received the summonses = 1. Summons is a writ by which the defendant is notified of the action brought
rules on service substantially complied with. against him/her.
7. CA RULING: Affirmed RTC and denied NP's MR. 2-fold purpose: (a) to acquire jurisdiction over person of defendant &
Contention of NP will only deserve full credence if it is to be assumed (b) to notify defendant that an action has commenced against him so that
that Abante received the summons in her official capacity as a liaison he may be given an opportunity to be heard of the charges against him
officer. Compliance with the rules re: service of summons is as much an issue of
HOWEVER, this isn't what happened in the present case: Abante due process as of jurisdiction.
proceeded to receive the summons and accompanying documents only 2. Service of summons on domestic corp., partnership, or other juridical entity is
AFTER receiving instructions from Ang, NP's corporate secretary. It's governed by Rule 14, Sec. 11. Summons may only be made upon the exclusive
clear that Abante, in so receiving the summons, did so in representation
of Ang, who, as corporate secretary, is one of the officers competent

list in the said rule.1 Substantial compliance CANNOT be invoked. Service of Failure to comply faithfully, strictly, and fully with all requirements
summons upon persons other than those officers in the Rule is void, defective, renders the service of summons INEFFECTIVE.
and NOT binding to the corporation. 6. SC cited Manotoc v. CA as to what constitutes a valid substituted service of
3. SC cited CA decision in agreeing that there was a valid service of summons summons. (I only put the pertinent parts here as to the case because it's very long huhu)
upon NP. (See Fact #7, that is exactly what the SC cited.) (As to impossibility of prompt personal service) [...] since the defendant
4. NP cannot conveniently rely on the individual sworn statements of the is expected to try to avoid and evade service of summons, the sheriff
petitioners and Abante. These statements are not incompatible with the Sheriff's must be resourceful, persevering, canny, and diligent in serving the
report, which said that the summons were received by Abante upon the process on the defendant. For substituted service of summons to be
telephone instruction of Ang, and as evidenced by Abante's signature at the available, there must be several attempts by the sheriff to personally
original copy of the Summons and Writ. Even if Ang didn't talk to the Sheriff, it serve the summons within a reasonable period [of one month] which
doesn't rule out the possibility that she spoke to Abante to receive the documents. eventually resulted in failure to rove impossibility of prompt service.
Certificate of service of the Sheriff is prima facie evidence of the facts, "Several attempts" means at least three (3) tries, preferrably on at least
fortified by the presumption of regularity. two different dates. In addition, the sheriff must cite why such efforts
were unsuccessful. It is only then that impossibility of service can be
2nd Issue: W/N RTC acquired jurisdiction over individual petitioners by confirmed or accepted.
resorting to substituted service of summons despite absence of earnest efforts on (As to competency of the person in charge) If the substituted service will
the part of the serving officer to serve summons personally? NO. be done at defendant's office or regular place of business, then it should
5. Rule 14, Secs. 6 and 72 CANNOT be construed to apply simultaneously. They be served on a competent person in charge of the place. Thus, the person
do NOT provide for alternative modes of service of summons which can be on whom the substituted service will be made must be the one managing
resorted to on the mere basis of convenience for the parties. the office or business of defendant, such as the president or manager;
Under our Rules, service of summons in the persons of the defendants is and such individual must have sufficient knowledge to understand the
generally preferred over substituted service. obligation of the defendant in the summons, its importance, and the
Substituted service is only resorted to when summons cannot be prejudicial effects arising from inaction on the summons. Again, these
promptly served on the defendant in person and after stringent formal details must be contained in the Return.
and substantive requirements have been complied with. 7. In this case: Sheriff did not specify why substituted service was resorted to
other than that he served the copies to the individual petitioners but they refused
to acknowledge the receipt thereof.
Presumption of regularity will NOT apply if it's patent from the sheriff's
SECTION 11, RULE 14. Service upon domestic private juridical entity. When return that it is defective. Sheriff must show impracticability or
the defendant is a corporation, partnership or association organized under the laws of hopelessness of personal service.
the Philippines with a juridical personality, service may be made on the president, Substituted service will still be considered as regular if other evidence of
managing partner, general manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house the efforts to serve summons was presented (evidence aliunde)
counsel. 8. SC ruled that RCBC's contention (that the sheriff attempted to serve
SECTION 6, RULE 14. Service in person on defendant. Whenever practicable, summons to the individual petitioners both at the RCBC Plaza Office and at
the summons shall be served by handling a copy thereof to the defendant in person, their individual homes, ultimately serving them through the househelpers of
or, if he refuses to receive and sign for it, by tendering it to him.
the individual petitioners3) does not suffice.
SECTION 7, RULE 14. Substituted service. If, for justifiable causes, the
defendant cannot be served within a reasonable time as provided in the preceding 3 RCBC's side: Says that the sheriff was always met with the "fact" that the defendants were at
section, service may be effected (a) by leaving copies of the summons at the neither place whenever he would attempt to serve summons. Hence, the summons were served
defendant's residence with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing to the individual petitioners by entrusting them to their house helpers. So to require the sheriff
therein, or (b) by leaving the copies at defendant's office or regular place of business to return several times at the residences of ten petitioners would clearly be unreasonable.
with some competent person in charge thereof. Summons were properly served to the individual petitioners through substituted service
Sheriff hastily and capriciously resorted to substituted service without that [t]he inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other grounds aside from lack of
actually exerting any genuine effort to locate the individual petitioners. jurisdiction over the person of the defendant shall not be deemed a voluntary
"Reasonable time" to serve the summons personally had NOT yet appearance clearly refers to affirmative defenses, not affirmative reliefs.
elapsed (7 days for plaintiff, 15-30 days for sheriff). In the present case, the individual petitioners prayed, among others, for
Based on Sheriff's report and RCBC's narration, the personal service of the following: (1) discharge of the writ of attachment on their properties;
summons upon NP and individual petitioners, as well as the levy of the (2) denial of the motion to declare them in default; (3) admission of the
personal and real properties of NP et al. were ALL DONE IN ONE Comment/Opposition (to the motion to declare them in default) filed on
DAY. December 19, 2006; and (4) denial of respondents motion to strike off
Manotoc case clearly stresses that for substituted service of summons to from the records (their opposition to the motion to declare them in
be available, there must be several attempts by the sheriff to personally default).
serve summons within a reasonable period. (at least 3 tries, preferrably By seeking affirmative reliefs from the trial court, the individual
on 2 diff. dates) petitioners are deemed to have voluntarily submitted to the
Sheriff and RCBC's reason that it's unreasonable to return several times jurisdiction of said court. A party cannot invoke the jurisdiction of
to the residences of the individual petitioners doesn't hold water except a court to secure affirmative relief against his opponent and after
for Quezon Province, since the cities of Makati and Quezon are part of obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that
NCR. These are accessible either by private or public modes of same jurisdiction.
transportation, hence the distance was NOT insurmountable. Therefore, the CA cannot be considered to have erred in affirming the
9. Service of summons to househelp cannot be taken as valid. Although they trial courts denial of the Special Appearance with Motion to Dismiss
are of suitable age and discretion, RCBC and Sheriff did not elaborate that these for alleged improper service of summons.
persons know how to read and understand English to comprehend the import of
the summons, and fully realize the need to deliver the summons and complaint to
the individual petitioners at the earliest possible time for them to take appropriate
There is no way for the Court to conclusively ascertain that the sheriff
ensured, among others, that the persons found in the alleged dwelling or
residence comprehend the significance of the receipt of the summons
and the duty to immediately deliver it to the individual petitioners or at
least notify them of said receipt of summons.
10. No basis to convincingly say individual petitioners evaded personal
service of summons. The foregoing considered, it can be deduced that since
there were no actual efforts exerted and no positive steps undertaken to earnestly
locate the individual petitioners, there is no basis to convincingly say that they
evaded the personal service of summons and merely gave the sheriff a run-
around, thus, justifying substituted service upon them. Despite improper service
of summons upon their persons, the individual petitioners are deemed to have
submitted to the jurisdiction of the court through their voluntary appearance.
11. HOWEVER, the individual petitioners voluntarily submitted to the
Court's jurisdiction. The second sentence of Section 20, Rule 14 of the Rules

because there were justifiable causes existing which prevented personal service within a
reasonable period of time.