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G.R. No.

L-27283 July 29, 1977 Building"' and that "the provisions of paragraph 15 hereof leave very little
SOLEDAD F. BENGSON, plaintiff-appellant, room for doubt that the said causes of action are embraced within the
vs. phrase 'any and all questions, disputes or differences between the
MARIANO M. CHAN, UNIVERSAL CONSTRUCTION SUPPLY and parties hereto relative to the construction of the building', which must be
LEONCIO CHAN, both of San Fernando, La Union; MUTUAL determined by arbitration of two persons and such determination by the
SECURITY INSURANCE CORPORATION and KRAUSE A. IGNACIO arbitrators shall be 'final, conclusive and binding upon both parties'
of Manila, defendants-appellees. unless they go to court, in which case the determination by arbitration is
This is a case involving arbitration. On June 21, 1966 Soledad F. ' a condition precedent for taking any court action'."
Bengson and Mariano M. Chan entered into a contract for the Appellant Bengson argues that paragraph 15 refers to disputes as to
construction of a six-story building on Bengson's lot located at Rizal "the technical process of putting up the building", meaning whether there
Avenue, San Fernando, La Union. In that contract Soledad F. Bengson was an adherence to the plans and specifications, and that her causes
found herself to pay Chan, the contractor, the sum of P352,000 for the of action for damages do not involve questions as to the construction of
materials, labor and construction expenses. the building but refer to disputes "based on violation of the contract for
It was stipulated inter alia that the construction would start on July 5, construction".
1965; that the first and second stories, together with the theater, should She points out that the contract for the construction of the building and
be completed and available for use within five months from July 5, 1965, the construction of the building are different concepts, just as the
and that the construction should be finished within twelve calendar Constitution and the formation of the government under the Constitution
months from that date in conformity with the plans and specifications are different concepts; that a dispute relating to the construction contract
signed by the parties. The contract contains the following arbitration is not necessarily a dispute relative to the construction of the building;
clause: that the parties did not have any dispute prior to the filing of the
15. Any and all questions, disputes or differences arising between the complaint, and that it was only after the filing of the case that a dispute
parties hereto relative to the construction of the BUILDING shall be arose between them.
determined by arbitration of two persons, each chosen by the parties Appellant Bengson alternatively argues that if arbitration is proper, then
themselves. The determination of said arbitration shall be final, the trial court in conformity with section 6 of the Arbitration Law, Republic
conclusive and binding upon both parties hereto, unless they choose to Act No. 876, should have required the parties to proceed to arbitration.
go to court, in which case the determination by arbitration is a condition On the other hand, the defendants argue that the broad and inclusive
precedent for taking any court action. The expenses of arbitration shall terms of paragraph 15 embrace all breaches of the contract regarding
be borne by both parties equally. submission to arbitration of the contractor's request for extensions
On May 24, 1966 Soledad F. Bengson filed an action for damages shows that arbitration is not restricted to disputes relative to "the
against Mariano M. Chan and the sureties on his performance bond. technical process of putting up the building".
She alleged that Mariano M. Chan violated the contract by not We hold that the terms of paragraph 15 clearly express the intention of
constructing the first and second stories within the stipulated five- month the parties that all disputes between them should first be arbitrated
period; that because the contractor admitted at a conference on May 8, before court action can be taken by the aggrieved party.
1966 that he was unable to continue or complete the construction, Bengson's interpretation of paragraph 15 as being limited to
Soledad F. Bengson terminated the contract; that she suffered damages controversies with respect "to the joining together of stones, steel, wood
amounting to P85,000 as a consequence of Chan's failure to construct and other material to put up a building" has a sophistical flavor. Her
the commercial building, and that Chan did not comply with clauses 7 superfine distinction between the contract for the construction of the
and 8 of the contract in not attending to his work and in not submitting building and the construction of the building is specious but not
periodic reports of the work done as a basis for the payment of the convincing.
laborers' wages. The damages claimed totalled P183,800. However, although the causes of action in Bengson's complaint are
Mariano M. Chan and his sureties, Leoncio Chan (the owner of the covered by paragraph 15, her failure to resort to arbitration does not
Universal Construction Supply) and Mutual Security Insurance warrant the dismissal of her complaint. We agree with her alternative
Corporation, alleged in their answer that the contractor stopped the contention that arbitration may be resorted to during the pendency of the
construction use Soledad F. Bengson refused to pay for ninety percent case. The Arbitration Law provides:
of the work already accomplished; that the construction actually started SEC. 6. Hearing by court. — A party aggrieved by the failure, neglect or
in February, 1966 because of the changes requested by Bengson; that refusal of another to perform under an agreement in writing providing for
the demolition of the old building was effected from July to December, arbitration may petition the court for an order directing that such
1965, and that the stipulation for the construction of the first and second arbitration proceed in the manner provided for in such agreement. Five
stories within five months was novated b the parties. days notice in writing of the hearing of such application shall be served
The contractor and his sureties further alleged that Soledad F. Bengson either personally or by registered mail upon the party in default. The
had paid him P74,750 but refused to pay on May 8, 1966 the additional court shall hear the parties, and upon being satisfied that the making of
sum of P31,450 as the balance of ninety percent of the work already the agreement or such failure to comply therewith is not in issue, shall
accomplished worth P118,000; that by reason of Bengson's failure to make an order directing the parties to proceed to arbitration in
pay the balance, Chan notified her that he would stop the construction, accordance with the terms of the agreement. If the making of the
and that he actually stopped the construction on May 30, 1966 when he agreement or default be in issue the court shall proceed to summarily
was served with a copy of the complaint. hear such issue. If the finding be that no agreement in writing providing
Mariano M. Chan filed counterclaims for P45,223.23 as the balance due for arbitration was made, or that there is no default in the proceeding
on the contract; P15,000 as the value of the materials in the construction thereunder, the proceeding shall be dismissed. If the finding be that a
yard; P5,000 as reimbursement of the expenses for the demolition of the written provision for arbitration was made and there is a default in
old building, P5,000 as the value of his construction equipment under proceeding thereunder, an order shall be made summarily directing the
Bengson's control and P35,000 as damages. parties to proceed with arbitration in accordance with the terms thereof.
On November 16, 1966 the defendants filed an amended answer The court shall decide all motions, petitions or applications filed under
wherein they alleged as an additional affirmative defense that the the provisions of this Act, within ten days after such motions, petitions,
complaint states no cause of action because Soledad F. Bengson did or applications have been heard by it.
not submit the controversy for arbitration as required in the aforequoted SEC. 7. Stay of civil action. — If any suit or proceeding be brought upon
paragraph 15 of the construction contract. an issue arising out of an agreement providing for the arbitration thereof,
After holding a hearing, the trial court in its order of November 24, 1966 the court in which such quit or proceeding is pending, upon being
sustained that new defense and dismissed the complaint. Bengson satisfied that the issue involved in such suit or proceeding is referable to
appealed. arbitration, shall stay the action or proceeding until an arbitration has
Appellant Bengson's five assignments of errors may be reduced to the been had in accordance with the terms of the agreement: Provided, That
issues of whether the trial court erred (1) in allowing the defendants to the applicant for the stay is not in default in proceeding with such
plead a new affirmative defense in their amended answer and (2) in arbitration.
holding that the cause of action in plaintiff's complaint are embraced in Within the meaning of section 6, the failure of Soledad F. Bengson to
the requirement for arbitration as a condition precedent to a court action. resort to arbitration may be regarded as a refusal to comply with the
(1) We hold that there is no merit in appellant Bengson's contention that stipulation for arbitration. And defendants p interposition of the defense
the defendants waived the defense of lack of cause of action. It is true that arbitration is a condition precedent to the institution of a court action
that the defendants did not interpose as a defense in their original may be interpreted as a petition for an order that arbitration should
answer Bengson's failure to resort to arbitration before going to court or proceed as contemplated in section 15.
the defense that her complaint does not state a cause of action. The Therefore, instead of dismissing the case, the proceedings therein
omission did not constitute a waiver of that defense because section 2, should be suspended and the parties should be directed to go through
Rule 9 of the Rules of Court explicitly provides that "defenses and the motions of arbitration at least within a sixty-day period. With the
objections not pleaded either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer are consent of the parties, the trial court may appoint a third arbitrator to
deemed waived; except the failure to state a cause of action which may prevent a deadlock between the two arbitrators. In the event that the
be alleged in a later pleading, if one is permitted". disputes between the parties could not be settled definitively by
(2) Appellant Bengson's other contention that her causes of action do arbitration, then the hearing of the instant case should be resumed.
not involve disputes relative to the construction of the building and, WHEREFORE, the trial court's order of dismissal is reversed and set
consequently, should not be submitted for arbitration, is not well-taken. aside. If the parties cannot reach an amicable settlement at this late
The trial court sensibly said that "all the causes of action alleged in the hour, then the trial court should give them at least sixty days from notice
plaintiff's amended complaint are based upon the supposed violations within which to settle their disputes by arbitration and, if no settlement is
committed by the defendants of the 'Contract for the Construction of a
finalized within that period, it should hold a pre-trial and try the case. No COMTRUST), it opted to sue the drawee bank (ALLIED BANK). It is,
costs. however, up to the trial court to rule on the propriety of the latter
SO ORDERED. complaint. 4
Not satisfied with the above ruling, petitioner filed the present petition
G.R. No. 123871 August 31, 1998 before this Court.5
ALLIED BANKING CORPORATION, petitioner, The Issues
vs. Petitioner raises the following issues: 6
COURT OF APPEALS and BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, I. The Respondent Honorable Court of Appeals erred in holding that
INC., respondents. the cause of action of the third-party complaint ha[d] already
As a general rule, a trial court that has established jurisdiction over the prescribed.
main action also acquires jurisdiction over a third-party complaint, even II. The Respondent Honorable Court of Appeals erred in holding that
if it could not have done so had the latter been filed as an independent the filing of the third party complaint should be disallowed as it would
action. This rule, however, does not apply to banks that have agreed to only delay the resolution of the case.
submit their disputes over check clearings to arbitration under the rules On the other hand, private respondent argues that the trial court had
of the Philippine Clearing House Corporation. In that event, primary no authority to admit a third-party claim that was filed by one bank
recourse should be to the PCHC Arbitration Committee, without against another and involved a check cleared through the Philippine
prejudice to an appeal to the trial courts. In other words, without first Clearing House Corporation (PCHC). To the mind of the Court, this is
resorting to the PCHC, the third-party complaint would be premature. the critical issue.
The Case The Court's Ruling
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing The petition is bereft of merit.
the Decision dated February 12, 1996 promulgated by the Court of Critical Issue: Mandatory Recourse to PCHC
Appeals1 in CA-GR CV No. 44804; which affirmed the trial court's To buttress its claim, private respondent contends that petitioner's
Order dated September 16, 1991, dismissing petitioner's third-party remedy rests with the PCHC, of which both Allied and BPI are
complaint against private respondent. 2 members, in consonance with the Clearing House Rules and
Facts of the Case Regulations which, in part, states:
The facts are undisputed. Reproduced hereunder is Respondent Sec. 38 — Arbitration
Court's narration: Any dispute or controversy between two or more clearing participants
Hyatt Terraces Baguio issued two crossed checks drawn against Allied involving any check/item cleared thru PCHC shall be submitted to the
Banking Corp. (hereinafter, ALLIED) in favor of appellee Meszellen Arbitration Committee, upon written complaint of any involved
Commodities Services, Inc. (hereinafter, MESZELLEN). Said checks participant by filing the same with the PCHC serving the same upon
were deposited on August 5, 1980 and August 18, 1980, respectively, the other party or parties, who shall within fifteen (15) days after receipt
with the now defunct Commercial Bank and Trust Company thereof file with the Arbitration Committee its written answer to such
(hereinafter, COMTRUST). Upon receipt of the above checks, written complaint and also within the same period serve the same upon
COMTRUST stamped at the back thereof the warranty "All prior the complaining participant, . . . .
endorsements and/or lack of endorsements guaranteed." After the Private respondent cites Banco de Oro Sayings and Mortgage Bank v.
checks were cleared through the Philippine Clearing House Equitable Banking Corporation 7 and Associated Bank v. Court of
Corporation (hereinafter, PCHC), ALLIED BANK paid the proceeds of Appeals,8 which upheld the right of the PCHC to settle and adjudicate
said checks to COMTRUST as the collecting bank. disputes between member banks. In Banco de Oro, the Court ruled:
On March 17, 1981, the payee, MESZELLEN, sued the drawee, The participation of the two banks, petitioner and private respondent, in
ALLIED BANK, for damages which it allegedly suffered when the the clearing operations of PCHC is a manifestation of their submission
value[s] of the checks were paid not to it but to some other person. to its jurisdiction. Secs. 3 and 36.6 of the PCHC-CHRR clearing rules
Almost ten years later, or on January 10, 1991, before defendant and regulations provide:
ALLIED BANK could finish presenting its evidence, it filed a third party Sec. 3. AGREEMENT TO THESE RULES. — It is the general
complaint against Bank of the Philippine Islands (hereinafter, BPI, agreement and understanding that any participant in the Philippine
appellee herein) as successor-in-interest of COMTRUST, for Clearing House Corporation, MICR clearing operations[,] by the mere
reimbursement in the event that it would be adjudged liable in the main fact of their participation, thereby manifests its agreement to these
case to pay plaintiff, MESZELLEN. The third party complaint was Rules and Regulations and its subsequent amendments.
admitted [in] an Order dated May 16, 1991 issued by the Regional Trial Sec. 36.6. (ARBITRATION) — The fact that a bank participates in the
Court of Pasig, Branch 162. On July 16, 1991, BPI filed a motion to clearing operations of the PCHC shall be deemed its written and
dismiss said third party complaint grounded on the following: 1) that subscribed consent to the binding effect of this arbitration agreement
the court ha[d] no jurisdiction over the nature of the action; and 2) that as if it had done so in accordance with section 4 of (the) Republic Act.
the cause of action of the third party plaintiff ha[d] already prescribed. No. 876, otherwise known as the Arbitration Law.
On September 16, 1991, the trial court issued an order dismissing the Further[,] Section 2 of the Arbitration Law mandates:
third party complaint. Defendant-third party plaintiff's motion for Two or more persons or parties may submit to the arbitration of one or
reconsideration of this order was subsequently denied. 3 more arbitrators any controversy existing between them at the time of
Respondent Court's Ruling the submission and which may be the subject of any action, or the
Respondent Court affirmed the trial court thus: parties of any contract may in such contract agree to settle by
. . . Appellant's submission that the cause of action of the third party arbitration a controversy thereafter arising between them. Such
plaintiff against the third party defendant accrued only when the submission or contract shall be valid and irrevocable, save upon
complaint in the original case was filed on March 17, 1981 is grounds as exist at law for the revocation of any contract.
untenable. As earlier discussed, the defendant has a separate cause Such submission or contract may include question arising out of
of action (in respect of plaintiff's complaint) against a third party in the valuations, appraisals or other controversies which may be collateral,
original and principal case. Reviewing the third-party complaint below, incidental, precedent or subsequent to any issue between the parties.
that cause of action is the supposed erroneous endorsement made by (Emphasis supplied.)
COMTRUST for which ALLIED BANK is being held liable for damages Associated Bank also disallowed a similar third-party complaint, ruling
by the payee-appellee. Without COMTRUST's warranties as a general thus:
endorser, ALLIED BANK allegedly would not have paid on the checks. Under the rules and regulations of the Philippine Clearing House
Should such warranties prove to be false and inaccurate, COMTRUST Corporation (PCHC), the mere act of participation of the parties
may be held liable for any damage arising out of the falsity of its concerned in its operations in effect amounts to a manifestation of
representation. agreement by the parties to abide by its rules and regulations. As a
Based on the records the subject endorsement of COMTRUST was consequence of such participation, a party cannot invoke the jurisdiction
made in August 1980[;] and in the same period, ALLIED BANK paid on of the courts over disputes and controversies which fall under the PCHC
the subject checks. From that moment, ALLIED BANK could have Rules and Regulations without first going through the arbitration
instituted an action against COMTRUST. It is the legal possibility of processes laid out by the body. Since claims relating to the regularity of
bringing the action which determines the starting point for the checks cleared by banking institutions are among those claims which
computation of the period (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. should first be submitted for resolution by the PCHC's Arbitration
IV, p. 41, citing Manresa). This is the moment when a cause of action Committee, petitioner Associated Bank, having voluntarily bound itself
may be deemed to accrue. Thus, considering that the third party to abide by such rules and regulations, is estopped from seeking relief
complaint was filed more than ten years from August 1980, specifically from the Regional Trial Court on the coattails of a private claim and in
on January 10, 1991, the same can no longer be entertained. the guise of a third party complaint without first having obtained a
Even granting arguendo that the lower court had jurisdiction over the decision adverse to its claim from the said body. It cannot bypass the
third party complaint and the cause of action thereof had not yet arbitration process on the basis of its averment that its third party
prescribed, the filing of the third party complaint should nevertheless complaint is inextricably linked to the original complaint in the Regional
be disallowed considering that defendant has already presented Trial Court.
several witnesses and is about ready to rest its case because, then, xxx xxx xxx
the allowance of the third party complaint would only delay the Clearly therefore, petitioner Associated Bank, by its voluntary
resolution of the original case. (Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. of the participation and its consent to the arbitration rules cannot go directly to
Phil. vs. Tempengko, supra, p. 423). the Regional Trial Court when it finds it convenient to do so. The
A final word. We have noted the curious situation here where, instead jurisdiction of the PCHC under the rules and regulations is clear,
of the payee suing its bank, i.e., the collecting bank (which is undeniable and is particularly applicable to all the parties in the third
party complaint under their obligation to first seek redress of their There is no controversy as to the facts.
disputes and grievances [from] the PCHC before going to the trial court. On February 7, 1984, the petitioner, as plaintiff, filed a complaint 2 for
Finally, the contention that the third party complaint should not have declaration of ownership with damages against the private respondent,
been dismissed for being a necessary and inseparable offshoot of the the spouses Leonilo Bercasio and Candida dela Torre. Seventeen
main case over which the court a quo had already exercised jurisdiction days thereafter, or on February 24, 1984, to be exact, the private
misses the fundamental point about such pleading. A third party respondents-defendants filed their answer (with counterclaim) 3 to the
complaint is a mere procedural device which under the Rules of Court is complaint. Still much later, on November 11, 1984, the private
allowed only with the court's permission. It is an action "actually respondents moved for the dismissal of the complaint against them on
independent of, separate and distinct from the plaintiffs' complaint" the sole ground that the petitioner allegedly failed to comply with the
(s)uch that, were it not for the Rules of Court, it would be necessary to provisions of Section 6 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1508 which
file the action separately from the original complaint by the defendant require conciliation proceedings before the barangay Lupong
against the third party. (Emphasis supplied.) Tagapayapa as a pre- condition to the filing of a case in court.4 The
Banco de Oro and Associated Bank are clear and unequivocal: a third- petitioner lost no time in submitting an opposition to the private
party complaint of one bank against another involving a check cleared respondents' motion to dismiss. The respondent judge, to whose sala
through the PCHC is unavailing, unless the third-party claimant has first the case was raffled, on November 23, 1984, issued the questioned
exhausted the arbitral authority of the PCHC Arbitration Committee and resolution dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. A motion for
obtained a decision from said body adverse to its claim. reconsideration of the trial court's resolution was filed, the petitioner-
Recognizing the role of the PCHC in the arbitration of disputes between movant arguing that the case does not come within the ambit of P.D.
participating banks, the Court in Associated Bank further held: "Pursuant No. 1508 inasmuch as the parties thereto reside in different provinces.
to its function involving the clearing of checks and other clearing items, Alternatively, the petitioner insisted that even granting that there was
the PCHC has adopted rules and regulations designed to provide indeed a need to submit the case first before the barangay court, the
member banks with a procedure whereby disputes involving the private respondents' failure to seasonably raise that ground in a motion
clearance of checks and other negotiable instruments undergo a to dismiss before they filed their answer, or in their answer itself,
process of arbitration prior to submission to the courts below. This constitutes a waiver of the said ground. 5Apparently, the petitioner's
procedure not only ensures a uniformity of rulings relating to factual supplications fell on deaf ears because the respondent trial court
disputes involving checks and other negotiable instruments but also judge, on February 6, 1985, denied the motion for reconsideration for
provides a mechanism for settling minor disputes among participating allegedly being "devoid of merit." 6
and member banks which would otherwise go directly to the trial courts." From the trial court, the petitioner came straight to us vigorously
We defer to the primary authority of PCHC over the present dispute, maintaining, as earlier adverted to, that the respondent judge acted
because its technical expertise in this field enables it to better resolve with grave abuse of discretion in dismissing his complaint.
questions of this nature. This is not prejudicial to the interest of any party, We grant the petition.
since primary recourse to the PCHC does not preclude an appeal to the Section 6 of P.D. No. 1508 itself, from which the respondent jugde
regional trial courts on questions of law. Section 13 of the PCHC Rules based his rulings categorically states that it should be taken in
reads: conjunction with the provisions of Section 2 of the same decree.
Sec. 13. The findings of facts of the decision or award rendered by the SECTION 6. Conciliation, pre-condition to filing of complaint. — No
Arbitration Committee or by the sole Arbitrator as the case may be shall complaint, petition, action or proceeding involving any matter within the
be final and conclusive upon all the parties in said arbitration dispute. authority of the Lupon as provided in Section 2 hereof shall be filed or
The decision or award of the Arbitration Committee or of the Sole instituted in court or any other government office for adjudication
Arbitrator shall be appealable only on questions of law to any of the unless there has been a confrontation of the parties before the Lupon
Regional Trial Courts in the National Capital Judicial Region where the Chairman or the Pangkat and no conciliation or settlement has been
Head Office of any of the parties is located. The appellant shall perfect reached as certified by the Lupon Secretary or the Pangkat Secretary,
his appeal by filing a notice of appeal to the Arbitration Secretariat and attested by the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman, or unless the settlement
filing a Petition with the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital has been repudiated. However, the parties may go directly to court in
Region . . . . the following cases:
Furthermore, when the error is so patent, gross and prejudicial as to (1) Where the accused is under detention;
constitute grave abuse of discretion, courts may address questions of (2) Where a person has otherwise been deprived of personal liberty
fact already decided by the arbitrator. 9 calling for habeas corpus proceedings;
We are not unaware of the rule that a trial court, which has jurisdiction (3) Actions coupled with provisional remedies such as preliminary
over the main action, also has jurisdiction over the third-party complaint, injunction, attachment, delivery of personal property and support
even if the said court would have had no jurisdiction over it had it been pendente lite; and
filed as an independent action. 10 However, this doctrine does not apply (4) Where the action may otherwise be barred by the Statute of
in the case of banks, which have given written and subscribed consent Limitations.
to arbitration under the auspices of the PCHC. (Emphasis supplied.)
By participating in the clearing operations of the PCHC, petitioner Section 2 of P.D. No. 1508, on the other hand provides:
agreed to submit disputes of this nature to arbitration. Accordingly, it SECTION 2. Subject matters for amicable settlement. — The Lupon of
cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the trial courts without a prior recourse each barangay shall have authority to bring together the parties
to the PCHC Arbitration Committee. Having given its free and voluntary actually residing in the same city or municipality for amicable
consent to the arbitration clause, petitioner cannot unilaterally take it settlement of all disputes except:
back according to its whim. In the world of commerce, especially in the (1) Where one party is the government, or any subdivision or
field of banking, the promised word is crucial. Once given, it may no instrumentality thereof:
longer be broken. (2) Where one party is a public officer or employee and the dispute
Upon the other hand, arbitration as an alternative method of dispute relates to the performance of his official functions;
resolution is encouraged by this Court. Aside from unclogging judicial (3) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding 30 days, or a fine
dockets, it also hastens solutions especially of commercial disputes. exeeding P200.00:
In view of the foregoing, a discussion of the issues raised by the (4) Offenses where there is private offended party;
petitioners is unnecessary. (5) Such other classes of dispute which the Prime Minister may in the
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. Costs against interest of justice determine upon recommendation of the Minister of
petitioner. Justice and the Minister of Local Government.
SO ORDERED. (Emphasis supplied.)
Additionally, Section 3 thereof states that:
G.R. No. 70245 May 5, 1989 SECTION 3. Venue — Dispute between or among persons actually
ELEUTERIO DOMINGO, petitioner residing in the same barangay shall be brought to amicable settlement
vs. of different barangay. Those involving actual residents of different
HON. ALFREDO A. ROSERO, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial barangays within the same city or municipality shall be brought in the
Court, Branch XXVI, Naga City; LEONILO BERCASIO and barangay where the respondent or any of the respondents actually
CANDIDA DELA TORRE, respondents. resides, at the election of the complainant. However, all dispute which
The correct appreciation and application of the provisions of involve real property or interest therein shall be brought in the
Presidential Decree No. 1508, more commonly known as the barangay where the real property or any part thereof is situated.
Katarungang Pambarangay Law, particularly Section 6 thereof, which The Lupon shall have no authority over disputes:
mandate the submission of certain disputes before the barangay (1) involving parties who actually reside in barangays of different cities
Lupong Tagapayapa for conciliation and, if possible, amicable or municipalities, except where such barangays adjoin each other; and
settlement between the parties, prior to the filing of the controversy in xxx xxx xxx
the courts of justice, is, again, the concern of this special civil action for (Emphasis supplied.)
certiorari. The petitioner assails the public respondent, Judge Alfredo From the foregoing provisions of the Katarungang Pambarangay Law,
A. Rosero of the Regional Trial Court of Naga City, for allegedly acting it is crystal clear that only disputes between parties who are actual
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of residents of barangays located in the same city or municipality, or
jurisdiction in issuing on November 23, 1984, the resolution 1 ordering residents of adjoining barangays located in two different municipalities,
the dismissal of his (petitioner's) complaint in Civil Case No. 84295, are within the jurisdiction of the barangay court.
entitled, "Eleuterio Domingo vs. Leonilo Bercasio, et al.," then pending
in the respondent judge's sala.
Unfortunately, the respondent judge failed to see the error of his Complainant and his wife moved for a reconsideration, citing the
position divesting himself of jurisdiction and insisting that the complaint following provisions of R.A. 7160, "The Local Government Code of
should first be presented before the barangay court. 1991":
The petitioner (plaintiff), avers in paragraph 1 of his complaint' that his SEC. 408. Subject matter for Amicable Settlement; Exception Thereto.
residence and postal address is at 660 T. Solit Street, Pateros, Metro The lupon of each barangay shall have authority to bring
Manila, while the defendants (private respondents) are residents of together the parties actually residing in the same city or
Barangay Sto. Domingo, Pacasao, Camarines Sur. This avernment is municipality for amicable settlement of all disputes except:
specifically admitted by the defendants (private respondents) in (a) Where one party is the government of any subdivision or
paragraph 1 of their Answer with Counterclaim. 8 The parties are instrumentality thereof;
therefore not only residents of different barangays and municipalities (b) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute
but are also, in fact, residents of different provinces. P.D. No. 1508 relates to the performance of his official functions;
only applies to residents of the same municipalities or at most, under (c) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding one (1) year or a
par. 1 of Section 3 thereof, residents of adjoining barangays situated in fine exceeding Five Thousand pesos (P5,000.00);
two different municipalities. 9 It would therefore be absurd if the (d) Offenses where there is no private offended party;
compulsory conciliation process is made to apply to residents of (e) Where the dispute involves real property located in different cities or
different and distant provinces, as the parties herein, when the law municipalities unless the parties thereto agree to submit their
itself is inapplicable to residents of different municipalities unless they differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon;
are from adjacent barangays. Undoubtedly, the dispute between the (f) Disputes involving parties who actually reside in barangays of
petitioner and the private respondent is beyond the jurisdiction of any different cities or municipalities, except where such barangay
barangay court and could immediately be filed in the regular courts of units adjoin each other and the parties thereto agree to
justice as the petitioner here did. submit their differences to amicable settlement by an
The private respondents submit that the subject dispute between them appropriate lupon;
and the petitioner is cognizable by the barangay Lupon. They premise (g) Such other classes of disputes which the President may determine
their contention on the allegation that at the time the petitioner filed his in the interest of justice or upon recommendation of the
complaint, he was temporarily residing in Barangay Sto. Domingo, in Secretary of Justice. marie
Pacasao, Camarines Sur. 10 But even if the foregoing allegation were a The court in which the non-criminal cases not falling within the authority
fact, the private respondents' argument remains seriously flawed. of the lupon under this Code are filed may, at any time
Residence in a barangay within the same municipality if only transient before trial, motu proprio refer the case to the lupon
or temporary is not enough to vest jurisdiction upon the barangay concerned for amicable settlement.
Lupon. SEC. 409. Venue. - (a) Disputes between persons actually residing in
In the case of Bejer vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 11 we have had the the same barangay shall be brought for amicable settlement
occasion to rule that residence as contemplated in P.D. No. 1508 before the lupon of said barangay.
compels not only actual residence but also membership in the (b) Those involving actual residents of different barangays within the
barangay. Here, it has not been shown that the petitioner became a same city of municipality shall be brought in the barangay
member of Barangay Sto. Domingo during his brief sojourn in where the respondent or any of the respondents actually
Pacasao, Camarines Sur. It follows, lacking in that qualification, that he resides, at the election of the complainant.
could not then be considered, for the purpose of applying the (c) All disputes involving real property or any interest therein shall be
provisions of P.D. No. 1508, as an actual resident of Barangay Sto. brought in the barangay where the real property or the larger
Domingo. There is therefore no need for the dispute between him and portion thereof is situated.
the private respondents to be brought before a barangay Lupon. (d) Those arising at the workplace where the contending parties are
At any rate, as correctly pointed out by the petitioner, even assuming employed or at the institution where such parties are enrolled
ex gratia argumenti that the dispute is cognizable by a barangay court, for study shall be brought in the barangay where such
the requirement of submission or referral to the Lupong Tagapayapa workplace or institution is located.
under P.D. 1508 is merely a condition precedent for the filing of a Objections to venue shall be raised in the mediation proceedings before
complaint in court 12 and not jurisdictional. 13 It is the Judiciary Revamp the punong barangay; otherwise, the same shall be deemed
Law (Batas Pambansa Blg. 129) and the Judiciary Act of 1948, and not waived. Any legal question which may confront the punong
P.D. No. 1508, which vest jurisdiction. 14 Accordingly, the failure of the barangay in resolving objections to venue herein referred to
private respondents to raise timely this ground in a motion to dismiss may be submitted to the Secretary of Justice or his duly
filed before their answer to the complaint, or in their answer, designated representative whose ruling thereon shall be
constitutes a waiver thereof. 15 We have consistently adhered to that binding.
rule and we see no cogent reason to deviate from it now. They argued that under 408(f), in relation to 409(c), where the parties to
WHEREFORE, the Resolution dated September 23, 1984 and the a dispute involving real property or any interest therein are
Order dated February 6, 1985 of the public respondent, Judge Alfredo not actual residents of the same city or municipality or of
A. Rosero dismissing the petitioner's Complaint, are hereby adjoining barangays, prior resort to barangay conciliation is
REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the trial court is ordered to not required.
REINSTATE Civil Case No. 84-295 thereof. No cost. However, respondent denied the motion. In her order dated September
SO ORDERED. 9, 1997, respondent stated:
The Court after taking into consideration the Motion for Reconsideration
[A.M. No. MTJ-00-1265. April 6, 2000] and the ground relied upon by the counsel finds that counsel
VALENCIDES VERCIDE, complainant, vs. JUDGE PRISCILLA T. for the plaintiffs failed to correlate Sections 408 and 409 of
HERNANDEZ, Fifth Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Clarin and Republic Act No. 7160 and to consider Rule VIII, paragraph
Tudela, Misamis Occidental, respondent. francis (a) of the Katarungang Pambarangay Rules, the rules and
DECISION regulations [of] which were promulgated to implement
MENDOZA, J.: Sections 399 to 422, Chapter 7, Title One Book III and
This is a complaint filed against Judge Priscilla T. Hernandez of the Section 515, Book IV of R.A. No. 7160, otherwise known as
Fifth Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Clarin and Tudela, Misamis the Katarungang Pambarangay Law, to wit:
Occidental, charging her with grave abuse of authority and ignorance "RULE VIII - PRE-CONDITION FOR FORMAL ADJUDICATION
of the law for her dismissal of a case which complainant Valencides Conciliation, pre-condition for filing of complaint in court or government
Vercide and his wife had filed against Daria Lagas Galleros for office. novero
recovery of possession of a piece of land. The land is located in Upper (a) No individual may go directly to court or to any government office for
Centro, Tudela, Misamis Occidental. Defendant Galleros is a resident adjudication of his dispute with another individual upon any
of the same municipality, while complainant and his wife are residents matter falling within the authority of the Punong Barangay or
of Dipolog City. Because of this fact, the case was filed in court without Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo to settle under these Rules,
prior referral to the Lupong Tagapamayapa. unless, after personal confrontation of the parties before
However, this matter was raised by defendant in her answer as an them earnest efforts to conciliate have failed to result in a
affirmative defense, and respondent, in her order of July 15, 1997, settlement or such settlement has been effectively
ordered the dismissal of the case without prejudice to the prosecution repudiated."
of the counterclaim pleaded by the defendant in her answer. In support and also Rule VI, Section 3 paragraph (c) of the same Katarungang
of her order, respondent cited P.D. No. 1508, 3 of which provides: Pambarangay Rules which provides:
Venue. - Disputes between or among persons actually residing in the "Rule VI - Amicable Settlement of Disputes
same barangay shall be brought for amicable settlement before the Section 3. Venue. The place of settlement shall be subject to the
Lupon of said barangay. Those involving actual residents of different following rules:
barangays within the same city or municipality shall be brought in the ....
barangay where the respondent or any of the respondents actually (c) Dispute involving real property shall be brought for settlement in the
resides, at the election of the complainant. However, all disputes which Barangay where the real property or larger portion thereof is
involve real property or any interest therein shall be brought in the situated.
barangay where the real property or any part thereof is situated. From the provisions of the above-cited Rules it was very clear that
(Emphasis added) parties whose disputes involved real property should first
br[ing] the said dispute before the barangay where the
property was located, and that [because of] failure to bring
the dispute before the Barangay for conciliation no action The foregoing provisions are quite clear. Section 2 specifies the
may be filed in court for final adjudication of the said dispute. conditions under which the Lupon of a barangay "shall have
That parties should first comply with the provisions of the Katarungang authority" to bring together the disputants for amicable
Pambarangay Law before the Court can acquire jurisdiction settlement of their dispute: The parties must be "actually
over the complaint. That non-compliance of the plaintiff to residing in the same city or municipality." At the same time,
the requirement of the Katarungang Pambarangay Law was Section 3 while reiterating that the disputants must be
admitted by her in paragraph 3 of the complaint. Her "actually residing in the same barangay" or in "different
allegation of non-compliance with the mandatory barangays within the same city or municipality"
requirement of Lupon Conciliation before the filing of the unequivocably declares that the Lupon shall have "no
complaint, in a way divest[s] the Court of its jurisdiction over authority" over disputes "involving parties who actually reside
the case. In the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 16, in barangays of different cities or municipalities," except
Section 1, paragraph (j) provides: where such barangays adjoin each other.
"That a condition precedent for filing the claim has not been complied Thus, by express statutory inclusion and exclusion, the Lupon shall
with" have no jurisdiction over disputes where the parties are not
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Motion for actual residents of the same city or municipality, except
Reconsideration is hereby denied. where the barangays in which they actually reside adjoin
Complainant alleges that in dismissing Civil Case No. 295, respondent each other.
judge committed "(a) Grave abuse of authority by knowingly rendering It is true that immediately after specifying the barangay whose Lupon
an unjust and unlawful order; (b) Ignorance of the law in its highest shall take cognizance of a given dispute, Sec. 3 of PD 1508
order, she being a judge; (c) Grave disobedience to the jurisprudence adds:
laid down by the Supreme Court of the Philippines on the matter of "However, all disputes which involve real property or any interest therein
exemption of lupon conciliation of contending parties who are not shall be brought in the barangay where the real property or
residen[ts] of the same city or municipality." He states that respondent any part thereof is situated."
"practically threw several decisions of the Supreme Court on the matter Actually, however, this added sentence is just an ordinary proviso and
out of the window and obviously followed hook, line and sinker the should operate as such. marinella
arguments of the [defendant] Daria Galleros." The operation of a proviso, as a rule, should be limited to its normal
In answer, respondent judge claims that she merely followed the law in function, which is to restrict or vary the operation of the
dismissing the case. She prays that the complaint against her be principal clause, rather than expand its scope, in the
dismissed and that complainant be ordered to stop harassing her just absence of a clear indication to the contrary.[2]
because he had not been able to obtain the relief he wanted in Civil To be sure, the Court was interpreting in that case the provisions of P.D.
Case No. 295. nigel No. 1508 which, except for some modifications, are
In its memorandum dated February 29, 2000, the Office of the Court applicable to the case before respondent judge because they
Administrator recommends the dismissal of this case on the ground are now found in 408-409 of R.A. No. 7160 which took effect
that the "issue [raised] is purely judicial and is best resolved by a court on January 1, 1992. The ruling in Tavora v. Veloso,
of competent jurisdiction" and that, even if respondent had erred, she reiterated in other cases,[3] should be familiar to the bench
should not be held administratively liable since there is no allegation and the bar. As we have held in Espiritu v. Jovellanos,[4] the
that she acted in bad faith or knowingly rendered an unjust judgment. phrase "Ignorance of the law excuses no one" has a special
In Tavora v. Veloso,[1] this Court already ruled that where parties do not application to judges who, under the injunction of Canon
reside in the same city or municipality or in adjoining barangays, there 1.01 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, "should be the
is no requirement for them to submit their dispute involving real embodiment of competence, integrity, and independence." In
property to the Lupong Tagapamayapa. As explained in that case: Bacar v. De Guzman,[5] it was held that when the law violated
The sole issue raised is one of law: Under the given facts, is the is basic, the failure to observe it constitutes gross ignorance.
respondent judge barred from taking cognizance of the ejectment case Reiterating this ruling, it was emphasized in Almeron v.
pursuant to Sec. 6 of PD 1508 establishing a system of amicably Sardido[6] that the disregard of an established rule of law
settling disputes at the barangay level? The section reads: amounts to gross ignorance of the law and makes the judge
"SECTION. 6. Conciliation, precondition to filing of complaint. - No subject to disciplinary action.
complaint, petition, action or proceeding involving any matter In the case at bar, respondent showed patent ignorance if not
within the authority of the Lupon as provided in Section 2 disregard of this Courts rulings on the jurisdiction of the Lupong
hereof shall be filed or instituted in court or any other Tagapamayapa by her erroneous quotations of the provisions of the
government office for adjudication unless there has been a Katarungang Pambarangay Rules implementing R.A. No. 7160. While
confrontation of the parties before the Lupon Chairman or a judge may not be held administratively accountable for every
the Pangkat and no conciliation or settlement has been erroneous order or decision he renders, his error may be so gross or
reached as certified by the Lupon Secretary or the Pangkat patent that he should be administratively disciplined for gross
Secretary, attested by the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman, or ignorance of the law and incompetence.
unless the settlement has been repudiated. . . ." (Italics In this case, respondent at first cited P.D. No. 1508, 3 as basis of her
supplied) action. When her attention was called to the fact that this had been
For the above provision to be operative, the controversy must be within repealed by 409(c) of R.A. No. 7160, respondent, who obviously was
the jurisdiction of the Lupong Tagapayapa (Lupon or more intent in justifying her previous order than correcting her error,
Barangay court). On this point, the relevant provisions of PD quoted out of context the provisions of the Katarungang Pambarangay
1508 are: Rules implementing the Katarungang Pambarangay provisions of R.A.
"SECTION 2. Subject matters for amicable settlement. - The Lupon of No. 7160. She thus violated Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct
each barangay shall have authority to bring together the which provides that "In every case, a judge shall endeavor diligently to
parties actually residing in the same city or municipality for ascertain the facts and the applicable law unswayed by partisan
amicable settlement of all disputes except: interest, public opinion or fear of criticism."
(1) Where one party is the government, or any subdivision or Contrary to respondents interpretation, it is clear even from the
instrumentality thereof; Katarungang Pambarangay Rules that recourse to barangay
(2) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute conciliation proceedings is not necessary where the parties do not
relates to the performance of his official functions; reside in the same municipality or city or in adjoining barangays. Rule
(3) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding 30 days, or a fine VI of the same states in pertinent part:
exceeding P200.00; SECTION 2. Subject matters for settlement. - All disputes may be the
(4) Offenses were there is no private offended party; subject of proceedings for amicable settlement under these
(5) Such other classes of disputes which the Prime Minister may in the rules except the following enumerated cases:
interest of justice determine, upon recommendation of the (a) Where one party is the government, or any subdivision or
Minister of Justice and the Minister of Local Government. ella instrumentality thereof; alonzo
"SECTION 3. Venue. Disputes between or among persons actually (b) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute
residing in the same barangay shall be brought for amicable relates to the performance of his official functions;
settlement before the Lupon of said barangay. Those (c) Offenses for which the law prescribes a maximum penalty of
involving actual residents of different barangays within the imprisonment exceeding one (1) year or a fine exceeding
same city or municipality shall be brought in the barangay Five Thousand pesos (P5,000.00);
where the respondent or any of the respondents actually (d) Offenses where there is no private offended party;
resides, at the election of the complainant. However, all (e) Where the dispute involves real properties located in different cities
disputes which involve real property or any interest therein or municipalities unless the parties thereto agree to submit
shall be brought in the barangay where the real property or their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate
any part thereof is situated. lupon;
"The Lupon shall have no authority over disputes: (f) Disputes involving parties who actually reside in barangays of
(1) involving parties who actually reside in barangays of different cities different cities or municipalities, except where such barangay
or municipalities, except where such barangays adjoin each units adjoin each other and the parties thereto to agree to
other; and submit their differences to amicable settlement by an
(2) involving real property located in different municipalities." (Italics appropriate lupon;
supplied)
(g) Such other classes of disputes which the President may determine On May 11, 1990, Sagraria Lozada, Jorge Candido, Virginia Candido,
in the interest of justice or upon the recommendation of the Maximina Candido and Eduardo Candido who represented themselves
Secretary of Justice. to be the sole heirs of the late Agapito Candido executed a Deed of
The foregoing exceptions notwithstanding, the court in which non- Extra-judicial Settlement of Estate with Sale 3 covering parcels of land
criminal cases not falling within the authority of the lupon owned by the latter and sold to private respondent Mila Contreras in
under these Katarungang Pambarangay Law and Rules are whose name said properties are now registered under TCT No. T-
filed may, at any time before trial, motu proprio refer the case 120656-M.
to the lupon concerned for amicable settlement. On November 6, 1990, petitioners instituted an action with the
SECTION 3. Venue. The place of settlement shall be subject to the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan, Branch 18 in Civil Case No. 697-M-90
following rules: against Sagraria Lozada, Gorge Candido, Virginia Candido, Maximina
(a) Where the parties reside in the same barangay, the dispute shall be Candido, Eduardo Candido, Register of Deeds of Bulacan and private
brought for settlement in said barangay; respondent Mila Contreras to annul the Deed of Extra-judicial
(b) Where the parties reside in different barangays in the same city or Settlement of Estate with Sale, to cancel TCT No. 120656-M issued in
municipality, the dispute shall be settled in the barangay the name of private respondent and to reinstate TCT No. 223602 in the
where the respondent or any one of the respondents actually name of Agapito Candido married to Sagraria Lozada.
resides, at the choice of the complainant; On December 5, 1990, private respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss 4
(c) Dispute involving real property shall be brought for settlement in the on the ground that petitioners failed to comply with the mandatory
barangay where the real property or larger portion thereof is conciliation process required under P.D. No. 1508 as she resides in
situated; the same municipality with the petitioners.
(d) Disputes arising at the workplace where the contending parties are On July 10, 1991, the trial court issued an Order, the dispositive
employed or at the institution where such parties are enrolled portion of which reads, as follows:
for study, shall be brought in the barangay where such "WHEREFORE, as prayed for, let this case be, as it is hereby
workplace or institution is located; DISMISSED in so far as defendant Mila Contreras is concerned for
(e) Any objection relating to venue shall be raised before the Punong lack of prior referral of the dispute before the Katarungang
Barangay during the mediation proceedings before him. Pambarangay, without prejudice." 5
Failure to do so shall be deemed a waiver of such objection; Thereafter, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration 6 which was
(f) Any legal question which may confront the Punong Barangay in denied in an Order 7 dated August 9, 1991.
resolving objections to venue herein referred to may be Hence, this petition alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of
submitted to the Secretary of Justice, or his duly designated the respondent judge dismissing private respondent in the complaint
representative, whose ruling thereon shall be binding. instituted by the petitioners notwithstanding the fact that the other
brando defendants in Civil Case No. 697-M-90 reside in different municipalities
(Emphasis added) and cities.
Indeed, these provisions, which are also found in P.D. No. 1508, have The petition is impressed with merit.
already been authoritatively interpreted by this Court, and the duty of Section 2 of P.D. No. 1508 provides:
respondent judge was to follow the rulings of this Court. Her insistence "SEC. 2. Subject matters for amicable settlement. — The Lupon of
on her own interpretation of the law can only be due either to an each barangay shall have authority to bring together the parties
ignorance of this Courts ruling or to an utter disregard thereof. We actually residing in the same city or municipality for amicable
choose to believe that her failure to apply our rulings to the case before settlement of all disputes except:
her was simply due to gross ignorance which, nevertheless, is "(1) Where one party is the government, or any subdivision or
inexcusable. In accordance with the ruling in Ting v. Atal,[7] in which a instrumentality thereof:
judge who was similarly found guilty of gross ignorance of the law was "(2) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute
fined P2,000.00, respondent judge should likewise be fined the same relates to the performance of his official functions;
amount. "(3) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding 30 days, or a fine
WHEREFORE, respondent is hereby found guilty of gross ignorance of exceeding P200.00;
the law and is hereby ordered to pay a FINE of TWO THOUSAND "(4) Offenses where there is no private offended party;
(P2,000.00) PESOS with a WARNING that repetition of the same or "(5) Such other classes of disputes which the Prime Minister may in the
similar acts will be dealt with more severely. interest of justice determine upon recommendation of the Minister of
SO ORDERED. Justice and the Minister of Local Government."
Further, section 3 of the same law provides:
G.R. No. 101328. April 7, 1993. "SEC. 3. Venue. — Disputes between or among persons actually
EMILIANA CANDIDO AND FRANCISCA CANDIDO, petitioners, residing in the same barangay shall be brought for amicable settlement
vs. before the Lupon of said barangay. Those involving actual residents of
HONORABLE DEMETRIO MACAPAGAL, PRESIDING JUDGE, different barangays within the same city or municipality shall be
BRANCH 18, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF BULACAN AND MILA brought in the barangay where the respondent or any of the
CONTRERAS, respondents. respondents actually resides, at the election of the complainant.
However, all disputes which involve real property or any interest
SYLLABUS therein shall be brought in the barangay where the real property or any
1. REMEDIAL LAW; KATARUNGANG PAMBARANGAY (P.D. NO. part thereof is situated.
1508); SCOPE OF POWER; RULE. — From the provisions of P.D. No. "The Lupon shall have no authority over disputes:
1508, it is clear that the barangay court or Lupon has jurisdiction over (1) involving parties who actually reside in barangays of different cities
disputes between parties who are actual residents of barangays or municipalities, except where such barangays adjoin each other; . . ."
located in the same city or municipality or adjoining barangays of From the foregoing provisions of P.D. No. 1508, it is clear that the
different cities or municipalities. The Lupon of the barangay ordinarily barangay court or Lupon has jurisdiction over disputes between parties
has the authority to settle amicably all types of disputes involving who are actual residents of barangays located in the same city or
parties who actually reside in the same municipality, city or province. municipality or adjoining barangays of different cities or municipalities.
Where the complaint does not state that it is one of the excepted In the instant case, petitioners alleged in their complaint that they are
cases, or it does not allege prior availment of said conciliation process, residents of Barrio Paliwas, Municipality of Obando, Bulacan while
or it does not have a certification that no conciliation or settlement had defendants' residences are as follows: Sagraria Lozada and Jorge
been reached by the parties, the case could be dismissed on motion. Candido at Javier Compound, Bo. Sto. Niño, Taytay, Rizal; Virginia
In the instant case, the fact that petitioners and private respondent, and Maximina Candido at Road 2, Doña Faustina Village, San
reside in the same municipality of Obando, Bulacan does not justify Bartolome, Novaliches, Quezon City; Eduardo Candido at 388 Barrio
compulsory conciliation under P.D. No. 1508 where the other co- Paliwas, Municipality of Obando, Bulacan; Mila Contreras at San
defendants reside in barangays of different municipalities, cities and Pascual, Municipality of Obando, Bulacan; and the Registrar of Deeds
provinces. of Bulacan at his official address in Bulacan.
DECISION The Lupon of the barangay ordinarily has the authority to settle
NOCON, J p: amicably all types of disputes involving parties who actually reside in
This is a petition for certiorari to annul and set aside the Orders 1 the same municipality, city or province. Where the complaint does not
dated July 10, 1991 and August 9, 1991 of the trial court dismissing the state that it is one of the excepted cases, or it does not allege prior
complaint of petitioners Emiliana and Francisca Candido against availment of said conciliation process, or it does not have a certification
private respondent Mila Contreras on the ground of lack of jurisdiction that no conciliation or settlement had been reached by the parties, the
for petitioners' failure to comply with the mandatory barangay case could be dismissed on motion. 8 In the instant case, the fact that
conciliation process required by Presidential Decree No. 1508, petitioners and private respondent, reside in the same municipality of
otherwise known as the Katarungang Pambarangay Law. Obando, Bulacan does not justify compulsory conciliation under P.D.
It appears on record that petitioners Emiliana and Francisca Candido No. 1508 where the other co-defendants reside in barangays of
are the only legitimate children of spouses Agapito Candido and different municipalities, cities and provinces.
Florencia Santos as shown by the certificates 2 of the latter's Record of Petitioners can immediately file the case in court. It would not serve the
Marriage and the petitioners' Record of Birth. purpose of the law in discouraging litigation among members of the
However, petitioners' father eventually left his legitimate family and same barangay through conciliation where the other parties reside in
lived with Sagraria Lozada until his death on May 6, 1987. barangays other than the one where the Lupon is located and where
the dispute arose.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the appealed Orders of herewith made as common Exhibit "14", and premium notice addressed
the trial court dated July 10, 1991 and August 9, 1991 dismissing Civil to Mr. and Mrs. Rufino D. Andres, wherein it is shown that the semi-
Case No. 697-M-90 in so far as defendant Mila Contreras is concerned annual premium in the sum of P165.15 on the said policy would be due
are hereby annulled and set aside. The case is remanded to the on May 15, 1951, which premium notice is herwith made as common
Regional Trial Court of Bulacan for further proceedings and to Exhibit "14-A";
REINSTATE private respondent Mila Contreras as defendant in Civil 12. That on June 7, 1951, plaintiff presented his Death Claim as
Case No. 697-M-90. No costs. survivor-beneficiary of the deceased Severa G. Andres which has been
SO ORDERED. received in the office of the defendant on June 11, 1951, which letter is
herewith made as common Exhibit "15", and there were therein
G.R. No. L-l0874 January 28, 1958 enclosed in the said letter an affidavit dated June 6, 1951 of the plaintiff,
RUFINO D. ANDRES, plaintiff-appellant, which is herewith made as common Exhibit "15-A", and a Certificate of
vs. Death dated May 29, 1951, issued by the Local Civil Registrar of the
THE CROWN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, defendant-appellee. municipality of Sarrat, wherein it is shown that Mrs. Severa G. Andres
Esteban Aguinaldo and Santiago D. Andres for appellant. died on May 3, 1951 of dystocia, second degree, contracted pelvis,
Nicodemus L. Dasig for appellee. which Certificate of Death is herewith made as common Exhibit "15-B",
REYES, J.B.L., J.: and a medical certificate of Dr. R. de la Cuesta, senior resident physician
On April 20, 1952, Rufino D. Andres filed a complaint in the Court of First of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Hospital, dated May 20, 1951, showing the
Instance of Ilocos Norte against the Crown Life Insurance Company for cause of death of the said deceased, Mrs. Severa G. Andres, which
the recovery of the amount of P5,000, as the face value of a joint 20- medical certificate is herewith made as common Exhibit "15-C";
year endowment insurance policy issued in favor of the plaintiff Rufino 13. That on June 30, 1951, Mr. I.B. Melendres wrote to plaintiff stating
D. Andres and his wife Severa G. Andres on the 13th of February, 1950, defendant's reasons for its refusal to pay the death claim of the plaintiff
by said insurance company. On Jun 7, 1951, Rufino Andres presented which letter is herewith made as common Exhibit "16", in which there
his death claim as survivor-beneficiary of the deceased Severa G. was therein enclosed a Death Claim Discharge to be signed by the
Andres, who died May 3, 1951. Payment having been denied by the plaintiff but the plaintiff refused to sign, which Death Claim Discharge is
insurance company on April 20, 1952, this case was instituted. herewith made as common Exhibit "16-A";
Defendant Company filed its answer in due time disclaiming liability and 14. That on November 23, 1951, the said Mr. I.B. Melendres wrote
setting forth the special defense that the aforementioned policy had plaintiff enclosing therewith a National City Bank of New York Check No.
already lapsed. Later, on March 25, 1954, the parties submitted the case D-115356 for P165.00 payable to plaintiff, dated June 21, 1951, an
for decision by the lower court upon a stipulation of facts, fully quoted original duplicate copy of which is herewith made as common Exhibit
hereunder: "17";
1. That on October 20, 1949, plaintiff and Severa G. Andres filed an 15. That on December 1, 1951, the plaintiff wrote defendant company
application for insurance No. 536,423, which are marked as common and enclosed therewith the aforesaid National City Bank of New York
Exhibits "1" and "l-A", respectively; Check No. D-115356 dated June 21, 1951, which letter is herewith made
2. That on February 13, 1950, defendant isssued Crown Life Policy No. as Common Exhibit "18", and the check returned to the defendant
536,423 for the sum of P5,000, in the name of Rufino D. Andres, plaintiff, company as Exhibit "18-A";
and Severa G. Andres, which is hereto marked as common Exhibit "2"; 16. That with the approval of this stipulation of facts, the parties hereby
3. That the premiums are to be paid as called for in the policy Exhibit '2", submit the same and do hereby request the Honorable Court to give
semi-annually, and the amount of P165.15 for the first semester them twenty (20) days within which to file simultaneously their
beginning November 25, 1949 to May 25, 1950 was paid on November corresponding memoranda and another fifteen (15) days for a reply
25, 1949, which is hereby marked as common Exhibit "3", and the memorandum." (Rec. App., pp. 17-22).
premium likewise in the sum of P165.15 for the second semester On August 5, 1954, Judge Julio Villamor rendered decision absolving
beginning May 25, 1950 to November 25, 1950, was paid on June 24, the defendant from any liability on the ground that the policy having
1950, as evidenced by common Exhibit "3-A"; and the premium for the lapsed, it was not reinstated at the time the plaintiff's wife died. Not
third semester beginning November 25, 1950 to May 25, 1951 was not satisfied with the decision, plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals, but
paid; the appeal was later certified to this Court, for there is no question of fact
4. That on January 6, 1951,the defendant, thru Mr. I.B. Melendres, wrote involved therein.
to Mr. and Mrs. Rufino D. Andres advising them that the said Policy No. As has been correctly stated by the lower court, the resolution of the
536,423 lapsed on December 25, 1950 and the amount overdue was issues in this case centers on whether or not policy No. 536423 (Exhibit
P165.15, giving them a period of sixty (60) days from the date of lapse "2") which has been in a state of lapse before May 3, 1951, has been
to file an application for reinstatement, which letter is made as common validly and completely reinstated after said date. In other words, was
Exhibit "4"; there a perfected contract of reinstatement after the policy lapsed due
5. That on February 12, 1951, the said Mr. I.B. Melendres, branch to non-payment of premiums?
secretary of the defendant, wrote Mr. and Mrs. Rufino D. Andres, telling The stipulation of facts and accompanying exhibits render it
the latter that Policy No. 536,423 was no longer in force and it lapsed on undisputable that the original policy No. 536423 lapsed for non-payment
December 25, 1950, which letter is herewith made as common Exhibit of premiums on December 26, 1950, upon expiration of the customary
"5"; 31-day period of grace. The subsequent reinstatement of the policy was
6. That in the month of February, 1951, plaintiff executed a Statement provided for in the contract itself in the following terms:
of Health which is at the same time an Application for Reinstatement of If this policy lapses, it may be reinstated upon application made within
the aforesaid policy, which application is herewith made as common three years from the date of lapse, and upon production of evidence of
Exhibit "6" (Note: Exhibit "6" is the reverse side of Exhibit "4"). and the good health of the injured (and also of the Beneficiary, if the rate of
Severa G. Andres also executed in the month of February, 1951, an premium depends upon the age of the Beneficiary), and such other
Application for Reinstatement, which Application for Reinstatement is evidence of insurability at the date of application for reinstatement as
made as common Exhibit "7"; would then satisfy the Company to issue a new Policy on the same terms
7. That on February 20, 1951, plaintiff wrote a letter to the defendant as this Policy, and upon payment of all overdue premiums and other
and enclosed therewith a money order for P100, which letter was indebtedness in respect of this Policy, together with interest at six per
received by the defendant on February 26, 1951, wherein it is stated that cent, compounded annually, and provided also that no change has taken
the balance unpaid is the sum of P65.15, which letter is hereby made as place in such good health and insurability subsequent to the date of such
common Exhibit "8"; application and before this Policy is reinstated.
8. That on April 14, 1951, the said Mr. I.B. Melendres, as branch As stated by the lower court, the conditions set forth in the policy for
secretary for the defendant; wrote plaintiff advising him that the Home reinstatement are the following: (a) application shall be made within
Office has approved the reinstatement of the lapsed policy, subject to three years from the date of lapse; (b) there should be a production of
the payment of P65.15 due on November, 1950 premium, a duplicate evidence of the good health of the insured: (c) if the rate of premium
original copy of the said letter is hereby made as common Exhibit "9"; depends upon the age of the Beneficiary, there should likewise be a
9. That on April 27, 1951, said Mr. I.B. Melendres, branch secretary, production of evidence of his or her good health; (d) there should be
again wrote the plaintiff requesting the remittance of the balance of presented such other evidence of insurability at the date of application
P65.15 due on the semi-annual premium for November, 195O, and upon for reinstatement; (e) there should be no change which has taken place
receipt of the said amount, there will be sent to him the Certificate of in such good health and insurability subsequent to the date of such
Reinstatement of the policy, a duplicate original copy of the said letter is application and before the policy is reinstated; and (f) all overdue
hereto made as common Exhibit "10"; premiums and other indebtedness in respect of the policy, together with
10. That on May 5, 1951, plaintiff sent a letter to the defendant and interest at six per cent, compounded annually, should first be paid.
enclosed therewith a Money Order in the amount of P65.00 for the The plaintiff-appellant did not comply with the last condition; for he only
balance due on the Crown Life Policy No. 536,423, which letter has been paid P100 (on account of the over due semi-annual premium of
received in the office of the defendant on May 11, 1951, which letter is P165.15) on February 20, 1951, before his wife's death (Stipulation, par.
herewith made as common Exhibit "11"; 7) ; and, despite the Company's reminders on April 14 and 27, he
11. That on May 15, 1951, said Mr. I.B. Melendres wrote a letter to Mr. remitted the balance of P65 on May 5, 1951 (received by the Company's
and Mrs. Rufino D. Andres, enclosing an Official Receipt for the receipt agency on May 11), two days after his wife died. On the face of such
of P165.15, which Official Receipt is hereby made as common Exhibit facts, the Company had the right to treat the contract as lapsed and
"12", and also enclosed therewith a Certificate of Reinstatement dated refuse payment of the policy.
April 2, 1951, which is herewith made as common Exhibit "13" and the Appellant, however, contends that the condition regarding payment of
duplicate original copy of the aforesaid letter dated May 15, 1951 is the premium was waived by the insurance Company by its letters
(signed by I. B. Melendres, cashier) Exhibits 4 and 5 wherein the of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XXXVI, in Makati, where it was
Company manifested to appellant: docketed as Sp. No. 9711.
If you can not pay the full amount immediately, send as large an amount The husband, in his answer, admitted that he had abandoned the
as possible and advise us how soon you expect to be able to pay the conjugal home since March 1981; that before the filing of the petition, he
balance. Every consideration will be given to your request consistent and his wife, assisted by their respective counsel, tried to file a joint
with the company's regulations (Exhibit 4). petition for the dissolution of their conjugal partnership but their attempt
If you are unable to cover this amount in full, send us as big an amount failed due to their inability to agree upon the equitable partition of their
as you are able and we will work out an adjustment most beneficial to conjugal partnership properties and he prayed the court to order "a fair
you. (Exhibit 5) and equitable dissolution of their conjugal partnership in accordance
We see nothing in these expressions that would indicate an intention on with law." (p. 74, Rollo.)
the insurer's part to waive the full payment of the overdue premium as On October 8, 1982, the husband filed a motion to dismiss the petition
prerequisite to the reinstatement of the lapsed policy, considering the on jurisdictional grounds, claiming that it should have been filed first in
well settled rule that a waiver must be clear and positive, and intent to the Lupon Tagapamayapa as provided in P.D. 1508, because both are
waive shown clearly and convincingly (Fernandez vs. Sebido, 70 Phil. residents of the same Municipality of Makati.
151, 159; Lang vs. Sheriff* 49 Off. Gaz. 3323, 3329; Jocson vs. Capitol Mrs. Blardony opposed the motion to dismiss. Nevertheless, Judge
Subdivision, Inc. G.R. L-6573, February 28, 1955). The promise to give Segundo Soza dismissed her petition on October 8, 1982 for her failure,
plaintiff's case every consideration does not import any decision to as plaintiff, to comply with Section 6 of P.D. 1508.
renounce the insurer's rights; and as to the "working out of an Mrs. Blardony filed a motion for reconsideration. In the meantime, the
adjustment most beneficial" to the insured, the proposal is obviously so courts were reorganized and the case was transferred to Branch CXLVI
vague and indefinite as to require further negotiations between the (146) of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, presided over by Judge Jose
parties, for their criteria might differ as to what would be the most Coscolluela, Jr.
beneficial arrangement. On August 9, 1983, Judge Coscolluela set aside Judge Soza's order of
Upon the other hand, the subsequent letters of the insurance Company dismissal and required the defendant to submit an accounting of his
(Exhibits 9 and 10) patently indicated that the Company insisted on the salaries, allowances, bonuses, and commissions. The latter's motion for
full payment of the premium before the policy was reinstated. reconsideration of that order was denied by the court on February 20,
We take this opportunity of advising you that our Home Office has 1985. Hence, this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
approved the reinstatement of your lapsel policy subject to the payment Court with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction on the grounds
of the balance of P65.15 due on your November 1950 premium. Kindly that respondent Judge exceeded his jurisdiction:
remit this amount in order that you may once more enjoy the benefits of 1. in assuming jurisdiction over the case without prior referral to the
insurance protection" (Exibit 9, April 14, 1951). Lupon Tagapamayapa as required by P.D. 1508; and
We may now reinstate your policy if you will kindly remit to us the 2. in declaring that the issues of support pendente lite and delivery of
balance of P65.15 due on your semi-annual premium for November, personal property belonging to the conjugal partnership of the parties
1950. Please send us this amount by return mail and upon its receipt we are essentially involved in the petition, hence, the parties could go
will in turn send the Certificate of Reinstatement of your policy, thus directly to court without passing through the Lupon Tagapamayapa, as
rendering it once again in full force and effect, (Exhibit 10, April 21, 1951) provided in Section 6 of P.D. 1508.
(Emphasis supplied). The petition has no merit. Our jurisprudence is replete with decisions of
Clearly the Company did not consider the partial payment as sufficient this Court to the effect that while the referral of a case to the Lupon
consideration for the reinstatement. Appellant's failure to remit the Tagapayapa is a condition precedent for filing a complaint in court, it is
balance before the death of his wife operated to deprive him of any right not a jurisdictional requirement, "its non-compliance cannot affect the
to waive the policy and recover the face value thereof. jurisdiction which the court has already acquired over the subject matter
This Court, in the case of James McGuire vs. The Manufacturer's Life or over the person of the defendant." (Fernandez vs. Militante, May 31,
Insurance Co. (87 Phil,. 370, 48 Off. Gaz. [1], 114), said. 1988; Gonzales vs. Court of Appeals, 151 SCRA 287; Royales vs.
The stipulation in a life insurance policy giving the insured the privilege Intermediate Appellate Court, 127 SCRA 470). Petitioner waived the
to reinstate it upon written application does not give the insured absolute pre-litigation conciliation procedure prescribed in P.D. No. 1508 when
right to such reinstatement by the mere filing of an application. The he did not file a motion to dismiss the complaint on that score, but filed
Company has the right to deny the reinstatement if it is not satisfied as his answer thereto wherein he prayed the court to make an equitable
to the insurability of the insured and if the latter does no pay all overdue partition of the conjugal properties.
premium and all other indebtedness to the Company. After the death of While petitioners could have prevented the trial court from exercising
the insured the insurance Company cannot be compelled to entertain an jurisdiction over the case by seasonably taking exception thereto, they
application for reinstatement of the policy because the conditions instead invoked the very same jurisdiction by filing an answer and
precedent to reinstatement can no longer be determined and satisfied. seeking affirmative relief from it. ... . Upon this premise, petitioners
Wherefore, finding no error in the judgment appealed from, we hereby cannot be allowed belatedly to adopt an inconsistent posture by
affirm the same, with costs against appellant. So ordered. attacking the jurisdiction of the court to which they had submitted
Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, themselves voluntarily. (Royales vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 127
Concepcion, Endencia, and Felix, JJ., concur. SCRA 470.)
Furthermore, under Section 6 of P.D. 1508, the complaint may be filed
G.R. No. 70261 February 28, 1990 directly in a competent court without passing the Lupon Tagapayapa in
MAURO BLARDONY, JR., petitioner, the following cases:
vs. SECTION 6. Conciliation, pre-condition to filing of complaint. — No
HON. JOSE L. COSCOLLUELA, JR., as Presiding Judge of Branch complaint, petition, action or proceeding involving any matter within the
CXLVI, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, authority of the Lupon as provided in Section 2 hereof, shall be filed or
MAKATI, METRO MANILA and MA. ROSARIO ARANETA instituted in court or any other government office for adjudication unless
BLARDONY, respondents. there has been a confrontation of the parties before the Lupon Chairman
Recto Law Offices for petitioner. or the Pangkat and no conciliation or settlement has been reached as
Araneta, Mendoza & Papa for private respondent. certified by the Lupon Secretary or the Pangkat Secretary, attested by
the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman, or unless the settlement has been
GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.: repudiated. However, the parties may go directly to court in the following
The petitioner seeks a review of the orders dated August 9, 1983, and cases:
February 20, 1985, of respondent Judge Jose Coscolluela, Jr., of the xxx xxx xxx
Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch CXLVI, amending the order of his (3) Actions coupled with provisional remedies such as preliminary
predecessor, Judge Segundo Soza, (which dismissed private injunction, attachment, delivery of personal properly and support
respondent's petition for dissolution of the conjugal partnership and pendente lite; and
partition of conjugal properties) by requiring petitioner to submit an xxx xxx xxx
accounting of his salaries, allowances, bonuses and commissions. (Emphasis supplied.)
The petitioner and the private respondent are spouses. They were Respondent Judge correctly observed that:
married on April 30, 1975. During their marriage, they begot one child ... the issues of support pendente lite and delivery of personal properties
named Patricia Araneta Blardony, who was born on November 10, 1975. belonging to the conjugal partnership, although not coupled in the strict
Due to irreconcilable differences, petitioner and private respondent sense of the word with the instant petition, are essentially involved in this
separated in March, 1981. petition because of the minority of the daughter, Patricia Araneta
On different dates, the spouses executed the following agreements: Blardony who, as of this date, is not yet 8 years old, and because the
(a) Memorandum of Agreement dated July 1981 for the support of their resolution or decision of this court on the pending petition would be
child, Patricia; incomplete without a clear cut disposition on the partition of the personal
(b) Receipt dated January 11, 1982, evidencing the Compromise of and real properties of the conjugal partnership and consequent delivery
Settlement of Advances claimed by private respondent from petitioner; thereof to the proper parties. (p. 20, Rollo.)
(c) The Deed of Conveyance of a property situated in Alabang, WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the orders complained of,
Muntinlupa; and the petition for certiorari is denied for lack of merit. Costs against the
(d) The Confirmation of the waiver by private respondent in favor of petitioner. This decision is immediately executory.
petitioner over a property situated in Calatagan, Batangas. (p. 25, Rollo.) SO ORDERED.
On May 3, 1982, the wife filed a Petition for Dissolution of Conjugal
Partnership and Partition of Conjugal Partnership Properties in the Court
G.R. No. 82211-12 March 21, 1989 can be gleaned clearly the decree's intended applicability only to courts
TERESITA MONTOYA, petitioner, of justice, and not to labor relations commissions or labor arbitrators'
vs. offices. The express reference to "judicial resources", to "courts of
TERESITA ESCAYO, JOY ESCAYO, AIDA GANANCIAL, MARY justice", "court dockets", or simply to "courts" are significant. On the
ANN CAPE, CECILIA CORREJADO, ERLINDA PAYPON and other band, there is no mention at all of labor relations or controversies
ROSALIE VERDE, AND NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS and labor arbiters or commissions in the clauses involved.
COMMISSION, respondents. These "WHEREAS" clauses state:
Rolando N. Medalla and Segundo Y Chua for petitioner. WHEREAS, the perpetuation and official recognition of the time-
The Solicitor General for public respondent. honored tradition of amicably settling disputes among family and
Archie S. Baribar for private respondents. barangay members at the barangay level without judicial resources
would promote the speedy administration of justice and implement the
SARMIENTO, J.: constitutional mandate to preserve and develop Filipino culture and to
This petition for certiorari seeks the annullment and setting aside of the strengthen the family as a basic social institution;
resolution 1 9dated August 20, 1987 of the National Labor Relations WHEREAS, the indiscriminate filing of cases in the courts of justice
Commission (NLRC), Third Division, which reversed and set aside the contributes heavily and unjustifiably to the congestion of court dockets,
order dated September 27, 1985 of Labor Arbiter Ethelwoldo R. thus causing a deterioration in the quality of justice;
Ovejera of the NLRC's Regional Arbitration Branch No. VI, Bacolod WHEREAS, in order to help relieve the courts of such docket
City, dismissing the complaint filed by the private respondents against congestion and thereby enhance the quality of Justice dispensed by
the petitioner. This petition raises a singular issue, i.e., the applicability the courts, it is deemed desirable to formally organize and
of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1508, more commonly known as the institutionalize a system of amicably settling disputes at the barangay
Katarungang Pambarangay Law, to labor disputes. level; (Emphasis supplied.)
The chronology of events leading to the present controversy is as In addition, Letter of Instructions No. 956 and Letter of Implementation
follows: No. 105, both issued on November 12, 1979 by the former President in
The private respondents were all formerly employed as salesgirls in connection with the implementation of the Katarungang Pambarangay
the petitioner's store, the "Terry's Dry Goods Store," in Bacolod City. Law, affirm this conclusion. These Letters were addressed only to the
On different dates, they separately filed complaints for the collection of following officials: all judges of the Courts of first Instance, Circuit
sums of money against the petitioner for alleged unpaid overtime pay, Criminal Courts, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts, Courts of
holiday pay, 13th month pay, ECOLA, and service leave pay: for Agrarian Relations, City Courts and Municipal Courts, and all Fiscals
violation of the minimum wage law, illegal dismissal, and attorney's and other Prosecuting Officers. These presidential issuances make
fees. The complaints, which were originally treated as separate cases, clear that the only official directed to oversee the implementation of the
were subsequently consolidated on account of the similarity in their provisions of the Katarungang Pambarangay Law (P.D. No. 1508) are
nature. On August 1, 1984, the petitioner-employer moved (Annex "C" the then Minister of Justice, the then Minister of Local Governments
of Petition) for the dismissal of the complaints, claiming that among and Community Development, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme
others, the private respondents failed to refer the dispute to the Lupong Court. If the contention of the petitioner were correct, the then Minister
Tagapayapa for possible settlement and to secure the certification (now Secretary) of Labor and Employment would have been included
required from the Lupon Chairman prior to the filing of the cases with in the list, and the two presidential issuances also would have been
the Labor Arbiter. These actions were allegedly violative of the addressed to the labor relations officers, labor arbiters, and the
provisions of P.D. No. 1508, which apply to the parties who are all members of the National Labor Relations Commission. Expressio
residents of Bacolod City. unius est exclusio alterius.
Acting favorably on the petitioner's motion, Labor Arbiter Ethelwoldo R. Nor can we accept the petitioner's contention that the "other
Ovejera, on September 27, 1985, ordered the dismissal of the government office" referred to in Section 6 of P.D. No. 1508 includes
complaints. The private respondents sought the reversal of the Labor the Office of the Labor Arbiter and the Med-Arbiter. The declared
Arbiter's order before the respondent NLRC. On August 20, 1987, the concern of the Katarungan Pambarangay Law is "to help relieve the
public respondent rendered the assailed resolution reversing the order courts of such docket congestion and thereby enhance the quality of
of Ovejera, and remanded the case to the Labor Arbiter for further justice dispensed by the courts." Thus, the" other government office"
proceedings. A motion for reconsideration was filed by the petitioner mentioned in Section 6 of P.D. No. 1508 refers only to such offices as
but this was denied for lack of merit on October 28, 1987. Hence, this the Fiscal's Office or, in localities where there is no fiscal, the Municipal
petition. Trial Courts, where complaints for crimes (such as those punishable by
It is the petitioner's contention that the provisions of the Katarungang imprisonment of not more than 30 days or a, fine of not more than P
Pambarangay Law (P.D. No. 1508) relative to the prior amicable 200.00) falling under the jurisdiction of the barangay court but which
settlement proceedings before the Lupong Tagapayapa as a are not amicably settled, are subsequently filed for proper disposition.
jurisdictional requirement at the trial level apply to labor cases. More But, the opinion of the Honorable Minister of Justice (Opinion No. 59,
particularly, the petitioner insists that the failure of the private s. 1983) to the contrary notwithstanding, all doubts on this score are
respondents to first submit their complaints for possible conciliation dispelled by The Labor Code Of The Philippines (Presidential Decree
and amicable settlement in the proper barangay court in Bacolod City No. 442, as amended) itself. Article 226 thereof grants original and
and to secure a certification from the Lupon Chairman prior to their exclusive jurisdiction over the conciliation and mediation of disputes,
filing with the Labor Arbiter, divests the Labor Arbiter, as well as the grievances, or problems in the regional offices of the Department of
respondent Commission itself, of jurisdiction over these labor Labor and Employ- ment. It is the said Bureau and its divisions, and
controversies and renders their judgments thereon null and void. not the barangay Lupong Tagapayapa, which are vested by law with
On the other hand, the Solicitor General, as counsel for the public original and exclusive authority to conduct conciliation and mediation
respondent NLRC, in his comment, strongly argues and convincingly proceedings on labor controversies before their endorsement to the
against the applicability of P.D. No. 1508 to labor cases. appropriate Labor Arbiter for adjudication. Article 226, previously
We dismiss the petition for lack of merit, there being no satisfactory adverted to is clear on this regard. It provides:
showing of any grave abuse of discretion committed by the public ART. 226. Bureau of Labor Relations.- The Bureau of Labor Relations
respondent. and the Labor relations divisions in the regional officer of the
The provisions of P.D. No. 1508 requiring the submission of disputes Department of Labor shall have original and exclusive authority to act,
before the barangay Lupong Tagapayapa prior to their filing with the at their own initiative or upon request of either or both parties, on all
court or other government offices are not applicable to labor cases. inter-union and intra-union conflicts, and all disputes, grievances or
For a better understanding of the issue in this case, the provisions of problems arising from or affecting labor-management relations in all
P.D. No. 1508 invoked by the petitioner are quoted: workplaces whether agricultural or non-agricultural, except those
SEC. 6. Conciliation pre-condition to filing of complaint. No complaint, arising from the implementation or interpretation of collective
petition, action or proceeding involving any matter within the authority bargaining agreements which shall be the subject of grievance
of the Lupon as provided in Section 2 hereof shall be filed or instituted procedure and/or voluntary arbitration.
in court or any other government office for adjudication unless there The Bureau shall have fifteen (15) working days to act on all labor
has been a confrontation of the parties before the Lupon Chairman or cases, subject to extension by agreement of the parties, after which
the Pangkat and no conciliation or settlement has been reached as the Bureau shall certify the cases to the appropriate Labor Arbiters.
certified by the Lupon Secretary or the Pangkat Secretary, attested by The 15-working day deadline, however, shall not apply to cases
the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman, or unless the settlement has been involving deadlocks in collective bargaining which the Bureau shall
repudiated. However, the parties may go directly to court in the certify to the appropriate Labor Arbiters only after all possibilities of
following cases: voluntary settlement shall have been tried.
(1) Where the accused is under detention; Requiring conciliation of labor disputes before the barangay courts
(2) Where a person has otherwise been deprived of per sonal liberty would defeat the very salutary purposes of the law. Instead of
calling for habeas corpus proceedings; simplifying labor proceedings designed at expeditious settlement or
(3) Actions coupled with provisional remedies such as preliminary referral to the proper court or office to decide it finally, the position
injunction, attachment, delivery of personal property and support taken by the petitioner would only duplicate the conciliation
pendente lite; and proceedings and unduly delay the disposition of the labor case. The
(4) Where the action may otherwise be barred by the Statute of fallacy of the petitioner's submission can readily be seen by following it
Limitations. to its logical conclusion. For then, if the procedure suggested is
As correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General in his comment to the complied with, the private respondent would have to lodge first their
petition, even from the three "WHEREAS" clauses of P.D. No. 1508 complaint with the barangay court, and then if not settled there, they
would have to go to the labor relations division at the Regional Office (3) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding 30 days, or a fine
of Region VI of the Department of Labor and Employment, in Bacolod exceeding P200.00;
City, for another round of conciliation proceedings. Failing there, their
long travail would continue to the Office of the Labor Arbiter, then to (4) Offenses where there is no private offended party;
the NLRC, and finally to us. This suggested procedure would destroy
the salutary purposes of P.D. 1508 and of The Labor Code Of The
Philippines. And labor would then be given another unnecessary (5) Such other classes of disputes which the Prime Minister may in the
obstacle to hurdle. We reject the petitioner's submission. It does interest of justice determine, upon recommendation of the Minister of
violence to the constitutionally mandated policy of the State to afford Justice and the Minister of Local Government.
full protection to labor. 2
Finally, it is already well-settled that the ordinary rules on procedure SECTION 3. Venue. — Disputes between or among persons actually
are merely suppletory in character vis-a-vis labor disputes which are residing in the same barangay shall be brought for amicable settlement
primarily governed by labor laws. 3 And "(A)ll doubts in the
before the Lupon of said barangay. Those involving actual residents of
implementation and interpretation of this Code (Labor), including its
implementing rules and regulations, shall be resolved in favor of labor. different barangays within the same city or municipality shall be brought
4 in the barangay where the respondent or any of the respondents actually
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. Costs against the resides, at the election of the complainant. However, all disputes which
petitioner. involve real property or any interest therein shall be brought in the
SO ORDERED. barangay where the real property or any part thereof is situated.

G.R. No. L-60367 September 30, 1982


The Lupon shall have no authority over disputes:

ATTY. VENUSTIANO T. TAVORA, petitioner,


(1) involving parties who actually reside in barangays of different cities
vs.
or municipalities, except where such barangays adjoin each other; and
HON. ROSARIO R. VELOSO, in her capacity as the Presiding Judge
of Branch III of the City Court of Manila, and JULIETA (2) involving real property located in different municipalities. (Emphasis
CAPATI, respondents. supplied.)

PLANA, J.: The foregoing provisions are quite clear. Section 2 specifies the
conditions under which the Lupon of a barangay "shall have authority"
Venustiano T. Tavora, a resident of Marikina, Metro Manila, owns an
to bring together the disputants for amicable settlement of their dispute:
apartment in Quiapo, Manila which he has leased to Julieta Capati, a
The parties must be "actually residing in the same city or municipality."
resident of Quiapo. On account of alleged violations of the lease
At the same time, Section 3 — while reiterating that the disputants must
agreement by the lessee (unauthorized subleasing and failure to pay
be "actually residing in the same barangay" or in "different barangays
rent), the lessor filed on January 12, 1981 an ejectment suit (Civil Case
within the same city or municipality — unequivocably declares that the
No. 060828) in the City Court of Manila. The defendant filed a motion t/
Lupon shall have "no authority" over disputes "involving parties who
dismiss on the sole ground of lack of jurisdiction for failure of the plaintiff
actually reside in barangays of different cities or municipalities," except
to bring the dispute first to the barangay court for possible amicable
where such barangays adjoin each other.
settlement under PD 1508. Parenthetically, there is no question that
there has been no attempt to amicably settle the dispute between Thus, by express statutory inclusion and exclusion, the Lupon shall have
Tavora and Capati at the barangay level. no jurisdiction over disputes where the parties are not actual residents
of the same city or municipality, except where the barangays in which
After denying the motion to dismiss as well as a subsequent motion for
they actually reside adjoin each other,
reconsideration, the municipal court reversed itself and dismissed the
ejectment case. It is true that immediately after specifying the barangay whose Lupon
shall take cognizance of a given dispute, Sec. 3 of PD 1508 adds:
Alleging grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction,
petitioner Tavora has come to this Court on certiorari and mandamus However, all disputes which involve real property or any interest therein
praying that the order of dismissal be set aside and that respondent shall be brought in the barangay where the real property or any part
judge be ordered to hear and decide the case. thereof is situated.

The sole issue raised is one of law: Under the given facts, is the Actually, however, this added sentence is just an ordinary proviso and
respondent judge barred from taking cognizance of the ejectment case should operate as such. The operation of a proviso, as a rule, should be
pursuant to Sec-6 of PD 1508 establishing a system of amicably settling limited to its normal function, which is to restrict or vary the operation of
disputes at the barangay level? The section reads: the principal clause, rather than expand its scope, in the absence of a
clear indication to the contrary.
SECTION 6. Conciliation, precondition to filing of complaint. — No
complaint, petition, action or proceeding involving any matter within the The natural and appropriate office of a proviso is . . . to except something
authority of the Lupon as provided in Section 2 hereof shall be filed or from the enacting clause; to limit, restrict, or qualify the statute in whole
instituted in court or any other government office for adjudication unless or in part; or to exclude from the scope of the statute that which
there has been a confrontation of the parties before the Lupon Chairman otherwise would be within its terms. (73 Am Jur 2d 467.)
or the Pangkat and no conciliation or settlement has been reached as
certified by the Lupon Secretary or the Pangkat Secretary, attested by Therefore, the quoted proviso should simply be deemed to restrict or
the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman, or unless the settlement has been vary the rule on venue prescribed in the principal clauses of the first
repudiated ... (Emphasis supplied.) paragraph of Section 3, thus: Although venue is generally determined
by the residence of the parties, disputes involving real property shall be
For the above provision to be operative, the controversy must be within brought in the barangay where the real property or any part thereof is
the jurisdiction of the Lupong Tagapayapa (Lupon or Barangay court). situated, notwithstanding that the parties reside elsewhere within the
On this point, the relevant provisions of PD 1508 are: same city/municipality.

SECTION 2. Subject matters for amicable settlement. — The Lupon of In the instant case, the plaintiff in the ejectment case (petitioner herein)
each barangay shall have authority to bring together the parties actually is a resident of Marikina, while the defendant (private respondent) is a
residing in the same city or municipality for amicable settlement of all resident of Quiapo. No Lupon therefore is authorized to take cognizance
disputes except: of their dispute.

(1) Where one party is the government, or any subdivision or Finding the petition to be meritorious, the dismissal of Civil Case No.
instrumentality thereof; 060828 (ejectment) by the respondent Judge being predicated upon a
misconstruction of PD 1508, the same should be granted. (Co Tiamco
(2) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute
vs. Diaz, 75 Phil. 672.)
relates to the performance of his official functions;
Accordingly, the assailed order of dismissal dated February 22, 1982 as settlement has been repudiated. However, the parties may go
well as the order dated March 23, 1982 denying reconsideration thereof directly to court in the following cases:
are hereby set aside; and the respondent Judge is directed to hear and [1] Where the accused is under detention;
decide the aforesaid ejectment case on its merits. Costs against private
[2] Where a person has otherwise been deprived of
respondents.
personal liberty calling for habeas corpus
proceedings;
SO ORDERED.
[3] Actions coupled with provisional remedies such as
G.R. No. L-62339 October 27, 1983 preliminary injunction, attachment, delivery of personal
property and support pendente lite; and
SPOUSES MARIA LUISA P. MORATA AND JULIUS
MORATA, petitioners, [4] Where the action may otherwise be barred by the
Statute of Limitations
vs.
SPOUSES VICTOR GO and FLORA C. GO and HON. VALERIANO Section 2 of the law defines the scope of authority of the Lupon thus:
P. TOMOL, JR., Judge, Court of First Instance of Cebu, Branch
XI, respondents. SECTION 2. Subject matters for amicable settlement.—The
Lupon of each barangay shall have authority to bring together
Amado G. Olis for petitioners. the parties actually residing in the same city or municipality for
amicable settlement of all disputes except:
Paul G. Gorres for private respondents.
[1] Where one party is the government ,or any subdivision or
instrumentality thereof;
ESCOLIN., J.: [2] Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the
dispute relates to the performance of his official functions;
In this petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for writ of
preliminary injunction, the Court is called upon to determine the [3] Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding 30 days,
classes of actions which fall within the coverage of Presidential Decree or a fine exceeding P200.00;
No. 1508, 1 otherwise known as Katarungang Pambarangay Law. This [4] Offenses where there is no private offended party;
law requires the compulsory process of arbitration at the Barangay
level as a pre-condition for filing a complaint in court, Petitioners [5] Such other classes of disputes which the Prime Minister
contend that said legislation is so broad and all-embracing as to apply may in the interest of justice determine upon recommendation
to actions cognizable not only by the city and municipal courts, now of the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Local
known as the metropolitan trial courts and municipal trial courts, but Government.
also by the courts of first instance, now the regional trial courts. Upon
Thus, except in the instances enumerated in sections 2 and 6 of the
the other hand, respondents would limit its coverage only to those
law, the Lupon has the authority to settle amicably all types of disputes
cases falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of the metropolitan trial
involving parties who actually reside in the same city or municipality.
courts and municipal trial courts.
The law, as written, makes no distinction whatsoever with respect to
The antecedent facts are not disputed. On August 5, 1982, the classes of civil disputes that should be compromised at the
respondents Victor Go and Flora D. Go filed in the defunct Court of barangay level, in contradistinction to the limitation imposed upon the
First Instance of Cebu, presided by respondent Judge Valeriano P. Lupon by paragraph (3), section 2 thereof as regards its authority over
Tomol, Jr., a complaint against petitioners Julius Morata and Ma. Luisa criminal cases. In fact, in defining the Lupon's authority, Section 2 of
Morata for recovery of a sum of money plus damages amounting to said law employed the universal and comprehensive term "all", to
P49,400.00. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. R-22154. which usage We should neither add nor subtract in consonance with
the rudimentary precept in statutory construction that "where the law
On the basis of the allegation in the complaint that the parties-litigants does not distinguish, We should not distinguish. 2 By compelling the
are all residents of Cebu City, petitioners filed a motion to dismiss, disputants to settle their differences through the intervention of the
citing as grounds therefor, the failure of the complaint to allege prior barangay leader and other respected members of the barangay, the
availment by the plaintiffs of the barangay conciliation process required animosity generated by protracted court litigations between members
by P.D. 1508, as well as the absence of a certification by the Lupon or of the same political unit, a disruptive factor toward unity and
Pangkat Secretary that no conciliation or settlement had been reached cooperation, is avoided. It must be borne in mind that the conciliation
by the parties. The motion was opposed by private respondents. process at the barangay level is likewise designed to discourage
On September 2, 1982, respondent judge issued an order denying the indiscriminate filing of cases in court in order to decongest its clogged
motion to dismiss. dockets and, in the process, enhance the quality of justice dispensed
by it. Thus, to say that the authority of the Lupon is limited to cases
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, but the same was denied exclusively cognizable by the inferior courts is to lose sight of this
in an order dated October 3, 1982, as follows: objective. Worse, it would make the law a self-defeating one. For what
Considering the specific reference to City or Municipal Courts would stop a party, say in an action for a sum of money or damages,
in the provisions of Sections 11 and 12 of P.D. No. 1508, as as in the instant case, from bloating up his claim in order to place his
the Courts to which the dispute settled or arbitrated by the case beyond the jurisdiction of the inferior court and thereby avoid the
Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat, shall be elevated for mandatory requirement of P.D. 1508? And why, indeed, should the law
nullification of the award or for execution of the same, and seek to ease the congestion of dockets only in inferior courts and not in
considering that from the provision of Section 14 of the same the regional trial courts where the log-jam of cases is much more
law, the pre- condition to the filing of a complaint as provided serious? Indeed, the lawmakers could not have intended such half-
for in Section 6 thereof, is specifically referred to, it is the measure and self-defeating legislation.
considered opinion of this Court that the provision of Section 6 The objectives of the law are set forth in its preamble thus:
of the law applies only to cases cognizable by the inferior
courts mentioned in Sections 11 and 12 of the law. WHEREAS, the perpetuation and official recognition of the
time-honored tradition of amicably settling disputes among
In view of the foregoing, the motion for reconsideration filed by family and barangay level without judicial resources would
the defendants, of the order of September 2. 1982, denying promote the speedy administration of justice and implement
their motion to dismiss, is hereby denied. [Annex 'G', p. 36, the constitutional mandate to preserve and develop Filipino
Rollo]. culture and to strengthen the family as a basic social
From this order, petitioners came to Us thru this petition. In a resolution institution;
dated December 2, 1982, We required respondents to file an answer, WHEREAS, the indiscriminate filing of cases in the courts of
and likewise granted a temporary restraining order enjoining justice contributes heavily and unjustifiably to the congestion
respondent judge from requiring petitioners to file their answer and of court dockets, thus causing a deterioration in the quality of
enter into trial in Civil Case No. R-22154. justice;
We find the petition impressed with merit. Section 6 of P.D. 1508 reads WHEREAS, in order to help relieve the courts of such docket
as follows: congestion and thereby enhance the quality of justice
SECTION 6. Conciliation pre-condition to filing of complaint.— dispensed by the courts, it is deemed desirable to formally
No complaint, petition, action for proceeding involving any organize and institutionalize a system of amicably settling
matter within the authority of the Lupon as provided in Section disputes at the barangay level.
2 hereof shall be filed or instituted in court or any other There can be no question that when the law conferred upon the Lupon
government office for adjudication unless there has been a "the authority to bring together the parties actually residing in the same
confrontation of the parties before the Lupon Chairman or the city or municipality for amicable settlement of all disputes, ... ," its
Pangkat and no conciliation or settlement has been reached as obvious intendment was to grant to the Lupon as broad and
certified by the Lupon Secretary or the Pangkat Secretary comprehensive an authority as possible as would bring about the
attested by the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman, or unless the
optimum realization of the aforesaid objectives. These objectives G.R. No. 111915 September 30, 1999
would only be half-met and easily thwarted if the Lupon's authority is HEIRS OF FERNANDO VINZONS, represented by LIWAYWAY
exercised only in cases falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of VINZONS-CHATO, petitioners,
inferior courts. vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and MENA EDORIA, respondents.
Moreover, if it is the intention of the law to restrict its coverage only to
cases cognizable by the inferior courts, then it would not have provided
GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
in Section 3 thereof the following rule on Venue, to wit:
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari seeking the reversal of
Section 3. Venue. ... However, all disputes which involve real the January 27, 1993 1 Decision and September 10, 1993 2 Resolution
property or any interest therein shall be brought in the of the Court of appeals 3 in CA-G.R. SP No. 23948. The Court of Appeals
Barangay where the real property or and part thereof is (CA) set aside the Decision 4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Daet,
situated. Camarines Norte in Civil Case No. 5832, affirming that of the Municipal
Trial Court (MTC) in Civil Case No. 2137 5, which ordered the ejectment
for it should be noted that, traditionally and historically, jurisdiction over of herein private respondent.
cases involving real property or any interest therein, except forcible The factual antecedents of this case are:
entry and detainer cases, has always been vested in the courts of first Petitioners Heirs of Vinzons are co-owners of a parcel of land in
instance [now regional trial court]. Barangay 5, Daet, of which a portion measuring 148.5 square meters is
But it is pointed out by the respondent judge that Sections being occupied by respondent Mena Edoria as lessee since 1951.
11, 3 12, 4 and 14, 5 of the law speak of the city and/or municipal courts Respondent built thereon a residential house worth P40,000.00. He
as the forum for the nullification or execution of the settlement or started paying a monthly rent of P4.00 which by 1986 had reached
arbitration award issued by the Lupon. We hold that this circumstance P13.00.
cannot be construed as a limitation of the scope of authority of the Sometime in 1986, an ejectment suit was filed by petitioners several
Lupon. As heretofore stated, the authority of the Lupon is clearly others also occupying the same lot owned by them, docketed as Civil
established in Section 2 of the law; whereas Sections 11, 12 and 14, Case No. 1923, on the ground, among others, of non-payment of rentals.
relied upon by respondent judge, deal with the nullification or execution After trial, however, the case was dismissed on the finding that
of the settlement or arbitration awards obtained at the barangay level. respondent was not in arrears but was even advance in his rental
These sections conferred upon the city and municipal courts the payments. Both petitioner and respondent appealed from said decision
jurisdiction to pass upon and resolve petitions or actions for nullification to the Regional Trial Court.
or enforcement of settlement/arbitration awards issued by the Lupon, Sometime in 1988, while the aforesaid Case No. 1923 was pending
regardless of the amount involved or the nature of the original dispute. appeal before the RTC, petitioner filed another ejectment suit, docketed
But there is nothing in the context of said sections to justify the thesis as Civil Case No. 2061, against respondent and thirty-nine (39) others
that the mandated conciliation process in other types of cases applies alleging that said defendants refused to enter into an agreement with
exclusively to said inferior courts. them as tenants-lessees and refused to pay the increased rent of P1.00
per square meter per month. Respondent resisted the claim alleging,
Any doubt on the issue before Us should be dispelled by Circular No. among others, lack of cause of action and pendency of the earlier
22 issued by Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando, 6 the full text of which ejectment case. The trial court rendered its decision dismissing the case
is quoted as follows: against respondent in view of the pendency of Civil Case No. 1923 on
TO: ALL JUDGES OF THE COURTS OF FIRST INSTANCE, appeal. This decision was again elevated to the RTC.
CIRCUIT CRIMINAL COURTS, JUVENILE AND DOMESTIC While Civil Case No. 2061 was pending appeal in the RTC, petitioners
RELATIONS COURTS, COURTS OF AGRARIAN again filed the instant suit for ejectment docketed as Civil Case No. 2137
RELATIONS, CITY COURTS, MUNICIPAL COURTS AND on the following grounds: (a) expiration of lease contract as of 1984; (b)
THEIR CLERKS OF COURT refusal to sign written renewal of contract of lease; and (c) non-payment
of rent for one (1) year and ten (10) months. In his answer, respondent
SUBJECT: Implementation of the Katarungang Pambarangay sought dismissal of the complaint on the following grounds; (a) it did not
Law. pass through barangay conciliation; (b) no prior demand was made or if
Effective upon your receipt of the certification by the Minister of there was such a demand, it was made more than one year prior to the
Local Government and Community Development that all the filing of the case; (c) there was no cause of action as it was in violation
barangays within your respective jurisdictions have organized of PD 20 and BP Blg. 25; (d) the case is barred by prior judgment; and
their Lupons provided for in Presidential Decree No. 1508, (e) there is still pending appeal a similar case between the parties, Civil
otherwise known as the Katarungang Pambarangay Law, in Case No. 2061.
implementation of the barangay system of settlement of After trial, the MTC of Daet rendered its decision ordering respondent to
disputes, you are hereby directed to desist from receiving vacate the premises and pay the accrued rentals. On appeal to the RTC,
complaints, petitions, actions or proceedings in cases falling the said decision was affirmed in toto. The CA, however, reversed the
within the authority of said Lupons. two (2) earlier decisions by dismissing the complaint on the ground of
litis pendentia, failure to comply with the Katarungang Pambarangay
Circular No. 12 dated October 20, 1978, issued by the late Law (PD 1508); and lack of evidence of prior demand to vacate before
Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro is to that extent modified. instituting the complaint.
This Circular takes effect immediately. Hence, this petition on the following grounds:
THAT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN REVERSING THE
It is significant that the above-quoted circular embodying the directive DECISION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CAMARINES
"to desist from receiving complaints, petitions, actions and proceedings NORTE IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND
in cases falling within the authority of said Lupons," has been JURISPRUDENCE.
addressed not only to judges of city and municipal courts, but also to THAT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DENYING THE MOTION
all the judges of the courts of first instance, circuit criminal courts, FOR RECONSIDERATION UPON THE GROUND THAT THE
juvenile and domestic courts and courts of agrarian relations, now GROUNDS THEREIN AVERRED HAD ALREADY BEEN PASSED
known as regional trial courts under B.P. No. 129. The said circular UPON IN ITS DECISION. 6
was noted by president Ferdinand E. Marcos in a Letter of Petitioners argue that the CA was duty-bound, under the rules and
Implementation, dated November 12, 1979, the first paragraph of jurisprudence, to give weight to the findings of fact of the MTC since the
which reads as follows: "with the view to easing up the log-jam of same had already been affirmed in toto by the RTC. Further, it is argued
cases and solving the backlogs in the case of dockets of all that the action is not barred by prior judgment and the principle of litis
government offices involved in the investigation, trial and adjudication pendentia does not apply; that the petitioners complied with the
of cases, it is hereby ordered that immediate implementation be made requirements of PD 1508; and that demand to vacate is not necessary
by all government officials and offices concerned of the system of for judicial action in case of expiration of the lease contract.
amicably settling disputes at the barangay level as provided for in the The petition is devoid of merit, we find that the MTC had improperly
Katarungang Pambarangay Law [Presidential Decree No. 1508]." assumed jurisdiction over the ejectment suit.
First, this case being one of unlawful detainer, it must have been filed
Therefore, for the guidance of the bench and the bar, We now declare
within one year from the date of last demand with the Municipal Trial
that the conciliation process at the barangay level, prescribed by P.D.
Court, otherwise it is an accion publiciana cognizable by the Regional
1508 as a pre-condition for filing a complaint in court, is compulsory
Trial Court. 7 The rule is that the one-year period provided for in Section
not only for cases falling under the exclusive competence of the
1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court 8 within which a complaint for unlawful
metropolitan and municipal trial courts, but for actions cognizable by
detainer can be filed should be counted from the last letter of demand to
the regional trial courts as well.
vacate. 9 Accion publiciana is the plenary action to recover the right of
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is granted, and the order of respondent possession when dispossession has lasted for more than one year. 10
judge denying petitioners' motion to dismiss is hereby set aside. There is no question that the petitioners' dispossession has lasted for
Respondent judge is restrained from conducting further proceedings in more than one year. In their Complaint and Position paper, petitioners
Civil Case No. R-22154, except to dismiss the case. No costs. alleged that the lease contract expired in 1984 11; that thereafter, private
respondent became a lessee on a month-to-month basis 12; and that
SO ORDERED. before the filing of Civil Cases Nos. 1908, 1923 and 2061, demand to
vacate had already been made to defendant. 13 Since Civil Case No.
1908 was instituted in 1986; Civil Case No. 1923 in 1986; and Civil Case
No. 2061 in April 1988, the alleged demands to vacate to abort an Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) of Manila in Civil Case No. 164761
implied renewal of the lease on a month-to-month basis were made (CV) for ejectment.
between 1986 and 1988, the last one, before April 1988. Verily, the The Antecedents
instant Complaint for ejectment filed by petitioner in October 1989, was The spouses Daniel P. Martinez, Sr. and Natividad de Guzman-
filed more than one year from the termination of the month-to-month Martinez were the owners of a parcel of land identified as Lot 18-B-2
lease some time before April 1988. It is well-established that what covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 54334, as well as the
determines the nature of an action and correspondingly the court which house constructed thereon.2 On March 6, 1993, Daniel, Sr. executed a
has jurisdiction over it is the allegation made by the plaintiff in his Last Will and Testament3 directing the subdivision of the property into
complaint. 14 three lots, namely, Lots 18-B-2-A, 18-B-2-B and 18-B-2-C. He then
Second, the challenged decision correctly dismissed the case for failure bequeathed the three lots to each of his sons, namely, Rodolfo,
of the plaintiffs, the petitioners herein, to avail of the barangay Manolo and Daniel, Jr.; Manolo was designated as the administrator of
conciliation process under PD 1508, preliminary to judicial recourse. The the estate.
Court of Appeals had found that "there is no clear showing that it was In May 1995, Daniel, Sr. suffered a stroke which resulted in the
brought before the Barangay Lupon or Pangkat of Barangay 5, Daet, paralysis of the right side of his body. Natividad died on October 26,
Camarines Norte, where the parties reside and the property subject of 1996.4 Daniel, Sr. passed away on October 6, 1997.5
the case is situated, as there is no barangay certification to file action On September 16, 1998, Rodolfo found a deed of sale purportedly
attached to the complaint. 15 signed by his father on September 15, 1996, where the latter appears
Paraphrasing Peñaflor vs. Panis 16, "the Lupong Barangay is with to have sold Lot 18-B-2 to Manolo and his wife Lucila.6 He also
jurisdiction under PD 1508 to pass upon an ejectment controversy where discovered that TCT No. 237936 was issued to the vendees based on
the parties are residents in the same barangay or in barangays within the said deed of sale.7
the same city or in barangays adjoining each other." It is clearly averred Rodolfo filed a complaint8 for annulment of deed of sale and
in the Complaint that herein petitioners, then represented by the widow cancellation of TCT No. 237936 against his brother Manolo and his
of the late Fernando Vinzons, resided in the same barangay, hence, sister-in-law Lucila before the RTC. He also filed a criminal complaint
covered by the said law. In Royales vs. Intermediate Appellate Court 17, for estafa through falsification of a public document in the Office of the
this Court ruled that "non-compliance with the condition precedent City Prosecutor against Manolo, which was elevated to the Department
prescribed by PD 1508 could affect the sufficiency of the plaintiff's cause of Justice.9
of action and make his complaint vulnerable to dismissal on the ground On motion of the defendants, the RTC issued an Order10 on March 29,
of lack of cause of action or prematurity." Defendants, private 1999, dismissing the complaint for annulment of deed of sale on the
respondents herein, objected to the failure of the parties to undergo a ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the action since there
confrontation at the barangay level in their answer and even during the was no allegation in the complaint that the last will of Daniel Martinez,
entire proceedings a quo to no avail as the trial courts merely brushed Sr. had been admitted to probate. Rodolfo appealed the order to the
aside this issue. Hence, the Court of Appeals had to rectify this error by CA.11
the trial courts. On October 4, 1999, Rodolfo filed a Petition with the RTC of Manila for
In refutation of the said findings of the Court of Appeals, petitioners the probate of the last will of the deceased Daniel Martinez, Sr.12
submit that "it is clear in the findings of fact of the MTC of Daet, as In the meantime, the spouses Manolo and Lucila Martinez wrote
affirmed by the RTC of Daet that before the filing of Civil Cases Nos. Rodolfo, demanding that he vacate the property. Rodolfo ignored the
1908, 1923 and 2061, demand to vacate had already been made to the letter and refused to do so. This prompted the said spouses to file a
defendant after efforts to settle the controversy at the barangay level had complaint for unlawful detainer against Rodolfo in the MTC of Manila.
failed." 18 This is not a factual finding of the MTC, but an allegation in They alleged that they were the owners of the property covered by
petitioners' Complaint. As mentioned earlier, the MTC merely brushed TCT No. 237936, and that pursuant to Presidential Decree (P.D.) No.
aside the issue of non-recourse to barangay conciliation. This allegation 1508, the matter was referred to the barangay for conciliation and
in petitioners' Complaint that efforts to settle the controversy at the settlement, but none was reached. They appended the certification to
barangay level had failed in Civil Cases Nos. 1908, 1923 and 2061, does file action executed by the barangay chairman to the complaint.
not constitute compliance with the requirements of PD 1508 for In his Answer13 to the complaint filed on October 11, 1999, Rodolfo
purposes of filing the Complaint in Civil Case No. 2137. Section 6 of PD alleged, inter alia, that the complaint failed to state a condition
1508 insofar as pertinent provides: precedent, namely, that earnest efforts for an amicable settlement of
Sec. 6. Conciliation, pre-condition to filing of complaint. — No complaint, the matter between the parties had been exerted, but that none was
petition, action or proceeding involving any matter within the authority of reached. He also pointed out that the dispute had not been referred to
the Lupon as provided in Section 2 hereof shall be filed or instituted in the barangay before the complaint was filed.
court or any other government office for adjudication unless there has On October 20, 1999, the spouses Martinez filed an Amended
been a confrontation of the parties before the Lupon chairman or the Complaint in which they alleged that earnest efforts toward a
Pangkat . . . . settlement had been made, but that the same proved futile. Rodolfo
Referral to the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat should be made prior to filed his opposition thereto, on the ground that there was no motion for
the filing of the ejectment case under PD 1508. Legal action for the admission of the amended complaint. The trial court failed to act on
ejectment is barred when there is non-recourse to barangay court. 19 the matter.
The Complaint for unlawful detainer, docketed as Civil Case No. 2137, The spouses Martinez alleged in their position paper that earnest
should have been coursed first to the barangay court. Petitioners cannot efforts toward a compromise had been made and/or exerted by them,
rely on the barangay conciliation proceedings held in the other cases but that the same proved futile.14 No amicable settlement was,
and consider the same as compliance with the law. likewise, reached by the parties during the preliminary conference
Third, petitioners rely heavily on the general rule that findings of trial because of irreconcilable differences. The MTC was, thus, impelled to
courts deserve to be respected and affirmed by appellate courts. Almost terminate the conference.15
as well-recognized as the general rule is the exception that the factual On February 21, 2000, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of the
findings of the trial court may nonetheless be reversed by the Court of spouses Martinez. The fallo of the decision reads:
Appeals if by the evidence on record or the lack of it, it appears that the WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is rendered in favor of
trial court erred. 20 Considering that the trial courts and the Court of plaintiff. The defendant, including any person claiming right under him,
Appeals arrived at different factual findings, we have reviewed the is ordered:
evidence on record and have found as aforesaid, the improper 1) To vacate the subject premises;
assumption by the MTC of the case due to non-recourse to barangay 2) To pay plaintiff the sum of ₱10,000.00 a month starting July 17,
conciliation and the lapse of the one-year period for bringing the case 1999, the date of last demand until he vacates the same;
for unlawful detainer. 3) To pay the sum of ₱10,000.00 as and for attorney’s fees; and
Having arrived at the above conclusion, the Court finds no need to 4) Costs of suit.
discuss the other issues, specifically, those bearing on the application SO ORDERED.16
of the principles of litis pendentia and/or res judicata. Moreover, the The trial court declared that the spouses Martinez had substantially
records of Civil Cases Nos. 1923 and 2061 are not before us to enable complied with Article 151 of the Family Code of the Philippines17 based
us to determine the presence of the elements thereof in the instant case. on the allegations of the complaint and the appended certification to
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED, and the assailed file action issued by the barangay captain.
decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED. Rodolfo appealed the decision to the RTC. On May 31, 2000, the RTC
SO ORDERED. rendered judgment affirming the appealed decision. He then filed a
petition for review of the decision with the CA, alleging that:
G.R. No. 162084 June 28, 2005 1. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC
APRIL MARTINEZ, FRITZ DANIEL MARTINEZ and MARIA OLIVIA WHICH FOUND WITHOUT MERIT THE DEFENSE OF PETITIONER
MARTINEZ, petitioners, THAT THERE IS NO ALLEGATION IN THE COMPLAINT THAT
vs. PETITIONER HAS UNLAWFULLY WITHHELD POSSESSION OF
RODOLFO G. MARTINEZ, respondent. THE PROPERTY FROM RESPONDENTS – A REQUIREMENT IN
DECISION [AN] UNLAWFUL DETAINER SUIT.
CALLEJO, SR., J.: 2. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision1 of the Court of WHICH FOUND THAT PETITIONER’S POSSESSION OF THE
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 59420 setting aside and reversing the PROPERTY IS BY MERE TOLERANCE OF RESPONDENTS.
decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 30, in
Civil Case No. 00-96962 affirming, on appeal, the decision of the
3. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC As pointed out by the Code Commission, it is difficult to imagine a
WHICH FOUND THAT THE RESPONDENTS HAVE A CAUSE OF sadder and more tragic spectacle than a litigation between members of
ACTION. the same family. It is necessary that every effort should be made
4. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC toward a compromise before a litigation is allowed to breed hate and
WHICH DID NOT RESOLVE THE SIXTH ISSUE, TO WIT, "Whether or passion in the family and it is known that a lawsuit between close
not this Court has jurisdiction over this case considering that the relatives generates deeper bitterness than between strangers.23
allegations in the complaint makes out a case of accion publiciana." Thus, a party’s failure to comply with Article 151 of the Family Code
5. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC before filing a complaint against a family member would render such
WHICH HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE. complaint premature.
6. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC In this case, the decision of the CA that the petitioners were mandated
WHICH FOUND THAT THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENT OF to comply with Article 151 of the Family code and that they failed to do
CONCILIATION HAS BEEN COMPLIED WITH. so is erroneous.
7. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC First. Petitioner Lucila Martinez, the respondent’s sister-in-law, was
WHICH FOUND THAT THERE WAS SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE one of the plaintiffs in the MTC. The petitioner is not a member of the
WITH THE KATARUNGANG PAMBARANGAY LAW. same family as that of her deceased husband and the respondent:
8. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC As regards plaintiff’s failure to seek a compromise, as an alleged
WHICH FOUND THAT THE PENDENCY OF CIVIL CASE NO. 98- obstacle to the present case, Art. 222 of our Civil Code provides:
91147 AND SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS NO. 99-95281, INVOLVING "No suit shall be filed or maintained between members of the same
THE PETITIONER AND RESPONDENTS AND INVOLVING THE family unless it should appear that earnest efforts toward a
SAME PROPERTY DID NOT DIVEST THE MTC OF AUTHORITY TO compromise have been made, but that the same have failed, subject to
DECIDE THE CASE. the limitations in Article 2035."
9. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC It is noteworthy that the impediment arising from this provision applies
WHICH GRANTED THE RELIEF PRAYED FOR BY THE to suits "filed or maintained between members of the same family."
RESPONDENTS. This phrase, "members of the same family," should, however, be
10. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE construed in the light of Art. 217 of the same Code, pursuant to which:
MTC.18 "Family relations shall include those:
On November 27, 2003, the CA rendered judgment granting the (1) Between husband and wife;
petition and reversing the decision of the RTC. The appellate court (2) Between parent and child;
ruled that the spouses Martinez had failed to comply with Article 151 of (3) Among other ascendants and their descendants;
the Family code. The CA also held that the defect in their complaint (4) Among brothers and sisters."
before the MTC was not cured by the filing of an amended complaint Mrs. Gayon is plaintiff’s sister-in-law, whereas her children are his
because the latter pleading was not admitted by the trial court. nephews and/or nieces. Inasmuch as none of them is included in the
Upon the denial of their motion for reconsideration of the said decision, enumeration contained in said Art. 217 – which should be construed
the spouses Martinez filed the present petition for review on certiorari, strictly, it being an exception to the general rule – and Silvestre Gayon
in which they raise the following issues: must necessarily be excluded as party in the case at bar, it follows that
I. the same does not come within the purview of Art. 222, and plaintiff’s
WHETHER OR NOT THE CERTIFICATION TO FILE ACTION AND failure to seek a compromise before filing the complaint does not bar
THE ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT THAT THE CASE PASSED the same.24
[THROUGH] THE BARANGAY BUT NO SETTLEMENT WAS Second. The petitioners were able to comply with the requirements of
REACHED, ARE SUFFICIENT COMPLIANCE TO PROVE THAT, Article 151 of the Family Code because they alleged in their complaint
INDEED, EARNEST EFFORTS WERE, IN FACT, MADE BUT THE that they had initiated a proceeding against the respondent for unlawful
SAME HAVE FAILED PRIOR TO THE FILING OF THE COMPLAINT. detainer in the Katarungang Pambarangay, in compliance with P.D.
II. No. 1508; and that, after due proceedings, no amicable settlement was
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY AND arrived at, resulting in the barangay chairman’s issuance of a
SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THERE WAS NON- certificate to file action.25 The Court rules that such allegation in the
COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENT PROVIDED FOR UNDER complaint, as well as the certification to file action by the barangay
ARTICLE 151 OF THE FAMILY CODE, CONSIDERING THAT ONE chairman, is sufficient compliance with article 151 of the Family Code.
OF THE PARTIES TO A SUIT IN THIS CASE IS NOT A MEMBER OF It bears stressing that under Section 412(a) of Republic Act No. 7160,
THE SAME FAMILY.19 no complaint involving any matter within the authority of the Lupon
The petitioners alleged that they substantially complied with Article 151 shall be instituted or filed directly in court for adjudication unless there
of the Family Code, since they alleged the following in their original has been a confrontation between the parties and no settlement was
complaint: reached.26
2. In compliance with P.D. 1508, otherwise known as the "Katarungang IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The
Pambarangay," this case passed [through] the Barangay and no Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 59420 is
settlement was forged between plaintiffs and defendant as a result of REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. The Decision of the Metropolitan Trial
which Certification to File Action was issued by Barangay 97, Zone 8, Court of Manila, as affirmed on appeal by the Regional Trial Court of
District I, Tondo, Manila. xxx" (Underscoring supplied)20 Manila, Branch 30, in Civil Case No. 164761(CV) is REINSTATED. No
Further, the petitioners averred, they alleged in their position paper that costs.
they had exerted earnest efforts towards a compromise which proved SO ORDERED.
futile. They also point out that the MTC resolved to terminate the
preliminary conference due to irreconcilable difference between the BONIFACIO LAW OFFICE Represented by Atty. RICARDO M.
parties. Besides, even before they filed their original complaint, SALOMON JR. complainant, vs. Judge REYNALDO B.
animosity already existed between them and the respondent due to the BELLOSILLO, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 34,
latter’s filing of civil and criminal cases against them; hence, the Quezon City, respondent.
objective of an amicable settlement could not have been attained. DECISION
Moreover, under Article 150 of the Family Code, petitioner Lucila PANGANIBAN, J.:
Martinez had no familial relations with the respondent, being a mere Under the Rules of Court, delay in the rendition of judgments is
sister-in-law. She was a stranger to the respondent; hence, there was administratively sanctionable with suspension or fine. When judges
no need for the petitioners21 to comply with Article 151 of the Family cannot for good reason comply with legal deadlines for rendering
Code. orders and decisions, they should file with this Court a timely request
The petition is meritorious. for extension, if they want to avoid administrative penalties.
Article 151 of the Family Code provides: The Case and the Facts
Art. 151. No suit between members of the same family shall prosper In a letter-complaint dated August 28, 1997, Atty. Ricardo M. Salomon
unless it should appear from the verified complaint or petition that Jr. of the Bonifacio Law Office charged then acting Judge Reynaldo B.
earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that the Bellosillo of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 34,
same have failed. If it is shown that no such efforts were, in fact, made, with ignorance of the law, grave abuse of discretion, and obvious
the case must be dismissed. partiality. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) summarized the
This rule shall not apply to cases which may not be the subject of factual antecedents as follows:
compromise under the Civil Code. 1. VERIFIED LETTER-COMPLAINT of Atty. Ricardo M. Salomon of
The phrase "members of the family" must be construed in relation to the Bonifacio Law Office charging Judge Reynaldo B. Bellosillo, MeTC,
Article 150 of the Family Code, to wit: Branch 34, Quezon City with Ignorance of the Law, Grave Abuse of
Art. 150. Family relations include those: Discretion and Partiality in connection with Civil Case No. 14913 for
(1) Between husband and wife; ejectment entitled Ricardo M. Salomon, Jr. vs. Spouses Severino
(2) Between parents and children; Fulgencio.
(3) Among other ascendants and descendants; and Complainant assails the Order dated April 2, 1996 referring the said
(4) Among brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half-blood. ejectment case back to the barangay for conciliation proceedings
Article 151 of the Family code must be construed strictly, it being an despite the fact that it was alleged in the verified complaint, that the
exception to the general rule. Hence, a sister-in-law or brother-in-law is matter had already been referred to the barangay and that a copy of
not included in the enumeration.22 the Certification to File Motion was attached [to] the verified complaint
as ANNEX E thereof. Bewildered with such Order, he tried to talk with
respondent judge but was prevented to do so because of the strict and Complainant contends that he has complied with the mandatory
extremely tight cordon sanitaire of the latter. He then inquired from the barangay conciliation proceedings as evidenced by the Certification to
respondents branch clerk of court the reason behind such order and he File Action attached to the Complaint for ejectment.
was advised that perhaps he should submit the minutes of the The records, however, reveal that such Certification was improperly
hearings held in the barangay. Following said advice, he filed a and prematurely issued. In what appears to be a pre-printed standard
compliance with respondents court attaching therewith a copy of his form thereof,[4] the x before the second enumerated statement clearly
complaint filed before the barangay and the minutes of the shows that no personal confrontation before a duly constituted Pangkat
proceedings held thereat. ng Tagapagkasundo took place. Respondents position that the
After the filing of said compliance, no action was taken by the court Pangkat was not constituted, and that no face to face conciliation of
despite the fact that the case falls under the Rule on Summary the parties had taken place before it is substantiated by the Minutes[5]
Procedure and respondent judge has still to come up with a submitted by complainant. Evidently, complainant failed to complete
determination as to whether summons should be issued or not. He the barangay conciliation proceedings.
then inquired personally with the court about the status of the case and We also note that the Complaint[6] before the barangay was dated
he was told that no action could be taken unless the Order of April 2, February 16, 1996. Records show that the hearing was scheduled for
1996 had been complied with. Dismayed by the Courts insistence of February 26, 1996 and was reset for February 29, 1996.[7] And yet, the
referring the case to the barangay though it had already gone through Certification to File Action[8] was issued on March 1, 1996, less than
all the requisite proceedings thereat, he decided not to pursue the case fifteen days after the first scheduled hearing before the barangay
and filed a notice to withdraw complaint dated August 20, 1996. Said chairman.
withdrawal however was denied by respondent on the basis of the Section 410 (b) of the Local Government Code is quoted hereunder:
action already taken thereon as contained in the questioned Order Mediation by lupon chairman. Upon receipt of the complaint, the lupon
dated April 2, 1996. He then filed a Notice of Dismissal but the same chairman shall within the next working day summon the respondent(s),
was still unacted upon by respondent. with notice to the complainant(s) for them and their witnesses to
It was only after a year from the time the complaint was filed that appear before him for a mediation of their conflicting interests. If he
respondent ordered that summons be served on defendants. When fails in his mediation effort within fifteen (15) days from the first
defendants failed to file an Answer, he (complainant) filed a Motion to meeting of the parties before him, he shall forthwith set a date for the
Render Judgment in accordance with the provisions of Sec.5 of the constitution of the pangkat in accordance with the provisions of this
Rule on Summary Procedure. However, instead of rendering judgment, Chapter.
respondent merely required defendants to comment on the motion to Furthermore, Administrative Circular No. 14-93 provides:
render judgment. After defendants filed their comment, respondent still xxxxxxxxx
did not act on the said motion. In order that the laudable purpose of the law may not be subverted and
The inordinate delay of respondent on acting upon said case has its effectiveness undermined by indiscriminate, improper and/or
caused him so much suffering as his family is forced to rent a house to premature issuance of certifications to file actions in court by the Lupon
live in at a monthly rental rate of P19,000.00. or Pangkat Secretaries, attested by the Lupon/Pangkat Chairmen,
2. ANSWER of respondent judge denying the charges leveled against respectively, the following guidelines are hereby issued for the
him and alleging the following arguments: information of trial court judges in cases brought before them coming
a. In all cases where there is failure of settlement of mediation from the Barangays:
proceedings before the Barangay Chairman, it is necessary that the xxxxxxxxx
Pangkat be constituted by the parties from the Lupon members in [II] 4. If mediation or conciliation efforts before the Punong Barangay
order that they may have a second opportunity to amicably settle their proved unsuccessful, there having been no agreement to arbitrate
dispute. It is a mandatory duty of the Barangay Chairman to set the (Sec. 410-{b}, Revised Rule Katarungang Pambarangay Law; Sec.
meeting of the parties for the constitution of the Pangkat upon failure of 1,c,[1], Rule III, Katarungang Pambarangay Rules), or where the
parties to amicably settle otherwise there is no compliance with the respondent fails to appear at the mediation proceeding before the
requirements of P.D. 1508, now Sec. 412, 1991 Local Government Punong Barangay (3rd par. Sec. 8,a, Rule VI, Katarungang
Code. In the case of complainant, it appears from the records thereof Pambarangay Rules), the Punong Barangay shall not cause the
that there was premature issuance of the Certificate to File Action issuance of this stage of a certification to file action, because it is now
considering that there is no proof to show that the Pangkat was duly mandatory for him to constitute the Pangkat before whom mediation,
constituted before the said certificate was issued. Moreover, the conciliation, or arbitration proceedings shall be held.
belated submission by complainant of the Minutes of Proceedings III. All complaints and/or informations filed or raffled to your
before the Barangay Chairman, which was inaccurate and difficult to sala/branch of the Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court or
decipher glaringly reveals the non-compliance of complainant with the Municipal Trial Court shall be carefully read and scrutinized to
requirement of the aforecited law. determine if there has been compliance with prior Barangay
As to the charge that there was inaction on his part on several motions conciliation procedure under the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay
filed by complainant, he claim[s] that the same is untrue and alleged Law and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, as a pre-condition to
the following: judicial action, particularly whether the certification to file action
RE: NOTICE TO WITHDRAW COMPLAINT attached to the records of the case comply with the requirements
The same was noted without action as mediation process was still on hereinabove enumerated in part II; (Emphasis and italics supplied)
going at the barangay level. IV. A case filed in court without compliance with prior Barangay
RE: NOTICE OF DISMISSAL conciliation which is a pre-condition for formal adjudication x x x may
Before he could act on the same, complainant filed a manifestation be dismissed upon motion of the defendant/s x x x or the court may
praying that said notice be disregarded, rendering the issue thereon as suspend proceedings upon petition of any party x x x and refer the
moot and academic. case motu proprio to the appropriate Barangay authority. x x x.
RE: MOTION TO RENDER JUDGMENT Evidently, the barangay failed to exert enough effort required by law to
The said motion was resolved by him in an Order dated August 18, conciliate between the parties and to settle the case before it. Hence,
1997 granting the same and submitting the case for decision. respondent judge was not incorrect in remanding the case to it for
However, considering that there was no proof yet that the said order completion of the mandated proceedings. We cannot fault him for
was received by defendants the decision in said case was held in seeking to promote the objectives of barangay conciliation and for
abeyance as the latter upon receipt hereof may yet avail of the right to taking to heart the provisions of Supreme Court Circular No. 14-93. His
appeal therefrom. referral of the case back to the barangay cannot be equated with gross
Respondent likewise avers that complainant should have taken a more ignorance of the law. Neither does it constitute grave abuse of
appropriate legal remedy than filing this instant administrative discretion or obvious partiality.
complaint which has deprived him of his precious time that could have Thereafter, complainant filed a Motion[9] praying that the proceedings
been devoted to court hearing.[1] already held before the barangay be considered as substantial
Evaluation and Recommendation of the OCA compliance with the requirements of the law. Acting on the Motion,
The OCA found respondent either ignorant or negligent in referring the respondent judge issued the summons and opted to continue with the
case back to the barangay despite the presence of what it considered court proceedings without insisting on strict compliance with the
to be a valid Certification to File Action. It also faulted him for mandated barangay proceedings. He did so after noting that
disregarding the Rules on Summary Procedure by (1) calling for a complainant was apparently not making any move to complete the
preliminary conference, (2) directing the defendants to submit their barangay proceedings after the case had been remanded to the
Comment to complainants Motion to Render Judgment, and (3) failing barangay, and that the case fell under the Rules on Summary
to render judgment within the reglementary period.[2] Procedure.
Finding merit in the charges, the OCA recommended that the Section 18 of the Rules on Summary Procedure, however, provides
respondent Judge be FINED in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos that such cases may be revived only after the requirement for
(P10,000.00) with the STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same conciliation has been complied with. Nevertheless, respondent judges
will be dealt with more severely.[3] error is judicial in nature and cannot be corrected in administrative
This Courts Ruling proceedings. At any rate, because he chose to continue with the
We agree with the findings of the OCA regarding the rules on summary proceedings of the case, and because respondents failed to answer
procedure, but disagree with those relating to the barangay the ejectment Complaint on time, he should have rendered judgment
proceedings. within thirty (30) days from the expiration of the period to file an
Administrative Liability answer. This action is required under the Rules on Summary
Proceedings, which state:
Sec. 6. Effect of failure to answer. - Should the defendant fail to possible between him and his brother. 6 Manuel is now before us to
answer the complaint within the period above provided, the court, motu question this decision.
proprio, or on motion of the plaintiff, shall render judgment as may be We hold for the petitioner.
warranted by the facts alleged in the complaint and limited to what is The applicable provisions of P.D. No. 1508 (Emphasis supplied) are as
prayed for therein x x x. follows:
xxxxxxxxx SEC. 4. Procedure for amicable settlement. —
Sec. 10. Rendition of judgment. Within thirty (30) days after receipt of a) Who may initiate proceedings. — Any individual who has a cause of
the last affidavits and position papers, or the expiration of the period for action against another individual involving any matter within the authority
filing the same, the court shall render judgment. of the Lupon as provided in Section 2 may complain orally or in writing,
Complainant filed a Motion to Render Judgment[10] dated March 25, to the Barangay Captain of the barangay referred to in Section 3 hereof.
1997. Refusing to heed the Motion, respondent instead called a b) Mediation by Barangay Captain. — Upon receipt of the complaint, the
preliminary conference and directed the defendants to submit their Barangay Captain shall within the next working day summon the
Comment. The OCA correctly arrived at the following findings: respondent/s, with notice to the complainant's for them and their
x x x [T]he Judges resolution [to] the complainants Motion to Render witnesses to appear before him for a mediation of their conflicting
Judgement casts serious doubt on his understanding of the law. The interests. If he fails in his effort within fifteen (15) days from the first
express language of the law states that when an Answer has not been meeting of the parties before him, he shall forthwith set a date for the
filed within the reglementary period, the judge, motu proprio, or on constitution of the Pangkat in accordance with the provisions of Section
motion, shall render judgment as may be warranted by the facts 1 of this Decree.
alleged in the complaint (Section 6, Revised Rule on Summary c) Hearing before the Pangkat. — The Pangkat shall convene not later
Procedure). This provision cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, than three (3) days from its constitution, on the day and hour set by the
be construed to mean anything other than what the words themselves Barangay Captain, to hear both parties and their witnesses, simplify
communicate: that the rendition of judgment is mandatory, and that the issues, and explore all possibilities for amicable settlement. For this
judgment should be based only on what is contained within the four purpose, the Pangkat may issue summons for the personal appearance
walls of the complaint. of parties and witnesses before it.
By calling for a preliminary conference and directing the defendants to xxx
submit their Comment to the complainants Motion, the Judge went d) Sanctions. — Refusal or willfull failure of any party or witness to
beyond the bounds set by the law x x x. Moreover, when he finally appear in compliance with the summons issued pursuant to the
resolved the motion after the defendants had submitted their Comment preceding two (2) paragraphs may be punished by the city or municipal
he merely ordered that the case be deemed submitted for decision. court as for indirect contempt of court upon application filed therewith by
Needless to say, submission for decision is a far cry from rendition of the Lupon Chairman, the Pangkat Chairman, or by any of the parties.
judgment, the character of immediacy implicit in the latter does not Further, such refusal or willful failure to appear shall be reflected in the
exist in the former. And in this case, supposedly to be resolved under records of the Lupon Secretary or in the minutes of the Pangkat
the Summary Rule, immediacy is the defining characteristic. x x x.[11] Secretary and shall bar the complainant from seeking judicial recourse
Respondent rendered judgment on the case only on January 7, for the same cause of action, and the respondent, from filing any
1998,[12] almost a year from the time the case had been deemed counterclaim arising out of or necessarily connected therewith.
submitted for resolution. Unacceptable is his explanation that he xxx
waited for the defendants to avail themselves of their right to appeal SEC. 6. Conciliation, pre-condition to filing of complaint. — No
the Order deeming the case submitted for resolution. He has no duty to complaint, petition, action or proceeding involving any matter within the
wait, because the law mandates him to act and decide the case authority of the Lupon as provided in Section 2 hereof shall be filed or
promptly. Delay in the disposition of cases undermines the peoples instituted in court or any other government office for adjudication unless
faith and confidence in the judiciary. Hence, judges are enjoined to there has been a confrontation of the parties before the Lupon Chairman
decide cases with dispatch. Their failure to do so constitutes gross or the Pangkat and no conciliation or settlement has been reached as
inefficiency and warrants the imposition of administrative sanctions on certified by the Lupon Secretary or the Pangkat Secretary, attested by
them.[13] the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman, or unless the settlement has been
Undue delay in rendering a decision constitutes a less serious charge repudiated.
under Section 9, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court; and a finding of guilt It is clear from the above rules that the dispute should not have ended
results in either suspension from the office without salary and other with the mediation proceedings before the Punong Barangay because
benefits for not less than one (1) month or more than three (3) months, of his failure to effect a settlement between the brothers. One purpose
or a fine of more than P10,000 but not exceeding P20,000.[14] of P.D. 1508 is precisely to effect a confrontation between the parties in
In determining the sanction to be imposed, we note that there was no the hope that they can resolve their differences without resort to the
showing of malice, corrupt motive or improper consideration on the courts of justice. Obviously, this purpose would be nullified if the matter
part of respondent judge. We also take into consideration the fact that were to be considered closed simply because either of the parties
he has already resigned from the service effective March 27, 2002. refuses to confront the other.
WHEREFORE, Judge Reynaldo B. Bellosillo is hereby found It was not for the Punong Barangay to say that referral to the Pangkat
GUILTY of undue delay in rendering a decision and is ordered to pay a was no longer necessary merely because he himself had failed to work
fine of P11,000 to be taken from the retirement benefits heretofore out an agreement between the petitioner and the private respondent.
withheld from him. Indeed, it is possible that the Pangkat could have exerted more efforts
SO ORDERED. and succeeded (where he had not) in resolving the dispute. The Punong
Barangay could in fact have even issued summons to compel the
G.R. No. L-85475 June 30, 1989 attendance of Domingo Ramos, who was the complainant himself in the
MANUEL A. RAMOS, petitioner, mediation hearing. It seems the Punong Barangay had not tried hard
vs. enough. In any event, the certification he issued was certainly premature
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and DOMINGO RAMOS, and did not authorize immediate recourse to judicial action.
respondents. The case of Alinsugay v. Cagampang, 7 which was applied by
respondent court, is not on all fours with the petition at bar. There the
CRUZ, J.: parties claiming non-compliance with P.D. 1508 were the very parties
Domingo Ramos authorized his brother Manuel Ramos to sell his share who did not appear at the mediation proceedings before the Punong
of certain lands owned by them in common with their other brothers and Barangay. The defendants in the case were the respondents who had
sisters. Manuel did. Later, Domingo revoked the power of attorney and earlier disregarded the Katarungang Pambarangay Law and were later
demanded an accounting from Manuel. Manuel refused. Domingo then inconsistently invoking its provisions.
filed a complaint with the Punong Barangay of Pampanga, Buhangin In the case before us, it is Manuel Ramos, the respondent in the
District, City of Davao, which was docketed as Case No. 008-87. 1 The barangay proceedings, who actually appeared therein and is now
Punong Barangay scheduled a hearing on March 14, 1987. 2 Manuel invoking the non-appearance of Domingo Ramos, the complainant
appeared but Domingo did not. He was represented, however, by his himself. Domingo, the herein private respondent, is the party who did
wife who said her husband wanted to avoid a direct confrontation with not appear to support his own complaint before the Punong Barangay.
his brother.3 She requested that the Punong Barangay issue a He invoked the Punong Barangay's jurisdiction and then disregarded it.
certification that no settlement had been reached so a complaint could Under Section 4(d), he is now barred, as complainant in the barangay
be filed in court. The Punong Barangay complied. 4 Thereupon, proceedings, "from seeking judicial recourse for the same cause of
Domingo sued Manuel in the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, also action."
for accounting, in Civil Case No. 18560-87. Domingo argues that he did appear through his wife, but this was not
Manuel moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground of non- permitted by P.D. No. 1508. Its Section 9 reads:
compliance with the requirements of P.D. No. 1508. Specifically, he cited Appearance of parties in person. — In all proceedings provided for
the failure of the Punong Barangay to refer the dispute to the Pangkat herein, the parties must appear in person without the assistance of
ng Tagapagkasundo after the unsuccessful mediation proceedings counsel/representative, with the exception of minors and incompetents
convened by him. The motion was denied. 5 Manuel then filed with this who may be assisted by their next of kin who are not lawyers.
Court a petition for certiorari which we referred to the Court of Appeals. In Alinsugay, the Court said that "where one party fails to appear for no
That court denied the petition. It held that there was no need for such justifiable reason, convening the Pangkat as a necessary second step
referral because Domingo had clearly indicated, by his refusal to appear will serve no useful purpose." True, but we must stress the word
before the Punong Barangay, that no extrajudicial settlement was justifiable. Mere refusal to appear at the confrontation as required by the
law, when the party invoking P.D. 1508 is the one who disregarded it, is Altura Street, Sampaloc, Manila, and Mr. JAIME ABEJA of 620 Altura
not a justifiable reason. Street, Sampaloc, Manila, in respect to the occupancy of the three (3)
It remains to add that the other purpose of the Katarungang last named persons of Miss LEGARDA’s property which makes up the
Pambarangay Law is to relieve the trial courts of cases among neighbors sites of the houses of said persons.
that hopefully can be settled through the mediation of their peers in Nevertheless, no such settlement took place or was possible in view of
peaceful and even friendly confrontations. This purpose could be the repeated refusal of the same persons to meet with Miss LEGARDA
defeated if such cases were allowed immediate access to the already or her personal representative, Mr. ANTONIO O. SINON, despite
clogged judicial dockets simply because one of the parties is unwilling several summons issued to them by the undersigned.
to submit to justice at the barangay level. THIS CERTIFICATION is therefore issued to serve as a basis for the
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the appealed decision is filing of the corresponding complaint or complaints by Miss CARMITA
REVERSED. The respondent judge is ordered to DISMISS Civil Case LEGARDA.
No. 18560-87. Costs against the private respondent. (Sgd.) Epifania Atienza.
S0 ORDERED. As correctly observed by the Court of Appeals, petitioners did not
object to the presentation of the Certification to File Action during the
G.R. No. 149266 March 17, 2006 hearing, thus:
BENJAMIN AND ROSENDA ESPINO, Petitioners, Defendants-appellants vigorously assert that the case did not undergo
vs. conciliation proceedings in violation of the provisions of P.D. No. 1508
CARMITA LEGARDA, Respondent. or the Katarungang Pambarangay Law. However, plaintiff-appellee
DECISION presented as evidence a certification from Barangay Chairman Epifinia
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: Atienza to prove otherwise. Hence, the act of the barangay chairman in
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari1 assailing the Decision2 issuing the certification enjoys the presumption that his official duty has
of the Court of Appeals dated May 10, 2001 and its Resolution dated been regularly performed, absent any evidence to the contrary.
July 27, 2001 in CA-G.R. CV No. 54196, entitled "CARMITA Further, the defendants-appellants did not object to the presentation of
LEGARDA, plaintiff-appellee, v. JAIME ABEJA, together with all the certification. Neither did they question said certification. In the
persons claiming rights under him, defendant, BENJAMIN AND separate Answer of defendants-appellants, they alleged that the owner
ROSENDA ESPINO, defendants-appellants." of the property was not Don Benito Legarda but Benito Legarda
On August 1, 1986, Carmita Legarda, respondent, filed with the Incorporated. Assuming this to be true, then barangay conciliation
Regional Trial Court, Manila, three separate complaints3 for accion proceedings becomes truly unnecessary since one of the parties to the
publiciana4 against Benjamin Espino, Rosenda Espino, petitioners, and case is a judicial person.
Jaime Abeja. Respondent alleged that she is the owner of three lots5 Even assuming that respondent did not refer the dispute to the
situated on Altura St., Sta. Mesa, Manila. Petitioners clandestinely barangay for conciliation, still, the trial court could take cognizance of
entered the premises and constructed their houses thereon without the the case considering that petitioners here did not object to such lack of
knowledge and consent of her late father, Benito F. Legarda. Despite conciliation during the hearing.
demand, petitioners refused to vacate the premises and remove their In Junson v. Martinez,10 we ruled that non-compliance with the
improvements. Respondent reported the matter to Barangay Chairman condition precedent under Presidential Decree No. 1508 does not
Epifania Atienza, but petitioners ignored the summonses issued to prevent a court of competent jurisdiction from exercising its power of
them. Respondent prayed that petitioners be ordered to vacate the lots adjudication over a case where the defendants fail to object to such
and to pay reasonable compensation for the use and occupancy of the exercise of jurisdiction. But such objection should be seasonably made
premises. before the court first taking cognizance of the complaint,11 and must be
In their separate Answers, petitioners alleged that they cannot be raised in the Answer, or in such other pleading allowed under the
evicted because the lots are covered by the Urban Land Reform Act Rules of Court.12
and, therefore, they have priority to buy the lots; that the complaints Evidently, respondent has satisfactorily shown that she complied with
failed to allege the dates of respondent’s demands to vacate; and that the mandate of the law by referring the dispute to the barangay for
respondent did not resort to conciliation proceedings before the amicable settlement before filing her complaints with the court.
barangay prior to the filing of the complaints. WHEREFORE, this Court DENIES the petition.The challenged
After the trial, the lower court rendered a Decision against petitioners, Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
ordering them to vacate the lots and deliver possession thereof to 54196 are AFFIRMED.
respondent, remove all improvements constructed thereon, and pay Costs against petitioners.
reasonable compensation for the use and occupancy of the premises.
Aggrieved, petitioners, with the exception of Abeja, interposed their G.R. No. 153567 February 18, 2008
joint appeal to the Court of Appeals. On May 10, 2001, the Appellate
Court promulgated its assailed Decision affirming in toto the Decision6 LIBRADA M. AQUINO, petitioner,
of the lower court, holding that: vs.
Defendants-appellants vigorously assert that the case did not undergo
ERNEST S. AURE1, respondent.
conciliation proceedings in violation of the provisions of Presidential
Decree No. 1508 or the Katarungang Pambarangay Law. However,
plaintiff-appellee presented as evidence a Certification from Barangay Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari2 under Rule 45 of
Chairman Epifania Atienza to prove otherwise. Hence, the act of the the Revised Rules of Court filed by petitioner Librada M. Aquino
barangay chairman in issuing the Certification enjoys the presumption (Aquino), seeking the reversal and the setting aside of the
that his official duty has been regularly performed, absent any Decision3 dated 17 October 2001 and the Resolution4 dated 8 May 2002
evidence to the contrary. Further, the defendants-appellants did not of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 63733. The appellate court,
object to the presentation of the Certification. Neither did they question
in its assailed Decision and Resolution, reversed the Decision5 of the
said Certification.
Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration but was denied by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 88, affirming the
Court of Appeals on July 27, 2001.7 Hence, this Petition for Review on Decision6 of the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Quezon City, Branch
Certiorari. 32, which dismissed respondent Ernesto Aure’s (Aure) complaint for
The main issue for our resolution is whether respondent complied with ejectment on the ground, inter alia, of failure to comply with barangay
the Katarungang Pambarangay Law8 providing for a conciliation before conciliation proceedings.
any complaint, petition, action or proceeding involving any matter
within the authority of the Lupon of the barangay shall be filed or
The subject of the present controversy is a parcel of land situated in
instituted in court.
Petitioners contend that while it is true that the complaints alleged that Roxas District, Quezon City, with an area of 449 square meters and
the barangay chairman issued a Certification to File Action (attached to covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 205447 registered with
the complaints), however, it was not identified or marked, and worst, the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City (subject property).7
not offered as evidence during the trial.
Upon the other hand, respondent maintains that the Certification need Aure and E.S. Aure Lending Investors, Inc. (Aure Lending) filed a
not be formally offered in evidence since it was deemed admitted by Complaint for ejectment against Aquino before the MeTC docketed as
petitioners when they failed to deny the same under oath in their
Civil Case No. 17450. In their Complaint, Aure and Aure Lending alleged
Answer.
We agree with respondent. that they acquired the subject property from Aquino and her husband
Records show that respondent referred the dispute to the barangay for Manuel (spouses Aquino) by virtue of a Deed of Sale8 executed on 4
conciliation proceedings prior to the filing of the complaints with the June 1996. Aure claimed that after the spouses Aquino received
lower court. In fact the Certification to File Action9 dated June 21, 1985 substantial consideration for the sale of the subject property, they
states: refused to vacate the same.9
This is to certify that the undersigned, in her capacity as Barangay
Chairman of Barangay No. 581, Zone 57, Sampaloc, Manila, exerted
In her Answer,10 Aquino countered that the Complaint in Civil Case No.
efforts within the last twelve (12) months to bring to an amicable
settlement the controversy between Miss CARMITA LEGARDA of 17450 lacks cause of action for Aure and Aure Lending do not have any
1011 R. Hidalgo, Quiapo, Manila and Mrs. ROSENDA ESPINO of 618 legal right over the subject property. Aquino admitted that there was a
Altura Street, Sampaloc, Manila, Mr. BENJAMIN ESPINO, also of 618 sale but such was governed by the Memorandum of Agreement11 (MOA)
signed by Aure. As stated in the MOA, Aure shall secure a loan from a In a Resolution dated 8 May 2002, the Court of Appeals denied the
bank or financial institution in his own name using the subject property Motion for Reconsideration interposed by Aquino for it was merely a
as collateral and turn over the proceeds thereof to the spouses Aquino. rehash of the arguments set forth in her previous pleadings which were
However, even after Aure successfully secured a loan, the spouses already considered and passed upon by the appellate court in its
Aquino did not receive the proceeds thereon or benefited therefrom. assailed Decision.

On 20 April 1999, the MeTC rendered a Decision in Civil Case No. Aquino is now before this Court via the Petition at bar raising the
17450 in favor of Aquino and dismissed the Complaint for ejectment of following issues:
Aure and Aure Lending for non-compliance with the barangay
conciliation process, among other grounds. The MeTC observed that I.
Aure and Aquino are residents of the same barangay but there is no
showing that any attempt has been made to settle the case amicably at WHETHER OR NOT NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE BARANGAY
the barangay level. The MeTC further observed that Aure Lending was CONCILIATION PROCEEDINGS IS A JURISDICTIONAL DEFECT
improperly included as plaintiff in Civil Case No. 17450 for it did not THAT WARRANTS THE DISMISSAL OF THE COMPLAINT.
stand to be injured or benefited by the suit. Finally, the MeTC ruled that
since the question of ownership was put in issue, the action was II.
converted from a mere detainer suit to one "incapable of pecuniary
estimation" which properly rests within the original exclusive jurisdiction WHETHER OR NOT ALLEGATION OF OWNERSHIP OUSTS THE
of the RTC. The dispositive portion of the MeTC Decision reads: MeTC OF ITS JURISDICTION OVER AN EJECTMENT CASE.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, let this case be, as it is, hereby The barangay justice system was established primarily as a means of
ordered DISMISSED. [Aquino’s] counterclaim is likewise dismissed.12 easing up the congestion of cases in the judicial courts. This could be
accomplished through a proceeding before the barangay courts which,
On appeal, the RTC affirmed the dismissal of the Complaint on the same according to the conceptor of the system, the late Chief Justice Fred
ground that the dispute was not brought before the Barangay Council Ruiz Castro, is essentially arbitration in character, and to make it truly
for conciliation before it was filed in court. In a Decision dated 14 effective, it should also be compulsory. With this primary objective of
December 2000, the RTC stressed that the barangay conciliation the barangay justice system in mind, it would be wholly in keeping with
process is a conditio sine qua non for the filing of an ejectment complaint the underlying philosophy of Presidential Decree No. 1508, otherwise
involving residents of the same barangay, and failure to comply known as the Katarungang Pambarangay Law, and the policy behind it
therewith constitutes sufficient cause for the dismissal of the action. The would be better served if an out-of-court settlement of the case is
RTC likewise validated the ruling of the MeTC that the main issue reached voluntarily by the parties.17
involved in Civil Case No. 17450 is incapable of pecuniary estimation
and cognizable by the RTC. Hence, the RTC ruled: The primordial objective of Presidential Decree No. 1508 is to reduce
the number of court litigations and prevent the deterioration of the quality
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the appealed judgment, it of justice which has been brought by the indiscriminate filing of cases in
is hereby affirmed in its entirety.13 the courts.18 To ensure this objective, Section 6 of Presidential Decree
No. 150819 requires the parties to undergo a conciliation process before
Aure’s Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the RTC in an the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo as a
Order14 dated 27 February 2001. precondition to filing a complaint in court subject to certain
exceptions20 which are inapplicable to this case. The said section has
Undaunted, Aure appealed the adverse RTC Decision with the Court of been declared compulsory in nature.21
Appeals arguing that the lower court erred in dismissing his Complaint
for lack of cause of action. Aure asserted that misjoinder of parties was Presidential Decree No. 1508 is now incorporated in Republic Act No.
not a proper ground for dismissal of his Complaint and that the MeTC 7160, otherwise known as The Local Government Code, which took
should have only ordered the exclusion of Aure Lending as plaintiff effect on 1 January 1992.
without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings in Civil Case No.
17450 until the final determination thereof. Aure further asseverated that The pertinent provisions of the Local Government Code making
mere allegation of ownership should not divest the MeTC of jurisdiction conciliation a precondition to filing of complaints in court, read:
over the ejectment suit since jurisdiction over the subject matter is
conferred by law and should not depend on the defenses and objections SEC. 412. Conciliation.- (a) Pre-condition to filing of complaint in court.
raised by the parties. Finally, Aure contended that the MeTC erred in – No complaint, petition, action, or proceeding involving any matter
dismissing his Complaint with prejudice on the ground of non- within the authority of the lupon shall be filed or instituted directly in court
compliance with barangay conciliation process. He was not given the or any other government office for adjudication, unless there has been
opportunity to rectify the procedural defect by going through a confrontation between the parties before the lupon chairman or the
the barangay mediation proceedings and, thereafter, refile the pangkat, and that no conciliation or settlement has been reached as
Complaint.15 certified by the lupon secretary or pangkat secretary as attested to by
the lupon chairman or pangkat chairman or unless the settlement has
On 17 October 2001, the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision, been repudiated by the parties thereto.
reversing the MeTC and RTC Decisions and remanding the case to the
MeTC for further proceedings and final determination of the substantive (b) Where parties may go directly to court. – The parties may go directly
rights of the parties. The appellate court declared that the failure of Aure to court in the following instances:
to subject the matter to barangay conciliation is not a jurisdictional flaw
and it will not affect the sufficiency of Aure’s Complaint since Aquino (1) Where the accused is under detention;
failed to seasonably raise such issue in her Answer. The Court of
Appeals further ruled that mere allegation of ownership does not deprive (2) Where a person has otherwise been deprived of personal liberty
the MeTC of jurisdiction over the ejectment case for jurisdiction over the calling for habeas corpus proceedings;
subject matter is conferred by law and is determined by the allegations
(3) Where actions are coupled with provisional remedies such as
advanced by the plaintiff in his complaint. Hence, mere assertion of
preliminary injunction, attachment, delivery of personal property, and
ownership by the defendant in an ejectment case will not oust the MeTC
support pendente lite; and
of its summary jurisdiction over the same. The decretal part of the Court
of Appeals Decision reads:
(4) Where the action may otherwise be barred by the statute of
limitations.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby GRANTED
- and the decisions of the trial courts below REVERSED and SET
(c) Conciliation among members of indigenous cultural communities. –
ASIDE. Let the records be remanded back to the court a quo for further
The customs and traditions of indigenous cultural communities shall be
proceedings – for an eventual decision of the substantive rights of the
applied in settling disputes between members of the cultural
disputants.16
communities.
SEC. 408. Subject Matter for Amicable Settlement; Exception Therein. In the case at bar, we similarly find that Aquino cannot be allowed to
– The lupon of each barangay shall have authority to bring together the attack the jurisdiction of the MeTC over Civil Case No. 17450 after
parties actually residing in the same city or municipality for amicable having submitted herself voluntarily thereto. We have scrupulously
settlement of all disputes except: examined Aquino’s Answer before the MeTC in Civil Case No. 17450
and there is utter lack of any objection on her part to any deficiency in
(a) Where one party is the government or any subdivision or the complaint which could oust the MeTC of its jurisdcition.
instrumentality thereof;
We thus quote with approval the disquisition of the Court of Appeals:
(b) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute
relates to the performance of his official functions; Moreover, the Court takes note that the defendant [Aquino] herself did
not raise in defense the aforesaid lack of conciliation proceedings in her
(c) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding one (1) year or a answer, which raises the exclusive affirmative defense of simulation. By
fine exceeding Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00); this acquiescence, defendant [Aquino] is deemed to have waived such
objection. As held in a case of similar circumstances, the failure of a
(d) Offenses where there is no private offended party; defendant [Aquino] in an ejectment suit to specifically allege the fact that
there was no compliance with the barangay conciliation procedure
(e) Where the dispute involves real properties located in different cities constitutes a waiver of that defense. x x x.25
or municipalities unless the parties thereto agree to submit their
differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon; By Aquino’s failure to seasonably object to the deficiency in the
Complaint, she is deemed to have already acquiesced or waived any
(f) Disputes involving parties who actually reside in barangays of defect attendant thereto. Consequently, Aquino cannot thereafter move
different cities or municipalities, except where such barangay units for the dismissal of the ejectment suit for Aure and Aure Lending’s failure
adjoin each other and the parties thereto agree to submit their to resort to the barangay conciliation process, since she is already
differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon; precluded from doing so. The fact that Aquino raised such objection
during the pre-trial and in her Position Paper is of no moment, for the
(g) Such other classes of disputes which the President may determine issue of non-recourse to barangay mediation proceedings should be
in the interest of justice or upon the recommendation of the Secretary of impleaded in her Answer.
Justice.
As provided under Section 1, Rule 9 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
There is no dispute herein that the present case was never referred to Procedure:
the Barangay Lupon for conciliation before Aure and Aure Lending
instituted Civil Case No. 17450. In fact, no allegation of Sec. 1. Defenses and objections not pleaded. – Defenses and
such barangay conciliation proceedings was made in Aure and Aure objections not pleaded either in a motion to dismiss or in the
Lending’s Complaint before the MeTC. The only issue to be resolved is answer are deemed waived. However, when it appears from the
whether non-recourse to the barangay conciliation process is a pleadings or the evidence on record that the court has no jurisdiction
jurisdictional flaw that warrants the dismissal of the ejectment suit filed over the subject matter, that there is another action pending between
with the MeTC. the same parties for the same cause, or that the action is barred by a
prior judgment or by statute of limitations, the court shall dismiss the
Aquino posits that failure to resort to barangay conciliation makes the claim. (Emphasis supplied.)
action for ejectment premature and, hence, dismissible. She likewise
avers that this objection was timely raised during the pre-trial and even While the aforequoted provision applies to a pleading (specifically, an
subsequently in her Position Paper submitted to the MeTC. Answer) or a motion to dismiss, a similar or identical rule is provided for
all other motions in Section 8 of Rule 15 of the same Rule which states:
We do not agree.
Sec. 8. Omnibus Motion. - Subject to the provisions of Section 1 of Rule
It is true that the precise technical effect of failure to comply with the 9, a motion attacking a pleading, order, judgment, or proceeding shall
requirement of Section 412 of the Local Government Code include all objections then available, and all objections not so included
on barangay conciliation (previously contained in Section 5 of shall be deemed waived.
Presidential Decree No. 1508) is much the same effect produced by
non-exhaustion of administrative remedies -- the complaint becomes The spirit that surrounds the foregoing statutory norm is to require the
afflicted with the vice of pre-maturity; and the controversy there alleged party filing a pleading or motion to raise all available exceptions for relief
is not ripe for judicial determination. The complaint becomes vulnerable during the single opportunity so that single or multiple objections may be
to a motion to dismiss.22 Nevertheless, the conciliation process is avoided.26 It is clear and categorical in Section 1, Rule 9 of the Revised
not a jurisdictional requirement, so that non-compliance therewith Rules of Court that failure to raise defenses and objections in a motion
cannot affect the jurisdiction which the court has otherwise to dismiss or in an answer is deemed a waiver thereof; and basic is the
acquired over the subject matter or over the person of the rule in statutory construction that when the law is clear and free from any
defendant.23 doubt or ambiguity, there is no room for construction or
interpretation.27 As has been our consistent ruling, where the law speaks
As enunciated in the landmark case of Royales v. Intermediate in clear and categorical language, there is no occasion for interpretation;
Appellate Court24: there is only room for application.28 Thus, although Aquino’s defense of
non-compliance with Presidential Decree No. 1508 is meritorious,
Ordinarily, non-compliance with the condition precedent prescribed by procedurally, such defense is no longer available for failure to plead the
P.D. 1508 could affect the sufficiency of the plaintiff's cause of action same in the Answer as required by the omnibus motion rule.
and make his complaint vulnerable to dismissal on ground of lack of
cause of action or prematurity; but the same would not prevent a Neither could the MeTC dismiss Civil Case No. 17450 motu proprio. The
court of competent jurisdiction from exercising its power of 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provide only three instances when the
adjudication over the case before it, where the defendants, as in court may motu proprio dismiss the claim, and that is when the
this case, failed to object to such exercise of jurisdiction in their pleadings or evidence on the record show that (1) the court has no
answer and even during the entire proceedings a quo. jurisdiction over the subject matter; (2) there is another cause of action
pending between the same parties for the same cause; or (3) where the
While petitioners could have prevented the trial court from exercising action is barred by a prior judgment or by a statute of limitations. Thus,
jurisdiction over the case by seasonably taking exception thereto, they it is clear that a court may not motu proprio dismiss a case on the ground
instead invoked the very same jurisdiction by filing an answer and of failure to comply with the requirement for barangay conciliation, this
seeking affirmative relief from it. What is more, they participated in the ground not being among those mentioned for the dismissal by the trial
trial of the case by cross-examining respondent Planas. Upon this court of a case on its own initiative.
premise, petitioners cannot now be allowed belatedly to adopt an
inconsistent posture by attacking the jurisdiction of the court to Aquino further argues that the issue of possession in the instant case
which they had submitted themselves voluntarily.x x x (Emphasis cannot be resolved by the MeTC without first adjudicating the question
supplied.)
of ownership, since the Deed of Sale vesting Aure with the legal right ownership. This does not mean, however, that blanket authority to
over the subject property is simulated. adjudicate the issue of ownership in ejectment suits has been thus
conferred on the inferior courts.
Again, we do not agree. Jurisdiction in ejectment cases is determined
by the allegations pleaded in the complaint. As long as these allegations At the outset, it must here be stressed that the resolution of this
demonstrate a cause of action either for forcible entry or for unlawful particular issue concerns and applies only to forcible entry and unlawful
detainer, the court acquires jurisdiction over the subject matter. This detainer cases where the issue of possession is intimately intertwined
principle holds, even if the facts proved during the trial do not support with the issue of ownership. It finds no proper application where it is
the cause of action thus alleged, in which instance the court -- after otherwise, that is, where ownership is not in issue, or where the principal
acquiring jurisdiction -- may resolve to dismiss the action for insufficiency and main issue raised in the allegations of the complaint as well as the
of evidence. relief prayed for make out not a case for ejectment but one for recovery
of ownership.
The necessary allegations in a Complaint for ejectment are set forth in
Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, which reads: Apropos thereto, this Court ruled in Hilario v. Court of Appeals32:

SECTION 1. Who may institute proceedings, and when. – Subject to the Thus, an adjudication made therein regarding the issue of ownership
provisions of the next succeeding section, a person deprived of the should be regarded as merely provisional and, therefore, would not bar
possession of any land or building by force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or prejudice an action between the same parties involving title to the
or stealth, or a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person against whom land. The foregoing doctrine is a necessary consequence of the nature
the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after the of forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases where the only issue to be
expiration or termination of the right to hold possession, by virtue of any settled is the physical or material possession over the real property, that
contract, express or implied, or the legal representatives or assigns of is, possession de facto and not possession de jure."
any such lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person may at any time within
one (1) year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of In other words, inferior courts are now "conditionally vested with
possession, bring an action in the proper Municipal Trial Court against adjudicatory power over the issue of title or ownership raised by the
the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession, parties in an ejectment suit." These courts shall resolve the question of
or any person or persons claiming under them, for the restitution of such ownership raised as an incident in an ejectment case where a
possession, together with damages and costs. determination thereof is necessary for a proper and complete
adjudication of the issue of possession.33
In the case at bar, the Complaint filed by Aure and Aure Lending on 2
April 1997, alleged as follows: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is DENIED.
The Court of Appeals Decision dated 17 October 2001 and its
2. [Aure and Aure Lending] became the owners of a house and lot Resolution dated 8 May 2002 in CA-G.R. SP No. 63733 are
located at No. 37 Salazar Street corner Encarnacion Street, B.F. Homes, hereby AFFIRMED.
Quezon City by virtue of a deed of absolute sale executed by [the
spouses Aquino] in favor of [Aure and Aure Lending] although registered Costs against the petitioner.
in the name of x x x Ernesto S. Aure; title to the said property had already
been issued in the name of [Aure] as shown by a transfer Certificate of G.R. No. 132624 March 13, 2000
Title , a copy of which is hereto attached and made an integral part
hereof as Annex A; FIDEL M. BAÑARES II, LILIA C. VALERIANO, EDGAR M. BAÑARES,
EMILIA GATCHALIAN and FIDEL BESARINO, petitioners,
3. However, despite the sale thus transferring ownership of the subject vs.
premises to [Aure and Aure Lending] as above-stated and consequently ELIZABETH BALISING, ROGER ALGER, MERLINDA CAPARIC,
terminating [Aquino’s] right of possession over the subject property, EUSTAQUIO R. TEJONES, ANDREA SAYAM, JENNY ISLA, WILMA
[Aquino] together with her family, is continuously occupying the subject ROGATERO, PABLITO ALEGRIA, ROLANDO CANON, EDITHA
premises notwithstanding several demands made by [Aure and Aure ESTORES, EDMUNDO DOROYA, TERESITA GUION, DANNY
Lending] against [Aquino] and all persons claiming right under her to ANDARAYAN, LOURDES CADAY, ROGELIO MANO, EVANGELINE
vacate the subject premises and surrender possession thereof to [Aure CABILTES AND PUBLIC PROSECUTOR OF RIZAL, Antipolo,
and Aure Lending] causing damage and prejudice to [Aure and Aure Rizal, respondents.
Lending] and making [Aquino’s] occupancy together with those actually
occupying the subject premises claiming right under her, illegal.29 KAPUNAN, J.:

It can be inferred from the foregoing that Aure, together with Aure This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Decision
Lending, sought the possession of the subject property which was never of the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo, Rizal, Branch 71 dated August
surrendered by Aquino after the perfection of the Deed of Sale, which 26, 1997. 1
gives rise to a cause of action for an ejectment suit cognizable by the
MeTC. Aure’s assertion of possession over the subject property is based The antecedent facts are as follows:
on his ownership thereof as evidenced by TCT No. 156802 bearing his
name. That Aquino impugned the validity of Aure’s title over the subject Petitioners Fidel M. Bañares II, Lilia C. Valeriano, Edgar M. Bañares,
property and claimed that the Deed of Sale was simulated should not Emilia Gatchialian and Fidel Besarino were the accused in sixteen
divest the MeTC of jurisdiction over the ejectment case.30 criminal cases for estafa2 filed by the private respondents. The cases
were assigned to the Municipal Trial Court of Antipolo, Rizal, Branch II.
As extensively discussed by the eminent jurist Florenz D. Regalado
in Refugia v. Court of Appeals31: After the petitioners were arraigned and entered their plea of not
guilty,3 they filed a Motion to Dismiss the aforementioned cases on the
As the law on forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases now stands, ground that the filing of the same was premature, in view of the failure
even where the defendant raises the question of ownership in his of the parties to undergo conciliation proceedings before the Lupong
pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without Tagapamayapa of Barangay Dalig, Antipolo, Rizal.4 Petitioners averred
deciding the issue of ownership, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal that since they lived in the same barangay as private respondents, and
Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts nevertheless have the the amount involved in each of the cases did not exceed Two Hundred
undoubted competence to resolve the issue of ownership albeit only to Pesos (P200.00), the said cases were required under Section 412 in
determine the issue of possession. relation to Section 408 of the Local Government Code of 19915 and
Section 18 of the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure6 to be
x x x. The law, as revised, now provides instead that when the referred to the Lupong Tagapamayapa or Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo
question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the of the barangay concerned for conciliation proceedings before being
issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only filed in court.7
to determine the issue of possession. On its face, the new Rule on
Summary Procedure was extended to include within the jurisdiction of The municipal trial court issued an Order, dated July 17, 19958 denying
the inferior courts ejectment cases which likewise involve the issue of petitioners' motion to dismiss on the ground that they failed to
seasonably invoke the non-referral of the cases to the Lupong 3. Whether or not the court that had originally acquired jurisdiction of the
Tagapamayapa or Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo. It added that such case that was dismissed without prejudice still have jurisdiction to act on
failure to invoke non-referral of the case to the Lupon amounted to a the motion to revive after the order of dismissal has become final and
waiver by petitioners of the right to use the said ground as basis for executory. 25
dismissing the cases.9
Petitioners contend that an order dismissing a case or action without
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the aforementioned prejudice may attain finality if not appealed within the reglementary
Order, claiming that nowhere in the Revised Rules of Court is it stated period. Hence, if no motion to revive the case is filed within the
that the ground of prematurity shall be deemed waived if not raised reglementary fifteen-day period within which to appeal or to file a motion
seasonably in a motion to dismiss. 10 for reconsideration of the court's order, the order of dismissal becomes
final and the case may only be revived by the filing of a new complaint
On November 13, 1995, the municipal trial court issued an Order or information. 26 Petitioners further argue that after the order of
dismissing the sixteen criminal cases against petitioners without dismissal of a case attains finality, the court which issued the same loses
prejudice, pursuant to Section 18 of the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary jurisdiction thereon and, thus, does not have the authority to act on any
Procedure. 11 motion of the parties with respect to said case. 27

More than two months later, on February 26, 1996, private respondents On the other hand, private respondents submit that cases covered by
through counsel, filed a motion to revive the abovementioned criminal the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure such as the criminal
cases against petitioners, stating that the requirement of referral to the cases against petitioners are not covered by the rule regarding finality
Lupon for conciliation had already been complied with. 12 Attached to the of decisions and orders under the Revised Rules of Court. They insist
motion was a Certification, dated February 13, 1996 from the Lupong that cases dismissed without prejudice for non-compliance with the
Tagapamayapa of Barangay Dalig, Antipolo, Rizal 13 stating that the requirement of conciliation before the Lupong Tagapamayapa or
parties appeared before said body regarding the charges of estafa filed Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo of the barangay concerned may be
by private respondents against petitioners but they failed to reach an revived summarily by the filing of a motion to revive regardless of the
amicable settlement with respect thereto. Petitioners filed a comment number of days which has lapsed after the dismissal of the case. 28
and opposition to motion to revive claiming that the Order of the
municipal trial court, dated November 13, 1995 dismissing the cases had Petitioners' contentions are meritorious.
long become final and executory; hence, private respondents should
have re-filed the cases instead of filing a motion to revive 14 . A "final order" issued by a court has been defined as one which disposes
of the subject matter in its entirety or terminates a particular proceeding
On March 18, 1996, the municipal trial court issued an Order 15 granting or action, leaving nothing else to be done but to enforce by execution
private respondents' motion to revive. Petitioners filed a motion for what has been determined by the court. 29 As distinguished therefrom,
reconsideration 16 of the aforementioned Order which was denied by the an "interlocutory order" is one which does not dispose of a case
municipal trial court. 17 completely, but leaves something more to be adjudicated upon. 30

Petitioners thereafter filed with the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo, This Court has previously held that an order dismissing a case without
Rizal, a petition for certiorari, injunction and prohibition assailing the prejudice is a final order 31 if no motion for reconsideration or appeal
Order, dated March 18, 1996 of the municipal trial court. They claimed therefrom is timely filed.
that the said Order, dated November 13, 1995 dismissing the criminal
cases against them had long become final and executory considering In Olympia International vs. Court of Appeals, 32 we stated, thus:
that the prosecution did not file any motion for reconsideration of said
Order. 18 In response thereto, private respondents filed their The dismissal without prejudice of a complaint does not however mean
Comment, 19 arguing that the motion to revive the said cases was in that said dismissal order was any less final. Such Order of dismissal is
accordance with law, particularly Section 18 of the Revised Rule on complete in all details, and though without prejudice, nonetheless finally
Summary Procedure. 20 disposed of the matter. It was not merely an interlocutory order but a
final disposition of the complaint.
After the parties submitted additional pleadings to support their
respective contentions 21 , the regional trial court rendered the assailed The law grants an aggrieved party a period of fifteen (15) days from his
decision denying the petition for certiorari, injunction and prohibition, receipt of the court's decision or order disposing of the action or
stating as follows: proceeding to appeal or move to reconsider the same. 33

Evaluating the allegations contained in the petition and respondents' After the lapse of the fifteen-day period, an order becomes final and
comment thereto, the Court regrets that it cannot agree with the executory and is beyond the power or jurisdiction of the court which
petitioner (sic). As shown by the records the 16 criminal cases were rendered it to further amend or revoke. 34 A final judgment or order
dismissed without prejudice at the instance of the petitioners for failure cannot be modified in any respect, even if the modification sought is for
of the private respondent to comply with the mandatory requirement of the purpose of correcting an erroneous conclusion by the court which
PD 1508. Since the dismissal of said cases was without prejudice, the rendered the same. 35
Court honestly believes that the questioned order has not attained
finality at all. After the order of dismissal of a case without prejudice has become final,
and therefore becomes outside the court's power to amend and modify,
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby DENIED for a party who wishes to reinstate the case has no other remedy but to file
lack of merit. a new complaint.

SO ORDERED. 22 This was explained in Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership


vs. Velasco, 36 where we ruled thus:
The regional trial court, likewise, denied petitioners' motion for
reconsideration 23 of the aforementioned decision for lack of merit. 24 The dismissal of the case, and the lapse of the reglementary period to
reconsider or set aside the dismissal, effectively operated to remove the
Hence, this petition. case from the Court's docket. Even assuming the dismissal to be without
prejudice, the case could no longer be reinstated or "revived" by mere
Petitioners raise the following questions of law: motion in the original docketed action, but only by the filing of another
complaint accompanied, of course, by the payment of the corresponding
1. Whether or not an order dismissing a case or action without prejudice filing fees prescribed by law.
may attain finality if not appealed within the reglementary period, as in
the present case; xxx xxx xxx

2. Whether or not the action or case that had been dismissed without [S]ince theoretically every final disposition of an action does not attain
prejudice may be revived by motion after the order of dismissal had finality until after fifteen (15) days therefrom, and consequently within
become final and executory; and that time the action still remains within the control of the Court, the
plaintiff may move and set aside his notice of dismissal and revive his The doctrine of finality of judgments is grounded on fundamental
action before that period lapses. But after dismissal has become final considerations of public policy and sound practice that at the risk of
after the lapse of the fifteen-day reglementary period, the only way by occasional error, the judgments of the courts must become final at some
which the action may be resuscitated or "revived" is by the institution of definite date set by law. 48
a subsequent action through the filing of another complaint and the
payment of fees prescribed by law. This is so because upon attainment It is but logical to infer that the foregoing principle also applies to cases
of finality of the dismissal through the lapse of said reglementary period, subject to summary procedure especially since the objective of the Rule
the Court loses jurisdiction and control over it and can no longer make governing the same is precisely to settle these cases expeditiously. 49 To
a disposition in respect thereof inconsistent with such construe Section 18 thereof as allowing the revival of dismissed cases
dismissal. 37 (Emphasis supplied.) by mere motion even after the lapse of the period for appealing the same
would prevent the courts from settling justiciable controversies with
Contrary to private respondents' claim, the foregoing rule applies not finality, 50 thereby undermining the stability of our judicial system.
only to civil cases but to criminal cases as well. In Jaca vs. Blanco, 38 the
Court defined a provisional dismissal of a criminal case as a dismissal The Court also finds it necessary to correct the mistaken impression of
without prejudice to the reinstatement thereof before the order of petitioners and the municipal trial court that the non-referral of a case for
dismissal becomes final or to the subsequent filing of a new information barangay conciliation as required under the Local Government Code of
for the offense. 39 1991 51 may be raised in a motion to dismiss even after the accused has
been arraigned.1âwphi1
Thus, the regional trial court erred when it denied the petition
for certiorari, injunction and prohibition and ruled that the order of the It is well-settled that the non-referral of a case for barangay conciliation
municipal trial court, dated November 13, 1995 dismissing without when so required under the law 52 is not jurisdictional in nature 53 and
prejudice the criminal cases against petitioners had not attained finality may therefore be deemed waived if not raised seasonably in a motion
and hence, could be reinstated by the mere filing of a motion to revive. to dismiss. 54The Court notes that although petitioners could have
invoked the ground of prematurity of the causes of action against them
Equally erroneous is private respondents' contention that the rules due to the failure to submit the dispute to Lupon prior to the filing of the
regarding finality of judgments under the Revised Rules of Court 40 do cases as soon as they received the complaints against them, petitioners
not apply to cases covered by the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary raised the said ground only after their arraignment.
Procedure. Private respondents claim that Section 18 of the 1991
Revised Rule on Summary Procedure allows the revival of cases which However, while the trial court committed an error in dismissing the
were dismissed for failure to submit the same to conciliation at the criminal cases against petitioners on the ground that the same were not
barangay level, as required under Section 412 in relation to Section 408 referred to the Lupon prior to the filing thereof in court although said
of the Local Government Code. The said provision states: ground was raised by them belatedly, the said order may no longer be
revoked at present considering that the same had already become final
Referral to Lupon. — Cases requiring referral to the Lupon for and executory, and as earlier stated, may no longer be annulled 55 by
conciliation under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. the Municipal Trial Court, nor by the Regional Trial Court or this Court. 56
1508 41 where there is no showing of compliance with such requirement,
shall be dismissed without prejudice, and may be revived only after such WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision of the
requirement shall have been complied with. This provision shall not Regional Trial Court of Antipolo, Rizal, Branch II dated August 26, 1997
apply to criminal cases where the accused was arrested without a and its Order dated January 29, 1998 in SCA Case No. 96-4092 are
warrant. 42 hereby SET ASIDE and Criminal Cases Nos. 94-0829, 94-0830, 94-
0831, 94-0832, 94-0833, 94-0836, 94-0838, 94-0839, 94-0841, 94-
There is nothing in the aforecited provision which supports private 0843, 94-0847, 94-0848, 94-0850, 94-0854 and 94-0058 of the
respondents' view. Section 18 merely states that when a case covered Municipal Trial Court of Antipolo are ordered DISMISSED, without
by the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure is dismissed without prejudice, pursuant to Sec. 18 of the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary
prejudice for non-referral of the issues to the Lupon, the same may be Procedure.
revived only after the dispute subject of the dismissed case is submitted
to barangay conciliation as required under the Local Government Code. SO ORDERED.
There is no declaration to the effect that said case may be revived by
mere motion even after the fifteen-day period within which to appeal or G.R. No. 167261 March 2, 2007
to file a motion for reconsideration has lapsed.
ROSARIA LUPITAN PANG-ET, Petitioner,
Moreover, the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure expressly vs.
provides that the Rules of Court applies suppletorily to cases covered CATHERINE MANACNES-DAO-AS, Heir of LEONCIO MANACNES
by the former: and FLORENTINA MANACNES,Respondent.

Sec. 22. Applicability of the regular rules. — The regular procedure Before Us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the
prescribed in the Rules of Court shall apply to the special cases herein Rules of Civil Procedure, assailing the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals
provided for in a suppletory capacity insofar as they are not inconsistent in CA-G.R. SP No. 78019, dated 9 February 2005, which reversed and
therewith. 43 set aside the Judgment2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 36,
Bontoc, Mountain Province, and reinstated the Resolution3 of the
A careful examination of Section 18 in relation to Section 22 of the 1991 Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Besao-Sagada, Mountain
Revised Rule of Summary Procedure and Rule 40, Section 2 in relation Province dismissing herein petitioner’s action for Enforcement of
to Rule 13, Sections 9 and 10, 44 and Rule 36, Section 2 45 of the 1997 Arbitration Award and Damages.
Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, leads to no other conclusion than
that the rules regarding finality of judgments also apply to cases covered The instant petition draws its origin from an Action4 for recovery of
by the rules on summary procedure. Nothing in Section 18 of the 1991 possession of real property situated in Sitio Abatan, Barrio Dagdag,
Revised Rule on Summary Procedure conflicts with the prevailing rule Sagada filed by herein petitioner before the MCTC of Besao-Sagada,
that a judgment or order which is not appealed or made subject of a Mountain Province on 9 November 1994, against the spouses Leoncio
motion for reconsideration within the prescribed fifteen-day period and Florentina Manacnes, the predecessors-in-interest of herein
attains finality. 46 Hence, the principle expressed in the maxim respondent.
interpretare et concordare legibus est optimus interpretandi, or that
every statute must be so construed and harmonized with other statutes On 23 February 1995, during the course of the pre-trial, the parties,
as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence 47 applies in interpreting through their respective counsels, agreed to refer the matter to the
both sets of Rules. Barangay Lupon (Lupon) of Dagdag, Sagada for arbitration in
accordance with the provisions of the Katarungang Pambarangay
The rationale behind the doctrine of finality of judgments and orders, Law.5 Consequently, the proceedings before the MCTC were
likewise, supports our conclusion that said doctrine applies to cases suspended, and the case was remanded to the Lupon for resolution.6
covered by the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure:
Thereafter, the Lupon issued a Certification to File Action on 26 It is very clear from the foregoing that personal appearance of the parties
February 1995 due to the refusal of the Manacnes spouses to enter into in conciliation proceedings before a Lupon Tagapamayapa is
an Agreement for Arbitration and their insistence that the case should mandatory. Likewise, the execution of the agreement to arbitrate must
go to court. On 8 March 1995, the Certification, as well as the records of be done personally by the parties themselves so that they themselves
the case, were forwarded to the MCTC. are mandated to sign the agreement.

An Order was issued by the MCTC on 7 April 1995, once more Unfortunately, in this case, it was not respondents-spouses [Manacnis]
remanding the matter for conciliation by the Lupon and ordering the who signed the agreement to arbitrate as plaintiff herself admitted but
Lupon to render an Arbitration Award thereon. According to the MCTC, another person. Thus, it is very clear that the mandatory provisos of
based on the records of the case, an Agreement for Arbitration was Section 413 and 415 of RA 7160 are violated. Granting arguendo that it
executed by the parties concerned; however, the Lupon failed to issue was Catherine who signed the agreement per instruction of her parents,
an Arbitration Award as provided under the Katarungang Pambarangay will it cure the violation? The answer must still be in the negative. As
Law, so that, the case must be returned to the Lupon until an Arbitration provided for by the cited provisos of RA 7160, if ever a party is entitled
Award is rendered. to an assistance, it shall be done only when the party concerned is a
minor or incompetent. Here, there is no showing that the spouses
In compliance with the MCTC Order, the Lupon rendered an Arbitration [Manacnis] were incompetent. Perhaps very old but not incompetent.
Award on 10 May 1995 ordering herein petitioner to retrieve the land Likewise, what the law provides is assistance, not signing of agreements
upon payment to the spouses Manacnes of the amount of ₱8,000.00 for or settlements.
the improvements on the land. Aggrieved, Leoncio’s widow,7 Florentina
Manacnes, repudiated the Arbitration Award but her repudiation was Just suppose the spouses [Manacnis] executed a special power of
rejected by the Lupon. Thereafter, the MCTC was furnished with copies attorney in favor of their daughter Catherine to attend the proceedings
of the Arbitration Award. and to sign the agreement to arbitrate? The more that it is proscribed by
the Katarungang Pambarangay Law specifically Section 415 of RA 7160
On 1 June 1995, herein petitioner filed with the Lupon a Motion for which mandates the personal appearance of the parties before the lupon
Execution of the Arbitration Award. On the other hand, Florentina and likewise prohibits the appearance of representatives.
Manacnes filed a Motion with the MCTC for the resumption of the
proceedings in the original case for recovery of possession and praying In view of the foregoing, it could now be safely concluded that the
that the MCTC consider her repudiation of the Arbitration Award issued questioned agreement to arbitrate is inefficacious for being violative of
by the Lupon. the mandatory provisions of RA 7160 particularly sections 413 and 415
thereof as it was not the respondents-spouses [Manacnis] who signed
Subsequently, the MCTC heard the Motion of Florentina Manacnes it.
notwithstanding the latter’s failure to appear before the court despite
notice. The MCTC denied Florentina Manacnes’ Motion to repudiate the The third issue: Is the Arbitration Award now sought to be enforced
Arbitration Award elucidating that since the movant failed to take any effective? Much to be desired, the natural flow of events must follow as
action within the 10-day reglementary period provided for under the a consequence. Considering that the agreement to arbitrate is
Katarungang Pambarangay Law, the arbitration award has become final inefficacious as earlier declared, it follows that the arbitration award
and executory. Furthermore, upon motion of herein petitioner Pang-et, which emanated from it is also inefficacious. Further, the Arbitration
the MCTC issued an Order remanding the records of the case to the Award by itself, granting arguendo that the agreement to arbitrate is
Lupon for the execution of the Arbitration Award. On 31 August 1995, valid, will readily show that it does not also conform with the mandate of
the then incumbent Punong Barangay of Dagdag issued a Notice of the Katarungang Pambarangay Law particularly Section 411 thereto
Execution of the Award. which provides:

Said Notice of Execution was never implemented. Thus, on 16 October "Sec. 411. Form of Settlement – All amicable settlements shall be in
2001, herein petitioner Pang-et filed with the MCTC an action for writing in a language or dialect known to the parties x x x. When the
enforcement of the Arbitration Award which was sought to be dismissed parties to the dispute do not use the same language or dialect, the
by the heir of the Manacnes spouses.8 The heir of the Manacnes settlement shall be written in the language known to them."
spouses argues that the Agreement for Arbitration and the Arbitration
Award are void, the Agreement for Arbitration not having been Likewise, the implementing rules thereof, particularly Section 13
personally signed by the spouses Manacnes, and the Arbitration Award provides:
having been written in English – a language not understood by the
parties. "Sec. 13 – Form of Settlement and Award. – All settlements, whether by
mediation, conciliation or arbitration, shall be in writing, in a language or
In its Resolution dated 20 August 2002, the MCTC dismissed the dialect known to the parties. x x x"
Petition for Enforcement of Arbitration Award in this wise:
It is of no dispute that the parties concerned belong to and are natives
x x x Are defendants estopped from questioning the proceedings before of the scenic and serene community of Sagada, Mt. Province who speak
the Lupon Tagapamayapa concerned? the Kankanaey language. Thus, the Arbitration Award should have been
written in the Kankanaey language. However, as shown by the
The defendants having put in issue the validity of the proceedings before Arbitration Award, it is written in English language which the parties do
the lupon concerned and the products thereof, they are not estopped. It not speak and therefore a further violation of the Katarungang
is a hornbook rule that a null and void act could always be questioned Pambarangay Law.
at any time as the action or defense based upon it is imprescriptible.
IN THE LIGHT of all the foregoing considerations, the above-entitled
The second issue: Is the agreement to Arbitrate null and void? Let us case is hereby dismissed.9
peruse the pertinent law dealing on this matter which is Section 413 of
the Local Government Code of 1991 (RA 7160), to wit: Petitioner Pang-et’s Motion for Reconsideration having been denied,
she filed an Appeal before the RTC which reversed and set aside the
"Section 413 – (a) The parties may, at any stage of the proceedings, Resolution of the MCTC and remanded the case to the MCTC for further
agree in writing that they shall abide by the arbitration award of the lupon proceedings. According to the RTC:
chairman or the pangkat. x x x"
As it appears on its face, the Agreement for Arbitration in point found on
The foregoing should be taken together with Section 415 of the same page 51 of the expediente, dated Feb. 6, 1995, and attested by the
code which provides: Pangkat Chairman of the Office of the Barangay Lupon of Dagdag,
Sagada was signed by the respondents/defendants spouses Manacnis.
"Section 415. Appearance of parties in person. In all katarungang The representative of the Appellee in the instant case assails such
pambarangay proceedings, the parties must appear in person without Agreement claiming that the signatures of her aforesaid predecessors-
the assistance of counsel or representative, except for minors and in-interest therein were not personally affixed by the latter or are
incompetents who may be assisted by their next-of-kin who are not falsified-which in effect is an attack on the validity of the document on
lawyers." the ground that the consent of the defendants spouses Manacnis is
vitiated by fraud. Indulging the Appellee Heirs of Manacnis its contention award". This time, the Lupon heard the voice tape of the late Beket
that such indeed is the truth of the matter, the fact still remains as borne Padonay affirming respondent Pang-et’s right to the disputed property.
out by the circumstances, that neither did said original defendants nor While Pang-et offered to pay ₱8,000.00 for the improvements made by
did any of such heirs effectively repudiate the Agreement in question in the spouses Manacnes, the latter refused to accept the same and
accordance with the procedure outlined by the law, within five (5) days insisted on their right to the subject property. Despite this, the Lupon on
from Feb. 6, 1995, on the ground as above-stated (Secs. 413 (a), 418, May 10, 1995 issued an Arbitration award which favored respondent
RA 7160; Secs. 7, 13, KP Law; Sec. 12, Rule IV, KP Rules). As Pang-et.
mandated, such failure is deemed a waiver on the part of the defendants
spouses Manacnis to challenge the Agreement for Arbitration on the From the time the case was first referred to the Lupon to the time the
ground that their consent thereto is obtained and vitiated by fraud (Sec. same was again remanded to it, the Spouses Manacnes remained firm
12, Par. 3, KP Rules). Corollarily, the Appellee Heirs being privy to the in not entering into any compromise with respondent Pang-et. This was
now deceased original defendants should have not been permitted by made clear in both the minutes of the Arbitration Hearing on 26 February
the court a quo under the equitable principle of estoppel, to raise the 1995 and on 9 April 1995. With the foregoing, We find it evident that the
matter in issue for the first time in the present case (Lopez vs. Ochoa, spouses Manacnes never intended to submit the case for arbitration.
103 Phil. 94).
Moreover, the award itself is riddled with flaws. First of all there is no
The Arbitration Award relative to Civil Case 83 (B.C. No. 07) dated May showing that the Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo was duly constituted in
10, 1995, written in English, attested by the Punong Barangay of accordance with Rule V of the Katarungan Pambarangay Rules. And
Dagdag and found on page 4 of the record is likewise assailed by the after constituting of the Pangkat, Rule VI, thereof the Punong Barangay
Appellee as void on the ground that the English language is not known and the Pangkat must proceed to hear the case. However, according to
by the defendants spouses Manacnis who are Igorots. Said Appellee the minutes of the hearing before the lupon on 9 April 1995, the pangkat
contends that the document should have been written in Kankana-ey, Chairman and another pangkat member were absent for the hearing.
the dialect known to the party (Sec. 413 (b), RA 7160; Sec. 7, Par. 2, KP
law, Sec. 11, KP Rules). On this score, the court a quo presumptuously Finally, Section 13 of the same Rule requires that the Punong Barangay
concluded on the basis of the self-serving mere say-so of the or the Pangkat Chairman should attest that parties freely and voluntarily
representative of the Appellee that her predecessors did not speak or agreed to the settlement arrived at. But how can this be possible when
understand English. As a matter of judicial notice, American the minutes of the two hearings show that the spouses Manacnes
Episcopalian Missionaries had been in Sagada, Mountain Province as neither freely nor voluntarily agreed to anything.
early as 1902 and continuously stayed in the place by turns, co-mingling
with the indigenous people thereat, instructing and educating them, and While RA 7160 and the Katarungan Pambarangay rules provide for a
converting most to the Christian faith, among other things, until the period to repudiate the Arbitration Award, the same is neither applicable
former left about twenty years ago. By constant association with the nor necessary since the Agreement to Arbitrate or the Arbitration Award
white folks, the natives too old to go to school somehow learned the were never freely nor voluntarily entered into by one of the parties to the
King’s English by ear and can effectively speak and communicate in that dispute. In short, there is no agreement validly concluded that needs to
language. Any which way, even granting arguendo that the defendants be repudiated.
spouses Manacnis were the exceptions and indeed totally ignorant of
English, no petition to nullify the Arbitration award in issue on such With all the foregoing, estoppel may not be applied against petitioners
ground as advanced was filed by the party or any of the Appellee Heirs for an action or defense against a null and void act does not prescribe.
with the MCTC of Besao-Sagada, within ten (10) days from May 10, With this, We cannot but agree with the MCTC that the very agreement
1995, the date of the document. Thus, upon the expiration thereof, the to arbitrate is null and void. Similarly, the arbitration award which was
Arbitration Award acquired the force and effect of a final judgment of a but the off shoot of the agreement is also void.
court (Sec. 416, RA 7160; Sec. 11, KP Law; Sec. 13, KP Rules);
conclusive upon the original defendants in Civil Case 83 (B.C. No. 07) WHEREFORE, the RTC judgment of 2 June 2003 is REVERSED and
and the Appellee Heirs herein privy to said defendants. SET ASIDE, the MCTC Resolution DISMISSING the Civil Case No. 118
for enforcement of Arbitration Award is REINSTATED.11
In the light thereof, the collateral attack of the Appellee on the
Agreement for Arbitration and Arbitration Award re Civil Case 83 (B.C. Vehemently disagreeing with the Decision of the Court of Appeals,
No. 07) should not have in the first place been given due course by the petitioner Pang-et filed the instant petition. Petitioner maintains that the
court a quo. In which case, it would not have in the logical flow of things appellate court overlooked material facts that resulted in reversible
declared both documents "inefficacious"; without which errors in the assailed Decision. According to petitioner, the Court of
pronouncements, said court would not have dismissed the case at bar. Appeals overlooked the fact that the original parties, as represented by
their respective counsels in Civil Case No. 83, mutually agreed to submit
Wherefore, Judgment is hereby rendered Reversing and Setting Aside the case for arbitration by the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa of Barangay
the Resolution appealed from, and ordering the record of the case Dagdag. Petitioner insists that the parties must be bound by the initial
subject thereof remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings.10 agreement by their counsels during pre-trial to an amicable settlement
as any representation made by the lawyers are deemed made with the
Aggrieved by the reversal of the RTC, herein respondent filed a petition conformity of their clients. Furthermore, petitioner maintains that if
before the Court of Appeals seeking to set aside the RTC Judgment. On indeed the spouses Manacnes did not want to enter into an amicable
9 February 2005, the appellate court rendered the herein assailed settlement, then they should have raised their opposition at the first
Decision, to wit: instance, which was at the pre-trial on Civil Case No. 83 when the MCTC
ordered that the case be remanded to the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa for
After thoroughly reviewing through the record, We find nothing that arbitration.
would show that the spouses Manacnes were ever amenable to any
compromise with respondent Pang-et. Thus, We are at a loss as to the We do not agree with the petitioner.
basis of the Arbitration Award sought to be enforced by respondent
Pang-et’s subsequent action before the MCTC. First and foremost, in order to resolve the case before us, it is pivotal to
stress that, during the initial hearing before the Lupon ng
There is no dispute that the proceeding in Civil Case No. 83 was Tagapamayapa, the spouses Manacnes declined to sign the Agreement
suspended and the same remanded to the Lupon on account of the for Arbitration and were adamant that the proceedings before the MCTC
Agreement to Arbitrate which was allegedly not signed by the parties but in Civil Case No. 83 must continue. As reflected in the Minutes12 of the
agreed upon by their respective counsels during the pre-trial Arbitration Hearing held on 26 February 1995, the legality of the
conference. In the meeting before the Lupon, it would seem that the signature of Catherine Manacnes, daughter of the Manacnes spouses,
agreement to arbitrate was not signed by the spouses Manacnes. More who signed the Agreement for Arbitration on behalf of her parents, was
importantly, when the pangkat chairman asked the spouses Manacnes assailed on the ground that it should be the spouses Manacnes
to sign or affix their thumbmarks in the agreement, they refused and themselves who should have signed such agreement. To resolve the
insisted that the case should instead go to court. Thus, the Lupon had issue, the Pangkat Chairman then asked the spouses Manacnes that if
no other recourse but to issue a certificate to file action. Unfortunately, they wanted the arbitration proceedings to continue, they must signify
the case was again remanded to the Lupon to "render an arbitration their intention in the Agreement for Arbitration form. However, as stated
earlier, the Manacnes spouses did not want to sign such agreement and Petitioner’s assertion that the parties must be bound by their respective
instead insisted that the case go to court. counsels’ agreement to submit the case for arbitration and thereafter
enter into an amicable settlement is imprecise. What was agreed to by
Consequently, the Lupon issued a Certification to File Action on 26 the parties’ respective counsels was the remand of the case to the
February 1995 due to the refusal of the Manacnes spouses. Indicated in Lupon ng Tagapamayapa for conciliation proceedings and not the actual
said Certification are the following: 1) that there was personal amicable settlement of the case. As stated earlier, the parties may only
confrontation between the parties before the Punong Barangay but be compelled to appear before the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa for the
conciliation failed and 2) that the Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo was necessary confrontation, but not to enter into any amicable settlement,
constituted but the personal confrontation before the Pangkat failed or in the case at bar, to sign the Agreement for Arbitration. Thus, when
likewise because respondents do not want to submit this case for the Manacnes spouses personally appeared during the initial hearing
arbitration and insist that said case will go to court.13 Nevertheless, upon before the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa, they had already complied with
receipt of said certification and the records of the case, the MCTC the agreement during the pre-trial to submit the case for conciliation
ordered that the case be remanded to the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa and proceedings. Their presence during said hearing is already their
for the latter to render an arbitration award, explaining that: acquiescence to the order of the MCTC remanding the case to the
Lupon for conciliation proceedings, as there has been an actual
Going over the documents submitted to the court by the office of the confrontation between the parties despite the fact that no amicable
Lupon Tagapamayapa of Dagdag, Sagada, Mountain Province, the settlement was reached due to the spouses Manacnes’ refusal to sign
court observed that an "Agreement for Arbitration" was executed by the the Agreement for Arbitration.
parties anent the above-entitled case. However, said Lupon did not
make any arbitration award as mandated by the Katarungang Furthermore, the MCTC should not have persisted in ordering the Lupon
Pambarangay Law but instead made a finding that the case may now ng Tagapamayapa to render an arbitration award upon the refusal of the
be brought to the court. This is violative of the KP Law, which cannot be spouses Manacnes to submit the case for arbitration since such
sanctioned by the court.14 arbitration award will not bind the spouses. As reflected in Section 413
of the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law, in order that a party
At this juncture, it must be stressed that the object of the Katarungang may be bound by an arbitration award, said party must have agreed in
Pambarangay Law is the amicable settlement of disputes through writing that they shall abide by the arbitration award of the Lupon or the
conciliation proceedings voluntarily and freely entered into by the Pangkat. Like in any other contract, parties who have not signed an
parties.15 Through this mechanism, the parties are encouraged to settle agreement to arbitrate will not be bound by said agreement since it is
their disputes without enduring the rigors of court litigation. Nonetheless, axiomatic that a contract cannot be binding upon and cannot be
the disputing parties are not compelled to settle their controversy during enforced against one who is not a party to it.19 In view of the fact that
the barangay proceedings before the Lupon or the Pangkat, as they are upon verification by the Pangkat Chairman, in order to settle the issue
free to instead find recourse in the courts16 in the event that no true of whether or not they intend to submit the matter for arbitration, the
compromise is reached. spouses Manacnes refused to affix their signature or thumb mark on the
Agreement for Arbitration Form, the Manacnes spouses cannot be
The key in achieving the objectives of an effective amicable settlement bound by the Agreement for Arbitration and the ensuing arbitration
under the Katarungang Pambarangay Law is the free and voluntary award since they never became privy to any agreement submitting the
agreement of the parties to submit the dispute for adjudication either by case for arbitration by the Pangkat.
the Lupon or the Pangkat, whose award or decision shall be binding
upon them with the force and effect of a final judgment of a WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby
court.17 Absent this voluntary submission by the parties to submit their DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 78019
dispute to arbitration under the Katarungang Pambarangay Law, there is hereby AFFIRMED. The Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Besao-
cannot be a binding settlement arrived at effectively resolving the case. Sagada, Mountain Province, is hereby ORDERED to proceed with the
Hence, we fail to see why the MCTC further remanded the case to the trial of Civil Case No. 83 for Recovery of Possession of Real Property,
Lupon ng Tagapamayapa and insisted that the arbitration proceedings and the immediate resolution of the same with deliberate dispatch. No
continue, despite the clear showing that the spouses Manacnes refused costs.
to submit the controversy for arbitration.
SO ORDERED.
It would seem from the Order of the MCTC, which again remanded the
case for arbitration to the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa, that it is compulsory G.R. No. 155713 May 5, 2006
on the part of the parties to submit the case for arbitration until an MILAGROS G. LUMBUAN,* Petitioner,
arbitration award is rendered by the Lupon. This, to our minds, is vs.
contrary to the very nature of the proceedings under the Katarungang ALFREDO A. RONQUILLO, Respondent.
DECISION
Pambarangay Law which espouses the principle of voluntary
QUISUMBING, J.:
acquiescence of the disputing parties to amicable settlement. This petition for review on certiorari seeks to reverse and set aside the
Decision1 dated April 12, 2002, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
What is compulsory under the Katarungang Pambarangay Law is that No. 52436 and its Resolution2 dated October 14, 2002, denying the
there be a confrontation between the parties before the Lupon Chairman petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.
or the Pangkat and that a certification be issued that no conciliation or The salient facts, as found by the Court of Appeals,3 are as follows:
settlement has been reached, as attested to by the Lupon or Pangkat Petitioner Milagros G. Lumbuan is the registered owner of Lot 19-A,
Block 2844 with Transfer Certificate of Title No. 193264, located in
Chairman, before a case falling within the authority of the Lupon may be
Gagalangin, Tondo, Manila. On February 20, 1995, she leased it to
instituted in court or any other government office for adjudication. 18 In respondent Alfredo A. Ronquillo for a period of three years with a
other words, the only necessary pre-condition before any case falling monthly rental of P5,000. The parties also agreed that there will be a
within the authority of the Lupon or the Pangkat may be filed before a 10% annual increase in rent for the succeeding two years, i.e., 1996
court is that there has been personal confrontation between the parties and 1997,4 and the leased premises will be used exclusively for the
but despite earnest efforts to conciliate, there was a failure to amicably respondent’s fastfood business, unless any other use is given, with the
settle the dispute. It should be emphasized that while the spouses petitioner’s prior written consent.5
While the respondent at the start operated a fastfood business, he later
Manacnes appeared before the Lupon during the initial hearing for the used the premises as residence without the petitioner’s prior written
conciliation proceedings, they refused to sign the Agreement for consent. He also failed to pay the 10% annual increase in rent of
Arbitration form, which would have signified their consent to submit the P500/month starting 1996 and P1,000/month in 1997 to the present.
case for arbitration. Therefore, upon certification by the Lupon ng Despite repeated verbal and written demands, the respondent refused
Tagapamayapa that the confrontation before the Pangkat failed to pay the arrears and vacate the leased premises.
because the spouses Manacnes refused to submit the case for On November 15, 1997, the petitioner referred the matter to the
Barangay Chairman’s office but the parties failed to arrive at a
arbitration and insisted that the case should go to court, the MCTC
settlement. The Barangay Chairman then issued a Certificate to File
should have continued with the proceedings in the case for recovery of Action.6
possession which it suspended in order to give way for the possible On December 8, 1997, the petitioner filed against the respondent an
amicable resolution of the case through arbitration before the Lupon ng action for Unlawful Detainer, docketed as Civil Case No. 157922-CV. It
Tagapamayapa. was raffled to the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Manila, Branch 6.
On December 15, 1997, the respondent received the summons and
copy of the complaint. On December 24, 1997, he filed his Answer by
mail. Before the MeTC could receive the respondent’s Answer, the Here, the Lupon/Pangkat Chairman and Lupon/Pangkat Secretary
petitioner filed a Motion for Summary Judgment dated January 7, signed the Certificate to File Action stating that no settlement was
1998.7 Acting upon this motion, the MeTC rendered a decision8 on reached by the parties. While admittedly no pangkat was constituted, it
January 15, 1998, ordering the respondent to vacate and surrender was not denied that the parties met at the office of the Barangay
possession of the leased premises; to pay the petitioner the amount of Chairman for possible settlement. The efforts of the Barangay
P46,000 as unpaid rentals with legal interest until fully paid; and to pay Chairman, however, proved futile as no agreement was reached.
the petitioner P5,000 as attorney’s fees plus cost of the suit. Although no pangkat was formed, in our mind, there was substantial
The respondent then filed a Manifestation calling the attention of the compliance with the law. It is noteworthy that under the aforequoted
MeTC to the fact that his Answer was filed on time and praying that the provision, the confrontation before the Lupon Chairman or the pangkat
decision be set aside. The MeTC denied the prayer, ruling that the is sufficient compliance with the precondition for filing the case in
Manifestation was in the nature of a motion for reconsideration which is court.17 This is true notwithstanding the mandate of Section 410(b) of
a prohibited pleading under the Rules on Summary Procedure. the same law that the Barangay Chairman shall constitute a pangkat if
Upon appeal, the case was raffled to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of he fails in his mediation efforts. Section 410(b) should be construed
Manila, Branch 38, and docketed as Civil Case No. 98-87311. On July together with Section 412, as well as the circumstances obtaining in
8, 1998, the RTC rendered its decision9 setting aside the MeTC and peculiar to the case. On this score, it is significant that the
decision. The RTC directed the parties to go back to the Lupon Barangay Chairman or Punong Barangay is herself the Chairman of
Chairman or Punong Barangay for further proceedings and to comply the Lupon under the Local Government Code.18
strictly with the condition that should the parties fail to reach an Finally, this Court is aware that the resolution of the substantial issues
amicable settlement, the entire records of the case will be remanded to in this case is pending with the Court of Appeals. While ordinarily, we
MeTC of Manila, Branch 6, for it to decide the case anew. would have determined the validity of the parties’ substantial claims
The respondent sought reconsideration but the RTC denied the motion since to await the appellate court’s decision will only frustrate speedy
in an Order dated March 15, 1999. Thus, he sought relief from the justice and, in any event, would be a futile exercise, as in all probability
Court of Appeals through a petition for review.10 On April 12, 2002, the the case would end up with this Court, we find that we cannot do so in
appellate court promulgated a decision, reversing the decision of the the instant case.
RTC and ordering the dismissal of the ejectment case. The appellate It must be underscored that supervening events have taken place
court ruled that when a complaint is prematurely instituted, as when before the lower courts where the parties have been adequately heard,
the mandatory mediation and conciliation in the barangay level had not and all the issues have been ventilated. Since the records of those
been complied with, the court should dismiss the case and not just proceedings are with the Court of Appeals, it is in a better position to
remand the records to the court of origin so that the parties may go fully adjudicate the rights of the parties. To rely on the records before
through the prerequisite proceedings. this Court would prevent us from rendering a sound judgment in this
The petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied by case. Thus, we are left with no alternative but to leave the matter of
the appellate court. Hence, this present petition. ruling on the merits to the appellate court.
In the meantime, while this petition was pending before this Court, the WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision and resolution
parties went through barangay conciliation proceedings as directed by of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 52436 are REVERSED and
the RTC of Manila, Branch 38. Again, they failed to arrive at an SET ASIDE, and the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
amicable settlement prompting the RTC to issue an Order11 remanding Branch 38, in Civil Case No. 98-87311 is AFFIRMED.
the case to the MeTC of Manila, Branch 6, where the proceedings took The Court of Appeals is ordered to proceed with the appeal in CA – G.R.
place anew. On April 25, 2000, the MeTC rendered a second decision, No. 73453 and decide the case with dispatch.
the dispositive portion of which reads: SO ORDERED.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment on the merits is hereby
rendered for the plaintiff as follows: G.R. No. 156228 December 10, 2003
1. Ordering defendant and all persons claiming right of possession MA. TERESA VIDAL, LULU MARQUEZ, and CARLOS
under him to voluntarily vacate the property located at Lot 19-A Block SOBREMONTE, petitioners,
2844, Gagalangin, Tondo, Manila and surrender possession thereof to vs.
the plaintiff; MA. TERESA O. ESCUETA, represented by HERMAN O.
2. Ordering defendant to pay to plaintiff the amount of P387,512.00 as ESCUETA, respondent.
actual damages in the form of unpaid rentals and its agreed increase DECISION
up to January 2000 and to pay the amount of P6,500.00 a month CALLEJO, SR., J.:
thereafter until the same is actually vacated; This is a petition for review of the Decision1 dated July 23, 2002 of the
3. Ordering the defendant to pay to plaintiff the sum of P10,000.00 as Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP NO. 68895 which affirmed the
and for attorney’s fees plus cost of the suit. decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaluyong City,
SO ORDERED.12 Branch 208, which reversed and set aside the decision3 of the
The respondent appealed the foregoing decision.1avvphil.net The case Metropolitan Trial Court of Mandaluyong City (MTC), Branch 60; and
was raffled to RTC of Manila, Branch 22, and docketed as Civil Case granted the motion for execution filed by private respondent Ma.
No. 00-98173. The RTC ruled in favor of the petitioner and dismissed Teresa O. Escueta in Civil Case No. 17520.
the appeal. The respondent elevated the case to the Court of Appeals, The petition at bar stemmed from the following antecedents:
where it is now pending. When Abelardo Escueta died intestate on December 3, 1994, he was
The sole issue for our resolution is: survived by his widow Remedios Escueta and their six children,
[WHETHER] THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN including Ma. Teresa O. Escueta and her brother Herman O. Escueta.
DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT FOR THE ALLEGED FAILURE OF Part of his estate was a parcel of land located at No. 14 Sierra Madre
THE PARTIES TO COMPLY WITH THE MANDATORY MEDIATION corner Kanlaon Streets, Barangay Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City,
AND CONCILIATION PROCEEDINGS IN THE BARANGAY LEVEL.13 covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. (77083) - 27568, and
With the parties’ subsequent meeting with the Lupon Chairman or the house thereon. The property was leased to Rainier Llanera, who
Punong Barangay for further conciliation proceedings, the procedural sublet the same to 25 persons. The heirs executed an extra-judicial
defect was cured. Nevertheless, if only to clear any lingering doubt why settlement of estate over the property. They also executed a special
the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the complaint, we shall delve power of attorney authorizing Ma. Teresa Escueta to sell the said
on the issue. property.4
The petitioner alleges that the parties have gone through barangay Sometime in 1999, Ma. Teresa Escueta, as a co-owner of the property,
conciliation proceedings to settle their dispute as shown by the filed an ejectment case against Llanera and the sub-lessees before the
Certificate to File Action issued by the Lupon/Pangkat Secretary and Lupon of Barangay Highway Hills, docketed as Barangay Case No. 99-
attested by the Lupon/Pangkat Chairman. The respondent, on the 09.5
other hand, contends that whether there was defective compliance or In the meantime, on April 15, 1999, the heirs of Abelardo Escueta
no compliance at all with the required conciliation, the case should executed a deed of conditional sale6 over the property including the
have been dismissed. house thereon, to Mary Liza Santos for ₱13,300,000.00 payable as
The primordial objective of the Katarungang Pambarangay Rules,14 is follows:
to reduce the number of court litigations and prevent the deterioration "Down payment – ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND
of the quality of justice which has been brought about by the (₱1,500,000.00) which the HEIRS-SELLERS acknowledged receipt
indiscriminate filing of cases in the courts. To attain this objective, thereof with complete and full satisfaction;
Section 412(a) of Republic Act No. 716015 requires the parties to Second payment - TEN MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND
undergo a conciliation process before the Lupon Chairman or the (₱10,800,000.00) after publication of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of
Pangkat as a precondition to filing a complaint in court,16 thus: the Estate of the late Abelardo Escueta and payment of the taxes with
SECTION 412. Conciliation. – (a) Pre-condition to Filing of Complaint the Bureau of Internal Revenue by the Attorney-in-Fact; and
in Court. – No complaint, petition, action, or proceeding involving any The balance of ONE MILLION (₱1,000,000.00) upon vacation of all the
matter within the authority of the lupon shall be filed or instituted occupants of the subject property within SIX (6) months from date
directly in court or any other government office for adjudication, unless hereof."7
there has been a confrontation between the parties before the lupon The parties further agreed that:
chairman or the pangkat, and that no conciliation or settlement has "Ms. Maria Teresa Escueta shall deliver unto the BUYER the Owner’s
been reached as certified by the lupon secretary or pangkat secretary Duplicate Copy of the title upon receipt of the down payment while the
as attested to by the lupon or pangkat chairman…. original copies of the Special Power of Attorney shall be delivered
upon payment of the Second Payment stated above.
The ATTORNEY-IN-FACT-SELLER shall be responsible for the THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT COMMITTED THE
ejectment of all the tenants in the said subject property. REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT FINDING AND IN NOT MAKING THE
The ATTORNEY-IN-FACT-SELLER shall pay the estate tax, capital CONCLUSION THAT DEFENDANTS HAVE VIOLATED THE FINAL
gains tax and documentary stamp tax including the telephone, water AND EXECUTORY THE WRITTEN AMICABLE SETTLEMENT
and Meralco bills and the publication for the Extra-Judicial Settlement BETWEEN PARTIES EXECUTED IN THEIR BARANGAY
of the estate of the late ABELARDO ESCUETA while the registration CONFRONTATION.
and transfer fees shall be shouldered by the BUYER."8 THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT COMMITTED THE
On May 5, 1999, Escueta and Llanera, and the sub-lessees, executed REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT ORDERING THE EJECTMENT OF
an "Amicable Settlement,"9 where they agreed that (a) the owners of THE DEFENDANTS AND IN NOT ORDERING SAID DEFENDANTS
the property would no longer collect the rentals due from the TO PAY THEIR ARREARAGES IN RENTAL PAYMENTS FROM MAY
respondents therein (lessee and sub-lessees) starting May 1999, with 1999 UP TO THE DAY THEY ACTUALLY LEAVE THE PREMISES AS
the concomitant obligation of the respondents to vacate the property WELL AS ATTORNEY’S FEES AND DAMAGES.16
on or before December 1999; (b) time was the essence of the On August 31, 2001, the RTC rendered a decision holding that the
agreement, and that consequently, if the lessee and sub-lessees fail or plaintiff-appellant was still the owner of the property when the
refuse to vacate the property on or before December 1999, the ejectment case was filed in the office of the barangay captain, and, as
barangay chairman was authorized without any court order to cause such, was the real party-in-interest as the plaintiff in the MTC.
the eviction and removal of all the respondents on the property.10 The Moreover, under the deed of conditional sale between her and the
amicable settlement was attested by Pangkat Chairman Jose Acong. buyers, it was stipulated therein that the purchase price of
The parties did not repudiate the amicable settlement within ten days ₱1,000,000.00 would be delivered to the vendors only "upon the
from the execution thereof. Neither did any of the parties file any vacation of all the occupants of the subject property within six (6)
petition to repudiate the settlement. months from date hereof." She was duty-bound to cause the eviction of
The vendees having paid the down payment and second installment of the defendant from the property; hence, the appellant, as a co-owner,
the price of the property, the vendors caused the cancellation on had a substantial interest in the property. The MTC further held that the
December 17, 1999, of TCT No. 27568 and the issuance of TCT No. sale, having been executed while the appellant’s complaint was
15324 to and under the names of the vendees Mary Liza Santos, pending with the Lupon, the action in the MTC may be continued by
Susana Lim and Johnny Lim.11 However, Escueta and the other the plaintiff-appellant.
vendors had yet to receive the balance of the purchase price of As to the right of first refusal being asserted by the appellees, the court
P1,000,000.00 because the respondents were still in the property. ruled that there was no showing that the land leased had been
Llanera vacated the leased premises. Later, twenty of the sub-lessees proclaimed to be within a specific Urban Land Reform Zone. In fact,
also vacated the property. By January 2000, five sub-lessees, namely, the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board had certified that the
Ma. Teresa Vidal, Lulu Marquez, Marcelo Trinidad, Carlos subject property was outside the area for priority development; thus,
Sobremonte,12 and Jingkee Ang remained in the property, and the appellees may not claim that they had been deprived of their
requested Escueta for extensions to vacate the property. Escueta preemptive right when no such right existed in the first place. The court
agreed, but despite the lapse of the extensions granted them, the five did not rule on the third and fourth issues on the ground that the said
sub-lessees refused to vacate the property. issues were never raised by the parties. The decretal portion of the
Escueta opted not to have the sub-lessees evicted through the Punong RTC decision reads as follows:
Barangay as provided for in the amicable settlement. Neither did she PREMISES CONSIDERED, the appeal is GRANTED. The Order dated
file a motion with the Punong Barangay for the enforcement of the February 2, 2001 issued by the Metropolitan Trial Court of
settlement. Instead, she filed on May 12, 2000, a verified "Motion for Mandaluyong City, Branch 60, in Civil Case No. 17520 is hereby
Execution" against the recalcitrant sub-lessees with the MTC for the REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and a new one is entered granting the
enforcement of the amicable settlement and the issuance of a writ of Motion for Execution.
execution. The pleading was docketed as Civil Case No. 17520, with Let the Record of this case be remanded to the court a quo for proper
Teresa Escueta as plaintiff, and the sub-lessees as defendants.13 disposition.
The defendants opposed the motion14 alleging that they were enveigled SO ORDERED.17
into executing the amicable settlement despite the fact that they had A petition for review under Rule 42 was filed with the Court of Appeals
not violated any of the terms and conditions of the verbal lease of the by three of the appellees, now petitioners Ma. Teresa Vidal, Lulu
property; they were coerced and forced to enter into such amicable Marquez and Carlos Sobremonte. The court, however, dismissed the
settlement as it was the only way of prolonging their stay in the leased petition on (1) procedural grounds, and (2) for lack of merit. 18
premises; and that they had been paying faithfully and religiously the On procedural grounds, the CA ruled that the petitioners failed to
monthly rentals in advance. indicate the specific material dates, showing that their petition was filed
They also contended that the plaintiff came to court with unclean on time as required by the rules, and in declaring that they failed to
hands, as the property had been sold by the co-owners thereof on justify their failure to do so.
June 8, 1999, without notifying them. The real parties-in-interest as On the merits of the petition, the appellate court upheld the ruling of
plaintiffs, would be the new owners of the property, and not the the RTC. The decretal portion of the decision of the CA reads:
Escuetas. The defendants further asserted that the amicable WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED. The
settlement was not elevated to or approved by the MTC as required by assailed Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong City,
Section 419 of the Local Government Code (LGC), nor approved by a Branch 208, rendered in Civil Case No. MC01-333-A, dated August 31,
competent court; hence, there was no judgment to enforce by a new 2001 is hereby AFFIRMED.
motion for a writ of execution. As such, the plaintiff’s motion was SO ORDERED.19
premature and procedurally improper. The defendants asserted that In their petition at bar, the petitioners assert that the CA erred as
the plaintiff must first secure a certification to file action from the follows: (1) in not applying the rules of procedure liberally; (2) in
barangay and thereafter, file an action for ejectment against them as declaring that there was no need for the respondents to file an
required by Section 417 of the LGC. The amicable settlement of the ejectment case for the eviction of the petitioners; (3) that the real
parties before the Lupon cannot be a substitute for an action for parties-in-interest as plaintiffs in the MTC were the new owners of the
ejectment. Finally, they averred that they had been sub-lessees for property, Susana Lim, Johnny Lim and Mary Liza Santos; (4) in not
more than ten years already; hence, had the right of first refusal under finding that the Amicable Settlement was obtained through deceit and
Section 6 of the Urban Land Reform Law (P.D. No. 1517). For her part, fraud; and (5) in ruling that the petitioners had no right of first refusal in
the plaintiff asserted that there having been no execution of the the purchase and sale of the subject property under Presidential
amicable settlement on or before November 6, 1999 by the Lupon, the Decree No. 1517.
settlement may now be enforced by action in the proper city or The petition is bereft of merit.
municipal court. On the procedural issue, the CA dismissed the petition before it for the
On February 22, 2001, the court issued an Order15 denying the "Motion petitioners’ failure to comply with Section 2, par. 1, Rule 42 of the 1997
for Execution." The court held that the plaintiff was not the real party-in- Rules of Civil Procedure.20 The CA ratiocinated that there was no
interest as the subject property had already been sold and titled to justification for a relaxation of the Rules, thus:
Susana Lim, Johnny Lim and Mary Liza Santos. Only the vendees had Petitioners cited decisions of the Supreme Court where a relaxation of
the right to demand the ejectment of the defendants from the said procedural rules was allowed. However, a reading of those cases
property. The court further ruled that the defendants had the right of shows that they are not exactly similar with the present case. In the
first refusal to purchase the property under Presidential Decree No. case of Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority vs. Francisco
1517. The MTC, however, did not rule on the issue of whether or not Cuizon Mangubat, the Supreme Court allowed the late payment of
the plaintiff’s motion for execution was premature. docket fee by the Solicitor General on the ground that the 1997 Rules
Aggrieved, the plaintiff, now the appellant, appealed the order to the of Civil Procedure regarding payment of docket fees was still new at
RTC where she contended that: that time. The same cannot be said in the present case. The petition
THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT COMMITTED THE was filed on February 28, 2002, almost five years from the issuance of
REVERSIBLE ERROR IN FINDING AND IN CONCLUDING THAT the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The circumstances of typhoon and
PLAINTIFF IS NO LONGER THE REAL PARTY-IN-INTEREST. holiday for failure to obtain a certified true copy of the DOJ’s Decision,
THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT COMMITTED THE in the case of Hagonoy Market Vendor Association vs. Municipality of
REVERSIBLE ERROR IN FINDING AND IN CONCLUDING THAT Hagonoy, Bulacan, were present in the instant petition. The case of
DEFENDANTS CANNOT BE EJECTED AND CAN EXERCISE THE Salazar vs. Court of Appeals is also not similar with the present case.21
RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL. The petitioners aver in this case that the failure of their counsel to
include the material dates in their petition with the CA was, as stated in
their Amended Manifestation, because the said counsel was suffering way as to reflect the will of the legislature and attain its objective, and
from a slight heart attack. The Court finds the petitioners’ pretext not to cause an injustice. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes aptly said,
flimsy. If the petitioners’ counsel was able to prepare their petition "courts are apt to err by sticking too closely to the words of the law
despite her condition, there was no valid reason why she failed to where these words support a policy that goes beyond them. The Court
include the material dates required under the Rules of Court. Besides, should not defer to the latter that killeth but to the spirit that vivifieth."29
the petitioners stated in their petition that they had appended a copy of In light of the foregoing considerations, the time line in Section 417
their Amended Manifestation, but failed to do so. If the rules were to be should be construed to mean that if the obligation in the settlement to
applied strictly, the CA could not be faulted for dismissing the petition. be enforced is due and demandable on the date of the settlement, the
However, in order to promote their objective of securing a just, speedy six-month period should be counted from the date of the settlement;
and inexpensive dispensation of every action and proceedings, the otherwise, if the obligation to be enforced is due and demandable on a
Rules are to be liberally construed.22 Rules of procedure are intended date other than the date of the settlement, the six-month period should
to promote, not to defeat substantial justice and, therefore, should not be counted from the date the obligation becomes due and
be applied in a very rigid and technical sense. This Court ruled in demandable.
Buenaflor vs. Court of Appeals, et al.23 that appeal is an essential part Parenthetically, the Katarungang Pambarangay Implementing Rules
of our judicial system and trial courts and the Court of Appeals are and Regulations, Rule VII, Section 2 provides:
advised to proceed with caution so as not to deprive a party of the right SECTION 2. Modes of Execution. - The amicable settlement or
to appeal and that every party litigant should be afforded the amplest arbitration award may be enforced by execution by the Lupon within six
opportunity for the proper and just disposition of his cause, free from [6] months from date of the settlement or date of receipt of the award
the constraints of technicalities. The Court has given due course to or from the date the obligation stipulated in the settlement or adjudged
petitions where to do so would serve the demands of substantial in the arbitration award becomes due and demandable. After the lapse
justice and in the exercise of its equity jurisdiction.24 In this case, the of such time, the settlement or award may be enforced by the
Court opts to apply the rules liberally to enable it to delve into and appropriate local trial court pursuant to the applicable provisions of the
resolve the cogent substantial issues posed by the petitioners. Rules of Court . An amicable settlement reached in a case referred by
We agree with the contention of the petitioners that under Section 416 the Court having jurisdiction over the case to the Lupon shall be
of the LGC, the amicable settlement executed by the parties before the enforced by execution by the said court. (Underlining supplied).
Lupon on the arbitration award has the force and effect of a final By express provision of Section 417 of the LGC, an action for the
judgment of a court upon the expiration of ten (10) days from the date enforcement of the settlement should be instituted in the proper
thereof, unless the settlement is repudiated within the period therefor, municipal or city court. This is regardless of the nature of the complaint
where the consent is vitiated by force, violence or intimidation, or a before the Lupon, and the relief prayed for therein. The venue for such
petition to nullify the award is filed before the proper city or municipal actions is governed by Rule 4, Section 1 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
court.25 The repudiation of the settlement shall be sufficient basis for Procedure, as amended. An action for the enforcement of a settlement
the issuance of a certification to file a complaint.26 is not one of those covered by the Rules on Summary Procedure in
We also agree that the Secretary of the Lupon is mandated to transmit civil cases;30 hence, the rules on regular procedure shall apply, as
the settlement to the appropriate city or municipal court within the time provided for in Section 1, Rule 5 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, as
frame under Section 418 of the LGC and to furnish the parties and the amended.31
Lupon Chairman with copies thereof.27 The amicable settlement which As to the requisite legal fees for the filing of an action in the first level
is not repudiated within the period therefor may be enforced by court under Section 417 of the Local Government Code, indigents-
execution by the Lupon through the Punong Barangay within a time litigants (a) whose gross income and that of their immediate family do
line of six months, and if the settlement is not so enforced by the not exceed ten thousand (P10,000.00) pesos a month if residing in
Lupon after the lapse of the said period, it may be enforced only by an Metro Manila, and five thousand (P5,000.00) pesos a month if residing
action in the proper city or municipal court as provided for in Section outside Metro Manila, and (b) who do not own real property with an
417 of the LGC of 1991, as amended, which reads: assessed value of more than fifty thousand (P50,000.00) pesos shall
SEC. 417. Execution. – The amicable settlement or arbitration award be exempt from the payment of legal fees. Section 18, Rule 141 of the
may be enforced by execution by the Lupon within six (6) months from Revised Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 00-2-01-SC, is
the date of the settlement. After the lapse of such time, the settlement hereby further amended accordingly.
may be enforced by action in the proper city or municipal court. In this case, the parties executed their Amicable Settlement on May 5,
(Underlining supplied). 1999. However, the petitioners were obliged to vacate the property
Section 417 of the Local Government Code provides a mechanism for only in January 2000, or seven months after the date of the settlement;
the enforcement of a settlement of the parties before the Lupon. It hence, the respondent may enforce the settlement through the Punong
provides for a two-tiered mode of enforcement of an amicable Barangay within six months from January 2000 or until June 2000,
settlement executed by the parties before the Lupon, namely, (a) by when the obligation of the petitioners to vacate the property became
execution of the Punong Barangay which is quasi-judicial and due. The respondent was precluded from enforcing the settlement via
summary in nature on mere motion of the party/parties entitled an action with the MTC before June 2000. However, the respondent
thereto;28 and (b) by an action in regular form, which remedy is judicial. filed on May 12, 2000 a motion for execution with the MTC and not
Under the first remedy, the proceedings are covered by the LGC and with the Punong Barangay. Clearly, the respondent adopted the wrong
the Katarungang Pambarangay Implementing Rules and Regulations. remedy. Although the MTC denied the respondent’s motion for a writ of
The Punong Barangay is called upon during the hearing to determine execution, it was for a reason other than the impropriety of the remedy
solely the fact of non-compliance of the terms of the settlement and to resorted to by the respondent. The RTC erred in granting the
give the defaulting party another chance at voluntarily complying with respondent’s motion for a writ of execution, and the CA erred in
his obligation under the settlement. Under the second remedy, the denying the petitioners’ petition for review.
proceedings are governed by the Rules of Court, as amended. The Normally, the Court would remand the case to the Punong Barangay
cause of action is the amicable settlement itself, which, by operation of for further proceedings. However, the Court may resolve the issues
law, has the force and effect of a final judgment. posed by the petitioners, based on the pleadings of the parties to serve
Section 417 of the LGC grants a party a period of six months to the ends of justice. It is an accepted rule of procedure for the Court to
enforce the amicable settlement by the Lupon through the Punong strive to settle the existing controversy in a single proceeding, leaving
Barangay before such party may resort to filing an action with the MTC no root or branch to bear the seeds of future litigation.32
to enforce the settlement. The raison d’ etre of the law is to afford the In this case, there is no question that the petitioners were obliged
parties during the six-month time line, a simple, speedy and less under the settlement to vacate the premises in January 2000. They
expensive enforcement of their settlement before the Lupon. refused, despite the extensions granted by the respondent, to allow
The time line of six months is for the benefit not only of the their stay in the property. For the court to remand the case to the
complainant, but also of the respondent. Going by the plain words of Lupon and require the respondent to refile her motion for execution
Section 417 of the LGC, the time line of six months should be with the Lupon would be an idle ceremony. It would only unduly
computed from the date of settlement. However, if applied to a prolong the petitioners’ unlawful retention of the premises.33
particular case because of its peculiar circumstance, the computation The RTC and the CA correctly ruled that the respondent is the real
of the time line from the date of the settlement may be arbitrary and party-in-interest to enforce amicable settlement. Rule 3, Section 2 of
unjust and contrary to the intent of the law. To illustrate: Under an the Rules of Court, as amended, reads:
amicable settlement made by the parties before the Lupon dated SEC. 2. Parties in interest. - A real party in interest is the party who
January 15, 2003, the respondents were obliged to vacate the subject stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the
property on or before September 15, 2003. If the time line of six party entitled to the avails of the suit. Unless otherwise authorized by
months under Section 417 were to be strictly and literally followed, the law or these Rules, every action must be prosecuted or defended in
complainant may enforce the settlement through the Lupon only up to the name of the real party in interest.
July 15, 2003. But under the settlement, the respondent was not The party-in-interest applies not only to the plaintiff but also to the
obliged to vacate the property on or before July 15, 2003; hence, the defendant.1âwphi1 "Interest" within the meaning of the rules means
settlement cannot as yet be enforced. The settlement could be material interest, an interest in issue and to be affected by the decree
enforced only after September 15, 2003, when the respondent was as distinguished from mere interest in the question involved, or a mere
obliged to vacate the property. By then, the six months under Section incidental interest.34 A real party in interest is one who has a legal
417 shall have already elapsed. The complainant can no longer right.35 Since a contract may be violated only by the parties thereto as
enforce the settlement through the Lupon, but had to enforce the same against each other, in an action upon that contract, the real parties-in-
through an action in the MTC, in derogation of the objective of Section interest, either as plaintiff or as defendant, must be parties to the said
417 of the LGC. The law should be construed and applied in such a contract.36 The action must be brought by the person who, by
substantive law, possesses the right sought to be enforced.37 In this Petitioners did not vacate the premises within the stipulated period.
case, the respondent was the party in the amicable settlement. She is When further demands to vacate went unheeded, private respondents
the real party-in-interest to enforce the terms of the settlement because filed with the MeTC a complaint against petitioners for execution of the
unless the petitioners vacate the property, the respondent and the barangay compromise agreement, docketed as Civil Case No. 95-
other vendors should not be paid the balance of P1,000,000.00 of the 6178.4
purchase price of the property under the Deed of Conditional Sale. In their Answer, petitioners admitted the execution of the document but
The petitioners are estopped from assailing the amicable settlement on denied that such was a compromise agreement to vacate. They
the ground of deceit and fraud. First. The petitioners failed to repudiate alleged that it was merely an acknowledgment that private respondents
the settlement within the period therefor. Second. The petitioners were wanted to eject them and that they should vacate the premises within
benefited by the amicable settlement. They were allowed to remain in six months. Petitioners further questioned the propriety of the sale of
the property without any rentals therefor until December 1998. They the property in favor of private respondents as violative of their right of
were even granted extensions to continue in possession of the first refusal.5
property. It was only when the respondent filed the motion for In an Order dated October 20, 1995, the MeTC treated the complaint
execution that the petitioners alleged for the first time that the as an ordinary complaint for ejectment.6 In a Decision dated May 9,
respondents deceived them into executing the amicable settlement.38 1996, the MeTC dismissed the complaint on the ground that no prior
On the petitioners’ claim that they were entitled to the right of first demand to vacate was made upon petitioners.7
refusal under P.D. No. 1517, we agree with the disquisition of the trial On appeal, the Regional Trial Court (Branch 272) of Marikina City
court, as quoted by the Court of Appeals: (RTC) affirmed the MeTC’s decision. The RTC treated the
We likewise find no reversible error on the part of [the] RTC in rejecting "KASUNDUANG PAG-AAYOS" as a mere contract.8
that the petitioners have a right of first refusal in the purchase and sale On petition for review, the Court of Appeals (CA), in a Decision dated
of the subject property. As ratiocinated by the court: April 16, 1998, held that private respondents’ complaint before the
"xxx. Presidential Decree No. 1517 (The Urban Land Reform Law) MeTC was not for ejectment, as the lower courts have inadvertently
does not apply where there is no showing that the land leased has treated it to be, but one for execution or enforcement of an
been proclaimed to be within a specific Urban Land Reform Zone. In unrepudiated amicable settlement arrived at in a barangay conciliation
the instant case, the annex attached to the Proclamation 1967 creating proceedings which by statute has the force and effect of a final
the areas declared as priority development and urban land reform zone judgment of a court. It added that since the complaint was filed within
... does not indicate that the barangay where the subject property is the proper period (Article 1144, Civil Code; Sec. 9, Rule 39, Rules of
located is included therein. This is bolstered by the certification issued Court), it was the MeTC’s ministerial duty to order the execution of the
by the Housing and Land Regulatory Board to the effect that the said amicable settlement, under which petitioners bound themselves to
location of the property is outside the area of Priority Development. It is vacate the premises not later than December 11, 1991. Thus, the CA
therefore a reversible error for the lower court to conclude that set aside the decision of the lower courts and directed the MeTC to
defendants-appellees were deprived of their preemptive right when no order the execution of the disputed amicable settlement by ousting
right exists in the first place." petitioners from the premises.9
Indeed, before a preemptive right under PD 1517 can be exercised, On May 18, 1999, Sheriff III Edwin Garcia served upon petitioners a
the disputed land should be situated in an area declared to be both an copy of the Writ of Execution,10 dated April 16, 1999, and the Notice to
APD (Areas for Priority Development) and a ULRZ (Urban Land Vacate,11 dated May 18, 1999, directing the petitioners to vacate the
Reform Zones).1âwphi1 Records show, and as not disputed by the premises in question within five days from receipt of the notice.
petitioners, the disputed property is not covered by the aforementioned Petitioners filed a Motion to Lift Writ of Execution and Notice to
areas and zones.39 Vacate,12 dated May 21, 1999, on the ground that the MeTC did not
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED. The acquire jurisdiction because petitioners had not yet received a copy of
petitioners and all those acting for and in their behalf are directed to the decision of the CA, as such the decision is not yet final and
vacate, at their own expense, the property covered by Transfer executory and the writ of execution and notice to vacate were issued in
Certificate of Title No. 15324 of the Register of Deeds of Muntinlupa excess or jurisdiction of without jurisdiction of the court.
City and deliver possession of the property to the vendees Mary Liza On November 24, 1999, upon motion of private respondents, the
Santos, Susana Lim and Johnny Lim. This is without prejudice to the MeTC issued an Order of Demolition13 which petitioners claim they did
right of the vendees to recover from the petitioners reasonable not also receive.
compensation for their possession of the property from January 2000 Hence, the instant petition anchored on the following assignment of
until such time that they vacate the property. Costs against the errors:
petitioners. 1. THAT THE HONORABLE RESPONDENT COURT ACTED WITH
SO ORDERED. GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND WITHOUT JURISDICTION
WHEN IT ISSUED THE WRIT OF EXECUTION, DATED APRIL 16,
G.R. No. 140959 December 21, 2004 1999, THE NOTICE TO VACATE, DATED MAY 18, 1999, DESPITE
ANA RUBENITO and BABY MACAYA, petitioners, OF THE FACT THAT THE RECORD DOES NOT SHOW THAT
vs. PETITIONERS OR THEIR COUNSEL RECEIVED A COPY OF THE
LOLITA LAGATA, ROLANDO BINCANG, HON. METROPOLITAN DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS.
TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 75, MARIKINA CITY, and SHERIFF 2. THAT THE HONORABLE RESPONDENT COURT ACTED WITH
EDWIN C. GARCIA, respondents. GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF
JURISDICTION WHEN IT ISSUED THE ORDER OF DEMOLITION
DECISION WITHOUT FIRST RESOLVING THE MOTION TO LIFT WRIT OF
EXECUTION AND NOTICE TO VACATE.14
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: Petitioners invoke the Court’s appellate jurisdiction under Rule 45 of
Before us is a "petition for review on certiorari" filed on December 21, the Rules of Court in assailing the orders of the MeTC. They claim that
1999 which should be a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the they or their original counsel did not receive a copy of the decision of
Rules of Court. It assails the Writ of Execution dated April 16, 1999, the CA, as such the said decision is not yet final and executory and the
the Notice to Vacate dated May 18, 1999 and the Order of Demolition orders of the MeTC were issued with grave abuse of discretion
dated November 24, 1999 of the Metropolitan Trial Court (Branch 75) amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
Marikina City (MeTC for brevity) in Civil Case No. 95-6178. Prefatorily, we note that petitioners erroneously invoke the appellate
The factual background of the case is as follows: jurisdiction of this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in
Sometime in June 1991, private respondents Lolita Lagata and assailing the orders of the court a quo. The instant petition shall be
Rolando Bincang, who are registered owners of a parcel of land treated as a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court
located in Interior Balubad Street, Nangka, Marikina City and known as since the subject of the recourse, is one of jurisdiction, or the act
Lot 3-K-4-C-4 of the subdivision plan Psd-007402-023755-D, filed with complained of was perpetrated by a court with grave abuse of
the Punong Barangay of Nangka, Marikina City a complaint for discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.15 As enunciated
ejectment against petitioners Ana Rubenito and Baby Macaya. by the Court in Fortich vs. Corona:16
Mediation proceedings were conducted by the Punong Barangay, Anent the first issue, in order to determine whether the recourse of
Chairman of the Lupong Tagapamayapa. On June 11, 1991, a petitioners is proper or not, it is necessary to draw a line between an
compromise agreement or amicable settlement denominated as error of judgment and an error of jurisdiction. An error of judgment is
"KASUNDUANG PAG-AAYOS" was executed by the parties and one which the court may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction, and
attested to by the Punong Barangay, which reads as follows: which error is reviewable only by an appeal. On the other hand, an
Ang may-sumbong,1 ay nagpakita ng mga dokumento at papeles at error of jurisdiction is one where the act complained of was issued by
titulo, na nagpapatunay na ang lupa ay kanyang nabili, buhat sa mga the court, officer or a quasi-judicial body without or in excess of
Santos. jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion which is tantamount to
At ang ipinagsumbong,2 ay walang maipakita na anumang papeles na lack or in excess of jurisdiction. This error is correctible [sic] only by the
magpapatunay na sadyang ang lupa ay hindi kanila. extraordinary writ of certiorari.17 (Emphasis supplied.)
Kaya ang ipinag-sumbong ay inaatasan ng may-sumbong na sila ay Considering that the instant petition assails the jurisdiction of the court
bigyan ng palugit ng 6 na buwan, upang sila ay makahanap ng a quo to issue the Writ of Execution, Notice to Vacate and the Order of
matitirikan o matitirhan, upang ang nasabing lupa ay tuluyang iwanan Demolition in view of the alleged non-finality of the decision of the CA,
ng ipinag-sumbong. it falls within the ambit of a special civil action for certiorari under Rule
Ang pag-alis ng ipinag-sumbong ay sa ika-11 ng Disyembre 1991.3 65 of the Rules of Court.
Nonetheless, petitioners’ direct resort to this Court was in utter executory, the prevailing party should not be denied the fruits of his
disregard of the hierarchy of courts. Although the Supreme Court, victory by some subterfuge devised by the losing party.31
Regional Trial Courts and the CA have concurrent jurisdiction to issue WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED. Double costs against
writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas petitioners.
corpus and injunction, such concurrence does not give the petitioner SO ORDERED.
unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum. As held in People vs.
Cuaresma:18 G.R. No. 158901 March 9, 2004
This Court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari is not PROCESO QUIROS and LEONARDA VILLEGAS, petitioners,
exclusive. It is shared by this Court with Regional Trial Courts and with vs.
the Court of Appeals. This concurrence of jurisdiction is not, however, MARCELO ARJONA, TERESITA BALARBAR, JOSEPHINE
to be taken as according to parties seeking any of the writs an ARJONA, and CONCHITA ARJONA, respondents.
absolute, unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to which DECISION
application therefor will be directed. There is after all a hierarchy of YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
courts. A direct invocation of the Supreme Court’s original Assailed in this petition for review is the decision of the Court of
jurisdiction to issue these writs should be allowed only when Appeals in an action for the execution/enforcement of amicable
there are special and important reasons therefor, clearly and settlement between petitioners Proceso Quiros and Leonarda Villegas
specifically set out in the petition. This is established policy. It is a and respondent Marcelo Arjona. Appellate court reversed the decision
policy that is necessary to prevent inordinate demands upon the of the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City-Branch 44 and reinstated
Court's time and attention which are better devoted to those matters the decision of the Municipal Trial Court of San Fabian-San Jacinto,
within its exclusive jurisdiction, and to prevent further over-crowding of Pangasinan.
the Court's docket.19 On December 19, 1996, petitioners Proceso Quiros and Leonarda
In Vergara, Sr. vs. Suelto,20 the Court further elucidated: Villegas filed with the office of the barangay captain of Labney, San
The Supreme Court is a court of last resort, and must so remain if it is Jacinto, Pangasinan, a complaint for recovery of ownership and
to satisfactorily perform the functions assigned to it by fundamental possession of a parcel of land located at Labney, San Jacinto,
charter and immemorial tradition. It cannot and should not be burdened Pangasinan. Petitioners sought to recover from their uncle Marcelo
with the task of dealing with causes in the first instance. Its original Arjona, one of the respondents herein, their lawful share of the
jurisdiction to issue the so-called extraordinary writs should be inheritance from their late grandmother Rosa Arjona Quiros alias Doza,
exercised only where absolutely necessary or where serious and the same to be segregated from the following parcels of land:
important reasons exist therefor. Hence, that jurisdiction should a) A parcel of land (Lot 1, plan Psu-189983, L.R. Case No. D-614, LRC
generally be exercised relative to actions or proceedings before the Record No. N- 22630), situated in the Barrio of Labney, Torud,
Court of Appeals, or before constitutional or other tribunals, bodies or Municipality of San Jacinto, Province of Pangasinan x x x Containing
agencies whose acts for some reason or another, are not controllable an area of Forty Four Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty (44,520)
by the Court of Appeals. Where the issuance of an extraordinary writ is square meters, more or less, covered by Tax Decl. No. 607;
also within the competence of the Court of Appeals or a Regional Trial b) A parcel of Unirrig. riceland situated at Brgy. Labney, San Jacinto,
Court, it is in either of these courts that the specific action for the writ's San Jacinto, Pangasinan with an area of 6450 sq. meters, more or less
procurement must be presented. This is and should continue to be the declared under Tax Decl. No. 2066 of the land records of San Jacinto,
policy in this regard, a policy that courts and lawyers must strictly Pangasinan assessed at P2390.00 x x x;
observe.21 c) A parcel of Unirrig. riceland situated at Brgy. Labney, San Jacinto,
In the present case, petitioners have not offered any exceptional or Pangasinan with an area of 6450 sq. meters, more or less, declared
compelling reason not to observe the hierarchy of courts. Thus, the under Tax Declaration No. 2047 of the land records of San Jacinto,
petition should have been initially filed with the Regional Trial Court. Pangasinan assessed at P1700.00 x x x
In any event, petitioners’ contention that they or their original counsel d) A parcel of Unirrig. riceland situated at Brgy. Labney, San Jacinto,
did not receive the decision of the CA is misleading. The records Pangasinan assessed at P5610.00 x x x;
clearly reveal that the Decision of the CA, dated April 16, 1998, was e) A parcel of Cogon land situated at Brgy. Labney, San Jacinto,
sent by registered mail to petitioners’ original counsel at his office Pangasinan, with an area of 14133 sq. meters, more or less declared
address22 and received on April 24, 1998 by a certain Mylene Malano.23 under Tax Declaration No. 14 of the land records of San Jacinto,
The presumption that the decision was delivered to a person in his Pangasinan assessed at P2830.00 x x x.1
office, who was duly authorized to receive papers for him, therefore, On January 5, 1997, an amicable settlement was reached between the
stands.24 Petitioners have not presented evidence to overcome this parties. By reason thereof, respondent Arjona executed a document
presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty.25 We, denominated as "PAKNAAN" ("Agreement", in Pangasinan dialect),
therefore, hold that the decision of the CA became final and executory which reads:
on May 9, 1998.26 AGREEMENT
Clearly, this is an instance where the due process routine vigorously I, MARCELO ARJONA, of legal age, resident of Barangay Sapang,
pursued by petitioners is but a clear-cut afterthought meant to delay Buho, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, have a land consisting of more or
the settlement of an otherwise uncomplicated legal dispute. Aside from less one (1) hectare which I gave to Proceso Quiros and Leonarda
clogging court dockets, the strategy is deplorably a common curse Villegas, this land was inherited by Doza that is why I am giving the
resorted to by losing litigants in the hope of evading manifest said land to them for it is in my name, I am affixing my signature on this
obligations.27 The Court must state here for the petitioners, who notably document for this is our agreement besides there are witnesses on the
filed the instant petition in their own behalf without the assistance of 5th day (Sunday) of January 1997.
counsel, and on all other litigants similarly inclined to resort to the Signed in the presence of:
same or related scheme or stratagem that this Court cannot condone (Sgd) Avelino N. De la Masa, Jr.
or tolerate any abuse of the judicial process. As the Court has stated in (Sgd) Marcelo Arjona
Cantelang vs. Medina,28 "this Court will ever be vigilant to nip in the Witnesses:
bud any dilatory maneuver calculated to defeat or frustrate the ends of 1) (Sgd.) Teresita Balarbar
justice, fair play and the prompt implementation of final and executory 2) (Sgd.) Josephine Arjona
judgments."29 3) (Sgd.) Conchita Arjona
Litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is On the same date, another "PAKNAAN" was executed by Jose Banda,
essential to an effective and efficient administration of justice that, as follows:
once a judgment has become final, the winning party be not, through a AGREEMENT
mere subterfuge, deprived of the fruits of the verdict. Courts must, I, JOSE BANDA, married to Cecilia L. Banda, of legal age, and
therefore, guard against any scheme calculated to bring about that resident of Sitio Torrod, Barangay Labney, San Jacinto, Pangasinan.
result. Constituted as they are to put an end to controversies, courts There is a land in which they entrusted to me and the same land is
should frown upon any attempt to prolong them.30 situated in Sitio Torrod, Brgy. Labney, San Jacinto, Pangasinan, land
There should be a greater awareness on the part of litigants that the of Arjona family.
time of the judiciary, much more so of this Court, is too valuable to be I am cultivating/tilling this land but if ever Leonarda Villegas and
wasted or frittered away by efforts, far from commendable, to evade Proceso Quiros would like to get this land, I will voluntarily surrender it
the operation of a decision final and executory, especially so, where, to them.
as shown in the present case, the clear and manifest absence of any In order to attest to the veracity and truthfulness of this agreement, I
right calling for vindication, is quite obvious and indisputable. Time and affixed (sic) my signature voluntarily below this document this 5th day
again the Court has left no doubt as to our disapproval of such a (Sunday) of January 1997.
practice. The aim of a lawsuit is to render justice to the parties (Sgd.) Jose Banda
according to law. Procedural rules are precisely designed to Signed in the presence of:
accomplish such a worthy objective. Necessarily, therefore, any (Sgd) Avelino N. de la Masa, Sr.
attempt to pervert the ends for which they are intended deserves Barangay Captain
condemnation. Brgy. Labney, San Jacinto
Verily, by the undue delay in the execution of a final judgment in their Pangasinan
favor, private respondents have suffered an injustice. The Court views Witnesses:
with disfavor the unjustified delay in the enforcement of the final orders 1) Irene Banda
and decision in this case. Once a judgment becomes final and (sgd.)
2) Jose (illegible) x x x
Petitioners filed a complaint with the Municipal Circuit Trial Court with In denying the issuance of the writ of execution, the appellate court
prayer for the issuance of a writ of execution of the compromise ruled that the contract is null and void for its failure to describe with
agreement which was denied because the subject property cannot be certainty the object thereof. While we agree that no writ of execution
determined with certainty. may issue, we take exception to the appellate court’s reason for its
The Regional Trial Court reversed the decision of the municipal court denial.
on appeal and ordered the issuance of the writ of execution. Since an amicable settlement, which partakes of the nature of a
Respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals, which reversed the contract, is subject to the same legal provisions providing for the
decision of the Regional Trial Court and reinstated the decision of the validity, enforcement, rescission or annulment of ordinary contracts,
Municipal Circuit Trial Court.2 there is a need to ascertain whether the Paknaan in question has
Hence, this petition on the following errors: sufficiently complied with the requisites of validity in accordance with
I Article 1318 of the Civil Code.5
THE PAKNAAN BEING A FINAL AND EXECUTORY JUDGMENT There is no question that there was meeting of the minds between the
UNDER THE LAW IS AN IMMUTABLE JUDGMENT CAN NOT BE contracting parties. In executing the Paknaan, the respondent
ALTERED, MODIFIED OR CHANGED BY THE COURT INCLUDING undertook to convey 1 hectare of land to petitioners who accepted. It
THE HIGHEST COURT; and appears that while the Paknaan was prepared and signed by
II respondent Arjona, petitioners acceded to the terms thereof by not
THE SECOND PAKNAAN ALLEGEDLY EXECUTED IN disputing its contents and are in fact now seeking its enforcement. The
CONJUNCTION WITH THE FIRST PAKNAAN WAS NEVER object is a 1-hectare parcel of land representing petitioners’ inheritance
ADDUCED AS EVIDENCE BY EITHER OF THE PARTIES, SO IT IS from their deceased grandmother. The cause of the contract is the
ERROR OF JURISDICTION TO CONSIDER THE SAME IN THE delivery of petitioners’ share in the inheritance. The inability of the
DECISION MAKING. municipal court to identify the exact location of the inherited property
The pivotal issue is the validity and enforceability of the amicable did not negate the principal object of the contract. This is an error
settlement between the parties and corollary to this, whether a writ of occasioned by the failure of the parties to describe the subject
execution may issue on the basis thereof. property, which is correctible by reformation and does not indicate the
In support of their stance, petitioners rely on Section 416 of the Local absence of the principal object as to render the contract void. It cannot
Government Code which provides that an amicable settlement shall be disputed that the object is determinable as to its kind, i.e.1 hectare
have the force and effect of a final judgment upon the expiration of 10 of land as inheritance, and can be determined without need of a new
days from the date thereof, unless repudiated or nullified by the proper contract or agreement.6 Clearly, the Paknaan has all the earmarks of a
court. They argue that since no such repudiation or action to nullify has valid contract.
been initiated, the municipal court has no discretion but to execute the Although both parties agreed to transfer one-hectare real property,
agreement which has become final and executory. they failed to include in the written document a sufficient description of
Petitioners likewise contend that despite the failure of the Paknaan to the property to convey. This error is not one for nullification of the
describe with certainty the object of the contract, the evidence will instrument but only for reformation.
show that after the execution of the agreement, respondent Marcelo Article 1359 of the Civil Code provides:
Arjona accompanied them to the actual site of the properties at Sitio When, there having been a meeting of the minds of the parties to a
Torod, Labney, San Jacinto, Pangasinan and pointed to them the 1 contract, their true intention is not expressed in the instrument
hectare property referred to in the said agreement. purporting to embody the agreement by reason of mistake, fraud,
In their Comment, respondents insist that respondent Arjona could not inequitable conduct or accident, one of the parties may ask for the
have accompanied petitioners to the subject land at Torrod, Labney reformation of the instrument to the end that such true intention may be
because he was physically incapacitated and there was no motorized expressed.
vehicle to transport him to the said place. If mistake, fraud, inequitable conduct, or accident has prevented a
The Civil Code contains salutary provisions that encourage and favor meeting of the minds of the parties, the proper remedy is not
compromises and do not even require judicial approval. Thus, under reformation of the instrument but annulment of the contract.
Article 2029 of the Civil Code, the courts must endeavor to persuade Reformation is a remedy in equity whereby a written instrument is
the litigants in a civil case to agree upon some fair compromise. made or construed so as to express or conform to the real intention of
Pursuant to Article 2037 of the Civil Code, a compromise has upon the the parties where some error or mistake has been committed.7 In
parties the effect and authority of res judicata, and this is true even if granting reformation, the remedy in equity is not making a new contract
the compromise is not judicially approved. Articles 2039 and 2031 for the parties, but establishing and perpetuating the real contract
thereof also provide for the suspension of pending actions and between the parties which, under the technical rules of law, could not
mitigation of damages to the losing party who has shown a sincere be enforced but for such reformation.
desire for a compromise, in keeping with the Code’s policy of In order that an action for reformation of instrument as provided in
encouraging amicable settlements.3 Article 1359 of the Civil Code may prosper, the following requisites
Cognizant of the beneficial effects of amicable settlements, the must concur: (1) there must have been a meeting of the minds of the
Katarungang Pambarangay Law (P.D. 1508) and later the Local parties to the contract; (2) the instrument does not express the true
Government Code provide for a mechanism for conciliation where intention of the parties; and (3) the failure of the instrument to express
party-litigants can enter into an agreement in the barangay level to the true intention of the parties is due to mistake, fraud, inequitable
reduce the deterioration of the quality of justice due to indiscriminate conduct or accident.8
filing of court cases. Thus, under Section 416 of the said Code, an When the terms of an agreement have been reduced to writing, it is
amicable settlement shall have the force and effect of a final judgment considered as containing all the terms agreed upon and there can be,
of the court upon the expiration of 10 days from the date thereof, between the parties and their successors in interest, no evidence of
unless repudiation of the settlement has been made or a petition to such terms other than the contents of the written agreement, except
nullify the award has been filed before the proper court when it fails to express the true intent and agreement of the parties
Petitioners submit that since the amicable settlement had not been thereto, in which case, one of the parties may bring an action for the
repudiated or impugned before the court within the 10-day prescriptive reformation of the instrument to the end that such true intention may be
period in accordance with Section 416 of the Local Government Code, expressed.9
the enforcement of the same must be done as a matter of course and Both parties acknowledge that petitioners are entitled to their
a writ of execution must accordingly be issued by the court. inheritance, hence, the remedy of nullification, which invalidates the
Generally, the rule is that where no repudiation was made during the Paknaan, would prejudice petitioners and deprive them of their just
10-day period, the amicable settlement attains the status of finality and share of the inheritance. Respondent can not, as an afterthought, be
it becomes the ministerial duty of the court to implement and enforce it. allowed to renege on his legal obligation to transfer the property to its
However, such rule is not inflexible for it admits of certain exceptions. rightful heirs. A refusal to reform the Paknaan under such
In Santos v. Judge Isidro,4 the Court observed that special and circumstances would have the effect of penalizing one party for
exceptional circumstances, the imperatives of substantial justice, or negligent conduct, and at the same time permitting the other party to
facts that may have transpired after the finality of judgment which escape the consequences of his negligence and profit thereby. No
would render its execution unjust, may warrant the suspension of person shall be unjustly enriched at the expense of another.
execution of a decision that has become final and executory. In the WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is DENIED. The
case at bar, the ends of justice would be frustrated if a writ of execution Decision dated March 21, 2003 of the Court of Appeals, which
is issued considering the uncertainty of the object of the agreement. To reversed the decision of the Regional Trial Court and reinstated the
do so would open the possibility of error and future litigations. decision of the Municipal Trial Court, is AFFIRMED. This is without
The Paknaan executed by respondent Marcelo Arjona purports to prejudice to the filing by either party of an action for reformation of the
convey a parcel of land consisting of more or less 1 hectare to Paknaan executed on January 5, 1997.
petitioners Quiros and Villegas. Another Paknaan, prepared on the SO ORDERED.
same date, and executed by one Jose Banda who signified his
intention to vacate the parcel of land he was tilling located at Torrod,
Brgy. Labney, San Jacinto, Pangasinan, for and in behalf of the Arjona
family. On ocular inspection however, the municipal trial court found
that the land referred to in the second Paknaan was different from the
land being occupied by petitioners. Hence, no writ of execution could
be issued for failure to determine with certainty what parcel of land
respondent intended to convey.
G.R. No. 130864 October 2, 2007 Based on the minutes of the mediation proceedings, it is clear that
MARIA L. HAROLD, petitioner, Barangay Captain Ogas was able to successfully mediate the case
vs. between plaintiff and defendant. As a matter of fact, Aliba has already
AGAPITO T. ALIBA, respondent. substantially complied. It is not disputed that he gave plaintiff, on that
DECISION occasion, P70,000.00, and to give the balance of P5,000.00, the day
QUISUMBING, J.: after. Thus, there was meeting of the minds between the parties on a
For review on certiorari is the Decision1 dated September 3, 1997 of lawful subject, and there was substantial fulfillment of the obligation.
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 40416, affirming the dismissal Regret[t]ably, when the small balance is to be paid, Mrs. Harold
of petitioner Maria L. Harold’s complaint before the Municipal Trial reneged on the agreement, saying P75,000.0010 is not enough, then
Court of La Trinidad, Benguet. insisted that the case be filed in court, but at the same time refusing to
The pertinent facts are as follows: return the P70,000.00, when defendant tried to collect it back.
Sometime in January 1993, Harold engaged the services of Consequently, the issuance of the Certificate to File Action, is improper
respondent Agapito T. Aliba, a geodetic engineer, to conduct a because no valid repudiation [of the amicable settlement] was made.
relocation survey and to execute a consolidation-subdivision of their Obviously, Mrs. Harold wants her cake and eat it too, so to speak. It is
properties including that of Harold’s sister, Alice Laruan, located in in[i]quitous to allow Mrs. Harold to exact substantial fulfillment from
Pico, La Trinidad, Benguet. After completing his work, Aliba was paid Aliba then conveniently change her mind overnight and worse, to
P4,050 for his services, but he failed to return the certificates of title of refuse to give back what she already received.
the said properties for more than one year, despite repeated demands The Court agrees with defendant that there is no clear repudiation of
to return them. the agreement. It would have been different if Mrs. Harold returned the
It also appears that sometime in January 1994, Aliba prevailed upon P70,000.00 to the defendant, after changing her mind. There would
Harold and her husband to sign a document which was supposedly have been a clear repudiation of the amicable settlement.11
needed to facilitate the consolidation-subdivision and the issuance of The dispositive portion of the said MTC Order reads:
separate transfer certificates of title over the properties. Harold and her WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing findings, the Motion to Dismiss,
husband signed the document without reading it. incorporated in the Answer is hereby granted. This case is hereby
Thereafter, on April 18, 1994, a truck loaded with G.I. sheets and ordered dismissed.
construction materials came to the subject lot2 owned by Harold. Upon However, defendant is hereby ordered to tender payment to plaintiff his
inquiry, Harold and her husband were informed that Aliba had sold the balance in the amount of P5,000.00 when this order becomes final and
lot to a third person. executory.
On several occasions, Aliba tried to convince Harold to accept the sum SO ORDERED.12
of P400,000 which was later on increased to P500,000, as purchase Dissatisfied, Harold filed an appeal before the Regional Trial Court
price of the said lot. It was only after such offers were made that Aliba (RTC), Branch 63, of La Trinidad, Benguet.
told Harold that he had indeed sold the lot. In an Order dated February 20, 1996, the RTC affirmed in toto the
On May 3, 1994, Harold agreed to accept the P500,000 from Aliba but assailed Order of the MTC.
only as partial payment, considering that the lot has an aggregate Undaunted, Harold further appealed to the Court of Appeals, which
value of P1,338,0003 or P6,000 per square meter. On the same date, however denied the same. Hence this petition, on the following
Harold was made to sign an acknowledgment receipt and other papers grounds:
which were made to appear that Harold accepted the sum of P480,000 I.
as full and final payment for the lot. WHETHER OR NOT THE THREE LOWER COURTS WERE
Harold later discovered that Aliba made it appear that she had sold the CORRECT IN DISMISSING HER COMPLAINT ON THE SOLE
lot to him for P80,000 and had her certificates of title cancelled and GROUND THAT SHE AND RESPONDENT WERE ABLE TO ARRIVE
transferred to him. Harold also found out that the alleged deed of sale [AT] A MUTUALLY ACCEPTABLE AMICABLE SETTLEMENT
was the document that Aliba caused Harold and her husband to sign in BEFORE THE BARANGAY COURT OF THEIR PLACE WHEN
January 1994. CLEARLY ALL CIRCUMSTANCES SHOW THERE WAS NO
Thinking that she can no longer recover her property, Harold asked for MEETING OF MINDS BETWEEN THEM.
the payment of the fair market value of her property but to no avail. II.
The dispute between Harold and Aliba was referred to Punong GRANTING, WITHOUT ADMITTING, THERE WAS A MEETING OF
Barangay Limson Ogas and the Lupong Tagapamayapa. During the MINDS BETWEEN THE PARTIES AND THEREFORE, THERE WAS
June 8, 1994 barangay conciliation proceedings, the parties herein A VALID AMICABLE SETTLEMENT, WHETHER OR NOT THE
agreed that Aliba will pay an additional amount of P75,000 to the initial ACKNOWLEDGEMENT RECEIPT SIGNED BY PETITIONER AND
P500,000 Aliba had already given to Harold. In the same proceedings, THE MINUTES OF THE PROCEEDINGS IS A SUBSTANTIAL
Aliba tendered P70,000, which Harold accepted.4 The receipt of the COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENT OF SECTION 411 OF RA
amount given was evidenced by an acknowledgment receipt signed by 7160, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE
the parties herein, attested to by the Lupon chairman, and witnessed OF 1991 AS CONCLUDED BY THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, AND
by several barangay officials.5 AFFIRMED BY THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT AND COURT OF
On June 9, 1994, as agreed upon, Aliba tendered the remaining APPEALS.
P5,000 to Harold to complete their amicable settlement. Unfortunately, III.
Harold refused to accept the same, saying that P5,000 is not enough GRANTING, WITHOUT ADMITTING, SAID LAW WAS
and insisted on the elevation of the case to the court.6 Thus, a SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLIED WITH, WHETHER OR NOT
certification to file action7 was issued by the Office of the Lupong PETITIONER’S ACT OF NOT ACCCEPTING THE REMAINING
Tagapamayapa on June 29, 1994. Immediately thereafter, Harold filed BALANCE BEING PROFFERED BY RESPONDENT AND HER
a Complaint8 against Aliba before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of INSISTENCE THAT THE CASE BE INSTEAD ELEVATED TO THE
La Trinidad, Benguet. COURTS DURING THE SECOND DAY OF HEARING SHOULD NOT
In his Answer,9 Aliba prayed for the dismissal of the complaint, ALSO BE CONSIDERED A REPUDIATION OF SAID AMICABLE
considering that he had already been absolutely released from any SETTLEMENT OR AT THE VERY LEAST A SUBSTANTIAL
obligation to Harold and that what remains to be done is merely the COMPLIANCE THEREOF.13
completion of the amicable settlement of the parties. Essentially, we are asked to resolve whether the Court of Appeals
On September 4, 1995, the MTC issued an Order dismissing Harold’s committed reversible error in affirming the dismissal of the complaint
complaint, holding that on the ground that the dispute between the parties had already been
xxxx amicably settled during the barangay conciliation proceedings.
It is not disputed that on June 8, 1994, both parties met before After a careful scrutiny of the records of this case, we hold that no
Barangay Captain Limson Ogas. After a lengthy deliberation, towards reason exists to overturn the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming
mediation, it was agreed by both parties in the presence of Barangay the dismissal of the subject complaint.
Officials that Mr. Agapito Aliba will pay an additional amount of In this case, Harold’s main contention was hinged on the alleged non-
P75,000.00 to settle once and for all the case. Mr. Aliba at that time perfection of the questioned amicable settlement between her and
has in his possession P70,000.00, because that was the amount Aliba because there was allegedly no meeting of the minds between
previously agreed upon by both parties. The amount of P70,000.00 them regarding the subject matter and the cause thereof.14 On the
was personally handed by Mr. Aliba to Mrs. Harold, on that day, the other hand, Aliba’s principal defense is anchored on the alleged
remaining balance of P5,000.00 to be paid the following day, June 9, existence and validity of the said amicable settlement.15
1994. An Acknowledgment Receipt was signed by Mrs. Harold and Harold’s submission that there was no meeting of the minds between
witnessed by the barangay officials. . . . the parties herein pertaining to the subject matter and cause of the
The said minutes further states therein, "continued for the second day", questioned amicable settlement is a clear deviation from the facts on
which logically means that the balance be given the following day. record. Admittedly, both parties agreed during the June 8, 1994
In the afternoon of June 9, 1994, Mr. Aliba returned with the remaining barangay conciliation proceedings for Aliba to pay an additional
balance of P5,000.00. It was at this time that when Mr. Aliba was amount of P75,000 (which was the object or subject matter of the
supposed to hand the money Mrs. Harold bluntly told him the amount amicable settlement) to the initial P500,000 Aliba had given to Harold
of P5,000 is still not enough and instead she started crying and as purchase price for the subject lot in order to put an end to their
shouting . . . . dispute (which was the cause or reason of the amicable settlement).
The last paragraph [of the minutes] states "Mr. Aliba requested then if Thus, it is evident that the parties herein entered into an amicable
the paid amount of P70,000.00 be returned. Mrs. Harold refused and settlement, or more specifically, a compromise agreement, during the
opted that this case be elevated to the higher court." said barangay conciliation proceedings.
Under Article 2028 of the Civil Code, a compromise agreement was
defined as "a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal
concessions, avoid litigation or put an end to one already
commenced." In Sanchez v. Court of Appeals,16 we held that a
"compromise is a form of amicable settlement that is not only allowed
but also encouraged in civil cases."17
It must also be highlighted that Harold expressly acknowledged that
the offer made by Aliba to pay an additional P75,000 was made in
order for her to desist from pursuing her case against him.18 By reason
of her unconditional acceptance of the offer and the P70,000 tendered
to her, Harold had already effectively waived whatever claims she
might have against Aliba regarding the subject lot. Moreover, she is
likewise barred from pursuing her case against Aliba under the
principle of estoppel now._
Under Article 1431 of the Civil Code, through estoppel, an admission
or representation is rendered conclusive upon the person making it,
and cannot be denied or disproved as against the person relying on it.
Expounding on the principle of estoppel, we held in Springsun
Management Systems Corporation v. Camerino19 that "where a party,
by his deed or conduct, has induced another to act in a particular
manner, estoppel effectively bars the former from adopting an
inconsistent position, attitude or course of conduct that causes loss or
injury to the latter."20
The doctrine of estoppel is based upon the grounds of public policy,
fair dealing, good faith and justice, and its purpose is to forbid one to
speak against his own act, representations, or commitments to the
injury of one to whom they were directed and who reasonably relied
thereon.21
The issue concerning the alleged non-compliance of the amicable
settlement pursuant to the mandate of Section 41122 of Republic Act
No. 7160 or the Local Government Code (LGC) arose because there
was no formal document denominated as "Amicable Settlement"
signed by the parties. However, we agree with the similar holdings of
the Court of Appeals and the RTC that the requirements under Section
411 of the LGC had been substantially complied with. The minutes of
the barangay conciliation proceedings readily disclose the terms
agreed upon by the parties for the settlement of their dispute, and that
the acknowledgment receipt, which was written in a language known to
the parties, signed by them, attested to by the Lupon Chairman, and
witnessed by several barangay officials, serves as an indubitable proof
of the amicable settlement and of the substantial compliance of its
terms by respondent Aliba.
Moreover, even without the minutes of the meeting and the
acknowledgment receipt, the amicable settlement, or more specifically
the compromise agreement, entered into by the parties is undeniably
valid, considering that "a compromise agreement is a consensual
contract, and as such, it is perfected upon the meeting of' the minds of
the parties to the contract."23
Furthermore, to rule against the validity of the cited amicable
settlement herein would militate against the spirit and purpose of the
Katarungang Pambarangay Law,24 which is to encourage the amicable
settlement of disputes at the barangay level as an alternative to court
litigation.
Harold’s refusal to accept the remaining P5,000 that Aliba had
tendered cannot constitute an effective repudiation of the questioned
amicable settlement, considering that the reason for her refusal to
accept the said amount or alleged repudiation of the assailed amicable
settlement is not one of the grounds for repudiation clearly specified
under Section 41825 of the LGC. As borne out by the records, her
refusal to accept the same was based on the alleged insufficiency of
the remaining P5,000 as settlement for the lot, without any reference to
vitiation of her consent by any fraud, violence or intimidation on Aliba’s
part.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed
Decision dated September 3, 1997 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
SP No. 40416 is AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.