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ISSUE: answer and seeking

EN BANC The present petition is premised on the affirmative relief
[G.R. No. L-59801. May 31, 1988.] argument that inasmuch as the complaint before from it.
LEONOR P. FERNANDEZ, CONNIE P. HALL, the trial court is a proper subject of conciliation
BERNARDO PERALTA and MARIANO before the Lupong Tagapayapa, non-compliance Even assuming that PETs motion to dismiss had
FERNANDEZ,Petitioners, v. THE with such requirement is a jurisdictional defect been filed on time, it is doubtful whether the
HONORABLE FRANCIS J. MILITANTE, in his which renders the complaint vulnerable to Lupon has authority over the controversy
capacity as Judge, Court of First Instance of dismissal. considering allegations regarding the residence
Cebu, Branch XII, ESTRELITO P. of the parties involved.
CAPUTOLAN, GONZALO P. CAPUTOLAN, RULING: PETs and PRs are admittedly all residents
RAQUEL C. ANIBAN, ESTANISLAO L. The Court has repeatedly ruled that the of Jones Avenue, Cebu City, with the
CAPUTOLAN and WILFREDO conciliation process at the Barangay level is a exception of PET Connie P. Hall who is a
ANIBAN, Respondents. condition precedent for filing of actions before citizen of the United States of America
the regular trial courts and ordinarily, non-
TOPIC: WHEN TO RAISE NON-REFERRAL compliance therewith could affect the sufficiency Section 2 (of Pres. Dec. No. 1508) specifies
Raising the defense of lack of conciliation after of plaintiff’s cause of action and make his the conditions under which the Lupon of a
the filing of answer constitutes waiver complaint vulnerable to dismissal on the ground barangay "shall have authority" to bring
of lack of cause of action or prematurity together the disputants for amicable settlement
CORTES, J.: However, failure to raise it as a defense of their dispute: The parties must be "actually
FACTS: in the answer or in a timely motion to residing in the same city or municipality."
Private respondents (PRs) brought action dismiss is deemed a waiver of such
against petitioners (PET) before the then precondition. The record shows that PETs At the same time, Section 3 —declares that the
Court of First Instance of Cebu, Branch XII, answer to the complaint never raised the Lupon shall have "no authority" over disputes
for "Declaration of Nullity of Deed of Sale defense that the PRs complaint did not "involving parties who actually reside in
and of Transfer Certificates of Title" comply with the conciliation process barangays of different cities or municipalities,"
PETs filed on March 9, 1981 their answer prescribed by Pres. Dec. No. 1508. except where such barangays adjoin each
raising special and affirmative defenses other.
including a counterclaim. OTHER CONTENTION OF PETITIONERS:
Subsequently, the case was set for pre-trial PETITIONERS SC By express statutory inclusion and
and on April 15, 1981, the first pre-trial CONTENTION exclusion, the Lupon shall have no
conference was held. PRs failure to The conciliation jurisdiction over disputes where the parties
On May 27, 1981, PETs filed a Motion to comply with the procedure under Pres. are not actual residents of the same city or
Dismiss on the ground that the court never conciliation process Dec. No. 1508 is not a municipality, except where the barangays in
acquired jurisdiction over the case for non- is fatal to the trial jurisdictional requirement which they actually reside adjoin each other.
compliance with the requirement of court’s jurisdiction. and its non-compliance
conciliation before the Lupong Tagapayapa. cannot affect the
jurisdiction which the WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby
The trial court overruled the arguments
court has already DISMISSED and the order of the respondent
raised by the PETs and denied their motion
acquired over the subject trial court in Civil Case No. R-20105 denying
on. Motion for reconsideration was also
matter or over the person petitioners’ motion to dismiss is AFFIRMED. The
denied for being filed out of time.
of the defendant Temporary Restraining Order issued by this
Hence, this petition for certiorari and
Court on March 9, 1982 is hereby LIFTED and
prohibition with preliminary injunction. PETs also have They cannot now SET ASIDE. SO ORDERED.
invoked the repudiate that jurisdiction
jurisdiction of the to which they have
respondent trial submitted themselves
court by filing an voluntarily