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MARCH 2018

Hilario, Jeffrey V.
Merjudio, Samuel
Mula, Iane Gem M.
Paming, Krissel
Hilario, Jeffrey V. 1 of 4


G.R. NO. 212860 MAR 14, 2018

Rhomel Gagarin Cote (Rhomel) and respondent Florie Grace Manongdo-Cote (Florie)
were married in Quezon City. At the time of their marriage, the spouses were both
Filipinos and were already blessed with a son, Christian Gabriel Manongdo who was born
in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America (USA).3 On August 23, 2002, Rhomel filed
a Petition for Divorce before the Family Court of the First Circuit of Hawaii on the ground
that their marriage was irretrievably broken. This was granted on August 23, 2002 by the
issuance of a decree that states among others. Seven years later, Florie commenced a
petition for recognition of foreign judgment granting the divorce before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC). Florie also prayed for the cancellation of her marriage contract, hence, she
also impleaded the Civil Registry of Quezon City and the National Statistics Office (NSO).
The Office of the Solicitor General, representing Republic of the Philippines (petitioner),
deputized the Office of the City Prosecutor to appear on behalf of the State during the
trial. On April 7, 2011, the RTC granted the petition and declared Florie to be capacitated
to remarry after the RTC's decision attained finality and a decree of absolute nullity has
been issued. The RTC ruled, inter alia, that Rhomel was already an American citizen
when he obtained the divorced. Petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal on May 17, 2011.
However, the RTC, believing that the petition was covered by A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC or
the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable
Marriages, applied Section 20 of said Rule and denied the appeal because the notice
was not preceded by a motion for reconsideration. 8Petitioner then filed a petition for
certiorari with the CA claiming that the R TC committed grave abuse of discretion. In a
Decision dated January 21, 2014, the CA denied the petition. The pertinent portions read
as follows: The fact that even the Solicitor General and private respondent were confused
as to the true nature of the petition and the procedure that must be followed only shows
that We cannot attribute a whimsical and capricious exercise of judgment to the RTC.
Whether or not Motion for Reconsideration is a condition precedent to the filing of an
Hilario, Jeffrey V. 2 of 4

The CA is correct when it ruled that the trial court misapplied Section 20 of A.M. No. 02-
11-10-SC. A decree of absolute divorce procured abroad is different from annulment as
defined by our family laws. A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC only covers void and voidable
marriages that are specifically cited and enumerated in the Family Code of the
Philippines. Void and voidable marriages contemplate a situation wherein the basis for
the judicial declaration of absolute nullity or annulment of the marriage exists before or at
the time of the marriage. It treats the marriage as if it never existed. Divorce, on the other
hand, ends a legally valid marriage and is usually due to circumstances arising after the
marriage. It was error for the RTC to use as basis for denial of petitioner's appeal Section
20 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. Since Florie followed the procedure for cancellation of entry
in the civil registry, a special proceeding governed by Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, an
appeal from the RTC decision should be governed by Section 321 of Rule 41 of the Rules
of Court and not A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. As culled from the records, petitioner received a
copy of the RTC Decision on May 5, 2011. It filed a Notice of Appeal22 on May 17, 2011,
thus complying with the 15-day reglementary period for filing an appeal. An appeal is a
statutory right that must be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the
provisions of law. Having satisfactorily shown that they have complied with the rules on
appeal, petitioners are entitled to the proper and just disposition of their cause.
Hilario, Jeffrey V. 3 of 4


G.R. No. 221356, March 14, 2018
REYES, Jr. J.:

The instant case stemmed from a complaint for illegal dismissal filed by Maria Carmela
P. Umali (petitioner) against Hobbywing Solutions, Inc. (respondent) and its general
manager, Pate Tan (Tan).On February 18, 2013, however, the petitioner was informed
by the respondent that her employment has already ended and was told to just wait for
advice whether she will be rehired or regularized. She was also required to sign an exit
clearance from the company apparently to clear her from accountabilities. She was no
longer allowed to work thereafter. Thus, the filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal
against the respondent.For its part, the respondent admitted that it hired the petitioner as
Pitboss Supervisor on probationary basis beginning June 19, 2012 to November 18,
2012. With the conformity of the petitioner, the probationary period was extended for three
(3) months from November 19, 2012 to February 18, 2013.6 The respondent claimed that
the engagement of the petitioner's service as a probationary employee and the extension
of the period of probation were both covered by separate employment contracts duly
signed by the parties. After receiving a commendable rating by the end of the extended
probationary period, the petitioner was advised that the company will be retaining her
services as Pitboss Supervisor. Surprisingly, the petitioner declined the offer for the
reason that a fellow employee, her best friend, will not be retained by the company.
Thereafter, on February 18, 2013, she processed her exit clearance to clear herself of
any accountability and for the purpose of processing her remaining claims from the
company. As a sign of good will, the company signed and issued a Waiver of Non-
Competition Agreement in her favor and a Certificate of Employment, indicating that she
demonstrated a commendable performance during her stint. Thus, the respondent was
surprised to receive the summons pertaining to the complaint for illegal dismissal tiled by
the petitioner. NLRC held that petitioner was illegally dismissed. CA agreed with the LA
that the petitioner failed to prove the fact of her dismissal. It held that aside from bare
allegations, no evidence was ever submitted by the petitioner that she was refused or
was not allowed to work after the period of extension. There was no letter of termination
given to the petitioner but only an exit clearance form which she personally processed,
which therefore proved that the severance of her employment was her choice.

Whether the Court of Appeals erred in considering issues not raised before the trial court
and, whether the Court of Appeals erred in disregarding the judicial admission allegedly
made by GSIS.
Hilario, Jeffrey V. 4 of 4

The petition is meritorious
Time and again, the Court has reiterated that, as a rule, it does not entertain questions of
facts in a petition for review on certiorari.
There are, however, recognized exceptions to this rule, to wit:
(1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures; (2)
when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is
grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of fads;
(5) when the findings of facts are conflicting; (6) When in making its findings the Court of
Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions
of both the appellant and the appellee; (7) when the findings are contrary to the trial court;
(8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they
are based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners main
and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent; (10) when the findings of fact are
premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on
record: and (11) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts
not disputed by the parties, which, if properly considered, would justify a different
In the instant case, the Court finds that the CA misapprehended facts and overlooked
details which are crucial and significant that they can warrant a change in the outcome of
the case.
In finding that there was no illegal dismissal, the CA echoed the ruling of the LA that the
petitioner failed to establish the fact of dismissal. It held that the petitioner failed to present
evidence manifesting the intention of the respondent to sever relations with her. Absent
any overt act on the part of the respondent, it ruled that there can be no dismissal to
speak of. It also found credible the respondent's claim that it was the petitioner who
refused to accept the offer of continued employment with the company.
The CA missed the point that the respondent employed a scheme in order to obscure the
fact of the petitioner's dismissal. The CA would have recognized this ploy if it only delved
deeper into the records and facts of the case.
It is beyond dispute that the petitioner started working for the respondent on June 19,
2012 as a probationary employee and that there were two (2) employment contracts
signed by the parties. The parties, however, held conflicting claims with respect to the
time when the contracts were signed. The petitioner is claiming that there was no contract
before the commencement of her employment and that she was only asked to sign two
employment contracts on January 19, 2013, after having rendered seven months of
service. On the other hand, the respondent maintains that there was a contract of
probationary employment signed at the beginning of the petitioner's service and another
one signed on November 18, 2012, extending the probationary period purportedly to give
the petitioner a chance to improve her performance and qualify for regular employment.
Merjudio, Samuel 1 of 5

G.R. No. 232189


On September 17, 2014, petitioner filed before the RTC a Petition for Declaration of Nullity
of Marriage, seeking that his marriage to respondent be declared null and void on account
of his psychological incapacity pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code. Subsequently,
respondent filed her Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim dated December 5, 2014.
However, petitioner later lost interest over the case, and thus, filed a Motion to Withdraw
his petition. In her comment/opposition thereto, respondent invoked Section 2, Rule 17 of
the Rules of Court (alternatively, Section 2, Rule 1 7), and prayed that her counterclaims
be declared as remaining for the court's independent adjudication. In turn, petitioner filed
his reply, averring that respondent's counterclaims are barred from being prosecuted in
the same action due to her failure to file a manifestation therefor within fifteen (15) days
from notice of the Motion to Withdraw, which - according to petitioner - was required under
the same Rules of Court provision. In particular, petitioner alleged that respondent filed
the required manifestation only on March 30, 2015. However, respondent's counsel
received a copy of petitioner's Motion to Withdraw on March 11, 2015; hence, respondent
had only until March 26, 2015 to manifest before the trial court her desire to prosecute
her counterclaims in the same. RTC granted petitioner’s Motion to Withdraw petition.
Further, it declared respondent's counterclaim "as remaining for independent
adjudication" and as such, gave petitioner fifteen (15) days to file his answer thereto.
Dissatisfied, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied in an Order
dated March 3, 2016. Thus, he elevated the matter to the CA via a petition for certiorari,
praying that the RTC Orders be set aside to the extent that they allowed the counterclaim
to remain for independent adjudication before the same trial court. CA dismissed the
petition for lack of merit. It found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC,
holding that under Section 2, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court, if a counterclaim has been
filed by the defendant before the service upon him of the petitioner’s motion for dismissal,
the dismissal shall be limited to the complaint.

Issue: Whether or not the CA erred in upholding the RTC Orders declaring respondent's
counterclaim for independent adjudication before the same trial court.

Ruling: The petition is meritorious. Section 2, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court provides for
the procedure relative to counterclaims in the event that a complaint is dismissed by the
court at the plaintiffs instance, viz. :
Merjudio, Samuel 1 of 5

Section 2. Dismissal upon motion of plaintiff. - Except as provided in the preceding

section, a complaint shall not be dismissed at the plaintiffs instance save upon approval
of the court and upon such terms and conditions as the court deems proper. If a
counterclaim has been pleaded by a defendant prior to the service upon him of the
plaintiff's motion for dismissal, the dismissal shall be limited to the complaint. The
dismissal shall be without prejudice to the right of the defendant to prosecute his
counterclaim in a separate action unless within fifteen (15) days from notice of the motion
he manifests his preference to have his counterclaim resolved in the same action. Unless
otherwise specified in the order, a dismissal under this paragraph shall be without
prejudice. A class suit shall not be dismissed or compromised without the approval of the

As per the second sentence of the provision, if a counterclaim has been pleaded by the
defendant prior to the service upon him of the plaintiff's motion for the dismissal - as in
this case - the rule is that the dismissal shall be limited to the complaint. Commentaries
on the subject elucidate that "[i]nstead of an ‘action’ shall not be dismissed, the present
rule uses the term ‘complaint’. A dismissal of an action is different from a mere dismissal
of the complaint. For this reason, since only the complaint and not the action is dismissed,
the defendant inspite of said dismissal may still prosecute his counterclaim in the same

However, as stated in the third sentence of Section 2, Rule 17, if the defendant desires
to prosecute his counterclaim in the same action, he is required to file a manifestation
within fifteen (15) days from notice of the motion. Otherwise, his counterclaim may be
prosecuted in a separate action.

In this case, the CA confined the application of Section 2, Rule 17 to that portion of its
second sentence which states that the "dismissal shall be limited to the complaint."
Evidently, the CA ignored the same provision's third sentence, which provides for the
alternatives available to the defendant who interposes a counterclaim prior to the service
upon him of the plaintiff's motion for dismissal. As may be clearly inferred therefrom,
should the defendant desire to prosecute his counterclaim, he is required to manifest his
preference therefor within fifteen (15) days from notice of the plaintiff's motion to dismiss.
Failing in which, the counterclaim may be prosecuted only in a separate action.

The rationale behind this rule is not difficult to discern: the passing of the fifteen (15)-day
period triggers the finality of the court's dismissal of the complaint and hence, bars the
conduct of further proceedings, i.e., the prosecution of respondent's counterclaim, in the
same action. Thus, in order to obviate this finality, the defendant is required to file the
required manifestation within the aforesaid period; otherwise, the counterclaim may be
prosecuted only in a separate action.
Merjudio, Samuel 1 of 5
Merjudio, Samuel 3 of 5

It is hornbook doctrine in statutory construction that "[t]he whole and every part of the
statute must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts and in order to produce
a harmonious whole. A statute must be so construed as to harmonize and give effect to
all its provisions whenever possible. In short, every meaning to be given to each word or
phrase must be ascertained from the context of the body of the statute since a word or
phrase in a statute is always used in association with other words or phrases and its
meaning may be modified or restricted by the latter."

By narrowly reading Section 2, Rule 1 7 of the Rules of Court, the CA clearly violated the
foregoing principle and in so doing, erroneously sustained the assailed RTC Orders
declaring respondent’s counterclaim "as remaining for independent adjudication" despite
the latter's failure to file the required manifestation within the prescribed fifteen (15)-day
period. As petitioner aptly points out:

[I]f the intention of the framers of the Rules of Court is a blanket dismissal of the complaint
ALONE if a counterclaim has been pleaded prior to the service of the notice of dismissal
then there is NO EVIDENT PURPOSE for the third (3rd) sentence of Sec. 2, Rule 17.


[I]t is clearly an ABSURD conclusion if the said provision will direct the defendant to
manifest within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice of dismissal his preference to
prosecute his counterclaim in the SAME ACTION when the same AUTOMATICALLY
REMAINS. If the automatic survival of the counterclaim and the death of the complaint as
being ruled by the Court of Appeals in its questioned Decision is indeed true, then the
third sentence should have required defendant to manifest that he will prosecute his
counterclaim in a SEPARATE ACTION.
Merjudio, Samuel 4 of 5

G.R. No. 230020 March 19, 2018


Petitioner opened an account with the Cooperative Rural Bank Bulacan (CRBB),
amounting to P300,000, for which he was assigned the Special Incentive Savings
Account . Petitioner learned that CRBB closed its operations and was placed under
Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation's (PDIC's) receivership. This prompted
petitioner, together with other depositors, to file an insurance claim with the PDIC on
November 8, 2013. Upon investigation, the PDIC found that petitioner's account
originated from and was funded by the proceeds of a terminated SISA (mother account),
jointly owned by a certain Reyes family. Thus, based on the determination that petitioner's
account was among the product of the splitting of the said mother account which is
prohibited by law, PDIC denied petitioner's claim for payment of deposit insurance.
Petitioner filed a Request for Reconsideration, which was likewise denied by the PDIC.
Petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 before the RTC and upheld the
factual findings and conclusions of the PDIC. According to the RTC, based on the records,
the PDIC correctly denied petitioner's claim for insurance on the ground of splitting of
deposits which is prohibited by law. It also declared that, pursuant to its Charter (RA
3591), PDIC is empowered to determine and pass upon the validity of the insurance
deposits claims, it being the deposit insurer. As such, when it rules on such claims, it is
exercising a quasi-judicial function. Thus, it was held that petitioner's remedy to the
dismissal of his claim is to file a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals under
Section 4, Rule 65, stating that if the petition involves the acts or omissions of a quasi-
judicial agency, unless otherwise provided by law or the rules, it shall be filed in and
cognizable only by the Court of Appeals (CA) In addition, the RTC also cited Section 2215
of Republic Act (RA) No. 3591, as amended, which essentially states that only the CA
shall issue temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions or preliminary mandatory
injunctions against the PDIC for any action under the said Act. this petition, filed directly
to this Court on pure question of law.

Issue: Does the RTC have jurisdiction over a petition for certiorari filed under Rule 65,
assailing the PDIC's denial of a deposit insurance claim?

Ruling: The petition lacks merit. PDIC was created under RA 3591 as an insurer of
deposits in all banks entitled to the benefits of insurance under the said Act to promote
and safeguard the interests of the depositing public. As such, PDIC has the duty and
authority to determine the validity of and grant or deny deposit insurance claims. Section
16(a) of its Charter, as amended, provides that PDIC shall commence the determination
of insured deposits due the depositors of a closed bank upon its actual take over of the
closed bank.

Merjudio, Samuel 5 of 5

Also, Section 1 of PDIC's Regulatory Issuance No. 2011-03, provides that as it is tasked
to promote and safeguard the interests of the depositing public by way of providing
permanent and continuing insurance coverage on all insured deposits, and in helping
develop a sound and stable banking system at all times, PDIC shall pay all legitimate
deposits held by bona fide depositors and provide a mechanism by which depositors may
seek reconsideration from its decision, denying a deposit insurance claim. Further, it
bears stressing that as stated in Section 4(f) of its Charter, as amended, PDIC's action,
such as denying a deposit insurance claim, is considered as final and executory and may
be reviewed by the court only through a petition for certiorari on the ground of grave abuse
of discretion.
Considering the foregoing, the legislative intent in creating the PDIC as a quasi-judicial
agency is clearly manifest.

Indeed, PDIC exercises judicial discretion and judgment in determining whether a

claimant is entitled to a deposit insurance claim, which determination results from its
investigation of facts and weighing of evidence presented before it. Noteworthy also is
the fact that the law considers PDIC's action as final and executory and may be reviewed
only on the ground of grave abuse of discretion.

That being established, We proceed to determine where such petition for certiorari should
be filed. In this matter, We cite the very provision invoked by the petitioner, i.e., Section
4, Rule 65 of the Rules, as amended by A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC:

Sec. 4. When and where to file the petition. - The petition shall be filed not later than sixty
(60) days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution. In case a motion for
reconsideration or new trial is timely filed, whether such motion is required or not, the
petition shall be filed not later than sixty (60) days counted from the notice of the denial
of the motion.
If the petition relates to an act or an omission of a municipal trial court or of a corporation,
a board, an officer or a person, it shall be filed with the Regional Trial Court exercising
jurisdiction over the territorial area as defined by the Supreme Court. It may also be filed
with the Court of Appeals or with the Sandiganbayan, whether or not the same is in aid
of the court's appellate jurisdiction. If the petition involves an act or an omission of a
quasi-judicial agency, unless otherwise provided by law or these rules, the petition
shall be filed with and be cognizable only by the Court of Appeals. (emphasis

Clearly, a petition for certiorari, questioning the PDIC's denial of a deposit insurance claim
should be filed before the CA, not the RTC.
Paming, Krissel 1 of 4


Spouses Chugani, et al., v. Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation
G.R No. 230037, March 19, 2018
Tijam, J.:
Consistent with Section 4, Rule 65, the CA has the jurisdiction to rule on the alleged
grave abuse of discretion of the PDIC. Therefore, the CA is correct when it held that the
RTC has no jurisdiction over the Petitions for Certiorari filed by the petitioners
questioning the PDIC's denial of their claim for deposit insurance.
Petitioners opened Time Deposit Accounts with RBMI through inter-branch deposits to
the accounts of RBMI. Sometime in September 2011, petitioners came to know that the
Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas placed RBMI under receivership and
thereafter closed the latter. Petitioners, then filed claims for insurance of their time
deposits. Respondent Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) denied the
claims. Petitioners filed a request for reconsideration of PDIC's denial of their claim.
PDIC however rejected the same in its Letter.
Hence, petitioners filed a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with
the Regional Trial Court (RTC). RTC dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction.
Aggrieved, the petitioners appealed the RTC's Decision to the CA. CA denied the
Hence, this petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the Decision of CA in affirming the
decision of the RTC dismissing the petition for lack of jurisdiction.
Whether the CA is correct in ruling that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the Petitions for
Certiorari filed by the petitioners
Paming, Krissel 2 of 4

The power of the PDIC as to whether it will deny or grant the claim for deposit insurance
based on its rules and regulations partakes of a quasi-judicial function. Consistent with
Section 4,Rule 65, the CA has the jurisdiction to rule on the alleged grave abuse of
discretion of the PDIC. Therefore, the CA is correct when it held that the RTC has no
jurisdiction over the Petitions for Certiorari filed by the petitioners questioning the PDIC's
denial of their claim for deposit insurance.
As it now stands, the remedy to question the decisions of the PDIC is through a Petition
for Certiorari under Rule 65 and filed before the CA.
Paming, Krissel 3 of 4
RULES National Power Corporation v. CA
G.R No. 206167, March 19, 2018
Tijam, J.:
The case stemmed from civil case filed by Spouses Javellana o fix lease rental and just
compensation; collection of sum of money and damages against NPC and National
Transmission Corporation (Transco). Transco negotiated with Spouses Javellana for the
extra-judicial settlement of the case. Subsequently, Spouses Javellana received the
amount of P80,380,822.00 from Transco.
Thereafter, Atty. Rex C. Muzones (Atty. Muzones), the counsel of the Spouses
Javellana filed a Notice of Attorney's lien. Transco then filed a Motion to Dismiss the
case in view of the extra-judicial settlement of the case. On his part, Atty. Muzones filed
a Motion for Partial Satisfaction of Judgment and Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss.
Respondent judge issued an Order ordering NPC and Transco to pay Atty. Muzones
the amount of P52,469,660.00 as his attorney's lien and later clarified that it is separate
and distinct from the amount to be paid to the Spouses Javellana.
Transco filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the orders, while NPC filed its comment to
the Clarificatory Order. Respondent judge denied the Motion and the comment. NPC
then filed a motion for reconsideration. Respondent judge denied the same.
Aggrieved, NPC filed a Petition for Certiorari with the CA. CA dismissed NPC's petition
for being filed beyond the 60-day reglementary period.
Thus, NPC comes before Us assailing the CA's dismissal of its petition.
1. Whether a petition for certiorari is the right remedy.
2. Whether the petition is filed beyond the reglementary period.
3. Whether the NPC is liable to pay the amount of attorney’s fee.
1. No.
A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is a special civil action that
may be resorted to only in the absence of appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law."24 In the instant case, NPC has a plain, speedy
and adequate remedy to appeal the CA decision, which is to file a Petition for Review
on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
Paming, Krissel 4 of 4

Section 1 of Rule 45 states that "A party desiring to appeal by certiorari from a judgment
or final order or resolution of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Regional
Trial Court or other courts whenever authorized by law, may file with the Supreme Court
a verified petition for review on certiorari. The petition shall raise only questions of law
which must be distinctly set forth."

Here, the Decision of the CA dismissed the NPC's petition for being filed out of time,
thus it was a final judgment rendered by the CA. There is nothing left to be done by the
CA in respect to the said case. Thus, NPC should have filed an appeal by petition for
review on certiorari under Rule 45 before this Court, not a petition for certiorari under
Rule 65.

2. Yes.

The Comment filed by NPC is in the nature of a Motion for Reconsideration

The allegations of NPC and even the prayer in its comment sought the reconsideration
of the Clarificatory Order. Thus, upon the RTC's denial of the "Comment", NPC should
have already filed for a Petition for Certiorari before the CA, not a second motion for
reconsideration before the RTC. Thus, upon NPC's filing of its Petition for Certiorari on
December 2, 2008, the 60-day reglementary period of filing the same has already

3. No.

Technical rules of procedure should give way to serve substantial justice.

Notwithstanding the procedural lapses in this case, We opt not to deny the case based
on merely technical grounds. We must be reminded that deciding a case is not a mere
play of technical rules. If We are to abide by Our mandate to provide justice for all, We
should be ready to set aside technical rules of procedure when the same hampers
justice rather than to serve the same.

The RTC erred when it computed the 12.5% contingent fee on the basis of the original
award of P419,757,280.00.34 It is clear in the Contract of Legal Services that the 12.5%
contingency fee should be computed on the amount of whatever award or monetary
consideration realized. Since the the amount actually received by the Spouses
Javellana under the compromise agreement was only P80,380,822.00,35 then the
12.5% contingency fee should be pegged on this amount. As such, Atty. Muzones is
only entitled to the amount of P10,047,602.75. Notwithstanding Our finding that Atty.
Muzones is entitled to the amount of P10,047,602.75, NPC is still not liable to pay such
amount. It is settled that payment of attorney's fees is the personal obligation of the

Mula, Iane Gem M. 1 of 4

GR No. 208396, Mar 14, 2018

Ebuenga was hired by Southfield Agencies, Inc. (Southfield) as a chief cook aboard
respondent Wilhemsen Ship Management Holding Ltd.'s (Wilhemsen) vessel, MTV Super
Adventure. Ebuenga boarded the vessel on December 19, 2010.About two (2) months
into his engagement, or on February 26, 2011, Ebuenga wrote a letter to Southfield,
Wilhemsen, and Captain Sonny Valencia (Capt. Valencia) (collectively, respondents),
asking that he be repatriated as soon as possible "to attend to a family problem."[11]
Respondents acted favorably on this request and Ebuenga was repatriated on March 5,
Without consulting Southfield's designated physician, Ebuenga had himself checked at
St. Luke's Medical Center where he underwent Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The test
revealed that he was afflicted with "Multilevel Disk Dessication. He was advised to
undergo physical therapy.
Ebuenga went back to his hometown in Bogtong, Legaspi City to undergo physical
therapy sessions. Thereafter, he consulted Dr. Misael Jonathan A. Ticman, who issued a
Disability Report, finding him to be permanently disabled and no longer fit to work as a
seafarer. Consequently, Ebuenga filed a complaint for permanent disability benefits.
In his Position Paper, Ebuenga disavowed voluntarily seeking repatriation on account of
a family concern. He claimed instead that upon embarkation, a crew member died from
overfatigue. He reported this death to the International Transport Workers' Federation,
which took no action. Incensed at Ebuenga's actions, the captain of the vessel, Capt.
Jonathan B. Lecias, Sr. (Capt. Lecias), coerced him to sign a letter seeking immediate
repatriation. Ebuenga also claimed to have reported to Capt. Lecias that he was suffering
intense back pain, but the latter refused to entertain this because of the animosity
between them. He added that upon repatriation, he sought medical assistance from the
company-designated physician but was refused. Thus, he was forced to seek treatment
on his own.
In their defense, respondents denied that there was ever an incident
Labor Arbiter Savari dismissed Ebuenga's complaint. Labor Arbiter Savari explained that
Ebuenga failed to prove that he had suffered an illness or injury while on board the M/V
Super Adventure. She added that Ebuenga may no longer claim disability benefits for
failing to undergo a post-employment medical examination with the company-designated
The National Labor Relations Commission denied Ebuenga's appeal.
Court of Appeals found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the National Labor
Relations Commission. It also denied Ebuenga's Motion for Reconsideration
Mula, Iane Gem M. 2 of 4

Hence, Ebuenga filed the present Petition.

Whether or not petitioner Ariel A. Ebuenga is entitled to permanent disability benefits.
Subsumed under this is the issue of whether or not his failure to have himself examined
by the company-designated physician bars him from pursuing his claim.
Section 20(B) of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration-Standard
Employment Contract (POEA-SEC)[24] established the procedures for assessing claims
for disability benefits. It mandates seafarers to see a company-designated physician for
a post-employment medical examination, which must be done within three (3) working
days from their arrival. Failure to comply shall result in the forfeiture of the right to claim
disability benefits... a temporary total disability only becomes permanent when so
declared by the company physician within the periods he is allowed to do so, or upon the
expiration of the maximum 240-day medical treatment period without a declaration of
either fitness to work or the existence of a permanent disability. In the present case, while
the initial 120-day treatment or temporary total disability period was exceeded, the
company-designated doctor duly made a declaration well within the extended 240-day
period that the petitioner was fit to work. Viewed from this perspective, both the NLRC
and CA were legally correct when they refused to recognize any disability because the
petitioner had already been declared fit to resume his duties. In the absence of any
disability after his temporary total disability was addressed, any further discussion of
permanent partial and total disability, their existence, distinctions and consequences,
becomes a surplusage that serves no useful purpose.
In cases where the employer refuses to have the seafarer examined, the seafarer's claim
for disability benefits is not hindered by his or her reliance on a physician of his or her
own choosing
Petitioner's cause is grossly deficient in several ways. First, he failed to undergo the
requisite examination, thereby creating a situation resulting in the forfeiture of his claims.
This alone suffices for the denial of his Petition. Second, he posited a narrative of
indifference and oppression but failed to adduce even the slightest substantiation of it. He
asked this Court to overturn the consistent findings of the three (3) tribunals but offered
nothing other than his word as proof. Finally, he averred a medical condition from which
no causal connection can be drawn to his brief engagement as chief cook. He would have
this Court sustain an imputation grounded on coincidence and conjecture.In this review,
this Court is bound by basic logical parameters. First, as a court without the opportunity
to personally peruse the evidence, this Court cannot cavalierly disregard the uniform
anterior findings of the three (3) tribunals. Second, a factual conclusion must be borne by
substantial evidence. Finally, this Court should not award disability benefits absent a
causal relationship between a seafarer's work and ailment. Petitioner's case fails in all
these parameters. Hence, his Petition must be denied.
Mula, Iane Gem M. 3 of 4


GR No. 230657, Mar 14, 2018

On May 14, 2003, an Information was filed before the RTC charging, inter alia, petitioner
(who was then serving as Investigative Agent IV of the National Bureau of Investigation)
with Multiple Frustrated Murder and Double Attempted Murder.
After arraignment, petitioner objected to the formal appearance of one Atty. Adelino Sitoy
(Atty. Sitoy), who intended to act as a private prosecutor for and in behalf of the Office of
the Ombudsman (Ombudsman). In the Orders dated September 25, 2003 and October
1, 2003, the RTC ruled that only the Ombudsman may prosecute the instant case, to the
exclusion of any other entity/person other than those authorized under Republic Act No.
6770.[8] The Ombudsman and Atty. Sitoy questioned the RTC's aforesaid Orders to the
Court of Appeals (CA), which, in a Decision dated September 26, 2005, ruled that the
private prosecutor may prosecute the case and appear for the People of the Philippines
in collaboration with any lawyer deputized by the Ombudsman. Eventually, the matter
reached the Court,[9] which nullified the CA's pronouncements on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction, ratiocinating that the Ombudsman and Atty. Sitoy should have sought
recourse from the SB instead (Private Prosecutor Case).
While the Private Prosecutor Case was still pending before the CA, the latter court issued
a temporary restraining order (TRO), and thereafter, a preliminary injunction enjoining the
RTC from implementing its Orders dated September 25, 2003 and October 1, 2003. This
notwithstanding and upon motion by the prosecution, the CA clarified in a Resolution
dated January 19, 2005 that the injunctive writs do not operate to enjoin the proceedings
in Crim. Case No. DU-10123, provided that it is conducted in the presence of the private
prosecutor. Thus, the prosecution moved to set the case for trial and started presenting
one of its witnesses on March 29, 2005. In the course of the prosecution's presentation
of witnesses, the RTC sustained petitioner's objection on the admissibility of one of the
witness's testimony, prompting the prosecution to elevate the matter to the SB (Objection
Case). Initially, the SB issued a sixty (60)-day TRO enjoining the RTC from proceeding
with Crim. Case No. DU-10123. In a Decision dated February 12, 2007, the SB dismissed
the Objection Case.
Meanwhile and after the expiration of the TRO in the Objection Case, petitioner filed on
March 16, 2006 a Motion to Set Case for Continuous Hearing before the RTC, invoking
his right to speedy trial.
RTC granted petitioner's motion to dismiss on the ground of violation of the latter's right
to speedy trial.
The prosecution moved for reconsideration,[22] which was, however, denied
Aggrieved, the prosecution filed a petition for certiorari[24] before the SB.
Mula, Iane Gem M. 4 of 4

SB set aside the RTC ruling and, accordingly, ordered the reinstatement of Crim. Case
No. DU- 10123 and for the RTC to conduct further proceedings immediately.
Petitioner moved for reconsideration but the same was denied in a Resolution[29] dated
February 15, 2017; hence, this petition.
Whether or not the SB correctly ascribed grave abuse on the part of the RTC when the
latter court found that petitioner's right to speedy trial has been violated.

The petition is meritorious.
Preliminarily, the Court points out the distinct approach in dealing with Rule 45 petitions
for review on certiorari that seek to review a ruling of a lower court, such as the SB,
regarding a Rule 65 petition for certiorari. In a Rule 45 review, the Court examines the
correctness of the SB ruling in contrast with the review of jurisdictional errors under Rule
65. Furthermore, Rule 45 limits the review to questions of law. In ruling for legal
correctness, the Court must view the SB ruling in the same context that the petition for
certiorari was presented to the latter court. Hence, the Court has to examine the SB ruling
from the prism of whether or not it correctly determined the presence or absence of grave
abuse of discretion in the assailed ruling, i.e., that of the RTC.
Grave abuse of discretion is the capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment. It is the
exercise of a power in an arbitrary manner. It must be so patent or gross as to amount to
an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined or to act at
all in contemplation of law. Case law provides that grave abuse of discretion exists when
the act is: (a) done contrary to the Constitution, the law or jurisprudence; or (b) executed
whimsically, capriciously or arbitrarily out of malice, ill will or personal bias.
Guided by the foregoing considerations, the Court finds that the CA erred in ascribing
grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC. As will be explained hereunder, the RTC
ruling finding that petitioner's right to speedy trial has been violated finds support in
prevailing law and jurisprudence.