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EMILIO GONZALES LAO, G.R. No. 160719 transfer the property to the OGCC for a consideration of P1.

5 million,
Petitioner, payable in equal yearly amortization-lease rentals of P100,000 for a
Present: period of 15 years.[8]
On December 22, 1980, petitioner offered to purchase the
PUNO, J., Chairman, property.[9]
- versus - SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
CORONA, On May 10, 1982, GSIS and petitioner executed a lease-purchase
AZCUNA and agreement (second contract). GSIS agreed to sell the same property to
GARCIA, JJ. petitioner for P2,000,000, with a down payment of P200,000 and the
balance payable within a period of 15 years at 12% interest per annum,
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES compounded yearly.[10]
and THE GOVERNMENT
SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, Under the second contract, GSIS obligated itself to construct for
Respondents. Promulgated: the OGCC a three-storey building on the Manila Bay reclaimed area or to
make available another property acceptable to the OGCC, to be conveyed
January 23, 2006 to the Republic under the same or mutually acceptable terms and
conditions as those of the first contract. In the meantime, the OGCC was
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x allowed to continue occupying the second to the fifth floors of the
building at an annual rental of P100,000, payable to
petitioner.[11] Furthermore, petitioner was entitled to lease out the
DECISION ground floor and collect the corresponding rentals.[12]

CORONA, J.: It appears that on April 11, 1982, then President Ferdinand E.
Marcos approved the second contract by scribbling on the right upper
In this petition for review on certiorari,[1] petitioner Emilio Gonzales LaO hand corner 11 April 1982 Approved Ferdinand E. Marcos.[13] On April
seeks to reverse the June 27, 2003[2] decision of the Court of Appeals 23, 1982, the GSIS Board of Trustees approved the same.[14]
(CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 62580, affirming in toto the decision[3] of Branch
41 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila and the CAs November 10, In 1989, after the overthrow of Marcos (in 1986), respondents
2003 resolution[4] denying petitioners motion for reconsideration. filed before the RTC of Manila, Branch 41 a complaint against petitioner
The factual antecedents follow. alleging that:

The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is the 9. Upon [petitioners] behest and
registered owner of three parcels of land with an area of around 821 representations, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos
square meters,[5] with a five-storey building and the other improvements directed then GSIS General Manager Roman A. Cruz, Jr.
thereon.[6] The property is situated at the corner of Mabini and Arquiza to arrange the transfer of [the property] to [petitioner].
streets in Ermita, Manila and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No.
108252.[7] 10. On April 11, 1982, at a time when no action was yet
taken by the GSIS Board of Trustees on the transfer of
On June 22, 1978, the GSIS and the Republic of the Philippines, [the property], then President Marcos indicated his
through the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), approval of the second Lease-Purchase Agreement
entered into a lease-purchase agreement (first contract). GSIS agreed to which had been prepared pursuant to the instructions
and orders of then President Marcos who exercised total 15. Also, the second agreement has not yet become
and absolute power[.] effective. Number 18, Page 10 thereof provides that the
same shall become effective upon its approval by the
11. By reason of such insidious machinations President of the Republic of the Philippines. This
engineered by [petitioner] and upon instructions or notwithstanding, neither the former President of the
orders of then President Marcos, the Republic, through Philippines nor the incumbent President has given
the OGCC, was forced, intimidated and coerced to his/her approval to the said agreement after its
execute a waiver of its rights and interests to the execution.
property, and the Board of Trustees of the GSIS was xxx xxx xxx
likewise constrained to approve [the] offer of
[petitioner] and to execute [the second Lease-Purchase 17. Upon execution of the second Lease-Purchase
Agreement] of May 10, 1982. Agreement, [petitioner] took possession of one (1)
commercial space of the five-storey building of the
12. [The second Lease-Purchase Agreement] is subject premises and leased out the rest of the ground
burdensome and grossly disadvantageous to the floor thereof to other persons, thus, realizing a monthly
Republic, through the OGCC and the GSIS. rental income in the sum of [P25,000], more or less,
Notwithstanding that [the property was] already valued apart from the [P100.000] yearly rental he receives
then at or about Ten Million Pesos from the Republic, through the OGCC.
(P10,000,000.00), they were sold to [petitioner] for only 18. Considering the circumstances attendant to
Two Million Pesos (P2,000,000.00), and, worse yet, the negotiation and execution of the second Lease-
payable on a fifteen-year installment basis. Purchase Agreement, the same is null and void, and
Furthermore, the agreement obligated the GSIS to [petitioner] should be made to pay for the office space
provide the Republic, through the OGCC, an office and he had been occupying thereunder and to account for
parking space equivalent to a three-storey office and to return to the Republic, though the OGCC, all
building at its new building located at the Reclamation moneys he unjustly received, including those received
site in the Manila Bay Area or some other acquired from such tenant-lessees by way of rentals beginning
properties to house its offices, on or before June May, 1982, with interest thereon at the legal rate until
1989. The value of this obligation of the GSIS to the fully paid.[15]
Republic, at the moment is worth at least Twenty
Million Pesos (P20,000,000.00). Respondents prayed for the nullification of the second contract
13. Since the terms of [the] second agreement and the forfeiture of all payments made by petitioner to the GSIS in favor
are manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the of the Republic, through the OGCC, which payments were to be deemed
government and to the GSIS and its members, the payments by the Republic to the GSIS under the first contract. They also
contract is contrary to law, being violative of RA 3019, prayed for the payment by petitioner to the Republic, through the OGCC,
and the public officers responsible thereof are liable of: (a) a reasonable amount as rental for his occupancy of one
under Section 3(g) of [RA 3019]. Considering that the commercial space in the ground floor from May, 1982 until he vacated
cause or consideration of the second contract is the same; (b) all sums of money received as rentals from the tenant-
contrary to law, the same is void (Art. 1352, Civil Code). lessees of the building at the rate of P25,000 per month, plus legal
xxx xxx xxx interest, and (c) all sums of money received from the Republic, through
the OGCC, by way of rentals at the annual rate of P100,000 from May,
1982, with legal interest thereon until fully paid. Respondents further
prayed for the payment of actual damages, attorneys fees and litigation Now, the merits of the petition.
expenses, exemplary damages and costs of suit.[16]
We agree with the conclusion of the CA[26] and the RTC that the
On September 14, 1998, the trial court rendered its decision. It second contract was null and void ab initio.
ruled in favor of respondents and declared the May 10, 1982 lease-
purchase agreement between GSIS and petitioner null and void. It also The second contract was null and void ab initio for being in
ordered the forfeiture in favor of respondents of the purchase price paid contravention of Section 3(e) and (g) of RA 3019, otherwise known as
by petitioner to GSIS as well as the rentals received by petitioner.[17] the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.[27] Both the trial and appellate
courts found that the second contract gave petitioner unwarranted
As stated earlier, the CA affirmed the decision of the RTC in benefits and was grossly disadvantageous to the government.[28] Under
toto.[18] Article 1409(7) of the Civil Code,[29] the contract was null and void from
the beginning.
Hence this petition.[19] We quote the discussion of the CA with approval:
The issues raised by petitioner are actually anchored to one main
issue: Was the second contract valid as claimed by petitioner or null and The inquiry that must be settled is Whether or not the
void as decided by the courts below? subject Agreement had been grossly disadvantageous to
Before we delve into the merits, we shall first dispose of the the economic interests of the Republic.
question of jurisdiction. Petitioner asserts that it is the Sandiganbayan,
not the RTC, which has jurisdiction over this ill-gotten wealth case xxx xxx xxx
because the complaint involved the annulment of a fraudulent
conveyance of government property to a Marcos crony and the recovery x x x prior to the subject Agreement, there was a
of such ill-gotten wealth by the government.[20] Furthermore, for failure subsisting lease-purchase Agreement between GSIS and
to consolidate this civil case with the criminal case in the Sandiganbayan the Republic, thru the OGCC, whereby the latter
[charging petitioner with violation of Section 3(g) of RA 3019], this case undertakes to pay the former the total amount of
should be considered abandoned.[21] [P1,500,000], payable within [15] years and the payment
of the yearly amortization of [P100,000] shall be made in
Petitioners contention has no merit. equal quarterly installments of [P25,000]. Under the
same Agreement, the Republic, thru the OGCC shall
Petitioner argued and discussed this particular issue for the first manage and administer the leased premises as if it were
time in his memorandum before this Court.[22] While it is true that the absolute owner thereof. As of August 1982, the
jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case may be raised at any stage Republic, thru the OGCC had been collecting an average
of the proceedings since it is conferred by law, it is nevertheless settled monthly rental of [P10,000] from [various tenants of the
that a party may be barred from raising it on the ground of premises].
estoppel.[23] After voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an
adverse decision on the merits, it is improper and too late for the losing The foregoing figures [leads] to the conclusion that the
party to question the jurisdiction of the court.[24] A party who has Republic, thru the OGCC, had been earning an average
invoked the jurisdiction of a court over a particular matter to secure annual rental income of [P120,000], an amount which is
affirmative relief cannot be permitted to afterwards deny that same more than enough to cover its yearly amortization-rental
jurisdiction to escape liability.[25] Thus petitioner is estopped from to the GSIS which is only [P100,000].
questioning the jurisdiction of the courts below.
The economic benefit which the Republic, thru the OGCC, property in 1982 as appraised by Mr. Narlito Mario to the
enjoys during the subsistence of the prior Agreement is effect that the fair market value of the subject property
shown by its being able to liquidate its yearly from FIVE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY FIVE
amortization-rental from the rental income of the subject THOUSAND PESOS (P5,575,000.00) as the minimum and
property without any need for the Republic to SEVEN MILLION EIGHTY THREE THOUSAND THREE
appropriate additional funds for such disbursement and HUNDRED PESOS (P7,083,300.00) as the maximum and
further, by the transfer of absolute ownership of the Cuervo Appraisers, Inc. to the effect that the fair market
subject property to the Republic, thru the OGCC, at the value of the subject property is EIGHT MILLION FIVE
termination of the [15] year lease-purchase Agreement. THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED PESOS (P8,005,500.00).
While concededly the foregoing property appraisal was
In the subject Agreement with [petitioner], the conducted in 1989 and 1996 respectively, the Court is
consideration was increased to [P2,000,000] with a down not unmindful of the fact that the valuations were arrived
payment of [P200,000] and the balance payable within a at by taking into consideration all the parameters that, by
period of [15] years at [12%] per annum interest practice, could provide reasonable statistical indication
thereon, compounded yearly, with a yearly amortization of the value of the subject property in 1982.
of [P264,278.37], including principal and interest. Under
the same Agreement, the OGCC was likewise allowed to On this respect, [respondents] assertion that the
continue occupying its offices from the second to the fifth subject Agreement is at the behest of [petitioner] and is
floors of the premises, at the rental rate of [P100,000] grossly disadvantageous to the Republic had become self-
annually. evident since it certainly bewilders the mind why the
GSIS would enter into an Agreement which smacks of
The Agreement between [petitioner] and the GSIS disturbing economic implications, i.e. the Republic
which is the subject of the instant case had in fact would need to appropriate additional funds to pay
transferred the economic benefits which the for its rentals and abandon the chance of becoming
Republic used to enjoy to [petitioner]. At the end of the owner of the subject property which it uses for
[15] years, [petitioner] shall become the absolute owner governmental purposes and the fact that the subject
of the subject property upon full payment of the [15] property was negotiated by the government via a losing
yearly amortizations. At bottom, however, is the fact that, proposition.
at least for the first [five] years of the [Agreement], xxx xxx xxx
[petitioner] shall not be shelling out of his own pocket
the yearly amortization since the same shall be covered [I]n view of GSIS undertaking to construct another
by the annual rental coming from the OGCC and the other building for the OGCC what was revealed is the fact that if
tenants thereof. In the meantime, the Republic, thru the only to accommodate the subject Agreement with the
OGCC, shall not only be appropriating additional funds [petitioner], the GSIS had undertaken to build another
for its annual rental but worse, it was stripped of the building for the OGCC or to make available for OGCCs use
opportunity to become the absolute owner of the subject any other acquired property and to grant the same terms
property. and conditions as that of the previous agreement.
Necessarily so, the GSIS had imposed additional
The Court cannot also ignore the marked economic burden upon itself, at the expense of
differences between the consideration of TWO MILLION government funds, in order to meet the terms and
PESOS (P2,000,000.00) and the valuations of the subject conditions of the subject Agreement when the same was
not necessary during the subsistence of the prior SERAFIN TIJAM, ET AL. vs.MAGDALENO SIBONGHANOY alias
agreement.[30] (emphasis supplied) GAVINO SIBONGHANOY and LUCIA BAGUIO (CASE DIGEST) G.R. No.
L-21450 - - April 15, 1968
FACTS:
The foregoing clearly shows that the second contract caused
undue injury to the government, gave petitioner unwarranted benefits The action at bar, which is a suit for collection of a sum of money
and was grossly disadvantageous to the government. The disquisition of in the sum of exactly P 1,908.00, exclusive of interest filed by Serafin
the CA is sufficiently exhaustive and convincing considering that in civil Tijam and Felicitas Tagalog against Spouses Magdaleno Sibonghanoy
cases like this one, the party with the burden of proof (in this case, the and Lucia Baguio, was originally instituted in the Court of First Instance
respondents) needs only to establish its case by a preponderance of of Cebu on July 19, 1948. A month prior to the filing of the complaint, the
evidence.[31] Judiciary Act of 1948 (R.A. 296) took effect depriving the Court of First
Instance of original jurisdiction over cases in which the demand,
The act of entering into the second contract was a corrupt exclusive of interest, is not more than P 2,000.00 (Secs. 44[c] and 86[b],
practice and was therefore unlawful. It was a contract expressly R.A. 296.)
prohibited by RA 3019. As a result, it was null and void from the
beginning under Art. 1409(7) of the Civil Code.[32] The case has already been pending now for almost 15 years, and
throughout the entire proceeding the appellant never raised the
As for the forfeiture of the payments made by petitioner, the question of jurisdiction until the receipt of the Court of Appeals' adverse
latter did not raise any substantial argument against it. He merely stated decision.
that there should be no reason why the amounts paid by petitioner
should be forfeited in favor of the Republic since the property was Considering that the Supreme Court has the exclusive appellate
owned by GSIS and the Republic, through the OGCC, was merely a lessee. jurisdiction over all cases in which jurisdiction of any inferior court is in
issue, the Court of Appeals certified the case to the Supreme Court along
The RTC decision was clear. The amount forfeited was in favor of with the records of the case.
GSIS as owner of the property.
ISSUE: Whether or not the appellant's motion to dismiss on the ground
Having disposed of the main issue and ruling that the second of lack of jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance during the pendency
contract was void ab initio for being prohibited by law, a discussion of of the appeal will prosper.
the other ancillary issues raised by petitioner is no longer necessary.
RULING: A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the June 27, different ways and for different reasons. Thus we speak of estoppel in
2003 decision and November 10, 2003 resolution of the Court of Appeals pais, or estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches.
in CA-G.R. CV No. 62580 AFFIRMED.
Laches, in a general sense is failure or neglect, for an
Costs against petitioner. unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by
exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is
SO ORDERED. negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time,
warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has
abandoned it or declined to assert it.
The doctrine of laches or of "stale demands" is based upon cognizance of the present action by reason of the sum of money involved
grounds of public policy which requires, for the peace of society, the which, according to the law then in force, was within the original
discouragement of stale claims and, unlike the statute of limitations, is exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts. It failed to do so. Instead, at
not a mere question of time but is principally a question of the inequity several stages of the proceedings in the court a quo as well as in the
or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be enforced or asserted. Court of Appeals, it invoked the jurisdiction of said courts to obtain
affirmative relief and submitted its case for a final adjudication on the
It has been held that a party can not invoke the jurisdiction of a merits. It was only after an adverse decision was rendered by the Court
court to sure affirmative relief against his opponent and, after obtaining of Appeals that it finally woke up to raise the question of jurisdiction.
or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that same Were we to sanction such conduct on its part, We would in effect be
jurisdiction (Dean vs. Dean, 136 Or. 694, 86 A.L.R. 79). In the case just declaring as useless all the proceedings had in the present case since it
cited, by way of explaining the rule, it was further said that the question was commenced on July 19, 1948 and compel the judgment creditors to
whether the court had jurisdiction either of the subject-matter of the go up their Calvary once more. The inequity and unfairness of this is not
action or of the parties was not important in such cases because the only patent but revolting.
party is barred from such conduct not because the judgment or order of
the court is valid and conclusive as an adjudication, but for the reason Coming now to the merits of the appeal: after going over the
that such a practice can not be tolerated — obviously for reasons of entire record, We have become persuaded that We can do nothing better
public policy. than to quote in toto, with approval, the decision rendered by the Court
of Appeals x x x granting plaintiffs' motion for execution against the
Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily surety x x x
submitting a cause and encountering an adverse decision on the merits,
it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the UPON ALL THE FOREGOING, the orders appealed from are
court (Pease vs. Rathbun-Jones etc., 243 U.S. 273, 61 L. Ed. 715, 37 S. Ct. hereby affirmed, with costs against the appellant Manila Surety and
283; St. Louis etc. vs. McBride, 141 U.S. 127, 35 L. Ed. 659). And in Fidelity Company, Inc.
Littleton vs. Burgess, 16 Wyo. 58, the Court said that it is not right for a
party who has affirmed and invoked the jurisdiction of a court in a ATTY. RESTITUTO G. CUDIAMAT, G.R. No. 182403
particular matter to secure an affirmative relief, to afterwards deny that ERLINDA P. CUDIAMAT[1] and CORAZON D.
same jurisdiction to escape a penalty. CUDIAMAT, Present:
Petitioners,
Upon this same principle is what We said in the three cases PUNO, C.J., Chairpers
mentioned in the resolution of the Court of Appeals of May 20, 1963 CARPIO MORALES,
(supra) — to the effect that we frown upon the "undesirable practice" of - versus - LEONARDO-DE CAST
a party submitting his case for decision and then accepting the judgment, BERSAMIN, and
only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction, when adverse VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.
— as well as in Pindañgan etc. vs. Dans, et al., G.R. L-14591, September BATANGAS SAVINGS AND LOAN BANK,
26, 1962; Montelibano, et al., vs. Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co., Inc., G.R. L- INC., and THE REGISTER OF DEEDS, NASUGBU, Promulgated:
15092; Young Men Labor Union etc. vs. The Court of Industrial Relation BATANGAS,
et al., G.R. L-20307, Feb. 26, 1965, and Mejia vs. Lucas, 100 Phil. p. 277. Respondents. March 9, 2010

The facts of this case show that from the time the Surety became x-------------------------------------------------
a quasi-party on July 31, 1948, it could have raised the question of the -x
lack of jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Cebu to take
DECISION was docketed as SP No. 576; and that jurisdiction to adjudicate disputed
claims against it is lodged with the liquidation court-RTC Nasugbu.
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
By Decision of January 17, 2006,[5] Branch 9 of the Balayan RTC
Petitioner Atty. Restituto Cudiamat and his brother Perfecto rendered judgment, in the complaint for quieting of title, in favor of the
were the registered co-owners of a 320 square meter parcel of land (the plaintiffs-herein petitioners.It ordered respondent Register of Deeds of
property) in Balayan, Batangas, covered by TCT No. T-37889 of the Nasugbu to cancel the encumbrance annotated on TCT No. T-37889, and
Register of Deeds of Nasugbu, Batangas. Restituto, who resided in to cancel TCT No. T-48405 issued in the name of the bank and reinstate
Ozamiz City with his wife, entrusted the custody of the title to who was the former title. It also directed the bank to return the property to
residing in Balayan. petitioner spouses Restituto and Erlinda and to pay P20,000 to all the
petitioners to defray the costs of suit.

In 1979, Perfecto, without the knowledge and consent of The bank appealed to the Court of Appeals, contending, inter alia,
Restituto, obtained a loan from respondent Batangas Savings and Loan that the Balayan RTC had no jurisdiction over petitioners complaint for
Bank, Inc. (the bank). To secure the payment of the loan, Perfecto quieting of title.
mortgaged the property for the purpose of which he presented a Special
Power of Attorney (SPA) purportedly executed by Restituto, with the By the assailed Decision of December 21, 2007,[6] the appellate
marital consent of his wife-herein co-petitioner Erlinda Cudiamat. court, ruling in favor of the bank, dismissed petitioners complaint for
quieting of title, without prejudice to the right of petitioners to take up
On June 19, 1991, Restituto was informed, via letter[2] dated June their claims with the Nasugbu RTC sitting as a liquidation court.
7, 1991 from the bank, that the property was foreclosed. He thus, by
letter[3] dated June 25, 1991, informed the bank that he had no To the appellate court, the Balayan RTC, as a court of general
participation in the execution of the mortgage and that he never jurisdiction, should have deferred to the Nasugbu RTC which sits as a
authorized Perfecto for the purpose. liquidation court, given that the bank was already under receivership
when petitioners filed the complaint for quieting of title.
In the meantime, Perfecto died in 1990. In 1998, as Perfectos
widow petitioner Corazon was being evicted from the property, she and Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration having been denied by
her co-petitioner-spouses Restituto and Erlinda filed on August 9, 1999 the appellate court by Resolution of March 27, 2008, they filed the
before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Balayan a complaint[4] for present petition for review on certiorari.
quieting of title with damages against the bank and the Register of Deeds
of Nasugbu, docketed as Civil Case No. 3618, assailing the mortgage as Assailing the appellate courts ruling that the Balayan RTC had no
being null and void as they did not authorize the encumbrance of the jurisdiction over their complaint, petitioners argue that their complaint
property. was filed earlier than PDICs petition for assistance in the liquidation; and
that the bank is now estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the
In its Answer to the complaint, the bank, maintaining the validity Balayan RTC because it actively participated in the proceedings thereat.
of the mortgage, alleged that it had in fact secured a title in its name, TCT
No. T-48405, after Perfecto failed to redeem the mortgage; that the The petition is impressed with merit.
Balayan RTC had no jurisdiction over the case as the bank had been
placed under receivership and under liquidation by the Philippine Estoppel bars the bank from raising the issue of lack of
Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC); that PDIC filed before the RTC of jurisdiction of the Balayan RTC.
Nasugbu a petition for assistance in the liquidation of the bank which
In Lozon v. NLRC,[7] the Court came up with a clear rule on litigation court would be an exercise in futility. Among the circumstances
when jurisdiction by estoppel applies and when it does not: the Court considered in that case is the fact that the claimants were poor
and the disputed parcel of land was their only property, and the parties
The operation of estoppel on the question of jurisdiction claims and defenses were properly ventilated in and considered by the
seemingly depends on whether the lower court actually had jurisdiction judicial court.
or not. If it had no jurisdiction, but the case was tried and decided upon
the theory that it had jurisdiction, the parties are not barred, on appeal, In the present case, the Court finds that analogous
from assailing such jurisdiction, for the same must exist as a matter of considerations exist to warrant the application of Valenzuela. Petitioner
law, and may not be conferred by the consent of the parties Restituto was 78 years old at the time the petition was filed in this Court,
or by estoppel. However, if the lower court had jurisdiction, and the and his co-petitioner-wife Erlinda died[10] during the pendency of the
case was heard and decided upon a given theory, such, for instance, as case. And, except for co-petitioner Corazon, Restituto is a resident of
that the court had no jurisdiction, the party who induced it to adopt Ozamis City. To compel him to appear and relitigate the case in the
such theory will not be permitted, on appeal, to assume an liquidation court-Nasugbu RTC when the issues to be raised before it are
inconsistent position that the lower court the same as those already exhaustively passed upon and decided by the
had jurisdiction (underscoring supplied) Balayan RTC would be superfluous.

The ruling was echoed in Metromedia Times Corporation v. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of
Pastorin.[8] December 21, 2007 and Resolution dated March 27, 2008 of the Court of
Appeals are SET ASIDE.The Decision dated January 17, 2006 of the
In the present case, the Balayan RTC, sitting as a court of general Regional Trial Court of Balayan, Batangas, Branch 9 is REINSTATED.
jurisdiction, had jurisdiction over the complaint for quieting of title filed
by petitioners on August 9, 1999. The Nasugbu RTC, as a liquidation SO ORDERED.
court, assumed jurisdiction over the claims against the bank only on May
25, 2000, when PDICs petition for assistance in the liquidation was
raffled thereat and given due course.
While it is well-settled that lack of jurisdiction on the subject
matter can be raised at any time and is not lost by estoppel by laches, the
present case is an exception. To compel petitioners to re-file and
relitigate their claims before the Nasugbu RTC when the parties had
already been given the opportunity to present their respective evidence
in a full-blown trial before the Balayan RTC which had, in fact, decided
petitioners complaint (about two years before the appellate court
rendered the assailed decision) would be an exercise in futility and
would unjustly burden petitioners.

The Court, in Valenzuela v. Court of Appeals,[9] held that as a


general rule, if there is a judicial liquidation of an insolvent bank, all
claims against the bank should be filed in the liquidation proceeding. The
Court in Valenzuela, however, after considering the circumstances
attendant to the case, held that the general rule should not be applied if
to order the aggrieved party to refile or relitigate its case before the