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Morata v Go, 125 scra 444 1 Paul G. Gorres for private respondents.

Ramos v CA, 174 scra 690 4

Borromeo v Pogoy, 126 scra 217 19


ESCOLIN., J.:
San Miguel v Pundogar, 173 scra 704 21

Uy v Contreras, 237 scra 167 23 In this petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for writ of preliminary
injunction, the Court is called upon to determine the classes of actions which fall
Gegare v CA, 177 scra 471 29 within the coverage of Presidential Decree No. 1508, otherwise known as
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Katarungang Pambarangay Law. This law requires the compulsory process of


Galuba v Laureta, 157 scra 627 32
arbitration at the Barangay level as a pre-condition for filing a complaint in court,
Raymundo v CA, 213 scra 457 35 Petitioners contend that said legislation is so broad and all-embracing as to apply
to actions cognizable not only by the city and municipal courts, now known as the
Ortigas v Herrera, 120 scra 89 37 metropolitan trial courts and municipal trial courts, but also by the courts of first
Primero v IAC, 156 scra 435 38 instance, now the regional trial courts. Upon the other hand, respondents would
limit its coverage only to those cases falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of the
Manliguez v CA, 232 scra 427 41 metropolitan trial courts and municipal trial courts.

Tipait vs Reyes, 218 SCRA 592 45


The antecedent facts are not disputed. On August 5, 1982, respondents Victor
Vital Gozon vs CA, 212 Scra 235 50 Go and Flora D. Go filed in the defunct Court of First Instance of Cebu, presided
by respondent Judge Valeriano P. Tomol, Jr., a complaint against petitioners
Villamor vs Salas, 203 SCRA 540 59 Julius Morata and Ma. Luisa Morata for recovery of a sum of money plus
damages amounting to P49,400.00. The case was docketed as Civil Case No.
Pp v Regoreza 232 SCRA 245 61
R-22154.

On the basis of the allegation in the complaint that the parties-litigants are all
residents of Cebu City, petitioners filed a motion to dismiss, citing as grounds
therefor, the failure of the complaint to allege prior availment by the plaintiffs of
the barangay conciliation process required by P.D. 1508, as well as the absence
of a certification by the Lupon or Pangkat Secretary that no conciliation or
settlement had been reached by the parties. The motion was opposed by private
SPOUSES MARIA LUISA P. MORATA AND JULIUS MORATA, petitioners, respondents.
vs.
SPOUSES VICTOR GO and FLORA C. GO and HON. VALERIANO P. TOMOL, On September 2, 1982, respondent judge issued an order denying the motion to
JR., Judge, Court of First Instance of Cebu, Branch XI, respondents. dismiss.

Amado G. Olis for petitioners. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, but the same was denied in an
order dated October 3, 1982, as follows:
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Considering the specific reference to City or Municipal Courts in the provisions of [3] Actions coupled with provisional remedies such as preliminary injunction,
Sections 11 and 12 of P.D. No. 1508, as the Courts to which the dispute settled attachment, delivery of personal property and support pendente lite; and
or arbitrated by the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat, shall be elevated for
nullification of the award or for execution of the same, and considering that from [4] Where the action may otherwise be barred by the Statute of Limitations
the provision of Section 14 of the same law, the pre- condition to the filing of a
complaint as provided for in Section 6 thereof, is specifically referred to, it is the Section 2 of the law defines the scope of authority of the Lupon thus:
considered opinion of this Court that the provision of Section 6 of the law applies
only to cases cognizable by the inferior courts mentioned in Sections 11 and 12 SECTION 2. Subject matters for amicable settlement.—The Lupon of each
of the law. barangay shall have authority to bring together the parties actually residing in the
same city or municipality for amicable settlement of all disputes except:
In view of the foregoing, the motion for reconsideration filed by the defendants, of
the order of September 2. 1982, denying their motion to dismiss, is hereby [1] Where one party is the government ,or any subdivision or instrumentality
denied. [Annex 'G', p. 36, Rollo]. thereof;

From this order, petitioners came to Us thru this petition. In a resolution dated [2] Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute relates to the
December 2, 1982, We required respondents to file an answer, and likewise performance of his official functions;
granted a temporary restraining order enjoining respondent judge from requiring
petitioners to file their answer and enter into trial in Civil Case No. R-22154. [3] Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding 30 days, or a fine exceeding
P200.00;
We find the petition impressed with merit. Section 6 of P.D. 1508 reads as
follows: [4] Offenses where there is no private offended party;

SECTION 6. Conciliation pre-condition to filing of complaint.— No complaint, [5] Such other classes of disputes which the Prime Minister may in the interest of
petition, action for proceeding involving any matter within the authority of the justice determine upon recommendation of the Minister of Justice and the
Lupon as provided in Section 2 hereof shall be filed or instituted in court or any Minister of Local Government.
other government office for adjudication unless there has been a confrontation of
the parties before the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat and no conciliation or Thus, except in the instances enumerated in sections 2 and 6 of the law, the
settlement has been reached as certified by the Lupon Secretary or the Pangkat Lupon has the authority to settle amicably all types of disputes involving parties
Secretary attested by the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman, or unless the settlement who actually reside in the same city or municipality. The law, as written, makes
has been repudiated. However, the parties may go directly to court in the no distinction whatsoever with respect to the classes of civil disputes that should
following cases: be compromised at the barangay level, in contradistinction to the limitation
imposed upon the Lupon by paragraph (3), section 2 thereof as regards its
[1] Where the accused is under detention; authority over criminal cases. In fact, in defining the Lupon's authority, Section 2
of said law employed the universal and comprehensive term "all", to which usage
[2] Where a person has otherwise been deprived of personal liberty calling for We should neither add nor subtract in consonance with the rudimentary precept
habeas corpus proceedings; in statutory construction that "where the law does not distinguish, We should not
distinguish. By compelling the disputants to settle their differences through the
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intervention of the barangay leader and other respected members of the


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barangay, the animosity generated by protracted court litigations between objectives would only be half-met and easily thwarted if the Lupon's authority is
members of the same political unit, a disruptive factor toward unity and exercised only in cases falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts.
cooperation, is avoided. It must be borne in mind that the conciliation process at
the barangay level is likewise designed to discourage indiscriminate filing of Moreover, if it is the intention of the law to restrict its coverage only to cases
cases in court in order to decongest its clogged dockets and, in the process, cognizable by the inferior courts, then it would not have provided in Section 3
enhance the quality of justice dispensed by it. Thus, to say that the authority of thereof the following rule on Venue, to wit:
the Lupon is limited to cases exclusively cognizable by the inferior courts is to
lose sight of this objective. Worse, it would make the law a self-defeating one. Section 3. Venue. ... However, all disputes which involve real property or any
For what would stop a party, say in an action for a sum of money or damages, as interest therein shall be brought in the Barangay where the real property or and
in the instant case, from bloating up his claim in order to place his case beyond part thereof is situated.
the jurisdiction of the inferior court and thereby avoid the mandatory requirement
of P.D. 1508? And why, indeed, should the law seek to ease the congestion of for it should be noted that, traditionally and historically, jurisdiction over cases
dockets only in inferior courts and not in the regional trial courts where the involving real property or any interest therein, except forcible entry and detainer
log-jam of cases is much more serious? Indeed, the lawmakers could not have cases, has always been vested in the courts of first instance [now regional trial
intended such half-measure and self-defeating legislation. court].

The objectives of the law are set forth in its preamble thus: But it is pointed out by the respondent judge that Sections 11, 12, and 14, of
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the law speak of the city and/or municipal courts as the forum for the nullification
WHEREAS, the perpetuation and official recognition of the time-honored tradition or execution of the settlement or arbitration award issued by the Lupon. We hold
of amicably settling disputes among family and barangay level without judicial that this circumstance cannot be construed as a limitation of the scope of
resources would promote the speedy administration of justice and implement the authority of the Lupon. As heretofore stated, the authority of the Lupon is clearly
constitutional mandate to preserve and develop Filipino culture and to strengthen established in Section 2 of the law; whereas Sections 11, 12 and 14, relied upon
the family as a basic social institution; by respondent judge, deal with the nullification or execution of the settlement or
arbitration awards obtained at the barangay level. These sections conferred upon
WHEREAS, the indiscriminate filing of cases in the courts of justice contributes the city and municipal courts the jurisdiction to pass upon and resolve petitions or
heavily and unjustifiably to the congestion of court dockets, thus causing a actions for nullification or enforcement of settlement/arbitration awards issued by
deterioration in the quality of justice; the Lupon, regardless of the amount involved or the nature of the original dispute.
But there is nothing in the context of said sections to justify the thesis that the
WHEREAS, in order to help relieve the courts of such docket congestion and mandated conciliation process in other types of cases applies exclusively to said
thereby enhance the quality of justice dispensed by the courts, it is deemed inferior courts.
desirable to formally organize and institutionalize a system of amicably settling
disputes at the barangay level. Any doubt on the issue before Us should be dispelled by Circular No. 22 issued
by Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando, the full text of which is quoted as follows:
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There can be no question that when the law conferred upon the Lupon "the
authority to bring together the parties actually residing in the same city or TO: ALL JUDGES OF THE COURTS OF FIRST INSTANCE, CIRCUIT
municipality for amicable settlement of all disputes, ... ," its obvious intendment CRIMINAL COURTS, JUVENILE AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS COURTS,
was to grant to the Lupon as broad and comprehensive an authority as possible COURTS OF AGRARIAN RELATIONS, CITY COURTS, MUNICIPAL COURTS
as would bring about the optimum realization of the aforesaid objectives. These AND THEIR CLERKS OF COURT
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SUBJECT: Implementation of the Katarungang Pambarangay Law. restrained from conducting further proceedings in Civil Case No. R-22154,
except to dismiss the case. No costs.
Effective upon your receipt of the certification by the Minister of Local
Government and Community Development that all the barangays within your SO ORDERED.
respective jurisdictions have organized their Lupons provided for in Presidential
Decree No. 1508, otherwise known as the Katarungang Pambarangay Law, in
implementation of the barangay system of settlement of disputes, you are hereby
directed to desist from receiving complaints, petitions, actions or proceedings in
cases falling within the authority of said Lupons.

Circular No. 12 dated October 20, 1978, issued by the late Chief Justice Fred ROGELIO E. RAMOS and ERLINDA RAMOS, in their own behalf and as
Ruiz Castro is to that extent modified. natural guardians of the minors, ROMMEL RAMOS, ROY RODERICK
RAMOS and RON RAYMOND RAMOS, petitioners,
This Circular takes effect immediately. vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, DELOS SANTOS MEDICAL CENTER, DR. ORLINO
It is significant that the above-quoted circular embodying the directive "to desist HOSAKA and DRA. PERFECTA GUTIERREZ, respondents.
from receiving complaints, petitions, actions and proceedings in cases falling
within the authority of said Lupons," has been addressed not only to judges of
city and municipal courts, but also to all the judges of the courts of first instance,
circuit criminal courts, juvenile and domestic courts and courts of agrarian KAPUNAN, J.:
relations, now known as regional trial courts under B.P. No. 129. The said
circular was noted by president Ferdinand E. Marcos in a Letter of
The Hippocratic Oath mandates physicians to give primordial consideration to
Implementation, dated November 12, 1979, the first paragraph of which reads as the health and welfare of their patients. If a doctor fails to live up to this precept,
follows: "with the view to easing up the log-jam of cases and solving the backlogs
he is made accountable for his acts. A mistake, through gross negligence or
in the case of dockets of all government offices involved in the investigation, trial incompetence or plain human error, may spell the difference between life and
and adjudication of cases, it is hereby ordered that immediate implementation be
death. In this sense, the doctor plays God on his patient's fate. 1

made by all government officials and offices concerned of the system of amicably
settling disputes at the barangay level as provided for in the Katarungang
In the case at bar, the Court is called upon to rule whether a surgeon, an
Pambarangay Law [Presidential Decree No. 1508]."
anesthesiologist and a hospital should be made liable for the unfortunate
comatose condition of a patient scheduled for cholecystectomy. 2

Therefore, for the guidance of the bench and the bar, We now declare that the
conciliation process at the barangay level, prescribed by P.D. 1508 as a
Petitioners seek the reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals, dated 29
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pre-condition for filing a complaint in court, is compulsory not only for cases
May 1995, which overturned the decision of the Regional Trial Court, dated 30
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falling under the exclusive competence of the metropolitan and municipal trial
January 1992, finding private respondents liable for damages arising from
courts, but for actions cognizable by the regional trial courts as well.
negligence in the performance of their professional duties towards petitioner
Erlinda Ramos resulting in her comatose condition.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is granted, and the order of respondent judge
denying petitioners' motion to dismiss is hereby set aside. Respondent judge is
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The antecedent facts as summarized by the trial court are reproduced who was the Dean of the College of Nursing at the Capitol Medical Center, was
hereunder: also there for moral support. She reiterated her previous request for Herminda to
be with her even during the operation. After praying, she was given injections.
Plaintiff Erlinda Ramos was, until the afternoon of June 17, 1985, a 47-year old Her hands were held by Herminda as they went down from her room to the
(Exh. "A") robust woman (TSN, October 19, 1989, p. 10). Except for occasional operating room (TSN, January 13, 1988, pp. 9-11). Her husband, Rogelio, was
complaints of discomfort due to pains allegedly caused by the presence of a also with her (TSN, October 19, 1989, p. 18). At the operating room, Herminda
stone in her gall bladder (TSN, January 13, 1988, pp. 4-5), she was as normal as saw about two or three nurses and Dr. Perfecta Gutierrez, the other defendant,
any other woman. Married to Rogelio E. Ramos, an executive of Philippine Long who was to administer anesthesia. Although not a member of the hospital staff,
Distance Telephone Company, she has three children whose names are Herminda introduced herself as Dean of the College of Nursing at the Capitol
Rommel Ramos, Roy Roderick Ramos and Ron Raymond Ramos (TSN, Medical Center who was to provide moral support to the patient, to them.
October 19, 1989, pp. 5-6). Herminda was allowed to stay inside the operating room.

Because the discomforts somehow interfered with her normal ways, she sought At around 9:30 A.M., Dr. Gutierrez reached a nearby phone to look for Dr.
professional advice. She was advised to undergo an operation for the removal of Hosaka who was not yet in (TSN, January 13, 1988, pp. 11-12). Dr. Gutierrez
a stone in her gall bladder (TSN, January 13, 1988, p. 5). She underwent a series thereafter informed Herminda Cruz about the prospect of a delay in the arrival of
of examinations which included blood and urine tests (Exhs. "A" and "C") which Dr. Hosaka. Herminda then went back to the patient who asked, "Mindy, wala pa
indicated she was fit for surgery. ba ang Doctor"? The former replied, "Huwag kang mag-alaala, darating na iyon"
(Ibid.).
Through the intercession of a mutual friend, Dr. Buenviaje (TSN, January 13,
1988, p. 7), she and her husband Rogelio met for the first time Dr. Orlino Hozaka Thereafter, Herminda went out of the operating room and informed the patient's
(should be Hosaka; see TSN, February 20, 1990, p. 3), one of the defendants in husband, Rogelio, that the doctor was not yet around (id., p. 13). When she
this case, on June 10, 1985. They agreed that their date at the operating table at returned to the operating room, the patient told her, "Mindy, inip na inip na ako,
the DLSMC (another defendant), would be on June 17, 1985 at 9:00 A.M.. Dr. ikuha mo ako ng ibang Doctor." So, she went out again and told Rogelio about
Hosaka decided that she should undergo a "cholecystectomy" operation after what the patient said (id., p. 15). Thereafter, she returned to the operating room.
examining the documents (findings from the Capitol Medical Center, FEU
Hospital and DLSMC) presented to him. Rogelio E. Ramos, however, asked Dr. At around 10:00 A.M., Rogelio E. Ramos was "already dying [and] waiting for the
Hosaka to look for a good anesthesiologist. Dr. Hosaka, in turn, assured Rogelio arrival of the doctor" even as he did his best to find somebody who will allow him
that he will get a good anesthesiologist. Dr. Hosaka charged a fee of P16,000.00, to pull out his wife from the operating room (TSN, October 19, 1989, pp. 19-20).
which was to include the anesthesiologist's fee and which was to be paid after He also thought of the feeling of his wife, who was inside the operating room
the operation (TSN, October 19, 1989, pp. 14-15, 22-23, 31-33; TSN, February waiting for the doctor to arrive (ibid.). At almost 12:00 noon, he met Dr. Garcia
27, 1990, p. 13; and TSN, November 9, 1989, pp. 3-4, 10, 17). who remarked that he (Dr. Garcia) was also tired of waiting for Dr. Hosaka to
arrive (id., p. 21). While talking to Dr. Garcia at around 12:10 P.M., he came to
A day before the scheduled date of operation, she was admitted at one of the know that Dr. Hosaka arrived as a nurse remarked, "Nandiyan na si Dr. Hosaka,
rooms of the DLSMC, located along E. Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon City (TSN, dumating na raw." Upon hearing those words, he went down to the lobby and
October 19,1989, p. 11). waited for the operation to be completed (id., pp. 16, 29-30).

At around 7:30 A.M. of June 17, 1985 and while still in her room, she was At about 12:15 P.M., Herminda Cruz, who was inside the operating room with the
prepared for the operation by the hospital staff. Her sister-in-law, Herminda Cruz, patient, heard somebody say that "Dr. Hosaka is already here." She then saw
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people inside the operating room "moving, doing this and that, [and] preparing Erlinda Ramos stayed at the ICU for a month. About four months thereafter or on
the patient for the operation" (TSN, January 13, 1988, p. 16). As she held the November 15, 1985, the patient was released from the hospital.
hand of Erlinda Ramos, she then saw Dr. Gutierrez intubating the hapless patient.
She thereafter heard Dr. Gutierrez say, "ang hirap ma-intubate nito, mali yata During the whole period of her confinement, she incurred hospital bills amounting
ang pagkakapasok. O lumalaki ang tiyan" (id., p. 17). Because of the remarks of to P93,542.25 which is the subject of a promissory note and affidavit of
Dra. Gutierrez, she focused her attention on what Dr. Gutierrez was doing. She undertaking executed by Rogelio E. Ramos in favor of DLSMC. Since that fateful
thereafter noticed bluish discoloration of the nailbeds of the left hand of the afternoon of June 17, 1985, she has been in a comatose condition. She cannot
hapless Erlinda even as Dr. Hosaka approached her. She then heard Dr. Hosaka do anything. She cannot move any part of her body. She cannot see or hear. She
issue an order for someone to call Dr. Calderon, another anesthesiologist (id., p. is living on mechanical means. She suffered brain damage as a result of the
19). After Dr. Calderon arrived at the operating room, she saw this absence of oxygen in her brain for four to five minutes (TSN, November 9, 1989,
anesthesiologist trying to intubate the patient. The patient's nailbed became pp. 21-22). After being discharged from the hospital, she has been staying in
bluish and the patient was placed in a trendelenburg position — a position where their residence, still needing constant medical attention, with her husband
the head of the patient is placed in a position lower than her feet which is an Rogelio incurring a monthly expense ranging from P8,000.00 to P10,000.00
indication that there is a decrease of blood supply to the patient's brain (Id., pp. (TSN, October 19, 1989, pp. 32-34). She was also diagnosed to be suffering
19-20). Immediately thereafter, she went out of the operating room, and she told from "diffuse cerebral parenchymal damage" (Exh. "G"; see also TSN, December
Rogelio E. Ramos "that something wrong was . . . happening" (Ibid.). Dr. 21, 1989,
Calderon was then able to intubate the patient (TSN, July 25, 1991, p. 9). p. 6).5

Meanwhile, Rogelio, who was outside the operating room, saw a respiratory Thus, on 8 January 1986, petitioners filed a civil case for damages with the
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machine being rushed towards the door of the operating room. He also saw Regional Trial Court of Quezon City against herein private respondents alleging
several doctors rushing towards the operating room. When informed by negligence in the management and care of Erlinda Ramos.
Herminda Cruz that something wrong was happening, he told her (Herminda) to
be back with the patient inside the operating room (TSN, October 19, 1989, pp. During the trial, both parties presented evidence as to the possible cause of
25-28). Erlinda's injury. Plaintiff presented the testimonies of Dean Herminda Cruz and
Dr. Mariano Gavino to prove that the sustained by Erlinda was due to lack of
Herminda Cruz immediately rushed back, and saw that the patient was still in oxygen in her brain caused by the faulty management of her airway by private
trendelenburg position (TSN, January 13, 1988, p. 20). At almost 3:00 P.M. of respondents during the anesthesia phase. On the other hand, private
that fateful day, she saw the patient taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). respondents primarily relied on the expert testimony of Dr. Eduardo Jamora, a
pulmonologist, to the effect that the cause of brain damage was Erlinda's allergic
About two days thereafter, Rogelio E. Ramos was able to talk to Dr. Hosaka. The reaction to the anesthetic agent, Thiopental Sodium (Pentothal).
latter informed the former that something went wrong during the intubation.
Reacting to what was told to him, Rogelio reminded the doctor that the condition After considering the evidence from both sides, the Regional Trial Court
of his wife would not have happened, had he (Dr. Hosaka) looked for a good rendered judgment in favor of petitioners, to wit:
anesthesiologist (TSN, October 19, 1989, p. 31).
After evaluating the evidence as shown in the finding of facts set forth earlier, and
Doctors Gutierrez and Hosaka were also asked by the hospital to explain what applying the aforecited provisions of law and jurisprudence to the case at bar,
happened to the patient. The doctors explained that the patient had this Court finds and so holds that defendants are liable to plaintiffs for damages.
bronchospasm (TSN, November 15, 1990, pp. 26-27).
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The defendants were guilty of, at the very least, negligence in the performance of WHEREFORE, and in view of the foregoing, judgment is rendered in favor of the
their duty to plaintiff-patient Erlinda Ramos. plaintiffs and against the defendants. Accordingly, the latter are ordered to pay,
jointly and severally, the former the following sums of money, to wit:
On the part of Dr. Perfecta Gutierrez, this Court finds that she omitted to exercise
reasonable care in not only intubating the patient, but also in not repeating the 1) the sum of P8,000.00 as actual monthly expenses for the plaintiff Erlinda
administration of atropine (TSN, August 20, 1991, pp. 5-10), without due regard Ramos reckoned from November 15, 1985 or in the total sum of P632,000.00 as
to the fact that the patient was inside the operating room for almost three (3) of April 15, 1992, subject to its being updated;
hours. For after she committed a mistake in intubating [the] patient, the patient's
nailbed became bluish and the patient, thereafter, was placed in trendelenburg 2) the sum of P100,000.00 as reasonable attorney's fees;
position, because of the decrease of blood supply to the patient's brain. The
evidence further shows that the hapless patient suffered brain damage because 3) the sum of P800,000.00 by way of moral damages and the further sum of
of the absence of oxygen in her (patient's) brain for approximately four to five P200,000,00 by way of exemplary damages; and,
minutes which, in turn, caused the patient to become comatose.
4) the costs of the suit.
On the part of Dr. Orlino Hosaka, this Court finds that he is liable for the acts of
Dr. Perfecta Gutierrez whom he had chosen to administer anesthesia on the SO ORDERED. 7

patient as part of his obligation to provide the patient a good anesthesiologist',


and for arriving for the scheduled operation almost three (3) hours late. Private respondents seasonably interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals.
The appellate court rendered a Decision, dated 29 May 1995, reversing the
On the part of DLSMC (the hospital), this Court finds that it is liable for the acts of findings of the trial court. The decretal portion of the decision of the appellate
negligence of the doctors in their "practice of medicine" in the operating room. court reads:
Moreover, the hospital is liable for failing through its responsible officials, to
cancel the scheduled operation after Dr. Hosaka inexcusably failed to arrive on WHEREFORE, for the foregoing premises the appealed decision is hereby
time. REVERSED, and the complaint below against the appellants is hereby ordered
DISMISSED. The counterclaim of appellant De Los Santos Medical Center is
In having held thus, this Court rejects the defense raised by defendants that they GRANTED but only insofar as appellees are hereby ordered to pay the unpaid
have acted with due care and prudence in rendering medical services to hospital bills amounting to P93,542.25, plus legal interest for justice must be
plaintiff-patient. For if the patient was properly intubated as claimed by them, the tempered with mercy.
patient would not have become comatose. And, the fact that another
anesthesiologist was called to try to intubate the patient after her (the patient's) SO ORDERED. 8

nailbed turned bluish, belie their claim. Furthermore, the defendants should have
rescheduled the operation to a later date. This, they should have done, if The decision of the Court of Appeals was received on 9 June 1995 by petitioner
defendants acted with due care and prudence as the patient's case was an Rogelio Ramos who was mistakenly addressed as "Atty. Rogelio Ramos." No
elective, not an emergency case. copy of the decision, however, was sent nor received by the Coronel Law Office,
then counsel on record of petitioners. Rogelio referred the decision of the
xxx xxx xxx appellate court to a new lawyer, Atty. Ligsay, only on 20 June 1995, or four (4)
days before the expiration of the reglementary period for filing a motion for
reconsideration. On the same day, Atty. Ligsay, filed with the appellate court a
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motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration. The motion for I
reconsideration was submitted on 4 July 1995. However, the appellate court
denied the motion for extension of time in its Resolution dated 25 July IN PUTTING MUCH RELIANCE ON THE TESTIMONIES OF RESPONDENTS
1995. Meanwhile, petitioners engaged the services of another counsel, Atty.
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DRA. GUTIERREZ, DRA. CALDERON AND DR. JAMORA;
Sillano, to replace Atty. Ligsay. Atty. Sillano filed on 7 August 1995 a motion to
admit the motion for reconsideration contending that the period to file the II
appropriate pleading on the assailed decision had not yet commenced to run as
the Division Clerk of Court of the Court of Appeals had not yet served a copy IN FINDING THAT THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE RESPONDENTS DID NOT
thereof to the counsel on record. Despite this explanation, the appellate court still CAUSE THE UNFORTUNATE COMATOSE CONDITION OF PETITIONER
denied the motion to admit the motion for reconsideration of petitioners in its ERLINDA RAMOS;
Resolution, dated 29 March 1996, primarily on the ground that the fifteen-day (15)
period for filing a motion for reconsideration had already expired, to wit: III

We said in our Resolution on July 25, 1995, that the filing of a Motion for IN NOT APPLYING THE DOCTRINE OF RES IPSA LOQUITUR. 11

Reconsideration cannot be extended; precisely, the Motion for Extension (Rollo,


p. 12) was denied. It is, on the other hand, admitted in the latter Motion that Before we discuss the merits of the case, we shall first dispose of the procedural
plaintiffs/appellees received a copy of the decision as early as June 9, 1995. issue on the timeliness of the petition in relation to the motion for reconsideration
Computation wise, the period to file a Motion for Reconsideration expired on filed by petitioners with the Court of Appeals. In their
June 24. The Motion for Reconsideration, in turn, was received by the Court of Comment, private respondents contend that the petition should not be given
12

Appeals already on July 4, necessarily, the 15-day period already passed. For due course since the motion for reconsideration of the petitioners on the decision
that alone, the latter should be denied. of the Court of Appeals was validly dismissed by the appellate court for having
been filed beyond the reglementary period. We do not agree.
Even assuming admissibility of the Motion for the Reconsideration, but after
considering the Comment/Opposition, the former, for lack of merit, is hereby A careful review of the records reveals that the reason behind the delay in filing
DENIED. the motion for reconsideration is attributable to the fact that the decision of the
Court of Appeals was not sent to then counsel on record of petitioners, the
SO ORDERED. 10
Coronel Law Office. In fact, a copy of the decision of the appellate court was
instead sent to and received by petitioner Rogelio Ramos on 9 June 1995
A copy of the above resolution was received by Atty. Sillano on 11 April 1996. wherein he was mistakenly addressed as Atty. Rogelio Ramos. Based on the
The next day, or on 12 April 1996, Atty. Sillano filed before this Court a motion for other communications received by petitioner Rogelio Ramos, the appellate court
extension of time to file the present petition for certiorari under Rule 45. The apparently mistook him for the counsel on record. Thus, no copy of the decision
Court granted the motion for extension of time and gave petitioners additional of the counsel on record. Petitioner, not being a lawyer and unaware of the
thirty (30) days after the expiration of the fifteen-day (15) period counted from the prescriptive period for filing a motion for reconsideration, referred the same to a
receipt of the resolution of the Court of Appeals within which to submit the legal counsel only on 20 June 1995.
petition. The due date fell on 27 May 1996. The petition was filed on 9 May 1996,
well within the extended period given by the Court. It is elementary that when a party is represented by counsel, all notices should be
sent to the party's lawyer at his given address. With a few exceptions, notice to a
Petitioners assail the decision of the Court of Appeals on the following grounds: litigant without notice to his counsel on record is no notice at all. In the present
9

case, since a copy of the decision of the appellate court was not sent to the However, much has been said that res ipsa loquitur is not a rule of substantive
counsel on record of petitioner, there can be no sufficient notice to speak of. law and, as such, does not create or constitute an independent or separate
Hence, the delay in the filing of the motion for reconsideration cannot be taken ground of liability. Instead, it is considered as merely evidentiary or in the
17

against petitioner. Moreover, since the Court of Appeals already issued a second nature of a procedural rule. It is regarded as a mode of proof, or a mere
18

Resolution, dated 29 March 1996, which superseded the earlier resolution issued procedural of convenience since it furnishes a substitute for, and relieves a
on 25 July 1995, and denied the motion for reconsideration of petitioner, we plaintiff of, the burden of producing specific proof of negligence. In other words,
19

believed that the receipt of the former should be considered in determining the mere invocation and application of the doctrine does not dispense with the
timeliness of the filing of the present petition. Based on this, the petition before us requirement of proof of negligence. It is simply a step in the process of such proof,
was submitted on time. permitting the plaintiff to present along with the proof of the accident, enough of
the attending circumstances to invoke the doctrine, creating an inference or
After resolving the foregoing procedural issue, we shall now look into the merits presumption of negligence, and to thereby place on the defendant the burden of
of the case. For a more logical presentation of the discussion we shall first going forward with the proof. Still, before resort to the doctrine may be allowed,
20

consider the issue on the applicability of the doctrine of res ipsa loquiturto the the following requisites must be satisfactorily shown:
instant case. Thereafter, the first two assigned errors shall be tackled in relation
to the res ipsa loquiturdoctrine. 1. The accident is of a kind which ordinarily does not occur in the absence of
someone's negligence;
Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase which literally means "the thing or the
transaction speaks for itself." The phrase "res ipsa loquitur'' is a maxim for the 2. It is caused by an instrumentality within the exclusive control of the defendant
rule that the fact of the occurrence of an injury, taken with the surrounding or defendants; and
circumstances, may permit an inference or raise a presumption of negligence, or
make out a plaintiff's prima facie case, and present a question of fact for 3. The possibility of contributing conduct which would make the plaintiff
defendant to meet with an explanation. Where the thing which caused the injury
13
responsible is eliminated. 21

complained of is shown to be under the management of the defendant or his


servants and the accident is such as in ordinary course of things does not In the above requisites, the fundamental element is the "control of
happen if those who have its management or control use proper care, it affords instrumentality" which caused the damage. Such element of control must be
22

reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defendant, that the shown to be within the dominion of the defendant. In order to have the benefit of
accident arose from or was caused by the defendant's want of care. 14
the rule, a plaintiff, in addition to proving injury or damage, must show a situation
where it is applicable, and must establish that the essential elements of the
The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is simply a recognition of the postulate that, as a doctrine were present in a particular incident. 23

matter of common knowledge and experience, the very nature of certain types of
occurrences may justify an inference of negligence on the part of the person who Medical malpractice cases do not escape the application of this doctrine.
24

controls the instrumentality causing the injury in the absence of some Thus, res ipsa loquitur has been applied when the circumstances attendant upon
explanation by the defendant who is charged with negligence. It is grounded in
15
the harm are themselves of such a character as to justify an inference of
the superior logic of ordinary human experience and on the basis of such negligence as the cause of that harm. The application of res ipsa loquitur in
25

experience or common knowledge, negligence may be deduced from the mere medical negligence cases presents a question of law since it is a judicial function
occurrence of the accident itself. Hence, res ipsa loquitur is applied in
16
to determine whether a certain set of circumstances does, as a matter of law,
conjunction with the doctrine of common knowledge. permit a given inference. 26
10

Although generally, expert medical testimony is relied upon in malpractice suits Nevertheless, despite the fact that the scope of res ipsa loquitur has been
to prove that a physician has done a negligent act or that he has deviated from measurably enlarged, it does not automatically apply to all cases of medical
the standard medical procedure, when the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is availed negligence as to mechanically shift the burden of proof to the defendant to show
by the plaintiff, the need for expert medical testimony is dispensed with because that he is not guilty of the ascribed negligence. Res ipsa loquitur is not a rigid or
the injury itself provides the proof of negligence. The reason is that the general
27
ordinary doctrine to be perfunctorily used but a rule to be cautiously applied,
rule on the necessity of expert testimony applies only to such matters clearly depending upon the circumstances of each case. It is generally restricted to
within the domain of medical science, and not to matters that are within the situations in malpractice cases where a layman is able to say, as a matter of
common knowledge of mankind which may be testified to by anyone familiar with common knowledge and observation, that the consequences of professional
the facts. Ordinarily, only physicians and surgeons of skill and experience are
28
care were not as such as would ordinarily have followed if due care had been
competent to testify as to whether a patient has been treated or operated upon exercised. A distinction must be made between the failure to secure results,
37

with a reasonable degree of skill and care. However, testimony as to the and the occurrence of something more unusual and not ordinarily found if the
statements and acts of physicians and surgeons, external appearances, and service or treatment rendered followed the usual procedure of those skilled in
manifest conditions which are observable by any one may be given by that particular practice. It must be conceded that the doctrine of res ipsa
non-expert witnesses. Hence, in cases where the res ipsa loquitur is applicable,
29
loquitur can have no application in a suit against a physician or surgeon which
the court is permitted to find a physician negligent upon proper proof of injury to involves the merits of a diagnosis or of a scientific treatment. The physician or
38

the patient, without the aid of expert testimony, where the court from its fund of surgeon is not required at his peril to explain why any particular diagnosis was
common knowledge can determine the proper standard of care. Where 30
not correct, or why any particular scientific treatment did not produce the desired
common knowledge and experience teach that a resulting injury would not have result. Thus, res ipsa loquitur is not available in a malpractice suit if the only
39

occurred to the patient if due care had been exercised, an inference of showing is that the desired result of an operation or treatment was not
negligence may be drawn giving rise to an application of the doctrine of res ipsa accomplished. The real question, therefore, is whether or not in the process of
40

loquitur without medical evidence, which is ordinarily required to show not only the operation any extraordinary incident or unusual event outside of the routine
what occurred but how and why it occurred. When the doctrine is appropriate,
31
performance occurred which is beyond the regular scope of customary
all that the patient must do is prove a nexus between the particular act or professional activity in such operations, which, if unexplained would themselves
omission complained of and the injury sustained while under the custody and reasonably speak to the average man as the negligent cause or causes of the
management of the defendant without need to produce expert medical testimony untoward consequence. If there was such extraneous interventions, the
41

to establish the standard of care. Resort to res ipsa loquitur is allowed because doctrine of res ipsa loquitur may be utilized and the defendant is called upon to
there is no other way, under usual and ordinary conditions, by which the patient explain the matter, by evidence of exculpation, if he could. 42

can obtain redress for injury suffered by him.


We find the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur appropriate in the case at bar. As will
Thus, courts of other jurisdictions have applied the doctrine in the following hereinafter be explained, the damage sustained by Erlinda in her brain prior to a
situations: leaving of a foreign object in the body of the patient after an scheduled gall bladder operation presents a case for the application of res ipsa
operation, injuries sustained on a healthy part of the body which was not under,
32
loquitur.
or in the area, of treatment, removal of the wrong part of the body when another
33

part was intended, knocking out a tooth while a patient's jaw was under
34
A case strikingly similar to the one before us is Voss vs. Bridwell, where the
43

anesthetic for the removal of his tonsils, and loss of an eye while the patient
35
Kansas Supreme Court in applying the res ipsa loquitur stated:
plaintiff was under the influence of anesthetic, during or following an operation for
appendicitis, among others.
36
The plaintiff herein submitted himself for a mastoid operation and delivered his
person over to the care, custody and control of his physician who had complete
11

and exclusive control over him, but the operation was never performed. At the Furthermore, the instruments used in the administration of anesthesia, including
time of submission he was neurologically sound and physically fit in mind and the endotracheal tube, were all under the exclusive control of private
body, but he suffered irreparable damage and injury rendering him decerebrate respondents, who are the physicians-in-charge. Likewise, petitioner Erlinda could
and totally incapacitated. The injury was one which does not ordinarily occur in not have been guilty of contributory negligence because she was under the
the process of a mastoid operation or in the absence of negligence in the influence of anesthetics which rendered her unconscious.
administration of an anesthetic, and in the use and employment of an
endoctracheal tube. Ordinarily a person being put under anesthesia is not Considering that a sound and unaffected member of the body (the brain) is
rendered decerebrate as a consequence of administering such anesthesia in the injured or destroyed while the patient is unconscious and under the immediate
absence of negligence. Upon these facts and under these circumstances a and exclusive control of the physicians, we hold that a practical administration of
layman would be able to say, as a matter of common knowledge and observation, justice dictates the application of res ipsa loquitur. Upon these facts and under
that the consequences of professional treatment were not as such as would these circumstances the Court would be able to say, as a matter of common
ordinarily have followed if due care had been exercised. knowledge and observation, if negligence attended the management and care of
the patient. Moreover, the liability of the physicians and the hospital in this case is
Here the plaintiff could not have been guilty of contributory negligence because not predicated upon an alleged failure to secure the desired results of an
he was under the influence of anesthetics and unconscious, and the operation nor on an alleged lack of skill in the diagnosis or treatment as in fact no
circumstances are such that the true explanation of event is more accessible to operation or treatment was ever performed on Erlinda. Thus, upon all these initial
the defendants than to the plaintiff for they had the exclusive control of the determination a case is made out for the application of the doctrine of res ipsa
instrumentalities of anesthesia. loquitur.

Upon all the facts, conditions and circumstances alleged in Count II it is held that Nonetheless, in holding that res ipsa loquitur is available to the present case we
a cause of action is stated under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.44
are not saying that the doctrine is applicable in any and all cases where injury
occurs to a patient while under anesthesia, or to any and all anesthesia cases.
Indeed, the principles enunciated in the aforequoted case apply with equal force Each case must be viewed in its own light and scrutinized in order to be within
here. In the present case, Erlinda submitted herself for cholecystectomy and the res ipsa loquitur coverage.
expected a routine general surgery to be performed on her gall bladder. On that
fateful day she delivered her person over to the care, custody and control of Having in mind the applicability of the res ipsa loquitur doctrine and the
private respondents who exercised complete and exclusive control over her. At presumption of negligence allowed therein, the Court now comes to the issue of
the time of submission, Erlinda was neurologically sound and, except for a few whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding that private respondents were not
minor discomforts, was likewise physically fit in mind and body. However, during negligent in the care of Erlinda during the anesthesia phase of the operation and,
the administration of anesthesia and prior to the performance of cholecystectomy if in the affirmative, whether the alleged negligence was the proximate cause of
she suffered irreparable damage to her brain. Thus, without undergoing surgery, Erlinda's comatose condition. Corollary thereto, we shall also determine if the
she went out of the operating room already decerebrate and totally incapacitated. Court of Appeals erred in relying on the testimonies of the witnesses for the
Obviously, brain damage, which Erlinda sustained, is an injury which does not private respondents.
normally occur in the process of a gall bladder operation. In fact, this kind of
situation does not in the absence of negligence of someone in the administration In sustaining the position of private respondents, the Court of Appeals relied on
of anesthesia and in the use of endotracheal tube. Normally, a person being put the testimonies of Dra. Gutierrez, Dra. Calderon and Dr. Jamora. In giving weight
under anesthesia is not rendered decerebrate as a consequence of to the testimony of Dra. Gutierrez, the Court of Appeals rationalized that she was
administering such anesthesia if the proper procedure was followed. candid enough to admit that she experienced some difficulty in the endotracheal
12

intubation of the patient and thus, cannot be said to be covering her negligence
45
Q: Do you know what happened to that intubation process administered by Dra.
with falsehood. The appellate court likewise opined that private respondents Gutierrez?
were able to show that the brain damage sustained by Erlinda was not caused by
the alleged faulty intubation but was due to the allergic reaction of the patient to ATTY. ALCERA:
the drug Thiopental Sodium (Pentothal), a short-acting barbiturate, as testified on
by their expert witness, Dr. Jamora. On the other hand, the appellate court She will be incompetent Your Honor.
rejected the testimony of Dean Herminda Cruz offered in favor of petitioners that
the cause of the brain injury was traceable to the wrongful insertion of the tube COURT:
since the latter, being a nurse, was allegedly not knowledgeable in the process of
intubation. In so holding, the appellate court returned a verdict in favor of Witness may answer if she knows.
respondents physicians and hospital and absolved them of any liability towards
Erlinda and her family. A: As have said, I was with the patient, I was beside the stretcher holding the left
hand of the patient and all of a sudden heard some remarks coming from Dra.
We disagree with the findings of the Court of Appeals. We hold that private Perfecta Gutierrez herself. She was saying "Ang hirap ma-intubate nito, mali yata
respondents were unable to disprove the presumption of negligence on their part ang pagkakapasok. O lumalaki ang tiyan.
in the care of Erlinda and their negligence was the proximate cause of her
piteous condition. xxx xxx xxx

In the instant case, the records are helpful in furnishing not only the logical ATTY. PAJARES:
scientific evidence of the pathogenesis of the injury but also in providing the
Court the legal nexus upon which liability is based. As will be shown hereinafter,
Q: From whom did you hear those words "lumalaki ang tiyan"?
private respondents' own testimonies which are reflected in the transcript of
stenographic notes are replete of signposts indicative of their negligence in the
A: From Dra. Perfecta Gutierrez.
care and management of Erlinda.
xxx xxx xxx
With regard to Dra. Gutierrez, we find her negligent in the care of Erlinda during
the anesthesia phase. As borne by the records, respondent Dra. Gutierrez failed
to properly intubate the patient. This fact was attested to by Prof. Herminda Cruz, Q: After hearing the phrase "lumalaki ang tiyan," what did you notice on the
person of the patient?
Dean of the Capitol Medical Center School of Nursing and petitioner's
sister-in-law, who was in the operating room right beside the patient when the
tragic event occurred. Witness Cruz testified to this effect: A: I notice (sic) some bluish discoloration on the nailbeds of the left hand where I
was at.
ATTY. PAJARES:
Q: Where was Dr. Orlino Ho[s]aka then at that particular time?
Q: In particular, what did Dra. Perfecta Gutierrez do, if any on the patient?
A: I saw him approaching the patient during that time.
A: In particular, I could see that she was intubating the patient.
Q: When he approached the patient, what did he do, if any?
13

A: He made an order to call on the anesthesiologist in the person of Dr. examination to check if the endotracheal tube was in its proper place, and to
Calderon. determine the condition of the heart, lungs, and other organs. Thus, witness
Cruz's categorical statements that appellant Dra. Gutierrez failed to intubate the
Q: Did Dr. Calderon, upon being called, arrive inside the operating room? appellee Erlinda Ramos and that it was Dra. Calderon who succeeded in doing
so clearly suffer from lack of sufficient factual bases. 47

A: Yes sir.
In other words, what the Court of Appeals is trying to impress is that being a
Q: What did [s]he do, if any? nurse, and considered a layman in the process of intubation, witness Cruz is not
competent to testify on whether or not the intubation was a success.
A: [S]he tried to intubate the patient.
We do not agree with the above reasoning of the appellate court. Although
Q: What happened to the patient? witness Cruz is not an anesthesiologist, she can very well testify upon matters on
which she is capable of observing such as, the statements and acts of the
A: When Dr. Calderon try (sic) to intubate the patient, after a while the patient's physician and surgeon, external appearances, and manifest conditions which are
nailbed became bluish and I saw the patient was placed in trendelenburg observable by any one. This is precisely allowed under the doctrine of res ipsa
48

position. loquitur where the testimony of expert witnesses is not required. It is the
accepted rule that expert testimony is not necessary for the proof of negligence
xxx xxx xxx in non-technical matters or those of which an ordinary person may be expected
to have knowledge, or where the lack of skill or want of care is so obvious as to
render expert testimony unnecessary. We take judicial notice of the fact that
49

Q: Do you know the reason why the patient was placed in that trendelenburg
anesthesia procedures have become so common, that even an ordinary person
position?
can tell if it was administered properly. As such, it would not be too difficult to tell
if the tube was properly inserted. This kind of observation, we believe, does not
A: As far as I know, when a patient is in that position, there is a decrease of blood
require a medical degree to be acceptable.
supply to the brain. 46

At any rate, without doubt, petitioner's witness, an experienced clinical nurse


xxx xxx xxx
whose long experience and scholarship led to her appointment as Dean of the
Capitol Medical Center School at Nursing, was fully capable of determining
The appellate court, however, disbelieved Dean Cruz's testimony in the trial court
whether or not the intubation was a success. She had extensive clinical
by declaring that:
experience starting as a staff nurse in Chicago, Illinois; staff nurse and clinical
instructor in a teaching hospital, the FEU-NRMF; Dean of the Laguna College of
A perusal of the standard nursing curriculum in our country will show that Nursing in San Pablo City; and then Dean of the Capitol Medical Center School
intubation is not taught as part of nursing procedures and techniques. Indeed, we of Nursing. Reviewing witness Cruz' statements, we find that the same were
50

take judicial notice of the fact that nurses do not, and cannot, intubate. Even on delivered in a straightforward manner, with the kind of detail, clarity, consistency
the assumption that she is fully capable of determining whether or not a patient is and spontaneity which would have been difficult to fabricate. With her clinical
properly intubated, witness Herminda Cruz, admittedly, did not peep into the background as a nurse, the Court is satisfied that she was able to demonstrate
throat of the patient. (TSN, July 25, 1991, p. 13). More importantly, there is no through her testimony what truly transpired on that fateful day.
evidence that she ever auscultated the patient or that she conducted any type of
14

Most of all, her testimony was affirmed by no less than respondent Dra. Gutierrez The argument does not convince us. If this was indeed observed, private
who admitted that she experienced difficulty in inserting the tube into Erlinda's respondents adduced no evidence demonstrating that they proceeded to make a
trachea, to wit: thorough assessment of Erlinda's airway, prior to the induction of anesthesia,
even if this would mean postponing the procedure. From their testimonies, it
ATTY. LIGSAY: appears that the observation was made only as an afterthought, as a means of
defense.
Q: In this particular case, Doctora, while you were intubating at your first attempt
(sic), you did not immediately see the trachea? The pre-operative evaluation of a patient prior to the administration of anesthesia
is universally observed to lessen the possibility of anesthetic accidents.
DRA. GUTIERREZ: Pre-operative evaluation and preparation for anesthesia begins when the
anesthesiologist reviews the patient's medical records and visits with the patient,
A: Yes sir. traditionally, the day before elective surgery. It includes taking the patient's
53

medical history, review of current drug therapy, physical examination and


Q: Did you pull away the tube immediately? interpretation of laboratory data. The physical examination performed by the
54

anesthesiologist is directed primarily toward the central nervous system,


A: You do not pull the . . . cardiovascular system, lungs and upper airway. A thorough analysis of the
55

patient's airway normally involves investigating the following: cervical spine


mobility, temporomandibular mobility, prominent central incisors, diseased or
Q: Did you or did you not?
artificial teeth, ability to visualize uvula and the thyromental distance. Thus,
56

physical characteristics of the patient's upper airway that could make tracheal
A: I did not pull the tube.
intubation difficult should be studied. Where the need arises, as when initial
57

assessment indicates possible problems (such as the alleged short neck and
Q: When you said "mahirap yata ito," what were you referring to?
protruding teeth of Erlinda) a thorough examination of the patient's airway would
go a long way towards decreasing patient morbidity and mortality.
A: "Mahirap yata itong i-intubate," that was the patient.
In the case at bar, respondent Dra. Gutierrez admitted that she saw Erlinda for
Q: So, you found some difficulty in inserting the tube? the first time on the day of the operation itself, on 17 June 1985. Before this date,
no prior consultations with, or pre-operative evaluation of Erlinda was done by
A: Yes, because of (sic) my first attempt, I did not see right away. 51
her. Until the day of the operation, respondent Dra. Gutierrez was unaware of the
physiological make-up and needs of Erlinda. She was likewise not properly
Curiously in the case at bar, respondent Dra. Gutierrez made the haphazard informed of the possible difficulties she would face during the administration of
defense that she encountered hardship in the insertion of the tube in the trachea anesthesia to Erlinda. Respondent Dra. Gutierrez' act of seeing her patient for
of Erlinda because it was positioned more anteriorly (slightly deviated from the the first time only an hour before the scheduled operative procedure was,
normal anatomy of a person) making it harder to locate and, since Erlinda is
52
therefore, an act of exceptional negligence and professional irresponsibility. The
obese and has a short neck and protruding teeth, it made intubation even more measures cautioning prudence and vigilance in dealing with human lives lie at
difficult. the core of the physician's centuries-old Hippocratic Oath. Her failure to follow
this medical procedure is, therefore, a clear indicia of her negligence.
15

Respondent Dra. Gutierrez, however, attempts to gloss over this omission by negligently failed to take advantage of this important opportunity. As such, her
playing around with the trial court's ignorance of clinical procedure, hoping that attempt to exculpate herself must fail.
she could get away with it. Respondent Dra. Gutierrez tried to muddle the
difference between an elective surgery and an emergency surgery just so her Having established that respondent Dra. Gutierrez failed to perform
failure to perform the required pre-operative evaluation would escape unnoticed. pre-operative evaluation of the patient which, in turn, resulted to a wrongful
In her testimony she asserted: intubation, we now determine if the faulty intubation is truly the proximate cause
of Erlinda's comatose condition.
ATTY. LIGSAY:
Private respondents repeatedly hammered the view that the cerebral anoxia
Q: Would you agree, Doctor, that it is good medical practice to see the patient a which led to Erlinda's coma was due to bronchospasm mediated by her allergic
59

day before so you can introduce yourself to establish good doctor-patient response to the drug, Thiopental Sodium, introduced into her system. Towards
relationship and gain the trust and confidence of the patient? this end, they presented Dr. Jamora, a Fellow of the Philippine College of
Physicians and Diplomate of the Philippine Specialty Board of Internal Medicine,
DRA. GUTIERREZ: who advanced private respondents' theory that the oxygen deprivation which led
to anoxic encephalopathy, was due to an unpredictable drug reaction to the
60

A: As I said in my previous statement, it depends on the operative procedure of short-acting barbiturate. We find the theory of private respondents unacceptable.
the anesthesiologist and in my case, with elective cases and normal
cardio-pulmonary clearance like that, I usually don't do it except on emergency First of all, Dr. Jamora cannot be considered an authority in the field of
and on cases that have an abnormalities (sic). 58 anesthesiology simply because he is not an anesthesiologist. Since Dr. Jamora
is a pulmonologist, he could not have been capable of properly enlightening the
However, the exact opposite is true. In an emergency procedure, there is hardly court about anesthesia practice and procedure and their complications. Dr.
enough time available for the fastidious demands of pre-operative procedure so Jamora is likewise not an allergologist and could not therefore properly advance
that an anesthesiologist is able to see the patient only a few minutes before expert opinion on allergic-mediated processes. Moreover, he is not a
surgery, if at all. Elective procedures, on the other hand, are operative pharmacologist and, as such, could not have been capable, as an expert would,
procedures that can wait for days, weeks or even months. Hence, in these cases, of explaining to the court the pharmacologic and toxic effects of the supposed
the anesthesiologist possesses the luxury of time to be at the patient's beside to culprit, Thiopental Sodium (Pentothal).
do a proper interview and clinical evaluation. There is ample time to explain the
method of anesthesia, the drugs to be used, and their possible hazards for The inappropriateness and absurdity of accepting Dr. Jamora's testimony as an
purposes of informed consent. Usually, the pre-operative assessment is expert witness in the anesthetic practice of Pentothal administration is further
conducted at least one day before the intended surgery, when the patient is supported by his own admission that he formulated his opinions on the drug not
relaxed and cooperative. from the practical experience gained by a specialist or expert in the
administration and use of Sodium Pentothal on patients, but only from reading
Erlinda's case was elective and this was known to respondent Dra. Gutierrez. certain references, to wit:
Thus, she had all the time to make a thorough evaluation of Erlinda's case prior
to the operation and prepare her for anesthesia. However, she never saw the ATTY. LIGSAY:
patient at the bedside. She herself admitted that she had seen petitioner only in
the operating room, and only on the actual date of the cholecystectomy. She Q: In your line of expertise on pulmonology, did you have any occasion to use
pentothal as a method of management?
16

DR. JAMORA: Sec. 49. Opinion of expert witness. — The opinion of a witness on a matter
requiring special knowledge, skill, experience or training which he is shown to
A: We do it in conjunction with the anesthesiologist when they have to intubate possess, may be received in evidence.
our patient.
Generally, to qualify as an expert witness, one must have acquired special
Q: But not in particular when you practice pulmonology? knowledge of the subject matter about which he or she is to testify, either by the
study of recognized authorities on the subject or by practical experience. Clearly,
63

A: No. Dr. Jamora does not qualify as an expert witness based on the above standard
since he lacks the necessary knowledge, skill, and training in the field of
Q: In other words, your knowledge about pentothal is based only on what you anesthesiology. Oddly, apart from submitting testimony from a specialist in the
have read from books and not by your own personal application of the medicine wrong field, private respondents' intentionally avoided providing testimony by
pentothal? competent and independent experts in the proper areas.

A: Based on my personal experience also on pentothal. Moreover, private respondents' theory, that Thiopental Sodium may have
produced Erlinda's coma by triggering an allergic mediated response, has no
Q: How many times have you used pentothal? support in evidence. No evidence of stridor, skin reactions, or wheezing — some
of the more common accompanying signs of an allergic reaction — appears on
A: They used it on me. I went into bronchospasm during my appendectomy. record. No laboratory data were ever presented to the court.

Q: And because they have used it on you and on account of your own personal In any case, private respondents themselves admit that Thiopental induced,
experience you feel that you can testify on pentothal here with medical authority? allergic-mediated bronchospasm happens only very rarely. If courts were to
accept private respondents' hypothesis without supporting medical proof, and
against the weight of available evidence, then every anesthetic accident would
A: No. That is why I used references to support my claims. 61
be an act of God. Evidently, the Thiopental-allergy theory vigorously asserted by
private respondents was a mere afterthought. Such an explanation was
An anesthetic accident caused by a rare drug-induced bronchospasm properly
advanced in order to advanced in order to absolve them of any and all
falls within the fields of anesthesia, internal medicine-allergy, and clinical
responsibility for the patient's condition.
pharmacology. The resulting anoxic encephalopathy belongs to the field of
neurology. While admittedly, many bronchospastic-mediated pulmonary
In view of the evidence at hand, we are inclined to believe petitioners' stand that
diseases are within the expertise of pulmonary medicine, Dr. Jamora's field, the
it was the faulty intubation which was the proximate cause of Erlinda's comatose
anesthetic drug-induced, allergic mediated bronchospasm alleged in this case is
condition.
within the disciplines of anesthesiology, allergology and pharmacology. On the
basis of the foregoing transcript, in which the pulmonologist himself admitted that
he could not testify about the drug with medical authority, it is clear that the Proximate cause has been defined as that which, in natural and continuous
appellate court erred in giving weight to Dr. Jamora's testimony as an expert in sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces injury, and
the administration of Thiopental Sodium. without which the result would not have occurred. An injury or damage is
64

proximately caused by an act or a failure to act, whenever it appears from the


evidence in the case, that the act or omission played a substantial part in bringing
The provision in the rules of evidence regarding expert witnesses states:
62

about or actually causing the injury or damage; and that the injury or damage
17

was either a direct result or a reasonably probable consequence of the act or The above conclusion is not without basis. Scientific studies point out that
omission. It is the dominant, moving or producing cause.
65
intubation problems are responsible for one-third (1/3) of deaths and serious
injuries associated with anesthesia. Nevertheless, ninety-eight percent (98%)
69

Applying the above definition in relation to the evidence at hand, faulty intubation or the vast majority of difficult intubations may be anticipated by performing a
is undeniably the proximate cause which triggered the chain of events leading to thorough evaluation of the patient's airway prior to the operation. As stated
70

Erlinda's brain damage and, ultimately, her comatosed condition. beforehand, respondent Dra. Gutierrez failed to observe the proper pre-operative
protocol which could have prevented this unfortunate incident. Had appropriate
Private respondents themselves admitted in their testimony that the first diligence and reasonable care been used in the pre-operative evaluation,
intubation was a failure. This fact was likewise observed by witness Cruz when respondent physician could have been much more prepared to meet the
she heard respondent Dra. Gutierrez remarked, "Ang hirap ma-intubate nito, mali contingency brought about by the perceived anatomic variations in the patient's
yata ang pagkakapasok. O lumalaki ang tiyan." Thereafter, witness Cruz noticed neck and oral area, defects which would have been easily overcome by a prior
abdominal distention on the body of Erlinda. The development of abdominal knowledge of those variations together with a change in technique. In other 71

distention, together with respiratory embarrassment indicates that the words, an experienced anesthesiologist, adequately alerted by a thorough
endotracheal tube entered the esophagus instead of the respiratory tree. In other pre-operative evaluation, would have had little difficulty going around the short
words, instead of the intended endotracheal intubation what actually took place neck and protruding teeth. Having failed to observe common medical standards
72

was an esophageal intubation. During intubation, such distention indicates that in pre-operative management and intubation, respondent Dra. Gutierrez'
air has entered the gastrointestinal tract through the esophagus instead of the negligence resulted in cerebral anoxia and eventual coma of Erlinda.
lungs through the trachea. Entry into the esophagus would certainly cause some
delay in oxygen delivery into the lungs as the tube which carries oxygen is in the We now determine the responsibility of respondent Dr. Orlino Hosaka as the
wrong place. That abdominal distention had been observed during the first head of the surgical team. As the so-called "captain of the ship," it is the 73

intubation suggests that the length of time utilized in inserting the endotracheal surgeon's responsibility to see to it that those under him perform their task in the
tube (up to the time the tube was withdrawn for the second attempt) was fairly proper manner. Respondent Dr. Hosaka's negligence can be found in his failure
significant. Due to the delay in the delivery of oxygen in her lungs Erlinda showed to exercise the proper authority (as the "captain" of the operative team) in not
signs of cyanosis. As stated in the testimony of Dr. Hosaka, the lack of oxygen
66 determining if his anesthesiologist observed proper anesthesia protocols. In fact,
became apparent only after he noticed that the nailbeds of Erlinda were already no evidence on record exists to show that respondent Dr. Hosaka verified if
blue. However, private respondents contend that a second intubation was
67 respondent Dra. Gutierrez properly intubated the patient. Furthermore, it does
executed on Erlinda and this one was successfully done. We do not think so. No not escape us that respondent Dr. Hosaka had scheduled another procedure in a
evidence exists on record, beyond private respondents' bare claims, which different hospital at the same time as Erlinda's cholecystectomy, and was in fact
supports the contention that the second intubation was successful. Assuming over three hours late for the latter's operation. Because of this, he had little or no
that the endotracheal tube finally found its way into the proper orifice of the time to confer with his anesthesiologist regarding the anesthesia delivery. This
trachea, the same gave no guarantee of oxygen delivery, the hallmark of a indicates that he was remiss in his professional duties towards his patient. Thus,
successful intubation. In fact, cyanosis was again observed immediately after the he shares equal responsibility for the events which resulted in Erlinda's condition.
second intubation. Proceeding from this event (cyanosis), it could not be claimed,
as private respondents insist, that the second intubation was accomplished. We now discuss the responsibility of the hospital in this particular incident. The
Even granting that the tube was successfully inserted during the second attempt, unique practice (among private hospitals) of filling up specialist staff with
it was obviously too late. As aptly explained by the trial court, Erlinda already attending and visiting "consultants," who are allegedly not hospital employees,
74

suffered brain damage as a result of the inadequate oxygenation of her brain for presents problems in apportioning responsibility for negligence in medical
about four to five minutes.68
malpractice cases. However, the difficulty is only more apparent than real.
18

In the first place, hospitals exercise significant control in the hiring and firing of former's responsibility under a relationship of patria potestas. Such 77

consultants and in the conduct of their work within the hospital premises. Doctors responsibility ceases when the persons or entity concerned prove that they have
who apply for "consultant" slots, visiting or attending, are required to submit proof observed the diligence of a good father of the family to prevent damage. In 78

of completion of residency, their educational qualifications; generally, evidence of other words, while the burden of proving negligence rests on the plaintiffs, once
accreditation by the appropriate board (diplomate), evidence of fellowship in negligence is shown, the burden shifts to the respondents (parent, guardian,
most cases, and references. These requirements are carefully scrutinized by teacher or employer) who should prove that they observed the diligence of a
members of the hospital administration or by a review committee set up by the good father of a family to prevent damage.
hospital who either accept or reject the application. This is particularly true with
75

respondent hospital. In the instant case, respondent hospital, apart from a general denial of its
responsibility over respondent physicians, failed to adduce evidence showing
After a physician is accepted, either as a visiting or attending consultant, he is that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the hiring and
normally required to attend clinico-pathological conferences, conduct bedside supervision of the latter. It failed to adduce evidence with regard to the degree of
rounds for clerks, interns and residents, moderate grand rounds and patient supervision which it exercised over its physicians. In neglecting to offer such
audits and perform other tasks and responsibilities, for the privilege of being able proof, or proof of a similar nature, respondent hospital thereby failed to discharge
to maintain a clinic in the hospital, and/or for the privilege of admitting patients its burden under the last paragraph of Article 2180. Having failed to do this,
into the hospital. In addition to these, the physician's performance as a specialist respondent hospital is consequently solidarily responsible with its physicians for
is generally evaluated by a peer review committee on the basis of mortality and Erlinda's condition.
morbidity statistics, and feedback from patients, nurses, interns and residents. A
consultant remiss in his duties, or a consultant who regularly falls short of the Based on the foregoing, we hold that the Court of Appeals erred in accepting and
minimum standards acceptable to the hospital or its peer review committee, is relying on the testimonies of the witnesses for the private respondents. Indeed,
normally politely terminated. as shown by the above discussions, private respondents were unable to rebut
the presumption of negligence. Upon these disquisitions we hold that private
In other words, private hospitals, hire, fire and exercise real control over their respondents are solidarily liable for damages under Article 2176 of the Civil
79

attending and visiting "consultant" staff. While "consultants" are not, technically Code.
employees, a point which respondent hospital asserts in denying all responsibility
for the patient's condition, the control exercised, the hiring, and the right to We now come to the amount of damages due petitioners. The trial court awarded
terminate consultants all fulfill the important hallmarks of an employer-employee a total of P632,000.00 pesos (should be P616,000.00) in compensatory
relationship, with the exception of the payment of wages. In assessing whether damages to the plaintiff, "subject to its being updated" covering the period from
such a relationship in fact exists, the control test is determining. Accordingly, on 15 November 1985 up to 15 April 1992, based on monthly expenses for the care
the basis of the foregoing, we rule that for the purpose of allocating responsibility of the patient estimated at P8,000.00.
in medical negligence cases, an employer-employee relationship in effect exists
between hospitals and their attending and visiting physicians. This being the At current levels, the P8000/monthly amount established by the trial court at the
case, the question now arises as to whether or not respondent hospital is time of its decision would be grossly inadequate to cover the actual costs of
solidarily liable with respondent doctors for petitioner's condition.76
home-based care for a comatose individual. The calculated amount was not
even arrived at by looking at the actual cost of proper hospice care for the patient.
The basis for holding an employer solidarily responsible for the negligence of its What it reflected were the actual expenses incurred and proved by the petitioners
employee is found in Article 2180 of the Civil Code which considers a person after they were forced to bring home the patient to avoid mounting hospital bills.
accountable not only for his own acts but also for those of others based on the
19

And yet ideally, a comatose patient should remain in a hospital or be transferred compensatory damages in instances where the injury is chronic and continuing.
to a hospice specializing in the care of the chronically ill for the purpose of And because of the unique nature of such cases, no incompatibility arises when
providing a proper milieu adequate to meet minimum standards of care. In the both actual and temperate damages are provided for. The reason is that these
instant case for instance, Erlinda has to be constantly turned from side to side to damages cover two distinct phases.
prevent bedsores and hypostatic pneumonia. Feeding is done by nasogastric
tube. Food preparation should be normally made by a dietitian to provide her with As it would not be equitable — and certainly not in the best interests of the
the correct daily caloric requirements and vitamin supplements. Furthermore, administration of justice — for the victim in such cases to constantly come before
she has to be seen on a regular basis by a physical therapist to avoid muscle the courts and invoke their aid in seeking adjustments to the compensatory
atrophy, and by a pulmonary therapist to prevent the accumulation of secretions damages previously awarded — temperate damages are appropriate. The
which can lead to respiratory complications. amount given as temperate damages, though to a certain extent speculative,
should take into account the cost of proper care.
Given these considerations, the amount of actual damages recoverable in suits
arising from negligence should at least reflect the correct minimum cost of proper In the instant case, petitioners were able to provide only home-based nursing
care, not the cost of the care the family is usually compelled to undertake at care for a comatose patient who has remained in that condition for over a decade.
home to avoid bankruptcy. However, the provisions of the Civil Code on actual or Having premised our award for compensatory damages on the amount provided
compensatory damages present us with some difficulties. by petitioners at the onset of litigation, it would be now much more in step with
the interests of justice if the value awarded for temperate damages would allow
Well-settled is the rule that actual damages which may be claimed by the plaintiff petitioners to provide optimal care for their loved one in a facility which generally
are those suffered by him as he has duly proved. The Civil Code provides: specializes in such care. They should not be compelled by dire circumstances to
provide substandard care at home without the aid of professionals, for anything
Art. 2199. — Except as provided by law or by stipulation, one is entitled to an less would be grossly inadequate. Under the circumstances, an award of
adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has P1,500,000.00 in temperate damages would therefore be reasonable. 81

duly proved. Such compensation is referred to as actual or compensatory


damages. In Valenzuela vs. Court of Appeals, this Court was confronted with a situation
82

where the injury suffered by the plaintiff would have led to expenses which were
Our rules on actual or compensatory damages generally assume that at the time difficult to estimate because while they would have been a direct result of the
of litigation, the injury suffered as a consequence of an act of negligence has injury (amputation), and were certain to be incurred by the plaintiff, they were
been completed and that the cost can be liquidated. However, these provisions likely to arise only in the future. We awarded P1,000,000.00 in moral damages in
neglect to take into account those situations, as in this case, where the resulting that case.
injury might be continuing and possible future complications directly arising from
the injury, while certain to occur, are difficult to predict. Describing the nature of the injury, the Court therein stated:

In these cases, the amount of damages which should be awarded, if they are to As a result of the accident, Ma. Lourdes Valenzuela underwent a traumatic
adequately and correctly respond to the injury caused, should be one which amputation of her left lower extremity at the distal left thigh just above the knee.
compensates for pecuniary loss incurred and proved, up to the time of Because of this, Valenzuela will forever be deprived of the full ambulatory
trial; and one which would meet pecuniary loss certain to be suffered but which functions of her left extremity, even with the use of state of the art prosthetic
could not, from the nature of the case, be made with certainty. In other words,
80
technology. Well beyond the period of hospitalization (which was paid for by Li),
temperate damages can and should be awarded on top of actual or
20

she will be required to undergo adjustments in her prosthetic devise due to the We recognized, in Valenzuela that a discussion of the victim's actual injury would
shrinkage of the stump from the process of healing. not even scratch the surface of the resulting moral damage because it would be
highly speculative to estimate the amount of emotional and moral pain,
These adjustments entail costs, prosthetic replacements and months of physical psychological damage and injury suffered by the victim or those actually affected
and occupational rehabilitation and therapy. During the lifetime, the prosthetic by the victim's condition. The husband and the children, all petitioners in this
84

devise will have to be replaced and readjusted to changes in the size of her lower case, will have to live with the day to day uncertainty of the patient's illness,
limb effected by the biological changes of middle-age, menopause and aging. knowing any hope of recovery is close to nil. They have fashioned their daily lives
Assuming she reaches menopause, for example, the prosthetic will have to be around the nursing care of petitioner, altering their long term goals to take into
adjusted to respond to the changes in bone resulting from a precipitate decrease account their life with a comatose patient. They, not the respondents, are
in calcium levels observed in the bones of all post-menopausal women. In other charged with the moral responsibility of the care of the victim. The family's moral
words, the damage done to her would not only be permanent and lasting, it would injury and suffering in this case is clearly a real one. For the foregoing reasons,
also be permanently changing and adjusting to the physiologic changes which an award of P2,000,000.00 in moral damages would be appropriate.
her body would normally undergo through the years. The replacements, changes,
and adjustments will require corresponding adjustive physical and occupational Finally, by way of example, exemplary damages in the amount of P100,000.00
therapy. All of these adjustments, it has been documented, are painful. are hereby awarded. Considering the length and nature of the instant suit we are
of the opinion that attorney's fees valued at P100,000.00 are likewise proper.
xxx xxx xxx
Our courts face unique difficulty in adjudicating medical negligence cases
A prosthetic devise, however technologically advanced, will only allow a because physicians are not insurers of life and, they rarely set out to intentionally
reasonable amount of functional restoration of the motor functions of the lower cause injury or death to their patients. However, intent is immaterial in negligence
limb. The sensory functions are forever lost. The resultant anxiety, sleeplessness, cases because where negligence exists and is proven, the same automatically
psychological injury, mental and physical pain are inestimable. 83 gives the injured a right to reparation for the damage caused.

The injury suffered by Erlinda as a consequence of private respondents' Established medical procedures and practices, though in constant flux are
negligence is certainly much more serious than the amputation in the Valenzuela devised for the purpose of preventing complications. A physician's experience
case. with his patients would sometimes tempt him to deviate from established
community practices, and he may end a distinguished career using unorthodox
Petitioner Erlinda Ramos was in her mid-forties when the incident occurred. She methods without incident. However, when failure to follow established procedure
has been in a comatose state for over fourteen years now. The burden of care results in the evil precisely sought to be averted by observance of the procedure
has so far been heroically shouldered by her husband and children, who, in the and a nexus is made between the deviation and the injury or damage, the
intervening years have been deprived of the love of a wife and a mother. physician would necessarily be called to account for it. In the case at bar, the
failure to observe pre-operative assessment protocol which would have
Meanwhile, the actual physical, emotional and financial cost of the care of influenced the intubation in a salutary way was fatal to private respondents' case.
petitioner would be virtually impossible to quantify. Even the temperate damages
herein awarded would be inadequate if petitioner's condition remains unchanged WHEREFORE, the decision and resolution of the appellate court appealed from
for the next ten years. are hereby modified so as to award in favor of petitioners, and solidarily against
private respondents the following: 1) P1,352,000.00 as actual damages
computed as of the date of promulgation of this decision plus a monthly payment
21

of P8,000.00 up to the time that petitioner Erlinda Ramos expires or miraculously group or institution." Obviously, the law applies only to cases involving natural persons, and
survives; 2) P2,000,000.00 as moral damages, 3) P1,500,000.00 as temperate not where any of the parties is a juridical person such as a corporation, partnership,
corporation sole, testate or intestate, estate, etc.
damages; 4) P100,000.00 each as exemplary damages and attorney's fees; and,
5) the costs of the suit. 3. ID.; JURIDICAL PERSON; REAL PARTY IN INTEREST; REFERRAL TO BARANGAY LUPON, NOT
REQUIRED. — In Civil Case No. R-239l5, plaintiff Ricardo Reyes is a mere nominal party who
is suing in behalf of the Intestate Estate of Vito Borromeo. while it is true that Section 3, Rule
SO ORDERED.
3 of the Rules of Court allows the administrator of an estate to sue or be sued without joining
the party for whose benefit the action is presented or defended, it is indisputable that the real
party in interest in Civil Case No. R-23915 is the intestate estate under administration. Since
the said estate is a juridical person (Limjoco v. Intestate of Fragante, 80 Phil. 776) plaintiff
administrator may file the complaint directly in court, without the same being coursed to the
Barangay Lupon for arbitration.

PETRA VDA. DE BORROMEO, Petitioner, v. HON. JULIAN B. POGOY, Municipality/City


Trial Court of Cebu City, and ATTY. RICARDO REYES, Respondents. DECISION

Antonio T. Uy for Petitioner.

Numeriano G. Estenzo for Respondents.


ESCOLIN, J.:

SYLLABUS
Petitioner herein seeks to stop respondent Judge Julian B. Pogoy of the Municipal Trial Court of
Cebu City from taking cognizance of an ejectment suit for failure of the plaintiff to refer the
dispute to the Barangay Lupon for conciliation.

1. CIVIL LAW; ACTIONS FOR FORCIBLE ENTRY AND DETAINER; PRESCRIPTIVE PERIOD; The intestate estate of the late Vito Borromeo is the owner of a building bearing the deceased’s
ACTION NOT BARRED IN THE CASE AT BAR. — Under Article 1147 of the Civil Code, the period name, located at F. Ramos St., Cebu City. Said building has been leased and occupied by
for filing actions for forcible entry and detainer is one year, and this period is counted from petitioner Petra Vda. de Borromeo at a monthly rental of P500.00 payable in advance within
demand to vacate the premises. (Desbarat v. Vda. de Laureano, 18 SCRA 116, Calubayan v. the first five days of the month.
Pascual, 21 SCRA 146, Development Bank of the Philippines v. Canonoy, 35 SCRA 197) In the
case at bar, the letter-demand was dated August 28, 1982, while the complaint for ejectment On August 28, 1982, private respondent Atty. Ricardo Reyes, administrator of the estate and
was filed in court on September 16, 1982. Between these two dates, less than a month had a resident of Cebu City, served upon petitioner a letter demanding that she pay the overdue
elapsed, thereby leaving at least eleven (11) full months of the prescriptive period provided for rentals corresponding to the period from March to September 1982, and thereafter to vacate
in Article 1147 of the Civil Code. Under the procedure outlined in Section 4 of PD 1508, the time the premises. As petitioner failed to do so, Atty. Reyes instituted on September 16, 1982 an
needed for the conciliation proceeding before the Barangay Chairman and the Pangkat should ejectment case against the former in the Municipal Trial Court of Cebu City. The complaint was
take no more than 60 days. Giving private respondent nine (9) months-ample time indeed- docketed as Civil Case No. R-23915 and assigned to the sala of respondent judge.
within which to bring his case before the proper court should conciliation efforts fail. Thus, it
cannot be truthfully asserted, as private respondent would want Us to believe, that his case On November 12, 1982, petitioner moved to dismiss the case, advancing, among others, the
would be barred by the Statute of Limitations if he had to course his action to the Barangay want of jurisdiction of the trial court. Pointing out that the parties are residents of the same city,
Lupon. as alleged in the complaint, petitioner contended that the court could not exercise jurisdiction
over the case for failure of respondent Atty. Reyes to refer the dispute to the Barangay Court,
2. REMEDIAL LAW; SECTION 4 (A) OF P.D. No. 1508; CONSTRUED. — Under Section 4(a) of as required by PD No. 1508, otherwise known as Katarungang Pambarangay Law. chanroblesvi rt ualawlib ra ry

PD 1508, referral of a dispute to the Barangay Lupon is required only where the parties thereto
are "individuals." An "individual" means "a single human being as contrasted with a social Respondent judge denied the motion to dismiss. He justified the order in this wise: jgc:chanrob les.co m.ph
22

compliance with the requirement of PD 1508. Neither did he cite any circumstance as would
"The Clerk of Court when this case was filed accepted for filing same. That from the acceptance place the suit outside the operation of said law. Instead, he insisted on relying upon the pro
from (sic) filing, with the plaintiff having paid the docket fee to show that the case was tanto presumption of regularity in the performance by the clerk of court of his official duty,
docketed in the civil division of this court could be considered as meeting the requirement or which to Our mind has been sufficiently overcome by the disclosure by the Clerk of Court that
precondition for were it not so, the Clerk of Court would not have accepted the filing of the case there was no certification to file action from the Lupon or Pangkat secretary attached to the
especially that there is a standing circular from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court without complaint. 4
even mentioning the Letter of Instruction of the President of the Philippines that civil cases and
criminal cases with certain exceptions must not be filed without passing the barangay court." Be that as it may, the instant petition should be dismissed. Under Section 4(a) of PD No. 1508,
(Order dated December 14, 1982, Annex "c", P. 13, Rollo). referral of a dispute to the Barangay Lupon is required only where the parties thereto are
"individuals." An "individual" means "a single human being as contrasted with a social group or
Unable to secure a reconsideration of said order, petitioner came to this Court through this institution." 5 Obviously, the law applies only to cases involving natural persons, and not
petition for certiorari. In both his comment and memorandum, private respondent admitted where any of the parties is a juridical person such as a corporation, partnership, corporation
not having availed himself of the barangay conciliation process, but justified such omission by sole, testate or intestate, estate, etc.
citing paragraph 4, section 6 of PD 1508 which allows the direct filing of an action in court
where the same may otherwise be barred by the Statute of Limitations, as applying to the case In Civil Case No. R-23915, plaintiff Ricardo Reyes is a mere nominal party who is suing in
at bar. behalf of the Intestate Estate of Vito Borromeo. While it is true that Section 3, Rule 3 of the
Rules of Court allows the administrator of an estate to sue or be sued without joining the party
The excuse advanced by private respondent is unsatisfactory. Under Article 1147 of the Civil for whose benefit the action is presented or defended, it is indisputable that the real party in
Code, the period for filing actions for forcible entry and detainer is one year, 1 and this period interest in Civil Case No. R-23915 is the intestate estate under administration. Since the said
is counted from demand to vacate the premises. 2 estate is a juridical person 6 plaintiff administrator may file the complaint directly in court,
without the same being coursed to the Barangay Lupon for arbitration.
In the case at bar, the letter-demand was dated August 28, 1982, while the complaint for
ejectment was filed in court on September 16, 1982. Between these two dates, less than a ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby dismissed. Respondent judge is ordered to try and
month had elapsed, thereby leaving at least eleven (11) full months of the prescriptive period decide Civil Case No. R-23915 without unnecessary delay. No costs.
provided for in Article 1147 of the Civil Code. Under the procedure outlined in Section 4 of PD
1508, 3 the time needed for the conciliation proceeding before the Barangay Chairman and the SO ORDERED.
Pangkat should take no more than 60 days. Giving private respondent nine (9) months —
ample time indeed — within which to bring his case before the proper court should conciliation
efforts fail. Thus, it cannot be truthfully asserted, as private respondent would want Us to
believe, that his case would be barred by the Statute of Limitations if he had to course his
action to the Barangay Lupon.

With certain exceptions, PD 1508 makes the conciliation process at the Barangay level a
condition precedent for filing of actions in those instances where said law applies. For this
reason, Circular No. 22 addressed to "ALL JUDGES OF THE COURTS OF FIRST INSTANCE,
CIRCUIT CRIMINAL COURTS, JUVENILE AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS COURT, COURTS OF
AGRARIAN RELATIONS, CITY COURTS, MUNICIPAL COURTS AND THEIR CLERKS OF COURT"
was issued by Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando on November 9, 1979. Said Circular reads: chanro bles.com:c ralaw:red

"Effective upon your receipt of the certification by the Minister of Local Government and
Community Development that all the barangays within your respective jurisdictions have
SAN MIGUEL VILLAGE SCHOOL, petitioner,
organized their Lupons provided for in Presidential Decree No. 1508, otherwise known as the vs.
Katarungang Pambarangay Law, in implementation of the barangay system of settlement of HONORABLE AMIR PUKUNUM D. PUNDOGAR and CHRISTINA
disputes, you are hereby directed to desist from receiving complaints, petitions, actions or TRIÑO, respondents.
proceedings in cases falling within the authority of said Lupons." cralaw vi rtua1aw l ibra ry

While respondent acknowledged said Circular in his order of December 14, 1982, he Estelito R. Alvia for petitioner.
nevertheless chose to overlook the failure of the complaint in Civil Case No. R-23915 to allege
23

Macalalag Law Office & Associates for private respondent. contacted, she having left Iligan City and having secured a better paying job at
the Philippine Refugee Center based in Manila.

On 26 January 1986, the trial court then presided over by Judge Magadapa
FELICIANO, J.: Rasuman rendered a decision against private respondent, the dispositive portion
of which read as follows:
On 2 October 1985, petitioner San Miguel Village School filed a complaint for
breach of contract with damages against respondent Christina Triño, before the WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing consideration, judgment is hereby
Regional Trial Court, Branch 3, Lanao del Norte, the complaint being docketed rendered in favor of the plaintiff, San Miguel Village School and against
as Civil Case No. L-111-577. A Certificate to File Action, signed by the Barangay defendant, Christina Triño as follows;
Captain of Barangay Palao, Iligan City, dated 17 September 1985, bearing the
notation that the "respondent cannot be contacted," was filed along with the 1. Ordering defendant to pay all compensatory damages to the plaintiff, the
complaint. amount of P8,400.00;

Summons was served upon the private respondent through her husband. On 22 2. To pay plaintiff, the amount of P5,000.00, as moral damages;
November 1985, private respondent having failed to file an answer within the
reglementary period, the petitioner School moved to declare her in default. The 3. To pay attorney's fees of P5,000.00, and
trial court granted the motion, declared private respondent in default and
designated the Branch Clerk of Court to receive the evidence of the petitioner 4. To pay the costs of this suit.
and thereafter to report back to the court.
SO ORDERED.
From the evidence received by the Branch Clerk of Court from the petitioner, the
following facts emerged: Four (4) months later, on 15 May 1986, private respondent filed a Petition for
Relief from Judgment with the trial court, alleging that the court had no
On 9 May 1985, petitioner, a duly accredited private school located at Barangay jurisdiction to render its decision dated 26 January 1986 for failure of petitioner to
Palao, Iligan City, entered into a contract of services with private respondent go through the mandatory conciliation procedure prescribed by Sections 2 and 6
Christina Triño. Under that contract, Christina Triño would teach at the petitioner of P.D. No. 1508. Private respondent argued that the certification of the
School during the schoolyear 1985-1986, which would commence in June 1985 Barangay Captain of Palao dated 17 September 1985 was inadequate
and end in March 1986. She was assigned to take charge of Grade VI, compliance with P.D. No. 1508, private respondent being a resident, not of
Intermediate Department. The contract also provided that any party desiring to Barangay Palao, Iligan City, but rather of Barangay Tomas Cabili, Iligan City.
terminate the contract before its scheduled expiration, would give the other party
at least one month notice of termination in writing. Sometime in August 1985, Almost a year later, on 6 April 1987, the trial court, this time presided over by
while the contract was in full force and effect, and during a final examination respondent Judge Amir Pukunum D. Pundogar, issued an order upholding
period, private respondent suddenly stopped teaching at the petitioner School, private respondent's contentions and setting aside the assailed decision of 26
without giving notice of termination and thereby causing not inconsiderable January 1986. In his order, while Judge Pundogar acknowledged the impropriety
difficulties for the School. Petitioner School immediately sought the assistance of of the Petition for Relief from Judgment, he nonetheless in effect granted the
the Barangay Captain of Palao and the commencement of conciliation relief sought, holding that the Regional Trial Court in rendering the decision dated
proceedings, This attempt failed because private respondent could not be 26 January 1986, acted without jurisdiction "over the parties and the subject
24

matter of the action" for failure of petitioner to comply with the requirements of P.
1
the Lupon, the requirement of P.D. No. 1508 must be regarded as having been
D. No. 1508. A Motion for Reconsideration by petitioner was denied by the satisfied by the plaintiff. A defendant cannot be allowed to frustrate the
respondent Judge. requirements of the statute by her own refusal or failure to appear before
the Lupon and then later to assail a judgment rendered in such action by setting
In the instant Petition, it is vigorously contended by petitioner that the trial court up the very ground of non-compliance with P.D. No. 1508. In simplest terms, a
had jurisdiction to render its decision of 26 January 1986. defendant cannot be allowed to profit by her own default.

The Court notes, at the outset, that respondent Judge in fact granted the Petition In the instant case, private respondent, as noted earlier, had stated in her
for Relief from Judgment not because he found one or more of the grounds subsequent Petition for Relief from Judgment that she resided not in Barangay
specified in Section 2 of Rule 38 of the Revised Rules of Court (fraud, accident, Palao but in Barangay Cabili, in effect suggesting that she had not received
mistake or excusable negligence) but rather because respondent Judge found notice to appear before the Lupon of Barangay Palao. We do not believe that the
his predecessor in the same court to have acted without jurisdiction. statement and suggestion of private respondent should be given much credence.
In the first place, the Barangay authorities of Barangay Palao must be presumed
It is, however, firmly settled that failure of a plaintiff to comply with the
2 to have performed their official duties and to have acted regularly in issuing the
requirements of P.D. No. 1508 does not affect the jurisdiction of the court that Certificate to File Action. They must be presumed to have sent a notice to
tried the action. In, e.g., Millare v. Hernando, the Court stressed that "the Christina Triño to appear before the Lupon; otherwise, they could not reasonably
conciliation procedure required under P.D. No. 1508 is not a jurisdictional have stated that Christina "could not be contacted." Secondly, petitioner School
requirement in the sense that failure to have prior recourse to such procedure had already presented evidence during the hearing before the Commissioner
would not deprive a court of its jurisdiction either over the subject matter or over appointed by Judge Rasuman that both petitioner and private respondent were
the person of the defendant." Failure of a plaintiff to go through the conciliation
3 residents of Palao, Iligan City.
procedure established by P.D. No. 1508 merely affects the sufficiency, or the
maturity or ripeness of the plaintiffs cause of action and the complaint becomes Finally, and in any event, the alleged failure on the part of a plaintiff to comply
vulnerable to a motion to dismiss, not on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, but with the procedural requirement established by P.D. No. 1508 must be raised in
rather for want of cause of action or for prematurity. Respondent Judge was
4 a timely manner, that is, at the first available opportunity, if such alleged failure is
thus in palpable error in holding his predecessor without jurisdiction to render the to provide legal basis for dismissal of the complaint. Such failure must be
assailed decision. pleaded, in other words, in a timely motion to dismiss or in the answer. Failure to
so set up that defense produces the effect of waiver of such defense. In the
Respondent Judge was equally in error when he either disregarded or instant case, private respondent was declared in default and that default order
misconstrued the Certificate to File Action, dated 17 September 1985, which had was never set aside. Accordingly, private respondent must be held to have
been, issued by the Barangay Captain of Barangay Palao. waived whatever right she may have had to raise the defense of failure to comply
with the compulsory conciliation procedure under P.D. No. 1508. Indeed, that
Respondent Judge simply said apropos this Certificate to File Action, that no was not the only thing she waived; she also waived the right to appear and to file
"confrontation" had taken place between petitioner and private respondent an answer and there to set up that and other defenses that she might have had. It
before the Barangay authorities and immediately concluded that the is simply too late to demand conciliation under P.D. No. 1508 after a judgment on
requirements of P.D. No. 1508 had been violated. There is no question that the the merits (albeit by default) has been rendered and become final and executory.
"confrontation" or conciliation proceedings did not materialize here, since private
respondent did not appear before the Lupon. Where, however, the defendant in ACCORDINGLY, the Orders of respondent Judge Amir Pukunum D. Pundogar
an action fails for one reason or another to respond to a notice to appear before dated 6 April 1987 and 15 June 1987 in Civil Case No. L-111-577 are hereby
25

REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the Decision dated 26 January 1986 of Judge does not accord litigants unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to which
Magadapa Rasuman is hereby REINSTATED. Costs against private respondent. application therefor may be directed. There is a hierarchy of courts determinative
of the venue of appeals which should also serve as a general determinant of the
SO ORDERED. proper forum for the application for the extraordinary writs. A becoming regard for
this judicial hierarchy by the petitioner and her lawyers ought to have led them to
FELICIDAD UY, petitioner, file the petition with the proper Regional Trial Court.
2

vs.
HON. MAXIMO C. CONTRERAS, Presiding Judge, Metropolitan Trial Court, The antecedent facts as disclosed by the pleadings of the parties are not
Branch 61, Makati, Metro Manila; HON. MAURO M. CASTRO, Provincial complicated.
Prosecutor of Pasig, Metro Manila; SUSANNA ATAYDE and WINNIE
JAVIER, respondents. Petitioner subleased from respondent Susanna Atayde (hereinafter Atayde) the
other half of the second floor of a building located at corner Reposo and Oliman
Albon & Serrano Law Office for petitioner. Streets, Makati, Metro Manila. She operated and maintained therein a beauty
parlor. 3

Ramon M. Velez for private respondents.


The sublease contract expired on 15 April 1993. However, the petitioner was not
able to remove all her movable properties.

DAVIDE, JR., J.: On 17 April 1993, an argument arose between the petitioner and Atayde when
the former sought to withdraw from the subleased premises her remaining
Assailed in this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is the movable properties such as cabinets, shelves, frames, a mirror, a shampoo bowl,
order dated 2 July 1993 of public respondent Judge Maximo C. Contreras of and an airconditioning casing. The argument degenerated into a scuffle
4

Branch 61 of the Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) of Makati, Metro Manila, denying between the petitioner, on the one hand, and Atayde and several of Atayde's
the petitioner's motion to dismiss Criminal Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234 for employees, including private respondent Winnie Javier (hereinafter Javier), on
slight physical injuries. The motion to dismiss is based on the failure of the the other.
private respondents, as the offended parties therein, to comply with Section 6 of
P.D. No. 1508 and Section 18 of the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure On 21 April 1993, the private respondent had themselves medically examined for
requiring prior referral of disputes to the Lupong Tagapamayapa of the proper the alleged injuries inflicted on them by the petitioner.5

barangay.
On 23 April 1993, the private respondents filed a complaint with the barangay
At the outset, it must be stated that were it not for the importance of the issue to captain of Valenzuela, Makati, which was docketed as Barangay Cases Nos.
be resolved in the light of the revised law on katarungang pambarangay provided 1023 and 1024.
6 7

for in the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160) which took effect on 1
January 1992, this Court would have declined to accept the invocation of its
1 The confrontation of the parties was scheduled by the barangay captain for 28
original jurisdiction to issue the extraordinary writ prayed for. We have already April 1993. On the said date, only the petitioner appeared. The barangay captain
ruled that while it is true that this Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Regional then reset the confrontation to 26 May 1993. 8

Trial Courts have concurrent original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari,


prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus, such concurrence
26

On 11 May 1993, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal filed two Under the foregoing circumstances, the court believes, and so holds, that the
informations for slight physical injuries against the petitioner with the MTC of complainants may go directly to the court where their complaint is about to
Makati, which were docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234 and prescribe or barred by statute of limitations pursuant to Section 6 of PD 1508." 12

assigned to Branch 61 thereof.


A motion to reconsider the above order was denied on 5 August 1993.
On 21 May 1993, public respondent Judge Contreras of Branch 61 ordered the
petitioner to submit her counter-affidavit and those of her witnesses. Hence this special civil action for certiorari. The petitioner contends that the
respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
On 14 June 1993, the petitioner submitted the required counter- jurisdiction when he denied the motion to dismiss considering that the private
affidavits. In her own counter-affidavit, the petitioner specifically alleged the
9
respondents failed to comply with the mandatory requirement of P.D. No. 1508,
prematurity of the filing of the criminal cases for failure to undergo conciliation now embodied in Section 412 of the Local Government Code of 1991 and further
proceedings as she and the private respondents are residents of Manila. She 10
required under the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure.
also attached to it a certification by the barangay captain of Valenzuela, Makati,
dated 18 May 1993, that there was an ongoing conciliation between Atayde and In their Comment, the private respondents contend that the denial of the motion
the petitioner in Barangay Case No. 1023. 11
to dismiss is proper because prior referral of the dispute to the lupon is not
applicable in the case of private respondent Javier since she and the petitioner
On 18 June 1993, the petitioner filed a motion to dismiss Criminal Cases Nos. are not residents of barangays in the same city or municipality or of adjoining
145233 and 145234 for non-compliance with the requirement of P.D. No. 1508 barangays in different cities or municipalities and that referral to the lupon is not
on prior referral to the Lupong Tagapamayapa and pursuant to Section 18 of the likewise required if the case may otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations.
1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure. Moreover, even assuming arguendo that prior referral to the lupon applies to the
case of private respondent Atayde, the latter had, nevertheless, substantially
On 2 July 1993, public respondent Judge Contreras handed down an order complied with the requirement.
denying the motion to dismiss, pertinent portions of which read:
In its Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General agrees with the petitioner that
The court finds the motion to be without sufficient merit. In the first place, the Criminal Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234 should be dismissed for
offense subject of these cases accussed in Makati, Metro Manila on April 17, non-compliance with Sections 408, 409, 410, and 412 of the Local Government
1993; that Barangay Valenzuela of the Municipality of Makati had started the Code of 1991 in relation to Section 7, Rule VI of the Rules Implementing P.D. No.
conciliation proceedings between the parties but as of May 18, 1993 nothing has 1508.
been achieved by the barangay (Annex "2" of the Counter-Affidavit of the
accused); that the above-entitled cases were filed directly with this court by the The petitioner replied to the comments of the private respondents and of the
public prosecutor on May 11, 1993; and the accused and her witnesses had Office of the Solicitor General. The private respondents filed a rejoinder to the
already filed their counter-affidavits and documents. At this stage of the petitioner's reply to their comment and a reply to the comment of the Office of the
proceedings, the court believes that the accused had already waived the right to Solicitor General.
a reconciliation proceedings before the barangay of Valenzuela, Makati
considering that accused and complainant are residents of different barangays; In the Resolution of 16 May 1994, this Court gave due course to the petition and
that the offense charged occurred in the Municipality of Makati; and finally, this required the parties to submit their respective memoranda, which the petitioner
offense is about to prescribe. and the private respondents complied with. The Office of the Solicitor General, in
view of its prior submission, moved that it be excused from filing a memorandum.
27

The petition is impressed with merit. The court in which non-criminal cases not falling within the authority of
the lupon under this Code are filed may, at anytime before trial, motu
The law on the katarungang pambarangay was originally governed by P.D. No. proprio refer the case to the lupon concerned for amicable settlement.
1508 which was enacted on 11 June 1978. However, the Local Government
Code of 1991, specifically Chapter 7, Title I, Book III thereof, revised the law on
13
Sec. 409. Venue. — (a) Disputes between persons actually residing in the same
the katarungang pambarangay. As a consequence of this revision, P.D. No. 1508 barangay shall be brought for amicable settlement before the lupon of said
was expressly repealed pursuant to Section 534(b) of the Code. Pertinent barangay.
portions of Chapter 7, Title I, Book III thereof read as follows:
(b) Those involving actual residents of different barangays within the same city or
Sec. 408. Subject Matter for Amicable Settlement; Exception Thereto. — municipality shall be brought in the barangay where the respondent or any of the
The luppon of each barangay shall have authority to bring together the parties respondents actually resides, at the election of the complainant.
actually residing in the same city or municipality for amicable settlement of all
disputes except: (c) All disputes involving real property or any interest therein shall be brought in
the barangay where the real property or the larger portion thereof is situated.
(a) Where one party is the government or any subdivision or instrumentality
thereof; (d) Those arising at the workplace where the contending parties are employed or
at the institution where such parties are enrolled for study shall be brought in the
(b) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute relates to the barangay where such workplace or institution is located.
performance of his official functions;
Objections to venue shall be raised in the mediation proceedings before the
(c) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding one (1) year or a fine punong barangay; otherwise, the same shall be deemed waived. Any legal
exceeding Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00); question which may confront the punong barangay in resolving objections to
venue herein referred to may be submitted to the Secretary of Justice or his duly
(d) Offenses where there is no private offended party; designated representative whose ruling thereon shall be binding.

(e) Where the dispute involves real properties located in different cities or Sec. 410. Procedure for Amicable Settlement. — . . .
municipalities unless the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to
amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon; xxx xxx xxx

(f) Disputes involving parties who actually reside in barangays of different cities (c) Suspension of prescriptive period of offenses. — While the dispute is under
or municipalities, except where such barangay units adjoin each other and the mediation, conciliation, or arbitration, the prescriptive periods for offenses and
parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by cause of action under existing laws shall be interrupted upon filing of the
appropriate lupon; complaint with the punong barangay. The prescriptive periods shall resume upon
receipt by the complainant of the complaint or the certificate of repudiation or of
(g) Such other classes of disputes which the President may determine in the the certification to file action issued by the lupon or pangkat secretary: Provided,
interest of justice or upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice. however, That such interruption shall not exceed sixty (60) days from the filing of
the complaint with the punong barangay.
28

xxx xxx xxx SECTION 8. Failure to appear. —

Sec. 412. Conciliation. — (a) Pre-condition to filing of complaint in court. — No a. Sanctions


complaint, petition, action, or proceeding involving any matter within the authority
of the lupon shall be filed or instituted directly in court or any other government The complaint may be dismissed when complainant, after due notice, refuses or
office for adjudication, unless there has been a confrontation between the parties willfully fails to appear without justifiable reason on the date set for mediation,
before the lupon chairman or the pangkat, and that no conciliation or settlement conciliation or arbitration. Such dismissal ordered by the Punong
has been reached as certified by the lupon secretary or pangkat secretary as Barangay/Pangkat Chairman after giving the complainant an opportunity to
attested to by the luponchairman or pangkat chairman or unless the settlement explain his non-appearance shall be certified to by the Lupon or Pangkat
has been repudiated by the parties thereto. Secretary as the case may be, and shall bar the complainant from seeking
judicial recourse for the same cause of action as that dismissed.
(b) Where parties may go directly to court. — The parties may go directly to court
in the following instances: xxx xxx xxx

(1) Where the accused is under detention; Sec. 11. Suspension of prescriptive period of offenses and cause of action. —
The prescriptive periods for offenses and causes of action under existing laws
(2) Where a person has otherwise been deprived of personal liberty calling shall be interrupted upon filing of the complaint with the Punong Barangay. The
for habeas corpus proceedings; running of the prescriptive periods shall resume upon receipts by the
complainant of the certificate of repudiation or of the certification to file action
(3) Where actions are coupled with provisional remedies such as preliminary issued by the Lupon or Pangkat Secretary: Provided, however, that such
injunction, attachment, delivery of personal property, and support pendente lite; interruption shall not exceed sixty (60) days from the filing of the complaint with
and the Punong Barangay. After the expiration of the aforesaid period of sixty days,
the filing of the case in court or government office for adjudication shall be
(4) Where the action may otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations. subject to the provision of paragraph (b) (4) of Rule VIII of these Rules.

xxx xxx xxx It may thus be observed that the revised katarungang pambarangay law has at
least three new significant features, to wit:
Sec. 415. Appearance of Parties in Person. — In all katarungang pambarangay
proceedings, the parties must appear in person without the assistance of counsel 1. It increased the authority of the lupon in criminal offenses from those
or representative, except for minors and incompetents who may be assisted by punishable by imprisonment not exceeding thirty days or a fine not exceeding
their next-of-kin who are not lawyers. P200.00 in P.D. No. 1508 to those offenses punishable by imprisonment not
exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding P5,000.00.
Pursuant to the authority vested in him under Section 421 of the Code, the
Secretary of Justice promulgated the Katarungang Pambarangay Rules to 2. As to venue, it provides that disputes arising at the workplace where the
implement the revised law on katarungang pambarangay. Sections 8 and 11 of contending parties are employed or at the institution where such parties are
Rule VI (Amicable Settlement of Disputes) thereof provide in part as follows: enrolled for study, shall be brought in the barangay where such workplace or
institution is located.
29

3. It provides for the suspension of the prescriptive periods of offenses during the could spell the difference between peace and a full-blown, wearisome, and
pendency of the mediation, conciliation, or arbitration process. Paragraph (c) of expensive litigation between the parties.
Section 410 of the law, however, suffers from some ambiguity when it provides
that the prescriptive periods "shall resume upon receipt by the complainant of the While P.D. No. 1508 has been repealed by the Local Government Code of 1991,
complaint or the certificate of repudiation or of the certification to file action the jurisprudence built thereon regarding prior referral to the lupon as a
issued by the lupon or pangkat secretary." What is referred to as receipt by pre-condition to the filing of an action in court remains applicable because its
the complainant of the complaint is unclear; obviously, it could have been a provisions on prior referral were substantially reproduced in the Code.
drafting oversight. Accordingly, in the above quoted Section 11 of the Rules and
Regulations issued by the Secretary of Justice, the phrase "the complaint or" is In Peregrina vs. Panis, this Court stated:
15

not found, such that the resumption of the running of the prescriptive period shall,
properly, be from receipt by the complainant of the certificate of repudiation or Thus, Morata vs. Go, 125 SCRA 444 (1983), and Vda. de Borromeo vs. Pogoy,
the certification to file action issued by the lupon or the pangkat secretary. Such 126 SCRA 217 (1983) have held that P.D. No. 1508 makes the conciliation
suspension, however, shall not exceed sixty days. process at the Barangay level a condition precedent for the filing of a complaint in
Court. Non-compliance with that condition precedent could affect the sufficiency
The first feature has necessarily broadened the jurisdiction of the lupon and if the of the plaintiff's cause of action and make his complaint vulnerable to dismissal
mediation and conciliation process at that level would be effectively pursued, few on the ground of lack of cause of action or prematurity. The condition is
cases would reach the regular courts, justice would be achieved at less expense analogous to exhaustion of administrative remedies, or the lack of earnest efforts
to the litigants, cordial relationships among protagonists in a small community to compromise suits between family members, lacking which the case can be
would be restored, and peace and order therein enhanced. dismissed.

The second feature, which is covered by paragraph (d), Section 409 of the Local The parties herein fall squarely within the ambit of P.D. No. 1508. They are actual
Government code, also broadens the authority of the lupon in the sense that residents in the same barangay and their disputes does not fall under any of the
appropriate civil and criminal cases arising from incidents occurring in excepted cases." (Emphasis omitted)
workplaces or institutions of learning shall be brought in the barangay where
such workplace or institution is located. That barangay may not be the Such non-compliance is not, however, jurisdictional. This Court said so in Garces
appropriate venue in either paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of the said section. vs. Court of Appeals: 16

This rule provides convenience to the parties. Procedural rules including those
relating to venue are designed to insure a fair and convenient hearing to the In fine, we have held in the past that prior recourse to the conciliation procedure
parties with complete justice between them as a result. Elsewise stated,
14
required under P.D. 1508 is not a jurisdictional requirement, non-compliance with
convenience is the raison d'etre of the rule on venue. which would deprive a court of its jurisdiction either over the subject matter or
over the person of the defendant. Where, however, the fact of non-compliance
The third feature is aimed at maximizing the effectiveness of the mediation, with and non-observance of such procedure has been seasonably raised as an
conciliation, or arbitration process. It discourages any intentional delay of the issue before the court first taking cognizance of the complaint, dismissal of the
referral to a date close to the expiration of the prescriptive period and then action is proper.
invoking the proximity of such expiration as the reason for immediate recourse to
the courts. It also affords the parties sufficient time to cool off and face each other xxx xxx xxx
with less emotionalism and more objectivity which are essential ingredients in the
resolution of their dispute. The sixty-day suspension of the prescriptive period
30

The precise technical effect of failure to comply with the requirement of P.D. action, as in the said cases, may otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations;
1508 where applicable is much the same effect produced by non-exhaustion of and (c) even assuming that the law applies insofar as Atayde is concerned, she
administrative remedies; the complaint becomes afflicted with the vice of has substantially complied with it.
pre-maturity; the controversy there alleged is not ripe for judicial determination.
The complaint becomes vulnerable to a motion to dismiss. (emphasis omitted) The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal should have exerted enough
diligence to inquire from the private respondents if prior referral to the lupon was
There were, of course, cases where this Court ruled that the failure of the necessary before filing the informations.
defendant to seasonably invoke non-referral to the appropriate lupon operated
as a waiver thereof. Furthermore, when such defect was initially present when
17
Respondent judge did not do any better. His total unawareness of the Local
the case was first filed in the trial court, the subsequent issuance of the Government Code of 1991, more specifically on the provisions on
certification to file action by the barangay, which constituted substantial the Katarungang pambarangay, is distressing. He should have taken judicial
compliance with the said requirement, cured the defect. 18
notice thereof, ever mindful that under Section 1, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court,
courts are mandatorily required to take judicial notice of "the official acts of the
On 15 October 1991, this Court promulgated the Revised Rule on Summary legislative, executive and judicial departments of the Philippines." We have ruled
Procedure. Section 18 thereof provides:
19
that a judge is called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with
the statutes and procedural rules. He should have applied the
21

Sec. 18. Referral to Lupon. — Cases requiring referral to the Lupon for revised katarungang pambarangay law under the Local Government Code of
conciliation under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1508 where there is 1991. Had he done so, this petition would not have reached us and taken
no showing of compliance with such requirement, shall be dismissed without valuable attention and time which could have been devoted to more important
prejudice, and may be revived only after such requirement shall have been cases.
complied with. This provision shall not apply to criminal cases where the accused
was arrested without a warrant. In view of the private respondents' failure to appear at the first scheduled
mediation on 28 April 1993 for which the mediation was reset to 26 May 1993, no
In the proceeding before the court a quo, the petitioner and the respondent had complaint for slight physical injuries could be validly filed with the MTC of Makati
in mind only P.D. No. 1508. The petitioner further invoked the aforequoted at any time before such date. The filing then of Criminal Cases Nos. 145233 and
Section 18. None knew of the repeal of the decree by the Local Government 145234 with the said court on 11 May 1993 was premature and, pursuant to
Code of 1991. Even in her instant petition, the petitioner invokes the decree and paragraph (a), Section 412 of the Local Government Code, respondent Judge
Section 18 of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure. However, the private Contreras should have granted the motion to dismiss the criminal cases. He
respondents, realizing the weakness of their position under P.D. No. 1508 since cannot justify its denial by taking refuge under Section 6 of P.D. No. 1508 (more
they did refer their grievances to what might be a wrong forum under the decree, properly, Section 412(b)(4) of the Local Government Code of 1991) which states
changed tack. In their Comment, they assert that on 20 April 1993 Atayde "filed a that the parties may go directly to court where the action is about to prescribe.
complaint against petitioner before the barangay council of Barangay Valenzuela, This is because, as earlier stated, pursuant to paragraph (c), Section 410 of the
Makati, in compliance with the requirement of the Katarungang Pambarangay Code, the prescriptive period was automatically suspended for a maximum
Law under the Local Government Code." Yet, in a deliberate effort to be
20 period of sixty days from 23 April 1993 when the private respondents filed their
cunning or shrewd, which is condemnable for it disregards the virtue of candor, complaints with the lupon of Valenzuela Makati.
they assert that the said law is not applicable to their cases before the court a
quo because (a) the petitioner and respondent Atayde are not residents of Moreover, having brought the dispute before the lupon of barangay Valenzuela,
barangays in the same city or municipality; (b) the law does not apply when the Makati, the private respondents are estopped from disavowing the authority of
31

the body which they themselves had sought. Their act of trifling with the authority Nor would this Court accept the contention of the private respondent that the
of the lupon by unjustifiably failing to attend the scheduled mediation hearings parties could not agree on a compromise and that they had to request the
and instead filing the complaint right away with the trial court cannot be barangay captain to issue a certification to file action. The request is dated 23
24

countenanced for to do so would wreak havoc on the barangay conciliation June 1993, or nearly one and a half months after Criminal Cases Nos. 145233
25

system. and 145234 were filed with the court a quo. Evidently, this was done to support
their contention in the said court that, in any event, there was substantial
Granting arguendo that the petitioner did inflict the alleged physical injuries, the compliance with the requirement of referral to the lupon. It must be stressed that
offense for which she may be liable would only be slight physical injuries under the private respondents, after failing to appear at the initial confrontation and long
paragraph (2), Article 266 of the Revised Penal Code, considering that per the after the criminal cases were filed, had no right to demand the issuance of a
medical certificates the injuries sustained by the private respondents would
22 certification to file action.
"heal" in nine days "in the absence of complication" and there is no showing that
the said injuries incapacitated them for labor or would require medical The respondent judge thus acted with grave abuse of discretion in refusing to
attendance for such period. The penalty therefor would only be "arresto menor or dismiss Criminal Cases Nos. 145233 and 145234.
a fine not exceeding 200 pesos and censure." These penalties are light under
Article 25 of the Revised Penal Code and would prescribe in two Before closing these cases, this Court wishes to emphasize the vital role which
months pursuant to Article 90. the revised katarungang pambarangay law plays in the delivery of justice at the
barangay level, in promoting peace, stability, and progress therein, and in
Accordingly, since the slight physical injuries charged in Criminal Cases Nos. effectively preventing or reducing expensive and wearisome litigation. Parties to
145233 and 145234 were allegedly inflicted on 17 April 1993, the prescriptive disputes cognizable by the lupon should, with sincerity, exhaust the remedies
period therefor would have expired two months thereafter. Nevertheless, its provided by that law, government prosecutors should exercise due diligence in
running was tolled by the filing of the private respondents' complaints with ascertaining compliance with it, and trial courts should not hesitate to impose the
the lupon of Valenzuela, Makati, on 23 April 1993 and automatically suspended appropriate sanctions for non-compliance thereof.
for a period of sixty days, or until 22 June 1993. If no mediation or conciliation
could be reached within the said period of suspension and, accordingly, a WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The Orders of respondent
certification to file action is issued, the private respondents would still have Judge of 2 July 1993 and 5 August 1993 in Criminal Cases Nos. 145233 and
fifty-six days within which to file their separate criminal complaints for such 1452334, both entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Felicidad Uy" are hereby
offense. Evidently, there was no basis for the invocation by the respondent judge SET ASIDE and the respondent Judge is hereby DIRECTED to DISMISS said
of the exception provided for in paragraph (b), Section 412 of the Local cases within ten (10) days from receipt of a copy of this decision.
Government Code.
Costs against the private respondents.
Neither are we persuaded by the reasoning of the respondent Judge that the
petitioner "had already waived the right to a reconciliation proceedings before the SO ORDERED.
barangay of Valenzuela, Makati, considering that the accused and the
complainant are residents of different barangays." The petitioner did not waive
the reconciliation proceedings before the lupon of Valenzuela, Makati; she
submitted to it and attended the scheduled conciliation on 28 April 1993 and
invoked the pre-condition of referral to the lupon in her counter-affidavit.
23

NAPOLEON GEGARE, petitioner


32

vs. L-38069. Thereafter, the writ of execution was issued and the title of Elma to the
property was cancelled.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS (ELEVENTH DIVISION) AND ARMIE
ELMA, respondents. Both petitioner and private respondent filed an application for this lot in the Board
of Liquidators (Board for short) in 1975. On June 15, 1976, Resolution No. 606,
Camilo Cariño Dionio, Jr. for petitioner. Series of 1976 was passed by the Board disposing of the lot in favor of petitioner
by way of a negotiated sale in conformity with the decision in Civil Case No. 950.
Cedo, Ferrer & Associates Law Offices for private respondent. Private respondent protested against the application of petitioner and on August
8, 1978, the Board adopted Resolution No. 611, Series of 1978 denying private
respondent's protest for the same reason. A request for reconsideration of
private respondent was referred by the Board to Mr. Artemio Garlit,
GANCAYCO, J.: liquidator-designee, General Santos Branch, for verification and investigation.
After hearings, Mr. Garlit submitted a report to the Manila office recommending
The familiar story in the Old Testament is of how King Solomon settled the division of the lot to the parties. Nevertheless, on March 13, 1981, the Board
dispute between two women over a child by deciding that the child be cut into two denied the protest because the case had already been decided by the court.
for them to share. The real mother full of love implored that the King not kill the
child and give the child to the other woman. The latter asked the King not to give However, a motion for reconsideration filed by private respondent was favorably
it to either of them and to go on, cut the child into two. considered by the Board in Resolution No. 233, Series of 1981 dated July 8,
1981. Thus, the Board directed the chief of LASEDECO to investigate the
This case involves a small piece of land. The decision was to cut it into two occupancy and area of the lot. In this investigation, it was found that only private
between the parties. But the parallel ends there. The petitioner wants the whole respondent was the actual occupant so the LASEDECO chief recommended the
lot. Private respondent is happy with his half. This is the impasse that must be division of the property between petitioner and private respondent.
resolved.
On August 14, 1981, the Board passed Resolution No. 272, Series of 1981
The center of controversy is Lot 5989, Ts-217 with an area of about 270 square approving said recommendation by dividing the lot equally between the parties at
meters situated at Dadiangas, General Santos City. This lot was titled in the 135.5 square meters each to be disposed to them by negotiated sale.
name of Paulino Elma under Original Certificate of Title No. (P-29947) (P-11503)
P-1987 issued by the Office of the Register of Deeds of General Santos City and Both parties appealed to the Office of the President but in a decision dated March
Miscellaneous Sales Patent No. V-635. A reversion case was filed by the 25, 1984, both appeals were dismissed. A motion for reconsideration filed by
Republic of the Philippines against Paulino Elma in the Court of First Instance of petitioner was denied on May 29,1984.
South Cotabato docketed as Civil Case No. 950, wherein in due course a
decision was rendered on January 29, 1973 declaring the title of Paulino Elma Private respondent paid for the value of 1/2 of the lot and applied for the issuance
null and void and the same was ordered cancelled. The lot was reverted to the of a patent. In Resolution No. 185, Series of 1985 adopted on October 7, 1985,
mass of public domain subject to disposition and giving preferential right to its the Board gave due course to the application of private respondent and for the
actual occupant, Napoleon Gegare. issuance of a patent to 1/2 portion of the lot. Petitioner was also advised to file his
application and pay for his portion. Thus, Miscellaneous Sales Patent No. 4261
This decision was affirmed by this Court when We dismissed the petition for and Original Certificate of Title No. P-5139 were issued to private respondent.
review on certiorari filed by the heirs of Elma on March 13, 1974 in G.R. No.
33

On November 27, 1985, petitioner filed an action for "Annulment and PETITIONER IN THE INSTANT CASE), THUS, DEPRIVING HIM OF
Cancellation of Partition of Lot 5989, Ts-217, situated at Dadiangas, General HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW.
Santos City and Annulment of Resolutions No. 272 and 185 and/or to Declare
them Null and Void" against private respondent and the Board. The suit was SECOND ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
docketed as Civil Case No. 3270 in the Regional Trial Court of General Santos
City. THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN GIVING DUE COURSE TO THE
PETITION OF ARMIE ELMA IN CA-G.R. SP NO. 12183 IN SPITE OF THE
On February 11, 1985, private respondent filed a motion to dismiss the complaint FACT THAT THE TWO (2) ORDERS SUBJECT MATTER OF THE PETITION
on the following grounds: (1) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter; (2) ARE INTERLOCUTORY IN NATURE.
petitioner has no capacity to sue; (3) petitioner is not a real party-in-interest; and
(4) the action is barred by prior judgment. Private respondent added another THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
ground (5) lack of conciliation efforts pursuant to Section 6 of Presidential Decree
No. 1508. The motion was granted in an order dated March 18, 1986. THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE TRIAL COURT
HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER CIVIL CASE NO. 3270.
On April 3, 1986, petitioner moved for a reconsideration thereof to which an
opposition was filed by private respondent. The motion for reconsideration was FOURTH ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
granted in an order of April 21, 1986 and private respondent was required to file
his responsive pleading. Private respondent filed his answer. On July 10, 1986, THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE TRIAL COURT
private respondent asked for a preliminary hearing of the grounds for the motion SHOULD HAVE DISMISSED CIVIL CASE NO. 3270 FOR FAILURE OF THE
to dismiss in his affirmative defenses. This was denied on July 24, 1986. PLAINTIFF TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF P.D. NO. 1508 BEFORE
FILING HIS COMPLAINT IN COURT. 2

Hence, private respondent filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition in the
Court of Appeals questioning the said orders of the trial court dated April 21, The petition is devoid of any merit.
1986 and July 24, 1986. In due course, a decision was rendered by the appellate
court on March 16, 1988 granting the petition, declaring the questioned orders Under the first assigned error, petitioner alleges that he was not served
null and void, and directing the trial court to dismiss the civil case for lack of summons and a copy of the petition so that he was deprived of due process and
jurisdiction, without pronouncement as to costs. An urgent motion for the respondent court did not acquire jurisdiction over his person.
reconsideration filed by petitioner was denied in a resolution dated May 31,
1988. 1

Private respondent disputes this claim by showing that it was at the address of
petitioner appearing in the petition at Liwayway Disco Restaurant and Disco Pub,
Thus, the herein petition wherein petitioner raises the following issues--- Ilang-Ilang Street, General Santos City, where petitioner was served a copy of
private respondent's "Manifestation and Motion for Early Resolution. Petitioner's
3

FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR counsel was also served a copy of the resolution dated June 28, 1987, "Motion
4

for Restraining Order" dated July 28, 1987 and Manifestation dated December 1,
THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN DECIDING CA-G.R. SP NO. 1987. Indeed, petitioner's counsel filed a motion dated April 4, 1988 seeking a
5

12183 WITHOUTFIRST SERVING SUMMONS AND A COPY OF THE reconsideration of the decision of respondent court which was denied on May
6

PETITION TO THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT IN THE SAID CASE (NOW 31, 1988. Obviously, petitioner voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the
respondent court and was never deprived of due process. 7
34

Under the second and third assigned errors, petitioner contends that the True it is that the Board is a government instrumentality but the petitioner and
appellate court erred in giving due course to the petition that assailed the two private respondent who are also contending parties in the case are residents of
orders of the court a quo which are interlocutory in character and in holding that the same barangay so Section 6 of Presidential Decree No. 1508 should apply to
the trial court has no jurisdiction over Civil Case No. 3270. them as it provides---

It is precisely to correct the lower court when in the course of proceedings it acts Section 6. Conciliation, pre-condition to filing of complaint. No complaint, petition,
without jurisdiction or in excess thereof or if the trial court judge otherwise acted action or proceeding involving any matter within the authority of the Lupon as
with grave abuse of discretion that the extraordinary writ of certiorari or provided in Section 2 hereof shall be filed or instituted in court or any other
prohibition is afforded to parties as a relief. Such writ is available even in respect government office for adjudication unless there has been a confrontation of the
to interlocutory orders.8
parties before the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat and no conciliation or
settlement has been reached as certified by the Lupon Secretary or
The appellate court correctly ruled that courts of justice will not interfere with the Pangkat Secretary attested by the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman, or unless the
purely administrative matters rendered by administrative bodies or officials acting settlement has been repudiated.
within the scope of their power and authority. The discretionary power vested in
the proper executive official in the absence of arbitrariness or grave abuse so as The purpose of this confrontation is to enable the parties to settle their
to go beyond the statutory authority, is not subject to the contrary judgment or differences amicably. If the other only contending party is the government or its
control of the courts and is treated with finality.
9
instrumentality or subdivision the case falls within the exception but when it is
only one of the contending parties, a confrontation should still be undertaken
When Board Resolution No. 272 was passed in 1981, petitioner appealed to the among the other parties.
Office of the President. After his appeal was denied on March 26, 1984, he did
not file a petition for review in this court. Thus, the said decision became final and WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. No costs.
it was duly implemented. We agree that when petitioner filed Civil Case No. 3270,
the trial court should have refrained from interfering with said administrative SO ORDERED.
disposition of the chief executive absent any showing of lack or excess of
jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion.

Moreover, petitioner had no capacity to file the questioned suit in the lower court.
The real party-in-interest who can seek the nullification of the land grant is the
government or the state. 10

Under the fourth and last assigned error, petitioner argues that it was erroneous
for the appellate court to hold that the case should be dismissed by the lower
court for failure to comply with a provision of Presidential Decree No. 1508 before
filing the complaint. He alleges that this rule is not applicable in said case for one
of the parties therein is the government or any subdivision or instrumentality
thereof which is excepted from this requirement under Section 2 of said law.
35

FERNAN, J.:

The issue in this petition for review on certiorari is whether the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction to annul an
amicable settlement arrived at by the parties through the mediation of the Lupong Tagapayapa, in the absence of
a repudiation of said amicable settlement within the 10-day period provided for in Section 11 of Presidential
Decree No. 1508.

In a quitclaim and waiver executed on July 10, 1982, Alfredo and Revelina
Laureta ceded to petitioner all their rights and interests over a house and lot
located in Quezon Hill, Baguio City for P70,000. Petitioner paid the Lauretas
P50,000 with the balance payable later.

When P18,000 of the balance remained unpaid, the parties brought the matter
before the barangay captain of Victoria Village in Baguio City. On February 10,
1984, the parties entered into an amicable settlement whereby they agreed that
the P18,000 would be paid in monthly installments starting April, 1984 and that
non-compliance therewith would "mean execution in accordance with the
Barangay Law." 1

A month later, petitioner discovered that the house he had bought was
encroaching on the adjoining lot, that the owner thereof was demanding payment
for such encroachment, and that there were arrears on electric bills and taxes
amounting to P6,117. Consequently, on July 17, 1984, he filed in the office of the
barangay captain of Victoria Village an unsworn complaint for the annulment of
the amicable settlement. He alleged therein that his consent to said settlement
had been vitiated by mistake or fraud and therefore, the amicable settlement
should be annulled and a new one entered into by the parties. 2

Meanwhile, the Lauretas filed in the Municipal Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch
IV, a motion for the issuance of a writ of execution based on the amicable
HENRY GALUBA, petitioner, settlement. As the inferior court issued the writ, petitioner filed in the Regional
vs. Trial Court of Baguio City a complaint for the annulment of the amicable
SPOUSES ALFREDO and REVELINA LAURETA, HON. JUDGE BRAULIO settlement with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/ or restraining
YARANON, THE SHERIFF OF BAGUIO CITY, respondents. order. 3

RESOLUTION The lower court denied the prayer for the issuance of a restraining order and/or
writ of preliminary injunction. Thereafter, the Lauretas filed a motion to dismiss
36

the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the nature of the action. Thereafter, the Lauretas filed an addendum to their motion to dismiss stating that
Alleging that in praying for a restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction, the complaint did not state a cause of action as petitioner failed to repudiate the
petitioner wanted to "circumvent the mandatory provisions of P. D. 1508," the amicable settlement or to file a "Petition for [the] nullification of the award"
Lauretas averred that "without the unmeritorious petition for preliminary pursuant to Section 11 of P.D. 1508, and that said complaint should have been
injunction," the dispute between them and petitioner was subject to amicable filed in the municipal trial court.
4

settlement. They cited Section 6 of P.D. 1508 which provides:


In his opposition thereto, petitioner argued that the 10-day repudiation period
SEC. 6. Conciliation pre-condition to filing of complaint.—No complaint, petition having expired, he was left with no recourse but to file the action for nullification
action or proceeding involving any matter within the authority of the Lupon as in court considering that Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, specifically Section 9[1]
provided in Section 2 hereof shall be filed or instituted in court or any other thereof which gives regional trial courts exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil
government office of adjudication unless there has been a confrontation of the actions in which the subject of litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation, and
parties before the Lupon Chairman or the Pangkat and no conciliation or its repealing clause under Section 47, should prevail over the provisions of P.D.
settlement has been reached as certified by the Lupon Secretary or 1508.
the Pangkat Secretary, attested by the Lupon or Pangkat Chairman, or unless
the settlement has been repudiated. However, the parties may go directly to On January 9, 1985, the lower court issued an order granting the motion to
court in the following cases: dismiss on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction as well as cause of action. Citing
Sections 11 and 13 of P.D. 1508, the lower court said:"... [T]here is no authorized
[1] Where the accused is under detention; judicial procedure under P.D. 1508 for the annulment of an amicable settlement.
Only an arbitration award, which is different from an amicable settlement, may
[2] Where a person has otherwise been deprived of personal liberty calling become the subject of a petition for nullification to be filed yet with the proper
for habeas corpus proceedings; municipal trial court. ..." The Court noted the fact that petitioner failed to repudiate
the amicable settlement within the 10-day period provided for in Section 11 of
[3] Actions coupled with provisional remedies such as preliminary injunction, P.D. 1508 as the parties entered into said amicable settlement on February 10,
attachment, delivery of personal property and support pendente lite; and 1984 and yet it was only on July 27, 1984 when petitioner repudiated it through
an unsworn complaint for its annulment.
[4] Where the action may otherwise be barred by the Statute of Limitations.
The lower court suggested that "an action for the annulment or rescission of the
In his comment and opposition to the motion to dismiss, petitioner contended that contract he had with private defendants with a prayer for injunction to restrain in
the lower court had jurisdiction over the case because he had named as the meantime the enforcement of the amicable settlement" would perhaps be
defendants therein the municipal trial court and the sheriff of Baguio City and availed of by the petitioner.
hence, the complaint fell under the exceptions in Section 2 [21 of P.D. 1508]. He
also expressed doubt that the Lauretas were still residing in Baguio City as From said order, petitioner filed a notice of appeal to this Court. The records of
Alfredo Laureta had been considered at large in some pending criminal cases the case having been erroneously transmitted to the Court of Appeals, said court
against him. He asserted that he had substantially complied with P.D. 1508 certified the case to this Court on March 19, 1985. 5

because he filed the aforementioned complaint of July 31, 1984 before the
barangay captain and that after two months of trying to locate defendants, the In his petition for review on certiorari, petitioner contended that "there must be a
barangay captain of Victoria Village as Pangkat Chairman,' issued a certification provision of judicial procedure that supplements the deficiency of P.D. 1508."
to file action on October 11, 1984. Finding it in Rule 143 of the Rules of Court, petitioner averred that P.D. 1508
37

being a special law, the Rules of Court may be applied by analogy or in a the ground of lack of cause of action or prematurity. Once the parties have
suppletory character. Thus, under Rule 39, his remedy against an executory signed an amicable settlement, any party who finds reasons to reject it must do
amicable settlement which, by analogy is a final judgment, is an action to annul it. so in accordance with Section 13 of P.D. 1508 which states:
Moreover, petitioner asserts that he has a cause of action because of the
fraudulent act or misrepresentation of private respondents herein. SEC. 13. Repudiation. — Any party to the dispute may, within ten [10] days from
the date of the settlement, repudiate the same by filing with the Barangay
As private respondents failed to file a timely comment on the petition, they filed Captain a statement to that effect sworn to before him, where the consent is
an explanation, apology and comment alleging that during the extended period vitiated by fraud, violence or intimidation. Such repudiation shall be sufficient
for the filing of said comment, petitioner partially satisfied the "judgement of the basis for the issuance of the certification for filing of a complaint, provided for in
barangay court by paying them P2,000 thus misleading them to believe that
6
Section 6, hereof.
petitioner had abandoned the petition; that on December 6, 1985, the deputy
sheriff received from Mrs. Elizabeth Galuba, wife of petitioner, four [4] checks in Pursuant to P.D. 1508, Section 12, Rule VI of the Katarungang
the total amount of P10,000 representing full satisfaction of Galuba's obligation to Pambarangay Rules which were promulgated "for the amicable settlement of
them; that petitioner himself requested the municipal trial court of Baguio City to disputes at the barangay level, without judicial recourse," also provides that
issue a certification that he had fully settled his obligation in Barangay Case No. "[f]ailure to repudiate the settlement or the arbitration agreement within the time
76 which certification was issued by the clerk of said court on May 18, 1980; that limits respectively set [in Section 10 thereof], shall be deemed a waiver of the
as petitioner himself requested for said certification, they thought that petitioner right to challenge on said grounds," i.e., fraud, violence or intimidation.
would take the initiative of filing a motion to dismiss the petition; that having
settled his obligation in said case, petitioner is estopped from questioning the Any party, therefore, who fails to avail himself of the remedy set forth in Section
jurisdiction of the barangay captain, and that they admit that they erred in not 13 must face the consequences of the amicable settlement for he can no longer
informing this Court of the settlement of the case. file an action in court to redress his grievances arising from said settlement.

In his reply to said explanation, apology and comment, the petitioner alleged that It should be emphasized that under Section 11 of said law, "[t]he amicable
he was forced to satisfy his obligation because "there was nothing more to stay settlement and arbitration award shall have the force and effect of a final
the execution of the amicable settlement" [sic] after the municipal trial court had judgment of a court upon the expiration of the ten [10] days from the date thereof
issued the writ of execution. He insisted that "the absence of "authorized judicial unless repudiation of the settlement has been made or a petition for nullification
procedure under PD 1508" must be supplemented by the Revised Rules of Court of the award has been filed before the proper city or municipal court."
in conjunction with the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, BP Blg. 129."
Hence, the lower court correctly held that P.D. 1508 does not provide for a
We vote to deny the petition for review on certiorari. judicial procedure for the annulment of an amicable settlement because the
remedy of repudiation supplants the remedy of a court annulment. An aggrieved
Section 6 of P.D. 1508 is mandatory in character. Thus, in Morata v. Go, 125 party may only resort to a court action after he has repudiated the settlement in
SCRA 444, Vda. de Borromeo v. Pogoy, 126 SCRA 216 and Peregrina v. Panis, accordance with Section 13 as Section 6 clearly states that repudiation is a
133 SCRA 72, We accordingly held that the conciliation process at the barangay pre-condition to the filing of a complaint regarding any matter within the authority
level is a condition precedent for the filing of a complaint in court. In Royales v. of the Lupong Tagapayapa. It should be clarified, however, that the "petition for
Intermediate Appellate Court, 127 SCRA 470, We ruled that non-compliance with nullification" mentioned in Section 11 refers to an arbitration award pursuant to
the condition precedent prescribed by P.D. 1508 could affect the sufficiency of Section 7 of the same law and not to an amicable settlement.
the plaintiff s cause of action and make his complaint vulnerable to dismissal on
38

The primordial objective of P.D. 1508 is to reduce the number of court litigations MATTER OF WHICH IS NOT CAPABLE OF PECUNIARY ESTIMATION. — A civil action in which the
and prevent the deterioration of the quality of justice which has been brought subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation has invariably been held to be
within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts. "In determining whether
about by the indiscriminate filing of cases in the courts. To allow court actions an action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary estimation this Court
assailing unrepudiated amicable settlements would exacerbate congestion of has adopted the criterion of first ascertaining the nature of the principal action or remedy
court dockets. This is repugnant to the spirit of P.D. 1508. sought. If it is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered capable of
pecuniary estimation, and whether jurisdiction is in the municipal courts [now municipal trial
courts] or in the courts of first instance [now regional trial courts] would depend on the amount
Having failed to repudiate the amicable settlement within the ten-day period, of the claim. However, where the basic issue is something other than the right to recover a
petitioner is left with no recourse but to abide by its terms. He, therefore, acted sum of money, or where the money claim is purely incidental to, or a consequence of, the
correctly when he eventually fully satisfied his obligation pursuant to the principal relief sought, this Court has considered such actions as cases where the subject of the
litigation may not be estimated in terms of money, and are cognizable exclusively by courts of
amicable settlement, thereby, rendering his case moot and academic.
first instance [now regional trial courts]."cralaw virtua1aw l ibra ry

ACCORDINGLY, the petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED. Costs 3. ID.; PROVISIONAL REMEDIES; WRIT OF MANDATORY INJUNCTION; WHEN AVAILABLE. — A
against the petitioner. writ for mandatory injunction is a provisional remedy. It is provisional because it constitutes a
temporary measure availed of during the pendency of the main action and it is ancillary
because it is a mere incident in and is dependent upon the result of the main action.

DECISION

NILO H. RAYMUNDO, Petitioner, v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, Sixteenth Division, Hon. NOCON, J.:
Judge, RTC, Br. 133, Makati, Metro Manila and GALLERIA DE MAGALLANES
ASSOCIATION, INC., Respondents.

The Barristers Law Office for Petitioner. This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition with restraining order and preliminary injunction
to annul and set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 11, 1991 1 dismissing
Leo M. Caubang for Respondents. petitioner’s petition for certiorari and prohibition which assailed the Orders 2 dated June 1,
1990 3 and June 29, 1990 4 of the trial court. chanrob les lawl ibra ry : redna d

It appears on record that on July 5, 1989, the administrator of the Galleria de Magallanes
SYLLABUS Condominium discovered that petitioner Nilo Raymundo, who was an owner/occupant of Unit
AB-122 of said condominium, made an unauthorized installation of glasses at the balcony of
his unit in violation of Article IV, Section 3 paragraph (d) of the Master Deed and Declaration
of Restrictions of the Association, which states that: jgc:chan roble s.com.p h

1. REMEDIAL LAW; REGIONAL TRIAL COURT; JURISDICTION IN CIVIL CASES NOT CAPABLE
OF PECUNIARY ESTIMATION. — Private respondent’s complaint is an action to compel the "d. Nothing shall be done or placed in any unit or in the common areas which is beyond or will
petitioner to remove the illegal and unauthorized installation of glasses at Unit AB-122 of the impair the structural strength of the buildings or alter the original architecture, appearance
condominium which is not capable of pecuniary estimation and falls under the exclusive and specifications of the building, including the external facade thereof." 5
jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court Section 33 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 129 is not
applicable in the instant case, but paragraph (1), Section 19 and paragraph (1), Section 21. Thereafter, the administrator of said condominium reported said violation to the Board of
Directors of the private respondent Galleria de Magallanes Association, Inc. in a special
2. ID; ID.; ID.; CRITERION IN DETERMINING WHETHER AN ACTION IS ONE THE SUBJECT meeting held on July 8, 1989 and the former sent a letter dated July 12, 1989 6 to the
39

petitioner demanding the latter to remove the illegal and unauthorized installation of glasses The contention of the petitioner is devoid of merit because private respondent’s complaint is an
at his unit. action to compel the petitioner to remove the illegal and unauthorized installation of glasses at
Unit AB-122 of the condominium which is not capable of pecuniary estimation and falls under
Petitioner refused, consequently, private respondent filed a complaint for mandatory the exclusive jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court Section 33 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 129
injunction against petitioner on February 21, 1990 with the Regional Trial Court of Makati, is not applicable in the instant case, but paragraph (1), Section 19 and paragraph (1), Section
Branch 133 in Civil Case No. 90-490. 21 of said law which provide: jgc:chanrobles. com.ph

On March 12, 1990, petitioner filed a Motion for extension of time to file an Answer 7 as well as "Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original
a Motion for production of document 8 which were granted in an Order dated March 16, 1990. jurisdiction: chanrob 1es vi rtua l 1aw lib rary

9
(1) In all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary
However, on March 23, 1990, instead of an Answer, petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss with estimation;"
the trial court on the ground that said court has no jurisdiction over the present case since a
complaint for mandatory injunction is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the x x x
Metropolitan Trial Court. chanroble s virtual lawlib rary

The Motion to Dismiss was denied in the Order of June 1, 1990, the pertinent portion of which
"Sec. 21. Original jurisdiction in other cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise original
reads:
jurisdiction:
jgc:chanro bles. com.ph

chanrob 1es vi rtua l 1aw lib rary

"This is a suit for mandatory injunction. Under Sec. 21 of BP 129, as amended, it is the
(1) In the issuance of writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas
Regional Trial Court which has the legal competence to issue the same. Corollarily, the second
corpus and injunction which may be enforced in any part of their respective regions;"
ground must be denied. The action is essentially one which falls within the jurisdiction of the
Regional Trial Court.
A civil action in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation has
invariably been held to be within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial
"WHEREFORE, the Motion to Dismiss is hereby denied, for lack of merit." 10
Courts.chanrobles law l ib rary

Likewise, petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration was denied in the Order of June 29, 1990
"In determining whether an action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of
which We quote, to wit:
pecuniary estimation this Court has adopted the criterion of first ascertaining the nature of the
jgc:chan robles. com.ph

principal action or remedy sought. If it is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the
"As denominated in the complaint itself, this is a suit for mandatory injunction, and the nature
claim is considered capable of pecuniary estimation, and whether jurisdiction is in the
of the action as designated by the plaintiff is substantiated by the allegations of the complaint
municipal courts [now municipal trial courts] or in the courts of first instance [now regional trial
itself. Such being the case, Sec. 21 of BP 129 governs. The claims for attorney’s fees is
courts] would depend on the amount of the claim. However, where the basic issue is
incidental to the nature of the complaint as one of mandatory injunction which is also attested
something other than the right to recover a sum of money, or where the money claim is purely
by the prayer in the complaint "to remove the illegal and unauthorized installation of glasses at
incidental to, or a consequence of, the principal relief sought, this Court has considered such
Unit AB-122 of the Condominium within five (5) days from receipt of the order . . ." and,
actions as cases where the subject of the litigation may not be estimated in terms of money,
therefore, does not affect the legal competence of the Court to act on the complaint." 11
and are cognizable exclusively by courts of first instance [now regional trial courts]." 12
On elevation to the appellate court in a petition for certiorari and prohibition with restraining
As correctly stated by the Court of Appeals, the question for resolution is whether or not the
order and preliminary injunction, the petition was again dismissed on March 11, 1991.
petitioner violated the provisions of the Master Deed and Declaration of Restriction of the
chanrob les.co m.ph : virtu al law lib rary

corporation, and if so, to remove the illegal and unauthorized installation of glasses at Unit
Hence, this petition alleging want of jurisdiction of the trial court to hear and decide private
AB-122 of the Condominium. Clearly, the issue is incapable of pecuniary estimation.
respondent’s complaint for mandatory injunction considering that private respondent’s sole
pecuniary claim of P10,000.00 as attorney’s fees in Civil Case No. 90-490 is within the original
In the instant case. the claim of attorney’s fees by the private respondent in the amount of
and exclusive jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Court as provided for under Section 33 of
P10,000.00 is only incidental to its principal cause of action which is for the removal of the
B.P. 129.
illegal and unauthorized installation of the glasses made by the petitioner and therefore, said
amount is not determinative of the jurisdiction of the court.
We do not agree.
40

Note should be taken. however, that the trial court had erroneously considered the complaint PER CURIAM:
as one for mandatory injunction, misled perhaps by the caption of the complaint. chan rob les.com: cralaw: red

A writ for mandatory injunction is a provisional remedy. It is provisional because it constitutes G.R. No. L-36098 (Ortigas & Company, Limited Partnership vs. Judge Jose B.
a temporary measure availed of during the pendency of the main action and it is ancillary Herrera, City Court of Manila, Branch II, and Emiliano Samson). – On August 14,
because it is a mere incident in and is dependent upon the result of the main action. 13 1969, petitioner and private respondent entered into an agreement thereby for
and in consideration of P55,430.00, the former agreed to sell to the latter a parcel
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and prohibition with restraining order and preliminary
injunction is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit and the decision of the Court of Appeals of land with a special condition that should private respondent as purchaser
promulgated on March 11, 1991 is hereby AFFIRMED. complete the construction including the painting of his residential house on said
lot within two (2) years from August 14, 1969, petitioner, as owner, has agreed to
SO ORDERED.
refund to private respondent the amount of P10.00 per square meter. When the
aforesaid special condition was fulfilled, private respondent, on May 17, 1971
accordingly notified in writing the petitioner of the same and requested for his
refund amounting to P4,820.00.

Upon failure of petitioner to pay his obligation, private respondent on May 6,


1972 filed a complaint for sum of money and damages with the City Court of
Manila, Branch II, against petitioner docketed as Civil Case No. 211673. A
motion to dismiss was filed by petitioner on grounds of lack of jurisdiction, failure
of the complaint to state a cause of action and improper avenue. City Court
Judge Jose B. Herrera in his order dated June 27, 1972 held in abeyance the
resolution on the motion until after the trial of the case on the merits.

A reconsideration of the said order having been denied, petitioner on October 12,
1972 filed with the Court of First Instance of Manila Branch XXVII, a special civil
action for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction docketed as Civil
Case No. 88510. A motion to dismiss was filed by private respondent, and on
November 17, 1972, the petition was dismissed on the ground that the claim of
private respondent in his complaint, being less than P10,000.00, is within the
exclusive jurisdiction of the city court.
ORTIGAS & COMPANY, LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, petitioner,
vs. Petitioner thus filed the present petition and argues among others that: (a) as
JUDGE JOSE B. HERRERA, respondent. determined from the allegations of the complaint, the action is for specific
performance of contract; and (b) actions in which the subject of litigation is not
RESOLUTION capable of pecuniary estimation such as complaints for specific performance of
contract are exclusively cognizable by the Court of First Instance. Hence, the
decisive question to be resolved in this present petition is whether or not the City
Court of Manila, Branch II, has jurisdiction over the complaint.
41

The action involved in this case is one for specific performance and not for a sum
of money and wherefore incapable of pecuniary estimation because what private
respondent seeks is the performance of petitioner's obligation under a written
contract to make a refund but under certain specific conditions still to be proven
or established. In a case for the recovery of a sum of money, as the collection of ALFREDO F. PRIMERO, petitioner,
a debt, the claim is considered capable of pecuniary estimation (Lapitan vs. vs.
Scandia Inc., 24 SCRA 479) because the obligation to pay the debt is not INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and DM TRANSIT, respondents.
conditioned upon any specific fact or matter. But when a party to a contract has
agreed to refund to the other party a sum of money upon compliance by the latter
of certain conditions and only upon compliance therewith may what is legally due
him under the written contract be demanded, the action is one not capable of NARVASA, J.:
pecuniary estimation. The payment of a sum of money is only incidental which
can only be ordered after a determination of certain acts the performance of The question on which the petitioner's success in the instant appeal depends,
which being the more basic issue to be inquired into. and to which he would have us give an affirmative answer, is whether or
not, having recovered separation pay by judgment of the Labor Arbiter — which
Although private respondent's complaint in the court a quo is designated as one held that he had been fired by respondent DM Transit Corporation without just
for a sum of money and damages, an analysis of all the factual allegations of the cause — he may subsequently recover moral damages by action in a regular
complaint patently shows that what private respondent seeks is the performance court, upon the theory that the manner of his dismissal from employment was
of petitioner's obligation under the written contract to make the refund of the rate tortious and therefore his cause of action was intrinsically civil in nature.
of P10.00 per square meter or in the total amount of P4,820.00, but only after
proof of having himself fulfilled the conditions that will give rise to petitioner's Petitioner Primero was discharged from his employment as bus driver of DM
obligation, a matter clearly incapable of pecuniary estimation. Transit Corporation (hereafter, simply DM) in August, 1974 after having been
employed therein for over 6 years. The circumstances attendant upon that
In view of the foregoing, the Court RESOLVED to reverse the order appealed dismissal are recounted by the Court of Appeals 1 as follows:
from and the complaint filed with the City Court of Manila, Branch II, docketed as
Civil Case No. 211673 is hereby ordered dismissed for lack of Undisputably, since August 1, 1974, appellee's bus dispatcher did not assign any
bus to be driven by appellant Primero. No reason or cause was given by the
dispatcher to appellant for not assigning a bus to the latter for 23 days (pp. 6-14,
21-22, tsn, May 15, 1979).

Also, for 23 days, appellant was given a run-around from one management
official to another, pleading that he be allowed to work as his family was in dire
need of money and at the same time inquiring (why) he was not allowed to work
or drive a bus of the company. Poor appellant did not only get negative results
but was given cold treatment, oftentimes evaded and given confusing information,
or ridiculed, humiliated, or sometimes made to wait in the offices of some
management personnel of the appellee (pp. 2-29, tsn, May 15, 1979).
42

(The) General Manager and (the) Vice-President and Treasurer ... wilfully and consisted of one or two actions separately filed. What is certain is that he
maliciously made said appellant ... seesaw or ... go back and forth between them withdrew his claims for back wages and reinstatement, "with the end in view of
for not less than ten (10) times within a period of 23 days ... but (he) got negative filing a damage suit" "in a civil court which has exclusive jurisdiction over his
results from both corporate officials. Worse, on the 23rd day of his ordeal complaint for damages on causes of action founded on tortious acts, breach of
appellant was suddenly told by General Manager Briones to seek employment employment contract ... and consequent effects (thereof ). 2

with other bus companies because he was already dismissed from his job with
appellee (without having been) told of the cause of his hasty and capricious In any case, after due investigation, the Labor Arbiter rendered judgment dated
dismissal ... (pp. 8, 11-13, 25, tsn, May 15, 1979). January 24, 1977 ordering DM to pay complainant Primero P2,000.00 as
separation pay in accordance with the Termination Pay Law. The judgment was
3

Impelled to face the harsh necessities of life as a jobless person and worried by affirmed by the National Labor Relations Commission and later by the Secretary
his immediate need for money, appellant pleaded with Corporate President of Labor, the case having been concluded at this level on March 3, 1978. 4

Demetrio Munoz, Jr. for his reinstatement and also asked P300.00 as financial
assistance, but the latter told the former that he (Munoz, Jr.) will not give him Under the provisions of the Labor Code in force at that time, Labor Arbiters had
even one centavo and that should appellant sue him in court, then that will be the jurisdiction inter alia over —
time President Munoz, Jr. will pay him, if Munoz, Jr. loses the case x x (pp. 21-22,
tsn, May 15, 1979). 1) claims involving non-payment or underpayment of wages, overtime
compensation, social security and medicare benefits, and
Appellant also advised (the) President of the oppressive, anti-social and
inhumane acts of subordinate officers ... (but) Munoz, Jr. did nothing to resolve 2) all other cases or matters arising from employer-employee relations, unless
appellant's predicament and ... just told the latter to go back ... to ... Briones, who otherwise expressly excluded. 5

insisted that appellant seek employment with other bus firms in Metro Manila ...
(but) admitted that the appellant has not violated any company rule or And we have since held that under these "broad and comprehensive" terms of
regulation ... (pp. 23-26, tsn, May 15, 1979). the law, Labor Arbiters possessed original jurisdiction over claims for moral and
other forms of damages in labor disputes. 6

... In pursuance (of) defendant's determination to oppress plaintiff and cause


further loss, irreparable injury, prejudice and damage, (D.M. Transit) in bad faith The jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters over such claims was however removed by PD
and with malice persuaded other firms (California Transit, Pascual Lines, De 1367, effective May 1, 1978, which explicitly provided that "Regional Directors
Dios Transit, Negrita Corporation, and MD Transit) not to employ (appellant) in shall not indorse and Labor Arbiters shall not entertain claims for moral or other
any capacity after he was already unjustly dismissed by said defendant ... forms of damages." 7

(paragraph 8 of plaintiff's complaint).


Some three months afterwards, Primero brought suit against DM in the Court of
These companies with whom appellant applied for a job called up the D.M. First Instance of Rizal seeking recovery of damages caused not only by the
Transit Office (which) ... told them ... that they should not accept (appellant) breach of his employment contract, but also by the oppressive and inhuman, and
because (he) was dismissed from that Office. consequently tortious, acts of his employer and its officers antecedent and
subsequent to his dismissal from employment without just cause. 8

Primero instituted proceedings against DM with the Labor Arbiters of the


Department of Labor, for illegal dismissal, and for recovery of back wages and While this action was pending in the CFI, the law governing the Labor Arbiters'
reinstatement. It is not clear from the record whether these proceedings jurisdiction was once again revised. The amending act was PD 1691, effective
43

May 1, 1980. It eliminated the restrictive clause placed by PD 1367, that with the Labor Arbiter, the latter possessed original and exclusive
Regional Directors shall not indorse and Labor Arbiters entertain claims for moral jurisdiction also over claims for moral and other forms of damages; this, in virtue
or other forms of damages. And, as we have had occasion to declare in several of Article 265 12 of PD 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code, effective from May 1, 1974. In other words,
cases, it restored the principle that "exclusive and original jurisdiction for in the proceedings before the Labor Arbiter, Primero plainly had the right to plead and prosecute a claim not only
for the reliefs specified by the Labor Code itself for unlawful termination of employment, but also for moral or other
damages would once again be vested in labor arbiters;" eliminated "the rather damages under the Civil Code arising from or connected with that termination of employment. And this was the
thorny question as to where in labor matters the dividing line is to be drawn state of the law when he moved for the dismissal of his claims before the Labor Arbiter, for reinstatement and
recovery of back wages, so that he might later file a damage suit "in a civil court which has exclusive jurisdiction
between the power lodged in an administrative body and a court;' " and, "in the over his complaint ... founded on tortious acts, breach of employment contract ... and consequent effects
interest of greater promptness in the disposition of labor matters, ... spared (thereof)." 13
(courts of) the often onerous task of determining what essentially is a factual
matter, namely, the damages that may be incurred by either labor or The legislative intent appears clear to allow recovery in proceedings before
management as a result of disputes or controversies arising from Labor Arbiters of moral and other forms of damages, in all cases or matters
employer-employee relations." Parenthetically, there was still another
9
arising from employer-employee relations. This would no doubt include,
amendment of the provision in question which, however, has no application to particularly, instances where an employee has been unlawfully dismissed. In
the case at bar. The amendment was embodied in B.P. Blg. 227, effective June 1, such a case the Labor Arbiter has jurisdiction to award to the dismissed
1982. 10 employee not only the reliefs specifically provided by labor laws, but also moral
and other forms of damages governed by the Civil Code. Moral damages would
On August 11, 1980 the Trial Court rendered judgment dismissing the complaint be recoverable, for example, where the dismissal of the employee was not only
on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, for the reason that at the time that the effected without authorized cause and/or due process for which relief is granted
complaint was filed. on August 17, 1978, the law — the Labor Code as amended by the Labor Code — but was attended by bad faith or fraud, or constituted an
by PD 1367, eff. May 1, 1978 — conferred exclusive, original jurisdiction over act oppressive to labor, or was done in a manner contrary to morals, good
claims for moral or other damages, not on ordinary courts, but on Labor Arbiters. customs or public policy 14 — for which the obtainable relief is determined by the Civil Code 15 (not the
Labor Code). Stated otherwise, if the evidence adduced by the employee before the Labor Arbiter should
establish that the employer did indeed terminate the employee's services without just cause or without according
This judgment was affirmed by the Intermediate Appellate Court, by Decision him due process, the Labor Arbiter's judgment shall be for the employer to reinstate the employee and pay him
rendered on June 29, 1984. This is the judgment now subject of the present his back wages or, exceptionally, for the employee simply to receive separation pay. These are reliefs explicitly
prescribed by the Labor Code. 16 But any award of moral damages by the Labor Arbiter obviously cannot be
petition for review on certiorari. The decision was reached by a vote of 3 to 2. based on the Labor Code but should be grounded on the Civil Code. Such an award cannot be justified solely
The dissenters, placing reliance on certain of our pronouncements, opined that upon the premise (otherwise sufficient for redress under the Labor Code) that the employer fired his employee
Primero's causes of action were cognizable by the courts, that existence of without just cause or due process. Additional facts must be pleaded and proven to warrant the grant of moral
damages under the Civil Code, these being, to repeat, that the act of dismissal was attended by bad faith or fraud,
employment relations was not alone decisive of the issue of jurisdiction, and that or was oppressive to labor, or done in a manner contrary to morals, good customs, or public policy; and, of course,
such relations may indeed give rise to "civil" as distinguished from purely labor that social humiliation, wounded feelings, grave anxiety, etc., resulted therefrom. 17

disputes, as where an employer's right to dismiss his employee is exercised


tortiously, in a manner oppressive to labor, contrary to morals, good customs or It is clear that the question of the legality of the act of dismissal is intimately
public policy. 11 related to the issue of the legality of the manner by which that act of dismissal
was performed. But while the Labor Code treats of the nature of, and the remedy
Primero has appealed to us from this judgment of the IAC praying that we available as regards the first — the employee's separation from employment — it
overturn the majority view and sustain the dissent. does not at all deal with the second — the manner of that separation — which is
governed exclusively by the Civil Code. In addressing the first issue, the Labor
Going by the literal terms of the law, it would seem clear that at the time that Arbiter applies the Labor Code; in addressing the second, the Civil Code. And
Primero filed his complaints for illegal dismissal and recovery of backwages, etc. this appears to be the plain and patent intendment of the law. For apart from the
44

reliefs expressly set out in the Labor Code flowing from illegal dismissal from which was declared to be within the competence of labor agencies to pass upon,
employment, no other damages may be awarded to an illegally dismissed and the "manner in which the right was exercised and the effects flowing
employee other than those specified by the Civil Code. Hence, the fact that the therefrom," declared to be a matter cognizable only by the regular courts
issue-of whether or not moral or other damages were suffered by an employee because "intrinsically civil." We opine that it is this very distinction which the law
21

and in the affirmative, the amount that should properly be awarded to him in the has sought to eradicate as being so tenuous and so difficult to observe, and, of
22

circumstances-is determined under the provisions of the Civil Code and not the course, as herein pointed out, as giving rise to split jurisdiction, or to multiplicity of
Labor Code, obviously was not meant to create a cause of action independent of actions, "a situation obnoxious to the orderly administration of justice. Actually
23

that for illegal dismissal and thus place the matter beyond the Labor Arbiter's we merely reiterate in this decision the doctrine already laid down in other cases
jurisdiction. (Garcia v. Martinez, 84 SCRA 577; Ebon v. de Guzman, 13 SCRA 52; Bengzon v.
Inciong, 91 SCRA 248; Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. v. Martinez, 112 SCRA 578;
Thus, an employee who has been illegally dismissed (i.e., discharged without Aguda v. Vallejos, 113 SCRA 69; Getz v. C.A., 116 SCRA 86; Cardinal Industries
just cause or being accorded due process), in such a manner as to cause him to v. Vallejos, 114 SCRA 471; Sagmit v. Sibulo, 133 SCRA 359) to the effect that
suffer moral damages (as determined by the Civil Code), has a cause of action the grant of jurisdiction to the Labor Arbiter by Article 217 of the Labor Code is
for reinstatement and recovery of back wages and damages. When he institutes sufficiently comprehensive to include claims for moral and exemplary damages
proceedings before the Labor Arbiter, he should make a claim for all said reliefs. sought to be recovered from an employer by an employee upon the theory of his
He cannot, to be sure, be permitted to prosecute his claims piecemeal. He illegal dismissal. Rulings to the contrary are deemed abandoned or modified
cannot institute proceedings separately and contemporaneously in a court of accordingly.
justice upon the same cause of action or a part thereof. He cannot and should
not be allowed to sue in two forums: one, before the Labor Arbiter for WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED, without pronouncement as to costs.
reinstatement and recovery of back wages, or for separation pay, upon the
theory that his dismissal was illegal; and two, before a court of justice for
recovery of moral and other damages, upon the theory that the manner of his
dismissal was unduly injurious, or tortious. This is what in procedural law is
known as splitting causes of action, engendering multiplicity of actions. It is
against such mischiefs that the Labor Code amendments just discussed are PURIFICACION Y. MANLIGUEZ, ANTONINA Y. LUIS and BENJAMIN C.
evidently directed, and it is such duplicity which the Rules of Court regard as YBANEZ, petitioners,
ground for abatement or dismissal of actions, constituting either litis pendentia vs.
(auter action pendant) or res adjudicata, as the case may be. 18 But this was precisely THE COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL., respondents.
what Primero's counsel did. He split Primero's cause of action; and he made one of the split parts the subject of a
cause of action before a court of justice. Consequently, the judgment of the Labor Arbiter granting Primero
separation pay operated as a bar to his subsequent action for the recovery of damages before the Court of First
Rufino L. Remoreras for petitioners.
Instance under the doctrine of res judicata, The rule is that the prior "judgment or order is, with respect to the
matter directly adjudged or as to any other matter that could have been raised in relation thereto, conclusive Danilo L. Pilapil for private respondents.
between the parties and their successors in interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action or
special proceeding, litigating for the same thing and under the same title and in the same capacity. 19

We are not unmindful of our previous rulings on the matter cited in the dissent to
the decision of the Court of Appeals subject of the instant PUNO, J.:
petition, notably, Quisaba v. Sta Ines-Melale Veneer & Plywood Inc., where a
20

distinction was drawn between the right of the employer to dismiss an employee,
45

This is an appeal by certiorari from the Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated
1
Labor and Employment, Region 7." Citing Pucan vs. Bengzon, 155 SCRA 692
7

November 16, 1989, denying due course to and dismissing the petition in (1987), it held it had no jurisdiction over the case since the levy and sale "are
CA-G.R. SP NO. 18017. 2
connected with the case within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Department of
Labor and Employment." 8

The case at bench finds its roots in the Decision of the Department of Labor and
Employment (Region VII), ordering Inductocast Cebu, a partnership based in Petitioners questioned the dismissal of their Complaint to the respondent Court
Mandaue City, to pay its former employees a total of P232,908.00. As a of Appeals, through a petition for certiorari and preliminary injunction. The 9

consequence of the judgment, the labor department's regional sheriff levied the appellate court, in its impugned Decision, denied the petition as it held:
buildings and improvements standing on Lot 109, Plan 11-5121-Amd., at Tipolo,
Mandaue City. The levied properties (hereinafter referred to as the "Tipolo To Our minds, the issue on what forum the case must be tried or heard is a
properties") were subsequently sold at public auction to said employees. settled one. The Department of Labor is the agency upon which devolves the
jurisdiction over disputes emanating from and in relation with labor controversies
On May 25, 1988, petitioners filed with the RTC of Cebu City, 7th Judicial Branch, to the exclusion of the regular courts.
a Complaint which sought the lifting of the levy over, and annulment of the sale
3

of, the Tipolo properties. The Complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. The issue in the case at bar concerns the levy of a property in pursuance to a writ
Ceb-6917, and raffled to Branch 8 of the trial court. Petitioners therein alleged of execution, arising out of labor disputes. There can be no doubt that jurisdiction
that: they are the owners of the Lot 109; they entered into a lease agreement with pertains to the Department of Labor.
Inductocast Cebu over Lot 109; the lease contract provided that, except for
machineries and equipment, all improvements introduced in the leased premises xxx xxx xxx
shall automatically be owned by the Lessor (petitioners) upon the
expiration/termination of the contract; the lease agreement was terminated by
4
In the light of the factual antecedents and incidents that transpired in the hearing
petitioners in November, 1980 due to non-payment of rentals by Inductocast of this case at bar, the (trial court) correctly ruled that indeed the Department of
Cebu; thereafter, petitioners took actual possession of and occupied the Tipolo
5
Labor has jurisdiction over the case. Consequently, WE see no abuse of
properties. Petitioners likewise alleged in their Complaint that they became discretion let alone a grave one, amounting to lack or in excess of its jurisdiction
aware of the labor dispute involving Inductocast only after the impugned public correctible with a writ of certiorari.
auction sale. 6

Indeed, the issue of granting or denying a motion to dismiss is addressed to the


Atty. Danilo Pilapil, claiming to be the John Doe named in the Complaint, filed a sound discretion of the court, and in the absence of a capricious and whimsical
motion to dismiss on the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the exercise of power, certiorari will not lie.
case. The buyers of the Tipolo properties, as intervenors, also filed a motion to
dismiss on the same ground. Both motions, which were opposed by petitioners, Thus, this appeal where petitioners contend:
were denied.
THE RESPONDENT APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE
The intervenors, however, moved for reconsideration of the denial. In an Order DEPARTMENT OF LABOR HAS JURISDICTION ON THE SUBJECT MATTER
dated April 18, 1989, the trial court granted the motion and dismissed Civil Case AND NATURE OF THE CASE AS AGAINST THE CIVIL COURT.
No. Ceb-6917. It held that the civil case "is actually in the nature of a quashal of
the levy and the certificate of sale, a case arising out of a dispute that was We find merit in the appeal. Firstly, respondent court erred in holding that the trial
instituted by the previous employees of Inductocast before the Department of court does not have jurisdiction over the case filed by petitioners. It is at once
46

evident that the Civil Case No. Ceb-6917 is not a labor case. No "action", as stated in the Rule, what is meant is a separate and independent
employer-employee relationship exists between petitioners and the other parties, action.10

and no issue is involved which may be resolved by reference to the Labor Code,
other labor statutes, or any collective bargaining agreement. Neither can we Secondly, it is incorrect to argue that the trial court cannot take cognizance of
characterize petitioner's action before the trial court as arising out of a labor Civil Case No. Ceb-6917 without interfering with the writ of attachment and writ of
dispute. It was not brought to reverse or modify the judgment of the Department execution of a co-equal body. It is settled that the levy and sale of property by
of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Neither did it question the validity of, or pray virtue of a writ of attachment is lawful only when the levied property indubitably
for, the quashal of the writ of execution against Inductocast. belongs to the defendant. If property other than those of the defendant is
attached and sold by the sheriff, he acts beyond the limits of his and the court's
What is to be litigated in Civil Case No. Ceb-6917 is the issue of ownership over authority. In this regard, we held in the case of Uy, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals, 191
11

the Tipolo properties. Clearly, it is the RTC and not the labor department which SCRA 275 (1991) that:
can take cognizance of the case, as provided by B.P. Blg. 129 ("An Act
Reorganizing the Judiciary, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and For Other The main issue in this case is whether or not properties levied and seized by
Purposes"), thus: virtue of a writ of attachment and later by a writ of execution, were under custodia
legis and therefore not subject to the jurisdiction of another co-equal court where
Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in civil case. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise a third party claimant claimed ownership of the same properties.
exclusive original jurisdiction:
The issue has long been laid to rest in the case of Manila Herald Publishing
xxx xxx xxx Co., Inc. v. Ramos (88 Phil. 94 [1951]) where the Court ruled that while it is true
that property in custody of the law may not be interfered with, without the
(2) In all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession of real property, or permission of the proper court, this rule is confined to cases where the property
any interest therein, except actions for forcible entry into and unlawful detainer of belongs to the defendant or one in which the defendant has proprietary interests.
lands or buildings, original jurisdiction over which is conferred upon Metropolitan But when the Sheriff, acting beyond the bounds of his office seizes a stranger's
Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts; property, the rule does not apply and interference with his custody is not
interference with another court's order of attachment.
xxx xxx xxx
Also, in the more recent case of Santos vs. Bayhon, 199 SCRA 525 (1991), we
The action taken by petitioners before the RTC asserting their ownership over stated, viz.:
the levied properties is mandated by Section 17, Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of
Court. Time and again, we have held that: The general rule that no court has the power to interfere by injunction with the
judgments or decrees of another court with concurrent or coordinate jurisdiction
Under Section 17, Rule 39, a third person who claims property levied upon on possessing equal power to grant injunctive relief, applies only when no
execution may vindicate such claim by action. . . . The right of a person who third-party claimant is involved. . . . When a third party, or stranger to the action,
claims to be the owner of property levied upon on execution to file a third-party asserts a claim over the property levied upon, the claimant may vindicate his
claim with the sheriff is not exclusive, and he may file an action to vindicate his claim by an independent action in the proper civil court which may stop the
claim even if the judgment creditor files an indemnity bond in favor of the sheriff execution of the judgment on property not belonging to the judgment debtor
to answer for any damages that may be suffered by the third-party claimant. By (Citations omitted.)
47

Finally, it must be noted that the Pucan case relied upon by respondent court is Case No. Ceb-6917 pray for the trial court's ruling that the DOLE's judgment
inapplicable to the case at bench which involves a third-party claim over property could not be validly executed on the Tipolo properties, which allegedly do not
levied on execution. In Pucan, we enjoined the Regional Trial Court from acting belong to Inductocast.
on the petition for damages and prohibition against the enforcement of the writ of
execution issued by the NCR director of the then Ministry of Labor and IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition for review is GRANTED. The Decision of the
Employment in a labor case for the following reason: Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 18017, dated November 16, 1989, is
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Branch 8 is
A perusal of the petition for damages and prohibition filed by Saulog Transit, Inc., ordered to try Civil Case Ceb-6917 on its merit. No costs.
in the lower court reveals that basically, what was being questioned was the
legality or propriety of the alias writ of execution dated March 1, 1985, as well as SO ORDERED.
the acts performed by the Ministry officials in implementing the same. In other
words, the petition was actually in the nature of a motion to quash the writ; and
with respect to the acts of the Ministry officials, a case growing out of a labor
dispute, as the acts complained of, were perpetrated during the execution of a
decision of the then Minister of Labor and Employment. However characterized,
jurisdiction over the petition pertains to the Labor Ministry, now Department and
not the regular courts. This conclusion is evident, not only from the provisions of
Article 224(b) of the Labor Code, but also of
Article 218, as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 227 in connection with Article
255 of the same Code.

xxx xxx xxx

Apparently, Saulog Transit, Inc. was misled by its own prayer for actual, moral
and exemplary damages. It believed that such additional cause of action could
clothe the petition with the mantle of a regular action cognizable by the regular
courts. It was, of course, mistaken for the fact remains that the acts complained
of are mere incidents of a labor dispute. Such prayer therefore did not alter the
complexion of the case as one arising from a labor dispute, but was subsumed
by the nature of the main case, over which the regular courts had no jurisdiction,
much less the power to issue a temporary or permanent injunction or restraining
order. . . .
12

In fine, we prohibited the action before the trial court in Pucan because it
attacked the regularity of the issuance of the alias writ of execution in the labor
case, which is but an incident of the labor dispute. This is not so in the case at
bench where the civil case filed by petitioners does not even collaterally attack
the validity of the DOLE's writ of attachment. On the contrary, petitioners in Civil
48

x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - -x

DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the


Rules of Court assailing the Decision[1] dated June 17, 2005 and
the Resolution[2] dated January 3, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 81536. The appellate court had set aside the
Orders dated September 17, 2003,[3] October 2,
[4] [5]
2003 and November 13, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC), Branch 55 of Lucena City dismissing the complaint for
injunction and damages filed by L.C. Big Mak Burger, Inc. and
JOSE C. DEL VALLE, JR. and ADOLFO G.R. No. 170977 respondent Francis Dy against petitioners Labor Arbiter Jose C.
C. ALEMANIA, Del Valle, Jr. and National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
Petitioners, Present: Sheriff Adolfo C. Alemania.

The instant petition stemmed from a complaint[6] for illegal


QUISUMBING, J., Chairperson,
CARPIO MORALES, dismissal and monetary benefits filed by Clea Deocariza in May
- versus - TINGA, 2001 against L.C. Big Mak Burger, Inc.[7] and its Human
VELASCO, JR. and Resources Officer for Bicol, Teresa Israel.[8]
BRION, JJ.
In said labor case, it appears that despite many opportunities given
FRANCIS B. DY, Promulgated: to L.C. Big Mak and Israel, the two did not file their position
Respondent. papers. Labor Arbiter Jose C. Del Valle, Jr. even had the notices
April 16, 2009
49

and orders sent to L.C. Big Maks head office in Lucena City, On February 18, 2002, L.C. Big Mak and Israel filed a Motion to
addressed to its owner, respondent Francis Dy,[9] when those sent Quash Writ of Execution.[14] They claimed that they were
to the Naga branch were returned.Still, they failed to comply. completely unaware of the decision and the writ of
execution. They contended that the notices and orders requiring
On November 12, 2001, Labor Arbiter Del Valle rendered a them to file a position paper were not made known to their
Decision[10] in favor of Deocariza. The dispositive portion reads: officers in Lucena City. They further stated that had their legal
department in Lucena City been informed of said orders, the
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is
requisite position paper would have been filed.
hereby rendered against respondent, ordering the latter
to reinstate complainant to her former position without
loss of seniority right[s] and to pay complainant the On April 4, 2002, Labor Arbiter Del Valle issued an
total amount of FORTY-EIGHT THOUSAND SEVEN Order[15] denying the Motion to Quash Writ of Execution. He
HUNDRED FIFTY-SIX PESOS and 72/100 ruled that L.C. Big Mak and Israel waived their opportunity to
(P48,756.72), representing the latters backwages, salary submit their position paper by their continued inaction on the
differential pay, unpaid salary, overtime pay, night shift lawful orders and notices sent to them. He further ruled that the
differential and cash bond, as computed above. judgment can now be executed as a matter of right, it being final
and executory.
SO ORDERED.[11]
On April 24, 2003, acting on a motion for issuance of a writ of
A copy of the decision was sent by registered mail to Dy execution by Deocariza, Labor Arbiter Del Valle issued an
and Israel at L.C. Big Maks Lucena City office. Based on the Order[16] directing all parties to appear on May 12, 2003 for a
registry return receipt, it was received on November 22, 2001.[12] pre-execution conference. However, only Deocariza attended the
conference.
Since no appeal was made, the decision became final and
executory. Consequently, a Writ of Execution[13] was issued On May 13, 2003, Labor Arbiter Del Valle issued a Writ of
on December 17, 2001. Execution[17] directed to NLRC Sheriff Adolfo C. Alemania, the
pertinent portion of which reads:
50

NOW THEREFORE, you are hereby ordered to of due process and denial of substantial justice. They questioned the
go to the premises of respondent BIG MA[K] BURGER, order for Dy to reinstate Deocariza despite the fact that she is not his
Incorporated/Tess [I]srael at Lucena City together with employee and despite her resignation and the release or quitclaim
the complainant and let her be reinstated to her former she executed. They alleged that Israel is a franchisee of L.C. Big
position without loss of seniority right[s] and collect
Mak and Deocariza was one of her employees in the L.C. Big Mak
from said respondent the amount of P48,756.72,
Naga branch which negates the existence of an employer-employee
representing complainants backwages, salary differential,
unpaid salary, overtime pay, night shift and cash bond
relationship between Dy and Deocariza. They prayed that the
and to turn over the said amount to this Branch for properties levied upon be released.
further disposition.
On September 17, 2003, the trial court dismissed the
In case you fail to collect the said amount in complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction as it questions the
CASH from the respondent, you are hereby directed to propriety of actions taken by the labor tribunal.[21] Dy and L.C. Big
cause the satisfaction of the same to be made out of Mak filed a motion for reconsideration,[22] but the same was treated
movable goods or chattels in the possession of the as not filed for failure to include the requisite notice of hearing and
respondent or any other person or entity holding in
explanation why service was not done personally, and for failure of
behalf of the respondent or in the absence thereof, from
their counsel to indicate his Roll Number on the motion.[23] Dy and
immovable property not exempt from execution.[18]
L.C. Big Mak filed their motion for reconsideration after effecting
xxxx the necessary corrections but said motion was denied for lack of
merit.[24]
On June 16, 2003, Sheriff Alemania went to L.C. Big Maks
Dy, without including L.C. Big Mak as petitioner, then filed a
head office in Lucena City and levied upon 33 sacks of flour and
petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals asking that the
three sacks of refined sugar.[19]
orders of the RTC be set aside and the complaint be tried on the
merits. He imputed grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
On July 11, 2003, L.C. Big Mak and Dy filed a
RTC when it did not only dismiss the provisional remedy sought
complaint[20] for injunction and damages with the RTC of Lucena
but also dismissed the main action for damages without a valid
City. They claimed that the labor arbiters decision is void on the
grounds of lack of jurisdiction, grave abuse of discretion, violation
51

ground. The Court of Appeals granted the petition and disposed as WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT
follows: OF APPEALS, TENTH DIVISION, CORRECTLY
APPLIED SECTION 4, RULE 65 OF THE RULES OF
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari COURT IN GRANTING RESPONDENTS BELATED
is GRANTED. The assailed orders of the trial court, PETITION FOR CERTIORARI.
dated 17 September 2003, 2 October 2003, and 13
November 2003, respectively, are hereby SET II.
ASIDE. This case is remanded to the trial court for WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT
further proceedings. OF APPEALS, TENTH DIVISION, ERRED IN
GRANTING THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI
SO ORDERED.[25]
AND NULLIFYING THE ORDERS OF THE
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT DATED SEPTEMBER
The appellate court found Dy a stranger to the labor case. It 17, OCTOBER 2 AND NOVEMBER 13, 2003
ruled that contrary to the trial courts stand, deciding Dys WHICH WERE ISSUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH
complaint on the merits does not encroach upon the jurisdiction of EXISTING LAW AND APPLICABLE
the labor tribunal. It held that the power of the NLRC to execute JURISPRUDENCE AND MERITS OF THE CASE
its judgment extends only to properties unquestionably belonging THEREON.
to the judgment debtor. Thus, if the sheriff levies upon the assets III.
of a third person in which the judgment debtor has no interest,
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT
then the sheriff is acting beyond the limits of his authority and is
OF APPEALS, TENTH DIVISION EXCEEDED ITS
amenable to control and correction by a court of competent JURISDICTION AND ERRED [WHEN IT
jurisdiction in a separate and independent action. DISREGARDED THE LAW,] DOCTRINES AND
PRINCIPLES IN LAW PARTICULARLY ON: 1.
Labor Arbiter Del Valle and Sheriff Alemania filed a APPEAL; 2. JURISDICTION OVER LABOR
motion for reconsideration[26] which the Court of Appeals DISPUTES; 3. DETERMINATION OF
denied. Thus, they come before us raising the following issues: JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT MATTER
I. AND NATURE OF THE ACTION; 4. THIRD PARTY
CLAIM[;] AND 5. APPLICATION OF
52

JURISPRUDENCE ON A PARTICULAR CASE It was erroneous for the Court of Appeals to have granted
WHEN IT ISSUED THE ASSAILED DECISION the petition and ordered the remand of the case to the trial court
AND RESOLUTION.[27] for further proceedings.

Stated simply, the issues to be resolved are: (1) whether the It is established that the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction to
Court of Appeals erred in giving due course to Dys petition entertain original actions for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules
despite its procedural infirmities and (2) whether the trial court of Court, including those in which the jurisdiction of any lower
had jurisdiction over Dys complaint for injunction and damages. court is in issue.[30] It bears emphasis, however, as provided in the
Rule itself, that one requisite to a petition for certiorari is that
Petitioners contend that the appellate court should not have there is no appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the
given due course to Dys petition since the proper remedy was ordinary course of law[31] from the acts of the respondent
appeal and not certiorari. And even if certiorari were the proper tribunal. In the instant case, the remedy of appeal from the order
remedy, petitioners aver that the petition was still dismissible as it of the RTC dismissing the complaint for injunction and damages
was filed beyond the 60-day period. They also contend that the was available to respondent Dy and it was a plain, speedy and
trial court was correct in dismissing the complaint for lack of adequate remedy. Hence, following the general rule, the
jurisdiction. They argue that the complaint was actually in the questioned petition for certiorari filed by respondent Dy before the
nature of a Motion to Quash Writ of Execution and with respect to Court of Appeals, was not proper. As an exception, the remedy of
the acts of the labor tribunal, a case growing out of a labor dispute, certiorari may be successfully invoked, both in cases wherein an
as the acts complained of were incidents of the execution.[28] appeal does not lie and in those wherein the right to appeal having
been lost with or without the appellants negligence, where the
Respondent Dy counters that the appellate courts decision court has no jurisdiction to issue the order or decision which is the
correctly addressed the evasion of the positive duty incumbent subject matter of the remedy.[32] In the instant case, however, as
upon the trial court to decide [the complaint] according to its will be seen from the discussion below, the RTC acted within its
merits as the complaint for nullification of wrongful levy with jurisdiction in issuing its questioned orders.
damages was properly within its jurisdiction to resolve.[29]
It is axiomatic that what determines the nature of an action
We resolve to grant the instant petition. and hence, the jurisdiction of a court, are the allegations of the
53

complaint and the character of the relief sought.[33] This Court has to sanction split jurisdiction which is obnoxious to the orderly
held that: administration of justice.[36]
The rule is that, the nature of an action and the subject
In a desperate attempt to remove his complaint from the labor
matter thereof, as well as which court or agency of the
arbiters jurisdiction, Dy claims that he is not a party to the illegal
government has jurisdiction over the same, are
determined by the material allegations of the complaint dismissal case. He alleges that Deocarizas employer is Israel,
in relation to the law involved and the character of the whom he claims is a mere franchisee of L.C. Big Mak. Dy argues
reliefs prayed for, whether or not the that being a stranger to the case, the levying of his properties is a
complainant/plaintiff is entitled to any or all of such clear denial of substantial justice and due process. And to further
reliefs.[34] make it appear that his complaint is separate and independent
from the labor case, Dy, upon reaching the appellate stage,
dropped L.C. Big Mak as co-petitioner and was already claiming
Although the complaint filed by Dy before the trial court
that the 33 sacks of flour and three sacks of sugar are his personal
was for injunction and damages, it does not only challenge the
properties.
legality or propriety of the writ of execution, but also attacks the
validity of the decision of the Labor Arbiter. The complaint was in
These contentions, however, deserve no credit.
effect a motion to quash the writ of execution of a decision and an
action to annul the decision itself, both of which were rendered in
Dy failed to substantiate his allegation that Israel is a mere
an illegal dismissal case. It is thus a case properly within the
franchisee and that Israel is Deocarizas real employer. On the
jurisdiction of the labor arbiter and not the trial court, since the
contrary, it was established that Israel is also just an employee of
subject matter of Dys complaint is an incident of a labor case.
L.C. Big Mak because of an illegal dismissal complaint filed
by Israel against L.C. Big Mak and a memorandum issued by the
Jurisprudence abound confirming the rule that regular
latter to Israel as one of its Human Resource Officers. Also,
courts have no jurisdiction to act on labor cases or various
contrary to Dys claims, he is not a stranger to the illegal dismissal
incidents arising therefrom, including the execution of decisions,
case. He is a party in his capacity as owner of L.C. Big Mak, the
awards or orders.[35] Jurisdiction to try and adjudicate such cases
employer sued in the illegal dismissal case.
pertains exclusively to the proper labor official concerned under
the Department of Labor and Employment. To hold otherwise is
54

Moreover, Dy cannot claim sole ownership of the properties


levied upon by simply dropping L.C. Big Mak as petitioner. In his
complaint filed before the RTC, he categorically admitted under
oath that the levied properties belong to L.C. Big Mak and not to
him. Thus, he is now estopped from contending otherwise.

Even assuming that Dy is a stranger or third party to the labor case,


jurisdiction over his claim still lies with the labor arbiter. Dy
should have filed his third-party claim before the labor arbiter
from whom the writ of execution originated before instituting a
civil case.[37] The NLRCs Manual on Execution of
Judgment[38] provides for the mechanism for third-party claimants
to assert their claims over properties levied upon by the sheriff
pursuant to an order or decision of the NLRC or labor arbiter.
DR. ISABELITA VITAL-GOZON, in her official capacity as MEDICAL
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision CENTER CHIEF OF THE NATIONAL CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, petitioner,
vs.
dated June 17, 2005 and Resolution dated January 3, 2006 of the THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and DR. ALEJANDRO S. DE LA
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 81536 are REVERSED and FUENTE, respondents.
SET ASIDE. The Orders dated September 17, 2003, October 2,
Gregorio San Agustin for private respondent.
2003 and November 13, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 55
of Lucena City dismissing the complaint filed by L.C. Big Mak
Burger, Inc. and respondent Francis Dy are hereby REINSTATED.
NARVASA, C.J.:

SO ORDERED. Whether or not the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction, in a special civil action
of mandamus against a public officer, to take cognizance of the matter of
damages sought to be recovered from the defendant officer, is the chief issue
raised in the certiorari action at bar. Also put the issue is whether or not the
Solicitor General may represent the defendant public officer in
the mandamus suit, in so far as the claim for damages is concerned, in light of
55

the Court's rulings in Urbano , et al. v. Chavez, et al., and Co v. Regional Trial 1. Appellant de la Fuente, Jr. be retained or considering as never having
Court of Pasig, et al.
1
relinquished his position of Chief of Clinics (now Chief of Medical Professional
Staff) without loss of seniority rights; and
There is no dispute about the facts from which these issues arise.
2. He be paid back salaries, transportation, representation and housing
In the early months of 1987 — and pursuant to Executive Order No. 119 issued allowances and such other benefits withheld from him from the date of his illegal
on January 30, 1987 by President Corazon Aquino — reorganization of the demotion/transfer.
various offices of the Ministry of Health commenced; existing offices were
abolished, transfers of personnel effected. No motion for reconsideration of this Resolution was ever submitted nor appeal
therefrom essayed to the Supreme Court, within the thirty-day period prescribed
At the time of the reorganization, Dr. Alejandro S. de la Fuente was the Chief of therefor by the Constitution. Consequently, the resolution became final, on
3

the Clinics of the National Children's Hospital, having been appointed to that September 21, 1988.
position on December 20, 1978. Prior thereto, he occupied the post of Medical
Specialist II, a position to which he was promoted in 1977 after serving as De la Fuente thereupon sent two (2) letters to Dr. Vital-Gozon, the Medical
Medical Specialist I of the same hospital for six (6) years (since 1971). Center Chief of National Children's Hospital, demanding the implementation of
4

the Commission's decision. Dr. Vital-Gozon referred "de la Fuente's claims to the
On February 4, 1988 Dr. de la Fuente received notice from the Department of Department of Health Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs for appropriate advice
Health that he would be re-appointed "Medical Specialist II." Considering this is and/or action . . (She did this allegedly because, according to the Solicitor
to be a demotion by no less than two ranks from his post as Chief of Clinics, Dr. General, she was) unaware when and how a CSC Resolution becomes final and
de la Fuente filed a protest with the DOH Reorganization Board. When his executory, whether such Resolution had in fact become final and executory and
protest was ignored, he brought his case to the Civil Service Commission where whether the DOH Legal Department would officially assail the mentioned
it was docketed as CSC Case No. 4. In the meantime "the duties and Resolution." But she did not answer Dr. de la Fuente's letters, not even to inform
5

responsibilities pertaining to the position of Chief of Clinics were turned over to him of the referral thereof to the Assistant Secretary. She chose simply to await
and were allowed to be exercised by Dr. Jose D. Merencilla, "legal guidance from the DOH Legal Department." On the other hand, no one in
Jr."2 the DOH Legal Department bothered to reply to Dr. de la Fuente, or to take steps
to comply or otherwise advise compliance, with the final and executory
Dr. de la Fuente's case was decided by the Civil Service Commission in a Resolution of the Civil Service Commission. In fact, de la Fuente claims that
Resolution dated August 9, 1988. In that Resolution, the Commission made the Vital-Gozon had "actually threatened to stop paying . . . (his) salary and
following conclusion and disposition, to wit: allowances on the pretext that he has as yet no 'approved' appointment even as
'Medical Specialist II' . . .
6

. . (The Commission) declares the demotion/transfer of appellant de la Fuente, Jr.


from Chief of Clinics to Medical Specialists II as null and void: hence, illegal. Three months having elapsed without any word from Vital-Gozon or anyone in
Considering further that since the National Children's Hospital was not abolished her behalf, or any indication whatever that the CSC Resolution of August 9, 1988
and the position therein remained intact although the title or the position of Chief would be obeyed, and apprehensive that the funds to cover the salaries and
of Clinics was changed to "Chief of Medical Professional Staff" with substantially allowances otherwise due him would revert to the General Fund, Dr. de al Fuente
the same functions and responsibilities, the Commission hereby orders that: repaired to the Civil Service Commission and asked it to enforce its judgment. He
was however "told to file in court a petition
56

for mandamus because of the belief that the Commission had no coercive About a month afterwards, de la Fuente filed with the same Court a
powers — unlike a court — to enforce its final decisions/resolutions. 7
"Supplemental/Amended Petition" dated February 2, 1989. The second petition
described as one for "quo warranto" aside from "mandamus", added three
So he instituted in the Court of Appeals on December 28, 1988 an action of respondents including Dr. Jose Merencilla, Jr.; and alleged inter alia that he (de
"mandamus and damages with preliminary injunction" to compel Vital-Gozon, la Fuente) had "clear title" to the position in question in virtue of the final and
and the Administrative Officer, Budget Officer and Cashier of the NCH to comply executory judgment of the Civil Service Commission; that even after the
with the final and executory resolution of the Civil Service Commission. He Commission's judgment had become final and executory and been
prayed for the following specific reliefs: communicated to Vital-Gozon, the latter allowed "Dr. Merencilla, Jr. as 'OIC
Professional Service' to further usurp, intrude into and unlawfully hold and
(1) (That) . . a temporary restraining order be issued immediately, ordering the exercise the public office/position of petitioner, (under a duly approved
principal and other respondents to revert the funds the of the NCH corresponding permanent appointment as 'Chief of Clinics' since 1978). De la Fuente thus
to the amounts necessary to implement the final resolution of the CSC in CSC prayed, additionally, for judgment:
Case No. 4 in favor of herein petitioner, Dr. Alejandro S. de la Fuente, Jr., and to
pay such sums which have accrued and due and payable as of the date of said (a) Declaring that principal respondent Dr. Jose D. Merencilla, Jr. is not legally
order; entitled to the office of "Chief of Clinics" (now retitled/known as "Chief of Medical
Professional Staff," NCH), ousting him therefrom and ordering said respondent to
(2) After hearing on the prayer for preliminary injunction, that the restraining order immediately cease and desist from further performing as "OIC Professional
be converted to a writ of preliminary injunction; and that a writ of preliminary Service" any and all duties and responsibilities of the said office; (and)
mandatory injunction be issued ordering principal respondent and the other
respondents to implement in full the said final resolution; and (b) Declaring that the petitioner, Dr. Alejandro S. de la Fuente, Jr., is the lawful
or de jure Chief of Clinics (now known as "Chief of the Medical Professional
(3) That, after hearing on the merits of the petition, that judgment be rendered Staff") and placing him in the possession of said office/position, without the need
seeking (sic) permanent writs issued and that principal respondent be ordered of reappointment or new appointment as held by the Civil Service Commission in
and commanded to comply with and implement the said final resolution without its resolution of August 9, 1988, in CSC Case No. 4.
further delay; and, furthermore, that the principal respondent be ordered to pay to
the sums of P100,000.00 and P20,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages, xxx xxx xxx
and P10,000.00 for litigation expenses and attorney's fees.
Copy of the "Supplemental/Amended Petition" was sent to Atty. Jose A. Fabia,
xxx xxx xxx Counsel for Respondents c/o Dr. Ma. Isabelita Vital-Gozon, etc., National
Children's Hospital, E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City (Atty. Fabia's address not
The Court of Appeals required the respondents to answer. It also issued a being indicated or mentioned in his motion for Extension of
temporary restraining order as prayed for, and required the respondent to show Time). 10

cause why it should not be converted to a writ of preliminary injunction. The


record shows that the respondents prayed for and were granted an extension of Again the Court of Appeals required answer of the respondents. Again, none was
fifteen (15) days to file their answer "through counsel, who," as the Court of filed. The petitions were consequently "resolved on the basis of their allegations
Appeals was later to point out, 8 "did not bother to indicate his address, thus notice was sent to him and the annexes." The Appellate Court promulgated its judgment on June 9,
through the individual respondents. . . . (However, no) answer was filed; neither was there any show cause (sic) 1989. It held that —
11

against a writ of preliminary injunction." It was a certain Atty. Jose Fabia who appeared in Vital-Gozon's behalf. 9
57

The question of whether petitioner may be divested of his position as Chief of virtue of which three levels of courts — the Supreme Court, the Regional Trial
Clinics by the expedient of having him appointed to another, lower position is no Court, and the Court of Appeals — were conferred concurrent original jurisdiction
longer an issue. It ceased to be such when the resolution in CSC Case No. 4 to issue said writs, and the Court of Appeals was given power to conduct
became final. The said resolution is explicit in its mandate; petitioner was hearings and receive evidence to resolve factual issues. To require him to
declared the lawful and de jure Chief of Clinics (Chief of the Medical Professional separately litigate the matter of damages he continued, would lead to that
Staff) of the National Children's Hospital, and by this token, respondent Dr. Jose multiplicity of suits which is abhorred by the law.
D. Merencilla, Jr. is not legally entitled to the office. Respondents, particularly Dr.
Isabelita Vital-Gozon, had no discretion or choice on the matter; the resolution While his motion for reconsideration was pending, de la Fuente sought to enforce
had to be complied with. It was ill-advised of principal respondent, and violative the judgment of the Court of Appeals of June 9, 1989 — directing his
of the rule of law, that the resolution has not been obeyed or implemented. reinstatement pursuant to the Civil Service Commission's Resolution of August 9,
1988, supra. He filed on July 4, 1989 a "Motion for Execution," alleging that the
and accordingly ordered — judgment of June 9, 1989 had become final and executory for failure of Gozon, et
al. — served with notice thereof on June 16, 1989 to move for its reconsideration
. . . respondents, particularly Dr. Isabelita Vital-Gozon, . . . to forthwith comply or elevate the same to the Supreme Court. His motion was granted by the
15

with, obey and implement the resolution CSC Case No. 4 (and) . . . Dr. Jose D. Court of Appeals in a Resolution dated July 7, 1989, reading as follows:
16

Merencilla, Jr., who is not entitled to the office, . . . to immediately cease and
desist from further performing and acting as OIC Professional Service. The decision of June 9, 1989 having become final and executory, as prayed for,
let the writ of execution issue forthwith.
But de la Fuente's prayer for damages — founded essentially on the refusal of
Gozon, et al. to obey the final and executory judgment of the Civil Service The corresponding writ of execution issued on July 13, 1989, on the invoked
17

Commission, which thus compelled him to litigate anew in a different forum — authority of Section 9, Rule 39. The writ quoted the dispositive portion of the
18

was denied by the Court of Appeals on the ground that the "petitions judgment of June 9, 1989, including, as the Solicitor General's Office points out,
(for mandamus) are not the vehicle nor is the Court the forum for . . . (said) claim the second paragraph to the effect that the petitions "are not the vehicle nor is the
of damages." Court the forum for the claim of damages; (hence,) the prayer therefor is denied."

Gozon acknowledged in writing that she received a copy of the Appellate The writ of execution notwithstanding, compliance with the June 9, 1989
Tribunal's Decision of June 9, 1989 on June 15, 1989. Respondent de la
12
judgment was not effected. Consequently, de la Fuente filed, on July 20, 1989,
Fuente acknowledged receipt of his own copy on June 15, 1989. Neither 13
an "Urgent Ex Parte Manifestation with Prayer to Cite Respondents for
Vital-Gozon nor her co-party, Dr. Merencilla, Jr., moved for reconsideration of, or Contempt," complaining that although Gozon and her co-parties had been
attempted to appeal the decision. served with the writ of execution on July 14, they had not complied therewith. By
Resolution dated July 26, 1989, the Court required Gozon and Merencilla to
It was de la Fuente who sought reconsideration of the judgment, by motion filed appear before it on August 3, 1989 to answer the charge and show cause "why
through new counsel, Atty. Ceferino Gaddi. He insisted that the Appellate Court
14 they should not be adjudged in contempt for disobeying and/or resisting the
had competence to award damages in a mandamus action. He argued that while judgment." 19

such a claim for damages might not have been proper in


a mandamus proceeding in the Appellate Court "before the enactment of B.P. At the hearing Gozon and Merencilla duly presented themselves, accompanied
Blg. 129 because the Court of Appeals had authority to issue such writs only 'in by their individual private lawyers — one for Gozon (Felipe Hidalgo, Jr.), two for
aid of its appellate jurisdiction,'" the situation was changed by said BP 129 in Merencilla (Bernardo S. Nera and Moises S. Rimando). One other lawyer
58

appeared in their behalf, from the Health Department, Artemio Manalo, who At about this time, yet another lawyer, Atty. Pedro F. Martinez entered his
stated that he was there "in behalf of Jose A. Fabia." They explained that they
20
appearance for Isabelita Gozon. At his instance, the Court gave him an
25

had no intention to defy the Court, they had simply referred the matter to their "opportunity to . . . file a motion for reconsideration" of the Resolution of
superiors in good faith; and they were perfectly willing to comply with the September 27, 1989. That motion he filed by registered mail on November 10,
26

judgment, undertaking to do so "even in the afternoon" of that same day. The 1989. His basic contentions were (a) that the decision of June 9, 1989 could no
27

Court consequently ordered them "to comply with their undertaking . . . without longer be altered, having become final and executory and having in fact been
any further delay," and report the action taken towards this end, within five (5) executed, and (b) that under BP 129, the Appellate Court had no jurisdiction over
days. the question of damages in a mandamus action.

On August 9, 1989, Gozon as "Medical Center Chief," sent a letter to Associate The Office of the Solicitor General also put in an appearance in Gozon's behalf at
Justice Pedro A. Ramirez, advising that under Hospital Special Order No. 31 this juncture, saying that the case had been referred to it only on November 14,
dated August 3, 1989, de la Fuente had been directed to assume the position of 1989. It, too, sought reconsideration of the Resolution of September 27, 1989. It
Chief of the Medical Professional Staff, and that a voucher for the payment of his filed on November 16, 1989 an "Omnibus Motion; I. For Reconsideration of
allowances had been prepared and was being processed. 21
Resolution dated September 27, 1989; and II. To defer hearing on petitioner's
claims for damages." 28

More than a month later, or more precisely on September 27, 1989, the Court of
Appeals promulgated another Resolution, this time resolving de la Fuente's Both motions were denied by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution dated January
motion for reconsideration of June 29, 1989. It modified the Decision of June 9,
22
11, 1991. In that Resolution, the Court —
1989 by (a) deleting its last paragraph (disallowing the claim of damages, supra),
(b) consequently describing and treating it as a "PARTIAL DECISION," and (c) 1) declared that the amended decision had already become final and could no
scheduling "further proceedings for the purpose of receiving evidence (of longer be re-opened because, although "a copy of the amendatory resolution
damages)," since said question "cannot be resolved by mere reference to the was received by counsel who was representing Gozon on October 3, 1989," the
pleadings." This was done in reliance on Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of
23
first motion for reconsideration was not mailed until November 10, 1989 and the
Court, invoked by de la Fuente, which reads as follows: 24
Solicitor General's "Omnibus Motion" was not filed until November 16, 1989; and

Sec. 3. Mandamus. — When any tribunal, corporation, board, or person 2) prohibited the Solicitor General from representing Gozon "in connection
unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins with . . . (de la Fuente's) claim for damages," on the authority of this Court's ruling
as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another promulgated on March 19, 1990 in G.R. No. 87977 (Urbano, et al. v. Chavez, et
from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, and al.) and G.R. No. 88578 (Co v. Regional Trial Court of Pasig). 29

there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law, the person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court Notice of this Resolution of January 11, 1991 was served on the Solicitor
alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered General's Office on January 18, 1991. Again the Solicitor General sought
30

commanding the defendant, immediately or at some other specified time, to do reconsideration, by motion dated January 25, 1991 and filed on January 30,
the act required to be done to protect the rights of the petitioner, and to pay the 1991. Again it was rebuffed. In a Resolution rendered on August 7,
31

damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the 1991, served on the Solicitor General's Office on August 20, 1991, the Court
32 33

defendant. of Appeals denied the motion. It ruled that the "question of the authority of the
Solicitor General to appear as counsel for respondent Gozon . . . (had already)
59

been extensively discussed," and that its "jurisdiction . . . to hear and determine 3) no less than two (2) written demands of de la Fuente for implementation of the
issues on damages proceeds from Sec. 9, Batas Pambansa 129 as amended." CSC's aforesaid Resolution of August 9, 1988;

In an attempt to nullify the adverse dispositions of the Court of 4) the petition filed by de la Fuente in the Court of Appeals for enforcement of the
Appeals — and obtain "the ultimate and corollary relief of dismissing respondent CSC Resolution of August 9, 1988;
de la Fuente's claim for damages" — the Solicitor General's Office had instituted
the special civil action of certiorari at bar. It contends that the Court of Appeals is 5) the extension granted by said Court of Appeals within which to file answer,
not legally competent to take cognizance of and decide the question of damages notice thereof having been sent directly to her and her co-respondents since the
in a mandamus suit. It argues that — attorney who sought the extension in their behalf (Atty. Fabia) did not set out his
address in his motion for extension;
1) B.P. Blg. 129 does not confer jurisdiction upon the Court of Appeals to hear,
as a trial court, claims for moral and exemplary damages; 6) the "supplemental/amended petition" subsequently presented by de la Fuente,
copy of which was sent to Atty. Fabia, c/o Dr. Vital-Gozon; and
2) assuming that the Court of Appeals does have jurisdiction over the claims for
damages, it lost the power to take cognizance thereof after the Decision of June 7) the Decision and Amendatory Decision sent to her counsel on October 3,
9, 1989 had, by its own pronouncement, become final and executory; and 1989.

3) the Urbano and Co doctrines cited by the Appellate Tribunal do not disqualify To all these, her reaction, and that of the officials of the Department of Health
the Solicitor General's Office from representing government officials sued in their concerned, was a regrettably cavalier one, to say the least. Neither she nor the
official capacities and in damage claims not arising from a felony. Health officials concerned accorded said acts and events any importance. She
never bothered to find out what was being done to contest or negate de la
It is in light of these facts, just narrated, that this Court will now proceed to deal Fuente's petitions and actions, notwithstanding that as time went by, de la
with the legal issues raised in this action. But first, a few brief observations Fuente's efforts were being met with success.
respecting the proceedings in the Civil Service Commission.
Nothing in the record even remotely suggests that Vital-Gozon merits relief from
I the final and executory Resolution of the Civil Service Commission. This Court
will not disturb that Resolution. It is satisfied that no procedural or substantive
The record demonstrates that Vital-Gozon was fully aware of the following acts errors taint that Resolution, or its becoming final and executory.
and events: 34

II
1) the proceedings commenced by de la Fuente in the Civil Service Commission
in protest against his demotion; Now, final and executory judgments are enforced by writ of execution and not by
another, separate action, whether of mandamus or otherwise. Hence, execution
2) the Commission's Resolution of August 9, 1988 as well, particularly, as the of the Civil Service Commission's decision of August 9, 1988 should have been
direction therein that de la Fuente be reinstated and paid all his back salaries and ordered and effected by the Commission itself, when de la Fuente filed a motion
other monetary benefits otherwise due him, this being couched in fairly simple therefor. It declined to do so, however, on the alleged ground, as de la Fuente
language obviously understandable to persons of ordinary or normal intelligence; claims he was told, that it "had no coercive powers — unlike a court — to
enforce its final decisions/resolutions." That proposition, communicated to de la
35
60

Fuente, of the Commission's supposed lack of coercive power to enforce its final not by agreement of the parties, or acquiescence of the court, and since the law
judgments, is incorrect. It is inconsistent with previous acts of the Commission of conferring jurisdiction on the Court of Appeals, Section 9 of B.P. Blg. 129, makes
actually directing execution of its decisions and resolutions, which this Court has no reference to "actions for moral and exemplary damages, as those claimed
sanctioned in several cases; and it is not in truth a correct assessment of its
36
by . . . (de la Fuente)," it follows that the Court of Appeals has no competence to
powers under the Constitution and the relevant laws. act on said claim of damages. And Section 3 of Rule 65, which authorizes the
petitioner in a mandamus suit to pray for judgment commanding the
In an En Banc Decision promulgated on October 15, 1991 in G.R. No. 96938 defendant inter alia "to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of
entitled "Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) versus Civil Service the wrongful acts of the defendant," is "nothing more than a procedural rule
Commission, et al.," this Court declared that in light of the pertinent provisions of
37 allowing joinder of causes of action, i.e., mandamus and damages," and such an
the Constitution and relevant statutes — award of damages is allowable only in actions commenced in Regional Trial
Courts but not in the Court of Appeals or this Court.
. . . it would appear absurd to deny to the Civil Service Commission the power or
authority to enforce or order execution of its decisions, resolutions or orders The argument is specious. It cannot be sustained.
which, it should be stressed, it has been exercising through the years. It would
seem quite obvious that the authority to decide cases in inutile unless The Solicitor General's Office correctly identifies Section 9, B.P. 129 as the legal
accompanied by the authority to see that what has been decided is carried out. provision specifying the original and appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals.
Hence, the grant to a tribunal or agency of adjudicatory power, or the authority to The section pertinently declares that the "Intermediate Appellate Court (now the
hear and adjudge cases, should normally and logically be deemed to include the Court of Appeals) shall exercise . .," among others:
grant of authority to enforce or execute the judgments it thus renders, unless the
law otherwise provides. . . . Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari,
habeas corpus, and quo warranto, and auxiliary writs or processes, whether or
In any event, the Commission's exercise of that power of execution has been not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction . . .
38

sanctioned by this Court in several cases.


The Solicitor General's Office evidently searched said Section 9 for an explicit
Be this as it may, the fact is that by reason of the Commission's mistaken refusal and specific statement regarding "actions for moral and exemplary damages,"
to execute its final and executory Resolution of August 9, 1988, extended and finding none, concluded that the Court of Appeals had not been granted
proceedings have taken place in the Court of Appeals and certain issues have competence to assume cognizance of claims for such damages. The conclusion
been expressly raised in relation thereto, supra. Those issues appear to the is incorrect. Section 19, governing the exclusive original jurisdiction of Regional
Court to be important enough to deserve serious treatment and resolution, Trial Courts in civil cases, contains no reference whatever to claims "for moral
instead of simply being given short shrift by a terse ruling that the proceedings in and exemplary damages," and indeed does not use the word "damages" at all;
the Court Service Commission actually had the power to execute its final and yet it is indisputable that said courts have power to try and decide claims for
executory Resolution. moral, exemplary and other classes of damages accompanying any of the types
or kinds of cases falling within their specified jurisdiction. The Solicitor General's
III theory that the rule in question is a mere procedural one allowing joinder of an
action of mandamus and another for damages, is untenable, for it implies that a
The first such issue is whether or not the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction to take claim for damages arising from the omission or failure to do an act subject of
cognizance of the matter of damages in a special civil action of mandamus. The a mandamus suit may be litigated separately from the latter, the matter of
Solicitor General's Office argues that since jurisdiction is conferred only by law,
61

damages not being inextricably linked to the cause of action for mandamus, affairs, or the discharge of its debts and liabilities, may be punished for contempt
which is certainly not the case. as having disobeyed a lawful order of the court, and shall be liable to the receiver
for the value of all money or other things so refused or neglected to be
Now, at the time of the enactment of B.P. 129, the issuance of the extraordinary surrendered, together with all damages that may have been sustained by the
writs above mentioned was controlled by the Rules of Court of 1964, as they stockholders and creditors of the corporation, or any of them, in consequence of
continue to date to be so controlled. More particularly, the principal writs such neglect or refusal.
of mandamus, prohibition and certiorari were (and continue to be) governed by
Rule 65; the writ of habeas corpus, by Rule 102; and the writ of quo warranto, by An award of damages was and is also allowed in connection with the auxiliary
Rule 66. The so-called auxiliary writs were (and continue to be) also governed by writ of preliminary attachment, preliminary injunction or receivership which the
the same code — e.g., preliminary attachment, by Rule 57; preliminary injunction, Court of Appeals has the power to issue in common with the Supreme Court and
by Rule 58, receivership, by Rule 59; writ of seizure or delivery in a replevin suit, the Regional Trial Courts, payable by the sureties of the bond given in support
43

by Rule 60. of the writ, upon seasonable application and summary hearing. 44

At that time, Section 3 of Rule 65 authorized (as it continues to authorize to date) Since it cannot but be assumed that in formulating, and incorporating in BP 129,
rendition of judgment in a mandamus action "commanding the defendant, the provision governing the jurisdiction of the Intermediate Appellate Court, now
immediately or at some other specified time, to do the act required to be done to Court of Appeals, the Batasang Pambansa was fully cognizant of the relevant
protect the rights of the petitioner, and to pay the damages sustained by the provisions of the Rules of Court just cited, as well as the rule against multiplicity
petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the defendant." The provision
39
of actions, it follows that in conferring on the Court of Appeals original jurisdiction
makes plain that the damages are an incident, or the result of, the defendant's over the special civil action of mandamus, among others, as well as over the
wrongful act in failing and refusing to do the act required to be done. It is issuance of auxiliary writs or processes, the Batasang Pambansa clearly
noteworthy that the Rules of 1940 had an identical counterpart provision. 40
intended that said Court should exercise all the powers then possessed by it
under the Rules of Court in relation to said action of mandamus and auxiliary
Moreover, Section 4 of the same Rule 65 authorized, as it continues to authorize writs, including the adjudication of damages to the petitioner in the action in
to date, the filing of the petition "in the Supreme Court, or, if it relates to the acts appropriate cases.
or omissions of an inferior court, or of a corporation, board, officer or person, in a
Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) having jurisdiction thereof," as IV
well as "in the Court of Appeals (whether or not) in aid of its appellate
41

jurisdiction." The next issue is whether or not the Solicitor General may properly represent a
public official like Dr. Vital-Gozon, who is sued for damages for allegedly refusing
Worthy of note, too, is that Rule 66 of the Rules of Court similarly authorizes the to comply with a lawful and executory judgment of competent authority. The
recovery of damages in a quo warranto action against a corporate officer — an doctrine laid down in the Urbano and Co cases already adverted to, is quite 45

action within the concurrent jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals — as follows: 42


clear:

Sec. 14. Liability of officer neglecting to deliver property of corporation to receiver. . . . (T)he Office of the Solicitor General is not authorized to represent a public
— An officer of such corporation who refuses or neglects, upon demand, to official at any stage of a criminal case. . . .
deliver over to the receiver all money, property, books, deeds, notes, bills,
obligations, and papers of every description within his power or control, This observation should apply as well to a public official who is haled to court on
belonging to the corporation, or in any wise necessary for the settlement of its a civil suit for damages arising from a felony allegedly committed by him (Article
62

100, Revised Penal Code). Any pecuniary liability he may be held to account for of the Solicitor General, until November 16, 1989, or forty-four (44) days later.
on the occasion of such civil suit is for his own account. The State is not liable for What is worse is that, its motion for reconsideration of November 16, 1989
the same. A fortiori, the Office of the Solicitor General likewise has no authority to having been denied by a Resolution dated January 11, 1991, notice of which it
represent him in such a civil suit for damages. received on January 18, 1991, the Solicitor General's Office filed still another
motion for reconsideration on January 30, 1991, ostensibly directed against that
It being quite evident that Dr. Vital-Gozon is not here charged with a crime, or Resolution of January 11, 1991 but actually seeking the setting aside of the
civilly prosecuted for damages arising from a crime, there is no legal obstacle to Resolution of September 17, 1989. In effect it filed a second motion for
her being represented by the Office of the Solicitor General. reconsideration which, of course, is prohibited by law. 46

V However, disposition of the question simply and solely on the foregoing premises
is precluded by the fact that prior to the promulgation by the Appellate Court of its
The last issue is whether or not the decision of the Court of Appeals of June 9, Resolution of September 27, 1989. — granting de la Fuente's motion for
1989 could still be modified after it was pronounced final and executory and was reconsideration of June 29, 1989 — de la Fuente had asked for and been
in fact executed with respect to de la Fuente's reinstatement to his position and granted by the Court of Appeals, authority to execute the decision of June 9,
the payment of the salaries and allowances due him. 1989 and had in fact succeeded in bringing about satisfaction thereof, in so far as
concerned his reinstatement to the position from which he had been illegally
There would seem to be no question about the timeliness of de la Fuente's ousted and the payment to him his salaries and allowances.
motion for reconsideration of the June 9, 1989 decision. As already narrated,
notice of said decision was served on him on the 15th of June, and his motion for It has therefore become essential to determine the effect of the execution of said
reconsideration was presented on June 29, 1989, or fourteen (14) days after decision of June 9, 1989 at de la Fuente's instance, on the power of the Court of
receiving a copy of the judgment, i.e., within the fifteen-day period prescribed by Appeals to modify that judgment as earlier prayed for by de la Fuente in such a
Section 1, Rule 37 of the Rules of Court for filing a motion for new trial way as to concede the latter's capacity to claim damages in
reconsideration. his mandamus action, and consequently authorize him to present evidence on
the matter.
This being so, it would certainly have been entirely within the authority of the
Court of Appeals, under normal circumstances, to rule on that motion for The general rule is that when a judgment has been satisfied, it passes beyond
reconsideration and, in its discretion, act favorably on it, as it did through its review, satisfaction being the last act and end of the proceedings, and payment
Resolution of September 27, 1991 — by amending the decision of June 9, 1989, of satisfaction of the obligation thereby established produces permanent and
declaring it a partial judgment, and setting a date for reception of evidence on the irrevocable discharge; hence, a judgment debtor who acquiesces in and
47

la Fuente's claim for damages. voluntarily complies with the judgment, is estopped from taking an appeal
therefrom. 48

It would also appear that the motions for reconsideration of said Resolution of
September 27, 1991 separately submitted in Gozon's behalf, by her own private On the other hand the question of whether or not a judgment creditor is estopped
attorney and by the Solicitor General's Office, were filed way out of time. As also from appealing or seeking modification of a judgment which has been executed
already pointed out, notice of that Resolution of September 27, 1991 was served at his instance, is one dependent upon the nature of the judgment as being
on Gozon's counsel on October 3, 1989 and on Gozon herself on October 4, indivisible or not. This is the doctrine laid down by this Court in a case decided as
1989; but the motion for reconsideration of Atty. Martinez (Gozon's private lawyer) early as 1925, Verches v. Rios. In that case this Court held that although "there
49

was not filed until November 10, 1989, thirty-eight (38) days afterwards, and that are cases holding the contrary view," where the judgment is indivisible, "the
63

weight of authority is to the effect that an acceptance of full satisfaction of the refusal on the part of Gozon, et al. to comply with said judgment when first
judgment annihilates the right to further prosecute the appeal; . . . that a party required so to do, and whether de la Fuente did in fact suffer compensable injury
who has recovered judgment on a claim which cannot be split up and made the thereby.
basis of several causes of action, and afterwards coerced full satisfaction by writ
of execution or authority of the court, cannot maintain an appeal from the It bears stressing that the juridical situation in which de la Fuente finds himself is
judgment against the objections of the judgment debtor;" and that even partial not of his making. It is a consequence of circumstances not attributable to any
execution by compulsory legal process at the instance of a party in whose favor a fault on his part, i.e., the unwarranted refusal or neglect of his superiors to obey
judgment appealed from was rendered, places said party in estoppel to ask that the executory judgment of the Civil Service Commission; the erroneous refusal of
the judgment be amended, either "by appeal or answer to his adversary's appeal, the Commission to execute its own decision which made necessary, in de la
or otherwise."50
Fuente's view, the filing of a mandamus action in the Court of Appeals; the initial
refusal of the latter Court to acknowledge his right to damages in connection with
A converso, where the judgment is divisible, estoppel should not operate against the mandamus suit; and ultimately, the change of view by the Court of Appeals,
the judgment creditor who causes implementation of a part of the decision by writ on de la Fuente's motion, as regards its competence to take cognizance of the
of execution. This is the clear import of Verches and the precedents therein matter of damages in relation to the mandamus proceeding.
invoked. It is an aspect of the principle above mentioned that is fully consistent
not only with the dissenting opinion that "(a)cceptance of payment of . . . only the Under these circumstances, there was no reason whatsoever to defer
uncontroverted part of the claim . . . should not preclude the plaintiff from concession to de la Fuente of the relief of reinstatement — to which he
prosecuting his appeal, to determine whether he should not have been allowed was indisputably already entitled — in the meantime that issues arising after
more," but also with logic and common sense.
51
finality of the Civil Service Commission's judgment were being ventilated and
resolved — these issues being, to repeat, whether or not the refusal by Gozon, et
In this case, the amended judgment of the Court of Appeals is clearly divisible, al. obey said judgment of the Commission could be justified, and whether or not,
satisfaction of which may be "split up." One part has reference to the by reason of that refusal to obey, de la Fuente did in fact suffer compensable
enforcement of the final and executory judgment of the Civil Service Commission, injury.
that de la Fuente should be reinstated to the position of Chief of Clinics (now
Chief of Medical Professional Staff) without loss of seniority rights and that he be It was therefore correct for the Court of Appeals, albeit by implication, to treat its
paid his back salaries and all monetary benefits due him from the date of his judgment as divisible, or capable of being enforced by parts, and to consider de
illegal demotion. This part is no longer issuable, and has not in truth been la Fuente as not having been placed in estoppel to pursue his claim for damages
controverted by Gozon herself. The other part has reference to the damages by seeking and obtaining authority for a partial execution of the judgment. De la
which de la Fuente contends he suffered as a result of the unjustified refusal of Fuente not being in estoppel, it follows that his motion for reconsideration, timely
Gozon and her co-parties to comply with the final and executory judgment of the filed, was not deemed abandoned or waived by the partial execution of the
Civil Service Commission, and which the Appellate Tribunal has allowed him to judgment, and jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals to amend the judgment was
prove. Obviously, the second part cannot possibly affect the first. Whether de la retained and not lost. It follows, too, that since no motion for reconsideration was
Fuente succeeds or fails in his bid to recover damages against Gozon, et filed against, or appeal attempted to be taken from, the Resolution of the Court of
al. because of their refusal to obey the judgment of the Civil Service Commission, Appeals amending its original judgment, within the time prescribed therefor by
is a contingency that cannot affect the unalterable enforceability of that judgment. law, said amendatory resolution has long since become final and immutable,
Similarly, the enforcement of the Commission's judgment (already accomplished particularly in so far as it holds itself competent to take cognizance of the matter
by writ of execution of the Court of Appeals issued at de la Fuente's instance) of damages and authorizes the reception of evidence on de la Fuente's claim
cannot influence in any manner the question whether or not there was culpable therefor.
64

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, and the challenged Resolutions of


September 27, 1989, January 11, 1991 and August 7, 1991 are AFFIRMED,
without pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

HON. JUDGE ADRIANO R. VILLAMOR, petitioner,


vs.
HON. JUDGE BERNARDO LL. SALAS and GEORGE CARLOS, respondents.

G.R. No. 101296 November 13, 1991

HON. JUDGE ADRIANO R. VILLAMOR, petitioner,


vs.
ANTONIO T. GUERRERO and HON. PEARY G. ALEONAR, Presiding Judge
of RTC, Branch 21, Region VII, Cebu City, respondents.

Ramon Ve Salazar for petitioner.

Antonio T. Guerrero for private respondent.

Henry R. Savellon for respondent.

GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.:

In 1977, Civil Case No. B-398 (Gloria Naval vs. George Carlos) for recovery of
ownership of a parcel of coconut land was filed and subsequently raffled to the
65

sala of the petitioner, Judge Adriano Villamor. While the civil case was pending them to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for five (5) days and to pay a fine of
there, respondent Carlos filed Criminal Cases Nos. N-989, N-990, N-991, N-992 P500.
and N-993 for qualified theft against Gloria Naval and her helpers. The criminal
cases were also assigned to the sala of Judge Villamor. Carlos immediately filed in this Court a petition for certiorari with a prayer for the
issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the Judge (G.R. Nos.
Due to the pendency of Civil Case No. B-398, the criminal cases were 82238-42). We promptly restrained Judge Villamor from enforcing his Order of
temporarily archived. Contempt against Carlos and Attorney Guerrero. On November 13, 1989, we
annulled the contempt order. (See pp. 26-34, Rollo of G.R. No. 101041.)
After trial in Civil Case No. B-398, a decision was rendered in favor of Naval who
was declared the lawful owner and possessor of the disputed land. Carlos was Back to Civil Case No. CEB-6478; Judge Villamor filed a motion to dismiss the
ordered to vacate the land. complaint for lack of jurisdiction. The trial court granted the motion. The order of
dismissal was affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. CV No. 20657, June 26,
Thereafter, respondent Carlos, through counsel, moved to activate the archived 1990). Carlos appealed to this Court which also denied the petition. (p.
criminal cases. Having declared Naval the lawful owner and possessor of the 125, Rollo of G.R. No. 101296.)
contested land in Civil Case No. B-398, Judge Villamor dismissed the criminal
cases against her and her co-accused. Unfazed by these setbacks, Carlos and his counsel, Attorney Antonio Guerrero,
filed separate complaints for damages against Judge Villamor for knowingly
Judge Villamor likewise granted execution pending appeal of his decision in Civil rendering an unjust order of contempt.
Case No. B-398. This order was challenged by Carlos in the Court of Appeals
and in this Court, both without success. Attorney Guerrero's complaint for damages (Civil Case No. CEB-8802) was
raffled to Branch 21, Regional Trial Court, Cebu City, presided over by Judge
Afterwards, Carlos filed an administrative case, A.M. No. RTJ-87-105, against Peary G. Aleonar. Carlos' complaint for damages was docketed as Civil Case No.
Judge Villamor, charging him with having issued illegal orders and an unjust CEB-8823 and raffled to Branch 8, Regional Trial Court of Cebu City presided
decision in Civil Case No. B-398. On November 21, 1988, this Court, in an En over by Judge Bernardo LL. Salas.
Banc resolution, summarily dismissed the administrative case.
On March 30, 1990, Judge Villamor filed a motion to dismiss Civil Case No.
Dissatisfied with the outcome of the administrative case, respondent Carlos filed CEB-8802 but it was denied by Judge Aleonar (p. 33, Rollo of G.R. No. 101296).
a civil action for damages (Civil Case No. CEB-6478) against Judge Villamor for
knowingly rendering an unjust judgment when he dismissed the five (5) criminal Hence, this petition for certiorari and prohibition with restraining order docketed
cases against Naval, et al. as G.R. No. 101296.

The summons in Civil Case No. CEB-6478 was served upon Judge Villamor on On September 19, 1991, this Court issued a temporary restraining order against
December 10, 1987. The next day (December 11, 1987), instead of answering Judge Aleonar to stop him from proceeding in Civil Case No. CEB-8802 (pp.
the complaint, Judge Villamor issued in Criminal Cases Nos. N-0989 to 0993 an 45-46, Rollo of G.R. No. 101296).
order of direct contempt against Carlos and his lawyer. Attorney Antonio T.
Guerrero, "for degrading the respect and dignity of the court through the use of On May 20, 1991, a Manifestation was filed by Judge Villamor praying Judge
derogatory and contemptous language before the court," and sentenced each of Salas to dismiss Civil Case No. CEB-8823 but the motion was denied by
respondent Judge on July 2, 1991 (pp. 13-16, Rollo of G.R. No. 101041).
66

Hence, this second petition for certiorari and prohibition with restraining order This Court has already ruled that only after the Appellate Court, in a final
(G.R. No. 101041). judgment, has found that a trial judge's errors were committed deliberately and in
bad faith may a charge of knowingly rendering an unjust decision be levelled
On August 21, 1991, a Resolution was issued by this Court: 1) temporarily against the latter (Garcia vs. Alconcel, 111 SCRA 178; Sta. Maria vs. Ubay, 87
restraining Judge Salas from further proceeding in Civil Case No. CEB-8823; and SCRA 179; Gahol vs. Riodique, 64 SCRA 494).
2) granting the petitioner's prayer that this case be consolidated with G.R. No.
101296 (pp. 37-39, Rollo of G.R. No. 101041). Nowhere in this Court's decision annulling Judge Villamor's order of direct
contempt (G.R. Nos. 82238-42, November 13, 1989) can there be found a
The sole issue here is: whether or not Judges Aleonar and Salas may take declaration that the erroneous order was rendered maliciously or with conscious
cognizance of the actions for damages against Judge Villamor for allegedly and deliberate intent to commit an injustice. In fact, a previous order of direct
having rendered an unjust order of direct contempt against Carlos and Attorney contempt issued by Judge Villamor against Carlos' former counsel was sustained
Guerrero which this Court subsequently annulled. by this Court (Jaynes C. Abarrientos, et al. vs. Judge Villamor, G.R. No. 82237,
June 1, 1988).
The answer is no.
At most, the order of direct contempt which we nullified may only be considered
As very aptly held by this Court in a Resolution it issued in connection with a an error of judgment for which Judge Villamor may not be held criminally or civilly
previous case filed by respondent Carlos against Judge Villamor, over a similar liable to the respondents.
action for "Damages and Attorney's Fees Arising From Rendering an Unjust
Judgment," in dismissing the five (5) criminal cases for qualified theft which he A judge is not liable for an erroneous decision in the absence of malice or
(respondent Carlos) had filed against Gloria P. Naval and others — wrongful conduct in rendering it (Barroso vs. Arche, 67 SCRA 161).

Indeed, no Regional Trial Court can pass upon and scrutinize, and much less WHEREFORE, the consolidated petitions for certiorari are GRANTED, Civil
declare as unjust a judgment of another Regional Trial Court and sentence the Cases Nos. CEB-8802 and CEB-8823, respectively, pending in the salas of
judge thereof liable for damages without running afoul with the principle that only respondents Judge Peary G. Aleonar and Judge Bernardo LL. Salas, are hereby
the higher appellate courts, namely, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, dismissed. The temporary restraining orders issued by this Court in these cases
are vested with authority to review and correct errors of the trial courts. (George are hereby made permanent. No costs.
D. Carlos vs. CA, G.R. No. 95560, November 5, 1990; p. 125, Rollo of G.R No.
101296.) SO ORDERED.

To allow respondent Judges Aleonar and Salas to proceed with the trial of the
actions for damages against the petitioner, a co-equal judge of a co-equal court,
would in effect permit a court to review and interfere with the judgment of a
co-equal court over which it has no appellate jurisdiction or power of review. The
various branches of a Court of First Instance (now the Regional Trial Court)
being co-equal, may not interfere with each other's cases, judgments and orders
(Parco vs. Court of Appeals, 111 SCRA 262).
67

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,


vs.
HON. ROSALIO G. DE LA ROSA, PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL
TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 28, MANILA and JUAN G. FRIVALDO, respondents.

G.R. No. 105715 June 6, 1994

RAUL R. LEE, petitioner,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JUAN G. FRIVALDO, respondents.

G.R. No. 105735 June 6, 1994

RAUL R. LEE, petitioner,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JUAN G. FRIVALDO, respondents.

The Solicitor General for petitioner in G.R. No. 104654.

Yolando F. Lim counsel for private respondent.

QUIASON, J.:
68

In Frivaldo v. Commission on Elections, 174 SCRA 245 (1989), this Court The motion was granted in an Order dated January 24, 1992, wherein the
declared private respondent, Juan G. Frivaldo, an alien and therefore disqualified hearing of the petition was moved to February 21, 1992. The said order was not
from serving as Governor of the Province of Sorsogon. published nor a copy thereof posted.

Once more, the citizenship of private respondent is put in issue in On February 21, the hearing proceeded with private respondent as the sole
these petitions docketed as G.R. No.104654 and G.R. No. 105715 and G.R. No. witness. He submitted the following documentary evidence: (1) Affidavit of
105735. The petitions were consolidated since they principally involve the same Publication of the Order dated October 7, 1991 issued by the publisher of The
issues and parties. Philippine Star (Exh. "A"); (2) Certificate of Publication of the order issued
by the National Printing Office (Exh. "B"); (3) Notice of Hearing of Petition (Exh.
I "B-1"); (4) Photocopy of a Citation issued by the National Press Club with private
respondent’s picture (Exhs. "C" and "C-2"); (5) Certificate of Appreciation issued
G.R. No. 104654 by the Rotary Club of Davao (Exh. "D"); (6) Photocopy
of a Plaque of Appreciation issued by the Republican College, Quezon City (Exh.
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court in "E"); (7) Photocopy of a Plaque of Appreciation issued by the Davao-Bicol
relation to R.A. No. 5440 and Section 25 of the Interim Rules, filed by the Association (Exh. "F"); (8) Certification issued by the Records Management and
Republic of the Philippines: (1) to annul the Decision dated February 27, 1992 of Archives Office that the record of birth of private respondent was not on file (Exh.
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 28, Manila, in SP Proc. No. 91-58645, which "G"); and (8) Certificate of Naturalization issued by the United States District
re-admitted private respondent as a Filipino citizen under the Revised Court (Exh. "H").
Naturalization Law (C.A. No. 63 as amended by C.A. No. 473); and (2) to nullify
the oath of allegiance taken by private respondent on February 27, 1992. Six days later, on February 27, respondent Judge rendered the assailed Decision,
disposing as follows:
On September 20, 1991, petitioner filed a petition for naturalization captioned: "In
the Matter of Petition of Juan G. Frivaldo to be Re-admitted as a Citizen of the WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Petitioner JUAN G. FRIVALDO, is
Philippines under Commonwealth Act No. 63" (Rollo, pp. 17-23). re-admitted as a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines by naturalization,
thereby vesting upon him, all the rights and privileges of a natural born Filipino
In an Order dated October 7, 1991 respondent Judge set the petition for hearing citizen (Rollo, p. 33).
on March 16, 1992, and directed the publication of the said order and petition in
the Official Gazette and a newspaper of general circulation, for three consecutive On the same day, private respondent was allowed to take his oath of allegiance
weeks, the last publication of which should be at least six months before the said before respondent Judge (Rollo, p. 34).
date of hearing. The order further required the posting of a copy thereof and the
petition in a conspicuous place in the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional On March 16, a "Motion for Leave of Court to Intervene and to Admit Motion for
Trial Court, Manila (Rollo, pp. 24-26). Reconsideration" was filed by Quiterio H. Hermo. He alleged that the
proceedings were tainted with jurisdictional defects, and prayed for a new trial to
On January 14, 1992, private respondent filed a "Motion to Set Hearing Ahead of conform with the requirements of the Naturalization Law.
Schedule," where he manifested his intention to run for public office in the May
1992 elections. He alleged that the deadline for filing the certificate of candidacy After receiving a copy of the Decision on March 18, 1992, the Solicitor General
was March 15, one day before the scheduled hearing. He asked that the hearing interposed a timely appeal directly with the Supreme Court.
set on March 16 be cancelled and be moved to January 24 (Rollo, pp. 27-28).
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G.R. No. 105715 Petitioner claims that the inclusion of private respondent’s name in the list of
registered voters in Sta. Magdalena, Sorsogon was invalid because at the time
This is a petition for certiorari, mandamus with injunction under Rule 65 of the he registered as a voter in 1987, he was as American citizen.
Revised Rules of Court in relation to Section 5(2) of Article VIII of the Constitution
with prayer for temporary restraining order filed by Raul R. Lee against the Petitioner further claims that the grant of Filipino citizenship to private respondent
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and private respondent, to annul the en is not yet conclusive because the case is still on appeal before us.
banc Resolution of the COMELEC, which dismissed his petition docketed as
SPC Case No. 92-273. The said petition sought to annul the proclamation of Petitioner prays for: (1) the annulment of private respondent’s proclamation as
private respondent as Governor-elect of the Province of Sorsogon. Governor of the Province of Sorsogon; (2) the deletion of private respondent’s
name from the list of candidates for the position of governor; (3) the proclamation
Petitioner was the official candidate of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino of the governor-elect based on the remaining votes, after the exclusion of the
(LDP) for the position of governor of the Province of Sorsogon in the May 1992 votes for private respondent; (4) the issuance of a temporary restraining order to
elections. Private respondent was the official candidate of the Lakas-National enjoin private respondent from taking his oath and assuming office; and (5) the
Union of Christian Democrats (Lakas-NUCD) for the same position. issuance of a writ of mandamus to compel the COMELEC to resolve the pending
disqualification case docketed as SPA Case No. 92-016, against private
Private respondent was proclaimed winner on May 22, 1992. respondent.

On June 1, petitioner filed a petition with the COMELEC to annul the G.R. No. 105735
proclamation of private respondent as Governor-elect of the Province of
Sorsogon on the grounds: (1) that the proceedings and composition of the This is a petition for mandamus under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court in
Provincial Board of Canvassers were not in accordance with law; (2) that private relation to Section 5(2) of Article VIII of the Constitution, with prayer for
respondent is an alien, whose grant of Philippine citizenship is being questioned temporary restraining order. The parties herein are identical with the parties in
by the State in G.R. No. 104654; and (3) that private respondent is not a duly G.R. No. 105715.
registered voter. Petitioner further prayed that the votes case in favor of private
respondent be considered as stray votes, and that he, on the basis of the In substance, petitioner prays for the COMELEC’s immediate resolution of SPA
remaining valid votes cast, be proclaimed winner. Case No. 92-016, which is a petition for the cancellation of private respondent’s
certificate of candidacy filed on March 23, 1992 by Quiterio H. Hermo, the
On June 10, the COMELEC issued the questioned en banc resolution which intervenor in G.R. No. 104654 (Rollo, p. 18).
dismissed the petition for having been filed out of time, citing Section 19 of R.A.
No. 7166. Said section provides that the period to appeal a ruling of the board of The petition for cancellation alleged: (1) that private respondent is an American
canvassers on questions affecting its composition or proceedings was three citizen, and therefore ineligible to run as candidate for the position of governor of
days. the Province of Sorsogon; (2) that the trial court’s decision
re-admitting private respondent as a Filipino citizen was fraught with legal
In this petition, petitioner argues that the COMELEC acted with grave abuse of infirmities rendering it null and void; (3) that assuming the decision to be valid,
discretion when it ignored the fundamental issue of private respondent’s private respondent’s oath of allegiance, which was taken on the same day the
disqualification in the guise of technicality. questioned decision was promulgated, violated Republic Act No. 530, which
provides for a two-year waiting period before the oath of allegiance can be taken
by the applicant; and (4) that the hearing of the petition on February 27, 1992,
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was held less than four months from the date of the last publication of the order II
and petition. The petition prayed for the cancellation of private respondent’s
certificate of candidacy and the deletion of his name from the list of registered G.R. No. 104654
voters in Sta. Magdalena, Sorsogon.
We shall first resolve the issue concerning private respondent’s citizenship.
In his answer to the petition for cancellation, private respondent denied the
allegations therein and averred: (1) that Quiterio H. Hermo, not being a candidate In his comment to the State’s appeal of the decision granting him Philippine
for the same office for which private respondent was aspiring, had no standing to citizenship in G.R. No. 104654, private respondent alleges that the precarious
file the petition; (2) that the decision re-admitting him to Philippine citizenship was political atmosphere in the country during Martial Law compelled him to seek
presumed to be valid; and (3) that no case had been filed to exclude his name as political asylum in the United States, and eventually to renounce his Philippine
a registered voter. citizenship.

Raul R. Lee intervened in the petition for cancellation of private respondent’s He claims that his petition for naturalization was his only available remedy for his
certificate of candidacy (Rollo, p. 37.). reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. He tried to reacquire his Philippine
citizenship through repatriation and direct act of Congress. However, he was
On May 13, 1992, said intervenor urged the COMELEC to decide the petition for later informed that repatriation proceedings were limited to army deserters or
cancellation, citing Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code, which provides that Filipino women who had lost their citizenship by reason of their marriage to
all petitions on matters involving the cancellation of a certificate of candidacy foreigners (Rollo, pp. 49-50). His request to Congress for sponsorship of a bill
must be decided "not later than fifteen days before election," and the case allowing him to reacquire his Philippine citizenship failed to materialize,
of Alonto v. Commission on Election, 22 SCRA 878 (1968), which ruled that all notwithstanding the endorsement of several members of the House of
pre-proclamation controversies should be summarily decided (Rollo, Representatives in his favor (Rollo, p. 51). He attributed this to the maneuvers of
p. 50). his political rivals.

The COMELEC concedes that private respondent has not yet reacquired his He also claims that the re-scheduling of the hearing of the petition to an earlier
Filipino citizenship because the decision granting him the same is not yet final date, without publication, was made without objection from the Office of the
and executory (Rollo, p. 63). However, it submits that the issue of disqualification Solicitor General. He makes mention that on the date of the hearing, the court
of a candidate is not among the grounds allowed in a was jam-packed.
pre-proclamation controversy, like SPC Case No. 92-273. Moreover, the said
petition was filed out of time. It is private respondent’s posture that there was substantial compliance with the
law and that the public was well-informed of his petition for naturalization due to
The COMELEC contends that the preparation for the elections occupied much of the publicity given by the media.
its time, thus its failure to immediately resolve SPA Case No. 92-016. It argues
that under Section 5 of Rule 25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, it is Anent the issue of the mandatory two-year waiting period prior to the taking of the
excused from deciding a disqualification case within the period provided by law oath of allegiance, private respondent theorizes that the rationale of the law
for reasons beyond its control. It also assumed that the same action was imposing the waiting period is to grant the public an opportunity to investigate the
subsequently abandoned by petitioner when he filed before it a petition background of the applicant and to oppose the grant of Philippine citizenship if
for quo warranto docketed as EPC No. 92-35. The quo warranto proceedings there is basis to do so. In his case, private respondent alleges that such
sought private respondent’s disqualification because of his American citizenship. requirement may be dispensed with, claiming that his life, both private and public,
71

was well-known. Private respondent cites his achievement as a freedom fighter merely of nuisance value. The law does not distinguish between an applicant
and a former Governor of the Province of Sorsogon for six terms. who was formerly a Filipino citizen and one who was never such a citizen. It does
not provide a special procedure for the reacquisition of Philippine citizenship by
The appeal of the Solicitor General in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines is former Filipino citizens akin to the repatriation of a woman who had lost her
meritorious. The naturalization proceedings in SP Proc. No. 91-58645 was full of Philippine citizenship by reason of her marriage to an alien.
procedural flaws, rendering the decision an anomaly.
The trial court never acquired jurisdiction to hear the petition for naturalization of
Private respondent, having opted to reacquire Philippine citizenship thru private respondent. The proceedings conducted, the decision rendered and the
naturalization under the Revised Naturalization Law, is duty bound to follow the oath of allegiance taken therein, are null and void for failure to comply with the
procedure prescribed by the said law. It is not for an applicant to decide for publication and posting requirements under the Revised Naturalization Law.
himself and to select the requirements which he believes, even sincerely, are
applicable to his case and discard those which be believes are inconvenient or Under Section 9 of the said law, both the petition for naturalization and the order
merely of nuisance value. The law does not distinguish between an applicant setting it for hearing must be published once a week for three consecutive weeks
who was formerly a Filipino citizen and one who was never such a citizen. It does in the Official Gazette and a newspaper of general circulation. Compliance
not provide a special procedure for the reacquisition of Philippine citizenship by therewith is jurisdictional (Po Yi Bo v. Republic, 205 SCRA 400 [1992]). Moreover,
former Filipino citizens akin to the repatriation of a woman who had lost her the publication and posting of the petition and the order must be in its full test for
Philippine citizenship by reason of her marriage to an alien. the court to acquire jurisdiction (Sy v. Republic, 55 SCRA 724 [1974]).

The trial court never acquired jurisdiction to hear the petition for naturalization of The petition for naturalization lacks several allegations required by Sections 2
private respondent. The proceedings conducted, the decision rendered and the and 6 of the Revised Naturalization Law, particularly: (1) that the petitioner is of
oath of allegiance taken therein, are null and void for failure to comply with the good moral character; (2) that he resided continuously in the Philippines for at
publication and posting requirements under the Revised Naturalization Law. least ten years; (3) that he is able to speak and write English and any one of the
principal dialects; (4) that he will reside continuously in the Philippines from the
Under Section 9 of the said law, both the petition for naturalization and the order date of the filing of the petition until his admission to Philippine citizenship; and (5)
setting it for hearing must be published once a week for three consecutive weeks that he has filed a declaration of intention or if he is excused from said filing, the
in the Official Gazette and a newspaper of general circulation respondent cites justification therefor.
his achievements as a freedom fighter and a former Governor of the Province of
Sorsogon for six terms. The absence of such allegations is fatal to the petition (Po Yi Bi v. Republic, 205
SCRA 400 [1992]).
The appeal of the Solicitor General in behalf of the Republic of
the Philippines is meritorious. The naturalization proceedings in SP Proc. Likewise, the petition is not supported by the affidavit of at least two credible
No. 91-58645 was full of procedural flaws, rendering the decision an anomaly. persons who vouched for the good moral character of private respondent as
required by Section 7 of the Revised Naturalization Law. Private respondent also
Private respondent, having opted to reacquire Philippine citizenship thru failed to attach a copy of his certificate of arrival to the petition as required by
naturalization under the Revised Naturalization Law, is duty bound to follow the Section 7 of the said law.
procedure prescribed by the said law. It is not for an applicant to decide for
himself and to select the requirements which he believes, even sincerely, are The proceedings of the trial court was marred by the following irregularities: (1)
applicable to his case and discard those which he believes are inconvenient or the hearing of the petition was set ahead of the scheduled date of hearing,
72

without a publication of the order advancing the date of hearing, and the petition The COMELEC failed to resolve the more serious issue — the disqualification of
itself; (2) the petition was heard within six months from the last publication of the private respondent to be proclaimed Governor on grounds of lack of Filipino
petition; (3) petitioner was allowed to take his oath of allegiance before the finality citizenship. In this aspect, the petition is one for quo warranto. In Frivaldo v.
of the judgment; and (4) petitioner took his oath of allegiance without observing Commission on Elections, 174 SCRA 245 (1989), we held that a petition for quo
the two-year waiting period. warranto, questioning the respondent’s title and seeking to prevent him from
holding office as Governor for alienage, is not covered by the ten-day period for
A decision in a petition for naturalization becomes final only after 30 days from its appeal prescribed in Section 253 of the Omnibus Election Code. Furthermore,
promulgation and, insofar as the Solicitor General is concerned, that period is we explained that "qualifications for public office are continuing requirements and
counted from the date of his receipt of the copy of the decision (Republic v. Court must be possessed not only at the time of appointment or election or assumption
of First Instance of Albay, 60 SCRA 195 [1974]). of office but during the officer’s entire tenure; once any of the required
qualification is lost, his title may be seasonably challenged."
Section 1 of R.A. No. 530 provides that no decision granting citizenship in
naturalization proceedings shall be executory until after two years from its Petitioner’s argument, that to unseat him will frustrate the will of the electorate, is
promulgation in order to be able to observe if: (1) the applicant has left the untenable. Both the Local Government Code and the Constitution require that
country; (2) the applicant has dedicated himself continuously to a lawful calling or only Filipino citizens can run and be elected to public office. We can only surmise
profession; (3) the applicant has not been convicted of any offense or violation of that the electorate, at the time they voted for private respondent, was of the
government promulgated rules; and (4) the applicant has committed any act mistaken belief that he had legally reacquired Filipino citizenship.
prejudicial to the interest of the country or contrary to government announced
policies. Petitioner in G.R. No. 105715, prays that the votes cast in favor of private
respondent be considered stray and that he, being the candidate obtaining the
Even discounting the provisions of R.A. No. 530, the courts cannot implement second highest number of votes, be declared winner. In Labo, Jr. v. COMELEC,
any decision granting the petition for naturalization before its finality. 176 SCRA 1 (1989), we ruled that where the candidate who obtained the highest
number of votes is later declared to be disqualified to hold the office to which he
G.R. No. 105715 was elected, the candidate who garnered the second highest number of votes is
not entitled to be declared winner (See also Geronimo v. Ramos, 136 SCRA 435
In view of the finding in G.R. No. 104654 that private respondent is not yet a [1985]; Topacio v. Paredes, 23 Phil. 238 [1912]).
Filipino citizen, we have to grant the petition in G.R. No. 105715 after treating it
as a petition for certiorari instead of a petition for mandamus. Said petition G.R. No. 105735
assails the en banc resolution of the COMELEC, dismissing SPC Case No.
92-273, which in turn is a petition to annul private respondent’s proclamation on In view of the discussions of G.R. No. 104654 and G.R. No. 105715, we find the
three grounds: 1) that the proceedings and composition of the Provincial Board of petition in G.R. No. 105735 moot and academic.
Canvassers were not in accordance with law; 2) that private respondent is an
alien, whose grant of Filipino citizenship is being questioned by the State in G.R. WHEREFORE, the petitions in G.R. No. 104654 and G.R. No. 105715 are both
No. 104654; and 3) that private respondent is not a duly registered voter. The GRANTED while the petition in G.R. No. 105735 is DISMISSED. Private
COMELEC dismissed the petition on the grounds that it was filed outside the respondent is declared NOT a citizen of the Philippines and therefore
three-day period for questioning the proceedings DISQUALIFIED from continuing to serve as GOVERNOR of the Province of
and composition of the Provincial Board of Canvassers under Section 19 of R.A. Sorsogon. He is ordered to VACATE his office and to SURRENDER the same to
No. 7166.
73

the Vice-Governor of the Province of Sorsogon once this decision becomes final
and executory. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

Civil Procedure Case Compilation 1