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G.R. No. 150274, August 4, 2006

The Ombudsman Task Force on Public Works and Highways filed with the Office of the Ombudsman an
administrative complaint for dishonesty, falsification of official documents, grave misconduct, gross
neglect of duty, violation of office rules and regulations, and conduct prejudicial to the service against
petitioner Tel-Equen and several others, relative to the anomalous payment of the bailey bridge
components owned by the government.

The Administrative Adjudication Bureau (AAB) of the Office of the Ombudsman found respondents
guilty of dishonesty, falsification of public documents, misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best
interest of the service and ordered their dismissal from the service with accessory penalties.

After the denial of the motions for reconsideration, three petitions were filed before this Court which were
consolidated and referred to the Court of Appeals. CA affirmed with modification the decision of the AAB
finding petitioner and two co-accused guilty as charged and dismissed them from the service while the
other two respondents were exonerated from administrative liability for lack of evidence. Petitioner,
together with his two co-accused, appealed from the decision of the Court of Appeals. Meanwhile, while
appeal was still pending, Secretary Datumanong issued the assailed Memorandum Order.

Hence, the instant petition to cite Secretary Datumanong in contempt of court. Petitioner contends that in
issuing the Memorandum Order despite knowledge of the pendency of the appeal, Secretary Datumanong
committed a contumacious act, a gross and blatant display of abuse of discretion and an unlawful
interference with the proceedings before the Court.

Whether or not the amended procedural rules shall retroactively apply.

Well-settled is the rule that procedural laws are construed to be applicable to actions pending and
undetermined at the time of their passage, and are deemed retroactive in that sense and to that extent. As a
general rule, the retroactive application of procedural laws cannot be considered violative of any personal
rights because no vested right may attach to nor arise therefrom.

In the case at bar, the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman are clearly procedural and no
vested right of the petitioner is violated as he is considered preventively suspended while his case is on
appeal. Moreover, in the event he wins on appeal, he shall be paid the salary and such other emoluments
that he did not receive by reason of the suspension or removal. Besides, there is no such thing as a vested
interest in an office, or even an absolute right to hold office.

G.R. No. 168240, February 9, 2011

In November 2000, respondents filed a suit for damages against Aurora, her husband Yiu Wai Sang
(Sang), and Yiu-Go Employment Agency before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu. Only Aurora
filed her Answer with Affirmative Defenses and Counter-Claim.
After the respondents concluded their presentation of evidence, Aurora moved that her testimony be taken
by deposition upon written interrogatories, as she was unsure as to when she could come home to the
Philippines considering that her work schedule as a court interpreter in Hong Kong is erratic.

Before this deposition was taken, the RTC in its December 1, 2003 Order already deemed the defendants
to have waived their right to present their evidence and considered the case submitted for. Again, only
Aurora moved for reconsideration and prayed that the Order be recalled and instead admit the deposition.
She attributed the delay of her deposition-taking to the consulate's fault, as she was passed from one
officer to another or no officer was available.

On January 26, 2004, the RTC rendered judgment finding only Aurora liable and ordering her to pay
moral damages, attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs. Aurora's former counsel of record, Atty.
Ycong, belatedly discovered about this adverse judgment when he received from respondents' counsel a
Motion to Direct Issuance of Entry of Judgment and Writ of Execution. It turned out that although he had
already previously informed the court of his new office address, the court mistakenly sent the Decision to
his former office address. He raised this in his opposition to the motion filed by the respondents. Finding
this point meritorious, the court denied respondents' motion, ruling that the judgment against Aurora has
not yet attained finality as the 15-day period to appeal has not yet lapsed. Aurora filed her Motion for
Reconsideration on the last day to file her appeal. The court denied said motion. Atty. Ycong received the
notice of denial, thus giving his client a day left to file her appeal. Explaining that his client is busy
campaigning for elections; and that they have yet to discuss the pros and cons of appealing the case, Atty.
Ycong sought for the relaxation of the procedural rules by filing an extension of 15 days to file Aurora's
notice of appeal.

Whether or not the amended procedural rules shall retroactively apply.

Aurora had almost lost her statutory privilege to appeal, but in view of the ruling on Neypes v. Court of
Appeals, the Court granted Aurora's petition. In Neypes, the Court held that a litigant is given another
fresh period of 15 days to perfect an appeal after receipt of the order of denial of his/her motion for
reconsideration/new trial before the RTC.

Procedural laws may be given retroactive effect to actions pending and undetermined at the time of their
passage, there being no vested rights in the rules of procedure." Neypes case has been applied
retroactively to a number of cases wherein the original period to appeal had already lapsed subsequent to
the denial of the motion for reconsideration. Aurora's situation is no exception, and thus she is entitled to
benefit from the amendment of the procedural rules. The denial of Aurora's Motion for Reconsideration of
the trial court's January 26, 2004 decision was received by her former counsel on May 6, 2004. Sans her
motion for extension to file a notice of appeal, with the fresh period rule under Neypes, she still has until
May 21, 2004 to file her notice of appeal and thus, had timely filed her notice of appeal on May 11, 2004.


G.R. No. 141524 (September 14, 2005)

Petitioners filed an action for annulment of judgment and titles of land and/or reconveyance and/or
reversion with preliminary injunction before the RTC against the private respondents. Later, in an order,
the trial court dismissed petitioners’ complaint on the ground that the action had already prescribed.
Petitioners allegedly received a copy of the order of dismissal on March 3, 1998 and, on the 15th day
thereafter or on March 18, 1998, filed a motion for reconsideration. On July 1, 1998, the trial court issued
another order dismissing the motion for reconsideration which petitioners received on July 22, 1998. Five
days later, on July 27, 1998, petitioners filed a notice of appeal and paid the appeal fees on August 3,

On August 4, 1998, the court a quo denied the notice of appeal, holding that it was filed eight days late.
This was received by petitioners on July 31, 1998. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but this
too was denied in an order dated September 3, 1998. Via a petition for certiorari and mandamus under
Rule 65, petitioners assailed the dismissal of the notice of appeal before the CA. In the appellate court,
petitioners claimed that they had seasonably filed their notice of appeal. They argued that the 15-day
reglementary period to appeal started to run only on July 22, 1998 since this was the day they received the
final order of the trial court denying their motion for reconsideration. When they filed their notice of
appeal on July 27, 1998, only five days had elapsed and they were well within the reglementary period for
appeal. On September 16, 1999, the CA dismissed the petition. It ruled that the 15-day period to appeal
should have been reckoned from March 3, 1998 or the day they received the February 12, 1998 order
dismissing their complaint. According to the appellate court, the order was the “final order” appealable
under the Rules.

Whether or not petitioners filed their notice of appeal on time

Yes. To standardize the appeal periods provided in the Rules and to afford litigants fair opportunity to
appeal their cases, the Court deems it practical to allow a fresh period of 15 days within which to file the
notice of appeal in the Regional Trial Court, counted from receipt of the order dismissing a motion for a
new trial or motion for reconsideration.

The new rule aims to regiment or make the appeal period uniform, to be counted from receipt of the order
denying the motion for new trial, motion for reconsideration (whether full or partial) or any final order or

The Court thus hold that petitioners seasonably filed their notice of appeal within the fresh period of 15
days, counted from July 22, 1998 (the date of receipt of notice denying their motion for reconsideration).

Tan vs Court of Appeals

G.R. No. 136368, January 16, 2002

Tan executed a deed of absolute sale over a parcel of land in question in favor of spouses Magdangal.
Simultaneous with the execution of this deed, they entered into another agreement where under Tan given
one year within which to redeem or repurchase the property. Tan failed to redeem the property until his
death. His heirs filed before the RTC a suit against the Magdangals for reformation of instrument. The
complaint alleged that their real intention was to conclude an equitable mortgage. The Magdangals were
able to have Tan's title over the lot in question canceled and to secure in their names a TCT. The heirs of
Tan filed a supplemental complaint. The RTC rendered judgment in favor of Tan. The RTC held that the
Deed of Absolute Sale is an equitable mortgage; The plaintiff was ordered to pay the defendants within
120 days after the finality of this decision P59,200 plus interest at the rate of 12% per annum from May 2,
1988, the date the complaint was filed, until paid.
The Magdangals appealed. On September 28, 1995, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial
court in toto. The respondents Magdangal filed in the trial court a Motion for Consolidation and Writ of
Possession. They alleged that the 120-day period of redemption of the petitioner has expired. They
reckoned that the said period began 15 days after October 5, 1995, the date when the finality of the
judgment of the trial court as affirmed by the appellate court commenced to run. On June 10, 1996, the
trial court allowed the petitioner to redeem the lot in question. It ruled that the 120-day redemption period
should be reckoned from the date of Entry of Judgment in the appellate court or from March 13, 1996.

Whether or not the rules of procedure can be given retroactive effect

The rule that procedural laws are applicable to pending actions or proceedings admits certain exceptions.
The rule does not apply where the statute itself expressly or by necessary implication provides that
pending actions are excepted from its operation, or where to apply it to pending proceedings would impair
vested rights. Under appropriate circumstances, courts may deny the retroactive application of procedural
laws in the event that to do so would not be feasible or would work injustice. Nor may procedural laws be
applied retroactively to pending actions if to do so would involve intricate problems of due process or
impair the independence of the courts.

The Court hold that section 1, Rule 39 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Procedure should not be given
retroactive effect in this case as it would result in great injustice to the petitioner. Undoubtedly, petitioner
has the right to redeem the subject lot and this right is a substantive right. Petitioner followed the
procedural rule then existing as well as the decisions of this Court governing the reckoning date of the
period of redemption when he redeemed the subject lot. Unfortunately for petitioner, the rule was changed
by the 1997 Revised Rules of Procedure which if applied retroactively would result in his losing the right
to redeem the subject lot. It is difficult to reconcile the retroactive application of this procedural rule with
the rule of fairness.

Atienza vs Board of Medicine

GR No. 177407 February 9, 2011

Facts: Due to her Lumbar parts, private respondent Editha Sioson went to Rizal Medical Center (RMC)
for check-up on February 4, 1995. Sometime in 1999, due to the same problem, she was referred to Dr.
Pedro Lantin III of RMC who, accordingly, ordered several diagnostic laboratory tests. The tests revealed
that her right kidney is normal. It was ascertained, however, that her left kidney is non-functioning and
non-visualizing. This, she underwent kidney operation in 1999, September. On February 18, 2000, private
respondents husband Romeo Sioson, filed a complaint for gross negligence and/or incompetence before
the board of medicine against the doctors who allegedly participated in the fateful kidney operation. It
was alleged in the complaint that the gross negligence and/or incompetence committed by the said
doctors, including petitioner, consists of the removal of private respondents fully functional right kidney,
instead of the left non-functioning and non-visualizing kidney. Among the evidence presented are certified
photocopy of the results of the ultrasound and X-ray conducted to Editha with the interpretation that both
of her kidneys are in their proper anatomical location.

Issue: Whether or not the doctors who conducted the kidney operation are liable for gross negligence
despite the evidence presented were mere photocopies.
Ruling: Yes. To begin with, it is a well settled rule that the rules of evidence are not strictly applied in
proceedings before administrative bodies such as the Board of Medicine. It is the safest policy to be
liberal, not rejecting them on doubtful or technical grounds, but admitting them unless plainly irrelevant,
immaterial or incompetent, for the reason that their rejection places them beyond the consideration of the
court, if they are thereafter found relevant or competent; on the other hand, their admission, if they turn
out later to be irrelevant or incompetent, can easily be remedied by completely discarding them or
ignoring them.

Unquestionably, the rules of evidence are merely the means for ascertaining the truth respecting a matter
of fact. This, they likewise provide for some facts which are established and need not be proved, such as
those covered by judicial notice, both mandatory and discretionary. Laws of nature involving the physical
sciences, specifically biology include the structural make-up and composition of living things such as
human beings. In this case, we may take judicial notice that Editha’s kidneys before, and after the time of
her operation, as with most human beings, were in their proper anatomical locations.

Millennium Erectors v. Magallanes

G.R. No. 184362 : November 15, 2010

Respondent Virgilio Magallanes started working in 1988 as a utility man for Laurencito Tiu, Chief
Executive Officer of Millennium Erectors Corporation, Tius family, and Kenneth Construction
Corporation. He was told not to report for work anymore allegedly due to old age, prompting him to file
an illegal dismissal complaint before the Labor Arbiter.

In its Position Paper, petitioner claimed that respondent was a project employee whom it hired for a
building project in Libis. Respondents services were terminated as the project was nearing completion.

Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of petitioner and dismissed the complaint, holding that respondent knew of
the nature of his employment as a project employee.

On appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) set aside the Labor Arbiters Decision
holding that respondent was a regular, not a project employee.

The NLRC thus concluded that while respondents work as a utility man may not have been necessary or
desirable in the usual business of petitioner as a construction company, that he performed the same
functions continuously for 16 years converted an otherwise casual employment to regular employment,
hence, his termination without just or authorized cause amounted to illegal dismissal.

Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the NLRC decision, contending that respondents motion for
reconsideration which it treated as an appeal was not perfected, it having been belatedly filed; that there
was no statement of the date of receipt of the appealed decision; and that it lacked verification and copies
thereof were not furnished the adverse parties. Petitioners motion was denied.

Whether or not respondent was illegally dismissed?

The NLRC did not err in treating respondents motion for reconsideration as an appeal, the presence of
some procedural flaws including the lack of verification and proof of service notwithstanding.
In labor cases, rules of procedure should not be applied in a very rigid and technical sense. They are
merely tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice, and where their strict application would result
in the frustration rather than promotion of substantial justice, technicalities must be avoided.
Technicalities should not be permitted to stand in the way of equitably and completely resolving the rights
and obligations of the parties. Where the ends of substantial justice shall be better served, the application
of technical rules of procedure may be relaxed.

Bantolino v. Coca – Cola

G.R. No. 153660 June 10, 2003

On 15 February 1995 sixty-two (62) employees of respondent Coca-Cola Bottlers, Inc., and its officers,
filed a complaint against respondents for unfair labor practice through illegal dismissal. They thus prayed
for reinstatement with full back wages, and the declaration of their regular employment status.
For failure to prosecute as they failed to either attend the scheduled mandatory conferences or submit their
respective affidavits, the claims of fifty-two (52) complainant-employees were dismissed. Thereafter,
Labor Arbiter conducted clarificatory hearings to elicit information from the ten (10) remaining
complainants. In lieu of a position paper, respondent company filed a motion to dismiss complaint for
lack of jurisdiction and cause of action. The Labor Arbiter rendered a decision ordering respondent
company to reinstate complainants to their former positions with all the rights, privileges and benefits due
regular employees, and to pay their full back wages which, with the exception of Prudencio Bantolino
whose back wages must be computed upon proof of his dismissal.
On appeal, the NLRC sustained the finding of the Labor Arbiter and affirmed in toto the latters decision.
Respondent Coca-Cola Bottlers appealed to the Court of Appeals which, although affirming the finding of
the NLRC nonetheless agreed with respondent that the affidavits of some of the complainants should not
have been given probative value for their failure to affirm the contents thereof and to undergo cross-
examination. As a consequence, the appellate court dismissed their complaints for lack of sufficient
evidence. Petitioners now pray for relief from the adverse Decision of the Court of Appeals; that, instead,
the favorable judgment of the NLRC be reinstated.

Whether or not the affidavits of some of the complainants should have been given probative value for
their failure to affirm the contents thereof and to undergo cross-examination.

The Court held that the argument that the affidavit is hearsay because the affiants were not presented for
cross-examination is not persuasive because the rules of evidence are not strictly observed in proceedings
before administrative bodies like the NLRC where decisions may be reached on the basis of position
papers only.

Administrative bodies like the NLRC are not bound by the technical niceties of law and procedure and the
rules obtaining in courts of law. Indeed, the Revised Rules of Court and prevailing jurisprudence may be
given only stringent application, by analogy or in a suppletory character and effect.
G.R. No. 159593 October 12, 2006

Respondent is a registered VAT- taxpayer with a certificate of registration issued on January 26, 1996. For
the period April 1, 1996 to December 31, 1996, respondent religiously filed its quarterly VAT returns
reflecting thereon the amount of accumulated input taxes. These input taxes were paid to VAT suppliers of
capital goods and services for the construction and development of the power generating plant in
Pagbilao, Quezon. A claim for refund for these input taxes was filed with the BIR. Without waiting for its
resolution in the administrative level, it filed a petition for review with the CTA on July 10, 1998, in order
to toll the running of the toeyear prescriptive period for claiming a refund under the law. In answer to this
petition, the Commissioner advanced as special and affirmative defenses that: MPC’s claim for refund is
still pending investigation and consideration before his office, accordingly, the filing of the petition is
premature; well-settled is the doctrine that provisions for refund and credit are construed strictly against
the taxpayer as they are in the nature of tax exemption; the claimant has the burden to show that the taxes
are erroneously paid and that the claim is filed within the prescriptive period.
The CTA ruled in favor of MPC and declared that MPC had overwhelmingly proved, through the VAT
invoices and official receipts it had presented, that its purchases of goods and services were necessary in
the construction of power plant facilities which is used in its business of power generation and sale. On an
appeal to the CA, the Commissioner raised new arguments which were never raised in the CTA – MPC is
an electric utility subject to the franchise tax and since it is exempt from VAT, it is not entitled to the
refund. The CA, finding no merit in the Commissioner’s petition, affirmed the CTA decision.

Can the Commissioner change his theory of the case on appeal by raising for the first time on appeal
questions of both fact and law not taken up in the tax court?

The SC ruled against the petitioner. The SC emphasized that ―The settled rule is that defenses not
pleaded in the answer may not be raised for the first time on appeal. A party cannot, change fundamentally
the nature of the issue in the case. When a party deliberately adopts a certain theory and the case is
decided upon that theory in the court below, he will not be permitted to change the same on appeal,
because to permit him to do so would be unfair to the adverse party.


G.R. No. 164195, November 23, 2010

Petitioners voluntarily offered to sell their lands to the government under Republic Act 6657, otherwise
known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL). Government took petitioners’ lands on
December 9, 1996. Land Bank valued the properties atP165,484.47 per hectare, but AFC-HPI rejected the
offer of that amount. Consequently, on instruction of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Land
Bank deposited for AFC and HPI P26,409,549.86 and P45,481,706.76, respectively, or a total of
P71,891,256.62. Upon revaluation of the expropriated properties, Land Bank eventually made additional
deposits, placing the total amount paid at P411,769,168.32 (P71,891,256.62 + P339,877,911.70), an
increase of nearly five times. Both petitioners withdrew the amounts. Still, they filed separate complaints
for just compensation with the DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB), where it was dismissed, after three
years, for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioners filed a case with the RTC for the proper determination of just
compensation. The RTC ruled in favor of petitioners fixing the valuation of petitioners’ properties at
P103.33/sq.m with 12% interest plus attorney’s fees. Respondents appealed to the Third Division of the
Supreme Court where the RTC ruling was upheld. Upon motion for reconsideration, the Third Division
deleted the award of interest and attorney’s fees and entry of judgment was issued. The just compensation
of which was only settled on May 9, 2008. Petitioners filed a second motion for reconsideration with
respect to denial of award of legal interest and attorney’s fees and a motion to refer the second motion to
the Court En Banc and was granted accordingly, restoring in toto the ruling of the RTC. Respondent filed
their second motion for reconsideration as well for holding of oral arguments with the Motion for Leave
to Intervene and to admit for Reconsideration in-Intervention by the Office of the Solicitor General in
behalf of the Republic of the Philippines.

Whether or not a final judgment may no longer be altered, amended or modified, even if the alteration,
amendment or modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or
law and regardless of what court, be it the highest Court of the land, rendered it.

As a rule, a final judgment may no longer be altered, amended or modified, even if the alteration,
amendment or modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or
law and regardless of what court, be it the highest Court of the land, rendered it. In the past, however, the
Court have recognized exceptions to this rule by reversing judgments and recalling their entries in the
interest of substantial justice and where special and compelling reasons called for such actions.

In Barnes, the Court said:

“x x x Phrased elsewise, a final and executory judgment can no longer be attacked by any of the
parties or be modified, directly or indirectly, even by the highest court of the land.

However, this Court has relaxed this rule in order to serve substantial justice considering (a)
matters of life, liberty, honor or property, (b) the existence of special or compelling circumstances, (c) the
merits of the case, (d) a cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by
the suspension of the rules, (e) a lack of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and
dilatory, and (f) the other party will not be unjustly prejudiced thereby.

Invariably, rules of procedure should be viewed as mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment
of justice. Their strict and rigid application, which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate
rather than promote substantial justice, must always be eschewed. Even the Rules of Court reflects this
principle. The power to suspend or even disregard rules can be so pervasive and compelling as to alter
even that which this Court itself had already declared to be final.”


G.R. No. 203152, June 20, 2016

Remedios Cabello, (Remedios) one of the co-owners of a parcel of land filed a petition for reconstruction
of title before the Regional Trial Court (Branch 14), Branch 14 of Cebu. The trial court ordered the
reconstitution of the title of the subject property which became final and executory on June 1983. The
parcel of land was subsequently sole to spouses Robles. In 1981, herein respondents filed with the RTC,
Branch 17 (Branch 17) a complaint to annul Remedios’ title. Remedios moved to dismiss the complaint
for failure to prosecute. The RTC Branch 17 dismissed the complaint which became final and executory.
Respondents filed a petition for relief from judgment and the court reinstated their complaint for
annulment of title. By that time, the property was already sold to the Adlawans (Adlawans). Remedios
moved for reconsideration but the court denied it. On appeal, the court denied the appeal which became
final and executory in December 1993. Respondents then filed a supplemental complaint impleading the
Adlawans. The Branch 17 declared null and void the decision of Branch 14. On appeal, the petition was
denied. The court ruled that the reconstitution was null and void, that petitioners are estopped from
questioning RTC Branch 14’s jurisdiction for the first time on appeal and after losing the case in the RTC
twenty years later, and declared that the Adlawans were not buyers in good faith, hence this appeal.

WON the RTC Branch 17 has jurisdiction over a court of the same level

No. Section 9 (2) of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 129, as amended, vests in the Court of Appeals, formerly
the Intermediate Appellate Court, the exclusive original jurisdiction over actions to annul judgments of
the Regional Trial Courts.

Apart from being conferred by law, the CA’s exclusive and original jurisdiction to annul judgments of the
RTCs is by reason of the principle that a judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction may not be opened,
modified, or vacated by any court of concurrent jurisdiction. This principle is known as the “doctrine of
non-interference or judicial stability.”

Since the assailed reconstituted title in this case, from which the petitioner’s title originated was ordered
issued by the RTC Branch 14, Cebu City, the respondents’ complaint to annul said title – by reason of the
doctrine of non-interference – should have been filed with the CA and not with another RTC branch.
Evidently, the RTC Branch 17, Cebu City, as a co-equal court, has no jurisdiction to annul the
reconstitution of title previously ordered by the RTC, Branch 14, Cebu City. In fact, the CA was of the
same view that the RTC, Branch 17, Cebu City, exceeded its jurisdiction when it declared the order of
reconstitution issued by the RTC, Branch 14, Cebu City, as null and void.


G.R. No. 193964, December 02, 2015

Respondent Tagbanua Indigenous Cultural Community... filed a petition before the NCIP against
petitioners for "Violation of Rights to Free and Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and Unauthorized and
Unlawful Intrusion with Prayer for the Issuance of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining
Order. Petitioners moved to dismiss the petitionon the ground that the NCIP does not have jurisdiction
over the petition filed by respondents because they (petitioners) are non-IPs/ICCs.

The NCIP, however, resolved to deny the motion to dismiss. After the denial of their motion for
reconsideration, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari on the ground of grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

Court of Appeals denied the petition for certiorari and affirmed the resolutions of the NCIP.

The NCIP and the appellate court rely mainly on the wording of Section 66 of the IPRA. Effectively, even
without asseverating it, the two tribunals interpret the statutory grant of jurisdiction to the NCIP as
primary, originaland exclusive, in all cases and instances where the claim or dispute involves rights of
IPs/ICCs, without regard to whether one of the parties is non-IP/ICC.

Whether the NCIP's jurisdiction is limited to cases where both parties are ICCs/IPs or primary and
concurrent with regular courts, and/or original and exclusive, to the exclusion of the regular courts, on all
matters involving rights of ICCs/IPs.

NCIP is the "primary government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies,
plans and programs to promote and protect the rights and well-being of the ICCs/IPs and the recognition
of their ancestral domains as well as their rights... thereto."

Nonetheless, the creation of such government agency does not per se grant it primary and/or exclusive
and original jurisdiction, excluding the regular courts from taking cognizance and exercising jurisdiction
over cases which may... involve rights of ICCs/IPs.

In Unduran et al. v. Aberasturi et al., Since two of the defendants therein were not IPs/ICCs, the regular
courts had jurisdiction over the complaint. Despite the language that the NCIP shall have jurisdiction over
all claims and disputes involving rights of ICCs/IPs, it cannot be confined to that first alone and therefrom
deduce primary sole NCIP jurisdiction over all ICCs/IPs claims and disputes to the exclusion of the
regular courts.

That the power of the Ombudsman to investigate offenses involving public officers or employees is not
exclusive but is concurrent with other similarly authorized agencies of the government such as the
provincial, city and state prosecutors has long been settled in several decisions of the Court.

In contrast to our holding in Honasan II, the NCIP cannot be said to have even primary jurisdiction over
all the ICC/IP cases comparable to what the Ombudsman has in cases falling under the exclusive
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. The Court do not find such specificity in the grant of jurisdiction to the
NCIP in Section 66 of the IPRA.Neither does the IPRA confer original and exclusive jurisdiction to the
NCIP over all claims and disputes involving rights of ICCs/IPs.

G.R. No. 209447, August 11, 2015

The PCGG issued and implemented numerous sequestrations, freeze orders and provisional takeovers of
allegedly ill-gotten companies, assets and properties, real or personal. Among the properties sequestered
by the Commission were shares of stock in the United Coconut. Planters Bank (UCPB) registered in the
names of the alleged “one million coconut farmers,” the so-called Coconut Industry Investment Fund
companies (CIIF companies) and Private Respondent Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. In connection with the
sequestration of the said UCPB shares, the PCGG, instituted an action for reconveyance, reversion,
accounting, restitution and damages docketed as Case No. 0033 in the Sandiganbayan.
Respondents question the authority of Commissioner Vicente L. Gengos, Jr. in filing the present
petitions before the Court and signing the Verification and Certification Against Forum Shopping. They
point out that the PCGG is a collegial body created by virtue of EO 1, and it may function only as such
“Commission.” Consequently, the present action should have been properly authorized by all members of
the Commission. On the issue of jurisdiction, UCPB and COCOLIFE argue that since they have properly
alleged a case for declaratory relief, jurisdiction over the subject matter lies in the regular courts such as
the RTC of Makati City.

Whether or not RTC has jurisdiction over suits involving the sequestered coco levy assets and coco levy

The RTC has no jurisdiction over suits involving the sequestered coco levy assets and coco levy funds.
Under Section 4 (C) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975 and R.A. No. 8249, the jurisdiction
of the Sandiganbayan included suits for recovery of ill-gotten wealth and related cases. The exclusive
jurisdiction conferred on the Sandiganbayan would evidently extend not only to the principal causes of
action, i.e., the recovery of alleged ill-gotten wealth, but also to “all incidents arising from, incidental to,
or related to, such cases,” such as the dispute over the sale of the shares, the propriety of the issuance of
ancillary writs or provisional remedies relative thereto, the sequestration thereof, which may not be made
the subject of separate actions or proceedings in another forum. In the light of the foregoing, it is clear
that the Sandiganbayan has exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter.


A.M. No. SCC-13-18-J, July 1, 2015

In his complaint, Mamiscal averred that on September 26, 2010, he and his wife, Adelaidah Lomondot
(Adelaidah) had a heated argument. In a fit of anger, Mamiscal decided to divorce his wife by repudiating
her (talaq). The repudiation was embodied in an agreement (kapasadan) signed by Mamiscal and
Adelaidah. Almost five (5) months later, however, Adelaidah filed the Certificate of Divorce (COD) with
the office of Abdullah for registration.

On March 24, 2011, Abdullah issued the Certificate of Registration of Divorce (CRD) finalizing the
divorce between Mamiscal and Adelaidah. Mamiscal sought the revocation of the CRD, questioning the
validity of the kapasadan on which the CRD was based. In his motion, Mamiscal contended that the
kapasadan was invalid considering that he did not prepare the same. Moreover, there were no witnesses to
its execution. He claimed that he only signed the kapasadan because of Adelaidah's threats.

On April 20, 2011, Abdullah denied Mamiscal's motion. Contending that the issuance of the CRD was
tainted with irregularity, Mamiscal comes to this Court, through the subject complaint, charging Abdullah
with partiality, violation of due process, dishonesty, and conduct unbecoming of a court employee.

Whether or not Abdullah should be held administratively liable for his actions in connection with the
registration of the divorce between Mamiscal and Adelaidah.

The Court does not have jurisdiction to impose the proper disciplinary action against civil registrars.
While he is undoubtedly a member of the Judiciary as Clerk of Court of the Shari'a Circuit Court, a
review of the subject complaint reveals that Mamiscal seeks to hold Abdullah liable for registering the
divorce and issuing the CRD pursuant to his duties as Circuit Registrar of Muslim divorces. It has been
said that the test of jurisdiction is the nature of the offense and not the personality of the offender. The fact
that the complaint charges Abdullah for "conduct unbecoming of a court employee" is of no moment.
Well-settled is the rule that what controls is not the designation of the offense but the actual facts recited
in the complaint. Verily, unless jurisdiction has been conferred by some legislative act, no court or tribunal
can act on a matter submitted to it.

It bears to stress at this point that this Court can resolve the foregoing jurisdictional issue even if the
matter of jurisdiction was never raised by any of the parties. Jurisprudence is replete with rulings that
jurisdiction, or the power and authority of a court to hear, try and decide a case must first be acquired by
the court or an adjudicative body over the subject matter and the parties in order to have authority to
dispose of the case on the merits. Elementary is the distinction between jurisdiction over the subject
matter and jurisdiction over the person. Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by the
Constitution or by law. In contrast, jurisdiction over the person is acquired by the court by virtue of the
party's voluntary submission to the authority of the court or through the exercise of its coercive processes.
Jurisdiction over the person is waivable unlike jurisdiction over the subject matter which is neither subject
to agreement nor conferred by consent of the parties.


G.R. no. 184203

In 1995, the PEZA was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 7916 or “the Special Economic Zone Act of
1995” to operate, administer, manage, and develop economic zones in the country. The PEZA was granted
the power to register, regulate, and supervise the enterprises located in the economic zones. By virtue of
the law, the export processing zone in Mariveles, Bataan became the Bataan Economic Zone and the
Mactan Export Processing Zone the Mactan Economic Zone.
The City contends that due to the enactment of the LGC, specifically withdrawing all tax exemptions and
with the PEZA law of 1995 which did not have any provisions on tax exemptions, it maintains that PEZA
is liable for real property tax.
PEZA filed a petition for declaratory relief praying that the trial court declare it exempt from payment of
real property taxes. According to the trial court, the PEZA remained tax-exempt regardless of Section 24
of the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995. The PEZA, therefore, is not liable for real property taxes on
the land it owns. Characterizing the PEZA as an agency of the National Government, the trial court ruled
that the City had no authority to tax the PEZA. The City then appealed.

W/N the Regional Trial Court of Pasay has jurisdiction to hear, try, and decide the PEZA’s petition for
declaratory relief against the City of Lapu-Lapu.


A petition for declaratory relief must satisfy six requisites:

First, the subject matter of the controversy must be a deed, will, contract or other written instrument,
statute, executive order or regulation, or ordinance; second, the terms of said documents and the validity
thereof are doubtful and require judicial construction; third, there must have been no breach of the
documents in question; fourth, there must be an actual justiciable controversy or the "ripening seeds" of
one between persons whose interests are adverse; fifth, the issue must be ripe for judicial determination;
and sixth, adequate relief is not available through other means or other forms of action or proceeding.
The Court ruled that the PEZA erred in availing itself of a petition for declaratory relief against the City.
The City had already issued demand letters and real property tax assessment against the PEZA, in
violation of the PEZA’s alleged tax-exempt status under its charter. The Special Economic Zone Act of
1995, the subject matter of PEZA’s petition for declaratory relief, had already been breached. The trial
court, therefore, had no jurisdiction over the petition for declaratory relief.

There are several aspects of jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over the subject matter is “the power to hear and
determine cases of the general class to which the proceedings in question belong.” It is conferred by law,
which may either be the Constitution or a statute. Jurisdiction over the subject matter means “the nature of
the cause of action and the relief sought.” Thus, the cause of action and character of the relief sought as
alleged in the complaint are examined to determine whether a court had jurisdiction over the subject
matter. Any decision rendered by a court without jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action is void.


G.R. No. L-21450, April 15, 1968

Tijam filed for recovery of P1,908 + legal interest from Sibongahanoy. Defendants filed a counter bond
with Manila Surety and Fidelity Co (Surety). Judgment was in favor of the plaintiffs, a writ of execution
was issued against the defendant. Defendants moved for writ of execution against surety which was
granted. Surety moved to quash the writ but was denied, appealed to CA without raising the issue on lack
of jurisdiction.

CA affirmed the appealed decision. Surety then filed Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction against CFI Cebu in view of the effectivity of Judiciary Act of 1948 a month before the filing
of the petition for recovery. Act placed original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts all civil actions for
demands not exceeding 2,000 exclusive of interest. CA set aside its earlier decision and referred the case
to SC since it has exclusive jurisdiction over "all cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is in

WON Surety bond is estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the CFI Cebu for the first time upon

YES. SC believes that that the Surety is now barred by laches from invoking this plea after almost fifteen
years before the Surety filed its motion to dismiss raising the question of lack of jurisdiction for the first
time - A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways and for different
reasons. Thus we speak of estoppel in pais, or estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches.
Laches, in a general sense is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do
that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier - Furthermore, it has also
been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an adverse decision on the merits, it
is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the court -"undesirable practice" of a party
submitting his case for decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for
lack of jurisdiction, when adverse.
G.R. No. 167988, February 6, 2007

The present controversy stemmed from the complaint of illegal dismissal filed before the Labor Arbiter by
herein respondent Antonio S. Go against Eurotech Hair Systems, Inc. (EHSI), and its President Lutz
Kunack and General Manager Jose E. Barin. the Labor Arbiter ruled that respondent Go was illegally
dismissed from employment. The NLRC rendered a Decision reversing the Labor Arbiter’s decision and
declaring that respondent Go’s separation from employment was legal for it was attended by a just cause
and was validly effected by EHSI, Kunack and Barin. Aggrieved, respondent Go elevated the adverse
decision to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals promulgated a Decision setting aside the ruling of
the NLRC and reinstating the decision of the Labor Arbiter adjudging EHSI, Kunack and Barin guilty of
illegal dismissal.
EHSI, Kunack and Barin were able to receive a copy of the decision through registered mail on 17 July
2003 while respondent Go received his copy on 21 July 2003.

On 16 July 2003, after the promulgation of the Court of Appeals decision but prior to the receipt of the
parties of their respective copies, the parties decided to settle the case and signed a Release Waiver and
Quitclaim with the approval of the Labor Arbiter. In view of the amicable settlement, the Labor Arbiter,
on the same day, issued an Order dismissing the illegal dismissal case with prejudice. After the receipt of
a copy of the Court of Appeals decision, respondent Go, through counsel, filed a Manifestation with
Omnibus Motion seeking to nullify the Release Waiver and Quitclaim on the ground of fraud, mistake or
undue influence. Acting on the motions, the appellate court issued a Resolution annulling the Order of the
Labor Arbiter dated 16 July 2003 for lack of jurisdiction.

Whether or not the court of appeals committed a manifest error of law in ruling that petitioner is estopped
from challenging its authority to entertain the contempt charges against her.

When petitioner Atty. Regalado brought to the attention of the appellate court through a Motion for
Reconsideration the remedial defect attendant to her conviction, the Court of Appeals, instead of
rectifying the palpable and patent procedural error it earlier committed, altogether disregarded the glaring
mistake by interposing the doctrine of estoppel. The appellate court ruled that having actively participated
in the contempt proceedings, petitioner Atty. Regalado is now barred from impugning the Court of
Appeals jurisdiction over her contempt case citing the case of People v. Regalario.

The ruling in People v. Regalario that was based on the landmark doctrine enunciated in Tijam v.
Sibonghanoy on the matter of jurisdiction by estoppel is the exception rather than the rule. Estoppel by
laches may be invoked to bar the issue of lack of jurisdiction only in cases in which the factual milieu is
analogous to that in the cited case. In such controversies, laches should have been clearly present; that is,
lack of jurisdiction must have been raised so belatedly as to warrant the presumption that the party
entitled to assert it had abandoned or declined to assert it. Clearly, the factual settings attendant in
Sibonghanoy are not present in the case at bar.
G.R. NOO 158407, January 17, 2005

Petitioner Domagas filed for a forcible entry case against Jensen. Summons and complaint were not
served on respondent because the latter was apparently out of the country but it was received by
respondent’s brother Oscar who was then at the respondent’s house. The trial court rendered a decision in
favor of petitioner. Respondent did not appeal. August 20, 2000, respondent filed a complaint against
petitioner for the annulment of the decision of MTC since the service of summons was ineffective, the
respondent being out of the country. The RTC decided in favor of Jensen since there was no valid service
of the complaint and summons. The CA affirmed the decision, ruling that the case was an ejectment case
which is an action quasi in rem.

Whether or not the action of petitioner in the MTC against respondent is an action in personam or quasi in

The action of the petitioner fro forcible entry is a real action and one in personam. The settled rule is that
the aim and object of an action determine its character. Whether a proceeding is in rem or in personam or
in quasi in rem is determined by its nature and purpose, and by these only. A proceeding in personam is a
proceeding to enforce personal rights and obligations brought against the person and is based on the
jurisdiction of the person, although it may involve his right, or the exercise of ownership of, specific
property, or seek to compel him to control or dispose of it in accordance with the mandate of the court.
The purpose of a proceeding in personam is to impose, through the judgment of a court, some
responsibility or liability directly upon the person of the defendant. Of this character are suits to compel a
defendant to specifically perform some act or actions to fasten a pecuniary liability on him. An action in
personam is said to be one which has for its object a judgment against a person, as distinguished from a
judgment against the proprietary to determine its state. Actions for recovery of real property are in

Actions quasi in rem deal with the status, ownership or liability of a particular property but which are
intended to operate on these questions only as between the particular parties to the proceedings and not to
ascertain or cut off the rights or interest of all possible claimants. The judgments therein are binding only
upon the parties who joined in the action.


G.R. No. 174497, October 12, 2009

Plaintiff spouses Generoso and Aurelia Sebe and their daughter, Lydia Sebe, (the Sebes) filed with the
RTC of Dipolog City a complaint against defendants Veronico Sevilla and Technology and Livelihood
Resource Center for Annulment of Document, Reconveyance and Recovery of Possession of two lots,
which had a total assessed value of P9,910.00 plus damages. The Sebes claimed that they owned the
subject lot but, through fraud, defendant Sevilla got them to sign documents conveying the lots to him. In
his Answer, Sevilla insisted that he bought the lots from the Sebes in a regular manner. While the case was
pending, plaintiff Generoso Sebe and defendant Veronico Sevilla died so they were substituted by their
heirs as respondents in this case. The RTC dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction over the subject
matter considering that the ultimate relief that the Sebes sought was the reconveyance of title and
possession over two lots that had a total assessed value of less than 20k. The RTC contended that it has
jurisdiction over such actions when the assessed value of the property exceeds 20k, otherwise, jurisdiction
shall be with the first level courts. The RTC concluded that the Sebes should have filed their action with
the MTC of Dipolog.

Whether the Sebe’s action involving two lots valued at less than 20k falls within the jurisdiction of the

No. The action is one involving title to, or possession of, real property or any interest therein. Whether a
court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of a particular action is determined by the plaintiff’s
allegations in the complaint and the principal relief he seeks in the light of the law that apportions the
jurisdiction of courts. An action involving title to real property means that the plaintiffs cause of action is
based on a claim that he owns such property or that he has the legal rights to have exclusive control,
possession, enjoyment, or disposition of the same.

Title is different from a certificate of title which is the document of ownership under the Torrens system
of registration issued by the government through the Register of Deeds. While title is the claim, right or
interest in real property, a certificate of title is the evidence of such claim. The present action is, therefore,
not about the declaration of the nullity of the documents or the reconveyance to the Sebes of the
certificates of title covering the two lots. These would merely follow after the trial court shall have first
resolved the issue of which between the contending parties is the lawful owner of such lots, the one also
entitled to their possession. Based on the pleadings, the ultimate issue is whether or not defendant Sevilla
defrauded the Sebes of their property by making them sign documents of conveyance rather than just a
deed of real mortgage to secure their debt to him. The action is, therefore, about ascertaining which of
these parties is the lawful owner of the subject lots, jurisdiction over which is determined by the assessed
value of such lots. Here, the total assessed value of the two lots subject of the suit is P9,910.00. Clearly,
this amount does not exceed the jurisdictional threshold value of P20,000.00 fixed by law.


G.R. No. 208232, March 10, 2014

Alfredo R. Bautista (Bautista), petitioner’s predecessor, inherited in 1983 a free-patent land located in
Davao Oriental and covered by OCT No. (1572) P-6144.A few years later, he subdivided the property and
sold it to several vendees, herein respondents, via a notarized deed of absolute sale dated May 30, 1991.
Two months later, OCT No.(1572) P-6144 was canceled and Transfer Certificates of Title (TCTs) were
issued in favor of the vendees.

On August 1994, Bautista filed a complaint for repurchase against respondents before the RTC, anchoring
his cause of action on Section 119 of Commonwealth Act No. (CA) 141, otherwise known as the “Public
Land Act.

During the pendency of the action, Bautista died and was substituted by petitioner, Efipania. Respondents,
Sps. Lindo entered into a compromise agreement with petitioners, whereby they agree to cede to Epifania
3,230 sq.m..portion of the property as well as to waive, abandon, surrender, and withdraw all claims and
counterclaims against each other. RTC approve the compromise agreement on January 2011.
Other respondents, filed a Motion to Dismissed on February 2013 alleging lack of jurisdiction of the RTC
on the ground that the complaint failed to state the value of the property sought to be recovered and
alleges that the total value of the properties in issue is only P16,500 pesos. RTC ruled in favor of the
respondent dismissing the case.

Whether the action filed by petitioners is one involving title to or possession of real property or any
interest therein or one incapable of pecuniary estimation.

The Court rules that the complaint to redeem a land subject of a free patent is a civil action incapable of
pecuniary estimation.

It is a well-settled rule that jurisdiction of the court is determined by the allegations in the complaint and
the character of the relief sought. In this regard, the Court, in Russell v. Vestil, wrote that "in determining
whether an action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary estimation this Court has
adopted the criterion of first ascertaining the nature of the principal action or remedy 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 or in the RTCs would depend on the amount of the
claim." But where the basic issue is something other than the right to recover a sum of money, where the
money claim is purely incidental to, or a consequence of, 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, hence, are incapable of pecuniary estimation.