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Jurisdiction. Hasegawa et al v.

Kitamura (2007) Asserting that the RTC of Lipa City is an inconvenient forum, petitioners question its jurisdiction to hear and resolve the civil case for specific performance and damages filed by the respondent. The ICA subject of the litigation was entered into and perfected in Tokyo, Japan, by Japanese nationals, and written wholly in the Japanese language. Thus, petitioners posit that local courts have no substantial relationship to the parties[46] following the [state of the] most significant relationship rule in Private International Law. To elucidate, in the judicial resolution of conflicts problems, three consecutive phases are involved: jurisdiction, choice of law, and recognition and enforcement of judgments. Corresponding to these phases are the following questions: (1) Where can or should litigation be initiated? (2) Which law will the court apply? and (3) Where can the resulting judgment be enforced? In this case, only the first phase is at issuejurisdiction. Jurisdiction, however, has various aspects. For a court to validly exercise its power to adjudicate a controversy, it must have jurisdiction over the plaintiff or the petitioner, over the defendant or the respondent, over the subject matter, over the issues of the case and, in cases involving property, over the res or the thing which is the subject of the litigation.[57] In assailing the trial court's jurisdiction herein, petitioners are actually referring to subject matter jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over the subject matter in a judicial proceeding is conferred by the sovereign authority which establishes and organizes the court. It is given only by law and in the manner prescribed by law.[58] It is further determined by the allegations of the complaint irrespective of whether the plaintiff is entitled to all or some of the claims asserted therein.[59] To succeed in its motion for the dismissal of an action for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the claim,[60] the movant must show that the court or tribunal cannot act on the matter submitted to it because no law grants it the power to adjudicate the claims. In the instant case, petitioners, in their motion to dismiss, do not claim that the trial court is not properly vested by law with jurisdiction to hear the subject controversy for, indeed, Civil Case No. 00-0264 for specific performance and damages is one not capable of pecuniary estimation and is properly cognizable by the RTC of Lipa City.[62] What they rather raiseas grounds to question subject matter jurisdiction are the principles of lex loci celebrationis and lex contractus, and the state of the most significant relationship rule. Lex loci celebrationis relates to the law of the place of the ceremony or the law of the place where a contract is made. The doctrine of lex contractusor lex loci contractus means the law of the place where a contract is executed or to be performed. It controls the nature, construction, and validity of the contract and it may pertain to the law voluntarily agreed upon by the parties or the law intended by them either expressly or implicitly. Under the state of the most significant relationship rule, to ascertain what state law to apply to a dispute, the court should determine which state has the most substantial connection to the occurrence and the parties. In a case involving a contract, the court should consider where the contract was made, was negotiated, was to be performed, and the domicile, place of business, or place of incorporation of the parties. This rule takes into account several contacts and evaluates them according to their relative importance with respect to the particular issue to be resolved.

Since these three principles in conflict of laws make reference to the law applicable to a dispute, they are rules proper for the second phase, the choice of law. They determine which state's law is to be applied in resolving the substantive issues of a conflicts problem. Necessarily, as the only issue in this case is that of jurisdiction, choice-of-law rules are not only inapplicable but also not yet called for. Further, petitioners' premature invocation of choice-of-law rules is exposed by the fact that they have not yet pointed out any conflict between the laws of Japan and ours. Before determining which law should apply, first there should exist a conflict of laws situation requiring the application of the conflict of laws rules. Also, when the law of a foreign country is invoked to provide the proper rules for the solution of a case, the existence of such law must be pleaded and proved. It should be noted that when a conflicts case, one involving a foreign element, is brought before a court or administrative agency, there are three alternatives open to the latter in disposing of it: (1) dismiss the case, either because of lack of jurisdiction or refusal to assume jurisdiction over the case; (2) assume jurisdiction over the case and apply the internal law of the forum; or (3) assume jurisdiction over the case and take into account or apply the law of some other State or States. The courts power to hear cases and controversies is derived from the Constitution and the laws. While it may choose to recognize laws of foreign nations, the court is not limited by foreign sovereign law short of treaties or other formal agreements, even in matters regarding rights provided by foreign sovereigns. Chavez v. CA (2007) The rules on venue in article 360 may be restated thus: 1. Whether the offended party is a public official or a private person, the criminal action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where the libelous article is printed and first published. 2. If the offended party is a private individual, the criminal action may also be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province where he actually resided at the time of the commission of the offense. 3. If the offended party is a public officer whose office is in Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila. 4. If the offended party is a public officer holding office outside of Manila, the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he held office at the time of the commission of the offense. Indeed, if we hold that the Information at hand sufficiently vests jurisdiction in Manila courts since the publication is in general circulation in Manila, there would be no impediment to the filing of the libel action in other locations where Smart File is in general circulation. Using the example of the Inquirer or the Star, the granting of this petition would allow a resident of Aparri to file a criminal case for libel against a reporter or editor in Jolo, simply because these newspapers are in general circulation in Jolo. Such a consequence is precisely what Rep. Act No. 4363 sought to avoid. It is settled that jurisdiction of a court over a criminal case is determined by the allegations of the complaint or information,24 and the offense must have been committed or

any one of its essential ingredients took place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court.25 Article 360 states, in as unequivocal a manner as possible, that the criminal and civil action for libel shall be filed with the court of the province or city "where the libelous article is printed and first published, or where any of the offended parties actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense." If the Information for libel does not establish with particularity any of these two venue requirements, the trial court would have no jurisdiction to hear the criminal case. Springfield v. RTC Judge (2007) Pursuant to the policy of judicial stability, the doctrine of noninterference between concurrent and coordinate courts should be regarded as highly important in the administration of justice whereby the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction may not be opened, modified or vacated by any court of concurrent jurisdiction. Significantly, B.P. Blg. 129 does not specifically provide for any power of the RTC to annul judgments of quasi-judicial bodies. However, in BF Northwest Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court,25 the Court ruled that the RTCs have jurisdiction over actions for annulment of the decisions of the National Water Resources Council, which is a quasi-judicial body ranked with inferior courts, pursuant to its original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus, under Sec. 21(1) of B.P. Blg. 129, in relation to acts or omissions of an inferior court. This led to the conclusion that despite the absence of any provision in B.P. Blg. 129, the RTC had the power to entertain petitions for annulment of judgments of inferior courts and administrative or quasi-judicial bodies of equal ranking. This is also in harmony with the "preB.P. Blg. 129" rulings of the Court recognizing the power of a trial court (court of first instance) to annul final judgments.26 Hence, while it is true, as petitioners contend, that the RTC had the authority to annul final judgments, such authority pertained only to final judgments rendered by inferior courts and quasi-judicial bodies of equal ranking with such inferior courts. Given that DARAB decisions are appealable to the CA, the inevitable conclusion is that the DARAB is a co-equal body with the RTC and its decisions are beyond the RTC's control. Section 9(2) of B.P. Blg. 129 vested in the CA the exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments, but only those rendered by the RTCs. The decision sought to be annulled was not rendered by the Regional Trial Court but by an administrative agency (HLU Arbiter and Office of the President), hence, not within the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals. There is no such remedy as annulment of judgment of the HLURB or the Office of the President. Sta. Ana v. Carpo (2008) The doctrine of primary jurisdiction precludes the courts from resolving a controversy over which jurisdiction has initially been lodged in an administrative body of special competence. Simply put, agrarian disputes, as defined by law and settled in jurisprudence, are within the primary and exclusive original jurisdiction of the PARAD and the DARAB, while issues of retention and non-coverage of a land under agrarian reform, among others, are within the domain of the DAR Secretary.

Verily, there is an established tenancy relationship between petitioner and respondents in this case. An action for Ejectment for Non-Payment of lease rentals is clearly an agrarian dispute, cognizable at the initial stage by the PARAD and thereafter by the DARAB. But issues with respect to the retention rights of the respondents as landowners and the exclusion/exemption of the subject land from the coverage of agrarian reform are issues not cognizable by the PARAD and the DARAB, but by the DAR Secretary because, as aforementioned, the same are Agrarian Law Implementation (ALI) Cases. Garcillano v. House (2008) Lazatin v. Desierto (2009) The doctrine of stare decisis enjoins adherence to judicial precedents. It requires courts in a country to follow the rule established in a decision of the Supreme Court thereof. That decision becomes a judicial precedent to be followed in subsequent cases by all courts in the land. The doctrine of stare decisis is based on the principle that once a question of law has been examined and decided, it should be deemed settled and closed to further argument. Stare decisis et non quieta movere. Stand by the decisions and disturb not what is settled. Stare decisis simply means that for the sake of certainty, a conclusion reached in one case should be applied to those that follow if the facts are substantially the same, even though the parties may be different. It proceeds from the first principle of justice that, absent any powerful countervailing considerations, like cases ought to be decided alike. Thus, where the same questions relating to the same event have been put forward by the parties similarly situated as in a previous case litigated and decided by a competent court, the rule of stare decisis is a bar to any attempt to relitigate the same issue.16 The doctrine has assumed such value in our judicial system that the Court has ruled that "[a]bandonment thereof must be based only on strong and compelling reasons, otherwise, the becoming virtue of predictability which is expected from this Court would be immeasurably affected and the public's confidence in the stability of the solemn pronouncements diminished."17 Verily, only upon showing that circumstances attendant in a particular case override the great benefits derived by our judicial system from the doctrine of stare decisis, can the courts be justified in setting aside the same. Cruz v. Mijares (2008) This Court's jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and injunction is not exclusive; it has concurrent jurisdiction with the RTCs and the Court of Appeals. This concurrence of jurisdiction is not, however, to be taken as an absolute, unrestrained freedom to choose the court where the application therefor will be directed. A becoming regard of the judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates that petitions for the issuance of extraordinary writs against the RTCs should be filed with the Court of Appeals. The hierarchy of courts is determinative of the appropriate forum for petitions for the extraordinary writs; and only in exceptional cases and for compelling reasons, or if warranted by the nature of the issues reviewed, may this Court take cognizance of petitions filed directly before it.

First United v. Poro Point (2009) Besides, FUCC violated the doctrine of judicial hierarchy in filing this petition for certiorari directly with this Court. Section 58 is clear that petitions for the issuance of a writ of certiorari against the decision of the head of the procuring agency, like PPMC, should be filed with the Regional Trial Court. Indeed, the jurisdiction of the RTC over petitions for certiorari is concurrent with this Court. However, such concurrence does not allow unrestricted freedom of choice of the court forum. A direct invocation of the Supreme Courts original jurisdiction to issue this writ should be allowed only when there are special and important reasons, clearly and specifically set out in the petition. First Lepanto Ceramics, Inc. v. CA (1994) Clearly, Circular 1-91 effectively repealed or superseded Article 82 of E.O. 226 insofar as the manner and method of enforcing the right to appeal from decisions of the BOI are concerned. Appeals from decisions of the BOI, which by statute was previously allowed to be filed directly with the Supreme Court, should now be brought to the Court of Appeals. Sarah Ampong v. CSC (2008) However, the Constitution provides that the Supreme Court is given exclusive administrative supervision over all courts and judicial personnel. By virtue of this power, it is only the Supreme Court that can oversee the judges' and court personnel's compliance with all laws, rules and regulations. It may take the proper administrative action against them if they commit any violation. No other branch of government may intrude into this power, without running afoul of the doctrine of separation of powers. It is well settled that the jurisdiction to try a case is to be determined by the law in force at the time of the institution of the action, not at the time of the commission of the offense. Consonant with this principle, the time of commission is not material to determining which court has jurisdiction. It stands to reason that administrative jurisdiction over petitioner belongs to the Supreme Court, the action having been instituted by the CSC at the time when petitioner was already a judicial employee. CGP Transport v. PU Leasing (2007) In an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45, only questions of law may be raised.21 In petitions such as the one filed in G.R. No. 150483, questions of fact may not be the proper subject of appeal under Rule 45 as this mode of appeal is generally confined to questions of law.22 Well entrenched is the rule that this Court is not a trier of facts.23 The resolution of factual issues is the function of lower courts, whose findings on these matters are received with respect and are in fact binding on us subject to certain exceptions.24 Cases where an appeal involved questions of fact, of law, or both fall within the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals. Bokingco v. CA (2006) In determining whether an action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary estimation, the nature of the principal action, or remedy sought must first be ascertained. If it is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered capable of pecuniary estimation, and jurisdiction over the action will depend on the amount of the claim.

However, 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, the action is one where the subject of litigation may not be estimated in terms of money, which is cognizable exclusively by Regional Trial Courts. Significantly, the respondents complaint has not sought to recover the possession or ownership of the subject land. Rather, it is principally an action to enjoin petitioner Bokingo and his representatives from committing acts that would tend to prevent the survey of the subject land. It cannot be said therefore that it is one of a possessory action. The respondents, as plaintiffs in the court a quo, to be entitled to the injunctive relief sought, need to establish the following requirements: (1) the existence of a right to be protected; and (2) that the acts against which the injunction is to be directed are violative of the said right. As such, the subject matter of litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation and properly cognizable exclusively by the court a quo, a Regional Trial Court under Section 19 (1) of BP Blg. 129. RCP v. CA (2002) In determining whether an action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary estimation, the nature of the principal action or remedy sought must first be ascertained. If it is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered capable of pecuniary estimation, and jurisdiction over the action will depend on the amount of the claim. However, 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, the action is one where the subject of the litigation may not be estimated in terms of money, which is cognizable exclusively by Regional Trial Courts. Clearly, the action for specific performance case, irrespective of the amount of rentals and damages sought to be recovered, is incapable of pecuniary estimation, hence cognizable exclusively by the Regional Trial Court. Honorio Bernardo v. Heirs of Eusebio Villegas (2010) Nowhere in the complaint was the assessed value of the subject property ever mentioned. There is no showing on the face of the complaint that the RTC has jurisdiction exclusive of the MTC. Indeed, absent any allegation in the complaint of the assessed value of the property, it cannot readily be determined which of the two trial courts had original and exclusive jurisdiction over the case. The general rule is that the jurisdiction of a court may be questioned at any stage of the proceedings. Lack of jurisdiction is one of those excepted grounds where the court may dismiss a claim or a case at any time when it appears from the pleadings or the evidence on record that any of those grounds exists, even if they were not raised in the answer or in a motion to dismiss. The reason is that jurisdiction is conferred by law, and lack of it affects the very authority of the court to take cognizance of and to render judgment on the action. However, estoppel sets in when a party participates in all stages of a case before challenging the jurisdiction of the lower court. One cannot belatedly reject or repudiate its decision after voluntarily submitting to its jurisdiction, just to secure affirmative relief against one's opponent or after failing to obtain such relief. The Court has, time and again, frowned upon the undesirable practice of a party submitting a case for

decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction when adverse. Encarnacion v. Amigo (2006) In this jurisdiction, the three kinds of actions for the recovery of possession of real property are: 1. Accion interdictal, or an ejectment proceeding which may be either that for forcible entry (detentacion) or unlawful detainer (desahucio), which is a summary action for recovery of physical possession where the dispossession has not lasted for more than one year, and should be brought in the proper inferior court; 2. Accion publiciana or the plenary action for the recovery of the real right of possession, which should be brought in the proper Regional Trial Court when the dispossession has lasted for more than one year; and 3. Accion reinvindicatoria or accion de reivindicacion, which is an action for the recovery of ownership which must be brought in the proper Regional Trial Court.13 Based on the foregoing distinctions, the material element that determines the proper action to be filed for the recovery of the possession of the property in this case is the length of time of dispossession. Under the Rules of Court, the remedies of forcible entry and unlawful detainer are granted to a person deprived of the possession of any land or building by force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth, or a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person against whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to hold possession by virtue of any contract, express or implied, or the legal representatives or assigns of any such lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person. These remedies afford the person deprived of the possession to file at any time within one year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession, an action in the proper Municipal Trial Court against the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession, or any person or persons claiming under them, for the restitution of such possession, together with damages and costs.14 Thus, if the dispossession has not lasted for more than one year, an ejectment proceeding is proper and the inferior court acquires jurisdiction. On the other hand, if the dispossession lasted for more than one year, the proper action to be filed is an accion publiciana which should be brought to the proper Regional Trial Court. Planters Products v. Fertiphil (2008) Regional Trial Courts have the authority and jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of a statute, presidential decree, or executive order. The Constitution vests the power of judicial review or the power to declare a law, treaty, international or executive agreement, presidential decree, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation not only in this Court, but in all Regional Trial Courts. Badillo v. CA (2008) Clearly, the scope and limitation of the HLURBs jurisdiction are well-defined. The HLURBs jurisdiction to hear and decide cases is determined by the nature of the cause of action, the subject matter or property involved, and the parties. In the present case, petitioners are the registered owners of several lots adjoining a subdivision road lot connecting their properties to the main road. Petitioners allege that the subdivision lot

owners sold the road lot to a developer who is now constructing cement fences, thus blocking the passageway from their lots to the main road. In sum, petitioners are enforcing their statutory and contractual rights against the subdivision owners. This is a specific performance case which falls under the HLURBs exclusive jurisdiction. When an administrative agency is conferred quasi-judicial functions, all controversies relating to the subject matter pertaining to its specialization are deemed to be included within its jurisdiction. Split jurisdiction is not favored. Fort Bonifacio v Domingo (2009) Petitioners insistence on the application of the arbitration clause of the Trade Contract to respondent is clearly anchored on an erroneous premise that respondent is seeking to enforce a right under the same. Again, the right to the receivables of LMM Construction from petitioner under the Trade Contract is not being impugned herein. In fact, petitioner readily conceded that LMM Construction still had receivables due from petitioner, and respondent did not even have to refer to a single provision in the Trade Contract to assert his claim. What respondent is demanding is that a portion of such receivables amounting to P804,068.21 should have been paid to him first before the other creditors of LMM Construction, which, clearly, does not require the CIACs expertise and technical knowledge of construction. The adjudication of Civil Case No. 06-0200-CFM necessarily involves the application of pertinent statutes and jurisprudence to matters such as obligations, contracts of assignment, and, if appropriate, even preference of credits, a task more suited for a trial court to carry out after a full-blown trial, than an arbitration body specifically devoted to construction contracts. This Court recognizes the laudable objective of voluntary arbitration to provide a speedy and inexpensive method of settling disputes by allowing the parties to avoid the formalities, delay, expense and aggravation which commonly accompany ordinary litigation, especially litigation which goes through the entire hierarchy of courts. It cannot, however, altogether surrender to arbitration those cases, such as the one at bar, the extant facts of which plainly call for the exercise of jurisdiction by the regular courts for their resolution. Land Bank v. Ralla Balista (2009) Whether it is necessary that in cases involving claims for just compensation under Republic Act (RA) No. 6657 that the decision of the Adjudicator must first be appealed to the DARAB before a party can resort to the RTC sitting as SAC. No. Clearly, under Section 50, DAR has primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform, except those falling under the exclusive jurisdiction of the DA and the DENR. Further exception to the DAR's original and exclusive jurisdiction are all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners and the prosecution of all criminal offenses under RA No. 6657, which are within the jurisdiction of the RTC sitting as a Special Agrarian Court. Thus, jurisdiction on just compensation cases for the taking of lands under RA No. 6657 is vested in the courts. In a number of cases, the Court has upheld the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the RTC, sitting as SAC, over all petitions for determination of just compensation to landowners in accordance with Section 57 of RA No. 6657.

Mun of Pateros v. CA (2009) Tricorp v. CA (2009) The jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter of the action is a matter of law; it is conferred by the Constitution or by law. Consequently, issues which deal with the jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter of a case are pure questions of law. The courts exercise of jurisdiction is determined by the material allegations of the complaint or information and the law applicable at the time the action was commenced. Lack of jurisdiction of the court over an action or the subject matter of an action cannot be cured by the silence, by acquiescence, or even by express consent of the parties. Thus, the jurisdiction of a court over the nature of the action and the subject matter thereof cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in court or upon a motion to dismiss for, otherwise, the question of jurisdiction would depend almost entirely on the defendant. Once jurisdiction is vested, the same is retained up to the end of the litigation. Notably, when Pateros filed its complaint with the RTC of Makati, Makati was still a municipality. We take judicial notice of the fact that there was no Sangguniang Panlalawigan that could take cognizance of the boundary dispute, as provided in Section 118(b) of the LGC. Neither was it feasible to apply Section 118(c) or Section 118(d), because these two provisions clearly refer to situations different from that obtaining in this case. Also, contrary to Makati's postulation, the former MMA did not also have the authority to take the place of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan because the MMA's power was limited to the delivery of basic urban services requiring coordination in Metropolitan Manila. The MMA's governing body, the Metropolitan Manila Council, although composed of the mayors of the component cities and municipalities, was merely given the power of: (1) formulation of policies on the delivery of basic services requiring coordination and consolidation; and (2) promulgation of resolutions and other issuances, approval of a code of basic services, and exercise of its rule-making power.[34] Thus, there is no merit in Makatis argument that Pateros failed to exhaust administrative remedies inasmuch as the LGC is silent as to the governing body in charge of boundary disputes involving municipalities located in the Metropolitan Manila area. However, now that Makati is already a highly urbanized city, the parties should follow Section 118(d) of the LGC and should opt to amicably settle this dispute by joint referral to the respective sanggunians of the parties. This has become imperative because, after all, no attempt had been made earlier to settle the dispute amicably under the aegis of the LGC. The specific provision of the LGC, now made applicable because of the altered status of Makati, must be complied with. In the event that no amicable settlement is reached, as envisioned under Section 118(e) of the LGC, a certification shall be issued to that effect, and the dispute shall be formally tried by the Sanggunian concerned within sixty (60) days from the date of the aforementioned certification. In this regard, Rule III of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the LGC shall govern. Only upon failure of these intermediary steps will resort to the RTC follow, as specifically provided in Section 119 of the LGC. Even in the absence of any specific provision of law, RTCs have general jurisdiction to adjudicate all controversies except those expressly withheld from their plenary powers. They have the power not only to take judicial cognizance of a case instituted for judicial action for the first time, but also to do so to the exclusion of all other courts at that stage. Indeed, the power is not only original, but also exclusive. In this case, Tri-Corps chief quest is the cancellation of Entry No. 31976 from TCTs Nos. 205827 and 205828, and the cancellation of the CCT of the unit sold to it, and it alludes to Greystones use of different descriptions of the condominium project in order to circumvent existing laws, rules and regulations on registration of real estate projects in its petition. Under these circumstances, Tri-Corp is alluding to steps allegedly taken by Greystone in consummating an alleged unsound real estate business practice. The HLURB has the technical expertise to resolve this technical issue. Jurisdiction therefore properly pertains to the HLURB. Ma. Luisa Dazon v. Kenneth Yap and People (2010) Madrinan v. Madrinan (2007) The petition is impressed with merit. The main issue raised in the present petition is whether the question of custody over Bianca should be litigated before the Pasay RTC or before the Pasig RTC. Judgment on the issue of custody in the nullity of marriage case before the Pasig RTC, regardless of which party would prevail, would constitute res judicata on the habeas corpus case before the Pasay RTC since the former has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter. There is identity in the causes of action in Pasig and Pasay because there is identity in the facts and evidence essential to the resolution of the identical issue raised in both actions whether it would serve the best interest of Bianca to be in the custody of petitioner rather than respondent or vice versa. Since the ground invoked in the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage before the Pasig RTC is respondents alleged psychological incapacity to perform her essential marital obligations as provided in Article 36 of the Family Code, the evidence to support this cause of action necessarily involves evidence of respondents fitness to take custody of Bianca. Thus, the elements of litis pendentia, to wit: a) identity of parties, or at least such as representing the same interest in both actions; b) identity of rights asserted and reliefs prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and c) the identity in the two cases should be such that the judgment that may be rendered in the pending case would, regardless of which party is successful, amount to res judicata in the other, are present. Since this immediately-quoted provision directs the court taking jurisdiction over a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage to resolve the custody of common children, by mere motion of either party, it could only mean that the filing of a new action is not necessary for the court to consider the issue of custody of a minor. The only explicit exception to the earlier-quoted second paragraph of Art. 50 of the Family Code is when "such matters had been adjudicated in previous judicial proceedings," which is not the case here.

The elements of litis pendentia having been established, the more appropriate action criterion guides this Court in deciding which of the two pending actions to abate. The petition filed by petitioner for the declaration of nullity of marriage before the Pasig RTC is the more appropriate action to determine the issue of who between the parties should have custody over Bianca in view of the express provision of the second paragraph of Article 50 of the Family Code. This must be so in line with the policy of avoiding multiplicity of suits. The appellate court thus erroneously applied the law of the case doctrine when it ruled that in its July 5, 2002 Resolution that the pendency of the habeas corpus petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 68460 prevented the Pasig RTC from acquiring jurisdiction over the custody aspect of petitioners petition for declaration of nullity. The factual circumstances of the case refelected above do not justify the application of the law of the case doctrine which has been defined as follows: Law of the case has been defined as the opinion delivered on a former appeal. It is a term applied to an established rule that when an appellate court passes on a question and remands the case to the lower court for further proceedings, the question there settled becomes the law of the case upon subsequent appeal. It means that whatever is once irrevocably established as the controlling legal rule or decision between the same parties in the same case continues to be the law of the case, whether correct on general principles or not, so long as the facts on which such decision was predicated continue to be the facts of the case before the court." Sps Fajardo v. Anita Flores (2010) The issue in this case is whether it is MTC or the DARAB which has jurisdiction over the case. The resolution of this case hinges on the correct interpretation of the contracts executed by the parties. The issue of who has a better right of possession over the subject land cannot be determined without resolving first the matter as to whom the subject property was allotted. Thus, this is not simply a case for unlawful detainer, but one that is incapable of pecuniary estimation, definitely beyond the competence of the MTC. More importantly, the controversy involves an agricultural land, which petitioners have continuously and personally cultivated since the 1960s. In the Kasunduan, it was admitted that Jesus Fajardo was the tiller of the land. Being agricultural lessees, petitioners have a right to a home lot and a right to exclusive possession thereof by virtue of Section 24, R.A. No. 3844 of the Agricultural Land Reform Code. Logically, therefore, the case involves an agrarian dispute, which falls within the contemplation of R.A. No. 6657, or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. An agrarian dispute refers to any controversy relating to tenurial arrangements, whether leasehold, tenancy, stewardship, or otherwise, over lands devoted to agriculture, including disputes concerning farmworkers associations or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of such tenurial arrangements. It includes any controversy relating to compensation of lands acquired under this Act and other terms and conditions of transfer of ownership from landowner to farmworkers, tenants, and other agrarian reform beneficiaries, whether the disputants stand in the proximate relation of farm

operator and beneficiary, landowner and tenant, or lessor and lessee. It relates to any controversy relating to, inter alia, tenancy over lands devoted to agriculture. Vda De Barrera et al v. Heirs of Vicente Legaspi (2008) Before the amendments introduced by Republic Act No. 7691, the plenary action of accion publiciana was to be brought before the regional trial court. With the modifications introduced by R.A. No. 7691 in 1994, the jurisdiction of the first level courts has been expanded to include jurisdiction over other real actions where the assessed value does not exceed P20,000, P50,000 where the action is filed in Metro Manila. The first level courts thus have exclusive original jurisdiction over accion publiciana and accion reivindicatoria where the assessed value of the real property does not exceed the aforestated amounts. Accordingly, the jurisdictional element is the assessed value of the property. Assessed value is understood to be the worth or value of property established by taxing authorities on the basis of which the tax rate is applied. Commonly, however, it does not represent the true or market value of the property. The subject land has an assessed value of P11,160 as reflected in Tax Declaration No. 7565, a common exhibit of the parties. The bare claim of respondents that it has a value of P50,000 thus fails. The case, therefore, falls within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the municipal trial court. It was error then for the RTC to take cognizance of the complaint based on the allegation that the present estimated value [of the land is] P50,000, which allegation is, oddly, handwritten on the printed pleading. The estimated value, commonly referred to as fair market value, is entirely different from the assessed value of the property. Ouano v. PGTT (2002) Whether the RTC has jurisdiction over Civil Case No. CEB21319. The complaint seeks to recover from private respondent the ownership and possession of the lots in question and the payment of damages. Since the action involves ownership and possession of real property, the jurisdiction over the subject matter of the claim is determined by the assessed value, not the market value, thereof, pursuant to Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended by R.A. 7691. Respondent judge further held that since the complaint also seeks the recovery of damages exceeding P100,000.00, then it is within the competence of the RTC pursuant to Section 19 (paragraph 8) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended by R.A. 7691, which states: "SEC. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction: xxx "(8) In all other cases in which the demand, exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorneys fees, litigation expenses, and costs or the value of the property in controversy exceeds One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) or, in such other cases in Metro Manila, where the demand, exclusive of the above mentioned items exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00)." (Emphasis ours)

The above provision does not apply to the instant case. It is applicable only to "all other cases" other than an action involving title to, or possession of real property in which the assessed value is the controlling factor in determining the courts jurisdiction. Besides, the same provision explicitly excludes from the determination of the jurisdictional amount the demand for "interest, damages of whatever kind, attorneys fees, litigation expenses, and costs". The exclusion of such damages is reiterated in Section 33, paragraph 3 of the same Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, quoted earlier. The said damages are merely incidental to, or a consequence of, the main cause of action for recovery of ownership and possession of real property. In this connection, this Court issued Administrative Circular No. 09-94 setting the guidelines in the implementation of R.A. 7691. Paragraph 2 states: "2. The exclusion of the term damages of whatever kind in determining the jurisdictional amount under Section 19 (8) and Section 33 (1) of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by R.A. 7691, applies to cases where the damages are merely incidental to or a consequence of the main cause of action. However, in cases where the claim for damages is the main cause of action, or one of the causes of action, the amount of such claim shall be considered in determining the jurisdiction of the court." (Emphasis ours) Leo Wee v. George de Castro et al (2008) The question now to be resolved by this Court is whether the Certification dated 18 January 2002 issued by the Barangay Lupon stating that no settlement was reached by the parties on the matter of rental increase sufficient to comply with the prior conciliation requirement under the Katarungang Pambarangay Law to authorize the respondents to institute the ejectment suit against petitioner. The Court rules affirmatively. While it is true that the Certification to file action dated 18 January 2002 of the Barangay Lupon refers only to rental increase and not to the ejectment of petitioner from the subject property, the submission of the same for conciliation before the Barangay Lupon constitutes sufficient compliance with the provisions of the Katarungang Pambarangay Law. Given the particular circumstances of the case at bar, the conciliation proceedings for the amount of monthly rental should logically and reasonably include also the matter of the possession of the property subject of the rental, the lease agreement, and the violation of the terms thereof. Aquino v. Aure (2008) It is true that the precise technical effect of failure to comply with the requirement of Section 412 of the Local Government Code on barangay conciliation (previously contained in Section 5 of Presidential Decree No. 1508) is much the same effect produced by non-exhaustion of administrative remedies -- the complaint becomes afflicted with the vice of pre-maturity; and the controversy there alleged is not ripe for judicial determination. The complaint becomes vulnerable to a motion to dismiss. Nevertheless, the conciliation process is not a jurisdictional requirement, so that non-compliance therewith cannot affect the jurisdiction which the court has otherwise acquired over the subject matter or over the person of the defendant. In the case at bar, we similarly find that Aquino cannot be allowed to attack the jurisdiction of the MeTC over Civil Case No. 17450 after having submitted herself voluntarily thereto. We have scrupulously examined Aquinos Answer before the

MeTC in Civil Case No. 17450 and there is utter lack of any objection on her part to any deficiency in the complaint which could oust the MeTC of its jurisdcition. Rule 16. Heirs of Maramag v. Maramag (2009) The grant of the motion to dismiss was based on the trial courts finding that the petition failed to state a cause of action, as provided in Rule 16, Section 1(g), of the Rules of Court, which reads SECTION 1. Grounds. Within the time for but before filing the answer to the complaint or pleading asserting a claim, a motion to dismiss may be made on any of the following grounds: xxxx (g) That the pleading asserting the claim states no cause of action. A cause of action is the act or omission by which a party violates a right of another.16 A complaint states a cause of action when it contains the three (3) elements of a cause of action(1) the legal right of the plaintiff; (2) the correlative obligation of the defendant; and (3) the act or omission of the defendant in violation of the legal right. If any of these elements is absent, the complaint becomes vulnerable to a motion to dismiss on the ground of failure to state a cause of action.17 When a motion to dismiss is premised on this ground, the ruling thereon should be based only on the facts alleged in the complaint. The court must resolve the issue on the strength of such allegations, assuming them to be true. The test of sufficiency of a cause of action rests on whether, hypothetically admitting the facts alleged in the complaint to be true, the court can render a valid judgment upon the same, in accordance with the prayer in the complaint. This is the general rule. However, this rule is subject to well-recognized exceptions, such that there is no hypothetical admission of the veracity of the allegations if: 1. the falsity of the allegations is subject to judicial notice; 2. such allegations are legally impossible; 3. the allegations refer to facts which are inadmissible in evidence; 4. by the record or document in the pleading, the allegations appear unfounded; or 5. there is evidence which has been presented to the court by stipulation of the parties or in the course of the hearings related to the case. Heirs of Dolleton v. Fil-estate (2009) Furthermore, the affirmative defense of prescription does not automatically warrant the dismissal of a complaint under Rule 16 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. An allegation of prescription can effectively be used in a motion to dismiss only when the Complaint on its face shows that indeed the action has already prescribed. If the issue of prescription is one involving evidentiary matters requiring a full-blown trial on the merits, it cannot be determined in a motion to dismiss. In the case at bar, respondents must first be able to establish by evidence that the subject properties are indeed covered by their certificates of title before they can argue that any remedy

assailing the registration of said properties or the issuance of the certificates of title over the same in the names of respondents or their predecessors-in-interest has prescribed. Lasquite v. Victory Hills (2009) Relevant to the issue of prescription, we have ruled that to determine when the prescriptive period commenced in an action for reconveyance, the plaintiffs possession of the disputed property is material. An action for reconveyance based on an implied trust prescribes in 10 years. The reference point of the 10-year prescriptive period is the date of registration of the deed or the issuance of the title. The prescriptive period applies only if there is an actual need to reconvey the property as when the plaintiff is not in possession of the property. However, if the plaintiff, as the real owner of the property also remains in possession of the property, the prescriptive period to recover title and possession of the property does not run against him. In such a case, an action for reconveyance, if nonetheless filed, would be in the nature of a suit for quieting of title, an action that is imprescriptible. The records reveal that it was only on January 11, 1994 or nearly 13 years after OCT Nos. NP-197 and NP-198 were issued that respondent filed a Motion for Leave to Admit Complaint in Intervention and Complaint in Intervention before the RTC of Rizal. Nevertheless, respondent claimed to be in actual possession in concepto de dueno of a sizeable portion of Lot No. 3050. Thus, the action assumed the nature of a suit to quiet title; hence, imprescriptible. However, in our view, respondent Victory Hills has failed to show its entitlement to a reconveyance of the land subject of the action. Doa Rosana Realty v. Molave Dev Corp (2010) Section 1, Rule 16 of the Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the trial court may dismiss a complaint on the ground that the claim or demand set forth in the plaintiffs complaint has been paid, waived, abandoned, or otherwise extinguished. This ground essentially admits the obligation set out in the complaint but points out that such obligation has been extinguished, in this case apparently by abandonment after respondent Molave Development received partial reimbursement from Medina as a consequence of the cancellation of contract to sell between them. On March 13, 1997, 10 days after it filed its complaint with the RTC, Molave Development acknowledged having received P1.3 million as a consideration for the cancellation of its contract to sell with Medina. Malicdem v. Flores (2006) The special civil action for certiorari filed by petitioners with the Court of Appeals was not the proper remedy to assail the denial by the trial court of the motion to dismiss. The order of the trial court denying the motion to dismiss was merely interlocutory. It neither terminated nor finally disposed of the case as it still left something to be done by the court before the case was finally decided on the merits. This being so, the general rule applied: the denial of a motion to dismiss cannot be questioned in a certiorari proceeding under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court as it is a remedy designed to correct errors of jurisdiction and not errors of judgment. However, in a few instances, we allowed the denial of the motion to dismiss to be the subject of a certiorari proceeding.

The parties filing it, however, clearly showed that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in denying the motion. Not so in this case, however, as no grave abuse of discretion was demonstrated to have been committed by the trial court in denying petitioners motion to dismiss. The Court of Appeals therefore did not err in upholding the assailed order of the trial court. PNB v. Estate of De Guzman et al (2010) Although the ground stated in the second Motion to Dismiss was forum-shopping and the subsequent motions included other grounds, nonetheless, all of these motions raised a similar argumentthat since the dismissal in the first case is already final and executory and there is no reservation made by the court in its judgment that the dismissal is without prejudice, the filing of the second case is barred. Therefore, the subsequent motions, being reiterations of the first motion, technically partook of the nature of a motion for reconsideration of the interlocutory order denying the first Motion to Dismiss. This is not the first time that the Court disallowed the repetitive filing of identical motions against an interlocutory order. In a parallel case, San Juan, Jr. v. Cruz, the Court acknowledged that there is actually no rule prohibiting the filing of a pro forma motion against an interlocutory order as the prohibition applies only to a final resolution or order of the court. The Court held, nonetheless, that a second motion can be denied on the ground that it is merely a rehash or a mere reiteration of the grounds and arguments already passed upon and resolved by the court. Rule 17. Mendoza v. Paule (2009) Moreover, PAULE should be made civilly liable for abandoning the partnership, leaving MENDOZA to fend for her own, and for unduly revoking her authority to collect payments from NIA, payments which were necessary for the settlement of obligations contracted for and already owing to laborers and suppliers of materials and equipment like CRUZ, not to mention the agreed profits to be derived from the venture that are owing to MENDOZA by reason of their partnership agreement. Thus, the trial court erred in disregarding and dismissing MENDOZAs cross-claim which is properly a counterclaim, since it is a claim made by her as defendant in a third-party complaint against PAULE, just as the appellate court erred in sustaining it on the justification that PAULEs revocation of the SPAs was within the bounds of his discretion under Article 1920 of the Civil Code. Where the defendant has interposed a counterclaim (whether compulsory or permissive) or is seeking affirmative relief by a cross-complaint, the plaintiff cannot dismiss the action so as to affect the right of the defendant in his counterclaim or prayer for affirmative relief. The reason for that exception is clear. When the answer sets up an independent action against the plaintiff, it then becomes an action by the defendant against the plaintiff, and, of course, the plaintiff has no right to ask for a dismissal of the defendants action. The present rule embodied in Sections 2 and 3 of Rule 17 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure ordains a more equitable disposition of the counterclaims by ensuring that any judgment thereon is based on the merit of the counterclaim itself and not on the survival of the main complaint. Certainly, if the counterclaim is palpably without merit or suffers jurisdictional flaws which stand independent of the complaint, the trial court is not precluded from dismissing it under the amended rules, provided that the

judgment or order dismissing the counterclaim is premised on those defects. At the same time, if the counterclaim is justified, the amended rules now unequivocally protect such counterclaim from peremptory dismissal by reason of the dismissal of the complaint. Notwithstanding the immutable character of PAULEs liability to MENDOZA, however, the exact amount thereof is yet to be determined by the trial court, after receiving evidence for and in behalf of MENDOZA on her counterclaim, which must be considered pending and unresolved. Benedicto v. Lacson (2010) When a complaint is dismissed without prejudice at the instance of the plaintiff, pursuant to Section 1, Rule 17 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, there is no need to state in the certificate of non-forum shopping in a subsequent re-filed complaint the fact of the prior filing and dismissal of the former complaint, thus: Considering that the complaint in Civil Case No. 97-0523 was dismissed without prejudice by virtue of the plaintiffs (herein petitioners) Notice of Dismissal dated November 20, 1997 filed pursuant to Section 1, Rule 17 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, there is no need to state in the certificate of nonforum shopping in Civil Case No. 97-0608 about the prior filing and dismissal of Civil Case No. 97-0523. The fact that the Circular requires that it be strictly complied with merely underscores its mandatory nature in that it cannot be dispensed with or its requirements altogether disregarded, but it does not thereby interdict substantial compliance with its provisions under justifiable circumstances.1avvphi1 Thus, an omission in the certificate of non-forum shopping about any event that would not constitute res judicata and litis pendencia as in the case at bar, is not fatal as to merit the dismissal and nullification of the entire proceedings considering that the evils sought to be prevented by the said certificate are not present. A liberal interpretation of Supreme Court Circular No. 04-94 on non-forum shopping would be more in keeping with the objectives of procedural rules which is to "secure a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding." Rule 18. Jazmin Espiritu v. Vladimir Lazaro (2009) Section 1 of Rule 18 of the Rules of Court imposes upon the plaintiff the duty to set the case for pre-trial after the last pleading is served and filed. Under Section 3 of Rule 17, failure to comply with the said duty makes the case susceptible to dismissal for failure to prosecute for an unreasonable length of time or failure to comply with the rules. Respondents Lazaro filed the Cautionary Answer with Manifestation and Motion to File a Supplemental/Amended Answer on July 19, 2002, a copy of which was received by petitioners on August 5, 2002. Believing that the pending motion had to be resolved first, petitioners waited for the court to act on the motion to file a supplemental answer. Despite the lapse of almost one year, petitioners kept on waiting, without doing anything to stir the court into action. In any case, petitioners should not have waited for the court to act on the motion to file a supplemental answer or for the

defendants to file a supplemental answer. As previously stated, the rule clearly states that the case must be set for pre-trial after the last pleading is served and filed. Since respondents already filed a cautionary answer and [petitioners did not file any reply to it] the case was already ripe for pre-trial. It bears stressing that the sanction of dismissal may be imposed even absent any allegation and proof of the plaintiffs lack of interest to prosecute the action, or of any prejudice to the defendant resulting from the failure of the plaintiff to comply with the rules. The failure of the plaintiff to prosecute the action without any justifiable cause within a reasonable period of time will give rise to the presumption that he is no longer interested in obtaining the relief prayed for. In this case, there was no justifiable reason for petitioners failure to file a motion to set the case for pre-trial. Petitioners stubborn insistence that the case was not yet ripe for pre-trial is erroneous. Although petitioners state that there are strong and compelling reasons justifying a liberal application of the rule, the Court finds none in this case. The burden to show that there are compelling reasons that would make a dismissal of the case unjustified is on petitioners, and they have not adduced any such compelling reason. Re Subpoena of Dir Amante (2010) In the appropriate case, the Office of the Ombudsman has full authority to issue subpoenas, including subpoena duces tecum, for compulsory attendance of witnesses and the production of documents and information relating to matters under its investigation. The grant of this authority, however, is not unlimited, as the Ombudsman must necessarily observe and abide by the terms of the Constitution and our laws, the Rules of Court and the applicable jurisprudence on the issuance, service, validity and efficacy of subpoenas. Under the Rules of Court, the issuance of subpoenas, including a subpoena duces tecum, operates under the requirements of reasonableness and relevance. For the production of documents to be reasonable and for the documents themselves to be relevant, the matter under inquiry should, in the first place, be one that the Ombudsman can legitimately entertain, investigate and rule upon. In the present case, the "matter" that gave rise to the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum was a criminal complaint filed by the complainants Lozano for the alleged violation by retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. and retired Associate Justice Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019. A first step in considering whether a criminal complaint (and its attendant compulsory processes) is within the authority of the Ombudsman to entertain (and to issue), is to consider the nature of the powers of the Supreme Court. This Court, by constitutional design, is supreme in its task of adjudication; judicial power is vested solely in the Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. Judicial power includes the duty of the courts, not only to settle actual controversies, but also to determine whether grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction has been committed in any branch or instrumentality of government.4 As a rule, all decisions and determinations in the exercise of judicial power ultimately go to and stop at the Supreme Court whose judgment is final. This constitutional scheme cannot be thwarted or subverted through a criminal complaint that, under the guise of imputing a misdeed to the Court and its Members,

seeks to revive and re-litigate matters that have long been laid to rest by the Court. Effectively, such criminal complaint is a collateral attack on a judgment of this Court that, by constitutional mandate, is final and already beyond question. A simple jurisprudential research would easily reveal that this Court has had the occasion to rule on the liability of Justices of the Supreme Court for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 the very same provision that the complainants Lozano invoke in this case. In In re Wenceslao Laureta,5 the client of Atty. Laureta filed a complaint with the Tanodbayan charging Members of the Supreme Court with violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 for having knowingly, deliberately and with bad faith rendered an unjust resolution in a land dispute. The Court unequivocally ruled that insofar as this Court and its Divisions are concerned, a charge of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on the ground that such collective decision is "unjust" should not prosper; the parties cannot "relitigate in another forum the final judgment of the Court," as to do so is to subordinate the Court, in the exercise of its judicial functions, to another body.6 In re Joaquin T. Borromeo7 reiterates the Laureta ruling, particularly that (1) judgments of the Supreme Court are not reviewable; (2) administrative, civil and criminal complaints against a judge should not be turned into substitutes for appeal; (3) only courts may declare a judgment unjust; and (4) a situation where the Ombudsman is made to determine whether or not a judgment of the Court is unjust is an absurdity. The Court further discussed the requisites for the prosecution of judges, as follows: That is not to say that it is not possible at all to prosecute judges for this impropriety, of rendering an unjust judgment or interlocutory order; but, taking account of all the foregoing considerations, the indispensable requisites are that there be a final declaration by a competent court in some appropriate proceeding of the manifestly unjust character of the challenged judgment or order, and there be also evidence of malice and bad faith, ignorance or inexcusable negligence on the part of the judge in rendering said judgment or order. Thus, consistent with the nature of the power of this Court under our constitutional scheme, only this Court not the Ombudsman can declare a Supreme Court judgment to be unjust. In Alzua v. Arnalot,8 the Court ruled that "judges of superior and general jurisdiction are not liable to respond in civil action for damages, and provided this rationale for this ruling: Liability to answer to everyone who might feel himself aggrieved by the action of the judge would be inconsistent with the possession of this freedom and would destroy that independence without which no judiciary can be either respectable or useful." The same rationale applies to the indiscriminate attribution of criminal liability to judicial officials.1avvphi1 Plainly, under these rulings, a criminal complaint for violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019, based on the legal correctness of the official acts of Justices of the Supreme Court, cannot prosper and should not be entertained. This is not to say that Members of the Court are absolutely immune from suit during their term, for they are not. The Constitution provides that the appropriate recourse against them is to seek their removal from office if they are guilty of culpable violation of the Constitution, treason,

bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust.9 Only after removal can they be criminally proceeded against for their transgressions. While in office and thereafter, and for their official acts that do not constitute impeachable offenses, recourses against them and their liabilities therefor are as defined in the above rulings. Section 22 of Republic Act No. 6770, in fact, specifically grants the Ombudsman the authority to investigate impeachable officers, but only when such investigation is warranted: Section 22. Investigatory Power. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the power to investigate any serious misconduct in office allegedly committed by officials removable by impeachment, for the purpose of filing a verified complaint for impeachment, if warranted. Conversely, if a complaint against an impeachable officer is unwarranted for lack of legal basis and for clear misapplication of law and jurisprudence, the Ombudsman should spare these officers from the harassment of an unjustified investigation. The present criminal complaint against the retired Justices is one such case where an investigation is not warranted, based as it is on the legal correctness of their official acts, and the Ombudsman should have immediately recognized the criminal complaint for what it is, instead of initially proceeding with its investigation and issuing a subpoena duces tecum. Rule 26. Limos et al v. Sps Odones (2010) As correctly observed by the trial court, the matters set forth in petitioners Request for Admission were the same affirmative defenses pleaded in their Answer which respondents already traversed in their Reply. The said defenses were likewise sufficiently controverted in the complaint and its annexes. In effect, petitioners sought to compel respondents to deny once again the very matters they had already denied, a redundancy, which if abetted, will serve no purpose but to delay the proceedings and thus defeat the purpose of the rule on admission as a mode of discovery which is "to expedite trial and relieve parties of the costs of proving facts which will not be disputed on trial and the truth of which can be ascertained by reasonable inquiry." A request for admission is not intended to merely reproduce or reiterate the allegations of the requesting partys pleading but should set forth relevant evidentiary matters of fact described in the request, whose purpose is to establish said partys cause of action or defense. Unless it serves that purpose, it is pointless, useless, and a mere redundancy. Verily then, if the trial court finds that the matters in a Request for Admission were already admitted or denied in previous pleadings by the requested party, the latter cannot be compelled to admit or deny them anew. In turn, the requesting party cannot reasonably expect a response to the request and thereafter, assume or even demand the application of the implied admission rule in Section 2, Rule 26. In this case, the redundant and unnecessarily vexatious nature of petitioners Request for Admission rendered it ineffectual, futile, and irrelevant so as to proscribe the operation of the implied admission rule in Section 2, Rule 26 of the Rules of Court. There being no implied admission attributable to respondents failure to respond, the argument that a preliminary hearing is imperative loses its point.