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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. Nos. 111202-05 January 31, 2006
COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS, Petitioner,
vs.
TE COURT OF !PPE!"S# onora$%& !rs&n'o M. Gonon(, Pr&s')'n( Ju)(& R&('ona%
Tr'a% Cour*, Man'%a, +ran,- .# onora$%& M!URO T. !""!R/E, Pr&s')'n( Ju)(&,
REGION!" TRI!" COURT 0a%oo1an C'*y, +ran,- 123# !M!/O SE2I""! an)
!NTONIO 2E"!SCO, S3&,'a% S-&r'44s o4 Man'%a# JO2EN!" S!"!5ON, S3&,'a% S-&r'44
o4 0a%oo1an C'*y, /IONISIO J. C!M!NGON, E6-/&3u*y S-&r'44 o4 Man'%a an) CES!R
S. UR+INO, SR., )o'n( $us'n&ss un)&r *-& na7& an) s*y%& 8/ura3roo4 S&r9',&s,8
Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
!:CUN!, J.:
hese Petitions for Certiorari and Prohibition, !ith Pra"ers for a #rit of Preli$inar" In%unction
and&or e$porar" Restrainin' Order, are the cul$ination of several court cases !herein several
resolutions and decisions are sou'ht to be annulled. Petitioner Co$$issioner of Custo$s
specificall" assails the follo!in'(
)* Decision of the Re'ional rial Court +RC* of Manila dated ,ebruar" -., -//- in
Civil Case No. ./01-21-3
4* Order of the RC of 5aloo6an dated Ma" 7., -//- in Special Civil Case No. C07823
C* Resolution of the Court of )ppeals +C)* dated March 9, -//7 in C)0:.R. SP No.
7299/3
D* Resolution of the C) dated )u'ust 9, -//7 in C)0:.R. SP No. 7.8.;3
E* Resolution of the C) dated Nove$ber -<, -//7 in C)0:.R. SP No. 7/8-;3
,* Resolution of the C) dated Ma" 8-, -//8 in C)0:.R. No. CV087;293 and
:* Decision of the C) dated =ul" -/, -//8 in the consolidated petitions of C)0:.R. SP
Nos. 7299/, 7.8.; and 7/8-;.
Petitioner also see6s to prohibit the C) and the RC of 5aloo6an
-
fro$ further actin' in C)0
:.R. CV No. 87;29 and Civil Case No. 782, respectivel".
he !hole controvers" revolves around a vessel and its car'o. On =anuar" ;, -/./, the vessel
M&V >Star )ce,> co$in' fro$ Sin'apore laden !ith car'o, entered the Port of San ,ernando, ?a
@nion +S,?@* for needed repairs. he vessel and the car'o had an appraised value, at that ti$e,
of $ore or less !o Aundred Million Pesos +P7<<,<<<,<<<*. #hen the 4ureau of Custo$s later
beca$e suspicious that the vesselBs real purpose in doc6in' !as to s$u''le its car'o into the
countr", seiCure proceedin's !ere instituted under S.I. Nos. <70./ and <80./ and, subseDuentl",
t!o #arrants of SeiCure and Detention !ere issued for the vessel and its car'o.1awph!l.net
Respondent Cesar S. @rbino, Sr., does not o!n the vessel or an" of its car'o but clai$ed a
preferred $ariti$e lien under a Salva'e )'ree$ent dated =une ., -/./. o protect his clai$,
@rbino initiall" filed t!o $otions in the seiCure and detention cases( a Motion to Dis$iss and a
Motion to ?ift #arrant of SeiCure and Detention.
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)pparentl" not content !ith his ad$inistrative
re$edies, @rbino sou'ht relief !ith the re'ular courts b" filin' a case for Prohibition, Manda$us
and Da$a'es before the RC of S,?@
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on =ul" 79, -/./, see6in' to restrain the District
Collector of Custo$s fro$ interferin' !ith his salva'e operation. he case !as doc6eted as Civil
Case No. ./0279;. On =anuar" 8-, -//- the RC of S,?@ dis$issed the case for lac6 of
%urisdiction because of the pendin' seiCure and detention cases. @rbino then elevated the $atter
to the C) !here it !as doc6eted as C)0:.R. CV No. 87;29. he Co$$issioner of Custo$s, in
response, filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedin's, advisin' the C) that it intends to Duestion the
%urisdiction of the C) before this Court. he $otion !as denied on Ma" 8-, -//8. Aence, in this
petition the Co$$issioner of Custo$s assails the Resolution >,> recited above and see6s to
prohibit the C) fro$ continuin' to hear the case.
On =anuar" /, -//<, !hile Civil Case No. ./0279; !as pendin', @rbino filed another case for
Certiorari and Manda$us !ith the RC of Manila, presided b" =ud'e )rsenio M. :onon',
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this
ti$e to enforce his $ariti$e lien. I$pleaded as defendants !ere the Co$$issioner of Custo$s,
the District Collector of Custo$s, the o!ners of the vessel and car'o, Vlason Enterprises,
Sin'6on' radin' Co$pan", 4anco do 4raCil, Dusit International Co$pan" Incorporated, hai0
Na$ Enterprises ?i$ited, hai0@nited radin' Co$pan" Incorporated and O$e'a Sea ransport
Co$pan", and the vessel M&V >Star )ce.> his case !as doc6eted as Civil Case No. ./01-21-.
he Office of the Solicitor :eneral filed a Motion to Dis$iss on the 'round that a si$ilar case
!as pendin' !ith the RC of S,?@. he Motion to Dis$iss !as 'ranted on =ul" 7, -//<, but
onl" insofar as the Co$$issioner of Custo$s and the District Collector !ere concerned. he
RC of Manila proceeded to hear the case a'ainst the other parties and received evidence ex
parte. he RC of Manila later rendered a decision on ,ebruar" -., -//- findin' in favor of
@rbino +assailed Decision >)> recited above*.
hereafter, on March -8, -//-, a !rit of eEecution !as issued b" the RC of Manila.
Respondent Ca$an'on !as appointed as Special Sheriff to eEecute the decision and he issued a
notice of lev" and sale a'ainst the vessel and its car'o. he Co$$issioner of Custo$s, upon
learnin' of the notice of lev" and sale, filed !ith the RC of Manila a $otion to recall the !rit,
but before it could be acted upon, Ca$an'on had auctioned off the vessel and the car'o to
@rbino for One Aundred and !ent" Million Pesos +P-7<,<<<,<<<*. he follo!in' da", =ud'e
:onon' issued an order co$$andin' Sheriff Ca$an'on to cease and desist fro$ i$ple$entin'
the !rit. Despite the order, Ca$an'on issued a Certificate of Sale in favor of @rbino. ) !ee6
later, =ud'e :onon' issued another order recallin' the !rit of eEecution. 4oth cease and desist
and recall orders of =ud'e :onon' !ere elevated b" @rbino to the C) on )pril -7, -//- !here it
!as doc6eted as C)0:.R. SP No. 7299/. On )pril 79, -//-, the C) issued a e$porar"
Restrainin' Order +RO* en%oinin' the RC of Manila fro$ enforcin' its cease and desist and
recall orders. he RO !as eventuall" substituted b" a !rit of preli$inar" in%unction. ) $otion
to lift the in%unction !as filed b" the Co$$issioner of Custo$s but it !as denied. Aence, in this
petition the Co$$issioner of Custo$s assails Resolution >C> recited above.
On Ma" ., -//-, @rbino atte$pted to enforce the RC of ManilaBs decision and the Certificate
of Sale a'ainst the 4ureau of Custo$s b" filin' a third case, a Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition
and Manda$us !ith the RC of 5aloocan.
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he case !as doc6eted as Civil Case No. 782. On
Ma" 7., -//-, the RC of 5aloocan ordered the issuance of a !rit of preli$inar" in%unction to
en%oin the Philippine Ports )uthorit" and the 4ureau of Custo$s fro$ interferin' !ith the
relocation of the vessel and its car'o b" @rbino +assailed Order >4> recited above*.1awph!l.net
Mean!hile, on =une 1, -//7, Ca$an'on filed his SheriffBs Return !ith the Cler6 of Court. On
=une 79, -//7, the EEecutive =ud'e for the RC of Manila, =ud'e 4ernardo P. Pardo,
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havin'
been infor$ed of the circu$stances of the sale, issued an order nullif"in' the report and all
proceedin's ta6en in connection there!ith. #ith this order @rbino filed his fourth case !ith the
C) on =ul" -1, -//7, a Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Manda$us a'ainst =ud'e Pardo.
his beca$e C)0:.R. SP No. 7.8.;. he C) issued a Resolution on )u'ust 9, -//7 'rantin'
the RO a'ainst the EEecutive =ud'e to en%oin the i$ple$entation of his =une 79, -//7 Order.
Aence, in this petition the Co$$issioner of Custo$s assails Resolution >D> recited above.
:oin' bac6 to the seiCure and detention proceedin's, the decision of the District Collector of
Custo$s !as to forfeit the vessel and car'o in favor of the :overn$ent. his decision !as
affir$ed b" the Co$$issioner of Custo$s. hree appeals !ere then filed !ith the Court of aE
)ppeals +C)* b" different parties, eEcludin' @rbino, !ho clai$ed an interest in the vessel and
car'o. hese three cases !ere doc6eted as C) Case No. 22/7, C) Case No. 22/2 and C)
Case No. 21<<. @rbino filed his o!n case, C) Case No. 22/;, but it !as dis$issed for !ant of
capacit" to sue. Ae, ho!ever, !as allo!ed to intervene in C) Case No. 21<<. On October 1,
-//7, the C) issued an order authoriCin' the Co$$issioner of Custo$s to assi'n custo$s
police and 'uards around the vessel and to conduct an inventor" of the car'o. In response, on
Nove$ber 8, -//7, @rbino filed a fifth Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition !ith the C) to
assail the order as !ell as the %urisdiction of the Presidin' =ud'e and )ssociate =ud'es of the
C) in the three cases. hat case !as doc6eted as C) :.R. SP No. 7/8-;. On Nove$ber -<,
-//7, the C) issued a Resolution re$indin' the parties that the vessel is under the control of the
appellate court in C)0:.R. SP No. 7299/ +assailed Resolution >E> recited above*.
C)0:.R. SP Nos. 7299/, 7.8.; and 7/8-; !ere later consolidated and the C) issued a %oint
Decision in =ul" -/, -//8 nullif"in' and settin' aside( -* the Order recallin' the !rit of
eEecution b" =ud'e :onon' of the the RC of Manila3 7* the Order of EEecutive =ud'e Pardo of
the RC of Manila nullif"in' the SheriffBs Report and all proceedin's connected there!ith3 and
8* the October -/, -//8 Order of the C), on the 'round of lac6 of %urisdiction. Aence, in these
petitions, !hich have been consolidated, the Co$$issioner of Custo$s assails Decision >:>
recited above.1awph!l.net
,or purposes of decidin' these petitions, the assailed Decisions and Resolutions !ill be divided
into three 'roups(
-. he Resolution of the C) dated Ma" 8-, -//8 in C)0:.R. No. CV087;29 !ith the
additional pra"er to en%oin the C) fro$ decidin' the said case.
7. he Order of the RC of 5aloo6an dated Ma" 7., -//- in Special Civil Case No. C0
782 !ith the additional pra"er to en%oin the RC of 5aloo6an fro$ proceedin' !ith said
case.
8. he Decision of the RC of Manila dated ,ebruar" -., -//- in Civil Case No. ./0
1-21-, the Resolutions of the C) dated March 9, -//7, )u'ust 9, -//7, Nove$ber -<,
-//7 and the Decision of the C) dated =ul" -/, -//8 in the consolidated petitions C)0
:.R. SP Nos. 7299/, 7.8.; and 7/8-;.
F'rs* Grou3
he Co$$issioner of Custo$s see6s to nullif" the Resolution of the C) dated Ma" 8-, -//8
den"in' the Motion to Suspend Proceedin's and to prohibit the C) fro$ further proceedin' in
C)0:.R. No. CV087;29 for lac6 of %urisdiction. his issue can be easil" disposed of as it appears
that the petition has beco$e $oot and acade$ic, !ith the C) havin' ter$inated C)0:.R. No.
CV087;29 b" renderin' its Decision on Ma" -8, 7<<7 upholdin' the dis$issal of the case b" the
RC of S,?@ for lac6 of %urisdiction, a findin' that sustains the position of the Co$$issioner of
Custo$s. his decision beca$e final and entr" of %ud'$ent !as $ade on =une -2, 7<<7.
;

S&,on) Grou3
he Court no! proceeds to consider the Order 'rantin' an in%unction dated Ma" 7., -//- in
Civil Case No. C0782 issued b" the RC of 5aloo6an. he Co$$issioner of Custo$s see6s its
nullification and to prohibit the RC of 5aloo6an fro$ further proceedin' !ith the case.
he RC of 5aloo6an issued the Order a'ainst the Philippine Ports )uthorit" and 4ureau of
Custo$s solel" on the basis of @rbinoBs alle'ed o!nership over the vessel b" virtue of his
certificate of sale. 4" this the RC of 5aloo6an co$$itted a serious and reversible error in
interferin' !ith the %urisdiction of custo$s authorities and should have dis$issed the petition
outri'ht. In Mison v. Natividad,
.
this Court held that the eEclusive %urisdiction of the Collector of
Custo$s cannot be interfered !ith b" re'ular courts even upon alle'ations of o!nership.
o su$$ariCe the facts in that case, a !arrant of seiCure and detention !as issued a'ainst therein
plaintiff over a nu$ber of
vehicles found in his residence for violation of custo$s la!s. Plaintiff then filed a co$plaint
before the RC of Pa$pan'a alle'in' that he is the re'istered o!ner of certain vehicles !hich
the 4ureau of Custo$s are threatenin' to seiCe and pra"in' that the latter be en%oined fro$ doin'
so. he RC of Pa$pan'a issued a RO and eventuall", thereafter, substituted it !ith a !rit of
preli$inar" in%unction. his Court found that the proceedin's conducted b" the trial court !ere
null and void as it had no %urisdiction over the res sub%ect of the !arrant of seiCure and detention,
holdin' that(
) !arrant of seiCure and detention havin' alread" been issued, presu$abl" in the re'ular course
of official dut", the Re'ional rial Court of Pa$pan'a !as indisputabl" precluded fro$
interferin' in said proceedin's. hat in his co$plaint in Civil Case No. .-</ private respondent
alle'es o!nership over several vehicles !hich are le'all" re'istered in his na$e, havin' paid all
the taEes and correspondin' licenses incident thereto, neither divests the Collector of Custo$s of
such %urisdiction nor confers upon said trial court re'ular %urisdiction over the case. O!nership
of 'oods or the le'alit" of its acDuisition can be raised as defenses in a seiCure proceedin'3 if this
!ere not so, the procedure carefull" delineated b" la! for seiCure and forfeiture cases $a" easil"
be th!arted and set to nau'ht b" sche$in' parties. Even the ille'alit" of the !arrant of seiCure
and detention cannot %ustif" the trial courtBs interference !ith the CollectorBs %urisdiction. In the
first place, there is a distinction bet!een the eEistence of the CollectorBs po!er to issue it and the
re'ularit" of the proceedin' ta6en under such po!er. In the second place, even if there be such
an irre'ularit" in the latter, the Re'ional rial Court does not have the co$petence to revie!,
$odif" or reverse !hatever conclusions $a" result therefro$ E E E.
he facts in this case are li6e those in that case. @rbino clai$ed to be the o!ner of the vessel and
he sou'ht to restrain the PP) and the 4ureau of Custo$s fro$ interferin' !ith his ri'hts as
o!ner. Ais re$ed", therefore, !as not !ith the RC but !ith the C) !here the seiCure and
detention cases are no! pendin' and !here he !as alread" allo!ed to intervene.
Moreover, this Court, on nu$erous occasions, cautioned %ud'es in their issuance of te$porar"
restrainin' orders and !rits of preli$inar" in%unction a'ainst the Collector of Custo$s based on
the principle enunciated in Mison v. Natividad and has issued )d$inistrative Circular No. ;0//
to carr" out this polic".
/
his Court a'ain re$inds all concerned that the rule is clear( the
Collector of Custo$s has eEclusive %urisdiction over seiCure and forfeiture proceedin's and trial
courts are precluded fro$ assu$in' co'niCance over such $atters even throu'h petitions for
certiorari, prohibition or $anda$us.
T-'r) Grou3
he Decision of the RC of Manila dated ,ebruar" -., -//- has the follo!in' dispositive
portion(
#AERE,ORE, IN VIE# O, AE ,ORE:OIN:, based on the alle'ations, pra"er and evidence
adduced, both testi$onial and docu$entar", the Court is convinced, that, indeed,
defendants&respondents are liable to plaintiff&petitioner in the a$ount pra"ed for in the petition
for !hich FitG renders %ud'$ent as follo!s(
-. Respondent M&V Star )ce, represented b" Capt. Nahu$ Rada, Relief Captain of the
vessel and O$e'a Sea ransport Co$pan", Inc., represented b" ,ran6 Cadacio is ordered
to refrain fro$ alienatin' or transferFrGin' the vessel M&V Star )ce to an" third parties3
7. Sin'6o radin' Co$pan" to pa" the follo!in'(
a. aEes due the :overn$ent3
b. Salva'e fees on the vessel in the a$ount of H-,<<<,<<<.<< based on the ?lo"dBs
Standard ,or$ of Salva'e )'ree$ent3
c. Preservation, securin' and 'uardin' fees on the vessel in the a$ount of
H771,<<<.<<3
d. Salaries of the cre! fro$ )u'ust -9, -/./ to Dece$ber, in the a$ount of
H28,<<<.<< and unpaid salaries fro$ =anuar" -//< up to the present3
e. )ttorne"Bs fees in the a$ount of P919,<<<.<<3
8. VlaCon Enterprises to pa" plaintiff in the a$ount of P8,<<<,<<<.<< for da$a'es3
2. 4anco do 4raCil to pa" plaintiff in the a$ount of H8<<,<<<.<< in da$a'es3 and finall",
1. Costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
On the other hand, the C) Resolutions are si$ilar orders for the issuance of a !rit of preli$inar"
in%unction to en%oin =ud'e :onon' and =ud'e Pardo fro$ enforcin' their recall and nullification
orders and the C) fro$ eEercisin' %urisdiction over the case, to preserve the status Duo pendin'
resolution of the three petitions.
,inall", the Decision of the C) dated =ul" -/, -//8 disposed of all three petitions in favor of
@rbino, and has the follo!in' dispositive portion(
)CCORDIN:?I, in vie! of the fore'oin' disDuisitions, all the three +8* consolidated petitions
for certiorari are hereb" :R)NED.
AE assailed Order of respondent =ud'e )rsenio :onon' of the Re'ional rial Court of Manila,
4ranch ., dated, )pril 1, -//-, in the first assailed petition for certiorari +C)0:.R. SP No.
7299/*3 the assailed Order of =ud'e 4ernardo Pardo, EEecutive =ud'e of the Re'ional rial Court
of Manila, 4ranch ., dated =ul" 9, -//7, in the second petition for certiorari +C)0:.R. SP No.
7.8.;*3 and ,inall", the assailed order or Resolution en banc of the respondent Court of aE
)ppealsF,G =ud'es Ernesto )costa, Ra$on de Ve"ra and Manuel :ruba, under date of October 1,
-//7, in the third petition for certiorari +C)0:.R. SP No. 7/8-;* are all hereb" N@??I,IED and
SE )SIDE thereb" 'ivin' !a" to the entire decision dated ,ebruar" -., -//- of the respondent
Re'ional rial Court of Manila, 4ranch ., in Civil Case No. ./01-21- !hich re$ains valid, final
and eEecutor", if not "et !holl" eEecuted.
AE !rit of preli$inar" in%unction heretofore issued b" this Court on March 9, -//7 and
reiterated on =ul" 77, -//7 and this date a'ainst the na$ed respondents specified in the
dispositive portion of the %ud'$ent of the respondent Re'ional rial Court of Manila, 4ranch .,
in the first petition for certiorari, !hich re$ains valid, eEistin' and enforceable, is hereb" M)DE
PERM)NEN !ithout pre%udice +-* to the petitionerBs re$ainin' unpaid obli'ations to herein
part"0intervenor in accordance !ith the Co$pro$ise )'ree$ent or in connection !ith the
decision of the respondent lo!er court in C)0:.R. SP No. 7299/ and +7* to the 'overn$ent, in
relation to the forthco$in' decision of the respondent Court of aE )ppeals on the a$ount of
taEes, char'es, assess$ents or obli'ations that are due, as totall" secured and full" 'uaranteed
pa"$ent b" petitionerBs bond, sub%ect to relevant rulin's of the Depart$ent of ,inance and other
prevailin' la!s and %urisprudence.
#e $a6e no pronounce$ent as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
he Court rules in favor of the Co$$issioner of Custo$s.
,irst of all, the Court finds the decision of the RC of Manila, in so far as it relates to the vessel
M&V >Star )ce,> to be void as %urisdiction !as never acDuired over the vessel.
-<
In filin' the case,
@rbino had i$pleaded the vessel as a defendant to enforce his alle'ed $ariti$e lien. his $eant
that he brou'ht an action in rem under the Code of Co$$erce under !hich the vessel $a" be
attached and sold.
--
Ao!ever, the basic operative fact for the institution and perfection of
proceedin's in rem is the actual or constructive possession of the res b" the tribunal e$po!ered
b" la! to conduct the proceedin's.
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his $eans that to acDuire %urisdiction over the vessel, as a
defendant, the trial court $ust have obtained either actual or constructive possession over it.
Neither !as acco$plished b" the RC of Manila.
In his co$$ent to the petition, @rbino plainl" stated that >petitioner has actualFsicG ph"sical
custod" not onl" of the 'oods and&or car'o but the sub%ect vessel, M&V Star )ce, as !ell.>
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his
is clearl" an ad$ission that the RC of Manila did not have %urisdiction over the res. #hile
@rbino contends that the Co$$issioner of Custo$Bs custod" !as ille'al, such fact, even if true,
does not deprive the Co$$issioner of Custo$s of %urisdiction thereon. his is a Duestion that
ou'ht to be resolved in the seiCure and forfeiture cases, !hich are no! pendin' !ith the C),
and not b" the re'ular courts as a collateral $atter to enforce his lien. 4" si$pl" filin' a case in
rem a'ainst the vessel, despite its bein' in the custod" of custo$s officials, @rbino has
circu$vented the rule that re'ular trial courts are devoid of an" co$petence to pass upon the
validit" or re'ularit" of seiCure and forfeiture proceedin's conducted in the 4ureau of Custo$s,
on his $ere assertion that the ad$inistrative proceedin's !ere a nullit".
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On the other hand, the 4ureau of Custo$s had acDuired %urisdiction over the res ahead and to the
eEclusion of the RC of Manila. he forfeiture proceedin's conducted b" the 4ureau of Custo$s
are in the nature of proceedin's in rem
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and %urisdiction !as obtained fro$ the $o$ent the
vessel entered the S,?@ port. Moreover, there is no Duestion that forfeiture proceedin's !ere
instituted and the vessel !as seiCed even before the filin' of the RC of Manila case.
he Court is a!are that @rbino see6s to enforce a $ariti$e lien and, because of its nature, it is
eDuivalent to an attach$ent fro$ the ti$e of its eEistence.
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Nevertheless, despite his lienBs
constructive attach$ent, @rbino still cannot clai$ an advanta'e as his lien onl" ca$e about after
the !arrant of seiCure and detention !as issued and i$ple$ented. he Salva'e )'ree$ent, upon
!hich @rbino based his lien, !as entered into on =une ., -/./. he !arrants of seiCure and
detention, on the other hand, !ere issued on =anuar" -/ and 7<, -/./. )nd to re$ove further
doubts that the forfeiture case ta6es precedence over the RC of Manila case, it should be noted
that forfeiture retroacts to the date of the co$$ission of the offense, in this case the da" the
vessel entered the countr".
-;
) $ariti$e lien, in contrast, relates bac6 to the period !hen it first
attached,
-.
in this case the earliest retroactive date can onl" be the date of the Salva'e
)'ree$ent. hus, !hen the vessel and its car'o are ordered forfeited, the effect !ill retroact to
the $o$ent the vessel entered Philippine !aters.
)ccordin'l", the RC of Manila decision never attained finalit" as to the defendant vessel,
inas$uch as no %urisdiction !as acDuired over it, and the decision cannot be bindin' and the !rit
of eEecution issued in connection there!ith is null and void.
Moreover, even assu$in' that eEecution can be $ade a'ainst the vessel and its car'o, as 'oods
and chattels to satisf" the liabilities of the other defendants !ho have an interest therein, the RC
of Manila $a" not eEecute its decision a'ainst the$ !hile, as found b" this Court, these are
under the proper and la!ful custod" of the 4ureau of Custo$s.
-/
his is especiall" true !hen, in
case of finalit" of the order of forfeiture, the eEecution cannot an"$ore cover the vessel and
car'o as o!nership of the :overn$ent !ill retroact to the date of entr" of the vessel into
Philippine !aters.
)s re'ards the %urisdiction of the C), the C) !as clearl" in error !hen it issued an in%unction
a'ainst it fro$ decidin' the forfeiture case on the basis that it interfered !ith the sub%ect of
o!nership over the vessel !hich !as, accordin' to the C), be"ond the %urisdiction of the C).
,irstl", the eEecution of the Decision a'ainst the vessel and car'o, as aforesaid, !as a nullit" and
therefore the sale of the vessel !as invalid. #ithout a valid certificate of sale, there can be no
clai$ of o!nership !hich @rbino can present a'ainst the :overn$ent. Secondl", as previousl"
stated, alle'ations of o!nership neither divest the Collector of Custo$s of such %urisdiction nor
confer upon the trial court %urisdiction over the case. O!nership of 'oods or the le'alit" of its
acDuisition can be raised as defenses in a seiCure proceedin'.
7<
he actions of the Collectors of
Custo$s are appealable to the Co$$issioner of Custo$s, !hose decision, in turn, is sub%ect to
the eEclusive appellate %urisdiction of the C).
7-
Clearl", issues of o!nership over 'oods in the
custod" of custo$ officials are !ithin the po!er of the C) to deter$ine.1awphi1.net
;EREFORE, the consolidated petitions are GR!NTE/. he Decision of the Re'ional rial
Court of Manila dated ,ebruar" -., -//- in Civil Case No. ./01-21-, insofar as it affects the
vessel M&V >Star )ce,> the Order of the Re'ional rial Court of 5aloo6an dated Ma" 7., -//- in
Special Civil Case No. C0782, the Resolution of the Court of )ppeals dated March 9, -//7 in
C)0:.R. SP No. 7299/, the Resolution of the Court of )ppeals dated )u'ust 9, -//7 in C)0:.R.
SP No. 7.8.;, the Resolution of the Court of )ppeals dated Nove$ber -<, -//7 in C)0:.R. SP
No. 7/8-; and the Decision of the Court of )ppeals dated =ul" -/, -//8 in the consolidated
petitions in C)0:.R. SP Nos. 7299/, 7.8.; and 7/8-; are all SET !SI/E. he Re'ional rial
Court of 5aloo6an is en%oined fro$ further actin' in Special Civil Case No. C0782. he Order of
respondent =ud'e )rsenio M. :onon' dated )pril 1, -//- and the Order of then =ud'e 4ernardo
P. Pardo dated =une 79, -//7 are REINST!TE/. he Court of aE )ppeals is ordered to
proceed !ith C) Case No. 22/7, C) Case No. 22/2 and C) Case No. 21<<. No
pronounce$ent as to costs.
SO OR/ERE/.