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G.R.No.141538

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
FIRSTDIVISION
G.R.No.141538March23,2004
HERMANAR.CEREZO,petitioner,
vs.
DAVIDTUAZON,respondent.

DECISION

CARPIO,J.:
TheCase
Thisisapetitionforreviewoncertiorari1toannultheResolution2dated21October1999oftheCourtofAppeals
in CAG.R. SP No. 53572, as well as its Resolution dated 20 January 2000 denying the motion for
reconsideration. The Court of Appeals denied the petition for annulment of the Decision3 dated 30 May 1995
rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City, Branch 56 ("trial court"), in Civil Case No. 7415. The trial
courtorderedpetitionerHermanaR.Cerezo("Mrs.Cerezo")topayrespondentDavidTuazon("Tuazon")actual
damages,lossofearnings,moraldamages,andcostsofsuit.
AntecedentFacts
Aroundnoontimeof26June1993,aCountryBusLinespassengerbuswithplatenumberNYA241collidedwitha
tricycle bearing plate number TC RV 126 along Captain M. Palo Street, Sta. Ines, Mabalacat, Pampanga. On 1
October1993,tricycledriverTuazonfiledacomplaintfordamagesagainstMrs.Cerezo,asownerofthebusline,
herhusbandAttorneyJuanCerezo("Atty.Cerezo"),andbusdriverDaniloA.Foronda("Foronda").Thecomplaint
allegedthat:
7.Atthetimeoftheincident,plaintiff[Tuazon]wasinhisproperlanewhenthesecondnameddefendant
[Foronda],beingthenthedriverandpersoninchargeoftheCountryBuswithplatenumberNYA241,did
thenandtherewillfully,unlawfully,andfeloniouslyoperatethesaidmotorvehicleinanegligent,careless,
andimprudentmannerwithoutdueregardtotrafficrulesandregulations,therebeinga"SlowDown"sign
near the scene of the incident, and without taking the necessary precaution to prevent loss of lives or
injuries, his negligence, carelessness and imprudence resulted to severe damage to the tricycle and
seriousphysicalinjuriestoplaintiffthusmakinghimunabletowalkandbecomingdisabled,withhisthumb
andmiddlefingeronthelefthandbeingcut[.]4
On1October1993,Tuazonfiledamotiontolitigateasapauper.Subsequently,thetrialcourtissuedsummons
against Atty. Cerezo and Mrs. Cerezo ("the Cerezo spouses") at the Makati address stated in the complaint.
However, the summons was returned unserved on 10 November 1993 as the Cerezo spouses no longer held
officenorresidedinMakati.On18April1994,thetrialcourtissuedaliassummonsagainsttheCerezospousesat
their address in Barangay Sta. Maria, Camiling, Tarlac. The alias summons and a copy of the complaint were
finallyservedon20April1994attheofficeofAtty.Cerezo,whowasthenworkingasTarlacProvincialProsecutor.
Atty.Cerezoreactedangrilyonlearningoftheserviceofsummonsuponhisperson.Atty.Cerezoallegedlytold
SheriffWilliamCanlas:"Punyeta,anoanggustomongmangyari?Gustomonghindikamakalabasngbuhaydito?
Teritoryokoito.Walakasateritoryomo."5
The records show that the Cerezo spouses participated in the proceedings before the trial court. The Cerezo
spouses filed a comment with motion for bill of particulars dated 29 April 1994 and a reply to opposition to
comment with motion dated 13 June 1994.6 On 1 August 1994, the trial court issued an order directing the
Cerezospousestofileacommenttotheoppositiontothebillofparticulars.Atty.ElpidioB.Valera("Atty.Valera")
of Valera and Valera Law Offices appeared on behalf of the Cerezo spouses. On 29 August 1994, Atty. Valera
filedanurgentexpartemotionprayingfortheresolutionofTuazonsmotiontolitigateasapauperandforthe
issuance of new summons on the Cerezo spouses to satisfy proper service in accordance with the Rules of
Court.7
On 30 August 1994, the trial court issued an order resolving Tuazons motion to litigate as a pauper and the
Cerezospousesurgentexpartemotion.Theorderreads:
At the hearing on August 30, 1994, the plaintiff [Tuazon] testified that he is presently jobless that at the
timeofthefilingofthiscase,hissonwhoisworkinginMalaysiahelpshimandsendshimonceinawhile
P300.00amonth,andthathedoesnothaveanyrealproperty.AttachedtotheMotiontoLitigateasPauper
are his Affidavit that he is unemployed a Certification by the Barangay Captain of his poblacion that his
income is not enough for his familys subsistence and a Certification by the Office of the Municipal
AssessorthathehasnolandholdingintheMunicipalityofMabalacat,ProvinceofPampanga.
The Court is satisfied from the unrebutted testimony of the plaintiff that he is entitled to prosecute his
complaintinthiscaseasapauperunderexistingrules.
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On the other hand, the Court denies the prayer in the Appearance and Urgent ExParte Motion requiring
newsummonstobeservedtothedefendants.TheCourtisoftheopinionthatanyinfirmityintheserviceof
the summons to the defendant before plaintiff was allowed to prosecute his complaint in this case as a
pauperhasbeencuredbythisOrder.
If within 15 days from receipt of this Order, the defendants do not question on appeal this Order of this
Court,theCourtshallproceedtoresolvetheMotionforBillofParticulars.8
On27September1994,theCerezospousesfiledanurgentexpartemotionforreconsideration.Thetrialcourt
deniedthemotionforreconsideration.
On 14 November 1994, the trial court issued an order directing the Cerezo spouses to file their answer within
fifteendaysfromreceiptoftheorder.TheCerezospousesdidnotfileananswer.On27January1995,Tuazon
filed a motion to declare the Cerezo spouses in default. On 6 February 1995, the trial court issued an order
declaringtheCerezospousesindefaultandauthorizingTuazontopresenthisevidence.9
On 30 May 1995, after considering Tuazons testimonial and documentary evidence, the trial court ruled in
Tuazons favor. The trial court made no pronouncement on Forondas liability because there was no service of
summons on him. The trial court did not hold Atty. Cerezo liable as Tuazon failed to show that Mrs. Cerezos
business benefited the family, pursuant to Article 121(3) of the Family Code. The trial court held Mrs. Cerezo
solely liable for the damages sustained by Tuazon arising from the negligence of Mrs. Cerezos employee,
pursuanttoArticle2180oftheCivilCode.Thedispositiveportionofthetrialcourtsdecisionreads:
WHEREFORE,judgmentisherebyrenderedorderingthedefendantHermanaCerezotopaytheplaintiff:
a)ForActualDamages

P69,485.35

1)ExpensesforoperationandmedicalTreatment
2)Costofrepairofthetricycle
b)Forlossofearnings

39,921.00

c)Formoraldamages

43,300.00

d)Andtopaythecostofthesuit.

20,000.00

The docket fees and other expenses in the filing of this suit shall be lien on whatever judgment may be
renderedinfavoroftheplaintiff.
SOORDERED.10
Mrs.Cerezoreceivedacopyofthedecisionon25June1995.On10July1995,Mrs.Cerezofiledbeforethetrial
court a petition for relief from judgment on the grounds of "fraud, mistake or excusable negligence." Testifying
beforethetrialcourt,bothMrs.CerezoandAtty.Valeradeniedreceiptofnoticesofhearingsandofordersofthe
court.Atty.Valeraaddedthathereceivednonoticebeforeorduringthe8May1995elections,"whenhewasa
senatorial candidate for the KBL Party, and very busy, using his office and residence as Party National
Headquarters."Atty.ValeraclaimedthathewasabletoreadthedecisionofthetrialcourtonlyafterMrs.Cerezo
senthimacopy.11
Tuazon did not testify but presented documentary evidence to prove the participation of the Cerezo spouses in
thecase.Tuazonpresentedthefollowingexhibits:
Exhibit1
Exhibit1A
Exhibit2
Exhibit3
Exhibit3A
Exhibit4
Exhibit4A
Exhibit5
Exhibit6
Exhibit6A
Exhibit7
Exhibit7A
Exhibit7B
Exhibit8
Exhibit8A
Exhibit8B

Exhibit9
Exhibit9A
Exhibit9B
Exhibit9C
Exhibit9D
and
Exhibit9E

Sheriffsreturnandsummons
AliassummonsdatedApril20,1994
CommentwithMotion
MinutesofthehearingheldonAugust1,1994
Signatureofdefendantscounsel
MinutesofthehearingheldonAugust30,1994
Signatureofthedefendantscounsel
AppearanceandUrgentExParteMotion
OrderdatedNovember14,1994
PostalcertificationdatedJanuary13,1995
OrderdatedFebruary[illegible]
CourtsreturnslipaddressedtoAtty.ElpidioValera
CourtsreturnslipaddressedtoSpousesJuanandHermanaCerezo
DecisiondatedMay[30],1995
CourtsreturnslipaddressedtodefendantHermanaCerezo
Courts return slip addressed to defendants counsel, Atty. Elpidio
Valera
OrderdatedSeptember21,1995
SecondPageofExhibit9
ThirdpageofExhibit9
FourthpageofExhibit9
CourtsreturnslipaddressedtoAtty.ElpidioValera

Courts return slip addressed to plaintiffs counsel, Atty. Norman Dick


deGuzman.12

On4March1998,thetrialcourtissuedanorder13 denying the petition for relief from judgment. The trial court
stated that having received the decision on 25 June 1995, the Cerezo spouses should have filed a notice of
appeal instead of resorting to a petition for relief from judgment. The trial court refused to grant relief from
judgment because the Cerezo spouses could have availed of the remedy of appeal. Moreover, the Cerezo
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spouses not only failed to prove fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence by conclusive evidence, they
alsofailedtoprovethattheyhadagoodandsubstantialdefense.ThetrialcourtnotedthattheCerezospouses
failedtoappealbecausetheyreliedonanexpectedsettlementofthecase.
The Cerezo spouses subsequently filed before the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari under Section 1 of
Rule65.ThepetitionwasdocketedasCAG.R.SPNo.48132.14Thepetitionquestionedwhetherthetrialcourt
acquiredjurisdictionoverthecaseconsideringtherewasnoserviceofsummonsonForonda,whomtheCerezo
spouses claimed was an indispensable party. In a resolution15 dated 21 January 1999, the Court of Appeals
deniedthepetitionforcertiorariandaffirmedthetrialcourtsorderdenyingthepetitionforrelieffromjudgment.
TheCourtofAppealsdeclaredthattheCerezospousesfailuretofileananswerwasduetotheirownnegligence,
consideringthattheycontinuedtoparticipateintheproceedingswithoutfilingananswer.Therewasalsonothing
intherecordstoshowthattheCerezospousesactuallyofferedareasonablesettlementtoTuazon.TheCourtof
AppealsalsodeniedCerezospousesmotionforreconsiderationforlackofmerit.
TheCerezospousesfiledbeforethisCourtapetitionforreviewoncertiorariunderRule45.Atty.Cerezohimself
signedthepetition,docketedasG.R.No.137593.On13April1999,thisCourtrenderedaresolutiondenyingthe
petitionforreviewoncertiorariforfailuretoattachanaffidavitofserviceofcopiesofthepetitiontotheCourtof
Appealsandtotheadverseparties.Evenifthepetitioncompliedwiththisrequirement,theCourtwouldstillhave
deniedthepetitionastheCerezospousesfailedtoshowthattheCourtofAppealscommittedareversibleerror.
TheCourtsresolutionwasenteredintheBookofEntriesandJudgmentswhenitbecamefinalandexecutoryon
28June1999.16
Undaunted, the Cerezo spouses filed before the Court of Appeals on 6 July 1999 a petition for annulment of
judgment under Rule 47 with prayer for restraining order. Atty. Valera and Atty. Dionisio S. Daga ("Atty. Daga")
represented Mrs. Cerezo in the petition, docketed as CAG.R. SP No. 53572.17 The petition prayed for the
annulment of the 30 May 1995 decision of the trial court and for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction
enjoiningexecutionofthetrialcourtsdecisionpendingresolutionofthepetition.
TheCourtofAppealsdeniedthepetitionforannulmentofjudgmentinaresolutiondated21October1999.The
resolutionreadsinpart:
Inthiscase,recordsshowthatthepetitionerpreviouslyfiledwiththelowercourtaPetitionforRelieffrom
Judgment on the ground that they were wrongfully declared in default while waiting for an amicable
settlementofthecomplaintfordamages.Thecourtaquocorrectlyruledthatsuchpetitioniswithoutmerit.
The defendant spouses admit that during the initial hearing they appeared before the court and even
mentioned the need for an amicable settlement. Thus, the lower court acquired jurisdiction over the
defendantspouses.
Therefore,petitionerhavingavailedofapetitionforrelief,theremedyofanannulmentofjudgmentisno
longeravailable.Theproperactionforthepetitioneristoappealtheorderofthelowercourtdenyingthe
petitionforrelief.
Wherefore,theinstantpetitioncouldnotbegivenduecourseandshouldaccordinglybedismissed.
SOORDERED.18
On20January2000,theCourtofAppealsdeniedtheCerezospousesmotionforreconsideration.19TheCourt
ofAppealsstated:
A distinction should be made between a courts jurisdiction over a person and its jurisdiction over the
subject matter of a case. The former is acquired by the proper service of summons or by the parties
voluntaryappearancewhilethelatterisconferredbylaw.
Resolving the matter of jurisdiction over the subject matter, Section 19(1) of B[atas] P[ambansa] 129
provides that Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions in which
the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation. Thus it was proper for the lower court to
decidetheinstantcasefordamages.
Unlike jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case which is absolute and conferred by law any defects
[sic]intheacquisitionofjurisdictionoveraperson(i.e.,improperfilingofcivilcomplaintorimproperservice
ofsummons)maybewaivedbythevoluntaryappearanceofparties.
ThelowercourtadmitsthefactthatnosummonswasservedondefendantForonda.Thus,jurisdictionover
the person of defendant Foronda was not acquired, for which reason he was not held liable in this case.
However,ithasbeenproventhatjurisdictionovertheotherdefendantswasvalidlyacquiredbythecourta
quo.
The defendant spouses admit to having appeared in the initial hearings and in the hearing for plaintiffs
motiontolitigateasapauper.Theyevenmentionedconferenceswhereattemptsweremadetoreachan
amicable settlement with plaintiff. However, the possibility of amicable settlement is not a good and
substantialdefensewhichwillwarrantthegrantingofsaidpetition.
xxx
Assuming arguendo that private respondent failed to reserve his right to institute a separate action for
damagesinthecriminalaction,thepetitionercannotnowraisesuchissueandquestionthelowercourts
jurisdictionbecausepetitionerandherhusbandhavewaivedsuchrightbyvoluntarilyappearinginthecivil
casefordamages.Therefore,thefindingsandthedecisionofthelowercourtmaybindthem.
RecordsshowthatthepetitionerpreviouslyfiledwiththelowercourtaPetitionforRelieffromJudgmenton
the ground that they were wrongfully declared in default while waiting for an amicable settlement of the
complaintfordamages.Thecourtaquocorrectlyruledthatsuchpetitioniswithoutmerit,jurisdictionhaving
beenacquiredbythevoluntaryappearanceofdefendantspouses.
Once again, it bears stressing that having availed of a petition for relief, the remedy of annulment of
judgmentisnolongeravailable.
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Based on the foregoing, the motion for reconsideration could not be given due course and is hereby
DENIED.
SOORDERED.20
TheIssues
On7February2000,Mrs.Cerezo,thistimewithAtty.Dagaalonerepresentingher,filedthepresentpetitionfor
reviewoncertioraribeforethisCourt.Mrs.Cerezoclaimsthat:
1. In dismissing the Petition for Annulment of Judgment, the Court of Appeals assumes that the issues
raised in the petition for annulment is based on extrinsic fraud related to the denied petition for relief
notwithstandingthatthegroundsrelieduponinvolvesquestionsoflackofjurisdiction.
2.IndismissingthePetitionforAnnulment,theCourtofAppealsdisregardedtheallegationthatthelower
court[s] findings of negligence against defendantdriver Danilo Foronda [whom] the lower court did not
summon is null and void for want of due process and consequently, such findings of negligence which is
[sic]nullandvoidcannotbecomethebasisofthelowercourttoadjudgepetitioneremployerliableforcivil
damages.
3. In dismissing the Petition for Annulment, the Court of Appeals ignored the allegation that defendant
driverDaniloA.Forondawhosenegligenceisthemainissueisanindispensablepartywhosepresenceis
compulsorybut[whom]thelowercourtdidnotsummon.
4.IndismissingthePetitionforAnnulment,theCourtofAppealsruledthatassumingarguendothatprivate
respondentfailedtoreservehisrighttoinstituteaseparateactionfordamagesinthecriminalaction,the
petitionercannotnowraisesuchissueandquestionthelowercourtsjurisdictionbecausepetitioner[has]
waived such right by voluntarily appearing in the civil case for damages notwithstanding that lack of
jurisdictioncannotbewaived.21
TheCourtsRuling
Thepetitionhasnomerit.Astheissuesareinterrelated,weshalldiscussthemjointly.
RemediesAvailabletoaPartyDeclaredinDefault
Anexaminationoftherecordsoftheentireproceedingsshowsthatthreelawyersfiledandsignedpleadingson
behalf of Mrs. Cerezo, namely, Atty. Daga, Atty. Valera, and Atty. Cerezo. Despite their number, Mrs. Cerezos
counsels failed to avail of the proper remedies. It is either by sheer ignorance or by malicious manipulation of
legal technicalities that they have managed to delay the disposition of the present case, to the detriment of
pauperlitigantTuazon.
Mrs. Cerezo claims she did not receive any copy of the order declaring the Cerezo spouses in default. Mrs.
Cerezoassertsthatsheonlycametoknowofthedefaultorderon25June1995,whenshereceivedacopyof
the decision. On 10 July 1995, Mrs. Cerezo filed before the trial court a petition for relief from judgment under
Rule38,alleging"fraud,mistake,orexcusablenegligence"asgrounds.On4March1998,thetrialcourtdenied
Mrs. Cerezos petition for relief from judgment. The trial court stated that Mrs. Cerezo could have availed of
appealasaremedyandthatshefailedtoprovethatthejudgmentwasenteredthroughfraud,accident,mistake,
orexcusablenegligence.Mrs.CerezothenfiledbeforetheCourtofAppealsapetitionforcertiorariunderSection
1ofRule65assailingthedenialofthepetitionforrelieffromjudgment.On21January1999,theCourtofAppeals
dismissed Mrs. Cerezos petition. On 24 February 1999, the appellate court denied Mrs. Cerezos motion for
reconsideration.On11March1999,Mrs.CerezofiledbeforethisCourtapetitionforreviewoncertiorari under
Rule45,questioningthedenialofthepetitionforrelieffromjudgment.Wedeniedthepetitionandourresolution
becamefinalandexecutoryon28June1999.
On6July1999,amereeightdaysafterourresolutionbecamefinalandexecutory,Mrs.Cerezofiledbeforethe
Court of Appeals a petition for annulment of the judgment of the trial court under Rule 47. Meanwhile, on 25
August1999,thetrialcourtissuedovertheobjectionofMrs.CerezoanorderofexecutionofthejudgmentinCivil
CaseNo.7415.On21October1999,theCourtofAppealsdismissedthepetitionforannulmentofjudgment.On
20 January 2000, the Court of Appeals denied Mrs. Cerezos motion for reconsideration. On 7 February 2000,
Mrs. Cerezo filed the present petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 challenging the dismissal of her
petitionforannulmentofjudgment.
Linav.CourtofAppeals22enumeratestheremediesavailabletoapartydeclaredindefault:
a) The defendant in default may, at any time after discovery thereof and before judgment, file a motion
underoathtosetasidetheorderofdefaultonthegroundthathisfailuretoanswerwasduetofraud,
accident, mistake or excusable negligence, and that he has a meritorious defense (Sec. 3, Rule 18 [now
Sec.3(b),Rule9])
b) If the judgment has already been rendered when the defendant discovered the default, but before the
samehasbecomefinalandexecutory,hemayfileamotionfornewtrialunderSection1(a)ofRule37
c)Ifthedefendantdiscoveredthedefaultafterthejudgmenthasbecomefinalandexecutory,hemayfilea
petitionforreliefunderSection2[nowSection1]ofRule38and
d)Hemayalsoappealfromthejudgmentrenderedagainsthimascontrarytotheevidenceortothelaw,
evenifnopetitiontosetasidetheorderofdefaulthasbeenpresentedbyhim(Sec.2,Rule41).(Emphasis
added)
Moreover,apetitionforcertioraritodeclarethenullityofajudgmentbydefaultisalsoavailableifthetrialcourt
improperlydeclaredapartyindefault,orevenifthetrialcourtproperlydeclaredapartyindefault,ifgraveabuse
ofdiscretionattendedsuchdeclaration.23
Mrs. Cerezo admitted that she received a copy of the trial courts decision on 25 June 1995. Based on this
admission,Mrs.Cerezohadatleastthreeremediesatherdisposal:anappeal,amotionfornewtrial,orapetition
forcertiorari.
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Mrs.CerezocouldhaveappealedunderRule4124fromthedefaultjudgmentwithin15daysfromnoticeofthe
judgment.ShecouldhaveavailedofthepoweroftheCourtofAppealstotrycasesandconducthearings,receive
evidence, and perform all acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases falling within its appellate
jurisdiction.25
Mrs. Cerezo also had the option to file under Rule 3726 a motion for new trial within the period for taking an
appeal.Ifthetrialcourtgrantsanewtrial,theoriginaljudgmentisvacated,andtheactionwillstandfortrialde
novo.Therecordedevidencetakenintheformertrial,asfarasthesameismaterialandcompetenttoestablish
theissues,shallbeusedatthenewtrialwithoutretakingthesame.27
Mrs.CerezoalsohadthealternativeoffilingunderRule6528apetitionforcertiorariassailingtheorderofdefault
within60daysfromnoticeofthejudgment.Anorderofdefaultisinterlocutory,andanaggrievedpartymayfilean
appropriatespecialcivilactionunderRule65.29Inapetitionforcertiorari, the appellate court may declare void
boththeorderofdefaultandthejudgmentofdefault.
Clearly, Mrs. Cerezo had every opportunity to avail of these remedies within the reglementary periods provided
undertheRulesofCourt.However,Mrs.Cerezooptedtofileapetitionforrelieffromjudgment,whichisavailable
onlyinexceptionalcases.Apetitionforrelieffromjudgmentshouldbefiledwithinthereglementaryperiodof
60daysfromknowledgeofjudgmentandsixmonthsfromentryofjudgment,pursuantto
Rule38oftheRulesofCivilProcedure.30Tuasonv.CourtofAppeals31explainedthenatureofapetitionfor
relieffromjudgment:
Whenapartyhasanotherremedyavailabletohim,whichmayeitherbeamotionfornewtrialorappeal
from an adverse decision of the trial court, and he was not prevented by fraud, accident, mistake or
excusablenegligencefromfilingsuchmotionortakingsuchappeal,hecannotavailhimselfofthispetition.
Indeed,reliefwillnotbegrantedtoapartywhoseeksavoidancefromtheeffectsofthejudgmentwhenthe
loss of the remedy at law was due to his own negligence otherwise the petition for relief can be used to
revivetherighttoappealwhichhasbeenlostthruinexcusablenegligence.
Evidently,therewasnofraud,accident,mistake,orexcusablenegligencethatpreventedMrs.Cerezofromfiling
anappeal,amotionfornewtrialorapetitionforcertiorari.Itwaserrorforhertoavailofapetitionforrelieffrom
judgment.
AfterourresolutiondenyingMrs.Cerezospetitionforreliefbecamefinalandexecutory,Mrs.Cerezo,inherlast
ditchattempttoevadeliability,filedbeforetheCourtofAppealsapetitionforannulmentofthejudgmentofthe
trial court. Annulment is available only on the grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. If based on
extrinsicfraud,apartymustfilethepetitionwithinfouryearsfromitsdiscovery,andifbasedonlackofjurisdiction,
before laches or estoppel bars the petition. Extrinsic fraud is not a valid ground if such fraud was used as a
ground,orcouldhavebeenusedasaground,inamotionfornewtrialorpetitionforrelieffromjudgment.32
Mrs.Cerezoinsiststhatlackofjurisdiction,notextrinsicfraud,washergroundforfilingthepetitionforannulment
of judgment. However, a party may avail of the remedy of annulment of judgment under Rule 47 only if the
ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief from judgment, or other appropriate remedies are no
longer available through no fault of the party.33 Mrs. Cerezo could have availed of a new trial or appeal but
throughherownfaultsheerroneouslyavailedoftheremedyofapetitionforrelief,whichwasdeniedwithfinality.
Thus,Mrs.Cerezomaynolongeravailoftheremedyofannulment.
In any event, the trial court clearly acquired jurisdiction over Mrs. Cerezos person. Mrs. Cerezo actively
participated in the proceedings before the trial court, submitting herself to the jurisdiction of the trial court. The
defense of lack of jurisdiction fails in light of her active participation in the trial court proceedings. Estoppel or
lachesmayalsobarlackofjurisdictionasagroundfornullityespeciallyifraisedforthefirsttimeonappealbya
partywhoparticipatedintheproceedingsbeforethetrialcourt,aswhathappenedinthiscase.34
For these reasons, the present petition should be dismissed for utter lack of merit. The extraordinary action to
annul a final judgment is restricted to the grounds specified in the rules. The reason for the restriction is to
prevent this extraordinary action from being used by a losing party to make a complete farce of a duly
promulgateddecisionthathaslongbecomefinalandexecutory.Therewouldbenoendtolitigationifpartieswho
haveunsuccessfullyavailedofanyoftheappropriateremediesorlostthemthroughtheirfaultcouldstillbringan
action for annulment of judgment.35 Nevertheless, we shall discuss the issues raised in the present petition to
clearanydoubtaboutthecorrectnessofthedecisionofthetrialcourt.
Mrs.CerezosLiabilityandtheTrialCourtsAcquisitionofJurisdiction
Mrs. Cerezo contends that the basis of the present petition for annulment is lack of jurisdiction. Mrs. Cerezo
asserts that the trial court could not validly render judgment since it failed to acquire jurisdiction over Foronda.
Mrs.CerezopointsoutthattherewasnoserviceofsummonsonForonda.Moreover,Tuazonfailedtoreservehis
right to institute a separate civil action for damages in the criminal action. Such contention betrays a faulty
foundation.Mrs.Cerezoscontentionproceedsfromthepointofviewofcriminallawandnotofcivillaw,whilethe
basis of the present action of Tuazon is quasidelict under the Civil Code, not delict under the Revised Penal
Code.
The same negligent act may produce civil liability arising from a delict under Article 103 of the Revised Penal
Code,ormaygiverisetoanactionforaquasidelictunderArticle2180oftheCivilCode.Anaggrievedpartymay
choose between the two remedies. An action based on a quasidelict may proceed independently from the
criminalaction.36Thereis,however,adistinctionbetweencivilliabilityarisingfromadelictandcivilliabilityarising
fromaquasidelict.Thechoiceofremedy,whethertosueforadelictoraquasidelict,affectstheproceduraland
jurisdictionalissuesoftheaction.37
Tuazonchosetofileanactionfordamagesbasedonaquasidelict.Inhiscomplaint,TuazonallegedthatMrs.
Cerezo, "without exercising due care and diligence in the supervision and management of her employees and
buses," hired Foronda as her driver. Tuazon became disabled because of Forondas "recklessness, gross
negligence and imprudence," aggravated by Mrs. Cerezos "lack of due care and diligence in the selection and
supervisionofheremployees,particularlyForonda."38
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ThetrialcourtthusfoundMrs.CerezoliableunderArticle2180oftheCivilCode.Article2180statesinpart:
Employersshallbeliableforthedamagescausedbytheiremployeesandhouseholdhelpersactingwithin
thescopeoftheirassignedtasks,eventhoughtheformerarenotengagedinanybusinessorindustry.
ContrarytoMrs.Cerezosassertion,Forondaisnotanindispensablepartytothecase.Anindispensablepartyis
one whose interest is affected by the courts action in the litigation, and without whom no final resolution of the
case is possible.39 However, Mrs. Cerezos liability as an employer in an action for a quasidelict is not only
solidary, it is also primary and direct. Foronda is not an indispensable party to the final resolution of Tuazons
actionfordamagesagainstMrs.Cerezo.
Theresponsibilityoftwoormorepersonswhoareliableforaquasidelictissolidary.40Wherethereisasolidary
obligationonthepartofdebtors,asinthiscase,eachdebtorisliablefortheentireobligation.Hence,eachdebtor
is liable to pay for the entire obligation in full. There is no merger or renunciation of rights, but only mutual
representation.41 Where the obligation of the parties is solidary, either of the parties is indispensable, and the
otherisnotevenanecessarypartybecausecompletereliefisavailablefromeither.42Therefore,jurisdictionover
ForondaisnotevennecessaryasTuazonmaycollectdamagesfromMrs.Cerezoalone.
Moreover,anemployersliabilitybasedonaquasidelictisprimaryanddirect,whiletheemployersliabilitybased
on a delict is merely subsidiary.43 The words "primary and direct," as contrasted with "subsidiary," refer to the
remedy provided by law for enforcing the obligation rather than to the character and limits of the obligation.44
Although liability under Article 2180 originates from the negligent act of the employee, the aggrieved party may
suetheemployerdirectly.Whenanemployeecausesdamage,thelawpresumesthattheemployerhashimself
committedanactofnegligenceinnotpreventingoravoidingthedamage.Thisisthefaultthatthelawcondemns.
Whiletheemployeriscivillyliableinasubsidiarycapacityfortheemployeescriminalnegligence,theemployeris
alsocivillyliabledirectlyandseparatelyforhisowncivilnegligenceinfailingtoexerciseduediligenceinselecting
andsupervisinghisemployee.Theideathattheemployersliabilityissolelysubsidiaryiswrong.45
The action can be brought directly against the person responsible (for another), without including the
authoroftheact.Theactionagainsttheprincipalisaccessoryinthesensethatitimpliestheexistenceofa
prejudicialactcommittedbytheemployee,butitisnotsubsidiaryinthesensethatitcannotbeinstitutedtill
afterthejudgmentagainsttheauthoroftheactoratleast,thatitissubsidiarytotheprincipalactionthe
actionforresponsibility(oftheemployer)isinitselfaprincipalaction.46
Thus, there is no need in this case for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction over Foronda. The trial courts
acquisitionofjurisdictionoverMrs.Cerezoissufficienttodisposeofthepresentcaseonthemerits.
In contrast, an action based on a delict seeks to enforce the subsidiary liability of the employer for the criminal
negligenceoftheemployeeasprovidedinArticle103oftheRevisedPenalCode.Toholdtheemployerliableina
subsidiarycapacityunderadelict,theaggrievedpartymustinitiateacriminalactionwheretheemployeesdelict
andcorrespondingprimaryliabilityareestablished.47 If the present action proceeds from a delict, then the trial
courts jurisdiction over Foronda is necessary. However, the present action is clearly for the quasidelict of Mrs.
CerezoandnotforthedelictofForonda.
TheCerezospousescontentionthatsummonsbeservedanewonthemisuntenableinlightoftheirparticipation
inthetrialcourtproceedings.ToupholdtheCerezospousescontentionwouldmakeafetishofatechnicality.48
Moreover,anyirregularityintheserviceofsummonsthatmighthavevitiatedthetrialcourtsjurisdictionoverthe
persons of the Cerezo spouses was deemed waived when the Cerezo spouses filed a petition for relief from
judgment.49
WeholdthatthetrialcourthadjurisdictionandwascompetenttodecidethecaseinfavorofTuazonandagainst
Mrs. Cerezo even in the absence of Foronda. Contrary to Mrs. Cerezos contention, Foronda is not an
indispensablepartytothepresentcase.ItisnotevennecessaryforTuazontoreservethefilingofaseparatecivil
actionbecauseheoptedtofileacivilactionfordamagesagainstMrs.Cerezowhoisprimarilyanddirectlyliable
for her own civil negligence. The words of Justice Jorge Bocobo in Barredo v. Garcia still hold true today as
muchasitdidin1942:
xxx[T]oholdthatthereisonlyonewaytomakedefendantsliabilityeffective,andthatis,tosuethedriver
and exhaust his (the latters) property first, would be tantamount to compelling the plaintiff to follow a
devious and cumbersome method of obtaining relief. True, there is such a remedy under our laws, but
there is also a more expeditious way, which is based on the primary and direct responsibility of the
defendantunderarticle[2180]oftheCivilCode.Ourviewofthelawismorelikelytofacilitateremedyfor
civilwrongs,becausetheprocedureindicatedbythedefendantiswastefulandproductiveofdelay,itbeing
amatterofcommonknowledgethatprofessionaldriversoftaxisandothersimilarpublicconveyancesdo
not have sufficient means with which to pay damages. Why, then, should the plaintiff be required in all
cases to go through this roundabout, unnecessary, and probably useless procedure? In construing the
laws,courtshaveendeavoredtoshortenandfacilitatethepathwaysofrightandjustice.50
Interestattherateof6%perannumisdueontheamountofdamagesadjudgedbythetrialcourt.51The6%per
annuminterestshallcommencefrom30May1995,thedateofthedecisionofthetrialcourt.Uponfinalityofthis
decision,interestat12%perannum,inlieuof6%perannum,isdueontheamountofdamagesadjudgedbythe
trialcourtuntilfullpayment.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the instant petition for review. The Resolution dated 21 October 1999 of the Court of
Appeals in CAG.R. SP No. 53572, as well as its Resolution dated 20 January 2000 denying the motion for
reconsideration,isAFFIRMEDwiththeMODIFICATIONthattheamountdueshallearnlegalinterestat6%per
annum computed from 30 May 1995, the date of the trial courts decision. Upon finality of this decision, the
amountdueshallearninterestat12%perannum,inlieuof6%perannum,untilfullpayment.
SOORDERED.
Davide,Jr.,C.J.,(Chairman),YnaresSantiago,andAzcuna,JJ.,concur.
Panganiban,J.,onofficialleave.

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Footnotes
1UnderRule45oftheRulesofCourt.
2PennedbyAssociateJusticeElviJohnS.Asuncion,withAssociateJusticesEubuloG.Verzolaand

ArtemioG.Tuquero,concurring.
3PennedbyJudgeCarlosD.Rustia.
4CARollo,p.8.
5Ibid.,pp.1317.
6Rollo,p.66.
7CARollo,pp.1820.
8Ibid.,p.21.
9Rollo,p.4.
10CARollo,p.23.
11Ibid.,pp.2433.
12Ibid.,pp.3536.
13PennedbyJudgeLourdesF.Gatbalite.
14Captioned"HermanaR.CerezoandJuanD.Cerezo,ashusband,petitioners,v.Hon.LourdesGatbalite

andDavidTuazon,respondents."
15PennedbyAssociateJusticeRomeoA.Brawner,withAssociateJusticesAngelinaSandovalGutierrez

andMartinS.Villarama,Jr.,concurring.
16Rollo,pp.6061.
17Captioned"HermanaR.CerezoandJuanD.Cerezo,ashusband,petitioners,v.LourdesGatbalite,

PresidingJudge(incumbent),RTCBranch56,AngelesCity,andDavidTuazon,respondents."
18Rollo,pp.3637.
19Ibid.,pp.3334.
20Ibid.,pp.1819.
21Ibid.,pp.67.
22No.L63397,9April1985,135SCRA637.
23Pacetev.Cariaga,Jr.,G.R.No.53880,17March1994,231SCRA321.SeealsoMatutev.Courtof

Appeals,136Phil.162(1969)OmicoMiningandIndustrialCorporationv.Vallejos,No.L38974,25March
1975,63SCRA285.
24Section3,Rule41.
25Section9(3),BatasPambansaBlg.129,asamended.
26Section1.Groundsofandperiodforfilingmotionfornewtrialorreconsideration.Withintheperiodfor

takinganappeal,theaggrievedpartymaymovethetrialcourttosetasidethejudgmentorfinalorderand
grantanewtrialforoneormoreofthefollowingcausesmateriallyaffectingthesubstantialrightsofsaid
party:
(a)Fraud,accident,mistakeorexcusablenegligencewhichordinaryprudencecouldnothave
guardedagainstandbyreasonofwhichsuchaggrievedpartyhasprobablybeenimpairedinhis
rightsor
(b)Newlydiscoveredevidence,whichhecouldnot,withreasonablediligence,havediscoveredand
producedatthetrial,andwhichifpresentedwouldprobablyaltertheresult.
xxx
27Sections1and6,Rule37.
28Section1.Petitionforcertiorari.Whenanytribunal,board,orofficerexercisingjudicialorquasijudicial

functionshasactedwithoutorinexcessofitsorhisjurisdiction,orwithgraveabuseofdiscretion
amountingtolackorexcessofjurisdiction,andthereisnoappeal,oranyplain,speedy,andadequate
remedyintheordinarycourseoflaw,apersonaggrievedtherebymayfileaverifiedpetitionintheproper
court,allegingthefactswithcertaintyandprayingthatjudgmentberenderedannullingormodifyingthe
proceedingsofsuchtribunal,boardorofficer,andgrantingsuchincidentalreliefsaslawandjusticemay
require.
xxx
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Section4.Wherepetitionfiled.Thepetitionmaybefilednotlaterthansixty(60)daysfromnoticeof
judgment,orderorresolutionsoughttobeassailedintheSupremeCourtor,ifitrelatestotheactsor
omissionsofalowercourtorofacorporation,board,officerorperson,intheRegionalTrialCourt
exercisingjurisdictionovertheterritorialareaasdefinedbytheSupremeCourt.Itmayalsobefiledinthe
CourtofAppealswhetherornotthesameisinaidofitsappellatejurisdiction,orintheSandiganbayanifit
isinaidofitsjurisdiction.Ifitinvolvesactsoromissionsofaquasijudicialagency,andunlessotherwise
providedbylawortheseRules,thepetitionshallbefiledinandcognizableonlybytheCourtofAppeals.
29Section1,Rule41.
30Section1.Petitionforrelieffromjudgment,order,orotherproceedings.Whenajudgmentorfinal

orderisentered,oranyotherproceedingisthereaftertakenagainstapartyinanycourtthroughfraud,
accident,mistake,orexcusablenegligence,hemayfileapetitioninsuchcourtandinthesamecase
prayingthatthejudgment,orderorproceedingbesetaside.
Section3.Timeforfilingpetitioncontentsandverification.Apetitionprovidedforineitherofthe
precedingsectionsofthisRulemustbeverified,filedwithinsixty(60)daysafterthepetitionerlearnsofthe
judgment,finalorder,orotherproceedingtobesetaside,andnotmorethansix(6)monthsaftersuch
judgmentorfinalorderwasentered,orsuchproceedingwastakenxxx.
SeeTurquezav.Hernando,No.L51626,30April1980,97SCRA483.
31326Phil.169(1996).
32Sections2and3,Rule47.
33CiprianoM.Lazarov.RuralBankofFranciscoBalagtas(Bulacan),Inc.andTheRegisterofDeedsof

ValenzuelaCity,G.R.No.139895,15August2003TeresitaVillasorManipol,etal.,v.SpousesPabloand
AntoniaRicafort,G.R.No.150159,25July2003.
34Tijam,etal.v.Sibonghanoy,etal.,181Phil.556(1968).
35SeeIbabaov.IntermediateAppellateCourt,No.L74848,20May1987,150SCRA76.
36SeeArticle2177,CivilCodeofthePhilippines.CompareSections1and3,Rule111,1988Rulesof

CriminalProcedurewithSections1and3,Rule111,2000RulesofCriminalProcedure.
37SeeBarredov.Garcia,73Phil.607(1942).
38CARollo,pp.89.
39Imsonv.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.106436,8December1994,239SCRA59.
40Article2194,CivilCodeofthePhilippines.
41Quiombingv.CA,G.R.No.93219,30August1990,189SCRA331(citingTolentino,IVCivilCodeofthe

Philippines218(1985ed.)).
42Ibid.,(citingFeria,CivilProcedure153(1969ed.).
43Pobletev.Fabros,No.L29803,14September1979,93SCRA200.
4433AWordsandPhrases215(1971ed.)
45SeeBarredov.Garcia,supranote37(1942)(citingAmandi,4CuestionariodelCdigoCivilReformado

429,430).
46Ibid.,(citingLaurent,20PrinciplesofFrenchCivilLaw734735(Spanishtranslation)).
47Pobletev.Fabros,supranote43Francov.IntermediateAppellateCourt,G.R.No.71137,5October

1989,178SCRA331.
48Gumabayv.Baralin,No.L30683,77SCRA258,31May1977Rule14,Section20.
49SeeJ.M.Tuason&Co.,Inc.,v.Estabillo,No.L20610,9January1975,62SCRA1.
50Barredov.Garcia,supranote36,pp.620621.
51EasternShippingLines,Inc.v.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.97412,12July1994,234SCRA78

Reforminav.Tomol,Jr.,No.L59096,11October1985,139SCRA260.
TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

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