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G.R. No. 211113 June 29, 2015 and herein respondent Atty. Honorato R. Mataban (Atty.

and herein respondent Atty. Honorato R. Mataban (Atty. Mataban)—the notary public
referred to in the notice as the one requested by Atty. Nethercott to conduct the auction of
ADERITO Z. YUJUICO, Petitioner, the pledged stocks.
vs.
UNITED RESOURCES ASSET MANAGEMENT, INC., ATTY. RICHARD J. NETHERCOTT and ATTY. In the complaint, petitioner argued that the planned auction sale of the stocks pledged under
HONORATO R. MATABAN, Respondents. the Pledge Agreements is void as the same suffers from a multitude of fatal defects; one of
which is the supposed lack of authority of Atty. Nethercott to initiate such a sale on behalf of
DECISION URAMI. As petitioner elaborated:

PEREZ, J.: (k) [Atty. Nethercott] has no valid authority to represent URAMI for any purpose. xxx. He is
neither the counsel nor the agent of URAMI, whose authorized representative under Section
9, paragraph 10 of the Loan Agreementis its Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Lorna P. Feliciano.
This case is an appeal1 from the Decision2 dated 12 August 2013 and Resolution3 dated 29
There has been no modification of this provision in accordance with paragraph 9.04 of the
January 2014 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.117431.
same provision.13

The antecedents: Prelude


The injunction complaint, which also contained prayers for the issuance of a temporary
restraining order and of a writ of preliminary injunction, was docketed in the RTC as Civil Case
The Strategic Alliance Development Corporation (STRADEC) is a domestic corporation No. 70027.
operating as a business development and investment company.
The Sale and URAMI’s Answer with Counterclaim
In 2000, several stockholders4 of STRADEC executed Pledge Agreements5 whereby they
pledged a certain amount of their stocks6 in the said company in favor of the respondent
As the RTC did not issue a temporary restraining order in Civil Case No. 70027, the public
United Resources Asset Management, Inc. (URAMI).These pledges were meant to secure the
auction of the pledged STRADEC stocks pushed through, as scheduled, on 23 June 2004. In that
loan obligations of STRADEC to URAMI under their Loan Agreement7 of 28 December 2000.
auction, URAMI emerged as the winning bidder for all of the stocks pledged under the Pledge
One of the stockholders of STRADEC who so pledged his shares in STRADEC was petitioner
Agreements.
Aderito Z. Yujuico.

On 5 July 2004, however, the RTC issued a writ of preliminary injunction, which effectively
The Notice and Civil Case No. 70027
prevented URAMI from appropriating the stocks it had purchased during the auction sale. On
the same day, Atty. Nethercott filed his answer denying the material allegations of the
Apparently, STRADEC had not been able to comply with its payment obligations under the Loan injunction complaint.
Agreement.
More than a year later, or on 21 April 2006, URAMI—which until then was still not able to file
On 18 June 2004, STRADEC and its stockholders received a notice8 informing them about an an answer of its own—filed with the RTC a motion for leave to file an answer. Attached to the
impending auction sale of the stocks pledged under the Pledge Agreements in order to satisfy motion was a copy of URAMI’s answer.14 On 5 September 2006, the RTC granted URAMI’s
STRADEC’s outstanding obligations9 under the Loan Agreement. The notice was sent and motion and allowed the admission of its answer.
signed by respondent Atty. Richard J. Nethercott (Atty. Nethercott), who claimed to be the
attorney-in-fact of URAMI.
In its answer, URAMI agreed with the petitioner that the 23 June 2004 auction sale was void;
URAMI admitted that it never authorized Atty. Nethercott to cause the sale of the stocks
The notice stated that, pursuant to the request10 earlier filed by Atty. Nethercott before "the pledged under the Pledge Agreements. URAMI, however, pointed out that, since it never
notary public of Bayambang, Pangasinan," the public auction of the pledged STRADEC stocks sanctioned the 23 June 2004 auction sale, it similarly cannot be held liable to the petitioner for
had been set at 8:30 in the morning of 23 June 2004 in front of the municipal building of any prejudice that may be caused by the conduct of such auction sale, viz.:
Bayambang, Pangasinan.11
4.1 The [injunction complaint] dated 28 June 2004 fails to state a cause of action only insofar
On 21 June 2004, petitioner filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City an as it seeks judgment ordering URAMI to pay [petitioner] the amounts of Five Hundred
injunction complaint12 seeking to enjoin the sale at public auction mentioned in Atty. Thousand Pesos (Php 500,000.00) as attorney’s fees and One Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php
Nethercott’s notice. Impleaded as defendants in such complaint were URAMI, Atty. Nethercott 100,000.00) as legal expenses.
4.1.1. It bears emphasizing that the extra-judicial foreclosure of the pledged shares and (3) its admission would prejudice petitioner’s rights. In an order of even date, however,
conducted by [Atty. Nethercott] was without valid authority from URAMI. the RTC denied petitioner’s motion and allowed admission of URAMI’s amended answer.
Consequently, it cannot be made liable for the acts of another.
On 27 March 2009, petitioner filed with the RTC a motion for reconsideration of the order
4.1.2 . URAMI never sanctioned or directed the questioned auction sale. Neither did allowing admission of URAMI’s amended answer.
URAMI give its consent, explicit or otherwise, to said foreclosure or any subsequent
acts of [Atty. Nethercott] pursuant thereto. Hence, no liability whatsoever may be On 18 August 2009, the RTC issued an order granting petitioner’s motion for reconsideration
imputed to URAMI. and setting aside its earlier order allowing admission of URAMI’s amended answer. In the said
order, the RTC explained that the amended answer could not be admitted just yet as the same
4.1.3. If at all, the recourse of the plaintiff is solely against [Atty. Nethercott].15 had been filed by URAMI without first securing leave of court.

Hence, overall, URAMI prayed for the dismissal of the injunction complaint against it. Thus, on 21 September 2009, URAMI filed with the RTC a motion for leave to file an amended
Petitioner’s Motion for Summary Judgment and the Suspension of Civil Case No. 70027 answer(motion for leave).22 In the said motion, URAMI formally asked permission from the
RTC to allow it to file the amended answer explaining that the original answer filed by its
On 29 May 2007, petitioner filed with the RTC a motion for summary Judgment16 arguing that, previous counsel "does not bear truthful factual allegations and is indubitably not supported
in view of the admissions made by URAMI in its answer regarding Atty. Nethercott’s lack of by evidence on record."23
authority to cause the auction sale of pledged stocks, there was no longer any genuine issue
left to be resolved in trial. On 10 November 2009, the RTC issued an Order24 granting URAMI’s motion for leave.

URAMI and Atty. Nethercott both filed comments on petitioner’s motion for summary Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration against the 10 November 2009 Order, but the
judgment. The resolution of petitioner’s motion for summary judgment, however, was same was denied by the RTC in its Order25 of 27 September 2010.
deferred when, on 25 July 2007, this Court issued in G.R. No. 17706817 a temporary restraining
order18 calling to a halt the conduct of further proceedings in Civil Case No. 70027. This CA-G.R. SP No. 117431 and the Present Appeal
temporary restraining order remained in effect for more than a year until it was finally lifted
by this Court on 13 October 2008.19
Defeated but undeterred, petitioner next challenged the Orders dated 10 November 2009 and
27 September 2010 of the RTC through a certiorari petition before the Court of Appeals. This
Thereafter, proceedings in Civil Case No. 70027 resumed. certiorari petition was docketed in the Court of Appeals as CA-G.R. SP No. 117431.

URAMI’s Change of Counsel and Amended Answer On 12 August 2013, the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision26 sustaining the challenged
orders of the RTC and dismissing petitioner’s certiorari petition. Petitioner moved for
On 26 January 2009, URAMI changed its counsel of record for Civil Case No. 70027. The law reconsideration, but the Court of Appeals remained steadfast.27
firm ViIllanueva, Gabionza & De Santos (VGD law firm), which hitherto had been URAMI’s
counsel of record, was thus replaced by Atty. Edward P. Chico (Atty. Chico). Hence, the present appeal.

Under the counsel of Atty. Chico, URAMI filed with the RTC an amended answer with In the present appeal, petitioner argues that the Court of Appeals erred in sustaining the orders
compulsory counterclaim(amended answer)20 on 23 February 2009. The amended answer of the RTC allowing URAMI to file its amended answer. Petitioner argues that URAMI should
was meant to supplant URAMI’s original answer, which had been prepared by the VGD law not have been so allowed for the following reasons:28
firm.
1. URAMI had not shown that the admissions it made under the original answer were made
In its amended answer, URAMI still vouched for the dismissal of the injunction complaint but through "palpable mistake." Hence, pursuant to Section 4 of Rule129 of the Rules of Court,29
reneged from its previous admissions under the original answer. This time, URAMI claimed URAMI is barred from contradicting such admissions through the filing of its amended answer.
that the 23 June 2004 auction sale was valid and that it duly authorized Atty. Nethercott to 2. The amended answer is merely a ploy of URAMI to further delay the proceedings in Civil
initiate such sale on its behalf.21 Case No. 70027.

On 12 March 2009, petitioner filed with the RTC a motion to strike out URAMI’s amended
answer on the grounds that: (1) it was not timely filed; (2) it was filed without leave of court;
Thus, petitioner prays that we set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals, disallow URAMI’s the admissions made by URAMI under its original answer were a product of clear and patent
amended answer and direct the RTC in Civil Case No. 70027 to resolve his motion for summary mistake.
judgment with dispatch.30
One of the key documents that URAMI plans to present during trial, which it also attached in
OUR RULING its amended answer as "Annex 8" thereof, is URAMI’s Board Resolution38 dated 21 June 2004
that evinces Atty. Nethercott’s authority to cause the foreclosure on the pledged stocks on
Our rules of procedure allow a party in a civil action to amend his pleading as a matter of right, behalf of URAMI. With the existence of such board resolution, the statement in URAMI’s
so long as the pleading is amended only once and before a responsive pleading is served (or, original answer pertaining to the lack of authority of Atty. Nethercott to initiate the 23 June
if the pleading sought to be amended is a reply, within ten days after it is served).31 Otherwise, 2004 auction sale thus appears mistaken, if not entirely baseless and unfounded. Hence, we
a party can only amend his pleading upon prior leave of court.32 find it only right and fair, that URAMI should be given a chance to file its amended answer in
order to rectify such mistakes in its original answer.
As a matter of judicial policy, courts are impelled to treat motions for leave to file amended
pleadings with liberality.33 This is especially true when a motion for leave is filed during the Second. We also cannot agree with the petitioner’s accusation that the amended answer was
early stages of proceedings or, at least, before trial.34 Our case law had long taught that bona only interposed to further delay the proceedings in Civil Case No. 70027. As the previous
fide amendments to pleadings should be allowed in the interest of justice so that every case discussion reveal, the amended answer aims to correct certain allegations of fact in the original
may, so far as possible, be determined on its real facts and the multiplicity of suits thus be answer which, needless to state, are crucial to a full and proper disposition of Civil Case No.
prevented.35 Hence, as long as it does not appear that the motion for leave was made with 70027. It is, therefore, in the best interest of justice and equity that URAMI should be allowed
bad faith or with intent to delay the proceedings,36 courts are justified to grant leave and allow to file the amended answer.
the filing of an amended pleading. Once a court grants leave to file an amended pleading, the
same becomes binding and will not be disturbed on appeal unless it appears that the court had Third. The mere fact that URAMI filed its motion for leave years after the original answer is
abused its discretion.37 also not reason enough in itself to discredit the amended answer as a sheer dilatory measure.
Readily observable from the established facts is that the perceived delay between the filing of
In this case, URAMI filed its motion for leave seeking the admission of its amended answer the motion for leave and the filing of the original answer is not purely attributable to URAMI.
more than two (2) years after it filed its original answer. Despite the considerable lapse of time It must be remembered that some time after the original answer was filed, we issued a
between the filing of the original answer and the motion for leave, the RTC still granted the temporary restraining order in G.R. No. 177068 that effectively suspended the proceedings in
said motion. Such grant was later affirmed on appeal by the Court of Appeals. Civil Case No. 70027 for more than a year. Thus, even if it wanted to, URAMI really could not
have filed a motion for leave to file amended answer sooner than it already had. On this score,
we note that it only took URAMI a little over three months after the lifting of the temporary
Petitioner, however, opposes the grant of leave arguing that URAMI is precluded from filing
restraining order to replace its previous counsel of record in Civil Case No. 70027 and to file its
an amended answer by Section 4 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court and claiming that URAMI’s
amended answer. Fourth. All in all, we find absolutely no cause to overrule the grant of leave
amended answer was only interposed for the purpose of delaying the proceedings in Civil Case
granted to URAMI to file its amended answer. The said grant is consistent with our time-
No. 70027.
honored judicial policy of affording liberal treatment to amendments to pleadings, especially
those made before the conduct of trial.
We rule in favor of allowing URAMI’s amended answer. Hence, we deny the present appeal.
We should always remember that our rules of procedure are mere tools designed to facilitate
First. We cannot subscribe to petitioner’s argument that Section 4 of Rule 129 of the Rules of the attainment of justice. Their application should never be allowed to frustrate the truth and
Court precludes URAMI from filing its amended answer. To begin with, the said provision does the promotion of substantial justice.39 Were we to succumb to petitioner’s arguments today,
not set the be-all and end-all standard upon which amendments to pleadings may or may not however, we would have sanctioned an outcome totally inconsistent with the underlying
be allowed. Matters involving the amendment of pleadings are primarily governed by the purpose of our procedural laws. That, we simply cannot countenance.
pertinent provisions of Rule10 and not by Section 4 of Rule 129 of the Rule of Court. Hence,
allegations (and admissions) in a pleading—even if not shown to be made through "palpable
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision dated 12
mistake"—can still be corrected or amended provided that the amendment is sanctioned
August 2013 and Resolution dated 29 January 2014 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
under Rule 10 of the Rules of Court.
117431 are hereby AFFIRMED.

Nevertheless, even if we are to apply Section 4 of Rule 129 to the present case, we still find
SO ORDERED. JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
the allowance of URAMI’s amended answer to be in order.1awp++i1 To our mind, a
Associate Justice
consideration of the evidence that URAMI plans to present during trial indubitably reveals that
G.R. No. 143264 April 23, 2012 PERALTA, J.:

LISAM ENTERPRISES, INC. represented by LOLITA A. SORIANO, and LOLITA A. SORIANO, This resolves the Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, praying
Petitioners, that the Resolution1 of the Regional Trial Court of Legaspi City (RTC), dated November 11,
vs. 1999, dismissing petitioners’ complaint, and its Order2 dated May 15, 2000, denying herein
BANCO DE ORO UNIBANK, INC. (formerly PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL INTERNATIONAL petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration and Motion to Admit Amended Complaint, be
BANK),* LILIAN S. SORIANO, ESTATE OF LEANDRO A. SORIANO, JR., REGISTER OF DEEDS OF reversed and set aside.
LEGASPI CITY, and JESUS L. SARTE, Respondents.
The records reveal the following antecedent facts.
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Amendment of Pleadings; A responsive pleading having been
filed, amendments to the complaint may, therefore, be made only by leave of court and no On August 13, 1999, petitioners filed a Complaint against respondents for Annulment of
longer as a matter of right.—It should be noted that respondents Lilian S. Soriano and the Mortgage with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order & Preliminary Injunction with Damages
Estate of Leandro A. Soriano, Jr. already filed their Answer, to petitioners’ complaint, and the with the RTC of Legaspi City. Petitioner Lolita A. Soriano alleged that she is a stockholder of
claims being asserted were made against said parties. A responsive pleading having been filed, petitioner Lisam Enterprises, Inc. (LEI) and a member of its Board of Directors, designated as
amendments to the complaint may, therefore, be made only by leave of court and no longer its Corporate Secretary. The Complaint also alleged the following:
as a matter of right.
4. Sometime in 1993, plaintiff LEI, in the course of its business operation, acquired
Same; Same; Same; Amendments are generally favored.— Amendments are generally favored,
by purchase a parcel of residential land with improvement situated at Legaspi City,
it would have been more fitting for the trial court to extend such liberality towards petitioners
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 37866, copy attached as Annex "A," which
by admitting the amended complaint which was filed before the order dismissing the original
property is more particularly described as follows:
complaint became final and executory. It is quite apparent that since trial proper had not yet
even begun, allowing the amendment would not have caused any delay. Moreover, doing so
would have served the higher interest of justice as this would provide the best opportunity for xxxx
the issues among all parties to be thoroughly threshed out and the rights of all parties finally
determined. Hence, the Court overrules the trial court’s denial of the motion to admit the 5. On or about 28 March 1996, defendant Lilian S. Soriano and the late Leandro A.
amended complaint, and orders the admission of the same. Soriano, Jr., as husband and wife (hereafter "Spouses Soriano"), in their personal
capacity and for their own use and benefit, obtained a loan from defendant PCIB
Corporation Law; Derivative Suits; Requisites for Filing a Derivative Suit.—In HiYield Realty, (Legaspi Branch) (now known as Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc.) in the total amount of
Incorporated v. Court of Appeals, 590 SCRA 548 (2009), the Court enumerated the requisites ₱20 Million;
for filing a derivative suit, as follows: a) the party bringing the suit should be a shareholder as
of the time of the act or transaction complained of, the number of his shares not being 6. That as security for the payment of the aforesaid credit accommodation, the late
material; b) he has tried to exhaust intracorporate remedies, i.e., has made a demand on the Leandro A. Soriano, Jr. and defendant Lilian S. Soriano, as president and treasurer,
board of directors for the appropriate relief but the latter has failed or refused to heed his respectively of plaintiff LEI, but without authority and consent of the board of said
plea; and c) the cause of action actually devolves on the corporation, the wrongdoing or harm plaintiff and with the use of a falsified board resolution, executed a real estate
having been, or being caused to the corporation and not to the particular stockholder bringing mortgage on 28 March 1996, over the above-described property of plaintiff LEI in
the suit. A reading of the amended complaint will reveal that all the foregoing requisites had favor of defendant PCIB, and had the same registered with the Office of the Registry
been alleged therein. Hence, the amended complaint remedied the defect in the original of Deeds, Legaspi City, copy of the Real Estate Mortgage is hereto attached and
complaint and now sufficiently states a cause of action. marked as Annex "B," and made part hereof, to the prejudice of plaintiffs;
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Amendment of Pleadings; Due to the changes made by the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure, amendments may now substantially alter the cause of action or 7. That specifically, the Spouses Soriano, with intent to defraud and prejudice
defense.—Respondent PCIB should not complain that admitting the amended complaint after plaintiff LEI and its stockholders, falsified the signatures of plaintiff Lolita A. Soriano
they pointed out a defect in the original complaint would be unfair to them. They should have as corporate secretary and director of plaintiff LEI, in a document denominated as
been well aware that due to the changes made by the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, board resolution purportedly issued by the board of plaintiff LEI on 6 November
amendments may now substantially alter the cause of action or defense. It should not have 1995, making it appear that plaintiff LEI's Board met and passed a board resolution
been a surprise to them that petitioners would redress the defect in the original complaint by on said date authorizing the Spouses Soriano to mortgage or encumber all or
substantially amending the same, which course of action is now allowed under the new rules. substantially all of the properties of plaintiff LEI, when in fact and in truth, no
DECISION resolution of that nature was ever issued by the board of plaintiff LEI, nor a meeting
was called to that effect, copy of the resolution in question is hereto attached and plaintiff Lolita A. Soriano as corporate secretary of plaintiff LEI in a document
marked as Annex "C," and made part hereof; denominated as "Corporate Resolution to Borrow," to make it appear that plaintiff
LEI so authorized the Spouses Soriano to perform said acts for the corporation, when
8. That plaintiff Lolita A. Soriano as Corporate Secretary of plaintiff LEI, had never in fact and in truth no such authority or resolution was ever issued nor granted by
signed a board resolution nor issued a Secretary's Certificate to the effect that on 6 plaintiff LEI, nor a meeting called and held for said purpose in accordance with its By-
November 1995 a resolution was passed and approved by plaintiff LEI authorizing laws; copy of which is hereto attached and marked as Annex "E" and made part
the Spouses Soriano as president and treasurer, respectively, to mortgage the above- hereof;
described property of plaintiff LEI, neither did she appear personally before a notary
public on 28 March 1996 to acknowledge or attest to the issuance of a supposed 13. That said irregular transactions of defendant Lilian S. Soriano and her husband
board resolution issued by plaintiff LEI on 6 November 1995; Leandro A. Soriano, Jr., on one hand, and defendant PCIB, on the other, were
discovered by plaintiff Lolita A. Soriano sometime in April 1999. That immediately
9. That defendant PCIB, knowing fully well that the property being mortgaged by the upon discovery, said plaintiff, for herself and on behalf and for the benefit of plaintiff
Spouses Soriano belongs to plaintiff LEI, a corporation, negligently and miserably LEI, made demands upon defendants Lilian S. Soriano and the Estate of Leandro A.
failed to exercise due care and prudence required of a banking institution. Soriano, Jr., to free subject property of plaintiff LEI from such mortgage lien, by
Specifically, defendant PCIB failed to investigate and to delve into the propriety of paying in full their personal indebtedness to defendant PCIB in the principal sum of
the issuance of or due execution of subject board resolution, which is the very ₱20 Million. However, said defendants, for reason only known to them, continued
foundation of the validity of subject real estate mortgage. Further, it failed to verify and still continue to ignore said demands, to the damage and prejudice of plaintiffs;
the genuineness of the signatures appearing in said board resolution nor to confirm
the fact of its issuance with plaintiff Lolita A. Soriano, as the corporate secretary of 14. Hence, on 25 June 1999, plaintiffs commenced a derivative suit against
plaintiff LEI. Furthermore, the height of its negligence was displayed when it defendants Lilian S. Soriano and the Estate of Leandro A. Soriano, Jr., before the
disregarded or failed to notice that the questioned board resolution with a Securities and Exchange Commission, docketed as SEC Case No. 06-99-6339 for
Secretary's Certificate was notarized only on 28 March 1996 or after the lapse of "Fraudulent Scheme and Unlawful Machination with Damages" in order to protect
more than four (4) months from its purported date of issue on 6 November 1995. and preserve the rights of plaintiffs, copy of said complaint is hereto attached as
That these circumstances should have put defendant PCIB on notice of the flaws and Annex"F";
infirmities of the questioned board resolution. Unfortunately, it negligently failed to
exercise due care and prudence expected of a banking institution; 15. That plaintiffs, in order to seek complete relief from the unauthorized mortgage
transaction between the Spouses Soriano and defendant PCIB, were further
10. That having been executed without authority of the board of plaintiff LEI said real compelled to institute this instant case to seek the nullification of the real estate
estate mortgage dated 28 March 1996 executed by the Spouses Soriano, as officers mortgage dated 28 March 1999. Consequently, plaintiffs were forced to retain the
of plaintiff LEI in favor of defendant PCIB, is the null and void and has no legal effect services of a lawyer with whom they contracted to pay ₱100,000.00 as and for
upon said plaintiff. Consequently, said mortgage deed cannot be used nor resorted attorney's fee;
to by defendant PCIB against subject property of plaintiff LEI as no right or rights
whatsoever were created nor granted thereunder by reason of its nullity; 16. That unfortunately, the plaintiffs learned that on 30 July 1999, defendant Sarte,
in his capacity as Notary Public of Daraga, Albay and upon application of defendant
11. Worst, sometime in August 1998, in order to remedy the defects in the mortgage PCIB, issued a notice of Auction/Foreclosure Sale of the property subject of the
transaction entered by the Spouses Soriano and defendant PCIB, the former, with mortgage in question and has set the auction sale on 7 September 1999 x x x;
the unlawful instigation of the latter, signed a document denominated as "Deed of
Assumption of Loans and Mortgage Obligations and Amendment of Mortgage"; 17. That by reason of the fraudulent and surreptitious schemes perpetrated by
wherein in said document, plaintiff LEI was made to assume the ₱20 Million personal defendant Lilian S. Soriano and her husband, the late Leandro A. Soriano, Jr., in
indebtedness of the Spouses Soriano with defendant PCIB, when in fact and in truth unlawful connivance and through the gross negligence of defendant PCIB, plaintiff
it never so assumed the same as no board resolution duly certified to by plaintiff Lolita A. Soriano, as stockholder, suffered sleepless nights, moral shock, wounded
Lolita A. Soriano as corporate secretary was ever issued to that effect, copy of said feeling, hurt pride and similar injuries, hence, should be awarded moral damages in
Deed is hereto attached and marked as Annex "D," and made part hereof; the amount of ₱200,000.00.

12. Moreover, to make it appear that plaintiff LEI had consented to the execution of After service of summons on all defendants, the RTC issued a temporary restraining order on
said deed of assumption of mortgage, the Spouses Soriano again, through the August 25, 1990 and, after hearing, went on to issue a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining
unlawful instigation and connivance of defendant PCIB, falsified the signature of
respondent PCIB (now known as Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc.) from proceeding with the auction FIRST, WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT DISMISSED
sale of the subject property. THE ACTION ON THE GROUND THAT PETITIONER LOLITA A. SORIANO HAS NO LEGAL CAPACITY
TO SUE AS SHE IS NOT A REAL PARTY-IN-INTEREST;
Respondents Lilian S. Soriano and the Estate of Leandro A. Soriano, Jr. filed an Answer dated
September 25, 1999, stating that the Spouses Lilian and Leandro Soriano, Jr. were duly SECOND, WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT
authorized by LEI to mortgage the subject property; that proceeds of the loan from respondent DISMISSED THE ACTION ON THE GROUND THAT THERE IS ANOTHER ACTION PENDING
PCIB were for the use and benefit of LEI; that all notarized documents submitted to PCIB by BETWEEN THE SAME PARTIES FOR THE SAME CAUSE;
the Spouses Soriano bore the genuine signature of Lolita Soriano; and that although the
Spouses Soriano indeed received demands from petitioner Lolita Soriano for them to pay the THIRD, WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT DISMISSED
loan, they gave satisfactory explanations to the latter why her demands could not be honored. THE ACTION ON THE GROUND THAT THE COMPLAINT STATES NO CAUSE OF ACTION;
It was, likewise, alleged in said Answer that it was respondent Lilian Soriano who should be
entitled to moral damages and attorney's fees.
FOURTH, WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT DENIED
THE ADMISSION OF PETITIONERS' AMENDED COMPLAINT FILED AS A MATTER OF RIGHT,
On September 28, 1999, respondent PCIB filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint on grounds AFTER THE ORDER OF DISMISSAL WAS ISSUED BUT BEFORE ITS FINALITY.
of lack of legal capacity to sue, failure to state cause of action, and litis pendencia. Petitioners
filed an Opposition thereto, while PCIB's co-defendants filed a Motion to Suspend Action.
FIFTH, WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE ACTION, INSTEAD OF MERELY
SUSPENDING THE SAME FOLLOWING THE DOCTRINE LAID DOWN IN UNION GLASS. 3
On November 11, 1999, the RTC issued the first assailed Resolution dismissing petitioners'
Complaint. Petitioners then filed a Motion for Reconsideration of said Resolution. While
The petition is impressed with merit.
awaiting resolution of the motion for reconsideration, petitioners also filed, on January 4,
2000, a Motion to Admit Amended Complaint, amending paragraph 13 of the original
complaint to read as follows: The Court shall first delve into the matter of the propriety of the denial of the motion to admit
amended complaint. Pertinent provisions of Rule 10 of the Rules of Court provide as follows:
13. That said irregular transactions of defendant Lilian S. Soriano and her husband Leandro A.
Soriano, Jr., on one hand, and defendant PCIB, on the other, were discovered by plaintiff Lolita Sec. 2. Amendments as a matter of right. − A party may amend his pleadings once as a matter
A. Soriano sometime in April 1999. That immediately upon discovery, said plaintiff, for herself of right at any time before a responsive pleading is served x x x.
and on behalf and for the benefit of plaintiff LEI, made demands upon defendant Lilian S.
Soriano and the Estate of Leandro A. Soriano, Jr., to free subject property of plaintiff LEI from Sec. 3. Amendments by leave of court. − Except as provided in the next preceding section,
such mortgage lien, by paying in full their personal indebtedness to defendant PCIB in the substantial amendments may be made only upon leave of court. But such leave may be refused
principal sum of ₱20 Million. However, said defendants, for reason only known to them, if it appears to the court that the motion was made with intent to delay. x x x
continued and still continue to ignore said demands, to the damage and prejudice of plaintiffs;
that plaintiff Lolita A. Soriano likewise made demands upon the Board of Directors of Lisam It should be noted that respondents Lilian S. Soriano and the Estate of Leandro A. Soriano, Jr.
Enterprises, Inc., to make legal steps to protect the interest of the corporation from said already filed their Answer, to petitioners' complaint, and the claims being asserted were made
fraudulent transaction, but unfortunately, until now, no such legal step was ever taken by the against said parties. A responsive pleading having been filed, amendments to the complaint
Board, hence, this action for the benefit and in behalf of the corporation; may, therefore, be made only by leave of court and no longer as a matter of right. However,
in Tiu v. Philippine Bank of Communications,4 the Court discussed this rule at length, to wit:
On May 15, 2000, the trial court issued the questioned Order denying both the Motion for
Reconsideration and the Motion to Admit Amended Complaint. The trial court held that no x x x [A]fter petitioners have filed their answer, Section 3, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court
new argument had been raised by petitioners in their motion for reconsideration to address specifically allows amendment by leave of court. The said Section states:
the fact of plaintiffs' failure to allege in the complaint that petitioner Lolita A. Soriano made
demands upon the Board of Directors of Lisam Enterprises, Inc. to take steps to protect the
interest of the corporation against the fraudulent acts of the Spouses Soriano and PCIB. The SECTION 3. Amendments by leave of court. - Except as provided in the next preceding section,
trial court further ruled that the Amended Complaint can no longer be admitted, because the substantial amendments may be made only upon leave of court. But such leave may be refused
same absolutely changed petitioners' cause of action. if it appears to the court that the motion was made with intent to delay. Orders of the court
upon the matters provided in this section shall be made upon motion filed in court, and after
notice to the adverse party, and an opportunity to be heard.
Petitioners filed the present petition with this Court, alleging that what are involved are pure
questions of law, to wit:
This Court has emphasized the import of Section 3, Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure With the amendment stating "that plaintiff Lolita A. Soriano likewise made demands upon the
in Valenzuela v. Court of Appeals, thus: Board of Directors of Lisam Enterprises, Inc., to make legal steps to protect the interest of the
corporation from said fraudulent transaction, but unfortunately, until now, no such legal step
Interestingly, Section 3, Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure amended the former rule was ever taken by the Board, hence, this action for the benefit and in behalf of the
in such manner that the phrase "or that the cause of action or defense is substantially altered" corporation," does the amended complaint now sufficiently state a cause of action? In Hi-Yield
was stricken-off and not retained in the new rules. The clear import of such amendment in Realty, Incorporated v. Court of Appeals,6 the Court enumerated the requisites for filing a
Section 3, Rule 10 is that under the new rules, "the amendment may (now) substantially alter derivative suit, as follows:
the cause of action or defense." This should only be true, however, when despite a substantial
change or alteration in the cause of action or defense, the amendments sought to be made a) the party bringing the suit should be a shareholder as of the time of the act or
shall serve the higher interests of substantial justice, and prevent delay and equally promote transaction complained of, the number of his shares not being material;
the laudable objective of the rules which is to secure a "just, speedy and inexpensive
disposition of every action and proceeding." b) he has tried to exhaust intra-corporate remedies, i.e., has made a demand on the
board of directors for the appropriate relief but the latter has failed or refused to
The granting of leave to file amended pleading is a matter particularly addressed to the sound heed his plea; and
discretion of the trial court; and that discretion is broad, subject only to the limitations that
the amendments should not substantially change the cause of action or alter the theory of the c) the cause of action actually devolves on the corporation, the wrongdoing or harm
case, or that it was not made to delay the action. Nevertheless, as enunciated in Valenzuela, having been, or being caused to the corporation and not to the particular
even if the amendment substantially alters the cause of action or defense, such amendment stockholder bringing the suit.7
could still be allowed when it is sought to serve the higher interest of substantial justice,
prevent delay, and secure a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of actions and
A reading of the amended complaint will reveal that all the foregoing requisites had been
proceedings.
alleged therein. Hence, the amended complaint remedied the defect in the original complaint
and now sufficiently states a cause of action.
The courts should be liberal in allowing amendments to pleadings to avoid a multiplicity of
suits and in order that the real controversies between the parties are presented, their rights
Respondent PCIB should not complain that admitting the amended complaint after they
determined, and the case decided on the merits without unnecessary delay. This liberality is
pointed out a defect in the original complaint would be unfair to them. They should have been
greatest in the early stages of a lawsuit, especially in this case where the amendment was
well aware that due to the changes made by the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, amendments
made before the trial of the case, thereby giving the petitioners all the time allowed by law
may now substantially alter the cause of action or defense. It should not have been a surprise
to answer and to prepare for trial.1âwphi1
to them that petitioners would redress the defect in the original complaint by substantially
amending the same, which course of action is now allowed under the new rules.
Furthermore, amendments to pleadings are generally favored and should be liberally allowed
in furtherance of justice in order that every case, may so far as possible, be determined on its
The next question then is, upon admission of the amended complaint, would it still be proper
real facts and in order to speed up the trial of the case or prevent the circuitry of action and
for the trial court to dismiss the complaint? The Court answers in the negative.
unnecessary expense. That is, unless there are circumstances such as inexcusable delay or the
taking of the adverse party by surprise or the like, which might justify a refusal of permission
to amend.5 Saura v. Saura, Jr.8 is closely analogous to the present case. In Saura,9 the petitioners therein,
stockholders of a corporation, sold a disputed real property owned by the corporation, despite
the existence of a case in the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) between stockholders
Since, as explained above, amendments are generally favored, it would have been more fitting
for annulment of subscription, recovery of corporate assets and funds, etc. The sale was done
for the trial court to extend such liberality towards petitioners by admitting the amended
without the knowledge of the other stockholders, thus, said stockholders filed a separate case
complaint which was filed before the order dismissing the original complaint became final and
for annulment of sale, declaration of nullity of deed of exchange, recovery of possession, etc.,
executory. It is quite apparent that since trial proper had not yet even begun, allowing the
against the stockholders who took part in the sale, and the buyer of the property, filing said
amendment would not have caused any delay. Moreover, doing
case with the regular court (RTC). Petitioners therein also filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint for annulment of sale filed with the RTC, on the ground of forum shopping, lack of
so would have served the higher interest of justice as this would provide the best opportunity jurisdiction, lack of cause of action, and litis pendentia among others. The Court held that the
for the issues among all parties to be thoroughly threshed out and the rights of all parties complaint for annulment of sale was properly filed with the regular court, because the buyer
finally determined. Hence, the Court overrules the trial court's denial of the motion to admit of the property had no intra-corporate relationship with the stockholders, hence, the buyer
the amended complaint, and orders the admission of the same. could not be joined as party-defendant in the SEC case. To include said buyer as a party-
defendant in the case pending with the SEC would violate the then existing rule on jurisdiction
over intra-corporate disputes. The Court also struck down the argument that there was forum
shopping, ruling that the issue of recovery of corporate assets and funds pending with the SEC
is a totally different issue from the issue of the validity of the sale, so a decision in the SEC case
would not amount to res judicata in the case before the regular court. Thus, the Court merely
ordered the suspension of the proceedings before the RTC until the final outcome of the SEC
case.

The foregoing pronouncements of the Court are exactly in point with the issues in the present
case.1âwphi1 Here, the complaint is for annulment of mortgage with the mortgagee bank as
one of the defendants, thus, as held in Saura,10 jurisdiction over said complaint is lodged with
the regular courts because the mortgagee bank has no intra-corporate relationship with the
stockholders. There can also be no forum shopping, because there is no identity of issues. The
issue being threshed out in the SEC case is the due execution, authenticity or validity of board
resolutions and other documents used to facilitate the execution of the mortgage, while the
issue in the case filed by petitioners with the RTC is the validity of the mortgage itself executed
between the bank and the corporation, purportedly represented by the spouses Leandro and
Lilian Soriano, the President and Treasurer of petitioner LEI, respectively. Thus, there is no
reason to dismiss the complaint in this case.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Resolution of the Regional Trial Court of Legaspi City, Branch
4, dated November 11, 1999, dismissing petitioners’ complaint in Civil Case No. 9729, and its
Order dated May 15, 2000, denying herein petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration and Motion
to Admit Amended Complaint, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court
of Legaspi City, Branch 4, is hereby DIRECTED to ADMIT the Amended Complaint.

Considering further, that this case has been pending for some time and, under R.A. No. 8799,
it is now the regular courts which have jurisdiction over intra-corporate disputes, the Regional
Trial Court of Legaspi City, Branch 4 is hereby DIRECTED to PROCEED with dispatch in trying
Civil Case No. 9729.

SO ORDERED.

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice
G.R. No. 151932 August 19, 2009 case, may so far as possible, be determined on its real facts and in order to speed up the trial
of the case or prevent the circuity of action and unnecessary expense. That is, unless there are
HENRY CHING TIU, CHRISTOPHER HALIN GO, and GEORGE CO, Petitioners, circumstances such as inexcusable delay or the taking of the adverse party by surprise or the
vs. like, which might justify a refusal of permission to amend.
PHILIPPINE BANK OF COMMUNICATIONS, Respondent.
Evidence; Documentary Evidence; It is a cardinal rule of evidence, not just one of technicality
but of substance, that the written document is the best evidence of its own contents.—It is a
Actionable Documents; The pertinent rule on actionable documents is found in Section 7, Rule
cardinal rule of evidence, not just one of technicality but of substance, that the written
8 of the Rules of Court, which provides that when the cause of action is anchored on a
document is the best evidence of its own contents. It is also a matter of both principle and
document, its substance must be set forth, and the original or a copy thereof “shall” be
policy that when the written contract is established as the repository of the parties’
attached to the pleading as an exhibit and deemed a part thereof.—As to the substitution of
stipulations, any other evidence is excluded, and the same cannot be used to substitute for
the earlier surety agreement that was annexed to the complaint with the original thereof, this
such contract, or even to alter or contradict the latter. The original surety agreement is the
Court finds that the RTC did not err in allowing the substitution. The pertinent rule on
best evidence that could establish the parties’ respective rights and obligations. In effect, the
actionable documents is found in Section 7, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court, which provides that
RTC merely allowed the amendment of the complaint, which consequently included the
when the cause of action is anchored on a document, its substance must be set forth, and the
substitution of the altered surety agreement with a copy of the original. Procedural Rules and
original or a copy thereof “shall” be attached to the pleading as an exhibit and deemed a part
Technicalities; It is well to remember at this point that rules of procedure are but mere tools
thereof, to wit: Section 7. Action or defense based on document.— Whenever an action or
designed to facilitate the attainment of justice—their strict and rigid application that would
defense is based upon a written instrument or document, the substance of such instrument or
result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice must
document shall be set forth in the pleading, and the original or a copy thereof shall be attached
always be avoided.—It is well to remember at this point that rules of procedure are but mere
to the pleading as an exhibit, which shall be deemed to be a part of the pleading, or said copy
tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. Their strict and rigid application that
may with like effect be set forth in the pleading.
would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice
must always be avoided. Applied to the instant case, this not only assures that it would be
Actions; Pleadings and Practice; The granting of leave to file amended pleading is a matter
resolved based on real facts, but would also aid in the speedy disposition of the case by utilizing
particularly addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court, and that discretion is broad,
the best evidence possible to determine the rights and obligations of the party litigants.
subject only to the limitations that the amendments should not substantially change the cause
of action or alter the theory of the case, or that it was not made to delay the action.—The
Actions; Pleadings and Practice; Courts; The Regional Trial Court (RTC) committed no reversible
granting of leave to file amended pleading is a matter particularly addressed to the sound
error when it allowed the substitution of the altered surety agreement with that of the
discretion of the trial court; and that discretion is broad, subject only to the limitations that
original.—Contrary to petitioners’ contention, they could not be prejudiced by the substitution
the amendments should not substantially change the cause of action or alter the theory of the
since they can still present the substituted documents, Annexes “A” to A2,” as part of the
case, or that it was not made to delay the action. Nevertheless, as enunciated in Valenzuela,
evidence of their affirmative defenses. The substitution did not prejudice petitioners or delay
even if the amendment substantially alters the cause of action or defense, such amendment
the action. On the contrary, it tended to expedite the determination of the controversy.
could still be allowed when it is sought to serve the higher interest of substantial justice;
Besides, the petitioners are not precluded from filing the appropriate criminal action against
prevent delay; and secure a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of actions and
PBCOM for attaching the altered copy of the surety agreement to the complaint. The
proceedings.
substitution of the documents would not, in any way, erase the existence of falsification, if
any. The case before the RTC is civil in nature, while the alleged falsification is criminal, which
Same; Same; The courts should be liberal in allowing the amendments to pleadings to avoid a
is separate and distinct from another. Thus, the RTC committed no reversible error when it
multiplicity of suits and in order that the real controversies between the parties are presented,
allowed the substitution of the altered surety agreement with that of the original.
their rights determined, and the case decided on the merits without unnecessary delay.—The
courts should be liberal in allowing amendments to pleadings to avoid a multiplicity of suits
Certiorari; A petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is intended for the
and in order that the real controversies between the parties are presented, their rights
correction of errors of jurisdiction only or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
determined, and the case decided on the merits without unnecessary delay. This liberality is
of jurisdiction.—A Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is intended for the
greatest in the early stages of a lawsuit, especially in this case where the amendment was
correction of errors of jurisdiction only or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
made before the trial of the case, thereby giving the petitioners all the time allowed by law to
of jurisdiction. Its principal office is only to keep the inferior court within the parameters of its
answer and to prepare for trial.
jurisdiction or to prevent it from committing such a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction. For a petition for certiorari to prosper, the essential requisites
Same; Same; Amendments of Pleadings; Amendments to pleadings are generally favored and
that have to concur are: (1) the writ is directed against a tribunal, a board or any officer
should be liberally allowed in furtherance of justice in order to speed up the trial of the case or
exercising judicial or quasijudicial functions; (2) such tribunal, board or officer has acted
prevent the circuity of action and unnecessary expense.— Amendments to pleadings are
without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
generally favored and should be liberally allowed in furtherance of justice in order that every
excess of jurisdiction; and (3) there is no appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in
the ordinary course of law. Jurisdiction; The phrase without jurisdiction means that the court Thereafter, on December 16, 1998, AWRI informed the bank of its desire to surrender and/or
acted with absolute lack of authority or want of legal power, right or authority to hear and assign in its favor, all the present properties of the former to apply as dacion en pago for
determine a cause or causes, considered either in general or with reference to a particular AWRI’s existing loan obligation to the bank.7 On January 11, 1999, PBCOM sent a reply denying
matter.—The phrase without jurisdiction means that the court acted with absolute lack of the request. On May 12, 1999, PBCOM sent a letter to petitioners demanding full payment of
authority or want of legal power, right or authority to hear and determine a cause or causes, its obligation to the bank.8
considered either in general or with reference to a particular matter. It means lack of power
to exercise authority. Excess of jurisdiction occurs when the court transcends its power or acts Its demands having remained unheeded, PBCOM instructed its counsel to file a complaint for
without any statutory authority; or results when an act, though within the general power of a collection against petitioners. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 99-352.
tribunal, board or officer (to do) is not authorized, and is invalid with respect to the particular
proceeding, because the conditions which alone authorize the exercise of the general power
On July 3, 1999, petitioners filed their Answer. It alleged, among other things, that they were
in respect of it are wanting. Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical
not personally liable on the promissory notes, because they signed the Surety Agreement in
exercise of judgment as to be equivalent to lack or excess of jurisdiction; simply put, power is
their capacities as officers of AWRI. They claimed that the Surety Agreement attached to the
exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion, prejudice, or personal
complaint as Annexes "A" to "A-2"9 were falsified, considering that when they signed the same,
hostility; and such exercise is so patent or so gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive
the words "In his personal capacity" did not yet appear in the document and were merely
duty or to a virtual refusal either to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation
intercalated thereon without their knowledge and consent.10
of law. The present case failed to comply with the abovestated requisites. In the instant case,
the soundness of the RTC’s Order allowing the substitution of the document involves a matter
of judgment and discretion, which cannot be the proper subject of a petition for certiorari In support of their allegations, petitioners attached to their Answer a certified photocopy of
under Rule 65. This rule is only intended to correct defects of jurisdiction and not to correct the Surety Agreement issued on March 25, 1999 by the Records Management and Archives
errors of procedure or matters in the trial court’s findings or conclusions. Office in Davao City,11 showing that the words "In his personal capacity" were not found at the
DECISION foot of page two of the document where their signatures appeared.12

PERALTA, J.: Because of this development, PBCOM’s counsel searched for and retrieved the file copy of the
Surety Agreement. The notarial copy showed that the words "In his personal capacity" did not
appear on page two of the Surety Agreement.13
This is a petition for review on certiorari, under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to annul
and set aside the Decision1 dated September 28, 2001, rendered by the Court of Appeals (CA)
in CA-G.R. SP No. 57732, dismissing the petition and affirming the assailed Orders of the Petitioners’ counsel then asked PBCOM to explain the alteration appearing on the agreement.
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cagayan de Oro City, Branch 21 in Civil Case No. 99-352, dated PBCOM subsequently discovered that the insertion was ordered by the bank auditor. It alleged
December 14, 1999 and January 11, 2000. that when the Surety Agreement was inspected by the bank auditor, he called the attention of
the loans clerk, Kenneth Cabahug, as to why the words "In his personal capacity" were not
indicated under the signature of each surety, in accordance with bank standard operating
The factual and procedural antecedents are as follows:
procedures. The auditor then ordered Mr. Cabahug to type the words "In his personal capacity"
below the second signatures of petitioners. However, the notary public was never informed of
In June 1993, Asian Water Resources, Inc. (AWRI), represented by herein petitioners, applied the insertion.14 Mr. Cabahug subsequently executed an affidavit15 attesting to the
for a real estate loan with the Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCOM) to fund its purified circumstances why the insertion was made.
water distribution business. In support of the loan application, petitioners submitted a Board
Resolution2 dated June 7, 1993. The loan was guaranteed by collateral over the property
PBCOM then filed a Reply and Answer to Counterclaim with Motion for Leave of Court to
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-13020.3 The loan was eventually approved.4
Substitute Annex "A" of the Complaint,16 wherein it attached the duplicate original copy
retrieved from the file of the notary public. PBCOM also admitted its mistake in making the
In August 1996, AWRI applied for a bigger loan from PBCOM for additional capitalization using insertion and explained that it was made without the knowledge and consent of the notary
the same Board Resolution, but without any additional real estate collateral. Considering that public. PBCOM maintained that the insertion was not a falsification, but was made only to
the proposed additional loan was unsecured, PBCOM required all the members of the Board speak the truth of the parties’ intentions. PBCOM also contended that petitioners were already
of Directors of AWRI to become sureties. Thus, on August 16, 1996, a Surety Agreement 5 was primarily liable on the Surety Agreement whether or not the insertion was made, having
executed by its Directors and acknowledged by a notary public on the same date. All copies of admitted in their pleadings that they voluntarily executed and signed the Surety Agreement in
the Surety Agreement, except two, were kept by PBCOM. Of the two copies kept by the notary the original form. PBCOM, invoking a liberal application of the Rules, emphasized that the
public, one copy was retained for his notarial file and the other was sent to the Records motion incorporated in the pleading can be treated as a motion for leave of court to amend
Management and Archives Office, through the Office of the RTC Clerk of Court.6 and admit the amended complaint pursuant to Section 3, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court.
On December 14, 1999, the RTC issued an Order17 allowing the substitution of the altered I
document with the original Surety Agreement, the pertinent portion of which reads:
The COURT committed a reversible error in affirming in toto the order of the lower court
August 16, 1996 attached as Annexes "A" to "A-2" of the reply and answer Resolving the allowing the substitution of the falsified document by relying on the provision of section 3, rule
Motion to Substitute Annexes "A" to "A-2" of the complaint and the opposition thereto by the 10 of the rules of Court.
defendant, this Court, in the interest of justice, hereby allows the substitution of said Annexes
"A" to "A-2" of the complaint with the duplicate original of notarial copy of the Agreement II
dated to counter-claim.
Acting as the court on the petition for certiorari, the court committed a reversible error having
SO ORDERED. no jurisdiction to rule on the obligation of the petitioners based on the falsified document

Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration,18 but it was denied in the Order19 dated January III
11, 2000, to wit:
The court erred in giving credence to the allegation of respondent bank that from August 15
Resolving the motion for reconsideration and the opposition thereto, the Court finds the to December 9, 1997 asian water resources inc. obtained several availments of new bigger and
motion substantially a reiteration of the opposition to plaintiff’s motion. additional loans totalLing p2,030,000.00 evidenced by 4 promissory notes marked as annexes
"B," "B-1," "B-2" and "B-3."
Additionally, the instant motion for reconsideration treats on evidentiary matter which can be
properly ventilated in the trial proper, hence, there is no cogent reason to disturb the Court’s IV
order of December 14, 1999.
The court failed to consider the misapplication of the principle of equity committed by the
SO ORDERED. lower court in ordering the substitution of the falsified document.22

Aggrieved, petitioners sought recourse before the CA via a petition for certiorari under Rule Petitioners argue that the CA committed a reversible error in affirming the Order of the RTC
65 of the Rules of Court, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 57732. allowing the substitution of the document by relying on Section 3, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court.
Petitioners assert that the Rules do not allow the withdrawal and substitution of a "falsified
Petitioners claimed that the RTC acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse document" once discovered by the opposing party.
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in denying their motion for
reconsideration and in allowing PBCOM to substitute the altered copy of the Surety Agreement Petitioners maintain that PBCOM’s cause of action was solely and principally founded on the
with the duplicate original notarial copy thereof considering that the latter’s cause of action alleged "falsified document" originally marked as
was solely and principally founded on the falsified document marked as Annexes "A" to "A-
2."20
Annexes "A" to "A-2." Thus, the "withdrawal" of the document results in the automatic
withdrawal of the whole complaint on the ground that there is no more cause of action to be
On September 28, 2001, the CA rendered a Decision dismissing the petition for lack of merit, maintained or enforced by plaintiff against petitioners. Also, petitioners argue that if the
the decretal portion of which reads: substitution will be allowed, their defenses that were anchored on Annexes "A" to "A-2" would
be gravely affected. Moreover, considering that the said document was already removed,
WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, the instant petition is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE and, withdrawn, and disregarded by the RTC, the withdrawal and substitution of the document
accordingly, DISMISSED for lack of merit. The assailed Orders dated December 14, 1999 and would prevent petitioners from introducing the falsified documents during the trial as part of
January 11, 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City, Branch 21, are hereby their evidence.23
AFFIRMED in toto.
Petitioners submit that the RTC misapplied the principle of equity when it allowed PBCOM to
SO ORDERED.21 substitute the document with the original agreement. Petitioners also claim that the remedy
of appeal after the termination of the case in the RTC would become ineffective and
Hence, the petition assigning the following errors: inadequate if the Order of the RTC allowing the "withdrawal" and "substitution" of the
document would not be nullified, because the falsified document would no longer be found in
the records of the case during the appeal.24
Petitioners contend that the CA went beyond the issue raised before it when it interpreted the SECTION 3. Amendments by leave of court. Except as provided in the next preceding section,
provisions of the Surety Agreement, particularly paragraph 4 thereof, and then ruled on the substantial amendments may be made only upon leave of court. But such leave may be refused
obligations of the parties based on if it appears to the court that the motion was made with intent to delay. Orders of the court
upon the matters provided in this section shall be made upon motion filed in court, and after
the document. Petitioners posit that the CA prematurely ruled on petitioners’ obligations, notice to the adverse party, and an opportunity to be heard.
considering that their obligations should be determined during trial on the merits, after the
parties have been given the opportunity to present their evidence in support of their This Court has emphasized the import of Section 3, Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
respective claims. Petitioners stress that the CA went into the merit of the case when it gave in Valenzuela v. Court of Appeals,26 thus:
credence to the statement of fact of PBCOM that "From August 15 to December 9, 1997, Asian
Water Resources, Inc. obtained several availments on its additional loans totalling Interestingly, Section 3, Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure amended the former rule
₱2,030,000.00 as evidenced by 4 promissory notes marked as Annexes B, B-1, B-2, and B-3. in such manner that the phrase "or that the cause of action or defense is substantially altered"
Thus, the conclusion of the CA in declaring the petitioners liable as sureties violated their right was stricken-off and not retained in the new rules. The clear import of such amendment in
to due process.25 Section 3, Rule 10 is that under the new rules, "the amendment may (now) substantially alter
the cause of action or defense." This should only be true, however, when despite a substantial
For its part, PBCOM argues that since the complaint is based on an actionable document, i.e., change or alteration in the cause of action or defense, the amendments sought to be made
the surety agreement, the original or a copy thereof should be attached to the pleading as an shall serve the higher interests of substantial justice, and prevent delay and equally promote
exhibit, which shall be deemed part of the pleading. Considering that the surety agreement is the laudable objective of the rules which is to secure a "just, speedy and inexpensive
annexed to the complaint, it is an integral part thereof and its substitution with another copy disposition of every action and proceeding."27
is in the nature of a substantial amendment, which is allowed by the Rules, but with prior leave
of court. The granting of leave to file amended pleading is a matter particularly addressed to the sound
discretion of the trial court; and that discretion is broad, subject only to the limitations that
Moreover, PBCOM alleges that since the Rules provides that substantial amendments may be the amendments should not substantially change the cause of action or alter the theory of the
made upon leave of court, the authority of the RTC to allow the amendment is discretionary. case, or that it was not made to delay the action.28 Nevertheless, as enunciated in Valenzuela,
Thus, the CA correctly held that the act of granting the said substitution was within the clear even if the amendment substantially alters the cause of action or defense, such amendment
and proper discretion of the RTC. could still be allowed when it is sought to serve the higher interest of substantial justice;
prevent delay; and secure a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of actions and
The petition is without merit. proceedings.

As to the substitution of the earlier surety agreement that was annexed to the complaint with The courts should be liberal in allowing amendments to pleadings to avoid a multiplicity of
the original thereof, this Court finds that the RTC did not err in allowing the substitution. suits and in order that the real controversies between the parties are presented, their rights
determined, and the case decided on the merits without unnecessary delay. This liberality is
greatest in the early stages of a lawsuit, especially in this case where the amendment was
The pertinent rule on actionable documents is found in Section 7, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court,
made before the trial of the case, thereby giving the petitioners all the time allowed by law to
which provides that when the cause of action is anchored on a document, its substance must
answer and to prepare for trial.29
be set forth, and the original or a copy thereof "shall" be attached to the pleading as an exhibit
and deemed a part thereof, to wit:
Furthermore, amendments to pleadings are generally favored and should be liberally allowed
in furtherance of justice in order that every case, may so far as possible, be determined on its
Section 7. Action or defense based on document. – Whenever an action or defense is based
real facts and in order to speed up the trial of the case or prevent the circuity of action and
upon a written instrument or document, the substance of such instrument or document shall
unnecessary expense. That is, unless there are circumstances such as inexcusable delay or the
be set forth in the pleading, and the original or a copy thereof shall be attached to the pleading
taking of the adverse party by surprise or the like, which might justify a refusal of permission
as an exhibit, which shall be deemed to be a part of the pleading, or said copy may with like
to amend.30
effect be set forth in the pleading.

In the present case, there was no fraudulent intent on the part of PBCOM in submitting the
With respect to PBCOM’s right to amend its complaint, including the documents annexed
altered surety agreement. In fact, the bank admitted that it was a mistake on their part to have
thereto, after petitioners have filed their answer, Section 3, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court
submitted it in the first place instead of the original agreement. It also admitted that, through
specifically allows amendment by leave of court. The said Section states:
inadvertence, the copy that was attached to the complaint was the copy wherein the words
"IN HIS PERSONAL CAPACITY" were inserted to conform to the bank’s standard practice. This
alteration was made without the knowledge of the notary public. PBCOM’s counsel had no authority. Excess of jurisdiction occurs when the court transcends its power or acts without
idea that what it submitted was the altered document, thereby necessitating the substitution any statutory authority; or results when an act, though within the general power of a tribunal,
of the surety agreement with the original thereof, in order that the case would be judiciously board or officer (to do) is not authorized, and is invalid with respect to the particular
resolved. proceeding, because the conditions which alone authorize the exercise of the general power
in respect of it are wanting. Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical
Verily, it is a cardinal rule of evidence, not just one of technicality but of substance, that the exercise of judgment as to be equivalent to lack or excess of jurisdiction; simply put, power is
written document is the best evidence of its own contents. It is also a matter of both principle exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion, prejudice, or personal
and policy that when the written contract is established as the repository of the parties’ hostility; and such exercise is so patent or so gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive
stipulations, any other evidence is excluded, and the same cannot be used to substitute for duty or to a virtual refusal either to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation
such contract, or even to alter or contradict the latter. 31 The original surety agreement is the of law.35
best evidence that could establish the parties’ respective rights and obligations. In effect, the
RTC merely allowed the amendment of the complaint, which consequently included the The present case failed to comply with the above-stated requisites. In the instant case, the
substitution of the altered surety agreement with a copy of the original. soundness of the RTC’s Order allowing the substitution of the document involves a matter of
judgment and discretion, which cannot be the proper subject of a petition for certiorari under
It is well to remember at this point that rules of procedure are but mere tools designed to Rule 65. This rule is only intended to correct defects of jurisdiction and not to correct errors of
facilitate the attainment of justice. Their strict and rigid application that would result in procedure or matters in the trial court’s findings or conclusions.
technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice must always be
avoided.32 Applied to the instant case, this not only assures that it would be resolved based on However, this Court agrees with the petitioners’ contention that the CA should not have made
real facts, but would also aid in the speedy disposition of the case by utilizing the best evidence determinations as regards the parties’ respective rights based on the surety agreement. The
possible to determine the rights and obligations of the party- litigants. CA went beyond the issues brought before it and effectively preempted the RTC in making its
own determinations. It is to be noted that the present case is still pending determination by
Moreover, contrary to petitioners’ contention, they could not be prejudiced by the the RTC. The CA should have been more cautious and not have gone beyond the issues
substitution since they can still present the substituted documents, Annexes "A" to A-2," as submitted before it in the petition for certiorari; instead, it should have squarely addressed
part of the evidence of their affirmative defenses. The substitution did not prejudice whether or not there was grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC in issuing the Orders
petitioners or delay the action. On the contrary, it tended to expedite the determination of the dated December 14, 1999 and January 11, 2000.
controversy. Besides, the petitioners are not precluded from filing the appropriate criminal
action against PBCOM for attaching the altered copy of the surety agreement to the complaint. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. Subject to the above disquisitions,
The substitution of the documents would not, in any way, erase the existence of falsification, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 57732, dated September 28, 2001, and
if any. The case before the RTC is civil in nature, while the alleged falsification is criminal, which the Orders of the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City, Branch 21, in Civil Case No. 99-
is separate and distinct from another. Thus, the RTC committed no reversible error when it 352, dated December 14, 1999 and January 11, 2000, are AFFIRMED.
allowed the substitution of the altered surety agreement with that of the original.
SO ORDERED.
A Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is intended for the correction of
errors of jurisdiction only or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
jurisdiction. Its principal office is only to keep the inferior court within the parameters of its Associate Justice
jurisdiction or to prevent it from committing such a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction.33

For a petition for certiorari to prosper, the essential requisites that have to concur are: (1) the
writ is directed against a tribunal, a board or any officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial
functions; (2) such tribunal, board or officer has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (3) there is no
appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.341avvphi1

The phrase without jurisdiction means that the court acted with absolute lack of authority or
want of legal power, right or authority to hear and determine a cause or causes, considered
either in general or with reference to a particular matter. It means lack of power to exercise
G.R. No. 133657 May 29, 2002 petitioner to refile the same, when the latter can still clearly amend the complaint as a matter
of right. The amendment of the complaint would not prejudice respondents or delay the
REMINGTON INDUSTRIAL SALES CORPORATION, petitioner, action, as this would, in fact, simplify the case and expedite its disposition.
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS and BRITISH STEEL (ASIA), LTD., respondents. Same; Same; Same; Where some but not all the defendants have answered, the plaintiff may
still amend its complaint once, as a matter of right, in respect to claims asserted solely against
the nonanswering defendant, but not as to claims asserted against the other defendants.—The
Actions; Pleadings and Practice; Amendment of Complaints; A complaint can still be amended
fact that the other defendants below has filed their answers to the complaint does not bar
as a matter of right before an answer has been filed, even if there is a pending proceeding for
petitioner’s right to amend the complaint as against respondent. Indeed, where some but not
its dismissal before the higher court—before the filing of an answer, the plaintiff has the
all the defendants have answered, the plaintiff may still amend its complaint once, as a matter
absolute right to amend the complaint whether a new cause of action or change in theory is
of right, in respect to claims asserted solely against the nonanswering defendant, but not as to
introduced. —The basic issue in this case is whether or not the Court of Appeals, by granting
claims asserted against the other defendants.
the extraordinary writ of certiorari, correctly ordered the dismissal of the complaint for failure
to state a cause of action, despite the fact that petitioner exercised its right to amend the
defective complaint under Section 2, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court. Stated differently, the query
posed before us is: can a complaint still be amended as a matter of right before an answer has YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
been filed, even if there was a pending proceeding for its dismissal before the higher court?
Section 2, Rule 10 of the Revised Rules of Court explicitly states that a pleading maybe Before us is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the decision of
amended as a matter of right before a responsive pleading is served. This only means that prior the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 44529 dated February 24, 19981, which granted the
to the filing of an answer, the plaintiff has the absolute right to amend the complaint whether petition for certiorari filed by respondent British Steel Asia Ltd. (British Steel) and ordered the
a new cause of action or change in theory is introduced. The reason for this rule is implied in dismissal of petitioner Remington Industrial Sales Corporation’s (Remington) complaint for
the subsequent Section 3 of Rule 10. Under this provision, substantial amendment of the sum of money and damages. Also assailed in this petition is the resolution 2 of the Court of
complaint is not allowed without leave of court after an answer has been served, because any Appeals denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.
material change in the allegations contained in the complaint could prejudice the rights of the
defendant who has already set up his defense in the answer. The facts of the case, as culled from the records, are as follows:

Same; Same; Same; It cannot be said that the defendant’s rights are violated by changes made
On August 21, 1996, petitioner filed a complaint3 for sum of money and damages arising from
in the complaint if he has yet to file an answer thereto.—Conversely, it cannot be said that the
breach of contract, docketed as Civil Case No. 96-79674, before the sala of Judge Marino M.
defendant’s rights have been violated by changes made in the complaint if he has yet to file an
De la Cruz of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 22. Impleaded as principal defendant
answer thereto. In such an event, the defendant has not presented any defense that can be
therein was Industrial Steels, Ltd. (ISL), with Ferro Trading GMBH (Ferro) and respondent
altered or affected by the amendment of the complaint in accordance with Section 2 of Rule
British Steel as alternative defendants.
10. The defendant still retains the unqualified opportunity to address the allegations against
him by properly setting up his defense in the answer. Considerable leeway is thus given to the
plaintiff to amend his complaint once, as a matter of right, prior to the filing of an answer by ISL and respondent British Steel separately moved for the dismissal of the complaint on the
the defendant. Same; Same; Same; The right granted to the plaintiff under procedural law to ground that it failed to state a cause of action against them. On April 7, 1997, the RTC denied
amend the complaint before an answer has been served is not precluded by the filing of a the motions to dismiss,4 as well as the ensuing motion for reconsideration. 5 ISL then filed its
motion to dismiss.—The right granted to the plaintiff under procedural law to amend the answer to the complaint.
complaint before an answer has been served is not precluded by the filing of a motion to
dismiss or any other proceeding contesting its sufficiency. Were we to conclude otherwise, the On the other hand, respondent British Steel filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition before
right to amend a pleading under Section 2, Rule 10 will be rendered nugatory and ineffectual, the Court of Appeals,6 docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 44529. Respondent claimed therein that the
since all that a defendant has to do to foreclose this remedial right is to challenge the adequacy complaint did not contain a single averment that respondent committed any act or is guilty of
of the complaint before he files an answer. any omission in violation of petitioner’s legal rights. Apart from the allegation in the
complaint’s "Jurisdictional Facts" that:
Same; Same; Same; The Court finds no practical advantage in ordering the dismissal of the
complaint and for the plaintiff to refile the same, when he can still clearly amend the complaint 1.05. Defendants British Steel (Asia) Ltd. and Ferro Trading Gmbh, while understood
as a matter of right.—In this case, the remedy espoused by the appellate court in its assailed by the plaintiff as mere suppliers of goods for defendant ISL, are impleaded as party
judgment will precisely result in multiple suits, involving the same set of facts and to which the defendants pursuant to Section 13, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court.7
defendants would likely raise the same or, at least, related defenses. Plainly stated, we find no
practical advantage in ordering the dismissal of the complaint against respondent and for
no other reference was made to respondent that would constitute a valid cause of action Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the appellate court’s decision, which was
against it. Since petitioner failed to plead any cause of action against respondent as alternative denied in a resolution dated April 28, 1998. Hence, this petition, anchored on the following
defendant under Section 13, Rule 3,8 the trial court should have ordered the dismissal of the grounds:
complaint insofar as respondent was concerned.
-I-
Meanwhile, petitioner sought to amend its complaint by incorporating therein additional
factual allegations constitutive of its cause of action against respondent. Pursuant to Section THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ORDERING THE DISMISSAL OF THE
2, Rule 109 of the Rules of Court, petitioner maintained that it can amend the complaint as a COMPLAINT AGAINST THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT FOR LACK OF CAUSE OF ACTION
matter of right because respondent has not yet filed a responsive pleading thereto.10 UNDER THE ORIGINAL COMPLAINT EVEN AS SAID COMPLAINT WAS ALREADY
AMENDED AS A MATTER OF RIGHT AND SUFFICIENT CAUSES OF ACTION ARE
Subsequently, petitioner filed a Manifestation and Motion11 in CA-G.R. SP No. 44529 stating AVERRED IN THE AMENDED COMPLAINT, IN GROSS VIOLATION OF SEC. 2, RULE 10
that it had filed a Motion to Admit Amended Complaint together with said Amended Complaint OF THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE.
before the trial court. Hence, petitioner prayed that the proceedings in the special civil action
be suspended. -II-

On January 29, 1998, the trial court ruled on petitioner’s Motion to Admit Amended Complaint THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT IF THE PETITIONER WANTS
thus: TO PURSUE ITS CASE AGAINST THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT, IT HAS TO REFILE THE
COMPLAINT, THUS PRE-EMPTING THE RIGHT OF THE LOWER COURT TO RULE ON
WHEREFORE, the Amended Complaint is NOTED and further proceedings thereon THE AMENDED COMPLAINT AND COMPELLING THE PETITIONER TO LITIGATE ITS
and action on the other incidents as aforementioned are hereby held in abeyance CAUSES OF ACTION AGAINST THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT AS AN ALTERNATIVE
until final resolution by the Honorable Court of Appeals (Special 6th Division) of the DEFENDANT IN A SEPARATE ACTION, THEREBY ABETTING MULTIPLICITY OF SUITS. 15
petition for certiorari and prohibition of petitioner (defendant British) and/or
Manifestations and Motions of therein private respondent, herein plaintiff. The basic issue in this case is whether or not the Court of Appeals, by granting the
extraordinary writ of certiorari, correctly ordered the dismissal of the complaint for failure to
SO ORDERED.12 state a cause of action, despite the fact that petitioner exercised its right to amend the
defective complaint under Section 2, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court. Stated differently, the query
Thereafter, on February 24, 1998, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed decision in CA- posed before us is: can a complaint still be amended as a matter of right before an answer has
G.R. SP No. 44529 as follows: been filed, even if there was a pending proceeding for its dismissal before the higher court?

WHEREFORE, this Court grants the writ of certiorari and orders the respondent judge Section 2, Rule 1016 of the Revised Rules of Court explicitly states that a pleading may be
to dismiss without prejudice the Complaint in Civil Case No. 96-79674 against amended as a matter of right before a responsive pleading is served. This only means that prior
petitioner British Steel (Asia) Ltd. Costs against private respondent. to the filing of an answer, the plaintiff has the absolute right to amend the complaint whether
a new cause of action or change in theory is introduced.17 The reason for this rule is implied in
the subsequent Section 3 of Rule 1018. Under this provision, substantial amendment of the
SO ORDERED.13
complaint is not allowed without leave of court after an answer has been served, because any
material change in the allegations contained in the complaint could prejudice the rights of the
In the same decision, the Court of Appeals addressed petitioner’s prayer for suspension of defendant who has already set up his defense in the answer.
proceedings in this wise:
Conversely, it cannot be said that the defendant’s rights have been violated by changes made
The incident which transpired after the filing of the instant petition for certiorari and in the complaint if he has yet to file an answer thereto. In such an event, the defendant has
prohibition are immaterial in the resolution of this petition. What this Court is called not presented any defense that can be altered19 or affected by the amendment of the
upon to resolve is whether the lower court committed grave abuse of discretion complaint in accordance with Section 2 of Rule 10. The defendant still retains the unqualified
when it denied petitioner’s motion to dismiss the complaint against it. The admission opportunity to address the allegations against him by properly setting up his defense in the
or rejection by the lower court of said amended complaint will not, insofar as this answer. Considerable leeway is thus given to the plaintiff to amend his complaint once, as a
Court is concerned, impinge upon the issue of whether or not said court gravely matter of right, prior to the filing of an answer by the defendant.
abused its discretion in denying petitioner’s motion to dismiss.14
The right granted to the plaintiff under procedural law to amend the complaint before an
answer has been served is not precluded by the filing of a motion to dismiss 20 or any other
proceeding contesting its sufficiency. Were we to conclude otherwise, the right to amend a
pleading under Section 2, Rule 10 will be rendered nugatory and ineffectual, since all that a
defendant has to do to foreclose this remedial right is to challenge the adequacy of the
complaint before he files an answer.

Moreover, amendment of pleadings is favored and should be liberally allowed in the


furtherance of justice in order to determine every case as far as possible on its merits without
regard to technicalities. This principle is generally recognized to speed up trial and save party
litigants from incurring unnecessary expense, so that a full hearing on the merits of every case
may be had and multiplicity of suits avoided.21

In this case, the remedy espoused by the appellate court in its assailed judgment will precisely
result in multiple suits, involving the same set of facts and to which the defendants would likely
raise the same or, at least, related defenses. Plainly stated, we find no practical advantage in
ordering the dismissal of the complaint against respondent and for petitioner to re-file the
same, when the latter can still clearly amend the complaint as a matter of right. The
amendment of the complaint would not prejudice respondents or delay the action, as this
would, in fact, simplify the case and expedite its disposition.

The fact that the other defendants below has filed their answers to the complaint does not bar
petitioner’s right to amend the complaint as against respondent. Indeed, where some but not
all the defendants have answered, the plaintiff may still amend its complaint once, as a matter
of right, in respect to claims asserted solely against the non-answering defendant, but not as
to claims asserted against the other defendants.22

Furthermore, we do not agree with respondent’s claim that it will be prejudiced by the
admission of the Amended Complaint because it had spent time, money and effort to file its
petition before the appellate court.23 We cannot see how the result could be any different for
respondent, if petitioner merely re-filed the complaint instead of being allowed to amend it.
As adverted to earlier, amendment would even work to respondent’s advantage since it will
undoubtedly speed up the proceedings before the trial court. Consequently, the amendment
should be allowed in the case at bar as a matter of right in accordance with the rules.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed decision and resolution of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 44529 dated February 24, 1998 and April 28, 1998, respectively, are
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 22 is further ordered to
ADMIT petitioner’s Amended Complaint in Civil Case No. 96-79674 and to conduct further
proceedings in said case.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 193650 October 8, 2014 Petitioner, versus Hon. Eddie R. Roxas (in his capacity as the former Pairing Judge), Hon.
Panambulan M Mimbisa (in his capacity as the Presiding Judge of RTC, Branch 37, General
GEORGE PIDLIP P. PALILEO and JOSE DE LA CRUZ, Petitioners, Santos City), Sheriff Marilyn P. Alano, Sheriff Ramon A. Castillo, George Philip P. Palileo, and
vs. Jose Dela Cruz, Respondents," as well as its August 23, 2010 Resolution3 denying
PLANTERS DEVELOPMENT BANK, Respondent. reconsideration of the assailed amended judgment.

Pleadings and Practice; Service of Pleadings by Courier Service; Service and filing of pleadings Factual Antecedents
by courier service is a mode not provided in the Rules.—Indeed, its filing or service of a copy
thereof to petitioners by courier service cannot be trivialized. Service and filing of pleadings by In a June 15, 2006 Decision4 rendered by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of General Santos City,
courier service is a mode not provided in the Rules. This is not to mention that PDB sent a copy Branch 37, in an action for specific performance/sum of money with damages docketed as Civil
of its omnibus motion to an address or area which was not covered by LBC courier service at Case No. 6474 and entitled "George Philip P. Palileo and Jose Dela Cruz, Plaintiffs, versus,
the time. Realizing its mistake, PDB refiled and resent the omnibus motion by registered mail, Planters Development Bank, Engr. Edgardo R. Torcende, Arturo R. delos Reyes, Benjamin N.
which is the proper mode of service under the circumstances. By then, however, the 15day Tria, Mao Tividad and Emmanuel Tesalonia, Defendants," it was held thus:
period had expired.
Before this Court is a complaint for specific performance and/or sum of money and damages
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Judgments; Doctrine of Finality of Judgments; Finality of a with prayer for the issuance of writs of preliminary attachment and preliminary injunction filed
judgment or order becomes a fact upon the lapse of the reglementary period to appeal if no by Plaintiff George Philip Palileo and Jose L. Dela Cruz against Engr. Edgardo R. Torcende,
appeal is perfected, and is conclusive as to the issues actually determined and to every matter Planters Development Bank (defendant Bank), Arturo R. Delos Reyes, Benjamin N. Tria, Mao
which the parties might have litigated and have decided as incident to or essentially connected Tividad, and Emmanuel Tesalonia on 22 December 1998.
with the subject matter of the litigation, and every matter coming within the legitimate purview
of the original action both in respect to matters of claim and of defense.—Since PDB’s Omnibus
After summons together with the verified Complaint and its annexes were duly served upon
Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial was filed late and the 15day period within which
defendants, the latter answered. During Pre-Trial conference defendant Bank manifested [its]
to appeal expired without PDB filing the requisite notice of appeal, it follows that its right to
intention of settling the case amicably and several attempts to explore the said settlement
appeal has been foreclosed; it may no longer question the trial court’s Decision in any other
[were] made as per records of this case. In the last pre-trial hearing dated 17 November 2000,
manner. “Settled is the rule that a party is barred from assailing the correctness of a judgment
only plaintiffs[,] George Philip Palileo and Jose L. Dela Cruz[,] and their counsel appeared, thus,
not appealed from by him.” The “presumption that a party who did not interject an appeal is
the latter move [sic] for the presentation of evidence ex-parte, which was granted by the Court
satisfied with the adjudication made by the lower court” applies to it. There being no appeal
with the reservation of verifying the return card [to determine] whether the order for the pre-
taken by PDB from the adverse judgment of the trial court, its Decision has become final and
trial was indeed received by defendants. Finally, [at the] 21 November 2001 hearing, x x x
can no longer be reviewed, much less reversed, by this Court. “Finality of a judgment or order
defendants [again] failed to appear and their failure to file pre-trial brief was noted; thus
becomes a fact upon the lapse of the reglementary period to appeal if no appeal is perfected,
[plaintiffs were] allowed to present evidence ex-parte before the Clerk of Court.
and is conclusive as to the issues actually determined and to every matter which the parties
might have litigated and have x x x decided as incident to or essentially connected with the
subject matter of the litigation, and every matter coming within the legitimate purview of the xxxx
original action both in respect to matters of claim and of defense.” And “[i]n this jurisdiction,
the rule is that when a judgment becomes final and executory, it is the ministerial duty of the IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, defendants are hereby ORDERED to jointly and severally PAY
court to issue a writ of execution to enforce the judgment”; “execution will issue as a matter plaintiffs as follows:
of right x x x (a) when the judgment has become final and executory; (b) when the judgment
debtor has renounced or waived his right of appeal; [or] (c) when the period for appeal has i) Actual Damages;
lapsed without an appeal having been filed.

a) Plaintiff George Philip Palileo[,] the amount of Two Million Six Hundred
Five Thousand Nine [sic] Seventy Two Pesos and Ninety Two Centavos
DECISION (₱2,605,972.92), with 12% compounded interest [per annum] reckoned
from the filing of this case until full settlement thereof;
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
b) Plaintiff Jose R. Dela Cruz[,] the amount of One Million Five Hundred
This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 assails the July 28, 2009 Amended Decision2 of the Twenty Nine Thousand Five Hundred Eight Thousand [sic] and Eighty
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 01317-MIN, entitled "Planters Development Bank,
Centavos (₱1,529,508.80), with 12% compounded interest [per annum] thru registered mail on 2 August 2006. Said motion was set for hearing by the movant on 18
reckoned from the filing of this case until full settlement thereof; August 2006 or 16 days after its filing.

ii) Moral damages in the amount of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱500,000.00) The motion fails to impress. Section 5, Rule 159 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure as
each; amended is pertinent thus:

iii) Exemplary Damages in the amount of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos Section 5. Notice of hearing. – The notice of hearing shall be addressed to all parties concerned,
(₱500,000.00) each; and shall specify the time and date of the hearing which must not be later than ten (10) days
after the filing of the motion. (Underscoring and italics supplied)
iv) Attorney’s Fees in the amount of Five Hundred Thousand [Pesos] (₱500,000.00)
each x x x and to pay the costs. The aforesaid provision requires [that] every motion shall be addressed to all parties
concerned, and shall specify the time and date of the hearing NOT later than ten (10) days
SO ORDERED.5 after the filing of the motion. Being a litigated motion, the aforesaid rule should have been
complied [with]. Its noncompliance renders it defective.
Respondent Planters Development Bank (PDB) received a copy of the RTC Decision on July 17,
2006. [The] Rule is settled that a motion in violation thereof is pro forma and a mere scrap of paper.
It presents no question which the court could decide [upon]. In fact, the court has NO reason
to consider it[;] neither [does] the clerk of court [have] the right to receive the same. Palpably,
On July 31, 2006, PDB filed by private courier service – specifically LBC6 – an Omnibus Motion
the motion is nothing but an empty formality deserving no judicial cognizance. Hence, the
for Reconsideration and for New Trial,7 arguing therein that the trial court’s Decision was
motion deserves a short shrift and peremptory denial for being procedurally defective.
based on speculation and inadmissible and selfserving pieces of evidence; that it was declared
in default after its counsel failed to attend the pre-trial conference on account of the distance
involved and difficulty in booking a flight to General Santos City; that it had adequate and As such, it does not toll the running of the reglementary period thus making the assailed
sufficient defenses to the petitioners’ claims; that petitioners’ claims are only against its decision final and executory. This supervening situation renders the Motion for Execution
codefendant, Engr. Edgardo R. Torcende [Torcende]; that the award of damages and attorney’s pending appeal academic but at the same time it operates and could serve [as] well as a motion
fees had no basis; and that in the interest of justice, it should be given the opportunity to cross- for execution of the subject final and executory decision. Corollarily, it now becomes the
examine the petitioners’ witnesses, and thereafter present its evidence. ministerial duty of this Court to issue a writ of execution thereon.

Petitioners’ copy of the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial was likewise IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and New Trial is
sent on July 31, 2006 by courier service through LBC, but in their address of record – Tupi, hereby DENIED, and the Motion for Execution Pending Appeal (which is treated as a motion
South Cotabato – there was no LBC service at the time. for execution of a final and executory judgment) is also GRANTED as explained above.
Accordingly, let A WRIT OF EXECUTION be issued against herein defendants to enforce the
FINAL and EXECUTORY Decision dated 15 June 2006.
On August 2, 2006, PDB filed with the RTC another copy of the Omnibus Motion for
Reconsideration and for New Trial via registered mail; another copy thereof was
simultaneously sent to petitioners by registered mail as well. SO ORDERED.10

Meanwhile, petitioners moved for the execution of the Decision pending appeal. PDB received a copy of the above August 30, 2006 Order on September 14, 2006.11

In an August 30, 2006 Order,8 the RTC denied the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and On August 31, 2006, a Writ of Execution12 was issued. PDB filed an Urgent Motion to Quash
for New Trial, while it granted petitioners’ motion for execution pending appeal, which it Writ of Execution,13 arguing that it was prematurely issued as the June 15, 2006 Decision was
treated as a motion for the execution of a final and executory judgment. The trial court held, not yet final and executory; that its counsel has not received a copy of the writ; and that no
as follows: entry of judgment has been made with respect to the trial court’s Decision. Later on, it filed a
Supplemental Motion to Quash Writ of Execution,14 claiming that the writ was addressed to
its General Santos branch, which had no authority to accept the writ.
Anent the first motion, records show that the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for
New Trial dated 28 July 2006 was initially filed via an LBC courier on 28 July 2006 and was
actually received by the Court on 31 July 2006, which was followed by filing of the same motion On September 7, 2006, PDB filed a Notice of Appeal.15
In an October 6, 2006 Order,16 the RTC denied the motion to quash the writ of execution. proceedings; that the court acted with partiality in declaring that the Omnibus Motion for
Reconsideration and for New Trial was pro forma; that its notice of appeal was timely; and that
On October 9, 2006, the RTC issued a second Writ of Execution.17 the writs of execution are null and void.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals On July 28, 2009, the CA made a complete turnaround and issued the assailed Amended
Decision, which decreed thus:
On October 11, 2006, PDB filed with the CA an original Petition for Certiorari, which was later
amended,18 assailing 1) the trial court’s August 30, 2006 Order – which denied the omnibus WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is GRANTED. This Court’s May 31, 2007 Decision
motion for reconsideration of the RTC Decision and for new trial; 2) its October 6, 2006 Order is SET ASIDE and a new one is rendered GRANTING the petition for certiorari. The trial court’s
– which denied the motion to quash the writ of execution; and 3) the August 31, 2006 and Order dated August 30, 2006 is SET ASIDE and the Writ of Execution issued by the trial court is
October 9, 2006 writs of execution. QUASHED. The trial court is ORDERED to hear and rule on the merits of petitioner’s "Omnibus
Motion for Reconsideration and New Trial."
On May 31, 2007, the CA issued a Decision19 dismissing PDB’s Petition for lack of merit. It
sustained the trial court’s pronouncement, that by setting the hearing of the Omnibus Motion SO ORDERED.23
for Reconsideration and for New Trial on August 18, 2006 – or 16 days after its filing on August
2, 2006 – PDB violated Section 5, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court which categorically requires The CA reversed its original finding that the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New
that the notice of hearing shall specify the time and date of the hearing which must not be Trial was pro forma. This time, it held just the opposite, ruling that PDB’s "tacit argument" that
later than 10 days after the filing of the motion. Citing this Court’s ruling in Bacelonia v. Court the "distances involved in the case at bench call for a relaxation of the application of Section
of Appeals,20 the CA declared that the 10-day period prescribed in Section 5 is mandatory, 5, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court" deserved consideration. It held that Section 5 should be read
and a motion that fails to comply therewith is pro forma and presents no question which merits together with Section 424 of the same Rule, thus:
the attention and consideration of the court.
When a pleading is filed and served personally, there is no question that the requirements in
The appellate court further characterized PDB’s actions as indicative of a deliberate attempt Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure pose no problem to the
to delay the proceedings, noting that it did not timely move to reconsider the trial court’s party pleading. Under this mode of service and filing of pleadings, the party pleading is able to
November 17, 2000 ruling21 allowing petitioners to present their evidence ex parte, nor did it ensure receipt by the other party of his pleading at least three days prior to the date of hearing
move to be allowed to present evidence in support of its defense. It was only after the RTC while at the same time setting the hearing on a date not later than ten days from the filing of
rendered its June 15, 2006 Decision that PDB moved to be allowed to cross-examine the pleading.
petitioners’ witnesses and to present its evidence on defense.
When, as in the case at bench, the address of the trial court as well as that of the opposing
The CA likewise held that the RTC did not err in ruling that the omnibus motion for counsel is too distant from the office of the counsel of the party pleading to personally effect
reconsideration did not toll the running of the prescriptive period, which thus rendered the the filing and service of the pleading, the latter counsel faces a real predicament. In a perfect
June 15, 2006 Decision final and executory. It noted as well that PDB’s September 7, 2006 world with the best postal service possible, it would be problematic enough to ensure that
notice of appeal was tardy. both requisites are fully met: that opposing counsel receives the pleading at least three days
before the date of hearing and that the date of hearing is no more than ten days after the filing
The CA found no irregularity with respect to the writs of execution, which contained the fallo (mailing) of the pleading. But, as a matter of fact, given the state of the postal service today –
of the June 15, 2006 Decision of the RTC – thus itemizing the amount of the judgment a matter the Court takes judicial notice of – the party pleading often finds himself [locked]
obligation. Additionally, it held that the fact that the judgment debtors are held solidarily liable between the horns of a dilemma.
does not require that the writs should be served upon all of the defendants; that it is not true
that the sheriffs failed to make a demand for the satisfaction of judgment upon PDB, as the The case at bench presents the Court with the novel issue of whether the same rigid
mere presentation of the writ to it operated as a demand to pay; and that PDB failed to attach application of the cited Sections-and-Rule is warranted when the filing and service of pleadings
the Sheriff’s Return to its Petition, which thus prevents the appellate court from resolving its is by mail. The Court is of the opinion that when confronted between [sic] the demands of
claim that the writs were not validly served. sufficient notice and due process on the one hand and the requirement that the date of
hearing be set no later than ten days from filing, the stringent application of the Rules is not
PDB filed a Motion for Reconsideration,22 arguing that Rule 15, Section 5 of the Rules of Court warranted and a liberal posture is more in keeping with Section 6, Rule 1 of the 1997 Rules of
should be relaxed in view of the fact that judgment against it was based on a technicality – and Civil Procedure which provides:
not on a trial on the merits; that there was no deliberate intention on its part to delay the
SECTION 6. Construction. - These Rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote their Petitioners argue that PDB’s filing of its Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial
objective of securing a just, speedy, and inexpensive disposition of every action and on July 31, 2006 by courier service through LBC was improper, since there was no LBC courier
proceeding.25 service in Tupi, South Cotabato at the time; naturally, they did not receive a copy of the
omnibus motion. This is precisely the reason why PDB re-filed its omnibus motion on August
The CA further sustained PDB’s argument that since judgment against it was arrived at by mere 2, 2006 through registered mail, that is, to cure the defective service by courier; but by then,
default or technicality, it is correspondingly entitled to a relaxation of the Rules, in line with the 15-day period within which to move for reconsideration or new trial, or to file a notice of
the principles of substantial justice. It likewise held that PDB counsel’s act of setting the appeal, had already expired, as the last day thereof fell on August 1, 2006 – counting from
hearing of the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial 16 days after its filing PDB’s receipt of the trial court’s Decision on July 17, 2006.
was an excusable lapse; that no scheme to delay the case is evident from PDB’s actions; that
more telling is the trial court’s "blurring in cavalier fashion" the distinction between Sections Petitioners add that PDB’s notice of appeal – which was filed only on September 7, 2006 – was
1 and 2 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court,26 as well as its unequal treatment of the parties from tardy as well; that PDB’s resort to an original Petition for Certiorari to assail the trial court’s
its strict application of Section 5, Rule 15 against respondent, while it bent backward to August 30, 2006 Order denying the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial was
accommodate petitioners by converting the latter’s motion for execution pending appeal into improper, for as provided under Section 9, Rule 37 of the Rules of Court,30 an order denying
a motion for execution of a final and executor judgment. a motion for new trial or reconsideration is not appealable, the remedy being an appeal from
the judgment or final order; that certiorari was resorted to only to revive PDB’s appeal, which
Lastly, the appellate court concluded that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion, was already lost; and that it was merely a face-saving measure resorted to by PDB to recover
which thus warrants the grant of PDB’s Petition for Certiorari. from its glaring blunders, as well as to delay the execution of the RTC Decision. They also assert
that certiorari is not an available remedy, since PDB did not file a motion for reconsideration
with respect to the other assailed orders of the trial court.
Petitioners filed their Urgent Motion for Reconsideration,27 which the CA denied through its
assailed August 23, 2010 Resolution. Hence, the instant Petition.
Petitioners maintain as well that the CA erred in relaxing the application of the Rules of Court
as to PDB, a banking institution with adequate resources to engage counsel within General
Issues
Santos City and not relegate Civil Case No. 6474 to its Manila lawyers who are thus constrained
by the distance involved.
Petitioners frame the issues involved in this Petition, as follows:
Respondent’s Arguments
Being assailed herein is the refusal of the Court of Appeals, which is a patent error, for not
giving credence to petitioners-appellants’ arguments that the respondent-appellees’ special
Seeking the denial of the Petition, PDB in its Comment31 maintains that the CA did not err in
civil action for certiorari before it is clearly devoid of merit as (i) the Decision dated June 15,
declaring that its Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial was not pro forma;
2006 of the RTC, Branch 37, General Santos City had become final and executory before the
that there are justifiable grounds to move for reconsideration and/or new trial; that it had no
special civil action for Certiorari was filed before it which should have been dismissed outright,
intention to delay the proceedings; that it was correct for the appellate court to relax the
and which issue of "finality" was never ruled upon, (ii) granting arguendo that a certiorari
application of Section 5, Rule 15; and that the CA is correct in finding that the trial court
proceeding could still be had, the same should be filed under Rule 45 instead of Rule 65 of the
committed grave abuse of discretion in misapplying the Rules and in exhibiting partiality.
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, (iii) the alleged attendant abuse of discretion on the part of the
public respondent judges, even granting arguendo that it exist [sic], were [sic] not grave but
on the contrary were purely errors of judgment and, (iv) the substantial and glaring defects of Our Ruling
the petition in the special civil action for certiorari before the Court of Appeals were
consistently and clearly called to its attention but were unjustifiably ignored by it.28 The Court grants the Petition.

Petitioners’ Arguments The proceedings in the instant case would have been greatly abbreviated if the court a quo
and the CA did not overlook the fact that PDB’s Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for
In their Petition and Reply,29 petitioners seek to reverse the assailed CA dispositions and to New Trial was filed one day too late. The bank received a copy of the trial court’s June 15, 2006
reinstate the appellate court’s original May 31, 2007 Decision, arguing that the trial court’s Decision on July 17, 2006; thus, it had 15 days – or up to August 1, 2006 – within which to file
June 15, 2006 Decision became final and executor on account of PDB’s failure to timely file its a notice of appeal, motion for reconsideration, or a motion for new trial, pursuant to the Rules
Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial, as it properly filed the same only on of Court.32 Yet, it filed the omnibus motion for reconsideration and new trial only on August
August 2, 2006 – or beyond the 15-day period allowed by the Rules of Court. 2, 2006.
Indeed, its filing or service of a copy thereof to petitioners by courier service cannot be Fourth, instead of properly pursuing its appeal to free itself from the unfavorable effects of the
trivialized.1âwphi1 Service and filing of pleadings by courier service is a mode not provided in trial court’s denial of its notice of appeal, PDB chose with disastrous results to gamble on its
the Rules.33 (Rule 13, on Filing and Service of Pleadings, Judgments and Other Papers; Heirs Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial by filing an original Petition for
of Numeriano Miranda, Sr. v. Miranda, G.R. No. 179638, July 8, 2013, 700 SCRA 746, 755.) This Certiorari to assail the trial court’s denial thereof. Time and again, it has been said that
is not to mention that PDB sent a copy of its omnibus motion to an address or area which was certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal, especially if one’s own negligence or error in
not covered by LBC courier service at the time. Realizing its mistake, PDB re-filed and re-sent one’s choice of remedy occasioned such loss.40
the omnibus motion by registered mail, which is the proper mode of service under the
circumstances. By then, however, the 15-day period had expired. What remains relevant for this Court to resolve, then, is the issue relative to the trial court’s
October 6, 2006 Order – which denied the motion to quash the writ of execution – and the
PDB’s Notice of Appeal, which was filed only on September 7, 2006, was tardy; it had only up August 31, 2006 and October 9, 2006 writs of execution. The Court observes that the October
to August 1, 2006 within which to file the same. The trial court therefore acted regularly in 6, 2006 Order and the August 31, 2006 and October 9, 2006 writs of execution were set aside
denying PDB’s notice of appeal. and quashed merely as a necessary consequence of the CA’s directive in the Amended Decision
for the trial court to hear and rule on the merits of PDB’s Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration
Since PDB’s Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial was filed late and the 15- and for New Trial. Other than this singular reason, the CA would have sustained them, and this
day period within which to appeal expired without PDB filing the requisite notice of appeal, it is clear from a reading of both its original May 31, 2007 Decision and its subsequent Amended
follows that its right to appeal has been foreclosed; it may no longer question the trial court’s Decision. Now, since the Court has herein declared that PDB’s omnibus motion may not be
Decision in any other manner. "Settled is the rule that a party is barred from assailing the considered for being tardy and for having been superseded by the bank’s filing of a notice of
correctness of a judgment not appealed from by him."34 The "presumption that a party who appeal, then the CA’s original pronouncement regarding the October 6, 2006 Order and the
did not interject an appeal is satisfied with the adjudication made by the lower court"35 applies August 31, 2006 and October 9, 2006 writs of execution should necessarily be reinstated as
to it. There being no appeal taken by PDB from the adverse judgment of the trial court, its well.
Decision has become final and can no longer be reviewed, much less reversed, by this Court.
"Finality of a judgment or order becomes a fact upon the lapse of the reglementary period to In light of the above conclusions, the Court finds no need to further discuss the other issues
appeal if no appeal is perfected, and is conclusive as to the issues actually determined and to raised by the parties. They are rendered irrelevant by the above pronouncements.
every matter which the parties might have litigated and have x x x decided as incident to or
essentially connected with the subject matter of the litigation, and every matter coming within WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The assailed July 28, 2009 Amended Decision and
the legitimate purview of the original action both in respect to matters of claim and of August 23, 2010 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 01317-MIN are REVERSED
defense."36 And "[i]n this jurisdiction, the rule is that when a judgment becomes final and and SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court of General Santos City, Branch 37 is ORDERED to
executory, it is the ministerial duty of the court to issue a writ of execution to enforce the proceed with the execution ofits June 15, 2006 Decision in Civil Case No. 6474.
judgment;"37 "execution will issue as a matter of right x x x (a) when the judgment has become
final and executory; (b) when the judgment debtor has renounced or waived his right of
SO ORDERED.
appeal; [or] (c) when the period for appeal has lapsed without an appeal having been filed x x
x."38
MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
Associate Justice
Neither can the Court lend a helping hand to extricate PDB from the effects of its mistake;
indeed, PDB erred more than once during the course of the proceedings. For one, it did not
attempt to set right its failure to appear during pre-trial, which prompted the court to allow
petitioners to present evidence ex parte and obtain a favorable default judgment. Second,
assuming for the sake of argument that it timely filed its Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration
and for New Trial, it nonetheless violated the ten-day requirement on the notice of hearing
under Section 5 of Rule 15. Third, even before it could be notified of the trial court’s resolution
of its omnibus motion on September 14, 2006 – assuming it was timely filed, it filed a notice
of appeal on September 7, 2006 – which thus implies that it abandoned its bid for
reconsideration and new trial, and instead opted to have the issues resolved by the CA through
the remedy of appeal. If so, then there is no Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New
Trial that the trial court must rule upon; its August 30, 2006 Order thus became moot and
academic and irrelevant. "[W]here [an action] or issue has become moot and academic, there
is no justiciable controversy, so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or
value."39
G.R. No. 179638 July 8, 2013 This Petition for Review on Certiorari2 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assails the Decision3
dated June 14, 2007 and the Resolution4 dated September 11, 2007 of the Court of Appeals
HEIRS OF NUMERIANO MIRANDA, SR., namely: CIRILA (deceased), CORNELIO, (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 97350.
NUMERIANO, JR., ERLINDA, LOLITA, RUFINA, DANILO, ALEJANDRO, FELIMON, TERESITA,
ELIZABETH and ANALIZA, all surnamed MIRANDA, Petitioners, Factual Antecedents
vs.
PABLO R. MIRANDA, Respondent. In 1994, petitioners Cirila, Cornelio, Numeriano, Jr., Erlinda, Lolita, Rufina, Danilo, Alejandro,
Felimon, Teresita, Elizabeth, and Analiza, all surnamed Miranda, representing themselves as
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Appeals; It is basic and elementary that a Notice of Appeal the heirs of Numeriano Miranda, Sr., filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Muntinlupa
should be filed “within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment or final order appealed City, a Complaint5 for Annulment of Titles and Specific Performance, docketed as Civil Case No.
from.”―It is basic and elementary that a Notice of Appeal should be filed “within fifteen (15) 94-612, against the heirs of Pedro Miranda, namely: Pacita and Oscar Miranda; the heir of
days from notice of the judgment or final order appealed from.” Under Section 3, Rule 13 of Tranquilino Miranda, Rogelio Miranda; and the spouses respondent Pablo Miranda and Aida
the Rules of Court, pleadings may be filed in court either personally or by registered mail. In Lorenzo.
the first case, the date of filing is the date of receipt. In the second case, the date of mailing is
the date of receipt. In this case, however, the counsel for petitioners filed the Notice of Appeal After trial, the RTC, Branch 256, rendered a Decision6 dated August 30, 1999, the dispositive
via a private courier, a mode of filing not provided in the Rules. Though not prohibited by the portion of which reads:
Rules, we cannot consider the filing of petitioners’ Notice of Appeal via LBC timely filed. It is
established jurisprudence that “the date of delivery of pleadings to a private letter forwarding
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this court resolves:
agency is not to be considered as the date of filing thereof in court”; instead, “the date of
actual receipt by the court x x x is deemed the date of filing of that pleading.” Records show
that the Notice of Appeal was mailed on the 15th day and was received by the court on the 1. To uphold and sustain the validity of TCT Nos. 186011, 186012, and 186013;
16th day or one day beyond the reglementary period. Thus, the CA correctly ruled that the
Notice of Appeal was filed out of time. 2. Ordering Pablo Miranda to indemnify all other heirs of NUMERIANO MIRANDA the amount
equivalent to 12/13 fair market value of the co-owned residential house, erected on the lot
Same; Same; Judgments; Revival of Judgments; An action for revival of judgment is a new and 826-A-3 covered by TCT No. 186013 corresponding to their shares, and for the said heirs to
independent action. It is different and distinct from the original judgment sought to be revived divide among themselves the aforesaid amount as follows:
or enforced.―An action for revival of judgment is a new and independent action. It is different 1/13 to CIRILA MIRANDA
and distinct from the original judgment sought to be revived or enforced. As such, a party 1/13 to CORNELIO MIRANDA
aggrieved by a decision of a court in an action for revival of judgment may appeal the decision, 1/13 to NUMERIANO MIRANDA, JR.
but only insofar as the merits of the action for revival is concerned. The original judgment, 1/13 to ERLINDA MIRANDA
which is already final and executory, may no longer be reversed, altered, or modified. 1/13 to LOLITA MIRANDA
1/13 to RUFINA MIRANDA
Same; Same; Same; An action for revival of judgment may be filed either “in the same court 1/13 to DANILO MIRANDA
where said judgment was rendered or in the place where the plaintiff or defendant resides, or 1/13 to ALEJANDRO MIRANDA
in any other place designated by the statutes which treat of the venue of actions in 1/13 to FELIMON MIRANDA
general.”―As to whether the RTC has jurisdiction, we rule in the affirmative. An action for 1/13 to TERESITA MIRANDA
revival of judgment may be filed either “in the same court where said judgment was rendered 1/13 to ELIZABETH MIRANDA
or in the place where the plaintiff or defendant resides, or in any other place designated by 1/13 to ANALIZA MIRANDA
the statutes which treat of the venue of actions in general.” In this case, respondent filed the
Petition for Revival of Judgment in the same court which rendered the Decision dated August 3. Ordering Plaintiffs Lolita Miranda, Alejandro Miranda, Teresita Miranda, Rufina Miranda and
30, 1999. all persons claiming rights under them to immediately vacate the abovementioned residential
DECISION house and to jointly and severally pay to the spouses Pablo and Aida Miranda a monthly rental
of ₱2,000.00 from the date of notice of the promulgation of this judgment up to the time that
DEL CASTILLO, J.: they have actually vacated the property;

An action for revival of a judgment cannot modify, alter, or reverse the original judgment, 4. Proclaiming that ROGELIO MIRANDA is not the biological son or child by nature of
which is already final and executory.1 TRANQUILINO MIRANDA, and therefore is not entitled to inherit from the latter;
5. Declaring CORNELIO MIRANDA, NUMERIANO MIRANDA, JR., ERLINDA MIRANDA, LOLITA On June 20, 2006, the RTC rendered a Decision16 granting the Petition. Thus:
MIRANDA, RUFINA MIRANDA, DANIL[O] MIRANDA, ALEJANDRO MIRANDA, FELIMON
MIRANDA, TERESITA MIRANDA, ELIZABETH MIRANDA, ANALIZA MIRANDA, PABLO MIRANDA WHEREFORE, finding the instant petition to be meritorious, the petition is hereby GRANTED.
and PACITA MIRANDA as the lawful legal heirs of the deceased TRANQUILINO MIRANDA and Pursuant to Rule 39, Section 6 of the Rules of Court, the Decision dated August 30, 1999 in Civil
ordering them to partition among themselves Lot 826-A-1 covered by TCT No. 186011 Case No. 94-612 is hereby REVIVED.
registered in the name of TRANQUILINO MIRANDA, containing an area of 213 square meters,
as follows:
SO ORDERED.17
1/13 aliquot share to Cornelio Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Numeriano Miranda, Jr.
1/13 aliquot share to Erlinda Miranda On July 13, 2006, petitioners filed a Notice of Appeal 18 via LBC,19 which was opposed by
1/13 aliquot share to Lolita Miranda respondent on the ground that the Decision dated August 30, 1999 has long become final and
1/13 aliquot share to Rufina Miranda executory.20 Petitioners, in turn, moved for the transmittal of the original records of the case
1/13 aliquot share to Danilo Miranda to the CA, insisting that respondent’s opposition is without merit.21
1/13 aliquot share to Alejandro Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Felimon Miranda Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
1/13 aliquot share to Teresita Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Elizabeth Miranda Finding the appeal barred by prescription, the RTC denied the Notice of Appeal in its Order22
1/13 aliquot share to Analiza Miranda dated October 10, 2006, to wit:
1/13 aliquot share to Pablo Miranda

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the notice of appeal herein filed is hereby DENIED for
1/13 aliquot share to Pacita Miranda lack of merit.

6. Ordering all the abovenamed heirs to commission the survey of Lot 826-A-1 or to authorize SO ORDERED.23
in writing, one of them to commission such survey, in order to avoid a chaotic situation similar
to the case at bar. Should they not agree as to what particular portion shall belong to one
another, they may agree that it be allotted to one or two or several of them, who shall Feeling aggrieved, petitioners filed a Petition for Mandamus24 with the CA praying that their
indemnify the others at a price agreed upon by all of them. Should they not agree as to whom Notice of Appeal be given due course.25
shall the property be allotted, to sell the property to a third person at a price agreed upon by
a majority of all of them, and to partition the proceeds of the sale in accordance with No. 5 Ruling of the Court of Appeals
above.
On June 14, 2007, the CA denied the Petition for Mandamus on the ground that the Notice of
SO ORDERED.7 Appeal was filed out of time.26 The dispositive portion of the Decision reads:

Petitioners did not file any appeal hence the Decision became final and executory.8 WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The appeal is hereby DISMISSED for
having been filed out of time.
On December 11, 2001, the RTC issued a Writ of Execution,9 which was not implemented.10
SO ORDERED.27
On July 8, 2005, respondent filed an Ex-parte Motion11 praying that the RTC issue a "Break-
Open and Demolition Order" in order to compel the petitioners to vacate his property. 12 But Petitioners moved for reconsideration but the same was denied by the CA in its Resolution28
since more than five years have elapsed from the time the Writ of Execution should have been dated September 11, 2007.
enforced, the RTC denied the Motion in its Order13 dated August 16, 2005.
Issues
This prompted respondent to file with the RTC a Petition14 for Revival of Judgment, which was
docketed as Civil Case No. 05-131. Petitioners opposed the revival of judgment assailing, Hence, this recourse, with petitioners raising the following issues:
among others, the jurisdiction of the RTC to take cognizance of the Petition for Revival of
Judgment.15
1. WHETHER X X X THE APPEAL WAS PERFECTED ON TIME?
2. WHETHER X X X THE LATE (ONE DAY) FILING WAS JUSTIFIED? The Petition lacks merit.

3. WHETHER X X X AN ACTION FOR REVIVAL OF JUDGMENT IS APPEALABLE? The Notice of Appeal was belatedly filed.

4. WHETHER THE APPEAL IS MERITORIOUS? It is basic and elementary that a Notice of Appeal should be filed "within fifteen (15) days from
notice of the judgment or final order appealed from."40
a. Whether the RTC below has exclusive original jurisdiction over an action
for revival of judgment? Under Section 3,41 Rule 13 of the Rules of Court, pleadings may be filed in court either
personally or by registered mail. In the first case, the date of filing is the date of receipt. In the
b. Whether xxx respondent herein, plaintiff therein, as one of the second case, the date of mailing is the date of receipt.
judgment creditors can file the said action for revival ALONE?
In this case, however, the counsel for petitioners filed the Notice of Appeal via a private
c. Whether subsequent events or laws have rendered the judgment sought courier, a mode of filing not provided in the Rules. Though not prohibited by the Rules, we
to be revived modified or altered, or prevent its enforcement? cannot consider the filing of petitioners’ Notice of Appeal via LBC timely filed. It is established
jurisprudence that "the date of delivery of pleadings to a private letter-forwarding agency is
not to be considered as the date of filing thereof in court;" instead, "the date of actual receipt
d. Whether res judicata or laches has seeped in, other judgment creditors
by the court x x x is deemed the date of filing of that pleading."42 Records show that the Notice
not suing for any such implementation of the 1999 judgment, ONLY
of Appeal was mailed on the 15th day and was received by the court on the 16th day or one
PLAINTIFF ALONE?
day beyond the reglementary period. Thus, the CA correctly ruled that the Notice of Appeal
was filed out of time.
e. Whether x x x the Petitioners are entitled to damages?29
Neither can petitioners use typhoon "Florita" as an excuse for the belated filing of the Notice
Petitioners’ Arguments of Appeal because work in government offices in Metro Manila was not suspended on July 13,
2006, the day petitioners’ Notice of Appeal was mailed via LBC.43
Petitioners assert that an action to revive judgment is appealable,30 and that their appeal was
perfected on time.31 They insist that the Notice of Appeal, which they filed on the 15th day via And even if we, in the interest of justice, give due course to the appeal despite its late filing,
LBC, was seasonably filed since the law does not require a specific mode of service for filing a the result would still be the same. The appeal would still be denied for lack of merit.
notice of appeal.32
The Decision dated August 30, 1999 is already final and executory.
Besides, even if their appeal was belatedly filed, it should still be given due course in the
interest of justice,33 considering that their counsel had to brave the storm and the floods
An action for revival of judgment is a new and independent action. 44 It is different and distinct
caused by typhoon "Florita" just to file their Notice of Appeal on time.34
from the original judgment sought to be revived or enforced.45 As such, a party aggrieved by a
decision of a court in an action for revival of judgment may appeal the decision, but only insofar
Petitioners further contend that their appeal is meritorious. 35 They insist that it is the as the merits of the action for revival is concerned. The original judgment, which is already
Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), not the RTC, which has jurisdiction over the Petition for final and executory, may no longer be reversed, altered, or modified.46
Revival of Judgment since the amount in the tax declarations of the properties involved is less
than Fifty Thousand Pesos (₱50,000.00).36 They likewise assail the Decision dated August 30,
In this case, petitioners assail the Decision dated August 30, 1999, which is the original
1999, claiming that the deeds and certificates of title subject of Civil Case No. 94-612 were
judgment sought to be revived or enforced by respondent.1âwphi1 Considering that the said
falsified.37
Decision had already attained finality, petitioners may no longer question its correctness. As
we have said, only the merits of the action for revival may be appealed, not the merits of the
Respondent’s Arguments original judgment sought to be revived or enforced.

Respondent, on the other hand, maintains that the Notice of Appeal was belatedly filed,38 and RTC has jurisdiction over the Petition for Revival of Judgment
that the revival of judgment is unappealable as it is barred by prescription.39
As to whether the RTC has jurisdiction, we rule in the affirmative. An action for revival of
Our Ruling judgment may be filed either "in the same court where said judgment was rendered or in the
place where the plaintiff or defendant resides, or in any other place designated by the statutes
which treat of the venue of actions in general."47 In this case, respondent filed the Petition for
Revival of Judgment in the same court which rendered the Decision dated August 30, 1999.

All told, we find no error on the part of the CA in denying the Petition and dismissing the appeal
for having been filed out of time.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision dated June 14, 2007 and the
Resolution dated September 11, 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 97350 are
hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice
G.R. No. 108538 January 22, 1996 Same; Same; Same; Service of summons upon a nonresident who is not found in the Philippines
must be made either (1) bypersonal service; (2) by publication in a newspaper of general
LOURDES A. VALMONTE and ALFREDO D. VALMONTE, petitioners, circulation; or (3) in any other manner which the court may deem sufficient.—As petitioner
vs. Lourdes A. Valmonte is a nonresident who is not found in the Philippines, service of summons
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, THIRD DIVISION and ROSITA DIMALANTA, on her must be in accordance with Rule 14, §17. Such service, to be effective outside the
respondents. Philippines, must be made either (1) by personal service; (2) by publication in a newspaper of
general circulation in such places and for such time as the court may order, in which case a
copy of the summons and order of the court should be sent by registered mail to the last
Actions; Summons; Jurisdiction; Parties; Pleadings and Practice; A resident defendant in an
known address of the defendant; or (3) in any other manner which the court may deem
action in personam whocannot be personally served with summons may be summoned either
sufficient.
by means of substituted service in accordance with Rule 14, §8 or by publication as provided in
§§17 and 18 of the same Rule. —In an action in personam, personal service of summons or, if
Same; Same; Same; The three modes of service of summons upon a nonresident must be made
this is not possible and he cannot be personally served, substituted service, as provided in Rule
outside the Philippines, such as through the Philippine Embassy in the foreign country where
14, §§78 is essential for the acquisition by the court of jurisdiction over the person of a
the defendant resides.—Since in the case at bar, the service of summons upon petitioner
defendant who does not voluntarily submit himself to the authority of the court. If defendant
Lourdes A. Valmonte was not done by means of any of the first two modes, the question is
cannot be served with summons because he is temporarily abroad, but otherwise he is a
whether the service on her attorney, petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte, can be justified under
Philippine resident, service of summons may, by leave of court, be made by publication.
the third mode, namely, “in any . . . manner the court may deem sufficient.” We hold it cannot.
Otherwise stated, a resident defendant in an action in personam, who cannot be personally
This mode of service, like the first two, must be made outside the Philippines, such as through
served with summons, may be summoned either by means of substituted service in
the Philippine Embassy in the foreign country where the defendant resides.
accordance with Rule 14, §8 or by publication as provided in §§ 17 and 18 of the same Rule.
Same; Same; Same; The period to file an Answer in an action against a resident defendant
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; If the action is in rem or quasi in rem, jurisdiction over the
differs from the period given in an action filed against a nonresident defendant who is not found
person of the defendant is not essential for giving the court jurisdiction so long as the court
in the Philippines.—It must be noted that the period to file an Answer in an action against a
acquires jurisdiction over the res.—On the other hand, if the action is in rem or quasi in rem,
resident defendant differs from the period given in an action filed against a nonresident
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is not essential for giving the court jurisdiction
defendant who is not found in the Philippines. In the former, the period is fifteen (15) days
so long as the court acquires jurisdiction over the res. If the defendant is a nonresident and he
from service of summons, while in the latter, it is at least sixty (60) days from notice.
is not found in the country, summons may be served exterritorially in accordance with Rule
14, §17.
Same; Same; Same; Agency; Attorneys; The authority given by a wife to her husband to
negotiate cannot be construed as also including an authority to represent her in any
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Due Process; What gives the court jurisdiction in an action in
litigation.—In contrast, in the case at bar, petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte did not appoint her
rem or quasi in rem is that it has jurisdiction over the res, and the service of summons in the
husband as her attorneyinfact. Although she wrote private respondent’s attorney that “all
manner provided in §17 is not for the purpose of vesting it with jurisdiction but for complying
communications” intended for her should be addressed to her husband who is also her lawyer
with the requirements of fair play or due process.—In such cases, what gives the court
at the latter’s address in Manila, no power of attorney to receive summons for her can be
jurisdiction in an action in rem or quasi in rem is that it has jurisdiction over the res, i.e. the
inferred therefrom. In fact the letter was written seven months before the filing of this case
personal status of the plaintiff who is domiciled in the Philippines or the property litigated or
below, and it appears that it was written in connection with the negotiations between her and
attached. Service of summons in the manner provided in §17 is not for the purpose of vesting
her sister, respondent Rosita Dimalanta, concerning the partition of the property in question.
it with jurisdiction but for complying with the requirements of fair play or due process, so that
As is usual in negotiations of this kind, the exchange of correspondence was carried on by
he will be informed of the pendency of the action against him and the possibility that property
counsel for the parties. But the authority given to petitioner’s husband in these negotiations
in the Philippines belonging to him or in which he has an interest may be subjected to a
certainly cannot be construed as also including an authority to represent her in any litigation.
judgment in favor of the plaintiff and he can thereby take steps to protect his interest if he is
so minded.

Same; Same; Same; Partition; An action for partition and accounting under Rule 69 is in the DECISION
nature of an action quasi in rem.—Applying the foregoing rules to the case at bar, private
respondent’s action, which is for partition and accounting under Rule 69, is in the nature of an MENDOZA, J.:
action quasi in rem. Such an action is essentially for the purpose of affecting the defendant’s
interest in a specific property and not to render a judgment against him. Petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte is a foreign resident. The question is whether in an action for
partition filed against her and her husband, who is also her attorney, summons intended for
her may be served on her husband, who has a law office in the Philippines. The Regional Trial
Court of Manila, Branch 48, said no and refused to declare Lourdes A. Valmonte in default, but Service of summons was then made upon petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte, who at the time,
the Court of Appeals said yes. Hence this petition for review on certiorari. was at his office in Manila. Petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte accepted the summons, insofar as
he was concerned, but refused to accept the summons for his wife, Lourdes A. Valmonte, on
The facts of the case are as follows: the ground that he was not authorized to accept the process on her behalf. Accordingly the
process server left without leaving a copy of the summons and complaint for petitioner
Lourdes A. Valmonte.
Petitioners Lourdes A. Valmonte and Alfredo D. Valmonte are husband and wife. They are both
residents of 90222 Carkeek Drive South Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. Petitioner Alfredo D.
Valmonte, who is a member of the Philippine bar, however, practices his profession in the Petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte thereafter filed his Answer with Counterclaim. Petitioner
Philippines, commuting for this purpose between his residence in the state of Washington and Lourdes A. Valmonte, however, did not file her Answer. For this reason private respondent
Manila, where he holds office at S-304 Gedisco Centre, 1564 A. Mabini Ermita, Manila. moved to declare her in default. Petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte entered a special appearance
in behalf of his wife and opposed the private respondent's motion.
On March 9, 1992, private respondent Rosita Dimalanta, who is the sister of petitioner Lourdes
A. Valmonte, filed a complaint for partition of real property and accounting of rentals against In its Order dated July 3, 1992, the trial court, denied private respondent's motion to declare
petitioners Lourdes A. Valmonte and Alfredo D. Valmonte before the Regional Trial Court of petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte in default. A motion for reconsideration was similarly denied
Manila, Branch 48. The subject of the action is a three-door apartment located in Paco, Manila. on September 23, 1992. Whereupon, private respondent filed a petition for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus with the Court of Appeals.
In her Complaint, private respondent alleged:
On December 29, 1992, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision granting the petition and
declaring Lourdes A. Valmonte in default. A copy of the appellate court's decision was received
The plaintiff is of legal age, a widow and is at present a resident of 14823 Conway
by petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte on January 15, 1993 at his Manila office and on January 21,
Road, Chesterfield, Missouri, U.S.A., while the defendants are spouses, of legal age
1993 in Seattle, Washington. Hence, this petition.
and at present residents of 90222 Carkeek Drive, South Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.,
but, for purposes of this complaint may be served with summons at Gedisco Center,
Unit 304, 1564 A. Mabini St., Ermita, Manila where defendant Alfredo D. Valmonte The issue at bar is whether in light of the facts set forth above, petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte
as defendant Lourdes Arreola Valmonte's spouse holds office and where he can be was validly served with summons. In holding that she had been, the Court of Appeals stated:1
found.
[I]n her above-quoted reply, Mrs. Valmonte clearly and unequivocally directed the
Apparently, the foregoing averments were made on the basis of a letter previously sent by aforementioned counsel of Dimalanta to address all communications (evidently referring to
petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte to private respondent's counsel in which, in regard to the her controversy with her sister Mrs. Dimalanta over the Paco property, now the subject of the
partition of the property in question, she referred private respondent's counsel to her husband instant case) to her lawyer who happens also to be her husband. Such directive was made
as the party to whom all communications intended for her should be sent. The letter reads: without any qualification just as was her choice/designation of her husband Atty. Valmonte as
her lawyer likewise made without any qualification or reservation. Any disclaimer therefore on
the part of Atty. Valmonte as to his being his wife's attorney (at least with regard to the dispute
July 4, 1991
vis-a-vis (sic) the Paco property) would appear to be feeble or trifling, if not incredible.

Dear Atty. Balgos:


This view is bolstered by Atty. Valmonte's subsequent alleged special appearance made on
behalf of his wife. Whereas Mrs. Valmonte had manifestly authorized her husband to serve as
This is in response to your letter, dated 20 June 1991, which I received on 3 July 1991. her lawyer relative to her dispute with her sister over the Paco property and to receive all
Please address all communications to my lawyer, Atty. Alfredo D. Valmonte, whose communications regarding the same and subsequently to appear on her behalf by way of a so-
address, telephone and fax numbers appear below. called special appearance, she would nonetheless now insist that the same husband would
nonetheless had absolutely no authority to receive summons on her behalf. In effect, she is
c/o Prime Marine asserting that representation by her lawyer (who is also her husband) as far as the Paco
Gedisco Center, Unit 304 property controversy is concerned, should only be made by him when such representation
1564 A. Mabini, Ermita would be favorable to her but not otherwise. It would obviously be inequitable for this Court
Metro Manila to allow private respondent Lourdes A. Valmonte to hold that her husband has the authority
Telephone: 521-1736 to represent her when an advantage is to be obtained by her and to deny such authority when
Fax: 521-2095 it would turn out to be her disadvantage. If this be allowed, Our Rules of Court, instead of being
an instrument to promote justice would be made use of to thwart or frustrate the same.
xxx xxx xxx In all of these cases, it should be noted, defendant must be a resident of the Philippines,
otherwise an action in personam cannot be brought because jurisdiction over his person is
Turning to another point, it would not do for Us to overlook the fact that the disputed essential to make a binding decision.
summons was served not upon just an ordinary lawyer of private respondent
Lourdes A. Valmonte, but upon her lawyer husband. But that is not all, the same On the other hand, if the action is in rem or quasi in rem, jurisdiction over the person of the
lawyer/husband happens to be also her co-defendant in the instant case which defendant is not essential for giving the court jurisdiction so long as the court acquires
involves real property which, according to her lawyer/husband/co-defendant, jurisdiction over the res. If the defendant is a nonresident and he is not found in the country,
belongs to the conjugal partnership of the defendants (the spouses Valmonte). It is summons may be served exterritorially in accordance with Rule 14, §17, which provides:
highly inconceivable and certainly it would be contrary to human nature for the
lawyer/husband/co-defendant to keep to himself the fact that they (the spouses §17. Extraterritorial service. - When the defendant does not reside and is not found
Valmonte) had been sued with regard to a property which, he claims to be conjugal. in the Philippines and the action affects the personal status of the plaintiff or relates
Parenthetically, there is nothing in the records of the case before Us regarding any to, or the subject of which is, property within the Philippines, in which the defendant
manifestation by private respondent Lourdes A. Valmonte about her lack of has or claims a lien or interest, actual or contingent, or in which the relief demanded
knowledge about the case instituted against her and her lawyer/husband/co- consists, wholly or in part, in excluding the defendant from any interest therein, or
defendant by her sister Rosita. . . . the property of the defendant has been attached within the Philippines, service may,
by leave of court, be effected out of the Philippines by personal service as under
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the instant petition for certiorari, prohibition and section 7; or by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in such places and
mandamus is given due course. This Court hereby Resolves to nullify the orders of for such time as the court may order, in which case a copy of the summons and order
the court a quo dated July 3, 1992 and September 23, 1992 and further declares of the court shall be sent by registered mail to the last known address of the
private respondent Lourdes Arreola Valmonte as having been properly served with defendant, or in any other manner the court may deem sufficient. Any order granting
summons. such leave shall specify a reasonable time, which shall not be less than sixty (60) days
after notice, within which the defendant must answer..
Petitioners assail the aforequoted decision, alleging that the Court of Appeals erred (1) in
refusing to apply the provisions of Rule 14, §17 of the Revised Rules of Court and applying In such cases, what gives the court jurisdiction in an action in rem or quasi in rem is that it has
instead Rule 14, §8 when the fact is that petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte is a nonresident jurisdiction over the res, i.e. the personal status of the plaintiff who is domiciled in the
defendant; and (2) because even if Rule 14, §8 is the applicable provision, there was no valid Philippines or the property litigated or attached.
substituted service as there was no strict compliance with the requirement by leaving a copy
of the summons and complaint with petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte. Private respondent, upon Service of summons in the manner provided in §17 is not for the purpose of vesting it with
the other hand, asserts that petitioners are invoking a technicality and that strict adherence to jurisdiction but for complying with the requirements of fair play or due process, so that he will
the rules would only result in a useless ceremony. be informed of the pendency of the action against him and the possibility that property in the
Philippines belonging to him or in which he has an interest may be subjected to a judgment in
We hold that there was no valid service of process on Lourdes A. Valmonte. favor of the plaintiff and he can thereby take steps to protect his interest if he is so minded.6

To provide perspective, it will be helpful to determine first the nature of the action filed against Applying the foregoing rules to the case at bar, private respondent's action, which is for
petitioners Lourdes A. Valmonte and Alfredo D. Valmonte by private respondent, whether it is partition and accounting under Rule 69, is in the nature of an action quasi in rem. Such an
an action in personam, in rem or quasi in rem. This is because the rules on service of summons action is essentially for the purpose of affecting the defendant's interest in a specific property
embodied in Rule 14 apply according to whether an action is one or the other of these actions. and not to render a judgment against him. As explained in the leading case of Banco Español
Filipino v. Palanca :7
In an action in personam, personal service of summons or, if this is not possible and he cannot
be personally served, substituted service, as provided in Rule 14, §§7-82 is essential for the [An action quasi in rem is] an action which while not strictly speaking an action in rem partakes
acquisition by the court of jurisdiction over the person of a defendant who does not voluntarily of that nature and is substantially such. . . . The action quasi in rem differs from the true action
submit himself to the authority of the court.3 If defendant cannot be served with summons in rem in the circumstance that in the former an individual is named as defendant and the
because he is temporarily abroad, but otherwise he is a Philippine resident, service of purpose of the proceeding is to subject his interest therein to the obligation or lien burdening
summons may, by leave of court, be made by publication.4 Otherwise stated, a resident the property. All proceedings having for their sole object the sale or other disposition of the
defendant in an action in personam, who cannot be personally served with summons, may be property of the defendant, whether by attachment, foreclosure, or other form of remedy, are
summoned either by means of substituted service in accordance with Rule 14, §8 or by in a general way thus designated. The judgment entered in these proceedings is conclusive
publication as provided in §§ 17 and 18 of the same Rule.5 only between the parties.
As petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte is a nonresident who is not found in the Philippines, service discretion in the dwelling place of the defendant, and certainly defendant's husband, who was
of summons on her must be in accordance with Rule 14, §17. Such service, to be effective there, was competent to receive the summons on her behalf. In any event, it appears that
outside the Philippines, must be made either (1) by personal service; (2) by publication in a defendant in that case submitted to the jurisdiction of the court by instructing her husband to
newspaper of general circulation in such places and for such time as the court may order, in move for the dissolution of the writ of attachment issued in that case.
which case a copy of the summons and order of the court should be sent by registered mail to
the last known address of the defendant; or (3) in any other manner which the court may deem On the other hand, in the case of Gemperle v. Schenker, 10 it was held that service on the wife
sufficient. of a nonresident defendant was found sufficient because the defendant had appointed his wife
as his attorney-in-fact. It was held that although defendant Paul Schenker was a Swiss citizen
Since in the case at bar, the service of summons upon petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte was not and resident of Switzerland, service of summons upon his wife Helen Schenker who was in the
done by means of any of the first two modes, the question is whether the service on her Philippines was sufficient because she was her husband's representative and attorney-in-fact
attorney, petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte, can be justified under the third mode, namely, "in in a civil case, which he had earlier filed against William Gemperle. In fact Gemperle's action
any . . . manner the court may deem sufficient." was for damages arising from allegedly derogatory statements contained in the complaint filed
in the first case. As this Court said, "[i]n other words, Mrs. Schenker had authority to sue, and
We hold it cannot. This mode of service, like the first two, must be made outside the had actually sued, on behalf of her husband, so that she was, also, empowered to represent
Philippines, such as through the Philippine Embassy in the foreign country where the him in suits filed against him, particularly in a case, like the one at bar, which is a consequence
defendant resides.8 Moreover, there are several reasons why the service of summons on Atty. of the action brought by her on his behalf" 11 Indeed, if instead of filing an independent action
Alfredo D. Valmonte cannot be considered a valid service of summons on petitioner Lourdes Gemperle filed a counterclaim in the action brought by Mr. Schenker against him, there would
A. Valmonte. In the first place, service of summons on petitioner Alfredo D. Valmonte was not have been no doubt that the trial court could have acquired jurisdiction over Mr. Schenker
made upon the order of the court as required by Rule 14, §17 and certainly was not a mode through his agent and attorney-in-fact, Mrs. Schenker.
deemed sufficient by the court which in fact refused to consider the service to be valid and on
that basis declare petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte in default for her failure to file an answer. In contrast, in the case at bar, petitioner Lourdes A. Valmonte did not appoint her husband as
her attorney-in-fact. Although she wrote private res- pondent's attorney that "all
In the second place, service in the attempted manner on petitioner was not made upon prior communications" intended for her should be addressed to her husband who is also her lawyer
leave of the trial court as required also in Rule 14, §17. As provided in §19, such leave must be at the latter's address in Manila, no power of attorney to receive summons for her can be
applied for by motion in writing, supported by affidavit of the plaintiff or some person on his inferred therefrom. In fact the letter was written seven months before the filing of this case
behalf and setting forth the grounds for the application. below, and it appears that it was written in connection with the negotiations between her and
her sister, respondent Rosita Dimalanta, concerning the partition of the property in question.
As is usual in negotiations of this kind, the exchange of correspondence was carried on by
Finally, and most importantly, because there was no order granting such leave, petitioner
counsel for the parties. But the authority given to petitioner's husband in these negotiations
Lourdes A. Valmonte was not given ample time to file her Answer which, according to the rules,
certainly cannot be construed as also including an authority to represent her in any litigation.
shall be not less than sixty (60) days after notice. It must be noted that the period to file an
Answer in an action against a resident defendant differs from the period given in an action
filed against a nonresident defendant who is not found in the Philippines. In the former, the For the foregoing reasons, we hold that there was no valid service on petitioner Lourdes A.
period is fifteen (15) days from service of summons, while in the latter, it is at least sixty (60) Valmonte in this case.
days from notice.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is REVERSED and the orders dated July 3, 1992 and
Strict compliance with these requirements alone can assure observance of due process. That September 23, 1992 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 48 are REINSTATED. SO
is why in one case,9 although the Court considered publication in the Philippines of the ORDERED.
summons (against the contention that it should be made in the foreign state where defendant
was residing) sufficient, nonetheless the service was considered insufficient because no copy
of the summons was sent to the last known correct address in the Philippines..

Private respondent cites the ruling in De Leon v. Hontanosas, 67 SCRA 458,462-463 (1975), in
which it was held that service of summons upon the defendant's husband was binding on her.
But the ruling in that case is justified because summons were served upon defendant's
husband in their conjugal home in Cebu City and the wife was only temporarily absent, having
gone to Dumaguete City for a vacation. The action was for collection of a sum of money. In
accordance with Rule 14, §8, substituted service could be made on any person of sufficient
G.R. No. 131724 February 28, 2000 Same; Same; Same; Receipt by a defendant corporation of the summons and complaint cannot
be inferred from the fact that it filed a Motion to Dismiss the case.—Respondent casts doubt
MILLENIUM INDUSTRIAL COMMERCIAL CORPORATION, petitioner, on petitioner’s claim that it came to know about the summons and the complaint against it
vs. only after it learned that there was a pending foreclosure of its mortgage. There is nothing
JACKSON TAN, respondent. improbable about this claim. Petitioner was in default in the payment of its loan. It had
received demand letters from respondent. Thus, it had reason to believe that a foreclosure
suit would be filed against it. The appellate court was, therefore, in error in giving weight to
Actions; Pleadings and Practice; Summons; Parties; Service of summons upon a defendant
respondent’s claims. Receipt by petitioner of the summons and complaint cannot be inferred
corporation must be made on a representative so integrated with the corporation sued as to
from the fact that it filed a Motion to Dismiss the case.
make it a priori presumable that he will realize his responsibilities and know what he should do
with any legal papers received by him.—– Summons is the means by which the defendant in a
Same; Same; Same; Jurisdiction; Estoppel; Voluntary appearance is a waiver of the defense of
case is notified of the existence of an action against him and, thereby, the court is conferred
lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, but the assertion of affirmative defenses
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. If the defendant is a corporation, Rule 14, §13
shall not be construed as an estoppel or as a waiver of such defense.—–Our decision in La Naval
requires that service of summons be made upon the corporation’s president, manager,
Drug Corporation v. Court of Appeals settled this question. The rule prior to La Naval was that
secretary, cashier, agent, or any of its directors. The rationale of the rule is that service must
if a defendant, in a motion to dismiss, alleges grounds for dismissing the action other than lack
be made on a representative so integrated with the corporation sued as to make it a priori
of jurisdiction, he would be deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court.
presumable that he will realize his responsibilities and know what he should do with any legal
This rule no longer holds true. Noting that the doctrine of estoppel by jurisdiction must be
papers received by him.
unequivocal and intentional, we ruled in La Naval: Jurisdiction over the person must be
seasonably raised, i.e., that it is pleaded in a motion to dismiss or by way of an affirmative
Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases; Doctrine of Substantial Compliance; Requisites.—–In
defense. Voluntary appearance shall be deemed a waiver of this defense. The assertion,
Porac Trucking, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, this Court enumerated the requisites for the
however, of affirmative defenses shall not be construed as an estoppel or as a waiver of such
application of the doctrine of substantial compliance, to wit: (a) there must be actual receipt
defense.
of the summons by the person served, i.e., transferring possession of the copy of the summons
from the Sheriff to the person served; (b) the person served must sign a receipt or the sheriffs
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The rule that, in a motion to dismiss, the allegation of grounds
return; and (c) there must be actual receipt of the summons by the corporation through the
other than lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, including a prayer “for such
person on whom the summons was actually served. The third requisite is the most important
other reliefs as” may be deemed “appropriate and proper” amounted to voluntary appearance
for it is through such receipt that the purpose of the rule on service of summons is attained.
must be deemed superseded by the ruling in La Naval Drug Corporation vs. Court of Appeals
(236 SCRA 78 [1994]) that estoppel by jurisdiction must be unequivocal and intentional.—–We
Same; Same; Same; It is not allowable to merely infer actual receipt of summons by the
turn to the effect of petitioner’s prayer for “other reliefs” in its Motion to Dismiss. In De
corporation through the person on whom the summons was served—for there to be substantial
Midgely v. Fernandos, it was held that, in a motion to dismiss, the allegation of grounds other
compliance, actual receipt of summons by the corporation through the person served must be
than lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, including a prayer “for such other
shown.—In this case, there is no dispute that the first and second requisites were fulfilled.
reliefs as” may be deemed “appropriate and proper” amounted to voluntary appearance. This,
With respect to the third, the appellate court held that petitioner’s filing of a motion to dismiss
however, must be deemed superseded by the ruling in La Naval that estoppel by jurisdiction
the foreclosure suit is proof that it received the copy of the summons and the complaint. There
must be unequivocal and intentional. It would be absurd to hold that petitioner unequivocally
is, however, no direct proof of this or that Lynverd Cinches actually turned over the summons
and intentionally submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the court by seeking other reliefs to
to any of the officers of the corporation. In contrast, in our cases applying the substantial
which it might be entitled when the only relief that it can properly ask from the trial court is
compliance rule, there was direct evidence, such as the admission of the corporation’s officers,
the dismissal of the complaint against it.
of receipt of summons by the corporation through the person upon whom it was actually
MENDOZA, J.:
served. The question is whether it is allowable to merely infer actual receipt of summons by
the corporation through the person on whom summons was served. We hold that it cannot be
allowed. For there to be substantial compliance, actual receipt of summons by the corporation In December 1994, Millenium Industrial Commercial Corporation, petitioner herein, executed
through the person served must be shown. Where a corporation only learns of the service of a Deed of Real Estate Mortgage1 over its real property covered by TCT No. 24069 in favor of
summons and the filing of the complaint against it through some person or means other than respondent Jackson Tan. The mortgage was executed to secure payment of petitioner's
the person actually served, the service of summons becomes meaningless. This is particularly indebtedness to respondent in the amount of P2 million, without monthly interest, but which,
true in the present case where there is serious doubt if Lynverd Cinches, the person on whom at maturity date on June 10, 1995, was payable in the amount of P4 million.1âwphi1.nêt
service of summons was effected, is in fact an employee of the corporation. Except for the
sheriff’s return, there is nothing to show that Lynverd Cinches was really a draftsman employed On November 9, 1995, respondent filed against petitioner a complaint for foreclosure of
by the corporation. mortgage in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 6, Cebu City. On November 21, 1995, summons
and a copy of the complaint were served upon petitioner through a certain Lynverd Cinches,
described in the sheriff's return, dated November 23, 1995, as "a Draftsman, a person of Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but its motion was denied by the trial court in its order,
sufficient age and (discretion) working therein, he is the highest ranking officer or Officer-in- dated January 16, 1996, for failure of petitioner to raise any new ground. Petitioner then filed
Charge of defendant's Corporation, to receive processes of the Court."2 a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals, assailing the aforesaid orders of the trial court.

Petitioner moved for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that there was no valid On September 18, 1997, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition.7 The appellate court ruled
service of summons upon it, as a result of which the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over that although petitioner denied Lynverd Cinches' authority to receive summons for it, its actual
it. Petitioner invoked Rule 14, §13 of the 1964 Rules of Court and contended that service on receipt of the summons could be inferred from its filing of a motion to dismiss, hence, the
Lynverd Cinches, as alleged in the sheriff's return, was invalid as he is not one of the authorized purpose for issuing summons had been substantially achieved. Moreover, it was held, by
persons on whom summons may be served and that, in fact, he was not even its employee.3 including the affirmative defense that it had already paid its obligation and praying for other
reliefs in its Motion to Dismiss, petitioner voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the court.8
Petitioner also sought the dismissal of the complaint against it on the ground that it had
satisfied its obligation to respondent when the latter opted to be paid in shares of stock under Hence, this petition for review. Petitioner raises the following issues:
the following stipulation in the mortgage contract:
I. WHETHER OR NOT SERVICE OF SUMMONS UPON A MERE DRAFTSMAN WHO IS
That in the remote possibility of failure on the part of the mortgagor to pay the NOT ONE OF THOSE UPON WHOM SUMMONS MAY BE SERVED IN CASE OF A
mortgage obligation and interest in cash, the MORTGAGEE at his option may demand DEFENDANT CORPORATION AS MENTIONED IN THE RULES IS VALID.
that payment be made in the form of shares of stock of Millenium Industrial
Commercial Corporation totaling at least 4,000,000 shares.4 II. WHETHER OR NOT THE INCLUSION OF ANOTHER AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF IN A
MOTION TO DISMISS ABANDONS AND WAIVES THE GROUND OF LACK OF
Petitioner further prayed for "other reliefs just and equitable under the premises."5 JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF THE DEFENDANT THEREIN ALSO PLEADED
UNDER PREVAILING LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE.
On December 15, 1995, the trial court denied petitioner's Motion to Dismiss. Its order stated:
III. WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS A LEGAL GROUND TO GRANT PETITIONER'S MOTION
This refers to the Motion to Dismiss, dated December 4, 1995, by defendant TO DISMISS THE COMPLAINT BELOW.
anchored on the following grounds:
First. Petitioner objects to the application of the doctrine of substantial compliance in the
1. That the Court had not acquired jurisdiction over the person of the defendant service of summons for two reasons: (1) the enumeration of persons on whom service of
corporation because summons was served upon a person who is not known to or an summons on a corporation may be effected in Rule 14, §13, is exclusive and mandatory; and
employee of the defendant corporation. (2) even assuming that substantial compliance is allowed, its alleged actual receipt of the
summons is based on an unfounded speculation because there is nothing in the records to
show that Lynverd Cinches actually turned over the summons to any of the officers of the
2. That the obligation sought to be collected was already paid and extinguished.
corporation.9 Petitioner contends that it was able to file a motion to dismiss only because of
its timely discovery of the foreclosure suit against it when it checked the records of the case in
By interposing the second ground, the defendant has availed of an affirmative the trial court.
defense on the basis of which the Court has to hear and receive evidence. For the
Court to validly decide the said plea of the defendant it necessarily had to acquire
The contention is meritorious.
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. Thus, defendant is considered to have
then abandoned its first ground and is deemed to have voluntarily submitted itself to
the jurisdiction of the Court. It is a legal truism that voluntary appearance cures the Summons is the means by which the defendant in a case is notified of the existence of an action
defect of the summons, if any. The defendant's filing of the motion to dismiss by against him and, thereby, the court is conferred jurisdiction over the person of the
pleading therein the second ground amount to voluntary appearance and it indeed defendant.10 If the defendant is a corporation, Rule 14, §13 requires that service of summons
cured the defeat. be made upon the corporation's president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent, or any of its
directors.11 The rationale of the rule is that service must be made on a representative so
integrated with the corporation sued as to make it a priori presumable that he will realize his
Wherefore, Motion to Dismiss is hereby denied for lack of merit.6
responsibilities and know what he should do with any legal papers received by him.12
Petitioner contends that the enumeration in Rule 14, §13 is exclusive and that service of Our decision in La Naval Drug Corporation v. Court of Appeals18 settled this question. The rule
summons upon one who is not enumerated therein is invalid. This is the general rule.13 prior to La Naval was that if a defendant, in a motion to dismiss, alleges grounds for dismissing
However, it is settled that substantial compliance by serving summons on persons other than the action other than lack of jurisdiction, he would be deemed to have submitted himself to
those mentioned in the above rule may be justified. In G & G Trading Corporation v. Court of the jurisdiction of the court.19 This rule no longer holds true. Noting that the doctrine of
Appeals,14 we ruled that although the service of summons was made on a person not estoppel by jurisdiction must be unequivocal and intentional, we ruled in La Naval:
enumerated in Rule 14, §13, if it appears that the summons and complaint were in fact
received by the corporation, there is substantial compliance with the rule as its purpose has Jurisdiction over the person must be seasonably raised, i.e., that it is pleaded in a
been attained. motion to dismiss or by way of an affirmative defense. Voluntary appearance shall
be deemed a waiver of this defense. The assertion, however, of affirmative defenses
In Porac Trucking, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,15 this Court enumerated the requisites for the shall not be construed as an estoppel or as a waiver of such defense.20
application of the doctrine of substantial compliance, to wit: (a) there must be actual receipt
of the summons by the person served, i.e., transferring possession of the copy of the summons Third. Finally, we turn to the effect of petitioner's prayer for "other reliefs" in its Motion to
from the Sheriff to the person served; (b) the person served must sign a receipt or the sheriff's Dismiss. In De Midgely v. Fernandos,21 it was held that, in a motion to dismiss, the allegation
return; and (c) there must be actual receipt of the summons by the corporation through the of grounds other than lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, including a prayer
person on whom the summons was actually served.16 The third requisite is the most important "for such other reliefs as" may be deemed "appropriate and proper" amounted to voluntary
for it is through such receipt that the purpose of the rule on the service of summons is attained. appearance. This, however, must be deemed superseded by the ruling in La Naval that
estoppel by jurisdiction must be unequivocal and intentional. It would be absurd to hold that
In this case, there is no dispute that the first and second requisites were fulfilled. With respect petitioner unequivocally and intentionally submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the court by
to the third, the appellate court held that petitioner's filing of a motion to dismiss the seeking other reliefs to which it might be entitled when the only relief that it can properly ask
foreclosure suit is proof that it received the copy of the summons and the complaint. There is, from the trial court is the dismissal of the complaint against it.1âwphi1.nêt
however, no direct proof of this or that Lynverd Cinches actually turned over the summons to
any of the officers of the corporation. In contrast, in our cases applying the substantial WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and the complaint against
compliance rule,17 there was direct evidence, such as the admission of the corporation's petitioner is DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.
officers, of receipt of summons by the corporation through the person upon whom it was
actually served. The question is whether it is allowable to merely infer actual receipt of
summons by the corporation through the person on whom summons was served. We hold
that it cannot be allowed. For there to be substantial compliance, actual receipt of summons
by the corporation through the person served must be shown. Where a corporation only learns
of the service of summons and the filing of the complaint against it through some person or
means other than the person actually served, the service of summons becomes meaningless.
This is particularly true in the present case where there is serious doubt if Lynverd Cinches, the
person on whom service of summons was effected, is in fact an employee of the corporation.
Except for the sheriff's return, there is nothing to show that Lynverd Cinches was really a
draftsman employed by the corporation.

Respondent casts doubt on petitioner's claim that it came to know about the summons and
the complaint against it only after it learned that there was a pending foreclosure of its
mortgage. There is nothing improbable about this claim. Petitioner was in default in the
payment of its loan. It had received demand letters from respondent. Thus, it had reason to
believe that a foreclosure suit would be filed against it. The appellate court was, therefore, in
error in giving weight to respondent's claims. Receipt by petitioner of the summons and
complaint cannot be inferred from the fact that it filed a Motion to Dismiss the case.

Second. We now turn to the issue of jurisdiction by estoppel. Both the trial court and the Court
of Appeals held that by raising the affirmative defense of payment and by praying for other
reliefs in its Motion to Dismiss, petitioner in effect waived its objection to the trial court's
jurisdiction over it. We think this is error.
G.R. No. 136426 August 6, 1999 Same; Same; Same; Same; The inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other grounds aside from lack
of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant shall not be deemed a voluntary appearance.–
E. B. VILLAROSA & PARTNER CO., LTD., petitioner, Before, the rule was that a party may challenge the jurisdiction of the court over his person by
vs. making a special appearance through a motion to dismiss and if in the same motion, the
HON. HERMINIO I. BENITO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 132, Makati City movant raised other grounds or invoked affirmative relief which necessarily involves the
and IMPERIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondent. exercise of the jurisdiction of the court, the party is deemed to have submitted himself to the
jurisdiction of the court. This doctrine has been abandoned in the case of La Naval Drug
Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, et al., which became the basis of the adoption of a new
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Summons; Jurisdiction; The designation of persons or officers
provision in the former Section 23, which is now Section 20 of Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules.
who are authorized to accept summons for a domestic corporation or partnership is now
Section 20 now provides that “the inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other grounds aside from
limited and more clearly specified in Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.–
lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant shall not be deemed a voluntary
The designation of persons or officers who are authorized to accept summons for a domestic
appearance.– The emplacement of this rule clearly underscores the purpose to enforce strict
corporation or partnership is now limited and more clearly specified in Section 11, Rule 14 of
enforcement of the rules on summons. Accordingly, the filing of a motion to dismiss, whether
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The rule now states “general manager– instead of only
or not belatedly filed by the defendant, his authorized agent or attorney, precisely objecting
“manager–; “corporate secretary– instead of “secretary–; and “treasurer– instead of
to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the defendant can by no means be deemed
“cashier.– The phrase “agent, or any of its directors– is conspicuously deleted in the new rule.
a submission to the jurisdiction of the court. There being no proper service of summons, the
trial court cannot take cognizance of a case for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the
Same; Same; Same; Same; Strict compliance with the rules has been enjoined; The liberal
defendant. Any proceeding undertaken by the trial court will consequently be null and void.
construction rule cannot be invoked and utilized as a substitute for the plain legal requirements
as to the manner in which summons should be served on a domestic corporation.–It should be
noted that even prior to the effectivity of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, strict compliance
with the rules has been enjoined. In the case of Delta Motor Sales Corporation vs. Mangosing, GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
the Court held: “A strict compliance with the mode of service is necessary to confer jurisdiction
of the court over a corporation. The officer upon whom service is made must be one who is Before this Court is a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a
named in the statute; otherwise the service is insufficient. x x x. The purpose is to render it temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction seeking to annul and set
reasonably certain that the corporation will receive prompt and proper notice in an action aside the Orders dated August 5, 1998 and November 20, 1998 of the public respondent Judge
against it or to insure that the summons be served on a representative so integrated with the Herminio I. Benito of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 132 and praying that the
corporation that such person will know what to do with the legal papers served on him. In public respondent court be ordered to desist from further proceeding with Civil Case No. 98-
other words, ‘to bring home to the corporation notice of the filing of the action.’ x x x. 824.

The liberal construction rule cannot be invoked and utilized as a substitute for the plain legal Petitioner E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd. is a limited partnership with principal office address
requirements as to the manner in which summons should be served on a domestic corporation. at 102 Juan Luna St., Davao City and with branch offices at 2492 Bay View Drive, Tambo,
x x x.– (italics supplied). Same; Same; Same; Same; Service of summons upon persons other Parañaque, Metro Manila and Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City. Petitioner and private
than those mentioned in Section 13 of Rule 14 (old rule) has been held as improper.–Service of respondent executed a Deed of Sale with Development Agreement wherein the former agreed
summons upon persons other than those mentioned in Section 13 of Rule 14 (old rule) has to develop certain parcels of land located at Barrio Carmen, Cagayan de Oro belonging to the
been held as improper. Even under the old rule, service upon a general manager of a firm’s latter into a housing subdivision for the construction of low cost housing units. They further
branch office has been held as improper as summons should have been served at the firm’s agreed that in case of litigation regarding any dispute arising therefrom, the venue shall be in
principal office. In First Integrated Bonding & Ins. Co., Inc. vs. Dizon, it was held that the service the proper courts of Makati.
of summons on the general manager of the insurance firm’s Cebu branch was improper;
default order could have been obviated had the summons been served at the firm’s principal
On April 3, 1998, private respondent, as plaintiff, filed a Complaint for Breach of Contract and
office.
Damages against petitioner, as defendant, before the Regional Trial Court of Makati allegedly
for failure of the latter to comply with its contractual obligation in that, other than a few
Same; Same; Same; Same; Court rules that the service of summons upon the branch manager
unfinished low cost houses, there were no substantial developments therein. 1
of petitioner at its branch office at Cagayan de Oro, instead of upon the general manager at its
principal office at Davao City is improper; Trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person
of the petitioner.–Accordingly, we rule that the service of summons upon the branch manager Summons, together with the complaint, were served upon the defendant, through its Branch
of petitioner at its branch office at Cagayan de Oro, instead of upon the general manager at its Manager Engr. Wendell Sabulbero at the stated address at Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de
principal office at Davao City is improper. Consequently, the trial court did not acquire Oro City2 but the Sheriff's Return of Service3 stated that the summons was duly served "upon
jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner. defendant E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd. thru its Branch Manager Engr. WENDELL
SALBULBERO on May 5, 1998 at their new office Villa Gonzalo, Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro City, Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration was denied in the Order dated November 20, 1998.11
and evidenced by the signature on the face of the original copy of the summons.1âwphi1.nêt
Hence, the present petition alleging that respondent court gravely abused its discretion
On June 9, 1998, defendant filed a Special Appearance with Motion to Dismiss4 alleging that tantamount to lack or in excess of jurisdiction in denying petitioner's motions to dismiss and
on May 6, 1998, "summons intended for defendant" was served upon Engr. Wendell for reconsideration, despite the fact that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the
Sabulbero, an employee of defendant at its branch office at Cagayan de Oro City. Defendant person of petitioner because the summons intended for it was improperly served. Petitioner
prayed for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of improper service of summons and invokes Section 11 of Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. Defendant contends that the trial
court did not acquire jurisdiction over its person since the summons was improperly served Private respondent filed its Comment to the petition citing the cases Kanlaon Construction
upon its employee in its branch office at Cagayan de Oro City who is not one of those persons Enterprises Co., Inc. vs. NLRC12 wherein it was held that service upon a construction project
named in Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure upon whom service of manager is valid and in Gesulgon vs. NLRC13 which held that a corporation is bound by the
summons may be made. service of summons upon its assistant manager.

Meanwhile, on June 10, 1998, plaintiff filed a Motion to Declare Defendant in Default5 alleging The only issue for resolution is whether or not the trial court acquired jurisdiction over the
that defendant has failed to file an Answer despite its receipt allegedly on May 5, 1998 of the person of petitioner upon service of summons on its Branch Manager.
summons and the complaint, as shown in the Sheriffs Return.
When the complaint was filed by Petitioner on April 3, 1998, the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
On June 22, 1998, plaintiff filed an Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss6 alleging that was already in force.14
the records show that defendant, through its branch manager, Engr. Wendell Sabulbero
actually received the summons and the complaint on May 8, 1998 as evidenced by the
Sec. 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that:
signature appearing on the copy of the summons and not on May 5, 1998 as stated in the
Sheriffs Return nor on May 6, 1998 as stated in the motion to dismiss; that defendant has
transferred its office from Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro to its new office address at Villa When the defendant is a corporation, partnership or association organized under
Gonzalo, Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro; and that the purpose of the rule is to bring home to the the laws of the Philippines with a juridical personality, service may be made on the
corporation notice of the filing of the action. president, managing partner, general manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-
house counsel. (emphasis supplied).
On August 5, 1998, the trial court issued an Order7 denying defendant's Motion to Dismiss as
well as plaintiffs Motion to Declare Defendant in Default. Defendant was given ten (10) days This provision revised the former Section 13, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court which provided that:
within which to file a responsive pleading. The trial court stated that since the summons and
copy of the complaint were in fact received by the corporation through its branch manager Sec. 13. Service upon private domestic corporation or partnership. — If the defendant
Wendell Sabulbero, there was substantial compliance with the rule on service of summons and is a corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines or a partnership duly
consequently, it validly acquired jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. registered, service may be made on the president, manager, secretary, cashier,
agent, or any of its directors. (emphasis supplied).
On August 19, 1998, defendant, by Special Appearance, filed a Motion for Reconsideration 8
alleging that Section 11, Rule 14 of the new Rules did not liberalize but, on the contrary, Petitioner contends that the enumeration of persons to whom summons may be served is
restricted the service of summons on persons enumerated therein; and that the new provision "restricted, limited and exclusive" following the rule on statutory construction expressio unios
is very specific and clear in that the word "manager" was changed to "general manager", est exclusio alterius and argues that if the Rules of Court Revision Committee intended to
"secretary" to "corporate secretary", and excluding therefrom agent and director. liberalize the rule on service of summons, it could have easily done so by clear and concise
language.
On August 27, 1998, plaintiff filed an Opposition to defendant's Motion for Reconsideration9
alleging that defendant's branch manager "did bring home" to the defendant-corporation the We agree with petitioner.
notice of the filing of the action and by virtue of which a motion to dismiss was filed; and that
it was one (1) month after receipt of the summons and the complaint that defendant chose to Earlier cases have uphold service of summons upon a construction project manager 15; a
file a motion to dismiss. corporation's assistant manager16; ordinary clerk of a corporation17; private secretary of
corporate executives18; retained counsel19; officials who had charge or control of the
On September 4, 1998, defendant, by Special Appearance, filed a Reply10 contending that the operations of the corporation, like the assistant general manager20; or the corporation's Chief
changes in the new rules are substantial and not just general semantics. Finance and Administrative Officer21. In these cases, these persons were considered as "agent"
within the contemplation of the old rule.22 Notably, under the new Rules, service of summons It should be noted that even prior to the effectivity of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, strict
upon an agent of the corporation is no longer authorized. compliance with the rules has been enjoined. In the case of Delta Motor Sales Corporation vs.
Mangosing,25 the Court held:
The cases cited by private respondent are therefore not in point.
A strict compliance with the mode of service is necessary to confer jurisdiction of the
In the Kanlaon case, this Court ruled that under the NLRC Rules of Procedure, summons on the court over a corporation. The officer upon whom service is made must be one who
respondent shall be served personally or by registered mail on the party himself; if the party is is named in the statute; otherwise the service is insufficient. . . .
represented by counsel or any other authorized representative or agent, summons shall be
served on such person. In said case, summons was served on one Engr. Estacio who managed The purpose is to render it reasonably certain that the corporation will receive
and supervised the construction project in Iligan City (although the principal address of the prompt and proper notice in an action against it or to insure that the summons be
corporation is in Quezon City) and supervised the work of the employees. It was held that as served on a representative so integrated with the corporation that such person will
manager, he had sufficient responsibility and discretion to realize the importance of the legal know what to do with the legal papers served on him. In other words, "to bring home
papers served on him and to relay the same to the president or other responsible officer of to the corporation notice of the filing of the action." . . . .
petitioner such that summons for petitioner was validly served on him as agent and authorized
representative of petitioner. Also in the Gesulgon case cited by private respondent, the The liberal construction rule cannot be invoked and utilized as a substitute for the
summons was received by the clerk in the office of the Assistant Manager (at principal office plain legal requirements as to the manner in which summons should be served on a
address) and under Section 13 of Rule 14 (old rule), summons may be made upon the clerk domestic corporation. . . . . (emphasis supplied).
who is regarded as agent within the contemplation of the rule.
Service of summons upon persons other than those mentioned in Section 13 of Rule 14 (old
The designation of persons or officers who are authorized to accept summons for a domestic rule) has been held as improper.26 Even under the old rule, service upon a general manager of
corporation or partnership is now limited and more clearly specified in Section 11, Rule 14 of a firm's branch office has been held as improper as summons should have been served at the
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The rule now states "general manager" instead of only firm's principal office. In First Integrated Bonding & Inc. Co., Inc. vs. Dizon,27 it was held that
"manager"; "corporate secretary" instead of "secretary"; and "treasurer" instead of "cashier." the service of summons on the general manager of the insurance firm's Cebu branch was
The phrase "agent, or any of its directors" is conspicuously deleted in the new rule. improper; default order could have been obviated had the summons been served at the firm's
principal office.
The particular revision under Section 11 of Rule 14 was explained by retired Supreme Court
Justice Florenz Regalado, thus:23 And in the case of Solar Team Entertainment, Inc. vs. Hon. Helen Bautista Ricafort, et al.28 the
Court succinctly clarified that, for the guidance of the Bench and Bar, "strictest" compliance
. . . the then Sec. 13 of this Rule allowed service upon a defendant corporation to "be with Section 11 of Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure (on Priorities in modes of service
made on the president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent or any of its directors." and filing) is mandated and the Court cannot rule otherwise, lest we allow circumvention of
The aforesaid terms were obviously ambiguous and susceptible of broad and the innovation by the 1997 Rules in order to obviate delay in the administration of justice.
sometimes illogical interpretations, especially the word "agent" of the corporation.
The Filoil case, involving the litigation lawyer of the corporation who precisely Accordingly, we rule that the service of summons upon the branch manager of petitioner at its
appeared to challenge the validity of service of summons but whose very appearance branch office at Cagayan de Oro, instead of upon the general manager at its principal office at
for that purpose was seized upon to validate the defective service, is an illustration Davao City is improper. Consequently, the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the
of the need for this revised section with limited scope and specific terminology. Thus person of the petitioner.
the absurd result in the Filoil case necessitated the amendment permitting service
only on the in-house counsel of the corporation who is in effect an employee of the
The fact that defendant filed a belated motion to dismiss did not operate to confer jurisdiction
corporation, as distinguished from an independent practitioner. (emphasis
upon its person. There is no question that the defendant's voluntary appearance in the action
supplied).
is equivalent to service of summons.29 Before, the rule was that a party may challenge the
jurisdiction of the court over his person by making a special appearance through a motion to
Retired Justice Oscar Herrera, who is also a consultant of the Rules of Court Revision dismiss and if in the same motion, the movant raised other grounds or invoked affirmative
Committee, stated that "(T)he rule must be strictly observed. Service must be made to one relief which necessarily involves the exercise of the jurisdiction of the court.30 This doctrine
named in (the) statute . . . .24 has been abandoned in the case of La Naval Drug Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, et al.,31
which became the basis of the adoption of a new provision in the former Section 23, which is
now Section 20 of Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules. Section 20 now provides that "the inclusion in a
motion to dismiss of other grounds aside from lack of jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant shall not be deemed a voluntary appearance." The emplacement of this rule clearly
underscores the purpose to enforce strict enforcement of the rules on summons. Accordingly,
the filing of a motion to dismiss, whether or not belatedly filed by the defendant, his authorized
agent or attorney, precisely objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the
defendant can by no means be deemed a submission to the jurisdiction of the court. There
being no proper service of summons, the trial court cannot take cognizance of a case for lack
of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. Any proceeding undertaken by the trial court
will consequently be null and void.32

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Orders of the public respondent
trial court are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The public respondent Regional Trial Court of Makati,
Branch 132 is declared without jurisdiction to take cognizance of Civil Case No. 98-824, and all
its orders and issuances in connection therewith are hereby ANNULLED and SET
ASIDE.1âwphi1.nêt

SO ORDERED.
PEDRO T. SANTOS, JR., G.R. No. 170943 Petitioner, - v e r s u s - PNOC EXPLORATION requires the plaintiff to submit evidence. The defaulting defendant may not take part in the
CORPORATION, Respondent. Promulgated:September 23, 2008 trial but shall be entitled to notice of subsequent proceedings.

Actions; Summons; Service of Summons by Publication; Where the defendant could not be Same; Same; An order of default can be made only upon motion of the claiming party.—As is
personally served with summons despite diligent efforts to locate his whereabouts, he may readily apparent, the September 11, 2003 order did not limit itself to permitting respondent
properly be served with summons by publication.—Section 14, Rule 14 (on Summons) of the to present its evidence ex parte but in effect issued an order of default. But the trial court could
Rules of Court provides: SEC. 14. Service upon defendant whose identity or whereabouts are not validly do that as an order of default can be made only upon motion of the claiming party.
unknown.—In any action where the defendant is designated as an unknown owner, or the like, Since no motion to declare petitioner in default was filed, no default order should have been
or whenever his whereabouts are unknown and cannot be ascertained by diligent inquiry, issued.
service may, by leave of court, be effected upon him by publication in a newspaper of general
circulation and in such places and for such times as the court may order. (emphasis supplied) Same; Same; Statutory Construction; If a party declared in default is entitled to notice of
Since petitioner could not be personally served with summons despite diligent efforts to locate subsequent proceedings, all the more should a party who has not been declared in default be
his whereabouts, respondent sought and was granted leave of court to effect service of entitled to such notice; Laws and rules must be interpreted in a way that they are in accordance
summons upon him by publication in a newspaper of general circulation. Thus, petitioner was with logic, common sense, reason and practicality.—To pursue the matter to its logical
properly served with summons by publication. Same; Same; Same; The in rem/in personam conclusion, if a party declared in default is entitled to notice of subsequent proceedings, all
distinction was significant under the old rule because it was silent as to the kind of action to the more should a party who has not been declared in default be entitled to such notice. But
which the rule was applicable but this has been changed —it now applies to any action, what happens if the residence or whereabouts of the defending party is not known or he
whether in personam, in rem or quasi in rem.—Petitioner invokes the distinction between an cannot be located? In such a case, there is obviously no way notice can be sent to him and the
action in rem and an action in personam and claims that substituted service may be availed of notice requirement cannot apply to him. The law does not require that the impossible be done.
only in an action in rem. Petitioner is wrong. The in rem/in personam distinction was significant Nemo tenetur ad impossibile. The law obliges no one to perform an impossibility. Laws and
under the old rule because it was silent as to the kind of action to which the rule was applicable. rules must be interpreted in a way that they are in accordance with logic, common sense,
Because of this silence, the Court limited the application of the old rule to in rem actions only. reason and practicality.
This has been changed. The present rule expressly states that it applies “[i]n any action where
the defendant is designated as an unknown owner, or the like, or whenever his whereabouts Same; Same; Equity; Equity is available only in the absence of law, not as its replacement—it
are unknown and cannot be ascertained by diligent inquiry.” Thus, it now applies to any action, may be applied only in the absence of rules of procedure, never in contravention thereof.—
whether in personam, in rem or quasi in rem. Petitioner’s plea for equity must fail in the face of the clear and express language of the rules
of procedure and of the September 11, 2003 order regarding the period for filing the answer.
Same; Same; Same; The service of summons by publication is complemented by service of Equity is available only in the absence of law, not as its replacement. Equity may be applied
summons by registered mail to the defendant’s last known address; While the trial court only in the absence of rules of procedure, never in contravention thereof.
ordinarily does the mailing of copies of its orders and processes, the duty to make the DECISION
complementary service by registered mail is imposed on the party who resorts to service by
publication.—Service of summons by publication is proved by the affidavit of the printer, his CORONA, J.:
foreman or principal clerk, or of the editor, business or advertising manager of the newspaper
which published the summons. The service of summons by publication is complemented by
This is a petition for review1 of the September 22, 2005 decision2 and December 29, 2005
service of summons by registered mail to the defendant’s last known address. This
resolution3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 82482.
complementary service is evidenced by an affidavit “showing the deposit of a copy of the
summons and order for publication in the post office, postage prepaid, directed to the
defendant by registered mail to his last known address.” The rules, however, do not require On December 23, 2002, respondent PNOC Exploration Corporation filed a complaint for a sum
that the affidavit of complementary service be executed by the clerk of court. While the trial of money against petitioner Pedro T. Santos, Jr. in the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch
court ordinarily does the mailing of copies of its orders and processes, the duty to make the 167. The complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 69262, sought to collect the amount of
complementary service by registered mail is imposed on the party who resorts to service by P698,502.10 representing petitioner’s unpaid balance of the car loan4 advanced to him by
publication. respondent when he was still a member of its board of directors.

Same; Default; In case a defendant is declared in default, the court shall proceed to render Personal service of summons to petitioner failed because he could not be located in his last
judgment granting the plaintiff such relief as his pleading may warrant, unless the court in its known address despite earnest efforts to do so. Subsequently, on respondent’s motion, the
discretion requires the plaintiff to submit evidence.—If the defendant fails to file his answer on trial court allowed service of summons by publication.
time, he may be declared in default upon motion of the plaintiff with notice to the said
defendant. In case he is declared in default, the court shall proceed to render judgment
granting the plaintiff such relief as his pleading may warrant, unless the court in its discretion
Respondent caused the publication of the summons in Remate, a newspaper of general Petitioner essentially reiterates the grounds he raised in the Court of Appeals, namely, lack of
circulation in the Philippines, on May 20, 2003. Thereafter, respondent submitted the affidavit jurisdiction over his person due to improper service of summons, failure of the trial court to
of publication of the advertising manager of Remate5 and an affidavit of service of furnish him with copies of its orders and processes including the September 11, 2003 order
respondent’s employee6 to the effect that he sent a copy of the summons by registered mail and preference for technicality rather than justice and equity. In particular, he claims that the
to petitioner’s last known address. rule on service by publication under Section 14, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court applies only to
actions in rem, not actions in personam like a complaint for a sum of money. He also contends
When petitioner failed to file his answer within the prescribed period, respondent moved that that the affidavit of service of a copy of the summons should have been prepared by the clerk
the case be set for the reception of its evidence ex parte. The trial court granted the motion in of court, not respondent’s messenger.
an order dated September 11, 2003.
The petition lacks merit.
Respondent proceeded with the ex parte presentation and formal offer of its evidence.
Thereafter, the case was deemed submitted for decision on October 15, 2003. P r o p r i e t y O f Service By Publication

On October 28, 2003, petitioner filed an "Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and to Admit Section 14, Rule 14 (on Summons) of the Rules of Court provides:
Attached Answer." He sought reconsideration of the September 11, 2003 order, alleging that
the affidavit of service submitted by respondent failed to comply with Section 19, Rule 14 of SEC. 14. Service upon defendant whose identity or whereabouts are unknown. – In any action
the Rules of Court as it was not executed by the clerk of court. He also claimed that he was where the defendant is designated as an unknown owner, or the like, or whenever his
denied due process as he was not notified of the September 11, 2003 order. He prayed that whereabouts are unknown and cannot be ascertained by diligent inquiry, service may, by
respondent’s evidence ex parte be stricken off the records and that his answer be admitted. leave of court, be effected upon him by publication in a newspaper of general circulation and
in such places and for such times as the court may order. (emphasis supplied)
Respondent naturally opposed the motion. It insisted that it complied with the rules on service
by publication. Moreover, pursuant to the September 11, 2003 order, petitioner was already Since petitioner could not be personally served with summons despite diligent efforts to locate
deemed in default for failure to file an answer within the prescribed period. his whereabouts, respondent sought and was granted leave of court to effect service of
summons upon him by publication in a newspaper of general circulation. Thus, petitioner was
In an order dated February 6, 2004, the trial court denied petitioner’s motion for properly served with summons by publication.
reconsideration of the September 11, 2003 order. It held that the rules did not require the
affidavit of complementary service by registered mail to be executed by the clerk of court. It Petitioner invokes the distinction between an action in rem and an action in personam and
also ruled that due process was observed as a copy of the September 11, 2003 order was claims that substituted service may be availed of only in an action in rem. Petitioner is wrong.
actually mailed to petitioner at his last known address. It also denied the motion to admit The in rem/in personam distinction was significant under the old rule because it was silent as
petitioner’s answer because the same was filed way beyond the reglementary period. to the kind of action to which the rule was applicable.10 Because of this silence, the Court
limited the application of the old rule to in rem actions only.11
Aggrieved, petitioner assailed the September 11, 2003 and February 6, 2004 orders of the trial
court in the Court of Appeals via a petition for certiorari. He contended that the orders were This has been changed. The present rule expressly states that it applies "[i]n any action where
issued with grave abuse of discretion. He imputed the following errors to the trial court: taking the defendant is designated as an unknown owner, or the like, or whenever his whereabouts
cognizance of the case despite lack of jurisdiction due to improper service of summons; failing are unknown and cannot be ascertained by diligent inquiry." Thus, it now applies to any action,
to furnish him with copies of its orders and processes, particularly the September 11, 2003 whether in personam, in rem or quasi in rem.12
order, and upholding technicality over equity and justice.
Regarding the matter of the affidavit of service, the relevant portion of Section 19, 13 Rule 14
During the pendency of the petition in the Court of Appeals, the trial court rendered its of the Rules of Court simply speaks of the following:
decision in Civil Case No. 69262. It ordered petitioner to pay P698,502.10 plus legal interest
and costs of suit.7
… an affidavit showing the deposit of a copy of the summons and order for publication in the
post office, postage prepaid, directed to the defendant by registered mail to his last known
Meanwhile, on September 22, 2005, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision8 sustaining the address.
September 11, 2003 and February 6, 2004 orders of the trial court and dismissing the petition.
It denied reconsideration.9 Thus, this petition.
Service of summons by publication is proved by the affidavit of the printer, his foreman or
principal clerk, or of the editor, business or advertising manager of the newspaper which
published the summons. The service of summons by publication is complemented by service proceed to render judgment granting the plaintiff such relief as his pleading may warrant,
of summons by registered mail to the defendant’s last known address. This complementary unless the court in its discretion requires the plaintiff to submit evidence. The defaulting
service is evidenced by an affidavit "showing the deposit of a copy of the summons and order defendant may not take part in the trial but shall be entitled to notice of subsequent
for publication in the post office, postage prepaid, directed to the defendant by registered mail proceedings.
to his last known address."
In this case, even petitioner himself does not dispute that he failed to file his answer on time.
The rules, however, do not require that the affidavit of complementary service be executed by That was in fact why he had to file an "Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and to Admit
the clerk of court. While the trial court ordinarily does the mailing of copies of its orders and Attached Answer." But respondent moved only for the ex parte presentation of evidence, not
processes, the duty to make the complementary service by registered mail is imposed on the for the declaration of petitioner in default. In its February 6, 2004 order, the trial court stated:
party who resorts to service by publication.
The disputed Order of September 11, 2003 allowing the presentation of evidence ex-parte
Moreover, even assuming that the service of summons was defective, the trial court acquired precisely ordered that "despite and notwithstanding service of summons by publication, no
jurisdiction over the person of petitioner by his own voluntary appearance in the action answer has been filed with the Court within the required period and/or forthcoming.["]
against him. In this connection, Section 20, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court states: Effectively[,] that was a finding that the defendant [that is, herein petitioner] was in default
for failure to file an answer or any responsive pleading within the period fixed in the
SEC. 20. Voluntary appearance. – The defendant’s voluntary appearance in the action shall publication as precisely the defendant [could not] be found and for which reason, service of
be equivalent to service of summons. The inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other grounds summons by publication was ordered. It is simply illogical to notify the defendant of the Order
aside from lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant shall not be deemed a of September 11, 2003 simply on account of the reality that he was no longer residing and/or
voluntary appearance. (emphasis supplied) found on his last known address and his whereabouts unknown – thus the publication of the
summons. In other words, it was reasonable to expect that the defendant will not receive any
notice or order in his last known address. Hence, [it was] impractical to send any notice or
Petitioner voluntarily appeared in the action when he filed the "Omnibus Motion for
order to him. Nonetheless, the record[s] will bear out that a copy of the order of September
Reconsideration and to Admit Attached Answer."14 This was equivalent to service of summons
11, 2003 was mailed to the defendant at his last known address but it was not claimed.
and vested the trial court with jurisdiction over the person of petitioner.
(emphasis supplied)

E n t i t l e m e n t T o Notice Of Proceedings
As is readily apparent, the September 11, 2003 order did not limit itself to permitting
respondent to present its evidence ex parte but in effect issued an order of default. But the
The trial court allowed respondent to present its evidence ex parte on account of petitioner’s trial court could not validly do that as an order of default can be made only upon motion of
failure to file his answer within the prescribed period. Petitioner assails this action on the part the claiming party.15 Since no motion to declare petitioner in default was filed, no default order
of the trial court as well as the said court’s failure to furnish him with copies of orders and should have been issued.
processes issued in the course of the proceedings.
To pursue the matter to its logical conclusion, if a party declared in default is entitled to notice
The effects of a defendant’s failure to file an answer within the time allowed therefor are of subsequent proceedings, all the more should a party who has not been declared in default
governed by Sections 3 and 4, Rule 9 (on Effect of Failure to Plead) of the Rules of Court: be entitled to such notice. But what happens if the residence or whereabouts of the defending
party is not known or he cannot be located? In such a case, there is obviously no way notice
SEC. 3. Default; declaration of. – If the defending party fails to answer within the time allowed can be sent to him and the notice requirement cannot apply to him. The law does not require
therefor, the court shall, upon motion of the claiming party with notice to the defending that the impossible be done.16 Nemo tenetur ad impossibile. The law obliges no one to perform
party, and proof of such failure, declare the defending party in default. Thereupon, the court an impossibility.17 Laws and rules must be interpreted in a way that they are in accordance
shall proceed to render judgment granting the claimant such relief as his pleading may with logic, common sense, reason and practicality.18
warrant, unless the court in its discretion requires the claimant to submit evidence. Such
reception of evidence may be delegated to the clerk of court. Hence, even if petitioner was not validly declared in default, he could not reasonably demand
that copies of orders and processes be furnished him. Be that as it may, a copy of the
SEC. 4. Effect of order of default. – A party in default shall be entitled to notice of subsequent September 11, 2003 order was nonetheless still mailed to petitioner at his last known address
proceedings but not to take part in the trial. (emphasis supplied) but it was unclaimed.

If the defendant fails to file his answer on time, he may be declared in default upon motion of C o r r e c t n e s s O f Non-Admission Of Answer
the plaintiff with notice to the said defendant. In case he is declared in default, the court shall
Petitioner failed to file his answer within the required period. Indeed, he would not have
moved for the admission of his answer had he filed it on time. Considering that the answer
was belatedly filed, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying its admission.

Petitioner’s plea for equity must fail in the face of the clear and express language of the rules
of procedure and of the September 11, 2003 order regarding the period for filing the answer.
Equity is available only in the absence of law, not as its replacement. 19 Equity may be applied
only in the absence of rules of procedure, never in contravention thereof.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.

Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED.


G.R. No. 144662 October 13, 2003 respondent of its right to present its defense in this multimillion peso suit, if we disregard
compliance with the rules on service of summons.
SPOUSES EFREN MASON and DIGNA MASON, petitioners, DECISION
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and COLUMBUS PHILIPPINES BUS CORPORATION, QUISUMBING, J.:
respondents.
This petition for review assails the decision,1 dated May 12, 2000, of the Court of Appeals and
Remedial Law; Summons; Jurisdiction; Question of whether the substantial compliance rule is its resolution2 dated August 25, 2000 in CA-G.R. SP No. 54649 denying petitioners’ motion for
still applicable under Section 11, rule 14 of the 1997 Rule of Civil Procedure has been settled in reconsideration. The decision set aside the decision3 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City,
Villarosa which applies squarely to the instant case.—The question of whether the substantial Branch 112, in Civil Case No. 98-1567 and directed said court to conduct further proceedings
compliance rule is still applicable under Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure on the complaint for rescission of lease contract.
has been settled in Villarosa which applies squarely to the instant case. In the said case,
petitioner E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co. Ltd. (hereafter Villarosa) with principal office address at The antecedent facts of the case, as found by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:
102 Juan Luna St., Davao City and with branches at 2492 Bay View Drive, Tambo, Parañaque,
Metro Manila and Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City, entered into a sale with
Petitioners spouses Efren and Digna Mason owned two parcels of land located along Epifanio
development agreement with private respondent Imperial Development Corporation. As
delos Santos Avenue in Pasay City. On March 30, 1993, petitioners and private respondent
Villarosa failed to comply with its contractual obligation, private respondent initiated a suit for
Columbus Philippines Bus Corporation (hereafter Columbus) entered into a lease contract,
breach of contract and damages at the Regional Trial Court of Makati. Summons, together with
under which Columbus undertook to construct a building worth ten million pesos
the complaint, was served upon Villarosa through its branch manager at Kolambog, Lapasan,
(₱10,000,000) at the end of the third year of the lease. Because private respondent failed to
Cagayan de Oro City. Villarosa filed a Special Appearance with Motion to Dismiss on the ground
comply with this stipulation, the petitioners on November 13, 1998, filed a complaint for
of improper service of summons and lack of jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion and
rescission of contract with damages against private respondent before the Regional Trial Court
ruled that there was substantial compliance with the rule, thus, it acquired jurisdiction over
of Pasay City, docketed as Civil Case No. 98-1567. Summons was served upon private
Villarosa. The latter questioned the denial before us in its petition for certiorari. We decided
respondent through a certain Ayreen Rejalde. While the receiving copy of the summons
in Villarosa’s favor and declared the trial court without jurisdiction to take cognizance of the
described Rejalde as a secretary of Columbus, the sheriff’s return described Rejalde as a
case. We held that there was no valid service of summons on Villarosa as service was made
secretary to the corporate president, duly authorized to receive legal processes.
through a person not included in the enumeration in Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure, which revised the Section 13, Rule 14 of the 1964 Rules of Court. We discarded
the trial court’s basis for denying the motion to dismiss, namely, private respondent’s Private respondent failed to file its answer or other responsive pleading, hence petitioners
substantial compliance with the rule on service of summons, and fully agreed with petitioner’s filed a motion to declare private respondent in default. The motion was granted and
assertions that the enumeration under the new rule is restricted, limited and exclusive, petitioners were allowed to present evidence ex-parte. Thereafter, the case was submitted for
following the rule in statutory construction that expressio unios est exclusio alterius. Had the decision.
Rules of Court Revision Committee intended to liberalize the rule on service of summons, we
said, it could have easily done so by clear and concise language. Absent a manifest intent to On April 22, 1999, the trial court rendered its decision whose dispositive portion reads:
liberalize the rule, we stressed strict compliance with Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure. WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and
against defendant declaring the contract of lease rescinded, terminated and cancelled, and
Same; Same; Same; Doctrine of substantial compliance must be deemed overturned by ordering defendant:
Villarosa, which is the later case. —Neither can herein petitioners invoke our ruling in
Millenium to support their position for said case is not on all fours with the instant case. We
must stress that Millenium was decided when the 1964 Rules of Court were still in force and 1. To pay plaintiffs the amount of ₱10 Million which is the value of the building which
effect, unlike the instant case which falls under the new rule. Hence, the cases cited by defendant failed to construct on the leased properties, as and by way [of] actual
petitioners where we upheld the doctrine of substantial compliance must be deemed damages;
overturned by Villarosa, which is the later case. Same; Same; Same; The service of summons is
a vital and indispensable ingredient of due process.—At this juncture, it is worth emphasizing 2. To pay plaintiffs the amount of ₱63,862.57 beginning November 1998 until
that notice to enable the other party to be heard and to present evidence is not a mere defendant and the sub-lessee vacate the leased property by way of reasonable
technicality or a trivial matter in any administrative or judicial proceedings. The service of compensation for the use of the properties;
summons is a vital and indispensable ingredient of due process. We will deprive private
3. and all other persons and entities claiming rights under it, to surrender possession The Court of Appeals held that the trial court erred when it denied private respondent’s motion
to plaintiffs and to vacate the leased premises; to lift order of default. The appellate court pointed out that private respondent was not
properly served with summons, thus it cannot be faulted if it failed to file an Answer. Section
4. to pay plaintiffs the amount of ₱300,000.00 as and by way of moral damages; 11, 7 Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure requires that service of summons upon
domestic private juridical entity shall be made through its president, managing partner,
general manager, corporate secretary, treasurer or in-house counsel. Since service upon
5. to pay plaintiffs the amount of ₱100,000.00 as and by way of exemplary damages;
private respondent was made through a certain Ayreen Rejalde, a mere filing clerk in private
respondent’s office, as evidenced by the latter’s employment record, such service cannot be
6. to pay plaintiffs attorney’s fees in the amount of ₱100,000.00; and considered valid. Consequently, the subsequent proceedings, including the order of default,
judgment by default and its execution, were also invalid because the trial court did not acquire
7. to pay the cost of suit. jurisdiction over private respondent. Besides, judgments by default are not favored, especially
so when there is a prima facie showing that the defaulting party has a meritorious defense,
SO ORDERED.4 which in this case was grounded on the contract of lease sued upon, said the Court of Appeals.

That decision became final on May 12, 1999. The following day, private respondent filed a Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but to no avail. Hence, this petition for review
motion to lift order of default, which was opposed by petitioners. The trial court ordered the averring that the Court of Appeals erred in:
parties to submit their respective memoranda. However, without waiting for the same, the
trial court on May 26, 1999, denied the motion to lift order of default, thus: I. … HOLDING THAT THERE WAS NO VALID SERVICE OF SUMMONS UPON PRIVATE
RESPONDENT COLUMBUS PHILIPPINES BUS CORPORATION
It appearing that the decision rendered by this Court on April 27, 1999 became final and
executory on May 12, 1999, defendant’s Motion to Lift Order of Default is hereby DENIED. II. … NOT HOLDING THAT THERE WAS VALID SERVICE OF SUMMONS CONFORMABLY WITH THE
Concomitant thereto, plaintiffs’ Motion for Execution is hereby GRANTED. SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE RULE.

The Order of this Court on May 21, 1999 allowing the parties to file their respective III. … HOLDING THAT WITH THE ADOPTION OF SECTION 11, RULE 14 OF THE 1997 RULES OF
memoranda within ten (10) days from May 21, 1999 is hereby revoked and set aside, since the CIVIL PROCEDURE, THE SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE RULE NO LONGER APPLIES.
incidents can be resolved based on the records.
IV. … NOT HOLDING THAT JURISDICTION WAS ACQUIRED OVER PRIVATE RESPONDENT
WHEREFORE, let a writ of execution issue to enforce and implement the final and executory COLUMBUS PHILIPPINES BUS CORPORATION AND THAT ITS MOTION TO LIFT ORDER OF
decision rendered by this Court on April 27, 1999. DEFAULT LACKS MERIT.8

SO ORDERED.5 The issues in this case may be succinctly stated as follows:

Private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied. Undaunted, private a. Whether there was valid service of summons on private respondent for the trial
respondent filed a manifestation and motion to lift the writ of execution. It suffered the same court to acquire jurisdiction, and
fate as the motion for reconsideration for being dilatory. The branch sheriff was directed to
proceed with the enforcement of the decision. b. Whether private respondent’s motion to lift order of default was in order.

Private respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals, which ruled in its favor, thus: On the first issue, petitioners contend that while Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure clearly specifies the persons authorized to receive summons on behalf of a private
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED; the decision in Civil Case No. 98-1567 and all the juridical entity, said provision did not abandon or render inapplicable the substantial
proceedings therein, including the order of default and writ of execution, are SET ASIDE. The compliance rule. Petitioners cite Millenium Industrial Commercial Corporation v. Tan,9 and
court a quo is ORDERED to require petitioner to file its answer and thereafter to conduct maintain that this Court, by referring to E.B Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd. v. Judge Benito,10
further appropriate proceedings with reasonable dispatch. effectively ruled that said provision is the statement of the general rule on service of summons
upon corporation and the substantial compliance rule is the exception. Petitioners claim that
SO ORDERED.6 this Court, in an array of cases, upheld the substantial compliance rule when it allowed the
validity of the service of summons on the corporation’s employee other than those mentioned
in the Rule where said summons and complaint were in fact seasonably received by the The designation of persons or officers who are authorized to accept summons for a domestic
corporation from said employee. Petitioners insist that technicality must not defeat speedy corporation or partnership is now limited and more clearly specified in Section 11, Rule 14 of
justice. the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The rule now states "general manager" instead of only
"manager"; "corporate secretary" instead of "secretary"; and "treasurer" instead of "cashier."
Petitioners stress that even though the summons was received by a mere filing clerk in private The phrase "agent, or any of its directors" is conspicuously deleted in the new rule.14
respondent’s corporation, there was substantial compliance with Section 11, Rule 14 because
the summons actually reached private respondent. This can be gleaned from private According to private respondent, service through Ayreen Rejalde, a mere filing clerk of private
respondent’s motion to lift order of default where private respondent did not question the respondent and not one of those enumerated above, is invalid.
validity of the service of summons but explained in paragraph three thereof that its failure to
answer the complaint was due to its impression that the case would not be pursued by We find private respondent’s submission on this issue meritorious.
petitioners because the corporation already made payments to them.11
The question of whether the substantial compliance rule is still applicable under Section 11,
From said averment, according to petitioners, private respondent in effect admitted that it Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure has been settled in Villarosa which applies squarely
received the summons. Notwithstanding this, private respondent did not file its answer to the to the instant case. In the said case, petitioner E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co. Ltd. (hereafter
complaint, said the petitioners. This is tantamount to negligence which the court cannot Villarosa) with principal office address at 102 Juan Luna St., Davao City and with branches at
tolerate, petitioners conclude. There being valid service of summons, the Regional Trial Court 2492 Bay View Drive, Tambo, Parañaque, Metro Manila and Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de
acquired jurisdiction over private respondent, according to petitioners. Oro City, entered into a sale with development agreement with private respondent Imperial
Development Corporation. As Villarosa failed to comply with its contractual obligation, private
Petitioners further contend that the Court of Appeals’ reliance on E.B Villarosa & Partner Co., respondent initiated a suit for breach of contract and damages at the Regional Trial Court of
Ltd. v. Judge Benito,12 in denying their motion for reconsideration was misplaced, because the Makati. Summons, together with the complaint, was served upon Villarosa through its branch
factual milieu in said case was different from that in the instant case. In Villarosa, according to manager at Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City. Villarosa filed a Special Appearance with
them, there was no showing of actual receipt by the defendant corporation of the summons Motion to Dismiss on the ground of improper service of summons and lack of jurisdiction. The
while in this case, private respondent actually received the summons. trial court denied the motion and ruled that there was substantial compliance with the rule,
thus, it acquired jurisdiction over Villarosa. The latter questioned the denial before us in its
Private respondent counters that nowhere in the Millenium case did this Court expressly state petition for certiorari. We decided in Villarosa’s favor and declared the trial court without
or remotely imply that we have not abandoned the doctrine of substantial compliance. Private jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case.1awphi1.nét We held that there was no valid service
respondent claims that petitioners misquoted the portion of the Millenium decision where this of summons on Villarosa as service was made through a person not included in the
Court cited the Villarosa case, to make it appear that the Villarosa ruling, which provides an enumeration in Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which revised the
interpretation of Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, states the general Section 13, Rule 14 of the 1964 Rules of Court. We discarded the trial court’s basis for denying
rule on the service of summons upon corporations where the substantial compliance rule is the motion to dismiss, namely, private respondent’s substantial compliance with the rule on
the exception. Private respondent avers that what this Court discussed in the Millenium case service of summons, and fully agreed with petitioner’s assertions that the enumeration under
was the rule on service of summons under the old Rules of Court prior to the promulgation the new rule is restricted, limited and exclusive, following the rule in statutory construction
and effectivity of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The Millenium case held that as a general that expressio unios est exclusio alterius. Had the Rules of Court Revision Committee intended
rule, service upon one who is not enumerated in Section 13,13 Rule 14 of the then Rules of to liberalize the rule on service of summons, we said, it could have easily done so by clear and
Court is invalid, according to private respondent. An exception is when the summons is actually concise language. Absent a manifest intent to liberalize the rule, we stressed strict compliance
received by the corporation, which means that there was substantial compliance with the rule. with Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
Private respondent stresses that since the exception referred to the old rule, it cannot be made
to apply to the new rule, which clearly specifies and limits the persons authorized to receive Neither can herein petitioners invoke our ruling in Millenium to support their position for said
the summons in behalf of the corporation.1a\^/phi1.net case is not on all fours with the instant case. We must stress that Millenium was decided when
the 1964 Rules of Court were still in force and effect, unlike the instant case which falls under
Neither can petitioners rely on Millenium to justify their theory, adds private respondent, the new rule. Hence, the cases15 cited by petitioners where we upheld the doctrine of
because at the time the complaint in this case was filed with the trial court, the 1997 Rules of substantial compliance must be deemed overturned by Villarosa, which is the later case.
Civil Procedure were already in effect. The case law applicable in the instant case, contends
private respondent, is Villarosa which squarely provides for the proper interpretation of the At this juncture, it is worth emphasizing that notice to enable the other party to be heard and
new rule on the service of summons upon domestic corporation, thus: to present evidence is not a mere technicality or a trivial matter in any administrative or judicial
proceedings. The service of summons is a vital and indispensable ingredient of due process.16
We will deprive private respondent of its right to present its defense in this multi-million peso
suit, if we disregard compliance with the rules on service of summons.

On the second issue, petitioners claim that private respondent’s motion to lift order of default
was not in order for it was filed late, contrary to the provision in sub-paragraph (b), Section
3,17 Rule 9 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires filing of the motion after notice
but before judgment. Also, the motion was (a) not under oath; (b) did not show the fraud,
accident, mistake or excusable neglect that caused private respondents’ failure to answer; and
(c) did not show private respondent’s meritorious defense.

Private respondent, in turn, argues that since service upon it was invalid, the trial court did not
acquire jurisdiction over it. Hence, all the subsequent proceedings in the trial court are null
and void, including the order of default. This renders the second issue now moot and academic.

We find merit in private respondent’s submissions. Since we have ruled that service of
summons upon private respondent through its filing clerk cannot be considered valid, it
necessarily follows therefore that the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City did not acquire
jurisdiction over private respondent.18 Consequently, all the subsequent proceedings held
before it, including the order of default, are null and void.19 As private respondent points out,
the second issue has become moot and academic.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The questioned decision, as well as the resolution,
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 54649 are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 147369 October 23, 2003 directed against respondents. While the suit incidentally involved a piece of land, the
ownership or possession thereof was not put in issue, since they did not assert any interest or
Spouses PATRICK JOSE and RAFAELA JOSE, petitioners, right over it. Moreover, this Court has consistently declared that an action for specific
vs. performance is an action in personam.
Spouses HELEN BOYON and ROMEO BOYON, respondents. DECISION

Remedial Law; Actions; Summons; Jurisdictions; Generally, trial courts acquire jurisdiction over PANGANIBAN, J.:
the person of the defendant by the service of summons.—In general, trial courts acquire
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant by the service of summons. Where the action is In general, substituted service can be availed of only after a clear showing that personal service
in personam and the defendant is in the Philippines, such service may be done by personal or of summons was not legally possible. Also, service by publication is applicable in actions in rem
substituted service, following the procedures laid out in Sections 6 and 7 of Rule 14 of the and quasi in rem, but not in personal suits such as the present one which is for specific
Revised Rules of Court. performance.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Substituted Service; Personal service of summons is preferred to The Case
substituted service; Only if the former cannot be made promptly can the process server resort
to the latter; Circumstances which must be indicated in the proof of summons; Failure to comply
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court,
faithfully, strictly and fully with all the foregoing requirements of substituted service renders
assailing the February 26, 2001 Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR SP No. 60888.
the service of summons ineffective.—As can be gleaned from the abovequoted Sections,
The dispositive portion of the CA Decision is worded as follows:
personal service of summons is preferred to substituted service. Only if the former cannot be
made promptly can the process server resort to the latter. Moreover, the proof of service of
summons must (a) indicate the impossibility of service of summons within a reasonable time; "WHEREFORE, on the basis of what prescinds, the assailed resolution and orders issued by the
(b) specify the efforts exerted to locate the defendant; and (c) state that the summons was public respondent are perforce ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. This pronouncement is nonetheless
served upon a person of sufficient age and discretion who is residing in the address, or who is rendered without prejudice to the refiling of the same case by the private respondents with
in charge of the office or regular place of business, of the defendant. It is likewise required that the court a quo."3
the pertinent facts proving these circumstances be stated in the proof of service or in the
officer’s return. The failure to comply faithfully, strictly and fully with all the foregoing The Facts
requirements of substituted service renders the service of summons ineffective.
The factual antecedents of the case are narrated by the CA in this wise:
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; A general statement that such efforts were made will not
suffice for purposes of complying with the rules of substituted service of summons.—The
Return of Summons shows that no effort was actually exerted and no positive step taken by "On July 2, 1998, [petitioners] Patrick and Rafaela Jose lodged a complaint for specific
either the process server or petitioners to locate and serve the summons personally on performance against [respondents] Helen and Romeo Boyon to compel them to facilitate the
respondents. At best, the Return merely states the alleged whereabouts of respondents transfer of ownership of a parcel of land subject of a controverted sale. The action was lodged
without indicating that such information was verified from a person who had knowledge before the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa which is presided by herein public respondent
thereof. Certainly, without specifying the details of the attendant circumstances or of the Judge N.C. Perello. On July 21, 1998, respondent judge, through the acting Branch Clerk of
efforts exerted to serve the summons, a general statement that such efforts were made will Court of Branch 276 of the RTC of Muntinlupa City, issued summons to the [respondents]. As
not suffice for purposes of complying with the rules of substituted service of summons. per return of the summons, substituted service was resorted to by the process server allegedly
because efforts to serve the summons personally to the [respondents] failed. On December 9,
Same; Same; Same; Same; Extraterritorial Service; Extraterritorial service of summons or 1998, [petitioners] filed before the trial court an Ex-parte Motion for Leave of Court to Effect
summons by publication applies only when the action is in rem or quasi in rem.—It must be Summons by Publication. On December 28, 1998, public respondent issued an Order granting
noted that extraterritorial service of summons or summons by publication applies only when the Ex-parte Motion for Leave of Court to Effect Summons by Publication. On July 30, 1999,
the action is in rem or quasi in rem. The first is an action against the thing itself instead of the respondent judge, sans a written motion, issued an Order declaring herein [respondents]
against the defendant’s person; in the latter, an individual is named as defendant, and the in default for failure to file their respective answers. As a consequence of the declaration of
purpose is to subject that individual’s interest in a piece of property to the obligation or loan default, [petitioners] were allowed to submit their evidence ex-parte. Ultimately, on December
burdening it. 7, 1999, respondent judge issued the assailed resolution, the dispositive portion of which reads
as follows:
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; An action for specific performance is an action in personam.—
In the instant case, what was filed before the trial court was an action for specific performance
‘x x x Therefore, Spouses Helen and Romeo Boyon are directed to execute the necessary "A. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in not holding that the assailed Resolution
document with the effect of withdrawing the Affidavit of Loss they filed and annotated with dated December 7, 1999 was already final and executory
the Register of Deeds of Makati City so that title ‘to the parcel of land subject of the Deed of
Absolute Sale in favor of the Plaintiffs be transferred in their names. Thereafter the Register of "B. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in giving due course to the Petition for
Deeds of Makati City or Muntinlupa City may cancel Transfer of Certificate of Title No. 149635 Certiorari of private respondents despite the pendency of an appeal earlier filed
of the Defendants and issue another to Plaintiff under the deed of sale, clean and free of any
reported encumbrance.
"C. The Honorable Court erred in not holding that the Petition for Certiorari was time
barred
‘Defendants are also directed to pay Plaintiffs actual expenses in the amount of ₱20,000 and
attorney’s fees of ₱20,000 including costs of this suit.’
"D. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in holding that the proceedings in the
lower court are null and void due to invalid and defective service of summons and
xxxxxxxxx the court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of the respondents."6

"On January 5, 2000, [respondent] Helen Boyon, who was then residing in the United States of In sum, the main issue revolves around the validity of the service of summons on
America, was surprised to learn from her sister Elizabeth Boyon, of the resolution issued by respondents.1ªvvphi1.nét
the respondent court. On January 18, 2000, [respondents] filed an Ad Cautelam motion
questioning, among others, the validity of the service of summons effected by the court a quo.
The Court’s Ruling
On March 17, 2000, the public respondent issued an Order denying the said motion on the
basis of the defaulted [respondents’] supposed loss of standing in court. On March 29, 2000,
the [respondents] once again raised the issue of jurisdiction of the trial court via a motion for The Petition has no merit.
reconsideration. On June 22, 2000, however, an Order was issued by the public respondent
denying the said motion. The [petitioners] moved for the execution of the controverted Main Issue:
judgment which the respondent judge ultimately granted."4
Validity of the Service of Summons
Thereafter, respondents filed before the CA a Petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, questioning the jurisdiction of the regional trial court (RTC). Petitioners aver that the CA erred in ruling that the service of summons on respondents was
invalid. They submit that although the case filed before the trial court was denominated as an
Ruling of the Court of Appeals action for specific performance, it was actually an action quasi in rem, because it involved a
piece of real property located in the Philippines. They further argue that in actions quasi in rem
The CA held that the trial court had no authority to issue the questioned Resolution and Orders. involving ownership of a parcel of land, it is sufficient that the trial court acquire jurisdiction
According to the appellate court, the RTC never acquired jurisdiction over respondents over the res. Thus, the summons by publication, which they effected subsequent to the
because of the invalid service of summons upon them. First, the sheriff failed to comply with substituted service of summons, was allegedly sufficient.
the requirements of substituted service of summons, because he did not specify in the Return
of Summons the prior efforts he had made to locate them and the impossibility of promptly On the other hand, respondents maintain that the proceedings in the trial court were null and
serving the summons upon them by personal service. Second, the subsequent summons by void because of the invalid and defective service of summons. According to them, the Return
publication was equally infirm, because the Complaint was a suit for specific performance and of Summons issued by the process server of the RTC failed to state that he had exerted earnest
therefore an action in personam. Consequently, the Resolution and the Orders were null and efforts to effect the service of summons. He allegedly tried to serve it personally on them on
void, since the RTC had never acquired jurisdiction over respondents. July 22, 1998 at No. 32 Ariza Drive, Camella Homes, Alabang. He, however, resorted to
substituted service on that same day, supposedly because he could not find respondents in
Hence, this Petition.5 the above address. They further allege that the person to whom he gave the summons was
not even a resident of that address.
Issues
Respondents contend that when summons is served by substituted service, the return must
show that it was impossible to serve the summons personally, and that efforts had been
In their Memorandum, petitioners raise the following issues for our consideration:
exerted toward that end. They add that noncompliance with the rule on substituted service
renders invalid all proceedings relative thereto.
As to the summons by publication subsequently effected by petitioners, respondents argue respondents. Furthermore, it did not specify where or from whom the process server obtained
that the case filed before the trial court was an action for specific performance and, therefore, the information on their whereabouts. The pertinent portion of the Return of Summons is
an action in personam. As such, the summons by publication was insufficient to enable the trial reproduced as follows:
court to acquire jurisdiction over the persons of respondents.
"That efforts to serve the said Summons personally upon defendants Sps. Helen and Romeo
Respondents conclude that even granting that the service of summons by publication was Boyon were made but the same were ineffectual and unavailing for the reason that defendant
permissible under the circumstances, it would still be defective and invalid because of the Helen Boyon is somewhere in the United States of America and defendant Romeo Boyon is in
failure of petitioners to observe the requirements of law, like an Affidavit attesting that the Bicol thus substituted service was made in accordance with Section 7, Rule 14, of the Revised
latter deposited in the post office a copy of the summons and of the order of publication, paid Rules of Court."10
the postage, and sent the documents by registered mail to the former’s last known
address.1awphi1.nét The Return of Summons shows that no effort was actually exerted and no positive step taken
by either the process server or petitioners to locate and serve the summons personally on
We agree with respondents. In general, trial courts acquire jurisdiction over the person of the respondents. At best, the Return merely states the alleged whereabouts of respondents
defendant by the service of summons. Where the action is in personam and the defendant is without indicating that such information was verified from a person who had knowledge
in the Philippines, such service may be done by personal or substituted service, following the thereof. Certainly, without specifying the details of the attendant circumstances or of the
procedures laid out in Sections 6 and 7 of Rule 14 of the Revised Rules of Court, which read: efforts exerted to serve the summons, a general statement that such efforts were made will
not suffice for purposes of complying with the rules of substituted service of summons.
"Section 6. Service in person on defendant. - Whenever practicable, the summons shall be
served by handing a copy thereof to the defendant in person, or, if he refuses to receive and The necessity of stating in the process server’s Return or Proof of Service the material facts
sign for it, by tendering it to him. and circumstances sustaining the validity of substituted service was explained by this Court in
Hamilton v. Levy,11 from which we quote:
"Section 7. Substituted service. - If, for justifiable causes, the defendant cannot be served
within a reasonable time as provided in the preceding section, service may be effected (a) by "x x x The pertinent facts and circumstances attendant to the service of summons must be
leaving copies of the summons at the defendant's residence with some person of suitable age stated in the proof of service or Officer’s Return; otherwise, any substituted service made in
and discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving the copies at defendant’s office or regular lieu of personal service cannot be upheld. This is necessary because substituted service is in
place of business with some competent person in charge thereof." derogation of the usual method of service. It is a method extraordinary in character and hence
may be used only as prescribed and in the circumstances authorized by statute. Here, no such
As can be gleaned from the above-quoted Sections, personal service of summons is preferred explanation was made. Failure to faithfully, strictly, and fully comply with the requirements of
to substituted service. Only if the former cannot be made promptly can the process server substituted service renders said service ineffective."12
resort to the latter. Moreover, the proof of service of summons must (a) indicate the
impossibility of service of summons within a reasonable time; (b) specify the efforts exerted Moreover, the requirements of substituted service of summons and the effect of
to locate the defendant; and (c) state that the summons was served upon a person of sufficient noncompliance with the subsequent proceedings therefor were discussed in Madrigal v. Court
age and discretion who is residing in the address, or who is in charge of the office or regular of Appeals13 as follows:
place of business, of the defendant.7 It is likewise required that the pertinent facts proving
these circumstances be stated in the proof of service or in the officer’s return. The failure to "In a long line of cases, this Court held that the impossibility of personal service justifying
comply faithfully, strictly and fully with all the foregoing requirements of substituted service availment of substituted service should be explained in the proof of service; why efforts
renders the service of summons ineffective.8 exerted towards personal service failed. The pertinent facts and circumstances attendant to
the service of summons must be stated in the proof of service or Officer’s Return; otherwise,
Defective Personal Service of Summons the substituted service cannot be upheld. It bears stressing that since service of summons,
especially for actions in personam, is essential for the acquisition of jurisdiction over the
In the instant case, it appears that the process server hastily and capriciously resorted to person of the defendant, the resort to a substituted service must be duly justified. Failure to
substituted service of summons without actually exerting any genuine effort to locate do so would invalidate all subsequent proceedings on jurisdictional grounds."14
respondents. A review of the records9 reveals that the only effort he exerted was to go to No.
32 Ariza Drive, Camella Homes, Alabang on July 22, 1998, to try to serve the summons Summons by Publication Improper
personally on respondents. While the Return of Summons states that efforts to do so were
ineffectual and unavailing because Helen Boyon was in the United States and Romeo Boyon
was in Bicol, it did not mention exactly what efforts -- if any -- were undertaken to find
It must be noted that extraterritorial service of summons or summons by publication applies
only when the action is in rem or quasi in rem. The first is an action against the thing itself
instead of against the defendant’s person; in the latter, an individual is named as defendant,
and the purpose is to subject that individual’s interest in a piece of property to the obligation
or loan burdening it.15

In the instant case, what was filed before the trial court was an action for specific performance
directed against respondents. While the suit incidentally involved a piece of land, the
ownership or possession thereof was not put in issue, since they did not assert any interest or
right over it. Moreover, this Court has consistently declared that an action for specific
performance is an action in personam.16

Having failed to serve the summons on respondents properly, the RTC did not validly acquire
jurisdiction over their persons. Consequently, due process demands that all the proceedings
conducted subsequent thereto should be deemed null and void.17

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision and Resolution AFFIRMED. Costs
against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 130974 August 16, 2006 Court, which the clerk uses in the Monthly Report of Cases to be submitted to the Office of the
Court Administrator within the first ten (10) days of the succeeding month. Thus, one month
MA. IMELDA M. MANOTOC, Petitioner, from the issuance of summons can be considered “reasonable time” with regard to personal
vs. service on the defendant.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and AGAPITA TRAJANO on behalf of the Estate of
ARCHIMEDES TRAJANO, Respondents. Same; Same; Same; Same; Sheriffs; Sheriffs are enjoined to try their best efforts to accomplish
personal service on defendant, and since the defendant is expected to try to avoid and evade
service of summons, the sheriff must be resourceful, persevering, canny, and diligent in serving
Courts; Jurisdictions; Summons; Substituted Service; While substituted service of summons is
the process on the defendant; “Several attempts” means at least three (3) tries, preferably on
permitted, since it is extraordinary in character and in derogation of the usual method of
at least two different dates.—Sheriffs are asked to discharge their duties on the service of
service, it must faithfully and strictly comply with the prescribed requirements and
summons with due care, utmost diligence, and reasonable promptness and speed so as not to
circumstances authorized by the rules.—Jurisdiction over the defendant is acquired either
prejudice the expeditious dispensation of justice. Thus, they are enjoined to try their best
upon a valid service of summons or the defendant’s voluntary appearance in court. When the
efforts to accomplish personal service on defendant. On the other hand, since the defendant
defendant does not voluntarily submit to the court’s jurisdiction or when there is no valid
is expected to try to avoid and evade service of summons, the sheriff must be resourceful,
service of summons, “any judgment of the court which has no jurisdiction over the person of
persevering, canny, and diligent in serving the process on the defendant. For substituted
the defendant is null and void.” In an action strictly in personam, personal service on the
service of summons to be available, there must be several attempts by the sheriff to personally
defendant is the preferred mode of service, that is, by handing a copy of the summons to the
serve the summons within a reasonable period [of one month] which eventually resulted in
defendant in person. If defendant, for excusable reasons, cannot be served with the summons
failure to prove impossibility of prompt service. “Several attempts” means at least three (3)
within a reasonable period, then substituted service can be resorted to. While substituted
tries, preferably on at least two different dates. In addition, the sheriff must cite why such
service of summons is permitted, “it is extraordinary in character and in derogation of the usual
efforts were unsuccessful. It is only then that impossibility of service can be confirmed or
method of service.” Hence, it must faithfully and strictly comply with the prescribed
accepted.
requirements and circumstances authorized by the rules. Indeed, “compliance with the rules
regarding the service of summons is as much important as the issue of due process as of
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The sheriff must describe in the Return of Summons the facts
jurisdiction.”
and circumstances surrounding the attempted personal service—the efforts made to find the
defendant and the reasons behind the failure must be clearly narrated in detail in the Return.—
Same; Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases; The party relying on substituted service or the
The sheriff must describe in the Return of Summons the facts and circumstances surrounding
sheriff must show that defendant cannot be served promptly or there is impossibility of prompt
the attempted personal service. The efforts made to find the defendant and the reasons
service; “Reasonable time” is defined as so much time as is necessary under the circumstances
behind the failure must be clearly narrated in detail in the Return. The date and time of the
for a reasonably prudent and diligent man to do, conveniently, what the contract or duty
attempts on personal service, the inquiries made to locate the defendant, the name/s of the
requires that should be done, having a regard for the rights and possibility of loss, if any, to the
occupants of the alleged residence or house of defendant and all other acts done, though
other party; One month from the issuance of summons can be considered “reasonable time”
futile, to serve the summons on defendant must be specified in the Return to justify
with regard to personal service on the defendant.—The party relying on substituted service or
substituted service. The form on Sheriff’s Return of Summons on Substituted Service
the sheriff must show that defendant cannot be served promptly or there is impossibility of
prescribed in the Handbook for Sheriffs published by the Philippine Judicial Academy requires
prompt service. Section 8, Rule 14 provides that the plaintiff or the sheriff is given a
a narration of the efforts made to find the defendant personally and the fact of failure.
“reasonable time” to serve the summons to the defendant in person, but no specific time
Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 5 dated November 9, 1989 requires that
frame is mentioned. “Reasonable time” is defined as “so much time as is necessary under the
“impossibility of prompt service should be shown by stating the efforts made to find the
circumstances for a reasonably prudent and diligent man to do, conveniently, what the
defendant personally and the failure of such efforts,” which should be made in the proof of
contract or duty requires that should be done, having a regard for the rights and possibility of
service.
loss, if any[,] to the other party.” Under the Rules, the service of summons has no set period.
However, when the court, clerk of court, or the plaintiff asks the sheriff to make the return of
Same; Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases; A person of suitable age and discretion is one
the summons and the latter submits the return of summons, then the validity of the summons
who has attained the age of full legal capacity (18 years old) and is considered to have enough
lapses. The plaintiff may then ask for an alias summons if the service of summons has failed.
discernment to understand the importance of a summons; “Discretion” is defined as the ability
What then is a reasonable time for the sheriff to effect a personal service in order to
to make decisions which represent a responsible choice and for which an understanding of what
demonstrate impossibility of prompt service? To the plaintiff, “reasonable time” means no
is lawful, right or wise may be presupposed; The person upon whom substituted service is made
more than seven (7) days since an expeditious processing of a complaint is what a plaintiff
must have the “relation of confidence” to the defendant, ensuring that the latter would receive
wants. To the sheriff, “reasonable time” means 15 to 30 days because at the end of the month,
or at least be notified of the receipt of the summons.—If the substituted service will be effected
it is a practice for the branch clerk of court to require the sheriff to submit a return of the
at defendant’s house or residence, it should be left with a person of “suitable age and
summons assigned to the sheriff for service. The Sheriff’s Return provides data to the Clerk of
discretion then residing therein.” A person of suitable age and discretion is one who has
attained the age of full legal capacity (18 years old) and is considered to have enough
discernment to understand the importance of a summons. “Discretion” is defined as “the Before resorting to substituted service, a plaintiff must demonstrate an effort in good faith to
ability to make decisions which represent a responsible choice and for which an understanding locate the defendant through more direct means. More so, in the case in hand, when the
of what is lawful, right or wise may be presupposed”. Thus, to be of sufficient discretion, such alleged petitioner’s residence or house is doubtful or has not been clearly ascertained, it would
person must know how to read and understand English to comprehend the import of the have been better for personal service to have been pursued persistently.
summons, and fully realize the need to deliver the summons and complaint to the defendant
at the earliest possible time for the person to take appropriate action. Thus, the person must Same; Same; Same; Same; In view of the numerous claims of irregularities in substituted service
have the “relation of confidence” to the defendant, ensuring that the latter would receive or which have spawned the filing of a great number of unnecessary special civil actions of
at least be notified of the receipt of the summons. The sheriff must therefore determine if the certiorari and appeals to higher courts, resulting in prolonged litigation and wasteful legal
person found in the alleged dwelling or residence of defendant is of legal age, what the expenses, the narration of the efforts made to find the defendant and the fact of failure written
recipient’s relationship with the defendant is, and whether said person comprehends the in broad and imprecise words will not suffice—the facts and circumstances should be stated
significance of the receipt of the summons and his duty to immediately deliver it to the with more particularity and detail on the number of attempts made at personal service, dates
defendant or at least notify the defendant of said receipt of summons. These matters must be and times of the attempts, inquiries to locate defendant, names of occupants of the alleged
clearly and specifically described in the Return of Summons. residence, and the reasons for failure should be included in the Return to satisfactorily show
the efforts undertaken; To allow sheriffs to describe the facts and circumstances in inexact
Same; Same; Same; Same; If the substituted service will be done at defendant’s office or regular terms would encourage routine performance of their precise duties relating to substituted
place of business, then it should be served on a competent person in charge of the place.—If service—for it would be quite easy to shroud or conceal carelessness or laxity in such broad
the substituted service will be done at defendant’s office or regular place of business, then it terms.—In the case Umandap v. Sabio, Jr., 339 SCRA 243 (2000), it may be true that the Court
should be served on a competent person in charge of the place. Thus, the person on whom the held that a Sheriff’s Return, which states that “despite efforts exerted to serve said process
substituted service will be made must be the one managing the office or business of defendant, personally upon the defendant on several occasions the same proved futile,” conforms to the
such as the president or manager; and such individual must have sufficient knowledge to requirements of valid substituted service. However, in view of the numerous claims of
understand the obligation of the defendant in the summons, its importance, and the irregularities in substituted service which have spawned the filing of a great number of
prejudicial effects arising from inaction on the summons. Again, these details must be unnecessary special civil actions of certiorari and appeals to higher courts, resulting in
contained in the Return. prolonged litigation and wasteful legal expenses, the Court rules in the case at bar that the
narration of the efforts made to find the defendant and the fact of failure written in broad and
Same; Same; Same; Same; Given the fact that the substituted service of summons may be imprecise words will not suffice. The facts and circumstances should be stated with more
assailed by a Motion to Dismiss, it is imperative that the pertinent facts and circumstances particularity and detail on the number of attempts made at personal service, dates and times
surrounding the service of summons be described with more particularity in the Return or of the attempts, inquiries to locate defendant, names of occupants of the alleged residence,
Certificate of Service.—A meticulous scrutiny of the aforementioned Return readily reveals the and the reasons for failure should be included in the Return to satisfactorily show the efforts
absence of material data on the serious efforts to serve the Summons on petitioner Manotoc undertaken. That such efforts were made to personally serve summons on defendant, and
in person. There is no clear valid reason cited in the Return why those efforts proved those resulted in failure, would prove impossibility of prompt personal service. Moreover, to
inadequate, to reach the conclusion that personal service has become impossible or allow sheriffs to describe the facts and circumstances in inexact terms would encourage
unattainable outside the generally couched phrases of “on many occasions several attempts routine performance of their precise duties relating to substituted service—for it would be
were made to serve the summons x x x personally,” “at reasonable hours during the day,” and quite easy to shroud or conceal carelessness or laxity in such broad terms. Lastly, considering
“to no avail for the reason that the said defendant is usually out of her place and/or residence that monies and properties worth millions may be lost by a defendant because of an irregular
or premises.” Wanting in detailed information, the Return deviates from the ruling—in or void substituted service, it is but only fair that the Sheriff’s Return should clearly and
Domagas v. Jensen, and other related cases—that the pertinent facts and circumstances on convincingly show the impracticability or hopelessness of personal service.
the efforts exerted to serve the summons personally must be narrated in the Return. It cannot
be determined how many times, on what specific dates, and at what hours of the day the Jurisdictions; Summons; Substituted Service; There are two requirements under the Rules
attempts were made. Given the fact that the substituted service of summons may be assailed, regarding leaving summons with a“ person of suitable age and discretion” residing in
as in the present case, by a Motion to Dismiss, it is imperative that the pertinent facts and defendant’s house or residence, namely, (1) recipient must be a person of suitable age and
circumstances surrounding the service of summons be described with more particularity in the discretion, and, (2) recipient must reside in the house or residence of defendant; To protect a
Return or Certificate of Service. defendant’s right to due process by being accorded proper notice of a case against her, the
substituted service of summons must be shown to clearly comply with the rules.—Granting that
Same; Same; Same; Same; Before resorting to substituted service, a plaintiff must demonstrate such a general description be considered adequate, there is still a serious nonconformity from
an effort in good faith to locate the defendant through direct means.—Apart from the the requirement that the summons must be left with a “person of suitable age and discretion”
allegation of petitioner’s address in the Complaint, it has not been shown that respondent residing in defendant’s house or residence. Thus, there are two (2) requirements under the
Trajano or Sheriff Cañelas, who served such summons, exerted extraordinary efforts to locate Rules: (1) recipient must be a person of suitable age and discretion; and (2) recipient must
petitioner. Certainly, the second paragraph of the Complaint only states that respondents reside in the house or residence of defendant. Both requirements were not met. In this case,
were “informed, and so [they] allege” about the address and whereabouts of petitioner. the Sheriff’s Return lacks information as to residence, age, and discretion of Mr. Macky de la
Cruz, aside from the sheriff’s general assertion that de la Cruz is the “resident caretaker” of DECISION
petitioner as pointed out by a certain Ms. Lyn Jacinto, alleged receptionist and telephone
operator of Alexandra Homes. It is doubtful if Mr. de la Cruz is residing with petitioner Manotoc VELASCO, JR., J.:
in the condominium unit considering that a married woman of her stature in society would
unlikely hire a male caretaker to reside in her dwelling. With the petitioner’s allegation that
The court’s jurisdiction over a defendant is founded on a valid service of summons. Without a
Macky de la Cruz is not her employee, servant, or representative, it is necessary to have
valid service, the court cannot acquire jurisdiction over the defendant, unless the defendant
additional information in the Return of Summons. Besides, Mr. Macky de la Cruz’s refusal to
voluntarily submits to it. The defendant must be properly apprised of a pending action against
sign the Receipt for the summons is a strong indication that he did not have the necessary
him and assured of the opportunity to present his defenses to the suit. Proper service of
“relation of confidence” with petitioner. To protect petitioner’s right to due process by being
summons is used to protect one’s right to due process.
accorded proper notice of a case against her, the substituted service of summons must be
shown to clearly comply with the rules. It has been stated and restated that substituted service
of summons must faithfully and strictly comply with the prescribed requirements and in The Case
thecircumstances authorized by the rules.
This Petition for Review on Certiorari 1 under Rule 45 presents the core issue whether there
Same; Same; Same; Sheriffs; For the presumption of regularity in the performance of official was a valid substituted service of summons on petitioner for the trial court to acquire
duty by a sheriff, the Sheriff’s Return must show that serious efforts or attempts were exerted jurisdiction. Petitioner Manotoc claims the court a quo should have annulled the proceedings
to personally serve the summons and that said efforts failed; The presumption of regularity in in the trial court for want of jurisdiction due to irregular and ineffective service of summons.
the performance of official functions by the sheriff is not applicable where it is patent that the
sheriff’s return is defective.—The court a quo heavily relied on the presumption of regularity The Facts
in the performance of official duty. It reasons out that “[t]he certificate of service by the proper
officer is prima facie evidence of the facts set out herein, and to overcome the presumption
arising from said certificate, the evidence must be clear and convincing.” The Court Petitioner is the defendant in Civil Case No. 63337 entitled Agapita Trajano, pro se, and on
acknowledges that this ruling is still a valid doctrine. However, for the presumption to apply, behalf of the Estate of Archimedes Trajano v. Imelda ‘Imee’ R. Marcos-Manotoc 2 for Filing,
the Sheriff’s Return must show that serious efforts or attempts were exerted to personally Recognition and/or Enforcement of Foreign Judgment. Respondent Trajano seeks the
serve the summons and that said efforts failed. These facts must be specifically narrated in the enforcement of a foreign court’s judgment rendered on May 1, 1991 by the United States
Return. To reiterate, it must clearly show that the substituted service must be made on a District Court of Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America, in a case entitled Agapita Trajano,
person of suitable age and discretion living in the dwelling or residence of defendant. et al. v. Imee Marcos-Manotoc a.k.a. Imee Marcos, Civil Case No. 86-0207 for wrongful death
Otherwise, the Return is flawed and the presumption cannot be availed of. As previously of deceased Archimedes Trajano committed by military intelligence officials of the Philippines
explained, the Return of Sheriff Cañelas did not comply with the stringent requirements of allegedly under the command, direction, authority, supervision, tolerance, sufferance and/or
Rule 14, Section 8 on substituted service. In the case of Venturanza v. Court of Appeals, 156 influence of defendant Manotoc, pursuant to the provisions of Rule 39 of the then Revised
SCRA 305 (1987), it was held that “x x x the presumption of regularity in the performance of Rules of Court.
official functions by the sheriff is not applicable in this case where it is patent that the sheriff’s
return is defective (emphasis supplied).” While the Sheriff’s Return in the Venturanza case had Based on paragraph two of the Complaint, the trial court issued a Summons 3 on July 6, 1993
no statement on the effort or attempt to personally serve the summons, the Return of Sheriff addressed to petitioner at Alexandra Condominium Corporation or Alexandra Homes, E2 Room
Cañelas in the case at bar merely described the efforts or attempts in general terms lacking in 104, at No. 29 Meralco Avenue, Pasig City.
details as required by the ruling in the case of Domagas v. Jensen and other cases. It is as if
Cañelas’ Return did not mention any effort to accomplish personal service. Thus, the On July 15, 1993, the Summons and a copy of the Complaint were allegedly served upon (Mr.)
substituted service is void. Macky de la Cruz, an alleged caretaker of petitioner at the condominium unit mentioned
earlier. 4 When petitioner failed to file her Answer, the trial court declared her in default
Same; Same; Same; Same; Even assuming that the indicated address is defendant’s actual through an Order 5 dated October 13, 1993.
residence, such fact would not make an irregular and void substituted service valid and
effective.—On the issue whether petitioner Manotoc is a resident of Alexandra Homes, Unit
On October 19, 1993, petitioner, by special appearance of counsel, filed a Motion to Dismiss 6
E2104, at No. 29 Meralco Avenue, Pasig City, our findings that the substituted service is void
on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the trial court over her person due to an invalid
has rendered the matter moot and academic. Even assuming that Alexandra Homes Room 104
substituted service of summons. The grounds to support the motion were: (1) the address of
is her actual residence, such fact would not make an irregular and void substituted service valid
defendant indicated in the Complaint (Alexandra Homes) was not her dwelling, residence, or
and effective.
regular place of business as provided in Section 8, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court; (2) the party
(de la Cruz), who was found in the unit, was neither a representative, employee, nor a resident
of the place; (3) the procedure prescribed by the Rules on personal and substituted service of
summons was ignored; (4) defendant was a resident of Singapore; and (5) whatever judgment that said Certification did not refer to July 1993—the month when the substituted service was
rendered in this case would be ineffective and futile. effected.

During the hearing on the Motion to Dismiss, petitioner Manotoc presented Carlos Gonzales, In the same Decision, the CA also rejected petitioner’s Philippine passport as proof of her
who testified that he saw defendant Manotoc as a visitor in Alexandra Homes only two times. residency in Singapore as it merely showed the dates of her departure from and arrival in the
He also identified the Certification of Renato A. de Leon, which stated that Unit E-2104 was Philippines without presenting the boilerplate’s last two (2) inside pages where petitioner’s
owned by Queens Park Realty, Inc.; and at the time the Certification was issued, the unit was residence was indicated. The CA considered the withholding of those pages as suppression of
not being leased by anyone. Petitioner also presented her Philippine passport and the evidence. Thus, according to the CA, the trial court had acquired jurisdiction over petitioner as
Disembarkation/Embarkation Card 7 issued by the Immigration Service of Singapore to show there was a valid substituted service pursuant to Section 8, Rule 14 of the old Revised Rules of
that she was a resident of Singapore. She claimed that the person referred to in plaintiff’s Court.
Exhibits "A" to "EEEE" as "Mrs. Manotoc" may not even be her, but the mother of Tommy
Manotoc, and granting that she was the one referred to in said exhibits, only 27 out of 109 On April 2, 1997, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration 15 which was denied by the CA
entries referred to Mrs. Manotoc. Hence, the infrequent number of times she allegedly in its Resolution 16 dated October 8, 1997.
entered Alexandra Homes did not at all establish plaintiff’s position that she was a resident of
said place.
Hence, petitioner has come before the Court for review on certiorari.

On the other hand, Agapita Trajano, for plaintiffs’ estate, presented Robert Swift, lead counsel
The Issues
for plaintiffs in the Estate of Ferdinand Marcos Human Rights Litigation, who testified that he
participated in the deposition taking of Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.; and he confirmed that Mr.
Marcos, Jr. testified that petitioner’s residence was at the Alexandra Apartment, Greenhills. 8 Petitioner raises the following assignment of errors for the Court’s consideration:
In addition, the entries 9 in the logbook of Alexandra Homes from August 4, 1992 to August 2,
1993, listing the name of petitioner Manotoc and the Sheriff’s Return, 10 were adduced in I. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED [A] SERIOUS ERROR IN RENDERING THE
evidence. DECISION AND RESOLUTION IN QUESTION (ANNEXES A AND B) IN DEFIANCE OF LAW AND
JURISPRUDENCE IN RULING THAT THE TRIAL COURT ACQUIRED JURISDICTION OVER THE
On October 11, 1994, the trial court rejected Manotoc’s Motion to Dismiss on the strength of PERSON OF THE PETITIONER THROUGH A SUBSTITUTED SERVICE OF SUMMONS IN
its findings that her residence, for purposes of the Complaint, was Alexandra Homes, Unit E- ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 8, RULE 14 OF THE REVISED RULES OF COURT.
2104, No. 29 Meralco Avenue, Pasig, Metro Manila, based on the documentary evidence of
respondent Trajano. The trial court relied on the presumption that the sheriff’s substituted II. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED [A] SERIOUS ERROR WHEN IT RULED THAT
service was made in the regular performance of official duty, and such presumption stood in THERE WAS A VALID SERVICE OF SUMMONS ON AN ALLEGED CARETAKER OF PETITIONER’S
the absence of proof to the contrary. 11 RESIDENCE IN COMPLETE DEFIANCE OF THE RULING IN CASTILLO VS. CFI OF BULACAN, BR. IV,
G.R. NO. L-55869, FEBRUARY 20, 1984, 127 SCRA 632 WHICH DEFINES THE PROPRIETY OF SUCH
On December 21, 1994, the trial court discarded Manotoc’s plea for reconsideration for lack SERVICE UPON MERE OVERSEERS OF PREMISES WHERE A PARTY SUPPOSEDLY RESIDES.
of merit. 12
III. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED [A] SERIOUS ERROR IN CONCLUDING THAT
Undaunted, Manotoc filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition 13 before the Court of THE RESIDENCE OF THE HUSBAND IS ALSO THE RESIDENCE OF HIS WIFE CONTRARY TO THE
Appeals (CA) on January 20, 1995, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 36214 seeking the annulment RULING IN THE BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS VS. DE COSTER, G.R. NO. 23181, MARCH 16,
of the October 11, 1994 and December 21, 1994 Orders of Judge Aurelio C. Trampe. 1925, 47 PHIL. 594.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals IV. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED [A] SERIOUS ERROR IN FAILING TO APPLY
THE RULE ON EXTRA-TERRITORIAL SERVICE OF SUMMONS UNDER SECTIONS 17 AND 18, RULE
14 OF THE REVISED RULES OF COURT. 17
On March 17, 1997, the CA rendered the assailed Decision, 14 dismissing the Petition for
Certiorari and Prohibition. The court a quo adopted the findings of the trial court that
petitioner’s residence was at Alexandra Homes, Unit E-2104, at No. 29 Meralco Avenue, Pasig, The assigned errors bring to the fore the crux of the disagreement—the validity of the
Metro Manila, which was also the residence of her husband, as shown by the testimony of substituted service of summons for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction over petitioner.
Atty. Robert Swift and the Returns of the registered mails sent to petitioner. It ruled that the
Disembarkation/Embarkation Card and the Certification dated September 17, 1993 issued by The Court’s Ruling
Renato A. De Leon, Assistant Property Administrator of Alexandra Homes, were hearsay, and
We GRANT the petition. because at the end of the month, it is a practice for the branch clerk of court to require the
sheriff to submit a return of the summons assigned to the sheriff for service. The Sheriff’s
Acquisition of Jurisdiction Return provides data to the Clerk of Court, which the clerk uses in the Monthly Report of Cases
to be submitted to the Office of the Court Administrator within the first ten (10) days of the
succeeding month. Thus, one month from the issuance of summons can be considered
Jurisdiction over the defendant is acquired either upon a valid service of summons or the
"reasonable time" with regard to personal service on the defendant.
defendant’s voluntary appearance in court. When the defendant does not voluntarily submit
to the court’s jurisdiction or when there is no valid service of summons, "any judgment of the
court which has no jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is null and void." 18 In an Sheriffs are asked to discharge their duties on the service of summons with due care, utmost
action strictly in personam, personal service on the defendant is the preferred mode of service, diligence, and reasonable promptness and speed so as not to prejudice the expeditious
that is, by handing a copy of the summons to the defendant in person. If defendant, for dispensation of justice. Thus, they are enjoined to try their best efforts to accomplish personal
excusable reasons, cannot be served with the summons within a reasonable period, then service on defendant. On the other hand, since the defendant is expected to try to avoid and
substituted service can be resorted to. While substituted service of summons is permitted, "it evade service of summons, the sheriff must be resourceful, persevering, canny, and diligent in
is extraordinary in character and in derogation of the usual method of service." 19 Hence, it serving the process on the defendant. For substituted service of summons to be available,
must faithfully and strictly comply with the prescribed requirements and circumstances there must be several attempts by the sheriff to personally serve the summons within a
authorized by the rules. Indeed, "compliance with the rules regarding the service of summons reasonable period [of one month] which eventually resulted in failure to prove impossibility of
is as much important as the issue of due process as of jurisdiction." 20 prompt service. "Several attempts" means at least three (3) tries, preferably on at least two
different dates. In addition, the sheriff must cite why such efforts were unsuccessful. It is only
then that impossibility of service can be confirmed or accepted.
Requirements for Substituted Service

(2) Specific Details in the Return


Section 8 of Rule 14 of the old Revised Rules of Court which applies to this case provides:

The sheriff must describe in the Return of Summons the facts and circumstances surrounding
SEC. 8. 21 Substituted service. – If the defendant cannot be served within a reasonable time as
the attempted personal service. 25 The efforts made to find the defendant and the reasons
provided in the preceding section [personal service on defendant], service may be effected (a)
behind the failure must be clearly narrated in detail in the Return. The date and time of the
by leaving copies of the summons at the defendant’s residence with some person of suitable
attempts on personal service, the inquiries made to locate the defendant, the name/s of the
age and discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving the copies at defendant’s office or
occupants of the alleged residence or house of defendant and all other acts done, though
regular place of business with some competent person in charge thereof.
futile, to serve the summons on defendant must be specified in the Return to justify
substituted service. The form on Sheriff’s Return of Summons on Substituted Service
We can break down this section into the following requirements to effect a valid substituted prescribed in the Handbook for Sheriffs published by the Philippine Judicial Academy requires
service: a narration of the efforts made to find the defendant personally and the fact of failure. 26
Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 5 dated November 9, 1989 requires that
(1) Impossibility of Prompt Personal Service "impossibility of prompt service should be shown by stating the efforts made to find the
defendant personally and the failure of such efforts," which should be made in the proof of
The party relying on substituted service or the sheriff must show that defendant cannot be service.
served promptly or there is impossibility of prompt service. 22 Section 8, Rule 14 provides that
the plaintiff or the sheriff is given a "reasonable time" to serve the summons to the defendant (3) A Person of Suitable Age and Discretion
in person, but no specific time frame is mentioned. "Reasonable time" is defined as "so much
time as is necessary under the circumstances for a reasonably prudent and diligent man to do, If the substituted service will be effected at defendant’s house or residence, it should be left
conveniently, what the contract or duty requires that should be done, having a regard for the with a person of "suitable age and discretion then residing therein." 27 A person of suitable age
rights and possibility of loss, if any[,] to the other party." 23 Under the Rules, the service of and discretion is one who has attained the age of full legal capacity (18 years old) and is
summons has no set period. However, when the court, clerk of court, or the plaintiff asks the considered to have enough discernment to understand the importance of a summons.
sheriff to make the return of the summons and the latter submits the return of summons, then "Discretion" is defined as "the ability to make decisions which represent a responsible choice
the validity of the summons lapses. The plaintiff may then ask for an alias summons if the and for which an understanding of what is lawful, right or wise may be presupposed". 28 Thus,
service of summons has failed. 24 What then is a reasonable time for the sheriff to effect a to be of sufficient discretion, such person must know how to read and understand English to
personal service in order to demonstrate impossibility of prompt service? To the plaintiff, comprehend the import of the summons, and fully realize the need to deliver the summons
"reasonable time" means no more than seven (7) days since an expeditious processing of a and complaint to the defendant at the earliest possible time for the person to take appropriate
complaint is what a plaintiff wants. To the sheriff, "reasonable time" means 15 to 30 days action. Thus, the person must have the "relation of confidence" to the defendant, ensuring
that the latter would receive or at least be notified of the receipt of the summons. The sheriff information, the Return deviates from the ruling—in Domagas v. Jensen 30 and other related
must therefore determine if the person found in the alleged dwelling or residence of cases 31—that the pertinent facts and circumstances on the efforts exerted to serve the
defendant is of legal age, what the recipient’s relationship with the defendant is, and whether summons personally must be narrated in the Return. It cannot be determined how many
said person comprehends the significance of the receipt of the summons and his duty to times, on what specific dates, and at what hours of the day the attempts were made. Given
immediately deliver it to the defendant or at least notify the defendant of said receipt of the fact that the substituted service of summons may be assailed, as in the present case, by a
summons. These matters must be clearly and specifically described in the Return of Summons. Motion to Dismiss, it is imperative that the pertinent facts and circumstances surrounding the
service of summons be described with more particularity in the Return or Certificate of Service.
(4) A Competent Person in Charge
Besides, apart from the allegation of petitioner’s address in the Complaint, it has not been
If the substituted service will be done at defendant’s office or regular place of business, then shown that respondent Trajano or Sheriff Cañelas, who served such summons, exerted
it should be served on a competent person in charge of the place. Thus, the person on whom extraordinary efforts to locate petitioner. Certainly, the second paragraph of the Complaint
the substituted service will be made must be the one managing the office or business of only states that respondents were "informed, and so [they] allege" about the address and
defendant, such as the president or manager; and such individual must have sufficient whereabouts of petitioner. Before resorting to substituted service, a plaintiff must
knowledge to understand the obligation of the defendant in the summons, its importance, and demonstrate an effort in good faith to locate the defendant through more direct means. 32
the prejudicial effects arising from inaction on the summons. Again, these details must be More so, in the case in hand, when the alleged petitioner’s residence or house is doubtful or
contained in the Return. has not been clearly ascertained, it would have been better for personal service to have been
pursued persistently.
Invalid Substituted Service in the Case at Bar
In the case Umandap v. Sabio, Jr., 33 it may be true that the Court held that a Sheriff’s Return,
which states that "despite efforts exerted to serve said process personally upon the defendant
Let us examine the full text of the Sheriff’s Return, which reads:
on several occasions the same proved futile," conforms to the requirements of valid
substituted service. However, in view of the numerous claims of irregularities in substituted
THIS IS TO CERTIFY that on many occasions several attempts were made to serve the summons service which have spawned the filing of a great number of unnecessary special civil actions of
with complaint and annexes issued by this Honorable Court in the above entitled case, certiorari and appeals to higher courts, resulting in prolonged litigation and wasteful legal
personally upon the defendant IMELDA ‘IMEE’ MARCOS-MANOTOC located at Alexandra expenses, the Court rules in the case at bar that the narration of the efforts made to find the
Condominium Corpration [sic] or Alexandra Homes E-2 Room 104 No. 29 Merlaco [sic] Ave., defendant and the fact of failure written in broad and imprecise words will not suffice. The
Pasig, Metro-Manila at reasonable hours of the day but to no avail for the reason that said facts and circumstances should be stated with more particularity and detail on the number of
defendant is usually out of her place and/or residence or premises. That on the 15th day of attempts made at personal service, dates and times of the attempts, inquiries to locate
July, 1993, substituted service of summons was resorted to in accordance with the Rules of defendant, names of occupants of the alleged residence, and the reasons for failure should be
Court in the Philippines leaving copy of said summons with complaint and annexes thru [sic] included in the Return to satisfactorily show the efforts undertaken. That such efforts were
(Mr) Macky de la Cruz, caretaker of the said defendant, according to (Ms) Lyn Jacinto, made to personally serve summons on defendant, and those resulted in failure, would prove
Receptionist and Telephone Operator of the said building, a person of suitable age and impossibility of prompt personal service.
discretion, living with the said defendant at the given address who acknowledged the receipt
thereof of said processes but he refused to sign (emphases supplied).
Moreover, to allow sheriffs to describe the facts and circumstances in inexact terms would
encourage routine performance of their precise duties relating to substituted service—for it
WHEREFORE, said summons is hereby returned to this Honorable Court of origin, duly served would be quite easy to shroud or conceal carelessness or laxity in such broad terms. Lastly,
for its record and information. considering that monies and properties worth millions may be lost by a defendant because of
an irregular or void substituted service, it is but only fair that the Sheriff’s Return should clearly
Pasig, Metro-Manila July 15, 1993. 29 and convincingly show the impracticability or hopelessness of personal service.

A meticulous scrutiny of the aforementioned Return readily reveals the absence of material Granting that such a general description be considered adequate, there is still a serious
data on the serious efforts to serve the Summons on petitioner Manotoc in person. There is nonconformity from the requirement that the summons must be left with a "person of suitable
no clear valid reason cited in the Return why those efforts proved inadequate, to reach the age and discretion" residing in defendant’s house or residence. Thus, there are two (2)
conclusion that personal service has become impossible or unattainable outside the generally requirements under the Rules: (1) recipient must be a person of suitable age and discretion;
couched phrases of "on many occasions several attempts were made to serve the summons x and (2) recipient must reside in the house or residence of defendant. Both requirements were
x x personally," "at reasonable hours during the day," and "to no avail for the reason that the not met. In this case, the Sheriff’s Return lacks information as to residence, age, and discretion
said defendant is usually out of her place and/or residence or premises." Wanting in detailed of Mr. Macky de la Cruz, aside from the sheriff’s general assertion that de la Cruz is the
"resident caretaker" of petitioner as pointed out by a certain Ms. Lyn Jacinto, alleged
receptionist and telephone operator of Alexandra Homes. It is doubtful if Mr. de la Cruz is made on a person of suitable age and discretion living in the dwelling or residence of
residing with petitioner Manotoc in the condominium unit considering that a married woman defendant. Otherwise, the Return is flawed and the presumption cannot be availed of. As
of her stature in society would unlikely hire a male caretaker to reside in her dwelling. With previously explained, the Return of Sheriff Cañelas did not comply with the stringent
the petitioner’s allegation that Macky de la Cruz is not her employee, servant, or requirements of Rule 14, Section 8 on substituted service.
representative, it is necessary to have additional information in the Return of Summons.
Besides, Mr. Macky de la Cruz’s refusal to sign the Receipt for the summons is a strong In the case of Venturanza v. Court of Appeals, 41 it was held that "x x x the presumption of
indication that he did not have the necessary "relation of confidence" with petitioner. To regularity in the performance of official functions by the sheriff is not applicable in this case
protect petitioner’s right to due process by being accorded proper notice of a case against her, where it is patent that the sheriff’s return is defective (emphasis supplied)." While the Sheriff’s
the substituted service of summons must be shown to clearly comply with the rules. Return in the Venturanza case had no statement on the effort or attempt to personally serve
the summons, the Return of Sheriff Cañelas in the case at bar merely described the efforts or
It has been stated and restated that substituted service of summons must faithfully and strictly attempts in general terms lacking in details as required by the ruling in the case of Domagas v.
comply with the prescribed requirements and in the circumstances authorized by the rules. 34 Jensen and other cases. It is as if Cañelas’ Return did not mention any effort to accomplish
personal service. Thus, the substituted service is void.
Even American case law likewise stresses the principle of strict compliance with statute or rule
on substituted service, thus: On the issue whether petitioner Manotoc is a resident of Alexandra Homes, Unit E-2104, at
No. 29 Meralco Avenue, Pasig City, our findings that the substituted service is void has
The procedure prescribed by a statute or rule for substituted or constructive service must be rendered the matter moot and academic. Even assuming that Alexandra Homes Room 104 is
strictly pursued. 35 There must be strict compliance with the requirements of statutes her actual residence, such fact would not make an irregular and void substituted service valid
authorizing substituted or constructive service. 36 and effective.

Where, by the local law, substituted or constructive service is in certain situations authorized IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this Petition for Review is hereby GRANTED and the assailed
in the place of personal service when the latter is inconvenient or impossible, a strict and literal March 17, 1997 Decision and October 8, 1997 Resolution of the Court of Appeals and the
compliance with the provisions of the law must be shown in order to support the judgment October 11, 1994 and December 21, 1994 Orders of the Regional Trial Court, National Capital
based on such substituted or constructive service. 37 Jurisdiction is not to be assumed and Judicial Region, Pasig City, Branch 163 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.No costs.
exercised on the general ground that the subject matter of the suit is within the power of the
court. The inquiry must be as to whether the requisites of the statute have been complied SO ORDERED.
with, and such compliance must appear on the record. 38 The fact that the defendant had
actual knowledge of attempted service does not render the service effectual if in fact the PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
process was not served in accordance with the requirements of the statute. 39
Associate Justice
Based on the above principles, respondent Trajano failed to demonstrate that there was strict
compliance with the requirements of the then Section 8, Rule 14 (now Section 7, Rule 14 of
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure).

Due to non-compliance with the prerequisites for valid substituted service, the proceedings
held before the trial court perforce must be annulled.

The court a quo heavily relied on the presumption of regularity in the performance of official
duty. It reasons out that "[t]he certificate of service by the proper officer is prima facie
evidence of the facts set out herein, and to overcome the presumption arising from said
certificate, the evidence must be clear and convincing." 40

The Court acknowledges that this ruling is still a valid doctrine. However, for the presumption
to apply, the Sheriff’s Return must show that serious efforts or attempts were exerted to
personally serve the summons and that said efforts failed. These facts must be specifically
narrated in the Return. To reiterate, it must clearly show that the substituted service must be
G.R. No. 206653 February 25, 2015 June 27, 2012 Decision1 and the March 26, 2013 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA)in
CA-G.R. SP No. 106271, which denied the petition for annulment of judgment.
YUK LING ONG, Petitioner,
vs. The Facts
BENJAMIN T. CO, Respondent.
Petitioner Yuk Ling Ong (petitioner), a British-Hong Kong national, and respondent Benjamin
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Annulment of Judgment; Rule 47 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Co (respondent), a Filipino citizen, were married on October 3, 1982 at Ellinwood-Malate
Procedure, as amended, governs actions for annulment of judgments or final orders and Church.3
resolutions, and Section 2 thereof explicitly provides only two (2) grounds for annulment of
judgment, that is, extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction.—Annulment of judgment is a Sometime in November 2008, petitioner received a subpoena from the Bureau of Immigration
recourse equitable in character, allowed only in exceptional cases as where there is no and Deportation (BID)directing her to appear before the said agency because her permanent
available or other adequate remedy. Rule 47 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, residence visa was being subjected to cancellation proceedings. Reportedly, her marriage with
governs actions for annulment of judgments or final orders and resolutions, and Section 2 respondent was nullified by the court.
thereof explicitly provides only two grounds for annulment of judgment, that is, extrinsic fraud
and lack of jurisdiction. Annulment of judgment is an equitable principle not because it allows
When petitioner appeared before the BID, she was furnished with the copies of the following
a party litigant another opportunity to reopen a judgment that has long lapsed into finality but
documents: (1) petition for declaration of nullity of marriage filed as Civil Case No. CV-01-0177;
because it enables him to be discharged from the burden of being bound to a judgment that
(2) petition for declaration of nullity of marriage docketed as Civil Case No. 02-0306; (3)
is an absolute nullity to begin with.
Decision,4 dated December 11, 2002, in Civil Case No. 02-0306 of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 260 (RTC), Parañaque City, declaring the marriage between petitioner and respondent
Same; Same; Same; Lack of jurisdiction on the part of the trial court in rendering the judgment
as void ab initio; and (4) their marriage contract5 with the subject decision annotated thereon.
or final order is either lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of the action, or lack
Petitioner was perplexed that her marriage with respondent had been declared void ab initio.
of jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner.—Lack of jurisdiction on the part of the trial
The above documents showed that on April 26, 2001, respondent filed a petition for
court in rendering the judgment or final order is either lack of jurisdiction over the subject
declaration of nullity6 on the ground of psychological incapacity before the RTC, which was
matter or nature of the action, or lack of jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner. The
docketed as Civil Case No. CV-01-0177. Respondent stated that petitioner’s address was 600
former is a matter of substantive law because statutory law defines the jurisdiction of the
Elcano St., Binondo, Manila. There was no showing of its status, whether pending, withdrawn
courts over the subject matter or nature of the action. The latter is a matter of procedural law,
or terminated. On July 19, 2002, respondent filed another petition for declaration of Nullity7
for it involves the service of summons or other processes on the petitioner.
on the ground of psychological incapacity before the RTC, docketed as Civil Case No. 02-0306.
Respondent indicated that petitioner’s address was 23 Sta. Rosa Street, Unit B-2 Manresa
Same; Same; Same; Jurisdiction over the defendant is acquired either upon a valid service of
Garden Homes, Quezon City. On July 29, 2002, the RTC issued summons.8 In his Server’s
summons or the defendant’s voluntary appearance in court.—In the present case, petitioner
Return,9 process server Rodolfo Torres, Jr. stated that, on August 1, 2002, substituted service
contends that there was lack of jurisdiction over her person because there was an invalid
of summons with the copy of the petition was effected after several futile attempts to serve
substituted service of summons. Jurisdiction over the defendant is acquired either upon a valid
the same personally on petitioner. The said documents were received by Mr. Roly Espinosa, a
service of summons or the defendant’s voluntary appearance in court. If the defendant does
security officer.
not voluntarily appear in court, jurisdiction can be acquired by personal or substituted service
of summons as laid out under Sections 6 and 7 of Rule 14 of the Rules of Court.
DECISION On December 11, 2002, the RTC rendered a decision10 in Civil Case No. 02-0306 finding
respondent’s marriage with petitioner as void ab initio on the ground of psychological
incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. It stated that summons was served on
MENDOZA, J.:
petitioner on August 1, 2002, but she failed to file her responsive pleading within the
reglementary period. The public prosecutor also stated that there were no indicative facts to
In court proceedings, there is no right more cherished than the right of every litigant to be manifest collusion. Thus, the RTC concluded that petitioner was psychologically incapacitated
given an opportunity to be heard. This right begins at the very moment that summons is served to perform her essential marital obligations.
on the defendant. The Rules of Court places utmost importance in ensuring that the defendant
personally grasp the weight of responsibility that will befall him. Thus, it is only in exceptional
Consequently, petitioner filed a petition for annulment of judgment11 under Rule 47 of the
circumstances that constructive notification, or substituted service of summons, is allowed. If
Rules of Court before the CA on November 24, 2008, claiming that she was never notified of
the server falls short of the rigorous requirements for substituted service of summons, then
the cases filed against her. She prayed that the RTC decision, dated December 11, 2002, in Civil
the Court has no other option but to strike down a void judgment, regardless of the
Case No. 02-0306, be nullified on the grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction.
consequences. This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse and set aside the
Petitioner alleged that first, respondent committed extrinsic fraud because, as seen in Civil
Case No. CV-01-0177, he deliberately indicated a wrong address to prevent her from Petitioner filed her Reply18 on October 8, 2014 reiterating her previous arguments.
participating in the trial; second, jurisdiction over her person was not acquired in Civil Case No.
02-0306 because of an invalid substituted service of summons as no sufficient explanation, The Court’s Ruling
showing impossibility of personal service, was stated before resorting to substituted service of
summons; third, the alleged substituted service was made on a security guard of their
The Court finds merit in the petition.
townhouse and not on a member of her household; and fourth, she was not psychologically
incapacitated to perform her marital obligations.12
Annulment of judgment is a recourse equitable in character, allowed only in exceptional cases
as where there is no available or other adequate remedy. Rule 47 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Procedure, as amended, governs actions for annulment of judgments or final orders and
resolutions, and Section 2 thereof explicitly provides only two grounds for annulment of
On June 27, 2012, the CA rendered the assailed decision finding the petition for annulment of judgment, that is, extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction.19 Annulment of judgment is an
judgment to be devoid of merit. It held that there was no sufficient proof to establish that equitable principle not because it allows a party-litigant another opportunity to reopen a
respondent employed fraud to insure petitioner’s non-participation in the trial of Civil Case judgment that has long lapsed into finality but because it enables him to be discharged from
No. CV-01-0177. the burden of being bound to a judgment that is an absolute nullity to begin with.20

Relying on Robinson v. Miralles,13 the CA further ruled that the substituted service of Petitioner raises two grounds to support her claim for annulment of judgment: (1) extrinsic
summons in Civil Case No. 02-0306 was valid. It found that there was a customary practice in fraud and (2) lack of jurisdiction. Her contention on the existence of extrinsic fraud, however,
petitioner’s townhouse that the security guard would first entertain any visitors and receive is too unsubstantial to warrant consideration. The discussion shall then focus on the ground of
any communication in behalf of the homeowners. With this set-up, it was obviously impossible lack of jurisdiction.
for the process server to personally serve the summons upon petitioner. It also declared that
the process server’s return carries with it the presumption of regularity in the discharge of a
Lack of jurisdiction on the part of the trial court in rendering the judgment or final order is
public officer’s duties and functions.
either lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of the action, or lack of jurisdiction
over the person of the petitioner. The former is a matter of substantive law because statutory
Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but her motion was denied by the CA in its Resolution,14 law defines the jurisdiction of the courts over the subject matter or nature of the action. The
dated March 26, 2013. latter is a matter of procedural law, for it involves the service of summons or other processes
on the petitioner.21
Hence, this petition, anchored on the following
In the present case, petitioner contends that there was lack of jurisdiction over her person
ISSUES because there was an invalid substituted service of summons. Jurisdiction over the defendant
is acquired either upon a valid service of summons or the defendant's voluntary appearance
1. Whether or not the Trial Court in Civil Case No. 02-0306 validly acquired in court.22 If the defendant does not voluntarily appear in court, jurisdiction can be acquired
jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner. by personal or substituted service of summons as laid out under Sections 6 and 7 of Rule 14 of
the Rules of Court, which state:
2. Whether or not the facts proven by the petitioner constitute extrinsic fraud within
the purview of Rule 47 of the Rules of Court.15 Sec. 6. Service in person on defendant. - Whenever practicable, the summons shall be served
by handing a copy thereof to the defendant in person, or, if he refuses to receive and sign for
it, by tendering it to him.
Petitioner argues that there was an invalid substituted service of summons.1âwphi1 The
process server’s return only contained a general statement that substituted service was
resorted to "after several futile attempts to serve the same personally,"16 without stating the Sec. 7. Substituted Service. - If, for justifiable causes, the defendant cannot be served within a
dates and reasons of the failed attempts. Petitioner also reiterates her argument that extrinsic reasonable time as provided in the preceding section, service may be effected (a) by leaving
fraud was employed. copies of the summons at the defendant's residence with some person of suitable age and
discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving the copies at defendant's office or regular
place of business with some competent person in charge thereof.
In his Comment,17 filed on July 9, 2014, respondent contended that the server’s return
satisfactorily stated the reason for the resort to a substituted service of summons on August
1, 2002; and it was improbable that petitioner failed to receive the summons because it was The landmark case of Manotoc v. CA (Manotoc)23 thoroughly discussed the rigorous
sent to the same address which she declared in this present petition. requirements of a substituted service of summons, to wit: xxx
(1) Impossibility of Prompt Personal Service because the latter had actively participated in trial, amounting to a voluntary appearance
under Section 20 of Rule 14.28
xxx
In the case at bench, the summons in Civil Case No. 02-030629 was issued on July 29, 2002. In
For substituted service of summons to be available, there must be several attempts by the his server’s return,30 the process server resorted to substituted service of summons on August
sheriff to personally serve the summons within a reasonable period of one month which 1, 2002. Surprisingly, the process server immediately opted for substituted service of summons
eventually resulted in failure to prove impossibility of prompt service. "Several attempts" after only two (2) days from the issuance of the summons. The server’s return stated the
means at least three (3) tries, preferably on at least two different dates. In addition, the sheriff following:
must cite why such efforts were unsuccessful. It is only then that impossibility of service can
be confirmed or accepted. SERVER’S RETURN

(2) Specific Details in the Return THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT on August 1, 2002, substituted service of summons with copy of
petition, were effected to respondent, Yuk Ling H. Ong, at the Unit B-2, No. 23 Sta. Rosa St.,
The sheriff must describe in the Return of Summons the facts and circumstances surrounding Manresa Garden Homes, Manresa Garden City, Quezon City, after several futile attempts to
the attempted personal service. The efforts made to find the defendant and the reasons serve the same personally. The said documents were received by Mr. Roly Espinosa of
behind the failure must be clearly narrated in detail in the Return. The date and time of the sufficient age and discretion, the Security Officer thereat.
attempts on personal service, the inquiries made to locate the defendant, the name/s of the
occupants of the alleged residence or house of defendant and all other acts done, though Therefore, respectfully returning to Court, original copy of summons, Duly Served, this 2nd day
futile, to serve the summons on defendant must be specified in the Return to justify of August, 2002.
substituted service.
RODOLFO P. TORRES, JR.
(3) A Person of Suitable Age and Discretion Process Server

xxx (Emphasis supplied)

The sheriff must therefore determine if the person found in the alleged dwelling or residence The server’s return utterly lacks sufficient detail of the attempts undertaken by the process
of defendant is of legal age, what the recipient's relationship with the defendant is, and server to personally serve the summons on petitioner. The server simply made a general
whether said person comprehends the significance of the receipt of the summons and his duty statement that summons was effected after several futile attempts to serve the same
to immediately deliver it to the defendant or at least notify the defendant of said receipt of personally. The server did not state the specific number of attempts made to perform the
summons. These matters must be clearly and specifically described in the Return of Summons. personal service of summons; the dates and the corresponding time the attempts were made;
(Emphases and underscoring supplied) and the underlying reason for each unsuccessful service. He did not explain either if there were
inquiries made to locate the petitioner, who was the defendant in the case. These important
The pronouncements of the Court in Manotoc have been applied to several succeeding cases. acts to serve the summons on petitioner, though futile, must be specified in the return to
In Pascual v. Pascual,24 the return of summons did not show or indicate the actual exertion or justify substituted service.
positive steps taken by the officer or process server in serving the summons personally to the
defendant. Similarly, in Spouses Afdal v. Carlos,25 the process server’s indorsements therein The server’s return did not describe in detail the person who received the summons, on behalf
failed to state that the personal service on the defendants was rendered impossible and that of petitioner. It simply stated that the summons was received "by Mr. Roly Espinosa of
efforts were made to find them personally. In both those cases, the Court ruled that the sufficient age and discretion, the Security Officer thereat." It did not expound on the
meticulous requirements for substituted service of summons were not met. competence of the security officer to receive the summons.

There are cases, however, in which Manotoc was applied, but, nevertheless, it was ruled that Also, aside from the server’s return, respondent failed to indicate any portion of the records
there was no lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. In Sagana v. Francisco,26 which would describe the specific attempts to personally serve the summons. Respondent did
the diligent efforts exerted by the sheriff to locate the respondent were determined, not only not even claim that petitioner made any voluntary appearance and actively participated in Civil
based on the sheriff's return, but also on the process server's notation and case records. In the Case No. 02-0306.
case of Wong v. Factor-Koyama,27 on the other hand, even if the sheriff performed an invalid
substituted service of summons, jurisdiction over the person of defendant was obtained
The case of Robinson v. Miralles, cited by the CA, is not applicable. In that case, the return
described in thorough detail how the security guard refused the sheriff’s entry despite several
attempts. The defendant in the said case specifically instructed the guard to prevent anybody
to proceed to her residence. In the present case, the attempts made by the process server
were stated in a broad and ambiguous statement.

The CA likewise erred in ruling that the presumption of regularity in the performance of official
duty could be applied in the case at bench. This p resumption of regularity, however, was never
intended to be applied even in cases where there are no showing of substantial compliance
with the requirements of the rules of procedure. Such presumption does not apply where it is
patent that the sheriff's or server's return is defective.31 As earlier explained, the server's
return did not comply with the stringent requirements of substituted service of summons.

Given that the meticulous requirements in Manotoc were not met, the Court is not inclined to
uphold the CA's denial of the petition for annulment of judgment for lack of jurisdiction over
the person of petitioner because there was an invalid substituted service of summons.
Accordingly, the decision in Civil Case No. 02-0306 must be declared null and void.

The stricter rule in substituted service of summons was meant to address "[t]he numerous
claims of irregularities in substituted service which have spawned the filing of a great number
of unnecessary special civil actions of certiorari and appeals to higher courts, resulting in
prolonged litigation and wasteful legal expenses."32

Although the decision in Civil Case No. 02-0306 was promulgated as early as December 11,
2002, the Court must strike it down for lack of jurisdiction over the person of petitioner. The
favorable judgment enjoyed by respondent cannot be categorized as a genuine victory
because it was fought against an adversary, who was ignorant of the existing dispute.
Whatever prize bestowed upon the victor in such a void decision must also be undone.
Respondent, if he wishes to pursue, must start from scratch and institute his action for
declaration of nullity again; this time with petitioner fully aware and ready for litigation.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The June 27, 2012 Decision and the March 26, 2013
Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. SP No. 106271 are hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. The December 11, 2002 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 260, Parañaque
City is hereby declared VOID.

SO ORDERED.

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA


Associate Justice
G.R. No. 158407 January 17, 2005 said Rule. If he is temporarily out of the country, any of the following modes of service may be
resorted to: (a) substituted service set forth in Section 8; (2) personal service outside the
FILOMENA DOMAGAS, petitioner, country, with leave of court; (3) service by publication, also with leave of court; or (4) any other
vs. manner the court may deem sufficient.
VIVIAN LAYNO JENSEN, respondent.
Same; Same; Same; The statutory requirement of substituted service must be followed
faithfully and strictly and any substituted service other than that authorized by the statute is
Remedial Law; Actions; Whether a proceeding is in rem or in personam or quasi in rem for that
rendered ineffective.—Strict compliance with the mode of service is required in order that the
matter, is determined by its nature and purpose and by these only; Actions for recovery of real
court may acquire jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. The statutory requirement of
property are in personam.—The settled rule is that the aim and object of an action determine
substituted service must be followed faithfully and strictly and any substituted service other
its character. Whether a proceeding is in rem, or in personam, or quasi in rem for that matter,
than that authorized by the statute is rendered ineffective.
is determined by its nature and purpose, and by these only. A proceeding in personam is a
proceeding to enforce personal rights and obligations brought against the person and is based
Same; Same; Same; The term “dwelling house” or “residence” are generally held to refer to the
on the jurisdiction of the person, although it may involve his right to, or the exercise of
time of service, hence it is not sufficient to leave the summons at the former’s dwelling house,
ownership of, specific property, or seek to compel him to control or dispose of it in accordance
residence or place of abode, as the case may be.—In Keister v. Navarro, the Court held that the
with the mandate of the court. The purpose of a proceeding in personam is to impose, through
term “dwelling house” o “residence” are generally held to refer to the time of service; hence,
the judgment of a court, some responsibility or liability directly upon the person of the
it is not sufficient to leave the summons at the former’s dwelling house, residence or place of
defendant. Of this character are suits to compel a defendant to specifically perform some act
abode, as the case may be. Dwelling house or residence refers to the place where the person
or actions to fasten a pecuniary liability on him. An action in personam is said to be one which
named in the summons is living at the time when the service is made, even though he may be
has for its object a judgment against the person, as distinguished from a judgment against the
temporarily out of the country at the time. It is, thus, the service of the summons intended for
propriety to determine its state. It has been held that an action in personam is a proceeding to
the defendant that must be left with the person of suitable age and discretion residing in the
enforce personal rights or obligations; such action is brought against the person. As far as suits
house of the defendant. Compliance with the rules regarding the service of summons is as
for injunctive relief are concerned, it is wellsettled that it is an injunctive act in personam. In
much important as the issue of due process as of jurisdiction.
Combs v. Combs, the appellate court held that proceedings to enforce personal rights and
obligations and in which personal judgments are rendered adjusting the rights and obligations
Same; Same; Same; The service of the summons on a person at a place where he was a visitor
between the affected parties is in personam. Actions for recovery of real property are in
is not considered to have been left at the residence or place or abode, where he has another
personam. On the other hand, a proceeding quasi in rem is one brought against persons
place at which he ordinarily stays and to which he intends to return.—As gleaned from the said
seeking to subject the property of such persons to the discharge of the claims assailed. In an
return, there is no showing that as of April 5, 1999, the house where the Sheriff found Oscar
action quasi in rem, an individual is named as defendant and the purpose of the proceeding is
Layno was the latter’s residence or that of the respondent herein. Neither is there any showing
to subject his interests therein to the obligation or loan burdening the property. Actions quasi
that the Sheriff tried to ascertain where the residence of the respondent was on the said date.
in rem deal with the status, ownership or liability of a particular property but which are
It turned out that the occupant of the house was a lessor, Eduardo Gonzales, and that Oscar
intended to operate on these questions only as between the particular parties to the
Layno was in the premises only to collect the rentals from him. The service of the summons on
proceedings and not to ascertain or cut off the rights or interests of all possible claimants. The
a person at a place where he was a visitor is not considered to have been left at the residence
judgments therein are binding only upon the parties who joined in the action.
or place or abode, where he has another place at which he ordinarily stays and to which he
intends to return.
Same; Same; An action for unlawful detainer or forcible entry is a real action and in
DECISION
personam.—From the aforementioned provisions of the Rules of Court and by its very nature
and purpose, an action for unlawful detainer or forcible entry is a real action and in personam
because the plaintiff seeks to enforce a personal obligation or liability on the defendant under CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Article 539 of the New Civil Code, for the latter to vacate the property subject of the action,
restore physical possession thereof to the plaintiff, and pay actual damages by way of This is a petition for review on certiorari, under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, of the Decision1
reasonable compensation for his use or occupation of the property. of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 73995, which affirmed the Decision2 of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City, Branch 44, in Civil Case No. 2000-0244-D, which
Same; Same; Summons; Manner of Service of Summons in an Action in Personam.—In Asiavest declared null and void the decision of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Calasiao, Pangasinan
Limited v. Court of Appeals, the Court had the occasion to state: In an action in personam, in Civil Case No. 879.3
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is necessary for the resident defendant who does
not voluntarily appear in court can be acquired by personal service of summons as provided The antecedent facts follow.
under Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court. If he cannot be personally served with summons
within a reasonable time, substituted service may be made in accordance with Section 8 of
On February 19, 1999, petitioner Filomena Domagas filed a complaint for forcible entry against to pay monthly rentals therefor, including actual damages, attorney’s fees, and exemplary
respondent Vivian Jensen before the MTC of Calasiao, Pangasinan. The petitioner alleged in damages. The fallo of the decision reads:
her complaint that she was the registered owner of a parcel of land covered by Original
Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P-30980, situated in Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan, and 1) Ordering the defendant, her representatives, agents and persons acting under
with an area of 827 square meters. On January 9, 1999 the respondent, by means of force, her, to vacate the 68-square meters which she encroached upon;
strategy and stealth, gained entry into the petitioner’s property by excavating a portion
thereof and thereafter constructing a fence thereon. As such, the petitioner was deprived of a
2) Ordering the defendant to pay a monthly rental of ₱1,000.00 to the plaintiff;
68-square meter portion of her property along the boundary line. The petitioner prayed that,
after due proceedings, judgment be rendered in her favor, thus:
3) To pay plaintiff actual damages of ₱20,000.00; attorney’s fees of ₱15,000.00 and
exemplary damages in the amount of ₱20,000.00 plus the costs.
3. And, after trial, judgment be rendered:

SO ORDERED.6
a) DECLARING the writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction and Writ of Preliminary
Injunction permanent;
The respondent failed to appeal the decision. Consequently, a writ of execution was issued on
September 27, 1999.
b) ORDERING defendant, his representatives, agents and persons acting under her,
to vacate the portion of the property of the plaintiff occupied by them and to desist
from entering, excavating and constructing in the said property of the plaintiff On August 16, 2000, the respondent filed a complaint against the petitioner before the RTC of
described in paragraph 2 hereof and/or from disturbing the peaceful ownership and Dagupan City for the annulment of the decision of the MTC in Civil Case No. 879, on the ground
possession of the plaintiff over the said land, pending the final resolution of the that due to the Sheriff’s failure to serve the complaint and summons on her because she was
instant action; in Oslo, Norway, the MTC never acquired jurisdiction over her person. The respondent alleged
therein that the service of the complaint and summons through substituted service on her
brother, Oscar Layno, was improper because of the following: (a) when the complaint in Civil
c) ORDERING defendant to pay reasonable rental at FIVE THOUSAND (₱5,000.00)
Case No. 879 was filed, she was not a resident of Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan, but
PESOS per month from January 9, 1999 up to the time she finally vacates and
of Oslo, Norway, and although she owned the house where Oscar Layno received the summons
removes all constructions made by her in the property of the plaintiff and up to the
and the complaint, she had then leased it to Eduardo Gonzales; (b) she was in Oslo, Norway,
time she finally restores the said property in the condition before her illegal entry,
at the time the summons and the complaint were served; (c) her brother, Oscar Layno, was
excavation and construction in the property of the plaintiff;
merely visiting her house in Barangay Buenlag and was not a resident nor an occupant thereof
when he received the complaint and summons; and (d) Oscar Layno was never authorized to
d) ORDERING defendant to pay actual damages in the amount of TWENTY receive the summons and the complaint for and in her behalf.7
THOUSAND (₱20,000.00) PESOS; moral damages in the amount of TWENTY
THOUSAND (₱20,000.00) PESOS; attorney’s fees of THIRTY THOUSAND (₱30,000.00)
The respondent further alleged that the MTC had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the
PESOS in retainer’s fee and ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED (₱1,500.00) PESOS per
complaint in Civil Case No. 879 because the petitioner, the plaintiff therein, failed to show prior
court appearance fee; exemplary damages in the amount of TWENTY THOUSAND
possession of the property. She further claimed that the alleged forcible entry was simply
(₱20,000.00) PESOS, and, costs.
based on the result of the survey conducted by Geodetic Engineer Leonardo de Vera showing
that the property of the respondent encroached on that of the petitioner.
Plaintiff further prays for other reliefs and remedies just and equitable in the premises.4
The respondent filed a Manifestation dated August 31, 2000, and appended thereto the
The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 879. The summons and the complaint were not served following: (a) a copy8 of her passport showing that she left the country on February 17, 1999;
on the respondent because the latter was apparently out of the country. This was relayed to (b) a copy9 of the Contract of Lease dated November 24, 1997, executed by her and Eduardo
the Sheriff by her (the respondent’s) brother, Oscar Layno, who was then in the respondent’s D. Gonzales over her house for a period of three (3) years or until November 24, 2000; (c) her
house at No. 572 Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan. The Sheriff left the summons and affidavit10 stating, inter alia, that she owned the house at Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao,
complaint with Oscar Layno, who received the same.5 Pangasinan, which she leased to Eduardo Gonzales; that she was married to Jarl Jensen, a
citizen of Norway, on August 23, 1987 and had resided in Norway with her husband since 1993;
Nonetheless, on May 17, 1999, the court rendered judgment ordering the respondent and all that she arrived in the Philippines on December 31, 1998, but left on February 17, 1999; she
persons occupying the property for and in the latter’s behalf to vacate the disputed area and returned to the Philippines on July 30, 2000 and learned, only then, of the complaint against
her and the decision of the MTC in Civil Case No. 879; her brother Oscar Layno was not a
resident of the house at Barangay Buenlag; and that she never received the complaint and c.) Moral Damages in the amount of ₱50,000.00;
summons in said case; (d) the affidavit11 of Oscar Layno declaring that sometime in April 1999,
he was in the respondent’s house to collect rentals from Eduardo Gonzales; that the Sheriff d.) Exemplary Damages in the amount of ₱50,000.00; and
arrived and served him with a copy of the summons and the complaint in Civil Case No. 879;
and that he never informed the respondent of his receipt of the said summons and complaint;
e.) Costs of suit.
(e) an affidavit12 of Eduardo Gonzales stating that he leased the house of the respondent and
resided thereat; the respondent was not a resident of the said house although he (Gonzales)
allowed the respondent to occupy a room therein whenever she returned to the Philippines SO ORDERED.17
as a balikbayan; and that Oscar Layno was not residing therein but only collected the rentals.
The trial court declared that there was no valid service of the complaint and summons on the
In her answer to the complaint, the petitioner alleged that the respondent was a resident of respondent, the defendant in Civil Case No. 879, considering that she left the Philippines on
Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan and was the owner of the subject premises where February 17, 1999 for Oslo, Norway, and her brother Oscar Layno was never authorized to
Oscar Layno was when the Sheriff served the summons and complaint; that the service of the receive the said complaint and summons for and in her behalf.
complaint and summons by substituted service on the respondent, the defendant in Civil Case
No. 879, was proper since her brother Oscar Layno, a resident and registered voter of The petitioner appealed the decision to the CA which, on May 6, 2003, rendered judgment
Barangay. Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan, received the complaint and summons for and in her affirming the appealed decision with modifications. The CA ruled that the complaint in Civil
behalf. Case No. 879 was one for ejectment, which is an action quasi in rem. The appellate court ruled
that since the defendant therein was temporarily out of the country, the summons and the
The petitioner appended the following to her answer: (a) a copy13 of the Deed of Absolute Sale complaint should have been served via extraterritorial service under Section 15 in relation to
executed by Jose Layno in her favor, dated August 26, 1992, showing that the respondent was Section 16, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court, which likewise requires prior leave of court.
a resident of Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan; (b) a Real Estate Mortgage14 executed Considering that there was no prior leave of court and none of the modes of service prescribed
by the respondent, dated February 9, 1999 showing that she was a resident of Barangay by the Rules of Court was followed by the petitioner, the CA concluded that there was really
Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan; (c) the Joint Affidavit15 of Vicenta Peralta and Orlando no valid service of summons and complaint upon the respondent, the defendant in Civil Case
Macalanda, both residents of Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan, declaring that the No. 879.
respondent and her brother Oscar Layno were their neighbors; that the respondent and her
brother had been residents of Barangay Buenlag since their childhood; that although the Hence, the present petition.
respondent left the country on several occasions, she returned to the Philippines and resided
in her house at No. 572 located in the said barangay; and (d) the Voter’s Registration Record16 The petitioner assails the decision of the CA, alleging that the appellate court erred in holding
of Oscar Layno, approved on June 15, 1997. that the respondent’s complaint for ejectment is an action quasi in rem. The petitioner insists
that the complaint for forcible entry is an action in personam; therefore, substituted service of
After due proceedings, the trial court rendered a decision in favor of the respondent. The the summons and complaint on the respondent, in accordance with Section 7, Rule 14 of the
dispositive portion reads: Rules of Court, is valid. The petitioner, likewise, asserts that Oscar Layno is a resident and a
registered voter of Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan; hence, the service of the
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered in favor of plaintiff Vivian Layno Jensen and against complaint and summons on the respondent through him is valid.
defendant Filomena Domagas, as follows:
The respondent, on the other hand, asserts that the action for forcible entry filed against her
1. The Decision of the Municipal Trial Court of Calasiao, Pangasinan in Civil Case No. was an action quasi in rem, and that the applicable provision of the Rules of Court is Section
879, entitled Filomena Domagas versus Vivian Layno Jensen is declared null and void, 15 of Rule 14, which calls for extraterritorial service of summons.
for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the plaintiff and the subject matter.
The sole issue is whether or not there was a valid service of the summons and complaint in
2. Defendant Filomena Domagas is ordered to pay plaintiff, the following: Civil Case No. 879 on the respondent herein who was the defendant in the said case. The
resolution of the matter is anchored on the issue of whether or not the action of the petitioner
in the MTC against the respondent herein is an action in personam or quasi in rem.
a.) Actual damages, representing litigation expenses in the amount of
₱50,000.00;
The ruling of the CA that the petitioner’s complaint for forcible entry of the petitioner against
the respondent in Civil Case No. 879 is an action quasi in rem, is erroneous. The action of the
b.) Attorney’s fees in the amount of ₱50,000.00;
petitioner for forcible entry is a real action and one in personam.
The settled rule is that the aim and object of an action determine its character. 18 Whether a A possessor deprived of his possession through forcible entry or unlawful detainer may, within
proceeding is in rem, or in personam, or quasi in rem for that matter, is determined by its five (5) days from the filing of the complaint, present a motion in the action for forcible entry
nature and purpose, and by these only.19 A proceeding in personam is a proceeding to enforce or unlawful detainer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction to restore
personal rights and obligations brought against the person and is based on the jurisdiction of him in his possession. The court shall decide the motion within thirty (30) days from the filing
the person, although it may involve his right to, or the exercise of ownership of, specific thereof.
property, or seek to compel him to control or dispose of it in accordance with the mandate of
the court.20 The purpose of a proceeding in personam is to impose, through the judgment of a If, after due proceedings, the trial court finds for the plaintiff, it shall then render judgment in
court, some responsibility or liability directly upon the person of the defendant. 21 Of this his or her favor, thus:
character are suits to compel a defendant to specifically perform some act or actions to fasten
a pecuniary liability on him.22 An action in personam is said to be one which has for its object
Sec. 17. Judgment. – If, after trial, the court finds that the allegations of the complaint are true,
a judgment against the person, as distinguished from a judgment against the propriety to
it shall render judgment in favor of the plaintiff for the restitution of the premises, the sum
determine its state. It has been held that an action in personam is a proceeding to enforce
justly due as arrears of rent or as reasonable compensation for the use and occupation of the
personal rights or obligations; such action is brought against the person. As far as suits for
premises, attorney’s fees and costs. If it finds that said allegations are not true, it shall render
injunctive relief are concerned, it is well-settled that it is an injunctive act in personam.23 In
judgment for the defendant to recover his costs. If a counterclaim is established, the court
Combs v. Combs,24 the appellate court held that proceedings to enforce personal rights and
shall render judgment for the sum found in arrears from either party and award costs as justice
obligations and in which personal judgments are rendered adjusting the rights and obligations
requires.
between the affected parties is in personam. Actions for recovery of real property are in
personam.25
From the aforementioned provisions of the Rules of Court and by its very nature and purpose,
an action for unlawful detainer or forcible entry is a real action and in personam because the
On the other hand, a proceeding quasi in rem is one brought against persons seeking to subject
plaintiff seeks to enforce a personal obligation or liability on the defendant under Article 539
the property of such persons to the discharge of the claims assailed.26 In an action quasi in
of the New Civil Code,29 for the latter to vacate the property subject of the action, restore
rem, an individual is named as defendant and the purpose of the proceeding is to subject his
physical possession thereof to the plaintiff, and pay actual damages by way of reasonable
interests therein to the obligation or loan burdening the property.27 Actions quasi in rem deal
compensation for his use or occupation of the property.30
with the status, ownership or liability of a particular property but which are intended to
operate on these questions only as between the particular parties to the proceedings and not
to ascertain or cut off the rights or interests of all possible claimants. The judgments therein As gleaned from the averments of the petitioner’s complaint in the MTC, she sought a writ of
are binding only upon the parties who joined in the action.28 a preliminary injunction from the MTC and prayed that the said writ be made permanent.
Under its decision, the MTC ordered the defendant therein (the respondent in this case), to
vacate the property and pay a "monthly rental" of ₱1,000.00 to the plaintiff therein (the
Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court provides:
petitioner in this case).

Section 1. Who may institute proceedings, and when. - Subject to the provisions of the next
On the issue of whether the respondent was validly served with the summons and complaint
succeeding section, a person deprived of the possession of any land or building in force,
by the Sheriff on April 5, 1999, the petitioner asserts that since her action of forcible entry
intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth, or a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person against
against the respondent in Civil Case No. 879 was in personam, summons may be served on the
whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or
respondent, by substituted service, through her brother, Oscar Layno, in accordance with
termination of the right to hold possession by virtue of any contract, express or implied, or the
Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court. The petitioner avers that Oscar Layno, a person of
legal representatives or assigns of any such lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person, may, at
suitable age and discretion, was residing in the house of the respondent on April 5, 1999. She
any time within one (1) year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession,
avers that the fact that the house was leased to and occupied by Eduardo Gonzales was of no
bring an action in the proper Municipal Trial Court against the person or persons unlawfully
moment. Moreover, the Sheriff is presumed to have performed his duty of properly serving
withholding or depriving of possession, or any person or persons claiming under them, for the
the summons on the respondent by substituted service.
restitution of such possession, together with damages and costs.

The contention of the petitioner has no merit.


Under Section 15, Rule 70 of the said Rule, the plaintiff may be granted a writ of preliminary
prohibition or mandatory injunction:
In Asiavest Limited v. Court of Appeals ,31 the Court had the occasion to state:
Sec. 15. Preliminary Injunction. – The court may grant preliminary injunction, in accordance
with the provisions of Rule 58 hereof, to prevent the defendant from committing further acts In an action in personam, jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is necessary for the
of dispossession against the plaintiff. court to validly try and decide the case. Jurisdiction over the person of a resident defendant
who does not voluntarily appear in court can be acquired by personal service of summons as the person of suitable age and discretion residing in the house of the defendant. Compliance
provided under Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court. If he cannot be personally served with with the rules regarding the service of summons is as much important as the issue of due
summons within a reasonable time, substituted service may be made in accordance with process as of jurisdiction.39
Section 8 of said Rule. If he is temporarily out of the country, any of the following modes of
service may be resorted to: (a) substituted service set forth in Section 8; (2) personal service The Return of Service filed by Sheriff Eduardo J. Abulencia on the service of summons reads:
outside the country, with leave of court; (3) service by publication, also with leave of court; or
(4) any other manner the court may deem sufficient.32
Respectfully returned to the court of origin the herein summons and enclosures in the above-
entitled case, the undersigned caused the service on April 5, 1999.
Thus, any judgment of the court which has no jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is
null and void.33
Defendant Vivian Layno Jensen is out of the country as per information from her brother Oscar
Layno, however, copy of summons and enclosures was received by her brother Oscar Layno
In the present case, the records show that the respondent, before and after his marriage to on April 5, 1999 as evidenced by his signature appearing in the original summons.
Jarl Jensen on August 23, 1987, remained a resident of Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao,
Pangasinan. This can be gleaned from the Deed of Absolute Sale dated August 26, 1992 in
Calasiao, Pangasinan, April 6, 1999.
which she declared that she was a resident of said barangay. Moreover, in the Real Estate
Mortgage Contract dated February 9, 1999, ten days before the complaint in Civil Case No. 879
was filed, the petitioner categorically stated that she was a Filipino and a resident of Barangay (Sgd.)
Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan. Considering that the respondent was in Oslo, Norway, having EDUARDO J. ABULENCIA
left the Philippines on February 17, 1999, the summons and complaint in Civil Case No. 879
may only be validly served on her through substituted service under Section 7, Rule 14 of the Junior Process Server40
Rules of Court, which reads:
As gleaned from the said return, there is no showing that as of April 5, 1999, the house where
SEC. 7. Substituted service. — If, for justifiable causes, the defendant cannot be served within the Sheriff found Oscar Layno was the latter’s residence or that of the respondent herein.
a reasonable time as provided in the preceding section, service may be effected (a) by leaving Neither is there any showing that the Sheriff tried to ascertain where the residence of the
copies of the summons at the defendant’s residence with some person of suitable age and respondent was on the said date. It turned out that the occupant of the house was a lessor,
discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving the copies at defendant’s office or regular Eduardo Gonzales, and that Oscar Layno was in the premises only to collect the rentals from
place of business with some competent person in charge thereof. him. The service of the summons on a person at a place where he was a visitor is not
considered to have been left at the residence or place or abode, where he has another place
Strict compliance with the mode of service is required in order that the court may acquire at which he ordinarily stays and to which he intends to return.41
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant.34 The statutory requirement of substituted
service must be followed faithfully and strictly and any substituted service other than that The Voter’s Registration Record of Oscar Layno dated June 15, 1997 wherein he declared that
authorized by the statute is rendered ineffective.35 As the Court held in Hamilton v. Levy :36 he was a resident of No. 572 Barangay Buenlag, Calasiao, Pangasinan, as well as the Joint
Affidavit of Vicenta Peralta and Orlando Macasalda cannot prevail over the Contract of Lease
… The pertinent facts and circumstances attendant to the service of summons must be stated the respondent had executed in favor of Eduardo Gonzales showing that the latter had resided
in the proof of service or Officer’s Return; otherwise, any substituted service made in lieu of and occupied the house of the respondent as lessee since November 24, 1997, and the affidavit
personal service cannot be upheld. This is necessary because substituted service is in of Eduardo Gonzales that Oscar Layno was not residing in the said house on April 5, 1999.
derogation of the usual method of service. It is a method extraordinary in character and hence
may be used only as prescribed and in the circumstances authorized by statute. Here, no such In sum, then, the respondent was not validly served with summons and the complaint in Civil
explanation was made. Failure to faithfully, strictly, and fully comply with the requirements of Case No. 879 on April 5, 1999, by substituted service. Hence, the MTC failed to acquire
substituted service renders said service ineffective.37 jurisdiction over the person of the respondent; as such, the decision of the MTC in Civil Case
No. 879 is null and void.
In Keister v. Narcereo,38 the Court held that the term "dwelling house" or "residence" are
generally held to refer to the time of service; hence, it is not sufficient to leave the summons IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. No costs.
at the former’s dwelling house, residence or place of abode, as the case may be. Dwelling
house or residence refers to the place where the person named in the summons is living at the SO ORDERED.
time when the service is made, even though he may be temporarily out of the country at the
time. It is, thus, the service of the summons intended for the defendant that must be left with
G.R. No. 168723 July 9, 2008 the complaint failed to state a cause of action; (c) All Season was not the real party in interest;
and (d) the officers of Dole cannot be sued in their personal capacities for alleged acts
DOLE PHILIPPINES, INC. (TROPIFRESH DIVISION), Petitioner, performed in their official capacities as corporate officers of Dole.5 In its Order dated February
vs. 6, 2004, the RTC denied said motion. Dole moved for partial reconsideration raising the same
HON. REINATO G. QUILALA in his capacity as pairing judge of Branch 150, RTC-Makati City, issues but its motion was denied.
and ALL SEASON FARM, CORP., Respondents.
Thereafter, Dole filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals contending that the
Remedial Law; Actions; Summons; Wellsettled is the rule that service of summons on a alias summons was not properly served. The appellate court, however, ruled otherwise. It
domestic corporation is restricted, limited and exclusive to the persons enumerated in Section reasoned that Dole’s president had known of the service of the alias summons although he did
11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, following the rule in statutory construction not personally receive and sign it. It also held that in today’s corporate setup, documents
that expressio unios est exclusio alterius.—Wellsettled is the rule that service of summons on addressed to corporate officers are received in their behalf by their staff. 6 Dole sought
a domestic corporation is restricted, limited and exclusive to the persons enumerated in reconsideration, but its motion was likewise denied.
Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, following the rule in statutory
construction that expressio unios est exclusio alterius. Service must therefore be made on the Hence, this petition where petitioner raises the lone issue:
president, managing partner, general manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or inhouse
counsel. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED AN ERROR OF LAW WHEN IT
ALLOWED SUBSTITUTED SERVICE ON A PRIVATE CORPORATION WHEN IT HELD THAT DOLE
Same; Same; Same; A defendant’s voluntary appearance in the action is equivalent to service WAS VALIDLY SERVED WITH SUMMONS IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT SUMMONS WAS NOT
of summons.—Under Section 20 of the same Rule, a defendant’s voluntary appearance in the SERVED ON ITS PRESIDENT, MANAGING PARTNER, GENERAL MANAGER, CORPORATE
action is equivalent to service of summons. As held previously by this Court, the filing of SECRETARY, TREASURER OR IN-HOUSE COUNSEL THEREBY IGNORING THE RULE ON SERVICE
motions seeking affirmative relief, such as, to admit answer, for additional time to file answer, OF SUMMONS ON PRIVATE DOMESTIC CORPORATIONS.7
for reconsideration of a default judgment, and to lift order of default with motion for
reconsideration, are considered voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the court.
Simply stated, the issue in this case is whether there was a valid service of summons on
petitioner for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction over the person of the corporate defendant
below, now the petitioner herein.
DECISION
Petitioner contends that for the court to validly acquire jurisdiction over a domestic
QUISUMBING, J.: corporation, summons must be served only on the corporate officers enumerated in Section
11,8 Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Petitioner maintains that the alias summons
This petition for review assails the Decision1 dated May 20, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA- was not validly served on it since the alias summons was served on Marifa Dela Cruz, an
G.R. SP No. 87723 and its Resolution2 dated June 28, 2005, denying the motion for employee of Dole Pacific General Services, Ltd., which is an entity separate and distinct from
reconsideration. The appellate court had affirmed the Order3 dated February 6, 2004 of the petitioner. It further avers that even if she were an employee of the petitioner, she is not one
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 150, in Civil Case No. 03-093 and its Order4 of the officers enumerated under Section 11, Rule 14. Thus, the RTC, without proper service of
dated September 16, 2004 denying the motion for partial reconsideration. summons, lacks jurisdiction over petitioner as defendant below.

The factual antecedents of this case are as follows. Private respondent All Season, for its part, contends that the trial court had acquired
jurisdiction over petitioner, since petitioner received the alias summons through its president
In a complaint filed with the RTC of Makati City, presided over by Pairing Judge Reinato Quilala, on April 23, 2003. According to private respondent, there was full compliance with Section 11,
private respondent All Season Farm Corporation ("All Season") sought the recovery of a sum Rule 14, when Marifa Dela Cruz received the summons upon instruction of petitioner’s
of money, accounting and damages from petitioner Dole Philippines, Inc. (Tropifresh Division) president as indicated in the Officer’s Return.9 More so, petitioner had admitted that it
("Dole") and several of its officers. According to Dole, an alias summons was served upon it received the alias summons in its Entry of Appearance with Motion for Time10 filed on May 5,
through a certain Marifa Dela Cruz, a legal assistant employed by Dole Pacific General Services, 2003.
Ltd., which is an entity separate from Dole.
Well-settled is the rule that service of summons on a domestic corporation is restricted, limited
On May 20, 2003, Dole filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the following grounds: (a) and exclusive to the persons enumerated in Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
the RTC lacked jurisdiction over the person of Dole due to improper service of summons; (b) Procedure, following the rule in statutory construction that expressio unios est exclusio
alterius.11 Service must therefore be made on the president, managing partner, general
manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house counsel.

In this case, it appears that on April 23, 2003, Marifa Dela Cruz, a legal assistant, received the
alias summons.12 Contrary to private respondent’s claim that it was received upon instruction
of the president of the corporation as indicated in the Officer’s Return, such fact does not
appear in the receiving copy of the alias summons which Marifa Dela Cruz signed. There was
no evidence that she was authorized to receive court processes in behalf of the president.
Considering that the service of summons was made on a legal assistant, not employed by
herein petitioner and who is not one of the designated persons under Section 11, Rule 14, the
trial court did not validly acquire jurisdiction over petitioner.

However, under Section 20 of the same Rule, a defendant’s voluntary appearance in the action
is equivalent to service of summons.13 As held previously by this Court, the filing of motions
seeking affirmative relief, such as, to admit answer, for additional time to file answer, for
reconsideration of a default judgment, and to lift order of default with motion for
reconsideration, are considered voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the court.14

Note that on May 5, 2003, petitioner filed an Entry of Appearance with Motion for Time. It was
not a conditional appearance entered to question the regularity of the service of summons,
but an appearance submitting to the jurisdiction of the court by acknowledging the receipt of
the alias summons and praying for additional time to file responsive pleading.15 Consequently,
petitioner having acknowledged the receipt of the summons and also having invoked the
jurisdiction of the RTC to secure affirmative relief in its motion for additional time, petitioner
effectively submitted voluntarily to the jurisdiction of the RTC. It is estopped now from
asserting otherwise, even before this Court.16 The RTC therefore properly took cognizance of
the case against Dole Philippines, Inc., and we agree that the trial and the appellate courts
committed no error of law when Dole’s contentions were overruled.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision dated May 20, 2005 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 87723 and its Resolution dated June 28, 2005 are
AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
G.R. No. 181517 July 6, 2015 WHEREFORE, the instant Petition for Certiorari is GRANTED. The assailed Resolutions, dated
May 5, 2004 and dated July 26, 2004, of the Regional Trial Court of San Pedro, Laguna, Branch
GREEN STAR EXPRESS, INC. and FRUTO SAYSON, JR., Petitioners, 31, in Civil Case No. SPL-0969, are hereby NULLIFIED and a new one rendered granting
vs. Petitioner's Motion to Dismiss, dated February 3, 2004. Private Respondents' Amended
NISSIN-UNIVERSAL ROBINA CORPORATION, Respondent. Complaint for Damages filed against Petitioner Nissin-Universal Robina Corporation is
accordingly dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
DECISION
SO ORDERED.4
PERALTA, J.:
Aggrieved, Green Star and Sayson moved for reconsideration, but the same was denied.
Hence, this petition.
For resolution is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court which petitioners
Green Star Express, Inc. and Fruto Sayson, Jr. brought before the Court, assailing the Decision
1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated September 17, 2007 and its Resolution2 dated January The lone issue is whether or not the summons was properly served on NURC, vesting the trial
22, 2008 in CA-G.R. SP No. 86824. The CA nullified the Resolution dated May 5, 2004 of the court with jurisdiction.
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Pedro, Laguna, Branch 31, in Civil Case No. SPL-0969, and
dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. The petition is benefit of merit.

The following are the antecedents of the case: It is a well-established rule that the rules on service of summons upon a domestic private
juridical entity must be strictly complied with. Otherwise, the court cannot be said to have
On February 25, 2003, a Mitsubishi L-300 van which Universal Robina Corporation ( URC) acquired jurisdiction over the person of the defendant.5
owned figured in a vehicular accident with petitioner Green Star Express, Inc.' s (Green Star)
passenger bus, resulting in the death of the van's driver. Thus, the bus driver, petitioner Fruto NURC maintains that the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over it as the summons was received
Sayson, Jr., was charged with the crime of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide. by its cost accountant, Francis Tinio.1âwphi1 It argues that under Section 11, Rule 14 of the
1997 Rules of Court, which provides the rule on service of summons upon a juridical entity, in
Thereafter, Green Star sent a demand letter to respondent NissinUniversal Robina Corporation cases where the defendant is a domestic corporation like NURC, summons may be served only
(NURC) for the repair of its passenger bus amounting to ₱567, 070.68. NURC denied any through its officers.6 Thus:
liability therefore and argued that the criminal case shall determine the ultimate liabilities of
the parties. Thereafter, the criminal case was dismissed without prejudice, due to insufficiency Section 11. Service upon domestic private juridical entity. – When the defendant is a
of evidence. corporation, partnership or association organized under the laws of the Philippines with a
juridical personality, service may be made on the president, managing partner, general
Sayson and Green Star then filed a complaint for damages against NURC before the R TC of San manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house counsel.7
Pedro, Laguna. Francis Tinio, one of NURC's employees, was the one who received the
summons. On February 6, 2004, NURC filed a Motion to Dismiss claiming lack of jurisdiction This provision replaced the former Section 13, Rule 14 of the 1964 Rules of Court which read:
due to improper service.
Section 13. Service upon private domestic corporation or partnership. - If the defendant is a
On May 5, 2004, the RTC issued a Resolution denying NURC's motion to dismiss. It ruled that corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines or a partnership duly registered,
there was substantial compliance because there was actual receipt of the summons by NURC. service may be made on the president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent, or any of its
The dispositive portion of said Resolution thus reads: directors.8

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, defendant's "Motion to Dismiss" is hereby DENIED.3 In the past, the Court upheld service of summons upon a construction project manager, a
corporation’s assistant manager, and ordinary clerk of a corporation, private secretary of
Since its Motion for Reconsideration was denied, NURC elevated the case to the CA via a corporate executives, retained counsel, and officials who had control over the operations of
Petition for Certiorari. On September 17, 2007, the CA reversed the RTC ruling, hence: the corporation like the assistant general manager or the corporation’s Chief Finance and
Administrative Officer. The Court then considered said persons as "agent" within the
contemplation of the old rule. Notably, under the new Rules, service of summons upon an
agent of the corporation is no longer authorized,9 The rule now likewise states "general
manager" instead of "manager"; "corporate secretary" instead of merely "secretary"; and
"treasure" instead of "cashier."10 It has now become restricted, limited, and exclusive only to
the persons enumerated in the aforementioned provision, following the rule in statutory
construction that the express mention of one person excludes all others, or expression unions
est exclusion alterius. Service must, therefore, be made only on the person expressly listed in
the rules.11 If the revision committee intended to liberalize the rule on service of summons, it
could have easily done so by clear and concise language.12

Here, Tinio, a, member of NURC’s accounting staff, received the summons on January 22, 2004.
Green star claims that it was received upon instruction of Junadette Avedillo. The general
manager of the corporation. Such fact, however, does not appear in the Sheriff’s Return.13
The Return did not even state whether Avedillo was present at the time the summons was
received by Tinio, the supposed assistant manager. Green Star further avers that the sheriff
tendered the summons, but Avedillo simply refused to sign and receive the same. She then
allegedly instructed Tinio to just receive it in her behalf. However, Green Star never presented
said sheriff as witness during the hearing of NURC’s motion to dismiss to attest to said claim.
And while the sheriff executed an affidavit which appears to support such allegation, the same
was likewise not presented as evidence. It was only when the case was already before the CA
that said affidavit first surfaced. Since the service of summons was made on a cost accountant,
which is not one of the designated persons under Section 11 of Rule 14, the trial court did not
vadily acquire jurisdiction over NURC,14 although the corporation may have actually received
the summons.15 To rule otherwise will be an outright circumvention of the rules, aggravating
further the delay in the administration of justice.16

At this juncture, it is worth emphasizing that notice to enable the other party to be heard and
to present evidence is not a mere technicality or a trivial matter in any administrative or judicial
proceedings. The service of summons is a vital and indispensable ingredient of due process.
Corporations would be easily deprived of their right to present their defense in a multi-million
peso suit, if the Court would disregard the mandate of the Rules on the service of summons.17

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals Decision dated September 17, 2007
and Resolution dated January 22, 2008 in CA-G.R. SP No. 86824 are hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA**
Associate Justice
G.R. No. 205090, October 17, 2016
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
GREENSTAR EXPRESS, INC. AND FRUTO L. SAYSON, JR., Petitioners, v. UNIVERSAL ROBINA
CORPORATION AND NISSIN UNIVERSAL ROBINA CORPORATION, Respondent. During the trial on the merits, plaintiffs11 presented five witnesses namely Josephine Gadiaza,
Miguel Galvan, SPO3 Ernesto Marfori, Fruto Sayson and Lilia Morales.
DECISION
xxxx
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
Plaintiff Fruto Sayson testified that on that fateful day, he was driving the plaintiff passenger
bus from Lucena City going to Manila at a speed of more or less 60 kilometers per hour when
This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 seeks to set aside; a) the September 26, 2012 Decision2 he met a vehicular accident at Barangay San Agustin, Alaminos, Laguna. He saw from afar an
of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No, 96961 affirming the April 4, 2011 Decision3 of L-300 UV coming from the shoulder going on the opposite direction to Lucena City. Said
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Pedro, Laguna, Branch 31 in Civil Case No. SPL-0969; and vehicle was already near his bus when it (UV) managed to return to ifs proper lane, then hit
b) the CA's December 28, 2012 Resolution4 denying herein petitioners' Motion for and swerved his vehicle.- "He tried to prevent the collision by swerving to the right but it was
Reconsideration.5chanrobleslaw too late. As a result, the left front portion of the bus was damaged while the front portion of
the L-300 UV was totally wrecked- He and his conductor, one.Mendoza, managed to get but
Factual Antecedents of the bug by forcibly opening the automatic door which was also damaged due to the
impact After getting out of the bus, he looked for the driver of the L300 UV but he was
Petitioner Greenstar Express, Inc. (Grepistar) is a domestic corporation engaged in the informed by a bystander that he was thrown in a canal arid already dead. For fear of possible
business of public transportation, while petitioner Fruto L. Sayson, Jr. (Sayson) is one of its reprisals from bystanders as experienced by most drivers involved in an accident, he boarded
bus drivers, smother bug owned by bis employer. Before he left, he indorsed the matter to hip conductor
and line inspector. Thereafter, he reported to their office at San Pedro, Laguna. He executed
Respondents Universal Robina Corporation (URC) and Nissin Universal Robina Corporation a statement on the same day x x x and submitted the same to their operations department.
(NURC) are domestic corporations engaged in the food business. NURC is a subsidiary of URC. He likewise testified that before the incident, he was earning P700.00 to P900,00 a day on
commission basis and he drives 25 days in a month. However, after the incident, he was not
URC is the registered owner of a Mitsubishi L-300 van with plate number WRN 403 (URC able to drive for almost two months.
van).6chanrobleslaw
On cross-examination, it was established that the incident happened along the Maharlika
At about 6:50 a.m. on February 25, 2003, which was then a declared national holiday,7 Highway along Kilometer 72. There were no structures near the site of the incident, The
petitioner's bus, which was then being driven toward the direction of Manila by Sayson, highway ha§ two lanes which can accommodate the size of the bus about 3 meters wide and
collided head-on with the URC van, which was then being driven Quezon province-bound by a. light vehicle. He was bound for Manila and had about ten passengers. He saw the L-300 UV
NURC's Operations Manager, Renante Bicomong (Bicomong). The incident occurred along on the shoulder of the opposite lane about 250 meters away from, his bus while he was
Km. 76, Maharlika Highway, Brgy. San Agustin, Alaminos, Laguna. Bicomong died on the spot, driving [at] a speed of 60 kilometers per hour. He did not sense any danger when he saw the
while the colliding vehicles sustained considerable damage. vehicle from afar. He cannot drive fast as there were five vehicles ahead of his bus. When the
L-300 UV managed to return to it? proper lane coming from the shoulder, it was heading
On September 23, 2003, petitioners filed a Complaint8 against NURC to recover damages directly towards his direction, at a distance of more or less five, meters away from his bus, He
sustained during the collision, premised on negligence. The case was docketed as Civil Case noticed that the L-300 UV was running at full speed as he saw dust clouds. "The point of
No. SPL-0969 and assigned to Branch 31 of the RTC of San Pedro, Laguna, An Amended impact happened on his lane. He tried to swerve his bus to prevent the impact but lie
Complaint9 was later filed, wherein URC was impleaded as additional defendant. admitted that at his speed, it was difficult for him to maneuver his vehicle

URC and NURC filed their respective Answers,10 where they particularly alleged and claimed Investigator SPO3 Ernesto Marfori of the Alaminos Police Station testified that at about 7:00
lack of negligence on their part and on the part of Bicomong. in the morning, he received a report from the Barangay Chairman of a vehicular accident that
occurred at Brgy. §an Agustin, Alaminos, Laguna. He proceeded to the site with SPO2
After the issues were joined, trial proceeded. During trial, only Sayson was presented by Rolando Alias. Upon arrival at the scene of the accident, he attended to the victim, but found
petitioners as eyewitness to the collision. him dead inside the L- 300 UV. He came to know later that he was Renante Bicomong. He
immediately called up his office and requested that funeral services for the dead man. be
Riding of the Regional Trial Court arranged. Thereafter, he photographed the damaged vehicles (Exhibits "F" and sub-markings)
and interviewed some witnesses. He made a sketch depicting the damages suffered by both
On April 4, 2011, the RTC issued its Decision, which decreed thus:
vehicles (Exhibit "D-2"), the L-300 IV at the front portion (Exhibit "D-4") while the bus at the
left side of its front portion (Exhibit "D-3"). Based on the sketch he prepared, the impact Finally, Gloria Bicomong, widow of deceased Reynante Bicomong testified that she knew that
happened almost at the right lane which was the bus lane (Exhibit "D-6"). He likewise noticed her husband was going home to Calendaria (sic), Quezon on February 25, 2003 because he
some debris also found at the bus lane. He was able to interview the bus conductor and a informed their daughter. He was on his way home when he met a vehicular-accident in
fruit store owner in [sic] the names of Apolinar Devilla and Virgilio Adao, He did not see the Alaminos. Laguna which claimed his life. She was informed about the accident involving her
driver of the bus at the scene of the accident and he was told that he had left the place. husband by a high school friend who was also traveling to Quezon at that time, She filed a
Based on, his investigation, the possible cause of the accident was the swerving to the left criminal complaint at Alaminos, Laguna but it was dismissed for reasons unknown to her. She
lane [by] the driver of the L-300 UV which resulted in me encroaching of the bus' lane. He likewise filed a civil complaint for damages before the Regional Trial Court of Lucena City
reduced bis findings into writing in a Report dated February 28, 2003 (Exhibits "D" and sub- docketed as Civil Case No. 2.103-135.
markings).
On cross-examination, she narrated that aside from the Toyota Corolla service of her
On cross-examination, the witness admitted that he was not present when the vehicles husband, he would use the L-300 UV whenever he had to bring bulky things home. As far as
collided. The entries he made in the blotter report were mainly based on the accounts of the she can recall, he used the L-300 UV about 5 times.
witnesses he was able to interview who however did not give their written statements.
When he arrived at the scene of the accident, the L-300 UV was already on the shoulder of After an evaluation of the foregoing testimonies and documentary evidence of the parties,
the road and it was totally wrecked. According to reports, the van spun around when it was the court had [sic] arrived at the following findings and conclusions:
bit causing the metal scar found on the road.
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibraryPlaintiff has no cause of action and cannot recover from the
On the other hand, the defendants12 presented three witnesses: its employees Alexander defendants even assuming that the direct and proximate cause of the accident was the
Caoleng and John Legaspi and deceased Renante Bicomong's widow, Gloria Bicomgng, These negligence of the defendant's employee Renato Bicomong.
witnesses were presented to prove that deceased Bicomong was acting in his personal
capacity when the mishap happened on February 25, 2003 as that day had been declared an Pursuant to Article 2184 of the New Civil Code, the owner of a motor vehicle is solidarily
official holiday and the L-300 UV he was driving had not been issued to him, among others. liable with his driver if at the time of the mishap, the owner was in the vehicle and by the use
of due diligence could have presented (sic) the misfortune; if the owner is not in the motor
Alexander Caoleng, HR. Manager of defendant NURC, testified that deceased Bicomong vehicle, the provision of Article 2180 is applicable. The defendants being juridical persons,
worked as the Operations Manager of defendant NURC until his death as evidenced by a the first paragraph of Article 2184 is obviously not applicable.
Certificate of Employment dated December 9, 2008 (Exhibit "I"), His last assignment was in
First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCEB). He died in a vehicular accident in Alaminos, Laguna on Under Article 2180, "employers shall be liable tor the damages caused by their employees
February 25, 2003 which was declared a holiday by virtue of Proclamation No. 331 (Exhibit and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the
"2"). Despite having been issued his own service vehicle (Exhibits "3", "4" and "5"), he used former are not engaged in any business or industry. "In other words, for the employer to be
the L-300 UV which was not officially issued to him but in the name of Florante Soro-Soro, liable for the damages caused by his employee, the latter must have caused the damage in
defendant NURC's Logistics Manager at that time (Exhibits "7" and "B"). The said vehicle was the course of doing his assigned tasks or in the-performance of his duties" (Yambao vs.
used mainly to transport items coming from their office at Pasig to Cavite and vice versa Zuñiga, G.R. No: 146173, December 11, 2003)
(Exhibit "9").
In this case, it is beyond cavil that the deceased Renante Bicong [sic] was not in the
John Legaspi, Project Manager of defendant NURC, testified that he was first assigned in its performance of his duty on that fateful day of February 25, 2003. In the first place that day
Cavite Plant in 1999 with deceased Bicomaog as his immediate supervisor being the was a holiday; there was no work and it was not shown that he was working as indeed his
Production Manager then. He last saw him in the afternoon of February 24, 2003 at about work assignment is operations manager of the company's plant m, Cavite while the accident
6:00 pm when they had a short chat He (Bicomong) was then transferring his things from his happened while he was in Alaminos, Laguna on his way home to Candelaria, Quezon.
executive vehicle which was a Toyota Corolla to the L-300 UY which was a company vehicle. Secondly, as an operations manager, he was issued an executive car for. Ms own use, a
He (Bicomong) shared that he would go home to Quezon Province the following day Toyota Corolla vehicle and he merely preferred to use the L-300 UV when going home to his
(February 25) to give money to his daughter. He knew that his trip to Quezon was not work- family in Quezon. Even assuming that the company allowed or tolerated this, by itself, the
related as February 25, 2003 was declared a holiday. Besides, there exists no plant owned by tolerance did not make, the employer liable in the absence of showing that he was using the
defendant NURC in the provinces of Quezon, Laguna or Bicol as attested to by the General vehicle in the performance of a duty or within the scope of his assigned tasks. But as clearly
Manager of defendant NURC in a Certification to that effect (Exhibit "11"). relayed by defendant's witnesses, defendants have no business or plant in Quezen. The L-300
vehicle was for the hauling of items between their Pasig and Cavite offices and was merely
On cross-examination, he distinguished the use of an executive vehicle assigned to an borrowed by Bicomong in going to Candelaria, Quezon on that day.
executive officer for his personal use and the company vehicle which was supposed to be for
official use only. The accident having occurred outside Remnte Bicomong's assigned tasks, defendant
employers cannot be held liable to the plaintiffs, even assuming that it is the fault of competent evidence.
defendants' employee that was the direct and proximate cause of their damages.
All told, defendants were not able to prove by their own evidence that the direct and
However, the question of whose fault or negligence was the direct and proximate cause of proximate cause of the collision was the fault of plaintiffs driver. Hence, they cannot hold
the mishap is material to the resolution of defendants' counterclaim. plaintiffs liable for the logs of their L-300 UV. As both parties failed to prove by their
respective evidence where the fault that occasioned their losses lie, they must bear their
The rule is that the burden of proof lies on him who claims a fact (Federico Ledesina vs. respective losses.
NLRC, G.R. No. 175585, October 19,2007). Therefore, to be able to recover in their
counterclaim, the defendants must prove by preponderance of evidence that the direct and Anent defendants' counterclaim for attorney's fees and exemplary damages, there is no
proximate cause of their losses was the fault of the plaintiff-driver. evidence to show that the filing, of this suit was motivated [by] malice. It cannot be denied
that plaintiffs suffered damages. The court mainly, dismissed the complaint for lack of cause
Defendants were not able to present any witness as to how the mishap occurred Their of action as Renante Bicomong was not performing his assigned tasks at the time of the
witnesses were limited to proving that Renante Bicomong was not in the performance of his incident. Besides, to hold them liable to defendants for attorney's fees and exemplary
assigned task when the incident happened. damages simply because they failed to come up with sufficient evidence will be tantamount
to putting a price on one's right to sue.
A reading of their answer would reveal, that their attribution of fault to the plaintiff-driver is
based only on the point of impact of the two vehicles. Thus: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the complaint as well as the
counterclaim.
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
'4.3 Based on the damage sustained by the passenger bus, plaintiffs' claim that Renante No costs.
Bicomong swerved on the left lane and encroached on the path of the said bus moments before
the accident could not have been true. Such claim would have resulted to a head-on collision SO ORDERED.13
between the vehicle driven by Mr. Bicomong and the bus; the latter would have sustained
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
damage on its front side. However, based on Annexes "B" and "C" of the Complaint, the. said
bus sustained damage on its left side. Clearly, it was the passenger bus that swerved on the left
Petitioners filed an appeal before the CA, docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 96961. They argued
lane, which was being traversed by Renante Bicomong, and while returning to the right lane,
that Bicomong's negligence was the proximate cause of the collision, as the van he was
said bus hit the vehicle being driven by Mr. Bicomong. Thus, explaining the damage sustained
4rjvmg swerved to the opposite lane and hit the bus which was then traveling along its
by the said bus on its left side just below the driver's seat.'
proper lane; that Bicomong's act of occupying the bus's lane was illegal and thus constituted
a traffic violation; that respondents are liable for damages as the registered owner of the van
The foregoing however is a mere interpretation or speculation and not supported by any and failing to exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employee,
account, either by an eyewitness [or by] a explanation tracing the relative positions of the Bicomong, Respondents, countered that the bus driven by Sayson was running at high speed
two vehicles in relation to the road at the time of impact and the movements of the two when the, collision occurred, thus indicating that Sayson was in violation of traffic rules; and
vehicles after the impact. For this reason, it will be unfair to make an interpretation of the that Say-son had the last clear chance to avert collision but he failed to take the necessary
events based alone on the point of impact [on] the vehicles. The points of impact by precaution under the circumstances, by reducing his speed and applying the brakes on time
themselves cannot explain the positions of the vehicles on the road. to avoid collision.

Defendants Memorandum attributed the cause of the mishap to the excessive speed of the On September 26, 2012, the CA rendered the assailed Decision containing the following
bus. In their Memorandum, the defendants content [sic] that if the driver had seen the L-3G0 pronouncement:
UV meters away in front of him running along the shoulder and negotiating back to its lane,
the bus driver would have watched out and slackened his speed. Considering the damage to chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
both the vehicles and the fact that the L-300,UV span [sic] and w,as thrown 40 feet away The present case involving an action for damages based on quasi-delict is governed by Articles
from the point of impact and its driver was thrown 14 feet away from his vehicle, defendant 2176 and 2180 of the New Civil Code, pertinent provisions of which read:
argued that the bus could not be running at 60 kilometers only. But assuming the bus indeed
was running at high speed that alone does not mean that the negligence of the driver was chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
the direct and proximate cause, If it is true that the L-300 UV ran from the right shoulder, 'ART. 2176, Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or
climbed up to the right lane but overshoot [sic] it and occupied the bus' lane, the speed of negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-
the bus cannot be considered the proximate and direct cause of the collision; But as stated existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by
earlier, this were [sic] merely conjectures and surmises of the defendants and not proven by the provisions of this Chapter.
ART. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts An employer who loans his motor vehicle to an employee for the latter's personal use
or omission also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. outside of regular working hours is generally not liable for the employees negligent operation
of the vehicle during the period of permissive use, even where the employer contemplates
xxx xxx xxx that a regularly assigned motor vehicle will be used by the employee for personal as well as
business purposes and there is some incidental benefit to the employer. Even where the
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers employee's personal purpose in using the vehicle has been accomplished and he has started
acting within the scope of their assigned tasks even though the former are not engaged in any the return trip to his house where the vehicle is normally kept, it has been held that he has
business or industry.' not resumed his employment, and the employer is not liable for the employees negligent
operation of the vehicle during the return trip.
Under Article 2180 of the New Civil Code, employers shall be held primarily and solidarily
liable for damages caused by their employees acting within the scope of their assigned tasks.
The foregoing principles and jurisprudence are applicable in our jurisdiction albeit based on
To hold the employer liable under this provision, it must be shown that an employer-
the doctrine of respondent superior, not on the principle of bonus pater familias as in ours.
employee relationship exists, and that the employee was acting within the scope of his
Whether the fault or negligence of the employee is conclusive on his employer as in
assigned task when the act complained of was committed.
American law or jurisprudence, or merely gives rise to the presumption juris tantum of
negligence on the part of the employer as in ours, it is indispensable that the employee was
Records bear that the vehicular collision occurred on February 25, 2003 which was declared
acting in his employer's business or within the scope of his assigned task.
by former Executive Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, by order of former President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo, as a special national holiday, per Proclamation No. 331 dated February
In the case at bar, it is undisputed that ABAD did some overtime work at Hie petitioner's
19, 2003. Renante Bicomong had no work on that day and at the time the accident occurred,
office, which was located in Cabangcalan, Mandaue City. Thereafter, he went to Goldie's
he was on his way home to Candelaria, Quezon. There was no showing that on that day,
Restaurant in Fuente Osmefia, Cebu City, which is about seven kilometers away from
Renante Bicomong was given by defendants-appellees14 an assigned task, much less
petitioner's place of business. A witness for the private respondents, a sidewalk vendor,
instructed to go to Quezon. As testified to by Renante Bicomong's widow Gloria Bicomong,
testified that Fuente Osmeña is a lively place even at dawn because Goldie's Restaurant and
Renante Bicomong was on the road that day because he was going home to Candelaria,
Back Street were still open and people were drinking thereat Moreover, prostitutes, pimps,
Quezon. Thus, he was then carrying out a personal purpose and not performing work for
and drug addicts littered the place.
defendants-appellees.
xxx xxx xxx
Apropos is Castilex Industrial Corp. vs. Vicente Vasquez, Jr.,15 wherein the Supreme Court
held that the mere fact that an employee was using a service vehicle at the time of the
To the mind of this Court, ABAD was engaged in affairs of his own or was carrying out a
injurious incident is not of itself sufficient to charge his employer with liability for the
personal purpose not in line with his duties at the time he figured in a vehicular accident. It
operation of said vehicle unless it appeared that he was operating the vehicle within the
was then about 2:00 a.m. of 28 August 1988, way beyond the normal working hours. ABAD's
course or scope of bis employment. Thus:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
working day had ended; his overtime work had already been completed. His being at a place
xxxx
which, as petitioner put it, was known as a haven for prostitutes, pimps, and drug pushers and
addicts, had no connection to petitioner's business; neither had it any relation to his duties as
'The court a quo and the Court of Appeals were one in holding that the driving by a
a manager. Rather, using his service vehicle even for personal purposes was a form of a fringe
messenger of a company-issued vehicle is within the scope of his assigned tasks regardless of
benefit or one of the perks attached to his position.
the time and circumstances.
Since there is paucity of evidence that ABAD was acting within the scope of the functions
We do not agree. The mere fact that ABAD was using a service vehicle at the time of the
entrusted to him, petitioner CASTILEX had no duty to show that it exercised the diligence of a
injurious incident is not of itself sufficient to charge petitioner with liability for the negligent
good father of a family in providing ABAD with a service vehicle. Thus, justice and equity
operation of said vehicle unless it appears mat he was operating the vehicle within the
require that petitioner be relieved of vicarious liability for the consequences of the negligence
course or scope of his employment.
of ABAD in driving its vehicle.
The following are principles in American Jurisprudence on the employer's liability for the Accordingly, in the absence of showing that Renante Bicomong was acting within the scope of
injuries inflicted by the negligence of an employee in the use of an employer's motor vehicle. his assigned task at the time of the vehicular collision, defendants-appellees had no duty to
show that they exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in providing Renante
xxxx Bicomong with a service vehicle. Thus, the trial court did not err in holding that:

III. Use of Employer's Vehicle Outside Regular Working Hours chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary


'Under Article 2180, 'employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees RESOLUTION THAT RESPONDENTS ARE NOT LIABLE TO PETITIONERS FOR THE DAMAGES THEY
and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the SUSTAINED CONSIDERING THAT THE ACCIDENT WAS ATTRIBUTED TO THE NEGLIGENCE OF
former are not engaged in any business or industry. 'In other words, for the employer to be RENANTE BICOMONG.
liable for the damages caused by his employee, the latter must have caused the damage in
the course of doing his assigned tasks or. in the performance of his duties.' (Yambao vs. II.
Zuñiga, G.R. No. 146173, December 11, 2003.)
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ADMITTING DEFENSES NOT PLEADED IN THE
In this case, it is.beyond cavil that the deceased Renante Bicong [sic] was not in the MOTION TO DISMISS OR IN RESPONDENTS' ANSWER.18chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
performance of his duty on that fateful day of February 25, 2003. In the first place that day
was a holiday; there was no work and it was not shown that he was working as indeed his
Petitioners' Arguments
work assignment [was as] operations manager of the company's plant in Cavite while the
accident happened while he was in Alaminos, Laguna on his way home to Candelaria,
Petitioners insist that respondents should be held liable for Bicomong's negligence under
Quezon. Secondly, as an operations manager, he was issued an executive car for his own use,
Articles 2176, 2180, and 2185 of the Civil Code;19 that Bicomong's negligence was the direct
a Toyota Corolla vehicle and. he merely preferred to use the L-300 UV when going home to
and proximate eause of the accident, in that he unduly occupied the opposite lane which the
his family in Quezon. Even assuming that the company allowed or tolerated this, by itself, the
bus was lawfully traversing, thus resulting in the collision with Greenstar's bus; that
tolerance did not make the employer liable in the absence of showing that he was using the
Bicomong's driving on the opposite lane constituted a traffic violation, therefore giving rise
vehicle in the performance of a duty or within the scope of his assigned tasks. But as clearly
to the presumption of negligence on his part; that in view of this presumption, it became
relayed by defendant's witnesses, defendants have no business or plant in Quezon. The L-300
incumbent upon respondents to rebut the same by proving that they exercised care and
vehicle was for the hauling of items between their Pasig and Cavite offices and was merely
diligence in the selection and supervision of their employees; that in their respective answers
borrowed by Bicomong in going to Candelaria, Quezon on that day.
and motion to dismiss, respondents did not allege the defense, which they tackled only
during trial, that since February 25, 2003 was a declared national holiday, then Bicomong was
The accident having occurred outside Renante Bicomong's assigned tasks, defendant
not acting within the scope of his assigned tasks at the time of the collision; that for failure to
employers cannot be held liable to the plaintiffs, even assuming that it is the fault of
plead this defense or allegation in their respective answers and pleadings, it is deemed
defendants' employee that was the direct and proximate cause of their damages.'
waived pursuant to Section 1, Rule 9 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure20 (1997 Rules); that
In sum, squarely applicable in this case is the well-entrenched doctrine that the assessment just the same, respondents failed to prove that Bicomong was not in the official performance
of the trial judge as to the issue of credibility binds the appellate court because he is in a of his duties or that the URC van was not officially issued to him at the time of the accident -
better position to decide the issue, having heard the witnesses and observed their and for this reason, the presumption of negligence was not overturned; and that URC should
deportment and manner of testifying during the trial, except when the trial court has plainly be held liable as the registered owner of the van.
overlooked certain facts of substance and value, that, if considered, might affect the result of
the case, or where the assessment is clearly shown to be arbitrary. Plaintiffs-appellants have In their Reply,21 petitioners add that while some of the issues raised in the Petition are
not shown this case to fall under the exception. factual in nature, this Court must review the case as the CA gravely erred in its appreciation
of the evidence and in concluding that respondents are not liable. Finally, they argue that
WHEREFORE, the trial court's Decision dated April 4, 2011 is affirmed. URC should be held liable for allowing "a non-employee to use for his personal use the
vehicle owned" by it.
SO ORDERED.16chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Respondents' Arguments
Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which the CA denied in its subsequent
December 28, 2012 Resolution. Hence, the present Petition. Pleading affirmance, respondents argue in their Comment22 that the issues raised in the
Petition are factual in nature; that the collision occurred on a holiday and while Bicomong
was. using the URC van for a purely personal purpose, it should be. sufficient to absolve
Issues
respondents of liability as evidently, Bicomong was not performing his official duties on that
day; that the totality of the evidence indicates that it was Sayson who was negligent in the
In a July 14, 2014 Resolution,17 this Court resolved to give due course to the Petition, which
operation of Greenstar's bus when the collision occurred; that Bicomong was not negligent in
contains the following assignment of errors:
driving the URC van; that petitioners' objection - pertaining to their defense that the collision
occurred on a holiday, when Bicomong was not considered to be at work - was belatedly
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
raised; and that in any case, under Section 5, Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules,23 their pleadings
I.
should be deemed amended to conform to the evidence presented at the trial, which
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ISSUING THE ASSAILED DECISION AND
includes proof that the accident occurred on a holiday and while Bicomong was not in the
performance of his official tasks and instead going home to his family in Quezon province. Mendoza v. Spouses Gomez29 reiterated this doctrine.

Our Ruling However, Aguilar, Sr., Del Carmen, Filcar, and Mendoza should not be taken to mean that
Article 2180 of the Civil Code should be completely discarded in cases where the registered-
The Court denies the Petition. owner rule finds application.

In Caravan Travel and Tours International, Inc. v. Abejar,24 the Court made the following As acknowledged in Filcar, there is no categorical statutory pronouncement in the Land
relevant pronouncement: Transportation and Traffic Code stipulating the liability of a registered owner. The source of a
registered owner's liability is not a distinct statutory provision, but remains to be Articles
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code:
The resolution of this case must consider two (2) rules. First, Article 2180's specification
that '[e]mployers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees ... acting chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
within the scope of their assigned tasks [.]' Second, the operation of the registered-owner While Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code does not contain any
rule that registered owners are liable for death or injuries caused by the operation of their provision on the liability of registered owners in case of motor vehicle mishaps, Article 2176,
Vehicles. in relation with Article 2180, of the Civil Code imposes an obligation upon Filcar, as registered
owner, to answer for the damages caused to Espinas' car.
These rules appear to be in conflict when it comes to cases in which the employer is also the Thus, it is imperative to apply the registered-owner rule in a manner that harmonizes it with
registered owner of a vehicle. Article 2180 requires proof of two things: first, an employment Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code. Rules must be construed in a manner that will
relationship between the driver and the owner; and second, that the driver acted within the harmonize them with other rules so as to form a uniform and consistent system of
scope of his or her assigned tasks. On the other hand, applying the registered-owner rule jurisprudence. In light of this, the words used in Del Carmen are particularly notable. There,
only requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant-employer is the registered owner of this court stated that Article 2180 'should defer to' the registered-owner rule. It never stated
the vehicle. that Article 2180 should be totally abandoned.

The registered-owner rule was articulated as early as 1957 in Erezo, et al. v. Jepte,25cralawred Therefore, the appropriate approach is that in cases where both the registered-owner rule
where this court explained that the registration of motor vehicles, as required by Section 5(a) and Article 2180 apply, the plaintiff must first establish that the employer is the registered
of Republic Act No. 41365 the and Transportation and Traffic Code, was necessary 'not to owner of the vehicle in question. Once the plaintiff successfully proves ownership, there
make said registration the operative act by which ownership in vehicles is transferred, ... but arises a disputable presumption that the requirements of Article 2180 have been proven.
to permit the use and operation of the vehicle upon any public highway[.]' Its 'main aim ... is As a consequence, the burden of proof shifts to the defendant to show that no liability
to identify the owner so that if any accident happens, or that any damage or injury is caused under Article 2180 has arisen.
by the vehicle on the public highways, responsibility therefor can be fixed on a definite
individual, the registered owner.' This disputable presumption, insofar as the registered owner of the vehicle in relation to the
actual driver is concerned, recognizes that between the owner and the victim, it is the former
xxxx that should carry the costs of moving forward with the evidence. The victim is, in many cases,
a hapless pedestrian or motorist with hardly any means to uncover the employment
Aguilar, Sr. v. Commercial Savings Bank26 recognized the seeming conflict between Article relationship of the owner and the driver, or any act that the owner may have done in relation
2180 and the registered-owner rule and applied the latter. to that employment.
xxxx The registration of the vehicle, on the other hand, is accessible to the public.

Preference for the registered-owner rule became more pronounced in Del Carmen, Jr. v. Here, respondent presented a copy of the Certificate of Registration of the van that hit
Bacoy:27chanrobleslaw Reyes. The Certificate attests to petitioner's ownership of the van. Petitioner itself did not
dispute its ownership of the van. Consistent with the rule we have just stated, a presumption
xxxx that the requirements of Article 2180 have been satisfied arises. It is now up to petitioner to
establish that it incurred no liability under Article 2180. This it can do by presenting proof of
Filcar Transport Services v. Espinas28 stated that the registered owner of a vehicle can no any of the following: first, that it had no employment relationship with Bautista; second,
longer use the defenses found in Article 2180: that Bautista acted outside the scope of his assigned tasks; or third, that it exercised the

chanRoblesvirtualLawlibraryx x x x
diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of Bautista. (Emphasis issues alleged but also on the basis of issues discussed and the assertions of fact proved in the
supplied) course of trial. The court may treat the pleading as if it had been amended to conform to the
evidence, although it had not been actually so amended, x x x30
In the present case, it has been established that on the day of the collision -or on February
25, 2003 - URC was the registered owner of the URC van, although it appears that it was Respondents succeeded in overcoming the presumption of negligence, having shown that
designated for use by NURC, as it was officially assigned to the latter's Logistics Manager, when the collision took place, Bicomong was not in the performance of his work; that he was
Florante Soro-Soro (Soro-Soro); that Bicomong was the Operations Manager of NURC and in possession of a service vehicle that did not belong to his employer NURC, but to URC, and
assigned to the First Cavite Industrial Estate; that there was no work as the day was declared which vehicle was not officially assigned to him, but to another employee; that his use of the
a national holiday; that Bicomong was on his way home to his family in Quezon province; URC van was unauthorized - even if he had used the same vehicle in furtherance of a personal
that the URC van was not assigned to Bicompng as well, but solely for Soro-Soro's official use; undertaking in the past,31 this does not amount to implied permission; that the accident
that the company service vehicle officially assigned to Bicomong was a Toyota Corolla, which occurred on a holiday and while Bicomong was on his way home to his family in Quezon
he left at the Cavite plant and instead, he used the URC van; and that other than the Cavite province; and that Bicomong had no official business whatsoever in his hometown in Quezon,
plant, there is no other NURC plant in the provinces of Quezon, Laguna or Bicol. or in Laguna where the collision occurred, his area of operations being limited to the Cavite
area.
Applying the above pronouncement in the Caravan Travel and Tours case, it must be said
that when by evidence the ownership of the van and Bicomong's employment were proved, On the other hand, the evidence suggests that the collision could have been avoided if Sayson
the presumption of negligence on respondents' part attached, as the registered owner of the exercised care and prudence, given the circumstances and information that he had
van. and as Bicomong's employer. Hie burden of proof then shifted to respondents to show immediately prior to the accident. From the trial court's findings and evidence on record, it
that no liability under Article 2180 arose. This may be done by proof of any of the following: would appear that immediately prior to the collision, which took place very early in the
morning - or at around 6:50 a.m., Sayson saw that the URC van was traveling fast Quezon-
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary bound on the shoulder of the opposite lane about 250 meters away from him; that at this
1. That they had no employment relationship with Bicomong; or point, Sayson was driving the Greenstar bus Manila-bound at 60 kilometers per hour; that
Sayson knew that the URC van was traveling fast as it was creating dust clouds from traversing
2. That Bicomong acted outside the scope of his assigned tasks; or the shoulder of the opposite lane; that Sayson saw the URC van get back into its proper lane
but directly toward him; that despite being apprised of the foregoing information, Sayson,
3. That they exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and instead of slowing down, maintained his speed and tried to swerve the Greenstar bus, but
supervision of Bicomong. found it difficult to do so at his speed; that the collision or point of impact occurred right in the
middle of the road;32 and that Sayson absconded from the scene immediately after the
collision.
In denying liability, respondents claimed in their respective answers the defense of absence
of negligence on their part. During trial, they presented evidence to the effect that on the
From the foregoing facts, one might think that from the way he was driving immediately before
day of the collision, which was a declared national non-working holiday, Bicomong was not
the collision took place, Bicomong could have fallen asleep or ill at the wheel, which led him
perforating Ms work, but was on his way home to Quezon on a personal undertaking, that is,
to gradually steer the URC van toward the shoulder of the highway; and to get back to the road
to give money to his daughter and spend the holiday with his family; and that the vehicle he
after realizing his mistake, Bicomong must have overreacted, thus overcompensating or
was driving was not an NURC vehicle, nor was it assigned to him, but was registered to URC
oversteering to the left, or toward the opposite lane and right into Sayson's bus. Given the
and assigned to its Logistics Manager, Soro-Soro, Petitioners object to this, claiming that this
premise of dozing off or falling ill, this explanation is not far-fetched. The collision occurred
defense was not alleged in the respondents' respective answers. The Court disagrees, The
very early in the morning in Alaminos, Laguna. Sayson himself testified that he found Bicomong
failure to allege these facts in the answers does not preclude, respondents from proving
driving on the service road or shoulder of the highway 250 meters away, which must have
them during trial; these facts are precisely illustrative of their defense of absence of
been unpaved, as it caused dust clouds to rise on the heels of the URC van. And these dust
negligence. Just the same, petitioners' failure to object to the respondents' presentation of
clouds stole Sayson's attention, leading him to conclude that the van was running at high
such evidence below is tantamount to a waiver; Section 5, Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules - on
speed. At any rate, the evidence places the point of impact very near the middle of the road
amendments to conform to or authorize presentation of evidence - will have to apply, but
or just within Sayson's lane. In other words, the collision took place with Bicomong barely
the failure to amend the pleadings does not affect the result of the trial of these issues.
encroaching on Sayson's lane. This means that prior to and at the time of collision, Sayson did
not take any defensive maneuver to prevent the accident and minimize the impending damage
The failure of a party to amend a pleading to conform to the evidence adduced during trial
to life and property, which resulted in the collision in the middle of the highway, where a
does not preclude an adjudication by the court on the basis of such evidence which may
vehicle would normally be traversing. If Sayson took defensive measures, the point of impact
embody new issues not raised in the pleadings, or serve as a basis for a higher award of
should have occurred further inside his lane or not at the front of the bus - but at its side, which
damages. Although the pleading may not have been amended to conform to the evidence
should have shown that Sayson either slowed down or swerved to the right to avoid a collision.
submitted during trial, judgment may nonetheless be rendered, not simply on the basis of the
the supervening negligence of the latter, who had the last fair chance to prevent the impending
Despite having seen Bicomong drive the URC van in a precarious manner while the same was harm by the exercise of due diligence, x x x34
still a good 250 meters away from his bus, Sayson did not take the necessary precautions, as
by reducing speed and adopting a defensive stance to avert any untoward incident that may
Petitioners might object to the treatment of their case in the foregoing manner, what with the
occur from Bicomong's manner of driving. This is precisely his testimony during trial. When the
additional finding that Sayson was negligent under the circumstances. But their
van began to swerve toward his bus, he did not reduce speed nor swerve his bus to avoid
Petition, "once accepted by this Court, throws the entire case open to review, and xxx this
collision. Instead, he maintained his current speed and course, and for this reason., the
Court has the authority to review matters not specifically raised or assigned as error by the
inevitable took place: An experienced driver who is. presented with the same facts would have
parties, if their consideration is necessary in arriving at a just resolution of the
adopted an attitude consistent with a desire to preserve life and property; for common
case."35chanrobleslaw
carriers, the diligence demanded is of the highest degree.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The September 26, 2012 Decision and December 28,
The law exacts from common carriers (i.e., those persons, corporations, firms, or associations 2012 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 96961 are AFFIRMED in toto.
engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both, by land,
water, or air, for compensation, offering their services to the public) the highest degree of SO ORDERED.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
diligence (i.e., extraordinary diligence) in ensuring the safety of its passengers. Articles 1733
and 1755 of the Civil Code state:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Art. 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for reasons of public policy,
are bound to observe extraordinary, diligence in the vigilance over the goods and for the safety
of the passengers transported by them, according to all the circumstances of each case.

Art. 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care arid
foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due regard
for all the circumstances.
In this relation, Article 1756 of the Civil Code provides that '[i]n case of death of or injuries to
passengers, common carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently,
unless they prove that they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed in Articles 1733 and
1755. xxx'33chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

However, Sayson took no defensive maneuver whatsoever in spite of the fact that he saw
Bicomong drive his van in a precarious manner, as far as 250 meters away - or at a point in
time and space where Sayson had all the opportunity to prepare and avert a possible collision.
The collision was certainly foreseen and avoidable but Sayson took no measures to avoid it.
Rather than exhibit concern for the welfare of his passengers and the driver of the oncoming
vehicle, who might have fallen asleep or suddenly fallen ill at the wheel, Sayson coldly and
uncaringly stood his ground^ closed his eyes, and left everything to fate, without due regard
for the consequences. Such a suicidal mindset cannot be tolerated, for the grave danger it
poses to the public and passengers availing of petitioners' services. To add insult to injury,
Sayson hastily fled the scene of the collision instead of rendering assistance to the victims -
thus exhibiting a selfish, cold-blooded attitude and utter lack of concern motivated by the self-
centered desire to escape liability, inconvenience, and possible detention by the authorities,
rather than secure the well-being of the victims of his own negligent act.

x x x The doctrine of last clear chance provides that where both parties are negligent but the
negligent act of one is appreciably later in point of time than that of the other, or where it is
impossible to determine whose fault or negligence brought about the occurrence of the
incident, the one who had the last clear opportunity to avoid the impending harm but failed
to do so, is chargeable with the consequences arising therefrom. Stated differently, the rule is
that the antecedent negligence of a person does not preclude recovery of damages caused by
January 13, 2016 1. Purchase price plus 6% per annum from March 3, 1997 up to and P
until fully paid ------------ 18,000.00
G.R. No. 206147
2. Actual Damages ----------------------------------- 40,000.00
MICHAEL C. GUY, Petitioner,
vs. 3. Moral Damages ----------------------------------- 75,000.00
ATTY. GLENN C. GACOTT, Respondent.
4. Corrective Damages ------------------------------- 100,000.00
DECISION
5. Attorney’s Fees ------------------------------------ 60,000.00
MENDOZA, J.:
6. Costs.
Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court filed
by petitioner Michael C. Guy (Guy), assailing the June 25, 2012 Decision1 and the March 5, SO ORDERED.
2013 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 94816, which affirmed the
June 28, 20093 and February 19, 20104 Orders of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 52, Puerto The decision became final as QSC and Medestomas did not interpose an appeal. Gacott then
Princesa City, Palawan (RTC), in Civil Case No. 3108, a case for damages. The assailed RTC secured a Writ of Execution,8 dated September 26, 2007.
orders denied Guy's Motion to Lift Attachment Upon Personalty5 on the ground that he was
not a judgment debtor. During the execution stage, Gacott learned that QSC was not a corporation, but was in fact a
general partnership registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the
The Facts articles of partnership,9 Guy was appointed as General Manager of QSC.

It appears from the records that on March 3, 1997, Atty. Glenn Gacott (Gacott) from Palawan To execute the judgment, Branch Sheriff Ronnie L. Felizarte (Sheriff Felizarte) went to the main
purchased two (2) brand new transreceivers from Quantech Systems Corporation (QSC) in office of the Department of Transportation and Communications, Land Transportation Office
Manila through its employee Rey Medestomas (Medestomas), amounting to a total of (DOTC-LTO), Quezon City, and verified whether Medestomas, QSC and Guy had personal
P18,000.00. On May 10, 1997, due to major defects, Gacott personally returned the properties registered therein.10 Upon learning that Guy had vehicles registered in his name,
transreceivers to QSC and requested that they be replaced. Medestomas received the Gacott instructed the sheriff to proceed with the attachment of one of the motor vehicles of
returned transreceivers and promised to send him the replacement units within two (2) weeks Guy based on the certification issued by the DOTC-LTO.11
from May 10, 1997.
On March 3, 2009, Sheriff Felizarte attached Guy’s vehicle by virtue of the Notice of
Time passed and Gacott did not receive the replacement units as promised. QSC informed him Attachment/Levy upon Personalty12 served upon the record custodian of the DOTC-LTO of
that there were no available units and that it could not refund the purchased price. Despite Mandaluyong City. A similar notice was served to Guy through his housemaid at his residence.
several demands, both oral and written, Gacott was never given a replacement or a refund.
The demands caused Gacott to incur expenses in the total amount of P40,936.44. Thus, Gacott
Thereafter, Guy filed his Motion to Lift Attachment Upon Personalty, arguing that he was not
filed a complaint for damages. Summons was served upon QSC and Medestomas, afterwhich
a judgment debtor and, therefore, his vehicle could not be attached.13 Gacott filed an
they filed their Answer, verified by Medestomas himself and a certain Elton Ong (Ong). QSC
opposition to the motion.
and Medestomas did not present any evidence during the trial.6

The RTC Order


In a Decision,7 dated March 16, 2007, the RTC found that the two (2) transreceivers were
defective and that QSC and Medestomas failed to replace the same or return Gacott's money.
The dispositive portion of the decision reads: On June 28, 2009, the RTC issued an order denying Guy’s motion. It explained that considering
QSC was not a corporation, but a registered partnership, Guy should be treated as a general
partner pursuant to Section 21 of the Corporation Code, and he may be held jointly and
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff, ordering the defendants to
severally liable with QSC and Medestomas. The trial court wrote:
jointly and severally pay plaintiff the following:
All persons who assume to act as a corporation knowing it to be without authority to do so The CA stressed that Guy, being a partner in QSC, was bound by the summons served upon
shall be liable as general partners for all debts, liabilities and damages incurred or arising as a QSC based on Article 1821 of the Civil Code. The CA further opined that the law did not require
result thereof x x x. Where, by any wrongful act or omission of any partner acting in the a partner to be actually involved in a suit in order for him to be made liable. He remained
ordinary course of the business of the partnership x x x, loss or injury is caused to any person, “solidarily liable whether he participated or not, whether he ratified it or not, or whether he
not being a partner in the partnership, or any penalty is incurred, the partnership is liable had knowledge of the act or omission.”19
therefore to the same extent as the partner so acting or omitting to act. All partners are liable
solidarily with the partnership for everything chargeable to the partnership under Article 1822 Aggrieved, Guy filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied by the CA in its assailed
and 1823.14 resolution, dated March 5, 2013.

Accordingly, it disposed: Hence, the present petition raising the following

WHEREFORE, with the ample discussion of the matter, this Court finds and so holds that the ISSUE
property of movant Michael Guy may be validly attached in satisfaction of the liabilities
adjudged by this Court against Quantech Co., the latter being an ostensible Corporation and
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN HOLDING THAT
the movant being considered by this Court as a general partner therein in accordance with the
PETITIONER GUY IS SOLIDARILY LIABLE WITH THE PARTNERSHIP FOR DAMAGES ARISING
order of this court impressed in its decision to this case imposing joint and several liability to
FROM THE BREACH OF THE CONTRACT OF SALE WITH RESPONDENT GACOTT.20
the defendants. The Motion to Lift Attachment Upon Personalty submitted by the movant is
therefore DENIED for lack of merit.
Guy argues that he is not solidarily liable with the partnership because the solidary liability of
the partners under Articles 1822, 1823 and 1824 of the Civil Code only applies when it
SO ORDERED.15
stemmed from the act of a partner. In this case, the alleged lapses were not attributable to
any of the partners. Guy further invokes Article 1816 of the Civil Code which states that the
Not satisfied, Guy moved for reconsideration of the denial of his motion. He argued that he liability of the partners to the partnership is merely joint and subsidiary in nature.
was neither impleaded as a defendant nor validly served with summons and, thus, the trial
court did not acquire jurisdiction over his person; that under Article 1824 of the Civil Code, the
In his Comment,21 Gacott countered, among others, that because Guy was a general and
partners were only solidarily liable for the partnership liability under exceptional
managing partner of QSC, he could not feign ignorance of the transactions undertaken by QSC.
circumstances; and that in order for a partner to be liable for the debts of the partnership, it
Gacott insisted that notice to one partner must be considered as notice to the whole
must be shown that all partnership assets had first been exhausted.16
partnership, which included the pendency of the civil suit against it.

On February 19, 2010, the RTC issued an order17denying his motion.


In his Reply,22 Guy contended that jurisdiction over the person of the partnership was not
acquired because the summons was never served upon it or through any of its authorized
The denial prompted Guy to seek relief before the CA. office. He also reiterated that a partner’s liability was joint and subsidiary, and not solidary.

The CA Ruling The Court’s Ruling

On June 25, 2012, the CA rendered the assailed decision dismissing Guy’s appeal for the same The petition is meritorious.
reasons given by the trial court. In addition thereto, the appellate court stated:
The service of summons was flawed; voluntary appearance cured the defect
We hold that Michael Guy, being listed as a general partner of QSC during that time, cannot
feign ignorance of the existence of the court summons. The verified Answer filed by one of the
Jurisdiction over the person, or jurisdiction in personam – the power of the court to render a
partners, Elton Ong, binds him as a partner because the Rules of Court does not require that
personal judgment or to subject the parties in a particular action to the judgment and other
summons be served on all the partners. It is sufficient that service be made on the "president,
rulings rendered in the action – is an element of due process that is essential in all actions, civil
managing partner, general manager, corporate secretary, treasurer or in-house counsel." To
as well as criminal, except in actions in rem or quasi in rem.23 Jurisdiction over the person of
Our mind, it is immaterial whether the summons to QSC was served on the theory that it was
the plaintiff is acquired by the mere filing of the complaint in court. As the initiating party, the
a corporation. What is important is that the summons was served on QSC’s authorized officer
plaintiff in a civil action voluntarily submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court. As to the
xxx.18
defendant, the court acquires jurisdiction over his person either by the proper service of the
summons, or by his voluntary appearance in the action.24
Under Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, when the defendant is judgment could not be extended to non-parties by simply issuing an alias writ of execution
a corporation, partnership or association organized under the laws of the Philippines with a against them, for no man should be prejudiced by any proceeding to which he was a stranger.
juridical personality, the service of summons may be made on the president, managing
partner, general manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house counsel. Jurisprudence In Aguila v. Court of Appeals,33 the complainant had a cause of action against the partnership.
is replete with pronouncements that such provision provides an exclusive enumeration of the Nevertheless, it was the partners themselves that were impleaded in the complaint. The Court
persons authorized to receive summons for juridical entities.25 dismissed the complaint and held that it was the partnership, not its partners, officers or
agents, which should be impleaded for a cause of action against the partnership itself. The
The records of this case reveal that QSC was never shown to have been served with the Court added that the partners could not be held liable for the obligations of the partnership
summons through any of the enumerated authorized persons to receive such, namely: unless it was shown that the legal fiction of a different juridical personality was being used for
president, managing partner, general manager, corporate secretary, treasurer or in-house fraudulent, unfair, or illegal purposes.34
counsel. Service of summons upon persons other than those officers enumerated in Section
11 is invalid. Even substantial compliance is not sufficient service of summons.26 The CA was Here, Guy was never made a party to the case. He did not have any participation in the entire
obviously mistaken when it opined that it was immaterial whether the summons to QSC was proceeding until his vehicle was levied upon and he suddenly became QSC’s “co-defendant
served on the theory that it was a corporation.27 debtor” during the judgment execution stage. It is a basic principle of law that money
judgments are enforceable only against the property incontrovertibly belonging to the
Nevertheless, while proper service of summons is necessary to vest the court jurisdiction over judgment debtor.35 Indeed, the power of the court in executing judgments extends only to
the defendant, the same is merely procedural in nature and the lack of or defect in the service properties unquestionably belonging to the judgment debtor alone. An execution can be
of summons may be cured by the defendant’s subsequent voluntary submission to the court’s issued only against a party and not against one who did not have his day in court. The duty of
jurisdiction through his filing a responsive pleading such as an answer. In this case, it is not the sheriff is to levy the property of the judgment debtor not that of a third person. For, as the
disputed that QSC filed its Answer despite the defective summons. Thus, jurisdiction over its saying goes, one man's goods shall not be sold for another man's debts.36
person was acquired through voluntary appearance.
In the spirit of fair play, it is a better rule that a partner must first be impleaded before he could
A partner must be separately and distinctly impleaded before he can be bound by a judgment be prejudiced by the judgment against the partnership. As will be discussed later, a partner
may raise several defenses during the trial to avoid or mitigate his obligation to the partnership
The next question posed is whether the trial court’s jurisdiction over QSC extended to the liability. Necessarily, before he could present evidence during the trial, he must first be
person of Guy insofar as holding him solidarily liable with the partnership. After a thorough impleaded and informed of the case against him. It would be the height of injustice to rob an
study of the relevant laws and jurisprudence, the Court answers in the negative. innocent partner of his hard-earned personal belongings without giving him an opportunity to
be heard. Without any showing that Guy himself acted maliciously on behalf of the company,
causing damage or injury to the complainant, then he and his personal properties cannot be
Although a partnership is based on delectus personae or mutual agency, whereby any partner
made directly and solely accountable for the liability of QSC, the judgment debtor, because he
can generally represent the partnership in its business affairs, it is non sequitur that a suit
was not a party to the case.
against the partnership is necessarily a suit impleading each and every partner. It must be
remembered that a partnership is a juridical entity that has a distinct and separate personality
from the persons composing it.28 Further, Article 1821 of the Civil Code does not state that there is no need to implead a
partner in order to be bound by the partnership liability. It provides that:
In relation to the rules of civil procedure, it is elementary that a judgment of a court is
conclusive and binding only upon the parties and their successors-in-interest after the Notice to any partner of any matter relating to partnership affairs, and the knowledge of the
commencement of the action in court.29 A decision rendered on a complaint in a civil action partner acting in the particular matter, acquired while a partner or then present to his mind,
or proceeding does not bind or prejudice a person not impleaded therein, for no person shall and the knowledge of any other partner who reasonably could and should have communicated
be adversely affected by the outcome of a civil action or proceeding in which he is not a it to the acting partner, operate as notice to or knowledge of the partnership, except in the
party.30 The principle that a person cannot be prejudiced by a ruling rendered in an action or case of fraud on the partnership, committed by or with the consent of that partner.
proceeding in which he has not been made a party conforms to the constitutional guarantee
of due process of law.31 [Emphases and Underscoring Supplied]

In Muñoz v. Yabut, Jr.,32 the Court declared that a person not impleaded and given the A careful reading of the provision shows that notice to any partner, under certain
opportunity to take part in the proceedings was not bound by the decision declaring as null circumstances, operates as notice to or knowledge to the partnership only. Evidently, it does
and void the title from which his title to the property had been derived. The effect of a not provide for the reverse situation, or that notice to the partnership is notice to the partners.
Unless there is an unequivocal law which states that a partner is automatically charged in a
complaint against the partnership, the constitutional right to due process takes precedence Second, Article 1816 provides that the partners’ obligation to third persons with respect to the
and a partner must first be impleaded before he can be considered as a judgment debtor. To partnership liability is pro rata or joint.1âwphi1 Liability is joint when a debtor is liable only for
rule otherwise would be a dangerous precedent, harping in favor of the deprivation of the payment of only a proportionate part of the debt. In contrast, a solidary liability makes a
property without ample notice and hearing, which the Court certainly cannot countenance. debtor liable for the payment of the entire debt. In the same vein, Article 1207 does not
presume solidary liability unless: 1) the obligation expressly so states; or 2) the law or nature
Partners’ liability is subsidiary and generally joint; immediate levy upon the property of a requires solidarity. With regard to partnerships, ordinarily, the liability of the partners is not
partner cannot be made solidary.39 The joint liability of the partners is a defense that can be raised by a partner
impleaded in a complaint against the partnership.
Granting that Guy was properly impleaded in the complaint, the execution of judgment would
be improper. Article 1816 of the Civil Code governs the liability of the partners to third persons, In other words, only in exceptional circumstances shall the partners’ liability be solidary in
which states that: nature. Articles 1822, 1823 and 1824 of the Civil Code provide for these exceptional conditions,
to wit:
Article 1816. All partners, including industrial ones, shall be liable pro rata with all their
property and after all the partnership assets have been exhausted, for the contracts which Article 1822. Where, by any wrongful act or omission of any partner acting in the ordinary
may be entered into in the name and for the account of the partnership, under its signature course of the business of the partnership or with the authority of his co-partners, loss or injury
and by a person authorized to act for the partnership. However, any partner may enter into a is caused to any person, not being a partner in the partnership, or any penalty is incurred, the
separate obligation to perform a partnership contract. partnership is liable therefor to the same extent as the partner so acting or omitting to act.

[Emphasis Supplied] Article 1823. The partnership is bound to make good the loss:

This provision clearly states that, first, the partners’ obligation with respect to the partnership (1) Where one partner acting within the scope of his apparent authority receives
liabilities is subsidiary in nature. It provides that the partners shall only be liable with their money or property of a third person and misapplies it; and
property after all the partnership assets have been exhausted. To say that one’s liability is
subsidiary means that it merely becomes secondary and only arises if the one primarily liable (2) Where the partnership in the course of its business receives money or property
fails to sufficiently satisfy the obligation. Resort to the properties of a partner may be made of a third person and the money or property so received is misapplied by any partner
only after efforts in exhausting partnership assets have failed or that such partnership assets while it is in the custody of the partnership.
are insufficient to cover the entire obligation. The subsidiary nature of the partners’ liability
with the partnership is one of the valid defenses against a premature execution of judgment Article 1824. All partners are liable solidarily with the partnership for everything chargeable
directed to a partner. to the partnership under Articles 1822 and 1823.

In this case, had he been properly impleaded, Guy’s liability would only arise after the [Emphases Supplied]
properties of QSC would have been exhausted. The records, however, miserably failed to show
that the partnership’s properties were exhausted. The report37 of the sheriff showed that the
In essence, these provisions articulate that it is the act of a partner which caused loss or injury
latter went to the main office of the DOTC-LTO in Quezon City and verified whether
to a third person that makes all other partners solidarily liable with the partnership because of
Medestomas, QSC and Guy had personal properties registered therein. Gacott then instructed
the words "any wrongful act or omission of any partner acting in the ordinary course of the
the sheriff to proceed with the attachment of one of the motor vehicles of Guy.38 The sheriff
business," "one partner acting within the scope of his apparent authority" and "misapplied by
then served the Notice of Attachment/Levy upon Personalty to the record custodian of the
any partner while it is in the custody of the partnership." The obligation is solidary because the
DOTC-LTO of Mandaluyong City. A similar notice was served to Guy through his housemaid at
law protects the third person, who in good faith relied upon the authority of a partner, whether
his residence.
such authority is real or apparent.40

Clearly, no genuine efforts were made to locate the properties of QSC that could have been
In the case at bench, it was not shown that Guy or the other partners did a wrongful act or
attached to satisfy the judgment − contrary to the clear mandate of Article 1816. Being
misapplied the money or property he or the partnership received from Gacott. A third person
subsidiarily liable, Guy could only be held personally liable if properly impleaded and after all
who transacted with said partnership can hold the partners solidarily liable for the whole
partnership assets had been exhausted.
obligation if the case of the third person falls under Articles 1822 or 1823.41 Gacott’s claim
stemmed from the alleged defective transreceivers he bought from QSC, through the latter's
employee, Medestomas. It was for a breach of warranty in a contractual obligation entered
into in the name and for the account of QSC, not due to the acts of any of the partners. For
said reason, it is the general rule under Article 1816 that governs the joint liability of such
breach, and not the exceptions under Articles 1822 to 1824. Thus, it was improper to hold Guy
solidarily liable for the obligation of the partnership.

Finally, Section 21 of the Corporation Code,42 as invoked by the RTC, cannot be applied to
sustain Guy's liability. The said provision states that a general partner shall be liable for all
debts, liabilities and damages incurred by an ostensible corporation. It must be read, however,
in conjunction with Article 1816 of the Civil Code, which governs the liabilities of partners
against third persons. Accordingly, whether QSC was an alleged ostensible corporation or a
duly registered partnership, the liability of Guy, if any, would remain to be joint and subsidiary
because, as previously stated, all partners shall be liable pro rata with all their property and
after all the partnership assets have been exhausted for the contracts which may be entered
into in the name and for the account of the partnership.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The June 25, 2012 Decision and the March 5, 2013
Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 94816 are hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. Accordingly, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 52, Puerto Princesa City, is ORDERED TO
RELEASE Michael C. Guy's Suzuki Grand Vitara subject of the Notice of Levy/ Attachment upon
Personalty.

SO ORDERED.

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA


Associate Justice
SECOND DIVISION NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC

G.R. No. 158836, September 30, 2015 PURSUANT TO CITY ORDINANCE NO. 08-98 DATED: NOVEMBER 11, 1998 AND BARANGAY
RESOLUTION NO. 027-99 OF CUPANG BARANGAY COUNCIL, DATED SEPTEMBER 10, 1999,
CITY ROAD (PHASE I), THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS HEREBY NOTIFIED THAT THE CITY
SUNRISE GARDEN CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS AND FIRST ALLIANCE
GOVERNMENT OF ANTIPOLO IS GOING TO CONSTRUCT THE 20.00 METERS WIDE CITY ROAD,
REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT, INC., Respondents.
LINKING MARCOS HIGHWAY TO ANTIPOLO-SAN MATEO NATIONAL ROAD (C-6), ALL
PROPERTY OWNERS AFFECTED ARE ENJOINED TO SEE THE PLANNING OFFICER OF ANTIPOLO
G.R. No. 158967
CITY FOR DETAILS OF THE PROGRAM.6ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY ANTIPOLO CITY, Petitioner, v. COURT OF In 2002, Engr. Eligio Cruz, Project Coordinator, submitted a report7 to the City Mayor,8 a
APPEALS AND FIRST ALLIANCE REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT, INC., Respondents. portion of which states:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
3. Pilot Road had been determined and property owners had been appraised [sic] like M[r].
G.R. No. 160726 Armando Carpio who owns majority of the affected lots[,] Mr. Alonzo Espanola of Hard Rock,
Heavens Gate, Josefma Santos through Mr. Manuel Santos, Jr., Heirs of Crispulo Zapanta
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY ANTIPOLO CITY, Petitioner, v. FIRST through Vice Mayor Lorenzo Zapanta, Gaudencio Caluma, RCR Realty, Maxima Matias, Heirs
ALLIANCE REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT, INC., Respondents. of Gabriel Martinez through Sec. Martinez an[d] several actual occupants in the course
traversed by the Pilot Road[.]9ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
G.R. No. 160778 Sunrise Garden Corporation was an affected landowner. Its property was located in Barangay
Cupang, which Sunrise Garden Corporation planned to develop into a memorial park.10
SUNRISE GARDEN CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. FIRST ALLIANCE REAL ESTATE
DEVELOPMENT, INC., Respondent. Sunrise Garden Corporation, through Cesar T. Guy, Chair of the Board of Directors, executed
an Undertaking11 where Sunrise Garden Corporation would construct the city road at its own
DECISION expense, subject to reimbursement through tax credits.12 A portion of the Undertaking
states:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
LEONEN, J.: That I am the owner in fee simple of several parcels of land situated at Cupang, Antipolo,
Rizal with a consolidated area of 116 Hectares, more or less;cralawlawlibrary
A person who is not a party in the main action cannot be the subject of the ancillary writ of
....
preliminary injunction. These consolidated petitions arose out of a pending case between
Sunrise Garden Corporation and Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. First Alliance Real Estate
That I have applied for the development of the aforestated consolidated lots into a memorial
Development, Inc. was not a party to that case.
park known as "SUNRISE GARDEN["];cralawlawlibrary
In 1998, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Antipolo City passed City Ordinance No. 08-981
That setting aside of and/or providing a 6 hectares City Park is among the conditions set forth
entitled "An Ordinance Creating a Technical Committee to Conduct a Feasibility Study,
by the Antipolo, [sic] City council in the approval of the said project;cralawlawlibrary
Preliminary and Parcellary Survey for the Proposed Construction of a City Road Connecting
Four (4) Barangays in Antipolo City (Barangay Cupang, Mayamot, Mabugan and Munting
....
Dilao) Starting From the Boundary of Cupang and Rancho Estate Subdivision in Marikina City
Traversing Marcos Highway and Sumulong Highway Up to Barangay Munting Dilao, Antipolo
That I am willing to undertake and finance development of the City Park and City Road
City Exiting or Egressing to Imelda Avenue, Cainta, Rizal and Appropriating the Amount of
connecting Marcos Highway to Marikina - San Mateo - Antipolo National Highway which cost
Five Million (P5,000,000.00) Pesos Therefore."2
shall be applied to our [t]axes and other fees payable to the City
Government;cralawlawlibrary
In 1999, the Sangguniang Barangay of Cupang requested the Sangguniang Panlungsod of
Antipolo City to construct a city road to connect Barangay Cupang and Marcos Highway.3 The
That I am willing to sign and execute all legal instrument necessary to transfer ownership of
request was approved through the enactment of Resolusyon Big. 027-99.4
the same to the City government[.]13ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
The Technical Committee created by City Ordinance No. 08-98 posted notices to property The city road project, thus, became a joint project of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of
owners that would be affected by the construction of the city road.5 The notices Antipolo, Barangay Cupang, Barangay Mayamot, and Sunrise Garden Corporation.14
stated:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Sunrise Garden Corporation's contractor15 began to position its construction equipment.16 Development, Inc.,33 blocked Sunrise Garden Corporation's contractor's employees and
However, armed guards,17 allegedly hired by Hardrock Aggregates, Inc., prevented Sunrise prevented them from proceeding with the construction.34
Garden Corporation's contractor from using an access road to move the construction
equipment.18 First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc., through its representative Mr. Boy Pineda,
requested to have a dialogue with Sunrise Garden Corporation.35 It was agreed that the
On January 24, 2002, Sunrise Garden Corporation filed a Complaint19 for damages with meeting would be between the representatives of First Alliance Real Estate Development,
prayer for temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction against Hardrock Inc. and Sunrise Garden Corporation.36 A meeting was scheduled on October 8, 2002 to be
Aggregates, Inc.20 held at the Office of the City Planning.37 On the day of the meeting, First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc.'s representative, however, did not arrive.38
Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. filed its Answer to the Complaint.21
A verification with the Business Permit, License and Franchising Office of the City Mayor39
The trial court issued a temporary restraining order on February 15, 2002, "directing revealed that First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. had no business record, and K-9
Hardrock to cease and desist from preventing/blocking the contractor in moving its Security Agency had no permit to post guards.40
equipments to the site of the proposed city road."22
A Motion to cite K-9 Security Agency in contempt was filed on October 11, 200241 by Sunrise
Undaunted by the temporary restraining order, Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. continued to block Garden Corporation.42
the movement of the construction equipment.23
On November 11, 2002, K-9 Security Agency, joined by First Alliance Real Estate
On March 19, 2002, the trial court ordered the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction, Development, Inc. and represented by the same counsel,43 opposed the Motion to cite them
subject to the posting of a bond by Sunrise Garden Corporation.24 On March 22, 2002, the in contempt, raising the defense of lack of jurisdiction over their persons, since they were not
Writ of Preliminary Injunction was issued.25cralawred bound by the Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction.44 The Opposition45 stated
that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
While the Complaint was pending, informal settlers started to encroach on the area of the 1.3 The purpose of the Writ of Injunction is to preserve the relation between the parties
proposed city road.26 during the pendency of the suit. This cannot be applied to K-9 and the Security Guards who
are not parties in the case. Neither did they claim authority from the defendant, for which
Sunrise Garden Corporation, thus, filed a Motion and Manifestation on May 16, 2002,27 reason this Honorable Court did not acquire jurisdiction over them and could not validly
praying for the amendment of the Writ of Preliminary Injunction "to include any and all enforce the Amended Writ of Injunction against them . . . .
persons or group of persons from interfering, preventing or obstructing all of petitioner's
contractors, equipment personnel and representatives in proceeding with the construction ....
of the city road as authorized by Ordinance No. 08-98 of Antipolo City."28
1.5 Moreover, insofar as the K-9 and the Security Guards are concerned, the amended Writ
The trial court granted Sunrise Garden Corporation's Motion and Manifestation and issued of Injunction is void, for lack of notice to them, in accordance with Sec. 5, Rule 58, Rules of
an Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction29 on May 22, 2002,30 Civil Procedure quoted in part as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
stating:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary "Section 5. Preliminary Injunction not granted without notice; exception - no preliminary
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED by the undersigned Judge of this Court, that, until further orders, you, injunction shall be granted without hearing and prior notice to the party or person sought to
the said defendant and all your attorneys, representatives, agents and any other persons be enjoined xxx."46 (Emphasis supplied, citation omitted)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
assisting you including any and all persons or groups of persons from interfering, preventing
It was further alleged in the Opposition that Sunrise Garden Corporation was intruding into
or obstructing all of plaintiff's contractors, equipment personnel and representatives in
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s titled properties.47
proceeding with the construction of a new access road as authorized by the Antipolo City
Government and Barangay Cupang, leading to its memorial project site. As necessary, the
On November 15, 2002, Sunrise Garden Corporation filed an Ex-parte Motion to require K-9
services of Deputy Sheriff Rolando P. Palmares can be sought to enforce this Writ.
Security Agency and First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. to comply with the May 22,
2002 Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction.48
Antipolo City, this 22nd day of May 2002.31ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
In compliance with the Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction, the informal settlers allowed The trial court granted Sunrise Garden Corporation's Motion and issued an Order dated
the construction equipment passage to the city road project. The construction of the city November 22, 2002 requiring K-9 Security Agency to comply with the Amended Writ of
road then continued.32 Preliminary Injunction.49

Thereafter, armed guards of K-9 Security Agency, allegedly hired by First Alliance Real Estate Despite the issuance of the Order to comply, security guards dressed in civilian clothes still
allegedly prevented the workers from proceeding to the construction site on November 28, Development, Inc., the trial court ordered on December 9, 2002 the City Planning and
2002.50 Development Office to conduct a table survey of the affected properties. 63 The Order64
states:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Engr. Eligio Cruz, the Project Coordinator, spoke to the guards of K-9 Security Agency on the When this case was called for hearing today, counsel for First Alliance Realty Corporation
site and showed them a copy of the Order issued by the trial court.51 A copy of the Order submitted the xerox copies of titles of the Property which according to him are inside the
shown to the guards was allegedly already served by Sheriff Roland Palmares and received by area being built as city road. Plaintiff's counsel also argued that the tiles [sic] of First Alliance
K-9 Security Agency's Bagong Nayon Office and First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.52 are outside the area where the road will traverse....
However, the guards replied that they were under Forefront Security Agency, not K-9
Security Agency.53 The guards informed Engr. Eligio Cruz that First Alliance Real Estate Now, each of the parties are authorized to send a representative for the purpose of table
Development, Inc. ordered them not to allow the city road construction.54 survey and whatever the result of the table survey, City Planning and Development Office
shall submit a report before this Court within five (5) days from the termination of table
On November 29, 2002, Engr. Eligio Cruz wrote a letter-report55 to Hon. Mauricio M. Rivera, survey. The table survey would contain the signatures of each representative, the
Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo City,56 as representative of the [sic] Sunrise and the representative of First
follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Alliance.65ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Relative to the Order dated November 22, 2002, I wish to inform this Honorable Court that
On December 27, 2002, P/Supt. Jose Fenix Dayao of Antipolo City dispatched SPO4 Conrado
on November 28, 2002 at about 1:30 P.M. several K-9 Security Guards dressed in civilian
Abren Soza and other police officers to inspect the construction site.66 Upon arrival, the
clothes armed with shotguns, scattered and deployed in ambush position on the mountain
police officers were fired at by the security guards of Forefront Security Agency.67
slope of the property of Armando Carpio, blocked the buldozer [sic] clearing the City Road
which had barely began [sic].
On January 15, 2003, the City Planning and Development Office, through Edgardo T. Cruz,
reported68 to the court that it could not accomplish the table survey, as required by the trial
The undersigned explained to the four guards who approached the contents of the Order and
court in its Order dated December 9, 2002, because the Register of Deeds could not provide
showed to the team leader (who refused to give his name) the copy served by Sheriff Roland
copies of First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s transfer certificates of title.69 Attached
Palmares and received by their Bagong Nayon Office as well as their principal First Alliance
to the City Planning and Development Office's report was a letter70 from the Register of
Realty Corp.
Deeds of Marikina City, stating that a certain Arty. Benjamin A. Flestado had filed a similar
request in 2001, which request was forwarded to the Land Registration Authority.71
That the aforestated team leader answered back that they are now under FOREFRONT
Allegedly, the existing request for verification shows that First Alliance Real Estate
SECURITY AGENCY and have nothing to do with K-9 SECURITY subject of the order. Further
Development, Inc. could not acquire a favorable report from the Land Registration Authority
the same guards are under the control of Officer-in-Charge ROLAND TOMINES, and have
proving ownership over the property.72
instructions from their principal FIRST ALLIANCE REALTY not to allow the construction of the
City Road.
On January 29, 2003, the trial court issued an Order stating that since First Alliance Real
Estate Development, Inc. could not prove ownership over the properties, then First Alliance
IN VIEW of the foregoing incident, which constitute [sic] a clear defiance of the order, I am
Real Estate Development, Inc. or any of its hired security agencies must comply with the
constrained to report the matters to this Honorable Court for
Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction.73 Portions of the January 29, 2003 Order74
disposition.57ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
read:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
On November 29, 2002, Sunrise Garden Corporation filed a Motion to cite Forefront Security Considering the fact that the First Alliance Realty Corporation could not prove that the titles
Agency and First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. in contempt.58 Sunrise Garden of their land will be traversed or affected in the road construction being made by Sunrise
Corporation alleged that First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was notified and Garden Corporation[,] it is incumbent [upon] the former to produce the certified copies of
voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the court.59 Sunrise Garden Corporation also the Certificate of Titles of the First Alliance Realty Corporation to this Court so that the same
alleged that First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. adopted K-9 Security Agency's will be sent to the CPDC of Antipolo City for the compliance of the Court order to make a
Opposition.60 table survey. As it is now, the First Alliance Realty Corporation is bound to comply with the
amended injunction order of this Court dated November 22, 2002 wherein it is ordered that
On December 4, 2002, K-9 Security Agency filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the IT IS HEREBY ORDERED by the undersigned Judge of this Court, that, until further orders, you,
November 22, 2002 Order.61 Allegedly attached to the Motion were photocopies of TCT Nos. the said defendant and all your attorneys, representatives, agents and any other persons
342073-76 and 337784 to show that First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was the assisting you including any and all persons or groups of persons from interfering, preventing
registered owner of the parcel of land where the pieces of construction equipment were or obstructing all plaintiff's contractors, equipment personnel and representatives in
being placed.62 proceeding with the construction of a new access road as authorized by the Antipolo City
Government and Barangay Cupang, leading to its memorial project site. . . .
Apparently, to resolve the issue of ownership raised by First Alliance Real Estate
WHEREFORE, the First Alliance Realty Corporation or any of its Security Agencies acting as dated May 22, 2002, January 29, 2003 and February 24, 2003 Orders.90 (Citation
guard assigned in the Land must comply with the amended writ of preliminary injunction, as omitted)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
above mentioned.75ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Sunrise Garden Corporation and the Republic of the Philippines, through the Office of the
K-9 Security Agency and First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. filed a Motion for Solicitor General, separately filed Petitions for Certiorari and Prohibition, with prayer for
Reconsideration76 reiterating their arguments that since the trial court did not acquire temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction assailing the Writ of
jurisdiction over them, the Writ of Preliminary Injunction could not be enforced against Preliminary Injunction issued by the Court of Appeals. Sunrise Garden Corporation's
them.77 First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. and K-9 Security Agency's Motion for Petition91 was docketed as G.R. No. 158836, and the Republic of the Philippines' Petition 92
Reconsideration was denied.78 was docketed as G.R. No. 158967.

First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. thus filed a Petition for Certiorari with prayer for Sunrise Garden Corporation offered93 to post a bond as provided under Rule 58, Section 694
preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order before the Court of Appeals.79 This of the Rules of Court and prayed that this court issue a temporary restraining order to
was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 75758.80 prevent the Court of Appeals from implementing the Writ of Preliminary Injunction.95

In a Resolution dated March 7, 2003, the Court of Appeals issued ex-parte a temporary Republic of the Philippines subsequently filed a Supplemental Petition96 for Certiorari on
restraining order valid for 60 days.81 August 21, 2003 informing this court that the Court of Appeals allegedly issued a second Writ
of Preliminary Injunction dated August 13, 2003, which states:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
In the same Resolution, the Court of Appeals required the Office of the Solicitor General to WHEREAS, in the Resolution promulgated August 13, 2003, the Division Clerk of Court is
comment on the Petition for Certiorari .82 The Office of the Solicitor General then entered its directed to issue the Writ of Preliminary Injunction pursuant to the June 20, 2003 Resolution
appearance and filed its Comment.83 of this Court.

The Court of Appeals held two hearings with regard to the prayer for the issuance of a Writ NOW, THEREFORE, YOU RESPONDENT JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ANTIPOLO
of Preliminary Injunction.84 During the hearing on April 24, 2003, Justice Sabio requested CITY, BRANCH 73, YOUR AGENTS, EMPLOYEES, REPRESENTATIVES OR SUCH OTHER PERSON
counsels85 of the parties to maintain the status quo even after the lapse of the effectivity of OR PERSONS ACTING IN YOUR BEHALF ARE ENJOINED FROM IMPLEMENTING THE AMENDED
the temporary restraining order, as follows:86 WRIT OF INJUNCTION DATED MAY 22, 2002, JANUARY 29, 2003 AND FEBRUARY 24, 2003
J. SABIO: ORDERS.

If we can have a word of honor among gentlemen that until the case would be decided there GIVEN BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, Mme. Justice BENNIE
should be no, [sic] if we maintain the status quo. A gentleman's agreement. With the ADEFUN-DE LA CRUZ [sic], Chairman, Mr. Justice JOSE L. SABIO, JR. and Mr. Justice HAKIM S.
assurance that the court will resolve the incident at the earliest possible time.87 ABDULWAHID, Members, this 13th day of August 2003, Manila,
Philippines.97ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
On June 20, 2003, the Court of Appeals issued a Writ of Preliminary Injunction.88 The
Resolution89 stated:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Republic of the Philippines prayed that the second Writ of Preliminary Injunction dated
It will be recalled that in the hearing of the prayer for injunctive relief sought in this case last August 13, 2003 be dissolved.98
April 24, 2003, there was a gentleman's agreement among counsels of parties that status quo
be maintained until such time that the main case will be resolved by this Court. While the Petitions for Certiorari and Prohibition were pending before this court, the Court of
Appeals, on November 5, 2003, granted First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s Petition
Petitioner, however, through a motion informed this Court that private respondents are for Certiorari and annulled the Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued by the trial
threatening to bulldoze the property subject matter of this litigation. Petitioner further court,99 reasoning as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
stated that such act of private respondent will render judgment hereon moot and academic. Indeed, public respondent court acted with grave abuse of discretion and without jurisdiction
Under such circumstances, we are left with no choice but to issue the injunctive relief sought, when it sought the enforcement of its amended writ of preliminary injunction against
considering further that the issuance thereof is warranted. petitioner, who was never a party to the pending case. Worse, it threatened petitioner with
contempt of court for not following an unlawful order.
WHEREFORE, let a writ of Preliminary Injunction be issued conditioned upon petitioner's
posting of a cash or surety bond in the amount of P200,000.00 to answer for the damages Sec. 5, Rule 58, 1st sentence provides, thus: "No preliminary injunction shall be granted
which may be sustained by private respondent by reason of this injunction or if the court without hearing and prior notice to the party or person sought to be enjoined" (underscoring
should finally decide that the applicant is not entitled thereto. After which, the Division Clerk for emphasis). In the case at bench, petitioner was not only not impleaded as party to the
of Court is directed to issue the writ of preliminary injunction enjoining respondents, its case, but that it was never given prior notice regarding the writ of injunction.
agents or representatives from implementing public respondent's amended writ of injunction
Public respondents' assertion that notice was already made to Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. is
specious. There is no showing at all as to the relationship between Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. Appeals gravely abused its discretion when it issued the Writ of Preliminary Injunction
and petitioner. Since there is nothing to prove and establish that Hardrock, Inc. and because the Writ violated Presidential Decree No. 1818.118
petitioner are one and the same, then they should be treated as separate and distinct
personalities. Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1818 provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Section 1. No court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order,
.... preliminary injunction, or preliminary mandatory injunction in any case, dispute, or
controversy involving an infrastructure project, or a mining, fishery, forest or other natural
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the petition having merit, in fact and in law is resource development project of the government, or any public utility operated by the
hereby GIVEN DUE COURSE. Resultantly, the assailed ordered [sic] are hereby ANNULLED government, including among others public utilities for the transport of the goods or
and SET ASIDE for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion and without jurisdiction. commodities, stevedoring and arrastre contracts, to prohibit any person or persons, entity or
No costs. governmental official from proceeding with, or continuing the execution or implementation
of any such project, or the operation of such public utility, or pursuing any lawful activity
SO ORDERED.100 (Emphasis and underscoring in the original)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary necessary for such execution, implementation or operation.ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Republic of the Philippines then questioned the Court of Appeals' Decision and filed a Sunrise Garden Corporation and Republic of the Philippines119 posit that the term
Petition for Review101 on Certiorari before this court. The Petition was docketed as G.R. No. "infrastructure project" includes the construction of roads.120 Also, the construction of the
160726.102 Sunrise Garden Corporation also filed a separate Petition for Review on Certiorari city road is a capital investment on the part of government because payment to Sunrise
103 before this court, docketed as G.R. No. 160778.104 Garden Corporation shall be through tax credits.121

First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. then filed its Comment105 on the Petition for Republic of the Philippines adds that Presidential Decree No. 1818 is applicable because it
Certiorari filed by Sunrise Garden and a Consolidated Comment,106 addressing the issues does not distinguish between local government projects and national government
raised in the Office of the Solicitor General's Petition for Certiorari and Supplemental Petition projects.122 Further, the city road project is intended to benefit not only the residents of
for Certiorari . several barangay that it will traverse, but also the students of the barangay school.123 Once
the city road project is completed, the travel time of the students will be lessened from two
In a Resolution107 dated January 28, 2004, this court consolidated G.R. Nos. 158836, 158967, hours to just 30 minutes.124
160726, and 160778.
Sunrise Garden Corporation admits that the Writ of Preliminary Injunction was not issued
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. filed an Omnibus Motion,108 praying that its against First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.125 Nevertheless, the nullification of the
Consolidated Comment in G.R. No. 158967 "be adopted as its Comment [for] G.R. No. trial court's Orders effectively hampered the city road project.126 The argument of First
160726."109 First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. subsequently filed a Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. that "its property is being taken without just
Manifestation,110 praying that the Comment it filed in G.R. Nos. 158967 and 158836 be compensation"127 proves that the injury to First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. is
adopted as its Comment in G.R. No. 160778.111 quantifiable.

Sunrise Garden Corporation and Republic of the Philippines argue that the Court of Appeals Sunrise Garden Corporation and Republic of the Philippines argue that the Writ of
committed grave abuse of discretion in not dismissing the Petition outright due to Preliminary Injunction did not state the law and facts on which it was based.128 The Court of
insufficiency of form and substance.112 Sunrise Garden Corporation argues that First Alliance Appeals did not state what clear legal right was being protected.129 It merely stated that
Real Estate Development, Inc. failed to prove its ownership over the properties in dispute.113 "private respondents are threatening to bulldoze the property subject matter of [the]
Thus, it did not establish any right that would entitle it to the reliefs prayed for.114 Also, no litigation."130
evidence was presented before the trial court and the Court of Appeals that would prove
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s claim that its property would be affected by the As to the alleged "gentlemen's agreement" stated in the Order of the Court of Appeals,
city road project.115 Sunrise Garden Corporation points out that as per the transcript of stenographic notes, the
"gentlemen's agreement" was merely a suggestion of the court, but the parties themselves
Sunrise Garden Corporation points out that First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. still never came to an agreement.131
failed to attach a certified true copy of its alleged titles to the properties affected by the city
road project.116 Sunrise Garden Corporation also manifests that the alleged properties of Sunrise Garden Corporation and Republic of the Philippines argue that First Alliance Real
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. will not be affected by the city road project based Estate Development, Inc. was not denied due process when the trial court issued the
on an alleged study conducted by the Antipolo City Planning and Development Office.117 Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction because it was afforded several opportunities to be
heard.132
Further, Sunrise Garden Corporation and Republic of the Philippines argue that the Court of
Republic of the Philippines acknowledges that the complaint for damages filed by Sunrise First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. argues that the Amended Writ of Preliminary
Garden Corporation was only against Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. because it was the entity that Injunction dated May 22, 2002 was void as to First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.
initially blocked the movement of the construction equipment of Sunrise Garden since it was never notified of the hearing.151 Further, to implement the Amended Writ
Corporation's contractor. However, First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was given against First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was equivalent to deprivation of property
several opportunities to air its side. The first opportunity was the meeting scheduled on without due process.152 First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc., or its properties, was
October 8, 2002 between First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc., and Sunrise Garden not involved in Civil Case No. 02-6396 and yet Sunrise Garden insists on including First
Corporation. However, First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. did not appear despite Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s properties in the city road project.153
being the requesting party.133
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. argues that the Amended Writ of Preliminary
Further, First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was duly notified when it allegedly Injunction will allow Sunrise Garden Corporation to take possession and control of First
received a copy of Sunrise Garden Corporation's Motion to cite for contempt and filed an Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s property without due process of law.154 First Alliance
Opposition to the Motion.134 Sunrise Garden Corporation points out that First Alliance Real Real Estate Development, Inc. cites Buayan Cattle Co., Inc. v. Hon. Quintillan, etc., et al.155
Estate Development, Inc. appeared in court to argue why it should not be cited in where this court held that "[injunctions are not available to take property out of the
contempt.135 possession or control of one party and place it into that of another whose title was not
clearly, been [sic] established."156
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was given another chance to be heard when it
filed a Motion for Reconsideration on February 6, 2003 before the trial court.136 Thus, First First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. claims that the construction of the city road has
Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. cannot claim that it was denied due process.137 the effect of appropriating and taking First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.'s private
property for public use.157 First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. questions the lack of
In any case, Republic of the Philippines argues that the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary authority of Sunrise Garden Corporation to take the property considering that the Office of
Injunction does not require a trial-type hearing under Rule 58, Section 5 of the Rules of the Solicitor General admitted before the Court of Appeals that there was no expropriation
Court.138 ordinance, as follows:158
J. Sabio:
Sunrise Garden Corporation argues that the trial court had jurisdiction to issue the Amended
Writ of Preliminary Injunction and enforce it against First Alliance Real Estate Development, xxx could you show this Court an Ordinance authorizing the expropriation of that property?
Inc.139 Assuming that the trial court did not have jurisdiction over the person of First Alliance xxx
Real Estate Development, Inc., this was cured when the latter voluntarily appeared in
court.140 First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. even filed pleadings such as an Sol. Saludares:
Opposition and a Motion for Reconsideration.141 Other than filing pleadings, First Alliance
Real Estate Development, Inc. argued that its properties will be affected by the city road There is no expropriation Ordinance.
project.142 This issue was then submitted for resolution before the trial court.143
J. Sabio:
Sunrise Garden Corporation further argues that First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.
had a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy, which was to present its title to the property.144 How can you enter a property without any authority, [sic] it [sic] is basic that you can enter
the property only upon a Court Order.
On the other hand, First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. counters that the trial court
did not acquire jurisdiction over its person as it was not impleaded as a party-litigant in the xxx
Complaint for damages filed by Sunrise Garden Corporation against Hardrock Aggregates,
Inc.145 Sunrise Garden Corporation does not deny that First Alliance Real Estate Sol. Saludares:
Development, Inc. was not included in the Complaint.146
We have here a copy of the Ordinance, your honor.
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was not involved in the Complaint for damages
before the trial court.147 Nonetheless, Sunrise Garden Corporation sought to enforce the J. Sabio:
Amended Writ of Injunction against it even though the Amended Writ was addressed to
Hardrock Aggregates, Inc.148 First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. alleges that it has no
What does it say?
business relations with Hardrock Aggregates, Inc.149 Thus, the Amended Writ of Preliminary
Injunction is not binding on First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc., and it cannot be held
Sol. Saludares:
in contempt.150
An Ordinance creating a technical committee to conduct x x x. As to the allegation that there was no public bidding, Republic of the Philippines discussed
that the City Government of Antipolo had no funds for the road project, thus, it could not bid
J. Sabio: out the project.177 However, due to the urgent need for the construction of the city road, the
local government had to negotiate with a party "who [could] advance its realty taxes."178
That is not expropriation. I have read that. That is not expropriation.159 (Emphasis supplied, Sunrise Garden Corporation offered to do so, and the local government found the offer
citations omitted) favorable.179
Further, the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction issued by the Court of
The resolution of this case involves the following issues:
Appeals is not violative of Presidential Decree No. 1818.160 First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc. argues that the cases relied upon by Sunrise Garden Corporation and
First, whether the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion when it issued a
Republic of the Philippines, Gov. Garcia v. Hon. Burgos161 and Republic v. Silerio,162 are not
Writ of Preliminary Injunction, contrary to the provisions of Presidential Decree No.
applicable because in these cases, biddings were conducted.163 No bidding was conducted for
1818;cralawlawlibrary
the city road project as shown by Sunrise Garden Corporation's admission that it had an
agreement with the City Government of Antipolo.164 "There was no bidding conducted and
Second, whether respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was denied due
the agreement between the Petitioner [Sunrise Garden Corporation] and the City
process when the trial court issued its January 29, 2003 Order requiring respondent First
Government of Antipolo City relative to [the] construction of the access road and payment by
Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. to comply with the Amended Writ of Preliminary
way of tax credit can still be questioned, for being illegal." 165
Injunction.
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. also alleges that Sunrise Garden Corporation
Finally, whether the trial court acquired jurisdiction over respondent First Alliance Real Estate
disregarded the Court of Appeals' advice or their "gentlemen's agreement" to maintain the
Development, Inc.
status quo when Sunrise Garden Corporation sought an Order from the trial court to enforce
the Amended Writ of Injunction.166
I
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. also questions the standing of Republic of the
At the outset, G.R. Nos. 158836 and 158967 were rendered moot and academic when the
Philippines and the City Government of Antipolo because they were not impleaded as parties
Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision in CA-G.R. SPNo. 75758 on November 5, 2003.
in CA-G.R. SP No. 75758 and Civil Case No. 02-6396.167 Since they were not parties during the
proceedings in the lower courts, they were not affected by the Writ of Preliminary
A case that is moot and academic has been defined as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Injunction.168
A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of
supervening events, so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value.180
Also, the Petitions filed by Republic of the Philippines through the Office of the Solicitor
(Citation omitted)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
General and before this court do not indicate the authority of the City Government of
Antipolo to "represent the Republic"169 and sign the certification of non-forum shopping.170 In Philippine Savings Bank (PSBANK) v. Senate Impeachment Court,181 this court
stated:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
With regard to Republic of the Philippines' claim that a second Writ of Preliminary Injunction It is well-settled that courts will not determine questions that have become moot and
was issued by the Court of Appeals on August 13, 2003, First Alliance Real Estate academic because there is no longer any justiciable controversy to speak of. The judgment
Development, Inc. explains that this alleged second Writ of Preliminary Injunction was will not serve any useful purpose or have any practical legal effect because, in the nature of
actually the Writ issued by the Court of Appeals in its Resolution dated June 20, 2003.171 It is things, it cannot be enforced.182 (Citation omitted)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
not a second Writ of Preliminary Injunction.
While the Petitions for Certiorari are moot and academic, we clarify that Presidential Decree
No. 1818, cited by the parties, has been repealed by Republic Act No. 8975.183 The repealing
On the arguments raised by First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc., Republic of the
clause of this law provides for an express repeal, thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Philippines counters that First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. cannot claim denial of
SEC. 9. Repealing Clause.—All laws, decrees, including Presidential Decree Nos. 605, 1818
due process due to the lack of expropriation proceeding.172
and Republic Act No. 7160, as amended, orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof
inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed or amended
Republic of the Philippines argues that expropriation and eminent domain are different,
accordingly.ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
citing Section 19173 of Republic Act No. 7160.174 Republic of the Philippines explained that if
compensation for the property is accepted, then there is no need for an expropriation This court has held that implied repeals are not favored, and "the failure to add a specific
proceeding.175 In addition, First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. is not an affected repealing clause indicates that the intent was not to repeal any existing law[.]"184 The express
landowner.176 repeal of Presidential Decree No. 1818 clearly indicates Congress' intent to replace
Presidential Decree No. 1818 with Republic Act No. 8975.
case are not bound by a judgment rendered by the court."190 Corollarily, an ancillary writ of
Republic Act No. 8975 was approved on November 7, 2000 and was published in the Malaya remedy cannot affect non-parties to a case.
and the Manila Bulletin on November 11, 2000. It was also published in the Official Gazette
on May 7, 2001.185 When this case was filed, Republic Act No. 8975 was already effective. Fernandez v. Court of Appeals191 involved an Administrative Complaint against three Court of
Appeals Justices.192 One of the acts complained of was the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary
Section 3 of Republic Act No. 8975 provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Injunction, enjoining the implementation of an Order of the trial court.193 This court
SEC. 3. Prohibition on the Issuance of Temporary Restraining Orders, Preliminary Injunctions dismissed the Complaint on the ground that an Administrative Complaint is not a substitute
and Preliminary Mandatory Injunctions. — No court, except the Supreme Court, shall issue for a lost appeal.194 This court also held that in any case, complainants did not have the
any temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction personality to question the Writ of Preliminary Injunction since they were not the aggrieved
against the government, or any of its subdivisions, officials or any person or entity, whether parties.195 Complainants had the option to intervene in the Petitions filed but did not do
public or private, acting under the government's direction, to restrain, prohibit or compel the so.196 This court discussed that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
following acts: Section 1 of Rule 19 of the Rules of Court provides that a person who has a legal interest in
the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both,
(a) Acquisition, clearance and development of the right-of-way and/or site or location of any or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property
national government project;cralawlawlibrary in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof may, with leave of court, be allowed to
intervene in the action. Conversely, a person who is not a party in the main suit cannot be
(b) Bidding or awarding of contract/project of the national government as defined under bound by an ancillary writ, such as a preliminary injunction. Indeed, he cannot be affected by
Section 2 hereof[.] (Emphasis supplied)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary any proceeding to which he is a stranger.197 (Emphasis supplied, citation
omitted)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
In the recent decision of this court in Dynamic Builders v. Hon. Presbitero, Jr.,186 we clarified
that Republic Act No. 8975 is applicable to national government infrastructure projects.187 It In Mabayo Farms, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,198 a Writ of Preliminary Injunction was issued
also discussed the remedies available to aggrieved parties in cases involving local against Juanito Infante, Domingo Infante, Lito Mangalidan, Jaime Aquino, John Doe, Peter
government infrastructure projects as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Doe, and Richard Doe.199 A certain Antonio Santos, who claimed ownership over the parcel of
Republic Act No. 8975 does not sanction splitting a cause of action in order for a party to land, filed a Petition for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals, arguing that to enforce the
avail itself of the ancillary remedy of a temporary restraining order from this court. Also, this Writ of Preliminary Injunction against him would be grave abuse of discretion since the trial
law covers only national government infrastructure projects. This case involves a local court did not acquire jurisdiction over his person.200 Mabayo Farms countered that Antonio
government infrastructure project. Santos was covered by the Writ because it was issued against three Does, and these Does
include Antonio Santos.201 Also, since Santos received a copy of the Writ of Preliminary
For local government infrastructure projects, Regional Trial Courts may issue provisional Injunction, he cannot claim lack of due process, and it was his duty to intervene in the
injunctive reliefs against government infrastructure projects only when (1) there are case.202 The Court of Appeals granted the Petition for Certiorari and enjoined the trial court
compelling and substantial constitutional violations; (2) there clearly exists a right in esse; (3) from enforcing the Writ of Preliminary Injunction against Santos.203 This court affirmed204 the
there is a need to prevent grave and irreparable injuries; (4) there is a demonstrable urgency Decision of the Court of Appeals and held that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
to the issuance of the injunctive relief; and (5) when there are public interests] at stake in A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an action prior to final judgment,
restraining or enjoining the project while the action is pending that far outweigh (a) the requiring a person to refrain from a particular act. As an ancillary or preventive remedy, a
inconvenience or costs to the party to whom the project is awarded and (b) the public writ of preliminary injunction may therefore be resorted to by a party to protect or preserve
benefits that will result from the completion of the project. The time periods for the validity his rights and for no other purpose during the pendency of the principal action. Its object is
of temporary restraining orders issued by trial courts should be strictly followed. No to preserve the status quo until the merits of the case can be heard. It is not a cause of action
preliminary injunction should issue unless the evidence to support the injunctive relief is in itself but merely a provisional remedy, an adjunct to a main suit. Thus, a person who is not
clear and convincing.188 (Emphasis supplied)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary a party in the main suit, like private respondent in the instant case, cannot be bound by an
ancillary writ, such as the writ of preliminary injunction issued against the defendants in Civil
In this case, the notice to the public states that "the City Government of Antipolo is going to
Case No. 6695. He cannot be affected by any proceeding to which he is a stranger.205
construct the 20.00 meters wide city road[.]"189 Also, the funds for the project would come
(Emphasis supplied, citations omitted)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
from the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Antipolo City. There is nothing on record to show that
the city road project is a national government project. Hence, the prohibition on the issuance Regarding Mabayo Farms' argument that Santos should have intervened, this court discussed
of restraining orders or injunctions against national government projects does not apply. that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
First, private respondent had no duty to intervene in the proceedings in Civil Case No. 6695.
II Intervention in an action is neither compulsory nor mandatory but only optional and
permissive. Second, to warrant intervention, two requisites must concur: (a) the movant has
Due process requires that a party be given the chance to be heard. The general rule is that a legal interest in the matter in litigation, and (b) intervention must not unduly delay or
"no man shall be affected by any proceeding to which he is a stranger, and strangers to a prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the parties nor should the claim of the intervenor
be capable of being properly decided in a separate proceeding. The interest, which entitles a
person to intervene in a suit, must involve the matter in litigation and of such direct and ....
immediate character that the intervenor will either gain or lose by the direct legal operation
and effect of the judgment. Civil Case No. 6695 was an action for permanent injunction and SEC. 5. Preliminary injunction not granted without notice; exception.—No preliminary
damages. As a stranger to the case, private respondent had neither legal interest in a injunction shall be granted without hearing and prior notice to the party or person sought to
permanent injunction nor an interest on the damages to be imposed, if any, in Civil Case No. be enjoined. If it shall appear from facts shown by affidavits or by the verified application that
6695. To allow him to intervene would have unnecessarily complicated and prolonged the great or irreparable injury would result to the applicant before the matter can be heard on
case.206 (Citations omitted)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary notice, the court to which the application for preliminary injunction was made, may issue ex
parte a temporary restraining order to be effective only for a period of twenty (20) days from
It may be argued that respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. should have
service on the party or person sought to be enjoined, except as herein provided. Within the
intervened in the case filed before the trial court. However, respondent First Alliance Real
said twenty-day period, the court must order said party or person to show cause, at a
Estate Development, Inc.'s interests, or its properties, were not part of the issues raised in
specified time and place, why the injunction should not be granted, determine within the
petitioner Sunrise Garden Corporation's Complaint. That Complaint was against Hardrock
same period whether or not the preliminary injunction shall be granted, and accordingly
Aggregates, Inc. and not respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. or its
issue the corresponding order. (Emphasis supplied)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
properties.
In this case, petitioners Republic of the Philippines and Sunrise Garden Corporation did not
III refute that respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. was never a party to the
case. During the hearings before the Court of Appeals, counsel for petitioner Sunrise Garden
We rule that the Court of Appeals did not err when it annulled and set aside the trial court's Corporation placed much emphasis on its argument that respondent First Alliance Real
Orders dated January 29, 2003, and February 24, 2002. Estate Development, Inc. did not prove ownership over the property but did not refute the
primary issue of lack of jurisdiction over respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development,
The Court of Appeals discussed that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Inc. This is an admission that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over respondent First
Indeed public respondent court acted with grave abuse of discretion and without jurisdiction Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.
when it sought the enforcement of its amended writ of preliminary injunction against J. SABIO:
petitioner, who was never a party to the pending case. Worse, it threatened petitioner with
contempt of court for not following an unlawful order. It is fundamental that an order of a court cannot be enforced against a person who is
not a party to a case.
Sec. 5, Rule 58, 1st sentence provides, thus: "No preliminary injunction shall be granted
without hearing and prior notice to the party or person sought to be enjoined. . ." In the case ATTY. GALIT [counsel for petitioner Sunrise Garden Corporation]:
at bench, petitioner was not only not impleaded as party to the case, but that it was never
given prior notice regarding the writ of injunction. As I said, Your Honor, that is on my supposition. Earlier, Your Honor, both my good
Companeros here have intelligently and clearly ventilated, open the eyes of the
Public respondents' [referring to the Republic] assertion that notice was already made to Honorable Court that this particular person is claiming, Your Honor, a right which is not
Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. is specious. There is no showing at all as to the relationship existing. A right which is not existing, Your Honor. Why take refuge from an allegation
between Hardrock Aggregates, Inc. and petitioner. Since there is nothing to prove and that according to him this is not the proper forum. This is now the proper forum for the
establish that Hardrock, Inc. and petitioners are one and the same, then they should be petitioner to prove his right because he is being challenged.
treated as separate and distinct personalities.207ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
J. SABIO:
Respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. argues that CA-G.R. SP No. 75758 is
related to Civil Case No. 02-6396 where it was not included as a party litigant.208 Respondent
He does not have to prove anything. He has the title in his possession.
First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. reiterates that it is not liable for contempt
because the trial court never acquired jurisdiction over it and, hence, it is not bound by the
ATTY. GALIT:
Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction.209
Mere title, Your Honor, without any specification to be attested by a competent person
Rule 58, Section 5 of the Rules of Court requires that the party to be enjoined must be
such as the expert witness, a geodetic engineer, a licensed geodetic engineer. . .
notified and heard. The rule provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
RULE 58
J. SABIO:
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
That is not the issue in this case. As we said if you try to question the validity of the title
of the petitioner[,] do it in a proper forum. This is not the proper forum. The issue here J. SABIO:
is not that. The issue is whether a writ of injunction can be enforced against a person
who is not a party to the case. That is the pure and simple issue in this petition. Again let us not go back to that issue so that we will not be misled, we do not becloud
the real issue. The issue here is basic and fundamental. Whether petitioner [w]ho has
ATTY. GALIT: not been a party to the case because he has not been impleaded can be cited for
contempt for refusal to obey or comply with the amended writ of preliminary
We have made clear, Your Honor, as to the procedural aspect of the case and as to the injunction? That is all.210
substantive aspect of the case. As to the substantive aspect of the case the petitioner, Petitioner Sunrise Garden Corporation additionally argues that the trial court acquired
despite several challenges against them they failed and they continued to fail to present jurisdiction because respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. voluntarily
any iota of evidence that would prove clear and unmistakable right to warrant the. . . appeared in court to argue why it should not be cited in contempt. 211

J. SABIO: While Rule 14, Section 20212 of the Rules of Court provides that voluntary appearance is
equivalent to service of summons, the same rule also provides that "[t]he inclusion in a
That is not the issue where he has to defend his title. Because his title is not the one, the motion to dismiss of other grounds aside from lack of jurisdiction over the person of the
subject matter of the case in the court below. defendant shall not be deemed a voluntary appearance."213

ATTY. GALIT: In Philippine Commercial International Bank v. Spouses Dy Hong Pi, et al.,214 this court
discussed that voluntary appearance in court may not always result in submission to the
Your Honor, guided by the Supreme Court decision, a mere photocopy, a mere xerox jurisdiction of a court.
copy of any public document, alleged public documents cannot be said to be a basis of Preliminarily, jurisdiction over the defendant in a civil case is acquired either by the coercive
any right. This is a mere xerox copy to be treated as a mere scrap of paper. power of legal processes exerted over his person, or his voluntary appearance in court. As a
general proposition, one who seeks an affirmative relief is deemed to have submitted to the
J. SABIO: jurisdiction of the court. It is by reason of this rule that we have had occasion to declare that
the filing of motions to admit answer, for additional time to file answer, for reconsideration
Then you challenge it in a proper forum[,] not this forum. That is not the issue here. That of a default judgment, and to lift order of default with motion for reconsideration, is
is beyond us to decide. The issue is whether he [sic] injunction issued by the lower court considered voluntary submission to the court's jurisdiction. This, however, is tempered by
should be enforced [against] petitioner who is not a party to the case. the concept of conditional appearance, such that a party who makes a special appearance to
challenge, among others, the court's jurisdiction over his person cannot be considered to
.... have submitted to its authority.

ATTY. GALIT: Prescinding from the foregoing, it is thus clear that:

To be clear, Your Honor, and with all due respect to this Honorable Court. We take a (1) Special appearance operates as an exception to the general rule on voluntary
parallel stand and we absolutely submit to the pronouncement of this Honorable Court appearance;
that a party who is not a party litigant in the case below will never be affected by any
issuance of an injunction. That is precisely correct and we do not dispute that, your (2) Accordingly, objections to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the defendant
Honor. must be explicitly made, i.e., set forth in an unequivocal manner; and

.... (3) Failure to do so constitutes voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the court,
especially in instances where a pleading or motion seeking affirmative relief is filed and
ATTY. SAAVEDRA [co-counsel for petitioner Sunrise Garden Corporation]: submitted to the court for resolution.215 (Citations omitted)
The appearance of respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. and K-9 Security
As a matter of fact insofar as we are concerned, Your Honor, whether the lower court Agency should not be deemed as a voluntary appearance because it was for the purpose of
has jurisdiction over their person because they were not impleaded is immaterial. questioning the jurisdiction of the trial court. The records of this case show that the defense
Because they are in the nature or category of strangers who refused to obey the writ of of lack of jurisdiction was raised at the first instance and repeatedly argued by K-9 Security
injunction which was addressed to the squatters. Since they have no right to be Agency and respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. in their pleadings.216
protected, they have not shown that they own any portion of the land to be traversed
what right do they have to be protected for. Petitioner Sunrise Garden Corporation posits that a third-party claim would have been the
proper remedy for respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc., and not a petition
for certiorari before the Court of Appeals.217 Petitioner Sunrise Garden Corporation cited
Ciudad Real & Development Corporation v. Court of Appeals218 where this court allegedly
ruled that it is grave abuse of discretion to allow a "petitioner who is not a party litigant in
the proceedings below [to file a petition] for certiorari ."219

Counsel for respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc. countered
that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
With respect to the comment of counsel for the respondent, Your Honor, [sic] We [sic] have
personality to challenge that because the writ of injunction, the order citing us for contempt
are [sic] addressed to us, Your Honor. And we have the personality to ask for the nullity of
that order, Your Honor.220ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
The case cited by petitioner Sunrise Garden Corporation is not applicable. In Ciudad Real, the
trial court denied the Motion to intervene filed by Magdiwang Realty Corporation.221
Magdiwang Realty Corporation did not question the trial court's Order, and it became final
and executory.222 When the case was brought before the Court of Appeals, the court
recognized Magdiwang Realty Corporation's standing.223 This court held
that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Despite the finality of the order denying Magdiwang's intervention way back in 1989, the
respondent court in its Decision of August 20, 1992 recognized the standing of Magdiwang to
assail in the appellate court the Compromise Agreement. Again, this ruling constitutes grave
abuse of discretion for Magdiwang was not a party in interest in Civil Case No. Q-
35393.224ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Considering that the trial court gravely abused its discretion when it sought to enforce the
Amended Writ of Preliminary Injunction against respondent First Alliance Real Estate
Development, Inc., the Court of Appeals did not err in granting the Petition for Certiorari filed
by respondent First Alliance Real Estate Development, Inc.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petitions in G.R. Nos. 158836 and 158967 are
DISMISSED for being moot and academic.

The Petitions in G.R. Nos. 160726 and 160778 are DENIED, and the Decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SPNo. 75758 is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.