Você está na página 1de 20

1

REMEDIAL LAW REVIEW 2013 G.R. No. 174082 January 16, 2012

WHEREFORE, viewed in the light of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs [herein respondents], dismissing defendant's [herein petitioner's] counterclaim and ordering the defendant, her agents and representatives: 1. To vacate the premises of the land in question and return the same to the plaintiffs; 2. To pay plaintiffs, the following, to wit: a) P100.00 a month as rentals for the use of the litigated property reckoned from the filing of the complaint until the defendant vacates the property;
1

GEORGIA T. ESTEL, Petitioner, vs. RECAREDO P. DIEGO, SR. and RECAREDO R. DIEGO, JR., Respondents. DECISION PERALTA, J. Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to annul and set aside the Decision promulgated 2 on September 30, 2005 and Resolution dated August 10, 2006 by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 77197. The assailed Decision affirmed the Decision dated October 7, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Gingoog City, Branch 27, Misamis Oriental, while the questioned Resolution denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration. The factual and procedural antecedents of the case are as follows: The present petition originated from a Complaint for Forcible Entry, Damages and Injunction with Application for Temporary Restraining Order filed by herein respondents Recaredo P. Diego, Sr., and Recaredo R. Diego, Jr. with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) of Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental. Respondents alleged that on April 16, 1991, they entered into a contract of sale of a 306 square-meter parcel of land, denominated as Lot 19, with petitioner; after receiving the amount of P17,000.00 as downpayment, petitioner voluntarily delivered the physical and material possession of the subject property to respondents; respondents had been in actual, adverse and uninterrupted possession of the subject lot since then and that petitioner never disturbed, molested, annoyed nor vexed respondents with respect to their possession of the said property; around 8:30 in the morning of July 20, 1995, petitioner, together with her two grown-up sons and five other persons, uprooted the fence surrounding the disputed lot, after which they entered its premises and then cut and destroyed the trees and plants found therein; respondent Recaredo R. Diego, Jr. witnessed the incident but found himself helpless at that time. Respondents prayed for the restoration of their possession, for the issuance of a 3 permanent injunction against petitioner as well as payment of damages, attorney's fees and costs of suit. On July 26, 1995, the MTCC issued a Temporary Restraining Order against petitioner and any person acting in her behalf. In her Answer with Special/Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaims, petitioner denied the material allegations in the Complaint contending that respondents were never in physical, actual, public, adverse and uninterrupted possession of the subject lot; full possession and absolute ownership of the disputed parcel of land, with all improvements thereon, had always been that of petitioner and her daughter; the agreement she entered into with the wife of respondent Recaredo P. Diego, Sr. for the sale of the subject lot had been abrogated; she even offered to return the amount she received from respondents, but the latter refused to accept the same and instead offered an additional amount of P12,000.00 as part of the purchase price but she also refused to accept their offer; the subject of the deed of sale between petitioner and respondents and what has been delivered to respondents was actually Lot 16 which is adjacent to the disputed Lot 19; that they did not destroy the improvements found on the subject lot and, in fact, any improvements therein were planted by petitioner's 5 parents. On February 16, 2002, the MTCC rendered a Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
4

b) P5,000.00 representing the value of the fence and plants damaged by the defendants as actual damages; c) P20,000.00 as and for attorney's fees; d) P2,000.00 for litigation expenses; 3. Ordering the defendant to pay the cost of suit; Execution shall immediately issue upon motion unless an appeal has been perfected and the defendant to stay execution files a supersedeas bond which is hereby fixed at P10,000.00 approved by this Court and executed in favor of the plaintiffs, to pay the rents, damages and costs accruing down to the time of the judgment appealed from and unless, during the pendency of the appeal, defendant deposits with the appellate court the amount of P100.00 as monthly rental due from time to time on or before the 10th day of each succeeding month or period. SO ORDERED.
6 7

Aggrieved, petitioner appealed to the RTC of Gingoog City.


8

On October 7, 2002, the RTC rendered its Decision affirming the assailed Decision of the MTCC. Petitioner then filed a petition for review with the CA. On September 30, 2005, the CA promulgated its Decision which affirmed the Decision of the RTC. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but the CA denied it in its Resolution dated August 10, 2006. Hence, the instant petition based on the following arguments: [THE] COURT OF APPEALS, 23rd DIVISION, ERRED IN FAILING TO CONSIDER THAT THE RTC BRANCH 27 OF GINGOOG CITY ERRONEOUSLY CONCLUDED THAT THE MTCC OF GINGOOG CITY HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THE ACTION. [THE] COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT RECOGNIZING THAT THE RTC BRANCH 27 OF GINGOOG CITY FAILED TO MAKE A FINDING OF FACT THAT THE COMPLAINT STATES NO CAUSE OF ACTION. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED LIKEWISE IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT BRANCH 27 OF GINGOOG CITY OVERLOOKING THE FACT THAT ITS FINDING OF FACTS AND CONCLUSIONS ARE AGAINST 9 OR NOT SUPPORTED BY COMPETENT MATERIAL EVIDENCE. Petitioner contends that since respondents failed to allege the location of the disputed parcel of land in their complaint, the MTCC did not acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter of the said complaint. Petitioner also avers that the MTCC did not acquire jurisdiction over the case for failure of respondents to specifically allege facts constitutive of forcible entry. On the bases of these two grounds, petitioner argues that the MTCC should have dismissed the complaint motu proprio.

Petitioner also avers that the complaint states no cause of action because the verification and certificate of nonforum shopping accompanying the complaint are defective and, as such, the complaint should be treated as an unsigned pleading. As to the verification, petitioner contends that it should be based on respondent's personal knowledge or on authentic record and not simply upon "knowledge, information and belief." With respect to the certificate of non-forum shopping, petitioner claims that its defect consists in respondents' failure to make an undertaking therein that if they should learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency, they shall report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court or agency wherein the original pleading and sworn certification have been filed. The Court does not agree. A review of the records shows that petitioner did not raise the issue of jurisdiction or venue in her Answer filed with the MTCC. The CA correctly held that even if the geographical location of the subject property was not alleged in the Complaint, petitioner failed to seasonably object to the same in her Affirmative Defense, and even actively participated in the proceedings before the MTCC. In fact, petitioner did not even raise this issue in her appeal filed with the RTC. Thus, she is already estopped from raising the said issue in the CA or before this Court. Estoppel sets in when a party participates in all stages of a case before challenging the jurisdiction of the lower 10 court. One cannot belatedly reject or repudiate the lower court's decision after voluntarily submitting to its 11 jurisdiction, just to secure affirmative relief against one's opponent or after failing to obtain such relief. The Court has, time and again, frowned upon the undesirable practice of a party submitting a case for decision and 12 then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction when adverse. In any case, since the Complaint is clearly and admittedly one for forcible entry, the jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case is, thus, upon the MTCC of Gingoog City. Section 33 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 129, as amended by Section 3 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7691, as well as Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, clearly provides that forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases fall within the exclusive original jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. Hence, as the MTCC has jurisdiction over the action, the question whether or not the suit was brought in the place where the land in dispute is located was no more than a matter of venue and the court, in the exercise of its jurisdiction over the 13 case, could determine whether venue was properly or improperly laid. There having been no objection on the part of petitioner and it having been shown by evidence presented by both parties that the subject lot was indeed located in Gingoog City, and that it was only through mere inadvertence or oversight that such information was omitted in the Complaint, petitioner's objection became a pure technicality. As to respondents' supposed failure to allege facts constitutive of forcible entry, it is settled that in actions for 14 forcible entry, two allegations are mandatory for the municipal court to acquire jurisdiction. First, the plaintiff 15 must allege his prior physical possession of the property. Second, he must also allege that he was deprived of his possession by any of the means provided for in Section 1, Rule 70 of the Revised Rules of Court, namely, 16 force, intimidation, threats, strategy, and stealth. In the present case, it is clear that respondents sufficiently alleged in their Complaint the material facts constituting forcible entry, as they explicitly claimed that they had prior physical possession of the subject property since its purchase from petitioner, who voluntarily delivered the same to them. They also particularly described in their complaint how petitioner, together with her two sons and five other persons, encroached upon the subject property and dispossessed them of the same. Respondents' complaint contains the allegations that petitioner, abetting and conspiring with other persons, without respondents' knowledge and consent and through the use of force and intimidation, entered a portion of their land and, thereafter, uprooted and destroyed the fence surrounding the subject lot, as well as cut the trees and nipa palms planted thereon. Unlawfully entering the subject property and excluding therefrom the prior possessor would necessarily imply 17 the use of force and this is all that is necessary. In order to constitute force, the trespasser does not have to

institute a state of war. No other proof is necessary. In the instant case, it is, thus, irrefutable that respondents sufficiently alleged that the possession of the subject property was wrested from them through violence and force. Anent respondents' alleged defective verification, the Court again notes that this issue was not raised before the MTCC. Even granting that this matter was properly raised before the court a quo, the Court finds that there is no procedural defect that would have warranted the outright dismissal of respondents' complaint as there is compliance with the requirement regarding verification. Section 4, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 00-2-10-SC provides: Sec. 4. Verification. Except when otherwise specifically required by law or rule, pleadings need not be under oath, verified or accompanied by affidavit. A pleading is verified by an affidavit that the affiant has read the pleading and that the allegations therein are true and correct of his personal knowledge or based on authentic records. A pleading required to be verified which contains a verification based on "information and belief" or upon "knowledge, information and belief" or lacks a proper verification, shall be treated as an unsigned pleading. A reading of respondents verification reveals that they complied with the abovequoted procedural rule.1awp++i1 Respondents confirmed that they had read the allegations in the Complaint which were true and correct based on their personal knowledge.1wphi1 The addition of the words "to the best" before the phrase "of our own personal knowledge" did not violate the requirement under Section 4, Rule 7, it being sufficient that the respondents declared that the allegations in the complaint are true and correct based on their personal 20 knowledge. Verification is deemed substantially complied with when, as in the instant case, one who has ample knowledge to swear to the truth of the allegations in the complaint or petition signs the verification, and when matters 21 alleged in the petition have been made in good faith or are true and correct. As to respondents' certification on non-forum shopping, a reading of respondents Verification/Certification reveals that they, in fact, certified therein that they have not commenced any similar action before any other court or tribunal and to the best of their knowledge no such other action is pending therein. The only missing statement is respondents' undertaking that if they should thereafter learn that the same or similar action has been filed or is pending, they shall report such fact to the court. This, notwithstanding, the Court finds that there has been substantial compliance on the part of respondents. It is settled that with respect to the contents of the certification against forum shopping, the rule of substantial 22 compliance may be availed of. This is because the requirement of strict compliance with the provisions regarding the certification of non-forum shopping merely underscores its mandatory nature in that the 23 certification cannot be altogether dispensed with or its requirements completely disregarded. It does not thereby interdict substantial compliance with its provisions under justifiable circumstances, as the Court finds in 24 the instant case. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. G.R. Nos. 177857-58 September 4, 2012

18

19

PHILIPPINE COCONUT PRODUCERS FEDERATION, INC. (COCOFED), MANUEL V. DEL ROSARIO, DOMINGO P. ESPINA, SALVADOR P. BALLARES, JOSELITO A. MORALEDA, PAZ M. YASON, VICENTE A. CADIZ, CESARIA DE LUNA TITULAR, and RAYMUNDO C. DE VILLA, Petitioners,

vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. WIGBERTO E. TAADA, OSCAR F. SANTOS, SURIGAO DEL SUR FEDERATION OF AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVES (SUFAC) and MORO FARMERS ASSOCIATION OF ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR (MOFAZS), represented by ROMEO C. ROYANDOYAN, Intervenors. x-----------------------x G.R. No. 178193 DANILO B. URSUA, Petitioner, vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. RESOLUTION VELASCO, JR., J.: For consideration is a Motion for Reconsideration of the Decision of the Court dated January 24, 2012 interposed by petitioners in G.R. Nos. 177857-58, namely: Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc. (COCOFED), Manuel V. del Rosario, Domingo P. Espina, Salvador P. Ballares, Joselito A. Moraleda, Paz M. Yason, Vicente A. Cadiz, Cesaria De Luna Titular, and Raymundo C. De Villa. On March 14, 2012, petitioner-movants filed a Manifestation and Motion stating that they failed to include the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in the list of persons to be furnished with a copy of the Motion for Reconsideration. They accordingly moved that their belated service of a copy of the Motion for Reconsideration on the OSG be considered compliance with the rules on service of motions for reconsideration. This Court noted and accepted the Manifestation and Motion. On March 15, 2012, petitioner-movants filed a Memorandum in support of the instant motion for reconsideration. To the said motion, intervenors Wigberto E. Taada, et al. filed on June 10, 2012 their Comment and Opposition. The OSG, on the other hand, after filing two motions for extension on May 22, 2012 and June 21, 2012, respectively, filed its Motion to Admit Comment, with Comment attached, on July 13, 2012. This Court noted and admitted the Comment. As will be recalled, the Court, in its January 24, 2012 Decision, affirmed, with modification, the Partial Summary Judgments (PSJs) rendered by the Sandiganbayan (1) on July 11, 2003 in Civil Case No. 0033-A (PSJ-A), as amended by a Resolution issued on June 5, 2007; and (2) on May 7, 2004 in Civil Case No. 0033-F (PSJ-F), as amended by a Resolution issued on May 11, 2007. In this recourse, petitioner-movants urge the Court to reconsider its Decision of January 24, 2012 on the ground that it: 1. Made erroneous findings of fact; 2. Erred in affirming the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction of the subject matter of the subdivided amended complaints; 3. Erred in ruling that due process was not violated; 4. Erred in ruling on the constitutionality of the coconut levy laws; 5. Erred in ruling that the Operative Fact Doctrine does not apply; and 6. Erred in ruling that the right to speedy disposition of cases was not violated.

The instant motion is but a mere reiteration or rehash of the arguments that have already been previously pleaded, discussed and resolved by this Court in its January 24, 2012 Decision. And considering that the motions arguments are unsubstantial to warrant a reconsideration or at least a modification, this Court finds no reason to modify or let alone reverse the challenged Decision. As of 1983, the Class A and B San Miguel Corporation (SMC) common shares in the names of the 14 CIIF Holding Companies are 33,133,266 shares. From 1983 to November 19, 2009 when the Republic of the Philippines representing the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) filed the "Motion To Approve Sale of CIIF SMC Series I Preferred Shares," the common shares of the CIIF Holding companies increased to 753,848,312 2 Class A and B SMC common shares. Owing, however, to a certain development that altered the factual situation then obtaining in G.R. Nos. 17785758, there is, therefore, a compelling need to clarify the fallo of the January 24, 2012 Decision to reconcile it, visa-vis the shares of stocks in SMC which were declared owned by the Government, with this development. We 3 refer to the Resolution issued by the Court on September 17, 2009 in the then consolidated cases docketed as G.R. Nos. 177857-58, G.R. No. 178193 and G.R. No. 180705. In that Resolution which has long become final and executory, the Court, upon motion of COCOFED and with the approval of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, granted the conversion of 753,848,312 Class "A" and Class "B" SMC common shares registered in the name of the CIIF companies to SMC Series 1 Preferred Shares of 753,848,312, subject to certain terms and conditions. The dispositive portion of the aforementioned Resolution states: WHEREFORE, the Court APPROVES the conversion of the 753,848,312 SMC Common Shares registered in the name of CIIF companies to SMC SERIES 1 PREFERRED SHARES of 753,848,312, the converted shares to be registered in the names of CIIF companies in accordance with the terms and conditions specified in the conversion offer set forth in SMCs Information Statement and appended as Annex "A" of COCOFEDs Urgent Motion to Approve the Conversion of the CIIF SMC Common Shares into SMC Series 1 Preferred Shares. The preferred shares shall remain in custodia legis and their ownership shall be subject to the final ownership determination of the Court. Until the ownership issue has been resolved, the preferred shares in the name of the CIIF companies shall be placed under sequestration and PCGG management. (Emphasis added.) The net dividend earnings and/or redemption proceeds from the Series 1 Preferred Shares shall be deposited in an escrow account with the Land Bank of the Philippines or the Development Bank of the Philippines. Respondent Republic, thru the PCGG, is hereby directed to cause the CIIF companies, including their respective directors, officers, employees, agents, and all other persons acting in their behalf, to perform such acts and execute such documents as required to effectuate the conversion of the common shares into SMC Series 1 Preferred Shares, within ten (10) days from receipt of this Resolution. Once the conversion is accomplished, the SMC Common Shares previously registered in the names of the CIIF companies shall be released from sequestration. SO ORDERED.
4 1

The CIIF block of SMC shares, as converted, is the same shares of stocks that are subject matter of, and declared as owned by the Government in, the January 24, 2012 Decision. Hence, the need to clarify. WHEREFORE, the Court resolves to DENY with FINALITY the instant Motion for Reconsideration dated February 14, 2012 for lack of merit. The Court further resolves to CLARIFY that the 753,848,312 SMC Series 1 preferred shares of the CIIF companies converted from the CIIF block of SMC shares, with all the dividend earnings as well as all increments arising from, but not limited to, the exercise of preemptive rights subject of the September 17, 2009 Resolution, shall now be

the subject matter of the January 24, 2012 Decision and shall be declared owned by the Government and be used only for the benefit of all coconut farmers and for the development of the coconut industry. As modified, the fallo of the January 24, 2012 Decision shall read, as follows: WHEREFORE, the petitions in G.R. Nos. 177857-58 and 178793 are hereby DENIED. The Partial Summary Judgment dated July 11, 2003 in Civil Case No. 0033-A as reiterated with modification in Resolution dated June 5, 2007, as well as the Partial Summary Judgment dated May 7, 2004 in Civil Case No. 0033-F, which was effectively amended in Resolution dated May 11, 2007, are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION, only with respect to those issues subject of the petitions in G.R. Nos. 177857-58 and 178193. However, the issues raised in G.R. No. 180705 in relation to Partial Summary Judgment dated July 11, 2003 and Resolution dated June 5, 2007 in Civil Case No. 0033-A, shall be decided by this Court in a separate decision. The Partial Summary Judgment in Civil Case No. 0033-A dated July 11, 2003, is hereby MODIFIED, and shall read as follows: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, We rule as follows: SUMMARY OF THE COURTS RULING. A. Re: CLASS ACTION MOTION FOR A SEPARATE SUMMARY JUDGMENT dated April 11, 2001 filed by Defendant Maria Clara L. Lobregat, COCOFED, et al., and Ballares, et al. The Class Action Motion for Separate Summary Judgment dated April 11, 2001 filed by defendant Maria Clara L. Lobregat, COCOFED, et al. and Ballares, et al., is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. B. Re: MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT (RE: COCOFED, ET AL. AND BALLARES, ET AL.) dated April 22, 2002 filed by Plaintiff. 1. a. The portion of Section 1 of P.D. No. 755, which reads: and that the Philippine Coconut Authority is hereby authorized to distribute, for free, the shares of stock of the bank it acquired to the coconut farmers under such rules and regulations it may promulgate. taken in relation to Section 2 of the same P.D., is unconstitutional: (i) for having allowed the use of the CCSF to benefit directly private interest by the outright and unconditional grant of absolute ownership of the FUB/UCPB shares paid for by PCA entirely with the CCSF to the undefined "coconut farmers", which negated or circumvented the national policy or public purpose declared by P.D. No. 755 to accelerate the growth and development of the coconut industry and achieve its vertical integration; and (ii) for having unduly delegated legislative power to the PCA. b. The implementing regulations issued by PCA, namely, Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 1975 and Resolution No. 074-78 are likewise invalid for their failure to see to it that the distribution of shares serve exclusively or at least primarily or directly the aforementioned public purpose or national policy declared by P.D. No. 755. 2. Section 2 of P.D. No. 755 which mandated that the coconut levy funds shall not be considered special and/or fiduciary funds nor part of the general funds of the national government and similar provisions of Sec. 5, Art. III, P.D. No. 961 and Sec. 5, Art. III, P.D. No. 1468 contravene the provisions of the Constitution, particularly, Art. IX (D), Sec. 2; and Article VI, Sec. 29 (3). 3. Lobregat, COCOFED, et al. and Ballares, et al. have not legally and validly obtained title of ownership over the subject UCPB shares by virtue of P.D. No. 755, the Agreement dated May 25, 1975 between

the PCA and defendant Cojuangco, and PCA implementing rules, namely, Adm. Order No. 1, s. 1975 and Resolution No. 074-78. 4. The so-called "Farmers UCPB shares" covered by 64.98% of the UCPB shares of stock, which formed part of the 72.2% of the shares of stock of the former FUB and now of the UCPB, the entire consideration of which was charged by PCA to the CCSF, are hereby declared conclusively owned by, the Plaintiff Republic of the Philippines. xxx SO ORDERED. The Partial Summary Judgment in Civil Case No. 0033-F dated May 7, 2004, is hereby MODIFIED, and shall read as follows: WHEREFORE, the MOTION FOR EXECUTION OF PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT (RE: CIIF BLOCK OF SMC SHARES OF STOCK) dated August 8, 2005 of the plaintiff is hereby denied for lack of merit. However, this Court orders the severance of this particular claim of Plaintiff. The Partial Summary Judgment dated May 7, 2004 is now considered a separate final and appealable judgment with respect to the said CIIF Block of SMC shares of stock.1wphi1 The Partial Summary Judgment rendered on May 7, 2004 is modified by deleting the last paragraph of the dispositive portion, which will now read, as follows: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, we hold that: The Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Re: Defendants CIIF Companies, 14 Holding Companies and Cocofed, et al) filed by Plaintiff is hereby GRANTED. ACCORDINGLY, THE CIIF COMPANIES, NAMELY: 1. Southern Luzon Coconut Oil Mills (SOLCOM); 2. Cagayan de Oro Oil Co., Inc. (CAGOIL); 3. Iligan Coconut Industries, Inc. (ILICOCO); 4. San Pablo Manufacturing Corp. (SPMC); 5. Granexport Manufacturing Corp. (GRANEX); and 6. Legaspi Oil Co., Inc. (LEGOIL), AS WELL AS THE 14 HOLDING COMPANIES, NAMELY: 1. Soriano Shares, Inc.; 2. ACS Investors, Inc.; 3. Roxas Shares, Inc.; 4. Arc Investors; Inc.; 5. Toda Holdings, Inc.; 6. AP Holdings, Inc.; 7. Fernandez Holdings, Inc.; 8. SMC Officers Corps, Inc.; 9. Te Deum Resources, Inc.; xxx xxx

10. Anglo Ventures, Inc.; 11. Randy Allied Ventures, Inc.; 12. Rock Steel Resources, Inc.; 13. Valhalla Properties Ltd., Inc.; and 14. First Meridian Development, Inc. AND THE CONVERTED SMC SERIES 1 PREFERRED SHARES TOTALING 753,848,312 SHARES SUBJECT OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE COURT DATED SEPTEMBER 17, 2009 TOGETHER "WITH ALL DIVIDENDS DECLARED, PAID OR ISSUEDTHEREON AFTER THAT DATE, AS WELL AS ANY INCREMENTS THERETO ARISING FROM, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, EXERCISE OF PRE-EMPTIVE RIGHTS ARE DECLARED OWNED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO RE USED ONLY FOH THE BENEFIT OF ALL COCONUT FARMERS AND FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COCONUT INDUSTRY. AND ORDERED HECONVEYED TO THE GOVERNMENT. THE COURT AFFIRMIS THE RESOLUTIONS ISSUED BY THE SANDIGANBAYAN ON JUNE 5, 2007 IN CIVIL CASE NO. 0033-A AND ON MAY 11, 2007 IN CIVIL CASE NO. 0033-F, THAT THERE IS NO MORE NECESSITY OF FURTHER TRIAL WITH RESPECT TO THE ISSUE OF OWNERSHIP OF (1) THE SEQUESTERED UCPB SHARES, (2) THE CHF BLOCK OF SMC SHARES AND (3) THE CIIF COMPANIES, AS THEY HAVE FINALLY BEEN ADJUDICATED IN THE AFOREMIENTIONED PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENTS DATED JULY 11, 2003 AND MAY 7, 2004. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 171855 October 15, 2012

firefight. When the battle ceased, seven (7) persons, namely: Teogenes Rapsing y Manlapaz, Teofilo Villanueva y Prisado, Marianito Villanueva y Oliva, Edwin Aparejado y Valdemoro, Isidro Espino y Arevalo, Roque Tome y Morgado and Norberto Aranilla y Cordova were found sprawled on the ground lifeless. The post-incident report of the Philippine Army states that a legitimate military operation was conducted and in the course of which, the victims, armed with high-powered firearms, engaged in a shoot-out with the military. On the other hand, petitioners complained that there was no encounter that ensued and that the victims were summarily executed in cold blood by respondents. Hence, they requested the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the case. After investigation, the NBI recommended to the Provincial Prosecutor of Masbate City that a preliminary investigation be conducted against respondents for the crime of multiple murder. In reaching its recommendation, the NBI relied on the statements of witnesses who claim that the military massacred helpless and unarmed civilians. On February 9, 2005, the provincial prosecutor issued a Resolution recommending the filing of an Information 4 for Multiple Murder. Consequently, respondents were charged with multiple murder in an Information dated February 15, 2005, which reads: The undersigned 2nd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor accuses SSGT Edison Rural, CAA Jose Matu. CAA Morie Flores, CAA Guillen Topas, CAA Dandy Flores, CAA Leonardo Calimutan and CAA Rene Rom, stationed at Alpha Company, 22nd Infantry Battalion, 9th Division, Philippine Army, Cabangcalan Detachment, Aroroy, Masbate, committed as follows: That on May 9, 2004, at around 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon thereof, at Barangay Lagta, Municipality of Baleno, Province of Masbate, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring together and mutually helping with one another, taking advantage of their superior strength as elements of the Philippine Army, armed with their government issued firearms, with intent to kill, by means of treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot Teogenes Rapsing y Manlapaz, Teofilo Villanueva y Prisado, Marianito Villanueva y Oliva, Edwin Aparejado y Valdemoro, Isidro Espino y Arevalo, Roque Tome y Morgado and Norberto Aranilla y Cordova, hitting them on different parts of their bodies, thereby inflicting upon them multiple gunshot wounds which caused their deaths. CONTRARY TO LAW. Masbate City, February 15, 2005. On July 28, 2005, a warrant for the arrest of respondents was issued by the RTC of Masbate City, Branch 47, but before respondents could be arrested, the Judge Advocate General's Office (JAGO) of the Armed Forces of the 6 Philippines (AFP) filed an Omnibus Motion dated July 20, 2005, with the trial court seeking the cases against 7 respondents be transferred to the jurisdiction of the military tribunal. Initially, the trial court denied the motion filed by the JAGO on the ground that respondents have not been arrested. The JAGO filed a Motion for 8 9 Reconsideration, and in an Order dated December 6, 2005, the trial court granted the Omnibus Motion and the entire records of the case were turned over to the Commanding General of the 9th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, for appropriate action. Petitioners sought reconsideration of the Order, but was denied by the trial court in an Order dated January 11, 2006. Hence, the present petition with the following arguments: I HON. JUDGE MAXIMINO ABLES GRAVELY ABUSED HIS DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN GRANTING THE MOTION TO TRANSFER THE INSTANT CRIMINAL CASE OF MULTIPLE
10 11 5 3

FE V. RAPSING, TITA C. VILLANUEVA and ANNIE F. APAREJADO, represented by EDGAR AP AREJADO, Petitioners, vs. HON. JUDGE MAXIMINO R. ABLES, of RTC-Branch 47, Masbate City; SSGT. EDISON RURAL, CAA JOSE MATU, CAA MORIE FLORES, CAA GUILLEN TOPAS, CAA DANDY FLORES, CAA LEONARDO CALIMUTAN and CAA RENE ROM, Respondents. DECISION PERALTA, J.: Before this Court is a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, filed by petitioners Fe Rapsing, Tita C. Villanueva and Annie Aparejado, as represented by Edgar Aparejado, seeking to 1 2 set aside the Orders dated December 6, 2005 and January 11, 2006, respectively, of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Masbate City, Branch 47, in Criminal Case No. 11846. The antecedents are as follows: Respondents SSgt. Edison Rural, CAA Jose Matu, CAA Morie Flores, CAA Guillien Topas, CAA Dandy Flores, CAA Leonardo Calimutan and CAA Rene Rom are members of the Alpha Company, 22nd Infantry Battalion, 9th Division of the Philippine Army based at Cabangcalan Detachment, Aroroy, Masbate. Petitioners, on the other hand, are the widows of Teogenes Rapsing, Teofilo Villanueva and Edwin Aparejado, who were allegedly killed in cold blood by the respondents. Respondents alleged that on May 3, 2004, around 1 o'clock in the afternoon, they received information about the presence of armed elements reputed to be New Peoples Army (NPA) partisans in Sitio Gaway -gaway, Barangay Lagta, Baleno, Masbate. Acting on the information, they coordinated with the Philippine National Police and proceeded to the place. Thereat, they encountered armed elements which resulted in an intense

MURDER TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE MILITARY COURT MARTIAL, AS THE SAID TRIBUNAL, BASED ON FACTS AND IN LAW, HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE INSTANT MURDER CASE. II IT IS GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO EXCESS IN JURISDICTION IF NOT GROSS IGNORANCE OF THE LAW ON THE PART OF HONORABLE JUDGE MAXIMINO ABLES TO HOLD THAT HIS ORDER DATED DECEMBER 6, 2005 COULD ONLY BE REVIEWED THROUGH AN APPEAL, AS THERE IS NO 12 TRIAL ON THE MERIT YET ON THE INSTANT CRIMINAL CASE. Petitioners alleged that the trial court gravely abused its discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction when it transferred the criminal case filed against the respondents to the jurisdiction of the military tribunal, as 13 jurisdiction over the same is conferred upon the civil courts by Republic Act No. 7055 (RA 7055). On the other hand, the respondents and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) alleged that the acts complained of are service connected and falls within the jurisdiction of the military court. The petition is meritorious. The trial court gravely abused its discretion in not taking cognizance of the case, which actually falls within its jurisdiction. It is an elementary rule of procedural law that jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case is conferred by law and is determined by the allegations of the complaint irrespective of whether the plaintiff is entitled to recover 14 upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. As a necessary consequence, the jurisdiction of the court cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in the answer or upon the motion to dismiss, for otherwise, the question of jurisdiction would almost entirely depend upon the defendant. What determines the jurisdiction of the court is the nature of the action pleaded as appearing from the allegations in the complaint. The 15 averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought are the matters to be consulted. In the case at bar, the information states that respondents, "conspiring together and mutually helping with one another, taking advantage of their superior strength, as elements of the Philippine Army, armed with their government-issued firearms with intent to kill, by means of treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot the [victims], hitting them on different parts 16 of their bodies, thereby inflicting upon them multiple gunshot wounds which caused their deaths." Murder is a crime punishable under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended, and is within the jurisdiction of 17 the RTC. Hence, irrespective of whether the killing was actually justified or not, jurisdiction to try the crime charged against the respondents has been vested upon the RTC by law. Respondents, however, contend that the military tribunal has jurisdiction over the case at bar because the crime charged was a service-connected offense allegedly committed by members of the AFP. To support their position, respondents cite the senate deliberations on R.A. 7055. Respondents stress in particular the proposal made by Senator Leticia Ramos Shahani to define a serviceconnected offense as those committed by military personnel pursuant to the lawful order of their superior 18 officer or within the context of a valid military exercise or mission. Respondents maintain that the foregoing definition is deemed part of the statute.1wphi1 However, a careful reading of R.A. 7055 indicate that the proposed definition was not included as part of the statute. The proposed definition made by Senator Shahani was not adopted due to the amendment made by Senator Wigberto E. Taada, to wit: Senator Taada. Yes, Mr. President. I would just want to propose to the Sponsor of this amendment to consider, perhaps, defining what this service-related offenses would be under the Articles of War. And so, I would submit for her consideration the following amendment to her amendment which would read as follows: AS USED IN THIS SECTION, SERVICE-CONNECTED CRIMES OR OFFENSES SHALL BE LIMITED TO THOSE DEFINED IN ARTICLES 54

TO 70, ARTICLES 72 TO 75, ARTICLES 76 TO 83 AND ARTICLES 84 TO 92, AND ARTICLES 95 TO 97, COMMONWEALTH ACT NO. 408 AS AMENDED. This would identify, I mean, specifically, what these service-related or connected offenses or crimes would be. (Emphasis supplied.) The President. What will happen to the definition of "service-connected offense" already put forward by Senator Shahani? Senator Taada. I believe that would be incorporated in the specification of the Article I have mentioned in the Articles of War. SUSPENSION OF THE SESSION The President. Will the Gentleman kindly try to work it out between the two of you? I will suspend the session for a minute, if there is no objection. There was none. It was 5:02 p.m. RESUMPTION OF THE SESSION At 5:06 p.m., the session was resumed. The President. The session is resumed. Senator Taada. Mr. President, Senator Shahani has graciously accepted my amendment to her amendment, subject to refinement and style. The President. Is there any objection? Silence There being none, the amendment is approved. In the same session, Senator Taada emphasized: Senator Taada. Section 1, already provides that crimes of offenses committed by persons subject to military law ... will be tried by the civil courts, except, those which are service-related or connected. And we specified which 20 would be considered service-related or connected under the Articles of War, Commonwealth Act No. 408. (Emphasis supplied.) The said amendment was later on reflected in the final version of the statute as Paragraph 2 of Section 1. Section 1 of R.A. 7055 reads in full: Section 1. Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other persons subject to military law, including members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Units, who commit crimes or offenses penalized under the Revised Penal Code, other special penal laws, or local government ordinances, regardless of whether or not civilians are co-accused, victims, or offended parties which may be natural or juridical persons, shall be tried by the proper civil court, except when the offense, as determined before arraignment by the civil court, is serviceconnected, in which case the offense shall be tried by court-martial: Provided, That the President of the Philippines may, in the interest of justice, order or direct at any time before arraignment that any such crimes or offenses be tried by the proper civil courts. As used in this Section, service-connected crimes or offenses shall be limited to those defined in Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72 to 92, and Articles 95 to 97 of Commonwealth Act No. 408, as amended. (Emphasis supplied) The second paragraph of Section 1 of R.A. 7055 explicitly specifies what are considered "service-connected 21 crimes or offenses" under Commonwealth Act No. 408 (CA 408), as amended, to wit: Articles 54 to 70:
19

Art. 54. Fraudulent Enlistment. Art. 55. Officer Making Unlawful Enlistment. Art. 56. False Muster. Art. 57. False Returns. Art. 58. Certain Acts to Constitute Desertion. Art. 59. Desertion. Art. 60. Advising or Aiding Another to Desert. Art. 61. Entertaining a Deserter. Art. 62. Absence Without Leave. Art. 63. Disrespect Toward the President, Vice-President, Congress of the Philippines, or Secretary of National Defense. Art. 64. Disrespect Toward Superior Officer. Art. 65. Assaulting or Willfully Disobeying Superior Officer. Art. 66. Insubordinate Conduct Toward Non-Commissioned Officer. Art. 67. Mutiny or Sedition. Art. 68. Failure to Suppress Mutiny or Sedition. Art. 69. Quarrels; Frays; Disorders. Art. 70. Arrest or Confinement. Articles 72 to 92 Art. 72. Refusal to Receive and Keep Prisoners. Art. 73. Report of Prisoners Received. Art. 74. Releasing Prisoner Without Authority. Art. 75. Delivery of Offenders to Civil Authorities. Art. 76. Misbehavior Before the Enemy. Art. 77. Subordinates Compelling Commander to Surrender. Art. 78. Improper Use of Countersign. Art. 79. Forcing a Safeguard. Art. 80. Captured Property to be Secured for Public Service. Art. 81. Dealing in Captured or Abandoned Property. Art. 82. Relieving, Corresponding With, or Aiding the Enemy. Art. 83. Spies. Art. 84. Military Property. Willful or Negligent Loss, Damage or Wrongful Disposition.

Art. 85. Waste or Unlawful Disposition of Military Property Issued to Soldiers. Art. 86. Drunk on Duty. Art. 87. Misbehavior of Sentinel. Art. 88. Personal Interest in Sale of Provisions. Art. 88-A. Unlawfully Influencing Action of Court. Art. 89. Intimidation of Persons Bringing Provisions. Art. 90. Good Order to be Maintained and Wrongs Redressed. Art. 91. Provoking Speeches or Gestures. Art. 92. Dueling. Articles 95 to 97: Art. 95. Frauds Against the Government. Art. 96. Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman. Art. 97 General Article. In view of the provisions of R.A. 7055, the military tribunals cannot exercise jurisdiction over respondents' case since the offense for which they were charged is not included in the enumeration of "service-connected offenses or crimes" as provided for under Section 1 thereof. The said law is very clear that the jurisdiction to try members of the AFP who commit crimes or offenses covered by the RPC, and which are not service-connected, lies with the civil courts. Where the law is clear and unambiguous, it must be taken to mean exactly what it says and the court has no choice but to see to it that its mandate is obeyed. There is no room for interpretation, but only 22 application. Hence, the RTC cannot divest itself of its jurisdiction over the alleged crime of multiple murder.1wphi1 WHEREFORE, the assailed Orders of the Regional Trial Court of Masbate City, Branch 47, dated December 6, 2005 and January 11, 2006, respectively, in Criminal Case No. 11846 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court, Branch 47, Masbate City, is DIRECTED to reinstate Criminal Case No. 11846 to its docket and conduct further proceedings thereon with utmost dispatch in light of the foregoing disquisition. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 192565 February 28, 2012

UNION BANK OF THE, PHILIPPINES and DESI TOMAS, Petitioners, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. DECISION BRION, J.: We review in this Rule 45 petition, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 65, Makati City (RTC-Makati City) in Civil Case No. 09-1038. The petition seeks to reverse and set aside the RTC-Makati City decision dismissing the petition for certiorari of petitioners Union Bank of the Philippines (Union Bank) and Desi Tomas (collectively, the petitioners). The RTC found that the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 63, Makati City (MeTCMakati City) did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in denying the motion to quash the information for perjury filed by Tomas.
1

The Antecedents Tomas was charged in court for perjury under Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) for making a false narration in a Certificate against Forum Shopping. The Information against her reads: That on or about the 13th day of March 2000 in the City of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously make untruthful statements under oath upon a material matter before a competent person authorized to administer oath which the law requires to wit: said accused stated in the Verification/Certification/Affidavit of merit of a complaint for sum of money with prayer for a writ of replevin docketed as [Civil] Case No. 342-00 of the Metropolitan Trial Court[,] Pasay City, that the Union Bank of the Philippines has not commenced any other action or proceeding involving the same issues in another tribunal or agency, accused knowing well that said material statement was false thereby making a willful and deliberate 2 assertion of falsehood. The accusation stemmed from petitioner Union Banks two (2) complaints for sum of money with prayer for a writ of replevin against the spouses Eddie and Eliza Tamondong and a John Doe. The first complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 98-0717, was filed before the RTC, Branch 109, Pasay City on April 13, 1998. The second complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 342-000, was filed on March 15, 2000 and raffled to the MeTC, Branch 47, Pasay City. Both complaints showed that Tomas executed and signed the Certification against Forum Shopping. Accordingly, she was charged of deliberately violating Article 183 of the RPC by falsely declaring under oath in the Certificate against Forum Shopping in the second complaint that she did not commence any other action or proceeding involving the same issue in another tribunal or agency. Tomas filed a Motion to Quash, citing two grounds. First, she argued that the venue was improperly laid since it is the Pasay City court (where the Certificate against Forum Shopping was submitted and used) and not the MeTC-Makati City (where the Certificate against Forum Shopping was subscribed) that has jurisdiction over the perjury case. Second, she argued that the facts charged do not constitute an offense because: (a) the third element of perjury the willful and deliberate assertion of falsehood was not alleged with particularity without specifying what the other action or proceeding commenced involving the same issues in another tribunal or agency; (b) there was no other action or proceeding pending in another court when the second complaint was filed; and (c) she was charged with perjury by giving false testimony while the allegations in the Information make out perjury by making a false affidavit. The MeTC-Makati City denied the Motion to Quash, ruling that it has jurisdiction over the case since the 4 Certificate against Forum Shopping was notarized in Makati City. The MeTC-Makati City also ruled that the 5 allegations in the Information sufficiently charged Tomas with perjury. The MeTC-Makati City subsequently 6 denied Tomas motion for reconsideration. The petitioners filed a petition for certiorari before the RTC-Makati City to annul and set aside the MeTC-Makati City orders on the ground of grave abuse of discretion. The petitioners anchored their petition on the rulings in 7 8 United States v. Canet and Ilusorio v. Bildner which ruled that venue and jurisdiction should be in the place where the false document was presented. The Assailed RTC Decision In dismissing the petition for certiorari, the RTC-Makati City held: *I+nsofar as the petitioners stance is concerned*,+ the more recent case of *Sy Tiong Shiou v. Sy+ (GR Nos. 174168 & 179438, March 30, 2009) however, reaffirms what has been the long standing view on the venue with respect to perjury cases. In this particular case[,] the high court reiterated the rule that the criminal action shall be instituted and tried in the court of the municipality or territory where the offense was committed, or where any of its essential ingredients occurred. It went on to declare that since the subject document[,] the execution of
3

which was the subject of the charge[,] was subscribed and sworn to in Manila[,] then the court of the said territorial jurisdiction was the proper venue of the criminal action[.] xxxx x x x Given the present state of jurisprudence on the matter, it is not amiss to state that the city court of Makati City has jurisdiction to try and decide the case for perjury inasmuch as the gist of the complaint itself which constitute[s] the charge against the petitioner dwells solely on the act of subscribing to a false certification. On the other hand, the charge against the accused in the case of Ilusorio v. Bildner, et al., based on the complaintaffidavits therein[,] was not simply the execution of the questioned documents but rather the introduction of the 9 false evidence through the subject documents before the court of Makati City. (emphasis ours) The RTC-Makati City ruled that the MeTC-Makati City did not commit grave abuse of discretion since the order denying the Motion to Quash was based on jurisprudence later than Ilusorio. The RTC-Makati City also observed that the facts in Ilusorio are different from the facts of the present case. Lastly, the RTC-Makati City ruled that the Rule 65 petition was improper since the petitioners can later appeal the decision in the principal case. The 10 RTC-Makati City subsequently denied the petitioners motion for reconsideration. The Petition The petitioners pray that we reverse the RTC-Makati City decision and quash the Information for perjury against Tomas. The petitioners contend that the Ilusorio ruling is more applicable to the present facts than our ruling in 11 Sy Tiong Shiou v. Sy Chim. They argued that the facts in Ilusorio showed that the filing of the petitions in court containing the false statements was the essential ingredient that consummated the perjury. In Sy Tiong, the perjurious statements were made in a General Information Sheet (GIS) that was submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Interestingly, Solicitor General Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz shared the petitioners view. In his Manifestation and Motion in lieu of Comment (which we hereby treat as the Comment to the petition), the Solicitor General also relied on Ilusorio and opined that the lis mota in the crime of perjury is the deliberate or intentional giving of false evidence in the court where the evidence is material. The Solicitor General observed that the criminal intent to assert a falsehood under oath only became manifest before the MeTC-Pasay City. The Issue The case presents to us the issue of what the proper venue of perjury under Article 183 of the RPC should be Makati City, where the Certificate against Forum Shopping was notarized, or Pasay City, where the Certification was presented to the trial court. The Courts Ruling We deny the petition and hold that the MeTC-Makati City is the proper venue and the proper court to take cognizance of the perjury case against the petitioners. Venue of Action and Criminal Jurisdiction Venue is an essential element of jurisdiction in criminal cases. It determines not only the place where the criminal action is to be instituted, but also the court that has the jurisdiction to try and hear the case. The reason for this rule is two-fold. First, the jurisdiction of trial courts is limited to well-defined territories such that a trial 12 court can only hear and try cases involving crimes committed within its territorial jurisdiction. Second, laying the venue in the locus criminis is grounded on the necessity and justice of having an accused on trial in the 13 municipality of province where witnesses and other facilities for his defense are available.

Unlike in civil cases, a finding of improper venue in criminal cases carries jurisdictional consequences. In determining the venue where the criminal action is to be instituted and the court which has jurisdiction over it, Section 15(a), Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides: (a) Subject to existing laws, the criminal action shall be instituted and tried in the court or municipality or territory where the offense was committed or where any of its essential ingredients occurred. [emphasis ours] The above provision should be read in light of Section 10, Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which states: Place of commission of the offense. The complaint or information is sufficient if it can be understood from its allegations that the offense was committed or some of its essential ingredients occurred at some place within the jurisdiction of the court, unless the particular place where it was committed constitutes an essential element of the offense charged or is necessary for its identification. Both provisions categorically place the venue and jurisdiction over criminal cases not only in the court where the offense was committed, but also where any of its essential ingredients took place. In other words, the venue of action and of jurisdiction are deemed sufficiently alleged where the Information states that the offense was committed or some of its essential ingredients occurred at a place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. Information Charging Perjury Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, contains the requirement for a Certificate against Forum Shopping. The Certificate against Forum Shopping can be made either by a statement under oath in the complaint or initiatory pleading asserting a claim or relief; it may also be in a sworn certification annexed to the complaint or initiatory pleading. In both instances, the affiant is required to execute a statement under oath before a duly commissioned notary public or any competent person authorized to administer oath that: (a) he or she has not theretofore commenced any action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency and, to the best of his or her knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending therein; (b) if there is such other pending action or claim, a complete statement of the present status thereof; and (c) if he or she should thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, he or she shall report that fact within five days therefrom to the court wherein his or her aforesaid complaint or initiatory pleading has been filed. In relation to the crime of perjury, the material matter in a Certificate against Forum Shopping is the truth of the required declarations which is designed to guard against 14 litigants pursuing simultaneous remedies in different fora. In this case, Tomas is charged with the crime of perjury under Article 183 of the RPC for making a false Certificate against Forum Shopping. The elements of perjury under Article 183 are: (a) That the accused made a statement under oath or executed an affidavit upon a material matter. (b) That the statement or affidavit was made before a competent officer, authorized to receive and administer oath. (c) That in the statement or affidavit, the accused made a willful and deliberate assertion of a falsehood. (d) That the sworn statement or affidavit containing the falsity is required by law or made for a legal 15 purpose. (emphasis ours) Where the jurisdiction of the court is being assailed in a criminal case on the ground of improper venue, the allegations in the complaint and information must be examined together with Section 15(a), Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. On this basis, we find that the allegations in the Information

sufficiently support a finding that the crime of perjury was committed by Tomas within the territorial jurisdiction of the MeTC-Makati City. The first element of the crime of perjury, the execution of the subject Certificate against Forum Shopping was alleged in the Information to have been committed in Makati City. Likewise, the second and fourth elements, requiring the Certificate against Forum Shopping to be under oath before a notary public, were also sufficiently alleged in the Information to have been made in Makati City: That on or about the 13th day of March 2000 in the City of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously make untruthful statements under oath upon a material matter before a competent person authorized to administer oath which the law requires to wit: said accused stated in the 16 Verification/Certification/Affidavit x x x. We also find that the third element of willful and deliberate falsehood was also sufficiently alleged to have been committed in Makati City, not Pasay City, as indicated in the last portion of the Information: [S]aid accused stated in the Verification/Certification/Affidavit of merit of a complaint for sum of money with prayer for a writ of replevin docketed as [Civil] Case No. 342-00 of the Metropolitan Trial Court[,] Pasay City, that the Union Bank of the Philippines has not commenced any other action or proceeding involving the same issues in another tribunal or agency, accused knowing well that said material statement was false thereby making a 17 willful and deliberate assertion of falsehood. (underscoring ours) Tomas deliberate and intentional assertion of falsehood was allegedly shown when she made the false declarations in the Certificate against Forum Shopping before a notary public in Makati City, despite her knowledge that the material statements she subscribed and swore to were not true. Thus, Makati City is the proper venue and MeTC-Makati City is the proper court to try the perjury case against Tomas, pursuant to Section 15(a), Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure as all the essential elements constituting the crime of perjury were committed within the territorial jurisdiction of Makati City, not Pasay City. Referral to the En Banc The present case was referred to the En Banc primarily to address the seeming conflict between the division rulings of the Court in the Ilusorio case that is cited as basis of this petition, and the Sy Tiong case that was the basis of the assailed RTC-Makati City ruling. The Cited Ilusorio and Sy Tiong Cases The subject matter of the perjury charge in Ilusorio involved false statements contained in verified petitions filed with the court for the issuance of a new owners duplicate copies of certificates of title. The verified petitions containing the false statements were subscribed and sworn to in Pasig City, but were filed in Makati City and Tagaytay City. The question posed was: which court (Pasig City, Makati City and/or Tagaytay City) had jurisdiction to try and hear the perjury cases? We ruled that the venues of the action were in Makati City and Tagaytay City, the places where the verified petitions were filed. The Court reasoned out that it was only upon filing that the intent to assert an alleged falsehood became manifest and where the alleged untruthful statement found relevance or materiality. We 18 cited as jurisprudential authority the case of United States. v. Caet which ruled: It is immaterial where the affidavit was subscribed and sworn, so long as it appears from the information that the defendant, by means of such affidavit, "swore to" and knowingly submitted false evidence, material to a point at issue in a judicial proceeding pending in the Court of First Instance of Iloilo Province. The gist of the offense charged is not the making of the affidavit in Manila, but the intentional giving of false evidence in the Court of First Instance of Iloilo Province by means of such affidavit. [emphasis and underscoring deleted]

10

In Sy Tiong, the perjured statements were made in a GIS which was subscribed and sworn to in Manila. We ruled that the proper venue for the perjury charges was in Manila where the GIS was subscribed and sworn to. We held that the perjury was consummated in Manila where the false statement was made. As supporting 19 jurisprudence, we cited the case of Villanueva v. Secretary of Justice that, in turn, cited an American case 20 entitled U.S. v. Norris. We ruled in Villanueva that Perjury is an obstruction of justice; its perpetration well may affect the dearest concerns of the parties before a tribunal. Deliberate material falsification under oath constitutes the crime of perjury, and the crime is complete when a witness' statement has once been made. The Crime of Perjury: A Background To have a better appreciation of the issue facing the Court, a look at the historical background of how the crime of perjury (specifically, Article 183 of the RPC) evolved in our jurisdiction. The RPC penalizes three forms of false testimonies. The first is false testimony for and against the defendant in a criminal case (Articles 180 and 181, RPC); the second is false testimony in a civil case (Article 182, RPC); and the third is false testimony in other cases (Article 183, RPC). Based on the Information filed, the present case involves the making of an untruthful statement in an affidavit on a material matter. These RPC provisions, however, are not really the bases of the rulings cited by the parties in their respective arguments. The cited Ilusorio ruling, although issued by this Court in 2008, harked back to the case of Caet 21 which was decided in 1915, i.e., before the present RPC took effect. Sy Tiong, on the other hand, is a 2009 ruling that cited Villanueva, a 2005 case that in turn cited United States v. Norris, a 1937 American case. 22 Significantly, unlike Canet, Sy Tiong is entirely based on rulings rendered after the present RPC took effect. The perjurious act in Caet consisted of an information charging perjury through the presentation in court of a motion accompanied by a false sworn affidavit. At the time the Caet ruling was rendered, the prevailing law on perjury and the rules on prosecution of criminal offenses were found in Section 3, Act No. 1697 of the Philippine 23 Commission, and in Subsection 4, Section 6 of General Order No. 58 for the procedural aspect. Section 3 of Act No. 1697 reads: Sec. 3. Any person who, having taken oath before a competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any case in which a law of the Philippine Islands authorizes an oath to be administered, that he will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly, or that any written testimony, declaration, disposition, or certificate by him subscribed is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true, is guilty of perjury, and shall be punished by a fine of not more than two thousand pesos and by imprisonment for not more than five years; and shall moreover, thereafter be incapable of holding any public office or of giving testimony in any court of the Philippine Islands until such time as the judgment against him is reversed. This law was copied, with the necessary changes, from Sections 5392 and 5393 of the Revised Statutes of the 26 United States. Act No. 1697 was intended to make the mere execution of a false affidavit punishable in our 27 jurisdiction. In turn, Subsection 4, Section 6 of General Order No. 58 provided that the venue shall be the court of the place where the crime was committed. As applied and interpreted by the Court in Caet, perjury was committed by the act of representing a false 28 document in a judicial proceeding. The venue of action was held by the Court to be at the place where the false document was presented since the presentation was the act that consummated the crime.
24 25

The annotation of Justices Aquino and Grio-Aquino in their textbook on the RPC interestingly explains the history of the perjury provisions of the present RPC and traces as well the linkage between Act No. 1697 and the 30 present Code. To quote these authors: Art. 180 was taken from art. 318 of the Old Penal Code and art. 154 of Del Pans Proposed Correctional Code, while art. 181 was taken from art. 319 of the old Penal Code and Art. 157 of Del Pans Proposed Correctional Code. Said arts. 318 and 319, together with art. 321 of the old Penal Code, were impliedly repealed by Act 1697, the Perjury Law, passed on August 23, 1907, which in turn was expressly repealed by the Administrative Code of 1916, Act 2657. In view of the express repeal of Act 1697, arts. 318 and 321 of the old Penal Code were deemed revived. However, Act 2718 expressly revived secs. 3 and 4 of the Perjury Law. Art. 367 of the Revised Penal Code repealed Act Nos. 1697 and 2718. It should be noted that perjury under Acts 1697 and 2718 includes false testimony, whereas, under the Revised Penal Code, false testimony includes perjury. Our law on false testimony is of Spanish origin, but our law on perjury (art. 183 taken from sec. 3 of Act 1697) is derived from American statutes. The provisions of the old Penal Code on false testimony embrace perjury committed in court or in some contentious proceeding, while perjury as defined in Act 1697 includes the making of a false affidavit. The provisions of the Revised Penal Code on false testimony "are more severe and strict than those of Act 1697" on perjury. [italics ours] With this background, it can be appreciated that Article 183 of the RPC which provides: The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon any person, who knowingly makes untruthful statements and not being included in the provisions of the next preceding articles, shall testify under oath, or make an affidavit, upon any material matter before a competent person authorized to administer an oath in cases in which the law so requires. [emphasis supplied; emphases ours] in fact refers to either of two punishable acts (1) falsely testifying under oath in a proceeding other than a criminal or civil case; and (2) making a false affidavit before a person authorized to administer an oath on any material matter where the law requires an oath. As above discussed, Sy Tiong decided under Article 183 of the RPC essentially involved perjured statements made in a GIS that was subscribed and sworn to in Manila and submitted to the SEC in Mandaluyong City. Thus, the case involved the making of an affidavit, not an actual testimony in a proceeding that is neither criminal nor civil. From this perspective, the situs of the oath, i.e., the place where the oath was taken, is the place where the offense was committed. By implication, the proper venue would have been the City of Mandaluyong the site of the SEC had the charge involved an actual testimony made before the SEC. In contrast, Caet involved the presentation in court of a motion supported and accompanied by an affidavit that contained a falsity. With Section 3 of Act No. 1697 as basis, the issue related to the submission of the affidavit in a judicial proceeding. This came at a time when Act No. 1697 was the perjury law, and made no distinction between judicial and other proceedings, and at the same time separately penalized the making of false statements under oath (unlike the present RPC which separately deals with false testimony in criminal, civil and other proceedings, while at the same time also penalizing the making of false affidavits). Understandably, the venue should be the place where the submission was made to the court or the situs of the court; it could not have been the place where the affidavit was sworn to simply because this was not the offense charged in the Information. The case of Ilusorio cited the Caet case as its authority, in a situation where the sworn petitions filed in court for the issuance of duplicate certificates of title (that were allegedly lost) were the cited sworn statements to support the charge of perjury for the falsities stated in the sworn petitions. The Court ruled that the proper venue should be the Cities of Makati and Tagaytay because it was in the courts of these cities "where the intent

29

11

to assert an alleged falsehood became manifest and where the alleged untruthful statement finds relevance or materiality in deciding the issue of whether new owners duplicate copies of the *Certificate of Condominium 31 Title] and [Transfer Certificates of Title] may issue." To the Court, "whether the perjurious statements contained in the four petitions were subscribed and sworn in Pasig is immaterial, the gist of the offense of 32 perjury being the intentional giving of false statement," citing Caet as authority for its statement. The statement in Ilusorio may have partly led to the present confusion on venue because of its very categorical tenor in pointing to the considerations to be made in the determination of venue; it leaves the impression that the place where the oath was taken is not at all a material consideration, forgetting that Article 183 of the RPC clearly speaks of two situations while Article 182 of the RPC likewise applies to false testimony in civil cases. The Ilusorio statement would have made perfect sense had the basis for the charge been Article 182 of the RPC, on the assumption that the petition itself constitutes a false testimony in a civil case. The Caet ruling would then have been completely applicable as the sworn statement is used in a civil case, although no such distinction was made under Caet because the applicable law at the time (Act No. 1697) did not make any distinction. If Article 183 of the RPC were to be used, as what in fact appears in the Ilusorio ruling, then only that portion of the article, referring to the making of an affidavit, would have been applicable as the other portion refers to false testimony in other proceedings which a judicial petition for the issuance of a new owners duplicate copy of a Certificate of Condominium Title is not because it is a civil proceeding in court. As a perjury based on the making of a false affidavit, what assumes materiality is the site where the oath was taken as this is the place where the oath was made, in this case, Pasig City. Procedurally, the rule on venue of criminal cases has been subject to various changes from the time General Order No. 58 was replaced by Rules 106 to 122 of the Rules of Court on July 1, 1940. Section 14, Rule 106 of the Rules of Court provided for the rule on venue of criminal actions and it expressly included, as proper venue, the place where any one of the essential ingredients of the crime took place.1wphi1 This change was followed by 33 34 the passage of the 1964 Rules of Criminal Procedure, the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which all adopted the 1940 Rules of Criminal Procedures expanded venue of criminal actions. Thus, the venue of criminal cases is not only in the place where the offense was committed, but also where any of its essential ingredients took place. In the present case, the Certification against Forum Shopping was made integral parts of two complaints for sum of money with prayer for a writ of replevin against the respondent spouses Eddie Tamondong and Eliza B. Tamondong, who, in turn, filed a complaint-affidavit against Tomas for violation of Article 183 of the RPC. As alleged in the Information that followed, the criminal act charged was for the execution by Tomas of an affidavit that contained a falsity. Under the circumstances, Article 183 of the RPC is indeed the applicable provision; thus, jurisdiction and venue should be determined on the basis of this article which penalizes one who "make[s] an affidavit, upon any material matter before a competent person authorized to administer an oath in cases in which the law so requires." The constitutive act of the offense is the making of an affidavit; thus, the criminal act is consummated when the statement containing a falsity is subscribed and sworn before a duly authorized person. Based on these considerations, we hold that our ruling in Sy Tiong is more in accord with Article 183 of the RPC and Section 15(a), Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. To reiterate for the guidance of the Bar and the Bench, the crime of perjury committed through the making of a false affidavit under Article 183 of the RPC is committed at the time the affiant subscribes and swears to his or her affidavit since it is at that time that all the elements of the crime of perjury are executed. When the crime is committed through false testimony under oath in a proceeding that is neither criminal nor civil, venue is at the place where the testimony under oath is given. If in lieu of or as supplement to the actual testimony made in a proceeding that is neither criminal nor civil, a written sworn statement is submitted, venue may either be at the place where the sworn statement is

submitted or where the oath was taken as the taking of the oath and the submission are both material ingredients of the crime committed. In all cases, determination of venue shall be based on the acts alleged in the Information to be constitutive of the crime committed. WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby DENY the petition for lack of merit. Costs against the petitioners. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 179488 April 23, 2012

COSCO PHILIPPINES SHIPPING, INC., Petitioner, vs. KEMPER INSURANCE COMPANY, Respondent. DECISION PERALTA, J.: This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to reverse and set aside the 1 2 Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. CV No. 75895, entitled Kemper Insurance Company v. Cosco Philippines Shipping, Inc. The CA Decision reversed and set aside the Order dated March 22, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 8, Manila, which granted the Motion to Dismiss filed by petitioner Cosco Philippines Shipping, Inc., and ordered that the case be remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. The antecedents are as follows: Respondent Kemper Insurance Company is a foreign insurance company based in Illinois, United States of America (USA) with no license to engage in business in the Philippines, as it is not doing business in the Philippines, except in isolated transactions; while petitioner is a domestic shipping company organized in accordance with Philippine laws. In 1998, respondent insured the shipment of imported frozen boneless beef (owned by Genosi, Inc.), which was loaded at a port in Brisbane, Australia, for shipment to Genosi, Inc. (the importer-consignee) in the Philippines. However, upon arrival at the Manila port, a portion of the shipment was rejected by Genosi, Inc. by reason of spoilage arising from the alleged temperature fluctuations of petitioner's reefer containers. Thus, Genosi, Inc. filed a claim against both petitioner shipping company and respondent Kemper Insurance Company. The claim was referred to McLarens Chartered for investigation, evaluation, and adjustment of the claim. After processing the claim documents, McLarens Chartered recommended a settlement of the claim in the amount of $64,492.58, which Genosi, Inc. (the consignee-insured) accepted. Thereafter, respondent paid the claim of Genosi, Inc. (the insured) in the amount of $64,492.58. Consequently, 3 Genosi, Inc., through its General Manager, Avelino S. Mangahas, Jr., executed a Loss and Subrogation Receipt dated September 22, 1999, stating that Genosi, Inc. received from respondent the amount of $64,492.58 as the full and final satisfaction compromise, and discharges respondent of all claims for losses and expenses sustained by the property insured, under various policy numbers, due to spoilage brought about by machinery breakdown which occurred on October 25, November 7 and 10, and December 5, 14, and 18, 1998; and, in consideration thereof, subrogates respondent to the claims of Genosi, Inc. to the extent of the said amount. Respondent then made demands upon petitioner, but the latter failed and refused to pay the said amount. Hence, on October 28, 1999, respondent filed a Complaint for Insurance Loss and Damages against petitioner before the trial court, docketed as Civil Case No. 99-95561, entitled Kemper Insurance Company v. Cosco Philippines Shipping, Inc. Respondent alleged that despite repeated demands to pay and settle the total amount of US$64,492.58, representing the value of the loss, petitioner failed and refused to pay the same, thereby
4

12

causing damage and prejudice to respondent in the amount of US$64,492.58; that the loss and damage it sustained was due to the fault and negligence of petitioner, specifically, the fluctuations in the temperature of the reefer container beyond the required setting which was caused by the breakdown in the electronics controller assembly; that due to the unjustified failure and refusal to pay its just and valid claims, petitioner should be held liable to pay interest thereon at the legal rate from the date of demand; and that due to the unjustified refusal of the petitioner to pay the said amount, it was compelled to engage the services of a counsel whom it agreed to pay 25% of the whole amount due as attorney's fees. Respondent prayed that after due hearing, judgment be rendered in its favor and that petitioner be ordered to pay the amount of US$64,492.58, or its equivalent in Philippine currency at the prevailing foreign exchange rate, or a total of P2,594,513.00, with interest thereon at the legal rate from date of demand, 25% of the whole amount due as attorney's fees, and costs. In its Answer dated November 29, 1999, petitioner insisted, among others, that respondent had no capacity to sue since it was doing business in the Philippines without the required license; that the complaint has prescribed and/or is barred by laches; that no timely claim was filed; that the loss or damage sustained by the shipments, if any, was due to causes beyond the carrier's control and was due to the inherent nature or insufficient packing of the shipments and/or fault of the consignee or the hired stevedores or arrastre operator or the fault of persons whose acts or omissions cannot be the basis of liability of the carrier; and that the subject shipment was discharged under required temperature and was complete, sealed, and in good order condition. During the pre-trial proceedings, respondent's counsel proffered and marked its exhibits, while petitioner's counsel manifested that he would mark his client's exhibits on the next scheduled pre-trial. However, on 6 November 8, 2001, petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss, contending that the same was filed by one Atty. Rodolfo A. Lat, who failed to show his authority to sue and sign the corresponding certification against forum shopping. It argued that Atty. Lat's act of signing the certification against forum shopping was a clear violation of Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Court. In its Order dated March 22, 2002, the trial court granted petitioner's Motion to Dismiss and dismissed the case without prejudice, ruling that it is mandatory that the certification must be executed by the petitioner himself, and not by counsel. Since respondent's counsel did not have a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) to act on its behalf, hence, the certification against forum shopping executed by said counsel was fatally defective and constituted a valid cause for dismissal of the complaint. Respondent's Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the trial court in an Order dated July 9, 2002. On appeal by respondent, the CA, in its Decision dated March 23, 2007, reversed and set aside the trial court's order. The CA ruled that the required certificate of non-forum shopping is mandatory and that the same must be signed by the plaintiff or principal party concerned and not by counsel; and in case of corporations, the physical act of signing may be performed in behalf of the corporate entity by specifically authorized individuals. However, the CA pointed out that the factual circumstances of the case warranted the liberal application of the rules and, as such, ordered the remand of the case to the trial court for further proceedings. Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration was later denied by the CA in the Resolution dated September 3, 2007. Hence, petitioner elevated the case to this Court via Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, with the following issues: THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN RULING THAT ATTY. RODOLFO LAT WAS PROPERLY AUTHORIZED BY THE RESPONDENT TO SIGN THE CERTIFICATE AGAINST FORUM SHOPPING DESPITE THE UNDISPUTED FACTS THAT:
11 12 10 8 9 7 5

A) THE PERSON WHO EXECUTED THE SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY (SPA) APPOINTING ATTY. LAT AS RESPONDENT'S ATTORNEY-IN-FACT WAS MERELY AN UNDERWRITER OF THE RESPONDENT WHO HAS NOT SHOWN PROOF THAT HE WAS AUTHORIZED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF RESPONDENT TO DO SO. B) THE POWERS GRANTED TO ATTY. LAT REFER TO [THE AUTHORITY TO REPRESENT DURING THE] PRE13 TRIAL [STAGE] AND DO NOT COVER THE SPECIFIC POWER TO SIGN THE CERTIFICATE. Petitioner alleged that respondent failed to submit any board resolution or secretary's certificate authorizing Atty. Lat to institute the complaint and sign the certificate of non-forum shopping on its behalf. Petitioner submits that since respondent is a juridical entity, the signatory in the complaint must show proof of his or her 14 authority to sign on behalf of the corporation. Further, the SPA dated May 11, 2000, submitted by Atty. Lat, which was notarized before the Consulate General of Chicago, Illinois, USA, allegedly authorizing him to represent respondent in the pre-trial and other stages of the proceedings was signed by one Brent Healy (respondent's underwriter), who lacks authorization from its board of directors. In its Comment, respondent admitted that it failed to attach in the complaint a concrete proof of Atty. Lat's authority to execute the certificate of non-forum shopping on its behalf. However, there was subsequent compliance as respondent submitted an authenticated SPA empowering Atty. Lat to represent it in the pre-trial and all stages of the proceedings. Further, it averred that petitioner is barred by laches from questioning the purported defect in respondent's certificate of non-forum shopping. The main issue in this case is whether Atty. Lat was properly authorized by respondent to sign the certification against forum shopping on its behalf. The petition is meritorious. We have consistently held that the certification against forum shopping must be signed by the principal parties. If, for any reason, the principal party cannot sign the petition, the one signing on his behalf must have been duly 16 authorized. With respect to a corporation, the certification against forum shopping may be signed for and on its behalf, by a specifically authorized lawyer who has personal knowledge of the facts required to be disclosed in 17 such document. A corporation has no power, except those expressly conferred on it by the Corporation Code and those that are implied or incidental to its existence. In turn, a corporation exercises said powers through its board of directors and/or its duly authorized officers and agents. Thus, it has been observed that the power of a corporation to sue and be sued in any court is lodged with the board of directors that exercises its corporate powers. In turn, physical acts of the corporation, like the signing of documents, can be performed only by natural 18 persons duly authorized for the purpose by corporate by-laws or by a specific act of the board of directors. In Philippine Airlines, Inc. v. Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP), we ruled that only individuals vested with authority by a valid board resolution may sign the certificate of non-forum shopping on behalf of a corporation. We also required proof of such authority to be presented. The petition is subject to dismissal if a certification was submitted unaccompanied by proof of the signatory's authority. In the present case, since respondent is a corporation, the certification must be executed by an officer or member of the board of directors or by one who is duly authorized by a resolution of the board of directors; 20 otherwise, the complaint will have to be dismissed. The lack of certification against forum shopping is generally not curable by mere amendment of the complaint, but shall be a cause for the dismissal of the case without 21 prejudice. The same rule applies to certifications against forum shopping signed by a person on behalf of a corporation which are unaccompanied by proof that said signatory is authorized to file the complaint on behalf 22 of the corporation. There is no proof that respondent, a private corporation, authorized Atty. Lat, through a board resolution, to sign the verification and certification against forum shopping on its behalf. Accordingly, the certification against
19 15

13

forum shopping appended to the complaint is fatally defective, and warrants the dismissal of respondent's complaint for Insurance Loss and Damages (Civil Case No. 99-95561) against petitioner. In Republic v. Coalbrine International Philippines, Inc., the Court cited instances wherein the lack of authority of the person making the certification of non-forum shopping was remedied through subsequent compliance by the parties therein. Thus, [w]hile there were instances where we have allowed the filing of a certification against non-forum shopping by someone on behalf of a corporation without the accompanying proof of authority at the time of its filing, we did so on the basis of a special circumstance or compelling reason. Moreover, there was a subsequent compliance by the submission of the proof of authority attesting to the fact that the person who signed the certification was duly authorized. In China Banking Corporation v. Mondragon International Philippines, Inc., the CA dismissed the petition filed by China Bank, since the latter failed to show that its bank manager who signed the certification against non-forum shopping was authorized to do so. We reversed the CA and said that the case be decided on the merits despite the failure to attach the required proof of authority, since the board resolution which was subsequently attached recognized the pre-existing status of the bank manager as an authorized signatory. In Abaya Investments Corporation v. Merit Philippines, where the complaint before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila was instituted by petitioner's Chairman and President, Ofelia Abaya, who signed the verification and certification against non-forum shopping without proof of authority to sign for the corporation, we also relaxed the rule. We did so taking into consideration the merits of the case and to avoid a re-litigation of the issues and further delay the administration of justice, since the case had already been decided by the lower courts on the 24 merits. Moreover, Abaya's authority to sign the certification was ratified by the Board. Contrary to the CA's finding, the Court finds that the circumstances of this case do not necessitate the relaxation of the rules. There was no proof of authority submitted, even belatedly, to show subsequent compliance with the requirement of the law. Neither was there a copy of the board resolution or secretary's certificate subsequently submitted to the trial court that would attest to the fact that Atty. Lat was indeed authorized to file said complaint and sign the verification and certification against forum shopping, nor did respondent satisfactorily explain why it failed to comply with the rules. Thus, there exists no cogent reason for the relaxation of the rule on this matter. Obedience to the requirements of procedural rules is needed if we are to expect fair results therefrom, and utter disregard of the rules cannot justly be rationalized by harking on the policy of liberal 25 construction. Moreover, the SPA dated May 11, 2000, submitted by respondent allegedly authorizing Atty. Lat to appear on behalf of the corporation, in the pre-trial and all stages of the proceedings, signed by Brent Healy, was fatally defective and had no evidentiary value. It failed to establish Healy's authority to act in behalf of respondent, in view of the absence of a resolution from respondent's board of directors or secretary's certificate proving the same. Like any other corporate act, the power of Healy to name, constitute, and appoint Atty. Lat as respondent's attorney-in-fact, with full powers to represent respondent in the proceedings, should have been evidenced by a board resolution or secretary's certificate. Respondent's allegation that petitioner is estopped by laches from raising the defect in respondent's certificate of non-forum shopping does not hold water. In Tamondong v. Court of Appeals, we held that if a complaint is filed for and in behalf of the plaintiff who is not authorized to do so, the complaint is not deemed filed. An unauthorized complaint does not produce any legal effect. Hence, the court should dismiss the complaint on the ground that it has no jurisdiction over the 27 complaint and the plaintiff. Accordingly, since Atty. Lat was not duly authorized by respondent to file the
26 23

complaint and sign the verification and certification against forum shopping, the complaint is considered not filed and ineffectual, and, as a necessary consequence, is dismissable due to lack of jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is the power with which courts are invested for administering justice; that is, for hearing and deciding cases. In order for the court to have authority to dispose of the case on the merits, it must acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties. Courts acquire jurisdiction over the plaintiffs upon the filing 28 of the complaint, and to be bound by a decision, a party should first be subjected to the court's jurisdiction. Clearly, since no valid complaint was ever filed with the RTC, Branch 8, Manila, the same did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of respondent.1wphi1 Since the court has no jurisdiction over the complaint and respondent, petitioner is not estopped from challenging the trial court's jurisdiction, even at the pre-trial stage of the proceedings. This is so because the issue of jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal, and is not lost by waiver or 29 by estoppel. In Regalado v. Go, the Court held that laches should be clearly present for the Sibonghanoy doctrine to apply, thus: Laches is defined as the "failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier, it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable length of time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it." The ruling in People v. Regalario that was based on the landmark doctrine enunciated in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy on the matter of jurisdiction by estoppel is the exception rather than the rule. Estoppel by laches may be invoked to bar the issue of lack of jurisdiction only in cases in which the factual milieu is analogous to that in the cited case. In such controversies, laches should have been clearly present; that is, lack of jurisdiction must have been raised so belatedly as to warrant the presumption that the party entitled to assert it had abandoned or declined to assert it. In Sibonghanoy, the defense of lack of jurisdiction was raised for the first time in a motion to dismiss filed by the Surety almost 15 years after the questioned ruling had been rendered. At several stages of the proceedings, in the court a quo as well as in the Court of Appeals, the Surety invoked the jurisdiction of the said courts to obtain affirmative relief and submitted its case for final adjudication on the merits. It was only when the adverse 32 decision was rendered by the Court of Appeals that it finally woke up to raise the question of jurisdiction. The factual setting attendant in Sibonghanoy is not similar to that of the present case so as to make it fall under the doctrine of estoppel by laches. Here, the trial court's jurisdiction was questioned by the petitioner during the pre-trial stage of the proceedings, and it cannot be said that considerable length of time had elapsed for laches to attach. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision and the Resolution of the Court of Appeals, dated March 23, 2007 and September 3, 2007, respectively, in CA-G.R. CV No. 75895 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Orders of the Regional Trial Court, dated March 22, 2002 and July 9, 2002, respectively, in Civil Case No. 99-95561, are REINSTATED. SO ORDERED. G. R. No. 162322 March 14, 2012
30 31

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, vs. BANTIGUE POINT DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondent.

14

DECISION SERENO, J.: This Rule 45 Petition requires this Court to address the issue of the proper scope of the delegated jurisdiction of municipal trial courts in land registration cases. Petitioner Republic of the Philippines (Republic) assails the 1 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 70349, which affirmed the Decision of the Municipal 2 Trial Court (MTC) of San Juan, Batangas in LRC Case No. N-98-20, LRA Record No. 68329, granting respondent Bantigue Point Development Corporations (Corporation) application for original registration of a parcel of land. Since only questions of law have been raised, petitioner need not have filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the assailed CA Decision before filing this Petition for Review. The Facts On 17 July 1997, respondent Bantigue Point Development Corporation filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Rosario, Batangas an application for original registration of title over a parcel of land with an assessed value of 4,330, 1,920 and 8,670, or a total assessed value of 14,920 for the entire property, more particularly described as Lot 8060 of Cad 453-D, San Juan Cadastre, with an area of more or less 10,732 square meters, 3 located at Barangay Barualte, San Juan, Batangas. On 18 July 1997, the RTC issued an Order setting the case for initial hearing on 22 October 1997. On 7 August 5 1997, it issued a second Order setting the initial hearing on 4 November 1997. Petitioner Republic filed its Opposition to the application for registration on 8 January 1998 while the records 6 were still with the RTC. On 31 March 1998, the RTC Clerk of Court transmitted motu proprio the records of the case to the MTC of San 7 Juan, because the assessed value of the property was allegedly less than 100,000. Thereafter, the MTC entered an Order of General Default and commenced with the reception of evidence. 10 Among the documents presented by respondent in support of its application are Tax Declarations, a Deed of 11 Absolute Sale in its favor, and a Certification from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Batangas City that the lot in question 12 13 is within the alienable and disposable zone. Thereafter, it awarded the land to respondent Corporation. Acting on an appeal filed by the Republic, the CA ruled that since the former had actively participated in the proceedings before the lower court, but failed to raise the jurisdictional challenge therein, petitioner is thereby 15 estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the lower court on appeal. The CA further found that respondent Corporation had sufficiently established the latters registrable title over the subject property after having proven open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the subject land by itself and its 16 predecessors-in-interest even before the outbreak of World War II. Dissatisfied with the CAs ruling, petitioner Republic filed this instant Rule 45 Petition and raised the following arguments in support of its appeal: I. THE REPUBLIC CANNOT BE ESTOPPED FROM QUESTIONING THE JURISDICTION OF THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT OVER THE APPLICATION FOR ORIGINAL REGISTRATION OF LAND TITLE EVEN FOR THE FIRST TIME ON APPEAL II. THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT FAILED TO ACQUIRE JURISDICTION OVER THE APPLICATION FOR 17 ORIGINAL REGISTRATION OF LAND TITLE.
14 8 9 4

The Courts Ruling We uphold the jurisdiction of the MTC, but remand the case to the court a quo for further proceedings in order to determine if the property in question forms part of the alienable and disposable land of the public domain. I The Republic is not estopped from raising the issue of jurisdiction in this case. At the outset, we rule that petitioner Republic is not estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the lower court, even if the former raised the jurisdictional question only on appeal. The rule is settled that lack of 18 jurisdiction over the subject matter may be raised at any stage of the proceedings. Jurisdiction over the subject 19 matter is conferred only by the Constitution or the law. It cannot be acquired through a waiver or enlarged by 20 the omission of the parties or conferred by the acquiescence of the court. Consequently, questions of 21 jurisdiction may be cognizable even if raised for the first time on appeal. The ruling of the Court of Appeals that "a party may be estopped from raising such [jurisdictional] question if he has actively taken part in the very proceeding which he questions, belatedly objecting to the courts jurisdiction 22 in the event that the judgment or order subsequently rendered is adverse to him" is based on the doctrine of 23 estoppel by laches. We are aware of that doctrine first enunciated by this Court in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy. In Tijam, the party-litigant actively participated in the proceedings before the lower court and filed pleadings therein. Only 15 years thereafter, and after receiving an adverse Decision on the merits from the appellate court, did the party-litigant question the lower courts jurisdiction. Considering the unique facts in that case, we held that estoppel by laches had already precluded the party-litigant from raising the question of lack of jurisdiction 24 on appeal. In Figueroa v. People, we cautioned that Tijam must be construed as an exception to the general rule and applied only in the most exceptional cases whose factual milieu is similar to that in the latter case. The facts are starkly different in this case, making the exceptional rule in Tijam inapplicable. Here, petitioner 25 Republic filed its Opposition to the application for registration when the records were still with the RTC. At that point, petitioner could not have questioned the delegated jurisdiction of the MTC, simply because the case was not yet with that court. When the records were transferred to the MTC, petitioner neither filed pleadings nor requested affirmative relief from that court. On appeal, petitioner immediately raised the jurisdictional question 26 in its Brief. Clearly, the exceptional doctrine of estoppel by laches is inapplicable to the instant appeal. Laches has been defined as the "failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting the presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has 27 abandoned or declined to assert it." In this case, petitioner Republic has not displayed such unreasonable failure or neglect that would lead us to conclude that it has abandoned or declined to assert its right to question the lower court's jurisdiction. II The Municipal Trial Court properly acquired jurisdiction over the case. In assailing the jurisdiction of the lower courts, petitioner Republic raised two points of contention: (a) the period for setting the date and hour of the initial hearing; and (b) the value of the land to be registered. First, petitioner argued that the lower court failed to acquire jurisdiction over the application, because the RTC set the date and hour of the initial hearing beyond the 90-day period provided under the Property Registration 28 Decree. We disagree. The Property Registration Decree provides:

15

Sec. 23. Notice of initial hearing, publication, etc. - The court shall, within five days from filing of the application, issue an order setting the date and hour of the initial hearing which shall not be earlier than forty-five days nor later than ninety days from the date of the order. x x x. In this case, the application for original registration was filed on 17 July 1997. On 18 July 1997, or a day after the filing of the application, the RTC immediately issued an Order setting the case for initial hearing on 22 30 October 1997, which was 96 days from the Order. While the date set by the RTC was beyond the 90-day period provided for in Section 23, this fact did not affect the jurisdiction of the trial court. In Republic v. Manna 31 Properties, Inc., petitioner Republic therein contended that there was failure to comply with the jurisdictional requirements for original registration, because there were 125 days between the Order setting the date of the initial hearing and the initial hearing itself. We ruled that the lapse of time between the issuance of the Order setting the date of initial hearing and the date of the initial hearing itself was not fatal to the application. Thus, we held: x x x [A] party to an action has no control over the Administrator or the Clerk of Court acting as a land court; he has no right to meddle unduly with the business of such official in the performance of his duties. A party cannot intervene in matters within the exclusive power of the trial court. No fault is attributable to such party if the trial court errs on matters within its sole power. It is unfair to punish an applicant for an act or omission over which the applicant has neither responsibility nor control, especially if the applicant has complied with all the 32 requirements of the law. Indeed, it would be the height of injustice to penalize respondent Corporation by dismissing its application for registration on account of events beyond its control. Moreover, since the RTC issued a second Order on 7 August 1997 setting the initial hearing on 4 November 33 1997, within the 90-day period provided by law, petitioner Republic argued that the jurisdictional defect was still not cured, as the second Order was issued more than five days from the filing of the application, again 34 contrary to the prescribed period under the Property Registration Decree. Petitioner is incorrect. The RTCs failure to issue the Order setting the date and hour of the initial hearing within five days from the filing of the application for registration, as provided in the Property Registration Decree, did not affect the courts its jurisdiction. Observance of the five-day period was merely directory, and failure to issue the Order within that period did not deprive the RTC of its jurisdiction over the case. To rule that compliance with the five-day period is mandatory would make jurisdiction over the subject matter dependent upon the trial court. Jurisdiction over 35 the subject matter is conferred only by the Constitution or the law. It cannot be contingent upon the action or inaction of the court. This does not mean that courts may disregard the statutory periods with impunity. We cannot assume that the 36 law deliberately meant the provision "to become meaningless and to be treated as a dead letter." However, the records of this case do not show such blatant disregard for the law. In fact, the RTC immediately set the case 37 for initial hearing a day after the filing of the application for registration, except that it had to issue a second Order because the initial hearing had been set beyond the 90-day period provided by law. Second, petitioner contended that since the selling price of the property based on the Deed of Sale annexed to 39 respondents application for original registration was 160,000, the MTC did not have jurisdiction over the 40 case. Under Section 34 of the Judiciary Reorganization Act, as amended, the MTCs delegated jurisdiction to try cadastral and land registration cases is limited to lands, the value of which should not exceed 100,000. We are not persuaded.
38 29

The delegated jurisdiction of the MTC over cadastral and land registration cases is indeed set forth in the Judiciary Reorganization Act, which provides: Sec. 34. Delegated Jurisdiction in Cadastral and Land Registration Cases. - Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts may be assigned by the Supreme Court to hear and determine cadastral or land registration cases covering lots where there is no controversy or opposition, or contested lots where the value of which does not exceed One hundred thousand pesos (100,000.00), such value to be ascertained by the affidavit of the claimant or by agreement of the respective claimants if there are more than one, or from the corresponding tax declaration of the real property. Their decision in these cases shall be appealable in the same manner as decisions of the Regional Trial Courts. (As amended by R.A. No. 7691) (Emphasis supplied.) Thus, the MTC has delegated jurisdiction in cadastral and land registration cases in two instances: first, where there is no controversy or opposition; or, second, over contested lots, the value of which does not exceed 100,000. The case at bar does not fall under the first instance, because petitioner opposed respondent Corporations 41 application for registration on 8 January 1998. However, the MTC had jurisdiction under the second instance, because the value of the lot in this case does not exceed 100,000. Contrary to petitioners contention, the value of the land should not be determined with reference to its selling price. Rather, Section 34 of the Judiciary Reorganization Act provides that the value of the property sought to be registered may be ascertained in three ways: first, by the affidavit of the claimant; second, by agreement of the respective claimants, if there are more than one; or, third, from the corresponding tax declaration of the real 42 property. In this case, the value of the property cannot be determined using the first method, because the records are bereft of any affidavit executed by respondent as to the value of the property. Likewise, valuation cannot be done through the second method, because this method finds application only where there are multiple claimants who agree on and make a joint submission as to the value of the property. Here, only respondent Bantigue Point Development Corporation claims the property. The value of the property must therefore be ascertained with reference to the corresponding Tax Declarations submitted by respondent Corporation together with its application for registration. From the records, we find that the assessed value of the property is 4,330, 1,920 and 8,670, or a total assessed value of 14,920 for the 43 entire property. Based on these Tax Declarations, it is evident that the total value of the land in question does not exceed 100,000. Clearly, the MTC may exercise its delegated jurisdiction under the Judiciary Reorganization Act, as amended. III A certification from the CENRO is not sufficient proof that the property in question is alienable and disposable land of the public domain. Even as we affirm the propriety of the MTCs exercise of its delegated jurisdiction, we find that the lower court erred in granting respondent Corporations application for original registration in the ab sence of sufficient proof that the property in question was alienable and disposable land of the public domain. The Regalian doctrine dictates that all lands of the public domain belong to the State. The applicant for land registration has the burden of overcoming the presumption of State ownership by establishing through incontrovertible evidence that the land sought to be registered is alienable or disposable based on a positive act 45 of the government. We held in Republic v. T.A.N. Properties, Inc. that a CENRO certification is insufficient to
44

16

prove the alienable and disposable character of the land sought to be registered. The applicant must also show sufficient proof that the DENR Secretary has approved the land classification and released the land in question as 47 alienable and disposable. Thus, the present rule is that an application for original registration must be accompanied by (1) a CENRO or 48 PENRO Certification; and (2) a copy of the original classification approved by the DENR Secretary and certified 49 as a true copy by the legal custodian of the official records. Here, respondent Corporation only presented a CENRO certification in support of its application. Clearly, this falls short of the requirements for original registration.1wphi1 We therefore remand this case to the court a quo for reception of further evidence to prove that the property in question forms part of the alienable and disposable land of the public domain. If respondent Bantigue Point Development Corporation presents a certified true copy of the original classification approved by the DENR Secretary, the application for original registration should be granted. If it fails to present sufficient proof that the land in question is alienable and disposable based on a positive act of the government, the application should be denied. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition for Review is DENIED. Let this case be REMANDED to the Municipal Trial Court of San Juan, Batangas, for reception of evidence to prove that the property sought to be registered is alienable and disposable land of the public domain. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 171219 September 3, 2012
50

46

The Assailed Decision of the Trial Courts The [MeTC] rendered its decision on November 29, 1999 in favor of herein respondent-appellee ANGELES, the dispositive portion of which reads, to wit: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered for the plaintiff and against the defendant ordering the latter and all persons claiming under her to: 1) vacate the parcel of land located at 1287 Castanos Street, Sampaloc, Manila, and surrender the same to the plaintiff; 2) pay the plaintiff the sum of Php1,000.00 monthly as reasonable compensation for her use and occupancy of the above parcel of land beginning November 1993 up to the time she has actually vacated the premises; 3) pay the plaintiff the sum of Php5,000.00 as attorney's fees and the cost of suit. SO ORDERED. In the appeal filed by petitioner-appellant SALVADOR, she alleged, among others, that DIAZ, who filed the complaint for ejectment, had no authority whatsoever from respondent-appellee ANGELES at the time of filing of the suit. Petitioner-appellant SALVADOR's appeal was denied by the [Regional Trial Court] RTC in a Decision dated March 12, 2003. The Motion for Reconsideration filed by SALVADOR was denied in an Order dated March 3 16, 2004. Petitioner elevated the case to the CA via a petition for review, but in a Decision dated September 16, 2005, said petition was dismissed for lack of merit. The CA affirmed the factual findings of the lower courts that Galiga, the person who supposedly sold the subject premises to petitioner, was a mere lessee of respondent, the registered owner of the land in question. Such being the case, the lower court ruled that Galiga could not have validly transferred ownership of subject property to herein petitioner. It was ruled by the CA that there were no significant facts or circumstances that the trial court overlooked or misinterpreted, thus, it found no reason to overturn the factual findings of the MeTC and the RTC. A motion for reconsideration of said Decision was denied in a Resolution dated January 13, 2006.

ATTY. FE Q. PALMIANO-SALVADOR, Petitioner, vs. * CONSTANTINO ANGELES, substituted by LUZ G. ANGELES , Respondent. DECISION PERALTA, J.: This resolves the Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, praying that the Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) promulgated on September 16, 2005 dismissing the petition before it, and its 2 Resolution dated January 13, 2006, denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration, be reversed and set aside. The records reveal the CA's narration of facts to be accurate, to wit: xxxx Respondent-appellee ANGELES is one of the registered owners of a parcel of land located at 1287 Castanos Street, Sampaloc, Manila, evidenced by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 150872. The subject parcel of land was occupied by one Jelly Galiga (GALIGA) from 1979 up to 1993, as a lessee with a lease contract. Subsequently, Fe Salvador (SALVADOR) alleged that she bought on September 7, 1993 the subject parcel of land from GALIGA who represented that he was the owner, being one in possession. Petitioner-appellant SALVADOR remained in possession of said subject property from November 1993 up to the present. On November 18, 1993, the registered owner, the respondentappellee ANGELES, sent a letter to petitionerappellant SALVADOR demanding that the latter vacate the subject property, which was not heeded by petitioner-appellant SALVADOR. Respondent-appellee ANGELES, thru one Rosauro Diaz, Jr. (DIAZ), filed a complaint for ejectment on October 12, 1994 with the Metropolitan Trial Court [MeTC] of Manila, Branch 16, docketed as Civil Case No. 146190-CV.
1

Hence, the present petition, where one of the important issues for resolution is the effect of Rosauro Diaz's (respondent's representative) failure to present proof of his authority to represent respondent (plaintiff before the MeTC) in filing the complaint. This basic issue has been ignored by the MeTC and the RTC, while the CA absolutely failed to address it, despite petitioner's insistence on it from the very beginning, i.e., in her Answer filed with the MeTC. This is quite unfortunate, because this threshold issue should have been resolved at the outset as it is determinative of the court's jurisdiction over the complaint and the plaintiff. Note that the complaint before the MeTC was filed in the name of respondent, but it was one Rosauro Diaz who executed the verification and certification dated October 12, 1994, alleging therein that he was respondent's attorney-in-fact. There was, however, no copy of any document attached to the complaint to prove Diaz's allegation regarding the authority supposedly granted to him. This prompted petitioner to raise in her Answer and in her Position Paper, the issue of Diaz's authority to file the case. On December 11, 1995, more than a year after the complaint was filed, respondent attached to his Reply and/or Comment to Respondent's (herein petitioner) Position Paper,4 a document entitled Special Power of Attorney (SPA)5 supposedly executed by respondent in favor of Rosauro Diaz. However, said SPA was executed only on November 16, 1994, or more than a month after the complaint was filed, appearing to have been notarized by one Robert F. McGuire of Santa Clara County. Observe, further, that there was no certification from the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, California, U.S.A, that said person is indeed a notary public in Santa Clara County, California. Verily, the court cannot give full faith and credit to the official acts of said Robert McGuire, and hence, no

17

evidentiary weight or value can be attached to the document designated as an SPA dated November 16, 1994. Thus, there is nothing on record to show that Diaz had been authorized by respondent to initiate the action against petitioner.1wphi1 What then, is the effect of a complaint filed by one who has not proven his authority to represent a plaintiff in 6 filing an action? In Tamondong v. Court of Appeals, the Court categorically stated that "[i]f a complaint is filed for and in behalf of the plaintiff [by one] who is not authorized to do so, the complaint is not deemed filed. An unauthorized complaint does not produce any legal effect. Hence, the court should dismiss the complaint on the 7 ground that it has no jurisdiction over the complaint and the plaintiff." This ruling was reiterated in Cosco 8 Philippines Shipping, Inc. v. Kemper Insurance Company, where the Court went on to say that "[i]n order for the court to have authority to dispose of the case on the merits, it must acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties. Courts acquire jurisdiction over the plaintiffs upon the filing of the complaint, and to be bound by a decision, a party should first be subjected to the court's jurisdiction. Clearly, since no valid complaint was ever filed with the [MeTC], the same did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of respondent [plaintiff before 9 the lower court]." Pursuant to the foregoing rulings, therefore, the MeTC never acquired jurisdiction over this case and all proceedings before it were null and void. The courts could not have delved into the very merits of the case, because legally, there was no complaint to speak of. The court's jurisdiction cannot be deemed to have been invoked at all. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court in Civil Case No. 146190, dated November 29, 1999; the Decision of the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No. 00-96344, dated March 12, 2003; and the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 83467, are SET ASIDE AND NULLIFIED. The complaint filed by respondent before the Metropolitan Trial Court is hereby DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.

18

Estel v. Diego G.R. No. 174082; January 16, 2012 Facts. Petitioner contends that since respondents failed to allege the location of the disputed parcel of land in their complaint, the MTCC did not acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter of the said complaint. Petitioner also avers that the MTCC did not acquire jurisdiction over the case for failure of respondents to specifically allege facts constitutive of forcible entry. On the bases of these two grounds, petitioner argues that the MTCC should have dismissed the complaint (for Forcible Entry, Damages and Injunction with Application for Temporary Restraining Order) motu proprio. However, a review of the records shows that petitioner did not raise the issue of jurisdiction or venue in her Answer filed with the MTCC. Held. CA correctly held that even if the geographical location of the subject property was not alleged in the Complaint, petitioner failed to seasonably object to the same in her Affirmative Defense, and even actively participated in the proceedings before the MTCC. In fact, petitioner did not even raise this issue in her appeal filed with the RTC. Thus, she is already estopped from raising the said issue in the CA or before this Court. Estoppel sets in when a party participates in all stages of a case before challenging the jurisdiction of the lower court (Bernardo v. Heirs of Eusebio Villegas, G.R. No. 183357, March 15, 2010, 615 SCRA 466, 475). One cannot belatedly reject or repudiate the lower court's decision after voluntarily submitting to its jurisdiction, just to secure affirmative relief against one's opponent or after failing to obtain such relief (id). The Court has, time and again, frowned upon the undesirable practice of a party submitting a case for decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction when adverse (id). As to respondents' supposed failure to allege facts constitutive of forcible entry, it is settled that in actions for forcible entry, two allegations are mandatory for the municipal court to acquire jurisdiction (Lee v. Dela Paz, G.R. No. 183606, October 27, 2009, 604 SCRA 522, 535). First, the plaintiff must allege his prior physical possession of the property (id). Second, he must also allege that he was deprived of his possession by any of the means provided for in Section 1, Rule 70 of the Revised Rules of Court, namely, force, intimidation, threats, strategy, and stealth (id). In the present case, it is clear that respondents sufficiently alleged in their Complaint the material facts constituting forcible entry as they explicitly claimed that they had prior physical possession of the subject property since its purchase from petitioner, who voluntarily delivered the same to them. They also particularly described in their complaint how petitioner, together with her two sons and five other persons, encroached upon the subject property and dispossessed them of the same. Respondents' complaint contains the allegations that petitioner, abetting and conspiring with other persons, without respondents' knowledge and consent and through the use of force and intimidation, entered a portion of their land and, thereafter, uprooted and destroyed the fence surrounding the subject lot, as well as cut the trees and nipa palms planted thereon. Unlawfully entering the subject property and excluding therefrom the prior possessor would necessarily imply the use of force and this is all that is necessary (Spouses Manuel and Florentina del Rosario v. Gerry Roxas Foundation, Inc., G.R. No. 170575, June 8, 2011). In order to constitute force, the trespasser does not have to institute a state of war (Antazo v. Doblada, G.R. No. 178908, February 4, 2010, 611 SCRA 586, 594). No other proof is necessary (id). In the instant case, it is, thus, irrefutable that respondents sufficiently alleged that the possession of the subject property was wrested from them through violence and force.msfffacebook . COCOFED vs. Republic, GR Nos. 177857-58, January 24, 2012 FACTS: In 1971, Republic Act No. 6260 was enacted creating the Coconut Investment Fund (CIF). The source of the CIF was a P0.55 levy on the sale of every 100 kg. of copra. The Philippine Coconut Administration was tasked

to collect and administer the Fund. Out of the 0.55 levy, P0.02 was placed at the disposition of the COCOFED, the recognized national association of coconut producers declared by the PCA. Cocofund receipts were ought to be issued to every copra seller. During the Martial Law regime, then President Ferdinand Marcos issued several Presidential Decrees purportedly for the improvement of the coconut industry. The most relevant among these is P.D. No. 755 which permitted the use of the Fund for the acquisition of a commercial bank for the benefit of c oconut farmers and the distribution of the shares of the stock of the bank it *PCA+ acquired free to the coconut farmers (Sec.2). Thus, the PCA acquired the First United Bank, later renamed the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB). The PCA bought the 72.2% of PUBs outstanding capital stock or 137,866 shares at P200 per share (P27, 573,200.00) from Pedro Cojuangco in behalf of the coconut farmers. The rest of the Fund was deposited to the UCPB interest free. Farmers who had paid the CIF and registered their receipts with PCA were given their corresponding UCPB stock certificates. Only 16 million worth of COCOFUND receipts were registered and a large number of the coconut farmers opted to sell all/part of their UCPB shares to private individuals. Simply put, parts of the coconut levy funds went directly or indirectly to various projects and/or was converted into different assets or investments through the years. After the EDSA Revolution, President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order 1 which created the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). The PCGG aimed to assist the President in the recovery of ill-gotten wealth accumulated by the Marcoses and their cronies. PCGG was empowered to file cases for sequestration in the Sandiganbayan. Among the sequestered properties were the shares of stock in the UCPB registered in the name of over a million coconut farmers held in trust by the PCA. The Sandiganbayan allowed the sequestration by ruling in a Partial Summary Judgment that the Coconut Levy Funds are prima facie public funds and that Section 1 and 2 of PD No. 755 (and some other PDs) were unconstitutional. The COCOFED representing the over a million coconut farmers via Petition for review under Rule 45 sought the reversal of the ruling contending among others that the sequestration amounted to taking of private property without just compensation and impairment of vested right of ownership. ISSUE: What is the NATURE of the Coconut Levy Fund? RULING: The SC ruled in favor of the REPUBLIC. To begin with, the Coconut Levy was imposed in the exercise of the States inherent power of taxation. Indeed, the Coconut Levy Funds partake the nature of TAXES. The Funds were generated by virtue of statutory enactments by the proper legislative authorities and for public purpose. The Funds were collected to advance the government avowed policy of protecting the coconut industry. The SC took judicial notice of the fact that the coconut industry is one of the great economic pillars of our nation, and coconuts and their byproducts occupy a leading position among the countries export products. Taxation is done not merely to raise revenues to support the government, but also to provide means for the rehabilitation and the stabilization of a threatened industry, which is so affected with public interest. A.M. No. RTJ-12-2321 October 3, 2012 SPOUSES JESUS G. CRISOLOGO and NANNETTE B . CRISOLOGO, Complainants, vs. JUDGE GEORGE E. OMELIO, Regional Trial Court, Branch 14, Davao City, Respondent. FACTS:

19

PETITIONERS are plaintiffs in a collection suit raffled to RTC, Branch 15, Davao City. They obtained a favorable judgment which had become final and executory on March 3, 2010. Accordingly, a Writ of Execution dated June 15, 2010 was issued for the satisfaction of said final judgment. Subsequently, a Notice of Sale was issued by Sheriff Robert M. Medialdea, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court on the subject properties. However, the properties involved were already acquired by JEWM prior to the finality of judgment. Aggrieved with the said decision, JEWM filed a complaint for Cancellation of Lien, with Application for Writ of Preliminary Injunction against the Register of Deeds, Davao City, Sheriff Robert Medialdea, JOHN and JANE DOES, and all persons acting under their directions on September 16, 2010. JEWM also filed a complaint of an indirect contempt against Sheriff Medialdea and requiring the Register of Deeds of City of Davao to cancel the auction sale annotated on the TCTs of the subject properties in favor of the Sps. Crisologo. This case was granted by the respondent Judge and ordered the Register of Deeds of City of Davao to cancel any registration or annotation of the subject Sheriffs Certificates of Sale at the back of TCTs without notifying the Sps. Crisologo. Service of summons was made only upon the Register of Deeds and Sheriff Robert Medialdea. The notice of hearing for the preliminary injunction was likewise served only upon defendants Register of Deeds and Sheriff Robert Medialdea. Sps. Crisologo, through their counsel, were pleading before Judge Omelio to recognize their entry of appearance as real parties in interest under defendants John and Jane Does in the hearing for preliminary injunction on 22 of September 2010. The case involved the cancellation of several liens carried over in TCT Nos. T-325675 and T-325676, including the liens in favor of Sps. Crisologo. However, Judge Omelio refused to recognize Sps. Crisologo due to lack of legal standing. Judge Omelio bases his refusal to recognize Sps. Crisologo on the ground of lack of the proper Motion to Intervene with Pleading-in-Intervention. Judge Omelio argues that Sps. Crisologo are not indispensable parties because their participation is not indispensable in the determination of whether or not the subsequent liens annotated on the titles of the subject properties may be properly cancelled. Sps. Crisologo claim that the case should not have proceeded because no summons were made upon the John and Jane Does impleaded in the complaint. Since defendants John and Jane Does are unidentified persons, summons must be made with leave of court and by publication. Judge Omelio, on the other hand, claims that the requirements for service of summons are not applicable where the parties claiming entitlement to summons have already appeared in court during the hearing of the petition. Sps. Crisologo further claim that JEWM filed a Motion to Render Judgment Granting Plaintiff the Relief Prayed for with Memorandum Attached on 6 December 2010. The motion, however, was heard on 8 December 2010, in violation of the three-day notice requirement. The Spouses now charged the respondent Judge of gross ignorance of the law, grave abuse of discretion, gross dereliction of duty and manifest bias for the acts showed by the latter. ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent judge is guilty of the charges.

case that cancels an annotation of a certificate of sale without notifying the buyer, in violation of the latters right to due process. A. Refusing to recognize Sps. Crisologo as indispensable party

Parties with liens annotated on the certificate of title are entitled to notice in an action for cancellation of their liens.The cancellation of Sps. Crisologos liens without notice to them is a violation of their right to due process. Consistent with Southwestern University v. Laurente, Judge Omelio should be penalized for failing to recognize Sps. Crisologo as indispensable parties and for requiring them to file a motion to intervene, considering that a simple perusal of the certificates of title would show Sps. Crisologos adverse rights because their liens are annotated at the back of the titles. For this reason, we find Judge Omelio guilty of gross ignorance of the law for refusing to recognize Sps. Crisologo as indispensable parties in the disputed case. B. Granting a contentious motion that was in violation of the three-day notice rule:

Section 4, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court provides that notice of a motion shall be served by the applicant to all parties concerned, at least three (3) days before the hearing thereof, together with a copy of the motion, and of any affidavits and other papers accompanying it; and Section 5 of the same Rule requires the notice to be directed to the parties concerned and to state the time and place for the hearing of the motion. A motion which fails to comply with these requirements is nothing but a useless piece of paper. It has been oft repeated that judges cannot be held to account or answer criminally, civilly or administratively for an erroneous judgment or decision rendered by him in good faith, or in the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption. However, it has also been held that when the law violated is elementary, a judge is subject to disciplinary action. The principles of due notice and hearing are so basic that respondents inability to accord a litigant their right thereto cannot be excused. In this case, we believe that respondents actuations reek of malice and bad faith. Thus, we find respondent guilty of gross ignorance of the law for violating the three-day notice rule and failing to give herein complainant due notice and the opportunity to be heard on the matter as mandated by Section 12, Rule 57 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. In this case, Judge Omelio granted a contentious motion which contained a defective notice of hearing. The notice of hearing was defective because it was only served two (2) days before the hearing date, instead of the mandatory three-day notice rule. Such motion should have been considered a mere scrap of paper. Judge Omelio should have denied the motion on the ground that it violated the three-day notice rule, without prejudice to JEWMs re-filing of said motion in accordance with the Rules. Judge Omelio is considered guilty of gross ignorance of the law for granting the defective motion. The three-day notice rule on motions is so elementary, that not knowing and observing it, especially in litigious and contentious motions, constitute gross ignorance of the law. C. Not complying with the rules on summons:

HELD: YES. We find Judge Omelio guilty of gross ignorance of the law for the following acts: (a) refusing to recognize Sps. Crisologo as indispensable party; (b) granting a contentious motion that was in violation of the three-day notice rule; (c) not complying with the rules on summons; and (d) rendering a decision in an indirect contempt

Judge Omelios failure to effect proper service of summons upon the defendants John and Jane Does in the complaint constitutes gross ignorance of the law. The rules and procedures on summons are very elementary, that non-observance and lack of knowledge on them constitute gross ignorance of the law, especially for judges who are supposed to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with the procedural rules. For failing to cause the proper service of summons upon defendants John and Jane Does and Sps. Crisologo, we find Judge Omelio guilty of gross ignorance of the law.

20

and RECAREDO R. DIEGO, JR., D. Rendering a decision in an indirect contempt case that cancels an annotation of a certificate of sale without notifying the buyer, in violation of the latters right to due process. Respondents. January 16, 2012 Facts: Respondents alleged constituting forcible entry, explicitly claimed of physical possession of the subject Property since it is purchase from petitioner, who voluntarily delivered the same to them. Issue: Whether or not the suit was brought in the place where the land in dispute is located was no more than a matter of venue and the court in the exercise of its jurisdiction over the case, could determine whether venue was properly or improperly laid. Held: With respect to the content of the certification against forum shopping, the rule of substantial compliance may be availed of. It does not thereby interdict substantial compliance with the provision under justifiable circumstances, as the court, binds in the instant case. The instant petition Denied. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are Affirmed.

Judge Omelios decision in the indirect contempt complaint ordered the cancellation in TCT Nos. T -325675 and T325676 of the annotation of the Sheriffs Certificate of Sale in favor of the Sps. Crisologo. Although the case was an indirect contempt complaint, it can still be considered a petition to cancel annotations because of its prayer. As provided in Section 112 of Act No. 496 and Southwestern University v. Laurente, notice is required to be given to parties whose annotations appear on the back of the certificate of title in an action for cancellation of annotations on the certificate of title. In this case, however, no summons or notices were issued to Sps. Crisologo. Only the Register of Deeds and Sheriff Medialdea were impleaded. Judge Omelio should have notified the Sps. Crisologo of the indirect contempt complaint because it included the prayer for cancellation of the annotation of sale on the subject titles, where the latter are buyers. Failure to notify the Sps. Crisologo constitutes gross ignorance of the law. We find Judge George E. Omelio GUILTY of four counts of the serious charge of gross ignorance of the law for the following acts: (a) refusing to recognize Spouses Jesus G. Crisologo and Nannette B. Crisologo as indispensable parties; (b) granting a contentious motion in violation of the three-day notice rule; (c) non-compliance with the rules on summons; and (d) rendering a decision in an indirect contempt case that cancels an annotation of a Sheriffs Certificate of Sale on two titles without notifying the buyer, in violation of the latter's right to due process. Accordingly, we impose upon Judge George E. Omelio the penalty of fine of Forty Thousand Pesos (P 40,000.00), with a warning that repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. Cosco Philippines Shipping, Inc. vs Kemper Insurance Company

Ruling: In order for the court to have authority to dispose of the c ase on the merits, it must acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties. Courts acquire jurisdiction over the plaintiffs upon the filing of the complaint, and to be bound by a decision, a party should first be subjected to the court's jurisdiction. Clearly, since no valid complaint was ever filed with the [MeTC], the same did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of respondent [plaintiff before the lower court."

Republic v Batingue Development CorporationFacts:Respondent Bantigue Point Development Corporation filed with the RTC an application fororiginal registration of title over a parcel of land. Petitioner Republic filed its Opposition. Thereafter, theRTC Clerk of Court transmitted motu proprio the records of the case to the MTC because the assessed value of the property was allegedly less than 100,000 . The MTC awarded the land to respondent. Onappeal, the CA ruled that since the former had actively participated in the proceedings before the lowercourt, but failed to raise the jurisdictional challenge therein, petitioner is thereby estopped fromquestioning the jurisdiction of the lower court on appeal.Issue:Whether or not the Republic is estop ped from questioning the courts jurisdiction Held:The rule is settled that lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter may be raised at any stage of the proceedings. Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred only by the Constitution or the law. Itcannot be acquired through a waiver or enlarged by the omission of the parties or conferred by theacquiescence of the court. Consequently, questions of jurisdiction may be cognizable even if raised forthe first time on appeal GR NoEORGIA F. ESTEL VS RECAREDO P. DIEGO, SR.