Rules 1 – 71
I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES
Concept of Remedial Law
Remedial Law is that branch of law which prescribes the method of enforcing rights or obtaining redress for their invasion
Substantive Law as Distinguished from Remedial Law
Substantive law creates, defines and regulates rights and duties regarding life, liberty or property which when violated gives rise to a cause of action (Bustos v. Lucero, 81 Phil. 640).
Remedial law prescribes the methods of enforcing those rights and obligations created by substantive law by providing a procedural system for obtaining redress for the invasion of rights and violations of duties and by prescribing rules as to how suits are filed, tried and decided by the courts.
As applied to criminal law, substantive law is that which declares what acts are crimes and prescribes the punishment for committing them, as distinguished from remedial law which provides or regulates the steps by which one who commits a crime is to be punished.
Rule-Making Power of the Supreme Court
Section 5 (5), Art. VIII of the Constitution provides that the Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speed disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court.
Limitations of the Rule-making Power of the Supreme Court
(1) The rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases
(2) They shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade
(3) They shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights (Sec. 5, Art. VIII, Constitution).
(4) The power to admit attorneys to the Bar is not an arbitrary and despotic one, to be exercised at the pleasure of the court, or from passion, prejudice or personal hostility, but is the duty of the court to exercise and regulate it by a sound and judicial discretion. (Andres vs. Cabrera, 127 SCRA 802)
Power of the Supreme Court to amend and suspend procedural rules
(1) When compelling reasons so warrant or when the purpose of justice requires it. What constitutes and good and sufficient cause that would merit suspension of the rules is discretionary upon courts. (CIR v. Migrant Pagbilao Corp., GR 159593, Oct. 12, 2006). Reasons that would warrant the suspension of the Rules: (a) the existence of special or compelling circumstances (b) merits of the case (c) cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of rules (d) a lack of ay showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory (e) the other party will not be unjustly prejudiced thereby (Sarmiento v. Zaratan, GR 167471, Feb. 5, 2007)
(2) To relieve a litigant of an injustice commensurate with his failure to comply with the prescribed procedure and the mere invocation of substantial justice is not a magical incantation that will automatically compel the Court to suspend procedural rules. (Cu-Unjieng v. CA, 479 SCRA 594)
(3) Where substantial and important issues await resolution. (Pagbilao, supra)
(4) When transcendental matters of life, liberty or state security are involved. (Mindanao Savings Loan Asso. V. Vicenta Vda. De Flores, 469 SCRA 416).
(5) The constitutional power of the Supreme Court to promulgate rules of practice and procedure necessarily carries with it the power to overturn judicial precedents on points of remedial law through the amendment of the Rules of Court (Pinga vs. Heirs of Santiago, GR 170354, June 30, 2006).
Nature of Philippine Courts
Philippine courts are both courts of law and equity. Hence, both legal and equitable jurisdiction is dispensed with in the same tribunal. (US v. Tamparong, 31 Phil. 321)
What is a Court
(1) It is an organ of government belonging to the judicial department the function of which is the application of the laws to the controversies brought before it as well as the public administration of justice.
(2) It is a governmental body officially assembled under authority of law at the appropriate time and place for the administration of justice through which the State enforces its sovereign rights and powers (21 CJS 16).
(3) It is a board or tribunal which decides a litigation or contest (Hidalgo v. Manglapus, 64 OG 3189).
Court distinguished from Judge
(1) A court is a tribunal officially assembled under authority of law; a judge is simply an officer of such tribunal;
(2) A court is an organ of the government with a personality separate and distinct from the person or judge who sits on it;
(3) A court is a being in imagination comparable to a corporation, whereas a judge is a physical person ;
(4) A court may be considered an office; a judge is a public officer; and
(5) The circumstances of the court are not affected by the circumstances that would affect the judge.
Classification of Philippine Courts
(1) Regular courts engaged in the administration of justice are organized into four (4) levels:
(a) First Level (MTCs, MeTCs, MCTCs) – which try and decide (1) criminal actions involving violations of city or municipal ordinances committed within their respective territorial jurisdiction and offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine and regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties, and (2) civil actions including ejectment, recovery of personal property with a value of not more than P300,000 outside MM or does not exceed P400,000 in MM;
(b) Second Level (RTCs, Family Courts) – courts of general jurisdiction; among the civil actions assigned to them by law are those in which the subject of litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation, or involving title to or possession of real property where the assessed value of the property exceeds P20,000 outside MM or exceeds P50,000 in MM, except actions for ejectment (forcible entry and unlawful detainer), or where the demand exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses, and cost, or the value of the personal property or controversy exceeds P300,000 outside MM or exceeds P400,000 in MM. RTCs also exercise appellate jurisdiction, to review cases appealed from courts of the first level;
(c) Third Level (Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan) – CA is an appellate court, reviewing cases appealed to it from the RTC, on questions of fact or mixed questions of fact and law. Appeals to it decided by the RTC in the exercise of original jurisdiction are a matter of right; appeals with respect to cases decided by the RTC in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction are a matter of discretion. Occasionally, CA may act as a trial court, as in actions praying for the annulment of final and executor judgments of RTCs on the ground of extrinsic fraud subsequently discovered, against which no other remedies lies.
Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over all criminal and civil cases involving graft and corrupt practices act, and such other offenses committed by public officers and employees including those in GOCCs in relation to their office. It also has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments, resolutions, or orders of RTCs whether in the exercise of their own original or appellate jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases committed by public officers or employees including those in GOCCs in relation to their office.
(d) Fourth Level (Supreme Court)
Courts of Original and Appellate Jurisdiction
(1) A court is one with original jurisdiction when actions or proceedings are originally filed with it. A court is one with appellate jurisdiction when it has the power of review over the decisions or orders of a lower court
(2) MeTCs, MCTCs and MTCs are courts of original jurisdiction without appellate jurisdiction. RTC is likewise a court of original jurisdiction with respect to cases originally filed with it; and appellate court with respect to cases decided by MTCs within its territorial jurisdiction. (Sec. 22, BP 129)
(3) CA is primarily a court of appellate jurisdiction with competence to review judgments of the RTCs and specified quasi-judicial agencies (Sec. 9, BP 129). It is also a court of original jurisdiction with respect to cases filed before it involving issuance of writs of certiorari, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus, and prohibition. CA is a court of original and exclusive jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of RTCs (Sec. 9 ,, BP 129).
(4) The SC is fundamentally a court of appellate jurisdiction but it may also be a court of original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, public ministers and consuls, and in cases involving petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus (Sec. 5, Art. VIII, Constitution). The Supreme Court en banc is not an appellate court to which decisions or resolutions of a division of the Supreme Court may be appealed.
Courts of General and Special Jurisdiction
(1) Courts of general jurisdiction are those with competence to decide on their own jurisdiction and to take cognizance of all cases, civil and criminal, of a particular nature. Courts of special (limited) jurisdiction are those which have only a special jurisdiction for a particular purpose or are clothed with special powers for the performance of specified duties beyond which they have no authority of any kind.
(2) A court may also be considered ‘general’ if it has the competence to exercise jurisdiction over cases not falling within the jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions. It is in the context that the RTC is considered a court of general jurisdiction.
Constitutional and Statutory Courts
(1) A constitutional court is one created by a direct Constitutional provision. Example of this court is the SC, which owes its creation from the Constitution itself. Only the SC is a Constitutional court.
(2) A statutory court is one created by law other than the Constitution. All courts except the SC are statutory courts. SB was not directly created by the Constitution but by law pursuant to a constitutional mandate.
Principle of Judicial Hierarchy
(1) This is an ordained sequence of recourse to courts vested with concurrent jurisdiction, beginning from the lowest, on to the next highest, and ultimately to the highest. This hierarchy is determinative of the venue of appeals, and is likewise determinative of the proper forum for petitions for extraordinary writs. This is an established policy necessary to avoid inordinate demands upon the Court’s time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, and to preclude the further clogging of the Court’s docket (Sec. 9, BP 129; Sec. 5, Art. VIII, Constitution of the Philippines).
(2) A higher court will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts. The SC is a court of last resort. It cannot and should not be burdened with the task of deciding cases in the first instances. Its jurisdiction to issue extraordinary writs should be exercised only where absolutely necessary or where serious and important reasons exist.
(3) Petitions for the issuance of extraordinary writs against first level courts should be filed with the RTC and those against the latter with the CA. a direct invocation of the SC’s original jurisdiction to issue these writs should be allowed only where there are special and important reasons therefor, clearly and specifically set out in the petition.
(4) The doctrine of hierarchy of courts may be disregarded if warranted by the nature and importance of the issues raised in the interest of speedy justice and to avoid future litigations, or in cases of national interest and of serious implications. Under the principle of liberal interpretations, for example, it may take cognizance of a petition for certiorari directly filed before it.
Doctrine of Non-interference or Doctrine of Judicial Stability
(1) Courts of equal and coordinate jurisdiction cannot interfere with each other’s orders. Thus, the RTC has no power to nullify or enjoin the enforcement of a writ of possession issued by another RTC. The principle also bars a court from reviewing or interfering with the judgment of a co-equal court over which it has no appellate jurisdiction or power of review.
(2) This doctrine applies with equal force to administrative bodies. When the law provides for an appeal from the decision of an administrative body to the SC or CA, it means that such body is co-equal with the RTC in terms of rand and stature, and logically beyond the control of the latter.
Jurisdiction – the power and authority of the court to hear, try and decide a case.
Jurisdiction over the Parties
(1) The manner by which the court acquires jurisdiction over the parties depends on whether the party is the plaintiff or the defendant
(2) Jurisdiction over the plaintiff is acquired by his filing of the complaint or petition. By doing so, he submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court.
(3) Jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is obtained either by a valid service of summons upon him or by his voluntary submission to the court’s authority.
(4) The mode of acquisition of jurisdiction over the plaintiff and the defendant applies to both ordinary and special civil actions like mandamus or unlawful detainer cases.
How jurisdiction over plaintiff is acquired
(1) Acquired when the action is commenced by the filing of the complaint. This presupposes payment of the docket fees
How jurisdiction over defendant is acquired
Jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is required only in an action in personam; it is not a prerequisite in an action in rem and quasi in rem. In an action in personam, jurisdiction over the person is necessary for the court to validly try and decide the case, while in a proceeding in rem or quasi in rem, jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is not a prerequisite to confer jurisdiction on the court, provided the latter has jurisdiction over the res.
(1) By voluntary appearance of the defendant, without service of summons or despite a defective service of summons. The defendant’s voluntary appearance in the action shall be equivalent to service of summons.
(2) Instances when appearance of defendant is not tantamount to voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the court: (a) when defendant files the necessary pleading; (b) when defendant files motion for reconsideration of the judgment by default; (c) when defendant files a petition to set aside the judgment of default; (d) when the parties jointly submit a compromise agreement for approval of the court; (e) when defendant files an answer to the contempt charge; (f) when defendant files a petition for certiorari without questioning the court’s jurisdiction over his person.
Jurisdiction over the subject matter
(1) It is the power to deal with the general subject involved in the action, and means not simply jurisdiction of the particular case then occupying the attention of the court but jurisdiction of the class of cases to which the particular case belongs. It is the power or authority to hear and determine cases to which the proceeding is question belongs.
(2) When a complaint is filed in court, the basic questions that ipso facto are to be immediately resolved by the court on its own: (a) What is the subject matter of their complaint filed before the court? (b) Does the court have jurisdiction over the said subject matter of the complaint before it? Answering these questions inevitably requires looking into the applicable laws conferring jurisdiction.
Jurisdiction versus exercise of jurisdiction
(1) Jurisdiction if the power or authority of the court. The exercise of this power or authority is the exercise of jurisdiction.
Error of jurisdiction vs. error of judgment
(1) An error of jurisdiction is one where the act complained of was issued by the court without or in excess of jurisdiction. It occurs when the court exercises a jurisdiction not conferred upon it by law, or when the court or tribunal although with jurisdiction, acts in excess of its jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or jurisdiction.
(2) An error of judgment is one which the court may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction. As long as the court acts within its jurisdiction, any alleged errors committed in the exercise of its discretion will amount to nothing more than mere errors of judgment. Errors of judgment include errors of procedure or mistakes in the court’s findings.
(3) Errors of judgment are correctible by appeal; errors of jurisdiction are correctible only by the extraordinary writ of certiorari. Any judgment rendered without jurisdiction is a total nullity and may be struck down at any time, even on appeal; the only exception is when the party raising the issue is barred by estoppel.
(4) When a court, tribunal, or officer has jurisdiction over the person and the subject matter of the dispute, the decision on all other questions arising in the case is an exercise of that jurisdiction. Consequently, all errors committed in the exercise of said jurisdiction are merely errors of judgment. Under prevailing procedural rules and jurisprudence, errors of judgment are not proper subjects of a special civil action for certiorari.
How jurisdiction is conferred and determined
(1) Jurisdiction is a matter of substantive law because it is conferred by law. This jurisdiction which is a matter of substantive law should be construed to refer only to jurisdiction over the subject matter. Jurisdiction over the parties, the issues and the res are matters of procedure. The test of jurisdiction is whether the court has the power to enter into the inquiry and not whether the decision is right or wrong.
(2) It is the duty of the court to consider the question of jurisdiction before it looks at other matters involved in the case. If the court finds that it has jurisdiction, it is the duty of the court to exercise the jurisdiction conferred upon it by law and to render a decision in a case properly submitted to it. It cannot decline to exercise its jurisdiction. Failure to do so may be enforced by way of mandamus proceeding.
Doctrine of primary jurisdiction
(1) Courts will not resolve a controversy involving a question which is within the jurisdiction of an administrative tribunal, especially where the question demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience and services of the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact.
(2) The objective is to guide a court in determining whether it should refrain from exercising its jurisdiction until after an administrative agency has determined some question or some aspect of some question arising in the proceeding before the court (Omictin vs. CA, GR 148004, January 22, 2007).
Doctrine of adherence of jurisdiction / continuity of jurisdiction
(1) In view of the principle that once a court has acquired jurisdiction, that jurisdiction continues until the court has done all that it can do in the exercise of that jurisdiction. This principle also means that once jurisdiction has attached, it cannot be ousted by subsequent happenings or events, although of a character which would have prevented jurisdiction from attaching in the first instance. The court, once jurisdiction has been acquired, retains that jurisdiction until it finally disposes of the case.
(2) Even the finality of the judgment does not totally deprive the court of jurisdiction over the case. What the court loses is the power to amend, modify or alter the judgment. Even after the judgment has become final, the court retains jurisdiction to enforce and execute it (Echegaray vs. Secretary of Justice, 301 SCRA 96).
Objection to jurisdiction over the subject matter
(1) When it appears from the pleadings or evidence on record that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter, the court shall dismiss the same. (Sec. 1, Rule 9). The court may on its own initiative object to an erroneous jurisdiction and may ex mero motu take cognizance of lack of jurisdiction at any point in the case and has a clearly recognized right to determine its own jurisdiction.
(2) Jurisdiction over the subject matter may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even for the first time on appeal. When the court dismisses the complaint for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, it is common reason that the court cannot remand the case to another court with the proper jurisdiction. Its only power is to dismiss and not to make any other order.
(3) Under the omnibus motion rule, a motion attacking a pleading like a motion to dismiss shall include all grounds then available and all objections not so included shall be deemed waived. The defense of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter is however, a defense not barred by the failure to invoke the same in a motion to dismiss already filed. Even if a motion to dismiss was filed and the issue of jurisdiction was not raised therein, a party may, when he files an answer, raise the lack of jurisdiction as an affirmative defense because this defense is not barred under te omnibus motion rule.
Effect of estoppel on objection to jurisdiction
(1) The active participation of a party in a case is tantamount to recognition of that court’s jurisdiction and will bar a party from impugning the court’s jurisdiction. Jurisprudence however, did not intend this statement to lay down the general rule. (Lapanday Agricultural & Development Corp. v. Estita, 449 SCRA 240; Mangaiag v. Catubig-Pastoral, 474 SCRA 153). The Sibonghanoy applies only to exceptional circumstances. The general rule remains: a court’s lack of jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceedings even on appeal (Francel Realty Corp. v. Sycip, 469 SCRA 424; Concepcion v. Regalado, GR 167988, Feb. 6, 2007).
(2) The doctrine of estoppels by laches in relation to objections to jurisdiction first appeared in the landmark case of Tijam vs. Sibonghanoy, 23 SCRA 29, where the SC barred a belated objection to jurisdiction that was raised only after an adverse decision was rendered by the court against the party raising the issue of jurisdiction and after seeking affirmative relief from the court and after participating in all stages of the proceedings. This doctrine is based upon grounds of public policy and is principally a question of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be enforced or asserted.
(3) The SC frowns upon the undesirable practice of submitting one’s case for decision, and then accepting the judgment only if favorable, but attacking it for lack of jurisdiction if it is not (BPI v. ALS Mgt. & Devt. Corp., 427 SCRA 564).
Jurisdiction over the issues
(1) It is the power of the court to try and decide issues raised in the pleadings of the parties.
(2) An issue is a disputed point or question to which parties to an action have narrowed down their several allegations and upon which they are desirous of obtaining a decision. Where there is no disputed point, there is no issue.
(3) Generally, jurisdiction over the issues is conferred and determined by the pleadings of the parties. The pleadings present the issues to be tried and determine whether or not the issues are of fact or law.
(4) Jurisdiction over the issues may also be determined and conferred by stipulation of the parties as when in the pre-trial, the parties enter into stipulations of facts and documents or enter into agreement simplifying the issues of the case.
(5) It may also be conferred by waiver or failure to object to the presentation of evidence on a matter not raised in the pleadings. Here the parties try with their express or implied consent issues not raised by the pleadings. The issues tried shall be treated in all respects as if they had been raised in the pleadings.
Jurisdiction over the res or property in litigation
(1) Jurisdiction over the res refers to the court’s jurisdiction over the thing or the property which is the subject of the action. Jurisdiction over the res may be acquired by the court by placing the property of thing under its custody (custodia legis). Example: attachment of property. It may also be acquired by the court through statutory authority conferring upon it the power to deal with the property or thing within the court’s territorial jurisdiction. Example: suits involving the status of the parties or suits involving the property in the Philippines of non-resident defendants.
(2) Jurisdiction over the res is acquired by the seizure of the thing under legal process whereby it is brought into actual custody of law, or it may result from the institution of a legal proceeding wherein the power of the court over the thing is recognized and made effective (Banco Español Filipino vs. Palanca, 37 Phil. 291).
Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction in petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus against the CA, COMELEC, COA, CTA, Sandiganbayan, NLRC
(2) Concurrent original jurisdiction
(a) With Court of Appeals in petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus against the RTC, CSC, Central Board of Assessment Appeals, Quasi-judicial agencies, and writ of kalikasan, all subject to the doctrine of hierarchy of courts.
(b) With the CA and RTC in petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus against lower courts and bodies and in petitions for quo warranto, and writs of habeas corpus, all subject to the doctrine of hierarchy of courts.
(c) With CA, RTC and Sandiganbayan for petitions for writs of amparo and habeas data
(d) Concurrent original jurisdiction with the RTC in cases affecting ambassadors, public ministers and consuls.
(3) Appellate jurisdiction by way of petition for review on certiorari (appeal by certiorari under Rule 45) against CA, Sandiganbayan, RTC on pure questions of law; and in cases involving the constitutionality or validity of a law or treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance or regulation, legality of a tax, impost, assessment, toll or penalty, jurisdiction of a lower court; and CTA in its decisions rendered en banc.
(4) Exceptions in which factual issues may be resolved by the Supreme Court:
(a) When the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures;
(b) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible;
(c) When there is grave abuse of discretion;
(d) When the judgment is based on misapprehension of facts;
(e) When the findings of facts are conflicting;
(f) When in making its findings the CA went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee;
(g) When the findings are contrary to the trial court;
(h) When the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based;
(i) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner’s main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent;
(j) When the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record; ad
(k) When the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if properly considered, could justify a different conclusion.
Jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals
(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction in actions for the annulment of the judgments of the RTC.
(2) Concurrent original jurisdiction
(a) With SC to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus against the RTC, CSC, CBAA, other quasi-judicial agencies mentioned in Rule 43, and the NLRC, and writ of kalikasan.
(b) With the SC and RTC to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus against lower courts and bodies and writs of quo warranto, habeas corpus, whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, and writ of continuing mandamus on environmental cases.
(c) With SC, RTC and Sandiganbayan for petitions for writs of amparo and habeas data
(3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction
(a) by way of ordinary appeal from the RTC and the Family Courts.
(b) by way of petition for review from the RTC rendered by the RTC in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction.
(c) by way of petition for review from the decisions, resolutions, orders or awards of the CSC, CBAA and other bodies mentioned in Rule 43 and of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases.
(d) over decisions of MTCs in cadastral or land registration cases pursuant to its delegated jurisdiction; this is because decisions of MTCs in these cases are appealable in the same manner as decisions of RTCs.
Jurisdiction of the Court of Tax Appeals (under RA 9282 and Rule 5, AM 05-11-07-CTA)
(1) Exclusive original or appellate jurisdiction to review by appeal
(a) Decisions of CIR in cases involving disputed assessments, refunds of internal revenue taxes, fees or other charges, penalties in relation thereto, or other matters arising under the NIRC or other laws administered by BIR;
(b) Inaction by CIR in cases involving disputed assessments, refunds of IR taxes, fees or other charges, penalties in relation thereto, or other matters arising under the NIRC or other laws administered by BIR, where the NIRC or other applicable law provides a specific period of action, in which case the inaction shall be deemed an implied denial;
(c) Decisions, orders or resolutions of the RTCs in local taxes originally decided or resolved by them in the exercise of their original or appellate jurisdiction;
(d) Decisions of the Commissioner of Customs (1) in cases involving liability for customs duties, fees or other charges, seizure, detention or release of property affected, fines, forfeitures or other penalties in relation thereto, or (2) other matters arising under the Customs law or other laws, part of laws or special laws administered by BOC;
(e) Decisions of the Central Board of Assessment Appeals in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction over cases involving the assessment and taxation of real property originally decided by the provincial or city board of assessment appeals;
(f) Decision of the secretary of Finance on customs cases elevated to him automatically for review from decisions of the Commissioner of Customs which are adverse to the government under Sec. 2315 of the Tariff and Customs Code;
(g) Decisions of Secretary of Trade and Industry in the case of non-agricultural product, commodity or article, and the Secretary of Agriculture in the case of agricultural product, commodity or article, involving dumping duties and counterveiling duties under Secs. 301 and 302, respectively, of the Tariff and Customs Code, and safeguard measures under RA 8800, where either party may appeal the decision to impose or not to impose said duties.
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction
(a) Over all criminal cases arising from violation of the NIRC of the TCC and other laws, part of laws, or special laws administered by the BIR or the BOC where the principal amount of taxes and fees, exclusive of charges and penalties claimed is less that P1M or where there is no specified amount claimed (the offenses or penalties shall be tried by the regular courts and the jurisdiction of the CTA shall be appellate);
(b) In tax collection cases involving final and executory assessments for taxes, fees, charges and penalties where the principal amount of taxes and fees, exclusive of charges and penalties claimed is less than P1M tried by the proper MTC, MeTC and RTC.
(3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction
(a) In criminal offenses (1) over appeals from the judgment, resolutions or orders of the RTC in tax cases originally decided by them, in their respective territorial jurisdiction, and (2) over petitions for review of the judgments, resolutions or orders of the RTC in the exercise of their appellate jurisdiction over tax cases originally decided by the MeTCs, MTCs, and MCTCs in their respective jurisdiction;
(b) In tax collection cases (1) over appeals from the judgments, resolutions or orders of the RTC in tax collection cases originally decided by them in their respective territorial jurisdiction; and (2) over petitions for review of the judgments, resolutions or orders of the RTC in the exercise of their appellate jurisdiction over tax collection cases originally decided by the MeTCs, MTCs and MCTCs in their respective jurisdiction.
Jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan
(1) Original jurisdiction in all cases involving
(a) Violations of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act)
(b) Violations of RA 1379 (Anti-Ill-Gotten Wealth Act)
(c) Bribery (Chapter II, Sec. 2, Title VII, Book II, RPC) where one or more of the principal accused are occupying the following positions in the government, whether in permanent, acting or interim capacity at the time of the commission of the offense
- Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (RA 6758)
- Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as G-27 and up under RA 6758
- Members of the Judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution
- Chairmen and Members of the Constitutional Commissions without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution
- All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under RA 6758
(d) Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in Sec. 4(a) of RA 7975 as amended by RA 8249 in relation to their office
(e) Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with EO Nos. 1, 2, 14-A (Sec. 4, RA 8249)
(2) Concurrent original jurisdiction with SC, CA and RTC for petitions for writs of habeas data and amparo
Jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts
(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction
(a) matters incapable of pecuniary estimation, such as rescission of contract
(b) title to, possession of, or interest in, real property with assessed value exceeding P20,000 (outside Metro Manila), or exceeds P50,000 in Metro Manila
(c) probate proceedings where the gross value of the estate exceeds P300,000 outside MM or exceeds P400,000 in MM
(d) admiralty or maritime cases where the demand or claim exceeds P300,000 outside MM or exceeds P400,000 in MM
(e) other actions involving property valued at more than P300,000 outside MM or more than P400,000 in MM
(f) criminal cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan
(2) Original exclusive jurisdiction over cases not falling within the jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions
(3) Original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide intra-corporate controversies:
(a) Cases involving devises or schemes employed by or any acts, of the board of directors, business associates, its officers or partnership, amounting to fraud and misrepresentation which may be detrimental to the interest of the public and/or of the stockholders, partners, members of associations or organizations registered with the SEC
(b) Controversies arising out of intra-corporate or partnership relations, between and among stockholders, members or associates; between any or all of them and the corporation, partnership or association of which they are stockholders, members or associates, respectively; and between such corporation , partnership or association and the state insofar as it concerns their individual franchise or right to exist as such entity
(c) Controversies in the election or appointments of directors, trustees, officers or managers of such corporations, partnerships or associations
(d) Petitions of corporations, partnerships or associations to be declared in the state of suspension of payments in cases where the corporation, partnership of association possesses sufficient property to cover all its debts but foresees the impossibility of meeting them when they respectively fall due or in cases where the corporation, partnership of association has no sufficient assets to cover its liabilities, but is under the management of a Rehabilitation Receiver or Management Committee.
(4) Concurrent and original jurisdiction
(a) with the Supreme Court in actions affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls
(b) with the SC and CA in petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus against lower courts and bodies in petitions for quo warranto, habeas corpus, and writ of continuing mandamus on environmental cases
(c) with the SC, CA and Sandigabayan in petitions for writs of habeas data and amparo
(5) Appellate jurisdiction over cases decided by lower courts in their respective territorial jurisdictions
(6) Special jurisdiction over JDRC, agrarian and urban land reform cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of quasi-judicial agencies when so designated by the SC.
Jurisdiction of Family Courts
Under RA 8369, shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over the following cases:
(1) Petitions for guardianship, custody of children and habeas corpus involving children
(2) Petitions for adoption of children and the revocation thereof
(3) Complaints for annulment of marriage, declaration of nullity of marriage and those relating to status and property relations of husband and wife or those living together under different status and agreements, and petitions for dissolution of conjugal partnership of gains
(4) Petitions for support and/or acknowledgment
(5) Summary judicial proceedings brought under the provisions of EO 209 (Family Code)
(6) Petitions for declaration of status of children as abandoned, dependent or neglected children, petitions for voluntary or involuntary commitment of children, the suspension, termination or restoration of parental authority and other cases cognizable under PD 603, EO 56 (1986) and other related laws
(7) Petitions for the constitution of the family home
(8) In areas where there are no Family Courts, the above-enumerated cases shall be adjudicated by the RTC (RA 8369)
Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trail Courts/Municipal Trial Courts
(1) Criminal cases
(a) Exclusive original jurisdiction
- Summary proceedings for violations of city or municipal ordinances committed within their respective territorial jurisdiction, including traffic laws
- offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine, and regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of the kind, nature, value or amount thereof; provided however, that in offenses involving damage to property through criminal negligence, they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction thereof (Sec. 2, RA 7691).
(2) Civil actions
(a) Exclusive original jurisdiction
- civil actions and probate proceedings, testate and intestate, including the grant of provisional remedies in proper cases, where the value of the personal property, estate, or amount the demand does not exceed P200,000 outside MM or does not exceed P400,000 in MM, exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses, and costs.
- Summary proceedings of forcible entry and unlawful detainer, violation of rental law
- title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein where the assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed P20,000 outside MM or does not exceed P50,000 in MM
(3) Special jurisdiction over petition for writ of habeas corpus and application for bail if the RTC Judge in area is not available
(4) Delegated jurisdiction to hear and decide cadastral and land registration cases where there is no controversy provided the value of the lad to be ascertained by the claimant does not exceed P100,000
Jurisdiction over small claims
(1) MTCs, MeTCs and MCTCs shall have jurisdiction over actions for payment of money where the value of the claim does not exceed P100,000 exclusive of interest and costs (Sec. 2, AM 08-8-7-SC, Oct. 27, 2009).
(2) Actions covered are (a) purely civil in nature where the claim or relief prayed for by the plaintiff is soley for payment or reimbursement of sum of money, and (b) the civil aspect of criminal actions, either filed before the institution of the criminal action, or reserved upon the filing of the criminal action in court, pursuant to Rule 111 (Sec. 4, AM 08-8-7-SC). These claims may be:
(a) For money owed under the contracts of lease, loan, services, sale, or mortgage;
(b) For damages arising from fault or negligence, quasi-contract, or contract; and
(c) The enforcement of a barangay amicable settlement or an arbitration award involving a money claim pursuant to Sec. 417 of RA 7160 (LGC).
Cases covered by Rules on Summary Procedure (Sec. 1, RSP)
(1) Civil Cases
(a) All cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer, irrespective of the amount of damages or unpaid rentals sought to be recovered. Where attorney’s fees are awarded, the same shall not exceed P20,000;
(b) All other cases, except probate proceedings where the total amount of the plaintiff’s claim does not exceed P100,000 (outside MM) or P200,000 (in MM), exclusive of interest and costs.
(2) Criminal Cases
(a) Violations of traffic law, rules and regulations;
(b) Violation of the rental law;
(c) All other criminal cases where the penalty prescribed is imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months, or fine not exceedint P1,000, or both, irrespective of other imposable penalties, accessory or otherwise, or of the civil liability arising therefrom, provided, that in offenses involving damage to property through criminal negligence, RSP shall govern where the imposable fine does not exceed P10,000.
(3) SRP does not apply to a civil case where the plaintiff’s cause of action is pleaded in the same complaint with another cause of action subject to the ordinary procedure; nor to a criminal case where the offense charged is necessarily related to another criminal case subject to the ordinary procedure.
Cases covered by the Rules on Barangay Conciliation
(1) The Lupon of each barangay shall have the authority to bring together the parties actually residing in the same municipality or city for amicable settlement of all disputes except:
(a) Where one party is the government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof
(b) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute relates to the performance of his official functions
(c) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding one (1) year or a fine exceeding P5,000
(d) Offenses where there is no private offended party
(e) Where the dispute involves real properties located in different cities or municipalities unless the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon
(f) Disputes involving parties who actually reside in barangays of different cities or municipalities, except where such barangay units adjoin each other and the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon
(g) Such other classes of disputes which the President may determine in the interest of justice or upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice
(h) Any complaint by or against corporations, partnerships, or juridical entities. The reason is that only individuals shall be parties to barangay conciliation proceedings either as complainants or respondents
(i) Disputes where urgent legal action is necessary to prevent injustice from being committed or further continued, specifically:
- A criminal case where the accused is under police custody or detention
- A petition for habeas corpus by a person illegally detained or deprived of his liberty or one acting in his behalf
- Actions coupled with provisional remedies, such as preliminary injunction, attachment, replevin and support pendente lite
- Where the action may be barred by statute of limitations
(j) Labor disputes or controversies arising from employer-employee relationship
(k) Where the dispute arises from the CARL
(l) Actions to annul judgment upon a compromise which can be directly filed in court.
(1) Where there are several claims or causes of actions between the same or different parties, embodied in the same complaint, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the claims in all the claims of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same or different transactions (Sec. 33, BP 129).
Action (synonymous with “suit”) is the legal and formal demand of one’s right from another person made and insisted upon in a court of justice (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary). The kinds of actions are ordinary and special, civil and criminal, ex contractu and ex delicto, penal and remedial, real, personal, and mixed action, action in personam, in rem, and quasi in rem,
Ordinary Civil Actions, Special Civil Actions, Criminal Actions
(1) Ordinary civil action is one by which one party sues another, based on a cause of action, to enforce or protect a right, or to prevent or redress a wrong, whereby the defendant has performed an act or omitted to do an act in violation of the rights of the plaintiff. (Sec. 3a) The purpose is primarily compensatory.
(2) Special civil action is also one by which one party sues another to enforce or protect a right, or to prevent or redress a wrong.
(3) A criminal action is one by which the State prosecutes a person for an act or omission punishable by law (Sec. 3[b], Rule 1). The purpose is primarily punishment.
Civil Actions versus Special Proceedings
(1) The purpose of an action is either to protect a right or prevent or redress a wrong. The purpose of special proceeding is to establish a status, a right or a particular fact.
Personal Actions and Real Actions
(1) An action is real when it affects title to or possession of real property, or an interest therein. All other actions are personal actions.
(2) An action is real when it is founded upon the privity of real estate, which means that the realty or an interest therein is the subject matter of the action. The issues involved in real actions are title to, ownership, possession, partition, foreclosure of mortgage or condemnation of real property.
(3) Not every action involving real property is a real action because the realty may only be incidental to the subject matter of the suit. Example is an action for damages to real property, while involving realty is a personal action because although it involves real property, it does not involve any of the issues mentioned.
(4) Real actions are based on the privity of real estates; while personal actions are based on privity of contracts or for the recovery of sums of money.
(5) The distinction between real action and personal action is important for the purpose of determining the venue of the action. A real action is “local”, which means that its venue depends upon the location of the property involved in the litigation. A personal action is “transitory”, which means that its venue depends upon the residence of the plaintiff or the defendant at the option of the plaintiff.
Local and Transitory Actions
(1) A local action is one founded on privity of estates only and there is no privity of contracts. A real action is a local action, its venue depends upon the location of the property involved in litigation. “Actions affecting title to or possession of real property, or interest therein, shall be commenced and tried in the proper court which has jurisdiction over the area wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof is situated” (Sec. 1, Rule 4).
(2) Transitory action is one founded on privity of contracts between the parties. A personal action is transitory, its venue depends upon the residence of the plaintiff or the defendant at the option of the plaintiff. A personal action “may be commenced and tried where the plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides or where the defendant or any of the principal defendants resides, or in the case of non-resident defendant, where he may be found, at the election of the plaintiff” (Sec. 2, Rule 4).
Actions in rem, in personam and quasi in rem
(1) An action in rem, one instituted and enforced against the whole world.
(2) An action in personam is one filed against a definite defendant. It is intended to subject the interest of defendant on a property to an obligation or lien. Jurisdiction over the person (defendant) is required. It is a proceeding to enforce personal rights and obligations brought against the person, and is based on the jurisdiction of the person, although it may involve his right to, or the exercise of ownership of, specific property, or seek to compel him to control or dispose of it in accordance with the mandate of the court. The purpose is to impose through the judgment of a court, some responsibility or liability directly upon the person of the defendant. No other than the defendant is liable, not the whole world, as in an action for a sum of money or an action for damages.
(3) An action quasi in rem, also brought against the whole world, is one brought against persons seeking to subject the property of such persons to the discharge of the claims assailed. An individual is named as defendant and the purpose of the proceeding is to subject his interests therein to the obligation or loan burdening the property. It deals with status, ownership or liability or a particular property but which are intended to operate on these questions only as between the particular parties to the proceedings and not to ascertain or cut off the rights or interests of all possible claimants. Examples of actions quasi in rem are action for partition, action for accounting, attachment, foreclosure of mortgage.
(4) An action in personam is not necessarily a personal action. Nor is a real action necessarily an action in rem. An in personam or an in rem action is a classification of actions according to foundation. For instance, an action to recover, title to or possession of real property is a real action, but it is an action in personam, not brought against the whole world but against the person upon whom the claim is made.
(5) The distinction is important to determine whether or not jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is required and consequently to determine the type of summons to be employed. Jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is necessary for the court to validly try and decide a case against said defendant where the action is one in personam but not where the action is in rem or quasi in rem.
(6) SC sums up the basic rules in Biaco vs. Philippine Countryside Rural Bank, GR 161417, February 8, 2007:
The question of whether the trial court has jurisdiction depends on the nature of the action – whether the action is in personam, in rem, or quasi in rem. The rules on service of summons under Rule 14 likewise apply according to the nature of the action.
An action in personam is an action against a person on the basis of his personal liability. And action in rem is an action against the thing itself instead of against the person. An action quasi in rem is one wherein an individual is named as defendant and the purpose of the proceeding is to subject his interest therein to the obligation or lien burdening the property.
In an action in personam, jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is necessary for the court to validly try and decide the case. In a proceeding in rem or quasi in rem, jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is not a prerequisite to confer jurisdiction over the res. Jurisdiction over the res is acquired either (1) by the seizure of the property under legal process, whereby it is brought into actual custody of the law; or (2) as a result of the institution of legal proceedings, in which the power of the court is recognized and made effective.
Nonetheless, summons must be served upon the defendant not for the purpose of vesting the court with jurisdiction but merely for satisfying the due process requirements.
IV. CAUSE OF ACTION (Rule 2)
Meaning of Cause of Action
(1) A cause of action is the act or omission by which a party (defendant) violates the rights of another (plaintiff).
(2) It is the delict or wrong by which the defendant violates the right or rights of the plaintiff (Ma-ao Sugar Central v. Barrios, 76 Phil. 666).
(3) The elements are:
(a) A right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or is created;
(b) An obligation on the part of the named defendant to respect or not to violate such right; and
(c) Act or omission on the part of such defendant in violation of the right of the plaintiff or constituting a breach of the obligation of the defendant to the plaintiff for which the latter may maintain an action for recovery of damages or other appropriate relief.
Right of Action versus Cause of Action
(1) A cause of action refers to the delict or wrong committed by the defendants, whereas right of action refers to the right of the plaintiff to institute the action;
(2) A cause of action is determined by the pleadings; whereas a right of action is determined by the substantive law;
(3) A right of action may be taken away by the running of the statute of limitations, by estoppels or other circumstances which do not at all affect the cause of action (Marquez v. Varela, 92 Phil. 373).
Failure to State Cause of Action
(1) The mere existence of a cause of action is not sufficient for a complaint to prosper. Even if in reality the plaintiff has a cause of action against the defendant, the complaint may be dismissed if the complaint or the pleading asserting the claim “states no cause of action”. This means that the cause of action must unmistakably be stated or alleged in the complaint or that all the elements of the cause of action required by substantive law must clearly appear from the mere reading of the complaint. To avoid an early dismissal of the complaint, the simple dictum to be followed is: “If you have a cause of action, then by all means, state it!” Where there is a defect or an insufficiency in the statement of the cause of action, a complaint may be dismissed not because of an absence or a lack of cause of action by because the complaint states no cause of action. The dismissal will therefore, be anchored on a “failure to state a cause of action”.
(2) It doesn’t mean that the plaintiff has no cause of action. It only means that the plaintiff’s allegations are insufficient for the court to know that the rights of the plaintiff were violated by the defendant. Thus, even if indeed the plaintiff suffered injury, if the same is not set forth in the complaint, the pleading will state no cause of action even if in reality the plaintiff has a cause of action against the defendant.
Test of the Sufficiency of a Cause of Action
(1) The test is whether or not admitting the facts alleged, the court could render a valid verdict in accordance with the prayer of the complaint (Misamis Occidental II Cooperative, Inc. vs. David, 468 SCRA 63; Santos v. de Leon, 470 SCRA 455).
(2) To be taken into account are only the material allegations in the complaint; extraneous facts and circumstances or other matter aliunde are not considered but the court may consider in addition to the complaint the appended annexes or documents, other pleadings of the plaintiff, or admissions in the records (Zepeda v. China Banking Corp., GR 172175, Oct. 9, 2006).
(3) In determining whether or not a cause of action is sufficiently stated in the complaint, the statements in the complaint may be properly considered. It is error for the court to take cognizance of external facts or to hold preliminary hearings to determine its existence (Diaz v. Diaz, 331 SCRA 302). The sufficiency of the statement of the COA must appear on the face of the complaint and its existence may be determined only by the allegations of the complaint, consideration of other facts being proscribed and any attempt to prove extraneous circumstances not being allowed (Viewmaster Construction Corp. v. Roxas, 335 SCRA 540).
Splitting a Single Cause of Action and Its Effects
(1) It is the act of instituting two or more suits for the same cause of action (Sec. 4, Rule 2). It is the practice of dividing one cause of action into different parts and making each part the subject of a separate complaint (Bachrach vs. Icaringal, 68 SCRA 287). In splitting a cause of action, the pleader divides a single cause of action, claim or demand into two or more parts, brings a suit for one of such parts with the intent to reserve the rest for another separate action (Quadra vs. CA, GR 147593, July 31, 2006). This practice is not allowed by the Rules because it breeds multiplicity of suits, clogs the court dockets, leads to vexatious litigation, operates as an instrument of harassment, and generates unnecessary expenses to the parties.
(2) The filing of the first may be pleaded in abatement of the other or others and a judgment upon the merits in any one is available as a bar to, or a ground for dismissal of, the others (Sec. 4, Rule 2; Bacolod City vs. San Miguel, Inc., L-2513, Oct. 30, 1969). The remedy of the defendant is to file a motion to dismiss. Hence, if the first action is pending when the second action is filed, the latter may be dismissed based on litis pendencia, there is another action pending between the same parties for the same cause. If a final judgment had been rendered in the first action when the second action is filed, the latter may be dismissed based on res judicata, that the cause of action is barred by prior judgment. As to which action should be dismissed would depend upon judicial discretion and the prevailing circumstances of the case.
Joinder and Misjoinder of Causes of Actions (Secs. 5 and 6, Rule 2)
(1) Joinder of causes of action is the assertion of as many causes of action as a party may have against another in one pleading alone (Sec. 5, Rule 2). It is the process of uniting two or more demands or rights of action in one action, subject to the following conditions:
(a) The party joining the causes of action shall comply with the rules on joinder of parties;
(b) The joinder shall not include special civil actions governed by special rules;
(c) Where the cause of action are between the same parties but pertain to different venues or jurisdictions, the joinder may be allowed in the RTC provided one of the causes of action falls within the jurisdiction of said court and the venue lies therein; and
(d) Where the claims in all the causes of action are principally for recovery of money, the aggregate amount claimed shall be the test of jurisdiction (totality rule).
(2) Restrictions on joinder of causes of action are: jurisdiction, venue, and joinder of parties. The joinder shall not include special civil actions or actions governed by special rules.
(3) When there is a misjoinder of causes of action, the erroneously joined cause of action can be severed or separated from the other cause of action upon motion by a party or upon the court’s own initiative. Misjoinder of causes of action is not a ground for the dismissal of the case.