Dean Jara Lecture Notes in Remedial Law 2013
Plea of guilty – in civil cases, specific denial is not applied, if pleaded, the court cannot compel the defendant to explain why plea of guilt was given.
Denial without specificity – in civil cases, it is tantamount to admission of allegations in the pleadings, and thus could lead to a judgment on the pleadings. This is not allowed in criminal cases.
Quantum of evidence – guilt should be proof beyond reasonable doubt in criminal cases, while only preponderance of evidence is required in civil cases.
Jurisdiction of courts in civil actions, laws governing: 1. Constitution
2. Judiciary Act of 1848 (RA 296) 3. BP 129 and its amendments
4. Law creating the family court (1997) 5. Law creating the Sandiganbayan
General Law on jurisdiction: BP 129 and its amendments.
Note: The cases formerly taken in cognizance by the abolished Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court came under the jurisdiction of the RTC under BP 129, which is in the concept of exclusive original jurisdiction. Then came the special law creating the Family Court, which provides that the said court has exclusive original jurisdiction over cases involving marriage, adoption, cases involving minors, habeas corpus involving minors, and other civil or criminal cases involving minors.
BP 129 vs. special law on jurisdiction – the special law generally prevails. (General law shall give way to special law, except if the special law specifically provides otherwise or that the law allows parties to stipulate pertaining to the matter of jurisdiction.)
Jurisdiction is a matter of substantive law.
This is not necessarily true. (Dean Jara) Substantive law deals with jurisdiction over the subject matter and/or jurisdiction over the nature of the action. This is the aspect of jurisdiction governed by BP 129 and the other substantive laws on jurisdiction.
Other aspects of jurisdiction governed by procedural law: Jurisdiction over the person of the litigants – governed by the RoC Jurisdiction over the property involved – governed by the RoC Jurisdiction over the issues of the case – governed by the RoC
Thus, jurisdiction as part of substantive law is limited to a court to decide the case insofar as the subject matter of the case or the nature of the action. Jurisdiction over the litigants, the issues of the case and property involved are governed mostly by procedural law, mostly under the Rules of Court.
BP 129 does not mention anything about the SC. It begins with the CA downwards, up to the MTC and the Sharia Courts. Supreme Court exercises its authority from the Constitution. In the Constitution, the SC exercises original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction. But the Constitution does not say that original jurisdiction of the SC is exclusive, nor about the appellate jurisdiction being exclusive. The basis for this is in the old Judiciary Act of 1948 where SC jurisdiction is delineated in a very thorough manner, providing exclusive original and appellate jurisdiction of the SC. Note that BP 129 did not repeal the old judiciary act and hence it is still in force. What BP 129 did repeal are provisions of Judiciary Act of 1948 that are inconsistent with BP 129. The best argument to support this statement is Sec. 9 in BP 129.
Sec. 9 BP 129 last sub¶ – provides for the jurisdiction of the CA.
“3. Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, resolutions, orders or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards or commission, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Social Security Commission, the Employees Compensation Commission and the Civil Service Commission, Except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No.
442, as amended, the provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph 4 of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948.”
The Constitution provides for a limited number of cases over which the SC can exercise original jurisdiction and limited number of cases over which it can exercise appellate jurisdiction. These are not exclusive.
Art. VIII Sec. 5
Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
(1) Exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus.
(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in:
(a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.
(b) All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto.
(c) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any lower court is in issue.
(d) All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher. (e) All cases in which only an error or question of law is involved.
(3) Assign temporarily judges of lower courts to other stations as public interest may require. Such temporary assignment shall not exceed six months without the consent of the judge concerned.
(4) Order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice.
(5) 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 under-privileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy 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.
(6) Appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance with the Civil Service Law.
The Constitution provides that the SC has original jurisdiction over cases involving ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus. Reading the 1987 Constitution with BP 129, we will find out that the same authority is given by BP 129 to other courts.
SC’s Exclusive original jurisdiction:
Petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus against CA, COMELEC, CoA and Sandiganbayan
Concurrent Jurisdiction: (Subject to Doctrine of Hierarchy of Courts and direct recourse only in cases when redress desired cannot be obtained in the lower courts or when it serves the broader interest of justice) With RTC:
Cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and Consuls With CA:
Petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus against RTC Petitions for Writ of Kalikasan
With RTC and CA:
Petition for quo warranto
Petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus against MTC and other bodies With RTC, CA and Sandiganbayan:
Petition for Writ of Amparo Petition for Writ of Habeas Data
By way of Certiorari under Rule 45 against CA, Sandiganbayan, RTC (pure questions of law only), CTA en banc and cases on the constitutionality and validity of a law or treaty, international agreement or executive agreement, presidential decree, proclamation order, instruction, ordinance or regulation, legality of a tax, impost, assessment, toll or penalty, jurisdiction of a lower court.
BP 129 provides that CA exercises original jurisdiction over certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto and habeas corpus.
BP 129 vests jurisdiction to the RTC to exercises original jurisdiction over certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto and habeas corpus.
In effect, there are 3 courts in the judiciary which exercise jurisdictions over certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto and habeas corpus: SC, CA and RTC. Thus, theoretically, if one has been wronged due to grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, petition for mandamus can be filed with the SC immediately, based on the 1987 Constitution and BP 129.
However, Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus have been greatly limited by certain procedural rules. The limitation is known as hierarchy of courts. (See Rule 65) Thus, while theoretically a petition can be filed directly to the SC, one should follow the procedure under the principle of hierarchy of courts. In Rule 65, it is expressly provided that petitions for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus (and even Quo Warranto. Dean Jara) should be filed directly only with two courts, a RTC or the CA. On analysis, Sec. 4 Rule 65 is a severe limitation on the right of an aggrieved party to avail of Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus as provided for in the Constitution.
Rule 65, Sec. 4. Where petition filed.
The petition may be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution sought to be assailed in the Supreme Court or, if it relates to the acts or omissions of a lower court or of a corporation, board, officer or person, in the Regional Trial Court exercising jurisdiction over the territorial area as defined by the Supreme Court. It may also be filed in the Court of Appeals whether or not the same is in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, or in the Sandiganbayan if it is in aid of its jurisdiction. If it involves the acts or omissions of a quasi-judicial agency, and unless otherwise provided by law or these Rules, the petition shall be filed in and cognizable only by the Court of Appeals.
Among the basic principles of the enactment of BP 129 was to do away with the concept of concurrent jurisdiction. BP 129 has not been able to do away entirely with concurrent jurisdiction. BP 129 does not use the term concurrent in vesting jurisdiction upon courts. The law classifies jurisdiction into original jurisdiction; appellate jurisdiction; exclusive original jurisdiction, and exclusive appellate jurisdiction; unlike that under the old Judiciary Act of 1948 where the law expressly contained provisions that conferred concurrent jurisdiction over different cases upon different courts, which resulted in confusion. Generally, BP 129 has been able to do away with the concept of concurrence of jurisdiction, except with respect to certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto and habeas corpus. Since the Constitution and BP 129 allocate original jurisdiction upon 3 courts, then it is safe to conclude that these 3 courts exercise original and concurrent jurisdiction over these petitions.
BP 129 WITH RESPECT TO THE COURT OF APPEALS:
Exclusive Original Jurisdiction – only cases of annulment of judgment of an RTC. Appellate Jurisdiction:
Ordinary appeal from RTC and Family Courts
Petition for review from decisions, resolutions, orders or awards from CSC, Ombudsman in administrative cases and other quasi-judicial agencies in exercise of its quasi-judicial functions as mentioned in Sec. 1 Rule 43.
Concurrent Jurisdiction: With SC:
Petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus against the RTC Petitions for Writ of Kalikasan
Petition for Mandamus against NLRC (But St. Martin Funeral Homes vs. CA says petition should be filed in CA instead of SC)
Concurrent Jurisdiction with RTC and SC: Petition for habeas corpus
Petition for Quo warranto
Petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus against the MTC and other bodies Concurrent Jurisdiction with RTC and Sandiganbayan:
Petition for writ of Amparo Petition for habeas data
The SC, despite being the supreme court of the land, is not a court of general jurisdiction, it exercises only limited original jurisdiction as provided for under the Constitution. It is generally not a trier of facts. The same is true in the CA. In Sec. 9 BP 129, the CA’s authority is very limited.
CA has exclusive original jurisdiction over Annulment of Judgment of an RTC under Rule 47. Does it mean that the CA can annul a judgment rendered by an MTC?
Since the CA is a court of limited jurisdiction, it is allowed to annul judgment only judgments from the RTC. It cannot annul decisions of an MTC.
Would it mean that the judgment of an MTC is immune from annulment of its judgment?
Yes. The decision of an RTC can be annulled by the CA. But the decision of an MTC is immune from annulment by the CA. But, the decision of an MTC can be annulled by an RTC. It is not so provided in BP 129 that an RTC can annul a judgment of an MTC, but it is provided for under Section 10 of Rule 47 on Annulment of Judgment in the Rules. Thus, jurisdiction is vested in the RTC under the Rules for it to be able to annul judgments rendered by an MTC.
Can we then challenge the jurisdiction of RTC as BP 129, a special law, should take precedence over a substantive law, as BP 129 does not expressly give the RTC the authority to annul judgment of an MTC? Why?
We cannot. This is because, under BP 129 there is an allocation to the RTC of jurisdiction to entertain and decide all kinds of actions which are not especially given to other courts. This is the provision why an RTC can annul judgments of the MTC as well as the reason why the RTC is considered as the real court of general jurisdiction in our justice system. Since no substantive law has allocated to other courts the jurisdiction to annul judgments of an MTC, it follows now that the RTC is the proper court to decide on the matter as provided under BP 129 for an RTC to entertain and decide all kinds of actions not especially given to other courts.
Islamic Da'wah Case – BP 129
The SC traced the history of annulment of judgment as an action. SC mentioned that before BP 129, the SC had recognized the regularity and propriety of filing a petition to annul an MTC judgment in the RTC.
Can an RTC entertain and decide on cases of annulment of judgments of another RTC prior to BP 129? Why?
Before BP 129, SC held yes, because the RTC is a court of general jurisdiction. This is the reason why in BP 129, Congress deemed it necessary to incorporate a provision giving exclusive authority to the CA to annul a judgment rendered by the RTC to do away with the anomalous situation where an RTC is able to annul judgments rendered by another RTC, as there was no specific substantive law prior to BP 129 which allocated to other courts the authority to annul judgments of the RTC.
A person need not be a party to the judgment sought to be annulled. What is essential is that he can prove his allegation that the judgment was obtained by the use of fraud and collusion and he would be adversely affected thereby (Islamic Da’wah Council v. CA, G.R. No. 80892, Sept. 29, 1989).
No. The Constitution and BP 129 does not provide authority for the SC to annul judgments rendered by the CA. There is no substantive law or special law authorizing SC to annul judgments rendered by the CA.
It does not mean that the decisions of the CA are immune from annulment. The SC could still exercise its equity jurisdiction, most likely under Rule 65, in order to annul a judgment of the CA, based on the same grounds given under Rule 47, extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction.
Fraud is regarded as extrinsic where it prevents a party from having a trial or from preventing a party from having a trial or from presenting his entire case to the court, or where it operates upon matters pertaining not to the judgment itself but to the manner in which it is procured (Alaban v. CA, GR no. 156021, September 23, 2005).
Extrinsic fraud or collateral fraud– not a valid ground if it was availed of, or could have been availed of in a motion for new trial or petition for relief.
Lack of jurisdiction as a ground for annulment of judgment refers to either lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defending party or over the subject matter of the claim.
Lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter and over the person – May be barred by estoppels by laches, which is that failure to do something which should be done or to claim or enforce a right at a proper time or a neglect to do something which one should do or to seek or enforce a right at a proper time. (1998 Bar Question)
What is annulment of judgment?
A: It is a remedy in law independent of the case where the judgment sought to be annulled was rendered. The purpose of such action is to have the final and executor judgment set aside so that there will be renewal of litigation.
Note: A co-equal court cannot annul the final judgment of a similar court. CA has exclusive jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of RTC. An action to annul a judgment or final order of MTC shall be filed in the RTC having jurisdiction in the former and it shall be treated as an ordinary civil action. (Secs. 1 &10, Rule 47).
Q: When may it be availed of?
A: The remedy of annulment of judgment may be availed of when the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the petitioner (Sec. 1, Rule 47).
Q: Who may avail this remedy?
A: A person need not be a party to the judgment sought to be annulled. What is essential is that he can prove his allegation that the judgment was obtained by the use of fraud and collusion and he would be adversely affected thereby (Islamic Da’wah Council v. CA, G.R. No. 80892, Sept. 29, 1989).
The extraordinary action to annul a final judgment is restricted to the grounds provided by law to prevent it from being used by a losing party to make a mockery of a duly promulgated decision that has long become final and executory.
Q: Where should the petition be filed? A:
Judgments of RTC Judgments of MTC
Filed with the CA Filed with the RTC
Basis – It has exclusive original jurisdiction over said
action under Sec. 9 (2), BP 129 Basis – RTC as a court of general jurisdiction underSec. 19 (6), BP 129 CA may dismiss the case outright; it has the
discretion on whether or not to entertain the petition.
RTC has no such discretion. It is required to consider it as an ordinary civil action.
If a judgment of an MTC can be the subject of annulment by CA or RTC as the case may be, can we also seek annulment of the decisions by a quasi-judicial or administrative body?
Under BP 129, annulment of judgment, as procedurally explained in Rule 47, does not extend to the quasi-judicial or administrative body, unless such provision was allowed by the charter of such administrative or quasi-judicial body.
Rule 47 refers to an action filed by a petitioner to annul a judgment rendered by an RTC in a civil case. This is what literally BP 129 provided where CA is given the authority to annul decisions made by an RTC in a civil action. Therefore, if the action is not a civil action or rendered by a quasi-judicial or administrative body, we cannot use Rule 47. (possible Bar Q area)
Since Rule 47 says that the annulment contemplated in BP 129 refers to a judgment in a civil action, does it mean to say that the judgment of an RTC acting as a criminal court cannot be subject to annulment of judgment by the CA under Rule 47?
No. If the judgment of the RTC is a judgment in a criminal case, we cannot use Rule 47 as it is specifically stated in the said rule that annulment of judgment is availing only to civil cases decided by the RTC. Rule 47 is not a remedy to annul decisions or judgments rendered by the RTC as a criminal court. A decision of an RTC in a criminal case can be annulled by filing a case for habeas corpus. Petition for habeas corpus is the equivalent in criminal cases of petition for annulment of judgments in civil cases.
An RTC could act as a civil and criminal court. It exercises original actions over both actions. RTC decisions in civil actions could be the subject of annulment by CA under rule 47, but Rule 47 does not apply if the decision is one rendered from criminal cases. The remedy in order to annul a judgment in criminal cases is by filing a petition for habeas corpus. BP 129 is very clear under Rule 47. What can be annulled under Rule 47 are judgments in civil cases only.
Is there a difference between Rule 47 (petition for annulment of judgment rendered by an RTC in a civil case) and petition for habeas corpus?
There are substantial differences. Annulment under Rule 47 is a direct attack of a final and executory judgment, the only purpose of which is to nullify and set aside a court decision in a civil case. But in a criminal case where the decision of the RTC may not be valid due to lack of jurisdiction or extrinsic fraud, the remedy is petition for habeas corpus, which is an indirect attack on the judgment of an RTC in the criminal case. When a habeas corpus petition is filed in order to nullify a decision on a criminal case, the principal relief which the petitioner seeks is to declare the petitioner has been deprived of his liberty unlawfully. It is not principally to set aside the judgment rendered by the RTC in a criminal case.
The remedy of petition for habeas corpus in criminal case are more advantageous than that of an annulment of judgment in civil cases. This is because an annulment of judgment in civil cases is a direct attack against the judgment in the civil case, while in the criminal cases, the detainee can challenge the validity of the judgment of conviction, although he is not attacking directly the validity of the said judgment of conviction. He is attacking the validity of the deprivation of his liberty.
What is a collateral attack on judgment?
A: It is made in another action to obtain a different relief; an attack on the judgment is made as an incident in said action. This is proper only when the judgment, on its face is null and void, as where it is patent that the court which rendered such judgment has no jurisdiction(Co vs. Court of Appeals, 196 SCRA 705).
Note that Rule 47 is inserted in between the rules governing appeals. The procedure for appeal starts with Rule 40 up to 56. Annulment of judgment has nothing to do with appeals as it is a civil action. Annulment of judgment is an original action that can be filed in the RTC and CA. And, in Rule 47, when particularly applied to a petition for annulment commenced before the CA, you will notice that some of the features of a special civil action are carried by a petition to annul the judgment filed with the CA. For instance, if a petition to annul a judgment of an RTC in a civil case is filed in the CA, the CA has the authority to outrightly dismiss the petition for lack of merit. This is similar to Rule 65, where the petition for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus can be outrightly dismissed if it is not meritorious on its face.
What if the decision in the RTC was already final and executory, can the petition to annul judgment filed in the CA stop the execution of the said judgment?
No. The petition will not stop the prevailing party from moving for the execution of the final and executory judgment in the civil case, notwithstanding the commencement of the petition to have the judgment in the civil case annulled. The only remedies available to a petitioner for annulment of judgment of an RTC in the CA is to apply for the provisional remedy of PI or TRO to stop the RTC from proceeding with the execution of the said judgment.
Under Rule 47 in relation to BP 129 in the case of annulment of judgments of an RTC filed in the CA, is it correct that only the litigants thereto can file the petition to annul a judgment in a civil case?
No. As held in the case of Islamic Da'wah vs. CA, the petition for annulment of judgment in BP 129 and Rule 47 does not prohibit a stranger from filing a petition to annul judgment. He can do so, so long as he can show he will be prejudiced by the judgment sought to be annulled.
1. All other Remedies of motion for new trial, petition for relief, appeal and other remedies are no longer available or to do so will not redound to his benefit.
2. Through no fault of petitioner, remedies were unavailing 3. Petitioner is a stranger to the case (Islamic Da’wah case)
In Islamic Da’wah, in allowing a stranger to file annul a judgment, then he need not seek other remedies since the stranger to a case cannot possibly avail of remedies that are available only to a litigant in a case.
While CA has authority to outrightly dismiss annulment of judgment, RTC cannot. Insofar as RTC is concerned, petition to annulment of a judgment by an MTC should be treated as any normal civil case.
In Rule 47, if the judgment is annulled, it is declared void by the court. It is unenforceable, or if already enforced, CA can order restitution if that is still possible.
Rule 47 in relation to BP 129 and Rule 132:
There are no grounds for annulment mentioned in BP 129. Rule 47 Sec. 2. Grounds for annulment.
The annulment may be based only on the grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. Extrinsic fraud shall not be a valid ground if it was availed of, or could have been availed of, in a motion for new trial or petition for relief.
Judicial record must be discredited. Judgment of the court must be discredited by such impeachment. In BP 129, there are no grounds for annulment mentioned at all. They are mentioned in Rule 47 and Rule 132.
Rule 132 Sec. 29 . How judicial record impeached. — Any judicial record may be impeached by evidence of: (a) want of jurisdiction in the court or judicial officer, (b) collusion between the parties, or (c) fraud in the party offering the record, in respect to the proceedings.
3 grounds under Rule 132 to impeach judgment: 1. lack of jurisdiction
2. extrinsic fraud 3. collusion
Grounds under Rule 47to impeach judgment: 1. absence of jurisdiction over the subject matter
2. absence of jurisdiction over the person of the accused
3. Extrinsic fraud (this encompasses collusion as found under Rule 132) Thus, there is no conflict between Rule 132 and Rule 47.
JURISDICTION OF THE RTC Factors determining jurisdiction:
1. Whether or not action is capable of pecuniary estimation 2. whether or not the action is a real action
3. if the amount is known, whether the amount is within the ambit of the jurisdictional amount
Incapable of pecuniary estimation – not all actions incapable of pecuniary estimation are cognizable by RTC
Under BP 129, these actions are not exclusively cognizable by an RTC:
1. Annulment of judgment rendered by RTC – not capable of pecuniary estimation, cognizable only by the CA
2. Annulment of arbitral award by barangay court acting as arbitral body – cognizable by MTC, as provided by LGC, although incapable of pecuniary estimation.
3. Certiorari, prohibition and mandamus – not exclusively cognizable by RTC, although incapable of pecuniary estimation.
JURISDICTIN IN REAL ACTIONS – TITLE TO OR POSSESSION OF PROPERTY This area is qualified by BP 129 as amended as it has expanded the jurisdiction of MTCs. What are the possessory actions on real property?
Accion Interdictal Accion Publiciana Accion Reinvindicatoria Summary action for the recovery
of physical possession where the dispossession has not lasted for more than 1 year.
A plenary action for the recovery of the real right of
possession when the
dispossession has lasted for more than 1 year.
An action for the recovery of ownership, which necessarily includes the recovery of possession.
All cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer irrespective of the amount of damages or unpaid rentals sought to be recovered should be brought to the MTC.
RTC has jurisdiction if the value of the property exceeds P20,000 or P50,000 in Metro Manila.
MTC has jurisdiction if the value of the property does not exceed the above amounts.
RTC has jurisdiction if the value of the property exceeds P20,000 or P50,000 in Metro Manila.
MTC has jurisdiction if the value of the property does not exceed the above amounts.
Accion reinvindicatoria and accion publiciana – RTC exercising original jurisdiction if property is worth above 20k/50k, as the case may be.
Is it possible a real action is at the same time one incapable of pecuniary estimation?
Yes. A good example of a real action that is incapable of pecuniary estimation is foreclosure of real estate mortgage. It is not capable of pecuniary estimation as the determinative issue here is the right of the mortgagee to foreclose, not the value of the property.
What do we do in determining jurisdiction of an action is a real action but is incapable of pecuniary estimation? What factor will be determinative to determine jurisdiction of the court? SC held that if the action carries the feature of real action and one incapable of pecuniary estimation, then the determinative factor is the feature of incapable of pecuniary estimation. Thus, RTC has exclusive jurisdiction of foreclosure actions, even if the assessed value of the property involved is less than the jurisdictional amount of the RTC. As long as the action is foreclosure of mortgage, the RTC has jurisdiction. The feature of foreclosure of mortgage as a real action will only be important in determining the venue, not the jurisdiction.
A similar action which applies the same principle is expropriation. Expropriation of a piece of land is one involving real action, but it does not take into account the assessed value of the land in determining jurisdiction. Thus, it is real action, although incapable of pecuniary estimation, as the right to expropriate is the main issue, not the value of the land involved.
JURISDICTION IN MONEY CLAIMS
When it comes to personal actions, under BP 129, the determining factor will be the amount sought to be recovered if it is a claim for money, or if it is recovery of personal property, it is the value of the personal property as alleged in the complaint.
The determining factor for jurisdiction in a pure collection suit is the principal sought to be recovered, exclusive of charges interest, attorney’s fees, damages etc. If the amount sought to be recovered by the plaintiff is 1M, it may be cognizable by the RTC if it represents the aggregate amount of the claim, the principal amount being within the jurisdictional value of the MTC. If the principal is only 200k and the rest are charges, damages, interest, etc., then the MTC has jurisdiction over the case.
What if the plaintiff seeks only recovery of damages inclusive of actual, moral, nominal, etc.? Ex. Plaintiff sought 100K actual, 500K moral and 500k exemplary damages. How do we determine jurisdiction here?
Complaints purely for damages = the aggregate (total) amount of damages will determine jurisdiction, not the specific amounts claimed. Thus, in the example, the RTC has jurisdiction. Even if the complaint specified the amount of damages for each aspect, the aggregate amount shall determine the jurisdiction.
JURISDICTION OVER RECOVERY OF PERSONAL PROPERTY
BP 129 as amended takes into account the assessed value only in the case of real properties. Personal property values have no bearing in jurisdiction. The value as stated in the complaint shall be determinative (whether the figure is true or not).
Ex. Plaintiff sought recovery (replevin) of the car, claiming that is worth 800k (even if it is not true).If defendant challenges the value, stating the car is 30 years old, and willing to submit evidence to show true value, will the court entertain the defendant’s motion?
No. The court shall rely only on the allegations in the complaint. Once the court acquires jurisdiction, it cannot be ousted; the court proceeds with the case until finally adjudicated.
What if it is found during trial that the car is actually worth far less than the value claimed? Will the court remand the case to the lower court?
No. It will continue to hear until final judgment. There will be adherence of jurisdiction of the court over the case. The court will continue trying the case until it is finally adjudicated.
The only way to oust jurisdiction in this regard is if Congress files a law abandoning the principle of adherence of jurisdiction over a particular case. Dean Jara
With respect to MTCs, notwithstanding the expanded jurisdiction thereof, practically all cases decided by the RTC pertaining to personal property can also be decided by the MTC, depending only on the value of the property involved.
Ex. Estate proceedings, accion reinvindicatoria, accion publiciana
Note: MTC is still a court of limited jurisdiction despite the expanded jurisdiction under BP 129 as amended. It can try only the cases given to it under substantive law. The provision in BP 129 making the RTCs courts of general jurisdiction is not given to MTCs. BP 129 stated explicitly that the RTC shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all actions that are not specially assigned to any other court. This is not contained in the allocation of jurisdiction of MTCs.
Vesting of authority to MTCs – Sec. 33, the Totality test, is used in determining jurisdiction
Totality test is a proviso for ascertainment of jurisdiction, more encompassing than that provided in the Rules.
Difference in Totality Test in the Rules vs. Totality Test in BP 129:
RoC – totality test in Rule 2 concerns causes of action for money, as to the amount. The totality of the money claims shall be determinative of jurisdiction of courts.
BP 129 – the totality test refers to of all claims or causes of actions in a complaint, whether they refer to the same or different parties or arising out of the same or differing transactions . This is more encompassing in scope.
BP 129 has contained therein the provision on delegation of jurisdiction to the MTC and also the special jurisdiction of the MTC.
The MTC, in its delegated jurisdiction, acts as if it were an RTC.
Ex. MTC acts as if it was a cadastral court (usually done by RTC). If the land registration or cadastral case is contested, the assessed value of the contested property is determinative of jurisdiction. If uncontested, MTC acts as a cadastral as if it were an RTC, there being no limitation as to jurisdiction. But BP 129 clearly states that if MTC acts as a cadastral court the MTC’s decisions on cadastral cases shall be appealable in the CA, not to the RTC (hierarchy of courts is not followed).
Habeas Corpus proceedings can be heard in the MTC, but only in situations where petition was filed in the RTC, but no judges are available in the RTC, so the petition is transferred to an MTC wherein a judge is available. The MTC gains jurisdiction as habeas corpus cases are urgent. In fact, habeas corpus cases are always given special preference by the courts; and thus, if no RTC judges are available to hear the petition, the clerk of court in the RTC must transfer the case to the MTC, and MTC must hear the petition promptly. BP 129 does not authorize the filing of the habeas corpus case directly in the
MTC. Petition for habeas corpus filed in the MTC can be challenged on jurisdictional grounds because BP 129 does not vest unto an MTC an authority to entertain a petition for habeas corpus. It is only under circumstances where there are no RTC judges available to entertain a petition for habeas corpus when an MTC judge can now analyze and study the propriety the issuing of the writ of habeas corpus.
SPECIAL JURISDICTION OF MTCS.
Take note that the trial court still has residual jurisdiction to act on certain matters even if the case is already on appeal. See
Rules 41 RoC. It is not correct to assume that if a case has been decided by the trial court. After an appeal is perfected, the case is now under the jurisdiction of the appellate court. Do not assume that the case is entirely divested from the jurisdiction of the trial court, even if there is a perfected appeal. The trial court continues to exercise jurisdiction over certain matters for a limited period of time in its residual jurisdiction. After the expiration of that period, absolute jurisdiction will now be exercised by the appellate court.
In Primary Jurisdiction, this involves quasi-judicial bodies. What happens in primary jurisdiction is that Congress enacts a law which vests jurisdiction unto a quasi-judicial body to try and decide cases which are cognizable by regular courts under BP 129. The reason why Congress enacts these laws is that Congress feels that the quasi-judicial body is better equipped to decide disputes of litigants in certain cases than the regular courts.
Ex. HLURB – has exclusive original jurisdiction to adjudicate disputes between subdivision buyer/s vs. subdivision developers. In cases of breach of contract under the NCC on matters pertaining to the jurisdiction of quasi-judicial bodies, the trial court cannot take cognizance of these matters, although BP 129 gives jurisdiction to regular courts over such matters, given the fact that there is a substantive law vesting jurisdiction to the HLURB to decide on such disputes. This is because it is presumed that the HLURB is better equipped than a regular court to decide on such cases due to its expertise.
What if the subdivision developer filed in the MTC a complaint for ejectment of a subdivision buyer who allegedly violated the terms of the contract? The subdivision developer sought to recover the property from the buyer, among other prayers. The subdivision buyer challenged that MTC has no jurisdiction over the case, and that it is HLURB which is the proper body to take cognizance of the complaint. Does HLURB have jurisdiction over the ejectment case?
SC held that the primary jurisdiction of the HLURB does not extend to complaints of ejectment filed by one party against the other. In the case of primary jurisdiction vested by substantive law to quasi-judicial bodies, the authority of the quasi-judicial body is interpreted strictly. Ejectment could really be a dispute between developer and buyer, but since the complaint was for recovery of physical possession of the property (or even accion publiciana), SC held that regular courts should take cognizance.
Note: Complaint for ejectment by subdivision developer vs. subdivision buyer was actually a suit for recovery of possession of property.
Residual Jurisdiction – found in appeal cases (Rules 41 and 42); jurisdiction enjoyed by the trial court to act on certain matters for a very limited period, even if the case is on appeal.
Constitutional limits provided in the Constitution limiting SC’s authority in promulgating rules: 1. uniformity in all courts of the same grade
2. speedy and inexpensive determination of the case 3. does not modify, increase or decrease substantive rights
Any rule on procedure violating any one of the limitations given in the Constitution, the rule can be properly challenged as to its validity and applicability.
A litigant challenged a rule on criminal procedure (Rule 115 Rights of the Accused). Litigant stated that Rule 115 is not procedural, and modified substantive rights as espoused in the Constitution, and should be deleted in the RoC.
SC denied the petition. SC said that while the authority of the SC is to promulgate rules on proceedings, practice and procedure, and that substantive rights should not be covered by the provisions of the Rules, SC said that it is practically impossible for rules of procedure to be devised without incorporating certain provisions that are dealing substantive law. The standard is that we take the Rules as a whole, and determine whether it is procedural in character. If the answer is yes, and there are certain provisions speaking about substantive rights, that should not be a justification of deleting these provisions in the RoC.
Also, SC noted that the NCC, a substantive law, contains procedural articles concerning court processes such as those concerning unlawful detainer and forcible entry, but NCC still remain a substantive law.
The civil code provisions shall not be affected by the procedural provision in the Rules concerning the filing of claims (Recovery of creditor of the whole debt from surviving solidary debtors). According to the Rules, the Rules of Court should be interpreted liberally. But the interpretation is one not in favor of the plaintiff or defendant. The meaning of liberal interpretation is to promote the ends of justice, to carry out the duty of the SC under the limitations given under the Constitution.
General Rule: A civil action is always commenced with the filing of a complaint. This is the general rule. Some cases are commenced by a petition, most notably in special civil actions. The filing of a complaint has given rise to the action that when the case is filed, the court acquires jurisdiction over the action. The court will then have to gain jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. Service of summons will gain jurisdiction over the defendant. A recent decision of the SC held that if the person filing the case is not authorized to file the case, then the court does not acquire jurisdiction over the person of the plaintiff, and will not acquire even the jurisdiction to decide the case. The court can examine whether or not the person who filed the case is authorized. If not so authorized, the court will not acquire jurisdiction over the person of the accused and it will not acquire the authority to decide the case. The court will be absolutely without jurisdiction to try and decide the case.
Amendment of the Complaint
In Complaints properly filed by the plaintiff, the plaintiff can amend the complaint as a matter of right under Rule 10, provided an answer has not yet been filed. (Amendment as a matter of right). If amendment is to implead a new defendant, the court will accept such amended complaint as it is a matter of right. As to the new defendant, the period to file an answer will relate to the filing of the original complaint (Relating Back Doctrine).
But, if a new cause of action is introduced along with the new defendant, it is not an amendment, as a new cause of action is being included.
The classification of actions Civil Actions
Criminal Actions Special Civil Actions Special proceedings
In the definition of a civil actions it is very clear that we do not necessarily follow the definition of a cause of action as defined in Rule 2. A cause of action is a violation of a right belonging to the plaintiff by a defendant. For a cause of action to accrue, the plaintiff must allege he has a right, and then allege that the defendant had violated that right.
Plaintiff must allege he has a right.
Plaintiff must allege the defendant has violated for that right.
The implication of given by the definition of a cause of action is that the right holder must wait for a violation of his right before he can have a cause of action against such person who violated his right and have a reason to go to court. That cause of action should always be related to the definition of a civil action found in Section 3(a) Rule 1.
A civil action is one by which a party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong.
Rule 2 SEC. 2. Cause of action, defined.—A cause of action is the act or omission by which a party violates a right of another.
Civil action does not require prior violation of a right before right holder can proceed to court. A plaintiff need not have his right actually violated before a case can be filed. Even a threat to violate a right gives rise to a cause of action.
The Rules of Procedure becomes more complicated if there are several rights that are violated by one and the same wrongful act. If there is just one wrongful act and there are several rights violated, how will the causes of action accrue?
The standard given by the SC: In order to determine whether several causes of actions will arise, if there is one wrongful act and there are several rights that are violated, is to determine whether these rights belong to the same person or to different persons.
Common Standard: Determine whether these rights belong to the same person or to different persons.
Several rights of one person violated by one and the same act = 1 cause of action = 1 complaint.
Several rights of several persons violated by one and the same act = several causes of action = separate complaints.
If a person drives his car negligently, and causes damage or wrecks 3 cars, how many causes of action accrue against him using the standard given by the court?
Using the standard, determine whether the three cars belong to one person only or the cars belong to three different persons. If the 3 cars belong to only one person, only one cause of action will accrue. The owner of the cars can only file one case against the negligent driver. Otherwise, that will be splitting of causes of action. The owner had only one right that was violated by the negligent driver. But if these 3 cars belong to 3 different owners, there are 3 separate causes of action. Because there are 3 causes of action that arise, they can file separate complaints, and they don’t have to be joined. Conceivably, one owner can file his case in the RTC if he claims the damages suffered by him amounted to more than 500k. Another owner can file his case in the MTC if he claims that his car incurred damages amounting to 200k. The filing of these complaints by 3 different owners will depend on the amount of damages each will respectively claim in their respective complaints. The fact that there are 3 different causes of action does not mean that they should go to the same court in order to recover the damages suffered by them.
In the first example where the 3 damaged cars were owned by one owner, there is only one cause of action. The owner of the 3 cars can only file one complaint for recovery of damages. Can he properly and rightfully go to court right away?
No. If we rely solely on substantive law alone, it would seemingly be yes. But if we apply other procedural principles, the owner may be precluded from filing a complaint right away. The owner has to first satisfy certain conditions precedent before cause of action could accrue. If these conditions precedent are not satisfied, the filing of the complaint shall be premature and shall cause the dismissal of his complaint.
Conditions precedent given under procedural rules and substantive law are as follows: 1. prior barangay conciliation
2. arbitration clause
3. certification on non-forum shopping 4. exhaustion of administrative remedies 5. earnest efforts towards a compromise
Even if a right has been violated and a cause of action indeed accrued, if the action is covered under the circular on prior barangay conciliation, the trial court can dismiss or not entertain the case and order the parties to undergo barangay conciliation first.
Arbitration clause – invariably provides that in case of breach of contract, the parties must first undergo arbitration before a complaint can be filed by the innocent party.
Rule 7 – Certification on Non-Forum Shopping
The complaint/initiatory pleading must have Certification on Non-Forum Shopping. The effect of a complaint/initiatory pleading without Certification on Non-Forum Shopping is that the court acquires jurisdiction over the case, but the court can order the dismissal of the case for non-observance of Certification on Non-Forum Shopping as a condition precedent.
Effects of complaint filed without certification of non-forum shopping: 1. court obtains jurisdiction of the case
2. court can dismiss the case for noncompliance of condition precedent
Exhaustion of administrative procedures is another condition precedent to the accrual of a cause of action.
In the NCC, in disputes between members of the same family, it must be shown that earnest efforts to reconcile or compromise have been attempted but was unsuccessful.
Thus, the definition of a cause of action under the Rules is now qualified by certain conditions precedent before the injured party can go to court. He must see to it that these conditions precedent, if applicable, must first be observed. The risk of not doing so is that the court, although competent and may have jurisdiction over the case, may refuse to file the case and issue an order directing the plaintiff to undergo or comply with these conditions precedent.
If the conditions precedent have been met, the general rule that we follow is for every cause of action, the plaintiff/right holder can file one complaint.
Splitting a cause of action – abhorred by the court.
Ex. Creditor filed separate actions for recovery of the principal and the interest earned by the principal. Even if there are 2 different courts where these complaints are filed, there is still splitting cause of actions.
Rule 2 SEC. 4. Splitting a single cause of action; effect of.—If two or more suits are instituted on the basis of the same cause of action, the filing of one or a judgment upon the merits in any one is available as a ground for the dismissal of the others. Rule 7 SEC. 5. Certification against forum shopping. —The plaintiff or principal party shall certify under oath in the complaint or other initiatory pleading asserting a claim for relief, or in a sworn certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed therewith: (a) that he 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 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 should thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, he shall report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court wherein his aforesaid complaint or initiatory pleading has been filed.
Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements shall not be curable by mere amendment of the complaint or other initiatory pleading but shall be cause for the dismissal of the case without prejudice, unless otherwise provided, upon motion and after hearing. The submission, of a false certification or non-compliance with any of the undertakings therein shall constitute indirect contempt of court, without prejudice to the corresponding administrative and criminal actions. If the acts of the party or his counsel clearly constitute willful and deliberate forum shopping, the same shall be ground for summary dismissal with prejudice and shall constitute direct contempt, as well as a cause for administrative sanctions.
Sanctions for splitting causes of action:
1. filing of one could be used to dismiss the other due to litis pendencia
2. if one of the case has been decided, the other case can be dismissed due to res judicata 3. if there are 2 concurrent cases, the cases can be dismissed on ground of forum shopping.
It is now settled that if the party is guilty of splitting his cause of action, he is also guilty of forum shopping. There is no need to elaborate as to whether there is forum shopping as long as it can be shown that there is splitting causes of action.
Why does the Rules prohibit splitting?
It is because, the effect of splitting a cause of action could be harmful to our courts. If splitting is allowed, and one case each will be filed for example in the RTC and MTC, there is the possibility that one court will decide differently from the other and would result in the courts looking funny, even if the same facts, the same parties and the same pieces of evidence were presented therein. The rule on splitting is designed more for protecting the integrity of our courts. The likelihood that different courts will render conflicting decisions involving the same issue, the same parties and the same pieces of evidence and thus destroy the credibility
of the judicial system is sought to be prevented.
Suppose the plaintiff filed 2 complaints arising from the same cause of action, but the defendant ignores this. Defendant did not act on the fact. Can the court motu propio dismiss the cases? Yes. Res judicata and litis pendencia are both non-waivable offenses under Rule 9. Even if the defendant did not waive these, the court motu propio can order dismissal of these cases once these becomes clear during trial. But if the ground for dismissal is litis pendencia, only one of the cases will be dismissed. If the ground for dismissal is res judicata, all cases filed will be dismissed.
In litis pendencia, movant cannot move for dismissal of all cases, only one can be dismissed.
Rule 9SECTION 1. Defenses and objections not pleaded.—Defenses and objections not pleaded either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer are deemed waived. However, when it appears from the pleadings or the evidence on record that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter, that there is another action pending between the same parties for the same cause, or that the action is barred by a prior judgment or by statute of limitations, the court shall dismiss the claim.
(Note: If you are counsel for the defendant, if cases are filed in 2 different courts [RTC and MTC], move for the dismissal of the case in the RTC, as the amount involved in the MTC is smaller. Hence, if the amount involved in total should have been 2.2M, and the amount involved in the MTC is only 200k, only 200k will be extent of liability that your client will have in case of judgment against him.)
Can we have the defendant have the remedy of dismissal of both cases filed in RTC and MTC? Yes, on the ground of forum shopping. If a plaintiff is guilty of forum shopping, the court shall order the dismissal of all cases. But the qualification is that the dismissal is without prejudice, not an adjudication on the merits. Exception to the dismissal being without prejudice is that if the forum shopping was DELIBERATE, then dismissal is with prejudice.
If the wish of the defendant is the dismissal of all cases, move for dismissal under Rule 7 on the ground of forum shopping. Anyway, if the party is guilty of splitting of a cause of action, he violates the rule on forum shopping.
But if one of the cases has been decided, the ground of dismissal should be res judicata, as long as the decision in that previous case has become FINAL AND EXECUTORY.
Litis pendencia and res judicata are NON-WAIVABLE defenses. Courts can motu propio dismiss the case on these grounds under Rule 9.
On Cases of Collection of Payments Payable on Installments Larena vs. Villanueva – old case but still applicable
Each installment = different maturity dates.
The rule of thumb is that for each installment that becomes due and unpaid, one cause of action arises for that particular installment.
If the installment becomes due and unpaid, the creditor has one cause of action against the debtor for recovery of money. But his cause of action against the debtor is only for the recovery of the installment that was overdue.
Can the creditor insist on recovery of the entire amount instead of installments? Generally, no. Each installment must be due so that right of recovery can be had.
Exception: The contract has an acceleration clause. It is a clause in contracts payable in installments where parties stipulate that in case of default in the payment of a certain number of installments (or even just one), the entire obligation becomes due.
So if there was an acceleration clause in the contract wherein the whole obligation becomes due after default of the first installment, the creditor will have one cause of action only to recover the entire amount. Suppose the creditor indeed filed one case only, and later a judgment was decided in his favor and the has become final, and later the second installment has become due, he cannot file another case for the recovery of the second installment by virtue of the acceleration clause. Only one cause of action shall arise.
But without an acceleration clause, the rule of thumb is each installment that is unpaid shall give rise to a different cause of action when they become due and unpaid. There will be as many cases as there are
installments filed by the creditor against the same debtor, but each case corresponding to a different installment.
The qualification given in Larena is that if two installments are already due, then they should be the subject of one complaint. If the other installments are not yet due, they cannot yet be subject to a complaint.
RULE ON ANTICIPATORY BREACH
Blossom vs. Manila Gas (Rule on Anticipatory Breach)
Even if the obligations are not yet due according to the contract, but the debtor has expressed formally his desire not to pay, then that is an anticipatory breach of contract from which creditor can file a case against the debtor to collect the entire obligation. This anticipatory breach should be formally pleaded in the complaint.
If such anticipatory breach was not pleaded in the complaint filed, and defendant failed to file an answer, the court will set the case for pre-trial. By the time the pre-trial was conducted, the first installment had become due. The trial was scheduled, but by that time, the whole obligation became due and unpaid. Can the court properly decide the case in favor of the plaintiff?
Swagman Hotel vs. CA
If a plaintiff files a complaint in court although he has no cause of action at all, and the claim of the plaintiff matures at the time the case is tried, the court still does not have any authority to decide the case. This is because at the time of the filing of the complaint, the plaintiff did not have a cause of action.
Can we not apply Rule 10 (Amendment to conform to evidence)?
SC held that we don’t apply amendment to conform to evidence, if in the first place the plaintiff does not have a cause of action at the time of the filing of the complaint. It is essential under the Swagman Rule that a complaint should be filed after the cause of action has accrued. If there is no cause of action that has accrued and a complaint is filed, the court will have no authority to decide the case, even if that obligation matures and becomes defaulted during the trial of the case. We apply Rule 10 only if there is a cause of action at the time of the filing of the complaint.
Swagman Hotel vs. CA
Facts: Sometime in 1996 and 1997, Swagman through Atty. Infante and Hegerty, its president and vice-president, respectively, obtained from Christian loans evidenced by three promissory notes dated 7 August 1996, 14 March 1997, and 14 July 1997. Each of the promissory notes is in the amount of US$50,000 payable after three years from its date with an interest of 15% per annum payable every three months. In a letter dated 16 December 1998, Christian informed the petitioner corporation that he was terminating the loans and demanded from the latter payment of said loans.
On 2 February 1999, Christian filed with the RTC a complaint for a sum of money and damages against the petitioner corporation, Hegerty, and Atty. Infante.
The petitioner corporation, together with its president and vice-president, filed an Answer raising as defenses lack of cause of action. According to them, Christian had no cause of action because the three promissory notes were not yet due and demandable.
The trial court ruled that under Section 5 of Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint which states no cause of action may be cured by evidence presented without objection. Thus, even if the plaintiff had no cause of action at the time he filed the instant complaint, as defendants’ obligation are not yet due and demandable then, he may nevertheless recover on the first two promissory notes in view of the introduction of evidence showing that the obligations covered by the two promissory notes are now due and demandable. When the instant case was filed on February 2, 1999, none of the promissory notes was due and demandable, but , the first and the second promissory notes have already matured during the course of the proceeding. Hence, payment is already due.
Issue: Whether or not a complaint that lacks a cause of action at the time it was filed be cured by the accrual of a cause of action during the pendency of the case.
Held: No. Cause of action, as defined in Section 2, Rule 2 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, is the act or omission by which a party violates the right of another. Its essential elements are as follows:
1. A right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or is created;
2. An obligation on the part of the named defendant to respect or not to violate such right; and
3. 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.
It is, thus, only upon the occurrence of the last element that a cause of action arises, giving the plaintiff the right to maintain an action in court for recovery of damages or other appropriate relief.
Such interpretation by the trial court and CA of Section 5, Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure is erroneous. The curing effect under Section 5 is applicable only if a cause of action in fact exists at the time the complaint is filed, but the complaint is defective for failure to allege the essential facts. Amendments of pleadings are allowed under Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure in order that the actual merits of a case may be determined in the most expeditious and inexpensive manner without regard to technicalities, and that all other matters included in the case may be determined in a single proceeding, thereby avoiding multiplicity of suits.
SWAGMAN RULE: At the time of the filing of the complaint, the plaintiff must have a cause of action. He must be able to show that his right was violated by the time the complaint was filed. Otherwise, he cannot make use of amendment to conform to evidence.
SPLITTING VS JOINDER OF CAUSES OF ACTIONS Splitting is prohibited, joinder is encouraged by the Rules.
The Rules encourages a plaintiff to incorporate as many causes of action he may have against the same defendant, although his causes of action are totally unrelated to one another. This is allowed so long as the parties remain the same.
A plaintiff can file a complaint against a defendant for accion reinvindicatoria, for recovery of money arising from the loan, recovery of damages arising from a quasi-delict committed by the defendant, although arising out of different transactions. There is nothing wrong if the plaintiff sets up three different causes of action in a complaint that arose of different transactions.
The limitations to joinder of causes of action: 1. Jurisdiction
3. Joinder of parties
According to Rule 2, there could be joinder causes of actions which is valid as long as the plaintiff SEC. 5. Joinder of causes of action.—A party may in one pleading assert, in the alternative or otherwise, as many causes of action as he may have against an opposing party, 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 or actions governed by special rules;
(c) Where the causes of action are between the same parties but pertain to different venues or jurisdictions, the joinder may be allowed in the Regional Trial Court 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.
If the plaintiff files a complaint against the defendant for accion reinvindicatoria, and the assessed value of the property is 1k only, and the second cause of action is the recovery of money, obviously the actions are misjoined. This is because accion reinvindicatoria, the property being only 1k, is cognizable only by the MTC. SC decided a case where one of the parties contended joinder when there was actually misjoinder of causes of action. The complaint filed by the plaintiff against the defendant, the first cause of action was for partition, and second cause of action was for rescission of a donation. Both causes of action were cognizable by the RTC.
If we rely solely on Sec. 5 Rule 2, is there misjoinder of actions? Why?
Yes. This is because a complaint for Partition is a special civil action while rescission is an ordinary civil action. They are governed by different procedures, and thus there is misjoinder of causes of action under Rule 2 Sec. 5(b).
On the same facts above, the defendant did not notice the misjoinder and did nothing, whereas the court did nothing also. The judge most likely waited for the defendant to move to split the misjoinder causes. But since nothing was done by defendant, the judge proceeded to try the two misjoined cases.
Under the rules, can a court, motu propio, order the severance of one of the misjoined causes of action?
Yes. The court can do so. Under the Rules, there is no need for a motion from the defendant if the court finds out that causes of action are misjoined . It can motu propio order the severance of cases. This is done for the benefit of the court, because if the court will wait for the defendant to make a motion, to raise the misjoinder of causes, the court will find himself confused with the procedure he will follow. This is because partition will involve a different procedure from ordinary civil actions. In fact, under our Rules now, partition is a multi-stage proceedings. Rescission is an ordinary civil actions.
The court went ahead and tried the case, until a decision was finally issued by the court. Only then did the defendant raised, on appeal to the SC, the misjoinder of causes of action.
If nobody objected, the court may proceed in the disposition of the case. If the court decided on the case, the decision will still be valid. SC made a qualification that these misjoined causes should be within the jurisdiction of the trial court under BP 129. In other words, this rule on misjoined causes could be a ground for severance of these causes. But it if it is not raised timely, and the court decided on the case, the court’s decision is valid as long as the trial court has jurisdiction over the misjoined causes.
Does the RTC have jurisdiction over a complaint for Partition? Does the RTC have jurisdiction over rescission of a donation?
Note that a case for partition is one incapable of pecuniary estimation. So even if there are misjoined causes in one complaint, but this misjoinder is not raised before the trial court, the parties are deemed to have waived this issue of misjoinder of causes of action, the judgment rendered by the court is valid and the same can be executed if it is duly entered.
If the court does not motu propio order the severance, the defendant cannot blame the court for it. It is the burden of the defendant to raise this as an issue before the trial court.
As long as one of the misjoined causes falls within the jurisdiction of the trial court, there is nothing wrong if the trial court will eventually decide the case although there is misjoined causes of action.
Can a complaint be filed where these two causes of action are set up, first, petition for certiorari, and then, as a second cause, petition for habeas corpus?