Category: LATEST SUPREME COURT CASES


CASE 2012-0060: PHILTRANCO SERVICE ENTERPRISES, INC. VS.      FELIX PARAS AND  INLAND TRAILWAYS, INC., AND HON. COURT OF APPEALS (G.R. No. 161909, 25 APRIL 2012, BERSAMIN, J.) SUBJECTS: MORAL DAMAGES; QUASI DELICT; THIRD PARTY COMPLAINT; TEMPERATE DAMAGES; ATTORNEY’S FEES;

 

=========================

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS WITH MODIFICATION the decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on September 25, 2002, by ordering PHILTRANCO SERVICE ENTERPRISES, INC. and APOLINAR MIRALLES to pay, jointly and severally, as follows:

 

  1. To Felix Paras:

 

(a) P1,397.95, as reimbursement for the costs of medicines purchased between February 1987 and July 1989;

 

(b) P50,000.00 as temperate damages;

 

(c) P50,000.00 as moral damages;

 

(d) P36,000.00 for lost earnings;

 

(e) 10% of the total of items (a) to (d) hereof as attorney’s fees; and

 

(f) Interest of 6% per annum from July 18, 1997 on the total of items (a) to (d) hereof until finality of this decision, and 12% per annum thereafter until full payment.

 

2. To Inland Trailways, Inc.:

 

(a)  P250,000.00 as temperate damages;

 

(b)    10% of item (a) hereof; and

 

(c)    Interest of 6% per annum on item (a) hereof from July 18, 1997 until finality of this decision, and 12% per annum thereafter until full payment.

 

3. The petitioner shall pay the costs of suit.

 

SO ORDERED.

 

 

=========================

 

 

 

 

Republic of thePhilippines

Supreme Court

BaguioCity

                     

FIRST DIVISION

 

PHILTRANCO SERVICE ENTERPRISES, INC.,     

    Petitioner,

 

 

 

                 -versus-

 

 

 

FELIX PARAS AND  INLAND TRAILWAYS, INC., AND HON. COURT OF APPEALS,

        Respondents.

    G.R. No. 161909

 

Present:

 

    CORONA, C.J.  Chairperson,

    LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,

    BERSAMIN,

   DELCASTILLO, and

    VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.

 

     Promulgated:

     April 25, 2012

x—————————————————————————————–x

 

DECISION

 

BERSAMIN, J.:

 

In an action for breach of contract of carriage commenced by a passenger against his common carrier, the plaintiff can recover damages from a third-party defendant brought into the suit by the common carrier upon a claim based on tort or quasi-delict. The liability of the third-party defendant is independent from the liability of the common carrier to the passenger.

 

Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc. (Philtranco) appeals the affirmance with modifications by the Court of Appeals (CA) of the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) awarding moral, actual and temperate damages, as well as attorney’s fees and costs of suit, to respondent Felix Paras (Paras), and temperate damages to respondent Inland Trailways, Inc. (Inland), respectively the plaintiff and the defendant/third-party plaintiff in this action for breach of contract of carriage, upon a finding that the negligence of the petitioner and its driver had caused the serious physical injuries Paras sustained and the material damage Inland’s bus suffered in a vehicular accident.

 

Antecedents

 

The antecedent facts, as summarized by the CA, are as follows:

 

Plaintiff-appellant [respondent] Felix Paras (Paras for brevity), who hails from Cainta, Rizal is engaged in the buy and sell of fish products.  Sometime on 08 February 1987, on his way home toManilafrom Bicol Region, he boarded a bus with Body No. 101 and Plate No. EVE 508, owned and operated by Inland Trailways, Inc. (Inland for brevity) and driven by its driver Calvin Coner (Coner for brevity).

 

At approximately 3:50 o’clock in the morning of 09 February 1987, while the said bus was travelling alongMaharlika Highway, Tiaong, Quezon, it was bumped at the rear by another bus with Plate No. EVB 259, owned and operated by Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc. (Philtranco for brevity).  As a result of the strong and violent impact, the Inland bus was pushed forward and smashed into a cargo truck parked along the outer right portion of the highway and the shoulder thereof.  Consequently, the said accident bought considerable damage to the vehicles involved and caused physical injuries to the passengers and crew of the two buses, including the death of Coner who was the driver of the Inland Bus at the time of the incident.

 

Paras was not spared from the pernicious effects of the accident.  After an emergency treatment at theSan PabloMedicalCenter,San PabloCity, Laguna, Paras was taken to theNationalOrthopedicHospital.  At the latter hospital, he was found and diagnosed by Dr. Antonio Tanchuling, Jr. to be affected with the following injuries: a) contusion/hematoma; b) dislocation of hip upon fracture of the fibula on the right leg; c) fractured small bone on the right leg; and d) close fracture on the tibial plateau of the left leg. (Exh. “A”, p. 157, record)

 

On 04 March 1987 and 15 April 1987, Paras underwent two (2) operations affecting the fractured portions of his body. (Exhs. “A-2” and “A-3”, pp. 159 and 160 respectively, record)

 

Unable to obtain sufficient financial assistance from Inland for the costs of his operations, hospitalization, doctors’ fees and other miscellaneous expenses, on 31 July 1989, Paras filed a complaint for damages based on breach of contract of carriage against Inland.

 

In its answer, defendant Inland denied responsibility, by alleging, among others, that its driver Coner had observed an utmost and extraordinary care and diligence to ensure the safety of its passengers.  In support of its disclaimer of responsibility, Inland invoked the Police Investigation Report which established the fact that the Philtranco bus driver of [sic] Apolinar Miralles was the one which violently bumped the rear portion of the Inland bus, and therefore, the direct and proximate cause of Paras’ injuries.

 

On 02 March 1990, upon leave of court, Inland filed a third-party complaint against Philtranco and Apolinar Miralles (Third Party defendants).  In this third-party complaint, Inland, sought for exoneration of its liabilities to Paras, asserting that the latter’s cause of action should be directed against Philtranco considering that the accident was caused by Miralles’ lack of care, negligence and reckless imprudence. (pp. 50 to 56, records).

 

 

After trial, the RTC (Branch 71) in Antipolo, Rizal rendered its judgment on July 18, 1997,[1][1] viz:

 

WHEREFORE, third-party defendant Philtranco and Apolinar Miralles are hereby ordered to pay plaintiff jointly and severally, the following amounts:

 

  1. P54,000.00 as actual damages;

 

  1. P50,000.00 as moral damages;

 

  1. P20,000.00 as attorney’s fees and costs.

 

SO ORDERED.

 

All the parties appealed to the CA on different grounds.

 

On his part, Paras ascribed the following errors to the RTC, to wit:

 

        1.  THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT ONLY THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT-APPELLANT PHILTRANCO IS LIABLE FOR THE DAMAGES SUFFERED BY APPELLANT PARAS.

 

          II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING APPELLANT INLAND TRAILWAYS INC. TO BE JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE FOR THE DAMAGES SUFFERED BY PARAS.

 

          III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT AWARDING UNEARNED INCOME AS ADDITIONAL ACTUAL DAMAGES SUFFERED BY APPELLANT PARAS AS HIS PHYSICAL DISABILITY IS PERMANENT IN NATURE.

 

          IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT AWARDING EXEMPLARY DAMAGES IN FAVOR OF APPELLANT PARAS.

 

 

On the other hand, Inland assigned the following errors to the RTC, namely:

 

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO AWARD DAMAGES UNTO THE THIRD PARTY PLAINTIFF NOTWITHSTANDING CLEAR FINDING THAT:

 

          ‘It is clear from the evidence that the plaintiff sustained injuries because of the reckless, negligence, and lack of precaution of third party defendant Apolinar Miralles, an employee of Philtranco.’

 

AND, COMPLETELY DISREGARDED THE UNCONTROVERTED ORAL  AND DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCES ESTABLISHING THE EXTENT AND DEGREE OF DAMAGES SUSTAINED BY THE THIRD PARTY PLAINTIFF.

 

Lastly, Philtranco stated that the RTC erred thuswise:

 

I

THE COURT A QUO MISERABLY ERRED IN AWARDING ACTUAL DAMAGES GREATER THAN WHAT WAS ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT ITSELF, AND EVEN MUCH MORE GREATER THAN WHAT WERE PROVED DURING THE TRIAL, HENCE, PERPETUATING UNJUST ENRICHMENT.

 

II

THE COURT A QUO SERIOUSLY ERRED IN AWARDING MORAL DAMAGES TO A CAUSE OF ACTION OF CULPA-CONTRACTUAL EVEN WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE OF GROSS BAD FAITH; HENCE, CONTRARY TO THE ESTABLISHED DOCTRINE IN THE CASES OF PHIL. RABBIT BUS LINES VS. ESGUERRA; SOBERANO VS. BENGUET AUTO LINE ANDFLORESVS. MIRANDA.

 

III

THE COURT A QUO MISERABLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT MIRALLES WAS THE ONE AT FAULT MERELY ON THE STRENGHT OF THE TESTIMONY OF THE POLICE INVESTIGATOR WHICH IS IN TURN BASED ON THE STATEMENTS OF ALLEGED WITNESSES WHO WERE NEVER PRESENTED ON THE WITNESS STAND.

 

IV

THE COURT A QUO COMMITTED A GRIEVOUS ERROR IN DISREGARDING THE TESTIMONY OF APPELLANTS’ WITNESSES WHO TESTIFIED AS TO THE DEFENSE OF EXERCISE OF DUE DILIGENCE IN THE SELECTION AND SUPERVISION OF EMPLOYEES PURSUANT TO ART. 2180, LAST PARAGRAPH, NEW CIVIL CODE.

 

On September 25, 2002, the CA promulgated its decision,[2][2] disposing:

 

WHEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing premises, the assailed decision dated 18 July 19(9)7 is perforce affirmed with the following modifications:

 

1. Third party defendants-appellants Philtranco and Apolinar Miralles are ordered to pay plaintiff-appellant Felix Paras jointly and severally the following amounts:

 

a)           P1,397.95 as actual damages;

b)           P50,000.00 as temperate damages;

c)            P50,000.00 as moral damages; and

d)           P20,000.00 as attorney’s fees and costs of suit.

 

2. On the third party plaintiff-appellant Inland’s claims, the third party defendant-appellants Philtranco and Apolinar Miralles are hereby ordered to pay the former (Inland) jointly and severally the amount of P250,000.00 as and by way of temperate damages.

 

SO ORDERED.

 

 

The CA agreed with the RTC’s finding that no trace of negligence at the time of the accident was attributable to Inland’s driver, rendering Inland not guilty of breach of contract of carriage; that faulty brakes had caused Philtranco’s bus to forcefully bump Inland’s bus from behind, making it hit the rear portion of a parked cargo truck; that the impact had resulted in considerable material damage to the three vehicles; and that Paras and others had sustained various physical injuries.

 

Accordingly, the CA: (a) sustained the award of moral damages of P50,000.00 in favor of Paras pursuant to Article 2219 of the Civil Code based on quasi-delict committed by Philtranco and its driver; (b) reduced the actual damages to be paid by Philtranco to Paras from P54,000.00 to P1,397.95 because only the latter amount had been duly supported by receipts; (c) granted temperate damages of P50,000.00 (in lieu of actual damages in view of the absence of competent proof of actual damages for his hospitalization and therapy) to be paid by Philtranco to Paras; and (d) awarded temperate damages of P250,000.00 under the same premise to be paid by Philtranco to Inland for the material damage caused to Inland’s bus. 

 

Philtranco moved for reconsideration,[3][3] but the CA denied its motion for reconsideration on January 21, 2004.[4][4]

 

Issues

 

Hence, this appeal, in which the petitioner submits that the CA committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in awarding moral damages to Paras despite the fact that the complaint had been anchored on breach of contract of carriage; and that the CA committed a reversible error in substituting its own judgment by motu proprio awarding temperate damages of P250,000.00 to Inland and P50,000.00 to Paras despite the clear fact that temperate damages were not raised on appeal by Paras and Inland.

 

Ruling

 

The appeal lacks merit.

 

        The Court does not disturb the unanimous findings by the CA and the RTC on the negligence of Philtranco and its driver being the direct cause of the physical injuries of Paras and the material damage of Inland.

 

Nonetheless, we feel bound to pass upon the disparate results the CA and the RTC reached on the liabilities of Philtranco and its driver.

 

1.

Paras can recover moral damages

in this suit based on quasi-delict

       

Philtranco contends that Paras could not recover moral damages because his suit was based on breach of contract of carriage, pursuant to  which moral damages could be recovered only if he had died, or if the common carrier had been guilty of fraud or bad faith. It argues that Paras had suffered only physical injuries; that he had not adduced evidence of fraud or bad faith on the part of the common carrier; and that, consequently, Paras could not recover moral damages directly from it (Philtranco), considering that it was only being subrogated for Inland.

 

The Court cannot uphold the petitioner’s contention.

 

As a general rule, indeed, moral damages are not recoverable in an action predicated on a breach of contract. This is because such action is not included in Article 2219 of the Civil Code[5][5] as one of the actions in which moral damages may be recovered. By way of exception, moral damages are recoverable in an action predicated on a breach of contract: (a) where the mishap results in the death of a passenger, as provided in Article 1764,[6][6] in relation to Article 2206, (3),[7][7] of the Civil Code; and (b) where the common carrier has been guilty of fraud or bad faith,[8][8] as provided in Article 2220[9][9] of the Civil Code.

Although this action does not fall under either of the exceptions, the award of moral damages to Paras was nonetheless proper and valid. There is no question that Inland filed its third-party complaint against Philtranco and its driver in order to establish in this action that they, instead of Inland, should be directly liable to Paras for the physical injuries he had sustained because of their negligence. To be precise, Philtranco and its driver were brought into the action on the theory of liability that the proximate cause of the collision between Inland’s bus and Philtranco’s bus had been “the negligent, reckless and imprudent manner defendant Apolinar Miralles drove and operated his driven unit, the Philtranco Bus with Plate No. 259, owned and operated by third-party defendant Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc.”[10][10]  The apparent objective of Inland was not to merely subrogate the third-party defendants for itself, as Philtranco appears to suggest,[11][11] but, rather, to obtain a different relief whereby the third-party defendants would be held directly, fully and solely liable to Paras and Inland for whatever damages each had suffered from the negligence committed by Philtranco and its driver. In other words, Philtranco and its driver were charged here as joint tortfeasors who would be jointly and severally be liable to Paras and Inland.

 

        Impleading Philtranco and its driver through the third-party complaint filed on March 2, 1990 was correct. The device of the third-party action, also known as impleader, was in accord with Section 12, Rule 6 of the Revised Rules of Court, the rule then applicable, viz:

 

Section 12. Third-party complaint. – A third-party complaint is a claim that a defending party may, with leave of court, file against a person not a party to the action, called the third-party defendant, for contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in respect of his opponent’s claim.[12][12]

 

 

Explaining the application of Section 12, Rule 6, supra, the Court said in Balbastro v. Court of Appeals,[13][13] to wit:

 

Section 12 of Rule 6 of the Revised Rules of Court authorizes a defendant to bring into a lawsuit any person “not a party to the action . . . for contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief in respect of his opponent’s claim.” From its explicit language it does not compel the defendant to bring the third-parties into the litigation, rather it simply permits the inclusion of anyone who meets the standard set forth in the rule. The secondary or derivative liability of the third-party is central — whether the basis is indemnity, subrogation, contribution, express or implied warranty or some other theory. The impleader of new parties under this rule is proper only when a right to relief exists under the applicable substantive law. This rule is merely a procedural mechanism, and cannot be utilized unless there is some substantive basis under applicable law.

 

Apart from the requirement that the third-party complainant should assert a derivative or secondary claim for relief from the third-party defendant there are other limitations on said party’s ability to implead. The rule requires that the third-party defendant is “not a party to the action” for otherwise the proper procedure for asserting a claim against one who is already a party to the suit is by means of counterclaim or cross-claim under sections 6 and 7 of Rule 6. In addition to the aforecited requirement, the claim against the third-party defendant must be based upon plaintiff’s claim against the original defendant (third-party claimant). The crucial characteristic of a claim under section 12 of Rule 6, is that the original “defendant is attempting to transfer to the third-party defendant the liability asserted against him by the original plaintiff.”

 

 

Accordingly, the requisites for a third-party action are, firstly, that the party to be impleaded must not yet be a party to the action; secondly, that the claim against the third-party defendant must belong to the original defendant; thirdly, the claim of the original defendant against the third-party defendant must be based upon the plaintiff’s claim against the original defendant; and, fourthly, the defendant is attempting to transfer to the third-party defendant the liability asserted against him by the original plaintiff.[14][14]

 

As the foregoing indicates, the claim that the third-party complaint asserts against the third-party defendant must be predicated on substantive law. Here, the substantive law on which the right of Inland to seek such other relief through its third-party complaint rested were Article 2176 and Article 2180 of the Civil Code, which read:

 

Article 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this chapter. (1902a)

 

Article 2180. The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one’s own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.

xxx

          Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry.

xxx

          The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage. (1903a)

 

        Paras’ cause of action against Inland (breach of contract of carriage) did not need to be the same as the cause of action of Inland against Philtranco and its driver (tort or quasi-delict) in the impleader. It is settled that a defendant in a contract action may join as third-party defendants those who may be liable to him in tort for the plaintiff’s claim against him, or even directly to the plaintiff.[15][15] Indeed, Prof. Wright, et al., commenting on the provision of the Federal Rules of Procedure of the United States from which Section 12, supra, was derived, observed so, to wit:[16][16]

 

The third-party claim need not be based on the same theory as the main claim. For example, there are cases in which the third-party claim is based on an express indemnity contract and the original complaint is framed in terms of negligence. Similarly, there need not be any legal relationship between the third-party defendant and any of the other parties to the action. Impleader also is proper even though the third party’s liability is contingent, and technically does not come into existence until the original defendant’s liability has been established. In addition, the words ‘is or may be liable’ in Rule 14(a) make it clear that impleader is proper even though the third-party defendant’s liability is not automatically established once the third-party plaintiff’s liability to the original plaintiff has been determined.

 

Nor was it a pre-requisite for attachment of the liability to Philtranco and its driver that Inland be first declared and found liable to Paras for the breach of its contract of carriage with him.[17][17] As the Court has cogently discoursed in Samala v. Judge Victor:[18][18]

 

Appellants argue that since plaintiffs filed a complaint for damages against the defendants on a breach of contract of carriage, they cannot recover from the third-party defendants on a cause of action based on quasi-delict. The third party defendants, they allege, are never parties liable with respect to plaintiff s claim although they are with respect to the defendants for indemnification, subrogation, contribution or other reliefs. Consequently, they are not directly liable to the plaintiffs. Their liability commences only when the defendants are adjudged liable and not when they are absolved from liability as in the case at bar.

 

Quite apparent from these arguments is the misconception entertained by appellants with respect to the nature and office of a third party complaint.

 

Section 16, Rule 6 of the Revised Rules of Court defines a third party complaint as a “claim that a defending party may, with leave of court, file against a person not a party to the action, called the third-party defendant, for contribution, indemnification, subrogation, or any other relief, in respect of his opponent’s claim.” In the case of Viluan vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 16 SCRA 742 [1966], this Court had occasion to elucidate on the subjects covered by this Rule, thus:

 

… As explained in the Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. vs. U.S. Fidelity & Guaranty Co., 52 F. Supp. 177 (1943:)

 

‘From the sources of Rule 14 and the decisions herein cited, it is clear that this rule, like the admiralty rule, ‘covers two distinct subjects, the addition of parties defendant to the main cause of action, and the bringing in of a third party for a defendant’s remedy over’. xxx

 

‘If the third party complaint alleges facts showing a third party’s direct liability to plaintiff on the claim set out in plaintiff’s petition, then third party ‘shall’ make his defenses as provided in Rule 12 and his counterclaims against plaintiff as provided in Rule 13. In the case of alleged direct liability, no amendment (to the complaint) is necessary or required. The subject-matter of the claim is contained in plaintiff’s complaint, the ground of third party’s liability on that claim is alleged in third party complaint, and third party’s defense to set up in his answer to plaintiff’s complaint. At that point and without amendment, the plaintiff and third party are at issue as to their rights respecting the claim.

 

The provision in the rule that, ‘The third-party defendant may assert any defense which the third-party plaintiff may assert to the plaintiffs claim,’ applies to the other subject, namely, the alleged liability of third party defendant. The next sentence in the rule, ‘The third-party defendant is bound by the adjudication of the third party plaintiffs liability to the plaintiff, as well as of his own to the plaintiff or to the third-party plaintiff applies to both subjects. If third party is brought in as liable only to defendant and judgment is rendered adjudicating plaintiff’s right to recover against defendant and defendant’s rights to recover against third party, he is bound by both adjudications.That part of the sentence refers to the second subject. If third party is brought in as liable to plaintiff, then third party is bound by the adjudication as between him and plaintiff. That refers to the first subject. If third party is brought in as liable to plaintiff and also over to defendant, then third party is bound by both adjudications. xxx

 

Under this Rule, a person not a party to an action may be impleaded by the defendant either (a) on an allegation of liability to the latter; (b) on the ground of direct liability to the plaintiff-; or, (c) both (a) and (b). The situation in (a) is covered by the phrase “for contribution, indemnity or subrogation;” while (b) and (c) are subsumed under the catch all “or any other relief, in respect of his opponent’s claim.”

 

The case at bar is one in which the third party defendants are brought into the action as directly liable to the plaintiffs upon the allegation that “the primary and immediate cause as shown by the police investigation of said vehicular collision between (sic) the above-mentioned three vehicles was the recklessness and negligence and lack of imprudence (sic) of the third-party defendant Virgilio (should be Leonardo) Esguerra y Ledesma then driver of the passenger bus.” The effects are that “plaintiff and third party are at issue as to their rights respecting the claim” and “the third party is bound by the adjudication as between him and plaintiff.” It is not indispensable in the premises that the defendant be first adjudged liable to plaintiff before the third-party defendant may be held liable to the plaintiff, as precisely, the theory of defendant is that it is the third party defendant, and not he, who is directly liable to plaintiff. The situation contemplated by appellants would properly pertain to situation (a) above wherein the third party defendant is being sued for contribution, indemnity or subrogation, or simply stated, for a defendant’s “remedy over”.[19][19]

 

 

It is worth adding that allowing the recovery of damages by Paras based on quasi-delict, despite his complaint being upon contractual breach, served the judicial policy of avoiding multiplicity of suits and circuity of actions by disposing of the entire subject matter in a single litigation.[20][20] 

 

2.

Award of temperate damages was in order

 

 

        Philtranco assails the award of temperate damages by the CA considering that, firstly, Paras and Inland had not raised the matter in the trial court and in their respective appeals; secondly, the CA could not substitute the temperate damages granted to Paras if Paras could not properly establish his actual damages despite evidence of his actual expenses being easily available to him; and, thirdly, the CA gravely abused its discretion in granting motu proprio the temperate damages of P250,000.00 to Inland although Inland had not claimed temperate damages in its pleading or during trial and even on appeal.

 

        The Court cannot side with Philtranco.

 

        Actual damages, to be recoverable, must not only be capable of proof, but must actually be proved with a reasonable degree of certainty. The reason is that the court “cannot simply rely on speculation, conjecture or guesswork in determining the fact and amount of damages,” but “there must be competent proof of the actual amount of loss, credence can be given only to claims which are duly supported by receipts.”[21][21]

 

The receipts formally submitted and offered by Paras were limited to the costs of medicines purchased on various times in the period from February 1987 to July 1989 (Exhibits E to E-35, inclusive) totaling only P1,397.95.[22][22] The receipts by no means included hospital and medical expenses, or the costs of at least two surgeries as well as rehabilitative therapy. Consequently, the CA fixed actual damages only at that small sum of P1,397.95. On its part, Inland offered no definite proof on the repairs done on its vehicle, or the extent of the material damage except the testimony of its witness, Emerlinda  Maravilla, to the effect that the bus had been damaged beyond economic repair.[23][23]  The CA rejected Inland’s showing of unrealized income worth P3,945,858.50 for 30 months (based on alleged average weekly income of P239,143.02 multiplied by its guaranteed revenue amounting to 55% thereof, then spread over a period of 30 months, the equivalent to the remaining 40% of the vehicle’s un-depreciated or net book value), finding such showing arbitrary, uncertain and speculative.[24][24]  As a result, the CA allowed no compensation to Inland for unrealized income.

 

Nonetheless, the CA was convinced that Paras should not suffer from the lack of definite proof of his actual expenses for the surgeries and rehabilitative therapy; and that Inland should not be deprived of recourse to recover its loss of the economic value of its damaged vehicle.  As the records indicated, Paras was first rushed for emergency treatment to the San Pablo Medical Center in San Pablo City, Laguna, and was later brought to the National Orthopedic Hospital in Quezon City where he was diagnosed to have suffered a dislocated hip, fracture of the fibula on the right leg, fracture of the small bone of the right leg, and closed fracture on the tibial plateau of the left leg. He underwent surgeries on March 4, 1987 and April 15, 1987 to repair the fractures.[25][25] Thus, the CA awarded to him temperate damages of  P50,000.00 in the absence of definite proof of his actual expenses towards that end. As to Inland, Maravilla’s testimony of the bus having been damaged beyond economic repair showed a definitely substantial pecuniary loss, for which the CA fixed temperate damages of P250,000.00. We cannot disturb the CA’s determination, for we are in no position today to judge its reasonableness on account of the lapse of a long time from when the accident occurred.[26][26]

 

In awarding temperate damages in lieu of actual damages, the CA did not err, because Paras and Inland were definitely shown to have sustained substantial pecuniary losses. It would really be a travesty of justice were the CA now to be held bereft of the discretion to calculate moderate or temperate damages, and thereby leave Paras and Inland without redress from the wrongful act of Philtranco and its driver.[27][27] We are satisfied that the CA exerted effort and practiced great care to ensure that the causal link between the physical injuries of Paras and the material loss of Inland, on the one hand, and the negligence of Philtranco and its driver, on the other hand, existed in fact. It also rejected arbitrary or speculative proof of loss. Clearly, the costs of Paras’ surgeries and consequential rehabilitation, as well as the fact that repairing Inland’s vehicle would no longer be economical justly warranted the CA to calculate temperate damages of P50,000.00 and P250,000.00 respectively for Paras and Inland.

 

There is no question that Article 2224 of the Civil Code expressly authorizes the courts to award temperate damages despite the lack of certain proof of actual damages, to wit:

 

Article 2224. Temperate or moderate damages, which are more than nominal but less than compensatory damages, may be recovered when the court finds that some pecuniary loss has been suffered but its amount cannot, from the nature of the case, be proved with certainty.

 

The rationale for Article 2224 has been stated in Premiere Development Bank v. Court of Appeals[28][28] in the following manner:

 

Even if not recoverable as compensatory damages, Panacor may still be awarded damages in the concept of temperate or moderate damages. When the court finds that some pecuniary loss has been suffered but the amount cannot, from the nature of the case, be proved with certainty, temperate damages may be recovered. Temperate damages may be allowed in cases where from the nature of the case, definite proof of pecuniary loss cannot be adduced, although the court is convinced that the aggrieved party suffered some pecuniary loss.

 

The Code Commission, in explaining the concept of temperate damages under Article 2224, makes the following comment:

 

In some States of the American Union, temperate damages are allowed. There are cases where from the nature of the case, definite proof of pecuniary loss cannot be offered, although the court is convinced that there has been such loss. For instance, injury to one’s commercial credit or to the goodwill of a business firm is often hard to show with certainty in terms of money. Should damages be denied for that reason? The judge should be empowered to calculate moderate damages in such cases, rather than that the plaintiff should suffer, without redress from the defendant’s wrongful act.

 

3.

Paras’ loss of earning capacity

must be compensated

 

In the body of its decision, the CA concluded that considering that Paras had a minimum monthly income of P8,000.00 as a trader he was entitled to recover compensation for unearned income during the 3-month period of his hospital confinement and the 6-month period of his recovery and rehabilitation; and aggregated his unearned income for those periods to P72,000.00.[29][29] Yet, the CA omitted the unearned income from the dispositive portion.

 

The omission should be rectified, for there was credible proof of Paras’ loss of income during his disability. According to Article 2205, (1), of the Civil Code, damages may be recovered for loss or impairment of earning capacity in cases of temporary or permanent personal injury. Indeed, indemnification for damages comprehends not only the loss suffered (actual damages or damnum emergens) but also the claimant’s lost profits (compensatory damages or lucrum cessans).[30][30]  Even so, the formula that has gained acceptance over time has limited recovery to net earning capacity; hence, the entire amount of P72,000.00 is not allowable. The premise is obviously that net earning capacity is the person’s capacity to acquire money, less the necessary expense for his own living.[31][31] To simplify the determination, therefore, the net earning capacity of Paras during the 9-month period of his confinement, surgeries and consequential therapy is pegged at only half of his unearned monthly gross income of P8,000.00 as a trader, or a total of P36,000.00 for the 9-month period, the other half being treated as the necessary expense for his own living in that period.

 

It is relevant to clarify that awarding the temperate damages (for the substantial pecuniary losses corresponding to Paras’s surgeries and rehabilitation and for the irreparability of Inland’s damaged bus) and the actual damages to compensate lost earnings and costs of medicines give rise to no incompatibility. These damages cover distinct pecuniary losses suffered by Paras and Inland,[32][32] and do not infringe the statutory prohibition against recovering damages twice for the same act or omission.[33][33]

 

4.

Increase in award of attorney’s fees

 

 

        Although it is a sound policy not to set a premium on the right to litigate,[34][34] we consider the grant to Paras and Inland of reasonable attorney’s fees warranted.  Their entitlement to attorney’s fees was by virtue of their having been compelled to litigate or to incur expenses to protect their interests,[35][35] as well as by virtue of the Court now further deeming attorney’s fees to be just and equitable.[36][36]

 

        In view of the lapse of a long time in the prosecution of the claim,[37][37] the Court considers it reasonable and proper to grant attorney’s fees to each of Paras and Inland equivalent to 10% of the total amounts hereby awarded to them, in lieu of only P20,000.00 for that purpose granted to Paras. 

 

5.

Legal interest on the amounts awarded

 

        Pursuant to Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[38][38] legal interest at the rate of 6% per annum accrues on the amounts adjudged reckoned from July 18, 1997, the date when the RTC rendered its judgment; and legal interest at the rate of 12% per annum shall be imposed from the finality of the judgment until its full satisfaction, the interim period being regarded as the equivalent of a forbearance of credit.

 

 

WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS WITH MODIFICATION the decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on September 25, 2002, by ordering PHILTRANCO SERVICE ENTERPRISES, INC. and APOLINAR MIRALLES to pay, jointly and severally, as follows:

 

  1. To Felix Paras:

 

(a) P1,397.95, as reimbursement for the costs of medicines purchased between February 1987 and July 1989;

 

(b) P50,000.00 as temperate damages;

 

(c) P50,000.00 as moral damages;

 

(d) P36,000.00 for lost earnings;

 

(e) 10% of the total of items (a) to (d) hereof as attorney’s fees; and

 

(f) Interest of 6% per annum from July 18, 1997 on the total of items (a) to (d) hereof until finality of this decision, and 12% per annum thereafter until full payment.

 

2. To Inland Trailways, Inc.:

 

(d)  P250,000.00 as temperate damages;

 

(e)    10% of item (a) hereof; and

 

(f)     Interest of 6% per annum on item (a) hereof from July 18, 1997 until finality of this decision, and 12% per annum thereafter until full payment.

 

3. The petitioner shall pay the costs of suit.

 

SO ORDERED.

 

 

                                                          LUCAS P. BERSAMIN

                                                               Associate Justice

 

 

WE CONCUR:

 

 

 

 

RENATO C. CORONA

Chief Justice

Chairperson

 

 

 

 

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO    MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO

                   Associate Justice                                     Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.

Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

CERTIFICATION

 

 

        Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

 

 

 

                                                         RENATO C. CORONA

                                                                   Chief Justice

                                                                   

 


 


[1][1]   Rollo, pp. 66-70.

[2][2]           CA rollo, pp. 115-132; penned by Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes (now a Member of the Court), with Associate Justice Hilarion L. Aquino (retired) and Associate Justice Mario L. Guariña III (retired) concurring.

[3][3]     CA rollo, pp. 133-143.

[4][4]     Id., pp. 129-131.

[5][5]   Article 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:

(1) A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries;

(2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;

(3) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts;

(4) Adultery or concubinage;

(5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;

(6) Illegal search;

(7) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation;

(8) Malicious prosecution;

(9) Acts mentioned in article 309;

(10) Acts and actions referred to in articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35. 

The parents of the female seduced, abducted, raped, or abused, referred to in No. 3 of this article, may also recover moral damages.

The spouse, descendants, ascendants, and brothers and sisters may bring the action mentioned in No. 9 of this article, in the order named.

[6][6]   Article 1764. Damages in cases comprised in this Section shall be awarded in accordance with Title XVIII of this Book, concerning Damages. Article 2206 shall also apply to the death of a passenger caused by the breach of contract by a common carrier.

[7][7]   Article 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a crime or quasi-delict shall be at least three thousand pesos, even though there may have been mitigating circumstances. In addition:

(1) The defendant shall be liable for the loss of the earning capacity of the deceased, and the indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the latter; such indemnity shall in every case be assessed and awarded by the court, unless the deceased on account of permanent physical disability not caused by the defendant, had no earning capacity at the time of his death;

(2) If the deceased was obliged to give support according to the provisions of article 291, the recipient who is not an heir called to the decedent’s inheritance by the law of testate or intestate succession, may demand support from the person causing the death, for a period not exceeding five years, the exact duration to be fixed by the court;

(3) The spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants and ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages for mental anguish by reason of the death of the deceased.  

[8][8]           Japan Airlines v. Simangan, G.R. No. 170141, April 22, 2008, 552 SCRA 341, 361.

[9][9]   Article 2220. Willful injury to property may be a legal ground for awarding moral damages if the court should find that, under the circumstances, such damages are justly due. The same rule applies to breaches of contract where the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad faith.

[10][10]         Rollo, p. 57.

[11][11]         Id., p. 13.

[12][12]         The rule, as revised in 1997, presently provides:

Section 11. Third, (fourth, etc.)-party complaint. — A third (fourth, etc.)-party complaint is a claim that a defending party may, with leave of court, file against a person not a party to the action, called the third (fourth, etc.)-party defendant, for contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in respect of his opponent’s claim. (12a)

[13][13]         No. 33255, November 29, 1972, 48 SCRA 231 (bold emphasis supplied)

[14][14]         Id., pp. 236-237.

[15][15]         Viluan v. Court of Appeals, Nos. L-21477-81, April 29, 1966, 16 SCRA 742; Samala v. Judge Victor, G.R. No. L-53969, February 21, 1989, 170 SCRA 453, 460.

[16][16]         Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure, Vol. 6, §1446, 1990 Edition, pp. 372-373.

[17][17]         Viluan v. Court of Appeals, supra, note 15.

[18][18]     Samala v. Judge Victor, supra, note 15.

[19][19]         Id., at pp. 458-460 (bold underscoring supplied for emphasis).

[20][20]         Id., at p. 460.

[21][21]         Viron Transportation Co., Inc. v. Delos Santos, G..R. No. 138296, November 22, 2000, 345 SCRA 509, 519.

[22][22]         Records, pp. 176-185.

[23][23]         Rollo, p. 35.

[24][24]         Id., p. 36. 

[25][25]         TSN, October 18, 1991, pp. 11-12.

[26][26]         The Civil Code states:

        Article 2225. Temperate damages must be reasonable under the circumstances.

[27][27]         Government Service Insurance System v. Labung-Deang, G.R. No. 135644, September 17, 2001, 365 SCRA 341, 350.

[28][28]         G.R. No. 159352,April 14, 2004, 427 SCRA 686, 699.

[29][29]         Rollo, pp. 34-35.

[30][30]         Titan-Ikeda Construction and Development Corporation v. Primetown Property Group, Inc., G.R. No. 158768, February 12, 2008, 544 SCRA 466, 491.

[31][31] Villa Rey Transit, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 31 SCRA 511, 515-517.

[32][32]         See, e.g., Ramos v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 124354, December 29, 1999, 321 SCRA 584, 624-625.

[33][33]         The Civil Code provides:

        Article. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant. (n)

[34][34]   Durban Apartments Corporation v. Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation, G.R. No. 179419, January 12, 2011, 639 SCRA 441, 454; see also Bank of the Philippine Islands v. Casa Montessori International, G.R. Nos. 149454 & 149507, May 28, 2004, 430 SCRA 261, 296.

[35][35]    Article 2208, par. 2, Civil Code.

[36][36]    Article 2208, par. 11, Civil Code.

[37][37]         New World International Development (Phils.), Inc. v. NYK-FilJapan Shipping Corp., G.R. No. 171468/174241, August 24, 2011.

[38][38]         G.R. No. 97412, July 12, 1994, 234 SCRA 78, 96-97.

CASE 2012-0059: SPOUSES NICANOR MAGNO AND CARIDAD MAGNO VS. HEIRS OF PABLO PARULAN, REPRESENTED BY EMILIANO PARULAN, DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, BALIUAG, BULACAN, OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF GUIGUINTO, BULACAN (G. R. NO. 183916, APRIL 25, 2012, SERENO, J.) SUBJECT/S: TAX DECLARATIONS AND TAX PAYMENTS NOT CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE OF OWNERSHIP; OCT IS IMPRESSED WITH PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY; WHAT IS ACQUISITIVE PRESCRIPTION?. (BRIEF TITLE: SPOUSES MAGNO VS. HEIRS OF PARULAN)

 

========================

 

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

 

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is DENIED for lack of merit.  The 16 April 2008 Decision and 17 July 2008 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 100781 are AFFIRMED.

 

 

SO ORDERED.

 

 

========================

 

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

 

PETITIONERS PURCHASED A FENCED PROPERTY WITH TAX DECLARATION. LATER THEY DISCOVERED THAT PORTION OF THE PROPERTY WAS INCLUDED IN THE PROPERTY OF RESPONDENTS WHICH HAVE OCT. PETITIONERS THEN FILED A PETITION TO CORRECT THE OCT. THEIR PROOF CONSISTED OF TAX DECLARATIONS AND TAX RECEIPTS? ARE THESE SUFFICIENT PROOFS?

 

 

NO. THEY ARE NOT CONCLUSIVE. WELL SETTLED IS THE RULE THAT TAX DECLARATIONS AND RECEIPTS ARE NOT CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE OF OWNERSHIP OR OF THE RIGHT TO POSSESS LAND WHEN NOT SUPPORTED BY ANY OTHER EVIDENCE. THE FACT THAT THE DISPUTED PROPERTY MAY HAVE BEEN DECLARED FOR TAXATION PURPOSES IN THE NAMES OF THE APPLICANTS FOR REGISTRATION OR OF THEIR PREDECESSORS-IN-INTEREST DOES NOT NECESSARILY PROVE OWNERSHIP. THEY ARE MERELY INDICIA OF A CLAIM OF OWNERSHIP.

 

 

However, the DARAB and the CA were not swayed by these tax declarations, and rightly so. As we held in Republic v. dela Paz,[1][33]

 

Well settled is the rule that tax declarations and receipts are not conclusive evidence of ownership or of the right to possess land when not supported by any other evidence. The fact that the disputed property may have been declared for taxation purposes in the names of the applicants for registration or of their predecessors-in-interest does not necessarily prove ownership. They are merely indicia of a claim of ownership.

 

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

CAN ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE (OCT) BE ATTACKED AND  REVISED OR AMENDED  BE ATTACKED?

 

 

THE OCT COVERING THE CONTESTED LOT CARRIES WITH IT A PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY.[2][30]  THE PETITION TO CORRECT/CANCEL THE OCT  CAN PROSPER ONLY IF PETITIONERS ARE ABLE TO PRESENT SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE THAT A PORTION OF THEIR LOT WAS ERRONEOUSLY COVERED BY THE PATENT. SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE REFERS TO SUCH RELEVANT EVIDENCE AS A REASONABLE MIND MIGHT ACCEPT AS ADEQUATE TO SUPPORT A CONCLUSION.[3][31]

 

 

However, the DAR’s issuance of an Emancipation Patent and the corresponding OCT covering the contested lot carries with it a presumption of regularity.[4][30]  The Petition to correct/cancel Pablo’s Emancipation Patent can prosper only if petitioners are able to present substantial evidence that a portion of their lot was erroneously covered by the patent. Substantial evidence refers to such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[5][31]

 

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

WHAT IS ACQUISITIVE PRESCRIPTION?

 

 

ACQUISITIVE PRESCRIPTION REQUIRES PUBLIC, PEACEFUL, UNINTERRUPTED AND ADVERSE POSSESSION OF THE LAND IN THE CONCEPT OF AN OWNER.[6][32] 

 

 

                Petitioners claim that their predecessor-in-interest, Emilia, became the owner of the lot in question by virtue of acquisitive prescription.  Acquisitive prescription requires public, peaceful, uninterrupted and adverse possession of the land in the concept of an owner.[7][32]  To prove this, petitioners offered in evidence two tax declarations in the name of Emilia declaring her ownership of a 1.552 ha. riceland in Biñang 1st Bocaue, Bulacan for tax purposes.

 

========================

 

 Republic of the Philippines
Supreme Court
BaguioCity

 

SECOND DIVISION

 

SPOUSES NICANOR MAGNO and CARIDAD MAGNO,

                                           Petitioners,

 

 

                     – versus -

 

 

HEIRS OF PABLO PARULAN, represented by EMILIANO PARULAN, DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, BALIUAG, BULACAN, OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF GUIGUINTO, BULACAN,

                                      Respondents.           

 

G. R. No. 183916

 

Present:

 

CARPIO,

  BRION,

PEREZ,

SERENO, and

REYES, JJ.

 

 

 

Promulgated:

 

April 25, 2012

 

x – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - — – x

 

 

D E C I S I O N

 

SERENO, J.:

 

For resolution is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 assailing the 16 April 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 100781,[8][1] which affirmed the dismissal by the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) of the petitioners’ Petition for Correction and/or Cancellation of the Original Certificate of Title issued in the name of  private  respondents’ predecessor-in-interest.    Also assailed  in
this petition is the CA Resolution dated 17 July 2008, which denied petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration.

 

On 17 January 1972, petitioner spouses Nicanor and Caridad Magno (petitioners) bought a 1.5520 hectare (or 15,520 sq. m.) riceland at Biñang 1st, Bocaue, Bulacan from Emilia de Guzman (Emilia), as evidenced by a notarized Deed of Sale.[9][2]  According to the Deed of Sale, the purchased lot is covered by Tax Declaration No. 2386 and is bounded by lots owned by the following persons:  in the north, by Apolonio Santos; in the east, by Apolonio Santos and Eleuterio Santiago; in the south, by Eleuterio Santiago; and in the west, by Apolonio Santos. Petitioners further allege that the purchased lot is also described in the year 2000 Tax Declaration/Property Index Number 020-04-006-03-010[10][3]  in the name of Emilia de Guzman, with the following boundaries: lots 1468 and 1469 in the north; Lots 1303 and 1304 in the south; Lot 1306 in the east; and Lot 1301 in the west.

 

The property was enclosed within concrete posts and barbed wires when it was sold to petitioners.  From the time of purchase, they occupied the lot without interruption and devoted it to rice cultivation.  In 1995, they filed before the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) an Application for Free Patent, as well as a Petition with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) to rectify the Cadastral Survey of Lot 1306, Cad 332, Bocaue Cadastre, for the purpose of excluding a portion of their land from Lot 1306-B, which was then being claimed by Pedro Lazaro’s heirs.

 

Subsequently, petitioners’ tenant and hired laborers were prevented from working on the subject land by Emiliano Parulan (Emiliano), son of Pablo Parulan (Pablo), whose heirs are named respondents herein. Petitioners discovered that a 2,171 square meter portion of their land was included in the 5,677 square meter lot registered under Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. T-048-EP (EP No. 189669)[11][4] issued in the name of Pablo on 17 December 1999 and registered with the Register of Deeds on              5 January 2000.

 

Petitioners referred the matter to the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office (PARO) Legal Officer I of Baliuag, Bulacan, Homer Abraham, Jr. The latter issued a Report and Recommendation[12][5] dated 26 October 2000 to Miguel Mendoza, the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of PARO, Baliuag, Bulacan, recommending the filing by the Magno spouses of a necessary petition for cancellation/correction of Pablo’s Emancipation Patent (EP) before the DARAB. 

 

Hence, on 15 December 2000, petitioners filed with the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) of Bulacan a Petition[13][6] for Correction of OCT No. T-048-EP, (EP No. 189669) issued in the name of Pablo Parulan.  Apart from the Deed of Sale and the two Tax Declarations, petitioners adduced as documentary evidence the questioned EP/OCT,[14][7] photographs of the property,[15][8] as well as the Report and Recommendation of PARO Legal Officer I Abraham.

 

Presented by petitioners as witnesses during the hearing before the PARAD were Cynthia Mariano (Mariano), an Agrarian Reform Program Technologist (ARPT) of Bocaue, Bulacan; and Fe Jacinto (Jacinto), the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) of the same area. Mariano testified that she had been instructed by Jacinto to conduct an investigation of petitioners’ landholding.  On 3 May 2000, she, together with Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee (BARC) Chairperson Ricardo Benedicto, conducted an ocular inspection of the lot, with farmers from adjacent lots as witnesses.  She thereafter prepared a report, which stated that the subject lot
was fenced and  that  the  actual  tiller  was Renato de Guzman.  Renato informed her that his father, Mariano de Guzman, was the original tenant of the land; and that the adjacent lot outside the fenced lot was being tilled by Emiliano Parulan. According to ARPT Mariano, her ocular inspection yielded the finding that since 1976, the subject lot which has an area of 2,162 sq. m., had actually been tilled by Renato de Guzman, who had been paying lease rentals to spouses Nicanor and Caridad Magno. MARO Jacinto testified by identifying the report she had prepared on the matter.

 

On the other hand, private respondents presented the Kasunduan sa Pamumuwisan between Pedro and Pablo;[16][9] Pablo’s request for a survey of Pedro’s land;[17][10] an endorsements to survey Pedro’s property issued by ARPT Mariano,[18][11] MARO Jacinto[19][12] and PARO Linda Hermogino (Hermogino);[20][13] DAR Regional Director Renato Herrera’s grant of Pablo’s request for survey;[21][14] the Approved Subdivision Plan of Lot 1306, Cad 332, Bocaue Cadastre;[22][15] and the accompanying Lot Data Computation for the land of Pedro Lazaro[23][16] and Emilia de Guzman.[24][17]

 

Private respondents argued that the June 1973 Kasunduan sa Pamumuwisan between Pablo and Pedro Lazaro showed that the former was the agricultural lessee of the latter. In January 1999, Pablo requested the MARO for authority to survey the property of Pedro pursuant to his EP Application over the land he was then tenanting. On 1 February 1999, Bocaue ARPT Mariano reported to Bocaue MARO Jacinto that, based         on the former’s investigation/ocular inspection, Pedro’s 15,178 sq. m. property was covered by the Operation Land Transfer under Presidential Decree  27.    Since   Pablo  was   the actual  tiller  of   the  land,  the  ARPT recommended the grant of a Survey Authority and Approval as requested. This recommendation was endorsed by MARO Jacinto to PARO Hermogino, who in turn endorsed it to DAR Regional Director Renato Herrera.  Director Herrera granted Pablo’s request for a survey pursuant to the latter’s EP application.

 

As indicated in the resulting Approved Subdivision Plan (of Lot1306, Cad 332 Bocaue Cadastre),[25][18] it was based on the Original Survey of Lot 1306 in May 1960. The Lot Data Computation accompanying the Subdivision Plan denominated Emilia’s lot as Lot 1302 with an area of 9,604.82 sq. m.,[26][19] while that of Pedro was Lot 1306 with an area of 15,171.85 sq. m.[27][20] The Subdivision Plan also showed that Lot 1306 was subdivided into Lot 1306-A (or Lot 4557) containing an area of 7,601 sq. m.; Lot 1306-B (or Lot 4558) which had 5,677 sq. m.; and Lot 1306-C (or Lot 4559) with 1,900 sq. m.  It appears that Lot 1306-B or Lot 4558 was further subdivided into Lot 4558-A with an area of 2,162 sq. m. andLot 4558-B with an area of 3,508 sq. m. The contested lot isLot 4558-A.  Clearly, private respondents argued, OCT No. T-048-EP(M), EP No. 189669, was properly issued to Pablo for his 5,677 sq. m. lot in Biñang, which encompassed the contested 2,162 sq. m. lot.

 

After the parties filed their respective pleadings with the attached Affidavits of witnesses and other evidence, the PARAD issued a Decision[28][21] dated 26 February 2003 granting the Petition. Relying on the Tax Declarations in the name of Emilia, the PARAD noted that Emilia had owned a 1.5 ha. riceland in Biñang 1st, which she sold to petitioners. Meanwhile, the Rice and Corn Production Survey and the report of ARPT Mariano showed that the contested lot was actually being tilled by Renato de Guzman, the son of Mariano de Guzman, who was the registered tenant of Emilia.  Thus, the PARAD concluded that in the EP issued in favor of Pablo, there were technical errors that encroached upon petitioners’ property.  The dispositive portion of the PARAD Decision reads:

 

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in the following manner:

 

1.  Ordering the correction and cancellation of OCT No. T-048-EP in the name of Pablo Parulan;

2.  Ordering the correction of the approved subdivision plan ofLot1306; Cad. 322, Bocaue, Cadastre Cad-03-012347-AR;

3.  Ordering the DAR to conduct the necessary subdivision survey ofLot4558 in the presence of both party-claimants to coincide with the actual and real possession and status of actual claimants of the two adjacent lots;

4.  Ordering the Register of Deeds of Guiginto, Bulacan, to effect the correction and cancellation of EP No. 048 and register of the correct EP that will be issued by the DAR covering the corrected lot.

 

All other claims and counter claims by the parties are hereby dismissed for lack of merit.

 

SO ORDERED.

 

 

Private respondents appealed[29][22] the PARAD Decision to the DARAB.

 

On 22 February 2007, the DARAB issued a Decision[30][23] reversing the PARAD, to wit:

 

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed decision dated February 26, 2003 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new Judgment rendered:

 

1.  DISMISSING the instant petition for correction and/or cancellation of OCT No. T-048-EP (EP No. 189669) for lack of merit;

2.  DECLARING the lot in question as part and parcel of lot 1306 as surveyed for Pablo Parulan (“Annex I”);

3.  MAINTAINING and AFFIRMING the validity and integrity of OCT No. T-048-EP (EP No. 189669) in the name of the late Pablo Parulan;

4.  ORDERING petitioners-appellees to vacate the premises in question and surrender the possession and cultivation thereof to herein private respondent heirs of the late Pablo Parulan. Moreover, petitioners-appellees are likewise ordered to remove the fence they have constructed on the lot in question at their own expense.

 

SO ORDERED.

 

 

 

Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but it was denied by the DARAB in its Resolution[31][24] dated 2 July 2007.

 

Undaunted, petitioners appealed the DARAB Decision and Resolution to the CA.

 

In its 16 April 2008 Decision,[32][25] the CA affirmed in toto the assailed Decision and Resolution of the DARAB.

 

Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which the appellate court denied in its 17 July 2008 Resolution.[33][26]  Hence, petitioners filed with this Court the present Petition for Review under Rule 45.

 

The issue for resolution is whether the CA committed reversible error in affirming the DARAB’s dismissal of petitioners’ Petition for Cancellation and/or Correction of OCT No. T-048-EP (EP No. 189969).

 

We deny the Petition.

 

 

Under DAR Administrative Order No. 02, Series of 1994, emancipation patents may be cancelled by the PARAD or the DARAB for violations of agrarian laws, rules and regulations. [34][27] The same administrative order further states that “administrative corrections may include non-identification of spouse, correction of civil status, corrections of technical descriptions and other matters related to agrarian reform;”[35][28] and that the DARAB’s decision “may include cancellation of registered EP/CLOA, reimbursement of lease rental as amortization to ARBs, reallocation of the land to qualified beneficiary, perpetual disqualification to become an ARB, and other ancillary matters related to the cancellation of the EP or CLOA.”[36][29]

 

        However, the DAR’s issuance of an Emancipation Patent and the corresponding OCT covering the contested lot carries with it a presumption of regularity.[37][30]  The Petition to correct/cancel Pablo’s Emancipation Patent can prosper only if petitioners are able to present substantial evidence that a portion of their lot was erroneously covered by the patent. Substantial evidence refers to such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[38][31]

 

        As correctly held by the DARAB and the CA, petitioners have failed to adduce substantial evidence to establish that the contested lot was part of their property.

 

        Petitioners claim that their predecessor-in-interest, Emilia, became the owner of the lot in question by virtue of acquisitive prescription.  Acquisitive prescription requires public, peaceful, uninterrupted and adverse possession of the land in the concept of an owner.[39][32]  To prove this, petitioners offered in evidence two tax declarations in the name of Emilia declaring her ownership of a 1.552 ha. riceland in Biñang 1st Bocaue, Bulacan for tax purposes.

 

        However, the DARAB and the CA were not swayed by these tax declarations, and rightly so. As we held in Republic v. dela Paz,[40][33]

 

Well settled is the rule that tax declarations and receipts are not conclusive evidence of ownership or of the right to possess land when not supported by any other evidence. The fact that the disputed property may have been declared for taxation purposes in the names of the applicants for registration or of their predecessors-in-interest does not necessarily prove ownership. They are merely indicia of a claim of ownership.

 

 

        A further examination of the tax declarations further confirms their lack of probative value.

 

As observed by the CA, Tax Declaration No. 2386 for the year 1967, like the 1972 Deed of Sale between petitioners and Emilia, did not contain any technical description of the property. Hence, these documents fail to establish ownership over the contested lot by Emilia or petitioners.

 

On the other hand, the Tax Declaration for the year 2000 with Property Index Number 020-04-006-03-010 showed that petitioners’ land is bound on the east by lot 1306. Hence, the DARAB logically concluded that lot 1306, of which the contested lot is a part of, is outside the boundaries of petitioners’ land. Notably too, both the DARAB and the CA found it curious that the 2000 Tax Declaration was still in the name of Emilia, considering that petitioners were supposed to have bought the land from her 27 years ago. If petitioners exercise ownership over the land since 1972 when they purchased the same, it is they who should have been paying the realty tax thereon.

 

Also, we do not lose sight of the fact that the 2000 Tax Declaration was made only after the subject EP/OCT had already been issued. A mere tax declaration cannot defeat a certificate of title.[41][34]

 

Petitioners also presented ARPT Mariano and MARO Jacinto to prove their claim that they were the owners of the contested lot. However, as noted by the PARAD, ARPT Mariano’s report relied only on the allegations of petitioners, and her ocular inspection was made in the absence of private respondents. Meanwhile, MARO Jacinto never verified ARPT Mariano’s ocular inspection.

 

In contrast to the evidence adduced by petitioners, the EP /OCT they sought to impugn contained a technical description of the metes and bounds of Pablo’s  property.  Moreover,  that  technical description was  based on a

1999 Approved Subdivision Plan following the original May 1960 Cadastral Survey of Lot 1306, Cad 332, Bocaue Cadastre. The process by which this subdivision plan came into existence was also established by the documents showing the series of endorsements by the various government officials who acted on Pablo’s application and request.

 

We therefore affirm the CA ruling that the evidence presented by petitioners was insufficient to controvert the accuracy of the technical description of the land properly covered by the subject EP/OCT.  As pointed out by the DARAB, petitioners should have presented expert witnesses or initiated a relocation survey ofLot1306 to establish the alleged errors in the technical description of the subject EP.

 

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is DENIED for lack of merit.  The 16 April 2008 Decision and 17 July 2008 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 100781 are AFFIRMED.

 

SO ORDERED.

 

 

 

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO

     Associate Justice

 

WE CONCUR:

 

 

 

 

ANTONIO T. CARPIO

Associate Justice

Chairperson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       ARTURO D. BRION                              JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ                 

         Associate Justice                                                Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

 

BIENVENIDO L. REYES

Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

A T T E S T A T I O N

 

        I attest that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

 

 

                                                    ANTONIO T. CARPIO

                                                        Associate Justice

                                                          Chairperson, Second Division

 

 

C E R T I F I C A T I O N

 

        Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson’s Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

 

RENATO C. CORONA

                                                                 Chief Justice

 


 


[1][33] G.R. No. 171631, 15 November 2010, 634 SCRA 610.

[2][30] Rules of Court, Rule 131, Sec. 3 (m).

[3][31] Ang Tibay v. The Court of Industrial Relations, 69 Phil. 635 (1940).

[4][30] Rules of Court, Rule 131, Sec. 3 (m).

[5][31] Ang Tibay v. The Court of Industrial Relations, 69 Phil. 635 (1940).

[6][32] Imuan v. Cereno, G.R. No. 167995, 11 September 2009, 599 SCRA 423.

[7][32] Imuan v. Cereno, G.R. No. 167995, 11 September 2009, 599 SCRA 423.

[8][1]           The assailed Court of Appeals (CA) Fifth Division Decision was penned by Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr. and concurred in by Justices Jose C. Mendoza (now a Member of this Court) and Arturo G. Tayag, rollo, pp. 35-45.

[9][2]  Rollo, pp. 82-83.

[10][3] Id. at 81. 

[11][4] Id. at  84-85.

[12][5] Id. at 90-91.

[13][6]  The petition was docketed as DARAB Case No. 12275 (Regular Case No. R-03-02-2318-00).

[14][7]  Rollo, pp. 84-85.

[15][8] Id. at 86-89.

[16][9] Id. at 109.

[17][10]Id. at 110.

[18][11]Id. at 111.

[19][12]Id. at 112.

[20][13]Id. at 113.

[21][14]Id. at 114.

[22][15] Id. at 97, 115-117.

[23][16] Id. at 120-121.

[24][17]Id. at 119.

[25][18]Id. at 97, 115-117.

[26][19]Id. at 119.

[27][20]Id. at 121.

[28][21]Id. at 143-153. The Decision was rendered by Provincial Adjudicator Toribio E. Ilao, Jr.

[29][22] Private respondents’ appeal to the DARAB was docketed as DCN R-03-02-2318’00.

[30][23] The DARAB Decision was penned by Assistant Secretary/Vice Chairperson Augusto P. Quijano and concurred in by Nasser C. Pangandaman, Nestor R. Acosta and Narciso B. Nieto, rollo, pp. 64-72.

[31][24] Rollo, pp. 75-76.

[32][25] See note 1.  

[33][26] Rollo, p. 47.

[34][27] DAR Administrative Order No. 02, Series of 1994 [Rules Governing the Correction and Cancellation of Unregistered Emancipation Patents (EPs), and Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) due to Unlawful Acts and Omissions or Breach of Obligations of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) and for Other Causes], Part IV, A.

[35][28]Id. at Part IV, C.

[36][29]Id. at Part IV, D.

[37][30] Rules of Court, Rule 131, Sec. 3 (m).

[38][31] Ang Tibay v. The Court of Industrial Relations, 69 Phil. 635 (1940).

[39][32] Imuan v. Cereno, G.R. No. 167995, 11 September 2009, 599 SCRA 423.

[40][33] G.R. No. 171631, 15 November 2010, 634 SCRA 610.

[41][34] Hemedes v. Court of Appeals, 374 Phil. 692 (1999).

CASE 2012-0058: SAMAR II ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC. (SAMELCO II) AND ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS, COMPOSED OF DEBORAH T. MARCO (IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT), ATTY. MEDINO L. ACUBA, ENGR. MANUEL C. OREJOLA, ALFONSO F. QUILAPIO, RAUL DE GUZMAN AND PONCIANO R. ROSALES (GENERAL MANAGER AND EX OFFICIO DIRECTOR) VS. ANANIAS D. SELUDO, JR. (G.R. NO. 173840, APRIL 25, 2012, PERALTA, J.:) SUBJECT/S: MEANING OF SUPERVISION; MEANING OF CONTROL; PRIMARY JURISDICTION; EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES; WRIT OF PROHIBITION. (BRIEF TITLE: SAMAR II ELECTRIC COOP VS. SELUDO, JR.

==================

 

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

 

        WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The questioned Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated  January 26, 2006 and July 12, 2006, respectively, as well as the Orders of the Regional Trial Court of Calbiga, Samar, Branch 33, dated May 6, 2005 and September 15, 2005, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. A new judgment is entered DISMISSING the Urgent Petition for Prohibition (Special Civil Action No. C-2005-1085) filed by respondent Ananias D. Seludo, Jr.

 

        SO ORDERED.

 

 

==================

 

 

PD NO. 1645 EXPRESSLY PROVIDES AUTHORITY TO NEA TO EXERCISE SUPERVISION AND CONTROL OVER ELECTRIC COOPRATIVES. WHAT DOES SUPERVISION MEANS?

 

 

IN ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, SUPERVISION MEANS OVERSEEING OR THE POWER OR AUTHORITY OF AN OFFICER TO SEE THAT SUBORDINATE OFFICERS PERFORM THEIR DUTIES.[1][5]  IF THE LATTER FAIL OR NEGLECT TO FULFILL THEM, THE FORMER MAY TAKE SUCH ACTION OR STEP AS PRESCRIBED BY LAW TO MAKE THEM PERFORM THEIR DUTIES.[2][6]

 

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

WHAT DOES CONTROL MEANS?

 

 

CONTROL, ON THE OTHER HAND, MEANS THE POWER OF AN OFFICER TO ALTER OR MODIFY OR NULLIFY OR SET ASIDE WHAT A SUBORDINATE OFFICER HAD DONE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES AND TO SUBSTITUTE THE JUDGMENT OF THE FORMER FOR THAT OF THE LATTER.[3][7] 

 

 

A clear proof of such expanded powers is that, unlike P.D. No. 269, P.D. No. 1645 expressly provides for the authority of the NEA to exercise supervision and control over electric cooperatives. In administrative law, supervision means overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties.[4][5]  If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them, the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties.[5][6] Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter.[6][7] 

 

Section 38 (1), Chapter 7, Book 4 of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987 provides, thus:

 

                                Supervision and control shall  include the authority to act directly whenever a specific function is entrusted by law or regulation to a subordinate; direct the performance of duty; restrain the commission of acts; review, approve, reverse or modify acts and decisions of subordinate officials or units; determine priorities in the execution of plans and programs; and prescribe standards, guidelines, plans and programs x x x. (Emphasis supplied.)

            The Court, therefore, finds it erroneous on the part of the CA to rule that the doctrine of primary jurisdiction does not apply in the present case. It is true that the RTC has jurisdiction over the petition for prohibition filed by respondent.[7][8] However, the basic issue in the present case is not whether the RTC has jurisdiction over the petition for prohibition filed by respondent; rather, the issue is who between the RTC and the NEA has primary jurisdiction over the question of the validity of the Board Resolution issued by SAMELCO II. A careful reading of the above-quoted provisions of P.D. No. 1645 clearly show that, pursuant to its power of supervision and control, the NEA is granted  the authority to conduct investigations and other similar actions as well as to issue orders, rules and regulations  with respect to all matters affecting electric cooperatives. Certainly, the matter as to the validity of the resolution issued by the Board of Directors of SAMELCO II, which practically removed respondent from his position as a member of the Board of Directors and further disqualified him to run as such in the ensuing election, is a matter which affects the said electric cooperative and, thus, comes within the ambit of the powers of the NEA as expressed in Sections 5 and 7 of P.D. No. 1645.

 

            In this regard, the Court agrees with petitioners’ argument that to sustain the petition for prohibition filed by respondent with the RTC would constitute an unnecessary intrusion into the NEA’s power of supervision and control over electric cooperatives.

 

            Based on the foregoing discussions, the necessary conclusion that can be arrived at is that, while the RTC has jurisdiction over the petition for prohibition filed by respondent, the NEA, in the exercise of its power of supervision and control, has primary jurisdiction to determine the issue of the validity of the subject resolution.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

THE SAMAR ELECTRIC COOP BOARD ISSUED A RESOLUTION BARRING RESPONDENT FROM PARTICIPATING IN MEETINGS. RESPONDENT FILED CASE FOR PROHIBITION. RTC GRANTED PROHIBITION. WAS RTC CORRECT?

 

 

NO BECAUSE NEA HAS PRIMARY JURISDICTION OF THE COOP. PD 1645 PROVIDES THAT NEA HAS SUPERVISION AND CONTROL OVER THE ELECTRIC COOP.

 

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

WHAT IS THE DOCTRINE OF PRIMARY JURISDICTION?

 

 

IT APPLIES WHERE A CLAIM IS ORIGINALLY COGNIZABLE IN THE COURTS BUT UNDER A REGULATORY SCHEME SUCH CLAIM HAS BEEN PLACED WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE BODY. IN SUCH A CASE, THE COURT MAY SUSPEND THE JUDICIAL PROCESS PENDING REFERRAL OF THE CLAIM TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE BODY. THE COURT MAY ALSO DISMISS THE CASE WITHOUT PREJUDICE IF THE PARTIES WOULD NOT BE UNFAIRLY DISADVANTAGED.

 

 

          It may not be amiss to reiterate the prevailing rule that the doctrine of primary jurisdiction applies where a claim is originally cognizable in the courts and comes into play whenever enforcement of the claim requires the resolution of issues which, under a regulatory scheme, has been placed within the special competence of an administrative agency.[8][9]  In such a case, the court in which the claim is sought to be enforced may suspend the judicial process pending referral of such issues to the administrative body for its view or, if the parties would not be unfairly disadvantaged, dismiss the case without prejudice.[9][10]

 

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

WHAT IS THE PRINCIPLE OF EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES?

 

 

IF A REMEDY WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE MACHINERY CAN BE RESORTED TO BY GIVING THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO DECIDE ON A MATTER THAT COMES WITHIN HIS JURISDICTION, THEN SUCH REMEDY MUST BE EXHAUSTED FIRST BEFORE THE COURT’S POWER OF JUDICIAL REVIEW CAN BE SOUGHT.[10][12]

 

 

        Corollary to the doctrine of primary jurisdiction is the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies.  The Court, in a long line of cases,[11][11] has held that before a party is allowed to seek the intervention of the courts, it is a pre-condition that he avail himself of all administrative processes afforded him.  Hence, if a remedy within the administrative machinery can be resorted to by giving the administrative officer every opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his jurisdiction, then such remedy must be exhausted first before the court’s power of judicial review can be sought.[12][12] The premature resort to the court is fatal to one’s cause of action.[13][13] Accordingly, absent any finding of waiver or estoppel, the case may be dismissed for lack of cause of action.[14][14]

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

WHAT ARE  THE REASONS FOR THE DOCTRINE OF EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES?

 

 

THE AVAILMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDY ENTAILS LESSER EXPENSES.

 

 

IT PROVIDES FOR A SPEEDIER DISPOSITION OF CONTROVERSIES.[15][16

 

 

IT GIVES THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY CONCERNED EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO CORRECT ITS ERROR AND DISPOSE OF THE CASE.[16][17]

 

 

 

The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is based on practical and legal reasons.[17][15] The availment of administrative remedy entails lesser expenses and provides for a speedier disposition of controversies.[18][16] Furthermore, the courts of justice, for reasons of comity and convenience, will shy away from a dispute until the system of administrative redress has been completed and complied with, so as to give the administrative agency concerned every opportunity to correct its error and dispose of the case.[19][17]

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

WHAT ARE THE EXCEPTIONS TO THE APPLICATION OF THE DOCTRINES OF PRIMARY JURISDICTION AND EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES?

 

 

(A) WHERE THERE IS ESTOPPEL ON THE PART OF THE PARTY INVOKING THE DOCTRINE;

 

 

(B) WHERE THE CHALLENGED ADMINISTRATIVE ACT IS PATENTLY ILLEGAL, AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION;

 

 

(C) WHERE THERE IS UNREASONABLE DELAY OR OFFICIAL INACTION THAT WILL IRRETRIEVABLY PREJUDICE THE COMPLAINANT;

 

 

 (D) WHERE THE AMOUNT INVOLVED IS RELATIVELY SO SMALL AS TO MAKE THE RULE IMPRACTICAL AND OPPRESSIVE;

 

 

 (E) WHERE THE QUESTION INVOLVED IS PURELY LEGAL AND WILL ULTIMATELY HAVE TO BE DECIDED BY THE COURTS OF JUSTICE;

 

 

(F) WHERE JUDICIAL INTERVENTION IS URGENT;

 

 

(G) WHERE THE APPLICATION OF THE DOCTRINE MAY CAUSE GREAT AND IRREPARABLE DAMAGE;

 

 

(H) WHERE THE CONTROVERTED ACTS VIOLATE DUE PROCESS;

 

 

(I) WHERE THE ISSUE OF NON-EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES HAS BEEN RENDERED MOOT;

 

 

(J) WHERE THERE IS NO OTHER PLAIN, SPEEDY AND ADEQUATE REMEDY;

 

 

(K) WHERE STRONG PUBLIC INTEREST IS INVOLVED; AND

 

 

(L) IN QUO WARRANTO PROCEEDINGS.[20][18]

 

 

True, the doctrines of primary jurisdiction and exhaustion of administrative remedies are subject to certain exceptions, to wit: (a) where there is estoppel on the part of the party invoking the doctrine; (b) where the challenged administrative act is patently illegal, amounting to lack of jurisdiction; (c) where there is unreasonable delay or official inaction that will irretrievably prejudice the complainant; (d) where the amount involved is relatively so small as to make the rule impractical and oppressive; (e) where the question involved is purely legal and will ultimately have to be decided by the courts of justice; (f) where judicial intervention is urgent; (g) where the application of the doctrine may cause great and irreparable damage; (h) where the controverted acts violate due process; (i) where the issue of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies has been rendered moot; (j) where there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy; (k) where strong public interest is involved; and (l) in quo warranto proceedings.[21][18]

 

        Respondent, however, failed to show that the instant case falls under any of the above-enumerated exceptions. While respondent alleged in his Urgent Petition for Prohibition that the subject resolution was issued with grave abuse of discretion and in violation of his right to due process, mere allegation of arbitrariness will not suffice to vest in the trial court the power that has been specifically granted by law to special government agencies.[22][19] Moreover, the issues raised in the petition for prohibition, particularly the issue of whether or not there are valid grounds to disallow respondent from attending SAMELCO’s Board meetings and to disqualify him from running for re-election as a director of the said Board, are not purely legal questions. Instead, they involve a determination of factual matters which fall within the competence of the NEA to ascertain.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

WHAT OTHER GROUND FOR DENYING THE WRIT OF PROHIBITION?

 

 

ONE OF THE REQUISITES FOR A WRIT OF PROHIBITION TO ISSUE IS THAT THERE IS NO PLAIN, SPEEDY AND ADEQUATE REMEDY IN THE ORDINARY COURSE OF LAW.[23][20]

 

 

 

        Finally, the Court agrees with petitioners’ contention that the availability of an administrative remedy via a complaint filed before the NEA precludes respondent from filing a petition for prohibition before the court. It is settled that one of the requisites for a writ of prohibition to issue is that there is no plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.[24][20] In order that prohibition will lie, the petitioner must first exhaust all administrative remedies.[25][21]  Thus, respondent’s failure to file a complaint before the NEA prevents him from filing a petition for prohibition before the RTC.

 

===================

 

 

Republic of thePhilippines

Supreme Court

BaguioCity

 

THIRD DIVISION

 

SAMAR II ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC. (SAMELCO II) AND ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS, composed of DEBORAH T. MARCO (Immediate Past President), ATTY. MEDINO L. ACUBA, ENGR. MANUEL C. OREJOLA, ALFONSO F. QUILAPIO, RAUL DE GUZMAN and PONCIANO R. ROSALES (General Manager and Ex Officio Director),

                                    Petitioners,

 

                – versus

 

ANANIAS D. SELUDO, JR.,

                                      Respondent.

G.R. No. 173840

 

 

Present:

 

VELASCO, J., Chairperson,

PERALTA,

ABAD,

MENDOZA, and

PERLAS-BERNABE, JJ.

 

 

Promulgated:

 

 

      April 25, 2012

x—————————————————————————————–x

 

 

DECISION

 

PERALTA, J.:

 

        Assailed in the present petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court are the Decision[26][1] and Resolution[27][2] dated January 26, 2006 and July 12, 2006, respectively, of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CEB SP No. 01175. The CA Decision dismissed petitioners’ petition for certiorari and affirmed the Orders of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Calbiga,Samar, Branch 33, dated May 6, 2005 and September 15, 2005, while the CA Resolution denied petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration.

        Herein petitioner Samar II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SAMELCO II) was organized under the provisions of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 269, otherwise known as the “National Electrification Administration Decree,” as amended by P.D. No. 1645. The individual petitioners are members of SAMELCO II’s Board of Directors.  Respondent was also a member of the SAMELCO II Board of Directors having been elected thereto in 2002 and whose term of office expired in May 2005.

 

        The antecedent facts, as summarized by the CA, are as follows:

As members of the Board of Directors (BOD) of the petitioner Samar II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SAMELCO II), an electric cooperative providing electric service to all members-consumers in all municipalities within the Second Congressional District of theProvinceofSamar, individual petitioners passed Resolution No. 5 [Series] of 2005 on January 22, 2005.

 

                   The said resolution disallowed the private respondent to attend succeeding meetings of the BOD effective February 2005 until the end of his term as director. The same resolution also disqualified him for one (1) term to run as a candidate for director in the upcoming district elections.

 

                   Convinced that his rights as a director of petitioner SAMELCO II had been curtailed by the subject board resolution, private respondent filed an Urgent Petition for Prohibition against petitioner SAMELCO II, impleading individual petitioners as directors thereof, in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Calbiga,Samar. The case was docketed as Special Civil Case No. C-2005-1085 and was raffled to Branch 33 of the said court x x x.

 

                   In his petition, private respondent prayed for the nullification of Resolution No. 5, [Series] of 2005, contending that it was issued without any legal and factual bases. He likewise prayed that a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or a writ of preliminary injunction be issued to enjoin the individual petitioners from enforcing the assailed board resolution.

 

                   Granting private respondent’s prayer for a TRO, the public respondent issued one, effective for seventy-two (72) hours which effectivity was later on extended for another seventeen (17) days.

 

                   In their answer to the petition for prohibition, individual petitioners raised the affirmative defense of lack of jurisdiction of the RTC over the subject matter of the case. Individual petitioners assert that, since the matter involved an electric cooperative, SAMELCO II, primary jurisdiction is vested on the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

 

                   In her assailed Order dated May 6, 2005, [the RTC judge] sustained the jurisdiction of the court over the petition for prohibition and barred the petitioners and/or their representatives from enforcing Resolution No. 5 [Series] of 2005.

 

                   x x x[28][3]

 

        Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, but the same was denied by the RTC in its September 15, 2005 Order.

 

        Petitioners then elevated the case to the CA via a special civil action for certiorari, imputing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC in issuing its assailed Orders.

 

        On January 26, 2006, the CA rendered its Decision dismissing petitioners’ petition for certiorari and affirming the assailed Orders of the RTC.

 

        Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied by the CA in its July 12, 2006 Resolution.

 

        Hence, the instant petition with the following assigned errors:

 

          (1)

IN ITS INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF PRIMARY JURISDICTION, THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED LEGAL ERRORS IN LIMITING THE DOCTRINE TO “CERTAIN MATTERS IN CONTROVERSIES INVOLVING SPECIALIZED DISPUTES” AND IN UPHOLDING THE JURISDICTION OF THE TRIAL COURT OVER THE URGENT PETITION FOR PROHIBITION FILED BY RESPONDENT SELUDO ON THE GROUND THAT THE ISSUES RAISED THEREIN “DO NOT REQUIRE THE TECHNICAL EXPERTISE OF THE NEA”

 

(2)

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, IN SUSTAINING THE JURISDICTION OF THE TRIAL COURT, COMMITTED AN ERROR OF LAW BY HOLDING THAT “A PERUSAL OF THE LAW CREATING THE NEA DISCLOSES THAT THE NEA WAS NOT GRANTED THE POWER TO HEAR AND DECIDE CASES INVOLVING THE VALIDITY OF BOARD RESOLUTIONS UNSEATING ANY MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS” AND THAT “NEITHER WAS IT GRANTED JURISDICTION OVER PETITIONS FOR CERTIORARI, PROHIBITION OR MANDAMUS.”

 

(3)

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED AN ERROR OF LAW WHEN IT SUSTAINED THE JURISDICTION OF [THE] TRIAL COURT OVER THE PETITION FOR PROHIBITION DESPITE THE EXISTENCE OF APPEAL OR OTHER PLAIN, SPEEDY AND ADEQUATE REMEDY AVAILABLE TO THEREIN PETITIONER SELUDO.[29][4]

 

 

        In their first assigned error, petitioners contend that the CA erred in interpreting the doctrine of primary jurisdiction in a very limited sense. Petitioners aver that in a number of cases, this Court applied the doctrine of primary jurisdiction even in cases where the issues involved do not require the technical expertise of administrative bodies.

 

        Petitioners also argue, in their second assignment of error, that it is wrong for the CA to rule that there is nothing under the law creating the National Electrification Administration (NEA), which grants the said administrative body the power to ascertain the validity of board resolutions unseating any member of the Board of Directors of an electric cooperative. Citing the provisions of P.D. Nos. 269 and 1645, petitioners aver that the NEA is empowered to determine the validity of resolutions passed by electric cooperatives.

 

        In their third assigned error, petitioners assert that respondent is precluded from filing a petition for prohibition considering that, under the applicable laws, it has an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.

 

        The Court finds the petition meritorious. As the assigned errors are interrelated, the Court will discuss them jointly.

 

        Section 10, Chapter II of P.D. No. 269, as amended by Section 5 of P.D. No. 1645, provides:

 

Section 5. Section 10, Chapter II of Presidential Decree No. 269 is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

Section 10. Enforcement Powers and Remedies. − In the exercise of its power of supervision and control over electric cooperatives and other borrower, supervised or controlled entities, the NEA is empowered to issue orders, rules and regulations and motu proprio or upon petition of third parties, to conduct investigations, referenda and other similar actions in all matters affecting said electric cooperatives and other borrower, or supervised or controlled entities.

If the electric cooperative concerned or other similar entity fails after due notice to comply with NEA orders, rules and regulations and/or decisions, or with any of the terms of the Loan Agreement, the NEA Board of Administrators may avail of any or all of the following remedies:

 

                             x x x x.

 

          (e) Take preventive and/or disciplinary measures including suspension and/or removal and replacement of any or all of the members of the Board of Directors, officers or employees of the Cooperative, other borrower institutions or supervised or controlled entities as the NEA Board of Administrators may deem fit and necessary and to take any other remedial measures as the law or the Loan Agreement may provide.

 

          x x x x  (Emphasis supplied.)

 

 

        In addition, Subsection (a), Section 24, Chapter III of P.D. No. 269, as amended by Section 7 of P.D. No. 1645, states:

 

Section 7. Subsection (a), Section 24, Chapter III of Presidential Decree No. 269 is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

Section 24. Board of Directors. − (a) The Management of a Cooperative shall be vested in its Board, subject to the supervision and control of NEA which shall have the right to be represented and to participate in all Board meetings and deliberations and to approve all policies and resolutions.

 

The composition, qualifications, the manner of elections and filling of vacancies, the procedures for holding meetings and other similar provisions shall be defined in the by-laws of the Cooperative subject to NEA policies, rules and regulations.

 

          x x x.  (Emphasis supplied.)

 

 

        A comparison of the original provisions of Sections 10 and 24 of P.D. No. 269 and the amendatory provisions under Sections 5 and 7 of P.D. No. 1645 would readily show that the intention of the framers of the amendatory law is to broaden the powers of the NEA.

 

        A clear proof of such expanded powers is that, unlike P.D. No. 269, P.D. No. 1645 expressly provides for the authority of the NEA to exercise supervision and control over electric cooperatives. In administrative law, supervision means overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties.[30][5]  If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them, the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties.[31][6] Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter.[32][7]     Section 38 (1), Chapter 7, Book 4 of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987 provides, thus:

 

                                Supervision and control shall  include the authority to act directly whenever a specific function is entrusted by law or regulation to a subordinate; direct the performance of duty; restrain the commission of acts; review, approve, reverse or modify acts and decisions of subordinate officials or units; determine priorities in the execution of plans and programs; and prescribe standards, guidelines, plans and programs x x x. (Emphasis supplied.)

            The Court, therefore, finds it erroneous on the part of the CA to rule that the doctrine of primary jurisdiction does not apply in the present case. It is true that the RTC has jurisdiction over the petition for prohibition filed by respondent.[33][8] However, the basic issue in the present case is not whether the RTC has jurisdiction over the petition for prohibition filed by respondent; rather, the issue is who between the RTC and the NEA has primary jurisdiction over the question of the validity of the Board Resolution issued by SAMELCO II. A careful reading of the above-quoted provisions of P.D. No. 1645 clearly show that, pursuant to its power of supervision and control, the NEA is granted  the authority to conduct investigations and other similar actions as well as to issue orders, rules and regulations  with respect to all matters affecting electric cooperatives. Certainly, the matter as to the validity of the resolution issued by the Board of Directors of SAMELCO II, which practically removed respondent from his position as a member of the Board of Directors and further disqualified him to run as such in the ensuing election, is a matter which affects the said electric cooperative and, thus, comes within the ambit of the powers of the NEA as expressed in Sections 5 and 7 of P.D. No. 1645.

 

            In this regard, the Court agrees with petitioners’ argument that to sustain the petition for prohibition filed by respondent with the RTC would constitute an unnecessary intrusion into the NEA’s power of supervision and control over electric cooperatives.

 

            Based on the foregoing discussions, the necessary conclusion that can be arrived at is that, while the RTC has jurisdiction over the petition for prohibition filed by respondent, the NEA, in the exercise of its power of supervision and control, has primary jurisdiction to determine the issue of the validity of the subject resolution.

 

          It may not be amiss to reiterate the prevailing rule that the doctrine of primary jurisdiction applies where a claim is originally cognizable in the courts and comes into play whenever enforcement of the claim requires the resolution of issues which, under a regulatory scheme, has been placed within the special competence of an administrative agency.[34][9]  In such a case, the court in which the claim is sought to be enforced may suspend the judicial process pending referral of such issues to the administrative body for its view or, if the parties would not be unfairly disadvantaged, dismiss the case without prejudice.[35][10]

 

        Corollary to the doctrine of primary jurisdiction is the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies.  The Court, in a long line of cases,[36][11] has held that before a party is allowed to seek the intervention of the courts, it is a pre-condition that he avail himself of all administrative processes afforded him.  Hence, if a remedy within the administrative machinery can be resorted to by giving the administrative officer every opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his jurisdiction, then such remedy must be exhausted first before the court’s power of judicial review can be sought.[37][12] The premature resort to the court is fatal to one’s cause of action.[38][13] Accordingly, absent any finding of waiver or estoppel, the case may be dismissed for lack of cause of action.[39][14]

 

The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is based on practical and legal reasons.[40][15] The availment of administrative remedy entails lesser expenses and provides for a speedier disposition of controversies.[41][16] Furthermore, the courts of justice, for reasons of comity and convenience, will shy away from a dispute until the system of administrative redress has been completed and complied with, so as to give the administrative agency concerned every opportunity to correct its error and dispose of the case.[42][17]

 

True, the doctrines of primary jurisdiction and exhaustion of administrative remedies are subject to certain exceptions, to wit: (a) where there is estoppel on the part of the party invoking the doctrine; (b) where the challenged administrative act is patently illegal, amounting to lack of jurisdiction; (c) where there is unreasonable delay or official inaction that will irretrievably prejudice the complainant; (d) where the amount involved is relatively so small as to make the rule impractical and oppressive; (e) where the question involved is purely legal and will ultimately have to be decided by the courts of justice; (f) where judicial intervention is urgent; (g) where the application of the doctrine may cause great and irreparable damage; (h) where the controverted acts violate due process; (i) where the issue of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies has been rendered moot; (j) where there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy; (k) where strong public interest is involved; and (l) in quo warranto proceedings.[43][18]

 

        Respondent, however, failed to show that the instant case falls under any of the above-enumerated exceptions. While respondent alleged in his Urgent Petition for Prohibition that the subject resolution was issued with grave abuse of discretion and in violation of his right to due process, mere allegation of arbitrariness will not suffice to vest in the trial court the power that has been specifically granted by law to special government agencies.[44][19] Moreover, the issues raised in the petition for prohibition, particularly the issue of whether or not there are valid grounds to disallow respondent from attending SAMELCO’s Board meetings and to disqualify him from running for re-election as a director of the said Board, are not purely legal questions. Instead, they involve a determination of factual matters which fall within the competence of the NEA to ascertain.

 

        Finally, the Court agrees with petitioners’ contention that the availability of an administrative remedy via a complaint filed before the NEA precludes respondent from filing a petition for prohibition before the court. It is settled that one of the requisites for a writ of prohibition to issue is that there is no plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.[45][20] In order that prohibition will lie, the petitioner must first exhaust all administrative remedies.[46][21]  Thus, respondent’s failure to file a complaint before the NEA prevents him from filing a petition for prohibition before the RTC.

 

        WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The questioned Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated  January 26, 2006 and July 12, 2006, respectively, as well as the Orders of the Regional Trial Court of Calbiga, Samar, Branch 33, dated May 6, 2005 and September 15, 2005, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. A new judgment is entered DISMISSING the Urgent Petition for Prohibition (Special Civil Action No. C-2005-1085) filed by respondent Ananias D. Seludo, Jr.

 

        SO ORDERED.

 

 

 

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA

                                                        Associate Justice

 

WE CONCUR:

 

 

 

 

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.

Associate Justice

Chairperson

 

 

 

        ROBERTO A. ABAD                        JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA

            Associate Justice                                         Associate Justice

 

      ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE

                                                  Associate Justice

 

 

ATTESTATION

 

        I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

 

 

 

 

 

                                        PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.

             Associate Justice

            Third Division, Chairperson

 

 

CERTIFICATION

 

        Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson’s Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

 

 

 

 

                                                        RENATO C. CORONA

                                                                  Chief Justice

 


 


[1][5]           Social Justice Society (SJS) v. Atienza, Jr., G.R. No. 156052, February 13, 2008, 545 SCRA 92, 152; Veterans Federation of the Philippines v. Reyes, G.R. No. 155027, February 28, 2006, 483 SCRA 526, 564; Mondano v. Silvosa, 97 Phil. 143, 147-148 (1955).

[2][6]           Id.

[3][7]           Id.

[4][5]           Social Justice Society (SJS) v. Atienza, Jr., G.R. No. 156052, February 13, 2008, 545 SCRA 92, 152; Veterans Federation of the Philippines v. Reyes, G.R. No. 155027, February 28, 2006, 483 SCRA 526, 564; Mondano v. Silvosa, 97 Phil. 143, 147-148 (1955).

[5][6]           Id.

[6][7]           Id.

[7][8]           Section 21(1) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 provides that the RTC shall exercise original jurisdiction in the issuance, among others, of a writ of prohibition.

[8][9]           Rosito Bagunu v. Spouses Francisco Aggabao and Rosenda Acerit, G.R. No. 186487, August 15, 2011; Phil Pharmawealth, Inc. v. Pfizer, Inc. and Pfizer (Phil.) Inc., G.R. No. 167715, November 17, 2010, 635 SCRA 140, 153; Euro-Med Laboratories Phil., Inc. v. The Province of Batangas, G.R. No. 148106, July 17, 2006, 495 SCRA 301, 305.

[9][10]          Id.

[10][12]         Id.

[11][11]         City Engineer of Baguio v. Baniqued, G.R. No. 150270, November 26, 2008, 571 SCRA 617, 627-628; Buston-Arendain v. Gil, G.R. No. 172585, June 26, 2008, 555 SCRA 561, 572; Province of Zamboanga del Norte v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 109853, October 11, 2000, 342 SCRA 549, 557.

[12][12]         Id.

[13][13]         Id.

[14][14]         Id.

[15][16]         Id.

[16][17]         Public Hearing Committee of the Laguna Lake Development Authority v. SM Prime Holdings, Inc., supra, at 79-80; Montanez v. Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD), supra, at 230-231.

[17][15]         Public Hearing Committee of the Laguna Lake Development Authority v. SM Prime Holdings, Inc., G.R. No. 170599, September 22, 2010, 631 SCRA 73, 79; Montanez v. Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD), G.R. No. 183142, September 17, 2009, 600 SCRA 217, 230.

[18][16]         Id.

[19][17]         Public Hearing Committee of the Laguna Lake Development Authority v. SM Prime Holdings, Inc., supra, at 79-80; Montanez v. Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD), supra, at 230-231.

[20][18]         Vigilar v. Aquino, G.R. No. 180388, January 18, 2011, 639 SCRA 772, 777, citing Republic of the Philippines v. Lacap, G.R. No. 158253, March 2, 2007, 517 SCRA 255, 265-266.

[21][18]         Vigilar v. Aquino, G.R. No. 180388, January 18, 2011, 639 SCRA 772, 777, citing Republic of the Philippines v. Lacap, G.R. No. 158253, March 2, 2007, 517 SCRA 255, 265-266.

[22][19]         Province of Zamboanga del Norte v. Court of Appeals, supra note 10, at 559.

[23][20]         Hon. Eduardo Ermita, in his official capacity as The Executive Secretary v. Hon. Jenny Lind R. Aldecoa-Delorino, Presiding Judge, Branch 137, Regional Trial Court, Makati City, Association of Petrochemical Manufacturers of the Philippines, representing JG Summit Petrochemical Corporation, et al., G.R. No. 177130, June 7, 2011; Yusay v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011, 647 SCRA 269, 283-284; Ongsuco v. Malones, G.R. No. 182065, October 27, 2009, 604 SCRA 499, 515.

[24][20]         Hon. Eduardo Ermita, in his official capacity as The Executive Secretary v. Hon. Jenny Lind R. Aldecoa-Delorino, Presiding Judge, Branch 137, Regional Trial Court, Makati City, Association of Petrochemical Manufacturers of the Philippines, representing JG Summit Petrochemical Corporation, et al., G.R. No. 177130, June 7, 2011; Yusay v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011, 647 SCRA 269, 283-284; Ongsuco v. Malones, G.R. No. 182065, October 27, 2009, 604 SCRA 499, 515.

[25][21]         Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. I, Sixth Revised Edition, p. 712, citing Cebedo, et. al. v. Director of Lands, et al., 111 Phil. 1049, 1053 (1961).

[26][1]          Penned by Associate Justice Isaias P. Dicdican, with Associate Justices Ramon M. Bato, Jr. and Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr.., concurring; rollo, pp. 50-55.

[27][2]          Penned by Associate Justice Isaias P. Dicdican, Jr., with Associate Justices Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr. and Marlene Gonzales-Sison, concurring, id. at 56-57.

[28][3]          Rollo, pp. 51-52.

[29][4]          Id. at 30, 36 and 40.

[30][5]         Social Justice Society (SJS) v. Atienza, Jr., G.R. No. 156052, February 13, 2008, 545 SCRA 92, 152; Veterans Federation of the Philippines v. Reyes, G.R. No. 155027, February 28, 2006, 483 SCRA 526, 564; Mondano v. Silvosa, 97 Phil. 143, 147-148 (1955).

[31][6]          Id.

[32][7]          Id.

[33][8]          Section 21(1) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 provides that the RTC shall exercise original jurisdiction in the issuance, among others, of a writ of prohibition.

[34][9]          Rosito Bagunu v. Spouses Francisco Aggabao and Rosenda Acerit, G.R. No. 186487, August 15, 2011; Phil Pharmawealth, Inc. v. Pfizer, Inc. and Pfizer (Phil.) Inc., G.R. No. 167715, November 17, 2010, 635 SCRA 140, 153; Euro-Med Laboratories Phil., Inc. v. The Province of Batangas, G.R. No. 148106, July 17, 2006, 495 SCRA 301, 305.

[35][10]         Id.

[36][11]         City Engineer of Baguio v. Baniqued, G.R. No. 150270, November 26, 2008, 571 SCRA 617, 627-628; Buston-Arendain v. Gil, G.R. No. 172585, June 26, 2008, 555 SCRA 561, 572; Province of Zamboanga del Norte v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 109853, October 11, 2000, 342 SCRA 549, 557.

[37][12]         Id.

[38][13]         Id.

[39][14]         Id.

[40][15]         Public Hearing Committee of the Laguna Lake Development Authority v. SM Prime Holdings, Inc., G.R. No. 170599, September 22, 2010, 631 SCRA 73, 79; Montanez v. Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD), G.R. No. 183142, September 17, 2009, 600 SCRA 217, 230.

[41][16]         Id.

[42][17]         Public Hearing Committee of the Laguna Lake Development Authority v. SM Prime Holdings, Inc., supra, at 79-80; Montanez v. Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD), supra, at 230-231.

[43][18]         Vigilar v. Aquino, G.R. No. 180388, January 18, 2011, 639 SCRA 772, 777, citing Republic of the Philippines v. Lacap, G.R. No. 158253, March 2, 2007, 517 SCRA 255, 265-266.

[44][19]         Province of Zamboanga del Norte v. Court of Appeals, supra note 10, at 559.

[45][20]         Hon. Eduardo Ermita, in his official capacity as The Executive Secretary v. Hon. Jenny Lind R. Aldecoa-Delorino, Presiding Judge, Branch 137, Regional Trial Court, Makati City, Association of Petrochemical Manufacturers of the Philippines, representing JG Summit Petrochemical Corporation, et al., G.R. No. 177130, June 7, 2011; Yusay v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011, 647 SCRA 269, 283-284; Ongsuco v. Malones, G.R. No. 182065, October 27, 2009, 604 SCRA 499, 515.

[46][21]         Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. I, Sixth Revised Edition, p. 712, citing Cebedo, et. al. v. Director of Lands, et al., 111 Phil. 1049, 1053 (1961).

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