G.R. No. 172175 : October 9, 2006

FACTS: A Complaint for nullification of foreclosure proceedings and loan documents with damages[6] against respondent Chinabank was filed by Sps. Expedito and Alice Zepeda before the Regional Trial Court of San Jose, Camarines Sur. They alleged that they obtained a loan in the amount of P5,800,000.00 from respondent secured by a Real Estate Mortgage over a parcel of land. Petitioners subsequently encountered difficulties in paying their loan obligations hence they requested for restructuring which was allegedly granted by Chinabank. Hence, they were surprised when respondent bank extrajudicially foreclosed the subject property where it emerged as the highest bidder. Respondent bank was issued a Provisional Certificate of Sale and upon petitioners failure to redeem the property, ownership was consolidated in its favor. According to petitioners, the foreclosure proceedings should be annulled for failure to comply with the posting and publication requirements. They also claimed that they signed the Real Estate Mortgage and Promissory Note in blank and were not given a copy and the interest rates thereon were unilaterally fixed by the respondent. Respondent banks motion to dismiss was denied, hence it filed an answer with special affirmative defenses and counterclaim. It also filed a set of written interrogatories with 20 questions. In an Order dated April 1, 2004, the trial court denied Chinabanks affirmative defenses for lack of merit as well as its motion to expunge the complaint for being premature.The trial court reiterated its denial of Chinabanks affirmative defenses in its Order dated October 22, 2004 and directed the Clerk of Court to set the pre-trial conference for the marking of the parties documentary evidence. Aggrieved, respondent bank filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 which was granted by the Court of Appeals. It held that the trial court gravely abused its discretion in issuing the two assailed Orders. It ruled that compelling reasons warrant the dismissal of petitioners complaint because they acted in bad faith when they ignored the hearings set by the trial court to determine the veracity of Chinabanks affirmative defenses; they failed to answer Chinabanks written interrogatories; and the complaint states no cause of action. Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied.

ISSUE: Whether or not the complaint should be dismissed for failure of petitioners to answer respondent’s written interrogatories as provided for in Section 3(c), Rule 29 of the Rules of Court.

HELD: NO. The consequences enumerated in Section 3(c) of Rule 29 would only apply where the party upon whom the written interrogatories is served, refuses to answer a particular question in the set of written interrogatories and despite an order compelling him to answer the particular question, still refuses to obey the order. Under the case of Arellano v. Court of First Instance of Sorsogon, the consequences enumerated in Section 3(c) of Rule 29 would only apply where the party upon whom the written interrogatories is served, refuses to answer a particular question in the set of written interrogatories and despite an order compelling him to answer the particular question, still refuses to obey the order. In this case, petitioners refused to answer the whole set of written interrogatories, not just a particular question. Clearly then, respondent bank should have filed a motion based on Section 5 and not Section 3(c) of Rule 29. Due to respondent bank’s filing of an erroneous motion, the trial court cannot be faulted for ruling that the motion to expunge was premature for lack of a prior application to compel compliance based on Section 3.

Republic v. Sandiganbayan (2006)

G.R. No. 129406 : March 6 2006

FACTS: One of the PCGG’s primary duties is to seize corporate operations, corporations, and other things thought to be ill-gotten money. The 227 shares of the Negros Occidental Golf & Country Club, Inc. (NOGCCI), which were claimed to be owned by Roberto Benedicto, were one of these sequestrations. Following the sequestration of such shares, PCGG representatives served on the NOGCCI Board of Directors, which later approved the levy of a monthly membership fee of P150 per share on share owners. Later, the price was reduced to P250 per share.

Instead of rejecting such impositions, PCGG officials serving as Board of Directors authorized them. Between 1987 and 1989, PCGG representatives completely ignored the shares owing to either ineptitude or collaboration with other share owners, at which time PCGG’s inability to pay the monthly membership dues now totaling P2,959,471.00 resulted in the auction sale of the overdue shares.

The PCGG reached a Compromise Agreement with Benedicto in Civil Case No. 0034 on November 3, 1990. This agreement indicated that PCGG was releasing the sequestration on the 227 NOGCCI shares, meaning that said shares were not ill-gotten riches after all and that Benedicto was perfectly capable of purchasing said shares with his own money.

Since the signing of the Compromise Agreement, both the PCGG and Benedicto have sought the assistance of the Sandiganbayan in order to carry out the conditions of the agreement. Benedicto filed legal action against the Commission since PCGG did not appear to intend to release the shares to him as agreed. In every case, the Sandiganbayan ruled in Benedicto’s favor.

Following that, the PCGG filed the current petition with the Supreme Court, claiming that: (a) the Sandiganbayan’s directive on March 28, 1995 compelling PCGG to bring before the Clerk of Court the 227 shares registered in Benedicto’s name, or pay P150,000 per share using public money, and its ruling on March 13, 1997 denying PCGG’s Manifestation with Motion for Reconsideration, constituted grave abuse of discretion; and (b) PCGG is immune from any lawsuit.


  1. W/N Sandiganbayan erred in ruling in favor of Benedicto?
  2. W/N PCGG is immune from lawsuit?


  1. NO. The Court concluded that all of Sandiganbayan’s findings on the subject were in accordance with the Compromise Agreement reached between the PCGG and Benedicto. As a result, it cannot be criticized for just adhering to the conditions of something that PCGG had enacted. In fact, the Court decided that the two challenged judgements have a solid foundation in fact and law.
  2. NO. By entering into a Compromise Agreement with Benedicto, the PCGG relinquished its immunity from litigation and placed itself on the same footing as its adversary. When the State, through its officers and agents, enters into a contract in furtherance of a legitimate aim or purpose and in accordance with constitutional legislative authority, whereby mutual or reciprocal benefits accrue and rights and obligations arise, the State may be sued even without its express consent. The sovereign is reduced to the level of the citizen by entering into a contract.


G.R. No. 130974 : August 16 2006

Topic: Valid substituted service of summons


  • Respondent Trajano seeks the enforcement of a foreign court’s judgment (Hawaii) in a case entitled Agapita Trajano, et al. v. Imee Marcos-Manotoc a.k.a. Imee Marcos, Civil Case No. 86-0207
    • for wrongful death of deceased Archimedes Trajano committed by military intelligence officials of the Philippines allegedly under the command, direction, authority, supervision, tolerance, sufferance and/or influence of defendant Manotoc, pursuant to the provisions of Rule 39 of the then Revised Rules of Court.
  • Manotoc is the defendant in Civil Case which seeks the enforcement of a foreign court’s judgment (Hawaii).
  • Based on paragraph two of the Complaint, the trial court issued a Summons to petitioner at Alexandra Homes.
  • Summons and a copy of the Complaint were allegedly served upon (Mr.) Macky de la Cruz, an alleged caretaker of petitioner at the condominium unit mentioned earlier.
  • When petitioner failed to file her Answer, the trial court declared her in default through an Order.
  • 1993, Manotoc filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the trial court over her person due to an invalid substituted service of summons.
    • The grounds to support the motion were: (1) the address of defendant indicated in the Complaint (Alexandra Homes) was not her dwelling, residence, or regular place of business as provided in Section 8, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court; (2) the party (de la Cruz), who was found in the unit, was neither a representative, employee, nor a resident of the place; (3) the procedure prescribed by the Rules on personal and substituted service of summons was ignored; (4) defendant was a resident of Singapore; and (5) whatever judgment rendered in this case would be ineffective and futile.
  • 1994, RTC rejected Manotoc’s Motion To Dismiss. It relied on the presumption that the sheriff’s substituted service was made in the regular performance of official duty, and such presumption stood in the absence of proof to the contrary.
  • 1997, CA dismissed Manotoc’s Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition (which sought to annull RTC Orders). It upheld RTC’s decision.
    • According to the CA, the trial court had acquired jurisdiction over petitioner as there was a valid substituted service pursuant to Section 8, Rule 14 of the old Revised Rules of Court.
  • Manotoc filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari 1 under Rule 45. He claimed that CA should have annulled the proceedings in the trial court for want of jurisdiction due to irregular and ineffective service of summons.


W/N CA erred in holding that there was a valid substituted service of summons on petitioner for the RTC to acquire jurisdiction?


YES. CA erred in holding that there was a valid substituted service of summons on petitioner for the RTC to acquire jurisdiction.

  • Jurisdiction over the defendant is acquired either upon a valid service of summons or the defendant’s voluntary appearance in court. When the defendant does not voluntarily submit to the court’s jurisdiction or when there is no valid service of summons, “any judgment of the court which has no jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is null and void.”
  • In an action strictly in personam, personal service on the defendant is the preferred mode of service, that is, by handing a copy of the summons to the defendant in person.
  • If defendant, for excusable reasons, cannot be served with the summons within a reasonable period, then substituted service can be resorted to. While substituted service of summons is permitted, “it is extraordinary in character and in derogation of the usual method of service.”
  • Hence, it must faithfully and strictly comply with the prescribed requirements and circumstances authorized by the rules. Indeed, “compliance with the rules regarding the service of summons is as much important as the issue of due process as of jurisdiction.”
  • Based on the above principles, respondent Trajano failed to demonstrate that there was strict compliance with the requirements of the then Section 8, Rule 14 (now Section 7, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure).
  • Due to non-compliance with the prerequisites for valid substituted service, the proceedings held before the trial court perforce must be annulled.
  • The court a quo heavily relied on the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty. It reasons out that “[t]he certificate of service by the proper officer is prima facie evidence of the facts set out herein, and to overcome the presumption arising from said certificate, the evidence must be clear and convincing.”


G.R. NO. 165483: September 12 2006: 533 Phil. 169

Offense Involved: Homicide (Article 249, RPC)

FACTS: On January 16, 1998, brothers Servillano, Melton and Michael Ferrer were having their drinking spree at their house in Poblacion, Manaoag, Pangasinan but later decided to proceed to Tidbits Videoke Bar to continue their drinking spree and to sing. Thereafter, Jaime Palaganas arrived together with Ferdinand Palaganas and Virgilio Bautista. When Jaime Palaganas was singing, “My Way”, Melton sang along. But, Jaime resented this, approached the brother and said in Pangasinan dialect “As if you are tough guys. You are already insulting me in that way.”  Jaime struck Servillano’s head with the microphone and a fight ensued. Ferdinand sought help from Rujjeric Palaganas. They went to the bar and upon seeing the Ferrers instructed Rujjeric to shoot them. Rujjeric Palaganas shot Servillano, Melton and Michael with the use of unlicensed firearm. As a result, Melton was killed, Servillano was fatally wounded and Michael was shot in his right shoulder. The police came and took the Ferrer brothers to Manaoag Hospital and later to Villaflor Hospital in Dagupan. Informations were filed for homicide. frustrated homicide and COMELEC Resolution No. 2958 in relation to Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code. Uppon arraignment, Rujjeric and Ferdinand entered separate pleas of “Not Guilty”. The RTC found Rujjeric guilty of the crime of Homicide and 2 counts of Frustrated Homicide but acquitted of the charge of Violation of COMELEC Resolution No. 2958 in relation to Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code while Ferdinand was acquitted of all the charges against him. The case was appealed, but the CA affirmed the decision of the lower court. Hence, this case.


  1. Whether or not Court of Appeals erred in not acquitting accused-appellant on the ground of lawful self- defense.
  2. Whether or not Court of Appeals erred in sustaining accused-appelant’s conviction despite the prosecution’s failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt?


  1. No. Court of Appeals did not err in not acquitting accused-appellant on the ground of lawful self- defense. The elements and/or requisites in order that a plea of self-defense may be validly considered in absolving a person from criminal liability were not present in this case. It is clear that there was no unlawful aggression on the part of the Ferrer brothers that justified the act of petitioner in shooting them. There were no actual or imminent danger to the lives of petitioner and Ferdinand when they proceeded and arrived at the videoke bar and saw thereat the Ferrer brothers. the petitioner’s act of shooting the Ferrer brothers was not a reasonable and necessary means of repelling the aggression allegedly initiated by the Ferrer brothers. As aptly stated by the trial court, petitioner’s gun was far deadlier compared to the stones thrown by the Ferrer brothers.
  • No. Court of Appeals did not err in sustaining accused-appelant’s conviction despite the prosecution’s failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Where an accused admits killing the victim but invokes self defense, it is incumbent upon the accused to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he acted in self-defense. In the present case, there is no compelling reason to deviate from their findings. Petitioner failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he is entitled to an acquittal on the ground of lawful self-defense.