Whether there are sufficient bases to elevate the case at bar to the Court en banc.

Motion to Elevate this Case to the
Court En Banc


The petitioner prays for the elevation of the case to the Court en banc on the following grounds:

1. The main issue of the propriety of the bidding process involved in the present case has been confused with the policy issue of the supposed fate of the shipping industry which has never been an issue that is determinative of this case.

2. The present case may be considered under the Supreme Court Resolution dated February 23, 1984 which included among en banc cases those involving a novel question of law and those where a doctrine or principle laid down by the Court en banc or in division may be modified or reversed.

3. There was clear executive interference in the judicial functions of the Court when the Honorable Jose Isidro Camacho, Secretary of Finance, forwarded to Chief Justice Davide, a memorandum dated November 5, 2001, attaching a copy of the Foreign Chambers Report dated October 17, 2001, which matter was placed in the agenda of the Court and noted by it in a formal resolution dated November 28, 2001.

Opposing J.G. Summit’s motion to elevate the case en banc, PHILYARDS points out the petitioner’s inconsistency in previously opposing PHILYARDS’ Motion to Refer the Case to the Court En Banc. PHILYARDS contends that J.G. Summit should now be estopped from asking that the case be referred to the Court en banc. PHILYARDS further contends that the Supreme Court en banc is not an appellate court to which decisions or resolutions of its divisions may be appealed citing Supreme Court Circular No. 2-89 dated February 7, 1989. PHILYARDS also alleges that there is no novel question of law involved in the present case as the assailed Resolution was based on well-settled jurisprudence. Likewise, PHILYARDS stresses that the Resolution was merely an outcome of the motions for reconsideration filed by it and the COP and APT and is “consistent with the inherent power of courts to ‘amend and control its process and orders so as to make them conformable to law and justice.’ (Rule 135, sec. 5)” Private respondent belittles the petitioner’s allegations regarding the change in ponente and the alleged executive interference as shown by former Secretary of Finance Jose Isidro Camacho’s memorandum dated November 5, 2001 arguing that these do not justify a referral of the present case to the Court en banc.

In insisting that its Motion to Elevate This Case to the Court En Banc should be granted, J.G. Summit further argued that: its Opposition to the Office of the Solicitor General’s Motion to Refer is different from its own Motion to Elevate; different grounds are invoked by the two motions; there was unwarranted “executive interference”; and the change in ponente is merely noted in asserting that this case should be decided by the Court en banc.

We find no merit in petitioner’s contention that the propriety of the bidding process involved in the present case has been confused with the policy issue of the fate of the shipping industry which, petitioner maintains, has never been an issue that is determinative of this case. The Court’s Resolution of September 24, 2003 reveals a clear and definitive ruling on the propriety of the bidding process. In discussing whether the right to top granted to KAWASAKI in exchange for its right of first refusal violates the principles of competitive bidding, we made an exhaustive discourse on the rules and principles of public bidding and whether they were complied with in the case at bar. This Court categorically ruled on the petitioner’s argument that PHILSECO, as a shipyard, is a public utility which should maintain a 60%-40% Filipino-foreign equity ratio, as it was a pivotal issue. In doing so, we recognized the impact of our ruling on the shipbuilding industry which was beyond avoidance.

We reject petitioner’s argument that the present case may be considered under the Supreme Court Resolution dated February 23, 1984 which included among en banc cases those involving a novel question of law and those where a doctrine or principle laid down by the court en banc or in division may be modified or reversed. The case was resolved based on basic principles of the right of first refusal in commercial law and estoppel in civil law. Contractual obligations arising from rights of first refusal are not new in this jurisdiction and have been recognized in numerous cases. Estoppel is too known a civil law concept to require an elongated discussion. Fundamental principles on public bidding were likewise used to resolve the issues raised by the petitioner. To be sure, petitioner leans on the right to top in a public bidding in arguing that the case at bar involves a novel issue. We are not swayed. The right to top was merely a condition or a reservation made in the bidding rules which was fully disclosed to all bidding parties. In Bureau Veritas, represented by Theodor H. Hunermann v. Office of the President, et al., we dealt with this conditionality, viz:

x x x It must be stressed, as held in the case of A.C. Esguerra & Sons v. Aytona, et al., (L-18751, 28 April 1962, 4 SCRA 1245), that in an “invitation to bid, there is a condition imposed upon the bidders to the effect that the bidding shall be subject to the right of the government to reject any and all bids subject to its discretion. In the case at bar, the government has made its choice and unless an unfairness or injustice is shown, the losing bidders have no cause to complain nor right to dispute that choice. This is a well-settled doctrine in this jurisdiction and elsewhere.”

The discretion to accept or reject a bid and award contracts is vested in the Government agencies entrusted with that function. The discretion given to the authorities on this matter is of such wide latitude that the Courts will not interfere therewith, unless it is apparent that it is used as a shield to a fraudulent award (Jalandoni v. NARRA, 108 Phil. 486 [1960]). x x x The exercise of this discretion is a policy decision that necessitates prior inquiry, investigation, comparison, evaluation, and deliberation. This task can best be discharged by the Government agencies concerned, not by the Courts. The role of the Courts is to ascertain whether a branch or instrumentality of the Government has transgressed its constitutional boundaries. But the Courts will not interfere with executive or legislative discretion exercised within those boundaries. Otherwise, it strays into the realm of policy decision-making.

It is only upon a clear showing of grave abuse of discretion that the Courts will set aside the award of a contract made by a government entity. Grave abuse of discretion implies a capricious, arbitrary and whimsical exercise of power (Filinvest Credit Corp. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, No. 65935, 30 September 1988, 166 SCRA 155). The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, as to act at all in contemplation of law, where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility (Litton Mills, Inc. v. Galleon Trader, Inc., et al[.], L-40867, 26 July 1988, 163 SCRA 489).

The facts in this case do not indicate any such grave abuse of discretion on the part of public respondents when they awarded the CISS contract to Respondent SGS. In the “Invitation to Prequalify and Bid” (Annex “C,” supra), the CISS Committee made an express reservation of the right of the Government to “reject any or all bids or any part thereof or waive any defects contained thereon and accept an offer most advantageous to the Government.” It is a well-settled rule that where such reservation is made in an Invitation to Bid, the highest or lowest bidder, as the case may be, is not entitled to an award as a matter of right (C & C Commercial Corp. v. Menor, L-28360, 27 January 1983, 120 SCRA 112). Even the lowest Bid or any Bid may be rejected or, in the exercise of sound discretion, the award may be made to another than the lowest bidder (A.C. Esguerra & Sons v. Aytona, supra, citing 43 Am. Jur., 788). (emphases supplied)

Like the condition in the Bureau Veritas case, the right to top was a condition imposed by the government in the bidding rules which was made known to all parties. It was a condition imposed on all bidders equally, based on the APT’s exercise of its discretion in deciding on how best to privatize the government’s shares in PHILSECO. It was not a whimsical or arbitrary condition plucked from the ether and inserted in the bidding rules but a condition which the APT approved as the best way the government could comply with its contractual obligations to KAWASAKI under the JVA and its mandate of getting the most advantageous deal for the government. The right to top had its history in the mutual right of first refusal in the JVA and was reached by agreement of the government and KAWASAKI.

Further, there is no “executive interference” in the functions of this Court by the mere filing of a memorandum by Secretary of Finance Jose Isidro Camacho. The memorandum was merely “noted” to acknowledge its filing. It had no further legal significance. Notably too, the assailed Resolution dated September 24, 2003 was decided unanimously by the Special First Division in favor of the respondents.

Again, we emphasize that a decision or resolution of a Division is that of the Supreme Court and the Court en banc is not an appellate court to which decisions or resolutions of a Division may be appealed.

For all the foregoing reasons, we find no basis to elevate this case to the Court en banc.

SOURCE: [ G.R. NO. 124293, January 31, 2005 ]J.G. SUMMIT HOLDINGS, INC., PETITIONER, VS. COURT OF APPEALS; COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION, ITS CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS; ASSET PRIVATIZATION TRUST; AND PHILYARDS HOLDINGS, INC., RESPONDENTS. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ALLEGED FRAUD IN THE APPLICATION FOR THE REGISTRATION OF THE LAND IS THE KIND OF FRAUD CONTEMPLATED BY LAW TO WARRANT RECONVEYANCE OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY

The settled rule is that every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party-in-interest. Where the action is allowed to be prosecuted or defended by a representative acting in a fiduciary capacity, the beneficiary must be included in the title of the case and shall be deemed to be the real party-in-interest. The name of such beneficiaries shall, likewise, be included in the complaint.

Section 4, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court further provides that facts showing the capacity of a party to sue or be sued, or the authority of a party to sue or be sued in a representative capacity must be averred in the complaint.  In order to maintain an action in a court of justice, the plaintiff must have an actual legal existence, that is, he or she or it must be a person in law and possessed of a legal entity as either a natural or an artificial person, and no suit can lawfully be prosecuted in the name of that person. The party bringing suit has the burden of proving the sufficiency of the representative character that he claims.  If a complaint is filed by one who claims to represent a party as plaintiff but who, in fact, is not authorized to do so, such complaint is not deemed filed and the court does not acquire jurisdiction over the complaint. It must be stressed that an unauthorized complaint does not produce any legal effect. Corollary, the defendant can assail the facts alleged therein through a motion to dismiss on the ground that the plaintiff has no capacity to sue under Section 1(d) of Rule 16 of the Rules of Court, that is, that he does not have the representative he claims.

Section 7, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court reads:

SEC. 7. Compulsory joinder of indispensable parties. – Parties in interest without whom no final determination can be had of an action shall be joined either as plaintiffs or defendants.

Thus, the presence of all indispensable parties is a condition sine qua non for the exercise of judicial power.  It is precisely when an indispensable party is not before the court that the action should be dismissed. The plaintiff is mandated to implead all indispensable parties, and the absence of one renders all subsequent actions of the court null and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties, but even as to those present. One who is a party to a case is not bound by any decision of the court; otherwise, he will be deprived of his right to due process.

The records show that when Roman Realon died intestate on April 4, 1946, he was survived by his son, Alfredo, and his nephews, who were the children of his deceased son, Buenaventura, namely, Marciano, Joaquino, Florentino, Felipe, Marcelo, Sesinando and Montano, all surnamed Realon.  On the other hand, when Alfredo died intestate, he was survived by his heirs, Ruperta Mapanso, Florentino Purificacion, Emiliano Purificacion, the son of his deceased daughter, Beatriz Realon, Serafin Purificacion and Leonedes Purificacion. Marcelo Realon was survived by his heirs, namely, Ma. Luz Librado, Santiago Realon, Isidro R. Manabo, Rufina B. Mercado and Romel Realon. Only Joaquino, Florentino, Felipe, Sesinando and Montano are still alive.

The four (4) respondents herein, who were the plaintiffs in the trial court, sought the nullification of the Contract to Sell in favor of the petitioner executed by Marciano and his brothers, as well as the Contract to Sell executed by Alfredo over the undivided shares in Lot No. 1253, the deed of sale with mortgage executed by Marciano Realon and his brothers, and the deed of sale with mortgage executed by Alfredo in favor of the petitioner.  They likewise sought to nullify OCT No. O-2348 under the name of the petitioner and the reconveyance of the said lot to the respondents, free from all liens and encumbrances on their allegation that the petitioner committed fraud in the execution of the said deeds and in receiving the said title. Hence, all the surviving signatories to the said documents, namely, Joaquino, Francisco, Felipe, Sesinando and Montano, all surnamed Realon, and the other surviving heirs of Alfredo Realon and Marciano and Marcelo, were indispensable parties as plaintiffs.  Moreover, if the trial court rendered judgment against the petitioner, ordering him to convey the property to the vendors, the latter, as the predecessor-in-interest of the vendors, would have to refund to the vendee the amount they received from the latter.  Hence, the respondents herein should have impleaded them in their complaint.  However, the only plaintiffs impleaded in the complaint were the respondents herein, namely, Francisco, Domingo and Felipe, all surnamed Realon and Emiliano Purificacion.  The surviving signatories of the assailed deeds and the other heirs of the deceased vendors were not impleaded as plaintiffs. Without the presence of all the other heirs as plaintiffs, the trial court could not validly render judgment and grant relief in favor of the respondents; it could, likewise, not rule in favor of the petitioner for the refund of his payments made to the respondents as the successors-in-interest of the vendors.  The failure of the respondents to implead the said signatories and all the other heirs as parties-plaintiffs constituted a legal obstacle to the trial court and the appellate court’s exercise of judicial power over the said case, and thereby rendered any orders or judgments made therein a nullity. To reiterate, the absence of an indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the court null and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties, but even as to those present. Thus, the RTC should have ordered the dismissal of the complaint.

The Court notes that the respondents even failed to include the names of all the other heirs, including the signatories to the assailed deeds in the complaint and in the title thereof, and appending thereto a copy of any special power of attorney authorizing the respondents to sue in their respective capacity for said heirs.  Thus, the petitioner was prevented from questioning the capacity of the said heirs to sue in their respective capacity either in a motion to dismiss the complaint or in his answer to the complaint.

We note that of the four (4) plaintiffs, Domingo Realon failed to sign the certification of non-forum shopping.  On the other hand, the three other plaintiffs who signed the certification failed to append to the complaint a special power of attorney signed by all the surviving vendors and other heirs specifically authorizing them to sign the same for and in their behalf.  This is fatal to the complaint and warrants the dismissal thereof.

In sum then, the trial court should have rendered judgment dismissing the respondents’ complaint, and the Court of Appeals should have reversed the appealed decision of the RTC.

Indeed, even if the complaint of the respondents did not suffer from any substantial defects, the appellate court should still have reversed the trial court’s decision on the ground that the respondents failed to prove that the petitioner secured OCT No. O-2348 through actual or extrinsic fraud; and that the Contracts to Sell and Deeds of Sale with Mortgage were fraudulent.

As a ground for the nullification of the decision in LRC Case No. 83-15, and OCT No. O-2348 issued on the basis thereof, fraud must be extrinsic or actual, and not intrinsic.  The Court elaborated on the distinction of the two species of frauds, thus:

Fraud may also be either extrinsic or intrinsic. Fraud is regarded as intrinsic where the fraudulent acts pertain to an issue involved in the original action, or where the acts constituting the fraud were or could have been litigated therein and is regarded as extrinsic where it prevents a party from having a trial or from presenting his entire case to the court, or where it operates upon matters pertaining not to the judgment itself but to the manner in which it is procured, so that there is no fair submission of the controversy.  Extrinsic fraud is also actual fraud, but collateral to the transaction sued upon.

The distinctions are significant because only actual fraud or extrinsic fraud has been accepted as grounds for a judgment to be annulled or, as in this case, a decree of registration reopened and reviewed.  In the oft-cited Macabingkil v. People’s Homesite and Housing Corporation case, the Court drew from American jurisprudence stating that “relief has been granted on the ground that, by some fraud practiced directly upon the party seeking relief against the judgment or decree, (and) that party has been prevented from presenting all of his case to the court.” The “fraud” contemplated by the law in this case (Section 32, P.D. No. 1529) is actual and extrinsic, which includes an intentional omission of fact required by law.  For fraud to justify a review of a decree, it must be extrinsic or collateral, and the facts upon which it is based have not been controverted or resolved in the case where the judgment sought to be annulled was rendered.  Persons who were fraudulently deprived of their opportunity to be heard in the original registration case are entitled to a review of a decree or registration.

In contrast to actual fraud, constructive fraud is construed as such because of its detrimental effect upon public interests, as well as public or private confidence in the Torrens System, even though the act is not done or committed with an actual design to commit positive fraud or injury upon other persons.

The records show that in his application in LRC Case No. 83-15, the petitioner, who was the applicant, alleged that he was the owner of the property, having acquired the same based on the Contract to Sell dated July 31, 1979, executed in his favor by Alfredo and Marciano Realon.  He also alleged that the property was unoccupied and that there was no lien or encumbrance of any kind whatsoever affecting the said land, and that he had no knowledge of any person having any interest therein, legal or equitable.

The allegation that the petitioner was the owner of the property is admittedly incorrect because the deeds executed by Marciano and Alfredo Realon on July 31, 1979 were the contracts to sell, under which the petitioner, as buyer, would acquire title over the property only upon his payment of the balance of the purchase price thereof on or before May 23, 1980; or the issuance of a torrens title in the names of the vendees and the execution by the seller of a final deed of sale. Also, the property was tenanted by respondent Emiliano Purificacion.

When he filed his application on November 11, 1983, the petitioner had not yet paid the balance of the purchase price of the property.  The vendors themselves failed to file an application for the issuance of a torrens title over the property in their names.  Hence, the petitioner had not yet acquired ownership over the property when he filed his application.  However, the Court believes that there was no intention on the part of the petitioner to deceive Alfredo and Marciano Realon, and deprive them of their right to be heard on the said application because (a) the petitioner appended to his application and adduced in evidence copies of the contracts to sell in favor of the petitioner executed by Alfredo and Marciano Realon, the latter for and in his behalf, and those of this brothers; and (b) Alfredo and Marciano Realon were served with copies of the notice of hearing of the said application, even testified for the petitioner and affirmed the validity of  the said deeds.  The respondents, as successors-in-interest of the vendees, can no longer assail the admissions of Alfredo and Marciano when they testified for the petitioner in LRC Case No. 83-15.

As gleaned from the decision of the trial court, the petitioner still had a balance on the purchase price of the property due to the vendees amounting to P129,349.73.

We agree with the appellate court that the RTC erred in its decision in LRC Case No. 83-15 declaring the petitioner, who was the applicant in the RTC, to be the legal owner of the property based on the contracts to sell executed in his favor by Alfredo and his nephews.  However, there is no showing in the records that the decision was appealed to the Court of Appeals.  Indeed, the decision had become final and executory, and the court had issued a decree based on its decision.  In due course, the Register of Deeds issued OCT No. 1248 in favor of the petitioner.  Hence, even if erroneous, the decision can no longer be altered. Consequently, the respondents were barred by the decision of the RTC in Civil Case No. BCV 94-28 from impugning the deed of sale with mortgage executed in favor of the petitioner by Alfredo and his nephews on January 8, 1985.  In its decision in the said case, the RTC declared:

At the trial, Engr. Aldersen Ilaban was called to the stand who testified that he is the authorized representative of the plaintiff, having been designated as administrator of his properties (Exh. “E”). He averred that his principal bought the parcel of land in question located at Carmona, Cavite, from its former owners, Alfredo Realon, Marciano Realon, in two (2) separate deeds of sale with mortgage (Exh. “A” & “B”). He further declared that the sellers undertook to deliver to the plaintiff the title covering the subject property upon payment of the balance of the purchase price.  However, despite plaintiff’s offer to pay the entire consideration of the sale after plaintiff exerted effort to secure the torrens title over the subject lot, defendants refused to accept the same in view of their demand for a higher consideration. This prompted plaintiff to write a letter to defendants on October 15, 1993 whereby he tendered payment of the remaining balance (Exh. “C”). Four months thereafter, he again wrote defendants advising them that if they would still refuse to accept the payment, he would deposit the amount of P42,849.23 directly in open court (Exh. “D”).

Considering that the respondents, as defendants therein, failed to appeal the decision, it became final and executory and can no longer be assailed.

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED.  The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 68979, and that of the Regional Trial Court, are SET ASIDE. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

SOURCE: [ G.R. NO. 159156, January 31, 2005 ]RAMON P. ARON, PETITIONER, VS. FRANCISCO REALON, DOMINGO REALON AND FELIPE REALON, REPRESENTING THE HEIRS OF MARCIANO REALON AND ROMAN REALON, EMILIANO R. PURIFICACION, REPRESENTING THE HEIRS OF ALFREDO REALON AND ROMAN REALON, RESPONDENTS. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

On Whether Manna Properties Sufficiently Established Possession of the Land For the Period Required by Law

Petitioner asserts that Manna Properties has failed to prove its possession of the land for the period of time required by law.  Petitioner alleges that the trial court and the Court of Appeals based their findings solely on their evaluation of the tax declarations presented by Manna Properties.

The jurisdiction of this Court under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure is limited to the review and revision of errors of law. This Court is not bound to analyze and weigh evidence already considered in prior proceedings. Absent any of the established grounds for exception, this Court is bound by the findings of fact of the trial and appellate courts.

The issue of whether Manna Properties has presented sufficient proof of the required possession, under a bona fide claim of ownership, raises a question of fact. It invites an evaluation of the evidentiary record. Petitioner invites us to re-evaluate the evidence and substitute our judgment for that of the trial and appellate courts. Generally, Rule 45 does not allow this.  Matters of proof and evidence are beyond the power of this Court to review under a Rule 45 petition, except in the presence of some meritorious circumstances. We find one such circumstance in this case. The evidence on record does not support the conclusions of both the trial court and the Court of Appeals.

Petitioner claimed in its opposition to the application of Manna Properties that, as a private corporation, Manna Properties is disqualified from holding alienable lands of the public domain, except by lease. Petitioner cites the constitutional prohibition in Section 3 of Article XII in the 1987 Constitution. Petitioner also claims that the land in question is still part of the public domain.

On the other hand, Manna Properties claims that it has established that the land in question has been in the open and exclusive possession of its predecessors-in-interest since the 1940s. Thus, the land was already private land when Manna Properties acquired it from its predecessors-in-interest.

The governing law is Commonwealth Act No. 141 (“CA 141”) otherwise known as the “Public Land Act.” Section 48(b) of the said law, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1073, provides:

(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership, since June 12, 1945 or earlier, immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.  (Emphasis supplied)

Lands that fall under Section 48 of CA 141 are effectively segregated from the public domain by virtue of acquisitive prescription. We have held that open, exclusive and undisputed possession of alienable public land for the period prescribed by CA 141 ipso jure converts such land into private land. Judicial confirmation in such cases is only a formality that merely confirms the earlier conversion of the land into private land, the conversion having occurred in law from the moment the required period of possession became complete.

Under CA 141, the reckoning point is June 12, 1945.  If the predecessors-in-interest of Manna Properties have been in possession of the land in question since this date, or earlier, Manna Properties may rightfully apply for confirmation of title to the land.  Following our ruling in Director of Lands v. IAC, Manna Properties, a private corporation, may apply for judicial confirmation of the land without need of a separate confirmation proceeding for its predecessors-in-interest first.

We rule, however, that the land in question has not become private land and remains part of the public domain.

Under the Regalian doctrine, the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land. This is premised on the basic doctrine that all lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. Any applicant for confirmation of imperfect title bears the burden of proving that he is qualified to have the land titled in his name. Although Section 48 of CA 141 gives rise to a right that is only subject to formal recognition, it is still incumbent upon any claimant to first prove open, continuous and adverse possession for the requisite period of time. It is only when the applicant complies with this condition that he may invoke the rights given by CA 141.

The evidence submitted by Manna Properties to prove the required length of possession consists of the testimony of one of its predecessors-in-interest, Manuel Sobrepeña (“Manuel”), transferee’s affidavits, and several tax declarations covering the land in question.

We have ruled that while a tax declaration by itself is not sufficient to prove ownership, it may serve as sufficient basis for inferring possession. However, the tax declarations presented by Manna Properties do not serve to prove their cause. Although Manna Properties claimed during trial that they were presenting the tax declaration proving possession since 12 June 1945, a scrutiny of the tax declaration reveals that it is not the tax declaration Manna Properties claimed it to be. Exhibit Q-16 was in fact a substitute tax declaration allegedly issued on 28 November 1950.  The annotation at the back of this tax declaration indicates that it was issued to replace the 1945 tax declaration covering the land in question. A substitute is not enough.

The 1945 tax declaration must be presented considering that the date, 12 June 1945, is material to this case.  CA 141 specifically fixes the date to 12 June 1945 or earlier.  A tax declaration simply stating that it replaces a previous tax declaration issued in 1945 does not meet this standard.  It is unascertainable whether the 1945 tax declaration was issued on, before or after 12 June 1945.  Tax declarations are issued any time of the year.  A tax declaration issued in 1945 may have been issued in December 1945.  Unless the date and month of issuance in 1945 is stated, compliance with the reckoning date in CA 141 cannot be established.

There is another reason why the application for registration of Manna Properties must fail. The tax declaration allegedly executed in 1950 and marked as Exhibit Q-16 bears several irregularities. A small annotation found at the bottom of the back page of Exhibit Q-16 states it cancels a previous tax declaration. Beyond stating that the cancelled tax declaration was issued in 1945, Exhibit Q-16 does not provide any of the required information that will enable this Court or any interested party to check whether the original 1945 tax declaration ever existed.19 The blanks left by Exhibit Q-16 render any attempt to trace the original tax declaration futile. Moreover, on its face Exhibit Q-16 lacks any indication that it is only a substitute or reconstituted tax declaration. The net effect is an attempt to pass off Exhibit Q-16 as the original tax declaration.

The form used to prepare the tax declaration marked as Exhibit Q-16 states that it was “FILED UNDER SECTION 202 OF R.A. 7160.” Republic Act No. 7160 is the Local Government Code of 1991. The sworn undertaking by the Deputy Assessor who allegedly prepared the tax declaration reads, “Subscribed and sworn before me this 28 (sic) day of Nov. 1950…” This means that the tax declaration was issued more than forty (40) years before the form used came into existence. Manna Properties gave no explanation why its tax declaration used a form that did not exist at the time of the alleged issuance of the tax declaration.  The totality of these circumstances leads this Court to conclude that Exhibit Q-16 was fabricated for the sole purpose of making it appear that Manna Properties’ predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the land in question since 12 June 1945.

The earliest of the “un-cancelled” tax declarations presented by Manna Properties is dated 1950.  This is clearly insufficient to prove possession of the land since 12 June 1945.  The same can be said of the transferee’s affidavit, which was dated 1955. Manna Properties’ reliance on Manuel’s testimony is similarly misplaced. Not only is such evidence insufficient and self-serving on its own but, Manuel did not also specifically testify that he, or his parents or predecessors-in-interest were in possession of the land since 12 June 1945 or earlier.  The only clear assertion of possession made by Manuel was that his family used to plant rice on that piece of land.20

Other than the mentioned pieces of evidence, Manna Properties did not present sufficient proof that its predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous and adverse possession of the land in question since 12 June 1945. At best, Manna Properties can only prove possession since 1952.  Manna Properties relied on shaky secondary evidence like the testimony of Manuel and substitute tax declarations. We have previously cautioned against the reliance on such secondary evidence in cases involving the confirmation of an imperfect title over public land.21 Manna Properties’ evidence hardly constitutes the “well-nigh incontrovertible” evidence necessary to acquire title through adverse occupation under CA 141.22

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the instant petition. We REVERSE the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 20 December 2000 in CA-G.R. CV No. 52562.  The Application for Registration filed by Manna Properties, Inc. over Lots No. 9515 and 1006 of Cad. 539-D, with a total area of One Thousand Four Hundred Eighty (1,480) square meters situated in Barangay Pagdaraoan, San Fernando, La Union, is DENIED.

SOURCE: [ G.R. NO. 146527, January 31, 2005 ] REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, PETITIONER, VS. MANNA PROPERTIES, INC., REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT, JOSE TANYAO, RESPONDENT. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

On Whether Manna Properties Failed to Comply with the Jurisdictional Requirements for Original Registration

Petitioner contends that PD 1529 sets a 90-day maximum period between the court order setting the initial hearing date and the hearing itself. Petitioner points out that in this case, the trial court issued the order setting the date of the initial hearing on 15 March 1995, but the trial court set the hearing date itself on 18 July 1995. Considering that there are 125 days in between the two dates, petitioner argues that the trial court exceeded the 90-day period set by PD 1529. Thus, petitioner concludes “the applicant [Manna Properties] failed to comply with the jurisdictional requirements for original registration.”

The petitioner is mistaken.

The pertinent portion of Section 23 of PD 1529 reads:

Sec. 23. Notice of initial hearing, publication etc. – The court shall, within five days from filing of the application, issue an order setting the date and hour of initial hearing which shall not be earlier than forty-five days nor later than ninety days from the date of the order.

xxx

The duty and the power to set the hearing date lies with the land registration court. After an applicant has filed his application, the law requires the issuance of a court order setting the initial hearing date. The notice of initial hearing is a court document. The notice of initial hearing is signed by the judge and copy of the notice is mailed by the clerk of court to the LRA. This involves a process to which the party applicant absolutely has no participation.

Petitioner is correct that in land registration cases, the applicant must strictly comply with the jurisdictional requirements. In this case, the applicant complied with the jurisdictional requirements.

The facts reveal that Manna Properties was not at fault why the hearing date was set beyond the 90-day maximum period. The records show that the Docket Division of the LRA repeatedly requested the trial court to reset the initial hearing date because of printing problems with the National Printing Office, which could affect the timely publication of the notice of hearing in the Official Gazette.  Indeed, nothing in the records indicates that Manna Properties failed to perform the acts required of it by law.

We have held that “a party to an action has no control over the Administrator or the Clerk of Court acting as a land court; he has no right to meddle unduly with the business of such official in the performance of his duties.” A party cannot intervene in matters within the exclusive power of the trial court.  No fault is attributable to such party if the trial court errs on matters within its sole power.  It is unfair to punish an applicant for an act or omission over which the applicant has neither responsibility nor control, especially if the applicant has complied with all the requirements of the law.

Petitioner limited itself to assailing the lapse of time between the issuance of the order setting the date of initial hearing and the date of the initial hearing itself. Petitioner does not raise any other issue with respect to the sufficiency of the application. Petitioner does not also question the sufficiency of the publication of the required notice of hearing. Consequently, petitioner does not dispute the real jurisdictional issue involved in land registration cases — compliance with the publication requirement under PD 1529. As the records show, the notice of hearing was published both in the Official Gazette and a newspaper of general circulation well ahead of the date of hearing.  This complies with the legal requirement of serving the entire world with sufficient notice of the registration proceedings.

SOURCE: [ G.R. NO. 146527, January 31, 2005 ]REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, PETITIONER, VS. MANNA PROPERTIES, INC., REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT, JOSE TANYAO, RESPONDENT. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

When is the payment of damages as well as attorney’s fees proper?

In a Supreme Court case, the following damages were awarded:

“xxx

The RTC awarded moral damages, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees, plus P2,000.00 for every appearance, and costs of litigation.

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Moral damages are meant to compensate the claimant for any physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injuries unjustly caused. Petitioner Rosalina has adequately established the factual basis for the award of moral damages when she testified that she felt shocked and horrified upon knowing of the foreclosure sale.

.

However, we find the RTC’s award of P2,000,000.00 excessive and unconscionable, and reduce the salve to P100,000.00.
.

Exemplary damages are imposed by way of example for the public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. We reduce the RTC’s award of P500,000.00 to P30,000.00.
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Attorneys fees are allowed when exemplary damages are awarded and when the party to a suit is compelled to incur expenses to protect his interest. We find the RTC’s award of attorney’s fees in the amount of P100,000.00 proper.

xxx”

From the case of SPOUSES GILDARDO LOQUELLANO and ROSALINA JULIET B. LOQUELLANO, petitioners, xxx

Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

Case on the validity of an extrajudicial foreclosure and auction sale of debtor’s property

Petitioner Rosalina Juliet Loquellano used to be a regular employee in the Financial Central Department of respondent Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Ltd. (respondent bank). As such, she became an automatic member of respondent Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation-Staff Retirement Plan (HSBC-SRP) that provides retirement, disability and loan benefits to the bank’s employees. In 1988, petitioner Rosalina applied with respondent HSBC-SRP a housing loan in the amount of P400,000.00 payable in twenty-five (25) years at six percent (6%) per annum, through monthly salary deduction from petitioner Rosalina’s salary savings account with respondent HSBC. It was provided in the loan application that the loan was secured by setting-off petitioner Rosalina’s retirement benefits and chattel mortgage. She executed a promissory note for the payment of the said loan.

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On September 5, 1990, petitioners spouses Gildardo and Rosalina Loquellano and Manuel S. Estacion, the managing trustee for and in behalf of the respondent HSBC-SRP, entered into a contract of real estate mortgage wherein petitioners constituted a mortgage over their house and lot covered by TCT No. 95422 (44867) of the Register of Deeds of Pasay City to secure the payment of their housing loan. Petitioner Rosalina had been religiously paying the monthly installments and interests due on the housing loan through automatic salary deductions.

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Subsequently, a labor dispute arose between the respondent bank and the bank union, to which petitioner Rosalina was a member, which culminated in a strike staged on December 22, 1993. Petitioner Rosalina, together with other bank employees, were dismissed from the service for abandonment, among others. Petitioner Rosalina and the other dismissed employees filed with the Labor Arbiter (LA) an illegal dismissal case against the respondent bank. The LA declared the strike illegal and dismissed the complaint. The labor case had reached us through a petition for review on certiorari filed by the dismissed concerned employees and had already been decided by us on January 11, 2016. While we declared the strike illegal, we also held that the mere finding of such did not justify the wholesale termination of the strikers from their employment. We found that there was illegal dismissal and ordered the bank, among others, to pay the backwages and separation pay of the 18 employees named in the decision, which included petitioner Rosalina, in lieu of reinstatement.

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In the meantime, due to petitioner Rosalina’s termination from employment with the bank on December 27, 1993, petitioners were unable to make any payments of the amortizations due in Rosalina’s salary savings account beginning January 1994. Respondent HSBC-SRP sent demand letters dated June 13, 1994 and November 28, 1994, respectively, to petitioner Rosalina for the payment of her outstanding obligation in full. Petitioner Rosalina offered to make partial payment of her housing loan arrears in the amount of P69,205.99, which respondent HSBC-SRP rejected.
.

Subsequently, petitioner Rosalina received an Installment Due Reminder dated July 26, 1995 issued by respondent HSBC-SRP on her housing loan, wherein it was shown that the monthly installment overdue, the interest overdue and the interest accrued on the overdue installment amounted to P55,681.85 and the outstanding loan balance was P315,958.00. On August 11, 1995, petitioner Rosalina, through her salary savings account which was still existing, deposited the payments for all her monthly installment arrears and interests, and penalties from January 1994 up to August 1995. Respondent bank accepted the payments and credited them to her housing loan account. Thereafter, petitioner Rosalina received an Installment Due Reminder dated August 28, 1995, wherein it already reflected the payments she had made as her outstanding housing loan obligation was already reduced to P289,945.00.
.

In a letter dated September 25, 1995 to petitioner Rosalina, respondent HSBC-SRP demanded for the payment of the entire housing loan obligation in the amount of P289,945.00. Notwithstanding, petitioner Rosalina received an Installment Due Reminder dated September 27, 1995, reflecting the then current monthly installment and interest due thereon. Petitioner Rosalina, subsequently, received more installment due reminders showing a reduction in the outstanding balance of her housing loan. She continuously made deposits to her salary savings account with the respondent bank for the payment of her monthly amortizations. Respondent bank debited petitioner Rosalina’s savings account and credited the payments to the balance of the installment and the interest due on the housing loan up to June 1996.
On May 20, 1996, petitioners’ mortgaged property was extrajudicially foreclosed by respondent HSBC-SRP and was sold at public auction for the amount of P324,119.59, with respondent Manuel S. Estacion as the highest bidder. A Certificate of Sale dated June 5, 1996 was issued.

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On August 22, 1996, petitioners filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Parañaque City, Branch 274, a Complaint for Annulment of Sale with Damages and Preliminary Injunction against Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Ltd.; Manuel S. Estacion; Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation-Staff Retirement Plan, as represented by Atty. Manuel G. Montecillo, Mr. Stuart P. Milne and Mr. Alejandro L. Custodio; Leonarda Leilani Amurao and Benedicto G. Hebron, in their capacities as Clerk of Court/Ex-Officio Sheriff and Sheriff-in-Charge of the RTC of Parañaque. Petitioners alleged, among others, that the foreclosure of their mortgaged property was tainted with bad faith, considering that they had paid all the arrears, interests and penalties due on their housing loan since August 1995, and were updated with their loan obligations up to June 1996.

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In their Answer, respondents HSBC-SRP and Estacion argued that the entire loan obligations accelerated when petitioner Rosalina was terminated and ceased to be an employee of respondent bank as provided in the HSBC-SRP Rules and Regulations, and she failed to pay the entire balance of the housing loan. Also, petitioners were in default, having failed to pay the amortizations beginning January 1994 up to July 1995; thus, they had the right to extrajudicially foreclose the mortgaged property under their mortgage contract.
.

Respondent bank claimed that it should not have been impleaded in the complaint, since it was not privy to the real estate mortgage nor to the extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings.

xxx

The issues for resolution are (1) whether the extrajudicial foreclosure and auction sale of petitioners’ property by respondent HSBC-SRP on May 20, 1996 was valid; and (2) whether petitioners are entitled to the payment of damages as well as attorney’s fees.
xxx

We find that respondent HSBC-SRP’s filing of the extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings on May 20, 1996 has no basis and, therefore, invalid.
.

It is established that petitioners failed to pay the monthly amortizations of their housing loan secured by a real estate mortgage on their property since January 1994, i.e., after petitioner Rosalina was terminated by the bank on December 27, 1993. Thus, respondent HSBC-SRP sent demand letters dated June 13, 1994 and November 28, 1994 to petitioner Rosalina asking her to pay the outstanding housing loan obligation in full. Petitioner Rosalina’s offer of partial payment was rejected by respondent HSBC-SRP. In the meantime, no foreclosure proceedings was yet filed by respondent HSBC-SRP against petitioners’ mortgaged property. Subsequently, petitioner Rosalina received an Installment Due Reminder dated July 26, 1995, informing her of the overdue monthly amortizations, interests and penalty in the amount of P55,681.85, with an outstanding balance of P315,958.00. On August 11, 1995, petitioner Rosalina then deposited in her salary savings account the payment for all the principal and interest arrearages from January 1994 up to August 1995. The payments she made in her account were accepted by respondent bank and credited them to the payment of the overdue monthly amortizations of her housing loan.

.
While respondent HSBC-SRP wrote petitioner Rosalina a letter dated September 25, 1995 demanding payment of the latter’s entire unpaid housing loan obligation, now with a reduced balance in the amount of P289,945.00, however, petitioner Rosalina still received an Installment Due Reminder dated September 27, 1995 reminding her of her monthly installment and interest due, sans penalty charge, which she paid.

.

Thereafter, petitioner Rosalina continuously received Installment Due Reminders for the housing loan, to wit: dated December 21, 1995, February 26, 1996, March 13, 1996 and April 11, 1996, which showed a diminishing loan balance by reason of respondent HSBC-SRP’s acceptance of payments of her monthly installments and interests due from September 1995 up to June 1996. Therefore, respondent HSBC-SRP is now estopped from foreclosing the mortgage property on May 20, 1996.
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Article 1431 of the Civil Code defines estoppel as follows:
.

Art. 1431. Through estoppel an admission or representation is rendered conclusive upon the person making it, and cannot be denied or disproved as against the person relying thereon.
.

And Section 2 (a), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court provides:
.

SEC. 2. Conclusive presumptions. — The following are instances of conclusive presumptions:
(a) Whenever a party has, by his own declaration, act, or omission, intentionally and deliberately led another to believe a particular thing is true, and to act upon such belief, he cannot, in any litigation arising out of such declaration, act or omission, be permitted to falsify it.
.

Estoppel is a doctrine that prevents a person from adopting an inconsistent position, attitude, or action if it will result in injury to another. One who, by his acts, representations or admissions, or by his own silence when he ought to speak out, intentionally or through culpable negligence, induces another to believe certain facts to exist and such other rightfully relies and acts on such belief, can no longer deny the existence of such fact as it will prejudice the latter. The doctrine of estoppel is based upon the grounds of public policy, fair dealing, good faith and justice. It springs from equitable principles and the equities in the case. It is designed to aid the law in the administration of justice where, without its aid, injustice might result.

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To stress, respondent HSBC-SRP continuously sent out monthly Installment Due Reminders to petitioner Rosalina despite its demand letter dated September 25, 1995 to pay the full amount of the loan obligation within 3 days from receipt of the letter. It, likewise, continuously accepted petitioner Rosalina’s subsequent monthly amortization payments until June 1996; thus, making their default immaterial. Moreover, there was no more demand for the payment of the full obligation afterwards. Consequently, petitioners were made to believe that respondent HSBC-SRP was applying their payments to their monthly loan obligations as it had done before. It is now estopped from enforcing its right to foreclose by reason of its acceptance of the delayed payments.

.
Also, Article 1235 of the Civil Code provides that when the creditor accepts performance, knowing its incompleteness and irregularity without protest or objection, the obligation is deemed complied with. Respondent HSBC-SRP accepted Rosalina’s payment of her housing loan account for almost one year without any objection.
Respondent HSBC-SRP argues that estoppel is not applicable since the payments upon which petitioners rely were made without its knowledge and consent; that the updated balances were automatically generated by the system; that petitioner Rosalina made unilateral payments to her salary savings account knowing that any amount she deposited therein will be automatically credited as payments for her loan obligations.
.

We are not persuaded.
.

It is respondent HSBC-SRP, not petitioner Rosalina, which has access and control of the computer system with regard to the crediting of the housing loan payments. It cannot now deny its action of continuously accepting petitioner Rosalina’s monthly amortizations, coupled with the sending out of installment due reminders, and statements of her updated housing loan account to prejudice petitioners who relied thereon.
.

We find that petitioners are entitled to damages for the invalid foreclosure of their property. The RTC held respondent bank HSBC-SRP and Estacion solidarily liable for the payment of damages. However, we only find respondent HSBC-SRP liable as it was the one which illegally foreclosed petitioners’ mortgaged property. However, respondent HSBC, as correctly pointed out by the CA, was not a party to the real estate mortgage executed between respondent HSBC-SRP and petitioners nor it had participation in the foreclosure proceedings. On the other hand, Estacion was only a trustee of respondent HSBC-SRP acting within the scope of its authority.
.

The RTC awarded moral damages, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees, plus P2,000.00 for every appearance, and costs of litigation.

.
Moral damages are meant to compensate the claimant for any physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injuries unjustly caused. Petitioner Rosalina has adequately established the factual basis for the award of moral damages when she testified that she felt shocked and horrified upon knowing of the foreclosure sale. However, we find the RTC’s award of P2,000,000.00 excessive and unconscionable, and reduce the salve to P100,000.00.

.
Exemplary damages are imposed by way of example for the public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. 36 We reduce the RTC’s award of P500,000.00 to P30,000.00.
.

Attorneys fees are allowed when exemplary damages are awarded and when the party to a suit is compelled to incur expenses to protect his interest. We find the RTC’s award of attorney’s fees in the amount of P100,000.00 proper.
xxx

This is from a supreme court case SPOUSES GILDARDO LOQUELLANO and ROSALINA JULIET B. LOQUELLANO, petitioners xxx Tags: Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan Tudela Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy Luz Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title

denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust extra-judicial extrajudicial foreclosure

Alcantara Alcoy Alegria Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan Tudela Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy Luz Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration

AN ACTION FOR RECONVEYANCE IS NOT AFFECTED BY AN ALLEGATION SEEKING THE APPOINTMENT OF ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE

In an action for reconveyance, an allegation seeking appointment as administratrix of an estate, would not oust the RTC of its jurisdiction over the whole case. An action for reconveyance, which involves title to property worth millions of pesos, such as the lots subject of this case, is cognizable by the RTC. Likewise falling within its jurisdiction are actions “incapable of pecuniary estimation,” such as the appointment of an administratrix for an estate. Even the Rules on Venue of estate proceedings (Section 1 of Rule 73 impliedly recognizes the jurisdiction of the RTC over petitions for granting of letters of administration. On the other hand, probate proceedings for the settlement of estate are within the ambit of either the RTC or MTC depending on the net worth of the estate.

[G.R. No. 122646. March 14, 1997.]
ADELIA C. MENDOZA, for herself and Administratrix of the Intestate Estate of the late NORBERTO B. MENDOZA, petitioners, vs. HON. ANGELITO C. TEH, Presiding Judge, Branch 87, RTC, Rosario, Batangas, SPS. HERMINIO & CLARITA TAYAG @ SPS. GEORGE T. TIGLAO & CLARIZZA T. TIGLAO and/or @ TEOFILO M. ESGUERA, LEONOR M. ESGUERA, LETICIA M. ESGUERA, JOEL M. ESGUERA, RICARDO M. ESGUERA, VOLTAIRE E. TAYAG, BENITO I. TAYAG, MERLIE MALIG, ALBERTO T. TAYAG, ROSEMARIE T. TAYAG, LETICIA E. LULU and the REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR THE PROVINCE OF BATANGAS, respondents.