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Johnny Yu a.k.a. Johnny Yu Cornel Vs. Florisa D. Palandito G.R. No. 257979. August 31, 2022 [Date Uploaded: 02/23/2023] DOWNLOAD PDF FILE HERE

August 2022

255414 JBL Development Corporation Vs. Kings Properties Corporation




Please take notice that the Court, Second Division, issued a Resolution
dated August 22, 2022 which reads as follows:
KINGS PROPERTIES CORPORATION). – This Petition for Certiorari’ assails the following dispositions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 110802:

1) Decision“ dated July 29, 2020, dismissing the Amended Complaint for Quieting of Title, Reconveyance, and Damages filed by petitioner JBL Development Corporation {JBL j in Civil Case No. 2030-06 against China Banking Corporation, Kings Pioperties Corporation (UPC) and the Register of Deeds of Mai ikina City; and

2) Resolution” dated January 19, 2021, denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.


In its Amended Complaint doclceted as Civil Case No. 2030-06 and titled JBL Development Corporation ve. China Banking Corporation, Kings Properties Corpora.tion anJ the Register of Deeds oj’ Mai-ikina City, for Quieting of Title, Declaration of Nullity of Patents, Decrees, Titles, Deeds o1” Sale, DoGuments and Cancellation Thereof, and Reconveyance with Prayer for Damages and Recovery of Possession, JBL brought to fore three (3) lots respectively covered by the following titles issued by the Registry of Deeds of Marilcina City (RD Marikina on various dates, viz:’

1) Transfer Certificate of Title TCT) No. N-109512′ issued on September 3, 1985 in the name of JBL. It covers Lot 3, Psu-212445 situatCd in Barangay Silangan, San Mateo, Rizal, measuring One

Undei Itulu 4fi ‹›f the R›.ales cl” Coun. r‹›il‹›. pg.. I 0–39.
Penn«d by Associate Justice Ronaido Rohcilo I3. Mail in, conctn i ed ii1 by Associate .lustices Manuel M. Barrios and Pei p«tua Susana A tal-Pano. iJ. al 4fT—€0.
” IN. at 61 —63.
Id. at 4*.
” Id. at 73—7ñ.

Resolution G.R. No. 255414

Hundred Eight Thousand Eight Hundred Sixty Seven (108,867) square meters;”

TCT No. N-81167 issued on .lune 14, 1976 in the name of China Banking Corporation (Chinabank). It covers three (3) lots, all situated in San Mateo, Rizal. Lot 5305 measures Two Thousand Eight Hundred Fifty Nine (2,859) square meters, Lot 5306 measures Fifty Three Thousand Seven Hundred Ninety Eight (53,798) square meters, and Lot 3368 measures Sixteen Thousand Five Hundred Eighty Three (16,583) square meters;’

3) TCT No. 291043′ issued on October 2, 1995 in the name of lnocentes Bandol, Jr., (Bandol). It covers two (2) lots, all situated in San Mateo, Rizal. Lot 5306, Cad.375-D measures Fifty Three Thousand Seven Hundred Ninety Eight (53,798), and Lot 3367, [C]ad.375-D measures Fifty Nine Thousand Six Hundred Seven (59,607) square meters.1″

JBL averred that TCT No. N-109512 came from Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 528′ ‘ issued in the name of Ignacio Rañeses [Rañeses) on June 23, 1965. Rañeses sold the property to Jess O. Tuazon (Tuazon) in whose name TCT No. N-47213-B’’ was issued on April 15, 1980. Four years later, Tuazonl’ sold the property to JBL through a Deed of Absolute Salel dated August 9, 1984. Thereafter, JBL was issued TCT No. N-109512.’ It also declared the property in its name for real property tax purposes.’6

Meantime, TCT No. N-8116 issued in the name of Chinabank was claimed to have been fraudulently and irregularly issued as it overlapped with TCT No. N-109512. TCT No. N-8116 came from a later title OCT No. 8607 issued in the name of Matias Ramiro (Ramiro) pursuant to Decree No. N-131500 issued on September 15, 1970 in LRC Case No. M-120.’’ Ramiro, in turn, sold the land under OCT No. 8607 to Marcelo S. Desiderio in whose name TCT No. 349336 got issued. Eventually, Chinabank acquired the land under TCT No. 349336, for which TCT No. N-8116 was issued in its name.” Since JBL’s title emanated from an earlier tltle, the issuance of the overlapping TCT No. N-8116 is void.’”

* Id. at 42.
Td. at 84—8ñ.
‘ I d. at 42.
” I d. at 86—87.
” I d. at 42.
‘ ‘ Id. at 76-77.
‘ I d. at 78—80.
‘ ld. at 81 .
” Id. at 43.
‘ Id. at 73-75.
‘” 1 d. at 82—83 .
‘’ 1 d. at 67.

‘ Id. at 68.

Resol ution G.R. N o. 2554.1.4

TCT No. 291043 issued in the naiaae of respondent KPC was likewise spurious as it also overlapped with TCT No. N-109512. KPC’s title came from a later title — OCT No. 603 under a Homestead Patent issued last August 26, 1969.” Thereafter, Bandol was able to reglster it in his name” under TCT No. 291043. As to how Bandol procured the title, the records do not bear. In 1995, Bandol executed Deed of Absolute Sale- in favor of KPC. Again, since its title is also traceable to an earlier title, KPC’s TCT No. 291043 is void, as well.”

JBL thus asked the trial court to: (a) declare as void OCT No. 8607 and its derivative titles, including TCT No. N-811 6 in the name of Chinabank, as well as OCT No. 603 and its derivative titles, including ICC’s TCT No. 291043 in the name of Bandol; (b) declare as void all contracts and deeds in favor of Chinabank and KPC affecting the subject properties; (c) declare as valid and legitimate 3 CT No. 109512; (d) issue a wi‘it of possession in JBL’s favoi’; and (e) grant it damag s of 1.100,000.00 and attorney’s fees plus cost of suit and litigation expenses.”

In its Answer with Counterclaim2’ dated October 23, 2006, KPC asserted its owner ship of the pi‘operty under TCT No. 291043 registered in the naive of Bandol. It claimed to have been in open, adverse, and peaceful possession of the property, including its predecessors, in the concept of owner starting 1969 for over thirty-five (35) years. It was an innocent buyer in good faith and for value. It prayed for damages, attorney’s fees, including appearance fee.”’

Cls inabank also filed its Answer with Counterclaim alleging that TCT No. N-S116 did not overlap with TCT No. N-109512. Its technical description has long been approved by tae duly authorized government agency.”

Proceedings before the Trial Court

Aftet the joinder of issues, on February 13, 2007, the parties jointly moved for the designation of commissioners, including a representative from the government to determine the so called overlapping titles.” Thus, the trial court designated the following as members of the Panel ot Commissioners:
(1) Engr. Victoriano Paiile for JBL; (2) Engr. Angelo G. Marquee for Chinabank; (3) Engr. Robert Pang›’arihan [Engr. Pangyarihan) for KPC; and

“’ N o attacl4n4cnt a nd no men I ion nuder whose name it was regisi ered, iii. at 65—”20.
” Id. at 59, I t3 L allegeil that H:in do I was not i he actual ow’ner of the pi o|iei ty under }9ai . 3. 1.0.
– Id. at 66—uñ.
” Id. at 59.
“’ Id. ci 70—7 I .
” Id. at 9.1 – 93.

‘^ Id. at 0—I
” IJ. a44.


” id 1.17

(4) Atty. Bobby Leyterena and/or Engr. Theodore Caranzo for the

After the relocation survey, the members filed their individual findings and conclusions.3″

First, Engr. George Perez {Engr. Perez),-’’ JBL representative, concluded that based on his findings, only TCT No. 291043 in the name of Bandol overlapped with TCT No. N-109512; Second, Engr. Pangyarihan, KPC representative, agreed with the findings of Engr. Perez but only insofar as Chinabanl‹’s TCT No. N-8116 did not overlap with JBL’s property; Third,
Engr. Edwin Dimaano (Engr. Dimanno), Chinabank representative, however, could not determine with certainty if indeed there was an overlapping of boundaries arriong the three (3) lots.3′

On JBL’s motion, saris any opposition from Chinabanlc and KPC, the case against Chinabank was dismtssed on the basis of the findings of Engr. Perez that Chinabank’s TCT No. N-8116 did not overlap with JBL’s property, without prejudice to the right of Chinabanl‹ to prosecute its counterclaim.”

Thereafter, JBL presented its witness — Engr. Perez, JBL President Jose de Castro (President de Castro), and Records Officer of RD Marikina Corazon Gaspar.’4

Engr. Perez testified that in conducting the relocation survey, the members of the Panel agreed to use the Bureau of Lands Location Monument (BLLM) and Global Positioning System (GP and the coordinates given by the Bureau of Lands, through Engr. Pangyarihan. Ricky Roamquin of Geotech Mercantile operated the GPS.°5

After the survey, he prepared a sketch plan which reflected the plotting based on the respective TCTs of the claimants. The stretch plan though was not approved by the Land Registration Authority (LRA).3’ Through the sketch plan, he identified the property of Chinabank which appeared to be situated far away from JBL’s pi‘operty by more or less three (3) kilometers. He likewise identified the property of KPC which appeared to overlap with JBL’s property. All these findings were contained in the report he submitted to the trial court.’7

“’ Id. at 44.
‘ The Reg ional Trial Court des ig hated Engineer V ictoriano Paule as representative of J BL but it was Fang ineer Geort,e Per-ez who actual ly reJere.sended .I BJ.. dying trial, id. at 1 1 7 and 45.
i d. at 44m5.
” I d. at 1 1 8.
” Id. at 1 20.
” I d. at I I 8— i 19.
‘^ I d. at T ?0.
” Id. at I I 6—1 1 9.

B(135)URES -I11Of9-

He admitted that there was a cadastral survey of the property approved on January 3, 1975. He traced JBL’s title to Rañeses whose title came before the free patents were issued to KPC and Chinabanlc. But he did not have any lcnowledge insofar as the free patent from which Bandol’s property emanated. He affirmed though that the same property, which incidentally KPC later on acquired, overlapped with JBL’s title.3′

He maintained that the use of the GPS in the relocation survey was aided by satellite in order to determine the correct position of the lot. Considering that the GPS may be affected by the weather, the Panel waited for the slay to clear before they proceeded with the survey. As engineers, they were aware of the quality of the GPS as a tool for relocation surveys. He admitted, however, that during the relocation survey itself, the GPS of BLLM did not register zero (0) precision and there was a slight difference of .21 cm from the exact location of BLLM. He also stated that the survey plans during the 1960s-1970s did not use GPS.3′

He further confirmed that Chinabank’s properties consisted of three (3) distinct lots, none of which overlapped with JBL’s property. Even then, there was no survey conducted based on the boundaries indicated in the title of Chinabanlc.40

JBL President de Castro confirmed JBL’s ownership of the lot under TCT No. N-109512, the previous ownership thereof by Rañeses, and the overlap of the land with the property of KPC.41

Further, RD Marikina Records Officer Gaspar presented the respective copies of TCT No. N-109512 and TCT No. 291043 both registered in RD Marikina. She confirmed that there was no adverse claim or encumbrances annotated on TCT No. 291043, but the title was not microfilmed since it was not yet among the titles in the custody of the Register of Deeds in 1990. JBL subsequently made its formal offer of evidence.42

As for KPC, its Liaison Officer Carlos P. Valena confirmed the process by which ICC gathered the documents and proceeded with the sale transaction with Bandol. KPC also presented Angeles Dela Paz Angeles, a municipal employee of San Mateo, Rizal who confirmed that TCT No. 291043 was declared for real property tax purposes in the name of Bandol.’*

” Id. at 118.
“’ Id. at 119.
4o Id.
” Id.
4’ Td. at 120.
‘” Id. at 120-1 2 I .

Chinabank did not present any evidence to prosecute its counterclaim against JBL.’4

The Ruling of the Trial Court

By Decision4’ dated September 27, 2017, the trial court ruled in favor
of JBL, Vf2. :

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:

1. DECLARING plaintiff JBL Development Corporation to be the true and absolute owner of the parcel of land covered by TCT No. N-109512, containing an area of ONE HUNDRED EIGHT THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED SIXTY SEVEN (108,867)
square meters;

2. ORDERING the Register of Deeds of Marikina City: (a) to correct the technical description of TCT No. 291043, under the name of Inocentes Bandol, Jr., particularly removing Lot 5306, Cad. 375-D and Lot No. 3367, Cad. 375-D therefrom; and

3. DISMISSING the Counterclaims of defendant China Banking Corporation and defendant Kings Properties Corporation for lack of merit.


The trial court found that JBL complied with the requisites for quieting of title: (1) the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property subject of action; and (2) the deed, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding claimed to be casting cloud on his title must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative desplte its prima fncie appearance of validity or legal efficacy.‘7

JBL was able to prove that it has a legal title to the property per TCT No. N-109512. The deed of absolute sale JBL executed with the previous owner was confirmed by the RD of Marikina. It was likewise able to prove that there exists a cloud on its title when it presented TCT No. 291043 and the findings of Engr. Perez who testified that KPC’s property overlapped with JBL’s property.

” ld. at I 17—120. ” Id. at 117—1 24.
“ Id. at 1 24.
” See Eland Philippinc•s, Inc. v. Garcia, 626 Phil. 735, 75 9 (2010).

Dispositions of the Court of Appeals

On appeal, KPC averred that: (1) JBL does not have proof of the so- called overlapping or encroachment except the report of Engr. Perez who is just one of the three members of the Panel of Commissioners; (2) laches already set in as JBL admitted that it was never in possession of the subject lot; and (3) JBL is not entitled to damages.”

By Decision4’ dated July 29, 2020 in CA-G.R. CV No. 110802, the Court of Appeals reversed. It ruled that JBL failed to establish, by competent evidence, that TCT No. N-109512 overlapped with TCT No. 291043:

One, JBL did not have any proof of the so called overlapping. A case of overlapping boundaries depends on a reliable, if not accurate, verification survey. Bairing one, no overlapping or encroacliment may be proved successfully, for obvious reasons. Here, while a Panel of Comirissioners was formed, it failed to arrive at a definitive conclusion based on the relocation survey conducted on the properties covered by the disputed titles. As a result, each commissioner came up with their individual reports and never answered the issue pertaining to the overlapping boundaries.5t’

Two, since the Panel of Commissioners failed to arrive at a common consensus or report, no credible data aided the trial court as to enable it to arrive at a just decision. The trial court erred when it relied solely on the findings of Engr. Perez, especially when the Court of Appeals itself found that the said report is in conflict with the other reports.’’

Three, there is no government official or representative present to ensure a fair and credible verification survey. The slcetch plan which Engr. Perez prepared was not approved by the LRA. While there was an agreement that the Panel will coordinate with the goverrnrent representative, specifically from the Bureau of Lands, they never did. JBL was duty bound to ensure the attendance of a government representative to best assist in the conduct of a fair and credible relocation survey to establish its cause of action by preponderance of evidence. But JBL did not.5′

Fourth, the individual 1 eports of the Corrnrissioners did not yield any independent verification that JDL’s title overlapped with KPC’s property registered in the name of Bandol.’3

“’ ld. at 40—6 l .
“’ Id. al fi I .
‘ Id. at û2 .
” I d. at 58.
” Id. at ä4—1ñ.

The Court of Appeals subsequently denied JBL’s motion for reconsideration54 under Resolution55 dated January 19, 2021.

The Present Petition

JBL assails the twin dispositions of the Court of Appeals, and in the alternative, prays for the remand of the case to the trial court for the conduct of the proper relocation survey. It claims to have proven, by competent evidence, that TCT No. N-109512 overlapped with TCT No. 291043 as. (1) Engr. Perez’s report was duly authenticated, offered in evidence, and admitted by the trial court; and (2) the reports of Engr. Pangyarihan and Engr. Dimaano cannot be used to impugn the report of Engr. Perez as they were not offered in evidence and even lack probative value.56

In its Comment’7 dated July 1, 2021, KPC defends the dispositions of the Court of Appeals and ripostes that: (a) the function of the Court in Rule
45 petitions is limited to resolving questions of law and not to the re- examination of the factual findings of the lower courts; and (b) since there is no government representative during the actual survey, the Court of Appeals did not err when it set aside the report of Engr. Perez. More, remanding the case to the lower court is not proper as Chinabank had already been dropped as respondent.

Our Ruling

We reverse.

As a general rule, in petitions for review, the jurisdiction of the Court in cases brought before it from the Court of Appeals is limited to reviewing questions of law which involve no examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by any of the litigants. The Court is not a trier of facts; it does not analyze or weigh evidence all over again.5′

Jurisprudence, nonetheless, has recognized certain exceptions to this general rule. One such exception is when the assailed factual findings are not supported by the evidence.5′

” Id. at 125—143. “ I d. at 61—63.
” See Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, id. at 10—39.
” I d. at 149—165.
“ Heirs of 54ai’garito Pobayiis, e/ al. v. Heirs of As anda Yiitiainco, et al. 670 Phil. 151, 1 62 (201 1),
citing, Heirs of Cabal v. Cabal, 529 Phil. 294, 304 (2006).
” Id.

Resolution G.R. No. 255414

I-Iere, the Court lceenly notes that the Panel of Commissioners never submitted its official collegial report to guide the trial court, as well as the appellate court, in resolving the ever important overlapping issue affecting the lots of JBL and KPC. Worse, there was even no participation or at least a confirmation by the concerned government representative to ensure that the relocation survey was fair, accurate, and reliable.

While the trial court correctly approved the creation and composition of the Panel of Commissioners tasked to conduct the relocation survey, it just stopped there and never followed through. Thus, it just quietly accepted the individual reports of the members, albeit they were in conflict with one another. It never required a collegial report from the Panel as an independent body. Too, the trial court overlooked that a government representative was precisely designated to be present during the relocation survey itself to ensure its fairness, accuracy, and reliability. As it was, the trial court peremptorily took the findings of just one member hook, line, and sinker, without any confirmatory verification at all. This is why the survey plan does not qualify as a competent basis for the resolution of the ever important overlapping issue
between JBL and UPC. The Heirs of Pabaus, et al. v. Heirs of Yutiamco, et a/ 60 is npropos:

The case of overlapping of titles necessitates the assistance of experts in the field of geodetic engineering. The veny neason wliy commissioners wene appointed by the tnial cvart, upon agneemeitt of the panties, was precisely to make an evaluiitfan and analysts of the /fI/es in caitfliCt 1kff/i each otlien. Given //i6fr background, expertise and experience, these commissianens are in a betten position to determine which of tlte titles is re/id. Thus, the trial court may rely on their findings and conclusions.

However, in ovc•rlapping of tftles disputes, it has always heen tlte practfce for the coifnt to appOflit a siinveyon from the government land agencfes — fff6 Land Regfstration Aiitlionity on the DEAR — to act as commissioner. In this case, the trial court appointed a private surveyor in the person of Engr. Estaca who actually conducted the relocation survey while the two other surveyors chosen by the parties expressed their conformity with the finding of encroachment or overlapping indicated in the Relocation Plan submitted to the court by Engr. Estaca. Said plan showed that the area in cotiflict is on the northeastern portion wherein petitioners’ OCT No. P-8649 overlapped with respondents’ title (OCT No. O-104) by 15,675 square meters.

Were the respondents able to prove their claim of overlapping?

We rule in the negative.
Survey is the process by which a pancel af lurid is measured crib its houndanies and contents ascertained; also a map, plat or statement of the i’esult af such Slfnvey› with the courses and distances and the quantfty of the lanJ. A case of overlapping of boundaries or encroachment depends on a reliable, if not accurate, verification sunvey. To settle the present

‘° Id.

Jispute, the panties agneeJ to the conduct of a relocation siinvey. The Manual for Land Surveys in the Philippines (MLSP) provides for the following rules in conducting relocation surveys:

Section 593 – The relocation of corners or re-establishment of boundary lines shall be made using the bearings, distances and areas approved by the Director of Lands or written in the lease or Torrens title.

Section 5.94 – The data used in monurnenting or relocating corners of approved surveys shall be submitteJ to the Bureau ofLands for verification and approval. New corner marks set on the ground shall be accurately described in the field notes and indicated on the original plans on file in the Bureau of Lands.61

The MLSP fatal Jown specific nules neganding tie lines, point of nefenence an J overlapping of adjoining titleJ lands. In this case, seconds faileJ to Jisclose r/i at the basis fon relocating the missing connens was submitteJ to the Buneau of Lands (now Land Management Bureau) fon reriJcalion an J approval us requireJ by Section 594. This is crucial considering that the court-aypointeJ commissioner is n private surveyor and not a government surveyor front the LRA or LMB-DEAR. It bears stressing tluit in every land Jispute, the ofrri of the couns fs to protect tlte integrity Of and zrtailitain inviolate the Tonrens system of min J registration, as well us to uphold the law; a resolution of the parties’ Jispiite is merely a necessary consequence.‘2 (Emphases and italics supplied. Citations omitted)

What the trial court should have done was to require another round of survey under the close supervision of the LRA or any of its duly authorized representative to ensure a fair, accurate, and reliable result. This is in consonance with our ruling in Spouses Yii Hwa Ping ancl Mary Gaw v. Ayala Land, Ice. ,63 a case similarly involving registered titles with overlapping
claims, via.:

The better approach woulil be for the court to order the conduct of a verification survey on the titles which have overlapping boundaries. In Cambridge Realty and Resources Corp. v. Eridanus Development, Inc., it was ruled that n case of overlapping of bOtfII J‹irfes or encro‹icliment depends on a reIi‹ible, if not accurate, verification survey,- b‹irring one, no overlappfng or eiicro‹ictiment may be proverb successfully, for obvious reasons. The first step in the resolution of such cases is for the court to direct the proper government agency concerned to conduct a verification or relocation survey and submit a report to the court, or constitute a panel of commissioners for the purpose. In that case, the Court lamented that the trial court therein did not order the conduct of a verification survey and the appointment of geodetic engineers as commissioners, to wit:

c’ Id. at 163-164.
” Id. at 166-167.
” G.R. No. 173120, April 10, 2019.

This is precisely the neason wli y the tnial court slioold linve officially appointed n commissioner on panel of commissioners and not lenve the fnitfntive to secune one to the panties: so tlint n thorough investigation, study nnd analysis of the panties’ titles could be made in order to provide, in a comprehensive neport, the necessnry informntion that will guide it in resolving the case completely, nnd not merely leave the determination of tlte case to a consfderntion of the parties’ mone often tlinii not self-servifig evidence.

Similarly, in Chua, et al. v. B.E. San Diego, Inc., the Court ruled that in overlapping boundary disputes, the verification survey must be actually conducted on the very land itself. In that case, the verification survey conducted was merely based on the technical description of the defective titles. The opinion of the surveyor lacked authoritativeness because his verification survey was not made on the land itself.

indeed, in case there nre two registered titles with ovenlappfflQ boHzidaries, the more prudent and technical approach would be to coitdifCf a verificatfoli survey over the /f//es. Aften I/ie verification survey,
//f e coLtrt iron/d be given nll the necessary and technical analysis and dnta over the two titles. At tlint point, the count cnn judiciously an d pnopenly dc•terniine whether to apply (1) the general mile that in cnse of two certificates of title pllrportfng to fiic/ude the same laitd, the earlier ‹lnte prevails,’ (2) the exception that if the inc/vision of the land in the earlier registered title was a result of n mistake, then the fatten registered title will prevai/.64(Emphases and italics supplied. Citations omitted.)

So must it be.

ACCORDINGLY, the Petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated July 29, 2020 and Resolution dated January 19, 2021 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 110802 are REVERSED.

The case is M MANDED to the Regional Trial Court, Dranch 76, San Mateo, Rizal, for the conduct of another round of verification/relocation survey of the lots covered by TCT No. N-109512, TCT No. N-8116, and TCT No. 291043 for the purpose of determining whether there exists an overlap of boundaries among these lots.

The trial court is further required to ensure the presence of all the members of the Panel of Commissioners and a duly authorized representative from the Land Registration Authority during the survey to ensure a fair, accurate, and credible result thereof; direct the submission of a collegial report from the Panel of Commissioners on the issue of overlapping based on the

” Id.

Resolution 12 G.R. No. 255414

result of the survey; and render a new decision in Civil Case No. 2030-06 with
utmost dispatch.

The Court NOTES petitioner’s reply with leave of Court (to private respondent’s comment) dated July 26, 2021.

By authority of the Court:

Counsel for Petitioner Unit 4-B De Oro Building EDSA, Brgy. Malamig Mandaluyong City

Counsel for Respondent
2“ Floor, Units 209-210, Kingsville Commercial Arcade Marcos Hi-way, Antipolo City
1780 Rizal

Regional Trial Court, Branch 76
(Civil Case No. 2030-06)

Supreme Court, Manila

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GR255414. 08/22/2022B(135)URES

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The non-personal identification information collected by WordPress Statistics is stored in its database and is accessible to the Supreme Court at any time via statistics reports until WordPress Statistics is uninstalled.

In all cases, the information will be stored in a secure manner to ensure its confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Upon expiration of the period of retention, the information collected through the Supreme Court website shall be disposed of and discarded in a secure manner that would prevent further processing, unauthorized access, or disclosure of your data.

Changes to our Privacy Notice:

The Privacy Notice may be updated from time to time. If material changes are required, any revisions shall be published on the Supreme Court website under the News and Announcements page for your immediate guidance. Therefore, we encourage you to review this Privacy Notice periodically so that you are up to date on our most current policies and practices.

This Privacy Notice was last updated on February 20, 2024.

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If you have any privacy concerns or questions about your data privacy rights or our Privacy Notice, please contact us through:

Supreme Court of the Philippines
Padre Faura St., Ermita, Manila
Philippines 1000
+63 3 8552 9566


The Supreme Court Under
the 1987 Constitution

As in the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, the 1987 Constitution provides that “[t]he judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.” (Art. VII, Sec. 1). The exercise of judicial power is shared by the Supreme Court with all lower courts, but it is only the Supreme Court’s decisions that are vested with precedential value or doctrinal authority, as its interpretations of the Constitution and the laws are final and beyond review by any other branch of government.

Unlike the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, however, the 1987 Constitution defines the concept of judicial power. Under paragraph 2 of Section 1, Article VIII, “judicial power” includes not only the “duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable” but also “to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.” This latter provision dilutes the effectivity of the “political question” doctrine which places specific questions best submitted to the political wisdom of the people beyond the review of the courts.

Building on previous experiences under former Constitutions, the 1987 Constitution provides for specific safeguards to ensure the independence of the Judiciary. These are found in the following provisions:

    • The grant to the Judiciary of fiscal autonomy. “Appropriations for the Judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the amount appropriated for the previous year, and, after approval, shall be automatically and regularly released.” (Art. VIII, Sec. 3).
    • The grant to the Chief Justice of authority to augment any item in the general appropriation law for the Judiciary from savings in other items of said appropriation as authorized by law. (Art. VI, Sec. 25[5])
    • The removal from Congress of the power to deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5 of Article VIII.
    • The grant to the Court of the power to appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance with the Civil Service Law (Art. VIII, Sec. 5 [6])
    • The removal from the Commission of Appointments of the power to confirm appointments of justices and judges (Art. VIII, Sec. 8)
    • The removal from Congress of the power to reduce the compensation or salaries of the Justices and judges during their continuance in office. (Art. VIII, Sec. 10)
    • The prohibition against the removal of judges through legislative reorganization by providing that “(n)o law shall be passed reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its members. (Art. VIII, Sec. 2)
    • The grant of sole authority to the Supreme Court to order the temporary detail of judges. (Art. VIII, Sec. 5[3])
    • The grant of sole authority to the Supreme Court to promulgate rules of procedure for the courts. (Art. VIII, Sec. 5[5])
    • The prohibition against designating members of the Judiciary to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative function. (Art. VIII, Sec. 12)
    • The grant of administrative supervision over the lower courts and its personnel in the Supreme Court. (Art. VIII, Sec. 6)

The Supreme Court under the present Constitution is composed of a Chief Justice and 14 Associate Justices. The members of the Court are appointed by the President from a list, prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council, of at least three nominees for every vacancy. This new process is intended to “de-politicize” the courts of justice, ensure the choice of competent judges, and fill existing vacancies without undue delay.


The Supreme Court Under
the Revolutionary Government

Shortly after assuming office as the seventh President of the Republic of the Philippines after the successful People Power Revolution, then President Corazon C. Aquino declared the existence of a revolutionary government under Proclamation No. 1 dated February 25, 1986. Among the more significant portions of this Proclamation was an instruction for “all appointive officials to submit their courtesy resignations beginning with the members of the Supreme Court.” The call was unprecedented, considering the separation of powers that the previous Constitutions had always ordained, but understandable considering the revolutionary nature of the post-People Power government. Heeding the call, the members of the Judiciary—from the Supreme Court to the Municipal Circuit Courts—placed their offices at the disposal of the President and submitted their resignations. President Corazon C, Aquino proceeded to reorganize the entire Court, appointing all 15 members.

On March 25, 1986, President Corazon Aquino, through Proclamation No. 3, also abolished the 1973 Constitution and put in place a Provisional “Freedom” Constitution. Under Article I, Section 2 of the Freedom Constitution, the provisions of the 1973 Constitution on the judiciary were adopted insofar as they were not inconsistent with Proclamation No. 3.

Article V of Proclamation No. 3 provided for the convening of a Constitutional Commission composed of 50 appointive members to draft a new constitution; this would be implemented by Proclamation No. 9. Under the leadership of retired SC Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma as its President, the Constitutional Commission of 1986 submitted its output of to the people for ratification.

By a vote of 76.30%, the Filipino people then ratified the Constitution submitted to them in a national plebiscite on February 2, 1987.

President Aquino, other civilian officials, and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, upon the announcement of the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, swore allegiance to the new charter on February 11, 1987 thereby putting an end to the revolutionary government.


The Supreme Court Under
the 1973 Constitution

The declaration of Martial Law through Proclamation No. 1081 by former President Ferdinand E, Marcos in 1972 brought about the transition from the 1935 Constitution to the 1973 Constitution. This transition had implications on the Court’s composition and functions.

This period also brought in many legal issues of transcendental importance and consequence. Among these were the legality of the ratification of a new Constitution, the assumption of the totality of government authority by President Marcos, and the power to review the factual basis for a declaration of Martial Law by the Chief Executive, among others. Also writ large during this period was the relationship between the Court and the Chief Executive who, under Amendment No. 6 to the 1973 Constitution, had assumed legislative powers even while an elected legislative body continued to function.

The 1973 Constitution increased the number of the members of the Supreme Court from 11 to 15, with a Chief Justice and 14 Associate Justices. The Justices of the Court were appointed by the President alone, without the consent, approval, or recommendation of any other body or officials.


The Supreme Court of
the Second Republic

Following liberation from the Japanese occupation at the end of the Second World War and the Philippines’ subsequent independence from the United States, Republic Act No. 296 or the Judiciary Act of 1948 was enacted. This law grouped together the cases over which the Supreme Court could exercise exclusive jurisdiction for review on appeal, certiorari, or writ of error.


The Supreme Court During
the Commonwealth

Following the ratification of the 1935 Philippine Constitution in a plebiscite, the principle of separation of powers was adopted, not by express and specific provision to that effect, but by actual division of powers of the government—executive, legislative, and judicial—in different articles of the 1935 Constitution.

As in the United States, the judicial power was vested by the 1935 Constitution “in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be established by law.” It devolved on the Judiciary to determine whether the acts of the other two departments were in harmony with the fundamental law.

The Court during the Commonwealth was composed of “a Chief Justice and ten Associate Justices, and may sit en banc or in two divisions, unless otherwise provided by law.”


The Establishment of
the Supreme Court of the Philippines

On June 11, 1901, the Second Philippine Commission passed Act No. 136 entitled “An Act Providing for the Organization of Courts in the Philippine Islands” formally establishing the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands and creating Courts of First Instance and Justices of the Peace Courts throughout the land. The judicial organization established by the Act was conceived by the American lawyers in the Philippine Commission, with its basic structures patterned after similar organizations in the United States.

The Supreme Court created under the Act was composed of a Chief Justice and six Judges. Five members of the Court could form a quorum, and the concurrence of at least four members was necessary to pronounce a judgment.

Act No. 136 abolished the Audiencia established under General Order No. 20 and declared that the Supreme Court created by the Act be substituted in its place. This effectively severed any nexus between the present Supreme Court and the Audiencia.

The Anglo-American legal system under which the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands was expected to operate was entirely different from the old Spanish system that Filipinos were familiar with. Adjustments had to be made; hence, the decisions of the Supreme Court during its early years reflected a blend of both the Anglo-American and Spanish systems. The jurisprudence was a gentle transition from the old order to the new.


The Judicial System During
the American Occupation

After Spain’s defeat in the Spanish-American War in the late 1890s, The subsequent occupation by the Americans of the Philippine Islands paved the way for considerable changes in the control, disposition, and governance of the Islands.

The judicial system established during the regime of the military government functioned as an instrument of the executive—not of the judiciary—as an independent and separate branch of government. Secretary of State John Hay, on May 12, 1899, proposed a plan for a colonial government of the Philippine Islands which would give Filipinos the largest measure of self-government. The plan contemplated an independent judiciary manned by judges chosen from qualified locals and Americans.

On May 29, 1899, General Elwell Stephen Otis, Military Governor for the Philippines, issued General Order No. 20, reestablishing the Audiencia Teritorial de Manila which was to apply Spanish laws and jurisprudence recognized by the American military governor as continuing in force.

The Audiencia was composed of a presiding officer and eight members organized into two divisions: the sala de lo civil or the civil branch, and the sala de lo criminal or the criminal branch.

It was General Otis himself who personally selected the first appointees to the Audiencia. Cayetano L. Arellano was appointed President (equivalent to Chief Justice) of the Court, with Manuel Araullo as president of the sala de lo civil and Raymundo Melliza as president of the salo de lo criminal. Gregorio Araneta and Lt. Col. E.H. Crowder were appointed associate justices of the civil branch while Ambrosio Rianzares, Julio Llorente, Major R.W. Young, and Captain W.E. Brikhimer were designated associate justices of the criminal branch. Thus, the reestablished Audiencia became the first agency of the new insular government where Filipinos were appointed side by side with Americans.


The Judicial System Under
the Spanish Regime

During the early Spanish occupation, King Philip II established the Real Audiencia de Manila which was given not only judicial but legislative, executive, advisory, and administrative functions as well. Composed of the incumbent governor general as the presidente (presiding officer), four oidores (equivalent to associate justices), an asesor (legal adviser), an alguacil mayor (chief constable), among other officials, the Real Audiencia de Manila was both a trial and appellate court. It had exclusive original, concurrent original, and exclusive appellate jurisdictions.

Initially, the Audiencia was given a non-judicial role in the colonial administration, to deal with unforeseen problems within the territory that arose from time to time—it was given the power to supervise certain phases of ecclesiastical affairs as well as regulatory functions, such as fixing of prices at which merchants could sell their commodities. Likewise, the Audiencia had executive functions, like the allotment of lands to the settlers of newly established pueblos. However, by 1861, the Audiencia had ceased to perform these executive and administrative functions and had been restricted to the administration of justice.

When the Audiencia Territorial de Cebu was established in 1886, the name of the Real Audiencia de Manila was changed to Audiencia Territorial de Manila.


The Judicial System of the
Pre-Colonization Filipinos

When the Spanish colonizers first arrived in the Philippine archipelago, they found the indigenous Filipinos without any written laws. The laws enforced were mainly derived from customs, usages, and tradition. These laws were believed to be God-given and were orally transmitted from generation to generation.

A remarkable feature of these customs and traditions was that they were found to be very similar to one another notwithstanding that they were observed in widely dispersed islands of the archipelago. There were no judges and lawyers who were trained formally in the law, although there were elders who devoted time to the study of the customs, usages, and traditions of their tribes to qualify them as consultants or advisers on these matters.

The unit of government of the indigenous Filipinos was the barangay, which was a family-based community of 30 to 100 families, occupying a pook (“locality” or “area”) headed by a chieftain called datu who exercised all functions of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—a barangay was not only a political but a social and an economic organization. In the exercise of his judicial authority, the datu acted as a judge (hukom) in settling disputes and deciding cases in his barangay.

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