Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. L-1523             April 30, 1949
BIŅAN TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, INC., petitioner,
FIDEL IBAŅEZ, ETC., ET AL., respondents.
Nabong & Sese for petitioner.
Fidel Ibañez Judge of first Instance of Laguna in his own behalf.
Demetrio K. Bernardino for Provincial sheriff.
Simon Samaniego for other respondents.
This is petition certiorari against the respondents on the ground that the respondent judge acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in issuing the order of execution dated June 28,1947, of a judgment rendered by the court of First Instance of Laguna on March 22, 1943which is null and void according to the petitioner because the latter had not been notified of the hearing of the case and of the rendition of said judgment or decision and this allegation is denied under oath by the other respondent.
According to the fact appearing from the pleading and their annexes the record of the case Having been lost or destroyed during the Philippines liberation the court of First Instance of Laguna upon motion of the plaintiffs, in said case now respondents and notice to the defendant the petitioner herein ordered the reconstitution of the pleadings and of the decision lost or destroyed and declared them reconstituted on December 20, 1946. The petitioner, alleging that she became aware of the rendition of the said decision only after its reconstitution, because she had not received notice of the trial and rendition of the said decision before that time, filed motions for new trial under Rule 37 and for relief under Rule 38, which were denied by the respondent judge on the ground that they werefiled after the period fixed by law had elapsed. The order of the respondent judge granting the motion for the issuance, of the writ of execution complained of copy of which is attached as Annex 6 to the verified answer of said respondent, contains an uncontradiction recital of the dates in which attorneys for the petitioner were notified or became for new trail and decision in question and filed their motion for new trial and relief under Rules 37 and 38 and said order reads as follows:
The following petitioners were heard before this court on June 12, 1947, at 9:00 a.m. in accordance with the order of May 30, 1947:
(a) Motion for reconsideration filed by Atty. Marcial G. Mendiola Transportation Company dated May 19, 1947 praying to reconsideration and set aside the order of April 15,1947 which revokes a previous order of March 7, 1947, granting the defendant a new trial;
(b) A petition addressed to the Clerk of Court dated May 1, 1947, filed by Atty. Simon Samaniego as counsel for the plaintiff constituted decision dated March 22, 1943.
At hearing of the said petitioner on June 12, 1947, Attorney Mendiola appeared and argued orally in support of his motion for reconsideration and upon his request he was given five days from said date within which to present the transcript of the proceeding of the reconstitution taken before Judge Juan P. Enriquez. Attorney Samaniego for the plaintiff presented his written opposition dated June 12, 1947, objecting to the motion for reconsideration of Atty. Mendiola.
Pending resolution of the aforementioned petitioner another petition for relief from effect of Judgment dated May 20, 1947 was filed by Attys. Nabong and Sese as counsel for the defendant without notice of hearing.
After a careful consideration of the aforementioned pleading of the parties and the affidavits accompanying them the court hereby render the following resolutions:
(1) The motion for reconsideration of Atty. Mendiola dated May 19, 1947 is hereby denied in view of the fact that according to the affidavit of judge Juan P. Enriquez dated March 24, 1947, before whom the decision of March 22,1943 was reconstituted counsel for the defendant Binan Transportation Company after reading the decision sought to be reconstituted and was advised that the decision tallies with the docket of the court offered no objection to the reconstitution of said decision which was then andthere ordered reconstituted with the knowledge of said counsel for the defendant Binan Transportation Company. As declared in the order of April 15, 1947, which is hereby reiterated, the defendant Binan Transportation Company by its counsel, Atty. Marcial G. Mendiola, was constructively served on December 20, 1946, with the decision rendered on March 22, 1943.
(2) That the petition for relief from effect of judgment of Attorneys Nabong and Sese dated May 20, 1947. is likewise denied As stated in the orderof April 15,1947, defendant Binan Transportation company was constructivelyserved on December 20, 1946, with notice of the decision dated March 22. 1943.
(3) That the petition of Atty. Simon Samaniego for the issuance of an alias writ of executive is hereby granted in view of the fact that the decision of March 22, 1943, has long become finals and executory. So ordered.
Santa Cruz, Laguna, June 19, 1947.
Section 69, subsections (m) and (ee) of Rule 123, provides that it is to be presumed juris tantum that the official duty has been regularly performed and that the law has been obeyed," and therefore the presumption is that the petitioner was notified of the dates of trial of the case in which the decision impugned as void was rendered, and of the rendition of said decision and that presumption may only be rebutted by evidence to the contrary presented at a hearing which may be granted by the court upon motion for relief filed under Rule 38 of the Rules of Court. But the respondent judge denied the motion for relief under said Rule because it was not filed within the period of time fixed by said Rule 38, according to the above quoted order of the court.
If the court has erred in denying said motion the proper remedy would havebeen appeal according to the long line of decision of this Court. Certiorari does not lies because there was appeal and because the court has jurisdiction either to grant or deny motion of the petitioners and it may only err but not exceed its jurisdiction or act with grave abuse of discretion if it denies the motion.
Petition is therefore denied with cost against the petitioner. So ordered.
Moran, C.J., Paras, Pablo, Bengzon, Briones, Tuazon, Montemayor and Reyes, JJ., concur.
PERFECTO, J., dissenting:
On May 30, 1940, petitioner was sued in the court of First Instance of Lagunafor damages in the sum of P 4,900. Answer to the complaint was filed on June 3,1940, Hearing was finally set for January 5, 1942, but on account of the Japanese invasion petitioner and its counsel were unable to attend the hearing on said date.
The hearing nevertheless, actually took place on February 2, 1943, about which no notice was given to petitioner who was also not notified as to the admission of amendments made to the complaint. On March 22, 1943, decision was rendered, but no notice thereof was served to petitioner.
On November 26, 1946 petition for the reconstitution of the record of the casewas filed and was set for hearing and granted on December 20, 1946. Surprised atthe fact that decision was rendered On March 22, 1943 notice of which had never been serve to it petitioner filed on January 22, 1947 a motion for new trial upon two grounds: That the trial court had not jurisdiction to hearand decide the case for lack of notice of the trial to petitioner and thatit also had no jurisdiction upon the substantially amended complaint no copy of the amendment having been served to petitioner. The motion was denied.
On June 19, 1947, petitioner filed the petition for relief from judgment which was denied on June 19, 1947 the respondent judge issuing thereupon awrit of execution on June 28 1947, by virtue of which a Chevrolet motor truck of petitioner was seized by the sheriff of Laguna.
Upon the above fact petitioner prays that the decision rendered on March 22,1943, and reconstitution on December 20, 1946, be declared null and void ab initio for lack of jurisdiction.
Respondent answered stating among other that on December 20 1946, an order was issued declaring as reconstituted the complaint answer the decision in the aforementioned case; on January 10, 1947 motion for the issuance of a writ of execution dated December 21 1946, was granted; On January 27,1947 a motion for new trial was filed petitioner and the motion was granted in an order dated March 7, 1947, under the terms and condition specified in said order; on March 24 1947 plaintiff filed the motion for reconsideration And on April 15, 1947, responded judge issued by order setting aside the order of March 7, 1947 and declaring that petitioner was constructively served on December 20 1946 with notice of the reconstituted decision; On May 20, 1947, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration and a petition for relief from the effect of judgment and both motion and petition were denied in an order issued on June 19, 1947, and pursuant to the latter order an alias writ of execution was issued on June 28, 1947.
Upon the undisputed fact in the this case it appears that petitioner was not notified nor served copy of the amendment to the complaint that petitioner was not notified of the hearing of the case which took place on February 2, 1943; and that petitioner was not notified of the decision rendered on March 22,1943. This lack of notice to petitioner deprived the trial court of jurisdiction to entertain the amended complaint: to her the case on February 2, 1943, at petitioner's back; and to render the decision of March 22, 1943. Consequently, the decision was and null and void ab initio, as correctly contended by petitioner.
If the decision was null and void, the trial court has no jurisdiction to order the issuance of either the original writ of execution or the alias writ of execution of June 28, 1947.
The contention of respondent judge to the effect that petitioner was constructively served notice of the decision on December 20, 1946, when petitioner was notified of the reconstitution of the complaint, the answer, and the decision, is devoid of merit, for the simple fact that notice of reconstitution is not a notice of decision. Both notices serve different purposes that cannot be confused or identified with one another.
Even in the false hypothesis that with the reconstitution of the decision complained of on December 20, 1946, petitioner was constructively notified thereof, that notice cannot give any validity to a decision which was and is null and void ab initio for having been rendered without giving petitioner his day in court, after the hearing which took place on February 2, 1943, of which petitioner was not notified and at which, consequently, he was not present.
No amount of discussion on legal technicalities may elude the inevitable consequences of the simple facts in this case, upon which it appears that petitioner has been denied the benefits of due process and of the equal protection of the laws. Petitioner is entitled to the relief sought for in the petition.
Consequently, we vote to grant the petition and to declare null and void the decision of March 22, 1943, and to set aside the writ of execution issued on June 28, 1947, with costs against respondents.
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