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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
July-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 96649-50 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LYNDON V. MACOY

  • G.R. No. 109660 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO NELL

  • G.R. No. 124914 July 2, 1997 - JESUS UGADDAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123074 July 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO M. FERNANDEZ

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-1017 July 7, 1997 - OSCAR B. LAMBINO v. AMADO A. DE VERA

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1245 July 7, 1997 - BENIGNO G. GAVIOLA v. NOEL NAVARETTE

  • G.R. No. 105760 July 7, 1997 - PNB v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107193 July 7, 1997 - EUGENIO TENEBRO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112006 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO S. DE VERA

  • G.R. No. 114275 July 7, 1997 - IÑIGO F. CARLET v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116962 July 7, 1997 - MARIA SOCORRO CACA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118940-41 & 119407 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MEJIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119872 July 7, 1997 - REMEDIOS NAVOA RAMOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122206 July 7, 1997 - RAFAEL ARCEGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105284 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IGNACIO ZUMIL

  • G.R. No. 106099 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AGUSTIN SOTTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109814 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO MAALAT

  • G.R. No. 112797 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NIDA ALEGRO

  • G.R. No. 114265 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MAGALLANES

  • G.R. No. 115307 July 8, 1997 - MANUEL LAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115703 July 8, 1997 - EPIFANIO L. CASOLITA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117501 July 8, 1997 - SOLID HOMES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122308 July 8, 1997 - PURITA S. MAPA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. SC-96-1 July 10, 1997 - DAMASO S. FLORES v. BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1236 July 11, 1997 - MADONNA MACALUA v. DOMINGO TIU, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1249 July 11, 1997 - PACITA SY TORRES v. FROILAN S. CABLING

  • G.R. No. 104865 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICTORIANO PONTILAR, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 113511-12 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO SINOC

  • G.R. No. 115033 July 11, 1997 - PONCIANO T. MATANGUIHAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123204 July 11, 1997 - NATIONWIDE SECURITY AND ALLIED SERVICES, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1158 July 14, 1997 - EUFEMIA BERCASIO v. HERBERTO BENITO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106153 July 14, 1997 - FLORENCIO G. BERNARDO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108838 July 14, 1997 - PAGCOR v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116528-31 July 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIETO ADORA

  • G.R. No. 108492 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOEL BANIEL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118078 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 123379 July 15, 1997 - BAROTAC SUGAR MILLS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 115439-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 120437-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO ALVARIO

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1382 July 17, 1997 - REXEL M. PACURIBOT v. RODRIGO F. LIM, JR.

  • G.R. No. 105002 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIARANGAN DANSAL

  • G.R. No. 108634 July 17, 1997 - ANTONIO P. TAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111165 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO MERCADO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113257 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY LASCOTA

  • G.R. No. 114742 July 17, 1997 - CARLITOS E. SILVA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118860 July 17, 1997 - ROLINDA B. PONO v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120262 July 17, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125195 July 17, 1997 - SAMAHAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA BANDOLINO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1362 July 18, 1997 - DSWD, ET AL. v. ANTONIO M. BELEN, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-95-1283 July 21, 1997 - DAVID C. NAVAL, ET AL. v. JOSE R. PANDAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108488 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODENCIO NARCA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111002 July 21, 1997 - PACIFIC MARITIME SERVICES, INC., ET AL. v. NICANOR RANAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117402 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLLIE L. ALVARADO

  • G.R. No. 119184 July 21, 1997 - HEIRS OF FELICIDAD CANQUE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121768 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO CASTILLO, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 122250 & 122258 July 21, 1997 - EDGARDO C. NOLASCO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124347 July 21, 1997 - CMS STOCK BROKERAGE, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125510 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO LISING

  • G.R. No. 111933 July 23, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112429-30 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO P. CAYETANO

  • G.R. Nos. 118736-37 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TANG WAI LAN

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1205 July 24, 1997 - OSCAR P. DE LOS REYES v. ESTEBAN H. ERISPE, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1383 July 24, 1997 - JOSE LAGATIC v. JOSE PEÑAS, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104663 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DAVID SALVATIERRA

  • G.R. No. 105004 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO MAROLLANO

  • G.R. No. 107723 July 24, 1997 - EMS MANPOWER & PLACEMENT SERVICES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111211 July 24, 1997 - ABS-CBN EMPLOYEES UNION, ET AL., v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113235 July 24, 1997 - VICTORINA MEDINA, ET AL. v. CITY SHERIFF, MANILA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 113366-68 July 24, 1997 - GREGORIO ISABELO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116635 July 24, 1997 - CONCHITA NOOL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116736 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN ORTEGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118458 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 120276 July 24, 1997 - SINGA SHIP MANAGEMENT PHILS., INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121075 July 24, 1997 - DELTA MOTORS CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121867 July 24, 1997 - SMITH KLINE & FRENCH LAB., LTD. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127262 July 24, 1997 - HUBERT WEBB, ET AL. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter Nos. 95-6-55-MTC & P-96-1173 July 28, 1997 - REPORT ON AUDIT IN THE MTC OF PEÑARANDA, NUEVA ECIJA

  • G.R. No. 102858 July 28, 1997 - DIRECTOR OF LANDS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103209 July 28, 1997 - APOLONIO BONDOC, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110823 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROCHEL TRAVERO

  • G.R. No. 112323 July 28, 1997 - HELPMATE, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113344 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ATANACIO LUTO

  • G.R. No. 116668 July 28, 1997 - ERLINDA A. AGAPAY v. CARLINA V. PALANG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116726 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONARDO P. DE LA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 118822 July 28, 1997 - G.O.A.L., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119000 July 28, 1997 - ROSA UY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119649 July 28, 1997 - RICKY GALICIA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119868 July 28, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120072 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO I. MESA

  • G.R. No. 123361 July 28, 1997 - TEOFILO CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126556 July 28, 1997 - NELSON C. DAVID v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117742 July 29, 1997 - GEORGE M. TABERRAH v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • SBC Case No. 519 July 31, 1997 - PATRICIA FIGUEROA v. SIMEON BARRANCO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 97369 July 31, 1997 - P.I. MANPOWER PLACEMENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99030 July 31, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106582 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUPERTO BALDERAS

  • G.R. No. 107802 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JASON NAREDO

  • G.R. No. 108399 July 31, 1997 - RAFAEL M. ALUNAN III, ET AL. v. ROBERT MIRASOL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108619 July 31, 1997 - EPIFANIO LALICAN v. FILOMENO A. VERGARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113689 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE SANGIL, SR.

  • G.R. No. 113958 July 31, 1997 - BANANA GROWERS COLLECTIVE, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116060 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLEMENTE DE LA PEÑA

  • G.R. No. 116292 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY PEÑERO

  • G.R. No. 119068 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE CASTRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121027 July 31, 1997 - CORAZON DEZOLLER TISON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121157 July 31, 1997 - HEIRS OF SEGUNDA MANINGDING, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123561 July 31, 1997 - DELIA R. NERVES v. CSC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124678 July 31, 1997 - DELIA BANGALISAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 108838   July 14, 1997 - PAGCOR v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 108838. July 14, 1997.]

    PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, HON JULIO R. LOGARTA, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, RTC-Branch 63, Makati, MM and CASINO OPERATOR CORPORATION and EDUARDO MARCELO, Respondents.

    The Government Corporate Counsel for Petitioner.

    Henry A. Reyes and Associates for private Respondents.

    SYNOPSIS


    Private respondent Philippine Casino Operators Corporation (PCOC) has the sole and exclusive right to manage gambling casinos in the Philippines, pursuant to a Contract to Operate entered into with petitioner Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

    Under a sequestration order dated March 19, 1986, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) sequestered the PCOC. PAGCOR then caused the transportation of gaming and office equipment and paraphernalia used in the Laoag casino to its Metro Manila office for safekeeping. While the trucks containing said equipment were en route to PAGCOR’s office, private respondent Eduardo Marcelo intercepted said trucks and ordered the drivers to bring the cargoes to his compound at Governor Pascual Avenue, Malabon.

    PAGCOR filed an action with the Makati RTC for recovery of personal property. The court issued the writ of replevin and the gaming and office equipment were turned over the PAGCOR (as plaintiff) rested its case, a demurrer to evidence was filed by private respondents RTC’s non-jurisdiction over the case inasmuch as the subject properties were brought under sequestration. The court, acting on the demurrer, dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction and lifted the writ of replevin, it ruled that the case falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, and that the RTCs, being co-equal bodies with the PCGG, have no power to control the PCGG.

    PAGCOR, its two motions for reconsideration having been denied, proceeded to public respondent Court of Appeals via petition for certiorari and prohibition, claiming that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in denying PAGCOR’s motions for reconsideration. The Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC’s findings that the controversy falls within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and that PAGCOR failed to prove that it owns the subject properties. Hence, this petition.

    The fact of PCOC’s sequestration alone did not automatically oust the RTC of jurisdiction to decide upon the questration of ownership of the gaming and office equipment. The PCGG must be a party to the suit in order that the Sandiganbayan’s exclusive jurisdiction may be correctly invoked. Section 2 of E.O. No. 14 speaks of the PCGG as party-plaintiff. On the other hand, the PCGG was impleaded as co-defendant in both the "PEÑA" and "NEPOMUCENO" cases. But here the PCGG does not appear in either capacity, as the suit is solely between PAGCOR and respondents PCOC and Marcelo. On the question of ownership over the subject properties, the more prudent action is to remand the case to the RTC so that PCOC and Marcelo may be given the opportunity to present evidence which, by having opted to file a demurrer that was subsequently granted, they were not able to do so. Section 1, Rule 35 of the Rules of Court does not apply in the present case. The ground contemplated by the rule pertains to the merits of the case. The demurrer and the RTC’s dismissal of PAGCOR’s complaint principally focused only on the RTC’s lack of jurisdiction over the case.


    SYLLABUS


    1. REMEDIAL LAW; ACTION; SEQUESTRATION; WHEN SANDIGANBAYAN MAY CORRECTLY INVOKE ITS EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION; NOT APPLICABLE IN CASE AT BAR. — While there can be no dispute that PCOC (Philippine Casino Operator Corporation) was sequestered, the fact of sequestration alone did not automatically oust the RTC of jurisdiction to decide upon the question of ownership of the subject gaming and office equipment. The PCGG (Presidential Commission on Good Government) must be a party to the suit in order that the Sandiganbayan’s exclusive jurisdiction may be correctly invoked. This is deducible from no less than E.O. No. 14, the "PCGG v. Peña", 159 SCRA 556, and "PCGG v. Nepomuceno", 184 SCRA 449 cases relied upon by both the RTC and the CA. Note that in Section 2 of E.O. No. 14 which provides: "Section 2. The Presidential Commission on Good Government shall file all such cases, whether civil or criminal, with the Sandiganbayan, which shall have exclusive and original jurisdiction thereof", it speaks of the PCGG as party-plaintiff. On the other hand, the PCGG was impleaded as co-defendant in both the "Peña" and "Nepomuceno" cases. But here, the PCGG does not appear in either capacity, as the complaint is solely between PAGCOR and respondents PCOC and Marcelo. The "Peña" and "Nepomuceno" cases which recognize the independence of the PCGG and the Sandiganbayan in sequestration cases, therefore, cannot be invoked in the instant case so as to divest the RTC of its jurisdiction, under Section 19 of B.P. 129, over PAGCOR’s action for recovery of personal property.

    2. ID.; ID.; DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE; WHEN THE MOVANT LOSES HIS RIGHT TO PRESENT EVIDENCE; EXCEPTION IN CASE AT BAR. — On the question of ownership over the subject properties, the more prudent action is to remand the case to the RTC for its resolution in order that private respondents PCOC and Marcelo may be given the opportunity to present evidence which, by having opted to file a demurrer that was subsequently granted, they were not able to do so. While this recourse seems to run counter to Section 1, Rule 35 of the Rules of Court which reads: "Section 1. Effect of judgment on demurrer to evidence. — After the plaintiff has completed the presentation of his evidence, the defendant without waiving his right to offer evidence in the event the motion is not granted, may move for a dismissal on the ground that upon the facts and the law the plaintiff has shown no right to relief. However, if the motion is granted and the order of dismissal is reversed on appeal, the movant loses his right to present evidence in his behalf.", the situation obtaining here makes this provision uncontrolling. The ground contemplated by the rule pertains to the merits of the case. The demurrer and the RTC’s dismissal of PAGCOR’s complaint, however, principally focused on the RTC’s lack of jurisdiction. This is evident from the RTC’s repeated citation of the "Peña" case which proclaims the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Even if the RTC made the finding that: "a careful evaluation of the evidence presented by the plaintiff established no clear cut conclusion that plaintiff is indeed the owner of these properties", such statement is too general and utterly lacking in explanation that obviously, the issue of ownership was given shallow consideration. Besides, the controversy on ownership is a factual matter that best belongs in the domain of the RTC.


    D E C I S I O N


    FRANCISCO, J.:


    Pursuant to a "Contract to Operate" entered into on December 17, 1985 whereby herein petitioner Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (hereafter PAGCOR) granted private respondent Philippine Casino Operators Corporation (PCOC) sole and exclusive right to manage gambling casinos in the entire Philippines, PCOC operated casinos in Manila, Cebu and Laoag, Ilocos Norte.

    Not long thereafter, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) sequestered PCOC under a sequestration order date March 19, 1986, reading:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Provident International Resources Corp.

    Philippine Casino Operators Corporation

    M a n i l a

    S i r:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    By virtue of the powers vested unto this Commission by the President of the Philippines, I hereby order the take-over of all assets, movable or immovable of the two (2) above corporations. It is further ordered that the operations of all casinos in the country be provisionally stopped and until further permit to operate is given by the Philippine Laws Amusement Corporations and this Commission.

    The Task Force headed by Mr. Carmelo Lazatin, is hereby authorized to implement the following:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. Conduct an inventory of all assets and properties within the premises of the Casinos.

    2. To make an audit and inventory of all the money and movable equipments as well as gambling paraphernalia presently being used in the operations of the Casinos.

    3. To secure all properties, records, receipts, documents, and other pertinent books of accounts, ledgers relative to the operations of the Casinos.

    Very truly yours,

    FOR THE COMMISSION

    (Sgd.)

    MARY CONCEPCION BAUTISTA

    Commissioner"

    PAGCOR then caused the transportation of gaming and office equipment and paraphernalia used in the Laoag casino to its Metro Manila offices for safekeeping. On June 12, 1986 while the trucks containing said equipment were enroute to PAGCOR’s offices, private respondent Eduardo Marcelo (Marcelo) intercepted said trucks and ordered the drivers to bring the cargoes to his compound at Governor Pascual Avenue, Malabon.

    This promoted PAGCOR to file, on July 25, 1986, a civil case before the Makati Regional Trial Court against private respondents Marcelo, PCOC, "John Doe" and "Peter Doe" for recovery of personal property. Presiding Judge Santiago Ranada, Jr. on even date issued the writ of replevin and consequently, the gaming and office equipment were turned over to PAGCOR.

    Judge Julio Logarta heard the case after private respondents (as defendants), on August 13, 1986, filed their answer with counterclaim alleging, among others, that the court has no jurisdiction.

    After PAGCOR (as plaintiff) rested its case on November 8, 1990, a demurrer to evidence was filed grounded on (1) the RTC’s non-jurisdiction over the case inasmuch as the subject properties were brought under sequestration, and (2) PAGCOR’s failure to sufficiently prove its ownership over the properties, PAGCOR, filed its opposition to the demurrer.

    Judge Logarta, acting on the demurrer, issued an order dated May 6, 1991 (the first assailed order) dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction and lifting the writ of replevin. He ruled that the case falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, citing as authorities "PCGG v. Peña" 1 which held that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Under Section 2 of the President’s Executive Order No. 14 issued on May 7, 1986, all cases of the Commission regarding the Funds, Moneys, Assets, and Properties Illegally Acquired or Misappropriated by Former President Marcos, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, their Close Relatives, Subordinates, Business Associates, Dummies, Agents, or Nominees’ whether civil or criminal, are lodged within the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan’ and all incidents arising from incidental to, or related to, such cases necessarily fall likewise under the Sandiganbayan’s exclusive and original jurisdiction, subject to review on certiorari exclusively by the Supreme Court."cralaw virtua1aw library

    and "PCGG v. Nepomuceno" 2 which ruled that regional trial courts being co-equal bodies with the PCGG which exercises quasi-judicial functions, have no power and authority to control the PCGG.

    PAGCOR filed a motion for reconsideration thereof, alleging that the sequestration of PCOC’s assets did not include the gaming and office equipment PAGCOR claims to own. PCOC and Marcelo likewise filed a motion for reconsideration, praying that PAGCOR be directed to return to them all the items seized under the writ of replevin.

    Judge Logarta, in an order dated October 15, 1991 (the second assailed order), denied PAGCOR’s motion for reconsideration, but granted that of PCOC and Marcelo.

    PAGCOR thereafter filed another motion for reconsideration on November 7, 1991, arguing that the RTC has already acquired and acknowledged jurisdiction. This was likewise denied in an order dated March 4, 1992 (the third assailed order).

    PAGCOR sought the nullification of the RTC’s May 6, 1991, October 15, 1991 and March 4, 1992 orders before public respondent Court of Appeals (CA) via petition for certiorari and prohibition, claiming that grave abuse of discretion attended their issuance.chanrobles.com:cralaw:red

    The CA however, in its now-assailed Decision of January 29, 1993, denied due course to PAGCOR’s petition. It basically affirmed the RTC’s findings that a) the controversy fails within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, and b) PAGCOR failed to prove that it owns the subject properties. Hence, this petition.

    We disagree with the RTC and the CA on the issue of jurisdiction. While there can be no dispute that PCOC was sequestered, the fact of sequestration alone did not automatically oust the RTC of jurisdiction to decide upon the question of ownership of the subject gaming and office equipment. The PCGG must be a party to the suit in order that the Sandiganbayan’s exclusive jurisdiction may be correctly invoked. This is deducible from no less than E.O. No. 14, the "Peña" and "Nepomuceno" cases relied upon by both subordinates courts. Note that in Section 2 of E.O. No. 14 which provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Section 2. The Presidential Commission on Good Government shall file all such cases, whether civil or criminal, with the Sandiganbayan, which shall have exclusive and original jurisdiction thereof."cralaw virtua1aw library

    it speaks of the PCGG as party-plaintiff. On the other hand, the PCGG was impleaded as co-defendant in both the "Peña" and "Nepomuceno" cases. But here, the PCGG does not appear in either capacity, as the complaint is solely between PAGCOR and respondents PCOC and Marcelo. The "Peña" and "Nepomuceno" cases which recognize the independence of the PCGG and the Sandiganbayan in sequestration cases, therefore, cannot be invoked in the instant case so as to divest the RTC of its jurisdiction, under Section 19 of B.P. 129, 3 over PAGCOR’s action for recovery of personal property.

    On the question of ownership over the subject properties, the more prudent action is to remand the case to the RTC for its resolution in order that private respondents PCOC and Marcelo may be given the opportunity to present evidence which, by having opted to file a demurrer that was subsequently granted, they were not able to do so. While this recourse seems to run counter to Section 1, Rule 35 of the Rules of Court which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Section 1. Effect of judgment on demurrer to evidence. — After the plaintiff has completed the presentation of his evidence, the defendant without waiving his right to offer evidence in the event the motion is not granted, may move for a dismissal or the ground that upon the facts and the law the plaintiff has shown no right to relief. However, if the motion is granted and the order of dismissal is reversed on appeal, the movant loses his right to present evidence in his behalf.",

    the situation obtaining here makes this provision uncontrolling. The ground contemplated by the rule pertains to the merits of the case. The demurrer and the RTC’s dismissal of PAGCOR’s complaint, however, principally focused on the RTC’s lack of jurisdiction. This is evident from the RTC’s repeated citation of the "Peña" case which proclaims the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Even if the RTC made the finding that: "a careful evaluation of the evidence presented by the plaintiff established no clear cut conclusion that plaintiff is indeed the owner of these properties", 4 such statement is too general and utterly lacking in explanation that obviously, the issue of ownership was given shallow consideration. Besides, the controversy on ownership is a factual matter that best belongs in the domain of the RTC.

    WHEREFORE, the instant petition hereby GRANTED. The assailed orders of the RTC dated May 6, 1991, October 15, 1991 and March 4, 1992, and the January 29, 1993 Decision of public respondent CA affirming said orders, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Let this case be REMANDED to the court of origin for reception of evidence and further proceedings.

    SO ORDERED.

    Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo and Panganiban, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. 159 SCRA 556.

    2. 184 SCRA 449.

    3. As amended by R.A. No. 7691, approved March 25, 1994. It now reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "SEC. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (1) In all civil actions in which the subject of the litigations is incapable of pecuniary estimation;

    (2) In all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein, where the assessed value of the property involved exceeds Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or, for civil actions in Metro Manila, where such value exceeds Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) except actions for forcible entry into and unlawful detainer of lands or buildings, original jurisdiction over which is conferred upon the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts;

    (3) In all actions in admiralty and maritime jurisdiction where the demand or claim exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in Metro Manila, where such demand or claim exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00);

    (4) In all matters of probate, both testate and intestate, where the gross value of the estate exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in the probate matters in Metro Manila, where such gross value exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00);

    (5) In all actions involving the contract of marriage and marital relations;

    (6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions;

    (7) In all civil actions and special proceedings falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, and of the Court of Agrarian Relations as now provided by law; and

    (8) In all other cases in which the demand, exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses, and costs or the value of the property in controversy exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in such other cases in Metro Manila, where the demand, exclusive of the abovementioned items exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00).

    4. RTC order of March 4, 1992; Rollo, p. 55.

    G.R. No. 108838   July 14, 1997 - PAGCOR v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.


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