December 2009 - Philippine Supreme Court Decisions/Resolutions
G.R. No. 171916 - Constantino A. Pascual v. Lourdes S. Pascual
[G.R. NO. 171916 : December 4, 2009]
CONSTANTINO A. PASCUAL, substituted by his heirs, represented by Zenaida Pascual, Petitioner, v. LOURDES S. PASCUAL, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
Due process dictates that jurisdiction over the person of a defendant can only be acquired by the courts after a strict compliance with the rules on the proper service of summons.
Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction, seeking to annul the Decision1 dated June 29, 2005 and the Resolution2 dated March 14, 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) nullifying and vacating the Decision3 dated December 3, 2002 and Order4 dated April 4, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 12, Malolos, Bulacan.
The facts, as found in the records, are the following:
Petitioner filed a Complaint for Specific Performance with Prayer for Issuance of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction with Damages before the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan against respondent. The process server, in his Return of Service5 dated May 21, 2002, reported, among others that:
The undersigned Process Server of this Honorable Court went at defendant's given address at No. 4 Manikling St., Talayan Village, Quezon City on May 20, 2002 to serve the summons and copy of the Complaint together with the annexes thereto in connection with the above-entitled case.
At the time of the service of the said summons, the defendant was not at her home and only her maid was there who refused to receive the said summons [in spite] of the insistence of the undersigned.
The undersigned, upon his request with the Brgy. Clerk at the said place, was given a certification that he really exerted effort to effect the service of the said summons but failed due to the above reason. (Annex "A").
The following day, May 21, 2002, the undersigned went back at defendant's residence to have her receive the subject summons but again the above defendant was not at her house.
WHEREFORE, the original summons and copy of the complaint is hereby returned to the Honorable Court NOT SERVED.
Malolos, Bulacan, May 21, 2002.
Thereafter, an alias summons was issued by the RTC and, on May 29, 2002, the following report was submitted:
The undersigned, on May 29, 2002, made a 3rd attempt to serve the alias summons issued by the Hon. Court relative with the above-entitled case at the given address of the defendant.
The undersigned, accompanied by the barangay officials of the said place, proceeded at defendant's residence but the undersigned was not permitted to go inside her house and was given information by her maid that the defendant was not there.
The defendant's car was parked inside her house and inquiries/verification made on her neighbors revealed that the defendant was inside her house at the time of service of said summons and probably did not want to show-up when her maid informed her of undersigned's presence.
WHEREFORE, the undersigned court process server respectfully returned the alias summons dated May 29, 2002 issued by the Hon. Court "UNSERVED" for its information and guidance.
Malolos, Bulacan, May 30, 2002.6
Subsequently, on August 14, 2002, the process server returned with the following report,7 stating that a substituted service was effected:
This is to certify that on the 14th day of August, 2002, I personally went at Dr. Lourdes Pascual's residence at #4 Manikling Street, Talayan Village, Quezon City, to serve the copy of the Summons dated August 12, 2002, together with a copy of the Complaint and its annexes thereto.???ñr?bl?š