Saturday, August 10, 2013

LAST-DITCH PLEA TO SUPREME COURT TO STOP DEMOLITION OF POOR HOMES

LAST-DITCH PLEA TO SUPREME COURT
TO STOP DEMOLITION OF POOR  HOMES


By BERTENI "TOTO" CATALUÑA CAUSING


This highly-sensitive social issue stemming from poverty that is impossible to happen to the family and children of Janet Lim-Napoles is being shared so that the public may know and learn from the arguments raised here in a last-ditch bid to save poor families from being demolished of their homes in Pulang Lupa, Las Piñas City.

To my mind, the Supreme Court committed a grave error in dismissing the petition for certiorari filed by the author to prevent demolition of house to be carried out by Casimiro Development Corporation (CDC) with the help of the local executives of Las Piñas.

In this Motion for Reconsideration that the author filed on Monday (August 12, 2013), he displayed the most out of his brilliance to write this ULTIMATE PLEA.

Here is the introductory argument of the author in that final plea.




            "Annulment of judgment case cannot be barred by res judicata. 

"This doctrine of preclusion does not simply apply when the judgment that is deemed final is the one being DIRECTLY CHALLENGED. It is not like in ordinary cases where the final judgment is only collaterally attacked.

       "Bluntly speaking, THERE IS NO SUCH A THING AS RES JUDICATA IN ANNULMENT OF JUDGMENT complaint.

            "With this, the Supreme Court is illogical in saying the RTC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the Annulment of Judgment complaint on the ground of res judicata.

            "Having said those strong statements, the petitioners, by the undersigned counsel, respectfully move the Honorable Court to reconsider its Resolution dated June 17, 2013 and direct the respondents to file their comment to the instant Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition – and, most importantly, stop the respondents from implementing the writ of demolition of the MeTC of Las Piñas, Branch 79.

            "Meanwhile, a copy of the same Resolution was received by the law firm on July 26, 2013, giving the petitioners until August 10, 2013 (a Saturday) to file a motion for reconsideration or until August 12, 2013, the first office day thereafter.  

"It is noted that a copy of the first writ of demolition issued by the respondent MeTC was attached to the petition as Annex “D.”  A copy of the second writ of demolition was attached to the same petition as Annex “E.”

           "Additionally, it is indispensable to enjoin the respondents from demolishing the homes of the petitioners if only to be humane to the petitioners who are being sought to be demolished and driven to the streets without any relocation site being provided.

"Because it is illogical for the Supreme Court to say that the RTC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the annulment of judgment complaint by invoking res judicata, it is begged of the Highest Court of the Land, THE LAST BULWARK OF THE POOR LIKE THE PETITIONERS, that before acting on the motion for reconsideration it issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or a status quo ante order (SQAO).

"This, if the Supreme Court does not want one most inhuman act to happen: an act of demolishing homes and forcing the residents, particularly kids, to live on streets in these times of rainy days.

"Demolition is one of the revolting things to happen as it is now being loathed at by the executive.

"Even the Congress passed Republic Act 7279 to ease the traumatic impact of demolition whose victims are always the poor and the underprivileged.

"The petitioners here are all underprivileged."


THE FULL COPY OF THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION IS BELOW

 

Republic of the Philippines
Supreme Court
Manila


LEONARDO L. MATEO, CANDIDO L. MATEO,
ROWENA MATEO, EMELINDA MATEO,
GERALDO L. MATEO, WILFREDO L. MATEO,
ROWENA L. MATEO, EDGARDO L. MATEO,
RICARDO B. TORRES, ROSALINA S. MATEO,
LEAN PRECIOUS MATEO QUILATAN, PAUL
QUILATAN, LEONIÑO S. MATEO, JOSE ROBIN
MATEO, CHRISTOPHER MATEO, MA. GLENDA
MATEO, ADELA R. MATEO, JOSELITO R.
MATEO, JOSEFINO R. MATEO, JOSE RUEL
R. MATEO, JESUSA R. MATEO, MARICRIS
R. MATEO, MARIVIC R. MATEO, MARIBEL
R. MATEO,
                                                                        Petitioners,

            - versus -                                                                               G.R. No. 207157


REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF LAS PIÑAS-BRANCH 255,
METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT OF LAS PIÑAS, BRANCH 79,
and CASIMIRO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,
                                                                        Respondents,
x------------------------------------------------------------------------------x



Motion for Reconsideration


            Annulment of judgment case cannot be barred by res judicata. 

This doctrine of preclusion does not simply apply when the judgment that is deemed final is the one being DIRECTLY CHALLENGED. It is not like in ordinary cases where the final judgment is only collaterally attacked.

            Bluntly speaking, THERE IS NO SUCH A THING AS RES JUDICATA IN ANNULMENT OF JUDGMENT complaint.

            With this, the Supreme Court is illogical in saying the RTC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the Annulment of Judgment complaint on the ground of res judicata.

            Having said those strong statements, the petitioners, by the undersigned counsel, respectfully move the Honorable Court to reconsider its Resolution dated June 17, 2013 and direct the respondents to file their comment to the instant Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition – and, most importantly, stop the respondents from implementing the writ of demolition of the MeTC of Las Piñas, Branch 79.

            Meanwhile, a copy of the same Resolution was received by the law firm on July 26, 2013, giving the petitioners until August 10, 2013 (a Saturday) to file a motion for reconsideration or until August 12, 2013, the first office day thereafter.  

It is noted that a copy of the first writ of demolition issued by the respondent MeTC was attached to the petition as Annex “D.”  A copy of the second writ of demolition was attached to the same petition as Annex “E.”

            Additionally, it is indispensable to enjoin the respondents from demolishing the homes of the petitioners if only to be humane to the petitioners who are being sought to be demolished and driven to the streets without any relocation site being provided.

Because it is illogical for the Supreme Court to say that the RTC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the annulment of judgment complaint by invoking res judicata, it is begged of the Highest Court of the Land, THE LAST BULWARK OF THE POOR LIKE THE PETITIONERS, that before acting on the motion for reconsideration it issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or a status quo ante order (SQAO).

This, if the Supreme Court does not want one most inhuman act to happen: an act of demolishing homes and forcing the residents, particularly kids, to live on streets in these times of rainy days.

Demolition is one of the revolting things to happen as it is now being loathed at by the executive.

Even the Congress passed Republic Act 7279 to ease the traumatic impact of demolition whose victims are always the poor and the underprivileged.

The petitioners here are all underprivileged.


Res judicata illogical to prohibit
annulment of judgment case


            When the premise states that res judicata is illogical to exist in a annulment of judgment case, it is meant about a legit annulment of judgment case that is founded on legitimate grounds.

            The grounds allowed by the Rules of Court in annulment of judgment are lack of jurisdiction and extrinsic fraud.

            In the instant annulment of judgment case, the grounds are lack of jurisdiction because of three reasons.

            The first reason why the MeTC of Las Piñas had no jurisdiction is the fact that the plaintiff was not yet an owner of the lot that was the subject of the same unlawful detainer case. 

The fact that the plaintiff was not yet the owner can easily be seen on the Deed of Conditional Sale attached by the plaintiff as Annex “A” of its complaint for ejectment.

The same deed of conditional sale withheld transfer of possession rights until all installments are paid.

The same ejectment complaint was filed on June 16, 1991 as seen on the face itself of the complaint for ejectment.  The MeTC promulgated the decision to eject the petitioners on 19 October 1992.  The deed of absolute sale was executed only on 4 March 1993, or two years before the filing of the ejectment case.

            The second reason why the MeTC did not have jurisdiction over the case is the fact that the person who signed the verification for the corporation-plaintiff did not have any board resolution of Casimiro Dev’t Corp. authorizing the signatory, Mr. Gabriel Casimiro, to sign the same ejectment complaint.

            In short, the MeTC did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of the plaintiff Casimiro Dev’t Corp.

            The third reason why the MeTC did not have jurisdiction over the case is because it did not acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter.

            A reading of the complaint shows it does not state the existence of a lease between Casimiro Dev’t Corp. and the petitioners.  It also did not state the expiration of lease.  It also did not state that the cause of action for ejectment, if ever there was any, was still within the one-year period to vest jurisdiction over the subject matter unto the MeTC.

            The same complaint also did not state that the plaintiff tolerated the petitioners to occupy the piece of land subject of the case.  It also did not state that the tolerance was withdrawn. It also did not state that the cause of action for ejectment, if ever there was any, was still within the one-year time bar to vest unto the MeTC jurisdiction over the subject matter.

            The same complaint did not allege any facts as to how it happened or what contract or relationship there was that the petitioners occupied the same lot and did not state how the petitioners lost that right to possess.  And, again, there was no statement that any cause of action, if ever there was any, was still within the one-year period to vest authority unto the MeTC.

            To the contrary, the same complaint admitted it bought by installments the piece of land subject of this case from putative owner China Banking Corp.  It also admitted that it had not yet paid the installments at the time of the filing of the ejectment suit.  It also admitted that by virtue of this deed of conditional sale they told the petitioners to leave the land at once.

            If at all, it is very clear that the only cause of action present as seen in the complaint was one for accion pauliana or recovery of possession in a plenary proceedings.

            The decision sought to be annulled did not tackle the issues of acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the plaintiff (Casimiro Dev’t Corp.) and over the subject matter of the case.

            When the decision of the MeTC of Las Piñas, Branch 79, reached the Supreme Court for the first time as “CESAR MATEO, CANDIDO MATEO, DOMINGO A. SANTOS, DANILO RIVERA VIRGINIA JARDIN GUPIT, ZENAIDA ARANDA, ET AL., petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND CASIMIRO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondents”, G.R. No. 128392.  April 29, 2005, the Highest Court was confronted with the only issue of whether or not the same ejectment suit should be dismissed upon the claim that the land concerned was a fishpond.

            It is very clear that the Supreme Court passed upon only on the issue of whether or not it was the MeTC or the DARAB that had jurisdiction over the case.
           
            To clearly show that the only issue resolved by the Supreme Court was whether the said ejectment must be under the jurisdiction of the DARAB or the MeTC, let the pertinent portion of the ruling of the Supreme Court in GR No. 128392 be quoted, to wit:

Since there is no proof of tenancy relationship, and in view of absence of the necessary elements enumerated in Duremdes v. Duremdes, the DARAB does not have jurisdiction over the present case.  The MTC, therefore, had jurisdiction over the subject matter and hence properly exercised jurisdiction over the case.

            Thus, it has been shown that the grounds relied on by the petitioners here are legitimate issues of lack of jurisdiction.

            It is not important that these grounds be proven as yet because it was yet in the preliminary stage.

What is important is that when it is not yet clear whether the grounds invoked can be proven or not, the RTC should have given due course to the complaint for Annulment of Judgment and consider those affirmative defenses as evidentiary.

Anyway, the petitioners have proven that their grounds for lack of jurisdiction are legit.

And if the grounds invoked were legit, the RTC had no discretion to dismiss the complaint for Annulment of Judgment.  By this alone, it is very clear that the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion.

So that it is very clear also that in this case, it is illogical for res judicata to bar annulment of judgment.

As such, the Supreme Court in this case clearly erred in point of law, logic and principle.

Still, res judicata cannot be invoked against annulment of judgment case.


Supreme Court ruled in one case
that res judicata cannot bar
annulment of judgment petition


            After assembling the arguments above that res judicata is illogical to bar annulment of judgment, a decision of the Supreme Court in one case was stumbled upon.

            This is the decision of the SC in the case Orbeta vs. Sendion, July 8, 2005, G.R. No. 155236, July 8, 2005.

            In this case, the Supreme Court stated:

To begin with, it is the height of sophistry to argue that res judicata would bar a petition for annulment of judgment whose, as in this case, prior judgment happens to be that which is sought to be annulled.    The petition for annulment of judgment precisely challenges the validity of the “first judgment,” and to adopt petitioners’ argument would lead to permanent preclusion of annulment of judgment as a remedy.  Significantly, the reverse is true for the rationale underlying annulment of judgment is incongruent with the concept of res judicata.  Hence, the action for annulment of judgment precludes the defense of res judicata.  The grounds for annulment of judgment are either lack of jurisdiction or the presence of extrinsic fraud in the rendition of the judgment sought to be annulled. On the other hand, among the requisites of  res  judicata  are  jurisdiction  on  the  part  of  the  court  rendering the first judgment over the parties and identity of causes of action between the first and the second actions. Ineluctably, said requisites are absent.  The first judgment, in Civil Case No. 10173, pertains to the merits of the action for recovery of possession, quieting of title, and recovery of damages, whereas the cause of action in the petition for annulment relates to the lack of jurisdiction that marred the rendition of the first judgment.

The element of identity of parties is likewise not present.  Respondent was not a party to either Civil Case No.  10173 or CA-G.R. SP No.  48943.

The judgment in CA-G.R. SP No. 48943 is no bar to the petition for annulment as well. There is neither identity of parties or identity of causes of action as between the certiorari petition and the petition for annulment of judgment. Petitioners claim that “the alleged exclusion of indispensable party Paul Sendiong . . . had already been ventilated before the [Court of Appeals] in CA-G.R. SP No. 48943, . . . which was TERSELY DISMISSED per Decision promulgated on June 30, 2000.” The eleven-page Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 48943 hardly constitutes a “terse dismissal” except perhaps in the land of the long-winded, but a perusal of the said Decision reveals no discussion at all about impleading Paul Sendiong in Civil Case No. 10173.

 In fact, the only mention made of respondent in the aforesaid Decision was in the narration of facts. The adjudication of CA-G.R. SP No. 48943, as expressed in the Decision, was limited to the propriety of the denial of the Notice of Appeal in Civil Case No. 10173. The appellate court upheld the denial on the ground that there was no written explanation as to why the Notice of Appeal was served by registered mail instead of personal service.[22] No other matter was discussed by the Court of Appeals therein, certainly none on the merits of the Civil Case. In fact, the Decision ends with the caveat: “This Court is confronted only with the procedural aspect of the case.”

            Since this decision of the Supreme Court forms part of the law of the land, public respondent RTC of Las Piñas, Branch 255, had the obligation to follow the same.

            But what it did was it dismissed the annulment of judgment outright and the motion for reconsideration from the dismissal.

            There is no more issue then that the RTC of Las Piñas committed grave abuse of discretion.

            As such, the Supreme Court erred in ruling that this petition failed to show any grave abuse of discretion committed by the RTC when it dismissed the petition for annulment of judgment on the ground of res judicata.


Many parties in the instant case are
not parties in the Supreme Court case

            Actually, even if we test the existence of res judicata by the test of parties, it is very clear that many parties in this annulment of judgment, particularly LEONARDO LARA MATEO, were not named as parties in the Supreme Court case.

            This can be easily determined by comparing the names of the petitioners in G.R. No. 128392 against the names listed in this petition.

            So that, even if it is to be tested as to the parties, it is clear that there are no complete similarity of parties.

            With this alone, it sufficient to see there was no res judicata.


This petition can be equitably treated
as Petition for Review on Certiorari


            Let it be stressed that the demands of justice here in this case, as evinced by the fact that res judicata cannot bar annulment of judgment, is compelling.

            With this, the Supreme Court can set aside the Rules in favor of substance in order not to frustrate the apparent merit for the cries of justice by the petitioners.

            MORE IMPORTANTLY, this petition for annulment of judgment was filed only on May 31, 2013.

            The RTC order being challenged was received on May 24, 2013.

            Hence, the number of days that lapsed were only seven days as against the fifteen days to file an appeal by petition for review on certiorari.   


The Prayer


            WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of the Supreme Court that after due notice and hearing, it declares that the RTC of Las Piñas, Branch 255, committed grave abuse of discretion and direct the same court to reinstate the Annulment of Judgment complaint and hear and decide the same.

            Also, it is prayed that the Supreme Court declare that the Metropolitan Trial Court of Las Piñas, Branch 79, committed grave abuse of discretion in not deferring its action on the demolition so that the issues in Annulment of Judgment are not rendered moot and moribund.

            And before this petition can be heard, it is beseeched to the Supreme Court that it issues a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or Status Quo Ante Order, enjoining the Metropolitan Trial Court of Las Piñas, Branch 79, from implementing or executing its writ of demolition.

            Other reliefs just and equitable under the premises are also prayed for. Manila, August 12, 2013.


RENTA PE CAUSING SABARRE CASTRO & ASSOCIATES
Unit 1, 2368 JB Roxas St. corner Leon Guinto St., Malate, Manila
Emails: totocausing@yahoo.com, berteni.causing@gmail.com; Telephone No.: +632-3105521

By:

BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING
IBP No. 876498 / Manila IV / 10-01-2013
PTR No. 1435314 / Manila / 10-01-2013
Roll No. 60944 / MCLE No. IV -0007338 / 08-10-2012


Copy furnished:

REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF LAS PIÑAS-BRANCH 255,
LAS PIÑAS CITY

METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT OF LAS PIÑAS-BRANCH 79,
LAS PIÑAS CITY

ATTY. RODOLFO P. DEL PRADO
Counsel for CASIMIRO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
DEL PRADO DIAZ AND ASSOCIATES LAW OFFICES
4th Floor, United Life Building,
837 A. Arnaiz Avenue, Legaspi Village, Makati City

MAYOR NENE AGUILAR
Office of the Mayor, City Hall of Las Pinas
Zapote Road, Las Piñas City

OFFICE OF THE VICE-MAYORS
and COUNCILORS OF LAS PIÑAS
City Council, City Hall of Las Piñas,
Zapote Road, Las Piñas City

Explanation

Far distance and lack of manpower compelled the firm to furnish the parties copies of this motion by registered mails with return card.

BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING

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