Does the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 apply in determining whether or not a court has jurisdiction over an action to quiet title?

In a 2009 case, Malana v. Tappa [G.R. No. 181359, August 05, 2013], the Supreme Court through its Third Division ruled:

“It is important to note that Section 1, Rule 63 of the Rules of Court does not categorically require that an action to quiet title be filed before the RTC. It repeatedly uses the word “may” – that an action for quieting of title “may be brought under [the] Rule” on petitions for declaratory relief, and a person desiring to file a petition for declaratory relief “may x x x bring an action in the appropriate Regional Trial Court.” The use of the word “may” in a statute denotes that the provision is merely permissive and indicates a mere possibility, an opportunity or an option.

In contrast, the mandatory provision of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, as amended, uses the word “shall” and explicitly requires the MTC to exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all civil actions which involve title to or possession of real property where the assessed value does not exceed P20,000.00:

Section 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in Civil Cases.Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:

x x x x

(3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to, possession of, real property, or any interest therein where the assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or, in civil actions in Metro Manila, where such assessed value does not exceeds Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorneys fees, litigation expenses and costs: x x x (Emphasis ours.)

As found by the RTC, the assessed value of the subject property as stated in Tax Declaration No. 02-48386 is only P410.00; therefore, petitioners’ Complaint involving title to and possession of the said property is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the MTC, not the RTC” (emphasis by the Court, footnotes omitted).

Meanwhile, in the 2013 case of Sabitsana v. Muertegui [G.R. No. 181359, August 05, 2013], the Supreme Court through its Second Division ruled:

“On the question of jurisdiction, it is clear under the Rules that an action for quieting of title may be instituted in the RTCs, regardless of the assessed value of the real property in dispute. Under Rule 63 of the Rules of Court, an action to quiet title to real property or remove clouds therefrom may be brought in the appropriate RTC.” (footnotes omitted)

The Court in Sabitsana neither mentions the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (Batas Pambansa Blg. 129) nor the case of Malana.

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Those working today, 25 December 2016, and whose scheduled rest day is on a Sunday, shall be paid at least 260% of their regular wage.

Tag your friends who are working today.

Today, 25 December 2016, is both a Sunday and a regular holiday (Republic Act No. 9489, Proclamation No. 1105, s. 2015).

DISCLAIMER: All information is offered as is with no guarantees about its accuracy and nothing here is meant to provide legal advice to anyone.

Note that the provisions below do not apply to (1) workers in retail and service establishments regularly employing less than ten (10) workers (Art. 94, Labor Code), (2)to employees of the government and any of the political subdivision, including government-owned and controlled corporations with original charters (Art. IX-B, Section 2(1) of the 1987 Constitution), (3) domestic helpers and persons in the personal service of another, (4) managerial employees as defined in Book Three of the Labor Code, and (5) field personnel and other employees whose time and performance by the employer including those who are engaged on task or contract basis, purely commission basis, or those who are paid a fixed amount for performing work irrespective of the time consumed in the performance thereof (Book Three, Rule IV, Section 1 of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code).

Those working today and whose scheduled rest day is on a Sunday shall be paid at least 260% of their regular daily wage [200% + (30% of 200%)]. If their scheduled rest day is not on a Sunday, they shall be paid at least 200% of their regular daily wage. This is pursuant to Book Three, Rule IV, Section 4 of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code:

Compensation for Holiday Work. – Any employee who is permitted or suffered to work on any regular holiday, not exceeding eight (8) hours, shall be paid at least two hundred percent (200%) of his regular daily wage. If the holiday work falls on the scheduled rest day of the employee, he shall be entitled to an additional premium pay of at least 30% of his regular holiday rate of 200% based on his regular wage rate.

Those not working today are entitled to their regular daily wage, pursuant to Article 94 of the Labor Code:

Right to Holiday Pay. (a) Every worker shall be paid his regular daily wage during regular holidays, except in retail and service establishments regularly employing less than ten (10) workers.

(b) The employer may require an employee to work on any holiday but such employee shall be paid a compensation equivalent to twice his regular rate; and

(c) xxx (see Republic Act No. 9489)

Those working overtime and whose scheduled rest day is on a Sunday are entitled to an overtime pay equivalent to 338% [260% + (30% of 260%)] of their regular daily wage. If their scheduled rest day is not on a Sunday, they are entitled to an overtime pay equivalent to 260% [200% + (30% of 200%)] of their regular daily wage. This is pursuant to Book Three, Rule IV, Section 5 of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code:

Overtime Pay for Holiday Work. – For work performed in excess of eight hours on a regular holiday, an employee shall be paid an additional compensation for the overtime work equivalent to his rate for the first eight hours on such holiday work plus at least 30% thereof.

Where the regular holiday work exceeding eight hours falls on the scheduled rest day of the employee, he shall be paid an additional compensation for the overtime work equivalent to his regular holiday-rest day for the first 8 hours plus 30% thereof. The regular holiday rest day rate of an employee shall consist of 200% of his regular daily wage plus 30% thereof.

Thus, based on the current minimum wage for workers in the non-agricultural sector in the National Capital Region (P491.00) according to Wage Order No. NCR-20, the mentioned workers are entitled to the following pay today, 25 December 2016:

Scheduled rest day is on a Sunday

  • Wage = 260% of P491 = P1,276.60
  • Overtime Pay for every hour of overtime = 338% of (P491 / 8) = P207.4475 (multiply by 4 if overtime is for four hours = P829.79)
  • If with overtime, add Overtime Pay to Wage to get total pay for 25 December 2016: P1,276.60 + (P207.4475 x __ hours of overtime) –> Example: if four hours overtime: P1,276.60 + (P207.4475 x 4 hours of overtime) = P2,106.39

Scheduled rest day is NOT on a Sunday

  • Wage = 200% of P491 = P982.00
  • Overtime Pay for every hour of overtime = 260% of (P491 / 8) = P159.575 (multiply by 4 if overtime is for four hours = P638.30)
  • If with overtime, add Overtime Pay to Wage to get total pay for 25 December 2016: P982.00 + (P159.575 x __ hours of overtime) –> Example: if four hours overtime: P982.00 + (P159.575 x 4 hours of overtime) = P1,620.30

Did not work today: P491.00

Notes on jurisprudence on Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code and on inquest

Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code reads:

Delay in the Delivery of Detained Persons to the Proper Judicial Authorities. — The penalties provided in the next preceding article shall be imposed upon the public officer or employee who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial authorities within the period of twelve (12) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by light penalties, or their equivalent; eighteen (18) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by correctional penalties, or their equivalent, and thirty-six (36) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or their equivalent.

In every case, the person detained shall be informed of the caused of his detention and shall be allowed, upon his request, to communicate and confer at any time with his attorney or counsel.

The penalties provided in Article 125 are as follows:

1. The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prisión correccional in its minimum period, if the [delay] has not exceeded three days;

2. The penalty of prisión correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if the [delay] has continued more than three but not more than fifteen days;

3. The penalty of prisión mayor, if the [delay] has continued for more than fifteen days but not more than six months; and

4. That of reclusión temporal, if the [delay] shall have exceeded six months.

Related to this is an inquest. The prevailing rules on inquest (Circular No. 61, s. 1993 by the Department of Justice) define this process as:

Inquest is an informal and summary investigation conducted by a public prosecutor in criminal cases involving persons arrested and detained without the benefit of a warrant of arrest issued by the court for the purpose of determining whether or not said persons should remain under custody and correspondingly be charged in court.

Section 3 of Circular No. 61 states, “the inquest proceedings must be terminated within the period prescribed under the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.” However, the inquest may be terminated beyond the periods prescribed in Article 125, as ruled by the Supreme Court in Medina v. Orozco (125 Phil. 313, G.R. No. L-26723, December 22, 1966) and Soria v. Desierto (490 Phil. 749, G.R. No. 153524-25, January 31, 2005).

Sayo v. Chief of Police

The earliest case on Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code is Sayo v. Chief of Police (80 Phil. 859, G.R. No. L-2128, May 12, 1948). Note that this case is not a prosecution of police officers for violation of Article 125. Rather, Melencio Sayo and Joaquin Mostero filed a petition for habeas corpus before the Supreme Court. They were arrested for robbery without a warrant on April 2, 1948. By the time the Supreme Court heard their petition on April 7, 1948 (five days later), Sayo and Mostero were still detained or under arrest, and the City Fiscal had not yet released or filed against them an information with the proper courts of justice. Article 125 at that time read:

The penalties provided in the next preceding article shall be imposed upon the public officer or employee who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial authorities within the period of six hours.

The Chief of Police argued that the phrase “judicial authority” included the City Fiscal of Manila. Thus, Article 125 had been complied with when Sayo and Mostero were brought before the City Fiscal of Manila.

The Supreme Court ruled that the “judicial authorities” contemplated in Article 125 means a competent court or judge, and the City Fiscal is not such a judicial authority. The grounds relied upon the Supreme Court may be seen in its decision and its resolution on the Chief of Police’s motion for reconsideration.

At this point, note that the procedure applied in Sayo and Mostero’s case is not exactly inquest as described in Circular No. 61 of the DOJ. No rules on inquest existed at that time, as may be seen from this paragraph in the resolution of the Court:

To consider a city fiscal as a judicial authority within the meaning of article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, would be to place a person arrested in provinces without warrant in a better position than those arrested in the City of Manila. Because, as there is no law requiring the city fiscal to act or file an information against such person within a limited period of time, after the arresting officer has taken the prisoner to the city fiscal within six hours, the prisoner may be held under detention without any warrant for days and weeks and possibly months until such time as the city fiscal may take action, either by releasing the prisoner without filing any information, or filing an information with the proper city court and obtain a warrant of commitment. While a person arrested outside of the City of Manila has to be delivered by the arresting person or peace officer to the competent judge within six hours alter his arrest, and the latter shall have to investigate the charge and issue a warrant of release or commitment of the prisoner within the period of twenty four hours or at most three days prescribed in said article 31 of the Provisional Law (emphasis mine, not by the Court).

Of note also are the succeeding paragraphs regarding compliance with Article 125 (not highlighting anything because all three paragraphs are important):

It is obvious that the surrender or delivery to the judicial authority of a person arrested without warrant by a peace officer, does not consist in a physical delivery, but in making an accusation or charge or filing of an information against the person arrested with the corresponding court or judge, whereby the latter acquires jurisdiction to issue an order of release or of commitment of the prisoner, because the arresting officer can not transfer to the judge and the latter does not assume the physical custody of the person arrested. And in the City of Manila it does not consist in delivering physically the body of the prisoner to the city fiscal, for the latter will not assume the responsibility of being the custodian of the prisoner; nor in making or lodging a complaint against him with the said fiscal, because the latter has no power to order the commitment or release of the prisoner by a warrant containing the ground on which it is based (auto motivado). Such delivery is a legal one and consists in making a charge or filing a complaint against the prisoner with the proper justice of the peace or judge of Court of First Instance in provinces, and in filing by the city fiscal of an information with the corresponding city courts after an investigation if the evidence against said person so warrants. Upon the filing of such information will the prisoner be deemed delivered to a judicial authority in the City of Manila within the meaning of article 125 of the Revised Penal Code?

The city court or judge need not make an investigation of the facts alleged in the information, which the judge or justices of the peace in provinces have to make before issuing the proper warrant, because the law vest that power in the city fiscal, but said city judge shall determine only the legal question whether said facts constitute an offense or violation of ordinances, and issue a warrant of commitment if they do, or of release if they do not.

As a peace officer can not deliver directly the person arrested to the city courts, he shall deliver him to said court through the city fiscal, and if the latter does not take the prisoner in time to the latter so that the proper investigation may be made and information filed within six hours, he has to release the prisoner in order to avoid criminal liability for violation of article 125 of the Revised Penal Code. The city fiscal is not an agent of the arresting officer, but as prosecuting officer, he will be recreant to his duty if he does not do his best to make the investigation and file the corresponding information in time against the person arrested without warrant, in order to effect the delivery of the prisoner to the city courts within the period of six hours prescribed by law, and thus prevent his being released by the officer making the arrest. If the city fiscal does not file the information within said period of time and the arresting officer continues holding the prisoner beyond the six-hour period, the fiscal will not be responsible for violation of said article 125, because he is not the one who has arrested and illegally detained the person arrested, unless he has ordered or induced the arresting officer to hold and not release the prisoner after the expiration of said period.

Also, the penultimate paragraph implies that the period required under Article 125 is not coterminous with the period for conducting an inquest:

After the release of the prisoner, the city fiscal may make or continue the investigation and file afterwards the proper information against him with the corresponding court, if the result of the investigation so warrants, in order to secure a warrant of arrest of the same. Of course, as we have said in our decision for the purpose of determining the criminal liability of a peace officer detaining a person for a longer period of time than the six hours prescribed by article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, “the means of communication as well as the hour of arrest and other circumstances such as the time of surrender and the material possibility for the fiscal to make the investigation and file in time the necessary information, must be taken into consideration.” The period originally fixed by our Penal Code was twenty four (24) hours, and if the city fiscal believes that the period now prescribed by article 125 of the Revised Penal Code is short, and that the law must be amended so as to extend it, it would be proper for the interested parties to take the case to Congress, since it can not be done by judicial legislation (emphasis mine, not by the Court).

Lastly, at the time of Sayo, the rules in the City of Manila on the delivery of persons arrested without a warrant differed from those in the provinces. This is no longer the case, with Circular No. 61 of the Department of Justice.

Medina v. Orozco and Soria v. Desierto

Medina v. Orozco (citation above) is also a petition for habeas corpus. Medina had been arrested at about 12:00 p.m. (probably this was supposed to read “midnight”) on November 7, 1965 for a charge of murder. At about 9:00 a.m. in the morning of the same day, the case against Medina was referred to a fiscal, who forthwith conducted a preliminary investigation in Medina’s presence. At about 3:40 p.m. on November 10, 1965 (ten days later), an information for murder was filed against Medina and two others in the Caloocan branch of the Court of First Instance of Rizal.

Medina claimed violation of Article 125. Since he had been charged of murder, the arresting officer’s duty under the law1 was either to deliver him to the proper judicial authorities within 18 hours, or thereafter release him. The fact however is that he was not released. From the time of his arrest at 12:00 p.m. (m.n.?) on November 7 to 3:40 p.m. on November 10 when the information against him for murder actually was in court, over 75 hours have elapsed.

The Supreme Court ruled there was no Article 125, holding:

But, stock should be taken of the fact that November 7 was a Sunday; November 8 was declared an official holiday; and November 9 (election day) was also an official holiday. In these three no-office days, it was not an easy matter for a fiscal to look for his clerk and stenographer, draft the information and search for the Judge to have him act thereon, and get the clerk of court to open the courthouse, docket the case and have the order of commitment prepared. And then, where to locate and the certainty of locating those officers and employees could very well compound the fiscal’s difficulties. These are considerations sufficient enough to deter us from declaring that Arthur Medina was arbitrarily detained. For, he was brought to court on the very first office day following arrest (emphasis mine, not by the Court).

Thus, Medina’s petition for habeas corpus, for other reasons, was not granted.

Medina was cited in the 2005 case of Soria v. Desierto. Again Soria is not a criminal prosecution for violation of Article 125. Rather, it was a special civil action for certiorari, alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the officers of the Office of the Ombudsman in dismissing Soria’s complaint for violation of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code (Delay in the delivery of detained persons) against his arresting officers. At the time of Soria’s arrest, Article 125 as presently-worded and quoted on top of this page was already in force.

On or about 8:30 p.m. of May 13, 2001 (a Sunday), Soria was arrested without a warrant for alleged illegal possession of a .38 cal. revolver (at that time with the penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period) and for violation of Article 261 par. (f) of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to the Commission on Election Resolution No. 3328 (which carries the penalty of imprisonment of not less than one [1] year but not more than six [6] years).

The next day, at about 4:30 p.m. of 14 May 2001 (Monday and election day), Soria was brought to the residence of Provincial Prosecutor Jessica Viloria in San Juan, Ilocos Sur, before whom a Joint-Affidavit against them was subscribed and sworn to by the arresting officers. From there, the arresting officers brought Soria to the Provincial Prosecutors Office in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and there at about 6:00 p.m. the Joint-Affidavit was filed and docketed.

At about 6:30 p.m., 14 May 2001, Soria was released upon the order of Prosecutor Viloria to undergo the requisite preliminary investigation. From the time of Soria’s detention up to the time of his release, twenty-two (22) hours had already elapsed.

At 5:00 p.m., 15 May 2001, informations for Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition and violation of Article 261 par. (f) of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to COMELEC Resolution No. 3328, were filed in the Regional Trial Court at Narvacan, Ilocos Sur.

Soria alleged that the Ombudsman gravely erred in construing Article 125 as excluding Sundays, holidays and election days in the computation of the periods prescribed within which public officers should deliver arrested persons to the proper judicial authorities as the law never makes such exception. Statutory construction has it that if a statute is clear and unequivocal, it must be given its literal meaning and applied without any attempts at interpretation

The Ombudsman, on the other hand, relied on the cases of Medina and Sayo and on commentaries of jurists (those of former Chief Justice Ramon Aquino and of Prof. Leonor Boado) to bolster their position that Sundays, holidays and election days are excluded in the computation of the periods provided in Article 125, hence, the arresting officers delivered Sayo well within the allowable time.

The Supreme Court upheld the Ombudsman’s resolution, which read:

An election day or a special holiday, should not be included in the computation of the period prescribed by law for the filing of complaint/information in courts in cases of warrantless arrests, it being a no-office day. (Medina vs. Orosco, 125 Phil. 313.) In the instant case, while it appears that the complaints against Soria for Illegal Possession of Firearm and Violation of COMELEC Resolution No. 3328 were filed with the Regional Trial Court and Municipal Trial Court of Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, only on May 15, 200[1] at 4:30 p.m., he had already been released the day before or on May 14, 2001 at about 6:30 p.m. by the respondents, as directed by Prov. Prosecutor Jessica [Viloria]. Hence, there could be no arbitrary detention or violation of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code to speak of (emphasis mine, not by the Court).

The Supreme Court appears to imply, based on Medina and Soria, that the period under Article 125 need not be coterminous with the period for completing an inquest, because of the presence of holidays and the consequent inability to file the information before the court. Thus, the inquest may still be held even after the expiration of the period under Article 125. Whether the arresting officers would be liable under Article 125  is another question.

Thus, Section 3, Circular No. 61, which provides that the inquest proceedings must be terminated within the period prescribed under the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, must be understood as being qualified by the term “as may be practicable” or “as soon as possible” to consider the rulings in Medina and Soria.

Goodbye

Summary: This blog will from now on provide only case digests. So before it dies out like all the other student case digest sites out there, I’d like to say goodbye.


I have no more time for sitting down and writing here.

The study of law has taken most of it. This semester has taken even my nighttime. I had classes which ended at 9:30 in the evening. That was a first in my life. Even while I was taking up my bachelor’s degree, I did not have to stay in school for that long. And I thought I was a day student. (Pang-umagang pang-gabi.) Another first was that I had to rent an on-campus boarding house because of the ungodly schedule. But I’m digressing, aren’t I?

Besides, I have run out of topics to write about and the drive to continue on. I was thinking of drafting a novel through a series of posts about a world on the path of self-destruction with a love story on the side. As my sister said, “the best stories about love are not love stories.” But I don’t see any necessity for that. We are living through it anyway (sans the love story, of course). Abangan na lang natin ang susunod na kabanata.

Lastly, besides the case digests, the other posts have not seen much readership. Thus, most of them (especially the personal posts) have been taken down. I guess my stories and interests are just not interesting. Or they do not elicit any response. Or just a collective unexpressed “meh”.

So, I am transforming this blog to a collection of case digests for my various classes. I am planning to schedule one digest a day starting January 1 next year from my Obligations and Contracts class. Tamang-tama, makikinabang yung mga freshmen next sem.

And inevitably, as with all case digest websites, this blog will eventually die. I didn’t have time to make case digests this semester; instead, I just did one-liners per case and just committed every detail into memory.

(It’s not a good study technique though. I’m seriously considering going back on making and handwriting digests for my classes next year. I’ll start with it during the semestral break, hopefully.)

So yes, I will eventually run out of content (and/or time to schedule posts). And this site can finally fade away (except in Google search as regards the digests already posted).

Before that day eventually comes, allow me to bid farewell and thank all the passers-by who have read or even just skimmed through this blog. I wish you all the best, I hope that you wish the same from me.

Taking a cue from someone who was once a friend: “Out there, I have no more stories to tell.”