CASE 2014-0040: VIVENCIO B. VILLAGRACIA, PETITIONER, -VERSUS- FIFTH (5TH) SHARI’ A DISTRICT COURT AND ROLDAN E. MALA, REPRESENTED BY HIS FATHER HADJI (G.R. NO. 188832,23 APRIL 2014, LEONEN, J.) SUBJECT/S: JURISDICTION OF SHARI’A DISTRICT COURT (BRIEF TITLE:: VILLAGRACIA VS. SHARI’A DISTRICT COURT ET AL)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is GRANTED. Respondent Fifth Shari’a District Court’s decision dated June 11, 2008 and order dated May 29, 2009 in SDC Special Proceedings Case No. 07-200 are SET ASIDE without prejudice to the filing of respondent Roldan E. Mala of an action with the proper court.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

This action being in personam, service of summons on Vivencio was necessary for respondent Fifth Shari’a District Court to acquire jurisdiction over Vivencio’s person.

 

xxxxxxxxxx

 

However, as discussed, respondent Fifth Shari’a District Court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action, with Vivencio not being a Muslim. Therefore, all the proceedings before respondent Shari’a District Court, including the service of summons on Vivencio, are void.

 

xxxxxxxxxx

 

We note that Vivencio filed directly with this court his petition for certiorari of respondent Fifth Shari’a District Court’s decision. Under the judicial system in Republic Act No. 9054,97 the Shari’a Appellate Court has exclusive original jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari of decisions of the Shari’a District Courts. He should have filed his petition for certiorari before the Shari’a Appellate Court.

 

xxxxxxxxx

 

However, the Shari’a Appellate Court is yet to be organized. Thus, we call for the organization of the court system created under Republic Act No. 9054 to effectively enforce the Muslim legal system in our country. After all, the Muslim legal system – a legal system complete with its own civil, criminal, commercial, political, international, and religious laws98 – is part of the law of the land,99 and Shari’a courts are part of the Philippine judicial system.100

 

xxxxxxxxxx

 

Moreover, priority should be given in organizing the Office of the Jurisconsult in Islamic law. A Jurisconsult in Islamic law or “Mufti” is an officer with authority to render legal opinions or “fatawa”110 on any questions relating to Muslim law.111 These legal opinions should be based on recognized authorities112 and “must be rendered in precise accordance with precedent.”113 In the Philippines where only Muslim personal laws are codified, a legal officer learned in the Qur’an and Hadiths is necessary to assist this court as well as Shari’a court judges in resolving disputes not involving Muslim personal laws.  

 

xxxxxxxxxx

 

All told, Shari’a District Courts have jurisdiction over a real action only when the parties involved are Muslims. Respondent Fifth Shari’a District Court acted without jurisdiction in taking cognizance of Roldan E. Mala’s action for recovery of possession considering that Vivencio B. Villagracia is not a Muslim. Accordingly, the proceedings in SDC Special Proceedings Case No. 07-200, including the judgment rendered, are void.

 

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST CLICK/DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW.

 

SCD-2014-0040-APR 2014-VILLAGRACIA