Archive for April, 2021


CASE 2020-0037: MARILYN B. MONTEHERMOSO, TANNY B. MONTEHERMOSO, EMMA B. MONTEHERMOSO OLIVEROS, EVA B. MONTEHERMOSO, TERESA B. MONTEHERMOSO CARIG, and SALVAR B. MONTEHERMOSO VS. ROMEO BATUTO AND ARNEL BATUTO (G.R. NO. 246553, DECEMBER 2, 2020, LAZARO-JAVIER, J.) (SUBJECT/S: FINALITY OF JUDGMENT; LITIGATION MUST END)(BRIEF TITLE: MONTEHERMOSO ET AL VS BATUTO ET AL)

DISPOSITIVE:

“WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED and the assailed Resolutions dated February 13, 2019 and April 10, 2019 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 159373, AFFIRMED.

Petitioners as well as their counsel Atty. Belinda M. Nagui or any other counsel who may take over this case are STERNLY WARNED that any further attempt to revive this case in whatever form and before any forum will be severely sanctioned.

So Ordered.”

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE RTC JUDGMENT HAS BECOME FINAL AND EXECUTORY PETITIONERS FILED SEVERAL PETITIONS IN VARIOUS FORA TO OVERTURN THE RTC JUDGMENT. THE SC DID NOT LOOK WITH FAVOR ON PETITIONERS’ ACTS AND WARNED PETITIONERS AND THEIR COUNSEL THAT ANY FURTHER ATTEMPT TO REVIVE THIS CASE IN WHATEVER FORM AND BEFORE ANY FORUM WILL BE SEVERELY SANCTIONED.

JURISPRUDENCE CITED BY THE COURT:

“Spouses Aguilar v. The Manila Banking Corporation12 aptly held:

It is an important fundamental principle in the judicial system that every litigation must come to an end. Access to the courts is guaranteed. But there must be a limit thereto. Once a litigant’s rights have been adjudicated in a valid and final judgment of a competent court, he should not be granted an unbridled license to come back for another try. The prevailing party should not be harassed by subsequent suits. For, if endless litigations were to be encouraged, then unscrupulous litigants will multiply to the detriment of the administration of justice.

The Court reminds petitioners’ counsel of the duty of lawyers who, as officers of the court, must see to it that the orderly administration of justice must not be unduly impeded. It is the duty of a counsel to advise his client, ordinarily a layman on the intricacies and vagaries of the law, on the merit or lack of merit of his case. If he finds that his client’s cause is defenseless, then it is his bounden duty to advise the latter to acquiesce and submit, rather than traverse the incontrove1tible. A lawyer must resist the whims and caprices of his client, and temper his client’s propensity to litigate. A lawyer’s oath to uphold the cause of justice is superior to his duty to his client; its primacy is indisputable.

There should be a greater awareness on the part of litigants and counsels that the time of the judiciary, much more so of this Court, is too valuable to be wasted or frittered away by effo1ts, far from commendable, to evade the operation of a decision final and executory, especially so, where, as shown in the present case, the clear and manifest absence of any right calling for vindication, is quite obvious and indisputable.

Verily, by the undue delay in the execution of a final judgment in their favor, respondents have suffered an injustice. The Court views with disfavor the unjustified delay in the enforcement of the final decision and orders in the present case. Once a judgment becomes final and executory, the prevailing paiiy should not be denied the fruits of his victory by some subterfuge devised by the losing paity. Unjustified delay in the enforcement of a judgment sets at naught the role of courts in disposing justiciable controversies with finality.”

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST CLICK/DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW. IF FILE DOES NOT APPEAR ON SCREEN GO TO DOWNLOAD. IT IS THE FIRST ITEM. OPEN IT.

NOTE: TO RESEARCH ON A TOPIC IN YAHOO OR GOOGLE SEARCH  JUST TYPE “attybulao and the topic”. EXAMPLE: TO RESEARCH ON FORUM SHOPPING JUST  TYPE “attybulao and forum shopping”.

SC-2020-0036: OLIVER B. FELIX, VS. JULITO D. VITRIOLO, (G.R. No. 237129, DECEMBER 9, 2020, CARANDANG, J.) (SUBJECT/S: GROSS NEGLECT OF DUTY) (BRIEF TITLE: FELIX VS VITRIOLO)

DISPOSITIVE:

“WHEREFORE, the Decision dated August 1 7, 2017 and the Resolution dated January 29, 2018 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 149063 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Court finds respondent Julito D. Vitriolo GUILTY of gross neglect of duty and imposes upon him the penalty of DISMISSAL from service, with the corresponding accessory penalties.

So Ordered.”

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

RESPONDENT WAS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CHED. PETITIONER, A FACULTY MEMBER OF PLM, WROTE LETTERS TO RESPONDENT REQUESTING RESPONDENT TO INVESTIGATE  ALLEGED DIPLOMA MILL OPERATIONS OF PLM. RESPONDENT FAILED TO ANSWER SAID LETTERS AND CONDUCT INVESTIGATION. OMBUDSMAN RULED HIS OMISSION  CONSTITUTES GROSS NEGLECT OF DUTY. HE WAS DISMISSED FROM THE SERVICE. ON APPEAL CA RULED RESPONDENT COMMITTED ONLY SIMPLE NEGLECT OF DUTY AND IMPOSED 30 DAYS SUSPENSION. EVIDENCE SHOWS HE REFERRED MATTER TO VARIOUS UNITS OF CHED. BUT SUPREME COURT REVERSED CA AND AFFIRMED OMBUDSMAN RULING. THE FACT IS RESPONDENT FAILED TO PROMPTLY ANSWERED PETITIONER’S LETTERS AND THE FACT THAT AFTER SO MANY YEARS THERE WAS NO RESULT OF INVESTIGATION SHOWS RESPONDENT DID NOT PERFORM HIS DUTY.  SOME SIGNIFICANT FACTS ARE STATED BELOW:

“Worse, in Vitriolo’s reply dated July 11, 4014 to Felix’s June 30, 2014 letter, he only gave the lame excuse that the one assigned for investigation has retired without turning over his findings. Vi riol◊ even admitted that as late as August 3, 2015, he was still making referrals for the investigation of the matter to different CHED offices. If Vitriolo truly ordered an investigation of the alleged diploma-mill operations of PLM and considering that five long years has passed since Felix first wrote the letters to Vitriolo regarding the matter, a definite finding should have already been arrived at.

What is apparent in Vitriolo’s actions is that he did not take the allegations of Felix seriously. His flagrant and culpable refusal or unwillingness to perform his official duties could have allowed the continuation of PLM’s illegal academic programs.

All told, Vitriolo’s failure to reply to the two letters sent by Felix is not a simple violation of Section 5 (a) ofR.A. No. 6713 but an omission that gave rise to a more serious problem of the possible continuation of the illegal programs and diploma-mill operations of PLM. Because of Vitriolo’s gross neglect of duty, the investigation was not undertaken and the possible administrative liabilities of those involved were not determined.”

WHAT IS GROSS NEGLECT OF DUTY?

Gross neglect of duty or gross negligence refers to negligence characterized by the want of even slight care, or by acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty to act, not inadvertently but willfully and intentionally, with a conscious indifference to the consequences, insofar as other persons may be affected. It is the omission of that care that even inattentive and thoughtless men never fail to give to their own property. It denotes a flagrant and culpable refusal or unwillingness of a person to perform a duty. In cases involving public officials, gross negligence occurs when a breach of duty is flagrant and palpable. 43

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST CLICK/DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW. IF FILE DOES NOT APPEAR ON SCREEN GO TO DOWNLOAD. IT IS THE FIRST ITEM. OPEN IT.

NOTE: TO RESEARCH ON A TOPIC IN YAHOO OR GOOGLE SEARCH  JUST TYPE “attybulao and the topic”. EXAMPLE: TO RESEARCH ON FORUM SHOPPING JUST  TYPE “attybulao and forum shopping”.

CASE 2020-0035: MARTIN N. LIM, JR., VS. MARIA CONCEPCION D. LINDAG (G.R. No. 234405, DECEMBER 9, 2020, PERALTA, C. J.) (SUBJECT/S: ESTAFA THROUGH MISAPPROPRIATION; MORAL DAMAGES; EXEMPLARY DAMAGES; CIVIL LIABILITY IN CASE OF ACQUITTAL) (BRIEF TITLE: LIM VS LINDAG)

DISPOSITIVE:

“WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The May 18, 2017 Decision and the September 6, 2017 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 104923 are hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. Accordingly, petitioner Martin N. Lim, Jr. is ORDERED to PAY the amount of Pl,300,000.00 as actual damages subject to six percent (6%) per annum interest rate from the date of finality of this decision until fully paid. The award of moral damages, exemplary damages and attorney’s fees are DELETED.

So Ordered.”

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

RESPONDENT BOUGHT CONDO FROM SAN JOSE BUILDERS. PETITIONER WAS SALES AGENT OF SELLER. RESPONDENT ISSUED TWO CROSSED  CHECKS TO PETITIONER. ONE CHECK AS PAYMENT AND ANOTHER FOR EXPENSES TO TRANSFER TITLE. RESPONDENT DISCOVERED PAYMENT CHECK WAS ENCASHED BUT NOT BY SAN JOSE BUILDERS. PETITIONER SAID HE WAS ROBBED AND CHECKS WERE TAKEN FROM HIM. ESTAFA CASES WERE FILED. BUT THESE CASES WERE DISMISSED ON GROUND OF REASONABLE DOUBT. BUT COURT (CA) RULED THAT PETITIONER IS CIVILLY LIABLE FOR VALUE OF CHECKS, MORAL DAMAGES, NOMINAL DAMAGES AND ATTYS FEES. SC AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION DELETING MORAL DAMAGES, NOMINAL DAMAGES AND ATTYS FEES.

PETITIONER ARGUES THAT SINCE HE WAS FOUND WITHOUT CRIM LIABILITY HE MUST NOT ALSO BE CIVILLY LIABLE. IS PETITIONER CORRECT?

NO. IN CASE ACQUITTAL IS BASED ON REASONABLE DOUBT, ACCUSED MAY BE HELD CIVILLY LIABLE.

“Petitioner maintains that there is no basis for civil liability because he was found innocent of the crime charged. Such argument must fail. It is entrenched in jurisprudence, that the extinction of penal action does not carry with it the extinction of civil action where (a) the acquittal is based on reasonable doubt as only a preponderance of evidence is required; (b) the court declares that the liability of the accused is only civil; and ( c) the civil liability of the accused does not arise from or is not based upon the crime of which the accused was acquitted.”

IS PETITIONER ENTITLED TO MORAL DAMAGES, EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND ATTYS FEES?

NO. TO BE ENTITLED TO MORAL DAMAGES THERE MUST BE PLEADING AND PROOF. EXEMPLARY DAMAGES ARE ONLY IN ADDITION TO MORAL DAMAGES WHICH MUST BE PROVEN FIRST.

WHAT ARE THE FOUR ELEMENTS OF ESTAFA THRU MISAPPROPRIATION?

  • that the money, good or other personal property is received by the offender in trust, of on commission, of for administration, or under any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of, or to return, the same;
  • that there be misappropriation or conversion of such money or property by the offender or denial on his part of such receipt;
  • that such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of another; and
  • that there is demand made by the offended party on the offender.

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST CLICK/DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW. IF FILE DOES NOT APPEAR ON SCREEN GO TO DOWNLOAD. IT IS THE FIRST ITEM. OPEN IT.

NOTE: TO RESEARCH ON A TOPIC IN YAHOO OR GOOGLE SEARCH  JUST TYPE “attybulao and the topic”. EXAMPLE: TO RESEARCH ON FORUM SHOPPING JUST  TYPE “attybulao and forum shopping”.