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Showing posts with label DOCTRINE OF FINALITY OF JUDGMENT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DOCTRINE OF FINALITY OF JUDGMENT. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

DOCTRINE OF IMMUTABILITY OF JUDGMENT


DOCTRINE OF IMMUTABILITY OF JUDGMENT





As a rule, “a final judgment may no longer be altered, amended or modified, even if the alteration, amendment or modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law and regardless of what court, be it the highest Court of the land, rendered it. Any attempt on the part of the x x x entities charged with the execution of a final judgment to insert, change or add matters not clearly contemplated in the dispositive portion violates the rule on immutability of judgments.” An exception to this rule is the existence of supervening events which refer to facts transpiring after judgment has become final and executory or to new circumstances that developed after the judgment acquired finality, including matters that the parties were not aware of prior to or during the trial as they were not yet in existence at that time (Session Delights Ice Cream and Fast Foods v. Court of Appeals (Sixth Division), G.R. No. 172149, February 8, 2010, 612 SCRA 10; Natalia Realty, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 440 Phil. 1, 23 [2002]).
In FGU Insurance Corp. v. RTC et al., G.R. No. 161282, February 23, 2011, Indeed, a writ of mandamus lies to compel a judge to issue a writ of execution when the judgment had already become final and executory and the prevailing party is entitled to the same as a matter of right (Gatmaytan v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 132856, August 28, 2006; Gonzales v. Hon. Sayo, G.R. No. L-58407 May 30, 1983).
Fundamental is the rule that where the judgment of a higher court has become final and executory and has been returned to the lower court, the only function of the latter is the ministerial act of carrying out the decision and issuing the writ of execution (Ruben Sia v. Erlinda Villanueva, G.R. No. 152921, October 9, 2006, 504 SCRA 43). In addition, a final and executory judgment can no longer be amended by adding thereto a relief not originally included. In short, once a judgment becomes final, the winning party is entitled to a writ of execution and the issuance thereof becomes a court’s ministerial duty. The lower court cannot vary the mandate of the superior court or reexamine it for any other purpose other than execution; much less may it review the same upon any matter decided on appeal or error apparent; nor intermeddle with it further than to settle so much as has been demanded (Tropical Homes v. Fortun, 251 Phil 83 (1989).
Under the doctrine of finality of judgment or immutability of judgment, a decision that has acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable, and may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact and law, and whether it be made by the court that rendered it or by the Highest Court of the land. Any act which violates this principle must immediately be struck down.
But like any other rule, it has exceptions, namely: (1) the correction of clerical errors; (2) the so-called nunc pro tunc entries which cause no prejudice to any party; (3) void judgments; and (4) whenever circumstances transpire after the finality of the decision rendering its execution unjust and inequitable (Villa v. GSIS, G.R. No. 174642, October 31, 2009). The exception to the doctrine of immutability of judgment has been applied in several cases in order to serve substantial justice. The early case of City of Butuan vs. Ortiz, 113 Phil 636 (1961) is one where the Court held as follows:
Obviously a prevailing party in a civil action is entitled to a writ of execution of the final judgment obtained by him within five years from its entry (Section 443, Code of Civil Procedure). But it has been repeatedly held, and it is now well-settled in this jurisdiction, that when after judgment has been rendered and the latter has become final, facts and circumstances transpire which render its execution impossible or unjust, the interested party may ask the court to modify or alter the judgment to harmonize the same with justice and the facts (Molina vs. De la Riva, 8 Phil. 569; Behn, Meyer & Co. vs. McMicking, 11 Phil. 276; Warner, Barnes & Co. vs. Jaucian, 13 Phil. 4; Espiritu vs. Crossfield and Guash, 14 Phil. 588; Flor Mata vs. Lichauco and Salinas, 36 Phil. 809). In the instant case the respondent Cleofas alleged that subsequent to the judgment obtained by Sto. Domingo, they entered into an agreement which showed that he was no longer indebted in the amount claimed of P995, but in a lesser amount. Sto. Domingo had no right to an execution for the amount claimed by him (De la Costa vs. Cleofas, 67 Phil. 686-693).
Shortly after City of Butuan v. Ortiz, the case of Candelario v. Caizares, 114 Phil 672 (1962) was promulgated, where it was written that:
After a judgment has become final, if there is evidence of an event or circumstance which would affect or change the rights of the parties thereto, the court should be allowed to admit evidence of such new facts and circumstances, and thereafter suspend execution thereof and grant relief as the new facts and circumstances warrant. We, therefore, find that the ruling of the court declaring that the order for the payment of P40,000.00 is final and may not be reversed, is erroneous as above explained.
These rulings were reiterated in the cases of Abellana vs. Dosdos, 121 Phil 241 (1965). The City of Cebu vs. Mendoza 160 Phil. 869 (1975) and PCI Leasing and Finance, Inc. v Antonio Milan, G.R. No. 151215, April 5, 2010. In these cases, there were compelling circumstances which clearly warranted the exercise of the Court’s equity jurisdiction.



SHARED FROM  



Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 161282              February 23, 2011
FGU INSURANCE CORPORATION (Now BPI/MS INSURANCE CORPORATION), Petitioner,
vs.
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MAKATI CITY, BRANCH 66, and G.P. SARMIENTO TRUCKING CORPORATION,Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
MENDOZA, J.:
This is a petition for mandamus praying that the July 1, 2003 and November 3, 2003 orders 1 of the Regional Trial Court Branch 66, Makati City (RTC), which granted the Motion To Set Case For Hearing filed by private respondent G.P. Sarmiento Trucking Corporation (GPS), be set aside and, in lieu thereof, "a decision be rendered ordering the lower court to issue the Writ of Execution in Civil Case No. 94-3009 in consonance with the decision of this venerable court dated August 6, 2002."2
Records show that on June 18, 1994, GPS agreed to transport thirty (30) units of Condura S.D. white refrigerators in one of its Isuzu trucks, driven by Lambert Eroles (Eroles), from the plant site of Concepcion Industries, Inc. (CII) in Alabang, to the Central Luzon Appliances in Dagupan City. On its way to its destination, however, the Isuzu truck collided with another truck resulting in the damage of said appliances.
FGU Insurance Corporation (FGU), the insurer of the damaged refrigerators, paid CII, the insured, the value of the covered shipment in the sum of P204,450.00. FGU, in turn, as subrogee of the insured’s rights and interests, sought reimbursement of the amount it paid from GPS.
The failure of the GPS to heed FGU’s claim for reimbursement, led the latter to file a complaint for damages and breach of contract of carriage against the former and its driver, Eroles, with the RTC. During the hearing of the case, FGU presented evidence establishing its claim against GPS. For its part, GPS filed a motion to dismiss by way of demurrer to evidence, which was granted by the RTC.
The RTC ruled, among others, that FGU failed to adduce evidence that GPS was a common carrier and that its driver was negligent, thus, GPS could not be made liable for the damages of the subject cargoes. On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the ruling of the RTC. The case was then elevated to this Court. On August 6, 2002, the Court rendered a decision3 agreeing with the lower courts that GPS was not a common carrier but nevertheless held it liable under the doctrine of culpa contractual. Thus, the dispositive portion of the Court’s decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, the order, dated 30 April 1996, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, of Makati City, and the decision, dated 10 June 1999, of the Court of Appeals, are AFFIRMED only insofar as respondent Lambert M. Eroles is concerned, but said assailed order of the trial court and decision of the appellate court are REVERSED as regards G.P. Sarmiento Trucking Corporation which, instead, is hereby ordered to pay FGU Corporation the value of the damaged and lost cargoes in the amount of P204,450.00. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
On September 18, 2002, this Court denied GPS’ motion for reconsideration with finality.4 In due course, an entry of judgment5 was issued certifying that the August 6, 2002 decision of this Court became final and executory on October 3, 2002.
On October 14, 2002, FGU filed a motion for execution6 with the RTC praying that a writ of execution be issued to enforce the August 6, 2002 judgment award of this Court in the amount of P204,450.00.
On November 5, 2002, GPS filed its Opposition to Motion for Execution7 praying that FGU’s motion for execution be denied on the ground that the latter’s claim was unlawful, illegal, against public policy and good morals, and constituted unjust enrichment. GPS alleged that it discovered, upon verification from the insured, that after the insured’s claim was compensated in full, the insured transferred the ownership of the subject appliances to FGU. In turn, FGU sold the same to third parties thereby receiving and appropriating the consideration and proceeds of the sale. GPS believed that FGU should not be allowed to "doubly recover" the losses it suffered.
Thereafter, on January 13, 2003, GPS filed its Comment with Motion to Set Case for Hearing on the Merits.8
On July 1, 2003, the RTC issued an order granting GPS motion to set case for hearing. Its order, in its pertinent parts, reads:
X x x.
The defendant, however, contends that it has already turned over to the consignee the 30 refrigerator units subject[s] of the case. It also appears from the record that the Accounting/Administrative Manager of Concepcion Industries has executed a certification to the effect that the assured company has turned over the refrigerator units in question to plaintiff.
In view of the foregoing and considering that plaintiff may not be allowed to recover more than what it is entitled to, there is a need for the parties to clarify the following issues to allow a fair and judicious resolution of plaintiff’s motion for issuance of a writ of execution:




1) Was there an actual turn-over of 30 refrigerators to the plaintiff?
2) In the affirmative, what is the salvage value of the 30 refrigerators?

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders both parties to present evidence in support of their respective positions on these issues.
SO ORDERED.9 [Italicization in the original]
Upon denial of its motion for reconsideration, FGU filed this petition for mandamus directly with this Court on the following
GROUNDS

THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MAKATI CITY, BRANCH 66 UNLAWFULLY NEGLECTED THE PERFORMANCE OF ITS DUTY WHEN IT RE-OPENED A CASE, THE DECISION OF WHICH HAD ALREADY ATTAINED FINALITY.

THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MAKATI CITY, BRANCH 66 UNLAWFULLY NEGLECTED THE PERFORMANCE OF ITS MINISTERIAL DUTY WHEN IT DENIED THE ISSUANCE OF A WRIT OF EXECUTION.
In advocacy of its position, FGU argues that the decision is already final and executory and, accordingly, a writ of execution should issue. The lower court should not be allowed to hear the matter of turnover of the refrigerators to FGU because it was not an issue raised in the Answer of GPS. Neither was it argued by GPS in the CA and in this Court. It was only brought out after the decision became final and executory.
Indeed, a writ of mandamus lies to compel a judge to issue a writ of execution when the judgment had already become final and executory and the prevailing party is entitled to the same as a matter of right.10
Fundamental is the rule that where the judgment of a higher court has become final and executory and has been returned to the lower court, the only function of the latter is the ministerial act of carrying out the decision and issuing the writ of execution.11 In addition, a final and executory judgment can no longer be amended by adding thereto a relief not originally included. In short, once a judgment becomes final, the winning party is entitled to a writ of execution and the issuance thereof becomes a court's ministerial duty. The lower court cannot vary the mandate of the superior court or reexamine it for any other purpose other than execution; much less may it review the same upon any matter decided on appeal or error apparent; nor intermeddle with it further than to settle so much as has been demanded.12
Under the doctrine of finality of judgment or immutability of judgment, a decision that has acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable, and may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact and law, and whether it be made by the court that rendered it or by the Highest Court of the land. Any act which violates this principle must immediately be struck down.
But like any other rule, it has exceptions, namely: (1) the correction of clerical errors; (2) the so-called nunc pro tunc entries which cause no prejudice to any party; (3) void judgments; and (4) whenever circumstances transpire after the finality of the decision rendering its execution unjust and inequitable.13 The exception to the doctrine of immutability of judgment has been applied in several cases in order to serve substantial justice. The early case ofCity of Butuan vs. Ortiz14 is one where the Court held as follows:
Obviously a prevailing party in a civil action is entitled to a writ of execution of the final judgment obtained by him within five years from its entry (Section 443, Code of Civil Procedure). But it has been repeatedly held, and it is now well-settled in this jurisdiction, that when after judgment has been rendered and the latter has become final, facts and circumstances transpire which render its execution impossible or unjust, the interested party may ask the court to modify or alter the judgment to harmonize the same with justice and the facts (Molina vs. De la Riva, 8 Phil. 569; Behn, Meyer & Co. vs. McMicking, 11 Phil. 276; Warner, Barnes & Co. vs. Jaucian, 13 Phil. 4; Espiritu vs. Crossfield and Guash, 14 Phil. 588; Flor Mata vs. Lichauco and Salinas, 36 Phil. 809). In the instant case the respondent Cleofas alleged that subsequent to the judgment obtained by Sto. Domingo, they entered into an agreement which showed that he was no longer indebted in the amount claimed of P995, but in a lesser amount. Sto. Domingo had no right to an execution for the amount claimed by him.’ (De la Costa vs. Cleofas, 67 Phil. 686-693).
Shortly after City of Butuan v. Ortiz, the case of Candelario v. CaƱizares15 was promulgated, where it was written that:
After a judgment has become final, if there is evidence of an event or circumstance which would affect or change the rights of the parties thereto, the court should be allowed to admit evidence of such new facts and circumstances, and thereafter suspend execution thereof and grant relief as the new facts and circumstances warrant. We, therefore, find that the ruling of the court declaring that the order for the payment of P40,000.00 is final and may not be reversed, is erroneous as above explained.
These rulings were reiterated in the cases of Abellana vs. Dosdos,16 The City of Cebu vs. Mendoza17 and PCI Leasing and Finance, Inc. v Antonio Milan.18 In these cases, there were compelling circumstances which clearly warranted the exercise of the Court’s equity jurisdiction.1avvphil
In the case at bench, the Court agrees with the RTC that there is indeed a need to find out the whereabouts of the subject refrigerators. For this purpose, a hearing is necessary to determine the issue of whether or not there was an actual turnover of the subject refrigerators to FGU by the assured CII. If there was an actual turnover, it is very important to find out whether FGU sold the subject refrigerators to third parties and profited from such sale. These questions were brought about by the contention of GPS in its Opposition to Motion for Execution19 that after the assured, CII, was fully compensated for its claim on the damaged refrigerators, it delivered the possession of the subject refrigerators to FGU as shown in the certification of the Accounting/Administrative Manager of CII. Thereafter, the subject refrigerators were sold by FGU to third parties and FGU received and appropriated the consideration and proceeds of the sale. GPS claims that it verified the whereabouts of the subject refrigerators from the CII because it wanted to repair and sell them to compensate FGU.
If, indeed, there was an actual delivery of the refrigerators and FGU profited from the sale after the delivery, there would be an unjust enrichment if the realized profit would not be deducted from the judgment amount. "The Court is not precluded from rectifying errors of judgment if blind and stubborn adherence to the doctrine of immutability of final judgments would involve the sacrifice of justice for technicality."20
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Associate Justice
DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice
ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice
A T T E S T A T I O N
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Second Division
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson’s Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice

Footnotes




1 Rollo, pp. 34-35.
2 Id. at 23.
3 Id. at 37-47.
4 Id. at 48.
5 Id. at 49.
6 Id. at 51-53.
7 Id. at 54-56.
8 Id. at 57-60.
9 Id. at 35.
10 Gatmaytan v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 132856, August 28, 2006; and Gonzales v. Hon. Sayo, G.R. No. L-58407 May 30, 1983
11 Ruben Sia v. Erlinda Villanueva, G.R. No. 152921, October 9, 2006, 504 SCRA 43.
12 Tropical Homes v. Fortun, 251 Phil 83 (1989).
13 Villa v. GSIS, G.R. No. 174642, October 31, 2009.
14 113 Phil 636 (1961).
15 114 Phil 672 (1962).
16 121 Phil 241 (1965).
17 160 Phil. 869 (1975).
18 G.R. No. 151215, April 5, 2010.
19 Rollo, pp. 54-56.
20 Heirs of Maura So et. al. v. Lucila Jomoc Obliosca et. al., G.R. No. 147082, January 28, 2008.


SHARED FROM Chan Robles Virtual Law Library

G.R. No. 174542, August 03, 2015 - KAREN GO, Petitioner, v. LAMBERTO ECHAVEZ, Respondent.
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 174542, August 03, 2015
KAREN GOPetitionerv. LAMBERTO ECHAVEZRespondent.
D E C I S I O N
BRION, J.:
Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the March 30, 2006 Decision1 and August 15, 2006 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals3 (CA) in CA-G.R. No. SP No. 77310.

The assailed CA decision dismissed the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition4 under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, and ruled that Branch 39 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Misamis Oriental committed no grave abuse of discretion in: (i) granting the respondent's Motion for Execution, and in issuing the Writ of Execution on May 12, 2003; and (ii) denying the petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration5 on May 27, 2003. The challenged CA resolution, on the other hand, denied the petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration.


The Antecedents

Petitioner Karen Go (Go) is engaged in buying and selling motor vehicles and heavy equipment under the business name Kargo Enterprises (Kargo). Nick Carandang (Carandang) is Kargo's Manager at its General Santos City Branch.6redarclaw

On December 20, 1996, Kargo7 and Carandang entered into a Contract of Lease with Option to Purchase8 (lease contract) over a Fuso Dropside Truck (truck). The lease contract stipulated that Kargo would execute a Deed of Absolute Sale over the truck upon Carandang's full payment of five equal monthly installments of P78,710.75.9 If he failed to pay any of the installments, Carandang should return the truck and forfeit his payments as rentals. The lease contract also prohibited Carandang from assigning his rights, as lessee-buyer, to third persons.10redarclaw

Carandang failed to pay the installments11 prompting Go to demand the return of the truck.12Carandang, instead of returning the truck, sold it to respondent Lamberto Echavez (Echavez) without Go's knowledge. Later, Go learned about the sale but did not know to whom the truck was sold.13Hence, on April 30, 1997, Go filed before the RTC a Complaint14 for Replevin, docketed as Civil Case No. 97-271, against Carandang and John Doe.15

The RTC issued the Writ of Replevin; and on May 17, 1997, the sheriff seized the truck from Echavez.16redarclaw

On August 5, 1997, Echavez filed his Answer17 with Cross-Claim and Counterclaim. Echavez denied knowledge of the lease contract, and claimed that he bought the truck in good faith and for value from Kargo through Carandang.18 According to Echavez, Go could not deny Carandang's authority to sell Kargo's trucks because she represented to the public that Carandang was Kargo's manager.

In his counterclaim,19 Echavez alleged that from the time the truck was seized, he had missed many of his deliveries for his seeds and fertilizer business causing him actual damages in terms of unrealized income amounting to P10,000.00 per week. For his cross-claim, Echavez prayed that Carandang should be held liable if the RTC ruled in Go's favor.20redarclaw

Carandang, however, failed to answer the Complaint and the Cross-claim despite receipt of summonses. Hence, the RTC declared him in default.

After trial on the merits, the RTC held Go and Carandang solidarity liable to Echavez for damages. The RTC found that: (i) Echavez purchased the truck from Kargo, through Carandang, in good faith and for value; and (ii) Go is estopped from denying Carandang's authority to sell the truck. The dispositive portion of the February 11, 2000 Judgment reads:LawlibraryofCRAlaw

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing and considering the preponderance of evidence in favor of the defendant Lamberto Echavez, the complaint against him is hereby DISMISSED. Upon convincing proof of the counterclaim, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the plaintiff and defendant Nick Carandang to jointly and severally pay or indemnify herein defendant Lamberto Echavez of the following:LawlibraryofCRAlaw

  1. P10,000.00 per week as actual damages from the time the subject motor vehicle was seized from defendant Echavez, that is, on May 17, 1997;
  2. P300,000.00 by way of moral damages;chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
  3. P50,000.00 as exemplary damages;chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
  4. P50,000.00 as litigation expenses and P50,000.00 as attorney's fees, exclusive of the sum of P3,000.00 as appearance fee for every hearing. The damages and attorney's fees awarded by the Court is pursuant to the ruling by  the  Supreme  Court  in National  Power Corporation vs. CA, GR#  122195, July 23, 1998; and to restitute unto defendant Lamberto Echavez the motor vehicle seized on replevin or to refund to the said defendant, the payment made for the said vehicle and to pay the costs. [Emphasis supplied.]
On February 29, 2000, Go moved for reconsideration arguing that the RTC failed to consider the Lease Contract, and that the actual damages awarded to Echavez were not supported by evidence.21redarclaw

On April 17, 2000, the RTC granted in part Go's Motion for Reconsideration holding Carandang liable to Go for the truck's value22 plus damages. The RTC, however, maintained that Echavez is entitled to his counterclaim.23 Thus, the April 17, 2000 Order preserved the dispositive portion of the February 11, 2000 Judgment but added a new paragraph ordering Carandang to pay Go damages, litigation expenses, and attorney's fees.24redarclaw

On April 25, 2000, Go appealed the Judgment to the CA, docketed as C.A. G.R. No. CV-68814.

Meanwhile, on Echavez's motion, the RTC allowed partial execution of the Judgment pending appeal.Thus, on May 5, 2000, Go delivered to Echavez another truck as substitute for the truck previously seized.25redarclaw

On June 4, 2002, CA. G.R. No. CV-68814 was dismissed since Go had failed to serve and file the required number of copies of her appellant's brief.26 Go moved for reconsideration, but the CA denied her motion. Thus, on October 2, 2002, the CA entered in its book of entries the dismissal of CA. G.R. No. CV-68814.27

On April 8, 2003, Echavez moved for execution of the RTC's Judgment. Before the RTC could act on the Motion for Execution, Go filed a Motion for Clarification28 alleging that the P10,000.00 per week award: (i) will roughly amount to P1,600,000.00, which is more than double the truck's value; (ii) erroneously assumed that the truck was "continually (sic) hired and running without maintenance for a period of nearly three years"; (iii) "is not an 'actual' damage;" and (iv) is inequitable, highly speculative, and will unjustly enrich Echavez. Pending clarification, Go prayed that the RTC hold the issuance of the writ of execution.

Echavez opposed Go's motion for being dilatory.

In her Reply with Manifestation,29 Go argued that the February 11, 2000 Judgment, as modified by the April 17, 2000 Order, is unenforceable because it contains materially conflicting rulings. Go argues that since the RTC held Carandang liable on the lease contract, it also upheld the provision30 prohibiting Carandang from assigning his rights to third persons. In effect, the RTC invalidated Carandang's transfer of the truck to Echavez and recognized Go's ownership. Thus, the counterclaim should be dismissed because Go, as owner, had the right to recover the truck from Echavez.

On May 12, 2003, RTC Judge Downey C. Valdevilla denied Go's Motion for Clarification and Manifestation, and issued the Writ of Execution. Go moved for reconsideration, but the RTC denied her motion.

On June 4, 2003, Go filed with the CA a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction & Temporary Restraining Order alleging that the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in executing a Judgment that: (i) contains materially conflicting rulings; and (ii) will result in Echavez's unjust enrichment. Go prayed that the CA stop the RTC from implementing the Writ of Execution.

The CA's Decision

In its Decision dated March 30, 2006, the CA denied Go's petition for certiorari.

The CA ruled that the RTC's Judgment does not contain materially conflicting rulings. Go merely failed to grasp the correctness of the ruling.31redarclaw

The CA reminded Go that in the main case, she sued two defendants: (i) Carandang, in his capacity as buyer of the truck; and (ii) Echavez, as possessor and owner of the truck.32 According to the CA, the RTC can give due course to the complaint against Carandang and dismiss it in so far as Echavez is concerned.33  This is because, unlike Carandang, Echavez successfully proved his defense and counterclaim.34 Considering that there is nothing to clarify, the RTC's execution of Judgment did not constitute abuse, much less grave abuse of discretion.

The CA opined that the award of P10,000.00 per week as actual damages is exorbitant. However, it admitted that its opinion no longer matters because the Judgment had already become final.

Go moved for reconsideration, but the CA denied her motion.


The Petition for Review on Certiorari

Go claims that the RTC decided the case contrary to law, jurisprudence, and regular procedure calling for the exercise of this Court's power of supervision.35 She argues that:LawlibraryofCRAlaw

  1. The February 11, 2000 Judgment, modified by the April 17, 2000 Order, did not finally resolve or dispose of the action because the RTC made two conflicting rulings which, unless clarified, renders the Judgment unenforceable.36redarclaw
  2. An execution of the award of actual damages, amounting to P10,000.00 per week from May 17, 1997, will amount to an unjust enrichment of the respondent.37

Thus, Go prays, among others, that this Court: (i) set aside the RTC's Judgment dated February 11, 2000, and its Order dated April 17, 2000; (ii) nullify all proceedings in respect to the execution in Civil Case No. 97-271; (iii) declare Go not liable on Echavez's counterclaim.38redarclaw


The Case for the Respondent

Echavez claims that the RTC's Judgment does not contain materially conflicting rulings, hence, there is nothing to clarify.39 According to Echavez, the present petition should be dismissed because it seeks the "recalibration" of the RTC's findings of fact and law.40 Echavez points out that this Court is not a trier of facts, and that a petition for certiorari cannot substitute for a lost appeal.41redarclaw

The Issues Raised

The parties' arguments, properly joined, present to us the following issues:LawlibraryofCRAlaw

1) Whether the February 11, 2000 judgment, as modified by the April 27, 2000 order, contains materially conflicting rulings.

2) Whether the actual damages awarded to Echavez can still be modified.


The Court's Ruling




We deny the petition for lack of merit.

The Judgment does not
contain materially
conflicting rulings


We are not persuaded by Go's claim that the Judgment, as modified by the April 17, 2000 Order, contains two materially conflicting rulings.

Go has read too many assumptions in the April 17, 2000 Order. The RTC never invalidated the sale between Carandang and Echavez; it simply recognized Carandang's obligations to Go for breach of contract. The lease contract bound only Go and Carandang because Echavez was found to be a buyer in good faith and for value.

The flaw in Go's argument springs from her misconception that Echavez's counterclaim is a component part of the main action. The Rules of Court define a counterclaim as any claim which a defending party may have against an opposing party.42 Sec. 1, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court also states that the term "plaintiff may refer to the counterclaimant or cross-claimant while the term "defendant" may refer to the defendant in the counterclaim, or in the cross-claim. Thus, when Echavez filed his Counterclaim in Civil Case No. 97-271, he became the plaintiff in the counterclaim, while Go became the defendant.

We also note that Go's complaint against Carandang is separate from the complaint against Echavez because they were not sued as alternative defendants. As the CA correctly put it, Carandang was sued based on the lease contract; while Echavez was impleaded as possessor of the truck.

In effect, there are four causes of action in Civil Case No. 97-271: first, Go's complaint against Carandang based on the Lease Contract; second, Go's complaint against Echavez, as possessor of the truck; third, Echavez's counterclaim against Go; and fourth, Echavez's cross-claim against Carandang.

Considering that the four causes of action are independent from each other, the RTC can grant Go's complaint against Carandang but dismiss that against Echavez, and at the same time, grant Echavez's counterclaim and cross-claim against Go and Carandang, respectively. These rulings are not incompatible with one another.

What would be incompatible is a decision favoring Go's complaint against Echavez, and at the same time awarding the latter's counterclaim. This is because Echavez's counterclaim is compulsory in character, or one that arises as a consequence of the main action. Thus, had Go's case against Echavez been sustained, it would mean that Go was entitled to the possession of the truck and that its seizure could not have injured Echavez. That is not the case here.

The February 11, 2000 Judgment

had attained finality and had
become Immutable


To "clarify" is to free the mind of confusion, doubt or uncertainty, or to make something understandable.43 Although Go prays for "clarification," We note that her objective is to petition this Court to modify the judgment award and ultimately, to nullify or at least, reopen Civil Case No. 97-271.

We point at the outset that the February 11, 2000 Judgment, as modified by the April 27, 2000 Order, became final and executory on June 19, 2015, or 15 days following the dismissal of C.A. G.R. No. CV-68814.44 At that point, the Judgment had become immutable, and hence could no longer be changed, revised, amended, or reversed.45redarclaw

The rule, however, admits exceptions: first, the correction of clerical errors; second, the making of nunc pro tunc entries which causes no prejudice to any party; third, an attack against a void judgment; and.fourth and last, supervening events that render execution unjust and inequitable.46redarclaw

Clerical errors cover all errors, mistakes, or omissions47 that result in the record's failure to correctly represent the court's decision.48 However, courts are not authorized to add terms it never adjudged, nor enter orders it never made, although it should have made such additions or entered such orders.49redarclaw

In other words, to be clerical, the error or mistake must be plainly due to inadvertence or negligence.50Examples of clerical errors include the interchange of the words "mortgagor" and "mortgagee,"51 and the correction of the dispositive portion to read "heirs of Joaquin Avendafio" instead of "heirs of Isabela Avendano."52redarclaw

Nunc pro tunc is Latin for "now for then." Its purpose is to put on record an act which the court performed, but omitted from the record through inadvertence or mistake.53 It is neither intended to render a new judgment nor supply the court's inaction.54 In other words, a nunc pro tunc entry may be used to make the record speak the truth, but not to make it speak what it did not speak but ought to have spoken.55redarclaw

A void judgment or order has no legal and binding effect. It does not divest rights and no rights can be obtained under it; all proceedings founded upon a void judgment are equally worthless.56redarclaw

Void judgments, because they are legally nonexistent,57 are susceptible to collateral attacks. A collateral attack is an attack, made as an incident in another action, whose purpose is to obtain a different relief. In other words, a party need not file an action to purposely attack a void judgment; he may attack the void judgment as part of some other proceeding. A void judgment or order is a lawless thing, which can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever and whenever it exhibits its head.58Thus, it can never become final, and could be assailed at any time.

Nevertheless, this Court has laid down a stiff requirement to collaterally overthrow a judgment. In the case of Reyes, et al. v. Datu,59 We ruled that it is not enough for the party seeking the nullity to show a mistaken or erroneous decision; he must show to the court that the judgment complained of is utterly void.60 In short, the judgment must be void upon its face.61redarclaw

Supervening events, on the other hand, are circumstances that transpire after the decision's finality rendering the execution of the judgment unjust and inequitable.62 It includes matters that the parties were not aware of prior to or during the trial because such matters were not yet in existence at the time.63 In such cases, courts are allowed to suspend execution, admit evidence proving the event or circumstance, and grant relief as the new facts and circumstances warrant.64redarclaw

To successfully stay or stop the execution of a final judgment, the supervening event: (i) must have altered or modified the parties' situation as to render execution inequitable, impossible, or unfair;65 and (ii) must be established by competent evidence; otherwise, it would become all too easy to frustrate the conclusive effects of a fined and immutable judgment.66redarclaw

The award can no longer be

modified because it is not covered
by any of the exceptions


The challenged award is not a clerical error because it is exactly what Echavez prayed for.

In his counterclaim, Echavez alleged that he suffered actual losses "in the amount of not less than P10,000.00 weekly in terms of unrealized income reckoned from the time the truck was seized by the sheriff."67 During trial, Echavez offered documentary exhibits68 to prove such losses; and the RTC, in turn, admitted those pieces of evidence,69 ruling that "it cannot help but agree with defendant Echavez that he has suffered actual loss of income." Obviously, there was no inadvertence, mistake, nor omission here.

nunc pro tunc entry cannot be recognized in this case.

Go argues that, in granting the award, the RTC assumed that the vehicle was hired and was continually running for three years, which is contrary to the normal usage and practice in the transport industry. We note that "normal usage and practice in the transport industry" is a not matter adjudged in the original decision. Thus, had Go's motion been granted, the RTC would have required the parties to prove what consists "normal usage and practice in the transport industry." Such modification is not nunc pro tuncbecause it supplies findings of facts and law not included in the original judgment.

Moreover, a nunc pro tunc entry should cause no prejudice to either party. Apparently, the diminution of the award is prejudicial to Echavez because he would be deprived of a right already vested in him by the Judgment.

Neither does the award render the judgment void.

Go failed to prove that the judgment is utterly void. On the contrary, the judgment has complied with all the requisites of a valid decision70 and has fully satisfied the requirements of due process.71redarclaw

Go insists, however, that this Court should take a second look at the propriety of the award because it would result in Echavez's unjust enrichment. This, we cannot do.

We agree with the CA that some might opine the award to be exorbitant. However, variance in opinion does not render the award wrong, much less void. Considering that the judgment is already final, it may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law, and regardless of whether the modification is attempted by the court that rendered it or by the highest Court of [the] land.72redarclaw

Lastly, Go did not allege in her petition, much less establish by competent evidence, that the parties' situation changed after the judgment became final.

Nonetheless, we note that during the judgment's partial execution, Go delivered to Echavez another truck as replacement for the one previously seized. To our mind, this event did not change the situation of the parties because: (i) the restitution of the truck is a separate award from the actual damages; and (ii) Echavez's receipt of the replacement truck did not recompense him for the unrealized income he suffered since May 17, 1997.

We realize, however, that while the Judgment specifies the day Go must begin paying Echavez PI0,000.00 per week, it does not say until when she is obligated to pay.73redarclaw

This Court puts on record that Go never alleged that the award is vague for this reason. Instead, her Motion for Clarification argues that "a rough computation of the [award] will amount to more than One Million Six Hundred Thousand Pesos" and that the amount "assumes that the vehicle is continually hired and running without maintenance for a period of three years." These arguments show that even Go understood the meaning of the award— that the PI0,000.00 per week covers only three years, or 156 weeks counted from May 17, 1997, up to May 5, 2000.

In any case, what is clear to us is that Go never introduced any competent evidence to prove that the RTC executed the judgment unreasonably or to the point of absurdity.

Considering that there is no issue affecting the Judgment, Echavez is entitled to a writ of execution as a matter of right.74 Accordingly, the RTC did not commit abuse, much less grave abuse of discretion in issuing the writ of execution, and in denying Go's Motion for Clarification and Manifestation.

Finally, we note that Go's petition for certiorari was filed on June 4, 2003. Had it been filed after A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC75 came into effect, the CA would have been constrained to rule on whether the petition for certiorari was prosecuted manifestly for delay or was too unsubstantial to require consideration.76 In these instances, the CA might have ordered Go and his counsel to pay treble costs. As a word of caution, lawyers should study their grounds carefully, lest they waste the precious time of the courts.

WHEREFORE, in the light of these considerations, we hereby DENY the petition and AFFIRM in toto the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 30, 2006, and the Resolution dated August 15, 2006, in CA-G.R. No. SP No. 77310. Costs against petitioner Karen Go.

SO ORDERED.

Carpio, (Chairperson), Del Castillo, Mendoza, and Leonen, JJ., concur.
Endnotes:

1 Penned by Associate Justice Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores and concurred in by Associate Justice Rodrigo F. Lim, Jr. and Associate Justice Ramon R. Garcia; rollo, p. 35.

2 Id. at 64.

3 The 21st Division of the Court of Appeals.

4 With prayer for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order; rollo, p. 136.

5 Motion for Reconsideration is dated May 12, 2003; id. at 35.

6 Id. at 114-115.

7 Glenn Go, the husband of the petitioner and the General Manager of Kargo, executed the Lease With Option to Purchase; id. at 72.

8 Id. at 83-84.

9 Carandang issued five postdated checks beginning January 30, 1997, in accordance with Par. 3 of the lease contract; id. at 83.

10 Id. at 84.

11 The first check was dishonored for being Drawn Against Uncollected Deposits, but was later redeemed by Carandang by paying its face value in cash. The second and third checks were later dishonored for reason — Account Closed; id. at 104.

12 Id. at 89.

13 Id. at 74.

14 The Complaint was for Replevin and/or Collection of Sum of Money with Damages; id. at 71.

15 Id. at 72.

16 Id. at 105.

17 Id. at 90.

18 Id.

19 Id. at 95.

20 Id. at 93.

21 Id. at 20.

22 The lease contract's consideration is P393,553.75; id. at 122.

23 Id. at 121-22.

24 Id. at 122.

25 Id. at 43.

26 RULES OF COURT, Rule 50, Sec. 1, par (e); id. at 43.

27 Id. at 44.

28 Entitled "Motion for Clarification of Decision with Prayer to Hold in Abeyance Issuance of Writ of Execution;" id. at 124.

29 Id. at 127.

30 Par. 8 of the Lease Agreement with Option to Purchase states "The LESSEE-BUYER shall not assign any of his right (sic) under this agreement to any third person[.] [A]ny such assignment made by Lessee-Buyer shall be null and void;" id. at 83.

31 Id. at 46.

32 Id. at 45.

33 Id. at 46.

34 Id.

35 Id. at 23.

36 Id. at 25.

37 Id. at 159.

38 Id. at 30.

39 Id. at 159.

40 Id. at 127.

41 Id. at 158.

42 RULES OF COURT, Rule 6, Sec. 6.

43 "Clarify" Def. 3a. 3b. Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary 1993. Print.

44 If no appeal or motion for new trial or reconsideration is filed within the time provided in these Rules, the judgment or final order shall forthwith be entered by the clerk in the book of entries of judgments. The date of finality of the judgment or final order shall be deemed to be the date of its entry. RULES Of Court, Rule 36, Sec. 2.

45Navarro v. Metrobank, 612 Phil 462, 471 (2009).

46Abrigo v. Flores, G.R. No. 160786, June 17, 2013, 698 SCRA 559, 570-571

47 Id.

48 Id.

49 Id.

50Contreras v. Felix, 78 Phil. 570, 574 (1947).

51Rebuldela v. IAC, 239 Phil. 487, 494 (1987).

52Municipality of Antipolo v. Zapanta, 230 Phil 429 (1986).

53Briones-Vasquez v. Court of Appeals, 491 Phil. 81, 92 (2005).

54Mocorro v. Ramirez, 582 Phil 367 (2008).

55Supra note 53.

56Gomez v. Conception, 47 Phil. 722 (1925).

57Land Bank v. Spouses Orilla, G.R. No. 194168, February 13, 2013, 690 SCRA 610, 619.

58El Banco Espanol-Filipino v. Palanca, 37 Phil. 921, 950 (1918).

59Reyes, et al. v. Datu, 94 Phil. 446, 449 (1954).

60 Emphasis and rephrasing ours.

61 See Justice Malcolm's dissent in Banco Espanol-Filipino v. Palanca, 37 Phil. 921, 950 (1918).

62FGU Insurance Corp. v. Sarmiento Trucking, G.R. No. 161282, February 23, 2011, 644 SCRA

63Natalia Realty, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 126462, November 12, 2002, 391 SCRA 370,

64Candelario v. Caizares, 114 Phil 672, 679 (1962), citing City of Butuan vs. Hon. Judge Montano Ortiz, 113 Phil 636 (1961).

65Supra note 46.

66 Id.

67Rollo p. 95.

68 To prove that defendant Echavez suffered actual loss in terms of unrealized income in the amount of P10,000.00 weekly, he offered (sic) and which was admitted by the court as Exhibits "24" to "24-00," which loss of unrealized income was the result of the seizure of the vehicle in question; id. at 112.

69Rollo, p. 112.

70 CONSTITUTION Article VIII, Sec. 14 states "No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based, x x x;" RULES OF COURT, Rule 36, Sec. 1. Rendition of judgments and final orders. A judgment or final order determining

the merits of the case shall be in writing personally and directly prepared by the judge, stating clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based, signed by him, and filed with the clerk of court.

71Due process dictates that before any decision can be validly rendered in a case, the following safeguards must be met: (a) the court or tribunal must be clothed with judicial authority to hear and determine the matter before it; (b) it must have jurisdiction over the person of the party or over the property subject of the controversy; (c) the parties thereto must have been given an opportunity to adduce evidence in their behalf, and (d) such evidence must be considered by the tribunal in deciding the case; Acosta v. COMELEC, 355 Phil. 327 (1998).

72Nunal v. CA, G.R. No. 94005, April 6, 1993, 221 SCRA 26, 32.

73 P10,000.00 per week as actual damages from the time the subject motor vehicle was seized from defendant Echavez, that is on May 17, 1997; rollo pp. 119 and 123.

74 See Balintawak Construction Supply Corp. v. Valenzuela, L-57525, August 30, 1983, 124 SCRA 331,366.

75 Amendments to Rules 41, 45, 58 And 65 of the Rules Of Court; took effect on December 27, 2007.

76 Sec.8. x x x the court may dismiss the petition if it finds the same patently without merit or prosecuted manifestly for delay, or if the questions raised therein are too unsubstantial to require consideration. In such event, the court may award in favor of the respondent treble costs solidarity against the petitioner and counsel, in addition to subjecting counsel to administrative sanctions under Rules 139 and 139-B of the Rules of Court; id.
G.R. No. 174542, August 03, 2015 - KAREN GO, Petitioner, v. LAMBERTO ECHAVEZ, Respondent.







JUDGE ELIZA B. YU, LLM, DCL


Judge Eliza B. Yu, LLM, DCL was a consistent honor pupil and honor student from elementary to college (1983 -1994, 1999, 2011) who won several quiz bees and academic contests in History or General Information, also from elementary to college. She was a two-time Christian Living Awardee (1987 - 1988). During her high school days, she was a recipient of an On the Spot Painting Champion award and an Outstanding Athlete award for Chess and Table Tennis. She was a Palarong Pambansa (National Games) Gold Medalist in Chess who won all her chess matches in 1992. Her National College Entrance Examinations (NCEE) Rating was 95% taken in September, 1992 as a high school student of Sacred Heart College in her hometown Catbalogan (now a City), Samar, also the same hometown of a legal luminary Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura of the Supreme Court, whom she has taken her oath of office as a Metropolitan Trial Court Judge in 2010. Her poems "Colored Sun" and "Miss and Run" were published by a college school paper U.P. Vista. She did not pay tuition fees and miscellaneous fees as Department of Interior and Local Government scholar during college days. As a founding President of U.P. 1300, the first and only student-operated canteen in the University of the Philippine system-wide with a start-up capital of P2,000 borrowed from the U.P. faculty’s cooperative, she donated a hexagonal waiting shed to the school.


In 2004, her I.Q. was 112 (Above Average) with remarks that most of her cognitive skills are above par administered by the National Institute of Mental Health in Mandaluyong City. As of 2011, her I.Q. was 120 which means that the testee is brighter than 91% of the population.

As a legal scholar, she graduated cum laude for her doctorate degree at the University of Santo Tomas in 2011 after receiving the Achiever's Award as a Presiding Judge in 2010. She became the youngest Criminal Law Reviewer and Remedial Law Reviewer of the Philippines in 2011. She was a 4th placer in the 12th PHILJA Pre-judicature Written Exams with a grade of 88% in 2007.

As a legal writer, she authored thirty – two (32) legal articles published by The Lawyers Review with National and International Subscription.

As a law book author, Centralbooks published her twelve (12) law books namely Fundamentals of the 1987 Philippine Constitution: Volume 1 and Volume 2, Conspectus of Civil Procedure, Evidence, The Basics of Criminal Procedure, Summary Procedure from the Bench, Criminal Quester & Reviewer, Compendium of Legal Treatises 1, Compendium of Legal Treatises 2, So You Want to Sue a Judge? The Philippine New Code of Judicial Conduct of 2004, Actions on Recovery of Possessions and A Primer on Barangay Justice with ADR Law within a span of 6 years.


As a public servant, she was given the rare opportunity to serve in the three branches of the Philippine government which are the Legislative Department (as an elected S.K. Chairperson), the Executive Department (as an appointed Public Attorney in the National Capital Region and as a Public Prosecutor in Manila City) and the Judicial Department (as an appointed Judge in the Metropolitan Manila).

In 2003, she was the youngest public attorney in the Philippines to handle heinous crime court in Manila City. She acquitted over 100 detention prisoners in drugs courts after the prosecution rested the cases in 2 years.

In 2007, she was the youngest Manila Public Prosecutor at the time of appointment. As an investigating prosecutor, she mediated over 50 cases resulting to dismissal of cases during the preliminary investigation in 2 years. She convicted over 100 accused involving petty crimes in 2 years. She has no pending case for resolution from the start of her employment in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila City under the Department of Justice until her transfer to the judiciary.

In 2010, she was the youngest METC Judge at the time of the appointment.

As an incumbent METC Judge, she is a record holder of the most number of disposed criminal and civil cases totaling to 1,549 within a year without a branch clerk of court and a legal researcher in the Philippines from April, 2010 to April, 2011.



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