[ G.R. No. 3378, December 05, 1907 ]
JOSE CASTAÑO, ATTORNEY IN FACT OF JOSE FERNANDEZ, PETITIONER, VS. CHARLES S. LOBINGIER, JUDGE OF FIRST INSTANCE OF THE TWELFTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT, AND MANUEL ARAUJO, RESPONDENTS.
D E C I S I O N
The question involved in this original action pending in this court is whether or not the judge of First Instance of Leyte had jurisdiction, or if in the exercise of his office he exceeded his authority in admitting and granting the special remedy of certiorari against the justice of the peace of Manila, as well as when issuing a preliminary injunction directing that Jose" Castaño and the sheriff of Leyte desist and abstain from performing any act tending to enforce the decision rendered by the said justice of the peace against the defendant in the oral action, Manuel Araujo, who is the plaintiff in the said certiorari and preliminary injunction proceedings.
The bases of the decision of November 30, 1906, overruling the demurrer, are taken as reproduced herein, and notwithstanding the allegations set forth by the defendants in their answers, we consider that the special remedy of prohibition, according to section 516, in connection with section 226 of the Code of Civil Procedure, should be granted, inasmuch as under the provisions of the last part of section 163 of said code a judge of First Instance may only grant a preliminary injunction in an action pending in the district in which he has original jurisdiction.
This same limitation is logically inferred from the wording of the said section 226 of the above-named code; therefore the inferior tribunal, corporation, board, or person, whether exercising functions, judicial or ministerial, to which said section refers, shall be taken to have been within and under the jurisdiction of the court which, according to law, must grant the remedy against abuse or extralimitation.
If a Court of First Instance lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal from an action in a court of a justice of the peace of another judicial district, different from the district wherein the Court of First Instance exercises its functions, he can hardly have authority and jurisdiction to issue writs granting special remedies, and much less to review the action and vacate the judgment rendered therein by a justice of the peace who is outside of the limits of his district.
Within the present system of judicial organization and of the administration of justice there exist grades, instances, and recourses, with method and legal order in the use of the same, and limits or judicial demarcation within which each judge or tribunal shall exercise its functions.
A serious confusion would be caused in the administration of justice, and the effects thereof would be prejudicial to public and private interests, if any litigant were allowed to arbitrarily interpose proceedings and obtain remedies against decisions or proceedings which he considered to be injurious to his rights, before any judge or tribunal not previously designated by the law, which has expressly defined the nature, conditions, extent, and limits of the respective jurisdiction of each judge or tribunal in its different grades.
The question as to whether the justice of the peace of Manila could lawfully hear a complaint filed against a resident of Tacloban, capital of Leyte, is quite different from the question whether the Court of First Instance of said province has jurisdiction and may legally suspend the proceedings for the execution of a judgment rendered by the said justice of the peace of Manila, and thereafter review the said judgment by means of certiorari.
Even though the justice of the peace of Manila had no authority or jurisdiction to hear and decide a complaint regarding the collection of a debt against a resident of Tacloban, it does not follow from this that the judge of First Instance of Leyte had jurisdiction to prevent the execution of a judgment in the manner and by the means stated above.
The fact that the defendant was a resident of Tacloban did not give the judge of First Instance of Leyte jurisdiction or authority to obstruct the enforcement of a judgment of the justice of the peace of Manila, and much less to review it.
The defense of the right appertaining to the defendant, by reason of his residence, should be made by means of a plea questioning the competency of the judge before whom the matter is heard; after the decision has been rendered the question of competency can not be raised.
In the Code of Civil Procedure, when treating of the place wherein actions or complaints may be filed, the provisions of the same are not limited to such actions as are filed with Courts of First Instance only; they establish general rules for all kinds of actions and trials without expressly excluding oral proceedings.
An action is instituted upon an oral complaint just the same as upon a regular complaint filed with the Court of First Instance, and when the law makes no distinction between actions it is not permissible to limit the provisions of section 377 of the code to ordinary actions.
Any citizen who resides in this Archipelago and institutes a personal action is, in the litigation, subject to the laws and to the jurisdiction of the courts of different grades established for the administration of justice under the provisions of section 377 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the pertinent part of which is of the following tenor:
"And all actions not herein otherwise provided for may be brought in any province where the defendant or any necessary party defendant may reside or be found, or in any province where the plaintiff or one of the plaintiffs resides, at the election of the plaintiff, except in cases where other special provision is made in this code."
All questions raised upon such points by reason of an oral action should have been decided, within the jurisdiction of such court by the judge of First Instance or other tribunal upon whom the duty is imposed by law.
The judge of First Instance of Leyte is not the one designated, by the law to decide either the question of jurisdiction or to amend or correct an error committed by the justice of the peace of Manila; this power is conferred upon the judge of First Instance (of Manila), his immediate superior in rank in the judiciary.
The defendant Araujo, after having been arraigned in the court of the, justice of the peace of Manila, had the right to contest the jurisdiction of the justice of the peace of that city, and to appeal from any decision denying such right and also from any judgment entered in the oral proceedings, such being the easy, speedy, and adequate remedy in the premises; but the law does not authorize him to avail himself of an,y of the special remedies before a Court of First Instance of a district other than that of the justice of the peace before whom he was arraigned because this would be to encourage disorder and confusion in the work of the courts.
For the reasons above set forth, it is our opinion that it should be held: That there was no legal reason for granting the petition of Manuel Araujo, and that, in consequence, the preliminary injunction should be, and is hereby, set aside, as well as the remedy of certiorari granted by the judge of First Instance of Leyte, and that he be ordered to desist and refrain absolutely from all further proceedings in the matter above referred to. So ordered.
Arellano, C. J., and Mapa, J., concur.Johnson, Willard, and Tracey, JJ., dissent.
I concur in the result.
Counsel for the respondents insists that the relator is without legal capacity to sue out the writ prayed for, because, under the provisions of section 114 of the Code of Civil Procedure, "every action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest" and in this proceeding the plaintiff appears as Jose Castaño, apoderado de Don Jose Fernandez (Jose" Castaño, agent, with power of attorney from Jose Fernandez).
This court has never been called upon to decide whether the prosecution of an action by an agent, with power of attorney from his principal (a proper and usual mode of procedure under the Spanish code), has been abolished by the new Code of Civil Procedure; nor is it necessary to decide this question at this time. In the proceedings in the Court of First Instance which the relator seeks to prohibit, the relator was made one of the defendants, and is therein entitled Jose Castaño, apoderado de Don Jose Fernandez, and in the course of the proceedings in the said Court of First Instance, a preliminary injunction was granted against the defendants, including the relator, Jose" Castaño, apoderado de Dow Jose Fernandez; there is no merit in the contention of the respondents in this action that the relator, Jose Castaño, apoderado de Don Jose Fernandez, who was cited and compelled to appear in the court below, and against whom a preliminary injunction was issued, and against whom certiorari proceedings are still pending, has no capacity to appear in this court to pray that all these proceedings had in the court below be set aside and further proceedings prohibited.
It is Jose Castaño, apoderado de Don Jose Fernandez, the defendant in the proceedings below, and it is Jos6 Castaño, apoderado de Don Jose Fernandez, against whom a preliminary injunction was issued, and no other, who is relator in this action, and it can not be said that it appears on the face of the record that Jose Castaño, apoderado de Don Jos6 Fernandez, is not the real party in interest in this action, nor can the respondents herein be heard to maintain such a contention.
The complaint in the court below in the clearest and most unequivocal terms prays for a writ of certiorari from the judge of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, in the Twelfth Judicial District, to the justice of the peace of the city of Manila, in the judicial district of Manila, and a preliminary injunction in aid thereof; it concludes in the following language:
"In consideration of what has been set out, the court is prayed
"(a) That it order the defendant, the justice of the peace of the city of Manila, that he remit to this court the original record of the said action, at a time and place to be determined by the court, and that the defendants desist from all proceedings in the said action;
"(b) That the said judgment of the justice of the peace of the city of Manila be definitely suspended and annulled;
"(c) That the defendants be required to pay the costs of these proceedings, granting to the plaintiff such other legal remedy as the court may deem proper."
Upon presentation of this complaint, the judge of the court below granted a preliminary injunction, directed to the justice of the peace of the city of Manila, the sheriff of the Province of Leyte, and Jose Castaño, apoderado de Don Jose Fernandez, the relator in this action, enjoining all proceedings on their part looking to the execution of the judgment entered in the court of the justice of the peace of the city of Manila.
This action is instituted in this court for the purpose of securing the issuance of a writ of prohibition to the respondents, prohibiting further proceedings in the Court of First Instance of Leyte upon said complaint, and seeking the annulment of the order granting the temporary injunction.
The record upon which the case is submitted is not satisfactory. No evidence was taken, and we have before us only the petition and answer, and what appears to be the original record in the proceedings in the court below which it is sought to prohibit. It does not clearly appear how this record was brought here; but since counsel for respondents prayed for an extension of twenty days before filing their answer, for the purpose of securing this record, and appear to have filed it with their answer, and since counsel, in oral argument, treated this original record of the inferior court as of record in this case, we think we are justified in treating it as documentary evidence submitted at the hearing without objection by either party.
In conformity with the opinion filed by Mr. Justice Torres, I am of opinion that the judge of the Court of First Instance of the Twelfth District had no jurisdiction to entertain a complaint seeking a remedy by certiorari against proceedings had in the court of the justice of the peace of the city of Manila, that court not being within the Twelfth Judicial District. The jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari is conferred upon judges of Courts of First Instance in the provisions of subsection 7 of section 56, Act No. 136, which read as follows:
"7. Said courts and their judges, or any of them, shall have power to issue writs of injunction, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition, quo warranto, and habeas corpus in their respective provinces and districts, in the manner provided in the Code of Civil Procedure."
It will be seen that jurisdiction in such cases is expressly limited to the respective provinces and districts of the judge issuing such writs, and it is hardly necessary to add that, if there is no jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari, there can be no jurisdiction to issue a preliminary injunction ancillary thereto.
But counsel for the respondents deny that "the preliminary injunction was in any way connected with any writ of certiorari, or that it was in any way based on section 217 of the Code of Civil Procedure," and allege that, "on the contrary, said injunction was granted solely and exclusively in exercise of the jurisdiction conferred by sections 163 and 164 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and was not granted until it was established to the satisfaction of the principal defendant that the denial of such relief would probably work injustice to the plaintiff, as mentioned in said section 164;" and they further deny "that any such writ (writ of certiorari) was ever obtained, granted, or issued, and state that,.on the contrary, the principal defendant (the judge of the Court of First Instance) positively and expressly refused to issue such writ."
Sections 163 and 164 of the Code of Civil Procedure are as follows:
"SEC. 163. Who may grant an injunction. A preliminary injunction may be granted by any judge of the Supreme Court in any action pending in tlie Supreme Court or in a Court of the First Instance of any province in the Islands. It may also be granted by a judge of a Court of First Instance in an action pending in the district in which he has original jurisdiction.
"SEC. 164. Circumstances under which a preliminary injunction, may be granted. A preliminary injunction may be granted when it is established, in the manner hereinafter provided, to the satisfaction of the judge granting it
"1. That the plaintiff is entitled to the relief demanded and such relief, or any part thereof, consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the acts complained of either for a limited period or perpetually;
"2. That the commission or continuance of some act complained of during the litigation would probably work injustice to the plaintiff;
"3. That the defendant is doing, or threatens, or is about to do, or is procuring or suffering to be done, some act probably in violation of the plaintiff's rights, respecting the subject of the action, and tending to render the judgment ineffectual."
Under the provisions of section 163 judges of Courts of First Instance have no jurisdiction to grant a preliminary injunction unless it be granted in an action pending in the province or district in which they have original jurisdiction.
If the preliminary injunction was not granted in the course of the certiorari proceedings, the judge in granting it acted wholly without jurisdiction, because there was no other action pending in which it could have been granted.
It thus appears that whether the preliminary injunction was granted in the certiorari proceedings or independently thereof, the judge was without jurisdiction in the premises; and in this connection it is worthy of note that the record of the proceedings in the court below show that the order granting the preliminary injunction was issued ex parte, upon presentation of the petition for the writ of certiorari and prior to the filing thereof in the clerk's office of the Court of First Instance.
As the record stands in the court below, it appears that a complaint has been filed in the Court of First Instance of Leyte, praying for the issuance of a writ of certiorari to the court of the justice of the peace of Manila; that upon the filing of said application a preliminary injunction was granted by the judge of the said Court of First Instance directed to the said justice of the peace, to the relator in this action, and others, enjoining them from taking any steps toward the execution of a certain judgment rendered in the court of the said justice of the peace; that the said justice of the peace, the relator in this action, and the other respondents in the certiorari proceedings in the Court of First Instance of Leyte have been summoned to appear and answer the complaint praying for the writ of certiorari; and that these proceedings were suspended at this juncture pending the decision of this court on the application for a writ of prohibition now under consideration.
I think that these facts are sufficient to entitle the relator to relief.
I do not question for a moment the allegations of the answers of the respondents, that the judge of the court below was of the opinion that the writ of certiorari ought not to be granted, or that in issuing the preliminary injunction he did not intend such injunction to operate as ancillary to the proceedings seeking the issuance of the writ of certiorari. But in determining the question whether the application for the writ of certiorari has actually been entertained by the judge of the court below, the opinion of the judge, which of course was subject to change, can not be taken into consideration until it has found expression in a proper order or decision; and the effect of the issuance of the preliminary injunction as ancillary to the prayer for the writ of certiorari or otherwise is a question to be determined from an examination of the record as it has been submitted by the respondents.
From this record I think it is clear that the action of the court below in issuing the preliminary injunction must be deemed to have been an entertainment of the application for a writ of certiorari; that at the time when the proceedings were instituted in this court the judge below had assumed, and was assuming, jurisdiction in those proceedings, and that in doing so he clearly exceeded the jurisdiction conferred upon him by law.