BPI vs. IAC, 206 SCRA 408, February 21, 1992

(Bank; Negligence; Meticulous Care in treatment of accounts)

Facts: When the respondent spouses opened their joint current account, the “new accounts” teller of the bank by mistake, placed the old existing separate personal account number of Arthur Canlas on the deposit slip for the new joint checking account of the spouses so that the initial deposit for the joint checking account was miscredited to Arthur’s personal account .

Because of this, one of the checks issued by one of the spouse was dishonoured for insufficient funds prompting private respondents to file a complaint for damages against petitioner bank. Petitioner bank argues that it is not considered negligent and liable for damages on account of the inadvertence of its bank employee considered that it was an honest mistake and not tainted with malice and bad faith.

Issue: WON the petitioner bank was guilty of gross negligence in the handling of private respondents’ bank account.

Held: There is no merit in petitioner’s argument that it should not be considered negligent, much less held liable for damages on account of the inadvertence of its bank employee for Article 1173 of the Civil Code only requires it to exercise the diligence of a good father of a family.

As a business affected with public interest and because of the nature of its functions, the bank is under obligation to treat the accounts of its depositors with meticulous care, always having in mind the fiduciary nature of their relationship (Simex vs CA, 183 SCRA 360).

Navarro vs. Escobido, GR 153788, November 27, 2009

(Provisional Remedies: Replevin: Prior demand is not a condition precedent)

Facts: Private respondent (Karen Go) files a complaint with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of replevin against petitioner (Navarro) for the seizure of 2 motor vehicles under lease agreement. Petitioner maintains among others in the case at bar that the complaints were premature because no prior demand was made on him to comply with the provisions of the lease agreements before the complaints for replevin were filed.

Issue: WON prior demand is a condition precedent to an action for  a writ of replevin.

Held: No. Petitioner erred in arguing that prior demand is required before an action for a writ of replevin is filed since we cannot liken a replevin action to an unlawful detainer.

For a writ of replevin to issue, all that the applicant must do is to file an affidavit and bond, pursuant to Section 2, Rule 60 of the Rules, which states:

Sec. 2. Affidavit and bond.

The applicant must show by his own affidavit or that of some other person who personally knows the facts:

(a)      That the applicant is the owner of the property claimed, particularly describing it, or is entitled to the possession thereof;

(b)      That the property is wrongfully detained by the adverse party, alleging the cause of detention thereof according to the best of his knowledge, information, and belief;

(c)      That the property has not been distrained or taken for a tax assessment or a fine pursuant to law, or seized under a writ of execution or preliminary attachment, or otherwise placed under custodialegis, or if so seized, that it is exempt from such seizure or custody; and

(d) The actual market value of the property.

The applicant must also give a bond, executed to the adverse party in double the value of the property as stated in the affidavit aforementioned, for the return of the property to the adverse party if such return be adjudged, and for the payment to the adverse party of such sum as he may recover from the applicant in the action.

The SC held that there is nothing in the afore-quoted provision which requires the applicant to make a prior demand on the possessor of the property before he can file an action for a writ of replevin. Thus, prior demand is not a condition precedent to an action for a writ of replevin.

 

Rivera vs. Vargas, GR 165895, June 5, 2009

(Procedural Remedies: Improper service of writ of replevin)

 

Facts: Petitioner avers that the writ of replevin was served upon and signed by the security guard on duty where the rock-crushing plant to be seized was located contrary to the sheriff’s return stating that both the writ and the summons was served upon petitioner. Nine (9) days after the writ was served on the security guard, petitioner filed an answer to the complaint accompanied by a prayer for the approval of her redelivery bond. The RTC, however, denied the redelivery bond for having been filed beyond the five-day mandatory period prescribed in Sections 5 and 6 of Rule 60.

 

Petitioner argues in the case at bar via the petition on Rule 45 that the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion in denying her counterbond on the ground that it was filed out of time. She contends that the mandatory five-day period did not even begin to run in this case due to the improper service of the writ of replevin, contrary to Section 4 of Rule 60.

 

Issue: WON the denial of counterbond filed beyond the 5 day mandatory period is erroneous considering the writ was improperly served.

 

Held: Yes.

Before a final judgment, property cannot be seized unless by virtue of some provision of law. The Rules of Court, under Rule 60, authorizes such seizure in cases of replevin. However, a person seeking a remedy in an action for replevin must follow the course laid down in the statute, since the remedy is penal in nature. When no attempt is made to comply with the provisions of the law relating to seizure in this kind of action, the writ or order allowing the seizure is erroneous and may be set aside on motion by the adverse party.

 

The process regarding the execution of the writ of replevin in Section 4 of Rule 60 is unambiguous: the sheriff, upon receipt of the writ of replevin and prior to the taking of the property, must serve a copy thereof to the adverse party (petitioner, in this case) together with the application, the affidavit of merit, and the replevin bond. The reasons are simple, i.e., to provide proper notice to the adverse party that his property is being seized in accordance with the court’s order upon application by the other party, and ultimately to allow the adverse party to take the proper remedy consequent thereto.

 

Service of the writ upon the adverse party is mandatory in line with the constitutional guaranty on procedural due process and as safeguard against unreasonable searches and seizures.

 

In the case at bar since the writ was invalidly served, petitioner is correct in contending that there is no reckoning point from which the mandatory five-day period shall commence to run.

 

The writ must satisfy proper service in order to be valid and effective: i.e. it should be directed to the officer who is authorized to serve it; and it should be served upon the person who not only has the possession or custody of the property involved but who is also a party or agent of a party to the action. Consequently, a trial court is deemed to have acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction with respect to the ancillary action of replevin if it seizes and detains a personalty on the basis of a writ that was improperly served, such as what happened in this case.

 

Petitioner’s proper remedy should have been to file a motion to quash the writ of replevin or a motion to vacate the order of seizure. Nevertheless, petitioner’s filing of an application for a redelivery bond, while not necessary, did not thereby waive her right to question the improper service.

 

The trial for the main action shall continue. Respondent may, however, file a new application for replevin should he choose to do so.

 

Tijing vs. CA, 354 SCRA 17; GR No. 125901, March 8, 2001

(Special Proceedings – Habeas Adoption: Custody of a minor)

Facts: Petitioners filed a petition for habeas corpus in order to recover their son from respondent and presented witnesses to substantiate their petition. Respondent claimed on the other hand that she is the natural mother of the child.

The trial court held in favor of the petitioners and granted the petition for habeas corpus. On appeal, the CA reversed and set aside the decision rendered by the trial court. The appellate court expressed its doubts on the propriety of the habeas corpus.

Issue: WON habeas corpus is the proper remedy to regain custody of a minor.

Held: Yes. The writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto. The writ of habeas corpus is the proper legal remedy to enable parents to regain the custody of a minor child even if the latter be in the custody of a third person of his own free will.

Moncupa vs. Enrile , No. L-63345, January 30, 1986

(Special Proceedings – Temporary release with involuntary restraints does not render the petition for writ of habeas corpus moot and academic)

Facts: Petitioners were arrested and detained on the allegation that they were members of a subversive organization. Petitioners filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

Respondents filed a motion to dismiss after the petitioner was temporarily released from detention on the ground that the petition for habeas corpus may be deemed moot and academic since the petitioner is free and no longer under the respondent’s custody.

Petitioner argues that his temporary release did not render the instant petition moot and academic because of the restrictions imposed by the respondents which constitute an involuntary and illegal restraint on his freedom.

Issue: WON a petition for a writ of habeas corpus becomes moot and academic in view of the detained person’s release with restrictions.

Held: No. Restraints attached to temporary release of a detained person warrant the Supreme Court’s inquiry into the nature of the involuntary restraint and relieving him of such restraints as may be illegal.

Reservation of the military in the form of restrictions attached to the detainee’s temporary release constitutes restraints on the liberty of the detainee. It is not physical restraint alone which is inquired into by the writ of habeas corpus.

Temporary release of detainee from detention with involuntary restraints does not render the petition for writ of habeas corpus moot and academic. It is available where a person continue to be unlawfully denied of one or more of his constitutional freedoms, where there is denial of due process, where the restraints are not merely involuntary but are necessary, and where a deprivation of freedom originally valid has later become arbitrary.

Madrinan vs. Madrinan, 527 SCRA 487, GR No. 159374, July 12, 2007

(Special Proceedings – Court of Appeals and Supreme Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the family courts of Habeas Corpus involving custody of minors)

Facts: Petitioner and respondent were married, and after a bitter quarrel, petitioner left the conjugal abode bringing with him their three sons (2 of which are minors) to Albay and to Laguna subsequently.

Respondent filed a petition for habeas corpus in the Court of Appeals for their their 2 minor sons on the ground that petitioner’s act disrupted their education and deprived them of their mother’s care.

Petitioner filed a memorandum alleging that respondent was unfit to take custody of their children and questioned the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals claiming that under Section 5(b) of RA 8369, family courts have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and decide the petition for habeas corpus filed by respondent.

The Court of Appeals rendered a decision asserting its authority to take cognizance and ruling, that under the Family Code, respondent was entitled to custody of the minors.

Petitioner challenges the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals over the petition for habeas corpus and insists that jurisdiction over the case is lodged in the family courts under RA 8369.

Issue: WON the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over habeas corpus cases involving custody of minors.

Held: Yes. The Supreme Court ruled in a previous jurisprudence that The Court of Appeals should has cognizance of this case since there is nothing in RA 8369 that revoked its jurisdiction to issue writs of habeas corpus involving the custody of minors. RA 8369 did not divest the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of their jurisdiction over habeas corpus cases involving the custody of minors.

The concurrent jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court with family courts in said cases was further affirmed by A.M. No. 03-03-04-SC (April 22, 2004) in Re: Rule on Custody of Minors and Writ of Habeas Corpus in Relation to Custody of Minors which provides that:

 Section 20.   Petition for writ of habeas corpus. – A verified petition for a writ of habeas corpus involving custody of minors shall be filed with the Family Court. The writ shall be enforceable within its judicial region to which the Family Court belongs.

 x x x          x x x          x x x

The petition may likewise be filed with the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, or with any of its members and, if so granted, the writ shall be enforceable anywhere in the Philippines.

In Re: Azucena L. Garcia, 339 SCRA 292, GR 141443, August 30, 2000

(Special Proceedings – Habeas Corpus: final judgment and bail)

Facts:  Petitioner is convicted by final judgment of the crime of falsification of public document. In the case at bar, petitioner is out on bail and is seeking for a relief via a petition for habeas corpus questioning the validity of the judgment rendered. Petitioner contends that were proceedings were attended by violations of the constitutional rights of the accused; the judgment of conviction is void thereby warranting relief by the extraordinary legal remedy of habeas corpus.

The OSG, on the other hand states that the writ of habeas corpus is a remedy available to a person who is illegally imprisoned or restrained by his liberty. Consequently, a person discharged or out on bail, like petitioner, is not entitled to the writ.

Issue: WON a person convicted by final judgment and/or out on bail is entitled to the writ of habeas corpus.

Held: No. The high prerogative writ of habeas corpus was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint. Its object is to inquire into the legality of one’s detention, and if found illegal, to order release of the detainee.

It is a well-settled rule that the writ will not issue where the person in whose behalf the writ is sought is out on bail, or is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, render judgment, or make the order.