TIJAM vs. SIBONGHANOY (23 SCRA 29)
FACTS: Tijam filed for recovery of P1,908 + legal interest from Sibongahanoy. Defendants filed a counter bond with Manila
Surety and Fidelity Co (Surety). Judgement was in favour of the plaintiffs, a writ of execution was issued against the defendant. Defendants moved for writ of execution against surety which was granted. Surety moved to quash the writ but was denied, appealed to CA without raising the issue on lack of jurisdiction.
CA affirmed the appealed decision. Surety then filed Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction against CFI Cebu in view of the effectivity of Judiciary Act of 1948 a month before the filing of the petition for recovery. Act placed original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts all civil actions for demands not exceeding 2,000 exclusive of interest. CA set aside its earlier decision and referred the case to SC since it has exclusive jurisdiction over "all cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is in issue.
ISSUE: WON Surety bond is estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the CFI Cebu for the first time upon appeal.YES
RATIO: SC believes that that the Surety is now barred by laches from invoking this plea after almost fifteen years before the Surety filed its motion to dismiss raising the question of lack of jurisdiction for the first time - A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways and for different reasons. Thus we speak of estoppel in pais, or estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches. Laches, in a general sense is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier - Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the court -"undesirable practice" of a party submitting his case for decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction, when adverse.
: Other merits on the appeal : The surety insists that the lower court should have granted its motion to quash the writ of execution because the same was issued without the summary hearing - Summary hearing is "not intended to be carried on in the formal manner in which ordinary actions are prosecuted" (83 C.J.S. 792). It is, rather, a procedure by which a question is resolved "with dispatch, with the least possible delay, and in preference to ordinary legal and regular judicial proceedings" (Ibid, p. 790). What is essential is that "the defendant is notified or summoned to appear and is given an opportunity to hear what is urged upon him, and to interpose a defense, after which follows an adjudication of the rights of the parties - In the case at bar, the surety had been notified of the plaintiffs' motion for execution and of the date when the same would be submitted for consideration. In fact, the surety's counsel was present in court when the motion was called, and it was upon his request that the court a quo gave him a period of four days within which to file an answer. Yet he allowed that period to lapse without filing an answer or objection. The surety cannot now, therefore, complain that it was deprived of its day in court.
The orders appealed from are affirmed.