Petitioner claims, and this is the lone vital issue, that the respondent Court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in dismissing motu propio Civil Case No. QE-00807, even before private respondent Mercedes B. Eusebio could be served with summons, just because neither petitioner nor respondent is a resident of Quezon City and, hence, said court has no jurisdiction over them.
Petitioner firmly anchors his contention on the argument that the respondent Court undoubtedly has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the petition for judicial authorization to sell conjugal properties because under Section 29-A, No. 4, of Republic Act No. 4836, creating the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Quezon City, proceedings brought under the Provisions of Title 6 and 7 of the Civil Code are within the exclusive jurisdiction of said court and the petition for judicial authorization to sell conjugal properties is authorized by Art. 116 of the Civil which is found in Chapter IV, Title 6 of said Code. Petitioner correctly argues that venue is properly laid because the conjugal properties sought to be alienated are located in Quezon City. Under Rule 4, Sec. 2, of the Revised Rules of Court, all actions affecting title to, or for recovery of possession or for partition and condemnation or foreclosure of real properties or any part thereof shall be commenced and tried where the properties or any portion thereof lies.
As to the respondent court's acquisition of jurisdiction (authority to hear and determine a cause) over the parties in a civil case, We have no doubt that it acquired jurisdiction over the plaintiff (petitioner in this case) the moment he filed his petition for judicial authorization to sell conjugal properties before the respondent Court (Manila Railroad Co. vs. Atty. General 20 Phil. 523). Respondent Court could have acquired jurisdiction over the defendant (private respondent) either by her voluntary appearance in court and her submission to its authority, or by the coercive power of legal process exercised over her person (Banco Espanol Filipino vs. Palanca, 37 Phil. 921).
We are in full accord with petitioner's contention that under the circumstances prevailing in this case, the residence of plaintiff and defendant are of no moment and they become an issue of an issue of venue and not jurisdiction. It is fundamental in the law concerning jurisdiction and venue that venue, which is the place the case is to be heard or tried, and which is a matter of relationship between plaintiff and defendant, may be conferred the parties, and objections thereto may be waived by them unless venue and jurisdiction happen to coincide.
The issues raised herein by private respondent in his answer dated September 19, 1975, and those in the petitioner's reply dated October 18, 1975, as well as the former's rejoinder of November 21, 1975 relating to the relating to the merits of the principal case filed with Court, which are totally foreign to the question of whether or not respondent Court committed gross abuse of discretion in dismissing the petition for judicial authorization to sell conjugal property, should be properly raised before respondent Court and not before this Court.
In the light of the foregoing, We cannot do otherwise than to to conclude conclude definitely that the respondent Court committed grave of abuse discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it dismissed motu proprio the petition for judicial authorization to sell conjugal property before defendant (private respondent) was summoned on the lone flimsy ground that plaintiff and of Quezon City and hence the Court did not have jurisdiction over them. The respondent Court simply overlooked the fundamental nature of jurisdiction and its various categories, such as jurisdiction over subject matter, jurisdiction over the issues raised before it, as well as the distinction between jurisdiction and venue.
WHEREFORE, the respondent Court's orders dated August 16, 1974, and October 16, 1974, are hereby nullified and set the, petition in its Special Proceedings No. QE-00807 revived, and reinstated; and respondent Court is enjoined to proceed therein in accordance with law. Costs against private respondent.
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Muñoz Palma and Martin, JJ., concur.
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation