Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. L-24971 June 20, 1975
GREGORIO TAN, JR., petitioner,
HON. MALCOLM G. SARMIENTO, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, FRANCISCO M. GARCIA, FLORA L. GARCIA, FELINO VILLASAN, JR., GEN. RIGOBERTO ATIENZA, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Administrator of Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Laur, Nueva Ecija, and COL. GUADENCIO V. TOBIAS, Officer-in-Charge of Fort Magsaysay at Laur, Nueva Ecija, respondents.
Feria, Feria, Lugtu and La'O and Arturo C. Reyes for petitioner.
Cesar Francisco for respondent Felino Villasan, Jr.
Isidro T. Almeda and Jose T. Lajom for respondent Garcias.
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz and Solicitor Augusto M. Amores for other respondents.
The issue posed by this special civil action for certiorari is whether or not the Court of First Instance of Pampanga has the authority to issue a writ of preliminary injunction which will be enforced outside the territorial boundaries of the province.
On May 6, 1965, petitioner, a resident of Bacolor, Pampanga, filed with the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, presided over by respondent Judge, a complaint for Specific Performance of Contract and Damages with Preliminary Injunction, docketed as Civil Case No. 2773, against Gen. Godofredo Mendoza, in his capacity as Commanding General of the First Infantry Division, Fort Magsaysay, Laur, Nueva Ecija, spouses Dr. Francisco M. Garcia and Flora L. Garcia, residents of Cabanatuan City, the Director of Forestry and the District Forester of Nueva Ecija. Said complaint avers the following facts:
On October 29, 1962, spouses Dr. Francisco M. Garcia and Flora L. Garcia private respondents in this petition, executed a Special Power of Attorney (Annex "A") in favor of petitioner Gregorio Tan, Jr. over a parcel of land allegedly owned by them, situated in Barrio San Esteban, Laur, Nueva Ecija, empowering the petitioner to obtain, in behalf of said spouses, a Private Woodland Registration (PWR) and or an Ordinary Timber License (OT) from the Bureau of Forestry over the said parcel, and on the same date, said spouses entered into an agreement (Annex "B") with petitioner granting to him exclusive logging rights over the said property, with the assurance that the logging operations could not be terminated by them without the written consent of the operator.
Petitioner accordingly applied with and obtained, at his own expense, from the Bureau of Forestry, Certificate of Private Woodland Registration No. 1925 (provisional), in the name of Flora Garcia, c/o Gregorio Tan, Jr. and effective up to June 30, 1963. This provisional certificate was subsequently renewed on July 9, 1963, to be effective until June 30, 1968, notwithstanding vigorous objections made by representatives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, who claimed that the land involved was part of the army reservation.
In the meantime, petitioner allegedly made investments for the construction of roads and other facilities to enable him to conduct logging operations and, as a matter of fact, commenced logging operations therein sometime in September 1963, but on November 6, 1963, petitioner's logging operations were stopped upon orders of the Commanding General, and the logs impounded.
On April 13, 1964, the Secretary of National Defense appealed to the Office of the President the denial by the Acting Director of Forestry of the protest made by the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the issuance and subsequent renewal of PWR No. 1925, on the ground that said certificate covers portions of Fort Magsaysay, a military reservation in Laur, Nueva Ecija.
Although the Office of the President, on March 19, 1965, declared that the certificate of private woodland registration previously issued should be respected "until her title or right over the land involved is held invalid ... by competent authority" (Annex "E"), the Commanding General refused to allow petitioner to continue with his logging operations, while the Garcia spouses also refused to comply with their obligation under the aforementioned agreements.
On May 11, 1965, respondent Judge Malcolm G. Sarmiento issued a writ of preliminary injunction in the aforesaid Civil Case No. 2773, directed to the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division of the Armed Forces at Fort Magsaysay, Laur, Nueva Ecija, the Director of Forestry at his offices in Manila, the District Forester of Nueva Ecija and the spouses Dr. and Mrs. Francisco Garcia, "to prohibit them from molesting, interfering and/or prohibiting the said plaintiff and intervenor in their respective logging operations in the area covered by PWR No. 1925 issued by the Bureau of Forestry" (Annex ("J"). However, on June 22, 1965, respondent Judge, finding the urgent motion of spouses Dr. Francisco M. Garcia and Flora L. Garcia that said court had no jurisdiction to issue said writ to be meritorious, issued another Order lifting the aforestated writ of preliminary injunction (Annex "L"). After suspending the effectivity of said Order in view of petitioner's motion for reconsideration, respondent Judge, after hearing, issued another Order on July 2, 1965 definitely quashing the aforestated preliminary injunctive writ because in the view of said respondent Judge, his court had no authority to issue an injunction which is to be enforced in the province of Nueva Ecija, and, therefore, beyond the territorial jurisdiction of his court. It is this Order which is now the subject of the present petition for certiorari.
We find this petition for certiorari without merit. In a long line of cases decided by this Court,1 it has been consistently held that a Court of First Instance has no jurisdiction to issue a writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin acts being performed or about to be performed outside its territorial jurisdiction.
As early as Castaño v. Lobingier,2 this Court held that a judge of the Court of First Instance had no power to issue a preliminary injunction which is sought to be enforced outside its jurisdiction. This Court declared that "the power to administer justice conferred upon the judges of the Court of First Instance can only be exercised by them within the limits of their respective districts, outside of which they have no jurisdiction whatsoever."
Recently, in Cudiamat v. Torres,3
We had another occasion to elucidate on this Rule.
The power of a court to issue an injunction, which is a matter of jurisdiction, is one of legislative enactment (Manila Railroad Co. vs. Atty. Gen., 20 Phil. 523) but the manner of its exercise is prescribed by the Rules of Court. Thus, the Judiciary Act, as amended provides:
"SEC. 44 Original Jurisdiction. — Courts of First Instance shall have original jurisdiction:
xxx xxx xxx
"(h) 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 Rules of Court." (Emphasis supplied)
The above provision should not be confused with Section 2, Rule 58 of the Revised Rules of Court (Sec. 2, Rule 60 of the old Rules) which reads as follows:
"SEC. 2. Who may grant preliminary injunction. — A preliminary injunction may be granted by the judge of any court in which the action is pending, or by a Justice of the Court of Appeals or of the Supreme Court. It may also be granted by the judge of a Court of First Instance in any action pending in an inferior court within his district."
The preliminary injunction that may be granted by a court of first instance under said Section 2 is, in its application, co-extensive with the territorial boundaries of the province or, district in which the said court sits. (Acosta vs. Alvendia, et al., L-14598, 31 Oct. 1960; Alhambra Cigar & Cigarette Manufacturing Co., Inc. vs. National Administrator of Regional Office No. 2, etc., et al., L-20491, 31 Aug. 1965; People, et al. vs. Mencias, L-19633, 28 Nov. 1966).
Since the injunction issued by the Court of First Instance of Rizal purports to restrain acts outside the province of Rizal, it is null and void, for want of jurisdiction.
We reiterated the foregoing ruling in National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority v. Reyes.4
In the case at bar, there is no question that the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Pampanga Court of First Instance purported to restrain acts which are performed or about to be performed in Nueva Ecija. Pursuant to the doctrine enunciated in the aforecited cases, the Court of First Instance of Pampanga is without authority to issue an injunction purportedly to restrain acts outside its territorial jurisdiction. The extraordinary writs issued by a court of first instance are limited to and are operative only within their respective provinces and districts, and cannot be enforced against public officers who have their official residences outside the territorial jurisdiction of said
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby dismissed, with costs against the petitioner.
Fernando (Chairman), Barredo, Aquino and Concepcion, Jr., JJ., concur.
1 Acosta, et. al. v. Alvendia, et al., 109 Phil. 1017; Samar Mining Co. Inc. v. Arnaldo, et. al., 112 Phil. 679; Central Bank, et. al. v. Cajigal, et. al., 6 SCRA 1072; Hacbang v. Leyte Autobus, 8 SCRA 103; Alhambra Cigar & Cigarette Manufacturing Co., Inc. v. National Administrator, 14 SCRA 1019; Gonzales v. Secretary of Public Works & Communications, 18 SCRA 296; People v. Mencias, 18 SCRA 807; Lo Chi v. De Leon, 19 SCRA 152; Cudiamat v. Torres, 22 SCRA 695; National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority v. Reyes, 22 SCRA 905; Palanan Lumber and Plywood Co., Inc. v. Arranz, 22 SCRA 1186; De la Cruz v. Gabor, et. al., 30 SCRA 325; Director of Telecommunications v. Aligaen, 33 SCRA 368.
2 7 Phil. 91.
3 22 SCRA 695, 698.
4 22 SCRA 905, 909-910.
5 Palanan Lumber and Plywood Co., Inc. v. Arranz, 22 SCRA 1186, 1190. Police Commission v. Bello, 37 SCRA 230.
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