Motion to extend answer time = voluntary appearance

It is well-settled that jurisdiction over the person of the defendant in a civil case is obtained through a valid service of summons. When there is no service of summons upon the defendant, the court acquires no jurisdiction over his person, and a judgment rendered against him is null and void.[1]

However, the invalidity of the service of summons is cured by the voluntary appearance of the defendant in court and their submission to the court's authority. As held in the case of Carson Realty & Management Corporation v. Red Robin Security Agency, et al.,[2] the Court has repeatedly reminded the bench and the bar that the filing of a motion for extension of time to file answer is considered voluntary appearance on the part of the defendant, such that the trial court nevertheless acquired jurisdiction over his person despite the defectiveness of the service of summons.

The Court has, time and again, held that the filing of a motion for additional time to file answer is considered voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the court. If the defendant knowingly does an act inconsistent with the right to object to the lack of personal jurisdiction as to him, like voluntarily appearing in the action, he is deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. Seeking an affirmative relief is inconsistent with the position that no voluntary appearance had been made, and to ask for such relief, without the proper objection, necessitates submission to the Court's jurisdiction.[3] In the instant case, Cecilia Que, et al., filed a motion for extension to file an answer. Thus, is deemed to be a voluntary submission to the authority of the trial court over their persons.

ALSO READ THIS: Case Digest: GSIS v. NLRC, et al. - Project Jurisprudence.

MORE: Voluntary appearance; special appearance - Project Jurisprudence and United Coconut v. Ang-Sy (G.R. No. 204753. March 27, 2019).

[1] Prudential Bank v. Magdamit, Jr., et. al., 746 Phil. 649, 659 (2014) citing Spouses Belen v. Judge Chavez, et al., 573, Phil. 58, 67 (2008).

[2] G.R. No. 225035, February 8, 2017.

[3] Id.

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