Appellate court CANNOT execute, must remand

In Spouses Ting v. Brisson (G.R. No. 211276, June 27, 2018), the Supreme Court took action on the lack of jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Manila Br. 7 to issue the writ of execution which was patent from the records, although it was not squarely raised in issue by any of the herein parties.[1] According to the High Court, to ignore this fact would be to inadvertently grant jurisdiction to a court, in this case RTC-Manila, to issue a writ of execution where the same was not the court which tried the case and without any exceptional circumstance allowing for such action.

Based on the above, the Supreme Court implied that there are instances, exceptional ones, in which the appellate court, in ejectment cases, is allowed to issue a writ of execution without remanding the case after judgment to the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) that heard and decided the case at first instance.

Going back to the case of Spouses Ting v. Brisson, the writ of execution was issued by the RTC-Manila, which was not the trial court that rendered the decision subject of execution. The hornbook rule is that in an ejectment case, the appellate court which affirms a decision brought before it on appeal cannot decree its execution in the guise of an execution of the affirming decision. The only exception to that is when said appellate court grants an execution pending appeal.[2] The judgment of the MTC, appealed to the RTC, which was elevated to the CA and whose decision became final, should be remanded to the MTC for execution.[3]The rule above-discussed was illustrated by the Supreme Court in Sy v. Judge Romero:[4]
However, although the decision in the ejectment case binds the petitioner, the execution thereof, or the issuance of a demolition order, falls within the jurisdiction of the City Court, now Metropolitan Trial Court, of Kalookan City which rendered the decision in Civil Case No. 13199. In an ejectment case, the appellate court which affirms a decision brought before it on appeal cannot decree its execution in the guise of an execution of the affirming decision. The only exception to that is when said appellate court grants an execution pending appeal. xxx

What Branch 120 of the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan should have done was to make an entry of judgment in Civil Case No. C-10086 after the decision of 29 October 1982 became final; such procedure is outlined in Section 2, Rule 36 of the Rules of Court. Thereafter, the RTC should have remanded the case, together with the records of Civil Case No. 13199 which were forwarded to it as a consequence of the appeal interposed therefrom, to the court of origin - the City Court (now Metropolitan Trial Court) of Kalookan City. The motion for execution should then be filed with the latter court.

Accordingly, respondent Judge should not have acted on the motion for the execution of the 29 October 1982 decision in Civil Case No. C-10086 or granted the motion for the issuance of an order of demolition. Accordingly, that portion of his Order of 27 February 1987 granting the said motion is void.[5]
In the above case of Sy v. Romero, the portion on the grant of motion for order of demolition was set aside, without prejudice to its refiling in the Metropolitan Trial Court, unless barred by Rule 39 of the 1964 Rules of Court.[6]

The seizure of property under a void writ of execution amounts to deprivation of property without due process of law and thus the Court may direct that whatever action taken under such a void writ be undone.[7] When a writ of execution is null and void, all the proceedings stemming therefrom are also null and void, including notices of garnishment issued pursuant thereto.[8]

The writ of execution should have originated from the MTC, as what was ordered in the case of Sy v. Romero. Moreover, the exception does not apply in the case of Spouses Ting v. Brisson as respondents Spouses Magno did not interpose an appeal to the CA, which could have enrobed the RTC of the jurisdiction to issue the writ of execution. On this score alone, the petition should, therefore, be denied as the same is hinged upon rights claimed by petitioners originating from a void writ of execution. All proceedings from the RTC-Manila, including the notice of levy, public auction, and eventual sale of half of the subject properties, and even including the January 15, 1997 CA decision, have no leg to stand on as these are all effects of a void writ of execution.

[1] See Delos Santos v. Spouses Sarmiento, 548 Phil. 1, 10 (2007).

[2] Sy v. Judge Romero, 288 Phil. 970 979 (1992), see also Salientes v. Intermediate Appellate Court, et al., 316 Phil. 197,209(1995).

[3] See City of Manila v. Court of Appeals, et al., 281 Phil. 408, 416 (1991).

[4] Supra note 30.

[5] Id. at 979-980.

[6] Sy v. Romero was decided under the 1964 Rules of Court. The instant case was likewise under the 1964 Rules of Court, the writ of execution having been issued in 1993.

[7] David v. Judge Velasco, et al, 418 Phil. 643, 654 (2001).

[8] Development Bank of the Philippines v. Union Bank of the Philippines, 464 Phil. 161, 172 (2004).

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