Torres vs. Satsatin – G.R. No. 166759, November 25, 2009

The siblings Torres each own adjacent 20,000 square meters track of land. Sometime in 1997, Nicanor Satsatin (Nicanor) asked petitioners’ mother if she wanted to sell their lands. After consultation with her daughters, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren, Agripina agreed to sell the properties. Petitioners, thus, authorized Nicanor, through a Special Power of Attorney, to negotiate for the sale of the properties. Sometime in 1999, Nicanor offered to sell the properties to Solar Resources, Inc. (Solar). Petitioners claimed that Solar has already paid the entire purchase price of ₱35,000,000.00 to Nicanor in Thirty-Two (32) post-dated checks which the latter encashed/deposited on their respective due dates. Petitioners added that they also learned that during the period from January 2000 to April 2002, Nicanor allegedly acquired a house and lot at Vista Grande BF Resort Village, Las Piñas City and a car, which he registered in the names of his unemployed children, Nikki Normel Satsatin and Nikki Norlin Satsatin. However, notwithstanding the receipt of the entire payment for the subject property, Nicanor only remitted the total amount of ₱9,000,000.00, leaving an unremitted balance of ₱19,000,000.00. Despite repeated verbal and written demands, Nicanor failed to remit to them the balance of ₱19,000,000.00.

Consequently, on October 25, 2002, petitioners filed before the regional trial court (RTC) a Complaint for sum of money and damages, against Nicanor, Ermilinda Satsatin, Nikki Normel Satsatin, and Nikki Norlin Satsatin in RTC Dasmariñas, Cavite.

On October 30, 2002, petitioners filed an Ex-Parte Motion for the Issuance of a Writ of Attachment alleging among other things: that respondents are about to depart the Philippines; that they have properties, real and personal in Metro Manila and in the nearby provinces; that the amount due them is P19,000,000.00 above all other claims; that there is no other sufficient security for the claim sought to be enforced; and that they are willing to post a bond fixed by the court to answer for all costs which may be adjudged to the respondents and all damages which respondents may sustain by reason of the attachment prayed for, if it shall be finally adjudged that petitioners are not entitled thereto.

On October 30, 2002, the trial court issued an Order directing the petitioners to post a bond in the amount of ₱7,000,000.00 before the court issues the writ of attachment.

On November 15, 2002, petitioners filed a Motion for Deputation of Sheriff, informing the court that they have already filed an attachment bond. They also prayed that a sheriff be deputized to serve the writ of attachment that would be issued by the court. Thereafter, the RTC issued a Writ of Attachment directing the sheriff to attach the estate, real or personal, of the respondents.

On November 19, 2002, a copy of the writ of attachment was served upon the respondents. On the same date, the sheriff levied the real and personal properties of the respondent, including household appliances, cars, and a parcel of land located at Las Piñas, Manila.

On November 21, 2002, summons, together with a copy of the complaint, was served upon the respondents.

On November 29, 2002, respondents filed their Answer.

On the same day respondents filed their answer, they also filed a Motion to Discharge Writ of Attachment18 anchored on the following grounds: the bond was issued before the issuance of the writ of attachment; the writ of attachment was issued before the summons was received by the respondents; the sheriff did not serve copies of the application for attachment, order of attachment, plaintiffs’ affidavit, and attachment bond, to the respondents; the sheriff did not submit a sheriff’s return in violation of the Rules; and the grounds cited for the issuance of the writ are baseless and devoid of merit. In the alternative, respondents offered to post a counter-bond for the lifting of the writ of attachment. The RTC denied the motions of the respondents to lift the attachment and directed them to file a counter-bond.

Aggrieved, respondents filed before the CA a Petition for Certiorari, Mandamus and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order.

Respondents argued that the subject writ was improper and irregular having been issued and enforced without the lower court acquiring jurisdiction over the persons of the respondents. They maintained that the writ of attachment was implemented without serving upon them the summons together with the complaint. They also argued that the bond issued in favor of the petitioners was defective, because the bonding company failed to obtain the proper clearance that it can transact business with the RTC of Dasmariñas, Cavite. They added that the various clearances which were issued in favor of the bonding company were applicable only in the courts of the cities of Pasay, Pasig, Manila, and Makati, but not in the RTC, Imus, Cavite.

On November 23, 2003, the CA rendered the assailed Decision in favor of the respondents, finding grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction on the part of the RTC and granted the petition to lift the attachment. Hence this case.

Whether the posting of the bond by the petitioners was defective.

Yes, the CA correctly found that there was grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction on the part of the trial court in approving the bond posted by petitioners despite the fact that not all the requisites for its approval were complied with. In accepting a surety bond, it is necessary that all the requisites for its approval are met; otherwise, the bond should be rejected.

Every bond should be accompanied by a clearance from the Supreme Court showing that the company concerned is qualified to transact business which is valid only for thirty (30) days from the date of its issuance. However, it is apparent that the Certification issued by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) at the time the bond was issued would clearly show that the bonds offered by Western Guaranty Corporation may be accepted only in the RTCs of the cities of Makati, Pasay, and Pasig. Therefore, the surety bond issued by the bonding company should not have been accepted by the RTC of Dasmariñas, Branch 90, since the certification secured by the bonding company from the OCA at the time of the issuance of the bond certified that it may only be accepted in the above-mentioned cities. Thus, the trial court acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction when it issued the writ of attachment founded on the said bond.


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