MENDOZA vs. ALLAS and OLORES, G.R. No. 131977 February 4, 1999

Petitioner Pedro Mendoza joined the Bureau of Customs in 1972. He was appointed Customs Service Chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS). In 1989, the position of Customs Service Chief was reclassified by the Civil Service as “Director III” in accordance with Republic Act No. 6758 and National Compensation Circular No. 50. Petitioner’s position was thus categorized as “Director III, CIIS” and he discharged the function and duties of said office.

On April 22, 1993, petitioner was temporarily designated as Acting District Collector, Collection District X, Cagayan de Oro City. In his place, respondent Ray Allas was appointed as “Acting Director III” of the CIIS. Despite petitioner’s new assignment as Acting District Collector, however, he continued to receive the salary and benefits of the position of Director III.

In September 1994, petitioner received a letter from Deputy Customs Commissioner Cesar Z. Dario, informing him of his termination from the Bureau of Customs, in view of respondent Allas’ appointment as Director III by President Fidel V. Ramos.

On December 2, 1994, petitioner filed a petition for quo warranto against respondent Allas before the RTC. The case was tried and a decision was rendered granting the petition. Respondent Allas appealed to the CA. while the case was pending before said court, respondent Allas was promoted by President Ramos to the position of Deputy Commissioner of Customs for Assessment and Operations. Because of this promotion, Petitioner moved to dismiss respondent’s appeal as having been rendered moot and academic. The Court of Appeals granted the motion and dismissed the case accordingly. Petitioner filed with the court a quo a Motion for Execution of its decision. The court denied the motion on the ground that the contested position vacated by respondent Allas was now being occupied by respondent Godofredo Olores who was not a party to the quo warranto petition.

Petitioner filed a special civil action for certiorari and mandamus with the Court of Appeals questioning the order of the trial court. The CA dismissed the petition. Hence, this recourse.

Whether the Judgment in a Special Civil Action of Quo Warrant binds the Respondent’s successor in Office.

No, Ordinarily, a judgment against a public officer in regard to a public right binds his successor in office. This rule, however, is not applicable in quo warranto cases. A judgment in quo warranto does not bind the respondent’s successor in office, even though such successor may trace his title to the same source. This follows from the nature of the writ of quo warranto itself. It is never directed to an officer as such, but always against the person — to determine whether he is constitutionally and legally authorized to perform any act in, or exercise any function of the office to which he lays claim.

In the case at bar, the petition for quo warranto was filed by petitioner solely against respondent Allas. What was threshed out before the trial court was the qualification and right of petitioner to the contested position as against respondent Ray Allas, not against Godofredo Olores. The Court of Appeals did not err in denying execution of the trial court’s decision.


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