No. L-29887. October 28,1974
Polaris instituted a case for the recovery of the price of foam products against Fine Furnitures in the municipal court of Makati however, Fine Furnitures denied all the allegations. The Municipal Court rendered a decision in favor of Polaris. Fine Furnitures appealed to the Court of First Instance of Rizal and presented storekeeper of Trimica, Inc. as witnesses. Torre testified that the foam products were received by Trimica Inc. and the two companies have same office address.
Polaris filed its amended complaint impleading Trimica, Inc. as a defendant and by alleging that Trimica, Inc. and Fine Furnitures were solidarily liable for the price of the foam products. The court absolved Fine Furnitures from any liability and ordered Trimica, Inc. to pay Polaris’ claim Trimica filed a motion to set aside the judgment on the ground that the judgment was void for lack of due process since it was never summoned. The court denied the motion since it had been given its day in court through Capistrano’s admission, its president, that the company used the foam products.
Trimica moved for the reconsideration and argued that Capistrano’s personality is distinct from it. It contended that it was necessary to summon Trimica, Inc. in order that jurisdiction could have been acquired over it.
Whether or not the judgment against Trimica, Inc. was void for lack of jurisdiction and lack of due process since it was never summoned
Yes. No jurisdiction was acquired over Trimica, Inc. because it was never summoned. The appearance in court of its president, Capistrano, was in the capacity of counsel for Fine Furnitures and not as representative or counsel of Trimica, Inc. Hence, such appearance cannot be construed as a voluntary submission of Trimica, Inc. to the court’s jurisdiction. The fact that Capistrano, the president of Trimica, Inc., appeared in court as counsel for Fine Furnitures and was aware of the joinder of Trimica, Inc. as a defendant, was not a valid excuse for dispensing with the rudimentary requirements that Trimica, Inc. should be summoned, that a copy of the amended complaint should be served upon it in due course, that it should be afforded an opportunity to file an answer with defenses and that a trial should be held to determine its liability.
Those indispensable ingredients of due process or fundamental fairness were not expendable and could not be sacrificed on the altar of expediency on the pretext that a pragmatic approach and a speedy administration of justice demanded that technicalities should be jettisoned and that procedural shortcuts be tolerated.
No jurisdiction is acquired over a defendant who’s not properly summoned.