What to know about Court Summons

Philamlife vs. Hon. Augusto Breva (GR 147937)

We agree with the CA. It is not pertinent whether the summons is designated as an original or an alias summons as long as it has adequately served its purpose. What is essential is that the summons complies with the requirements under the Rules of Court and it has been duly served on the defendant together with the prevailing complaint. In this case, the alias summons satisfies the requirements under the Rules, both as to its content and the manner of service. It contains all the information required under the rules, and it was served on the persons authorized to receive the summons on behalf of the petitioner at its principal office in Manila. Moreover, the second summons was technically not an alias summons but more of a new summons on the amended complaint. It was not a continuation of the first summons considering that it particularly referred to the amended complaint and not to the original complaint.

Pascual vs. Pascual (GR 171916)

Petitioner further states that the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions must be applied to the present case. He expounds on the fact that as between the process server’s return of substituted service, which carries with it the presumption of regularity and the respondent’s self-serving assertion that she only came to know of the case against her when she received a copy of the petitioner’s motion to declare her in default, the process server’s return is undoubtedly more deserving of credit. The said argument, however, is only meritorious, provided that there was a strict compliance with the procedure for serving a summons. In the absence of even the barest compliance with the procedure for a substituted service of summons outlined in the Rules of Court, the presumption of regularity in the performance of public functions does not apply.

Applying the above disquisitions, the jurisdiction over the person of the respondent was never vested with the RTC, because the manner of substituted service by the process server was apparently invalid and ineffective. As such, there was a violation of due process. Jurisdiction over the defendant is acquired either upon a valid service of summons or the defendants voluntary appearance in court. When the defendant does not voluntarily submit to the courts jurisdiction or when there is no valid service of summons, any judgment of the court which has no jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is null and void.

Palma vs. Hon. Galvez (GR 165273)

In Montefalcon v. Vasquez, we said that because Section 16 of Rule 14 uses the words may and also, it is not mandatory. Other methods of service of summons allowed under the Rules may also be availed of by the serving officer on a defendant-resident who is temporarily out of the Philippines. Thus, if a resident defendant is temporarily out of the country, any of the following modes of service may be resorted to: (1) substituted service set forth in section 7 ( formerly Section 8), Rule 14; (2) personal service outside the country, with leave of court; (3) service by publication, also with leave of court; or (4) in any other manner the court may deem sufficient.

Regner vs. Logarta (GR 168747)

Being an action in personam, the general rule requires the personal service of summons on Cynthia within the Philippines, but this is not possible in the present case because Cynthia is a non-resident and is not found within the Philippines.

As Cynthia is a nonresident who is not found in the Philippines, service of summons on her must be in accordance with Section 15, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court. Such service, to be effective outside the Philippines, must be made either (1) by personal service; (2) by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in such places and for such time as the court may order, in which case a copy of the summons and order of the court should be sent by registered mail to the last known address of the defendant; or (3) in any other manner which the court may deem sufficient. The third mode, like the first two, must be made outside the Philippines, such as through the Philippine Embassy in the foreign country where Cynthia resides.

Since in the case at bar, the service of summons upon Cynthia was not done by any of the authorized modes, the trial court was correct in dismissing petitioners complaint.

Pacaa-Gonzales vs. CA (GR 150908)

Petitioners appeal for liberality in the application of the rules, technicalities not being permitted to sway the broader interest of justice, does not lie. Modes of service of summons must be strictly followed in order that the court may acquire jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. The purpose of this is to afford the defendant an opportunity to be heard on the claim against him. The summons intended for Phua being invalid, the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over him and could not as it did not render a valid judgment against him.

Robinson vs. Miralles (GR 163584)

Petitioner contends that the service of summons upon the subdivision security guard is not in compliance with Section 7, Rule 14 since he is not related to her or staying at her residence. Moreover, he is not duly authorized to receive summons for the residents of the village. Hence, the substituted service of summons is not valid and that the trial court never acquired jurisdiction over her person.

We have ruled that the statutory requirements of substituted service must be followed strictly, faithfully, and fully and any substituted service other than that authorized by the Rules is considered ineffective. However, we frown upon an overly strict application of the Rules. It is the spirit, rather than the letter of the procedural rules, that governs.

In his Return, Sheriff Potente declared that he was refused entry by the security guard in Alabang Hills twice. The latter informed him that petitioner prohibits him from allowing anybody to proceed to her residence whenever she is out. Obviously, it was impossible for the sheriff to effect personal or substituted service of summons upon petitioner. We note that she failed to controvert the sheriffs declaration. Nor did she deny having received the summons through the security guard.

Considering her strict instruction to the security guard, she must bear its consequences. Thus, we agree with the trial court that summons has been properly served upon petitioner and that it has acquired jurisdiction over her.

Manotoc vs. CA (GR 130974)

Due to non-compliance with the prerequisites for valid substituted service, the proceedings held before the trial court perforce must be annulled.

The court a quo heavily relied on the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty. It reasons out that [t]he certificate of service by the proper officer is prima facie evidence of the facts set out herein, and to overcome the presumption arising from said certificate, the evidence must be clear and convincing.

The Court acknowledges that this ruling is still a valid doctrine. However, for the presumption to apply, the Sheriffs Return must show that serious efforts or attempts were exerted to personally serve the summons and that said efforts failed. These facts must be specifically narrated in the Return. To reiterate, it must clearly show that the substituted service must be made on a person of suitable age and discretion living in the dwelling or residence of defendant. Otherwise, the Return is flawed and the presumption cannot be availed of. As previously explained, the Return of Sheriff Caelas did not comply with the stringent requirements of Rule 14, Section 8 on substituted service.

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Author: Born2drinkStuff

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