Special Civil Actions Initiated by Petition: Certiorari, Prohibition, Mandamus (Rule 65)

Tagle vs. Equitable-PCI Bank (GR 172299)

A special civil action for Certiorari, or simply a Petition for Certiorari, under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court is intended for the correction of errors of jurisdiction only or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Its principal office is only to keep the inferior court within the parameters of its jurisdiction or to prevent it from committing such a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

A writ of certiorari may be issued only for the correction of errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Such cannot be used for any other purpose, as its function is limited to keeping the inferior court within the bounds of its jurisdiction.

For a petition for certiorari to prosper, the essential requisites that have to concur are: (1) the writ is directed against a tribunal, a board or any officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (2) such tribunal, board or officer has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (3) there is no appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.

Ysidoro vs. People (GR 171513)

While an assailed judgment elevated by way of ordinary appeal or a Rule 45 petition is considered an intrinsically valid, albeit erroneous, judgment, a judgment assailed under Rule 65 is characterized as an invalid judgment because of defect in the trial courts authority to rule. Also, an ordinary appeal and a Rule 45 petition tackle errors committed by the trial court in the appreciation of the evidence and/or the application of law. In contrast, a Rule 65 petition resolves jurisdictional errors committed in the proceedings in the principal case. In other words, errors of judgment are the proper subjects of an ordinary appeal and in a Rule 45 petition; errors of jurisdiction are addressed in a Rule 65 petition.

As applied to judgments rendered in criminal cases, unlike a review via a Rule 65 petition, only judgments of conviction can be reviewed in an ordinary appeal or a Rule 45 petition.

Pahila-Garrido vs. Tortogo (GR 156358)

The remedy against an interlocutory order not subject of an appeal is an appropriate special civil action under Rule 65, provided that the interlocutory order is rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. Then is certiorari under Rule 65 allowed to be resorted to.


Did the petitioners failure to first make a motion for reconsideration in the RTC preclude treating her petition as a petition for certiorari?

The answer is in the negative. That the petitioner did not file a motion for reconsideration in the RTC before coming to this Court did not preclude treating her petition as one for certiorari. The requirement under Section 1 of Rule 65 that there must be no appeal, or any plain or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law admits exceptions. In Francisco Motors Corporation v. Court of Appeals, the Court has recognized exceptions to the requirement, such as: (a) when it is necessary to prevent irreparable damages and injury to a party; (b) where the trial judge capriciously and whimsically exercised his judgment; (c) where there may be danger of a failure of justice; (d) where an appeal would be slow, inadequate, and insufficient; (e) where the issue raised is one purely of law; (f) where public interest is involved; and (g) in case of urgency. The allegations of the petition definitely placed the petitioners recourse under most, if not all, of the exceptions.


We also observe that the rule that a petition should have been brought under Rule 65 instead of under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court (or vice versa) is not inflexible or rigid. The inflexibility or rigidity of application of the rules of procedure is eschewed in order to serve the higher ends of justice. Thus, substance is given primacy over form, for it is paramount that the rules of procedure are not applied in a very rigid technical sense, but used only to help secure, not override, substantial justice.

Mid-Islands Power Generation Corp. vs. CA (GR 189191)

As a final note, we convey our strong disapproval over the failure of Power Ones lawyers to file the Petition within the reglementary period. The amendments under A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC were meant to be implemented strictly, with a view in mind that the 60-day period to file is a reasonable and sufficient time to prepare a Rule 65 petition. Workload and resignation of the lawyer handling the case are insufficient reasons to justify the relaxation of the procedural rules. He should not have left his client with this very critical piece of work hanging in midair. Were it not for the exceptional nature of the case and the strong public interest involved herein, we would have overturned the approval by the CA of the Motion to extend the period to file a Rule 65 Petition.

Uy Kiao Eng vs. Lee (GR 176831)

On Mandamus:

Recognized further in this jurisdiction is the principle that mandamus cannot be used to enforce contractual obligations. Generally, mandamus will not lie to enforce purely private contract rights, and will not lie against an individual unless some obligation in the nature of a public or quasi-public duty is imposed. The writ is not appropriate to enforce a private right against an individual. The writ of mandamuslies to enforce the execution of an act, when, otherwise, justice would be obstructed; and, regularly, issues only in cases relating to the public and to the government; hence, it is called a prerogative writ. To preserve its prerogative character, mandamus is not used for the redress of private wrongs, but only in matters relating to the public.

Moreover, an important principle followed in the issuance of the writ is that there should be no plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law other than the remedy of mandamus being invoked. In other words, mandamus can be issued only in cases where the usual modes of procedure and forms of remedy are powerless to afford relief. Although classified as a legal remedy, mandamus is equitable in its nature and its issuance is generally controlled by equitable principles.  Indeed, the grant of the writ of mandamus lies in the sound discretion of the court.

Manalo vs. PAIC Savings Bank (GR 146531)

We hold that mandamus is not the proper recourse to enforce petitioners alleged right of redemption. To begin with, mandamus applies as a remedy only where petitioners right is founded clearly in law and not when it is doubtful. In varying language, the principle echoed and reechoed is that legal rights may be enforced by mandamus only if those rights are well-defined, clear and certain.

GSIS Board of Trustees vs. Velasco (GR 170643)

The petition for prohibition filed by respondents is a special civil action which may be filed in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan or the regional trial court, as the case may be. It is also a personal action because it does not affect the title to, or possession of real property, or interest therein. Thus, it may be commenced and tried where the plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides, or where the defendant or any of the principal defendants resides, at the election of the plaintiff. Since respondent Velasco, plaintiff before the trial court, is a resident of the City of Manila, the petition could properly be filed in the City of Manila.  The choice of venue is sanctioned by Section 2, Rule 4 of the Rules of Court.

Ongsuko vs. Hon. Malones (GR 182065)

Difference between Mandamus and Prohibition:

In a petition for prohibition against any tribunal, corporation, board, or person whether exercising judicial, quasi-judicial, or ministerial functions, who has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion, the petitioner prays that judgment be rendered, commanding the respondent to desist from further proceeding in the action or matter specified in the petition. On the other hand, the remedy of mandamus lies to compel performance of a ministerial duty. The petitioner for such a writ should have a well-defined, clear and certain legal right to the performance of the act, and it must be the clear and imperative duty of respondent to do the act required to be done.

In this case, petitioners primary intention is to prevent respondent from implementing Municipal Ordinance No. 98-01, i.e., by collecting the goodwill fees from petitioners and barring them from occupying the stalls at the municipal public market. Obviously, the writ petitioners seek is more in the nature of prohibition (commanding desistance), rather than mandamus (compelling performance).

For a writ of prohibition, the requisites are: (1) the impugned act must be that of a tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or person, whether exercising judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions; and (2) there is no plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.