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Alegar Corporation vs. Alvarez Case Digest


The purpose of summons, which is to give notice to the defendant or respondent that an action has been commenced against him, was sufficiently met when such defendant or respondent filed his answer and participated in all the proceedings of the case. 

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Facts:

The Legarda family verbally leased a parcel of land on a monthly basis to Catalina Bartolome. The Legarda family later assigned its rights and interests over the land to Alegar Corporation. 

After Catalina‘s death, her children Amado, Isabelita, Pacita, Ramon Alvarez, and Benjamin Alvarez continued to occupy the property. Because of non-payment of rentals, Alegar Corporation sent a letter to the heirs of Catalina demanding them to vacate the premises and pay their arrearages. When the demand went unheeded, Alegar Corporation filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against the heirs of Catalina before the MeTC of Manila. The original of the summons bears the signature of one Guilberto Acosta who received it for defendant Ramon.

Emilio Alvarez, son of the late  Benjamin Alvarez filed his answer and questioned the service of only one set of summons, despite the number of defendants. 

The MeTC rendered judgment in favor of Alegar Corporation. The MeTC held that the filing by respondent of an Answer is a clear manifestation that he and his co-defendants voluntarily appeared and submitted themselves to its jurisdiction.


Issues: 

1. Whether or not the MeTC acquired jurisdiction over the person of Emilio Alvarez.

2. Whether or not the MeTC acquired jurisdiction over the person of Ramon Alvarez and other defendants.


Held: 

1. Yes. Admittedly, the therein named, now deceased, defendant Benjamin Alvarez is the father of Emilio. Ergo, Emilio, who is apparently residing in the questioned premises, is one who claims rights under him as in fact he proffers so.

Emilio questioned the service of summons on one Guilberto Acosta who, by his claim, was not authorized to receive summons on behalf of the defendants. Assuming that Guilberto Acosta was not so authorized to receive summons on behalf of the defendants, the summons, together with a copy of the complaint, must have reached Emilio; otherwise, he could not have filed an Answer to the Complaint. Emilio in fact participated in all the proceedings of the case. Thus, the purpose of summons, which is to give notice to the defendant or respondent that an action has been commenced against him, was sufficiently met.


2. No. That the MeTC acquired jurisdiction over the person of Emilio does not, however, extend to the other defendant Ramon Alvarez on whose behalf Acosta allegedly received the summons with copy of the complaint.

Based on the Return of Service of Summons submitted by the Process Server, it appears that indeed, only one set of summons and complaint was served – that which was received by Acosta. The rest of the therein named defendants-children of Catalina having died or are living elsewhere, it would appear that only the therein named defendant, Ramon Alvarez, together with those deriving rights under him, was served with summons thru Acosta. There is, however, no showing that substituted service of summons on Ramon Alvarez, under Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court was justified. (Alegar Corporation vs. Alvarez, G.R. No. 172555, July 10, 2007)

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