Legal Ethics Case 33
GR No. L-35830 July 24, 1990
First Division, Medialdea

(1) CIVIL CASE NO. TM-223: Herein petitioners - The MERCADO (siblings) filed an action for partition with the Court of First Instance (CFI) Cavite Br. 1 against the SAMONTE siblings. The defendants filed their answer to the complaint thru their counsel, Atty. Danilo Pine.
(2) CFI rendered judgment in favor of petitioners. Since no appeal was made by any of the defendants, the decision became final and executory, then the trial court issued the corresponding writ of execution.
(3) Before the writ of execution could be carried out, the defendants filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus seeking to annul the writ of execution. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for lack of merit.
(4) CIVIL CASE NO. C-2442: Respondent Lucina and Trinidad Samonte filed an action before the CFI of Rizal for the annulment of the judgment rendered by the trial court on CIVIL CASE NO. TM-223, alleging that they did not authorize anyone including Atty. Pine to represent them in said case. Petitioner’s motion to dismiss was denied.

(1) Whether or not a CFI or a branch thereof has the authority to annul a final and executory judgment rendered by another branch of the same court?
(2) Whether or not Atty. Pine is duly authorized to represent petitioner in the case at bar?

Petition is granted and respondent judge of the CFI or Rizal is ordered to dismiss Civil Case No. 2442.

(1) BP 129 enacted August 10, 1982, transferred jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgment to the Court of Appeals. Although the prevailing rule before the enactment of BP 129 was that the CFI and their branches have jurisdiction to annul each other’s final judgments. However fundamental principles still dictate that the better policy, as a matter of comity or courteous interaction between courts of first instance and branches thereof, the annulment of cases to be tried by the same court or branch which heard the main action sought to be annulled, pursuant to judicial stability, the doctrine of non-interference should be regarded as highly important in the administration of justice whereby the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction may not be opened, modified or vacated by any court of concurrent jurisdiction.
(2) An attorney is presumed to be properly authorized to represent any cause in which he appears, and no written power of attorney is required of him to appear in Court for his client. (SEC 21, Rule 138, Rules of Court)