CA orders Taguig court to hear PNOC-EC’s P10-M complaint versus client over unpaid fuel

The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Taguig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) to hear the civil complaint filed by state-owned Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) against a firm it accused of failing to pay for P10.4 million worth of fuel purchases.

In a recent 8-page decision, the CA granted PNOC-EC’s petition seeking the reinstatement of its complaint against Asian Fuels Inc. (AFI), which purchased 122,000 liters of fuel on credit.

The CA set aside the July 31, 2017 order of Taguig RTC Branch 153 Judge Mariam Bien, who dismissed the complaint on the ground of improper venue.

The RTC had agreed with AFI that the invoices stated that the venue for litigation arising from the transactions “shall be the regular courts in the City of Makati.”

However, the CA said the stipulation lacked “qualifying or restrictive words” to limit the venue exclusively to the Makati courts. It said the word “only” should have been stated if that was the intent.

As a general rule, the venue for such civil actions should be the court in the area where either party resided. In this case, both PNOC-EC and AFI were located in Taguig City.

“The inclusion of Makati City as indicated in the invoices is merely an agreement for an additional venue and the parties are free to sue each other for a personal action such as this case in Taguig City were they both reside,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison.

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