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G.R. No. L-49360 – 94 SCRA 707 – Political Law – Due Process – Hearing
David has a large parcel of land in Polomolok, Cotabato. He let Felomeno Jugar and Ricardo Jugar tend and caretake separate portions of his land in 1971. The land is estimated to be yielding 60-70 cavans of corn cobs and the share agreed upon is 50-50. In 1973, David withdrew the land from the brothers and has not allowed them to go back there. The brothers prayed for reinstatement but David refused to do so. David denied that the brothers were his tenants. He said that Ricardo was his tractor driver before but he resigned to take care of his dad and to work for DOLE. Felomeno on the other hand surrendered the portion of the land he was tending to continue his faith healing. J Aquilizan handled the case filed by the brothers against David and after three months he rendered a decision in favor of the brothers without any hearing. David averred he was denied due process. J Aquilizan admitted that there was indeed no hearing conducted but he said the decision has already become final and executory as the period for appeal has already lapsed.
ISSUE: Whether or not David is entitled to an appeal.
HELD: Yes. The SC ruled in favor of David. A decision rendered without a hearing is null and void and may be attacked directly or collaterally. The decision is null and void for want of due process. And it has been held that a final and executory judgment may be set aside with a view to the renewal of the litigation when the judgment is void for lack of due process of law. In legal contemplation, it is as if no judgment has been rendered at all.