Law students and practicing lawyer often find themselves asking, “What is the difference between Rule 45 (Petition for Review on Certiorari) and Rule 65 (Certiorari)?” File the wrong case with the wrong tribunal on the wrong basis and an automatic dismissal is warranted.

Fortunately the Supreme Court itself distinguishes between both pleadings in the landmark case of ARBA vs Loreto G Nicolas , G.R. No. 168394


The case is  petition for review on certiorari of the Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) reinstating the decision of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB), Tagum City, Davao del Norte. The DARAB declared the land granted to petitioner, Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association (ARBA), exempt from the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). It ordered, inter alia, the cancellation of the Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) given to ARBA and reinstated the titles under the names of respondents.

The precedent facts follows:

The Philippine Banking Corporation (PhilBanking) was the registered owner of two parcels of land3 located in Barangay Mintal, Davao City.4

On September 7, 1989, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) issued a notice of coverage to PhilBanking. The DAR declared that subject parcels of land fall within the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) or Republic Act (RA) No. 6657.5 PhilBanking immediately filed its protest.6

Despite Philbanking’s objections, the DAR caused the cancellation of the titles of the subject parcels of land. Ownership was transferred to the Republic of the Philippines. This was followed by the distribution of said land to the farmer-beneficiaries belonging to ARBA by virtue of a CLOA, more particularly described as Transfer Certificate of Title No. CL-143.7

On March 24, 1994, PhilBanking executed a deed of assignment in favor of respondents, Loreto G. Nicolas and Olimpio R. Cruz. As assignees and successors-in-interest, respondents continued PhilBanking’s protest over DAR’s takeover of their lands.

However, unlike PhilBanking, respondents filed their complaint8 before the local DARAB in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. PhilBanking instituted before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) a complaint for reinstatement of title and recovery of possession. In their complaint with the DARAB, respondents prayed for the cancellation of the CLOA and reinstatement of titles previously registered under the name of PhilBanking.

The Darab ruled in favor of the Respondents. Aggrieved by the local DARAB ruling, petitioner appealed to the DARAB Central Office. Acting on the appeal, the DARAB, Central Office, overturned the decision of its local office.

Dissatisfied with the Central DARAB ruling, respondents elevated the matter to the CA.16

In their appeal, respondents essentially contended, among others, that the DARAB (Central Office) erred in ruling that the subject parcels of lands were within the coverage of RA No. 6657, more popularly known as the CARL. On October 12, 2004, the CA granted the appeal.

The Ruling: (thereby distinguishing the difference between Rule 45 (Petition for Review on Certiorari) and Rule 65 Certiorari

Before We rule on the issues, there is a need to discuss the propriety of petitioner’s appeal. As aptly indicated in its pleading, this is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. However, a perusal of the errors ascribed by petitioner to the CA shows that they all pertain to allegations of abuse of discretion. In fact, petitioner clearly stated that “all three errors constitute abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction.”

This Court has consistently elaborated on the difference between Rule 45 and 65 petitions. A petition for review oncertiorari under Rule 45 is an ordinary appeal. It is a continuation of the case from the CA, Sandiganbayan, RTC, or other courts. The petition must only raise questions of law which must be distinctly set forth and discussed.

A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is an original action. It seeks to correct errors of jurisdiction. An error of jurisdiction is one in which the act complained of was issued by the court, officer, or quasi-judicial body without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion which is tantamount to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction. The purpose of the remedy of certiorari is to annul void proceedings; prevent unlawful and oppressive exercise of legal authority; and provide for a fair and orderly administration of justice.

Applying the foregoing, errors in the appreciation of evidence may only be reviewed by appeal and not by certiorari because they do not involve any jurisdictional ground. Likewise, errors of law do not involve jurisdiction and may only be corrected by ordinary appeal.