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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
December-1996 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 105746 December 2, 1996 - MUNICIPALITY OF JIMENEZ v. HON. VICENTE T. BAZ. JR, ET. AL.

  • G.R. No. 115686 December 2, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PEDRO V. MALABAGO

  • G.R. No. 116610 December 2, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILSON VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 117217 December 2, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GENER S. DE GUZMAN

  • G.R. No. 119005 December 2, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SABAS RAQUEL, ET.AL.

  • G.R. No. 119722 December 2, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NEMESIO V. GANAN., ET.AL.

  • G.R. No. 105213 December 4, 1996 - ERLINDA DE LA CRUZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112409 December 4, 1996 - CHAD COMMODITIES TRADING v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET.AL.

  • G.R. No. 114266 December 4, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO VILLANUEVA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121158 December 5, 1996 - CHINA BANKING CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter Nos. MTJ-91-567 & MTJ-91-588 December 6, 1996 - MODESTO T. UALAT v. JOSE O. RAMOS

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-95-1033 December 6, 1996 - MAMAMAYAN NG ZAPOTE v. ISAURO M. BALDERIAN

  • G.R. No. 94516 December 6, 1996 - LUCIO SAN ANDRES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111857 December 6, 1996 - JAIME CALPO, ET AL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114864 December 6, 1996 - NATIONAL CENTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH MANAGEMENT, ET AL. v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

  • G.R. No. 118770 December 6, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GEORGE GONDORA

  • G.R. No. 123991 December 6, 1996 - FELIX LADINO v. ALFONSO S. GARCIA, ET. AL.

  • G.R. No. 88043 December 9, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO PAREJA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 95049 December 9, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NESTOR ESCANDOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110569 December 9, 1996 - DIOSDADO MALLARI v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. 95-4-41-MeTC December 10, 1996 - QUARTERLY REPORT OF [INHERITED] CASES OF JUDGE EVELYN CORPUS-CABOCHAN

  • G.R. No. 119359 December 10, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERT CLOUD

  • G.R. No. 124292 December 10, 1996 - GREGORIO C. JAVELOSA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET.AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 110100-02 December 11, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ISIDORO PEREZ, ET.AL.

  • G.R. No. 119619 December 13, 1996 - RICHARD HIZON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. 92-6-326-MeTC December 16, 1996 - IN RE: FRANCISCO D. VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 92153 December 16, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARTEMIO OBZUNAR

  • G.R. Nos. 112716-17 December 16, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO S. HERBIAS

  • G.R. Nos. 114011-22 December 16, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VEVINA BUEMIO

  • G.R. No. 115401 December 16, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDILBERTO FABULA, ET.AL.

  • G.R. No. 120958 December 16, 1996 - FIL-ESTATE GOLF AND DEVELOPMENT v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET.AL.

  • G.R. No. 123263 December 16, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY, ET.AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-90-454 December 17, 1996 - CARLOS MENDOZA v. NICOLAS TIONGSON

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1063 December 17, 1996 - BERNARDITA B. CHUA v. BENJAMIN A. GONZALES

  • G.R. Nos. 93026-27 December 17, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CONRADO PAJARO

  • G.R. No. 101771 December 17, 1996 - SPOUSES MARIANO and GILDA FLORENDO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET. AL.

  • G.R. No. 111541 December 17, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MAX MEJOS

  • G.R. No. 119601 December 17, 1996 - DANILO BUHAT v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET. AL.

  • G.R. No. 120365 December 17, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILSON B. QUE

  • G.R. Nos. 103727 & 106496 December 18, 1996 - INTESTATE ESTATE OF DON MARIANO SAN PEDRO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET.AL.

  • Adm. Matter Nos. RTJ-90-372-B & P-93-992 December 23, 1996 - COURT EMPLOYEES OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT v. JUDGE VIVENCIO A. GALON

  • Adm. Matter No. SC-96-1 December 23, 1996 - DAMASO S. FLORES v. BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS

  • G.R. No. 117582 December 23, 1996 - CONRADO SAMILLANO, ET. AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET.AL.

  • G.R. No. 120038 December 23, 1996 - DIANA E. BELAUNZARAN v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET.AL.

  • G.R. No. 118079 December 24, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO ESTANISLAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118808 December 24, 1996 - JUDGE ANA MARIA I. DOLALAS, ET.AL. v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN-MINDANAO, ET, AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-96-1112 December 27, 1996 - ANTONIO ADAPON v. JUDGE HERNANDO C. DOMAGTOY

  • G.R. No. 117737 December 27, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NEMECIO B. CERVANTES

  • G.R. No. 82188 June 30, 1988

    PCGG, ET AL. v. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 120958   December 16, 1996 - FIL-ESTATE GOLF AND DEVELOPMENT v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET.AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 120958. December 16, 1996.]

    FIL-ESTATE GOLF AND DEVELOPMENT, INC., Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. STELLA CABUCO-ANDRES, Presiding Judge of Branch 31, Regional Trial Court, Fourth Judicial Region, San Pedro, Laguna, SPOUSES FELIPE and VICTORIA LAYOS, EDUARDO R. LOYOLA, NENITA ZARRIS, MANUEL R. TUASON and BENILDA AMBIOJA, Respondents.


    D E C I S I O N


    KAPUNAN, J.:


    Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court with application for a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction is the decision of the Court of Appeals dated 10 March 1995 dismissing the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by petitioner. Impugned likewise is the resolution of the Court of Appeals dated 13 July 1995 denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.

    The present controversy arose from the following facts:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Petitioner Fil-Estate Golf & Development, Inc. (FEGDI) is the developer of the Manila Southwoods golf course and residential subdivision project which partly covers lands located in Biñan, Laguna. Its partner in the joint venture, La Paz Housing and Development Corporation (La Paz), provided the aforementioned properties which are registered in its name. The project involves the "construction and development of, among others, a highway interchange linking nearby communities to the South Expressway and world class tourism-generating cultural theme and water parks." 1

    On 29 December 1992, a certain Felipe Layos filed a complaint for Injunction and Damages with Application for Preliminary Injunction 2 against Fil-Estate Realty Corporation, (FERC) Et. Al. with the Regional Trial Court of Biñan, Laguna and docketed as Civil Case No. B-3973.

    It was alleged in the said complaint that Felipe Layos is the legal owner and possessor of two (2) parcels of land having a total area of 837,695 square meters located at Barrio Tubigan, Biñan, Laguna, known as Lots 1 & 2 of Plan Psu-201 of the Bureau of Lands having acquired the same from his father, Mauricio Layos, who in turn inherited said properties from his own father, Natalio Layos, allegedly the original owner thereof. Layos claimed that the Southwoods project encroached upon the aforecited lands and thus contended that his rights of ownership and possession were violated when FERC brought in men and equipment to begin development of the said properties.

    On 2 February 1993, FERC filed an Opposition to Application for Writ of Preliminary Injunction 3 and explicitly stated therein that the developer of the Southwoods project is its sister company, FEGDI.

    On 5 March 1993, FEGDI filed an Answer 4 to the abovementioned complaint and reiterated that it is the developer of the Southwoods project and not FERC and that the land covered by the project is covered by Transfer Certificates of Title in the name of La Paz, copies of which were attached to said answer as annexes.

    On 29 March 1993, Presiding Judge Justo M. Sultan of the Regional Trial Court of Biñan, Laguna issued an order denying the prayer for preliminary injunction in Civil Case No. B-3973 in view of the inability of Layos to substantiate his right. Neither he nor his counsel appeared on the scheduled hearings. The order reads as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    x       x       x


    When this case was called for hearing on the petition for issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction, only the defendant Fil-Estate Realty Corp. and its counsel are present. On the other hand, the plaintiff and counsels did not appear in Court.

    Records will show that on January 18, 1993, a temporary restraining order was issued by the Court and was served on the defendant on February 1, 1993. On the February 2, 1993 hearing, the plaintiff moved that the hearing be reset on February 22, 1993. This is with the full knowledge that a temporary restraining order would become moot and academic by the next hearing.

    On the date of the hearing (February 27, 1993), the plaintiff moved for postponement on the ground that he will submit a report on the relocation survey within Ten (10) days; hence, the hearing was again reset to March 23, 1993. That, on said date (March 23, 1993), no nearing took place inasmuch as the plaintiff just filed a written Motion for Postponement. The Court then set the hearing to March 30, 1993. Again, the hearing was reset to April 29, 1993. LRC Case No. B-452 (sic) being related to Civil Case No. B-3973, its hearing was likewise made to coincide with the hearing on the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction. On the date set for hearing, the plaintiff who is also the applicant in LRC Case No. B-542 including his two counsels did not appear in Court despite due notice to them.

    WHEREFORE, in view of the plaintiff’s inability to substantiate his right, the prayer for preliminary injunction is denied due course.

    SO ORDERED. 5

    On 25 June 1993, Felipe Layos along with his wife and other individuals filed another case for injunction and Damages with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction with the Regional Trial Court of San Pedro, Laguna docketed as Civil Case No. B-4133, this -time against the correct party, FEGDI.

    The complaint in the San Pedro case (Civil Case No. B-4133) is basically identical to that filed in the Biñan case (Civil Case No. B-3973), except for changes in the number of party-plaintiffs and party-defendants and in the area size of the claimed landholdings. Further, in the San Pedro case there is reference to a title (OCT No. 239), a specific date of intrusion and an increase in the damages prayed for. 6

    On 1 July 1993, FEGDI moved to dismiss the San Pedro case on grounds of litis pendentia, forum-shopping, lack of cause of action and lack of jurisdiction. 7 FEGDI argued that a similar complaint was previously filed with the Regional Trial Court of Biñan, Laguna and is currently pending therein. It, likewise, Accused the private respondents of forum-shopping, stating that the latter instituted the San Pedro case after their application for preliminary injunction was denied by the Biñan court. Anent the third and fourth grounds, FEGDI averred that the documents relied upon by the private respondents are of doubtful veracity and that they failed to pay the correct filing fees considering that the San Pedro case is a real action as allegedly revealed in the body of the complaint. The Layoses filed their opposition on 5 July 1993 arguing in the main that there is no litis pendentia because there is no identity of parties. Felipe Layos claimed that he never authorized the filing of the Biñan case and that the defendant therein is the Fil-Estate Realty Corporation not the Fil-Estate Golf & Development, Inc. Consequently, the two cases being dissimilar, there can be no forum-shopping. 8 Private respondents contended, likewise, that they have satisfied all the requirements of a valid cause of action and insisted that the suit is not for recovery of possession but is a personal action for injunction and damages. On 12 July 1993, Judge Stella Cabuco-Andres of the San Pedro Regional Trial Court issued an order denying FEGDI’s motion to dismiss. 9 The Motion for Reconsideration filed by FEGDI on 13 July 1993 was similarly denied by the aforesaid court in an order dated 14 July 1993. 10

    On 15 July 1993, FEGDI filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Application for Preliminary Injunction with the Court of Appeals (docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 31507) 11 assailing the denial of its motion to dismiss the San Pedro case. The arguments and issues raised by petitioner to support its motion to dismiss were the same issues raised in the aforestated petition.

    On 20 July 1993, the Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order enjoining Judge Andres from proceeding with the San Pedro case. 12

    Meanwhile, the Regional Trial Court of Biñan, Laguna, in an order dated 25 January 1994, dismissed the Biñan case without prejudice on grounds of forum-shopping. 13 FEGDI moved for a partial reconsideration of the said order praying that the dismissal be with prejudice. Hence, on 25 April 1994, the aforestated court dismissed the Biñan case with prejudice to forestall the plaintiffs therein from forum-shopping. The said order states, thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    x       x       x


    This Court in its Order dated January 25, 1994 dismissed the case on the ground of forum shopping. The defendant corporation later on filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration insisting that the dismissal should be permanent as a penalty for forum shopping. For indeed, the reiteration of the same would result in contempt, summary dismissal of all the actions or proceedings as well as administrative sanctions. (MP[sic] Finance Corp. v. Abesamis, 195 SCRA 59; (Benguel [sic] Electric Corp., Inc. v. AEA, Jan. 23, 1991; see also Aqualyn Corp. v. CA, 214 SCRA 307 (1992); Ruiz v. Drilon, 209 SCRA 695 (1992).

    This Court is in full agreement with the defendant corporation, otherwise, if the dismissal is without prejudice, what would prevent the plaintiff from raising the same thing in another tribunal as it has raised in Branch 31 of this Court? It would result in absurdity. The rule prohibiting as well as penalizing forum-shopping has not been intended to allow absurdity to happen. It was intended to prevent repetitious filing of suits by one party in case he cannot succeed in a claim lodged before a court of justice. There must be an end to litigation and this is one thing the penalty for forum shopping has intended to be.

    Wherefore, in view of the foregoing premises, the Motion for Reconsideration is granted. This case is hereby dismissed with prejudice.

    SO ORDERED. 14

    On 10 March 1995, the Court of Appeals dismissed FEGDI’s petition for lack of merit. It ruled that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. There is no litis pendentia because there is no identity of parties, specifically the main party-defendants, FERC (the defendant in the Biñan case) and FEGDI (the defendant in the San Pedro case) which have separate and distinct personalities;

    2. Private respondents are not guilty of forum-shopping for the same reason as above-stated;

    3. The essential elements of a valid cause of action are present in private respondents’ complaint and the main allegations therein are sufficient for the court to render a valid judgment; and

    4. Private respondents paid the correct filing fees. Not being a real action, there was no need for private respondents to state in their complaint the assessed value of the properties in question as basis for the assessment and collection of the docket and filing fees. 15

    FEGDI’s motion for reconsideration was subsequently denied in the Court of Appeals’ resolution dated 13 July 1 995. 16 Hence, this petition for review.

    Petitioner makes the following assignment of errors:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    I


    RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS (AND RESPONDENT JUDGE) ERRED IN FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THAT CIVIL CASE NO. B-3973 (THE "BIÑAN CASE") WAS AUTHORIZED BY PRIVATE RESPONDENT FELIPE LAYOS.

    II


    RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS (AND RESPONDENT JUDGE) ERRED IN FAILING TO UPHOLD LITIS PENDENTIA AS A GROUND FOR DISMISSING CIVIL CASE NO. B-4133 (THE "SAN PEDRO CASE"), PARTICULARLY BY HOLDING THAT THE REQUISITE IDENTITY OF PARTIES IS NOT PRESENT.

    III


    RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS (AND RESPONDENT JUDGE) ERRED IN FAILING TO RECOGNIZE A FORUM SHOPPING SITUATION VIS-A-VIS THE FILING OF THE BIÑAN AND THE SAN PEDRO CASES, AND TO INVOKE THE SAME AS A GROUND FOR DISMISSING THE LATTER CASE.

    IV


    RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS (AND RESPONDENT JUDGE) ERRED IN FAILING TO UPHOLD LACK OF CAUSE OF ACTION AS A GROUND FOR DISMISSING THE SAN PEDRO CASE.

    V


    RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS (AND RESPONDENT JUDGE) ERRED IN FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE SAN PEDRO CASE IS A REAL ACTION, HENCE FAILING TO UPHOLD THE DISMISSAL OF SAID CASE ON THE GROUND THAT THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT ACQUIRE JURISDICTION OVER THE ACTION FOR FAILURE OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS TO PAY THE PROPER FILING FEES. 17

    The petition is granted.

    Petitioner, motion to dismiss is predicated on four grounds: litis pendentia, forum-shopping, lack of cause of action and lack of jurisdiction for failure to pay the proper filing fees. However, in resolving the same, we shall focus our discussion on the second and third grounds only.

    Private respondents have indeed resorted to forum-shopping in order to obtain a favorable decision. The familiar pattern (of one party’s practice of deliberately seeking out a "sympathetic" court) is undisputedly revealed by the fact that after Felipe Layos instituted in 1992 a case for injunction and damages with application for preliminary injunction in the Regional Trial Court of Biñan, Laguna and after his prayer for a preliminary injunction was denied in March 1993, he and his wife, together with four (4) alleged buyers of portions of the land claimed by him, filed an identical complaint for injunction and damages with preliminary injunction a few months later, or in June 1993, this time with the Regional Trial Court of San Pedro, Laguna.

    Having been denied their temporary restraining order in one court, private respondents immediately instituted the same action in another tribunal — a deliberate tactic to seek out a different court which may grant their application for preliminary injunction, or at least give them another chance to obtain one.

    Private respondents parry petitioner’s allegation of forum-shopping by adamantly contending that Felipe Layos did not, in any manner, authorize the filing of the Biñan case. Moreover, they insist that Felipe Layos’ signature in the Biñan complaint is a forgery and that he neither appeared nor participated in the proceedings before the Biñan court

    We find no merit in private respondents’ assertions. The almost word-for-word similarity of the complaints in both the Biñan and San Pedro cases totally refutes such a theory, as can readily be observed from a comparative view of the two aforementioned complaints:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Biñan Case San Pedro Case

    Plaintiff is a Filipino, of legal age, with Plaintiffs Sps. Felipe and Victoria

    residence at Our Lady of Monserrat St., Layos are Filipinos, of legal age, with

    Lot 21, Block 18, Rosario Village, San residence at our Lady of Monserrat

    Pedro, Laguna; whereas defendant Street, Lot 21, Block 18, Rosario

    FIL-ESTATE REALTY Village, San Pedro, Laguna; plaintiffs

    CORPORATION, is a corporation duly Eduardo R Loyola, Nenita Zarris and

    organized and existing under Philippine Benilda Ambojia are Filipinos, of legal

    laws, defendant ARNEL NULOT is a age and all residing at Silang, Cavite,

    Filipino, of legal age, and is the Project while plaintiff Manuel R Tuason,

    Engineer and Personnel Manager of Filipino, of legal age and a resident of

    defendant corporation, BOY ESCANO Lagro Subdivision, Valenzuela, Metro

    is Filipino, of legal age, and is Manila; whereas defendant

    consultant of said corporation, and FIL-ESTATE GOLF AND

    JOHN DOES are Filipinos, of legal age, DEVELOPMENT INC., is a corporation

    whose identities may be made later on, duly organized and existing under

    and who are acting for or under Philippine laws, and JOHN and PETER

    instruction of said corporation, all with DOES are Filipinos, of legal age, whose

    address at Fil-Estate Realty Corporation identities may be established later on,

    Office, SEC Building, Mandaluyong, and who are acting jointly with and/or

    Metro Manila, where they may be for or under instruction of said

    served with summons and other court corporation, all with address at

    processes. (Par. 1). Fil-Estate Golf and Development, Inc.

    office, SEC Building, Mandaluyong,

    Metro Manila, where they may be

    served with summons and other court

    processes. (par. 1).

    Plaintiff is the owner and lawful Plaintiffs are the co-owners and lawful

    possessor of two (2) parcels of land possessors of two (2) parcels of land

    situated at Barrio Tubigan, Biñan, situated at Barrio Tubigan, Biñan,

    Laguna, known as Lots 1 and 2 of the Laguna, known as Lots 1 and 2 of Plan

    Plan Psu-201 of the Bureau of Lands, Psu-201 of the Bureau of Lands, copy

    copy of which Plan is attached as of which Plan is attached as Annex "A"

    Annex "A" hereof. (par. 2). hereof. (par. 1, first sentence).

    Said lots have a total area of 837,695 Said lots have a total area of 1,068,725

    square meters as shown in said plan. square meters as shown in said plan.

    The original owner and lawful The original owner and lawful

    possessor of said land is NATALIO possessor of said land is NATALIO

    LAYOS, grandfather of herein plaintiff LAYOS, grandfather of plaintiff Felipe

    (par. 3). Layos (par. 2, last sentence; paragraph

    3, first sentence.)

    When his said grandfather died, said When plaintiff Felipe Layos’

    properties were acquired by inheritance grandfather died, said properties were

    by his sole heir MAURICIO LAYOS, acquired by inheritance by his only son

    who is the father of herein plaintiff. and sole heir MAURICIO LAYOS,

    (par. 4). who is the father of herein plaintiff

    Felipe Layos. (par. 4).

    On April 15, 1992, said MAURICIO On April 15, 1992, said MAURICIO

    LAYOS executed an "Affidavit of LAYOS executed an "Affidavit of

    Self-Adjudication with Sale," copy of Self-Adjudication with Sale," a copy of

    which is attached as Annex "B" hereof, which is attached as Annex "C" hereof.

    whereby said Mauricio Layos after Under said Affidavit of

    having adjudicated the subject Self-Adjudication with Sale, Mauricio

    properties to himself as sole heir of the Layos . . . sold the same properties to

    deceased Natalio Layos, sold the same herein plaintiff Felipe Layos. (par. 5,

    properties to herein plaintiff Felipe first 2 sentences).

    Layos. (par. 5).

    Plaintiff herein is now the owner and . . . who is one of the owners and lawful

    lawful possessor of the subject possessors of the subject properties. His

    properties, his possession thereof, open, continuous and peaceful

    tucking (sic) the possession of his said possession thereof, tacking the

    father and grandfather, in the concept of possession of his said father and

    an owner, is for more than thirty (30) grandfather, in the concept of an owner,

    years, way back in 1909 when the said is more than thirty (30) years now,

    plan was approved by the Bureau of commencing even before December 14,

    Lands. (par. 6). 1909 when the said plan was approved

    by the Bureau of Lands. (par. 5, second

    part of second sentence and third

    sentence).

    The subject parcels of land is (sic) The subject parcels of land are declared

    declared for taxation purposes as for taxation purposes and real estate

    evidenced by Tax Declarations Nos. taxes therefor had been paid by plaintiff

    55007 and 55008, copy of each attached Felipe Layos. (par. 7).

    as Annexes "C" and "D" hereof,

    respectively (par. 7).

    Recently, said defendants, in conspiracy On or about June 16, 1993, the

    and in confederation with one another, Defendants, in conspiracy and in

    have brought men, materials, and confederation with one another, have

    equipment’s (sic) near the subject brought men, materials, and

    properties and are threatening, equipment’s (sic) at or near the subject

    procuring, suffering, or about to, enter, properties of plaintiff and are

    occupy, use and/or develop the subject threatening, procuring, suffering, or

    properties in gross violation of the about to, enter, occupy, use and/or

    plaintiff’s rights of ownership and develop as they have in fact entered,

    possession over said properties (par. 8). occupied, use (sic) and started to

    develop the subject properties without

    the consent of plaintiffs thereby

    violation (sic) their rights of ownership

    as well as the erstwhile peaceful and

    undisturbed possession over said

    properties for which plaintiffs suffered

    actual damages of at least P50,000.00.

    (par. 8).

    Such acts of defendants are in violation The unlawful and highly irregular acts

    of plaintiff’s rights as lawful owner and of defendants are in violation of

    possessor of subject properties, and the plaintiffs’ rights as lawful owners and

    same would work great and irreparable possessors of subject properties, and

    damage and injustice to plaintiff. (par. said acts complained of herein would

    9). work great and irreparable damage and

    injury to plaintiffs. (par. 13).

    Plaintiff is entitled to the relief Plaintiffs are entitled to the reliefs

    demanded and the whole or part of such demanded and the whole or part of such

    relief consists in restraining defendants reliefs consists in restraining defendants

    from entering, occupying, and from entering, occupying, using and

    developing the abovesaid properties of developing the abovesaid properties of

    plaintiff, or any portion thereof, and plaintiffs, or any portion thereof, or to

    from violating the latter’s rights of desist from continuing with said

    ownership and possession thereon. (par. unlawful acts and from violating their

    10) rights of ownership and possession of

    the subject properties. (par. 10).

    The commission or continuance of the The commission or continuance of the

    acts complained of during the litigation acts complained of during the litigation

    would definitely work great and of the instant case would definitely

    irreparable injustice and damage to work great and irreparable injury and

    plaintiff, and may render the judgment damage to plaintiffs, and may make the

    that his Honorable Court may render judgment that this Honorable Court

    (sic)ineffective. (par. 11). may render (sic) herein ineffectual (par.

    15).

    Unless immediately restrained, Unless immediately restrained,

    defendants and persons working under defendants as well as any and all

    them will persist and continue entering, persons acting and working for and in

    occupying, use (sic) and/or developing its (sic) behalf, will persist and continue

    the subject properties of plaintiff in entering, occupying, using and/or

    violation of the latter’s right and to his developing the subject properties of

    great damage and irreparable injuries. plaintiffs in violation of the latter’s right

    (sic; par. 12). and to their great damage and

    irreparable injuries. (sic; par. 16).

    Plaintiff has no other plain, speedy, or Plaintiffs have no other plain, speedy or

    other sufficient remedy in the ordinary other sufficient remedy in the ordinary

    course of law, and he is willing to file course of law, and they are willing and

    an injunction bond in such amount that able to file an injunction bond in such

    the Honorable Court may reasonably amount that this Honorable Court may

    fix. (par. 13). fix. The affidavit of plaintiff Felipe

    Layos in support of their prayer for

    preliminary injunction is hereto

    attached as Annex "D" and made part

    hereof. (par. 17).

    Due to the abovesaid unlawful acts of By reason of defendant’s unlawful acts

    defendants, plaintiff has suffered fear, complained of herein, plaintiffs have

    anxiety, worry, embarrassment, nervous suffered fear, anxiety, worry,

    tension, and other similar injuries for embarrassment, moral anguish, nervous

    which he is entitled to an award of tension, sleepless nights and other

    moral damages in the amount of not similar injuries for which they are

    less than P100,000.00. (par. 14). entitled to an award of moral damages

    in the amount of at least P200,000.00.

    (par. 10).

    For the same reason, and to serve as an In order to serve as an example for the

    example for the public good, plaintiff is public good, plaintiffs are also entitled

    entitled to an award of moral (sic) to an award of exemplary damages

    damages which can be reasonably which can be reasonably estimated at

    estimated at not less than P100,000.00 not less than P100,000.00. (par. 11).

    (par. 15).

    For the same reason, and to protect the For the same reason, and to protect their

    rights and interest (sic), plaintiff is rights and interests (sic), plaintiffs were

    constrained to engage the services of constrained to engage the services of

    counsel for which it has committed to counsel for which they agreed to pay

    pay the sum of P100,000.00 plus the sum of P100,000.00 as and for

    P1,000.00 per court appearance of attorney’s fees and other litigation

    counsel. (par. 16) expenses, plus P1,000.00 per court

    appearance of counsel. (par. 12).

    At the outset, a restraining order be At the outset, a temporary restraining

    issued directing defendants, their order be issued directing defendants,

    officers, workers, attorneys, agents, their officers, workers, attorneys,

    representatives, subordinates, personnel agents, representatives, subordinates,

    and other person., assisting them or personnel and other persons assisting

    acting under them, to desist and refrain them or acting under them, to desist and

    from entering, occupying, using or refrain from entering, occupying, using

    developing the properties subject of this or developing the properties subject of

    case, particularly Lots l and 2 of Plan this case, particularly Lots l and 2 of

    Psu-201, copy attached as Annex "A" Plan Psu-201, Annex ‘A’ hereof, and

    hereof. (Prayer 1). covered by Original Certificate of Title

    No. 239 or the Register of Deeds of the

    Province of Laguna, copy of which is

    attached as Annex ‘B’ hereof. (Prayer 1).

    Thereafter, a preliminary injunction be After due hearing, a preliminary

    issued after plaintiff’s filing of an injunction be issued upon plaintiff’s

    injunction bond in such amount as this filing of an injunction bond in such

    Honorable Court may reasonably fix. amount as this Honorable Court may

    (Prayer 2). fix. (Prayer 2).

    After due trial and hearing, a decision After trial and hearing, judgment be

    be rendered making said preliminary rendered in favor of plaintiffs making

    injunction permanent, and directing said preliminary injunction permanent,

    defendants to jointly and severally pay and directing defendants to jointly and

    plaintiff the sums of: P50,000.00 — as severally pay plaintiffs the sums of at

    and for moral damages, P50,000.00 — least: P50,000.00 — for actual

    as and for exemplary damages; damages; P200,000.00 — as and for

    P100,000.00 plus P1,000.00 court moral damages’, P100,000.00 — as and

    appearance of counsel as and for for attorney’s fees and other litigation

    attorney’s fees. (Prayer 3). expenses. (Prayer 3). 18

    Even the affidavits attached to the two complaints are virtually identical:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Biñan Case San Pedro Case

    I, FELIPE LAYOS, a Filipino, of legal I, FELIPE LAYOS, a Filipino, of legal

    age, and with residence at our Lady of age, and with residence at our Lady of

    Monserrat St., Lot 21, Block 18, Monserrat St., Lot 21, Block 18,

    Rosario Village, San Pedro, Laguna, Rosario Village, San Pedro, Laguna,

    after having been duly sworn, depose after first being duly sworn, depose and

    and say, that: (prefatory statement; say that: (prefatory statement;

    Affidavit). Affidavit).

    I am the owner and lawful possessor of I am the owner and lawful possessor of

    two (2) parcels of land situated at two (2) parcels of land situated at

    Barrio Tubigan, Biñan, Laguna, known Barrio Tubigan, Biñan, Laguna, known

    as Lots 1 and 2 of Plan Psu-201 of the as Lots 1 and 2 of Plan Psu-201 of the

    Bureau of Lands, copy of which Plan is Bureau of Lands and covered by OCT

    attached as Annex "A" hereof. (par. 1, No. 239 copies of which are marked as

    Affidavit). Annexes "A" and "B" of the Complaint,

    respectively. (par. 1, Affidavit).

    Said Lots have a total area of 837,695 Said Lots have a total area of 1,068,725

    square meters as shown in said plan. square meters as shown in said plan and

    The original owner and lawful OCT. The original owner and lawful

    possessor of said land is NATALIO possessor of said land is NATALIO

    RAMOS (sic), my grandfather. (par. 3, LAYOS, my grandfather. (par 2,

    Affidavit; N.B. there is no par. 2). Affidavit).

    When my said grandfather died, said When my said grandfather died, said

    properties were acquired by inheritance properties were acquired by inheritance

    by his sole heir MAURICIO LAYOS by his sole heir MAURICIO LAYOS

    who is my father. (par. 4, Affidavit). who is my father. (par. 3, Affidavit).

    On April 15, 1992, my said father, On April 15, 1992, my said father,

    MAURICIO LAYOS, executed an MAURICIO LAYOS, executed an

    "Affidavit of Self-Adjudication with "Affidavit of Self-Adjudication with

    Sale", copy of -which is attached as Sale", copy of which is attached as

    Annex "B" hereof, whereby said Annex "C" of the Complaint, whereby

    Mauricio Layos, after having said Mauricio Layos, after having

    adjudicated the subject properties to adjudicated the subject properties to

    himself as sole heir of the deceased himself as sole heir of the deceased

    Natalio Layos, sold the same properties Natalio Layos, sold the same properties

    to me. (par. 5, Affidavit) to me. (par. 4, Affidavit).

    By virtue thereof, I am now the owner By virtue thereof, I am now the owner

    and lawful possessor of the said and lawful possessor of the said

    properties. My possession thereof, properties. My possession thereof,

    tucking (sic) the possession of my said tucking [sic] the possession of my said

    father and grandfather, in the concept of father and grandfather, in the concept of

    an owner, is for more than thirty (30) an owner, is for more than thirty (30)

    years, way back in 1909 when the said years, even before December 14, 1909

    plan was approved by the Bureau of when the said plan was approved by the

    Lands. (par. 6, Affidavit). Bureau of Lands. (par. 5, Affidavit).

    The subject parcels of land is [sic] The subject parcels of land are declared

    declared for taxation purposes as for taxation purposes. (par. 6, Affidavit).

    evidenced by Tax Declaration Nos.

    55007 and 55003, copy of each is

    attached as Annexes "C" and "D"

    hereof, respectively. (par. 7, Affidavit).

    Recently, defendants in this case, in On or about June 16, 1993, the

    conspiracy and in confederation with defendants, in conspiracy and in

    one another, brought men, materials and confederation with one another, have

    equipment’s [sic] near the subject brought men, materials and equipment

    properties and are threatening, at or near the subject properties and are

    procuring, about to, or are suffering to, threatening, procuring, suffering, or

    enter, occupy, use and/or develop the about to, enter, occupy, use and/or

    said properties in gross violation of my develop as they have in fact entered,

    rights of ownership and possession over occupied, use [sic] and started to

    said properties. (par. 7, Affidavit). develop the subject properties without

    the consent of plaintiffs thereby

    violation (sic) their rights of ownership

    as well as the erstwhile peaceful and

    undisturbed possessions over said

    properties for which plaintiffs suffered

    actual damages of at least P50,000.00.

    (par. 7, Affidavit).

    Such acts of defendants are in violation The unlawful and highly irregular acts

    of my rights as lawful owner and of defendants are in violation of

    possessor of subject properties, and the plaintiffs’ rights as lawful owners and

    same would work great and irreparable possessors of subject properties, and

    damage and injustice to me. (par. 9, said acts complained of herein would

    Affidavit). work great and irreparable damage and

    injury to plaintiffs.

    I am entitled to the relief demanded and Plaintiffs are entitled to the reliefs

    the whole or part of such relief consists demanded and the whole or part of such

    in restraining said defendants from reliefs consists in restraining defendant

    entering, occupying, and developing, from entering, occupying, using and

    the above-said properties of plaintiff, or developing the abovesaid properties of

    any portion thereof, and from violating plaintiffs, or any portion thereof, or to

    the latter’s rights of ownership and desist from continuing with said

    possession thereon. (par. 10, Affidavit). unlawful acts and from violating their

    rights of ownership and possession of

    the subject properties. (par. 10,

    Affidavit).

    The commission or continuance of the The commission or continuance of the

    acts complained of during the litigation acts complained of during the litigation

    would definitely work great and of the instant case would definitely

    irreparable injustice and damage to me, work great and irreparable injury and

    may render the judgment that this damage to plaintiffs, and may make the

    Honorable Court may render [sic] judgment that this Honorable Court may

    ineffectual. (par. 11, Affidavit). render herein ineffectual. (par. 11,

    Affidavit).

    Unless immediately restrained, Unless immediately restrained,

    defendants, their subordinates, workers, Defendants, as well as any and all

    and persons working under them will persons acting and working for and in

    persist and continue entering, its [sic] behalf will persist and continue

    occupying, using and/or developing the entering, occupying, using and

    subject properties of plaintiff in developing the abovesaid properties of

    violation of the my [sic] right and to my plaintiffs in violation of the latter’s right

    great damage and irreparable injuries and to their great damage and

    [sic]. (par. 12, Affidavit). irreparable injuries [sic]. (par. 12,

    Affidavit).

    I have no other plain, speedy, or other Plaintiffs have no other plain, speedy,

    sufficient remedy in the ordinary course or other sufficient remedy in the

    of law, and I am willing to file an ordinary course of law, and they are

    injunction bond in such amount that the willing and able to file an injunction

    Honorable Court may reasonable fix. bond in such amount that this Honorable

    Court may reasonably fix. (par. 13,

    Affidavit). 19

    Examining the two complaints one can easily discern that the San Pedro complaint is simply an "improved" version of the Binan complaint and the similarity does not end there. The residence certificates (of Felipe Layod) used in the verification of both complaints are practically identical — same number, date of issue and place of issue. 20

    If indeed there is a "ghost Mr. Layos," as claimed by the private respondents, the genuine Felipe Layos and the rest of the private respondents should have, on their own volition, denounced the allegedly bogus case filed with the Biñan court or at the very least, informed the San Pedro court about it. It cannot be denied that private respondents were aware of the Biñan case considering that Annex C (Affidavit of Self-Adjudication with Sale) of the San Pedro complaint was a mere photocopy of Annex B of the Biñan complaint.

    Private respondents likewise aver that there is no identity of party-defendants in view of the fact that the defendant in the Biñan case is the Fil-Estate Realty Corporation (FERC) and in the San Pedro case the Fil-Estate Golf and Development, Inc. (FEGDI), two completely separate and distinct entities.

    Private respondents’ contention is unmeritorious

    In the Biñan case, FEGDI voluntarily submitted to the court’s jurisdiction by filing its answer and expressly stating therein that it is the developer of Southwoods, and not its sister company, FERC. Moreover, the Biñan court in its orders dated 25 January 1994 21 and 20 October 1994 22 expressly recognized FEGDI as the defendant in the said case. There can be no question then that in both cases FEGDI is the true party-defendant. 23

    As clearly demonstrated above, the willful attempt by private respondents to obtain a preliminary injunction in another court after it failed to acquire the same from the original court constitutes grave abuse of the judicial process. Such disrespect is penalized by the summary dismissal of both actions as mandated by paragraph 17 of the Interim Rules and Guidelines issued by this Court on 11 January 1983 and Supreme Court Circular No. 28-91. 24 In Bugnay Construction & Development Corporation v. Laron, 25 we declared:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Forum-shopping, an act of malpractice, is proscribed and condemned as trifling with the courts and abusing their processes. It is improper conduct that degrades the administration of justice. The rule has been formalized in Paragraph 17 of the Interim Rules and Guidelines issued by this Court on January 11, 1983, in connection with the implementation of the Judiciary Reorganization Act. Thus, said Paragraph 17 provides that no petition may be filed in the then Intermediate Appellate Court, now the Court of Appeals "if another similar petition has been filed or is still pending in the Supreme Court" and vice-versa. The Rule ordains that" (a) violation of the rule shall constitute a contempt of court and shall be a cause for the summary dismissal of both petitions, without prejudice to the taking of appropriate action against the counsel or party concerned."cralaw virtua1aw library

    This rule has been equally applied in the recent case of Limpin, Jr., Et. Al. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, Et Al., where the party having filed an action in one branch of the regional trial court shops for the same remedies of a restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction in another branch of the same court. We ruled therein that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "So, too, what has thus far been said more than amply demonstrates Sarmiento’s and Basa’s act of forum-shopping. Having failed to obtain the reliefs to which they were not entitled in the first place from the "Solano Court," the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court, they subsequently instituted two (2) actions in the ‘Beltran Court’ for the same purpose, violating in the process the ruling against splitting causes of action. The sanction is inescapable: dismissal of both actions, for gross abuse of judicial processes."cralaw virtua1aw library

    The rule against forum-shopping is further strengthened by the issuance of Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 04-94. Said circular formally established the rule that the deliberate filing of multiple complaints to obtain favorable action constitutes forum-shopping and shall be a ground for summary dismissal thereof:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR NO. 04-94

    TO : COURT OF APPEALS, SANDIGANBAYAN, COURT OF TAX APPEALS, REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL, TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS, THE SOLICITOR GENERAL, THE GOVERNMENT CORPORATE COUNSEL, ALL MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNMENT PROSECUTION SERVICE, AND ALL MEMBERS OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES.

    SUBJECT : ADDITIONAL REQUISITES FOR CIVIL COMPLAINTS, PETITIONS AND OTHER INITIATORY PLEADINGS FILED IN ALL COURTS AND AGENCIES, OTHER THAN THE SUPREME COURT AND THE COURT OF APPEALS, TO PREVENT FORUM SHOPPING OR MULTIPLE FILLING OF SUCH PLEADINGS.

    Revised Circular No. 28-91, dated February 8, 1994, applies to and governs the filing of petitions in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals and is intended to prevent the multiple filing of petitions or complaints involving the same issues in other tribunals or agencies as a form of forum shopping.

    Complementary thereto and for the same purpose, the following requirements, in addition to those in pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court and existing circulars, shall be strictly complied with in the filing of the complaints, petitions, applications or other initiatory pleadings in all courts and agencies other than the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals and shall be subject to the sanctions provided hereunder.

    1. The plaintiff, Petitioner, applicant or principal party seeking relief in the complaint, petition, application or other initiatory pleading shall certify under oath in such original pleading, or in a sworn certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed therewith, to the truth of the following facts and undertakings: (a) he has not theretofore commenced any other action or proceeding involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency; (b) to the best of his knowledge, no such action or proceedings is pending in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, (c) if there is any such action or proceeding which is either pending or may have been terminated, he must state the status thereof; and (d) if he should thereafter learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency, he undertakes to report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court or agency wherein the original pleading and sworn certification contemplated herein have been filed.

    The complaint and other initiatory pleadings referred to and subject of this Circular are the original civil complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim, third (fourth, etc.) party complaint, or complaint-in-intervention, petition, or application wherein a party asserts his claim for relief.

    2. Any violation of this Circular shall be a cause for the dismissal of the complaint, petition, application or other initiatory pleading, upon motion and after hearing. However. any clearly willful and deliberate forum shopping by any party and his counsel through the filing of multiple complaints or other initiatory pleadings to obtain favorable action shall be a ground for summary dismissal thereof and shall constitute direct contempt of court. Furthermore, the submission of a false certification or non-compliance with the undertakings therein, as provided in Paragraph 1 hereof, shall constitute indirect contempt of court, without prejudice to disciplinary proceedings against the counsel and the filing of a criminal action against the guilty party. (Emphasis ours.)

    This Circular shall take effect on April 1, 1994.

    February 8, 1994.

    (Sgd.) ANDRES R. NARVASA

    Chief Justice

    We, likewise, find that the complaint in the San Pedro case did not state a cause of action; consequently, the Court of Appeals erred in upholding the trial court’s refusal to dismiss the complaint on this ground.

    In determining whether or not a complaint states a cause of action, only the allegations in the complaint must be considered. Thus, in the recent case of Navoa v. Court of Appeals, 26 we held as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    A cause of action is the fact or combination of facts which affords a party a right to judicial interference in his behalf. The requisites for a cause of action are: (a) a right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or is created, (b) an obligation on the part of the defendant to respect and not to violate such right; and (c) an act or omission on the part of the defendant constituting a violation of the plaintiff’s right or breach of the obligation of the defendant to the plaintiff. Briefly stated, it is the reason why the litigation has come about; it is the act or omission of defendant resulting in the violation of someone’s right.

    In determining the existence of a cause of action, only the statements in the complaint may properly be considered Lack of cause of action must appear on the face of the complaint and its existence may be determined only by the allegations of the complaint, consideration of other facts being proscribed and any attempt to prove extraneous circumstances not being allowed.

    If a defendant moves to dismiss the complaint on the ground of lack of cause of action, such as what petitioners did in the case at bar, he is regarded as having hypothetically admitted all the averments thereof. The test of sufficiency of the facts found in a complaint as constituting a cause of action is whether or not admitting the facts alleged the court can render a valid judgment upon the same in accordance with the prayer thereof The hypothetical admission extends to the relevant and material facts well pleaded in the complaint and inferences fairly deducible therefrom. Hence, if the allegations in the complaint furnish sufficient basis by which the complaint can be maintained, the same should not be dismissed regardless of the defense that may be assessed by the defendants.

    However, the Court of Appeals, as well as the trial court, limited itself to the allegations in the complaint proper of the San Pedro case in-concluding that said complaint stated a cause of action. This is erroneous. In the determination of whether or not the complaint states a cause of action, the annexes attached to the complaint may be considered, they being parts of the complaint:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The fact that there is "no cause of action" must be evident on the face of the complaint itself (namely, the allegations, including attached annexes and statements, mentioned in the complaint (Acuna v. Batac Producers Cooperative, L-20333, June 30, 1967; Deleplanque v. Tervel, Et Al., 95 Phil. 959). In other words, the test is — assuming the allegations and statements to be true, does the plaintiff have a valid cause of action? If the answer is NO, dismissal on this ground will be proper (See World Wide Insurance and Surety Co. v. Manuel, 18 Phil. 46). 27

    Particularly, in Deleplanque v. Teruel, 28 we ruled that

    . . . It is contended for the appellant that the lower court erred in taking into account civil case No. Q-232 of the Court of First Instance of Quezon City, already above referred to. because it is a foreign matter and the rule is that a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of cause of action must be based only on the allegations appearing in the complaint. The rule invoked by counsel for the appellant is correct, but it has no application to the case at bar. It appears that, aside from the fact that in paragraph VII of the complaint the sale of the land belonging to the defendant J.B. Teruel was expressly mentioned as having been made at a ‘public auction’, the said complaint contains, as Annex ‘B’, a copy of the sheriff’s certificate of sale in civil case No. Q-232, whereby the land in question was conveyed to the herein defendant Manuela C. Perez cor (sic) P22,656.00, pursuant to a writ of execution dated February 12, 1952, issued by the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City. Branch III. . . . .

    In the case at bar, Annex C of the complaint, which is the "Affidavit of Self-Adjudication" glaringly negates the existence of a cause of action as will be discussed hereinafter.

    Moreover, the rule that the court’s scrutiny is limited to the four corners of the complaint is subject to exceptions as laid down in Marcopper Mining Corporation v. Garcia: 29

    x       x       x.

    Moreover, the rule on a motion to dismiss cited by the petitioner, while correct as a general rule is not without exceptions.

    In the present case, before the trial court issued the questioned order dismissing petitioner’s complaint, it had the opportunity to examine the merits of the complaint, the answer with counterclaim, the petitioner’s answer to the counterclaim and its answer to the request for admission. It was but logical for said court to consider all of these pleadings in determining whether or not there was a sufficient cause of action in the petitioner’s complaint. The order of dismissal was in the nature of a summary judgment.

    Again, the case of Tan v. Director of Forestry, (supra), we ruled

    "In Llanto v. Ali Dimaporo, Et. Al. (16 SCRA 601, March 31, 1966), this Court, thru Justice Conrado V. Sanchez, held that the trial court can properly dismiss a complaint on a motion to dismiss due to lack of cause of action even without a hearing, by taking into consideration the discussion in said motion and the opposition thereto. . . .

    x       x       x.

    "Furthermore, ‘even if the complaint stated a valid cause of action, a motion to dismiss for insufficiency of cause of action will be granted if documentary evidence admitted by stipulation disclosing facts sufficient to defeat the claim enabled the court to go beyond disclosure in the complaint’ (LOCALS No. 1470, No. 1469, and No. 1512 of the International Longshoreman’ s Association v. Southern Pacific Co., 6 Fed. Rules Service, p. 107, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, Dec. 7, 1952; 131 F. 2d. 605). . . .

    "Moreover, petitioner-appellant cannot invoke the rule that, when the ground for asking dismissal is that the complaint states no cause of action, its sufficiency must be determined only from the allegations in the complaint.’The rules of procedure are not to be applied in a very rigid, technical sense; rules of procedure are used only to help secure substantial justice. If a technical and rigid enforcement of the rules is made, their aim would be defeated. Where the rules are merely secondary in importance are made to override the ends of justice; the technical rules had been misapplied to the prejudice of the substantial right of a party, said rigid application cannot be countenanced.’ (Vol. 1, Francisco, Civil Procedure, 2 ed., 1973, p. 157, citing cases.)"

    The trial court, therefore, did not err in considering, in addition to the complaint, other pleadings submitted by the parties in deciding whether or not the complaint should be dismissed for lack of a cause of action.

    Commenting on the exception as expounded in the above-cited case, Justice Florenz D. Regalado, an eminent authority on Remedial Law has this to say:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    . . . The exception is provided in Sec. 2, Rule 9, i.e., where the motion to dismiss on this ground in (sic) filed during the trial in which case the evidence presented is considered. Also, it has been held that under this ground the trial court can consider all the pleadings filed, including annexes, motions and the evidence on record (Marcopper Mining Corp. v. Garcia, G.R. No. 55935, July 30, 1986). 30

    In the San Pedro complaint, private respondents anchored their claim of ownership on an OCT No. 239 and on a survey plan PSU-201 in the name of Natalio Layos, copies of which were attached to the complaint. His son and sole heir Mauricio Layos inherited the properties covered by the said plan. In turn, Felipe Layos became the owner thereof through an Affidavit of Self-Adjudication with Sale executed by Mauricio Layos, his father. This is where the inconsistency materializes. In the said Affidavit of Self-Adjudication with Sale which was also attached to the San Pedro complaint as Annex "C," Mauricio Layos categorically stated that the subject properties (Lots No. 1 and 2 of Plan Psu-201) were not registered under the Spanish Mortgage Law or under the Property Registration Decree. 31 If the properties in question were not registered, where did the OCT No. 239 come from? Mauricio Layos’ express admission not only contradicts but indubitably strikes down the purported OCT No. 239 and exposes private respondents’ claim as a sham. This inconsistency is patent in the documents attached to the complaint which form part and parcel of the complaint. The Affidavit of Self-Adjudication with Sale attached to the complaint is the crucial and indispensable basis for private respondents’ claim of ownership and interest in the subject properties, without which they have no right of action or personality in the case. Necessarily, the Affidavit of Self-Adjudication is a vital part of the complaint that should be considered in the determination of whether or not a cause of action exists.

    Private respondents’ inconsistency is further manifested by the 1992 application for original registration filed by Mauricio Layos with the Regional Trial Court of Biñan, Laguna (docketed as Civil Case No. B-542) for the lots under Plan Psu-201. 32 Why would Mauricio Layos file an application for the registration of the land claimed by him if it is already covered by OCT No. 239? The conclusion is inescapable that the document is fake or a forgery.

    Finally, private respondents’ cause of action against petitioner is defeated by the findings of Mr. Privadi Dalire, Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division of the Bureau of Lands, contained in his letters to the Regional Technical Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Region IV dated 12 November 1992 and 15 December 1992, respectively:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    12 November 1992

    The Regional Technical Director of Lands

    DENR, Region IV, 1515 L & S Building

    Roxas Boulevard. Manila

    ATTN.: Engr. ROBERT C. PANGYARIHAN

    OIC, Surveys Division

    Sir:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    In connection with your request to validate the white print copy of an alleged plan Psu-201 which you had issued and certified that it is a copy of the tracing cloth of Psu-201 which is on file in that Office, please forward to us the tracing cloth plan to be examined instead of the white print copy that you have issued in accordance with the procedure stated in DENR Administrative Order regarding validation of plans other than the original copies being sent to the region office.

    It may be worthwhile to state for your information that the plan Psu-201 is not among those officially enrolled into the file of this Bureau. What is more confusing is that the inventory book of all plans that were recovered after the war shows that Psu-201 is a survey for J. Reed covering a piece of land in Malate, Manila but the plan that was salvaged was heavily damaged and therefore it was not also microfilmed. This would require therefore a more exhaustive research regarding the authenticity of the tracing cloth that is in your file. (Emphasis ours.)

    Very truly yours,

    For the Director of Lands:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (SGD.) PRIVADI J.G. DALIRE

    Chief, Geodetic Surveys Division 33

    x       x       x.

    MEMORANDUM:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    15 December 1992

    FOR: The Regional Technical Director of Lands

    The Chief, Regional Surveys Division

    DENR, Region IV

    L & S Building, Roxas Boulevard

    Manila

    FROM: L M B

    SUBJECT: Psu-201

    Records show that the region furnished us a white print copy certified by Engr. Robert Pangyarihan to have been "prepared from a tracing cloth plan on file in the NCR" for validation. We returned the white print plan prepared by Engr. Pangyarihan because we should examine the "tracing cloth plan" and it is the tracing cloth plan, white prints and photographic copies sent by the Central Records Division to be returned to LMB for validation by this Division.

    In the letter dated 27 November 1992, Engr. Pangyarihan explained that he prepared the copy which he certified from a white print plan on file in the region as the applicant claims to have lost the tracing cloth. While the explanation may be considered, yet the preparation of the plan is not yet in accordance with Section 1.3 and 4 3 of DENR Administrative Order No. 49, s-1991 which requires that the white prints or photographic print of the plan other than the original plan which have been decentralized must first be authenticated by this Bureau before a certified true copy is issued by the region. It is evident therefore that the issuance of a certified true copy of Psu-201 from a white print is premature, and considered void ab initio.

    Consider also that if the record of the Bureau is different from the print copy is subjected to field ocular inspection of the land and on the basis of the findings, the region may reconstruct the plan to be approved as usual. Certified copies may now be issued based on the reconstructed and approved plan. The white print of Psu-201 should therefore be subjected to ocular inspection.

    Our records of inventory of approved plans show Psu-201 as a survey of J. Reed covering a piece of land in Malate. Manila. That plan was heavily damaged and its reconstruction was not finalized. This should be included in the investigation. (Emphasis ours.)

    For the Director of Lands:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (SGD.) PRIVADI J.G. DALIRE

    Chief, Geodetic Surveys Division. 34

    Consequently, Mr. Sidicious F Panoy, the Regional Technical Director of DENR, Region IV, issued an order dated 5 May 994 cancelling all copies of plans pertaining to Psu-201. The order states that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    IN RE: CANCELLATION ORDER:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    True copy of Plan Plan Si-14769

    Si- 14779 and Psu-201 Claimant-Sofronio Olano

    Brgy. Bukal ng Tala & Hasaan

    Municipality of Ternate, Cavite

    Area: 13,321,977 sq. m.

    Plan Psu-201

    Claimant — Natalio Layos

    Brgy. Tubigan, Biñan, Laguna

    Area: 837,695 sq. m.

    ORDER

    By way of reaction to a number of inquiries as to the status of plans Si-14769 and Psu-201, verification was made at the Technical Reference Section of the Land Management Bureau, Escolta, Manila as to the authenticity thereof on the basis of still recoverable records and the following facts were established, to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. That Psu-201 is an original survey for J Reed located in Malate, Manila; and

    2. That Si-14769 is a survey number for the plan of a land parcel situated in Bo. Bessang, Municipality of Allacapang, Province of Cagayan in the name of Gregorio Blanco.

    The purported blue print plan of Psu-201 indicating the land covered thereby to be situated in Bo. Tubigan. Biñan. Laguna and claimed by Natalio Layos and comprising 837,695 sq. meters is. therefore. a spurious plan and. probably the result of a manipulative act by scheming individuals who surreptitiously got it inserted in the records. The same can be said as to the blue print of Si-14769 which is a plan purportedly covering a parcel of land situated in Bo. Bukal ng Tala and Hasaan, Ternate, Cavite comprising 13,321,977 sq. meters. (Emphasis.)

    WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, all plans pertaining to the above and indicated as true copies and bearing the signature of Engr. Robert C. Pangyarihan are as hereby IT IS CANCELLED including any document attached thereto and, as such, declared null and void and of no force and effect.

    SO ORDERED.

    5 May 1994.

    (SGD.) SIDICIOUS F. PANOY

    Regional Technical Director 35

    It is quite evident from the foregoing findings on record that private respondents’ claim of ownership is totally baseless. Plan Psu-201 pertains to land located in Malate, Manila and said survey plan was made for a certain J. Reed.

    In the case at bar, the technical rules of procedure regarding motions to dismiss must be applied liberally lest these very same rules be used not to achieve but to thwart justice.

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review on certiorari is hereby GRANTED. Private respondents’ complaint docketed as Civil Case No. B-4133 is hereby DISMISSED.

    SO ORDERED.

    Padilla, Bellosillo, Vitug and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, p. 805.

    2. Id., at 155-159.

    3. Id., at 261-264.

    4. Id., at 169-177.

    5. Id., at 182.

    6. Id., at 118-124.

    7. Id., at 131-152.

    8. Id., at 236-246.

    9. Id., at 112-114.

    10. Id., at 115.

    11. Id., at 62-110.

    12. Original Records, pp. 222-223.

    13. Rollo, pp. 377-379.

    14. Id., at 416.

    15. Id., at 381-390.

    16. Id., at 456-457.

    17. Id., at 26-27.

    18. Id., at 12-18.

    19.

    20. Id., at 123-124; 159.

    21. Id., at 413, 415.

    22. Id., at 417.

    23. The additional private respondents are allegedly vendees of undivided portions of the subject properties. (San Pedro complaint; Rollo, pp. 119-120). They, therefore, do not have a claim or interest separate from their vendor, Felipe Layos. Their claim is anchored on Felipe Layos’ own claim. Such being the case, there is also identity of party-plaintiffs since substantially the same interests were represented in both the Biñan and San Pedro cases.

    x       x       x


    24. SUBJECT: ADDITIONAL REQUISITES FOR PETITIONS FILED WITH THE SUPREME COURT AND THE COURT OF APPEALS TO PREVENT FORUM SHOPPING OR MULTIPLE FILING OF PETITIONS AND COMPLAINTS.

    The attention of the Court has been called to the filing of multiple petitions and complaints involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or different Divisions thereof, or any other tribunal or agency, with the result that said tribunals or agency have to resolve the same issues.

    x       x       x.

    3. Penalties.

    (a) Any violation of this Circular shall be a cause for the summary dismissal of the multiple petition or complaint;

    x       x       x.

    25. 176 SCRA 240 (1989).

    26. 251 SCRA 545 (1995). See also Dulay v. Court of Appeals, 243 SCRA 220 (1995); Perpetual Savings Bank v. Fajardo, 223 SCRA 720(1993); Rava Development Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 211 SCRA 114(1992); Boncato v. Siason, 138 SCRA 414(1985), Domaoal v. Bea, 131 SCRA 512 (1984).

    27. Edgardo L. Paras, Rules of Court Annotated, 1989 Ed., Vol. I, pp. 415-416.

    28. G.R. No. L-6555, 31 August 1954.

    29. 143 SCRA 178 (1986).

    30. Florenz D. Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. 1, Fifth Revised Edition, 1988, p. 156.

    31. Rollo, p. 127.

    32. Id., at 178-181.

    33. Rollo, p. 467

    34. Id., at 470-471.

    35. Id., at 472.

    G.R. No. 120958   December 16, 1996 - FIL-ESTATE GOLF AND DEVELOPMENT v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET.AL.


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