[A.M. No. MTJ-02-1433. June
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated JUN 18 2003.
A.M. No. MTJ-02-1433 (Tomas
R. Leonidas vs. Judge Francisco G. Supnet, MeTC, Pasay
City, Branch 47.)
Before us is a Motion filed by petitioner Tomas R. Leonidas
("petitioner") seeking a reconsideration of this Court's Decision dated 21
In his Motion for Reconsideration, petitioner prays that this
Court reconsiders its decision only with regard to the first order of direct
contempt which was issued against him by respondent Judge Francisco G. Supnet
("respondent judge"). Petitioner likewise prays that respondent judge be found
to have acted with grave ignorance of the law and be meted another fine in
addition to that already imposed on him in the Decision sought to be
Petitioner contends that respondent judge had lost all power and
authority to continue with the contempt proceedings filed by the spouses
Tamondongs in view of the dismissal of the main case. Petitioner cites the
ruling in Servicewide Specialists, Inc. v. Court of Appealscralaw
that a "dismissal or discontinuance of an action operates to annul orders,
rulings or judgments previously made in the case."
The contention is untenable. The phrase "orders, rulings or
judgments previously made in the case" referred to in Servicewide Specialists,
Inc. case pertains to those orders, rulings or judgment involving the main case
and not to a case incident to the main case as in contempt proceedings. A
contempt proceedings, however, is different. It is a separate proceeding which
partakes of a criminal nature and is summary in character which the court
exercises but in a limited jurisdiction.cralaw
A charge for contempt of court partakes of the nature of a criminal action even
when the act complained of is an incident to a civil action.cralaw
Thus, a judgment in the contempt proceedings is maintained regardless of the
dismissal of the main case. And the court, despite the dismissal of the main
case, still retains jurisdiction over the contempt case.
To reiterate, the power to punish persons for contempt is
inherent in all courts. Its existence is essential to the preservation of order
in judicial proceedings and to the reinforcement of their lawful orders and
No matter what happens in the main case, the trial court still possesses the
power to discipline and sanction all those who appear before it, to ensure
their strict adherence to its rules and orders.
It must be remembered that the civil case for damages was
dismissed by the Pasay MTC as a result of petitioner's forum shopping since
petitioner failed to disclose that the case was previously brought before and
dismissed by the Pasay RTC. Consequently, the Pasay MTC deemed it fit to punish
petitioner's deliberate attempt to forum shop by declaring petitioner in direct
contempt of court.
Petitioner now ridiculously attempts to have that first contempt
order overturned simply because the Pasay MTC dismissed the case. If we were to
uphold petitioner's contention, this would inevitably lead to the erosion of
the courts' contempt power. And pursuing petitioner's thinking to its logical
end, the courts would no doubt be stripped of their power to prevent parties
from shopping for more favorable fora. The judiciary would be bereft of a
security measure to ensure its self-preservation. And lawyers will be able to
get away with their flagrant abuse of procedural law by simply invoking the
Servicewide doctrine to escape the punitive effects of a contempt order.
petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED for lack of merit."
Very truly yours,
Clerk of Court