Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1984 > June 1984 Decisions > G.R. No. L-53924 June 29, 1984 - M & M MANAGEMENT AIDS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-53924. June 29, 1984.]

M & M MANAGEMENT AIDS, INC., Petitioner, v. The Honorable COURT OF APPEALS and EXEQUIEL B. MIGUEL, for and in his behalf, and as Attorney-in-Fact of Antonina B. Miguel, Reynalda M. Pineda, Gregorio B. Miguel, Florentina M. Sta. Ana, Violeta M. Austria, and Candido B. Miguel, Jr., Respondents.

Glenn C. Manahan for Petitioner.

Carlos Z. Ambrosio and Leven S. Puno for Private Respondents.

Glenn C. Manahan for Petitioner.

Carlos Z. Ambrosio and Leven S. Puno for Private Respondents.


SYLLABUS


1. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI; GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION; HOLDING PARTY IN CONTEMPT FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH PRETRIAL ORDER, NOT A CASE OF. — No grave abuse of discretion was committed by the trial court in issuing the 1978 contempt order. It was sanctioned by the 1976 pre-trial order which was in the nature of a compromise on the rentals during the pendency of the suit. In that sense, the pre-trial order has the force of res judicata.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; AVAILABLE ONLY TO CURE JURISDICTIONAL DEFECTS. — Only jurisdictional errors can be the object of certiorari. It is an extraordinary remedy available only in extraordinary Cases where the trial court acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. That means that its action is whimsical, capricious, arbitrary or patently illegal, or, as stated by Justice Moreland, its decree is a snare and a delusion, a recorded falsehood, a standing menace (Herrera v. Barreto and Joaquin, 25 Phil. 245, 271).

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT PROPER WHEN APPEAL IS AVAILABLE. — "If every error committed by the trial court were to be a proper object of review by certiorari, the trial would never come to an end and the appellate Courts’ dockets would be clogged ad infinitum with the aggrieved parties-litigants filing petitions after petition for writs of certiorari against every interlocutory order of the trial court." That situation would be intolerable. Appeal in due time would be the proper remedy (De Castro v. Delta Motor Sales Corp., L-34971, May 31, 1974, 57 SCRA 344; Nocon v. Hon. Geronimo, 101 Phil. 735).


D E C I S I O N


AQUINO, J.:


This case is about the lessee’s liability to pay the rentals during the pendency of its action for rescission of the lease. On August 8, 1973, M & M Management Aids, Inc. leased from the Heirs of Candido Miguel, Sr. a parcel of land with an area of one hectare, to be used as a factory site, located at Barrio Tipas, Taguig, Rizal (p. 69, Rollo).

The term of the lease was ten years or from August 1, 1973 to July 31, 1983. The lessee was given the option to buy the land. The annual rental for the first three years was P12,000; P42,000 for the next three years and for the last four years P96,000 (pp. 68-73, Rollo).

On May 20, 1975, Management Aids filed an action for rescission of the lease with damages and for a declaration of its rights as a builder in good faith. It alleged that the Miguels failed to surrender the title for the registration of the lease and fixed an exorbitant price for the property.

The trial court issued a pre-trial order, stating that, by agreement of the parties, Management Aids should pay within thirty days from January 14, 1976 the back rentals for seven months and should continue to pay the stipulated rentals (p. 40, Rollo). That order set at rest the question of rentals pendente lite or the reasonable compensation for the use and occupation of the leased premises.

More than two years later, or on May 20, 1978, the trial court issued an order, requiring the president and general manager of Management Aids to pay the Miguel lessors within sixty days from notice the sum of P46,000 as agreed upon at the 1976 pre-trial conference, otherwise he would be punished for contempt of court (p. 17, Rollo).

That order was assailed by certiorari in the Court of Appeals which in its decision of March 24, 1980 sustained the order because of the 1976 pre-trial agreement. Management Aids appealed to this Court. The Miguels did not file any comment and brief.

Management Aids contends that the trial court erred in holding that under the pre-trial order it would be liable to pay rental in excess of P1,000 a month and that it should pay rentals during the pendency of the rescission case. It argues that the Appellate Court took a myopic view of the pre-trial order by interpreting it literally.

We hold that the petition is devoid of merit. It should not have been given due course. No grave abuse of discretion was committed by the trial court in issuing the 1978 contempt order. It was sanctioned by the 1976 pre-trial order which was in the nature of a compromise on the rentals during the pendency of the suit. In that sense, the pre-trial order has the force of res judicata.

If the parties cannot amicably settle their dispute, the trial court is directed to give priority to the trial of this case and to finish it as soon as possible.

Some lawyers assume that every error of judgment of the trial court can be corrected by certiorari and prohibition. They should remember that only jurisdictional errors can be the object of certiorari. It is an extraordinary remedy available only in extraordinary cases where the trial court acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. That means that its action is whimsical, capricious, arbitrary or patently illegal, or, as stated by Justice Moreland, its decree is a snare and a delusion, a recorded falsehood, a standing menace (Herrera v. Barreto and Joaquin, 25 Phil. 245, 271).

"If every error committed by the trial court were to be a proper object of review by certiorari, the trial would never come to an end and the appellate courts’ dockets would be clogged ad infinitum with the aggrieved parties-litigants filing petition after petition for writs of certiorari against every interlocutory order of the trial court." That situation would be intolerable. Appeal in due time would be the proper remedy (De Castro v. Delta Motor Sales Corp., L-34971, May 31, 1974, 57 SCRA 344; Nocon v. Hon. Geronimo, 101 Phil. 735).

WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Intermediate Appellate Court is affirmed with costs against the petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, Abad Santos, Escolin and Cuevas, JJ., concur.




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