April 2005 - Philippine Supreme Court Decisions/Resolutions
G.R. No. 153777 - Planters Development Bank v. LZK Holdings and Development Corporation.
[G.R. NO. 153777. April 15, 2005]
PLANTERS DEVELOPMENT BANK, Petitioners, v. LZK HOLDINGS and DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
This is a Petition for Review of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 61262, ordering the dismissal of the Petition for Certiorari of Planters Development Bank and its resolution dismissing the motion for reconsideration thereof.
The LZK Holdings and Development Corporation (LHDC) is a duly-organized corporation with principal office at AGZ Building, Quezon Avenue, San Fernando City, La Union.2 The Planters Development Bank (PDB) is a banking institution duly-organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Philippines.3
On December 16, 1996, the LHDC, through its Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Lourdes Z. Korshak, and the PDB entered into a "Loan Agreement"4 whereby the former was extended a credit accommodation in the amount of
P40,000,000.00. The amount was to be used to finance the ongoing construction of the seven-storey AGZ Building at Quezon Avenue, San Fernando City, La Union.
To secure the loan, the LHDC executed in favor of the PDB a real estate mortgage5 over the 589-square-meter lot where the AGZ Building was then being constructed, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-45337 issued under the name of the LHDC. Subsequently, the latter executed two promissory notes in favor of the PDB: (1) Promissory Note No. 97-53-0296 dated February 24, 1997, in the amount of
P35,200,000.00 payable on or before February 24, 2012; and (2) Promissory Note No. 97-53-0307 dated February 24, 1997 in the amount of P4,800,000.00, also payable on or before February 24, 2012.
Thereafter, the LHDC executed a Deed of Assignment8 dated October 1, 1997 in favor of the PDB, wherein it assigned to the latter all its rental incomes from its AGZ Building, the same to be applied as payment of its obligations.
For non-payment of loan, non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the Deed of Assignment, and failure to comply with the conditions of the promissory notes, the PDB caused the extra-judicial foreclosure of the real estate mortgage under Act No. 3135, before Atty. Melchor Abasolo of San Fernando City, La Union, on April 6, 1998.9 Consequently, a Notice of Sale dated July 16, 1998 was published.10 On September 21, 1998, the foreclosed property was sold to the PDB as the highest bidder, and the corresponding Certificate of Sale11 was issued in its favor.
On April 5, 1999, the PDB filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 150, a complaint against the LHDC for "Annulment of Extrajudicial Foreclosure, Mortgage Contract, Promissory Notes and for Damages," docketed as Civil Case No. 99-471.
It was alleged, inter alia, that the real estate mortgage was void because it was executed on December 16, 1996, a day after TCT No. T-45337 was issued by the Register of Deeds, and two months before the execution of the promissory notes; the first page was unsigned by the parties; and it never received the proceeds of the loan in the amount of
P40,000,000.00. The LHDC further alleged that it never authorized the PDB to apply the proceeds of the loan to the personal obligation of Armando La o and/or his wife Lourdes Korshak. Moreover, the extrajudicial foreclosure of the real estate mortgage was void because the LHDC did not, in any way, violate the said deed, and the PDB even failed to take into account the remittances made under the promissory note. The LHDC also averred that the PDB dealt with it in gross bad faith, and as such is liable for damages and attorney's fees, and prayed, thus:
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that judgment be rendered in favor of plaintiff LZK and against defendant-bank, as follows:
1. On the First Cause of Action, declaring as null and void, the real estate mortgage executed on 16 December 1996 by plaintiff LZK;
2. On the Second Cause of Action, declaring as a nullity, Promissory Notes Nos. 97-53-029 and 97-53-030, both dated 24 February 1997;
3. On the Third Cause of Action, ruling that the extrajudicial foreclosure of Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-45337, as being void and without legal effect, as well as the Certificate of Sale executed by Notary Public Melchor Abasolo;
4. On the Fourth Cause of Action, holding defendant-bank liable for moral damages in the amount of not less than
5. On the Fifth Cause of Action, adjudging exemplary damages against defendant-bank, in the amount of
6. On the Sixth Cause of Action, declaring defendant liable for attorney's fees and cost of litigation in favor of plaintiff LZK, in the amount of
P500,000.00, and the additional amount of P5,000.00 for every court attendance of plaintiff LZK's counsel.
Other reliefs just and equitable under the premises are likewise prayed for.12
The PDB filed in due course its answer,13 traversing the material allegations thereof and interposing a counterclaim for attorney's fees and costs.
On January 14, 2000, just before the scheduled pre-trial, the LHDC filed a "Motion for Leave18 to file a Supplemental Complaint"19 to cover occurrences subsequent to the original complaint. It alleged that after the filing of the original complaint, it agreed in principle to enter into a contract of lease with a prospective lessee, AMA Computer College, over three floors of the AGZ Building, but the latter required it to first secure the petitioner's consent. The LHDC thus wrote the PDB, requesting its consent to the said lease. However, the latter gave unreasonable conditions in its reply, thus:
(a) AMA Computer College shall remit to defendant PDB all the stipulated rental deposits and advance rentals;
(b) Plaintiff withdraws or drops the criminal complaint for falsification and perjury against Mr. Mauro Tividad, an officer of defendant PDB, then pending with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati; andcralawlibrary
(c) all documents shall be subject to review by defendant-bank.20
This prompted the AMA Computer College to back-out from the contract. Furthermore, the PDB wrote each and every tenant of the LHDC, demanding that they directly remit their respective rentals to it. Worse still, the PDB, which was leasing a space in the same building for its branch, had ceased paying its rentals, on the pretext that it was setting-off the same against the loan deficiency of the LHDC. In fact, according to the LHDC, the PDB had ceased paying its monthly rental of
P73,205.00 since November 1999, and that the total amount due in rentals was P219,615.00.
The LHDC averred that until title to the property had been consolidated to the PDB, it (the LHDC) remained its owner, and as such is entitled to exercise all the attributes of ownership, including the right to receive rentals from the tenants of the building. As such, the PDB had no authority to collect the rentals and apply the previous loan deficiency because the legality and validity of the promissory notes, the real estate mortgage, and the subsequent extrajudicial foreclosure were in question before the courts. By applying the rentals to the perceived loan deficiency, the PDB ignored the authority of the court. Moreover, imposition by the PDB of unreasonable and unfair conditions to the prospective lease of the property to AMA Computer College, the LHDC failed to realize expected rentals of
P43,000,000.00. It was also alleged that as a result of the foregoing acts of the PDB, the LHDC was entitled to moral damages of not less than P1,000,000.00. The LHDC prayed that judgment be rendered on its supplemental complaint, thus:
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that this Honorable Court decide this instant case in favor of plaintiff and against defendant PDB, by rendering judgment in the following manner:
[a] holding defendant liable to pay compensatory damages in the amount of no less than One Million Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (
P1,200,000.00) in favor of plaintiff;
[b] adjudging defendant as liable to pay the amount of Two Hundred Nineteen Thousand Six Hundred Fifteen Pesos (
P219,615.00), representing rental arrearages for the months of November 1999 to January 2000;
[c] ruling that defendant is liable to pay moral damages in favor of plaintiff in the amount of One Million Pesos (
[d] to pay the cost of suit.
Other reliefs just and equitable under the premises are, likewise, prayed for.21
On January 17, 2000, the LHDC filed an Urgent Motion for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction,22 seeking to restrain the PDB from consolidating its title over the foreclosed property pending the final determination of Civil Case No. 99-471. It averred that the period for redemption had yet to expire on March 15, 1999.
On January 18, 2000, the PDB jointly opposed23 the supplemental complaint and urgent motion, contending that the latter had "miserably failed to establish any right in this regard." As to the supplemental complaint, it argued that what goes against its admission is the fact that the supplemental matters involved therein would bring into the case new causes of action, distinct from those mentioned in the original complaint. It also pointed out the lack of verification of the said supplemental complaint.
Meanwhile, after the hearing on the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction, the trial court issued on March 13, 2000 a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), effective for 20 days, restraining the PDB from consolidating ownership over the foreclosed property.24 Thereafter, the trial court issued on April 3, 2000 an Order25 granting the issuance of the writ, and required the LHDC to file a bond of
Despite the injunction, however, the PDB managed to consolidate its title over the foreclosed property. Consequently, TCT No. T-5325326 was issued by the Register of Deeds of La Union under its name on May 3, 2000.
On May 9, 2000, the LHDC filed an Omnibus Motion27 to declare invalid the consolidated title, to cite the PDB and its counsel for contempt, and to enjoin the latter from taking possession of the property. This was opposed by the PDB.28
On June 2, 2000, the trial court issued an Order29 invalidating TCT No. T-53253, and enjoining the PDB from taking possession of the foreclosed property. The motion to cite the PDB and its counsel for contempt of court was, however, denied.
On July 27, 2000, over the opposition of the PDB, the trial court issued an Order,30 admitting the supplemental complaint with this fallo:
Wherefore, as prayed for, plaintiff's supplemental complaint is hereby admitted upon its paying the docket fees corresponding to the amount prayed in the supplemental complaint with notice of payment to defendant. In turn, defendant is hereby ordered to plead within (10) days from receipt of said notice of payment.
In admitting the same, the trial court declared:
The Court finds the terms in plaintiff's supplemental complaint to be just and proper; hence, can be permitted by the Court. The additional causes of action are intimately and necessarily connected to the causes of action set forth in plaintiff's Complaint dated March 29, 2000 and are proper under the circumstances inasmuch as the events happened since the filing of the complaint sought to be supplemented.32
The PDB moved for a reconsideration of the order, but the trial court denied the motion.
Dissatisfied, the PDB sought redress in the CA via a Petition for Certiorari, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 61262,33 ascribing to the court a quo grave abuse of discretion in admitting the supplemental complaint. In its petition, it insisted that the supplemental complaint was improper. It argued that "there is nothing to supplement and the additional causes of action are entirely new, independent, separate and distinct."34 It prayed that the orders of the court a quo be set aside and that the supplemental complaint be stricken-off the record.35
On December 20, 2001, the CA rendered a Decision,36 finding that no grave abuse of discretion was committed by the trial court in admitting the supplemental complaint of the LHDC. In dismissing the petition, the CA ratiocinated:
In the case at bench, respondent ably demonstrated the connection between the original complaint and the supplemental complaint. Thus, the original complaint for annulment of extrajudicial foreclosure, mortgage contract, promissory notes and for damages was founded on the same transaction - the loan and contract of mortgage as security for such loan - as that of the supplemental complaint. The original complaint sought the annulment of the promissory note and the contract of mortgage. On the other hand, the supplemental complaint alleged petitioner's subsequent acts in asserting its rights as such purported obligee and mortgagor. Thus, the acts complained of under the supplemental complaint, namely: that petitioner imposed unreasonable conditions in giving its consent to a pending lease agreement between respondent and a third party and that petitioner demanded that rentals on the property be made directly to it - are acts calculated to exercise petitioner's rights, validly or invalidly, as the obligee and mortgagor in the transaction sought to be annulled in the original complaint.
Conformably, we cannot subscribe to petitioner's view that the cause of action raised in the supplemental complaint substantially changed or that the theory of the case altered the causes of action contained in the original complaint. If at all, the new allegations in the supplemental complaint sought remedies only for subsequent acts perpetrated by petitioner to protect its rights or in furtherance of its interests in the transaction sought to be annulled.
The admission of supplemental pleadings, like their amendment, we must underscore, should be liberally construed. In the present case, we find justification for allowing the admission of the amended complaint in order that the real question between the parties be properly and justly threshed out in a single proceeding, and thus avoid multiplicity of actions. The filing of the supplemental complaint can well be justified to the end that the real matter in dispute and all matters in the action in dispute between the parties may, as far as possible be completely determined in a single proceeding. Indeed, what is important is that, as already stated, the basic allegations of fact in the original and in the supplemental complaints are the same, namely, that petitioner, without legal justification, foreclosed the property subject of litigation.
In any event, the original complaint and the supplemental complaint, involving as they do kindred causes of actions and remedies, are proper subjects of joinder of causes of action. It is to be noted, furthermore, that the admission or rejection of this kind of pleadings is within the sound discretion of the court that will not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of abuse thereof. In this case, the court clearly acted within the parameters of its discretion.37
As the plea of the PDB for reconsideration there was denied,38 it now comes to this Court for redress, contending that:
I. DECIDED IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW OR WITH APPLICABLE JURISPRUDENCE RENDERED BY THIS HONORABLE COURT, AND/OR HAS SO FAR DEPARTED FROM THE ACCEPTED AND USUAL COURSE OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS AS TO CALL FOR AN EXERCISE OF THE POWER OF SUPERVISION VESTED IN THIS HONORABLE COURT.
II. COMMITTED ERRORS IN THE FINDINGS OF FACTS OR CONCLUSIONS OF LAW WHICH, IF NOT CORRECTED, WOULD CAUSE GRAVE AND IRREPARABLE DAMAGE OR INJURY TO PDB; AND
III. COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN THE APPRECIATION OF FACTS.39
The petitioner reiterates its arguments before the appellate court, claiming that the supplemental complaint was inappropriate because it introduced causes of action which are "entirely new, totally independent, separate and distinct" from those of the original complaint. It argues that a supplemental complaint cannot be used for the purpose of trying new matter or a new cause of action. Citing case law,40 it points out that a supplemental complaint should, as the name implies, supply only deficiencies in aid of an original complaint. It should contain only causes of action relevant and material to the plaintiff's right and which help or aid the plaintiff's right or defense. The supplemental complaint must be based on matters arising subsequent to the original complaint related to the claim or defense presented therein, and founded on the same cause of action. It cannot be used to try a new matter or a new cause of action.
The original complaint vis - à-vis the supplemental complaint, the petitioner asseverates, would show a great deal of difference in their causes of action.
3. In the supplemental complaint of LZK, the latter wishes to "supplement" the original complaint with the following additional causes of action:
A. the alleged imposition of unfair and unreasonable conditions by PDB to the impending lease agreement between LZK and AMA Computer College;
b. the alleged unilateral and unjustified decision of PDB to stop paying its monthly rentals; andcralawlibrary
c. the demand of PDB upon the other tenants of the AGZ Building to remit their respective rentals to PDB instead of paying to LZK.
4. The original complaint (Annex "C") sought to be supplemented is for annulment of extrajudicial foreclosure, mortgage contract, promissory notes and for damages with the following causes of actions:
A. the mortgage is allegedly null and void ab initio, as the mortgagor, LZK, was not the registered owner of the subject matter thereof, at the time the mortgage was executed on 16 December 1996;
b. the promissory notes are allegedly invalid in view of the claimed lack of valuable consideration;
c. the extrajudicial foreclosure should allegedly be declared as invalid or void form (sic) the very beginning, inasmuch as LZK allegedly did not violate the terms and conditions of the promissory notes;
d. PDB is allegedly liable to LZK for moral and exemplary damages plus attorney's fees.41
7. As discussed above, the original complaint has nothing to do with the additional causes of action alleged in the supplemental complaint; the latter does not bolster and it does not add anything to the original complaint. '42
The petition has no merit.
Section 6, Rule 10 of the Revised Rules of Court prescribes the manner and substance of filing supplemental pleadings:
SECTION 6. Supplemental Pleadings. - Upon motion of a party the court may, upon reasonable notice and upon such terms as are just, permit him to serve a supplemental pleading setting forth transactions, occurrences or events which have happened since the date of the pleading sought to be supplemented. The adverse party may plead thereto within ten (10) days from notice of the order admitting the supplemental pleading.
As its very name denotes, a supplemental pleading only serves to bolster or adds something to the primary pleading. A supplement exists side by side with the original. It does not replace that which it supplements.43 Moreover, a supplemental pleading assumes that the original pleading is to stand and that the issues joined with the original pleading remained an issue to be tried in the action.44 It is but a continuation of the complaint. Its usual office is to set up new facts which justify, enlarge or change the kind of relief with respect to the same subject matter as the controversy referred to in the original complaint.45
The purpose of the supplemental pleading is to bring into the records new facts which will enlarge or change the kind of relief to which the plaintiff is entitled; hence, any supplemental facts which further develop the original right of action, or extend to vary the relief, are available by way of supplemental complaint even though they themselves constitute a right of action.46
The parties may file supplemental pleadings only to supply deficiencies in aid of an original pleading, but not to introduce new and independent causes of action. In Leobrera v. Court of Appeals,47 the Court ruled that when the cause of action stated in the supplemental complaint is different from the causes of action mentioned in the original complaint, the court should not admit the supplemental complaint. However, a broad definition of causes of action should be applied. As the United States Supreme Court ruled in Smith v. Biggs Boiler Works Co.: 48
While a matter stated in a supplemental complaint should have some relation to the cause of action set forth in the original pleading, the fact that the supplemental pleading technically states a new cause of action should not be a bar to its allowance but only a factor can be considered by the court in the exercise of its discretion; and of course, a broad definition of "cause of action" should be applied here as elsewhere.49
In the present case, the issue as to whether the petitioner stopped the payment of rentals and the application thereof on the perceived loan deficiency of the respondent, is a new matter that occurred after the filing of the original complaint. However, the relief for damages, the collection of the rentals and the application thereof by the petitioner to the perceived loan deficiency of the respondent are germane to, and are in fact, intertwined with the cause of action of nullification of the real estate mortgage and the extrajudicial foreclosure thereof, as well as the sale at public auction. It is the respondent's contention that the petitioner remained liable to it for rentals, and until title to the property had been lawfully consolidated with the petitioner. The claims of unrealized income by way of rentals from the AMA Computer College on account of the respondent's insistence that such should be remitted to it, and that the respondent first drop the criminal complaint for falsification and perjury filed by it against Mauro Tividad, the officer of the petitioner, are, likewise, germane and related to the respondent's claim in its original complaint that it remained the owner of the property despite the sale at public auction; hence, it is entitled to lease the property and collect the rentals therefrom. By its supplemental complaint, the respondent merely enlarged its original causes of action on account of events that transpired after the filing of the original complaint and prayed for additional reliefs. The principal and core issues raised by the parties in their original pleadings remain the same. There is no showing on record that the petitioner would be prejudiced by the admission of the supplemental complaint. After all, the petitioner has the right to file a supplemental answer to the supplemental complaint, conformably to Section 7, Rule 11 of the Revised Rules of Court which reads:
SEC. 7. Answer to supplemental complaint. - A supplemental complaint may be answered within ten (10) days from notice of the order admitting the same, unless a different period is fixed by the court. The answer to the complaint shall serve as the answer to the supplemental complaint if no new or supplemental answer is filed.
The trial court cannot, thus, be faulted for admitting the respondent's supplemental complaint.
Besides, the admission of the supplemental complaint will better serve the ends of justice. After all, the Rules of Court were designed to facilitate the administration of justice to the rival claims of the parties in a just, speedy and inexpensive manner.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. Costs against the petitioner.
Puno, (Chairman), Austria-Martinez, Tinga, and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.
1 Penned by Associate Justice Oswaldo D. Agcaoili (retired), with Associate Justices Jose L. Sabio, Jr. and Mariano C. Del Castillo, concurring.
2 Records, p. 1. (Vol. I)
4 Id. at 20-26.
5 Id. at 44-47.
6 Id. at 42.
7 Id. at 43.
8 Id. at 35-37.
9 Id. at 39-41.
10 Id. at 518.
11 Id. at 522.
12 Id. at 17-18.
13 Id. at 69-81.
14 Id. at 145-153.
15 Id. at 160.
16 Id. at 162.
17 Id. at 182 and 196.
18 Id. at 278.
19 Id. at 280.
20 Rollo, p. 53.
21 Records, pp. 285-286. (Vol. I)
22 Id. at 299-302.
23 Id. at 303-306.
24 Id. at 402-404.
25 Id. at 525-527.
26 Id. at 582.
27 Id. at 591-595.
28 Id. at 600-606.
29 Id. at 629-637.
30 Id. at 914-916. (Vol. II)
31 Id. at 916.
33 CA Rollo, p. 2.
34 Id. at 5.
35 Id. at 8.
36 Rollo, pp. 23-29.
37 Id. at 28-29.
38 Id. at 31.
39 Id. at 7.
40 British Traders' Insurance Co., Ltd. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, G.R. No. L-20501, 30 April 1965, 13 SCRA 719; De la Rama Steamship Co., Inc. v. National Development Company, G.R. No. L-15659, 30 November 1962, 6 SCRA 775; Randolph v. Missouri-Kansas-Texas R. Co., D.C. Mo. 1948, 78 F. Supp. 727, Berssenbrugge v. Luce Mfg. Co., D.C. Mo. 1939, 30 F. Supp. 101.
41 Rollo, p. 9.
42 Id. at 10.
43 Aznar III v. Bernad, G.R. No. L-81190, 9 May 1988, 161 SCRA 276.
44 Delbros Hotel Corporation v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. L-72566, 12 April 1988, 159 SCRA 533.
45 Southern Pacific Co. v. Conway, 115 F. 2d 746.
46 Hughes v. Honeyman, 208 P. 2d. 355 (1949).
47 G.R. No. 80001, 27 February 1989, 170 SCRA 711.
48 34 ALR 2d. 1125 (1952).